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Kim Dotcom Apparently Spied On For Longer Than Admitted 107

Posted by timothy
from the you-gotta-start-someplace dept.
another random user writes "Kim Dotcom's internet connection was being diverted inside New Zealand weeks before the Government Communications Security Bureau says it started spying on him. The New Zealand Herald has obtained details showing Telecom engineers and staff at its technology services company Gen-I were investigating irregularities with his internet connection in November. The revelation has raised suspicion that Mr Dotcom was victim to earlier spying than the GCSB has admitted. It has brought fresh calls for an inquiry amid claims of the spy agency's role in the international 'Five Eyes' Echelon Network."
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Kim Dotcom Apparently Spied On For Longer Than Admitted

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  • Very Poor Spookery (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently they can't manage to splice in an optical device that would be impossible to detect, except maybe for introducing a 3 microsecond additional delay.

    Probably all the proper engineers have been borged by the Banksters. Only the Reject Still Working For Government. Reason to cheer or to be sad ?

  • by DeadBeef (15) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:20PM (#41570501) Homepage
    If the latency figures in the article are accurate then the traffic wasn't staying in the country at all. You can get from one end of the country to the other in 35ms round trip, so even the original 30ms seems rubbish unless the circuit was DSL. The way they were making out it was a high end connection that doesn't seem likely. 180ms will easily get you too Australia and all going well will get you to San Jose from New Zealand.
    • by sjames (1099)

      If the spies were incompetent enough to have any of their hardware actually show up in a traceroute, they likely had a very poorly configured router somewhere in the loop as well.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, well, these guys seem to be using turn key solutions - black boxes that sit on the line and say user X did this that and the other, with the end users traffic being redirected using BGP. Even if you shunt the stuff through a non-ip network the additional latency will show up. If they were smart they'd just mirror the port, but I guess this is easier said than done on equipment dealing with millions of people sitting on the access network.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:36PM (#41571051)

      If the latency figures in the article are accurate then the traffic wasn't staying in the country at all. You can get from one end of the country to the other in 35ms round trip, so even the original 30ms seems rubbish unless the circuit was DSL. The way they were making out it was a high end connection that doesn't seem likely. 180ms will easily get you too Australia and all going well will get you to San Jose from New Zealand.

      Geographical separation only has a loose relation to wire length. You say 180ms will get from San Jose to New Zealand, but in the evenings, my cablemodem regularly hits 300ms times just to reach google. Oversubscription and massive buffering on a shared line are to blame; Not geographical or line distance.

      We need to know more about the lines before we can say what the latency values mean, if they mean anything at all. I'm also not at all convinced that a wiretap would result in any latency: Hanging a packet sniffer off of a switch doesn't make the switch run slower in almost any scenario I can think of. Wiretapping is supposed to be something that doesn't broadcast to the target "Smile, you're on hidden camera!" If an elementary network tool can reveal a wiretap, somebody's doing something wrong. Very wrong.

      • by DeadBeef (15) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:54PM (#41571157) Homepage
        If I recall correctly ( cant remember where I read it ) Mr Dotcom had fibre from his place at Coatesville to sky tower. That is something in the order of 35km, which should be like 1 or 2ms. You would have to have a very home user grade circuit like cable or dsl to get exactly 30ms across Auckland.
        • by Kalriath (849904)

          If he's dealing with Telecom or Gen-i, it's more likely he's connected by fibre to the exchange at Mayoral Drive rather than Sky Tower. A couple of milliseconds does sound about right from the traffic speeds we get on the WAN at work. As soon as you hit the internet though, all bets are off.200ms to get to the other side of the city isn't as unlikely as you think.

          • by DeadBeef (15)

            At the place I work, I would accept as a fault any report from a customer of latency of 200ms to anywhere physically in New Zealand ( aside from end customer tail latency ). Most ISP's in New Zealand peer at either WIX or APE or both and we pay extortionate rates for paid peering with Telecom and TelstraClear to handle the two exceptions to that rule.

            The worst case for us is that we have an end customer in Christchurch that is talking to an end customer in Christchurch of an ISP that only peers with us in A

    • 200~300ms ping across the Pacific is typical for a clean home PC in Melbourne (it's been in that range on most days for at least the last decade), you have to be very lucky to get below 200, above 350 is unplayable and occurs way too often for my liking. ;)
      • by DeadBeef (15)

        I get 24ms between a host in our network physically in Skytower in Auckland and a host in a Vocus datacenter in Sydney.

        [ ~ ]$ ping ns03.vocus.net.au
        PING ns03.vocus.net.au (203.92.28.98) 56(84) bytes of data.
        64 bytes from isv02.syd01.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (203.92.28.98): icmp_seq=1 ttl=55 time=24.8 ms
        64 bytes from isv02.syd01.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (203.92.28.98): icmp_seq=2 ttl=55 time=24.6 ms
        64 bytes from isv02.syd01.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (203.92.28.98): icmp_seq=3 ttl=55 time=24.7 ms
        ^C
        --- ns03.vocus.net.au ping statistic

        • by nzac (1822298)

          You do realize the skytower is a major data center with a massive cable.
          I would think you would be pretty close to testing the undersea cable latency between those two points.

          • by DeadBeef (15)

            I've got my own access card for Level 47 and 48 of Sky tower, I'm aware of exactly what it is and why we decided to buy co-location space up there.

            Our connection from skytower has to go a way across town before it hits the southern cross landing station, so the best case latency across southern cross is a bit lower again.

            My point earlier on was that you can get anywhere return trip in New Zealand on a fibre circuit in under 35ms. Add the 24ms to get across to Australia or the 120ms to get to San Jose and yo

            • by nzac (1822298)

              Sorry did not see you wrote the GP to the post as well. That gives it some context. You are right, my home connection (in NZ) only adds 20ms to Sydney.

              Still does not mean that going across Australia does not increase latency. Try pinging Perth.

              Still don't think you do something that noticeable using NZ ips to bounce the connection to the US and back. It could just be shitty equipment (with ssl processing delay) and 2 to 3 hops off the main fiber.

              • by DeadBeef (15)

                To address the issue in the article, I expect that if Chorus / Telecom received a request to tap your connection you will never know that they have tapped it. The dark fibre circuits we have through them are provisioned on day one with an optical tap that is configured to direct a small percentage of the light to any gear that they might one day connect to it. The latency would be completely unaffected.

                What makes more sense given the story is that Dotcom was on a fast fibre tail using a service that was act

                • by nzac (1822298)

                  What makes more sense given the story is that Dotcom was on a fast fibre tail using a service that was actually in Sydney somewhere ( ~30ms away ) and for whatever reason this service switched to a node in the middle of the USA which could be 180ms away.

                  Where are you getting your info from? I realize the article is terrible but it clear the lag is from routing though NZ IPs, where are you getting Sydney from?
                  I assume he is tracerouting to the xbox servers, they are in Sydney?

                  Supposedly he has some technicians out to look at it? I guess it could be general incompetence from his provider.

                  • by DeadBeef (15)

                    I get Sydney because that is one of the only places that is approximately 30ms away. The details on what the traceroute's actually had in them are fuzzed away by the reporter, so you can't rely on them to say anything in particular.

                    Anycast nodes switching about could look a whole lot like the latency just going up to the uninitiated. Most internet providers don't actually have a huge say in which anycast node for a service gets chosen by their network unless they actually have a local node in their own netw

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Prime Minister John Key is schmoozing with studio bosses, hoping they'll keep the promises they made to him in this NZ election year.

    And yet already they're letting him down, eve after he agreed to use the NZ GCSB and police against Dotcom on their behalf.

    Those US studio bosses promised big rewards to John Key and "for New Zealand" in return, such as movie and TV production deals.

    Only, once Dotcom was nuked, and everyone started glowing in the dark from the fallout, the studios then told the PM that they wa

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      Could the delay in production be related to an impossible filming schedule on a film that has not even been written yet?
      Could the request to raise the subsidy be in response to Australia's [ausfilm.com.au] increase in their subsidies?
      Excellent FUD and conspiracy theories? When one hears hoof beats think horses not zebras. There is usuall a much simpler explanation to things that do not incluse conspiracies.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        1. PM facing a tough reelection

        2. Rich US corporate interests promising enticements if the PM does them a favour

        3. PM does them the favour, but US corporate interests now want more in return, knowing PM has little choice but to comply.

        4. Profit!!!!

        They know they own the guy now. Just in case he thinks of trying to renege on them, the studios threaten to delay or deny the enticements (BIG budget movie or movies) and also demand that the NZ Prime minister cravenly gift them bigger tax breaks and subsidies the

  • Given what I have seen of law enforcement and how they think about civil rights, they may have been preparing an investigation and thus installed some equipment without activating it. You know, the standard CALEA excuse: we are not spying on you, we have not hit the "start spying" button to actually collect information; those wiretapping machines are just so that we do not have to move our equipment there later!
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:02PM (#41570789)
    Hey, the New Zealand intelligence infrastructure takes cheating at Modern Warfare 3 very seriously! (see Kim's wikipedia page)
  • The Groaci are involved? We know who to call for that...

  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:04PM (#41571213)

    The NZ Prime Minister John Key is *so* in-bed with the US movie industry that it is not funny.

    Right now, he's in the USA schmoozing with the members of the MPAA and offering them hundreds of millions of (taxpayer) dollars in inducements to come film their products here.

    Meanwhile... the same government ignores pleas from the science and technology sectors here to give them even a small break with respect to their R&D activities. Even when they do have a brain-fart and decide to invest taxpayers' money in some research or development activity they totally screw up and blow almost $1m on a stupid pie-in-the-sky delusion like the Martin Jetpack.

    No, it seems that the government is more interested in selling-out (at all levels) to the USA than in helping to actually create some really valuable intellectual property that would be *owned* by NZers.

    Kim Dotcom can't win -- because he's fighting the people who make (and break with impunity) the rules.

    How long before the citizens of the world wake up to the way in which their governments are colluding with certain big business interests to disadvantage the majority of people?

    Surely, in this age of technology, we can do more than simply voice our disgust on forums like this?

    What is the next step?

    • How long before the citizens of the world wake up to the way in which their governments are colluding with certain big business interests to disadvantage the majority of people?

      As I see it, the problem is that the overwhelming majority of people are as selfish and inclined to abuse power as those who currently have power. They can't successfully resist the abuse because they're quick to sell each other out and grab rewards for themselves as soon as they get enough power to do anything. Or they just don't bother to follow through, because they're not actually willing to risk their own position and advantage in order to do anything, notwithstanding their talk and posturing.

      Surely, in this age of technology, we can do more than simply voice our disgust on forums like this?

      I don't

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Same thing happened to a friend of mine upon submission of a SF-86 for a a 3 letter organization, full poly the works. 2 years of the same ping to our favorite server only 20 miles from his/my house(Reston, VA), both of us on the same service (fios), 2 blocks away, his ping took a 35ms jump(5-8 to 40-43). Hated it for the entire BI process, and it lasted for 3 months after passing. Also was interesting was the hop count and how that got manipulated.....

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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