From the all-too-rare genre of mathematical-political satire: Using Metadata to find Paul Revere. Highlighting for the uninitiated just how much actual information is really contained in even a wee sliver of the so-called metadata we smear all over the digital universe in our wake. Applied to the Founding Fathers.
A street artist in NYC has been arrested on 56 counts of forgery in connection with his campaign this fall, putting up posters around the city that satirized NYPD’s potential use of drones for surveillance. Forensics teams and a counter-terrorism unit were deployed to apprehend him, at lord knows what expense to taxpayers… which would seem to justify his point about police overreach and the surveillance state.
There’s a cool experimental Mozilla plugin called Collusion which lets you see what other sites are being told about your web browsing habits as you surf around. Even with ad-blocking and do-not-track and a host of other privacy enhancing features turned on, the list of notified trackers grows pretty darned quickly!
A completely creeptastic article from the NY Times on how Target can figure out that your 16 year old daughter is pregnant before she’s willing to talk to you about it, based on what she’s buying and when. Big Brother isn’t a mustachioed Stalinist, he’s a mild-mannered statistician attending corporate board meetings and sending out personalized coupon books that purposefully camouflage just how much his computers know about you and your so-called “private life”.
OpenPaths is a mobile application that allows you to log your location in a way that minimally impacts your phone’s battery life, and keeps that information secure (supposedly out of reach of law enforcement w/ zero knowledge encryption) while still allowing you to do interesting things with it, via an OAuth API.
A vast signals intelligence industry exists, and will sell its wares (including satellite data interception and undersea fiber-optic cable tapping) to any and all comers. Ironically, they were infiltrated by agents from Privacy International, a London-based NGO. Apparently the industry isn’t yet using its own technology to defend against critics. One has to wonder how long that situation will last.
A scathing review of an official German government trojan by the Chaos Computer Club. They decompiled the binaries and reverse-engineered the software, and found that not only did it fail to comply with the German constitutional court’s mandate to limit its capabilities, but was so poorly designed and secured as to enable “even attackers of mediocre skill” to completely compromise any machine on which it had been installed. Clearly not the best of German engineering!