Wednesday, 4 March 2015

why are spies so heavy on the secret acronyms?

It's a few days until the next round of Apple launches, which will probably include more information about their watch (ask about the battery life), some existing things made slimmer and presumably something news related to their home and television offerings.

They may have some catchup on home offerings. I was mildly intrigued a few days ago when our home central heating published an update to its software licensing agreement (which is via Google). I guess it's the shape of things to come as we all go telemetric.

Around 1/3 of the world now carries smartphones popularly considered akin to the supercomputers of ten years ago. Big business is keen to access all of that interaction and related usage statistics and the trend will only continue as greater access to health and home information becomes possible.

The challenge is to figure out how to use it all for good things rather than bad things.

The Edward Snowdon story (discussed again yesterday in a Guardian briefing) illustrates how movies like Enemy of the State become ever closer to reality. In the recent Kingsman movie the evil overlord manufactures free SIMM cards to get mind control. It's a similar path to the NSA allegedly getting access to phone cryptographic keys to intercept our call meta data.

There's a supposition that the IMP*-ish agencies can tap 1EF* fibre optic cables from tin sheds and then use MVR* with xkeyscore* trigger words to secretly sift through vast content and metadata.

Here's one such architecture award-winning tin shed on the B3315 at what used to be Skewjack Surf Shack: "Web Surf's Up, Dude!"

Theres an awful lot of this 'on the fly' MTI* data for the Nigella* link to cook, so perhaps the content can only be stored for a few days and the metadata for maybe a month?

For regular folk it becomes a question of working out how to live with these fairly unstoppable forces. We'll all have iPhone 8s and their equivalents soon enough. For the politicians, state and big business there's an increasing need to stay in the good space rather than to slither stealthily into a manipulative darkness.

I'm not sure that keeping an old Nokia and some Baco foil close at hand would really provide an alternative.


* MVR = Massive Volume Reduction
* IMP = Interception Modernisation Programme
* MTI = Mastering The Internet
* 1EF = One End Foreign (non USA)
* Nigella = fibre optic wiretap name, operated by FLAG*
* FLAG = Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe, owned by Reliance Communications of Navi Mumbai, India.
* XKeyscore = user friendly, plug-in enabled massive volume search mechanism

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