A Well Regulated Militia

The NSA’s plan: improve cybersecurity by hacking everyone else by Trevor Timm.

From the post:

The National Security Agency want to be able to hack more people, vacuum up even more of your internet records and have the keys to tech companies’ encryption – and, after 18 months of embarrassing inaction from Congress on surveillance reform, the NSA is now lobbying it for more powers, not less.

NSA director Mike Rogers testified in front of a Senate committee this week, lamenting that the poor ol’ NSA just doesn’t have the “cyber-offensive” capabilities (read: the ability to hack people) it needs to adequately defend the US. How cyber-attacking countries will help cyber-defense is anybody’s guess, but the idea that the NSA is somehow hamstrung is absurd.

Like everyone else I like reading hacking stories, particularly the more colorful ones! But for me, at least until now, hacking has been like debugging core dumps, it’s an interesting technical exercise but not much more than that.

I am incurious about the gossip the NSA is sweeping up for code word access, but I am convinced that we all need a strong arm to defend our digital privacy and the right to tools to protect ourselves.

The dangers to citizens have changed since James Madison wrote in the Bill or Rights:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In 1789, oppression and warfare was conducted with muzzle loaders and swords. Guns are still a common means of oppression, but the tools of oppression have grown since 1789. Then there was no mass surveillance of phone traffic, bank accounts, camera feeds, not to mention harvesting of all network traffic. Now, all of those things are true.

Our reading of the Second Amendment needs to be updated to include computers, software developed for hacking, training for hackers and research on hacking. Knowing how to break encryption isn’t the same thing as illegally breaking encryption. It is a good way to test whether the promised encryption will exclude prying government eyes.

I’m not interested in feel good victories that come years after over reaching by the government. It’s time for someone to take up the gage that the NSA has flung down in the street. Someone who traffics in political futures and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

The NRA has been a long term and successful advocate for Second Amendment rights. And they have political connections that would take years to develop. When was the last time you heard of the NRA winning symbolic victories for someone after they had been victimized? Or do you hear of victories by the NRA before their membership is harmed by legislation? Such as anti-hacking legislation.

Since the NRA is an established defender of the Second Amendment, with a lot of political clout, let’s work on expanding the definition of “arms” in the Second Amendment to include computers, knowledge of how to break encryption and security systems, etc.

The first step is to join the NRA (like everybody they listen to paying members first).

The second step is educate other NRA members and the public posed by unchecked government cyberpower. Current NRA members may die with their guns in hand but government snoops know what weapons they have, ammunition, known associates, and all of that is without gun registration. A machine pistol is a real mis-match against digital government surveillance. As in the losing side.

The third step is to start training yourself as a hacker. Setup a small network at home so you can educate yourself, off of public networks, about the weaknesses of hardware and software. Create or join computer clubs dedicated to learning hacking arts.

BTW, the people urging you to hack Y12 (a nuclear weapons facility), Chase and the White House are all FBI plants. Privately circulate their biometrics to other clubs. Better informants that have been identified than unknowns. Promptly report all illegal suggestions from plants. You will have the security agencies chasing their own tails.

Take this as a warm-up. I need to dust off some of my Second Amendment history. Suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Looking forward to the day when even passive government surveillance sets off alarms all over the net.

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