89 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. A speech-detecting accelerometer recognizes when you’re speaking and works with a pair of beamforming microphones to filter out external noise and focus on the sound of your voice.

      I'll translate this for you: "This enables Apple to constantly listen to you, record your behaviour, and sell your behaviour data."

    1. we don’t want to fund teachers and manageable class sizes, so we outsource the plagiarism problem to a for-profit company that has a side gig of promoting the importance of the problem it promises to solve.

      Yet another example of a misdirected "solution" to a manufactured problem that ends up being more costly - in terms of monetary expense AND student learning AND faculty engagement - than it would have been to invest in human interaction and learner-centered pedagogies.

  2. Feb 2019
    1. It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination. As one data scientist explained to me, “We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way… We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.”
    2. Larry Page grasped that human experience could be Google’s virgin wood, that it could be extracted at no extra cost online and at very low cost out in the real world. For today’s owners of surveillance capital the experiential realities of bodies, thoughts and feelings are as virgin and blameless as nature’s once-plentiful meadows, rivers, oceans and forests before they fell to the market dynamic. We have no formal control over these processes because we are not essential to the new market action. Instead we are exiles from our own behaviour, denied access to or control over knowledge derived from its dispossession by others for others. Knowledge, authority and power rest with surveillance capital, for which we are merely “human natural resources”. We are the native peoples now whose claims to self-determination have vanished from the maps of our own experience.
    3. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power.
    1. No one is forced on Twitter, naturally, but if you aren’t on Twitter, then your audience is (probably) smaller, while if you are on Twitter, they can steal your privacy, which I deeply resent. This is a big dilemma to me. Beyond that, I simply don’t think anybody should have as much power as the social media giants have over us today. I think it’s increasingly politically important to decentralize social media.

      This is an important point! And nothing puts a finer point on it than Shoshona Zuboff's recent book on surveillance capitalism.

  3. Jan 2019
    1. Turnitin’s practices have been ruled as fair use in federal court. But to Morris and Stommel, the ceding of control of students' work -- and their ownership over that work -- to a corporation is a moral issue, even if it's legally sound. Time spent on checking plagiarism reports is time that would be better spent teaching students how to become better writers in the first place, they argue. “This is ethical, activist work. While not exactly the Luddism of the 19th century, we must ask ourselves, when we’re choosing ed-tech tools, who profits and from what?” they wrote in the essay. “The gist: when you upload work to Turnitin, your property is, in no reasonable sense, your property. Every essay students submit -- representing hours, days or even years of work -- becomes part of the Turnitin database, which is then sold to universities.”

      This is key issue for me - and we talked about this last week in GEDI when someone brought up the case of wide-scale cheating on the quizz / test that students took online.

      I'd like teachers to focus on teaching and helping students learn. And I think the question about who profits and who benefits from ed-tech tools like TurnitIn need to be asked.

  4. Nov 2018
    1. The Chinese place a higher value on community good versus individual rights, so most feel that, if social credit will bring a safer, more secure, more stable society, then bring it on
  5. Oct 2018
    1. The idea that researchers can, and should, quantify something as slippery as “engagement” is a red flag for many of the experts I talked to. As Alper put it, “anyone who has spent time in any kind of classroom will know that attention isn’t something well-measured by the face. The body as a whole provides many more cues.”
    2. The NYCLU found nothing in the documents outlining policies for accessing data collected by the cameras, or what faces would be fed to the system in the first place. And based on emails acquired through the same FOIL request, the NYCLU noted, Lockport administrators appeared to have a poor grasp on how to manage access to internal servers, student files, and passwords for programs and email accounts. “The serious lack of familiarity with cybersecurity displayed in the email correspondence we received and complete absence of common sense redactions of sensitive private information speaks volumes about the district’s lack of preparation to safely store and collect biometric data on the students, parents and teachers who pass through its schools every day,” an editor’s note to the NYCLU’s statement on the Lockport documents reads.
    3. A school using the platform installs a set of high-quality cameras, good enough to detect individual student faces, before determining exactly which biometrics it thinks must set off the system. Crucially, it’s up to each school to input these facial types, which it might source from local police and mug-shot databases, or school images of former students it doesn’t want on its premises. With those faces loaded, the Aegis system goes to work, scanning each face it sees and comparing it with the school’s database. If no match is found, the system throws that face away. If one is, Aegis sends an alert to the control room.
    4. It might sound like dystopian science fiction, but this could be the not-too-distant future for schools across America and beyond. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, for instance, have already begun publishing models for how to use facial recognition and machine learning to predict student engagement. A Seattle company recently offered up an open-source facial recognition system for use in schools, while startups are already selling “engagement detectors” to online learning courses in France and China. Advocates for these systems believe the technology will make for smarter students, better teachers, and safer schools. But not everyone is convinced this kind of surveillance apparatus belongs in the classroom, that these applications even work, or that they won’t unfairly target minority faces.
    1. The end game of a surveillance society, from the perspective of those being watched, is to be subjected to whims of black-boxed code extended to the navigation of spaces, which are systematically stripped of important social and cultural clues. The personalized surveillance tech, meanwhile, will not make people less racist; it will make them more comfortable and protected in their racism.
    2. What would it look like to be constantly coded as different in a hyper-surveilled society — one where there was large-scale deployment of surveillant technologies with persistent “digital epidermalization” writing identity on to every body within the scope of its gaze?
  6. Aug 2018
    1. But the entire business model — what the philosopher and business theorist Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism” — rests on untrammeled access to your personal data.

      Is Shoshana Zuboff the originator of surveillance capitalism?

      According to Wikipedia--No: Surveillance capitalism is a term first introduced by John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney in Monthly Review in 2014 and later popularized by academic Shoshana Zuboff that denotes a new genus of capitalism that monetizes data acquired through surveillance.

    1. Since the data is already being collected on a regular basis by ubiquitous private firms, it is thought to contain information that will increase opportunities for intelligence gathering and thereby security. This marks a shift from surveillance to ‘dataveillance’ (van Dijck 2014), where the impetus for data processing is no longer motivated by specific purposes or suspicions, but opportunistic discovery of anomalies that can be investigated. For crisis management this could mean benefits such as richer situation awareness, increased capacity for risk assess-ment, anticipation and prediction, as well as more agile response

      Dataveillance definition.

      The supposed benefits for crisis management don't correspond to the earlier criticisms about data quality, loss of contextualization, and predictive analytics accuracy.

      The following paragraph clears up some of the overly optimistic promises. Perhaps this section is simply overstated for rhetorical purposes.

    2. lthough Snowden’s revelations shocked the world and prompted calls for a public debate on issues of privacy and transparency

      I understand the desire to use a topical hook to explain a complex topic but referring to the highly contentious Snowden scandal as a frame seems risky (alienating) and could potentially undermine an important argument about the surveillance state should new revelations be revealed about his motives/credibility.

    3. While seemingly avoiding the traps of exerting top- down power over people the state does not yet have formal control over, and simultaneously providing support for self- determination and choice to empower individuals for self- sufficiency rather than defining them as vulnerable and passive recipients of top- down protection (Meier 2013), tying individual aid to mobile tracking puts refugees in a situation where their security is dependent upon individual choice and the private sector. Apart from disrupting traditional dynamics of responsibility for aid and protection, public–private sharing of intel-ligence brings new forms of dataveillance

      If the goal is to improve rapid/efficient response to those in need, is it necessarily only a dichotomy of top-down institutional action vs private sector/market-driven reaction? Surely, we can do better than this.

      Data/predictive analytics abuses by the private sector are legion.

      How does social construction vs technological determinism fit here? In what ways are the real traumas suffered by crisis-affected people not being taken into account during the response/relief/resiliency phases?

    4. However, with these big data collections, the focus becomes not the individu-al’s behaviour but social and economic insecurities, vulnerabilities and resilience in relation to the movement of such people. The shift acknowledges that what is surveilled is more complex than an individual person’s movements, communica-tions and actions over time.

      The shift from INGO emergency response/logistics to state-sponsored, individualized resilience via the private sector seems profound here.

      There's also a subtle temporal element here of surveilling need and collecting data over time.

      Again, raises serious questions about the use of predictive analytics, data quality/classification, and PII ethics.

    5. Andrejevic and Gates (2014: 190) suggest that ‘the target becomes the hidden patterns in the data, rather than particular individuals or events’. National and local authorities are not seeking to monitor individuals and discipline their behaviour but to see how many people will reach the country and when, so that they can accommodate them, secure borders, and identify long- term social out-looks such as education, civil services, and impacts upon the host community (Pham et al. 2015).

      This seems like a terribly naive conclusion about mass data collection by the state.

      Also:

      "Yet even if capacities to analyse the haystack for needles more adequately were available, there would be questions about the quality of the haystack, and the meaning of analysis. For ‘Big Data is not self-explanatory’ (Bollier 2010: 13, in boyd and Crawford 2012). Neither is big data necessarily good data in terms of quality or relevance (Lesk 2013: 87) or complete data (boyd and Crawford 2012)."

    6. as boyd and Crawford argue, ‘without taking into account the sample of a data set, the size of the data set is meaningless’ (2012: 669). Furthermore, many tech-niques used by the state and corporations in big data analysis are based on probabilistic prediction which, some experts argue, is alien to, and even incom-prehensible for, human reasoning (Heaven 2013). As Mayer-Schönberger stresses, we should be ‘less worried about privacy and more worried about the abuse of probabilistic prediction’ as these processes confront us with ‘profound ethical dilemmas’ (in Heaven 2013: 35).

      Primary problems to resolve regarding the use of "big data" in humanitarian contexts: dataset size/sample, predictive analytics are contrary to human behavior, and ethical abuses of PII.

    7. Second, this tracking and tracing of refugees has become a deeply ambiguous process in a world riven by political conflict, where ‘migration’ increasingly comes to be discussed in co- location with terrorism.

      Data collection process for refugees is underscored as threat surveillance, whether it is intended or not.

    8. Surveillance studies have tracked a shift from discipline to control (Deleuze 1992; Haggerty and Ericson 2000; Lyon 2014) exemplified by the shift from monitoring confined populations (through technologies such as the panopticon) to using new technologies to keep track of mobile populations.

      Design implication for ICT4D and ICT for humanitarian response -- moving beyond controlled environment surveillance to ubiquitous and omnipresent.

  7. Jul 2018
    1. Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, two Brooklyn-based artists whose work explores the intersections of technology and society, have been hearing a lot of stories like mine. In June, they launched a website called New Organs, which collects first-hand accounts of these seemingly paranoiac moments. The website is comprised of a submission form that asks you to choose from a selection of experiences, like “my phone is eavesdropping on me” to “I see ads for things I dream about.” You’re then invited to write a few sentences outlining your experience and why you think it happened to you.
    1. This is one of the reasons why the masses might welcome surveillance. The fear of disease.

  8. Mar 2018
  9. Jan 2018
  10. virginia-eubanks.com virginia-eubanks.com
    1. On EBT cards at the dawn of the modern surveillance state.

      That's the moment when I realized that a lot of the most innovative, cutting-edge technologies in the United States are first tested on poor and working-class people.

      Virginia Eubanks, on PBS, discussing Automating Inequality

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avxm7JYjk8M&start=170&end=219

  11. Oct 2017
    1. The distinction between assessment and surveillance seems really blurry to me.

      on the fine line between assessment and surveillance

  12. Jul 2017
    1. For example, an observer or eavesdropper that conducts traffic analysis may be able to determine what type of traffic is present (real-time communications or bulk file transfers, for example) or which protocols are in use, even if the observed communications are encrypted or the communicants are unidentifiable. This kind of surveillance can adversely impact the individuals involved by causing them to become targets for further investigation or enforcement activities

      good example about surveillance

  13. Mar 2017
    1. You can delete the data. You can limit its collection. You can restrict who sees it. You can inform students. You can encourage students to resist. Students have always resisted school surveillance.

      The first three of these can be tough for the individual faculty member to accomplish, but informing students and raising awareness around these issues can be done and is essential.

  14. Dec 2016
    1. Selling user data should be illegal. And the customer data a company is allowed to collect and store should be very limited.

      Under the guidance of Jared Kushner, a senior campaign advisor and son-in-law of President-Elect Trump, Parscale quietly began building his own list of Trump supporters. Trump’s revolutionary database, named Project Alamo, contains the identities of 220 million people in the United States, and approximately 4,000 to 5,000 individual data points about the online and offline life of each person. Funded entirely by the Trump campaign, this database is owned by Trump and continues to exist.

      Trump’s Project Alamo database was also fed vast quantities of external data, including voter registration records, gun ownership records, credit card purchase histories, and internet account identities. The Trump campaign purchased this data from certified Facebook marketing partners Experian PLC, Datalogix, Epsilon, and Acxiom Corporation. (Read here for instructions on how to remove your information from the databases of these consumer data brokers.)

    2. Trump's campaign used carefully targeted negative ads to suppress voter turnout.

      With Project Alamo as ammunition, the Trump digital operations team covertly executed a massive digital last-stand strategy using targeted Facebook ads to ‘discourage’ Hillary Clinton supporters from voting. The Trump campaign poured money and resources into political advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, the Facebook Audience Network, and Facebook data-broker partners.

      “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” a senior Trump official explained to reporters from BusinessWeek. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.”

    1. You should assume that a printer (and probably cameras, or just about any product) includes unique identifying data. With printers, it's encoded as nearly invisible yellow dots.

    1. Former members of the Senate Church Committee write to President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting leniency for Edward Snowden.

      https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/news/Snowden_memo.pdf

  15. Nov 2016
    1. Mike Pompeo is Trump's pick for CIA director. In January 2016, Pompeo advocated "re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed" (At least they acknowledge that backdoors in US hardware and software would do little good.)

      Oh, cute. Pompeo made a name for himself during the Benghazi investigation.<br> http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/politics/donald-trump-mike-pompeo-cia.html

    1. EFF guide to attending protests, especially how to handle smartphones. (Part of the guide to surveillance self-defense.)

  16. Oct 2016
    1. Hemisphere isn’t a “partnership” but rather a product AT&T developed, marketed, and sold at a cost of millions of dollars per year to taxpayers. No warrant is required to make use of the company’s massive trove of data, according to AT&T documents, only a promise from law enforcement to not disclose Hemisphere if an investigation using it becomes public.

      ...

      Once AT&T provides a lead through Hemisphere, then investigators use routine police work, like getting a court order for a wiretap or following a suspect around, to provide the same evidence for the purpose of prosecution. This is known as “parallel construction.”

    1. If you’re white, you don’t usually need to worry about being monitored by the police.

      Interesting. That NYPD surveillance tower on Pitt Street. Will append sanitized photo at some point. Sad because so many children coming from the Masyrk and Brandeis communities cross Pitt on their way to school.

    1. Patrick G. Eddington of the Cato Institute says a report from the DoJ shows that Edward Snowden's actions were in the public interest, and President Obama should pardon him, or at least dismiss the charges.

  17. Sep 2016
    1. Proposed changes to "Rule 41" will make it too easy for government agents to get permission to hack remote computers. Petition Congress to prevent this.

    1. Even some of the world's largest companies live in constant "fear of Google"; sudden banishment from search results, YouTube, AdWords, Adsense, or a dozen other Alphabet-owned platforms can be devastating.
    1. In theory the editorial writers speak for the publisher. In practice the publisher does not routinely tell them what to say or even see their copy in advance. In this case I have on good authority that neither the publisher, Fred Ryan, nor the owner, Jeff Bezos, had any idea that this editorial was coming. I would be very surprised to learn that either of them agrees with the proposition that our principal stories on the NSA should not have been published. For sure I can tell you that this is not the position of the newsroom’s leadership or any reporter I know. Marty Baron, the executive editor, has said again and again how proud he is of the paper’s coverage of Ed Snowden and the NSA.

      -- Barton Gellman

  18. Jul 2016
    1. I could have easily chosen a different prepositional phrase. "Convivial Tools in an Age of Big Data.” Or “Convivial Tools in an Age of DRM.” Or “Convivial Tools in an Age of Venture-Funded Education Technology Startups.” Or “Convivial Tools in an Age of Doxxing and Trolls."

      The Others.

    2. demanded by education policies — for more data
    3. education technologies that are not build upon control and surveillance
  19. Jun 2016
  20. Feb 2016
    1. Patrick Ball—a data scientist and the director of research at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group—who has previously given expert testimony before war crimes tribunals, described the NSA's methods as "ridiculously optimistic" and "completely bullshit." A flaw in how the NSA trains SKYNET's machine learning algorithm to analyse cellular metadata, Ball told Ars, makes the results scientifically unsound.
    1. At some dark day in the future, when considered versus the Google Caliphate, the NSA may even come to be seen by some as the “public option.” “At least it is accountable in principle to some parliamentary limits,” they will say, “rather than merely stockholder avarice and flimsy user agreements.”

      In the last few years I've come to understand that my tolerance for most forms of surveillance should be considered in terms of my confidence in the judiciary.

  21. Jan 2016
    1. Vigilant Solutions, a surveillance technology company, is making shady deals with police departments in Texas. They lend the police equipment and database access. The police use it to spot people with outstanding warrants, whom they can stop and take payments from by credit card -- with a 25% processing fee tacked on for the tech company. The company also intends to keep all the license plate data collected by the police.

    1. “traffic analysis.” It’s basis lies in observing all message traffic traveling on a network and discerning who’s communicating with whom, how much, and when.

      The strategy seems to be archive everything in case traffic analysis finds something worth going back and reading.

      Defense against traffic analysis:

      Messages from users must be padded to be uniform in size and combined into relatively large “batches,” then shuffled by some trustworthy means, with the resulting items of the randomly ordered output batch then distributed to their respective destinations. (Technically, decryption needs to be included in the shuffling.) Mix network

      He then talks about limited anonymity and pairwise pseudonyms as ways of solving problems with complete anonymity versus public identification. There is an article in Wired about his proposed system.

    1. from Hawaii to Alabama to New Hampshire, a diverse, bipartisan coalition of state legislators will simultaneously announce state legislative proposals that, although varied, are all aimed at empowering their constituents to #TakeCTRL of their personal privacy. These bills would go far in ensuring students, employees, and everyone else has more of a say over who can know their whereabouts, track their activities online, and view information they share with friends.
  22. Dec 2015
    1. So you think mass surveillance isn't a problem, since you have nothing to hide? There are so many federal crimes that it is impossible to count them. If the government decides to focus on you, they can probably find a crime that fits your actions.

    1. Congress on Friday adopted a $1.15 trillion spending package that included a controversial cybersecurity measure that only passed because it was slipped into the US government's budget legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican of Wisconsin, inserted the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into the Omnibus Appropriations Bill—which includes some $620 billion in tax breaks for business and low-income wage earners. Ryan's move was a bid to prevent lawmakers from putting a procedural hold on the CISA bill and block it from a vote. Because CISA was tucked into the government's overall spending package on Wednesday, it had to pass or the government likely would have had to cease operating next week.

      House 316-113<br> Senate 65-33

      The Verge "This morning, Congress passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, attached as the 14th rider to an omnibus budget bill. The bill is expected to be signed into law by the president later today."

      Techdirt 15 Dec

      1. Allows data to be shared directly with the NSA and DOD, rather than first having to go through DHS.
      2. Removes restrictions on using the data for surveillance activities.
      3. Removes limitation on using the data for cybersecurity purposes, and allows it to be used for investigating other crimes -- making it likely that the DEA and others will abuse CISA.
      4. Removes the requirement to "scrub" the data of personal information unrelated to a cybersecurity threat before sharing the data.

      ACLU

    1. THE INTERCEPT HAS OBTAINED a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies.

      MANY OF THE DEVICES in the catalogue, including the Stingrays and dirt boxes, are cell-site simulators, which operate by mimicking the towers of major telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

      Today nearly 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states are known to possess a Stingray or some form of cell-site simulator, though experts believe that number likely underrepresents the real total. In some jurisdictions, police use cell-site simulators regularly. The Baltimore Police Department, for example, has used Stingrays more than 4,300 times since 2007.

      “The same grant programs that paid for local law enforcement agencies across the country to buy armored personnel carriers and drones have paid for Stingrays,” said Soghoian.

      Police cite the war on terror as their reason for purchasing surveillance equipment. But they use it for domestic cases, including minor ones.

      “The full extent of the secrecy surrounding cell-site simulators is completely unjustified and unlawful,” said EFF’s Lynch. “No police officer or detective should be allowed to withhold information from a court or criminal defendant about how the officer conducted an investigation.”

    1. Negotiated in secret and tucked in legislation thousands of pages long, Congress is about to pass an awful surveillance bill under the guise of “cybersecurity” that could open the door to the NSA acquiring much more private information of Americans.
    1. And the latest is that it's getting worse. Not only is Congress looking to include it in the end of year omnibus bill -- basically a "must pass" bill -- to make sure it gets passed, but it's clearly dropping all pretense that CISA isn't about surveillance. Here's what we're hearing from people involved in the latest negotiations. The latest version of CISA that they're looking to put into the omnibus:
    1. A group of 19 civil liberties organizations from across the political spectrum this morning issued a letter to the White House and Congress urging lawmakers to oppose the final “conferenced” version of a dangerous cyber bill that experts say will dramatically expand government surveillance while failing to make us safer from cyber attacks.
    1. The San Bernardino shootings are also being cited by some Republicans, including presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, as a reason to reinstate the warrantless bulk collection of domestic telephone data — the one program that was shut down by Congress after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a massive, secret surveillance dragnet. An Associated Press story on Saturday added fuel to the fire when it claimed that as a result of the shutdown, the government could no longer access historical call records by the San Bernardino couple. But as Emptywheel blogger Marcy Wheeler amply explained, the FBI has plenty of other ways of getting the information.
    1. The National Security Letter (NSL) is a potent surveillance tool that allows the government to acquire a wide swath of private information—all without a warrant. Federal investigators issue tens of thousands of them each year to banks, ISPs, car dealers, insurance companies, doctors, and you name it. The letters don't need a judge's signature and come with a gag to the recipient, forbidding the disclosure of the NSL to the public or the target.
  23. Nov 2015
    1. The key lesson of the post-9/11 abuses — from Guantanamo to torture to the invasion of Iraq — is that we must not allow military and intelligence officials to exploit the fear of terrorism to manipulate public opinion. Rather than blindly believe their assertions, we must test those claims for accuracy.
    2. In sum, Snowden did not tell the terrorists anything they did not already know. The terrorists have known for years that the U.S. government is trying to monitor their communications.What the Snowden disclosures actually revealed to the world was that the U.S. government is monitoring the Internet communications and activities of everyone else: hundreds of millions of innocent people under the largest program of suspicionless mass surveillance ever created, a program that multiple federal judges have ruled is illegal and unconstitutional.
    3. Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley's privacy policies and Edward Snowden.
    1. In this rush to blame a field that is largely unknowable to the public and therefore at once alluring and terrifying, little attention has been paid to facts: The Paris terrorists did not use encryption, but coordinated over SMS, one of the easiest to monitor methods of digital communication. They were still not caught, indicating a failure in human intelligence and not in a capacity for digital surveillance.
    1. In the wake of the cowardly terrorist attacks in Paris, many politicians, intelligence officials and pundits are predictably calling for a return to discredited policies of the past that would weaken Americans’ security, violate their privacy and do little or nothing to protect us from terrorists.

      Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon takes the position in favor of strong encryption, and against mass surveillance, with links to supporting articles.

    1. As dishonest as the “debate” over encryption has been, the dark descension of the Republican party into outright racism and cynically playing off the irrational fears of the public over the Syrian refugee crisis has been worse. We now know the attackers weren’t Syrian and weren’t even refugees. It was a cruel rumor or hoax that one was thought to have come through Europe with a Syrian passport system, but that was cleared up days ago. But in the world of Republican primaries, who cares about facts?
    2. as of Tuesday, it was clear that American and/or French intelligence agencies had seven of the eight identified attackers on their radar prior to the attacks. The attackers used Facebook to communicate. The one phone found on the scene showed the terrorists had coordinated over unencrypted SMS text messages – just about the easiest form of communication to wiretap that exists today. (The supposed ringleader even did an interview in Isis’s English magazine in February bragging that he was already in Europe ready to attack.)
    1. Another provision of the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill is that internet service providers (ISPs) must retain a record of all the websites you visit (more specifically, all the IP addresses you connect to) for one year. This appears to be another measure to weaken privacy while strengthening security – but in fact, it is harmful to both privacy and security. In order to maintain a record of every website you have visited in the last year, the ISP must store that information somewhere accessible. Information that is stored somewhere accessible will sooner or later be stolen by attackers.
    2. I’ll say it again, to be absolutely clear: any mechanism that can allow law enforcement legitimate access to data can inevitably be abused by hostile foreign intelligence services, and even technically sophisticated individuals, to break into systems and gain unauthorised access to the same data.
    3. If the law enforcement services can remotely break into the device of a suspect, then sooner or later criminals will find ways to use the same mechanism to break into devices and steal or destroy your personal data.
    4. Any method that provides exceptional access immediately exposes the system to attacks by malicious parties, rendering the protection of encryption essentially worthless. Exceptional access would probably require that government departments have some kind of master keys that allowed them to decrypt any communication if required. Those master keys would obviously have to be kept extremely secret: if they were to become public, the entire security infrastructure of the internet would crumble into dust. How good are government agencies at keeping secrets?
  24. Jul 2015
  25. Jun 2015
  26. May 2015
    1. However, it will take time to inform FBI field offices of the new guidance, and there are certain types of information that it won't be able to get.

      Yes, that's the whole freaking point. They shouldn't be able to get this information.

    2. a never-used program to monitor potential "lone wolf" suspects who haven't been tied to terrorist groups

      How are we supposed to believe this hasn't been used when the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, is widely regarded by the public to have lied to Congress under oath about surveillance programs?

  27. Apr 2015
    1. For targeted communities, there is little to no expectation of privacy from government or corporate surveillance. Instead, we are watched, either as criminals or as consumers. We do not expect policies to protect us. Instead, we’ve birthed a complex and coded culture—from jazz to spoken dialects—in order to navigate a world in which spying, from AT&T and Walmart to public benefits programs and beat cops on the block, is as much a part of our built environment as the streets covered in our blood.
  28. Jan 2015
    1. After 2004, I believed the story that the protesters in Ukraine and elsewhere were mobilized through text messaging and blogs.

      believes the story ... it's a story he believes.

    2. We were supposed to be saving the world by helping to promote democracy, but it seemed clear to me that many people, even in countries like Belarus or Moldova, or in the Caucasus, who could have been working on interesting projects with new media on their own, would eventually be spoiled by us.

      Applies to these activities wherever undertaken, including any country in the West, he just so happens to be interested in former Soviet Block countries

  29. Dec 2014
  30. Sep 2014
    1. All Palestinians are exposed to non-stop monitoring without any legal protection. Junior soldiers can decide when someone is a target for the collection of information. There is no procedure in place to determine whether the violation of the individual’s rights is necessarily justifiable. The notion of rights for Palestinians does not exist at all. Not even as an idea to be disregarded.
  31. Aug 2014
    1. Phones can only work when they know where they are and are telling the phone company that. It’s not surveillance, it’s how radio waves work. This is the first reason for the network to work the way it does. The second? Billing. In fact, most of the surveillance networks in the world weren’t built to surveil at all, but to make things work at a fundamental level, and to bill people. Surveillance and intrusion are opportunistically inserted into good infrastructure.