Is the White House already tracking comments made on Twitter?

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Glen Reynolds had a short post that the White House is looking to harvest personal data from Social Networking Websites like Twitter and Facebook. He doesn’t think that’s as scary as it sounds.

I do.

In fact, I wonder if someone at the White House has already been fiddling around with trying to insert SSL Certificates on unsuspecting users’ computers.

Last week, I made a somewhat disparaging remark about the Obama White House (not at all an unusual thing for me to do). I shut down Twitter, then about an hour later, reopened it and saw this warning:

tweetdeck.jpg

(Click on image to enlarge it)

I decided I did want to see the certificate, so I selected “View Certificate”, and this is what I got:

whcert.jpg

I found this to be rather disconcerting, to say the least. So I closed Tweetdeck and tried to log in to Twitter on Google Chrome - same certificate wanted to install:

wh2.jpg

Now, if this or any other SSL Certificate pops up when you are trying to access Twitter or Facebook, DO NOT install it!. I was able to resolve the issue by running Spybot.

SSL Certificates are serious. If this was truly coming from the White House, I am really pissed, scared and annoyed. If this was a prank from a Leftist Joker trying to dissuade me from my free speech rights, I am simply pissed and annoyed.

I would love to know if anyone else has experienced this. Also, who do I notify? The Freaking Government? I don’t think so! Maybe the ACLU?

UPDATE: More information on this nefarious, yes, nefarious plan the White House goons have cooked up here at Doug Ross @ Journal

UPDATE the 2nd: Thank you, Atlas Shrugged, for linking to me.

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Beth has a disturbing experience. The blog princess knows next to nothing about SSL. And she does not Tweet, nor does she harbor a heretofore unexpressed desire to Tweet. All the same, Beth's experience is interesting in light of the... Read More

24 Comments

That is really scary Beth.

I am not so much scared, as torqued-off.

On Sept 12th, I Boq will be in evidence, down at The Mall.

wow.... just... WOW

If this is true (why is the date from 12/22/08 and not 08/xx/09?), it's pretty scary. On the other hand, it's totally legal. Remember the PATRIOT Act?

Hi, Alison - the beginning dates on SSL Certificates are not the same as the date they would be installed. You can see for yourself by looking at the certificates on your own computer. If you like, I can send you instructions on how to do that.

I could be wrong, but I believe the Patriot Act had to do with foreign phone calls to and from Americans, I do not believe trying to install an SSL certificate onto any American's computer for tracking purposes - are you suggesting that Obama's refusing to get rid of it, as he promised, means you now approve of it? I'm pretty sure that is not what you think.

If you are suggesting I faked this, well, I'm a small farmer, I've been spending a lot of time spinning wool and mohair into yarn, not spinning yarns for my blog.

this sounds like nonsense. upload a video showing these steps. anyone can use photoshop.

Beth, I truly do believe you. You have no reason to lie. I clicked on this from the donovan. What can I do to help? I don't have a lot of tech savvy, but this angers me in a place that I don't get to often. Free speech regardless of the media...our Founders were wise.

Beth,

Contact the Issuer (Akamai Subordinate CA 3) and find out who the SSL Cert is actually issued to. I may be mis-remembering how SSL Certs are issued, but I believe you can select any "name" you want, so long as that one isn't already used. I would think that any reputible SSL house would not let obvious ones like that get picked up by "just anyone," but you never know...

And, for legal support, if you believe it's a free speech issue, contact FIRE, for others, you might ask Landmark Legal for help/direction/referral.

I just pulled this Certificate in my Cert. File on Firefox; it is issued by GTE CyberTrust Solutions, Inc. to Akamai Technologies, Inc. valid 5/11/2006-15:32GMT and expiring 5/11/2013-23:59GMT (the Local Time indicates it was issued in the US Eastern Time Zone). It is listed as a Critical certificate.

I have no idea what it all means, but the certificate is real.

Addendum -- Or maybe the Time indicates that I am in the EDT!

THIS HAPPENED TO ME. EXACTLY. I just shut down twitter for personal reasons, but, last week I had multiple tabs open (twitter, tumblr, hotair) and this same thing happened at both HotAir and Twitter. I emailed Ed/Michelle/Allah about it but didn't know if it were isolated or what. I didn't research it or look to see where it was issued. I just shut it all down.

Now, I'm freaked.

Here's the page on GTE CyberTrust Solutions, Inc. from wpi.edu -- go read the whole thing.

CyberTrust Solutions is a three-year-old commercial initiative for GTE, a telecommunications company known worldwide for developing government and defense communications systems and equipment. Its customers include the National Security Agency. CyberTrust evolved from work that GTE Government Systems was doing in high-security cryptography-specifically, developing key management systems for governments. The parent company quickly recognized that its electronic security products had wide-ranging commercial applications that could be tailored to business customers' specific security needs. "Bankers, retailers, credit card companies and other business clients seek the confidence, protection and privacy of traditional, face-to-face transactions as they conduct business by highly impersonal electronic means," Vignaly says.

brooks, if that's what you're worried about anyone can alter video too.

So if you believe Beth is an untrustworthy source, then posting video won't change your mind.

Diane - I gotta tell you that I am really relieved that this has happened to someone other than me! It's enough to make ya downright paranoid!

I have no reason to make this stuff up. I'm not a blog traffic whore - I don't even track the number of visitors I get, and I obviously don't post very often - just when I'm really pissed off, mostly.

SSL certificates are your way of guaranteeing you're talking to the right server. So all it means is that whitehouse.gov had a problem with their certificate.

I don't see how you get a whitehouse.gov certificate from tweetdeck, and I don't see how a problem with whitehouse.gov certificates would cause a problem with twitter.

I also don't see how (much less why) they would target an individual in this fashion. It would be much less effort, and require no security, to simply capture the public stream and filter out the targets of interest. You'd never be aware they were watching you, any more than you could spot a person in a crowd at a baseball game if you were the pitcher.

I think some coincidences may have created an alarming--but misleading--impression.

Thank you for your comments, Blake.

Can you please help me figure out WHY a whitehouse.gov certificate was trying to install on my pc, now?

I have not visited the whitehouse.gov website. And, as you can see from my last graphic - it was when I was going to http://www.twitter.com when I got the warning that the certificate did not match the URL.

I could get to any other url without that warning. But not twitter and not tweetdeck.

I don't know how it happened or who could have made it happen, but certainly, with the bullshit coming out of the White House Cybernuts these days, you can see why I am more than a little freaked out over this.

Normally a site certificate is issued to a website address to allow encrypted communications under the URL syntax of HTTPS://www.xxxx.com. If there is an address mismatch or other problem with the certificate it triggers a browser warning. Usually it is a simple coding error on the site or the cert has expired. All it means to me is that the traffic may not be encrypted.

Googled this up an it appears to be a type mismatch on their end.

ND: Beth, I got a a security warning when I tried to get into my Hotmail, about a week and a half ago. I got around it, and was freaked out about it for awhile. I eventually chalked it up to some kind of little irregularity. But like you, I can't help but be a little paranoid about this administration.

"this sounds like nonsense. upload a video showing these steps. anyone can use photoshop."

You are calling _who_ out as using photoshop? I don't think so...(expletive deleted)...mea culpas if I'm wrong.

I did not use photoshop. I made screen shots by pressing on Shift and PRT SC, then I used CNTRL V to paste the screen shots into Paint and saved them as jpgs.

I did crop the screenshot of the certificate using Picasso 3 because it was the only way I could get it away from the background of the entire screenshot. If it makes a difference to whomever doubts the veracity of my story, I can upload the entire screenshot that has the certificate on it before I cropped it out.

I can understand that an SSL Cert has a problem - my problem is twofold - #1 -why on earth is there a whitehouse.gov certificate associated with ANYTHING on my PC
#2 why was I unable to log into Twitter or get Tweetdeck to function unless I installed the whitehouse.gov certificate?

Now, I do have my pc set up to warn me if there is a certificate that does not match. Most people don't bother.

I wonder how many people can find that certificate on their PCs if they looked?

Beth, I'm sneaking over from the Castle. Certificates mean somebody, you or somebody else used your machine and went to the White House Website, *First*. This certificate is a receipt of that visit and lasts for about a year. If you're angry with Obama, then you should be equally angry with the Bush/Cheney Administrations, they were doing the very same things. Beth, at least with your Twitter account, you had the transparency to know of the existence of the certificate. You do realize, most people are totally clueless on this subject. There are some things, this is one of them, the more you know, the angrier you'll become. Now you know why I'm so dang *Grumpy*.

I am a web master for a pretty large company. And that is not how HTTP, the protocol, that you are talking about works. I think somebody is pulling your leg. Check your "hosts" file under "c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\" to make sure somebody didn't point "www.twitter.com" to "www.whitehouse.com". Or your DNS has been posinened by one of the many viruses going around.

This can't work, because SSL certificates are locked to a domain, as you saw with this thing. It throws up a ton of errors when they don't match. You don't need to install them to get them to work either, as long as the root certificate is present on your computer. Which it is for Akamai, which is a large content distribution network used by many large companies to make downloading content faster from where ever you are in the world.

THE ONLY HOPE FOR OUR GLORIOUS NATION IS A GREAT AWAKENING FROM ALMIGHTY GOD. ENOUGH ALREADY. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO CRY OUT... LORD PLEASE IN JESUS NAME SEND US A GREAT AWAKENING. WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF DIVINE INTERVENTION.

GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN FAITHFUL AND HE IS SEEKING THOSE WHO STILL BELIEVE HE IS ABLE. TIME TO GET YOUR FAMILIES TOGETHER AND CRY ALOUD FOR AMERICA. FAST AND PRAY AS A FAMILY. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO DO THE SAME. WE NEED GOD IN AMERICA AGAIN!

HE MOVED FOR OUR FOREFATHERS, I KNOW HE WILL COME IF WE WILL ACKNOWLEDGE HIM IN OUR NATION AGAIN. LONG LIVE FREEDOM!

Blessings,
Chap. D

Beth, it's been a couple of days since my comment. No, I don't think you made this up; I realize you have a farm to run! I just didn't get why the SSL certificate would have a different date and thought it might be an old screen cap.

I looked up the PATRIOT Act and found this: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:HR03162:@@@L&summ2=m&

It is a far-reaching piece of legislation which involves much more than phone calls to foreign countries, and I still oppose it. As far as I know Obama never promised to dismantle it. I'd be surprised if he did.

In any case, others here have given you possible reasons for what happened. I don't have any answers, but I hope you get some peace of mind.

After 9/11, Bush made two statements: "Terrorists hate America because America is a land of freedom and opportunity." and "We intend to attack the root causes of terrorism." ..Sounds like everything is going according to plan.

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This page contains a single entry by Beth published on September 2, 2009 7:22 AM.

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