Monday, April 30, 2018

Good leak, bad leak. I guess it depends on who you are.
Who leaked the idea of ASD spying on Australians, and why?
"Secret plan to spy on Aussies," The Sunday Telegraph headlined the story. "Two powerful government agencies are discussing radical new espionage powers that would see Australia's cyber spy agency monitor Australian citizens for the first time."
It was a "power grab" detailed in "top secret letters" proposing that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) be able to use its cyber offensive capabilities domestically.
"The Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo first wrote to the Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty in February outlining the plan to potentially allow government hackers to 'proactively disrupt and covertly remove' onshore cyber threats by 'hacking into critical infrastructure'," the newspaper wrote.
"Under the proposal, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Marise Payne would tick off on orders allowing cyber spooks to target onshore threats without the country's top law officer [the attorney-general] knowing."
… The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are the agencies charged with tackling domestic threats. They already have their own cyber capabilities, which can be deployed once a warrant has been issued. They can also call upon the ASD for technical assistance if they need it.
The reported proposal in Pezzullo's letter is clearly intended to bypass the need for a warrant, and the need for the attorney-general to even be informed. It reportedly also includes coercive powers to force government agencies and private businesses to "comply with security measures", and for the ASD to have a "stronger role in support of the Home Affairs portfolio".
The Sunday Telegraph quoted an anonymous government source as saying: "I am horrified. The only reason it's not going ahead with ease is because there are good people who didn't sign up to do this against Australian citizens."
On Monday, former secretary of the Department of Defence Paul Barratt was somewhat more blunt.
"The leak of highly classified material on the matter suggests to me that someone, somewhere in the system is deeply concerned by the prospect of Dutton placing us all in the Panopticon," Barratt tweeted.

(Related) Dilbert summarizes what today’s world knows about you.

Would there be value here if the data was 100% accurate? How about 90% accurate? How inaccurate is acceptable?
Annie Sweeney reports:
It has grown steadily over many decades with little public attention. Through countless arrests and street stops, Chicago police officers have compiled a database of street gang members that now totals a staggering 128,000 names — and that doesn’t even include juveniles.
But now critics in Chicago are joining a nationwide chorus questioning the value and fairness of these massive lists of gang members, saying they are often inaccurate, outdated and racially skewed.
Advocates complain there’s no way to know if you are in the database or how to get off the list, yet your alleged gang membership is shared with other law enforcement agencies and can hurt you if you pick up a charge — with potentially heftier bail amounts or sentences.
Read more on Chicago Tribune.

Some not-so-light summer reading?
Army Of None’: A Clear-Eyed Look At The Rise Of Autonomous Weapons
Part historical survey, part ethics discussion, part science fiction, Paul Scharre’s Army of None delivers a comprehensive look at autonomous weapons. Paul brings his years of experience as a policy expert on military technology ethics and practical experience from serving in the United States Army to deliver an easy-to-read book on autonomous weapon systems without heavy jargon.

Legal stuff.
Library of Congress Posts U.S. Supreme Court Cases collection
LC Collection – more than 225 years of decisions –
United States Reports is a series of bound case reporters that are the official reports of decisions for the United States Supreme Court. A citation to a United States Supreme Court decisions includes three elements that are needed to retrieve a case. For example, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). 467 indicates the volume in which the case is reported, U.S. indicates the abbreviation for U.S. Reports, 837 indicates the initial page number of the case, and 1984 indicates the year the case was decided. Early reports of U.S. Supreme Court decisions were named for the clerk who compiled them. U.S. Reports includes the content from these nominative reporters. You can translate a citation from a nominative reporter to a volume of the U.S. Reports by using this chart:

Even more significant, is the change in their international strategy.
Walmart Just Took a Big Step Away from the Grocery Business
Walmart has agreed to sell its U.K. grocery chain, Asda, to local competitor Sainsbury’s, signaling a shift in the company’s international strategy.
… The shift comes three months after Walmart appointed Judith McKenna as the new head of its international business and seems to be an attempt to revamp the under-performing unit. Although more than half of the company’s stores are outside the U.S., the international business brings in only about a third of revenue. In the U.K. and Brazil, where it is downsizing to the tune of hundreds of locations, the company has struggled for years. Meanwhile, the potential deal with Flipkart would give Walmart the foothold in India it has been seeking.

Just an interesting resource.
Currency and cryptocurrencies converter
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