Category Archives: surveillance

Are “Backdoors” Real or Virtual? The Logical Flaw in #AppleVsFBI

Apple Vs FBI protest

I’ve been working for quite a while on a longer piece about the argument that “backdoors make us less secure,” an article of faith among cryptographers, hackers and computer scientists that is adhered to with such condescension, vehemence (and at times, venom) that I can’t help but want to subject it to the closest scrutiny […]

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Encryption and Responsibility: A Note on Symphony

Typically, those of us concerned about the widespread use of encryption and anonymization technologies like Tor are depicted by crypto advocates as “anti-encryption” or “freedom haters” or “mind-murdering censors” or worse. Despite the level of detail these people can bring to technological matters, they often portray the political options as very stark: either “encryption” or […]

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All Cybersecurity Technology Is Dual-Use

geer at black hat

Dan Geer is one of the more interesting thinkers about digital security and privacy around. Geer is a sophisticated technologist with an extremely varied and rich background who has also, fairly recently, become a spook of some kind. Geer is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for In-Q-Tel, the technology investment subsidiary of the CIA, […]

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Social Media as Political Control: The Facebook Study, Acxiom, & NSA

NSA Facebook

Although it didn’t break the major media until last week, around June 2 researchers led by Adam Kramer of Facebook published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) entitled “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks.” The publication has triggered an flood of complaints and concerns: is Facebook […]

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Glasslinks: Privacy, Glassholes, Panics, & Take-Backs

google glass

A colleague asked if I had any links to writings about Google Glass, so I dug around in my files and found quite a few things. I thought they might come in handy for others doing research on the topic. I have even more, but this is overwhelming enough as it is. The final pair […]

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Opt-Out Citizenship: End-to-End Encryption and Constitutional Governance

Silk Road

Among the digital elite, one of the more common reactions to the recent shocking disclosures about intelligence surveillance programs has been to suggest that the way to prevent government snooping is to encrypt all of our communications. While I think encryption might be an important part of a solution to the total surveillance problem, it […]

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Completely Different and Exactly the Same

I was flattered to see Nicholas Carr picking up on a blog entry I wrote about the Cartesian dualism underlying most thinking about the Singularity. I was equally pleased to read this comment on Carr’s post from CS Clark, who is otherwise unknown to me: I’m reminded that many tech/law debates depend on the new […]

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Computerization, Centralization, and Concentration

uranium enrichment centrifuge

One of the most dangerous canards of the digital revolution is the one according to which distribution, decentralization, and democratization are the characteristic hallmarks of contemporary mass computerization. To writers of earlier ages (Huxley, Orwell, Lem, Weizenbaum, Wiener, Mumford, Ellul, Roszak, just to name a few), such sentiments would seem shocking, because what they understood […]

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In Case You Were Wondering

In case you were wondering whether all these sites are under heavy and constant surveillance? All these sites are under heavy and constant surveillance. In fact, as a working hypothesis and algorithm for daily activity, presume the surveillance is much more extensive, especially when it comes to information that right now seems trivial (it is […]

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Howard Roark 1, Mark Zuckerberg 0

So if he says it will you believe it? i may have asked this question before, rhetorically. (No sign so far of him discussing how this tracks with his own promotion of the Facebook philosophy; see below.) http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/05/03/wikileaks-founder-assange-blasts-facebook-appalling-spying-machine/ WikiLeaks Founder Assange Blasts Facebook as ‘Most Appalling Spying Machine’ “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive […]

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