Look, I’m not for 4th Amendment overreach but this PRISM thing. Let’s be honest…. I’m pretty proud of Americans for developing this ingenious piece of engineering. If it does what it claims to do (and not what the hype says it does), it’s nothing short of one of the major wonders of the modern world.
Think about it.
You, me, everyone… we live in patterns. We go to work, sit at the same desk, talk to the same people, have friends that we see regularly, talk to the roughly same set of people… every day.
But the patterns are not so simple. We may talk to all kinds of different people, go to all kinds of different places, drive all kinds of cars, use all kinds of sites, stay in all kinds of hotels, travel to all kinds of places… and that all seems random but there are patterns like job requirements, hobbies, personal enjoyment and other seemingly abstract glue that makes patterns out of all that too.
Somehow, NSA has found a way to see patterns. Patterns, patterns everywhere. Organized chaos. And seeing patterns helps them see when something is out of pattern. Dissonance. Unusual variety.
The fact that chaos theory can be analyzed in such a way… is truly a feat of engineering.
A story breaking in the security community but I’ve filed under “Does this surprise anyone, really? Come on!” has to do with smartphones running Windows Mobile. According to the filing from Cryptome.org reports that there is a Windows OS backdoor being used by the National Security Agency and agencies and contractors employed by the federal government that allows people to “backdoor” (extrapolate: eavesdrop, wiretap, trojan horse or fill in your own noun-verb) a system. This includes smartphone devices running Windows Mobile.
It is unclear as to whether Microsoft is a willing ally in this, as Borat put it, “war of terror”.
More info as I get it.
Added: As pointed out by commenters below, there is not enough evidence here to prove one way or another. Cryptome also has a considerable history of “waving the flag” around government crypto issues. However, in theory, the potential risk does exist as the exploit is in similar fashion as Windows Update. In WU, users allow a web service remote administrative access to their machine during the period of time surrounding an update. As this is the window of time that Cryptome alleges is the “backdoor” period, it would not surprise me if this is indeed true. Microsoft PR handling this issue has no comment at this time but promises to “look into it” – whatever that means.
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