This year we’ve gotten one question from listeners more than any other: is Facebook eavesdropping on my conversations and showing me ads based on the things that I say? This week, Alex investigates.
Tagged with “surveillance” (22)
Remember the whole Superhuman kerfuffle of the last week or so? Mike Davidson wrote a blog post calling out some shady stuff in the Superhuman email product, all of silicon valley debated it, Superhuman walked things back a bit, and actually, I didn’t mention this, but Mike had a second post about this, which was even more in depth an eloquent than the first one. So, I reached out to Mike to talk about this whole thing, not because I wanted to re-litigate it, but because I wanted to poke at… well, what I said last week… what does this whole debate say about the discourse in tech at the moment?
Shoshana Zuboff, John Thornhill and Ece Temelkuran with Andrew Marr.
Society is at a turning point, warns Professor Shoshana Zuboff. Democracy and liberty are under threat as capitalism and the digital revolution combine forces. She tells Andrew Marr how new technologies are not only mining our minds for data, but radically changing them in the process. As Facebook celebrates its 15th birthday she examines what happens when a few companies have unprecedented power and little democratic oversight.
Although behavioural data is constantly being abstracted by tech companies, John Thornhill, Innovations Editor at the Financial Times, questions whether they have yet worked out how to use it effectively to manipulate people. And he argues that the technological revolution has brought many innovations which have benefitted society.
The award-winning writer Ece Temelkuran has warned readers about rising authoritarianism in her native Turkey. In her new book, How To Lose a Country, she widens that warning to the rest of the world. She argues that right-wing populism and nationalism do not appear already fully-formed in government - but creep insidiously in the shadows, unchallenged and underestimated until too late.
Britt and Ellie explore what the internet of the future could (or should) look like.
All around the world, governments are increasingly looking at control of the internet; whether it’s to regulate content, hide or ban content or increase ownership of your data.
Is this the opposite of what the internet was originally designed to be - a free, open and uncensored space?
In this seventh episode, Britt Wray and Ellie Cosgrave meet the people who want to bring that dream back using their alternative internet networks. Together, they imagine what the internet could or should look like in the future.
Cory Doctorow joins Britt and Ellie to navigate this huge subject as we meet former Wikileaks journalist James Ball, blockchain experts Stephen Tual and Juan Benet, Jilian York from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, security researcher Leonie Tanczer, Chaos Computer Club spokesman Linus Neumann, TOR developer Isis Agora Lovecruft and Mr C, co-founder of Hack Lab.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wants to put an end to net neutrality rules, a move that shouldn’t be surprising given the position he took on the issue during the Obama era. But why? Recode’s Tony Romm is here to explain why Pai is so against these regulations. Afterwards, we’ll look at Amazon’s new Echo Look, a device that can snap photos of you and provide some fashion advice. Zeynep Tufekci, an associate sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, argues this is the latest evidence that suggests "surveillance capitalism" may take over our lives. Plus: Ryan McKnight, an ex-Mormon, talks about his website MormonLeaks — a venue for members of the Mormon Church to post information anonymously.
The Internet as we’ve built it is getting boring and creepy. Everything is tracked forever, not just by sneaky governments, but by advertisers who see any human relationship as a sales opportunity. We’re told to confess our interests, our activities, and our physical location to a small group of centralized companies, or risk being forever left behind. But being left behind is starting to sound more appealing.
What would it mean to have a more human Internet? How can we keep the convenience and fun without sacrificing so much of our dignity? How can we fix the online world so we’ll be proud to pass to our children? And where do we begin?
Orwellian threats caused the New York Times to spike a story on NSA spying way back in 2004 | Public Radio International
In 2004, the New York Times was about to publish a story on domestic spying. But its editor at the time, Bill Keller, ended up spiking the story after visiting the White House and being told its publication could cause the next 9/11 terrorist attack.
Find out more at: http://re-publica.de/session/nsa-are-not-stasi-godwin-mass-surveillance
It’s tempting to compare NSA mass surveillance to the GDR’s notorious Stasi, but the differences are more illuminating than the similarities.
Cory Doctorow Electronic Frontier Foundation
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)
Melissa Block speaks with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras about her new film, Citizenfour that charts her meeting with Edward Snowden and his subsequent revelations about government surveillance.
The NSA reaches out
Of her eight great-grandparents, seven were murdered at Auschwitz.
“So my family’s history burned into me a fear of what occurs when the power of a state is turned against its people or other people.”
Seeking freedom from threats like that brought her parents from Hungary to America.
By 1976 they had saved up to take their first flight abroad.
Their return flight from Tel Aviv was high-jacked by terrorists and landed at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
Non-Jewish passengers were released and the rest held hostage.
The night before the terrorists were to begin shooting the hostages, a raid by Israeli commandos saved most of the passengers.
Anne Neuberger was just a baby in 1976.
“My life would have looked very different had a military operation not brought my parents home. It gives me a perspective on the threats of organized terror and the role of intelligence and counterterrorism.”
When she later entered government service, she sought out intelligence, where she is now the principal advisor to the Director for managing NSA’s work with the private sector.
The NSA, Neuberger said, has suffered a particularly “long and challenging year” dealing with the public loss of trust following the Snowden revelations.
The agency is reviewing all of its activities to determine how to regain that trust.
One change is more open engagement with the public.
“This presentation is a starting point."
“My family history,” she said, "instilled in me almost parallel value systems – fear of potential for overreach by government, and belief that sometimes only government, with its military and intelligence, can keep civilians safe. Those tensions shape the way I approach my work each day.
I fully believe that the two seemingly contradictory factors can be held in balance.
And with your help I think we can define a future where they are.”
The National Security Agency, she pointed out, actively fosters the growth of valuable new communication and computing technology and at the same time “needs the ability to detect, hopefully deter, and if necessary disable lethal threats.”
To maintain those abilities over decades and foster a new social contract with the public, Neuberger suggested contemplating 5 tensions, 3 scenarios, and 3 challenges.
The tensions are…
1) Cyber Interdependencies (our growing digital infrastructure is both essential and vulnerable); 2) Intelligence Legitimacy Paradox (to regain trust, the NSA needs publicly understood powers to protect and checks on that power); 3) Talent Leverage (“the current surveillance debates have cast NSA in a horrible light, which will further hamper our recruiting efforts”); 4) Personal Data Norms (the growing Internet-of-things—Target was attacked through its air-conditioning network—opens vast new opportunities for tracking individual behavior by the private as well as public sector); 5) Evolving Internet Governance (the so-far relatively free and unpoliticized Internet could devolve into competing national nets).
Some thirty-year scenarios… 1) Intelligence Debilitated (with no new social contract of trust and thus the loss of new talent, the government cannot keep up with advancing technology and loses the ability to manage its hazards); 2) Withering Nation (privacy obsession hampers commercial activity and government oversight, and nations develop their own conflicting Internets); 3) Intelligent America (new social contract with agreed privacy norms and ongoing security assurance).
Initiatives under way from NSA…
1) Rebuild US Trust (move on from “quiet professionals” stance and actively engage the public); 2) Rebuild Foreign Trust (“extend privacy protections previously limited to US citizens to individuals overseas”); 3) Embrace Collective Oversight (reform bulk collection programs in response to the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board).
As technology keeps advancing rapidly, the US needs to stay at the forefront in terms of inventing the leading technical tools to provide public services and maintain public security, plus the policy tools to balance civil liberties with protection against ever-evolving threats.
“My call to action for everyone in this audience is get our innovative minds focussed on the full set of problems.”
A flood of QUESTION CARDS came to the stage, only a few of which we could deal with live.
Anne Neuberger wanted to take all the questions with her to share with NSA colleagues, so Laura Welcher at Long Now typed them up.
I figure that since the questioners wanted their questions aired on the stage to the live and video audience, they would like to have them aired here as well.
And it would be in keeping with the NSA’s new openness to public discourse.
Ms. Neuberger agreed…
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