More good stuff on surveillance – 8-29-13
Here is my third list of good stuff that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a quick comment.
Washington Post – Here’s how phone metadata can reveal your affairs, abortions, and other secrets – the phone number you called, time of day, and duration can give away information you may not want to give away.
There are lots of phone numbers that are dedicated to a specific purpose, such as suicide hotlines, various crisis centers, and organizations that help people fighting substance abuse. You may not want your calls to those numbers to be part of a searchable government data base. The author quotes a researcher who says:
If a government employee suddenly begins contacting phone numbers associated with a number of news organizations and then the ACLU and then, perhaps, a criminal defense lawyer, that person’s identity as a prospective whistleblower could be surmised.
Wall Street Journal – New Details Show Broader NSA Surveillance Reach– aggregate of multiple systems have the capability to graph around 75% of U.S. traffic. The breadth of their reach was not previously known.
New Scientist – Drones tag and track quarry using nanoparticle spray – from the intro:
The US Air Force is funding work to let drones tag suspects or cars with a spray that gives them a distinct spectral signature, making them easy to track
A small hand-launched drone flies over a target, releases a spray with nanotech particles, and target will reflect infrared from a drone up to 2 kilometers away.
Thus the target can be tracked later, surveilled later, and attacked later.
What could go wrong? Oh, let’s say the particles drift on to bystanders because of a gust of wind the hand-held drone could not sense and thus did not properly adjust the release point. Or the recon drone picks up a target that was painted days or weeks earlier and no longer of interest. Or the marked jackets were borrowed or are later given to someone else.
New to Seattle – Is Seattle really all that much against government snooping? – William Barrett ponders the irony that very progressive Seattle has forced their local government to back off on some surveillance projects but is the home of Microsoft which has either voluntary or under duress given the NSA the car keys to all Microsoft products. Also, the irony of little fuss that the large number of Amazon staff in Seattle are presumably working on the Amazon bid to get a huge contract to manage a huge CIA database.