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[liberationtech] Mexico's most vulnerable reporters lack digital security skills

Ryan Gallagher ryan at rjgallagher.co.uk
Tue Feb 26 16:42:02 PST 2013


On 27 February 2013 00:01, Eva Galperin <eva at eff.org> wrote:

> I'm not sure that I would support ranking drug cartels as a less
> technologically sophisticated threat than the government in Mexico.
>

Very much agree, Eva. If I were working out of Mexico it would be under the
assumption that the cartels could, if they really wanted to, obtain the
same info that is available to law enforcement agencies and/or government
officials via the use of surveillance tech.

Mexico has a fairly sophisticated surveillance infrastructure. Since at
least 2006 it has has apparently operated a Verint mass monitoring system
that can intercept "virtually any wired, wireless or broadband
communication network and service," and this system has since been upgraded
with the help of the US government:
http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/2012/04/state-department-provide-mexican-security-agency-surveillance-apparatus/55490/

Mexican authorities also have access to other tools, such as spy trojans:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/08/03/surveillance_technology_in_mexico_s_drug_war_.html

And as Bloomberg Businessweek reported in 2011: "Recent killings indicate
the cartels are taking the new online tactics seriously—and that the
activists may have miscalculated in counting on nicknames and IP addresses
for protection....the U.S. firm Stratfor and security experts in Mexico
warned that, with so many government officials on the take, the cartels
likely have access to the military-grade tracking technology used by the
Mexican government. In at least one case, according to journalist Valdez,
the Sinaloan cartel hired a hacker to hunt down a government informant."
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/mexicos-drug-war-takes-to-the-blogosphere-11092011.html#p2

Best,

Ryan


> While there isn't a lot of evidence that drug cartels have used
> technologically sophisticated means to track down anonymous/pseudonymous
> bloggers and journalists, corruption is sufficiently widespread that if
> my life depended on it, I would assume that the drug cartels could have
> access to the same information that the government has through bribery
> and threats.
>
> There are circumstances in which I would support the use of Cryptocat by
> Mexican journalists (and it's certainly an improvement over sending
> messages in the clear, which many Mexican journalists are doing) but
> transmitting information which you would like to keep secret from drug
> cartels is probably not one of them.
>
> ************************************************
> Eva Galperin
> Global Policy Analyst
> Electronic Frontier Foundation
> eva at eff.org
> (415) 436-9333 ex. 111
> ************************************************
>
> On 2/25/13 1:36 PM, Nadim Kobeissi wrote:
> > Hi,
> > At Cryptocat we are developing an easy to use instant messaging tool that
> > is available in 34 languages. It encrypts all of your conversations,
> > preserves your privacy and works in your browser.
> >
> > If you are a Mexican journalist and your opponent is not highly skilled
> in
> > information technology intelligence (not a government, but a drug cartel)
> > then you should try Cryptocat. It does not leave a record of
> conversations
> > anywhere and does not transmit anything in the clear.
> >
> > Get Cryptocat here: https://crypto.cat
> > Make sure to read the warnings on the site to get familiar with the app's
> > limitations.
> >
> >
> > NK
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:13 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv
> >wrote:
> >
> >> Hi Kyle,
> >>
> >> I've been developing a tool called StoryMaker for journalists and
> citizen
> >> journalists.
> >>
> >> It's private/secure by design, so ideal for this use case.
> >>
> >>  There is a 10 lesson curriculum in mobile digital safety, and the app
> >> itself that could all be translated into Spanish. Then perhaps the app
> >> and/or curriculum might be used to educate and assist them in their
> work?
> >>
> >> https://www.transifex.com/projects/p/storymaker/language/es/
> >>
> >> Resources 20-29 + 210 are the digital safety lessons.
> >>
> >> cheers
> >>
> >> brian
> >>
> >> On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM, Kyle Maxwell <krmaxwell at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >>> I'm curious how the infosec community, particularly those of us who
> >>> speak and write Spanish, can assist in helping Mexican activists and
> >>> journalists. I understand that a large portion of that community
> >>> actively exchanges data on Twitter; any pointers would be appreciated.
> >>>
> >>> Feel free to contact me off-list if desired.
> >>>
> >>> On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM, G.W. Schulz <gwschulz30 at gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>>> "Most Mexican journalists and bloggers reporting on highly sensitive
> >>>>> topics (such as crime, corruption, violence and human rights issues)
> >>> do not
> >>>>> fully understand the risks and threats they face when they use
> digital
> >>> and
> >>>>> mobile technology, even though the topics they cover make them even
> >>> more
> >>>>> vulnerable, a new survey by Freedom House and the International
> Center
> >>> for
> >>>>> Journalists finds."
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> http://ijnet.org/stories/mexicos-most-vulnerable-reporters-lack-digital-security-skills
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Kyle Maxwell [krmaxwell at gmail.com]
> >>> http://www.xwell.org
> >>> Twitter: @kylemaxwell
> >>> --
> >>> Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password at:
> >>> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Brian Conley
> >>
> >> Director, Small World News
> >>
> >> http://smallworldnews.tv
> >>
> >> m: 646.285.2046
> >>
> >> Skype: brianjoelconley
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password at:
> >> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
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