Interview 1240 - Rick Falkvinge on Rule 41 and the New Online Order

01/03/201733 Comments

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the original pirate party and head of privacy at, joins us to discuss his recent article, "Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide." We dissect the new "Rule 41" that gives American law enforcement unprecedented leeway to break into any computer in the world, the implications this has for a world in which privacy is increasingly a thing of the past, and what people can do to protect themselves from the New Online Order of global FBI operations.

NOTE FROM RICK REGARDING INTERVIEW: "Our Russian servers were not encrypted as I said, but they contained no logs by design (none of our servers do, which is far better than encrypting), so the Russian authorities didn't get anything."

Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide

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  1. VoiceOfArabi says:

    I think Rick hit the nail on the head around minute 33 and something…

    let me explain..

    Blackmail works better than bullets….

    Rule 41 gives Government agencies around the world the ability to collect blackmail material on every person on the planet.

    We all have things to hide. We hide things from our children, we hide things from our partners, we hide things from our friends and parents, and we certainly hide things from the government. it might be as benign as “first love” or childhood embarrassing photos or as scary as some sort of fetish. those can be used to control us in a very effective way (enslave us with our acceptance)

    This is the next wave of slavery.. Blackmail to submission.

  2. Shubus says:

    There is one and only one answer: Disconnect and get tuned out. And it isn’t easy to cease being a slave to internet connectivity. The vast majority can’t and won’t. Only a few tech-savvy types are taking steps.

  3. m.clare says:

    Fear and shame have always been and continue to be the greatest motivators of human behavior:

    I watched some James Corbett. I snooped into 9/11. I researched the history of the Rockefeller family…. so what? My sexual appetite exceeds that of my significant other; therefore, I occasionally take matters into my own hands…. so what?

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    If online = public… So What?

    I have opinions of Climate Crisis, ISIS, Politics, Religion, sex… and I’m neither ashamed nor afraid to let anybody know what these opinions are…. nor should anyone be. Corbett certainly isn’t.

    If all of our thoughts and opinions were made public, perhaps we would discover how similar we are. Perhaps we would stop feeling shame once it became clear that our dirty secrets are secretly shared.

    20 years ago there WAS no Internet! So the Internet is here and what you do is public. So be it. You can still write a letter on paper, have a private conversation in person, and lock yourself behind closed doors to engage in whatever activity turns your crank…. just like you could 20 years ago.

    In those moments when you find yourself afraid and / or ashamed, the propaganda is working.

    • D. Rolling Kearney says:

      This is kind of scary logic, and I believe it works in the favor of TPTSB. One problem is that people are fluid. The other is that the government is unforgiving. By the first I mean that we may be curious about something one day and then change our minds or repent the next, but by the second I mean that if the government has a record of that thing you were into for a while they can bring it to light later by which you will be judged by the government (and the public) without regard to your current disposition. This is just human nature, and we are bombarded by propaganda constantly trying to manipulate us into doing things that we probably shouldn’t, so it is no surprise that we sometimes find ourselves persuaded, only to think better of our actions later on. In other words, you may feel proud of your actions today and flaunt them, but you may change your mind later and wish people would just forget. In this day and age it is becoming increasingly hard to leave your past behind you.

    • joseph.r says:

      So what … Right?

      Until they start telling lies about you, and spreading the misinformation and playing the same games they play with the politicians of our country.

      They either can find dirt on you, or make it up from bits and pieces. When they do the latter, you won’t be saying “So what!”

      These people are masters at creating narrative, it’s why quite a few thought MKUltra was just a “tin foil hat” conspiracy for the longest time.

      You are human, have human emotions and faults, and I assure you … “So what!” won’t work IF they decide to use your story against you. Mainly because it won’t be what you expect it to be (they will alter it to fit their need).

      That said…

      Unless you trigger their attention, its likely you’re mostly right. But I’ll keep my private stuff to myself (what’s left of it), thanks. I’m not comfortable with standing completely naked in a crowded room (metaphorically, for now).

  4. shopbruce says:

    Not many of your listeners/viewers are old enough to remember when there were no computers. But a lesson learned then is as important as it was then.

    I agree with all the comments above. One thing to add has nothing to do with criminal activities or shady deals because the real reason underlying the entire subject is the human weakness. If you have just a photo of the Pope picking his nose – although not a crime – he himself could be compromised by such a stupid thing. There are many more such instances used in the past, but they all rely on the believe we hold personally “that I do nothing wrong.” Can you see the ridiculousness of such a point of view? We all do or have done something we’d rather others don’t know! Find it, and you’ve compromised me. I have done not one criminal thing – but I’m compromised. Just wanted to add that to the mix. Great job. As always, thanks for sharing.

  5. bladtheimpailer says:

    Interesting topic. I automatically consider anything I do on line to be ultimately hackable and every click of a mouse or keyboard recordable. If I ever needed to pass information I did not want recorded by sound and or videography I guess the only solution would be a pencil and paper with the paper burnt afterwards and the ashes scattered. All the devises we surround ourselves with are on par or better than the ‘bugs’ that used to be planted by those wishing to spy. If tptsb and the public ever acquire the technology to read minds then I guess the whole gig of being human will be over in the very short run. That is providing tin foil hats don’t protect us from having our minds read.

    As for jurisdiction, how do we now that some interlocking secret series of laws and courts do not provide the jurisdiction wanted by the surveillance creepies? And as for government providing security both domestic and foreign I fear the government more than any criminal, while it is a point of law that the police are not mandated to, under any and all circumstances, provide anyone with protection at all. Would any government be so kind as to protect the population from itself under severe penalty of the law binding upon itself? We don’t even need to answer that question do we as all governments give themselves powers to commit all kinds of violence and crime that an individual is not allowed and in most circumstances would not use if they could. This speaks to the very nature of government n’est-ce pas.

  6. Octium says:

    When I hear people bleat “If you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide!” I show them a picture like the one below and ask them if they can identify from the picture what the people in it were doing wrong?

    • m.clare says:

      Have you shown your pictures to James Corbett, Richard Gage, Judith Curry, Sibel Edmonds, Niels Harrit, James Pilato or Elaine Dewar? Why are they not hiding?

      Could these people be playing the role of the Pied Piper; identifying the rodents and luring them out where they can be identified and properly dealt with? Are they on the payroll or are they merely useful idiots? If they are indeed enemies of TPTSB, could they be so naive as to not understand the implications of your pictures? Or… are they courageous role models?

      Yes, the holocaust. History repeats. You raise a valid point. What is the answer to your question… Who were those people and what … if anything…had they done wrong to justify their fate in the minds of the perpetrators?

      • D. Rolling Kearney says:

        “Who were those people and what … if anything…had they done wrong to justify their fate in the minds of the perpetrators?”

        Someone I wish everyone were familiar with was a teenager by the name of Helmuth Hübener. He and a few of his friends opposed the Nazis and risked their lives to post flyers trying to wake people up. In this instance he was doing nothing wrong, but if the government had had a way to track his every thought way back then, as they nearly do now, he would have been captured and executed much sooner than he was.

        There is an excellent documentary about this that sometimes shows on BYU TV: Truth & Conviction: The Helmuth Hübener Story (, and two of the boys wrote books about their experiences, listed in the External Links section of Helmuth’s Wikipedia page:

    • wall says:

      Please stop posting links without describing what is being linked to. I am not clicking on stuff from people I don’t know!!!

      • Octium says:

        Normally I give a description to everything I link to, however in this case I’d rather people see the image for what it is.

        Yes, It’s a photo from the Holocaust. But I’d rather people see it as a generic photo depicting what Government is most efficient at doing, and that is murdering innocent people.

        I could have used other photos but the Nazi’s were more efficient than most and no doubt IBM and their punch card system helped streamline the process.

    • mkey says:

      I don’t think you are conveying your argument correctly.

      Sharing images like that one and similar images typically lead to an emotional response from the viewer, while logical thought is required. I have seen so many completely misleading and doctored Holocaust images that every time someone introduces one, I’m quite skeptical.

      I’m not insinuating that this image is “fake” in any way, but jamming it in with capital h holocaust I find to a be quite misleading usage of it.

      For example, in this instance, my understanding is that you wanted to convey a general feeling of weariness due to dangers stemming from rise of a police state in US. Why use an image of mass graves belonging to another age and culture when you could have just as easily used something people will more easily relate to? Can’t you find any more recent and more localized examples of consequences of a rising police state? Like a bunch of armored and armed cops shooting unarmed people.

      • m.clare says:

        I think Octium raised an important point and did so rather succinctly. I congratulate him/her…himher/herhim/whatever the new lgb-R2D2 language allows… for playing the brave catalyst. I am very interested to hear, in consideration of the Octium image, speculations pertaining to the motivations and personal safety of the prophets who deliver the real news unto us.

  7. VoiceOfArabi says:

    I have a hunch that USA is following similar path as Germany of 1933. The YouTube below of Daniel Sheehan (attorney) recorded in april 2016 will confirm my hunch when it comes to laws.. Just listen to the video between minute 54 to 57 and you will understand my point.

    American people, wake up or you will be facing the SS sooner than you think….

    Daniel Sheehan – 4-26-2016 – Covert & Lesser Known Actions in and after WWII

  8. ksn1966 says:

    At 28:22 Rick Falkvinge says:

    “Another thing I find useful is to keep an open wireless network…for my neighbours, being good neighbours, sharing my bandwidth. Because what that means is that when somebody is using my net to do something, be it legal, illegal, I don’t care because the key being that I’m not responsible for what somebody else does with my network. I’m not responsible for what they do and that gives me plausible deniability for anything that happens coming out of my IP address.”

    While he states just following this quote that “Wrongdoing is entirely subjective”.

    I’m pretty sure “legal” or “illegal” is not subjective.

    Here in France, according to the French watchdog Hadopi ( who were given my download history by my service provider, this applies:

    (Translation) – “Internet access usage through the subscribers account is the personal responsibility of the registered subscriber. Any misuse is the responsibility of the account holder who is responsible under law.”

    I had an open network but, not now. I think it’s not good advice from Rick. It depends on the jurisdiction.

  9. tgmolitor says:

    Thanks James for introducing a very interesting person and his work to me.

  10. HomeRemedySupply says:

    Wonderful, enlightening conversation between Corbett and Rick.

    I see some analogies with the Church of Scientology, almost as if Scientology was running a test pilot of control.

    Some examples…

    – “Secrets & Extortion” – Scientology obtains confessionals of its member’s “sins” and “secrets” supposedly in order to provide relief to the parishioner. However, if the member chooses to leave the Church, then Scientology threatens to expose the confessional secrets to everyone…and will go even further to embellish or fabricate sins.

    – “Controlling Information & Media” – Scientology forbids its members to watch or read articles which have an Anti-Scientology slant. If a person does so (often found out about in confessionals), then the member becomes a pariah on a grueling work program in order to atone. At one point, the Church was even pressing its members to download software which would prevent their computer from going to certain websites (and probably also would monitor the member). In essence, members are restrained from finding out about the many deceptions of the Church.

    – Being excommunicated from Scientology for seeking true information would mean that the member would forsake any “chance of eternity” (i.e. the upper levels); the member would lose all friends, family members, and business associates affiliated with the Church; and also be legally and covertly harassed.

    – Through the decades Scientology has evolved its controlling mechanisms and tyrannical forms of intimidation.

    – Of course, now with the internet and open source reporting, the word “Scientology” is mud.
    I mention Scientology as an analogy, because at the end of the day it is my opinion that the MOST effective weapon we have against the Powers of the Elite is information…the sharing of important information through the alternative media.

    I gained a lot from this episode with Rick.
    Just by being aware of the situation and its liabilities we have a strong weapon against tyranny.
    Awareness is key.

    • D. Rolling Kearney says:

      I have watched and read a lot on the topic of Scientology and failed to make the connections you did when contemplating this topic, but I think these are valid points! Thanks for sharing!

  11. taxpayer says:

    I’ve been a customer of Private Internet Access for years. The service is inexpensive and easy to use, with helpful tech support when needed. It is not of course complete protection against intruders, but it helps, and I recommend it. Certain sites — Craigslist is one — sometimes don’t work with the VPN, but the workaround is pretty simple.

    • mkey says:

      Maybe you haven’t realize it, but with such services one needs a certain amount of trust or blind belief. Belief that such services operator won’t give up your information when someone rings the bell.

      • T.T. says:

        If they don’t log anything(granted, one needs a certain amount of trust), what information would that be?

        • mkey says:

          What information could they be logging? Your IP address and requests made.

          Basically, to get into “trouble” one needs to have the information about their requests accessed through their Internet provider by some governmental entity or maybe any other company bent on usurping people’s rights and freedom.
          When you connect to a VPN server, your ISP sees only those connections (assuming they aren’t snooping data and or all traffic is encrypted) while VPN server is probably logging requests made. Of course they can easily tie your requests to your personal information (bound to all of your payment details.) They probably have your address, phone number etc.

          One could maybe use a virtual credit card of some sort, but then again you’d need to believe that the company which provided you with the credit card isn’t going to give up your private information, because the virtual credit card will be bound to a real credit card.

          I guess another “solution” would be to use a stolen credit card. Or maybe find a VPN company which accepts cash payments through snail mail or directly through their representatives.

          As much as encryption neither VPN nor Onion links are a real solution to the issue of privacy and less than respected rights. This is their playing field and one has to play inside the confines of their regulation.

          • taxpayer says:

            No need for a virtual or stolen credit card. PIA accepts bitcoin and some other payment media I’ve never heard of. They used to accept gift cards — I could walk into a local store, give them cash for, say, a Wal Mart gift card, and use that to pay PIA fees. I don’t know if they still do that.

          • T.T. says:

            In this world you never know for sure ofcourse but i don’t think they’re logging. They left Russia because of logging. They could be playing ‘us’ users for a fool for other ‘interests’ but seeing that people like Rick work there helps fight my paranoia. Got to trust somebody…
            I wouldn’t use a creditcard, i would use Bitcoin and an anonymous email adres. Let them work for it.
            I agree it’s not a solution, if they want they can get any information and in the end they could just ban/block VPN but i see it as a statement. A kind of protesting, showing my disagreement.

            • mkey says:

              If there’s one thing we’re in dire need of, that would be protests. And possibly riots. You’re absolutely right, VPN *is* one more level of protection. The more servers government has to bust open to get to you, the better.

              Regarding bitcoin, one thought came to mind: is there any actual privacy when it comes to purchasing bitcoin for cash? I’d imagine majority of people get into bitcoin through purchases on some of the exchanges, which is basically a paper trail. Combine this with transparent nature of bitcoin transactions and it seems to me you get a privacy breach.

      • taxpayer says:

        Of course mkey is correct. I can verify to a limited extent that pia are doing what they claim, but they’re cleverer than I and ultimately I have to trust them. As Steve Gibson points out, the only way to be really secure is to get your own sand, forge your own chips, write your own microcode, etc etc. I will not live long enough to build a system that way.

        Even postal mail envelopes are nowadays scanned, and we know that sometimes tptsb intercept hardware shipments to insert their own chips. How can I be sure my carrier pigeon doesn’t have a chip implanted?

        The good news is that if they read my communications they will be very bored. And maybe it will divert them from reading yours.

        • mkey says:

          I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest one should manufacture chips to stay on the safe side. Even if one were inclined to do so, it wouldn’t make any difference in this scenario.

          All I wanted to convey to the readers here is that there are no “safe” one-size-fits-all solutions. VPN/Onion/whatever isn’t a real solution simply because it doesn’t tackle the root cause of the issue.

  12. T.T. says:

    Great interview! Seeing that people like Rick work at PIA tells me i chose the right VPN.

    Unsurprisingly i don’t think the FBI will be seen much as an adversary in the Netherlands.
    Here a law(hackvoorstel/wetsvoorstel computercriminaliteit III) just past wich lets police use(and keep!) known/unknown flaws in software to hack your device.
    Beeing the vassel state that we are i think the FBI doesn’t even need to hack anybody in the Netherlands. Our police/AIVD will probably do it for them and give/trade the information.

    I must say, it feels like the dystopia is creeping up fast. Now if i only could get my family and friends to see the urgency to fight this…

  13. okgardener says:


    A few months ago I wrote a (very) short story about this exact scenario and place it on Steemit. It’s called “Past Crimes In The Near Future” check it out.

  14. taxpayer says:

    Nice story, okgardner. But be advised that income from garage sales typically wouldn’t be federally taxable in the U S, because you are probably selling things for a lot less than you paid for them. Of course every state has its own rules….

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      Odd personal anecdote:
      Back in the early 90’s during Bush Senior as President, I worked part time as a bellman / driver for a Hotel in Dallas. George Bush lived down the road off the beaten trail next to Mary Kay’s house. His Secret Service guys stayed at the Hotel. Their gun bags were heavy, and they preferred to be the ones to carry them. I often would take the Secret Service agents to George’s house for their shift. Actually, a very friendly group of folks.

      I had a kickback covert-referral arrangement with a local high-end topless joint. They gave me supposed “Guest Entry Discount” cards which I put my name on. When the customer turned in the “Guest Entry Discount” card, the topless joint would cut me a check at $5 per head, payable monthly.
      So, I would recruit a bunch of Secret Service guys to go to the topless club, drive them over to the club giving them the “Guest” card and make money not only from their tips for the free Hotel drive but also from the kickback from the Club. I did this with lots of guests or groups of guests.
      Monthly, the club would mail me my kickback check.
      Since it was a papertrail, on my income tax form I filled in the “misc. income” blank labeling it “kickbacks”.

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