End-of-year security/technology







. . .
Fun tech:



Current events 2013 December 10





BitCoin thefts and anger against the NSA






Rolling Stone reports on not-very-legitimate surveillance tactics

These promotional materials, taken together, paint a picture not only of local police forces becoming increasingly militarized, but also suggest departments are venturing into intelligence-gathering operations that may go well beyond traditional law enforcement mandates. “Two things make today’s surveillance particularly dangerous: the flood of ‘homeland security’ dollars (in the hundreds of millions) to state and local police for the purchase of spying technologies, and the fact that spook technology is outpacing privacy law,” says Kade Crockford, director of the Massachusetts ACLU’s technology for liberty program and the writer of the PrivacySOS blog, which covers these issues closely. “Flush with fancy new equipment, police turn to communities they have long spied on and infiltrated: low-income and communities of color, and dissident communities.”

Many of the legal questions surrounding these kinds of police tactics remain unsettled, according to Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice. Information that is publicly available, like tweets and Facebook posts, is generally not protected by the Fourth Amendment, though legal questions may arise if that information is aggregated on a large scale – especially if that collection is based on political, religious or ethnic grounds. “This information can be useful, but it can also be used in ways that violate the Constitution,” says Patel. “The question is: what are [police departments] using it for?”


Robots are to F-35s as WWI tanks were to WWI horse cavalry


Five focal points emerged:

changing needs for human performance;

new energy systems, such as lasers;

new hardware, such as robots and unmanned systems;

new manufacturing techniques, including 3-D printing; and

new software dealing with cyberwarfare and cybersecurity.

This just in: The U. S. government is slowly catching up to the brainstorms John Robb was writing about ten years ago!


Is 2020 going to be curtains for Taiwan? Not if defensive robots are cheap by then


America faces a geopolitical environment with no security architecture and no agreed conflict-resolution mechanism. The division of the Korean Peninsula, the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir, and the question of Taiwan (which by 2020 the US will no longer be able to defend from a Chinese attack, according to a 2009 study by the RAND Corporation) appear as intractable as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

While the US is pivoting to the East, leaving old allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt deeply resentful, China is pivoting westward.

China’s exports to the Middle East are already more than twice those of the US. Its annual exports to Turkey total $23 billion, and now include military supplies, such as a missile-defense system that is not compatible with those of Turkey’s NATO allies. If China’s penetration into the Middle East persists at the current pace, it might even be able to obstruct the flow of energy resources to America’s Asian allies.

See also:

Comment: The Rand report was written by people who are in the business of selling very expensive weapons systems to national governments, and not surprisingly they conclude that there is a strong chance that national governments will need to buy very expensive weapons systems.

Here is an alternative that is not considered at either of the two links above: perhaps, by 2020, Taiwan will have a cheap defense alternative – e.g. small killer robots – that will alter the realistic prospects of defense.

See also:

Why bother blogging if content will be restricted?

Some kind of free service tried to get me to sign up.  (And remember, if you’re not paying for it, you are the product.)

I was more than a little surprised to see incredibly broad restrictions.

a) As a condition of your use of and access to the Service, you agree to comply with these Usage Rules, which are provided as an example rather than as a limitation, and any application of the Service. b) You agree that your use of and conduct on the Service shall be lawful and your User Content will not:

i) include any offensive comments that are connected to race, national origin, gender, sexual preference or physical handicap;

ii) include profanity or any obscene, indecent, pornographic, sexual or otherwise objectionable content or language;

iii) defame, libel, ridicule, mock, disparage, threaten, harass, intimidate or abuse anyone;

iv) promote violence or describe how to perform a violent act

v) violate the contractual, personal, intellectual property or other rights of any party, or promote or constitute illegal activity; or

vi) be in violation of these Terms or the service rules of conduct (collectively “Content Restrictions”)

I’ve looked at the WordPress terms. I think I’m pretty safe with them. The one thing I might have to be careful about it “scraping,” because frankly I often prefer to just reprint the total text rather than link to a summary.

But frankly, we have to disparage people. We have to make comments that someone will claim are hurtful. “Hurtful” and “disparage” are such loose, vague, subjective terms that if you try to say something that can’t be considered “disparaging,” you can’t say anything at all.

It’s time to start talking about I2P – the Invisible Internet Project

Yesterday I assumed that there must be several free wordpress blogs that tag stuff with “I2P” to denote “Invisible Internet Project.”

It looks like I was wrong about that.

I found one blog that mentioned TOR a lot, but I couldn’t find any blogs about I2P.


So here’s the main link:




and here’s a link to an informative site that might help once you’ve gotten I2P up and running:




Obviously, most of the people who will be enthusiastic about I2P will set up their sites on I2P, not on the clearnet.


I don’t know how much there is to say about I2P: it allows a reasonable expectation of privacy, something which is rapidly eroding on the clearnet.


I don’t have an I2P site myself, but perhaps I will contact a security expert to write a guest post on this topic.

Update: I found one other post tagged I2P: it’s at this link: