Snowden revelations + more things

3 minutes estimated reading time

Looking back at the Snowden revelations – A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic EngineeringThe brilliant thing about the Snowden leaks was that he didn’t tell us much of anything. He showed us. Most of the revelations came in the form of a Powerpoint slide deck, the misery of which somehow made it all more real. And despite all the revelation fatigue, the things he showed us were remarkable – this is such a good read. I suspect that the level of surprise expressed is mostly a US thing. I was disappointed, but not shocked by it all. Back in the day the NSA used to publish one of the best guides to ‘hardening’ macOS – documents that they no longer seem to host online. The Snowden revelations were nothing new. I grew up in Europe when:

  • GCHQ were tapping all of Ireland’s overseas telecoms and data traffic via the Capenhurst tower. Having lived in the neighbourhood of Capenhurst during the 1980s and 1990s, this was well known but only confirmed in the media in 1999
  • The ECHELON network was hoovering up microwave, fax, satellite and telephone calls

After Duncan Campbell’s lifetime of work, the Snowden revelations are part of a decades long pattern of behaviour. Admittedly the US’ rivals will be up to the same things and worse.

Luxury watch maker Patek Philippe and Leagas Delaney launch new Generations campaign – Marketing Communication News – the most interesting aspect of this to me is the way its looking to address a younger audience. Secondly, if you look at the background with the plants and rain its moved the look and feel to more tropical than their previous campaigns that were northern European in feel. (It was actually shot in Italy). Because? My guess, China. Younger rich people due to second generation wealth. Two children reflecting the recent law changes around family size in the country

Is the era of the $100+ graphing calculator coming to an end? | The Hustledon’t feel too sorry for Texas Instruments: over a 20-year period, TI set out to manufacture demand by making its calculators mandated classroom tools. The company established partnerships with big textbook companies that integrated TI-specific exercises (complete with screenshots of buttons) into classroom curricula. It sought approval for standardized test use from administrators like the College Board. And every time a competing tech innovation came along, it lobbied to maintain its perch atop the parabola. According to Open Secrets and ProPublica data, Texas Instruments paid lobbyists to hound the Department of Education every year from 2005 to 2009 — right around the time when mobile technology and apps were becoming more of a threat. The company campaigned against devices with touchscreens, internet connection, and QWERTY keyboards” – hate the game, not the player etc. etc.

Snap Detailed Facebook’s Aggressive Tactics in ‘Project Voldemort’ Dossier – WSJ – which is being used in an antitrust investigation. No real surprises for anyone who has followed Facebook over the years. This negates Facebook’s main defence of ‘if it wasn’t us, it would be China’

The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism | The New Yorker – the sub heading ‘Big technological shifts have always empowered reformers. They have also empowered bigots, hucksters and propagandists

New York in 1984 was the time, and the place, dance music became a culture – Features – Mixmag – great write up, the only thing missing is a name check for the Latin Rascals, Cutting Records and the Freestyle scene

Jason Dill HYPEBEAST Magazine Interview | HYPEBEAST – great interview, partly due to the car crash of journalist interviewing technique

Parenting’s New Frontier: What Happens When Your 11-Year-Old Says No to a Smartphone? – Voguemy son had decided three things about smartphones. 1. They’re infantilizing, a set of digital apron strings meant to attach you to your mother. (He was onto something there.) 2. They compromise a boy’s resourcefulness because kids come to rely on the GPS instead of learning Scout skills. 3. They make people trivial. This final observation bugs me the most, because he still expresses it whenever he sees me jabbing at my own device: “Texty texty! Emoji emoji!” And when I play my word games, he shouts, “GAMER!” That hurts. In short, my son says, he doesn’t want a phone because he wants to be free