Hacking WikiLeaks’ Whistle: how attack based transparency ruins leaks

11 Aug, 2016   | by:

 Using the internet to publish leaked data made the news again in the last few weeks through global media coverage of WikiLeaks’ recently published  “Erdoğan emails”, belonging to Turkey’s ruling party, and the Democratic National Conference email archive. Both stories were framed as revealing hidden truths and promoting transparency through the ever-radical distributed publishing capacity of the internet.

However, these revelations stand out because they were not leaks; there were no whistleblowers. Instead, we see two occasions where WikiLeaks used material that was purloined by hackers outside of the target organisations, who then offered the data to WikiLeaks for publication. By accepting, WikiLeaks got hacked at its own game. The DNC and AKP disclosures provide some ‘scientific journalism’ for Assange of how and why hacking-to-leak falls short. More…

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Things that caught our eye

Oakland coughs up 4.6M license plate scan privacy hairball

24 Mar, 2015   | by:

Ars Technica lets us know that one FOIA request from the cops later  they know where you’ve been. And that means sometimes what you’ve been up to. Here’s looking at you Oakland.

Things that caught our eye

Transcript: NSA Director Mike Rogers vs. Yahoo!

24 Feb, 2015   | by:

“Thank you, Admiral. My name is Alex Stamos, I’m the CISO for Yahoo!. … So it sounds like you agree with Director Comey that we should be building defects into the encryption in our products…”

NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers: “I think we can work through this.”

Transcript: NSA Director Mike Rogers vs. Yahoo! on Encryption Back Doors | Just Security.


Things that caught our eye

Can you hear me now?

20 Feb, 2015   | by:

SIM card makers hacked by NSA and GCHQ leaving cell networks wide open | Ars Technica.

“Using a fake cell tower and holding SIM encryption keys, spies are able to listen into conversations over mobile networks without asking the courts for permission for a wiretap. The method is also difficult to trace, so risk of discovery is low.”

Things that caught our eye

AAPL apps: pot yes, guns not so much

13 Feb, 2015   | by:

Apple’s walled garden is good for ganja, but doesn’t like firearms in promo material. “Designed in California” indeed.

Specifically, this week Apple allowed apps focussed on Marijuana on the App store and and geo-restricted them to US states where sale and consumption is legal.

At the same time, reports from multiple developers suggest that Apple is censoring pictures of firearms from apps’ promotional material and icons.



Things that caught our eye

Did the UK PM pledge to ban encrypted chat apps?

13 Jan, 2015   | by:

According to ArsTechnica, UK PM David Cameron commented, “Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read? My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not.'”

The Guardian has the relevant portion of Cameron’s speech.



Things that caught our eye

A Backdoor to your nudity, privacy, and online protection

9 Oct, 2014   | by:

If you read anything about privacy, encryption, and how your life will unfold through these issues, read this post by Chris Coyne. He offers some cogent arguments about why backdoors to your privacy are a bad idea.  He starts by calling out the Washington Post’s Editorial Board for advocating a golden backdoor be built our digital lives. His title: The Horror of a Secure Golden Key.


Ello Ello, bye bye Facebook?

26 Sep, 2014   | by:

Ello is new social networking space on the web that has recently received a lot of press. And signups. As writing this story, Ello’s popularity has crashed its front-end servers. (This is a problem of popularity other alternatives to Facebook like Diaspora could only dream of.)


Things that caught our eye

Forced Facebook Messaging app watches your…everything?

18 Sep, 2014   | by:

Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski claims (via Motherload) that  “[Facebook is] using some private APIs I didn’t even know were available inside the sandbox to be able to pull out your WiFi SSID (which could be used to snoop on which WiFi networks you’re connected to)” as well as more mundane analytics like which way users hold their devices, where they tap the screen, in addition to capturing the “the process list for various information on the device.”

He also tweeted that “merely having a copy of FB Messenger on your device, even if you don’t use it, could potentially be sending analytics to FB.

While Facebook’s record on privacy suggests this type of monitoring of users is expected, Zdiarski was surprised at the sheer amount of data available to be fed back to Facebook: “Messenger appears to have more spyware type code in it than I’ve seen in products intended specifically for enterprise surveillance….Ultimately it comes down to whether or not you trust Facebook not to take advantage of their position on your device to snoop on you,” Motherload reports Zdziarski wrote. “The technical capabilities to do so are certainly there.”



3D Printing is no longer Utopian – in more ways than one

15 Aug, 2014   | by:


This post offers some expanded thoughts based from the short piece I recently had published in The New York Times, Room for Debate.

To understand how the claims of 3-D printing technologies are utopian, the past myth of the “paperless office” is instructive. The paperless office was reported as a digital revolution in waiting by Business Week in 1975.

Interestingly, the questions that were being asked in 1975 of what digital, paperless work world would look like, are quite similar to questions now being asked about 3D printing.