Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Links

  • Possibly taking energy efficiency measures into account in home loans?  Sounds good to me.
  • Recent extreme flooding events in central Europe likely due to jet stream anomalies driven by climate change.
  • The Guardian tells us who is responsible for the recent NSA leaks.  I guess there are two lessons here: 1) the Internet lends itself to massive surveillance of the populace, but 2) it's very difficult to keep the massive surveillance secret.

1 comment:

James said...

There is a feedback loop for "keeping these things secret" - and that is long prison terms for the likes of Snowden/Manley/Assange. Depending on how much time these guys end up spending in prison, keeping such things secret might be easier in the future.

With regard to the fact that various governments are currently insisting that they are not spying on their own citizens, there is a pretty obvious loophole that nobody seems to be discussing. That is that the British/US/Canadian electronic spy agencies have a long history of deep co-operation and are known to share resources and information. So imagine someone at the FBI has suspicions about Stuart Staniford and wants his (hypothetical) google email account checked out. It seems to me that he can pass a request for information to the NSA, who in turn could pass the request to the British GCHQ, who could use the backdoor access into Google's servers that was provided to them by the NSA to read all of Stuart's email and pass back "No worries, Stuart is clean". Voila - the letter of the law is respected and Obama can honestly say "We are not reading your emails", because when he says "we" he is definitely not including his close allies. If we are going to use our allies to torture people for us, we are definitely going to use our allies for a bit of electronic snooping. Personally, I think the snooping is small beer compared to extrajudicial executions of one's own citizens.