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Feed Schneier: Senator Feinstein Admits the NSA Taps the Internet Backbone (schneier.com)

We know from the Snowden documents (and other sources) that the NSA taps Internet backbone through secret-agreements with major U.S. telcos., but the U.S. government still hasn't admitted it. In late August, the Obama administration declassified a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Footnote 3 reads: The term 'upstream collection' refers to NSA's interception of Internet communications as they...

Feed Schneier: Friday Squid Blogging: A Squid that Fishes (schneier.com)

The Grimalditeuthis bonplandi is the only known squid to use its tenticles to fish: Its tentacles are thin and fragile, and almost always break off when it's captured. For ages, people thought it lacked tentacles altogether until a full specimen was found in the stomach of a fish. Weirder still, its clubs have neither suckers nor hooks. Instead, they are...

Feed Schneier: Paradoxes of Big Data (schneier.com)

Interesting paper: "Three Paradoxes of Big Data," by Neil M. Richards and Jonathan H. King, Stanford Law Review Online, 2013. Abstract: Big data is all the rage. Its proponents tout the use of sophisticated analytics to mine large data sets for insight as the solution to many of our society's problems. These big data evangelists insist that data-driven decisionmaking can...

Feed Schneier: Apple's iPhone Fingerprint Reader Successfully Hacked (schneier.com)

Nice hack from the Chaos Computer Club: The method follows the steps outlined in this how-to with materials that can be found in almost every household: First, the fingerprint of the enrolled user is photographed with 2400 dpi resolution. The resulting image is then cleaned up, inverted and laser printed with 1200 dpi onto transparent sheet with a thick toner...

Feed Schneier: NSA Job Opening (schneier.com)

The NSA is looking for a Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer. It appears to be an internal posting. The NSA Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer (CLPO) is conceived as a completely new role, combining the separate responsibilities of NSA's existing Civil Liberties and Privacy (CL/P) protection programs under a single official. The CLPO will serve as the primary advisor to...

Feed Schneier: Metadata Equals Surveillance (schneier.com)

Back in June, when the contents of Edward Snowden's cache of NSA documents were just starting to be revealed and we learned about the NSA collecting phone metadata of every American, many people -- including President Obama -- discounted the seriousness of the NSA's actions by saying that it's just metadata. Lots and lots of people effectively demolished that trivialization,...

Feed Schneier: Friday Squid Blogging: How Bacteria Terraform a Squid (schneier.com)

Fascinating: The bacterium Vibrio fischeri is a squid terraformer. Although it can live independently in seawater, it also colonises the body of the adorable Hawaiian bobtail squid. The squid nourishes the bacteria with nutrients and the bacteria, in turn, act as an invisibility cloak. They produce a dim light that matches the moonlight shining down from above, masking the squid's...

Feed Schneier: Legally Justifying NSA Surveillance of Americans (schneier.com)

Kit Walsh has an interesting blog post where he looks at how existing law can be used to justify the surveillance of Americans. Just to challenge ourselves, we'll ignore the several statutory provisions and other doctrines that allow for spying without court oversight, such as urgent collection, gathering information not considered protected by the Fourth Amendment, the wartime spying provision,...

Feed Schneier: Google Knows Every Wi-Fi Password in the World (schneier.com)

This article points out that as people are logging into Wi-Fi networks from their Android phones, and backing up those passwords along with everything else into Google's cloud, that Google is amassing an enormous database of the world's Wi-Fi passwords. And while it's not every Wi-Fi password in the world, it's almost certainly a large percentage of them. Leaving aside...

Feed Schneier: Yochai Benkler on the NSA (schneier.com)

Excellent essay: We have learned that in pursuit of its bureaucratic mission to obtain signals intelligence in a pervasively networked world, the NSA has mounted a systematic campaign against the foundations of American power: constitutional checks and balances, technological leadership, and market entrepreneurship. The NSA scandal is no longer about privacy, or a particular violation of constitutional or legislative obligations....

Feed Schneier: The Limitations of Intelligence (schneier.com)

We recently learned that US intelligence agencies had at least three days' warning that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was preparing to launch a chemical attack on his own people, but wasn't able to stop it. At least that's what an intelligence briefing from the White House reveals. With the combined abilities of our national intelligence apparatus -- the CIA, NSA,...

Feed Schneier: Surreptitiously Tampering with Computer Chips (schneier.com)

This is really interesting research: "Stealthy Dopant-Level Hardware Trojans." Basically, you can tamper with a logic gate to be either stuck-on or stuck-off by changing the doping of one transistor. This sort of sabotage is undetectable by functional testing or optical inspection. And it can be done at mask generation -- very late in the design process -- since it...

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