Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Internet Privacy Funded by Spooks

Peter B. Collins Presents Investigative Journalist Yasha Levine

Despite smears and even a death threat, Yasha Levine continues to probe the origins and funding of Tor, Open Whisper Systems, CryptoCat and other internet privacy applications. He reviews the Cold War origins of the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG), the state department arm best known for Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. He reveals that BBG now feeds the Open Technology Fund(OTF), and OTF’s budget was tripled in 2014. In turn, OTF funded Tor in 2014 in excess of $1 million. The central question: can we trust encryption systems funded largely by America’s propaganda machinery?

*Yasha Levine is an investigative reporter for Pando, where this story is posted. He’s crowd funding the independent publication of a new book, Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Google-Military Complex.

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  1. robin unger says:

    great show. i will be ordering Yashas book.

    • Thanks Robin. We hope to see your name and comments regularly here @ BFP community forum.

    • Castillonis says:

      That was an excellent interview of Yasha, I will also support his kickstarter campaign. Though, I also need to send some support Peter’s way 🙂 Data mining and traffic analysis in support of government is big business in the Bay area. Lab41 is a newer project that works on open source graph software. Analyzing graphs of communication and social interaction.

  2. MoralOutrage1 says:

    Who are we to trust? Things feel totally out of our control……as if it is somehow too late 🙁

    • kariflack says:

      the good news is that these are well worn tricks they are using to try to trap people into accepting their status quo by way of counterculture — that’s the gist i am getting from his examples and just looking back on the hippie movement etc. bad news is the surveillance as it has always been…i think it is a matter of looking for the patterns, realizing how many ways they have to sell us propaganda (in league with alllll the big capitalist firms) and pushing this behemoth of a security state over.


  4. kariflack says:

    actually looking forward to the book if not for using it to expose more manufacturing of “counterculture” etc that has been the norm alone. i’ll send something his way on the kickstarter.

  5. Thankfully there are many tools developed by open source programmers which are not any of these protections.
    Downside is that you have to be REALLY geeky to know them all. I’m not naîve enough to know everything is collected, but all they see is encrypted (and not tor encryption) session to my isp and they can’t see other protected actions behind that. Unless they decide to try and crack it, to their disappointment. I do it out of principle. Also, having your torrenting done at a remote server and bring back things through sFTP while already being connected to openvpn is as safe as it can be.

    Now I understand though why HTTPS Everywhere is not in the Firefox bank of add-ons, you gotta get it through EFF’s site…

    • What i can recommend, notice how newfangles these things are (other than tor).

      Good old encrypted end to end chat on Pidgin with whoever isn’t too lazy to learn how it works. It’s exactly like MSN used to be, but works great, and you can have Off The Record chats, and you can have it work for ALL IM chat networks, even facebook (XMPP). An encrypted chat using the pidgin-otr plugin which both interlocutors have to establish for it to work will leave “encrypted” in the official facebook site for those who still use facebook other than to chat with all your friends who left from other IM platforms to FB, now since a while you can talk to them, and safely (read how Off The Record works). Only way to break the safety is use mics and cameras so yeah, its basic, but the more basic the safer normally.

      The multiple addons that help you not get any (lol I remember that particular podcast where Peter B was saying the CIA and the State Dept has jobs for him) ads, tracking (Disconnect + Ghostery), + Better Privacy (remove those pesky supposedly unremovable cookies when shutting down Firefox, NoScript, this one’s a bit difficult but it’s worth learning, you control the sites you visit, not the 5 other sites that connect to you, sometimes it will break sites and then you gotta play cat and mouse games by disabling/enabling some hidden site connection to make the site work. I always turn it back off once I’m done using it. So to Google, I really am not a cash cow, more like the user of a free service, when I use google’s stuff.

      For search engines, use Startpage, it will filter out the google tracking and ads and give you google results. is the sister site of startpage, and it gives out results that google doesn’t have in it’s result cache, pretty impressive. Same with,slightly better than ixquick because it has been around longer, no tracking, no ads, nada.

      And third I suggest installing Peerblock inWindows (maybe Mac, I dunno, been using Linux for too long). And IPBlock in Linux, which are essentially firewalls that works with bad “peers” lists, you can ban entire countries’ IP ranges, which is VERY useful, but there is also a secret, that used to be free, until the owners got in a quandry, anyway, it’s around 25 euro a year, and that list for th ese programs will be accessible to one for a year, and updates are common, at least 2 a month. I don’t know who the guys make it are, but they are around since the year 2000, on site nexus23 (bad english website, they are germans and dutch) but if you doubt the quality of the list, even if the file is a .dat file you can open it in notepad and it shows you the name of the things blocked by the IP ranges they block. So with about 30 countries geoblocked from even having the ability to connect to me (its unfortunate I can’t do it for the US, would break the web way too much) + that list of 500 000+ dangerous IP’s.

      Do not use the free lists for those programs, they are terrible, other than the country lists.

      None of that stuff is financed by brother so you can breathe. Last thing I suggest is renting a VPS with a prepaid credit card and a fake name and proxy through it, torrent through it, bring back stuff home using sFTP, while being connected tothat VPS through openvpn or socks5/http proxy your choice and

      • none of these technologies are funded by shady foundations, I promise (you can look it up). The only semi-shady Firefox add-on I use is HTTPS Everywhere which forces HTTPS on everysite capable of…it shouldn’tbe an issue, EFF I find fights for our right, but after hearing Yasha’s last interview I am a bit disenchanted.

  6. I shouldn’t have told only Peter through email, but I gave him a list of my security measures.

    None of which are made by the US goverrnment, it’s possible to remain secure, just diificult and probably need to have been been born a millenial (i was 18 in 2000), back then what the media was telling us was how scary the internet was and not EVER DIVULGE personal info, how quick that turned around 2006 with myspace and shitbook etc. Which somehow their appearances coincided with a lot of DDOS attacks on IRC servers, there used to be 100 000 + people on IRC, a place where you can hide yourself easily, or not if you choose to, several of the large IRC networks (undernet, efnet,dalnet) were attacked massively (rendered impossible to use for more than 7 months) while MySpace appeared and many of the old school websites(most survived but had to turn into that web 2.0 thing where just sending someone an IM or an email wasn’t enough, there’s millions of those facebook, tumblr, stumbleupon etc buttons on websites (if you don’t filter em out).

    No need for tor, I recommend renting your own distant secure (on unix) server, where all your torrenting is done and say browsing with DIsconnect and Ghostery installed (it will break some sites, but it’s easy to learn what to turn on and off from the maelstrom of unrelated websites trying to connect to you when you visit one. Even here on Ghostery blocks 4 elements and Disconnect 18, but at least none of them are advertising sibel (no google AdSense here, I listened to an old podcast of a boiling frogs show with you, peter and pepe and he was saying how the state dept and the NSA wanted him for a job lol, that’s caused by google adsense.

    It’s really easy to protect yourself from corporation spying, countries, a little more difficult, but it depends, with a proactive Peerblock(windows) or IPBlocker (linux) and the correct lists….there is a list somewhere that’s compiled by “the evil dark internet people” that’s sold for 25 euro a year, those guys are pros, doing it since 1998, compiling bad IP blocks and even naming them in the file you need to use,and its updated every 2 weeks, of well, i’ll let you check what they block, Their list + lists of about 30 countries (yeah, it literally blocks 30 or so countries from connecting to my home network, too bad I can’t block the US though…), the country lists are for free at or com i forget, I only go there once a year they update their lists once a year. If you’re able to make attempts at connecting to you disappear in a black hole, it’s the best you can do. Connecting to an additional insecure server like tor is only good if you want drugs and even then, theres tons of legal drugs out there with zero difference to the illegal stuff on the clearnet, just hard to find. The only thing my isp sees is that out of 4 machines at home one is constantly connected to a vpn to my personal vps that i rent to my torrenting for me (and get awesome ratios along the way since its not done from home). And I bring stuff home using sFTP. if i want it home anyway.

    These newfangled applications, especially for phones is why I stay away from smartphones and got my bunch of regular ones that I activate at will. I never liked tiny plastic screens, my parents wasted 300 dollars on a GameBoy on me when I was a kid….didn’t like it, too small, prefered the Genesis and Nintendo and at least then there wasn’t 13 year old boys telling you to kill yourself when you beat them at NHL 2013 like on ps3, thats why i removed the whole mic thing, never used it much on PC’s anyway, why would I on a console?

    Rant provided by fatigue and some Diazepam.

  7. Silly me, I had posted already what I thought, whoever can delete the last post, go ahead, I offer nothing new in there.

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