• Tor Wars: The Signal Awakens Crunch Network

    Tor Wars: The Signal Awakens

    The long arm of the law wants ever more eyes, if you’ll pardon the gruesome metaphor. The UK government recently unveiled an attempt to legalize “draconian state surveillance powers.” US voices keep calling for a mythical “secure golden key” for government access to encrypted messages. Canadian police describe encryption plus legal decisions favoring online privacy… Read More

  • On The War On General Purpose Computing Crunch Network

    On The War On General Purpose Computing

    The powers that be want to control your phones and your drones. And who can blame them? It was inevitable. Of course they’re upset that smartphones are making it hard to catch speeders. Of course manufacturers are hurrying to ensure that drones refuse to fly to certain locations, before they’re forced to do so by law. Those are the instruments of power in today’s and… Read More

  • Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems Crunch Network

    Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems

    The most exciting promise of Big Data—and if you hate that term, you’re not alone, but I think we’re stuck with it now—is this: the data collection happening on an increasingly gargantuan scale, parsed by modern data-processing and pattern-recognition algorithms, will unearth powerful new insights into our world and, especially, human behavior. Unfortunately this is… Read More

  • Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have Crunch Network

    Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have

    Anonymity: it’s all the rage–Whisper, Secret–and it’s rage-inducing. A Brazilian court has ruled that Secret must be removed from app stores there, and existing installs remotely wiped. The UK’s House of Lords has recommended the end of online anonymity. As usual, judges and politicians don’t understand technology. Anonymity can used for awful things, yes… Read More

  • Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already? Crunch Network

    Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

    2013: “A government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face­book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur.” 2014: “Politically, it’s plutonium now for a member of Congress in this environment to be supporting something that would enhance the government’s ability to… Read More

  • Who Watches The Watchmen? Crunch Network

    Who Watches The Watchmen?

    In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s talk a little about how horrifically paranoid and counterproductive the US government has become. And I’m not even talking about Congress! Instead I mean our old friend the No Such Agency, who, it turns out, have been singling out for special treatment anyone who displays any interest in tools which might make the NSA’s life more difficult. Read More

  • Technology And The Ruling Party Crunch Network

    Technology And The Ruling Party

    “Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The sexism needs updating but the sentiment remains true. That’s been all too obvious this week, during which the powers that be did their damnedest to protect their once-secret surveillance programs…while the NSA responded to Freedom Of Information Act requests with the… Read More

  • Tomorrow’s Surveillance: Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time Crunch Network

    Tomorrow’s Surveillance: Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time

    Everyone is worried about the wrong things. Since Edward Snowden exposed the incipient NSA panopticon, the civil libertarians are worried that their Internet conversations and phone metadata are being tracked; the national-security conservatives claim to be worried that terrorists will start hiding their tracks; but both sides should really be worried about different things entirely. Read More

  • Blanket Surveillance. Total Secrecy. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Crunch Network

    Blanket Surveillance. Total Secrecy. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    Imagine that one day you came home to find a shiny little bubble of one-way glass in an upper corner of every single room, and a notice left on your kitchen table: “As required by the Safe Society Act, we have installed remotely controlled cameras throughout your home. (Also your office.) But don’t worry! They’ll probably only be activated if the government believes that… Read More

  • ParStream And Panopticon Partner To Provide Analytics And Data

    ParStream And Panopticon Partner To Provide Analytics And Data

    ParStream And Panopticon are partnering to offer data analytics and data visualization by integrating their respective platforms. ParStream offers an in-memory analtytics technology that it markets as offering sub-second response. Panapticon is known for its visual analytics and in-memory engine that can push out graphics in an event stream. Read More

  • Is The FBI Dumb, Evil, Or Just Incompetent? Crunch Network

    Is The FBI Dumb, Evil, Or Just Incompetent?

    Your government is worried. The world is “going dark.” Once upon a time, telephones were the only way to talk to someone far away, and the authorities could wiretap any phone they wanted. Nowadays, though, suspects might be communicating via Facebook, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, Viber. And so, inevitably: “Today, if you’re a tech company that’s… Read More

  • OK Glass, RIP Privacy: The Democratization Of Surveillance Crunch Network

    OK Glass, RIP Privacy: The Democratization Of Surveillance

    How’s this for synchronicity: Google Glass started shipping on the same week that CISPA passed the House, 3DRobotics unveiled their new site, and 4chan and Reddit pored over surveillance photos trying to crowdsource the identity of the Boston bombers. Cameras on phones. Cameras on drones. Cameras on glasses. Cameras atop stores, in ATMs, on the street, on lapels, up high in the sky. Read More

  • Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass? Crunch Network

    Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass?

    “First you see video. Then you wear video. Then you eat video. Then you be video.” — Pat Cadigan, Pretty Boy Crossover Sheesh. A whole lot of people who presumably have never actually seen Google Glass in action appear to be really upset. “People who wear Google Glass in public are assholes,” says Gawker’s Adrian Chen. “You won’t know if… Read More

  • Security Is Hard, But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

    Security Is Hard, But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

    Six weeks ago I was out drinking in a Kipling-themed bar in Rangoon, Myanmar–as you do–and happened to find myself next to a table of high-powered international telecommunications consultants, overhearing juicy lines like “Skype and Viber are going to kill us.” Needless to say I told Twitter right away. Then an old friend who’s also a genuine International Man… Read More

  • Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy

    Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy

    Yesterday I walked from Cambodia into Thailand. On the way out of Cambodia, I was fingerprinted; on the way into Thailand, I was photographed. While I waited for the train to Bangkok I read legendary hacker Jamie Zawinski’s tale of how the powers that be “wanted to mandate that I surveil all of my customers, and turn that information over to the Government without a warrant”… Read More

  • Move Along, No Panopticon To See Here

    Move Along, No Panopticon To See Here

    Last week Wikileaks–remember them?–released a sheaf of documents about the Trapwire security system, which, depending on who you believe, is either a network of cameras being used to spy on everyone everywhere, or an ineffective bust more notable for shady business practices than any successful surveillance. Is it being used for “monitoring every single person via facial… Read More

  • Heads Up! This Was Google’s Apple Moment

    Heads Up! This Was Google’s Apple Moment

    It looked like the X Games, but it was the most significant product launch of the decade so far. For the first time, Google did what Apple has done thrice, with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Granted, Apple announces products that ship immediately, while Google merely allowed a few thousand I/O attendees to pre-order a beta version that wouldn’t ship until next year; but don’t let… Read More

  • Selling Software That Kills

    Selling Software That Kills

    The government of Syria uses made-in-California technology from BlueCoat Systems to censor the Internet and spy on its pro-democracy activists (who are regularly arrested and tortured, not to mention slaughtered wholesale.) McAfee and Nokia Siemens have done the same in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Amesys of France and FinFisher of the UK aided brutal dictators in Egypt and Libya. Read More

  • “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    I feel uncomfortably like a prophet. In January, and again last week, I wrote about the prospect of UAVs used as weapons by terrorists; yesterday a man was arrested who “planned to attack the Pentagon using ‘small drone airplanes’ filled with explosives and guided by GPS.” In August I wrote about omnipresent mobile phones turning the world into a panopticon… Read More

  • Welcome To The Panopticon

    Welcome To The Panopticon

    And so it begins. Carnegie Mellon researchers recently combined Facebook profile pictures and PittPatt‘s facial recognition software to identify supposedly-anonymous pictures from a dating site. Now they’re planning to demo a smartphone app that identifies faces by tapping into cloud-based image databases and recognition software. What’s next? That’s a question… Read More