Sunday, August 11, 2013

That's a much larger percentage than I would have guessed. Think of all the things they DON'T want to intercept and analyze, including downloads of almost anything. Just to jog your memory, take a look at this ( and figure what the NSA could live without.
HuffPost reports:
On the day President Barack Obama proposed reforms to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the National Security Agency shared a paper claiming legal authority for its spying and revealing that it “touches” 1.6 percent of Internet information.
The memo says that after the 2001 terror attacks, “Several programs were developed to address the U.S. Government’s need to connect the dots of information available to the intelligence community and to strengthen the coordination between foreign intelligence and domestic law enforcement agencies,” including the bulk collection of telephone and email records.
The memo included an outline of the “Scope and Scale of NSA Collection:”

(Related) Just because it's a tiny percentage does not mean it isn't Big Data!
Cory Doctorow: privacy, oversharing and government surveillance
Cory Doctorow: “The European Parliament is currently involved in a wrangle over the new General Data Protection Regulation. At stake are the future rules for online privacy, data mining, big data, governmental spying (by proxy), to name a few. Hundreds of amendments and proposals are on the table, including some that speak of relaxing the rules on sharing data that has been “anonymised” (had identifying information removed) or “pseudonymised” (had identifiers replaced with pseudonyms). This is, however, a very difficult business, with researchers showing how relatively simple techniques can be used to re-identify the data in large anonymised data sets, by picking out the elements of each record that make them unique. For example, a recent paper in Nature Scientific Reports showed how the “anonymised” data from a European phone company could be re-identified with 95% accuracy, given only four points of data about each person. To those who say that privacy is dead anyway, I would point out that the reason anonymisation and pseudonymisation are being contemplated in the proposed Regulation is because its authors say doing this will protect privacy – and that means that they’re implying privacy is worth preserving. Indeed, the whole premise of “Big Data” is at odds with the idea that data can be anonymised. After all, Big Data promises that with very large data-sets, subtle relationships can be teased out.”

Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Ron Wyden, Jennifer Hoelzer, has a post on TechDirt that makes clear how, despite his rhetoric yesterday, the administration and members of Congress did everything they could to actually stifle meaningful debate about NSA programs.

Now they wake up? Looks more like marketing to me.
Germany’s three biggest email providers announced on Friday a partnership to bolster the security of messages sent between them in the wake of revelations of US online surveillance scandal.
Telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom as well as GMX and, both subsidiaries of Germany’s United Internet, will automatically encrypt their email traffic from now on.
Read more on The Local.

If your job is making laws, perhaps you could make one that removes obsticles? Just a suggestion...
Peter Wallsten reports:
The Obama administration points to checks and balances from Congress as a key rationale for supporting bulk collection of Americans’ telephone communications data, but several lawmakers responsible for overseeing the program in recent years say that they felt limited in their ability to challenge its scope and legality.
Read more on Washington Post.
There’s a lot of fingerpointing going on here between the intel community and Congress as to whether Congress was given sufficient information and an opportunity to really debate concerns. Some of the concerns raised by members of Congress appear to be systemic and it would be useful for Congress to debate how to conduct meaningful oversight when details or materials are classified. One needs only to consider that some members of Congress, like Senator Wyden, were trying to get a debate about massive collection programs and were seemingly stymied at every turn. That shouldn’t be.

Do you suppose the Supremes remember their old law school professors fondly?
Leading professors of privacy and surveillance law today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing the NSA to collect “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon,” including calls wholly within the U.S. and calls between the U.S. and abroad.
The order has been in place since May 2006 and has been reauthorized by the court approximately every 90 days since, most recently on July 19, 2013. The order first came to public attention when The Guardian published it on June 5, 2013.
In a brief written by Fred H. Cate, from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, the experts argue that the Verizon order is deeply flawed and poses a serious threat to personal privacy.
Both the amicus brief and the original EPIC petition are available online.
Cate is a Distinguished Professor and the C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He serves as director of the university’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research and can be reached at 812-855-1161 or
SOURCE: Indiana University

(Related) You should never believe your own retoric...
DJ Pangburn writes:
While people are fixated on former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden’s Tuesday comments that the NSA’s sifting through metadata is “really good news,” they should be far more concerned about how he characterized pro-Snowden, pro-privacy activists and hackers.
In a Bipartisan Policy Center cybersecurity speech, Hayden invoked a century’s worth of terror descriptors, calling Snowden supporters and privacy proponents “nihilists, anarchists… twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in a five or six years.”
Read more on MotherBoard.
For the record, Mr. Hayden, I am a card-carrying member of the AARP. I talk to my husband every day, and I was raised to respect others’ rights to their opinions, even if they don’t agree with my own. It’s a shame you weren’t raised to respect others, too.

For my Ethical Hackers: Do we need to update the Wiki?
A reader sent in a link to this description of 25 apps that you may want to know about. does not endorse any apps. The link is provided for informational purposes only. Hopefully, my informed readership will check out every app carefully before downloading it. And if you have any comments or knowledge of these apps you’d like to share with others, please feel free to use the Comments section below.

Dilbert explains why software licenses are seldom reviewed...

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