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18 September 2014

Giganews Critique


2014-1310.htm  Giganews Is an FBI Operation  September 17, 2014
2014-1306.htm Giganews Denial Campaign September 16, 2014

From: <>
Subject: cryptome giganews story
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2014 03:50:12 +0200 (CEST)

In which Giganews claims to be all about Internet freedom:

We can observe:

1. Giganews repeatedly holds up its partnership with "Golden Frog" as an indicator of its dedication to Internet freedom. Giganews bundles two Golden Frog services with its own services: file storage and VPN. These services set up Giganews as a perfect honeypot, because (a) the Giganews user base is heavily weighted towards people involved in piracy and pornography, (b) user of the Giganews usenet service regularly produces evidence of illegal piracy and pornography, andc(b) the services greatly increase users' technical vulnerability to Giganews and Golden Frog.

i. The Golden Frog "Dump Truck" file storage service proclaims privacy as a value. However it provides no client-side cryptography. This is surprising, as everyone seriously involved in Internet freedom is implementing and promoting client-side or end-to-end cryptography. "Dump Truck" provides Giganews, Golden Frog, and its masters with access to read and modify all data stored on the service.

ii. The Golden Frog "ViprVPN" service proclaims privacy as a value. However as with any VPN, its function is to funnel users' Internet traffic through its own servers. This places Giganews and its masters in the technical position needed to perform network surveillance and exploitation of users' computers. The exploitation angle is especially important here. Users of "ViprVPN" become vulnerable to exploitation by Giganews through their web browser, without being required to e.g. open a phishing email or join a malicious wireless network.

2. Giganews laments being placed in the position by 'trolls' of having to prove a negative with regard to involvements with law enforcement. However the situation described in (1) above is a monstrosity of their own conception. Combined with the US legal environment (National Security Letters, etc.) the architecture and bundling of Giganews' service offerings makes the company a perfect partner to law enforcement, whether willing or not. Giganews places itself intentionally in a position that no Internet freedom lover would ever want.

3. Giganews apparently understands nothing about Cryptome, except that it's a "well-known" site. This despite Cryptome being absolutely seminal to the topic of Internet freedom. Giganews attacks Cryptome for publishing without fact-checking, and it claims that Cryptome has damaged its own credibility. Anybody deeply involved with Internet freedom knows that Cryptome is a library which (a) proclaims explicitly not to be a fact-checker, and (b) stands explicitly against notions of credibility.

As to the apparent whistleblower Mr. Nick Caputo, I find little sympathy with him. He knowingly compromised what he knew to be an ongoing investigation, with no clear higher purpose in mind. Giganews' claim to moral high ground in the landscape of Internet freedom is reprehensible, but any reader of Cryptome should expect exactly that.