Metadata for beginners

metadataForBeginnersMany people I’ve spoken to seem to think that they don’t have anything to hide, and as long as the government isn’t listening in on the actual phone conversations, then they’re fine with it. As you might guess, I’m not. This slide from 30th Chaos Communication Congress (30C3) hits the head on the nail.

Director of national Intelligence James Clapper lies to US Congress – without consequences?

James_R._Clapper_official_portrait

So, James Clapper, US Director of national Intelligence, lies to Congress. First he calls the lie the “least untruthful” answer he could publicly provide, and then cites a momentary memory failure. Seven congressmen take issue with James Clapper’s testimony, but Obama administration unlikely to turn against director.

See: Republicans demand consequences for ‘willful lie’ by intelligence chief | World news | theguardian.com

Let me recap: James Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force (you’d think he knows right from wrong, truth from lie), lies under oath to US Congress and it is not likely to have any consequences for him.

Initially I’m astounded, but after a while, I’m sadly less surprised.

What kind of a message does that send?

If guys like him lie willfully under oath, how does that say about their credibility when not under oath?

 

Big Brother sees all but can’t keep a secret?

1984Two news items from this week have me quite uneasy.

The NSA is basically listening in on every US citizen. For the sake of argument, let me assume that they get everything. So far I don’t think we’re quite there yet here in Denmark.

Data held by the Danish police has been hacked. We’re not sure exactly what the hackers have had access to, but we do know they’ve had at least read+write access to all driver’s license data and read access to the Schengen Information System, a large European database on police and judicial co-operation. They’ve been lurking around in there undetected for 6 months. Do you believe that is all they’ve had access to? In 2011 Pentagon Admitted 24,000 Files Were Hacked too.

So Big Brother is watching us. This is not hearsay, but documented fact at least in the US. Also, now, we know Big Brother cannot keep its own secrets.

Yikes. Either of these two news stories are bad enough individually. But this is a nasty combination.

Getting older?

The other day, I was cooking, and it was time to set the table.

Suddenly I found myself standing in the storage/utility room. And I had no idea why I was there. “Peter, you need to set the table! Get back on track!” – I told myself.

So I went back into the kitchen. Looked at the table: What was missing? Ah, drinks. OK, glasses, plastic cup for my daughter, pitcher of water – check. “Hey, I’d like a Coke”, so I opened the fridge. No Cokes. Should probably put some in the fridge for next time I want a Coke. I went to the utility room, and suddenly it hit me: That is what I was doing in the storage room! Getting Cokes for the fridge!

Man, I think I’m… What was it? … Yes, I’m getting older!

Watches – Oh – Watches

I love watches.

Being a techie, I really can’t accept a watch that isn’t accurate. The accuracy of a quartz-crystal based watch is the minimum. I wish I could get a Rolex, Omega or other really nice looking watch, but I just can’t accept the accuracy I’ll get from a watch like that. So all the beautiful Swiss watches are out for me. But there are alternatives:

Continue reading Watches – Oh – Watches

Great Courses at Coursera

I’m currently taking a Cryptology course at Stanford University via Coursera. It came recommended by Bruce Schneier on Security: Free Cryptography Class, and I find it a great way to expand my knowledge. I really appreciate the level. Just enough for it to be challenging and stimulating, but also not too hard or too much work, so I can still fit it in with family and work.

And in addition, the courses are free!

Thanks, Coursera and participating universities for making this possible.

Check it out! There are courses in:

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Society, Networks, and InformationEconomics, Finance, and Business
  • Humanities and Social SciencesHealthcare, Medicine, and Biology

All provided by professors from top-notch univerities in the US.

I’ve only tried the Cryptology course, but it rocks!

Peter