Monday, August 22, 2011

In the news: Privacy, security, hacking

Six tidbits in the news - some a bit late in being posted, others quite recent - in three categories:
  1. Privacy a: The Week in Privacy (Just Between You and Me) Peter Catapano (New York Times, June 17, 2011) reviews the "the theory of the insidious plot to flood the minds and bodies of the American public with ever-more-mesmerizing and shinier technological gadgets and distractions so that those who already mostly control the world can for their own benefit further monitor and control the behaviors of the powerless masses, and that said powerless masses will be too busy operating or figuring out how to operate their new personal devices to even know what happened"
  2. Privacy b: Just Give Me the Right to Be Forgotten Natasha Singer (New York Times, August 20, 2011) wishes that people in the United States had something like "the data protection directive of the European Union," under which "people who have contracted with a company generally have a right to withdraw their permission for it to keep their personal data. Under this 'right to be forgotten,' Europeans who terminate frequent-flier memberships, for example, can demand that airlines delete their flight and mileage records."
  3. Security: Federal Push for ‘Cloud’ Technology Faces Skepticism Sean Collins Walsh (New York Times, August 21, 2011) reports on security concerns raised in the light of enthusiasm in some corners for using cloud hosts for some Federal agencies. The "selling points" include "lower cost [and] greater flexibility, because agencies can change the size of a project without having to add or subtract from their computing infrastructure." The unpromising history (so far) of deficits in Internet-linked computing some people worried.
  4. Hackers a: Deploying New Tools to Stop the Hackers Christopher Drew and Verne G. Kopytoff (New York Times, June 17, 2011) describe some of the threats to the security of Internet-accessible computers, as well as some of new approaches to fighting back.
  5. Hackers b: Web Site Ranks Hacks and Bestows Bragging Rights Riva Richmond (New York Times, August 21, 2011) reports an "upstart" Web site which "offers a way to separate the skilled [hackers] from the so-called script kiddies by verifying hacks using codes that participants must plant somewhere on sites they have compromised."
  6. Hackers c:  Master Hacker Kevin Mitnick Shares His 'Addiction' "Famed hacker" Kevin Mitnick is interviewed (All Things Considered, August 21, 2011) about his new book, Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker.
Arms races are alive and well.
Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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