NSA Leaks and the Future of Surveillance

  • Posted on July 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm by gabe.

Artist Adam Bartholl’s Dead Drop puts private storage in public

Authored by Gabe McCoy and Kevin Hamilton, mostly before the most recent revelations (and also heavily revised in light of them).

After the Snowden leaks about PRISM, we still don’t know much about exactly how the government is spying on its citizens. All signs point to a level of surveillance that is taking place deep inside realms we traditionally define as “private.”

One thing we know, however, is at least one approach the NSA is taking to the law, and this approach does not bode well for the future. Their argument suggests a much more conservative approach to privacy than they seem to have actually adhered to, if XKeyscore is working as advertised. But even if they “retreat” from the current level of snooping, to a level that conforms to their expressed standard, problems will remain. At the heart of their approach – and much of the outrage – is an inadequate approach to the definitions of private and public. (more…)

Options for Self-Viewing on Facebook

  • Posted on February 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm by Kevin Hamilton.

fb screenshot

In-progress research notes, shared as evidence of process.

Facebook allows you to see what your timeline looks like to strangers, or to individual friends, including friends from whom you hide certain posts. This affords the user something like the view offered from a “true mirror” or a live video feed of oneself. But even this view is limited, in that these views don’t include items that you excluded from your timeline. (more…)

Your internet from the other end (pt 1)

  • Posted on January 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm by Kevin Hamilton.

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlekilljoy

One of our first questions as a group was this: What it does it look like to stand in the position of a broadband internet provider and look back down the pipe toward a household? We asked some experts around here, including a friendly new provider in our town, a network analysis researcher, and some system administrators.

The answer turns out to be pretty complicated. (more…)