Sunday, June 09, 2013

It takes them a while to find the right words to disclose nothing while appearing to disclose something...
U.S. releases details on PRISM
In response to the furor over reports of a classified surveillance program called PRISM, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has released a statement saying PRISM-related activities are "lawful" and "fully debated and authorized by Congress" and has issued a fact sheet on PRISM that says the government doesn't simply [It's much more complex than that! Bob] scoop information from company servers.
Clapper's full statement:
[From the fact sheet:
All FISA collection, including collection under Section 702, is overseen andmonitored by the FISA Court [Circular argument. “FISA supervises FISA stuff” What else is there and who supervises that? Bob]

(Related) Note that this seems to be a tool for measuring data volumes. That would let the NSA predict storage needs and perhaps gross analysis times, but has virtually no intelligence value beyond “they're talking more.”.
Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data
The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.
The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.
… At a hearing of the Senate intelligence committee In March this year, Democratic senator Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
"No sir," replied Clapper.

It's not worth reading the (fluffy) article, but the question is always amusing.
What If China Hacks the NSA's Massive Data Trove?

"I've got nothing to hide."
“Please put your pants back on...”
Commentary – Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’
Most attempts to understand privacy do so by attempting to locate its essence—its core characteristics or the common denominator that links together the various things we classify under the rubric of “privacy.” Privacy, however, is too complex a concept to be reduced to a singular essence. It is a plurality of different things that do not share any one element but nevertheless bear a resemblance to one another. For example, privacy can be invaded by the disclosure of your deepest secrets. It might also be invaded if you’re watched by a peeping Tom, even if no secrets are ever revealed. With the disclosure of secrets, the harm is that your concealed information is spread to others. With the peeping Tom, the harm is that you’re being watched. You’d probably find that creepy regardless of whether the peeper finds out anything sensitive or discloses any information to others. There are many other forms of invasion of privacy, such as blackmail and the improper use of your personal data. Your privacy can also be invaded if the government compiles an extensive dossier about you. Privacy, in other words, involves so many things that it is impossible to reduce them all to one simple idea. And we need not do so.”

Why didn't I think of this?
GitHub for Academics: the open-source way to host, create and curate knowledge
“Though originally developed as a way to share and merge software code, any types of files can be part of a GitHub repository, making it a great collaborative tool for academics, finds Kris Shaffer. Since any open-licensed project can be hosted on GitHub for free, it can function as a publishing platform, a peer-review system, a learning management tool, and a locus for intra- and inter-institutional collaboration.”

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