Bugs Are a Hacker’s Best Friend

An Android/Linux bug left about one billion mobile phone users exposed to insertion of malware.  Ars Technica says that in order to remain secure while performing something as simple as browsing among websites, the user needs to assure all communications in use are encrypted, else the bug provides a pathway for hackers to insert malware. […]

Cyber-Attack Detection is Difficult, Needs Monitoring

Despite cyber-prowess and a staggering and secret budget, US intelligence agencies appeared unable to halt a deep and sustained invasion of sensitive federal information.  In May, an attack hit the IT system of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and its data stored at the Department of the Interior’s data center. Information for about 4 […]

Americans’ Privacy and the Feckless Six

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been aggressively dithering on privacy since at least 2008, when it allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to capture metadata from telephone calls. The DOJ talks a brave “civil rights” game in public but behind the scenes it invades the publics’ and even news reporter’s privacy whenever senior […]

Your Privacy and Compulsively Curious Federal Agencies

The National Security Agency (NSA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Treasury routinely collect detailed information about Americans’ activities, communications and financial status.  The scale and scope of information government keeps on us is outrageous and dangerous.    Edward Snowden’s revelation confirmed that NSA stores metadata on our domestic phone calls and has technically […]

Privacy in a Glass Aquarium

If government agencies want to locate you, watch you, or follow your movements, conversations and writings, they have the tools to do it, and they won’t ask your permission.   Some of us remember a quaint concept called privacy. Agencies can usually discover your location and track your actions.  Cell phone GPS location tracking is routine […]

Orwell, Privacy and the NSA

President Obama recently met with tech leaders at the White House to discuss a variety of issues, including an update on the attempt to fix healthcare.gov.   At the meeting, the leaders – hailing from Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, AOL and others – urged the President to take action on the unwarranted intrusions into their technology-based […]

The Consumer Bonus from Tapping Leader’s Phones

We should expect some relatively fast action on privacy regulation in the U.S., E.U., and Brasil.   All had been working on privacy legislation, but public knowledge that Brazil’s and E.U. leaders’ phones were US-bugged caused those leaders extreme embarrassment.  Today, they think privacy regulation is the flame retardant needed to quench burning hair.  Strong-sounding privacy […]

National Security Abuses the Futility of Oversight Boards

We now know NSA and other federal agencies routinely database domestic telephone metadata, full content of foreign calls, postal sender-recipient data and full content of email involving a foreign address.  It is unclear where domestic drone video and spy satellite products are kept.  Whenever that depth of coverage is insufficient, federal agencies can claim espionage […]

Whom Do You Trust?

Law enforcement investigators typically gumshoe one clue at a time when sleuthing ordinary criminals and evidence. In contrast, the Patriot Act allows terrorism probes to start with all the electronic data, and then toss everything but the relevant items. NSA and FBI chose a terrorist-oriented “boil the ocean” approach when in April 2013 they convinced […]