The New York Reach-Around

People who watch the surveillance state have known about this stuff since the early 1980s. My personal theory is that spooks talk to each other (as spooks do) and eventually word starts to leak; it’s too clever a scam to miss. Then, when a program becomes huge enough, there are tens of thousands of people using the data from it; it’s pretty easy to figure out where the data is coming from. I first encountered the international reach-around when I was at a conference and wound up talking to an interesting fellow who turned out to be a journalist that had been investigating the surveillance state for a very long time.

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More Spying on Spies

Strava’s heat map has made a lot of people step back and realize, “wow, there are side-channels to data.” Most of us in the computer security world have known that for a long time; some of us have spent our lives trying to stop such channels from happening; it’s a frustrating way to spend your life but, as Townes says, “it beats sitting around waiting to die.”

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Oh, This Old Thing?

Spook stuff fascinates me, because it’s the unwritten side of history; things that happen covertly can have huge impact, but are never publicly known. For someone like me, who is fascinated – maybe obsessed – with causality, spook stuff is a great cause of many things that we generally never know. Which means, our ability to understand the world around us is permanently compromised.

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