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Frontline’s United States of Secrets

frontline-ussecrets

Last night was part two of the PBS Frontline program called United States of Secrets. It was one of the best, most thorough overviews of what is going on with the NSA’s vacuum surveillance that I’ve ever seen.

You owe it to yourself, and the future of our children, to be aware of what’s going on.

NSA Finally In The Light

nsa-logoI’ve been deeply concerned about the massive, sweeping surveillance going on for over TEN YEARS! Whenever I bring up this topic (and online security in general) too many of my family and friends just shrug and say, “Oh well.” Frankly, I just don’t understand why most people don’t seem all that concerned about our fundamental erosion of liberty caused by the NSA’s mass surveillance.

Thankfully the Edward Snowden whistleblowing finally shined a light on what I intrinsically knew was going on shortly after 9/11 (see Snowden’s revelations and the overall controversy at The Guardian’s NSA Files website section). Yes, I feel vindicated for my paranoia but that attestation is not something I longed for…instead I hoped the government’s drive to classify their constitutional violations and illegal activities as “keeping America safe from terrorism” would stop.

Unfortunately that whistleblowing has made it increasingly hard for companies who sell their technology outside of the United States. For example, the NSA was inserting hardware in Cisco routers which caused CEO John Chambers to write a letter to President Obama asking for it to cease…now.

We’ve only seen the beginning of the backlash and erosion of our competitiveness around the world since no one trusts us anymore. 

Your Computer/Phone/Tablet’s Digital Fingerprint Revealed

So you’re protecting yourself with a virtual private network (VPN) or using TOR to remain anonymous? What if any steps you take don’t matter since your device is telling the NSA who you are?

Here are two things to consider:

  • The Trusted Computing initiative could track you in ways that haven’t been revealed in full yet. This initiative has bothered me since it was first announced in 1999. A way of placing a permanent private key embedded directly in the computer’s CPU—and the public key held in trust on a server in the cloud—it has been minimally adopted. Or has it?

In this post I haven’t even touched on drones, commercial companies gathering data like crazy (make sure you watch Part 2 of the Frontline United States of Secrets) and other things we don’t know about yet.

I sure hope the next (or the one after) president-elect isn’t a closet fascist who is already rubbing his-or-her hands together with glee over what will be available once they seize power.

 


Links

Here are a handful of old posts that showed the world I was either paranoid, deranged, or maybe on to something:

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

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