Friday, February 05, 2016

For my Computer Security students. The future is secure?
The Keybase filesystem
Alpha releases of the Keybase app are starting to come with a cryptographically secure file mount. It is brand new. And very different.
… The Keybase servers do not have private keys that can read this data. Nor can they inject any public keys into this process, to trick you into encrypting for extra parties. Your and my key additions and removals are signed by us into a public merkle tree, which in turn is hashed into the Bitcoin block chain to prevent a forking attack. Here's a screenshot of my 7 device keys and 9 public identities, and how they're all related.
As a reminder, Keybase is open source Go.
… If you're not a Keybase user yet, you can click this link to get in line to be one of our first users.

Are there clear guidelines or is it simply a vague, “find fraud?”
Rae Johnston reports:
State and Federal Government agencies are using private investigators to conduct “optical surveillance” on members of the public, including monitoring the social media accounts of Centrelink recipients. This “open-source intelligence” is a growing trend, bringing questions about online privacy into the spotlight.
Evidence gathered from private social media accounts has been used to investigate Centrelink claims. According to The Daily Telegraph, and in one instance conversations on Twitter were used to prove the relationship status of a couple who were receiving payments as individuals.

Interesting. Could become a resource. I need to play with it a bit more.
Harvard portal helps track and map use of personal data
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 4, 2016
“About theDataMaptheDataMap™ is an online portal for documenting flows of personal data. It tells you where your data goes. The goal is to produce a detailed description of personal data flows in the United States. The effort started with health data and is expanding to all other kinds of personal data. The motivation is to help journalists, advocates, regulators, policy makers and researchers understand the current state of personal data sharing so they can do their jobs better. Our aim is to help the helpers. A comprehensive data map will encourage new uses of personal data, help innovators find new data sources, and educate the public and inform policy makers on data sharing practices so society can act responsibly to reap benefits from sharing while addressing risks for harm. With funding from the Knight Foundation, we will launch a portal that engages members of the public in a game-like environment to report and vet reports of personal data sharing and to participate in data visualization and analysis competitions.” [theDataMap™ operates as a research project in the Data Privacy Lab, a program in the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University. The project leader is Professor Latanya Sweeney.]

It all began with “Double secret probation!”
Paper – Coming to Terms with Secret Law
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 4, 2016
Rudesill, Dakota S., Coming to Terms with Secret Law (January 6, 2015). 7 Harvard National Security Journal, 2015, Forthcoming; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 321. Available for download at SSRN:
“The allegation that the U.S. government is producing secret law has become increasingly common. This article evaluates this claim, examining the available evidence in all three federal branches. In particular, Congress’s governance of national security programs via classified addenda to legislative reports is here given the first focused scholarly treatment, including empirical analysis that shows references in Public Law to these classified documents spiking in recent years. Having determined that the secret law allegation is well founded, the article argues that secret law is importantly different than secret fact: the constitutional norm against the former is stronger than against the latter. Three normative options are constructed and compared: live with secret law as it exists, abolish it, or reform it. The article concludes by proposing 10 principles for governing secret law, starting with the cardinal rule of public law’s supremacy over secret law.”

Bad reporting? Another case of someone making up the news?
Super Bowl 50: FAA Threatens To Shoot Down Drones Flying Near Levi's Stadium On Game Day
As football fans prepare for Super Bowl 50, the FAA is making preparations of its own for the big day, threatening to shoot down any unauthorized drones that fly within 36 miles of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. This news comes as the FAA takes an increasingly militant stance on recreational drone usage in the U.S.
… violators could face civil penalties and criminal charges, the FAA warned, noting that the government officials may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.

No, The FAA Isn’t Going To Shoot Down Super Bowl Drones
… I’ve written about this before, and was struck by the references to “deadly force,” which aren’t in the announcement from the FAA or the official notice. As best I can find, it appears to come from an NBC story titled “FAA: Drones Flown Around the Super Bowl Could Face 'Deadly Force'.
… This is technically always true, as the United States Government has a sovereign authority to the skies above America and it can make the call to shoot down aircraft deemed to be a threat. And the term “deadly force” appears in the FAA’s recommendations for police on illegal drone use. The document specifically states “The United States government may use deadly force against airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.”

No doubt this won a Darwin Award for design.
Dem presses Amazon to stop selling gun-shaped cellphone cases

One, anyway.
6 Little-Known Corners Of The Deep Web You Might Actually Like
… To access these sites, you’ll need to use Tor, which allows you to connect to these sites anonymously, and will keep your connection private.
Jotunbane describes the reasoning behind his website like this: “I got tired of ebooks that looked like they were made in a hurry, and since I had the skill set to do something about it, well here we are.” In short, the Reading Club lets you download books that have been cleaned up from their original e-book versions.
… If you don’t abuse the system, it seems to be a good way around freedom-stifling DRM practices.

One for my students.
10 Super Ways to Save When Shopping on Amazon
For college students, Amazon Student is a terrific money-saving program. You can sign up for a free six-month trial that gives you the two-day shipping for free, unlimited photo storage, and exclusive student-related discounts and deals. After your trial expires, you are eligible to receive Amazon Prime at half the cost and you still get all of the Prime member benefits we listed above.

(Related) (Free) Prime first, then other free stuff.
Amazon Prime Members Have Digital Access to Washington Post for Free – 6 months
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 4, 2016
“Amazon today announced that Prime members can now enjoy six months of free unlimited access to The Washington Post National Digital Edition, a subscription usually retailing for $9.99 per month. After the first six months of access to world-class national and international news, Prime members can continue to enjoy unlimited digital access with a discounted monthly subscription rate of only $3.99, a savings of 60% per month… Prime members can read news on the go at any time with The Washington Post’s new national app available on iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices or access The Washington Post’s full website by visiting For a limited time, members who are not currently subscribed to The Washington Post can start a free trial of The Washington Post National Edition by simply visiting and signing in with Amazon credentials.”

Another student cheapie.
College Students Can Now Receive Digital Access to The Times for $1 a Week
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 4, 2016
New York Times Co Press Run – “The New York Times today will begin offering college students full access to on the web and via its smartphone apps for just $1 a week. Students will be required to sign up for their subscription using their valid school email address, as well as provide their graduation year in order to verify their student status. Previously, college students could sign up for access at 50% off standard retail rates for a digital subscription ($7.50 every 4 weeks). In July, The Times tested the $1 a week offer and found the students had a very positive response to the deeply discounted rate. The offer is limited to new subscribers only…”

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