European Union And OS level Backdoors

I read in another forum a post about the European Union wanting to backdoor e2ee conversations.They claim it is only to prevent the distribution of child abuse materials but there is of course no way to know that and we have to simply take their word for it. Besides, the ‘think of the children’ argument is often used when governments are about to invade our privacy in a massive way.I seriously doubt this will only be used to tackle the problem of child exploitation, it seems likely to me that this will be used politically and it certainly has the potential to do so. As to how this is related to Qubes, 2/3 of the top proposals seemed to focus on OS level backdoors, so I became concerned and thought about how the Qubes project would act if such legislation were to pass. Would it comply and implement the backdoor? Qubes is, as far as I know, based in Poland( or at least most devs are polish) so I think this is very relevant. If the backdoor was to be implemented, would it be for every single qubes user or would there be a non backdoored version for people outside of Europe? I realize these are difficult questions and nothing is set in stone at the moment but I would appreciate at least some clarity. Thanks for your time.

https://www.politico.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SKM_C45820090717470-1_new.pdf Here is the link.

Just leaving this here… Just replace the USA flag with an EU one and it’s pretty much the same.

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I hope that the warrant canary should help here… although I have no idea what I should do in this case. See also:

By the way, consider donating to EDRi if you want to fight against the dystopia:

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I would hope that this is what the Qubes Canaries are for.

Relocated from Poland to Germany years ago. (I don’t know whether this makes a difference to your point, though, as Germany is still in the EU.)

I think what he/she wanted to know (I do at leat) is if you would implement the backdoor at all or if you would refuse and perhaps relocate somewhere outside the EU. Not reposting the canaries kind of assumes you would comply though. I hope I am misinterpreting your words.

I’ll see if I can get an answer to this question for you.

No, I definitely did not mean to imply that at all. If you read the canary, it says, among other things:
No warrants have ever been served to us with regard to the Qubes OS Project (e.g. to hand out the private signing keys or to introduce backdoors)." (emphasis mine)

This means that the canary is supposed to “die” if such a warrant is served, regardless of how the project responds. In other words, even if the project refuses to comply, it will still have been served, triggering this condition in the canary.

In practice, this could look many different ways. For example, if the wording were to change from “No warrants have ever been served to us…” to “We have never complied with any warrants…” then this could mean that such a warrant was served but not complied with. This is just a theoretical example based on my understanding of how canaries are supposed to work.

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Hey,

do you have any more informations about this ?

So from what i did understand it is about implementing a hash calculator into programs that are used for communication. e.g. Threema, signal, Whatsapp etc. they also mentioned open source software. So i guess for me that’s ok if it is open source and only sends a hash to a database. Also i think it is not a really good idea if you have heard about the birthday problem (hash collision). Not to mention the machine learning things which would definitly be an privacy issue. e.g. false positives.

But where did you read about an OS level backdoor ?

Qubes OS could move to Switzerland or Norway maybe?

Also a version for outside the eu is a nice idea. But i guess there is no way to stop the people inside the eu from downloading the “non” eu qubes os version via tor ^^

In germany we have some NGOs like digitalcourage and netzpolitik.org or the CCC and i haven’t found anything about this whitepaper in there news and it is about one month old so… maybe it is only an idea? As far as i know the EU, it will take a few years and countrys like Germany and Netherlands are pretty serious about privacy.

I hope my english wasn’t that bad ^^ only thing i wanted to say is. There are a lot of barriers to get over (political parties from different countrys) and NGO’s. It looks like a whitepaper only and not like an ready to go law.

Hey,

do you have any more informations about this ?

So from what i did understand it is about implementing a hash
calculator into programs that are used for communication. e.g.
Threema, signal, Whatsapp etc. they also mentioned open source
software. So i guess for me that’s ok if it is open source and only
sends a hash to a database. Also i think it is not a really good idea
if you have heard about the birthday problem (hash collision). Not to
mention the machine learning things which would definitly be an
privacy issue. e.g. false positives.

But where did you read about an OS level backdoor ?

The leaked PDF is gone by now. EDRi made a mistake or they had to take
it down. I asked them…I haven’t got an answer yet.

But basically they propose (as before) to monitor the communication at
the source. Meaning on your device. If they get that through then the
five eyes will be definetely behind it.

Technically there would have to force manufactures to implement a piece
of software which intercepts any message a user wants to send. Before
the message gets send to recepient it gets send to a server and/or
agent from the authority for evaluation. If that is deemed as okay then
and only then the message gets send to the recepient. They were nice
graphics in the document.

Basically that would mean that OSes like Linux would be outlawed or
they have to be updated so that they work on top of OSes like the ones
we have on smartphones, where there is a protected layer where the user
has no access to.

This is also a good example for downloading all articles. This one I
did not…there you have it…now it’s gone…

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Hey,

do you have any more informations about this ?

So from what i did understand it is about implementing a hash
calculator into programs that are used for communication. e.g.
Threema, signal, Whatsapp etc. they also mentioned open source
software. So i guess for me that’s ok if it is open source and only
sends a hash to a database. Also i think it is not a really good
idea
if you have heard about the birthday problem (hash collision). Not
to
mention the machine learning things which would definitly be an
privacy issue. e.g. false positives.

But where did you read about an OS level backdoor ?

https://edri.org/our-work/is-surveilling-children-really-protecting-them-our-concerns-on-the-interim-csam-regulation/

The leaked PDF is gone by now. EDRi made a mistake or they had to
take
it down. I asked them…I haven’t got an answer yet.

But basically they propose (as before) to monitor the communication
at
the source. Meaning on your device. If they get that through then the
five eyes will be definetely behind it.

Technically there would have to force manufactures to implement a
piece
of software which intercepts any message a user wants to send. Before
the message gets send to recepient it gets send to a server and/or
agent from the authority for evaluation. If that is deemed as okay
then
and only then the message gets send to the recepient. They were nice
graphics in the document.

Basically that would mean that OSes like Linux would be outlawed or
they have to be updated so that they work on top of OSes like the
ones
we have on smartphones, where there is a protected layer where the
user
has no access to.

This is also a good example for downloading all articles. This one I
did not…there you have it…now it’s gone…

The link is there at the bottom of the article. I just got the response
from EDRi. Here the link:

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I have bad news for you: GNU/Linux OSes (and all other OSes, too) have been running on top of a protected layer where the user has no access to, since 2008. It’s caled Intel ME:

The relatively good news is that one can at least partially remove and neutralize Intel ME:

Some laptops are sold with neutralized Intel ME, for example the one certified for Qubes OS:

I have bad news for you: GNU/Linux OSes (and all other OSes, too)
have been running on top of a protected layer where the user has no
access to, since 2008. It’s caled Intel ME:

https://libreboot.org/faq.html#intel

The relatively good news is that one can at least partially remove
and neutralize Intel ME:

https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner

Some laptops are sold with neutralized Intel ME, for example the one
certified for Qubes OS:

https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2019/07/18/insurgo-privacybeast-qubes-certification/

Intel’s ME shit…can be neutralized as you said, or simply don’t use
Intel, but can you neutralize iOS’ protected layer or Google’s? Can
you?

Check out the link I provide, and do a bit research in regard to
backdoors or monitoring at the source. This isn’t new. The US
inteligence community is trying to push that for years.

EFF’s Deeplink:

is quiet informative. It should be clear that we (citizen) are
confronted with a global attack on privacy…but hey…that’s all
conspiracy theory…fear mongering…

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Uhh nice.

I have 4 librebooted devices :slight_smile:

sadly qubes os wont work on libreboot. But no backdoor?

I don’t know the last libreboot images i know where from 2016 which is a little bit old isn’t it?

No, if you read further in my link, you will see that AMD has the same problem called AMD Platform Security Processor (PSP) since 2013.

https://libreboot.org/faq.html#amd

Concerning the problem of backdoors pushed by the US intelligence, yes, I know about it. AFAIK, all we can do is to spread information and donate to EDRi and EFF…

no one said it is a conspiracy theory. i just wondered why there should be a backdoor in the device itself its simpler to have a (law forced) backdoor in programs.

anyway thanks for the information and as fsflover said, Amd, Intel,Arm all of them have backdoors.

Ah and yes maybe you should search for Replicant OS. For neutralized protect google layer ?!?

:slight_smile:

Thanks for the informations :slight_smile:

This is correct. However, Qubes OS will work on Coreboot. I am writing it from my Librem 15 with neutralized Intel ME and with Coreboot. Not perfect, but “reasonably secure” as they say :slight_smile:

I don’t think so. What do you expect them to update? The latest CPUs cannot be supported, so there is nothing to update except maybe some bugs.

Although Replicant is libre software, there is no hardware on which it works welll (e.g. you won’t have Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.). I prefer Librem 5 phone, which has a goal to get certified by the Respects Your Freedom certifiation program of the FSF and is already tentatively recommended by them:

Nice. The new System 76 Oryx Pro also comes with coreboot.

hm. ok ^^

I used a samsung galaxy s2 with Replicant os and yes usability is something else.

But we should stop here as it has nothing to do with the topic :slight_smile:

Sorry, as far as I know libreboot does not update microcode and therefore there is no protection against Spectre, Meltdown and the likes. (I forgot the details already)
I really wouldn’t know where to rank a librebooted laptop when compared to one of the latest models AMD has to offer. I just want to point out that owning an old librebooted laptop can maybe create a false sense of security.

I did use a librebooted laptop myself years ago but moved on to coreboot when this project practically had been abandoned.

I never liked the cult around certain people but I do like certain projects and the community very much.

No one mentioned this nice project so far:


This laptop is working very well with Qubes 4.0 & 4.1 and can sometimes be found at a bargain price.

no one said it is a conspiracy theory. i just wondered why there
should be a backdoor in the device itself its simpler to have a (law
forced) backdoor in programs.

anyway thanks for the information and as fsflover said, Amd,
Intel,Arm all of them have backdoors.

So to my knowledge only Intel’s ME has a remote management feature.
AMD’s PSP can be manipulated and exploited through arbitrary code, but
not remotely; only if the attacker got you to load malicious code or
has physical access to your laptop/computer. If you have other
information please share it.

36C3 - Uncover, Understand, Own - Regaining Control Over Your AMD CPU:

CCC’s collection of AMD processor analyses presentations:

So, yes I feal a better while using AMD processors.

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