More good stuff on surveillance – 9-17-13

The steady drip-drip-drip of daily news shows there is more bad news yet to be revealed. Several times a week the boundary of the surveillance scandal grows. This mess will get worse before all the news is out.

Here is my fourth list of good stuff that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a quick comment.

Start with something a bit lighter. Be forewarned the author sometimes uses naughty words…ah, make that normally uses naughty words:

Junior Deputy Accountant – The Social Network to Beat All Social Networks: PRSM!

Are you sick of having to cross-post your location, dinner, cats and other private information across multiple social networks?

In fact, you don’t even need to sign up for this super-duper social network. Everything you created while online has already been entered into the network. At least that is the advertising for PRSM, the newest, most far-reaching social network ever.

Back to something deadly serious.

Bruce Schneier has access to many of the reports Mr. Snowden gave the Guardian. His expertise on IT security issues provides credibility for the following articles.

Schneier on Security – The NSA is Breaking Most Encryption on the Internet – Mr. Schneier comments on reports of the day that the NSA is able to break most encryption programs.

New York Times – N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption – That includes banking transactions and medical records.  HIPPA concerns anyone?  This is article mentioned in previous link.

Guardian – The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back. – Mr. Schneier says:

By subverting the internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. 

He says the companies that built the internet and provide most of the services we use can not longer be trusted. They have betrayed us.

Schneier on Security, also published at The AtlanticConspiracy Theories and the NSA – Having a relatively high level of trust is critical to the operation of modern society.

When the people don’t trust their government, lots of things fall apart. You get black markets, tax evasion as a national pastime, and regulatory compliance only when you get caught. The NSA spying fiasco is burning up our trust level so fast that Mr. Schneier categorizes it as a breach of the social contract. That is a very dangerous place to be.

Mr. Schneier says a special prosecutor is needed to investigate all that the NSA, and presumably other agencies, have done. Said prosecutor should have the knowledge, clearance, and staff to investigate, subpoena, and prosecute those who have broken the law.

He goes so far as to suggest a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for government and corporate employees to fess up to what they’ve been doing.

Wired – NSA Illegally Gorged on U.S. Phone Records for Three Years and Bloomberg – NSA Phone-Records Spying Said to Violate Rules for Years – For three years the NSA accessed metadata for about 16,000 phones numbers in knowing violation of the then applicable law and lied to the secret court about what they were doing. And that acknowledgement is from the Director of the NSA. 

Wired – 6 Whopping Government Misstatements About NSA Spying – I think there are actually far more than 6, but this is a good best-of list.

The spying is broader than we knew:

See these articles:

New York Daily News – California school district begins monitoring all students’ social media activity – One specific district in So.Cal., Glendale Unified, will start monitoring all comments on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media for middle and high school students starting this fall.

New York Times – Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s– Times says AT&T has database of every phone call passing through the AT&T switches stretching back a few decades that they make available to the DEA through embedded AT&T employees working in the DEA offices. The concept is having access to every phone call in the country counters druggies frequently dumping their ‘burn phones.’

Previous good stuff on surveillance lists here, here, and here.

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