Here is my sixth list of good stuff on our surveillance society that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a quick comment.
We are not the customer; we are the product. Remember that when you are using services of any large internet company that offers “free” services:
Schneier on Security – Surveillance as a Business Model – Mr. Schneier wants us to remember that the foundational business model of Google, Facebook, and others is to surveille us and sell information gained about us to others. He points out the NSA didn’t invent all the tools they are using to spy on everyone. Much or most of the tools they use were developed by private companies to gather sellable info.
Schneier on Security – A Fraying of the Public/Private Surveillance Partnership – Large companies who previously were handing over all their customer data to the NSA with a smile are facing backlash from customers who didn’t know their vendor’s service included compromising all their data for no extra charge. Mr. Schneier lists several companies who decided in the face of losing sales they need to resist, just a bit. Why the change? Their customers found out. Sunlight is a great disinfectant.
He also suggests the techniques, traps, broken crypto, and backdoors used by the NSA could be used by other national level agencies and eventually the cybercrooks.
To prove his point, check out the next article:
Bloomberg – Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding– Now that most tech companies have either voluntarily handed over tons of customer data, been ordered to do so, or been hacked through some means, they are going to pretend to be the tough guys and fight back. Except when they are told to hand over data.
Google, Facebook, and Yahoo are going to start using 2,048 bit encryption. Sometime later, likely in a few months.
Google will also start encrypting data between data centers. To my simple, non-techie brain, seems like those ideas might have been a good plan a long time ago.
Tone of the article is to pretend all the tech companies are tough guys and they are finally going to stand up to those government meanies who habitually compromise all their customer data.
Except when they get paid to do so:
New York Times – C.I.A. is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data – In a voluntary contract, not forced, but voluntary, the CIA is reportedly paying $10M a year for giving overseas phone numbers to AT&T for research. AT&T then looks up all call info they can find on the number and gives it to the CIA.
And the slow drip of new info continues:
Wall Street Journal – CIA’s Financial Spying Bags Data on Americans – The agency is gathering all the international wire transfer info it can grab. That obviously will involve money sent by or to U.S. citizens.