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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

Torture is wrong - Opinion - The Boston Globe
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:04 am EDT, Oct  6, 2014

Torture undermines all sound principles of good interrogation, intelligence collection, and assessment. It does not work, it is unnecessary, it is illegal, it betrays our ideals and our nation’s laws. There is no practical, legal, moral, or utilitarian argument in favor of torture. We don’t need it, and it betrays who we seek to be. No fine-tuning of the law is necessary to justify it — ever.

Torture is wrong - Opinion - The Boston Globe

▶ A Night in Tunisia - Charlie Parker and Dizzy Live at Carnegie Hall - YouTube
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:05 pm EDT, Oct  3, 2014

This makes me happy...

▶ A Night in Tunisia - Charlie Parker and Dizzy Live at Carnegie Hall - YouTube

We Should Be Protesting, Too | Lawrence Lessig
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:44 am EDT, Oct  2, 2014

But there's not much particularly Chinese in the Hong Kong design, unless Boss Tweed was an ancient Chinese prophet. Tweed famously quipped, "I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating." Beijing's proposal is just Tweedism updated: a multi-stage election, with a biased filter at the first stage.

The pattern has been common in America's democracy too.

We Should Be Protesting, Too | Lawrence Lessig

Reddit Plans Its Own Cryptocurrency To Give Back To Its Users After $50 Million Raise | TechCrunch
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:11 am EDT, Oct  1, 2014

We are thinking about creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community. The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms.

Reddit Plans Its Own Cryptocurrency To Give Back To Its Users After $50 Million Raise | TechCrunch

▶ Black Hat USA 2014 - Enterprise: The Library of Sparta - YouTube
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:34 am EDT, Oct  1, 2014

On today's increasingly militarized Internet, companies, non-profits, activists, and individual hackers are forced to melee with nation-state class adversaries. Just as one should never bring a knife to a gun fight, a network defender should not rely on tired maxims such as "perimeter defense" and "defense in depth." Today's adversaries are well past that. This talk teaches you how to tap what we call the Library of Sparta - the collective written expertise codified into military doctrine. Hidden in plain sight, vast free libraries contain the time-tested wisdom of combat at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. This is the playbook nation-state adversaries are using to target and attack you. This talk will help you better understand how adversaries will target your organization, and it will help you to employ military processes and strategies in your defensive operations. These techniques scale from the individual and small team level all the way up to online armies. This talk isn't a dry index into the library of doctrine, we provide entirely new approaches and examples about how to translate and employ doctrinal concepts in your current operations.

Many people in the computer security community use words like "OPSEC," "Kill Chain," and "intelligence-driven" without fully understanding the underlying concepts. Even worse, many show their ignorance by using military jargon incorrectly, thereby alienating clients, customers, and colleagues. These concepts are powerful and should not be ignored, but they must be well understood before they can be leveraged in your network.

This talk will include topics such as deception, electronic warfare, operations security, intelligence preparation of the battlefield, human intelligence collection, targeting, psychological operations, information operations, maneuver, and military cryptanalysis, among numerous others. Conventional wisdom at Black Hat is that that attacker will always win. Attackers have a clear intelligence advantage over defenders when it comes to vulnerabilities, malware, and open source information. A key point of the talk will be helping defenders generate the intelligence, information, and disinformation advantage necessary to turn the tables. You will leave this talk with an entirely new arsenal of military-grade strategies that will help you advance your work beyond the individual and small-team level and will prepare you to take on the most advanced adversaries.

▶ Black Hat USA 2014 - Enterprise: The Library of Sparta - YouTube

Why Hong Kong is taking on China | Data Dive
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:32 pm EDT, Sep 30, 2014

Reuters graphic looks at how public opinion has changed since the handover. Polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong show ebbing confidence in China’s “one country, two systems” philosophy and Hong Kong’s future in general, and more than 50 percent of respondents are either “quite distrustful” or “very distrustful” of the Beijing central government.

Why Hong Kong is taking on China | Data Dive

Julian Sanchez on encryption, law enforcement, and the balance of power - The Washington Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:54 pm EDT, Sep 29, 2014

Over at Cato at Liberty, Julian Sanchez has an excellent post criticizing and responding to my three posts on encryption and the new Apple iOS8 operating system. The whole thing is worth reading.

Julian Sanchez on encryption, law enforcement, and the balance of power - The Washington Post

Hong Kong People! -
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:35 pm EDT, Sep 29, 2014

This past Sunday — was the moment when the “one country, two systems” formula Hong Kong was promised on its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 was finally laid bare as unworkable.

This oped is interesting for some of the bright lines it seems to draw, although it seems to contradict itself in calling for foreign states to express solidarity with the protestors while also attacking China's assertion that foreign states are trying to manipulate the process behind the scenes. If the US spoke in favor of the democracy movement would China then use these statements against the protestors?

The problem with democracy is that its necessary but not sufficient for a free society. Democracy in some places in the middle east means totalitarian rule by religious extremists. What we need is liberal democracy - a democracy that is coupled with a respect for the individual rights of individual people.

Why isn't the US an outspoken advocate of that - everywhere?

Hong Kong is a country that respects individual rights, and with that ingredient, democracy can succeed there in a meaningful way.

Hong Kong People! -

RE: orders of magnitude
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:56 am EDT, Sep 22, 2014

Maciej Ceglowski:

Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.

This idea has gotten a lot of currency recently. I think its embraced by both extremes of the "big data" debate - the privacy advocates as well as the spies. Anne Neuberger's "Withering Nation" scenario supposes that "privacy obsession hampers commercial activity" - they literally think that if the privacy advocates win, it will lead to national decline!

I'm wondering what your view of these ideas is, but I think its hyperbole. As DuckDuckGo has demonstrated, I know enough based on the search term you entered to show you a relevant ad. The value add associated with surveillance may literally not be worth the privacy impact. I have the same question about Facebook - do they really need to monitor what I'm posting to Facebook, or can they make enough money through traditional Internet advertising (which is also admittedly invasive, but not to the same extent.)?

The question of economically maximal privacy invasion will be an ongoing dialog for some time I think. I have a hard time buying the idea that nothing that is going on is sustainable unless the privacy incursions remain as intrusive as they currently are, nor do I believe that a more privacy respectful internet will lead to the decline of the United States. I believe that these perspectives overvalue surveillance and undervalue privacy, because the economic benefits are privacy do not directly accrue to certain people. They are, nonetheless, real.

Am I wrong?

RE: orders of magnitude

Lawfare › Breaking News: Government Agency Bulk Collecting Twitter Data
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:25 pm EDT, Sep 19, 2014

Benjamin Wittes wrote:

If you were shocked when you read the first paragraph of this post and relieved when you read that the agency doing all this collection is not NSA but the good guys over at the Library of Congress, and that the good guys are actually planning to make that data available widely, why did you have those reactions? And do those reactions make sense?

You asked, so I'll answer. I didn't have those reactions, and there are a couple of important observations to make about why.

First, I am cognizant of the public nature of public social media. I choose what to post on twitter and what not to post on twitter. I know that what I post to twitter can be read by anyone and that is my intent. What I post on Facebook is slightly more private than what I post on Twitter, and I am cognizant of that distinction. What I type into a search engine is much more private and may be more personal.

Advocates of mass surveillance often pretend that these distinctions are irrelevant. Because I post things about my personal life on Twitter and Facebook, they argue that it is therefore irrational for me to be concerned about surveillance of my search queries or call records. This is a weak attempt to rationalize away legitimate privacy interests.

Second, the idea of the NSA monitoring twitter may raise a concern that the agency is targeting people for investigation on the basis of their speech, which can deter people from expressing disfavored opinions. However, this concerned isn't raised simply because the NSA collects the data. The NSA would be remiss if it ignored the public postings of various terrorist organizations and their compatriots. I think the real question is what kinds of statements by someone can create a reasonable basis for a deeper investigation which opens private things.

Third, I don't think that the LOC should archive deleted tweets. Doing so undermines the decision by the poster to remove that content, and content gets removed for a lot of very good reasons, particularly in a medium where it is easy to write brief things that may be misconstrued when viewed from another perspective. However, it wouldn't bother me if the NSA monitored deleted tweets. Its not a privacy issue, its a matter of respecting people's ability to withdraw misstatements.

Lawfare › Breaking News: Government Agency Bulk Collecting Twitter Data

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