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[liberationtech] Details needed about monitoring and data retention in Syria

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Tue Jan 10 13:07:49 PST 2012


On 01/10/2012 09:38 AM, Jillian C. York wrote:
> I'll add to what Andrew said to say that what he posits is backed up by the
> reality on the ground.  So while I'd still strongly encourage the use of
> encrypted connections, anonymizing software, etc as well, I'd also strongly
> encourage interviewing Syrians who've encountered the authorities in the
> past few months, as their take is strikingly different from that of foreign
> observers on this matter.

The experience of people on the ground while useful is far from the full
picture. Unless they're the ones implementing the surveillance systems,
it's pointless to ask a random or even a specific uninvolved Syrian
about the government's data retention capabilities.

> 
> On Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 8:40 AM, Andrew Lewis <andrew at pdqvpn.com> wrote:
> 
>> Also to add to what my colleague mentioned, reports from people that
>> worked inside Syria's surveillance state portray a very muddled
>> intelligence apparatus with 13 computing agencies that have varying levels
>> of technical competency that don't share data. There have been some reports
>> of fresh efforts for centralization of efforts, but nothing along the lines
>> that there is a central repository besides the Area SPA planned
>> installation, and the use of similar hardware(Bluecoat) by the ISPs, with
>> varying levels of coordination.

The country has very clear demarcation areas and those areas have line
speed wiretapping equipment that records the full contents of data
transiting. It is the case that various ISPs also perform surveillance
but the edges of the networks are where most of the (best kept secret)
recording happens.

All the best,
Jacob



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