More good stuff on surveillance – 3-28-14

Here is my eleventh list of good stuff on our surveillance society that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a paragraph. One new perspective is maybe we should fully embrace the surveillance society and push the boundaries out further. Hmm.

2/25 – Schneier on Security – Breaking Up the NSAMr. Schneier outlines three parts of the NSA’s mission that should be split out. First, ‘targeted surveillance’, or breaking into systems of people who wish us harm. Second, ‘bulk surveillance’, or gathering every piece of information they can find about everyone that is alive and storing it for a long time. Third, breaking security, so they can do some of the preceding.

2/27 – The Guardian – Optic Nerve: million of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ – The British counterpart to NSA gathered images from all the Yahoo conversations it could during about 2008 through 2010. Article says 1.8 million user accounts from around the world were tapped. To avoid overloading the servers, they only grabbed one image every five minutes. A surprisingly large number of, um, sexually explicit views were gathered. Yahoo claims to know nothing of the massive surveillance tap.

3/11 – Wired – Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It – Way over my head, but two interesting points to share. Massive, intrusive, omnipresent surveillance is going to happen. We can disagree, dislike, and fuss as much as we want, yet that is where technology is going. If we can adapt, we could move to coveillance. That’s where the cops record everyone and everyone records the cops. Here’s a picture from my grasp of the article. Make much of the surveillance public. Someone claims they got hassled by the cops? They could directly access loads of video taken in the area to get video to support their claim. Access the full expense detail of the state or federal agency you want to research.

Today I can access all the filings in civil and criminal cases in my county and access all the filings in any federal court case (civil or criminal) unless it has specifically been put under seal. Here’s an idea: extend that to all filings and all testimony in all cases in all jurisdictions and make it free of charge.

Hmmm. How ‘bout putting every vote by every politician from every office every held in a massive, searchable database, with multiple tags on every vote identifying the issue and what their vote means (sometimes a vote means the opposite of what you would otherwise think it means).

Double hmmm. How about adding to that database the score given every year by every rating organization to every politician over the entire career of said politician. That’s some surveillance I could support.

3/15 – Economist – Di-spy – The committee that oversees the CIA accuses the agency of spying on it – This is the best explanation I’ve seen on the spat between the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Diane Feinstein, D-CA) and the CIA. Apparently, the CIA set up six million pages of documents in a secure location available to the committee’s staffers and was supposed to leave the network alone after setting it up. Some valuable key documents allegedly disappeared after the staffers read them. Major implication is the agency was watching what the staffers were reading. Upon the congressional staff reading specific sensitive documents, the documents allegedly disappeared. Article says the CIA first denied the documents were there, then denied the agency removed them, then said the White House told them to pull the documents (all that according to the article). When the Senate chair is upset her staff is being spied upon, it is possible the agency finally went too far.

3/24 – Schneier on Security – An Open Letter to IBM’s Open Letter – Parsing an IBM letter reveals it is a non-denial. One crystal clear example: IBM denies providing any information under the program called PRISM. Correct. There is not any information has been provided by any company anywhere at any time under the program called PRISM because that exact name wasn’t used when gigabytes or petabytes of information were provided. Likewise, all the other denials have a huge exception implied, as pointed out by Mr. Schneier, which makes the statements meaningless. Essentially, the letter is unbelievable in full. That it is necessary to parse a letter from IBM and from said parsing conclude there is severe lack of truth in said letter shows the extent of damage from the NSA spying fiasco.

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