WS>>Microsoft, cDc and FBI Cut a Deal:

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Tue Dec 18 15:09:47 MST 2001

      FBI Surveillance Software to be Part of Windows XP Updates
                          By John Robbington

          The  controversy, rumours and  speculation  surrounding
     the FBI's Magic Lantern tool has attracted ridicule from the
     internet underground.

          Not  so any more.  Now both the infamous  hacker  group
     the Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) and Microsoft have offered  a
     helping  hand to the Feds and are preparing to  include  the
     surveillance software in all future editions and updates  of
     the new Microsoft Windows XP operating system.

          "This  Magic  Langern  could easily become  a  part  of
     Windows  XP Dynamic Updates, or even become a standard  part
     of  the operating system." Microsoft spokesperson  Bob  Null
     said.  "We are really looking forward to experimenting  this
     on  a  large  scale.  Our direct  Marketing  department  was
     jumping out of their pants when they heard we would be doing
     this."  As  well they should.  - The dream  of  both  direct
     marketers and FBI coming both true at the same time.

          Also to be included in the future Microsoft Windows  XP
     (R)  are Microsoft's trademark profiling software meant  for
     tracking individual users:

          See: Microsoft licenses profiling software for  digital
     TV      []

          Microsoft's  New Technology enables the FBI to  profile
     individuals through their viewing habits and so provide  FBI
     with useful information about potential terrorists and other

          Both  Microsoft and FBI point out that individual  pro-
     files  are  not  given a name and that  the  information  is
     stored  on  the  FBI government computers only  and  not  on
     public  computers.  But this holds little sway with  privacy

          Predictive,  a Microsoft partner in this  venture,  has
     also filed a patent for a biometric system which  identifies
     different individuals within the same household.

          The  system  works on recognising  people's  keystroke,
     mouse  or  remote-control usage patterns.  It says  that  it
     generates  random,  perfect IDs each time,  which  have  the
     effect of identifying all the household's PC users, even  if
     they didn't write anything that would otherwise indicate  to
     FBI and Microsoft who is using the computer.

          Andy  Beers, senior product manager for Microsoft  said
     of the deal:

          "Predictive   Networks'  solutions  will   provide
          customers   of  Microsoft  with   state-of-the-art
          software   to  understand  suspected   terrorists'
          characteristics and interests.  The result will be
          the  technology  and  expertise  needed  to   make
          thought  police operation a seamless  reality  for
          the consumer, while enabling incrementally  crimi-
          nalizing various aspects of file swapping  terror-
          ist hunts within the United States and abroad."

          [ meaning more targetted marketing and spam - rf]

          Evidently  still  grizzled about the  fact  that  their
     security is too bad to afford any real protection, Microsoft
     has  withheld the publishing of a notorious  security  track
     record, that of Microsoft being the most often penetrated OS
     of the Millennium.

          Reid  Fleming, a cDc member and now a secret  Microsoft
     employee, said:

          "Never before has the US faced a more  troublesome
          enemy.   To meet this growing challenge,  the  FBI
          has  announced  an ongoing effort  to  create  and
          deploy   best-of-breed   electronic   surveillance

          "While  we  applaud  the innovation and  drive  of  the
     federal  law  enforcement  agency, those of us  who  are  US
     citizens  would be remiss if we did not offer our  expertise
     in this area."

          A  tongue in cheek announcement from the  group  claims
     that  cDc "has more targeted experience than anyone else  in
     this field".

          And  they're  right.  Their Back Orifice would  do  the
     Magic  Lantern  job beautifully.  Although the  hackers  are
     quite  confident  that the Microsoft and  FBI's  Engineering
     Research  Facility is more than capable, cDc intends to  re-
     architect Back Orifice from the ground up.

          "There  will be absolutely no shared code  between  the
     two  projects,  in order to skirt  detection  by  commercial
     antivirus  packages.  The code will remain  totally  secret.
     The  software will never surface publicly.  And it  will  be
     far  more  stealthy  than anything we  have  ever  released,
     demonstrated or publicly discussed," the group said.

          Indeed,  the central design principle of Magic  Lantern
     and  this new breed of Back Orifice could easily  be  inter-
     preted as "an artificial witness which is capable of  inter-
     cepting any and all relevant activity during, after and even
     leading up to the commission of a computer crime", it added.

          The  cDc concluded that the project would deliver  "the
     ultimate intelligence gathering tool to the govenrment.  And
     we  intend to construct it, at no cost, exclusively for  the
     use of Microsoft and the federal government," said Fleming.

          "We  are  confident that Microsoft and  the  government
     will limit the use of this technology only to targets relev-
     ant to legitimate investigations," he added, further  under-
     scoring the cult's faith in federal law enforcement  organi-
          "The  FBI has a long history of following Title  18  to
     the letter."

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