surveillance Archives — Page 3 of 4


I remember tweeting several months back about the negative fallout of the drip drip of the Snowden revelations on cloud companies and even on the routing of data traffic (why is it so difficult to find something you’ve written in social media?). In my interactions with industry people across Asia, I could sense the unease of entrusting anything valuable to American companies. But now it seems to have percolated up to the top: But protests from business executives, who told Mr. Obama last week at a White House meeting that they feared the N.
It is too easy to rant about surveillance on the web (except when one is subject of a crime). I was fortunate that I met a number of FBI and police personnel who were getting into crime investigations on the web at the early Computers, Freedom and Privacy conferences and learned to see the problem from their perspective. Now there is a book on the subject. Here is an excerpt from the NYT review: “Life is a messy business on the Internet,” Anderson writes, “and we’re never going to engineer the mess out of it.” He’s right.

Meta data is not the only problem

Posted on October 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

For those who worry about their privacy being harmed by transaction generated data, here’s more to worry about: sensors in the sky. These systems generate so much data that they do require big-data analysis. Just as important, he shepherded research and development of new kinds of satellites that made digital pictures of objects on the ground as small as five inches across and then transmitted the images to earth for analysis almost instantly. The aerial reconnaissance programs, most done in conjunction with the Air Force, were highly classified, and many remain so. In a 1967 speech that he asked not be quoted, President Lyndon B.
President Obama’s support for surveillance predates his election. I believe that he has assessed the pros and cons of surveillance and concluded that it is necessary. The question then is how it is to be regulated, so that that negative outcomes can be minimized. One possible path is a variation of the FISA oversight solution, but with greater transparency. This may be the path being explored by Senator Markey, perhaps one of the most well informed US legislators on telecom and ICT matters.
The ethic of reciprocity is perhaps the most fundamental principle governing human interaction. I once studied this in some depth for the purpose of teaching interconnection of all things. My favorite was Rabbi Hillel’s formulation: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it.”—Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the “Great Principle” So now, Russia wants the ethic of reciprocity applied to the metadata, the collection of which President Obama said was no problem at all.

Meta data not limited to telecom

Posted on July 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

President Obama makes a distinction between the contents of phone calls and the information generated by the call (he calls it meta data, we used to call it transaction-generated data, and now it falls within the scope of big data), here is the analogy that is governing his thinking: Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail. The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr.
In our work on Asian backhaul capacity, we had noticed the decline of traffic to North America. One of the results of the WCIT deliberations was an added focus on national and regional Internet Exchange Points, the natural result being more intra-regional traffic and less routing through the US. The PRISM exposure will accelerate these processes. At some point the changes in the Internet architecture will translate into changes in the policy architecture. For a decade, the United States has fought to position itself as a neutral party that could be trusted to administer the internet in a manner that was beneficial to all parties.
The Saudi regulator is pressuring operators to crack down on Skype and similar OTT applications. It affects both Saudis and the many expatriate workers who live there. This will require deep packet inspection and some serious interventions in the data streams. Saudi students on scholarships who use the Skype video application to contact their parents are also disappointed. “I really don’t understand what they mean by monitoring.

No hypocrisy on Internet

Posted on March 16, 2013  /  2 Comments

Ron Diebert is a friend and colleague. He gets his hands dirty looking at what actually happens on the Internet. And he thinks all governments have to rethink the way they approach Internet security. “I think Canada, like many liberal, democratic countries, is caught in a bit of a contradiction,” said Diebert, director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto. “We can’t accuse other countries of violating people’s human rights when there is no protection in our own country when it comes to law enforcement accessing data through Internet service providers.
Smith v Maryland was a 1979 US case that permitted relatively easy access to phone records. Fixed phone records, because that’s all there was, back then. Mobile phone records yield a lot more information. But US law enforcement has been using the old rules to get the call records. But that may be about to change, at least in Texas.
I have always considered Disney to be operating at the cutting edge of service delivery and crowd management. According to the NYT, it appears that they are planning to transform both using location-sensitive technologies and big data. The ambitious plan moves Disney deeper into the hotly debated terrain of personal data collection. Like most major companies, Disney wants to have as much information about its customers’ preferences as it can get, so it can appeal to them more efficiently. The company already collects data to use in future sales campaigns, but parts of MyMagic+ will allow Disney for the first time to track guest behavior in minute detail.
A decade ago, not having a phone was normal. Now it’s abnormal. Indian media highlight the absence of connectivity as one of the clues that identified Osama bin Laden’s hideout in a Pakistani suburb. A large mansion in a massive compound with 12 feet to 18 feet tall walls topped with barbed wire. No telephone or internet connection to the house.
Phones allow coordination and convenience. But as politicians in many countries learned several years ago, they allow surveillance. Security isn’t just a concern in Middle East autocracies, or for would-be revolutionaries. Mobile phone surveillance, for example, is tough to escape for cellphone users anywhere, said Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and a founder of Global Voices, a worldwide group of bloggers and interpreters that has produced similarly themed guides. Mr.
This should be of relevance to the ongoing debate on the net benefits of mobile networks for liberty. But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts. The results were astounding.

Balancing national security and growth

Posted on September 28, 2010  /  4 Comments

Coming from Sri Lanka, a country that endured a thirty-year war, this is nothing new. But it appears that the same issues keep coming up, and we keep making the same mistakes. Pakistan shut down mobile phones for elections. There were serious discussions in Sri Lanka about disabling mobiles within a certain distance from army camps, which meant that pretty much all of Colombo would have been a dead zone for mobiles. Now India wants the ability to listen into every conversation/text/email exchange on every Blackberry in their territory.
There was a time when I worked a lot on privacy, especially privacy issues surrounding transaction-based information (TGI). The last piece of that line of research received good reviews , the quote below being an example. The next step should have been a book; I chose to come to Sri Lanka to set up the Telecom Regulatory Commission instead. Privacy was a fast moving field at that time. I knew it would be too late to get into it, after the diversion in Sri Lanka.