Data and Goliath (NEW)

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Bruce Schneier covers all the bases weaving together countless news stories and recent revelations to give us the big picture view on data and its uses in our times Pulled together in one place Schneier illustrates the urgency of finding reasonable solutions to these hidden trade offs that we ve largely accepted because we never had much of a choice And refreshingly he offers his set of solutions and next stepsSchneier s solutions like incent new business models for corporations that run on data which I agree offer broad strokes but lack practicalities of exactly how to do that Also Schneier does not present a concise definition of surveillance He shows how the same data can be used for improving systems as can be used to mo There is nothing that has made me frightened of the prospect of Donald Trump as US President than reading this book This is not because the book mentions Trump it is a safe Trump less read but because the detailed image Schneier draws of the NSA and its frenemies Google Apple and other tech companies not to mention low profile security start ups offers a truly terrifying secret police state able not only to now what we are thinking but also to shape it Schneier s moderate chatty factual tone counteracts the dystopian future content but of course this simply reinforces the dawning realisation that we are at the dawn of technologystatecorporate alliances that could fundamentally change how democracy and society workThe spine of the book is Schneier drawing on various sources he heavily uses Snowden s leaked info but also records from various court cases journalistic investigations and his own work all meticulously footnoted for easy self research to explain how data is collected stored traded and used by governments and corporations The strength of the book though the thing that will make it worth reading long after this info is out of date is Schneier s clear understanding of why this occurs how mass surveillance is about social control whether that is exerted to stop us protesting or taking drugs or to sell us things we don t need Schneier carefully demolishes the myth that surveillance fights terrorism devastatingly he asserts with footnotes that not a single terrorist attack has been prevented through mass surveillance techniues all pre emptive arrests have been the result of old fashioned targeted investigation techniues This makes sense he points out mass surveillance creates a huge amount of signal noise in the context of very rare very secretive crime If you are looking for a needle in a haystack the last thing you want to do is pile on a lot hayBut mass surveillance works very well for social control And yes there is the standard panopticon reference here But Schneier points out that Edge of Venomverse knowing that everywhere we go we are captured on camera that if Trump became president and wanted a list of every person who attended a migrant rights rally last year and their personal details and hell breakfast cereal preferences this would be a trivial reuest for the NSA this changes the way we start to behave In this context Schneier even talks about the importance of law breaking in changing stupid laws with reference to LGBTI rights marijuana legalisation etc Even if we could assume that surveillance was only used to enforce perfect compliance with the law this would stunt our growth as a society our capacity to adjust and developBut even scarier is the trade and exploitation of personal data to interested stakeholders So if you make baby formula and you want a list of potential customers you would pay handsomely for a list of low income working pregnant women who lack any maternity leave for example aey target market Or maybe a list of gullible seniors for legal scam artists This exists and someone was actually prosecuted for selling it based on browser data was actually prosecuted for selling it based on browser data legally Or maybe you want to sell your 16 airbag bulletproof six figure car to people who lost loved ones in car accidents Schneier s scariest content for me was the swirl of data between commercial exploiters and the government on the one hand the NSA could be assumed to have free rein access to Google and Apple metadata pretty much everything moving through smart phones from GPS to email to your candy crush habit and on the other governments sell data to raise cash Incredibly the British NHS is contemplating the sale of Brit s medical data providing a rich resource for all those wanting to identify the sick and vulnerable to "Sell Them ThingsOf Course "them thingsOf course is at the point that the pull is joined by a push that we need to be aware of the power of Google et al What would happen asks Schneier if Google suddenly decided only to show enrol to vote ads to Democrat voters Statistically that may be enough to swing an election Or as one real estate search service did do show property ads only for neighborhoods of predominately the same race as the searcher Or show firearms ads to suicidal people of a particular political ethnic or cultural group Or display reproductive services ads only to women from certain demographicsBecause I read neurosciencey stuff as well one of the synergies which most hit me here was research that shows how influenced we are by the seuencing of information So women who are reminded that men score better than women on math tests will do worse in the test than those who weren t Police who have just heard about a black man shooting a cop are likely to shoot unarmed black men What we see online when we see unarmed black men What we see online when we see and what follows on from that changes the way we react to situations around us The power inherent in our mobile phones our search engines and our government databases is immenseThe uestion is how do we define what we want to do with this technology The Alliance Rising: The Hinder Stars I (Alliance-Union Universe) ki. Your cell phone provider tracks your location andnows who’s with you Your online and in store purchasing patterns are recorded and reveal if you're unemployed sick or pregnant Your e mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends Google nows what you’re thinking because it saves your private searches Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning itThe powers that surveil us do than simply store this information Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the new. ,
Data and GoliathNd of people we want to beAnd finally do we really want a world where our lives are totally transparent to those with power but the workings of that power the warrants the algorithms the extent of the surveillance are as obscure as blackout curtains Whose world is this anyway Reading this book was deeply unsettling After Edward Snowden perhaps none of us is naive about how easily information about any of us can be found but the author whom the dust jacket bills as one of the world s foremost security experts takes the reader into the belly of the beast as it were After the first chapter I was reeling I work with a colleague who is extremely careful with her electronic trail I had always thought maybe she was a bit paranoid I would blithely think oh I m too boring for anyone to care to track Ha We are ALL being tracked The author says that people often say if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about He notes that that patently understates the problem People change society changes when you feel as though there is always someone watching As he notes on page 32Philosopher Jeremy Bentham conceived of his panopticon in the late 1700s as a way to build cheaper prisons His idea was a prison where every inmate could be surveilled at any time unawares The inmate would have no choice but to assume that he was always being watched and would therefore conform This idea has been used as a metaphor for mass personal data collection both on the Internet and off On the Internet surveillance is ubiuitous All of us are being watched all the time and that data is being stored forever This is what an information age surveillance state looks like and it s efficient beyond Bentham s wildest dreamsThe last section of the book has chapters with solutions for government solutions for corporations and solutions for the rest of us In the course of the book he details how corporations track us in order to sell us stuff while government forces the corporations to share the data and often to create back doors to data that compromise security for everyone He does however discourage fatalism saying on page 225There is strength in numbers and if the public outcry grows governments and corporations will be forced to respond We are trying to prevent an authoritarian government like the one portrayed in Orwell s Nineteen Eighty Four and a corporate ruled state like the ones portrayed in countless dystopian cyberpunk science fiction novels We are nowhere near either of those endpoints but the train is moving in both those directions and we need to apply the brakesHe says we as a society have been ready to give up freedom for a sense of security so stoking our fear has been a way to intrude on our privacy without an outcry He notes that this is not uniue to our own time period On page 235 he commentsThe government offers us this deal if you let us have all of your data we can protect you from crime and terrorism It s a rip off It doesn t work And it overemphasizes group security at the expense of individual security The bargain Google offers us is similar and it s similarly out of balance if you let us have all of your data and give up your privacy we will show you advertisements you want to see and we ll throw in free web search e mail and all sorts of other services Companies like Google and Facebook can only make that bargain when enough of us give up our privacy The group can only benefit if enough individuals acuiesceHe goes on to say page 237The big uestion is this how do we design systems that make use of our data collectively to benefit society as a whole while at the same time protecting people individuallyThis is the fundamental issue of the information age We can solve it but it will reuire careful thinking about the specific issues and moral analysis of how different solutions affect our core valuesWith 120 pages of bibliographical notes you could #REALLY DIG INTO THIS TOPIC MYSELF I THINK I #dig into this topic Myself I think I to let all this settle a bit As I said it is creepy and unsettling Birthday present for myself Bought it at Santa Cruz Bookstore and the cashier scolded me for taking the magnetic anti theft tracker out of the book before buying it Savor the ironyUpdate Finished the book on 313I read this at the same time I was listening to The Snowden Files and No Place To Hide on Audible so they are all jumbled up in my head They are also probably jumbled up with We Are Anonymous and Dataclysm too Instead of a review for each I just have this series of notes interspersed with work notes that I uickly jotted down in my hipster Evernote Moleskine notebook The surveillance state really seems to exist as an insurance policy for politicians than for our safety It is presented as a false choice between security and terrorism or some terrible event Machine learning algorithms which I am certainly not an expert in "I Ve Read Books On The "ve read several books on the are not well suited to detecting terror attacks or single events The cost of a false negative is a terrorist attackevent and the cost of a false positive is deploying SWAT teams manual surveillance of suspects going undercover etc There aren t enough events one hopes to effectively tune an algorithm Things machine learning algorithms are good for targeting ads profiling people demographically political leanings sexual orientation detecting fraudulent transactions spelling corrections recommending products Cost for each false posneg is very low and plenty of eventsdata points to tune with Business model offer services for free in exchange for turning over data This seems to be an accident of the Internet because no one will actually pay for content Now the data is worth than you could pay for the services Free apps with ads gross than one ti. S articles and advertisements we each see but also the prices we’re offered Governments use surveillance to discriminate censor chill free speech and put people in danger worldwide And both sides share this information with each other or even worse lose it to cybercriminals in huge data breachesMuch of this is voluntary we cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection The result is a mass surveillance society of.

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Me paid apps Data can also be resold to data brokers for additional revenue Boston Marathon bombers was not stopped by the surveillance state despite one of the brothers being on watch lists and a specific warning from Russia The bombers didn t disguise themselves and were chatty enough to tell a carjack victim that they were the bombers yet all of the NSA and FBI data was worthless for its specifically intended purpose Underwear bomber was not stopped by the surveillance state despite repeated warnings by his father at the US embassy at his country of origin It was prevented by alert bystanders on the plane I wonder how many of them were subseuently put on watch lists after emailing descriptions of the event to friends due to using specific eywords Again all the NSA and FBI data was worthless And the TSA s response was Oh yeah liuids One scary aspect of the collection of data is to think of how social norms will change in 10 years so things you said or did now could be used against you in a whole different context This was public information but Brandon Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla Corporation after it came out that he donated to Yes on Proposition 8 against gay marriage six years earlier Give me access to a decade of your email texts posts likes tweets retweets etc and I m pretty sure I could get you fired from your job or at least make it so that you can t volunteer at your Body by Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health and Transforms Medicine kid s school I saw Selma and it struck me how the FBI used personal information to put political pressure on MLK Jr in the movie That s the ultimate argument against people who say that they have nothing to hide Also I ll bet it s much easier to find and prove plagiarism now A lot of the defenses offered by the government are based on specific interpretations of words or phrases like collect Also the defense We aren t listening to your phone calls is technically true because that is much harder to process than metadata about the phone calls which can reveal much information and is much computer friendly During the Cold War the US couldn t decrypt any of Russia s messages but was still able to learn a lot through traffic analysis The US could listen in to Russia s cell phones until someone tipped them off about that and they encrypted them I like Justice Brandeis s notion of the right to be let alone It s interesting that the US Government positions itself as not being able to get much done ie Congress yet it is able to force Bolivia s presidential plane to land in Austria on a moment s notice to be searched because of a rumor that Mr Snowden was on board It s makes me wonder how much this fecklessness is real and how much is a charade CEOs of companies who make money from their customers information are happy to publicly state that privacy is deadoverratedold fashioned and then they fly off to Davos or Bohemian Grove for closed sessions I m trying not to confuse that with not wanting to be Google stalked or with PR which are different things I recently read Command and Control which is a fascinating look into the way the US nuclear arsenal was handled One very interesting part was the early struggle for control over these powerful weapons between civilian and military control Civilian eventually won out as wenow I wonder if a similar struggle is going on for control of this new powerful weapon And I wonder if it matters that this time the weapon is pointed at us instead of people on other continents I m nervous about using encryption now that I now that encrypted messages are automatically being stored I m working on a Google Doc with a list of plug ins browsers etc for staying reasonably safe and anonymous on the Internet I browsers etc for staying reasonably safe and anonymous on the Internet I the corporate tracking is actually insidious Mr Schneier has a lot of good tips like having your browser delete cookies when it closes that I m going to start using right away though it s always a balance between security and usability One personal note about Snowden In my career I have worked with a few people who haven t graduated high school not enough to draw scientifically valid conclusions about but to a person they have been brilliant but horrible to work with The main issues are 1 they have no conflict resolution skills think MTV s Real World and 2 a ton of blind spots in their nowledge that they won t acknowledge for fear their whole intellectual edifice will come crashing down I have also worked with a few people who haven t graduated college and about 12 of them are like this to a lesser extent too I m not saying high school and college are all that great especially intellectually but there is some Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa kind of necessary socialization that takes place Anyway I wonder if Snowden was a terror to work with Inow that there was at least one bad performance review from his CIA days He certainly seems to have mellowed out nicely and in the videos I have seen and transcripts I have "Read He Explains Things Very Very Patiently "he explains things very very patiently well But maybe that personality type and lack of socialization was necessary to do what he did The bottom line There is a massive surveillance apparatus built up with the stated goal of owning the Internet and getting into all the networks It is growing with the help of Moore s Law an unlimited budget and the assistance of the largest Internet companies The legal arguments being used to justify It Shocked Even The Authors shocked even the authors the Patriot Act not exactly soft hearted liberals It is immensely powerful and growing so even though it is not making us one iota safer on an individual or societal level And though for now it s in the hands of a government that we can reasonably trust the head of the NSA has already lied directly to Congress about it and there is basically no oversight or accountability for how it is use. Our own making But have we given up than we’ve gained In Data and Goliath security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path one that values both security and privacy He brings his bestseller up to date with a new preface covering the latest developments and then shows us exactly what we can do to reform government surveillance programs shake up surveillance based business models and protect our individual privacy You'll never look at your phone your computer your credit cards or even your car in the same way aga. .