Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pogo-was-Right makes several good points. Take time to read this.

Cablegate: It’s not really about the cables

Because I haven’t really blogged about Cablegate, let me make a few points — knowing that I will almost certainly irritate the hell out of some people I truly respect by the time I’m done:

(Related) Why didn't anyone notice the download of 250,000 cables?

Wikileaks Cablegate: Time to Blame the Victim?

December 4, 2010 by admin

Paul Roberts writes:

The Pentagon says the leak of diplomatic cables was an unforeseen consequence of its policy to encourage information sharing. That’s nonsense. When it comes to its failure to protect classified data, Uncle Sam’s been warned before.


It was an act of almost total malfeasance, the responsibility for which lies squarely in the lap of the U.S. government and the Pentagon, which has – for years – ignored warnings from the GAO and other watchdogs about the potential for just such a breach, while – events would suggest – displaying an almost comical cluelessness about basic network and data security principles that most corporations and non-profit organizations have long since learned. This from an organization charged with guarding the crown jewels of a super power’s military and diplomatic secrets. In short, while it’s never nice to blame the victim in incidents like this, in the case of the Wikileaks controversy, blaming the victim – and holding it to account – is exactly what’s needed.

Read more on ThreatPost.

(Related) One way to analyze large volumes of data...

December 04, 2010

Dutch Journalist Group Launches Full-text Search Engine of WikiLeaks Cables

Follow up to WikiLeaks Releases Secret US Embassy Cables, news via Computerworld of a new search engine,, lets users search the disclosed cables by word, source, security classification, classification tag and date. CableSearch was the brainstorm of Henk Van Ess, chairman of VVOJ (Vereniging van Onderzoeksjournalisten), or Association of Investigative Journalists, a Dutch-Flemish reporters' group, and the co-founder of the European Center of Computer Assisted Reporting (ECCAR). In a Twitter message Thursday, Van Ess said the search engine was an "initiative of investigative reporters from"

An indication that what happens off-line gets reported online? Or it has become easier to identify (harder to conceal) all kind of (mis-)behavior? Perhaps more divorce lawyers will come to our Privacy Seminars?

1 In 5 Divorces Now Involve Facebook

Facebook has changed the way the Western world communicates plays and apparently cheats on their spouse. According to a new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, one in five divorces involve Facebook. Old flames are torching a great many of these marriages, as spouses track down old loves and rekindle relationships they really shouldn’t have. The most common reason for a marital meltdown: spouses getting sexually chatty with the folks on their friends list.

From that revealing photograph someone tagged to suggestive flirting being posted on a spouses wall, more and more evidence of cheating is coming from Facebook. 80% of lawyers are reporting a big upswing in the amount of adultery evidence coming in from social media these days. Facebook came in first with 66%, MySpace at 15% and Tweeting your way through an affair at 5%.

Preventing accidents is good. And saving the videos in the car's Black Box would provide lots of evidence in other accidents/incidents too.

Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US

According to the Los Angeles Times, "The federal government wants automakers to install back-up cameras in all new vehicles starting in late 2014. The plan, announced Friday, received a strong endorsement from insurance industry and other analysts and is likely to get some level of support from car manufacturers. ... The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes. The agency said children and the elderly were the most common victims. About 44% of the fatalities in such accidents are children and 33% are people over 70, it said. NHTSA said its proposal was designed to keep drivers from running over pedestrians who might be crossing behind their vehicles. It could also prevent parking-lot bumper thumpers. The camera systems show motorists what's behind them via a video display on the dashboard. They typically feature a bell or alarm that alerts the driver if an object is within the camera's field of view."

Is this really a commitment to journalistic accuracy, or is TSA getting a bit too defensive?

TSA Policing Media's Use of Scanner Images

We knew the TSA was sensitive about this whole scanner thing, but not this sensitive: This morning, SF Weekly got a phone call and a wrist-slap from the Transportation Security Administration's press department. It turns out the TSA doesn't like the image of body scans we used with our piece last week about how the scanners do not bombard people with an unhealthy dose of radiation.

… The woman on the phone told SF Weekly that they were not accurate images of the scanner, and urged us to either indicate to readers that those aren't accurate pictures or use the officially approved scanner images.

… He says the photo we used is from a press tour several years ago of the TSA's technology center in New Jersey, which, much to the TSA's chagrin, is still being widely reused by media. "That is the image with no privacy filter installed, absolutely not the image our officers see," Melendez wrote in an email. [So in fact, it is an accurate, unmodified TSA scanner image (or was TSA lying to the press) but they say they now “degrade” the images, which would seem to increase the probability that would be terrorists could slip something past them. Bob]


TSA blog fights back against satire

So the TSA has helpfully taken to its official blog, to disabuse the concerned about alleged abuses that are nonexistent.

Blogger Bob, [Not to be confused with Baghdad Bob or (gasp!) me! Bob] who has been with the TSA since 2002, is quite rightly appealing for a little sanity during a time when emotions have run high and some passengers have felt very slightly debased.

And he himself is not without humor. Writing of these titillating takes on the increased search for explosive underpants, he said: "By all means, enjoy them and have a laugh at our expense, but 'Don't you believe it.'

A complement to yesterdays article.

How To Open Web Documents In Google Docs (Firefox, Chrome & Opera)

… I found the tool really useful for easy organizing and accessing the information you come across online.

What’s more, Google Docs can improve your browsing experience a lot by allowing you to preview and open documents without having to download anything locally. Here are my favorite tools that make it easier to open doc, docx, pdf, ppt, pps and xls files in Google docs in Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera 11.00.

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