Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How could anyone possibly see things differently?
Ellen Nakashima reports:
A federal surveillance court on Tuesday released a declassified opinion upholding the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of billions of Americans’ phone records for counterterrorism purposes.
The gathering of “all call detail records” from phone companies is justified as long as the government can show that it is relevant to an authorized investigation into known — and, significantly — unknown terrorists who may be in the United States, the Aug. 29 opinion states.
Read more on Washington Post. See also Charlie Savage’s coverage on the New York Times.
[From the Post article:
This isn’t a judicial opinion in the conventional sense,” said Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director. “It’s a document that appears to have been cobbled together over the last few weeks in an effort to justify a decision that was made seven years ago. I don’t know of any precedent for that, and it raises a lot of questions.”
Jaffer added that the opinion was “completely unpersuasive” as a defense of the call-records program. The constitutional analysis fails to mention the landmark United States v. Jones privacy case decided by the Supreme Court last year, which suggested a warrant was necessary for long-term tracking of GPS data, he said. And Eagan’s analysis of the statute overemphasizes some terms while ignoring others, he said.

Also out of control?
From the ACLU:
[Today] the ACLU will release a report, “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority,” documenting the bureau’s expanded post-9/11 authorities, their impact on civil liberties in the United States, and the FBI’s evasion of oversight that enables abuses to continue today. Twelve years after 9/11, its time for the attorney general and Congress to revisit the extraordinary powers given to the federal government’s premier law enforcement agency in the haze of tragedy and initiate a top-to-bottom review of FBI policies and practices to identify and curtail any activities that are unconstitutional or easily misused.
The FBI serves a crucial role in protecting Americans from criminals and terrorists, but it must do so while guarding and respecting the rights that make the United States worth protecting. Liberty and security are not mutually exclusive: we can be both safe and free.
“Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority” will be available here, at 10 a.m.

For my Computer Security students. First, do you have a camera?
Hack Attack: How To Keep Your Webcam Secure From Online Peeping Toms
Someone could be watching you through your webcam right now. Chances are you’re safe so don’t freak out, but you should be aware that the possibility exists.
… Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself clean from these online peeping Toms. Keep reading to find out how.

For my students with artistic talent. Note that it links to earlier C++ code.
– is a web sculpting application, powered by WebGL and JavaScript. It features dynamic and adaptive topological tools, as well as more classical sculpting tools, such as drag, brush or smooth. Make 3D models on your computer screen! At the moment, the best performance is on Google Chrome.

Redundant, but that's okay. I've listed it before.
– is a sortable database of educational resources from the Edupunks’ Guide and around the web. If you are looking for either an online or offline education resource, this page has some excellent links to choose from, such as MetaFilter, TED, and Google Code University.

I'm going to read this soon, or at least look at the Infographic.
The 12 Different Types Of Procrastinators

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