Author Archives: admin

The NSA just released a sexy new commercial with Sasha Grey # well, sort-of…

Come for the joke, stay for the Snowden reference.

MUST READ: What’s wrong with “Good, clean wi-fi”?

David Cameron says he backs “good, clean wi-fi” plans to filter public wireless networks from inappropriate content. Apart from this being a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist (hoards of toddlers plaguing cafes with porn watching), the potential problems are obvious.

Most public wifi networks already have content filters in place, however, and as an example of the sort of things they block, let’s look at the “UK’s largest public-access WiFi hotspot network”, The Cloud:

…continues with examples at #yeahitsabithipster • What’s wrong with “Good, clean wi-fi”?.

Next time you see a plea for #cybersecurity spending on more #cyberwarriors …

…check some history:

The “bomber gap” was the unfounded belief in the Cold War-era United States that the Soviet Union had gained an advantage in deploying jet-powered strategic bombers. Widely accepted for several years, the gap was used as a political talking point in order to justify greatly increased defense spending. One result was a massive buildup of the United States Air Force bomber fleet, which peaked at over 2,500 bombers, in order to counter the perceived Soviet threat. Surveillance flights utilizing the Lockheed U-2 aircraft indicated that the bomber gap did not exist. Realizing that mere belief in the gap was an extremely effective funding source, a series of similarly nonexistent Soviet military advances were constructed in a tactic now known as “policy by press release.”

The missile gap was the term used in the United States for the perceived disparity between the number and power of the weapons in the U.S.S.R. andU.S. ballistic missile arsenals during the Cold War. The gap only existed in exaggerated estimates made by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and in United States Air Force (USAF) figures. Even the CIA figures that were much lower and gave the US a clear advantage were far above the actual count. Like thebomber gap of only a few years earlier, it is believed that the gap was known to be illusionary from the start, and was being used solely as a political tool, an example of policy by press release.

Policy by press release refers to the act of attempting to influence public policy through press releases intended to alarm the public into demanding action from their elected officials. The practice is frowned upon, but remains effective and widely used. In modern times, the term is used to dismiss an opponent’s claims, suggesting they are lacking in substance and created to generate media attention.

Now: Compare with:

You Call This an Army? The Terrifying Shortage of U.S. Cyberwarriors.

The United States doesn’t have nearly enough people who can defend the country from digital intrusions. We know this, because cybersecurity professionals are part of a larger class of workers in science, technology, engineering, and math–and we don’t have nearly enough of them, either. We’re just two years into President Obama’s decade-long plan to develop an army of STEM teachers. We’re little more than one year from his request to Congress for money to retrain 2 million Americans for high-tech work (a request Republicans blocked). And it has been less than a month since the Pentagon said it needed to increase the U.S. Cyber Command’s workforce by 300 percent–a tall order by any measure, but one that’s grown even more urgent since the public learned of massive and sustained Chinese attempts at cyberespionage last month.

Where are Cyber Command’s new hires going to come from? Even with so many Americans out of work, it isn’t as though there’s a giant pool of cyber professionals tapping their feet, waiting to be plucked up by federal agencies and CEOs who’ve suddenly realized they’re naked in cyberspace. In fact, over the next couple of years, the manpower deficit is only going to get worse as more companies come to grips with the scale of the danger.

Demand for cyber labor is still far outstripping supply, Ron Sanders, a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, told National Journal in a phone interview. “With each headline we read,” he said, “the demand for skilled cyber professionals just increases.”

The number of industry employees is already growing at double-digit rates. A new report released Monday finds that the number of people working in the cyber field is going to grow worldwide by 11 percent every year for the next five years. In North and South America, according to the paper–published by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2)–that will mean almost a million more workers in the field by 2017. Many of them will be highly qualified. But not all of them will be in the employ of U.S. entities, to say nothing about working in the United States itself.

“…doomed to repeat it.”

I am wondering if we are going to end up with people who are skilled in security getting quite literally drafted in order to quell the panic?


America’s Raisin Regime: De minimis curat lex # Gosplan’s Sour Grapes in the USA

Repeat after me: state regulation is always a sane and desirable thing…

WHETHER the obscure statute that governs America’s raisin trade is constitutional, Elena Kagan is not sure. She and her fellow Supreme Court justices are pondering that question at the moment, and will rule shortly. But she sounds reasonably confident that the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is “the world’s most outdated law”.

Since the 1940s raisin farmers have been obliged to make over a portion of their crop to a government agency called the Raisin Administrative Committee. The committee, run by 47 raisin farmers and packers, along with a sole member of the raisin-eating public, decides each year how many raisins the domestic market can bear, and thus how many it should siphon off to preserve an “orderly” market. It does not pay for the raisins it appropriates, and gives many of them away, while selling others for export. Once it has covered its own costs, it returns whatever profits remain to farmers. In some years there are none. Worse, farmers sometimes forfeit a substantial share of their crop: 47% in 2003 and 30% in 2004, for example.

Participation in this Brezhnevite scheme is mandatory. […]

Read the rest at America’s raisin regime: De minimis curat lex | The Economist.

Appeals court upholds legality of Aereo’s “tiny antennas” scheme # Utterly Bonkers But Legally Fabulous

A federal appeals court has handed a big setback to broadcasters trying to stop Aereo, a startup that streams New York-area television content over the Internet. Broadcasters such as Fox and Univision argued that transmitting TV content without permission was copyright infringement. But Aereo countered that its service was analogous to a television and DVR that happened to have a really long cable between the antenna and the screen. On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed.

Aereo’s technology was designed from the ground up to take advantage of a landmark 2008 ruling holding that a “remote” DVR product offered by Cablevision was consistent with copyright law. Key to that ruling was Cablevision’s decision to create a separate copy of recorded TV programs for each user. While creating thousands of redundant copies makes little sense from a technical perspective, it turned out to be crucial from a legal point of view. Because each copy was viewed by only one household, the court ruled that Cablevision was not engaged in a “public performance” of copyrighted works.

Aereo’s founders realized that the Cablevision ruling offered a blueprint for building a TV rebroadcasting service that wouldn’t require the permission of broadcasters […]

via Appeals court upholds legality of Aereo’s “tiny antennas” scheme | Ars Technica.

Hartley Wintney in Spring

The Church Oak

The Church Oak

House of Commons: Select Committees: Public Accounts: UK cyber security, 13 March 2013 #cyber #want

Am so much hoping that Thomas Rid puts the boot in at this upcoming meeting.

Public Accounts: UK cyber security 3:15 pm

  • Thomas Rid, Kings College London;
  • Oliver Robbins, Cabinet Office,
  • James Quinault, Cabinet Office and
  • Ken McCallum, Head of Cyber Security, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Cyclical History in “The Wanting Seed” – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia # thought provoking #anthonyburgess

Approximately, yeah…

Often repeated in the novel is the concept that history is cyclical. As Tristram explains in the first few chapters to his slumbering history class, there are three phases: Pelphase, Interphase, and Gusphase.

  • Pelphase is named after Pelagianism, the theology of Pelagius. The Pelphase is characterized by the belief that people are generally good. Crimes have slight punishment, and the government tries to improve the population. The government works through socialism. According to Tristram “A government functioning in its Pelagian phase commits itself to the belief that man is perfectible, that perfection can be achieved by his own efforts, and that the journey towards perfection is along a straight road.” The novel begins – and ends – in Pelphase.
  • Interphase is the darkening of Pelphase into Gusphase – an “Intermediate” phase. As Tristram explains things, the government grows increasingly disappointed in its population’s inability to be truly good, and thus police forces are strengthened and the state becomes Totalitarian. In many respects, Interphase is a finite version of George Orwell’s 1984. […]
  • Gusphase is named after Augustinianism, the theology of St. Augustine of Hippo. In short, Gusphase involves the lifting of the Interphase. The leaders begin to realize how horrible they have become, and realize that they are being overly harsh. Therefore, the government relaxes its rules and creates havoc. […]

via The Wanting Seed – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Question: Is the Daily Mail in charge of child protection policy making? /ht @openrightsgroup

What is the Government’s online child protection policy?
Is the Daily Mail in charge of child protection policy making?

I would prefer to be writing an article with a headline that doesn’t have a question mark at the end. But the Government seems to determined to confuse and frustrate those wishing to understand their position on parental controls and Internet filtering.

A month ago we had a clear idea – a response from government that said no to default on filtering.

Now it seems there is a very real danger that the Government will abandon this reasonable policy (which is barely a month old) and look at default on censorship. Ed Vaizey MP yesterday gave a speech suggesting that ‘Protection will automatically be on if parents don’t make choices’. He promised a white paper later in the year that could be the vehicle for this policy.
A little background. In December the Department for Education published its response to the consultation about online parental controls. In it they set out a pretty reasonable position, broadly supporting the idea that parents are best placed to make decisions about the protections necessary in their household, and should be supported in doing so.

We were quite pleased that the Government had seemingly listened to the views of the consultation respondents, looked at the available evidence and come to a decent policy position. They would not be mandating ‘on by default’ Internet filtering.

Only a few days later the Prime Minister soured the mood in an article for the Daily Mail, suggesting that in fact the Government would pursue a much stricter line. It was lightning quick policy scrambling. Whilst he didn’t explicitly mention default on filtering, he did say two things that set alarm bells ringing. As we pointed out at the time:

Continues at… What is the Government’s online child protection policy? | Open Rights Group.