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Security and privacy information and advice at home and abroad.

Archive for August 2011

Pakistan Banning Encryption?

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Interesting story from Naked Security about Pakistan considering forcing its Internet Service Providers to restrict use of encryption technology.  The clear subtext is, “…without giving the government access to the keys.”  The article ends in a pitch for Sophos’ encryption software, but there is a semi-interesting discussion about the merits and demerits of an encryption ban.

What’s really interesting about this, from a State Department perspective, is how the ban would affect Pakistan’s diplomatic stance with regard to the war against Al Qaeda.  It seems to my uneducated eye that the dilemma could be significant; restricting the use of technology that arguably enables free speech and anonymity online vs. an advantage in the war on terror.  I also wonder how it would directly affect US Diplomatic facilities in Pakistan, as internal traffic is all encrypted and VPN’d through the internet, access which is provided by the local ISPs.

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Written by OSB

29/08/2011 at 12:30

Posted in Security

Travel Warning: Libya

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Libya yesterday.  It reads as follows:

Libya

August 23, 2011

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Libya, and recommends that U.S. citizens in Libya depart immediately due to the ongoing fighting between opposition and government forces throughout Libya. Currently, there is a risk of attacks against hotels and other public buildings in Benghazi and other opposition-held areas in Libya. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated February 25, 2011.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli suspended operations on February 25, 2011. The Hungarian government, acting through its Embassy in Tripoli, serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Libya. Services available to U.S. citizens in Libya are limited. U.S. citizens in need of assistance should first contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 1-877-407-4747 (if within the United States or Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (if outside the United States or Canada), or send an email to LibyaEmergencyUSC@state.gov. For emergencies, U.S. citizens in Libya may contact the Hungarian Embassy in Tripoli directly. The Hungarian Embassy is located on Talha Ben Abdallah Street in the Ben Ashur region of Tripoli. The telephone number is 218 21 361-82-18, or 361-82-19. The fax number is 218 21 361-82-20 or 361-37-95. Email contact is available at mission.tpi@mfa.gov.hu, or LGalli@mfa.gov.hu. Visas and travel documents to the U.S. are not issued at the Hungarian Embassy in Tripoli; individuals interested in visas should apply at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

24/08/2011 at 21:21

Travel Warning: Bahamas

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for The Bahamas yesterday. It reads as follows:

Bahamas, The

August 23, 2011

This Travel Warning is being issued to urge U.S. citizens to carefully consider the potential risk of travel to The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands at this time due to the threat posed by Hurricane Irene. The Department of State has authorized the departure, on a voluntary basis, of family members of U.S. Embassy personnel.

U.S. citizens in areas likely to be impacted by Hurricane Irene who do not have access to adequate and safe shelter should consider departing until the storm has passed while commercial transportation is available and ports are open. U.S. citizens staying in The Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos despite this Travel Warning should locate shelter, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions. Visitors to The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos should be familiar with their hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans, policies, or procedures. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Somalia

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Somalia yesterday. It reads as follows:

Somalia

August 19, 2011

The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Somalia and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all travel to Somalia. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 27, 2010, to update information on security concerns.

Assassinations, suicide bombings, and indiscriminate armed attacks in civilian populated areas are frequent in Somalia. In August and September 2010, terrorists launched an offensive against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces involving multiple attacks against local and international targets. On February 21, terrorists exploded a suicide truck bomb at the gate of Sarangi police camp in Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab district, killing 17 people and wounding more than 40 others. On May 30, AU peacekeepers engaged in a shootout with al-Shabaab insurgents just outside of the AMISOM base in Mogadishu, thwarting an attempted suicide bombing. On June 10, a suicide bomber killed the TFG’s Minister of Interior at his residence.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

20/08/2011 at 11:46

Travel Warning: Chad

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Chad yesterday.  It reads as follows:

Chad

August 16, 2011

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Chad and recommends that you avoid all travel to eastern Chad and all border regions. This Travel Warning is due to the insecurity caused by high levels of violent crime, the continuing risk of clashes between Chadian government and armed opposition forces, and the risk of sudden outbreak of conflict among the populations living in these areas. In particular, the risks of carjacking and kidnapping for ransom increase as part of factional conflict. The U.S. Embassy in Chad has prohibited official government travel to all areas outside of N’Djamena without express authorization. U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts should review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime. If you are residing in Chad, you should exercise caution throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning for Chad dated December 8, 2010 to remind U.S. citizens of continuing security concerns in Chad. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

17/08/2011 at 10:41

Travel Warning: Pakistan

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Pakistan yesterday. It reads as follows:

Pakistan

August 08, 2011

The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Pakistan dated February 2, 2011, to update information on security incidents and remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.

The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Terrorists and their sympathizers regularly attack civilian, government, and foreign targets, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. The Government of Pakistan has heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events. Terrorists have disguised themselves as Pakistani security personnel to gain access to targeted areas. Some media reports have recently falsely identified U.S. diplomats – and to a lesser extent U.S. and other Western journalists and workers for non-governmental organizations (NGOs)– as being intelligence operatives or private security personnel. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

09/08/2011 at 09:09

Travel Warning: Haiti

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Haiti yesterday. It reads as follows:

Haiti

August 08, 2011

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Haiti about the security situation in Haiti. This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 20, 2011 to consolidate and update information regarding the critical crime level, renewed cholera outbreak, lack of adequate infrastructure – particularly in medical facilities, seasonal severe inclement weather, and limited police protection. Read the rest of this entry »