Thursday, August 22, 2013

We've heard of this but with few details.
Mark Rumold writes:
For almost two years, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court’s opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated “the spirit of” federal law.
Today, EFF can declare victory: a federal court ordered the government to release records in our litigation, the government has indicated it intends to release the opinion today, and ODNI has called a 3:00 EST press conference to discuss “issues” with FISA Amendments Act surveillance, which we assume will include a discussion of the opinion.
Read more on EFF.
Update 1: The opinion can be found here. The problem seems to have stemmed from “upstream” collection of data which often collected internet transactions that were neither to/from approved target facilities nor about targeted facilities. The upstream collection of Internet transactions accounted for 9% of the collection.
Update 2: FISC wasn’t too happy with appears to be yet another – and significant – misrepresentation in previous submissions by the government:
Update 3: And here we go, from p. 29 of the opinion:
Update 4: Read more about the opinion in Spencer Ackerman’s report and in Marcy Wheeler’s commentary here.

New Zealand has passed a hotly-disputed bill that radically expands the powers of its spying agency. The legislation was passed 61 votes to 59 in a move that was slammed by the opposition as a death knell for privacy rights in New Zealand.
The new amendment bill gives the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) – New Zealand’s version of the NSA – powers to support the New Zealand police, Defense Force and the Security Intelligence Service.
Read more on RT.

A useful summary for my Computer Security students.

A good thing? Do we need new laws everytime we update the hardware? Seems like the law should set strategy and the hardware and software are just tactical variations. Massachusetts Supreme Court Says Wiretap Statute Applies To Cell Phones
Greg McNeal reports:
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts recently ruled that a judge possesses the authority under the Massachusetts wiretap statute to issue warrants permitting the interception of cell phone calls and text messages, despite the fact that both forms of communication are not mentioned in the Massachusetts wiretap statute.
Read more on Forbes.

Mess with our secrets will you.
Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, has put the UK government on notice that he is challenging his detention under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000 and the seizure of his devices at Heathrow airport this past weekend.
The detention of Greenwald’s domestic partner, who has assisted Greenwald in his work at times, created a storm of protest on the Internet over government’s seizure of “journalistic materials” Miranda was carrying between Laura Poitras in Germany and Greenwald in Brazil. Miranda is a Brazilian citizen.
The files were reportedly encrypted, but Miranda, who was reportedly not permitted to consult with a lawyer of his choosing during his almost-9 hour detention, says he felt coerced into providing the password for fear he’d be jailed. [What would have happened if he didn't know the password? Bob]
Carl Gardner provides his legal analysis of the detention on Head of Legal.
The law firm of Binders LLP is representing Miranda, and a copy of their letter to the Home Office can be found here.
Not everyone found the detention concerning. Former MP Louise Mensch defended the government’s action. At the risk of summarizing her incorrectly, her argument boiled down to: (1) Miranda was not just traveling as an uninvolved spouse or family member – his trip was paid for by The Guardian precisely because he was assisting Greenwald with his work, [How did they know that? Bob] (2) Miranda was transporting encrypted files containing material stolen from the government (but that would be our government, not hers), and (3) Greenwald knew all along that Miranda was carrying files that contained stolen material. What’s not clear to me from her argument, however, is how the UK government has any authority to detain someone carrying stolen files about another government that may not reveal anything about the UK at all. Snowden has been charged with theft here, but no one has been charged with receipt or possession of stolen materials. So what is the real basis for detaining Miranda? And if it had been Greenwald passing through Heathrow, would they have had the right to detain him on the basis that he might be carrying files or work materials?
Frankly, it makes little sense to me that Miranda was carrying any files, encrypted or not. Obviously, they would not be the only copies of the files, but still….

Is this always true? If so, what implications for lawyers or psycologists or doctors? (Isn't this why they invented external storage devices?)
Defendant took his computer to Staples for a computer tech to remove viruses and spyware, giving the tech the password to the computer. The computer tech found child pornography in a folder called “PVT,” and he called the police who saw the files and seized the computer. The court finds that the defendant waived his reasonable expectation of privacy in the computer by his actions.
I wonder what that Tennessee court would say about repair people copying nude photos of a computer owner from a private folder on the drive and then uploading them to the Internet. Would the judge still hold that the computer owner had waived REP by giving the repair people the computer and password?

Arnold Roosendaal has uploaded his doctoral dissertation, conducted at Tilburg University, to SSRN. Here’s the abstract:
Every individual is represented in digital form in numerous data sets. Commercial companies use these digital representations as a basis for making decisions that affect the individual. This has implications for privacy and autonomy of the individual and the ability to construct one’s own identity. This study describes how digital representations are created and for what purposes. An analysis is made of the implications this has for individuals and why privacy, autonomy, and identity construction are at stake. In this context legal protection of individuals is provided by data protection legislation. The current framework, however, appears to be insufficient in relation to the problems identified in this study. Other legal constructs are assessed to see whether alternative approaches could help offer legal protection. Finally, a proposal is presented to embed the concepts of digital personae and profiles (as forms of digital representations) as portraits in data protection law.
You can download his dissertation (312 pp, pdf) from SSRN.

Perspective I doubt Google is doomed, but
Wait, what? Yahoo tops Google in US traffic
For the first time in five years, Google is no longer No. 1 in US Internet traffic, and its top spot was taken by a surprising competitor -- the once lackluster Yahoo.
ComScore released its monthly report on the top 50 US Internet properties Wednesday and it listed Yahoo as the top dog in July with 196,564,000 visits. Google, lagging behind slightly, had 192,251,000.
Marketing Land noted that Google has been No. 1 since April 2008. While Yahoo's numbers fluctuated, reaching the No. 2 or No. 3 position occasionally, but never making it to the top.
… Whether it's some clever number crunching or a real renewed interest from consumers, these latest figures have got to give Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and the company's loyal employees, a good morale boost.

For a few selected individuals...
A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School - 81 Page Free PDF
Since 2006 I have used Blogger for many blogging projects including this blog and many classroom blogs. Over the years I've introduced many teachers to blogging through Blogger. Blogger is easy to use and flexible enough to support you when you're ready to start using some advanced blogging strategies. I've covered the basics of Blogger and blogging in various blog posts over the years. This week I finally put all of those posts together with a series of annotated screenshots in one cohesive package, A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School.
A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School covers everything from blogging terminology to blogging activities to the nuts and bolts of using Blogger. You'll learn where to find media to use in blog posts, how to use media in blog posts, and get ideas for media-based blog posts. You'll also learn how to set-up your blog for multiple authors and how to manage comments.
A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School is embedded below. (The file is hosted on, if you cannot see the document embedded below make sure that your filter isn't blocking You may also need to be using Chrome or a recent version of Firefox, Safari, or IE as outdated browsers may not support the Box viewer).
I'm going to allow downloading the guide for the rest of the month. Downloads should be for personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute it, including for workshops / faculty training, without my permission. I've used to host the file (81 page pdf). Box does not put advertising on the page while still allowing me to track downloads.

I can has Fair Use?
New Infographic: Good News in Fair Use for Libraries
“A new infographic released today tells the story of library fair use and the Code of Best Practices in a clear and compelling way. There’s an embeddable PNG for your own blogs, and there’s also a print-ready 8.5” x 11” version in case you need hardcopies to hand out at events.”

For all my students. You do remember me saying something similar? Hello? Anyone there? (Number 6: Activate cattle prod!)

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