Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Public Relations Marci Kaminsky opened the floor at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center for a discussion on “Transparency in the New Economy” by reassuring the audience that the talk was planned in advance of the recent privacy debacles concerning the IRS and the NSA. The irony of the lecture’s scheduling serves as a reminder that the issue of privacy in a technology-driven world, although more or less physically intangible, gains momentum and yields real repercussions for Americans every day.
In a capstone to illustrate the growing importance of the issue of privacy, the headlining debut of Heartland Monitor’s 17th quarterly poll disclosed a prevailing discomfort among Americans about information sharing, as well as the lag time in innovation between increasingly “smarter” technology and adequately stringent privacy measures. In presenting the data, Edward Reilly, global CEO of Strategic Communications at FTI Consulting, highlighted a key finding of a “negative gut reaction to big data” among 1000 respondents surveyed between May 29th and June 2nd of 2013—just 4 days before the controversial release of Edward Snowden’s report on the government’s PRISM program in The Washington Post and the Guardian.
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Imprint Energy, Inc. is an advanced battery technology company developing proprietary Zinc Poly™ batteries for small portable electronics, including mobile accessories, compact wireless devices, wearable technology, health and fitness monitoring, and medical devices. The Zinc Poly electrochemistry system removes longstanding limitations on the rechargeability of zinc-based batteries and offers significant volumetric energy density, form factor, cost, and processing advantages versus other rechargeable battery chemistries. Imprint Energy’s batteries are printable and patternable using low-cost manufacturing processes. The privately held company was founded in 2010 by research conducted at UC Berkeley.
RedOwl Analytics, a Baltimore MD- based software start-up harnesses the power of big data to minimize liability risk of internal employee corruption. The software tracks employee digital trails, constantly paying special attention to web chats, cell phone and email to predict certain behaviors.
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If you’re interested in technology/privacy issues then you probably heard last week’s big news out of the Boston Marathon case. It comes by way of former FBI agent Tim Clemente, who insists that our government routinely records all domestic phone calls.
Clemente’s claim generated lots of healthy skepticism. This isn’t because the project is technically infeasible (the numbers mostly add up), or because there’s no precedent for warrantless wiretapping. To me the most convincing objection was simple: it’d be hard to keep secret.* Mostly for boring phone company reasons.
But this led to another interesting discussion. What if we forget local phone eavesdropping and focus on an ‘easier’ problem: tapping only cellular phone calls.
Cellular eavesdropping seems a lot more tractable, if only because mobile calls are conducted on a broadcast channel. That means you can wiretap with almost no carrier involvement. In fact there’s circumstancial evidence that this already happening — just by different parties than you’d think. According to a new book by reporters Marc Ambinder and Dave Brown Continue reading →
You probably haven’t heard of HD Moore, but up to a few weeks ago every Internet device in the world, perhaps including some in your own home, was contacted roughly three times a day by a stack of computers that sit overheating his spare room. “I have a lot of cooling equipment to make sure my house doesn’t catch on fire,” says Moore, who leads research at computer security company Rapid7. In February last year he decided to carry out a personal census of every device on the Internet as a hobby. “This is not my day job; it’s what I do for fun,” he says. Continue reading →
Over the weekend rumors began to swirl that Facebook was looking at spending about $100 million to buy Israeli startup Face.com, to access its clever face recognition technology. Now it’s suggested via GigaOm that the momentum for the deal is actually in Russia’s search engine leader Yandex, which invested in Face in 2010, may be looking to sell its large stake in the company for a combination of cash and Facebook stock. Continue reading →
The message came from the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the order seems to have come from echelons above him: Ranger School will admit women within a few months. And the women will pass, whatever it takes.
The Ranger Training Brigade has been told to roll the welcome mat and the first class could be March 2013 but will definitely be May 2013 at the latest. Each class will receive five to eight women, and the treatment, mentoring, nurturing and ultimate success of those female candidates will be intensively managed by the Chief of Staff and the Sergeant Major of the Army, not to mention civilian appointees.
While Department of Defense and military department policies still restrict women from serving in combat units, the soldiers selected from this group will serve alongside the Army’s most elite units on the battlefield. Continue reading →
Rule one when you attend CIA case officer training, always protect the source – they teach it, and as field operatives (case officers) we live it.
As a graduate of “the Farm” and having spent the better part of my 30-year career in the intelligence community conducting and directing agent operations, I am appalled at the White House failures to protect a critical source of Pakistani Dr. Shakil Afridi – the man, who as a clandestine operative of the United States, was able to provide the key information to verify the location of Usama bin Laden.
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When Tom Cruise had to break into police headquarters in Minority Report, the futuristic crime thriller, he got past the iris scanners with ease: He just swapped out his eyeballs.
CIA agents may find that just a little beyond the call of duty. But meanwhile, they’ve got to come up with something else: The increasing deployment of iris scanners and biometric passports at worldwide airports, hotels and business headquarters, designed to catch terrorists and criminals, are playing havoc with operations that require CIA spies to travel under false identities.
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