“I would suggest that it is more useful to take a holistic democratic accounting of lawful access laws and their implications. Where such laws are prospectively damaging to the fabric of the democracy, perhaps by threatening rights of free speech, association, and limitations of governmental search powers, then those are the areas that we as citizens, journalists, and commentators must focus our attention. Such democratic narrative can be supported by technological and legal facts and opinions, but critically the basic narrative is not on corporate products, whiz-bang technologies, nor legal minutia, but the very principles of a democracy.” Christopher Parsons in 2012, more than one year before Edward Snowden, is right on the money pinpointing the implications of unrestrained government surveillance.
“I think there is an equally diffuse malaise today—waiting for a new kind of journalism to bring it into focus. Like with McClure’s it won’t be just a catalogue of shocking facts—it will be an imaginative leap that pulls all the scandals together and shows how they are part of some new system of power that we don’t fully comprehend.” Adam Curtis attempts to define the point at which journalism fails and modern power begins.
“Our choice isn’t between a digital world where the agency can eavesdrop and one where it cannot; our choice is between a digital world that is vulnerable to any attacker and one that is secure for all users.” Bruce Schneier regards ubiquitous surveillance as a quixotic undertaking that does nothing to keep us safe and does everything to undermine the very societies we seek to protect.
“The rich are not merely different: they’ve become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled ‘aspiration’.” Priyamvada Gopal does not regard vast economic inequalities as either natural or just.
This page is gradually evolving into a showcase of cycling creativity. I am seriously considering a contribution of my own. 18 days left to add your bike…
“At any given moment, more than half a million people are in the air. What happens when one of them gets seriously ill—or even dies—mid-flight?” Emma Brockes reports on why no one ever actually dies on an aircraft. Interesting comments.
“We now face the greatest threat to our liberties since the second world war. We are sleepwalking into despotism. Because of the amount of material that is being collected, because these databases, which are not about tiny items of information, will be used and not just by governments. Snowden was working for a corporation. They will be accessed by others in government and because, that’s most important of all, people will start to self-censor. We will find that the very fact of the total surveillance of our activities means that we are going to sort of … it’s not a question, as the foreign minister said, of ‘if you haven’t done anything wrong you have nothing to fear’. [sic] This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.” Anthony Barnett appearing on yesterday’s Newsnight programme.
“The RockYou dump was a watershed moment, but it turned out to be only the start of what’s become a much larger cracking phenomenon. By putting 14 million of the most common passwords into the public domain, it allowed people attacking cryptographically protected password leaks to almost instantaneously crack the weakest passwords. That made it possible to devote more resources to cracking the stronger ones.” Dan Goodin details the many reasons you should choose your passwords even more carefully.
“The NSA has turned the fabric of the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they are not magical. They’re limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defense is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.” Bruce Schneier works on the assumption that the NSA is able to decrypt most of the Internet.
On the same subject, David Meyer felt compelled to pen an open letter titled ‘Dear stupid, stupid NSA’.
“We do not arrive at any idea of what is best for the collective unless we are prepared to seize the day and practise it on our own behalf. Most mature individuals understand what this means in respect of themselves—it’s just all those feckless others that they don’t trust to act appropriately.” Things may be for the worst in a less-than-perfect-world, but Will Self is determined to hold on to his idealism.
“When the N9, running MeeGo received the strongest positive reviews of any Nokia phone ever, the first handset of any brand considered better than the iPhone—what did Elop do? He said that no matter how well the N9 sold, Elop would never allow another MeeGo based device to be sold by Nokia.” Microsoft has just bought Nokia’s handset division for a knockdown price of 5.3 Billion Euros, prompting former Nokia employee Tomi Ahonen to chronicle the decline of this once mighty company since in September 2010 former Microsoft employee Steven Elop became the first non-Finnish director in Nokia’s history.
“Whenever a young black man pulls his pants up, the very inner workings of the cosmos immediately realign in his favour.”
“Practicing effective counterintelligence on the internet is an extremely difficult process and requires planning, evaluating options, capital investment in hardware, and a clear goal in mind.” The advice is to choose your adversaries carefully, should you wish to maintain anonymity.
“I hope this post has helped clarify how browsers store your passwords, and why in some cases you shouldn’t let them. However, it would be unfair to end the post saying that browsers are completely unreliable at storing passwords. For example, in the case of Firefox, if a strong Master Password is chosen, account details are very unlikely to be harvested.” Having read Jordan’s post, I for one am ditching Chrome on all of my devices.
Another reason for me to stop using Chrome is this long-standing bug in Chrome for Android.
“What’s most momentous about the new biology of loneliness is that it offers concrete proof, obtained through the best empirical means, that the poets and bluesmen and movie directors who for centuries have deplored the ravages of lonesomeness on both body and soul were right all along.” Judith Shulevitz concludes that natural selecton favoured people who needed people.
“The losers are us, the people, who are left with no one to stand up for our interests. Our elected government, which is supposed to be responsible to us, is not. And corporations, which in a market economy are supposed to be responsive to our needs, are not. What we have now is death to privacy—and that’s very dangerous to democracy and liberty.” Bruce Schneier shares his thoughts on the incestuous relationship between corporations, lawmakers and the intelligence community in the US.
You might also wish to compare Article 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“The other aspect of it is the changing the world part. Directly, it’s put computers into places that could never afford proprietary licensing. Indirectly, it forms part of the first wave of the whole reclamation of culture and production by the people.” Alan Cox talks to Jennifer Cloer.