From NPR News

Judges Have More Power In Granting Warrants To Hack Digital Devices

This doesn’t actually concern me as much as most of my associates probably think it should.

It is true that the Government can now hack your devices Router, PC, Phone, and evn your kid’s tablet.
I expect part of the reason why I’m not bothered by this as it finally confirmed that this is occurring.

You’re not paranoid if they’re actually out to get you.

There’s power and knowing that at any significant or insignificant moment of one’s life they are subject to the eye of the law. The panoptikon is here.
So what do we need to do about that?
The same things we should have been doing for the last several years because we knew this was coming whether or not it would ever have been actually confirmed.

  • License plate readers
  • HD Security cameras everywhere
  • Driver’s license photo being used in an FBI and Nationwide database that is completely searchable by a computer
  • Stingrays 
  • Public Wi-Fi hotspots it have been compromised 
  • Pegasus for iOS
  • Canaries on websites suddenly disappearing

So really are you being paranoid if they’re actually out to get you? I am alarmed but I am not surprised. This means it’s time to Double Down on my efforts to get my friends and family to use strong encryption. Our data needs to be secured at rest, in transit, and in use.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if any of us has done anything wrong comma if a warrant asks for permission to penetrate an entire subnet, and the judge they asked has no idea what that means, then it’s over. And your device is subject to the whims of the federal government.
Damn I should be more worried about this.
But the whole reason I’m not, is because this is the same set of tools yummilicious actors and anyone who doesn’t care for the rule of law is already using anyway. They don’t need a paper trail.
This newly granted power could be used for good as well as for evil. Did you ever read the story about the hacker or hackers is that short up the security 10,000 home routers? What if that’s what the FBI wants to use this power for? Why is that so hard of a stretch to think that there’s going to be a complementary team inside the doj for that. If the NSA isn’t going to defend our privacy and security online, then who will? This seems like a great opportunity to create a task force inside the doj for just this purpose.
Unfortunately we won’t really find out Anytime soon because the pending hiring freeze.

The biggest issue with the FBI doing us a service and Shoring up the holes that were used to hack other computer is, is the opacity of the process. But I think that could be pretty easily solved but having a public service announcement website simply to promote after the fact responses. We trust the police in our own communities to keep us safe in our homes Kama We Trust the US military to keep us physically safe from our enemies abroad. And when either of those two threats appear in the appropriate government agency respond we will probably have heard about it after it’s been responded to. Could we extend trust the same way to the government to keep us as secure as they possibly can in a limited fashion online?

What Lame Duck? Obama Isn’t Backing Down on These Tech Policies

1. The federal government calling for anything similar to encryption bans or regulation is a ludicrous idea. Anyone attwmpting to say this can be accomplished in a meaningful way clearly doesn’t understand encryption and the modern world where 1s and 0s ignore national borders.

The obvious result of something curtailing encryption  or inclusion of Fed-only back doors is other countries will promote the use of strong encryption and make products used by the remainder of the world.

Additionally the “rubber hose filesystem” is designed specifically with a scenario like this in mind. Any app or system implementing encryption in the future would include a plausible deniability feature where the user would easily be able to claim they never used it for such purposes.

This may manifest itself as something of Google’s Allo + Snapchat, where you can go to an encrypted session that destroys evidence of itself on a range of trivial conditions, from timing-related destruction to incorrect pass code entered X times.
2. Net Neutrality isn’t dead and it is likely the largest target for any authoritarian government, regardless of any flags flown, founding documents followed, or speeches given. The tool that is the Internet is the single largest check to disinformation. Although the Internet is rife with fake news, access to more information that must be analyzed is more likely to yield constructive decision making rather than a curated list of well-controlled propaganda. Clearly this needs to be addressed through education and some laser-scapel-precision on the part of Social Media providers

The intention of removing, blocking, modifying, or making exceptions to Net Neutrality is what I fear most from any corporation,  organization, agency, institution, or government.

Saying goodbye to an old but solid server

I researched and installed an HP x510 at a small business back in 2010 just before I was leaving Peace Corps. People I work with now think I’m crazy when I talk about server-class hardware that could last 5 or more years. I suspect this thing will work for another 6. It had it’s fair share of dead drives of course, owing much to my previous insistence on 7200RPM even for a glorified NAS. Once I understood the impact from the extra heat I started using the Western Digital RED series. I’ve set up at least three other servers using those and they haven’t failed either yet.

I stopped appreciating the excessively aggressive upgrade cycle that has been introduced with smartphones. Replacing hardware every two years isn’t on my top-ten list of favorite things to do.

This server has now been donated via Freecycle to the tech teacher at a primary school. I can only hope it serves them well too.