Sunday, February 26, 2017

My next lecture to my Computer Security students…
EFF: Half of web traffic is now encrypted
Half of the web’s traffic is now encrypted, according to a new report from the EFF released this week.  The rights organization noted the milestone was attributable to a number of efforts, including recent moves from major tech companies to implement HTTPS on their own properties.  Over the years, these efforts have included pushes from Facebook and Twitter, back in 2013 and 2012 respectively, as well as those from other sizable sites like Google, Wikipedia, Bing, Reddit and more.
Google played a significant role, having put pressure on websites to adopt HTTPS by beginning to use HTTPS as a signal in its search ranking algorithms.  This year, it also ramped up the push towards HTTPS by marking websites that use HTTP connections for transmitting passwords and credit data as insecure.

“In order to protect your privacy, we had to destroy it.”  Why does that sound so familiar? 
Sean D. Carberry reports:
The Department of Commerce has long granted confidentiality to people who submit sensitive survey data about international investments or foreign transactions.  But Commerce is now revising its confidentiality agreements because of Einstein.
Einstein, the Department of Homeland Security’s comprehensive system of preventing and mitigating cyber threats to federal civilian networks, scans electronic traffic in and out of agencies like the Commerce Department.  As a result, it could capture a survey email sent to Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis if that email contains malware or other threat indicators.
“Because it is possible that such packets entering or leaving BEA’s information system may contain a small portion of confidential statistical data, it can no longer promise its respondents that their responses will be seen only by BEA personnel or its sworn agents,” states the Federal Register announcement that Commerce is revising its confidentiality language. 
Read more on FCW.

Does being pro-tech automatically challenge President Trump?  At least we have an opposite to compare US policy to. 
Shedding Soviet history, Estonia aims to be world’s most pro-tech nation
   The Estonian ecosystem has been carefully cultivated by a government that has itself radically embraced the future to reinvent its relationship with its citizens.
   Country as a Platform
On a frozen evening in Helsinki, Finland, Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid arrived to represent her country’s most ambitious startup: its government.
Under its sweeping e-Estonia initiative, the government has become an incubator for programs pioneering advances in digital citizenship, security, virtual business, and education.
   Kaljulaid took to the stage to discuss the progress the country has made with its e-Estonia initiatives, particularly its e-Residency program.
The residency program allows anyone to become an official resident of Estonia without having to move there.  E-Residents are given an identification card with a chip that uses 2048-bit public key encryption.  With that digital ID, they can access government services to set up a company or open a bank account in Estonia without ever needing to actually visit.
   Earlier this month, the Estonian government announced the creation of Startup Visa, its latest program to build a bridge to the rest of the world.
Whether it’s someone wanting to move their startup to Estonia or someone who wants to come work for an Estonian startup, the government has dramatically streamlined the application process.  People from outside the European Union can apply for visas for anywhere from one to a given number of years in length.
   “I don’t think tanks would be rolling in tomorrow,” said Teleport’s Tamkivi.  “But our friendship circles now are global, and we’re very reliant on being part of a global community.”
He added: “Of course, if something does happen, we could go somewhere else and hold parliamentary elections.  We have our entire state backed up in the cloud.  Estonia wouldn’t just disappear again.”

An interesting background read.
Inside Facebook’s AI Machine
   Last month, Candela addressed an audience of engineers at a New York City conference.  “I’m going to make a strong statement,” he warned them.  Facebook today cannot exist without AI.  Every time you use Facebook or Instagram or Messenger, you may not realize it, but your experiences are being powered by AI.”

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