Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9/11: Enhanced WTC2 (NatGeo)

Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries

Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.

A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.

My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. (Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond.) Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night...

http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/10/06/adobe-spying-users-collecting-data-ebook-libraries/

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Drones (HBO)

Rockefeller Commission Report

Prior to the so-called Church Committee, the President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States was formed by President Gerald Ford. Headed by Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, this body came to be known as the Rockefeller Commission.

The Rockefeller Commission issued a single report in 1975, which delineated some CIA abuses including mail opening and surveillance of domestic dissident groups. It also conducted a narrow study of issues relating to the JFK assassination, specifically the backward head snap as seen in the Zapruder film (first shown publicly in 1975), and the possible presence of E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis in Dallas.

The Rockefeller Report is seen by many as a "whitewash," and was certainly superceded by the Church Committee's work in scope and depth.

The files of the Rockefeller Commission were reviewed by the Church Committee, and many of them are included as part of the roughly 50,000 pages of declassified Church Committee documents now publicly available at the National Archives...

http://history-matters.com/archive/contents/church/contents_church_reports_rockcomm.htm

Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs

I had an opportunity to attend a presentation by a retired technical director at the NSA, William Binney, which provided context for some of the published documents released by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

Because of the public value of Binney's expertise on the subject, I decided to publish his presentation and comments on my website.

Binney also mentions how the current NSA mass surveillance regime differs from aspects of an earlier less expensive program, called THINTHREAD, which both he and the former NSA senior computer scientist, Edward Loomis, invented.

As Tim Shorrock has already reported, the back-end of THINTHREAD was used by the NSA in a later program called STELLARWIND (thereby forgoing front end privacy protections both Binney and Loomis built into their earlier, less expensive system). NSA then "illegally directed" STELLARWIND en masse sans privacy protections on Americans and the rest of the world.

The presentation began with a cursory display of the first three slides. Binney then explores the remaining slides in greater depth...

http://www.alexaobrien.com/secondsight/wb/binney.html

9/11: Las Vegas Connection (CBS, 9/10/06)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weaponising neurotechnology: international humanitarian law and the loss of language

Abstract

In recent years, research on military applications of neuroscience has grown in sophistication, raising the question as to whether states using weapon systems that draw on neuroscience are capable of applying international humanitarian law (IHL) to that use. I argue that neuroweapons largely eliminate the role of language in targeting, render unstable the distinction between superior and subordinate, and ultimately disrupt the premise of responsibility under IHL. I conclude that it is impossible to assess whether future uses of these weapons will be lawful under IHL.

LEIF AND NEUROSCIENCE
I shall start this account with Leif, a 73-year old farmer from the municipality of Markaryd in Southern Sweden. In the winter of 2012, I spent a week with him at Lund University Hospital, where we both successfully underwent surgery: 6 days in a four-bed ward in a large department on the 11th floor of the Western wing of the Hospital’s central building, and a 48-hour cycle in the operation theatre and intensive care unit. Leif suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I think ‘suffers’ is more than a figure of speech here. When he was off his usual medication in conjunction with his surgery, I could perceive quite literally how the return of Parkinson’s tremor imposed suffering of unmitigated violence on him...

http://lril.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/2/201.full

THE NSA AND ME


The tone of the answering machine message was routine, like a reminder for a dental appointment. But there was also an undercurrent of urgency. “Please call me back,” the voice said. “It’s important.”

What worried me was who was calling: a senior attorney with the Justice Department’s secretive Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. By the time I hung up the payphone at a little coffee shop in Cambridge, Mass., and wandered back to my table, strewn with yellow legal pads and dog-eared documents, I had guessed what he was after: my copy of the Justice Department’s top-secret criminal file on the National Security Agency. Only two copies of the original were ever made. Now I had to find a way to get it out of the country—fast.

It was July 8, 1981, a broiling Wednesday in Harvard Square, and I was in a quiet corner of the Algiers Coffee House on Brattle Street. A cool, souk-like basement room, with the piney aroma of frankincense, it made for a perfect hideout to sort through documents, jot down notes, and pore over stacks of newspapers while sipping bottomless cups of Arabic coffee and espresso the color of dark chocolate.

For several years I had been working on my first book, The Puzzle Palace, which provided the first in-depth look at the National Security Agency. The deeper I dug, the more troubled I became. Not only did the classified file from the Justice Department accuse the NSA of systematically breaking the law by eavesdropping on American citizens, it concluded that it was impossible to prosecute those running the agency because of the enormous secrecy that enveloped it. Worse, the file made clear that the NSA itself was effectively beyond the law—allowed to bypass statutes passed by Congress and follow its own super-classified charter, what the agency called a “top-secret birth certificate” drawn up by the White House decades earlier...

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/the-nsa-and-me/