Security

Along with The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Phillip Pullman’s essay “Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms” must be one of his most radical pieces of writing. It corresponds to his general concern about lack of oversight over powerful institutions and speaks out powerfully against the authoritarianism that can arise in parallel with […]

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I see enormous appeal in Google’s new advanced protection system for accounts. It requires a physical token to access your account, adds further screening of attachments, and has a much tougher account recovery process for anybody who legitimately loses access to their own account. It augments the security provided by their two-factor smartphone app by […]

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The often-excellent NPR Planet Money podcast (which ran an earlier episode about “Freeway” Rick) had two notably engaging recent segments. One included an interesting account of the data-analysis-decision-action cycle in intelligence work, specifically when deciding if an assailant is an enemy counterintelligence agent or drug-addled mugger. The other discussed policy and incentive problems in the […]

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A somewhat obvious rule of internet security to add to the first three: Against a sophisticated attacker, nothing connected to the internet is secure. Everything is internet now. You should probably worry more about being attacked online by your own government than by any other organization. Sensitive data about you is largely on the computers […]

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I find the debate about Canadian arms companies selling weapons and vehicles to Saudi Arabia a little perplexing. The media coverage seems to turn on the question of whether the arms and equipment are being used to oppress the civilian population of Saudi Arabia. I find this perplexing because there seems to be ample evidence […]

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Writing in The Guardian, Jacques Peretti has compiled an interesting summary of the technological capabilities and government-to-business relationships of Palantir, a secretive technology company focused on identifying patterns within large data sets and making them accessible to people without specialized training. With sensors getting cheaper all the time, the tricky part of ubiquitous surveillance isn’t […]

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A recent Economist article describes a novel camera design with the promise to be far thinner than those that exist now, with some novel features: Not only do Dr Hajimiri’s cameras have no moving parts, they also lack lenses and mirrors—in other words, they have no conventional optics. That does away with the focal depth […]

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Gwynne Dyer makes some good points about glacier/snowpack, river flow, and geopolitical stability in this video, at 39 minutes 18 seconds:

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Nevertheless, the exact nature of launch authorization procedures is ambiguous. Several sources refer to a system of two separate codes—one civilian and the other military—amounting to a “dual key” system. However, several authoritative accounts mention a three-man rule. In particular, the code to arm a weapon can only be inserted in the presence of three […]

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Western sources claim that China had provided Pakistan with fissile material in exchange for centrifuge technology assistance. Zia-ul-Haq hoped to exploit the close relationship with the Chinese further in order to protect Pakistan from potential preventative attacks… [T]he impact of Israeli attack on Osirak and the crash of the centrifuges in 1981 forced Zia-ul- Haq […]

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