Tech at Night: This is why we need the NSA

On September 7, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

We need the NSA. I know the new hotness is following after Rand Paul’s inane blathering, and finding reasons to complain about the NSA. But rather than old and busted, the NSA is actually an important thing to have and to defend.

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Tech at Night: Your phone calls and texts were never secure.

On September 4, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Sometimes, we forget just how little privacy we have against a determined attacker. So often we rely just on the fact that we believe our communications are of so little importance, that nobody will take the effort to try to snoop on us.

So once in a while we get concerned, when we hear about some sort of mass snooping, that means no extra effort has to be engaged to read our own individual, personal data. Then we want to assign blame, as though this mass snooping caused our lack of privacy.

We need to fix this muddled thinking and understand the limits of our privacy.

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Tech at Night

Anarchy is back. The last time anarchy was a noticeable political movement in the world, bomb throwing anarchists were killing heads of state and government leaders, as part of their scheme to take the whole system down, and impose socialist rule. Of course they claimed socialist rule didn’t really count as rule, because ideology.

Well, these days world leaders are much better protected, so instead the anarchists are going after websites and just trying to disrupt, particularly online. We must be mindful of this, create cybersecurity policies that let government and industry share information (through bills like CISA), and make sure to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

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Tech at Night

I’ve taken some criticism for saying over and over again in this space, that kids don’t belong on the Internet (unsupervised and uncontrolled really), and that classrooms should not have Internet access introduced. The basic problem is that unfettered Internet access brings bullies and predators to kids. It also means pornography will just keep popping up, and there’s no way to fix that with these uncontrolled environments. It’s just not worth the risks.

Have you quit using Mozilla Firefox yet? It’s time to switch, yet again, as Mozilla has taken an extremist political position for no real reason except that the project has been completely hijacked by radical ideologues. Not only are they for zombie Net Neutrality, they’re claiming the Obama FCC isn’t going far enough. Lunacy.

Look, it doesn’t really matter what browser you use: MS Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Chromium, Google Chrome Opera, or w3m. Just switch to anything that doesn’t fund this left-wing outlet.

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Tech at Night

The longer you look at regulatory policy in this country, the more you run into special interests looking out for their own personal payoffs. But seriously, I feel like terrestrial broadcasters are the worst of all when it comes to acting entitled. Waah waah we’re big fat socialists and we don’t want to have to pay the people who made the stuff we’re broadcasting. Meanwhile, Waah waah we want to restrict competition amongst ourselves to retransmit our broadcasts on cable.

Virtually every company, every industry I write about in this space goes around lobbying in DC for some advantage. But nobody gets so many special protections and is so rabid in protecting them at any cost, as terrestrial broadcasters. At some point, small government folks are going to have to smash this racket.

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Tech at Night

Edward Snowden is in full propaganda mode for Vladimir Putin, basically becoming Putin’s puppet. I’m sure he’s enjoying his award nominations while his patron state terrorizes women.

Barack Obama showed weakness when he even floated the possibility that America would turn our control of ICANN over to other countries. Down in Brazil they’re all over that idea (the anarchists are claiming they want a non-governmental control, but look, in a world with Russia and China, and even the EU countries like Germany having ‘national champions’, that’s not happening). India’s game, too. Republicans, and heck it’d help if Democrats did it to, must signal that the next President will not let this happen.

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Tech at Night

As the rest of the world attacks us every day, people just keep looking to demonize NSA. And it’s foreign threats we need to worry about, and that link doesn’t even talk about the state-sponsored threats out there.

Troubling news, as Democrats want to apply speech codes online, using a shooting to push for online censorship. Never let a crisis go to waste, so say the progressives.

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Tech at Night

If you want an explanation of the ‘Heartbleed’ bug in the news, Francis Cianfrocca gives a good explanation in Coffee and Markets. But more important is his point about NSA. He always speaks carefully about that organization, but in his roundabout way he made an excellent point: NSA has a dual mandate. NSA’s job is both to break into enemy communications, and to protect our communications. The Heartbleed bug is so devastating that if they knew about it, they’d have to work to protect us from it, before someone else could use it against us. That’s how bad it is. There’s no way they knew about it a year.

If you don’t like that businesses hire lobbyists, shrink government and quit picking winners and losers so they don’t have to.

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Tech at Night

The Obama administration’s argument for handing the Internet over to the UN is bonkers. Literally they’re saying that the answer to them complaining that we’re in control, is to hand the Internet over, and hope they behave. Republicans are right to try to prevent this.

Protip: running programs to check somebody else’s computers for critical security holes, without asking permission first, is most definitely a crime. By the way, anyone trying to tell you that NSA has been using the known OpenSSL “Heartbleed” bug for a long time had better be careful, since the bug has only existed for so long. Of course, who seriously trusts ‘anonymous sources’ in this day and age? Those are what they use to hit Republicans, so why should we trust them now?

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Tech at Night

I talk about anarchists often in this space, but I mean it. These people are a threat. Here’s one cell making threats and demanding $3 billion from Google in blackmail.

And that’s why it’s so incredibly insane that the US Government keeps playing blame the victim with these guys, as in the Wyndham case. It’s going to be up to the Congress to reel in the FTC on this.

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