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"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." -- Marshall McLuhan, 1969

Its not a 'Search.' Its just a search.
Topic: Internet Civil Liberties 5:30 pm EST, Dec 15, 2008

For some reason, the government did not appear to make the argument invited by the Supreme Court by its rulings in the FedEx and dog-sniff cases. The government could have argued that -- if the EnCase scan for a particular MD5 hash matches -- that the search is constitutionally permissible without a warrant because it revealed nothing except the existence of contraband. And, because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in contraband, the government might argue, a search which only reveals the existence of contraband invades no legitimate privacy right.

In the Crist case, however, the court never addressed that critical issue, because it never had to. The government merely argued that an automated search was no search at all.

This unanswered question -- whether a scan of hash values looking for contraband is a permissible search -- is really the rub.

If the government may conduct warrantless searches as long as they only reveal the presence of contraband, then they could lawfully put automated sniffers on any computer, searching for the presence of files for which the MD5 hash matched that of contraband. While the software categorizing the files might be considered to be conducting a search -- and I think it is -- the contents of this search are not revealed unless the program believes it is contraband.


... ... How did I not see this earlier? Pretty sure this is the same guy writing about how data stored "in the cloud" can be legally searched without a warrant because you have involved a 3rd party who can consent to the search.

And don't think about kiddie porn. Think about the MPAA.

This is a HUGE question that will be one of the defining civil liberties battles of the next decade. I wrote about this case here.

The bottom line becomes, any technology that we can develop to collect information about crimes is A-OK so long as it never provides any information to a human being unless an actual crime has been committed...

Eventually in the distant future, you reach a point... where you've replaced your human police officers with robots... These robots are artificially intelligent and never report the results of their investigations to humans unless a crime has been committed.

Under this analysis I cannot see how the Constitution would prohibit these robots from doing all of the tyrannical things that the 4th amendment was intended to prevent the police from doing, and I don't see how this state of affairs would be materially different from not having any 4th amendment at all.

Therefore, if the 4th amendment is to have any meaning at all, there must be some reason that this kind of automated search is not reasonable.

Scalia offered the following in reference to Caballes: "This is not a new technology. This is a dog." I find that explanation extremely unsatisfying.

Its not a 'Search.' Its just a search. - Making the Internet a more interesting place since 2008
Topic: Computer Networking 10:11 am EST, Dec 15, 2008

Not only a network that lets you browse the Internet anonymously, Tor contains anonymously published webpages identified by a '.onion' URL. Tor2web enables regular Internet users to access pages anonymously published within Tor.

What tor2web does for you

1. Tells the world that you can put all of your unruly, spicy content online with impunity by hosting on a Tor hidden service. It's free too!
2. Allows the world to read and spread your disruptive content as easily as browsing the web. No installation required.

(It also lets you surf-around for interesting stuff in .onion)

WARNING: tor2web does NOT protect readers, only publishers. Readers using tor2web do not have the level of anonymity, confidentiality, and authentication that they have when using a Tor client. Tor2web trades security for convenience. If you're a reader and want the extra security, install Tor.

Virgil Griffith strikes again!

Virgil's mission to conquer the keyword virgil on Google have not yet been successful. Will his latest bomb dropped on the internet bring him up from 4th place? Time will tell...

So... Anyone want to take bets on how many kiddie porn sites will this expose? - Making the Internet a more interesting place since 2008

Think Progress » McCain campaign sells surplus Blackberries with ‘hundreds of emails,’ phone numbers still on them.
Topic: Computer Security 12:43 am EST, Dec 13, 2008

From ThinkProgress:

The Washington Post reported this week that the McCain campaign is selling surplus office and computer equipment. Reporters from Fox’s Washington, DC affiliate went over to the “fire sale” and bought several Blackberries from the campaign. When the Fox employees turned the devices on, they found that Blackberries still “contained more than 50 phone numbers for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails.” Contacted by Fox News, one of the former Blackberry owners said, “They should have wiped that stuff out. … Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise.”

Think Progress » McCain campaign sells surplus Blackberries with ‘hundreds of emails,’ phone numbers still on them.

U.S. Is Losing Global Cyberwar, Commission Says - BusinessWeek
Topic: Computer Security 12:48 pm EST, Dec  8, 2008

The U.S. faces a cybersecurity threat of such magnitude that the next President should move quickly to create a Center for Cybersecurity Operations and appoint a special White House advisor to oversee it. Those are among the recommendations in a 44-page report by the U.S. Commission on Cybersecurity, a version of which will be made public today. The bipartisan panel includes executives, high-ranking military officers and intelligence officials, leading specialists in computer security, and two members of Congress.

To compile the report, which is entitled "Securing Cyberspace in the 44th Presidency," commission members say they reviewed tens of thousands of pages of undisclosed documentation, visited forensics labs and the National Security Agency, and were briefed in closed-door sessions by top officials from Pentagon, CIA, and British spy agency MI5. From their research, they concluded that the U.S. badly needs a comprehensive cybersecurity policy to replace an outdated checklist of security requirements for government agencies under the existing Federal Information Security Management Act.

U.S. Is Losing Global Cyberwar, Commission Says - BusinessWeek

Stratfor on Mumbai Situation
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:32 pm EST, Nov 27, 2008

Stratfor has a few article available to non-subscribers about the situation in Mumbai.

Red Alert: Possible Geopolitical Consequences of the Mumbai Attacks:

If the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants as it appears, the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the United States into the fray.

India: The Need to React:

A massive and well-organized attack by militants in Mumbai, India, has left nearly 100 people dead so far, promises to cut deeply into India’s foreign investment prospects and threatens to rock India’s government. As India responds to the attack, its relationship with Pakistan will be front and center, and the potential for a destabilization of relations between the two geopolitical rivals is high.

Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:13 am EST, Nov 24, 2008

Girls hang on Virgil Griffith. This is no exaggeration. At parties, they cling to the arms of the 25-year-old hacker whose reason for being, he says, is to “make the Internet a better and more interesting place.” The founder of a data-mining tool called WikiScanner, Griffith is also a visiting researcher at the mysterious Santa Fe Institute, where “complex systems” are studied. He was once charged, wide-eyed rumor has it, with sedition. No wonder girls whisper secrets in his ear and laugh merrily at his arcane jokes. null

Virgil is, without a doubt, a hacker rock star.

Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery

Hoder arrested in Iran, faces death penalty
Topic: Security 7:08 pm EST, Nov 19, 2008

An Iranian blogger has been arrested in Iran and charged with spying for Israel. He could face the death penalty if found guilty.

Hossein Derakhshan, known around the world as the father of the Iranian blogosphere, was recently arrested upon returning to Iran from Canada.

Jahan News, an Iranian website affiliated with Iran’s intelligence community, reported on Monday that he admitted to spying for Israel.

Hoder has been discussed on MemeStreams before.

Hoder was on a round table event in Nashville at the 1st Amendment Center that Decius and I participated in.

Hoder arrested in Iran, faces death penalty

Topic: Humor 3:01 pm EST, Nov 18, 2008



Think Progress » Sarkozy to Putin: ‘Do you want to end up like Bush?’
Topic: International Relations 1:04 pm EST, Nov 14, 2008

From ThinkProgress:

The London Times’ Charles Bremner has identified one positive aspect of President Bush’s foreign policy legacy:

With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr. Sarkozy told Mr. Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to [Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic adviser, Jean-David] Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr. Putin declared.

Mr. Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked. “Why not?” Mr. Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr. Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?” Mr. Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah — you have scored a point there.”

Fear of “ending up like Bush” now functions as a deterrent.

Think Progress » Sarkozy to Putin: ‘Do you want to end up like Bush?’

The Win
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:28 am EST, Nov  5, 2008

I was sitting on a park bench in front of the White House, wondering what the right thing was to focus on now.

Nagios fired. The caches were down.

I ran... It was about as far as I could without stopping. I bounced the caches.

Tomorrow, log analysis. One application server too.

I can still hear the horns honking on the streets below my office...

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