Revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance abilities have highlighted shortcomings in many Internet companies’ security practices that can expose users’ confidential communications to government eavesdroppers.
Secret government files leaked by Edward Snowden outline a U.S. and U.K. surveillance apparatus that’s able to vacuum up domestic and international data flows by the exabyte. One classified document describes “collection of communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past,” and another refers to the NSA’s network-based surveillance of Microsoft’s Hotmail servers.
Most Internet companies, however, do not use an privacy-protective encryption technique that has existed for over 20 years — it’s called forward secrecy — that cleverly encodes Web browsing and Web e-mail in a way that frustrates fiber taps by national governments.
Lack of adoption by Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others is probably due to “performance concerns and not valuing forward secrecy enough,” says Ivan Ristic, director of engineering at the cloud security firm Qualys. Google, by contrast, adopted it two years ago.
Technology is transforming how everybody builds solutions and faster access to the latest technology gives you an unfair advantage. I work in Silicon Valley and we benefit from that unfair advantage. This is because the technology being invented here is not incremental but disruptive.
You will notice the inclusion of Guardtime signatures. By signing all objects with Guardtime signatures it means we no longer have to trust the cloud provider – another game changer! A technology that scales so well it has been included in rysylog.
Tesla technologies can revolutionize communications as we know them today. here is demonstrated one example where it outperforms standard electro-magnetic or transverse wave propagation.
A German Electrical Engineer operating under the pseudonym TheOldScientist demonstrates the existence of Longitudinal/Scalar Waves. Classical Electromagnetic-Waves are Transverse and can be shielded through the use of a Faraday Cage. L/S Waves on the other hand bypass all manner of barriers, and have been shown to propagate at superluminal speeds as well. Proper utilization of S/L Waves can open up broad vistas for communications technologies as well as eliminate electro-smog (a byproduct of unharnessed scalar-pollution currently produced by traditional EM-technologies).
My (new) colleagues at the University of Chicago recently launched a new and exciting program called “Data Science for Social Good”. The program, which launches this summer, will bring together dozens top-notch data scientists, computer scientists an social scientists to address major social challenges. Advisors for this initiative include Eric Schmidt (Google), Raed Ghani (Obama Administration) and my very likable colleague Jake Porway (DataKind). Think of “Data Science for Social Good” as a “Code for America” but broader in scope and application. I’m excited to announce that QCRI is partnering with this important new program given the strong overlap with our Social Innovation Vision, Strategy and Projects.
Both humanitarian and development organizations are completely unprepared to deal with the rise of “Big Crisis Data” & “Big Development Data.” But many still hope that Big Data is but an illusion. Not so, as I’ve already blogged here, here and here. This explains why I’m on a quest to tame the Big Data Beast. Enter Zooniverse. I’ve been a huge fan of Zooniverse for as long as I can remember, and certainly long before I first mentioned them in this post from two years ago. Zooniverse is a citizen science platform that evolved from GalaxyZoo in 2007. Today, Zooniverse “hosts more than a dozen projects which allow volunteers to participate in scientific research” (1). So, why do I have a major “techie crush” on Zooniverse?
Oh let me count the ways. Zooniverse interfaces are absolutely gorgeous, making them a real pleasure to spend time with; they really understand user-centered design and motivations. The fact that Zooniverse is conversent in multiple disciplines is incredibly attractive. Indeed, the platform has been used to produce rich scientific data across multiple fields such as astronomy, ecology and climate science. Furthermore, this citizen science beauty has a user-base of some 800,000 registered volunteers—with an average of 500 to 1,000 new volunteers joining every day! To place this into context, the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF), a digital humanitarian group has about 1,000 volunteers in total. The open source Zooniverse platform also scales like there’s no tomorrow, enabling hundreds of thousands to participate on a single deployment at any given time. In short, the software supporting these pioneering citizen science projects is well tested and rapidly customizable.
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One of the most attractive features of many microtasking platforms such as Zooniverse is quality control. Think of slot machines. The only way to win big is by having three matching figures such as the three yellow bells in the picture above (righthand side). Hit the jackpot and the coins will flow. Get two out three matching figures (lefthand side), and some slot machines may toss you a few coins for your efforts. Microtasking uses the same approach. Only if three participants tag the same picture of a galaxy as being a spiral galaxy does that data point count. (Of course, you could decide to change the requirement from 3 volunteers to 5 or even 20 volunteers). This important feature allows micro-tasking initiatives to ensure a high standard of data quality, which may explain why many Zooniverse projects have resulted in major scientific break-throughs over the years.
If the details about this deal are true, it could be a game-changer for the enterprise cloud market.
That’s because Amazon Web Services will help the CIA build a “private cloud” filled with technologies like big data, reports Konkel, citing unnamed sources.
The CIA is pretty closed-lipped about its business, as spies are apt to be. This is no exception. It won’t confirm the deal or comment on it, so details are sketchy. But the contract is expected to be for a “private” cloud, which is not what AWS is known for.
AWS is the largest “public” cloud provider. In general, the term “private cloud” means using cloud computing technologies in a company’s own data center. Public clouds are in hosted facilities, where the hardware is shared with many users. Sharing the hardware saves money.
On a recent trip to Shenzhen, China, a group of MIT students discovered that you can buy a cell phone there for as little as $10. While the cost of mobile phones has continued to decrease over time, the fact that you can buy a gadget that can make phone calls and send text messages (and has a working battery) for that price is pretty astonishing. The head of MIT’s Media Lab, Joi Ito, reckons that these are likely the world’s cheapest phones.
A $10 price tag means that virtually anyone in the world can afford a mobile phone. Moreover, in parts of the world where basic phones are still more predominant than the “smart” variety gaining steam in the developed world, local infrastructure makes these gadgets more powerful than even smartphones in rich countries.
In Kenya, more than 30 percent of its GDP is fueled by M-Pesa, a mobile payments system that operates via text message. (See a video about M-Pesa here.) Though they may make life easier, smartphones in developed countries have not yet become anywhere near as important to driving economic growth.
Despite the rapid proliferation of smartphones in many countries, basic mobile phones still account for the majority of those used around the world. And given the tremendous economic possibilities for mobile payment systems to create economic growth, perhaps the most basic, cheapest cell phone might make it the world’s most useful.
A devastating earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. Two weeks later, on January 27th, a CrowdFlower was used to translate text messages from Haitian Creole to English. Tens of thousands of messages were sent by affected Haitians over the course of several months. All of these were heroically translated by hundreds of dedicated Creole-speaking volunteers based in dozens of countries across the globe. While Ushahidi took the lead by developing the initial translation platform used just days after the earthquake, the translation efforts were eventually rerouted to CrowdFlower. Why? Three simple reasons:
CrowdFlower is one of the leading and most highly robust micro-tasking platforms there is;
CrowdFlower’s leadership is highly committed to supporting digital humanitarian response efforts;
Haitians in Haiti could now be paid for their translation work.
Intel is reportedly on the cusp of delivering something that consumers around the world have been wanting for a long, long time.Kelly Clay at Forbes reports Intel is going to blow up the cable industry with its own set-top box and an unbundled cable service.Clay says Intel is planning to deliver cable content to any device with an Internet connection. And instead of having to pay $80 a month for two hundred channels you don’t want, you’ll be able to subscribe to specific channels of your choosing.
Thomas Leo Briggs is a retired CIA operations officer with 3 years military experience in US Army military police, 3 years as a Special Agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration and 26 years in the CIA. He tried to make use of computer capabilities to aid and assist humint operations in a variety of ways throughout his last 18 years as an operations officer. He is also the author of Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos (Rosebank Press, 2009).
Intelligence Agencies Move Towards Single Super-Cloud by Heny Kenyon, Aol Defense, 17 December 2012
So, what we have here, according to Mr. Kenyon, is an effort to develop a pan-agency set of computer servers so that the analysts of all intelligence community (IC) agencies may share data and resources. One reported hope being that such a system will break down existing boundaries between agencies and change their insular cultures.
The first thing a reader notices is that the alleged motivations for this super-cloud are lower costs and higher efficiency. Secondly, the CIA already operates a cloud slightly separate from an NSA cloud consisting of five other intelligence agencies and the FBI. Is that like being slightly pregnant? Does that provide truly lower costs, higher efficiency, and shared resources and data? Wouldn’t one expect to find different data and resources on each cloud, though some data and resources may be the same? Moreover, the NSA cloud incorporates the smaller organization-wide clouds of its partner agencies and, in addition, the National Reconnaissance Office has its own plan to build its own cloud. Seems all of that that does not make for lowest costs and highest efficiencies – nor one super-cloud.