Hello! It is Friday. Here are some things that you should read. Or not. Like, whatever, man. *takes a drag from a cigarette behind the mall with the other surveillance digest teens*
In 2010, Russian hackers infected the NASDAQ with malware. The goddamn stock exchange got a virus. The software didn’t steal anything, but rather, was designed to cause havoc. Putting aside the technological implications of the attack for a minute, that’s definitely one way to say “fuck you” to capitalism. But maybe the best part about this Businessweek story is just how casual cyberepsionage now seems – as common as buying clothes online or having 4G in the middle of the woods, I guess. It reads like a Gibson novel. Except Gibson was writing this stuff in the 80s.
After a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling last month, cellular carriers Rogers and Telus will no longer give basic subscriber information to law enforcement
and government agencies without a warrant (though some government agencies still have statutory power to compel the disclosure of this information without one). Smell that? It’s the smell of progress.
Maybe the best thing about Wikipedia isn’t that it can be edited by anyone, but that anyone can see what’s been edited. Which is sort of awkward if you’re a government employee trying to erase your party’s scandals from the internet’s encyclopedia. To think we now live in a world where Twitter bots track Wikipedia edits from government IP addresses to automate this humiliation.
If you still don’t get Net Neutrality this video is A Thing You Should Watch ft. Smart Internet Scholars dot mp4.
The Nest learning thermostat – that thing Google bought for $84 billion and a herd of dairy cows – sends all sorts of information back to Google. Unless you’re these guys. They hacked a Nest so that it can’t phone home. Posting your password to prove that passwords are dead is just…I don’t know, man. I don’t know. Not that the cops will have trouble getting your data either way. Apple is apparently so deluged by police requests to decrypt seized iPhones that it’s gone the sunday morning brunch route and created a wait list.
License plate scanning technology means police have a comprehensive record of all the teens driving to Make-out Cliff. Probably.
The Canadian government passed a bill last month giving it “broad new powers to share Canadian immigration files and other information with foreign governments" – but no one really knows what information can be shared, or whether appropriate oversight has been put in place. That’s the best way to share information, in my opinion. The watchdog at Canada’s cyberspy agency CSEC is worried that other intelligence agencies in the Five Eyes aren’t protecting information about Canadians. Meanwhile, a bill presented to Australian parliament earlier this week would criminalize the reporting of Snowden-esque documents and punish intelligence whistleblowers. My favourite kind of transparency is the kind that’s blacker than black.
There’s a new Snowden interviewover at The Guardian, warning “lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations,” AND I’M GOING TO KEEP YELLING AT CANADIAN MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS UNTIL THEY DO. Oh, and, uh, Ed’s cool with going to Guantánamo too, if it comes to that. This Q&A with The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman on his Snowden reporting is also very good.
SPRING BISHOP is the name of my new band, but it’s also a GCHQ codename. The British spy agency, ever so concerned with how it looks to the public, has tools to modify online polls (UNDERPASS), artificially inflate traffic (GATEWAY) or pageviews (SLIPSTREAM) and…uh, connect two unsuspecting phone calls together like you did when you were 13.
Finally, Wired covers Google’s secret team of bug hunters, Project Zero, who are tasked with discovering so-called “zero day” vulnerabilities in software before criminals, intelligence and state-sponsored hackers can exploit them first. “Zero Day” is the name of my band’s first EP.
Here’s this week’s surveillance slowjam. There’s a website re-design coming down the pipe soon too.
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