I am regularly asked what is the most surprising thing about the Snowden
NSA documents. It's this: the NSA is not made of magic. Its tools are no
different from what we have in our world, it's just better-funded. [...]
That, fundamentally, is surprising. If you gave a super-secret Internet exploitation organization $10 billion annually, you'd expect some magic. And my guess is that there is some, around the edges, that has not become public yet. But that we haven't seen any yet is cause for optimism.
from Communications of the ACM
outlines some of the security
measures the NSA could, and should, have had in place to stop someone like
Snowden. Mostly obvious stuff, although I'm not sure it would have been
effective against such a skilled and tenacious leaker. What's missing is
the one thing that would have worked: have fewer secrets.
Does damaging public information become private simply by virtue of the
passage of time? How stale does information have to be to be considered
“irrelevant or no longer relevant”? And what is the standard for measuring
relevance? Relevant to what, to whom, or for what purpose? I can only
imagine how the cottage industry of online reputation management will grow
in the face of this expanding “right to be forgotten.” Search
intermediaries will be more than ever curators of the content they index,
which is a development that I, as a consumer of information and a user of
search, don’t welcome.
— Annemarie Bridy
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