Skype Provided Backdoor Access To The NSA Before Microsoft Takeover

June 22, 2013


Skype Provided Backdoor Access To The NSA Before Microsoft Takeover.HT: Other and the InfiniteUnknown. Skype Provided Backdoor Access to the NSA Before Microsoft Takeover (Softpedia, June 20, 2013): The NSA saga continues in the Redmond-based empire, this time with a new report aimed at Microsoft’s flagship VoIP platform Skype. A report published by The New York Times and citing people who asked not to be named for obvious reasons, Skype developed its own user-monitoring system before the Microsoft acquisition in October 2011. It appears that US intelligence agencies have insisted that local software companies must cooperate closer with the NSA, so it asked several top vendors, including Skype, to put together secret teams to develop systems that would provide them with backdoor access to users’ conversations. The source claims that the NSA wanted “to control the process themselves” and thus skip the process of contacting the parent company and asking for details on select user accounts. This is how Skype Project Chess was born. “Less than a dozen people inside Skype” have been asked to develop a hidden system that would allow the NSA to access conversations and user details at any time. Skype officially joined the PRISM program on February 6, 2011, so it’s believed that the backdoor access system was already up and running at that time, more than half a year before the Microsoft acquisition was completed. It’s not yet confirmed, but it appears that those tools have already been removed from Skype, as part of Microsoft’s network updates over the years. Tipsters, on the other hand, claim that companies involved in this NSA secret plan have kept the monitoring systems to “control the process themselves.” The interesting thing is that Microsoft is now refusing to comment on this report, even though the company has often denied stories claiming that Skype calls can be wiretapped. The only thing we got from Microsoft in the PRISM scandal is the public statement rolled out this month and claiming that it never provides user details to the government on a voluntary basis.

“We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”

….yeah right

Google: Microsoft wields patents when its products fail

November 7, 2011
This is exactly what Mark Cuban was talking about. jobs are being lost because patent law is messed up.

(electronista.com) Claims overbroad patents could stifle innovation: Tim Porter, Google’s patent counsel, suggested in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the current system of patent registration for software was partly to blame for the storm of lawsuits by Microsoft and others regarding the Android operating system. Porter said that current patent law allows Microsoft to use the large patent portfolio it has acquired over the years to get revenue from other companies “when their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android.” Industry research shows Android leading the Windows Phone platform by a wide margin. Porter said that the patent office has been too lenient since the 1990s, awarding software patents for broad, vague or unoriginal ideas. He pointed to a decision by the US Supreme Court in 2007 that should have reinvigorated an “obviousness” standard first spelled out in a 1952 law. In that ruling, the court asserted that an invention could not be patented if it would be considered “obvious” by a person having ordinary skill in the art. The court said that giving such dubious claims patent protection would stifle innovation. However, since the ruling the number of software patents granted and the number of lawsuits have both increased dramatically.Ironically, in 1991 Bill Gates wrote of his concerns about the very tactics that Microsoft is using today. Gates predicted that if the practice of software patenting became widespread, “some large company will patent some obvious thing,” and “take as much of our profits as they want.” [via Ars Technica]


burden on small and medium sized business = NO JOBS

January 14, 2010

Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a burden on small and medium-sized businesses that could grow and create jobs.

In lamenting the lack of economic growth in the decade that just passed, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had pointed the finger at a typical culprit: the supposed deregulation that occurred in the Bush administration. “As for the Republicans, now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is – tax cuts and deregulation.” Krugman called the 2000s “the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing.”

the very same Paul Krugman who sees “humanity” in climategate… not liars.

Yet a glance at what really happened in the first decade of the new millennium shows that Krugman and others of his ilk are the ones who have really learned nothing. They continue to insist that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation even though so much government intervention in housing — from the subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the reckless lending encouraged by Community Reinvestment Act – contributed to the mortgage meltdown.

And, as Rep. Ron Paul recently pointed out, “As for a lack of regulation, the last decade saw the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the largest piece of financial regulatory legislation” in decades.
Rushed through Congress and signed by President Bush in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals in 2002, the law has quadrupled the costs of the audit process for public companies and achieved little tangible results in preventing fraud. Because of all the high-paying work it creates for auditors in helping firms comply with the law, Sarbox has been called “a boon for bean counters” (in Business Week) and the “Accountants Full Employment Act.”
Sarbox is a significant cost factor holding back job growth and a stronger recovery. If it is repealed or scaled back, the second decade of the new millennium could see real prosperity as American entrepreneurial energies are once again unleashed through the next Microsoft and Googles going public.
On top of this, Sarbanes-Oxley has achieved very little in preventing fraud. In 2007 Countrywide Financial Corp. was praised for its Sarbanes-Oxley controls by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Two years and many scandals later, its former executives have been charged with securities fraud. And certainly, overall transparency doesn’t increase when companies go private or delay going public, as many have chosen to do because of the law’s costs.

So how do you keep companies like Enron from abuse? My opinion… more competition. If there is a near monopoly in energy for example then the government should break up the private company or make it easier for other “Enrons” to get out there. One private energy company going against the government is a system that is ripe for abuse. The same could be said about the healthcare industry that we are presently creating. A government industry with only one private alternative will always have people cheating and even cronyism between the government and it’s private competitor.

burden on small and medium sized business = NO JOBS

January 14, 2010

Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a burden on small and medium-sized businesses that could grow and create jobs.

In lamenting the lack of economic growth in the decade that just passed, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had pointed the finger at a typical culprit: the supposed deregulation that occurred in the Bush administration. “As for the Republicans, now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is – tax cuts and deregulation.” Krugman called the 2000s “the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing.”

the very same Paul Krugman who sees “humanity” in climategate… not liars.

Yet a glance at what really happened in the first decade of the new millennium shows that Krugman and others of his ilk are the ones who have really learned nothing. They continue to insist that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation even though so much government intervention in housing — from the subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the reckless lending encouraged by Community Reinvestment Act – contributed to the mortgage meltdown.

And, as Rep. Ron Paul recently pointed out, “As for a lack of regulation, the last decade saw the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the largest piece of financial regulatory legislation” in decades.

Rushed through Congress and signed by President Bush in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals in 2002, the law has quadrupled the costs of the audit process for public companies and achieved little tangible results in preventing fraud. Because of all the high-paying work it creates for auditors in helping firms comply with the law, Sarbox has been called “a boon for bean counters” (in Business Week) and the “Accountants Full Employment Act.”

Sarbox is a significant cost factor holding back job growth and a stronger recovery. If it is repealed or scaled back, the second decade of the new millennium could see real prosperity as American entrepreneurial energies are once again unleashed through the next Microsoft and Googles going public.

On top of this, Sarbanes-Oxley has achieved very little in preventing fraud. In 2007 Countrywide Financial Corp. was praised for its Sarbanes-Oxley controls by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Two years and many scandals later, its former executives have been charged with securities fraud. And certainly, overall transparency doesn’t increase when companies go private or delay going public, as many have chosen to do because of the law’s costs.

So how do you keep companies like Enron from abuse? My opinion… more competition. If there is a near monopoly in energy for example then the government should break up the private company or make it easier for other “Enrons” to get out there. One private energy company going against the government is a system that is ripe for abuse. The same could be said about the healthcare industry that we are presently creating. A government industry with only one private alternative will always have people cheating and even cronyism between the government and it’s private competitor.