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there's a lot of nodding
by noteworthy at 5:52 am EST, Jan 9, 2015

Mike Loukides:

We used to say that a computer only did what you told it to do, and exactly what you told it to do. While that's still true, to an extent, we're now building systems that are massively distributed, that run on hardware that we don't control and, in many cases, we can't even locate. Our older model of computing -- you tell the computer what to do, and if there's a bug, it's your fault -- now strikes us as naive, and possibly the last gasp of futuristic optimism.

Nicholas Carr:

Seeking convenience, speed, and efficiency, we rush to off-load work to computers without reflecting on what we might be sacrificing as a result.


During remarks at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University in New York City, Director James Comey reiterated that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Comey cited the recent intrusion against Sony as proof of the seriousness of the cyber threat facing the U.S. and said the FBI and the intelligence community have a "very high confidence" that North Korea was responsible for the hack. He added that the Bureau and its partners were using a range of sensitive tools and techniques to arrive at that conclusion.

Diego Gambetta:

In the inscrutable case, the overall truth about a state of affairs is not known by anyone.

James Comey:

I find that in all things cyber there's a lot of nodding and I worry there's not a lot of understanding behind the nodding at times.


I think the myths are coming back, because they exist in that field of human experience, where the real and the unreal simply exist together, and in a way you can only explain the real through what is supposed to be unreal.

Mark Danner:

We're in this surrealistic world, in which ... we're seeing a public effort at disinformation spreading throughout the country, through all the media outlets ...

RE: there's a lot of nodding
by Decius at 6:52 pm EST, Jan 9, 2015

James Comey:

In the wake of Mr. Snowden’s so-called revelations, there’s a wind blowing that I worry has blown what is a healthy skepticism of government power—I think everybody should be skeptical of government—to a cynicism so that people don’t want to be with us anymore. Meet us out behind the 7-Eleven late at night and I’ll talk to you as long as nobody sees me. Or wear a bag over my head to a meeting with the government. Because there is this wind blowing that there’s something bad if you’re touching the United States Government. We have to build even though there’s that wind. We’ve got to do our best to speak into that wind to try to explain how we’re using our authorities in the government.

How does healthy skepticism turn into cynicism?

Our public policy is an agreement, between the government, and the people, regarding what the government may and may not do. Those of us who are concerned about civil liberties, we often don't like where that agreement ends up.

Its important to appreciate that a lot of the people who the government wants to work with - a lot of the people in the private sector who protect the Internet - they care about civil liberties. They care about civil liberties because they are engineers, and to engineers, civil liberties seem logical.

Why should we care especially about civil liberties? Why programmers, more than dentists or salesmen or landscapers?

Let me put the case in terms a government official would appreciate. Civil liberties are not just an ornament, or a quaint American tradition. Civil liberties make countries rich. If you made a graph of GNP per capita vs. civil liberties, you'd notice a definite trend. Could civil liberties really be a cause, rather than just an effect? I think so. I think a society in which people can do and say what they want will also tend to be one in which the most efficient solutions win, rather than those sponsored by the most influential people. Authoritarian countries become corrupt; corrupt countries become poor; and poor countries are weak. It seems to me there is a Laffer curve for government power, just as for tax revenues. At least, it seems likely enough that it would be stupid to try the experiment and find out. Unlike high tax rates, you can't repeal totalitarianism if it turns out to be a mistake.

This is why hackers worry. The government spying on people doesn't literally make programmers write worse code. It just leads eventually to a world in which bad ideas win. And because this is so important to hackers, they're especially sensitive to it.

So the people that you need to work with, James Comey, the people who run this cyber world that is changing everything, many of those people are people who care about civil liberties. And people who care about civil liberties often don't like where the agree... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

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