Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

A Look Inside the NSA’s XKeyscore

Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica recently wrote, “The National Security Agency’s (NSA) apparatus for spying on what passes over the Internet, phone lines, and airways has long been the stuff of legend, with the public catching only brief glimpses into its Leviathan nature. Thanks to the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we now have a much bigger picture. When that picture is combined with federal contract data and other pieces of the public record—as well as information from other whistleblowers and investigators—it’s possible to deduce a great deal about what the NSA has built and what it can do.” Read more

“Coverlet Meshing” Weighs in on PRISM

The debate about PRISM continues. One of the latest volleys was posted in InformationWeek by Coverlet Meshing (a pseudonym used by “a senior IT executive at one of the nation’s largest banks.”) Meshing wrote: “Prism doesn’t scare me. On 9/11, my office was on the 39th floor of One World Trade. I was one of the many nameless people you saw on the news running from the towers as they collapsed. But the experience didn’t turn me into a hawk. In fact, I despise the talking heads who frame Prism as the price we pay for safety. And not just because they’re fear-mongering demagogues. I hate them because I’m a technologist and they’re giving technology a bad name.” Read more

In Defense of PRISM’s Big Data Strategy

Doug Henschen of Information Week recently shared his thoughts on the less-than-nefarious intent of the NSA’s PRISM Big Data tools. He writes, “It’s understandable that democracy-loving citizens everywhere are outraged by the idea that the U.S. Government has back-door access to digital details surrounding email messages, phone conversations, video chats, social networks and more on the servers of mainstream service providers including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, Skype and Apple. But the more you know about the technologies being used by the National Security Agency (NSA), the agency behind the controversial Prism program revealed last week by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the less likely you are to view the project as a ham-fisted effort that’s ‘trading a cherished American value for an unproven theory,’ as one opinion piece contrasted personal privacy with big data analysis.” Read more

What The NSA Can Do With All That Data

Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica writes, “Most of us are okay with what Google does with its vast supply of ‘big data,’ because we largely benefit from it—though Google does manage to make a good deal of money off of us in the process. But if I were to backspace over Google’s name and replace it with ‘National Security Agency,’ that would leave a bit of a different taste in many people’s mouths. Yet the NSA’s PRISM program and the capture of phone carriers’ call metadata are essentially about the same sort of business: taking massive volumes of data and finding relationships within it without having to manually sort through it, and surfacing ‘exceptions’ that analysts are specifically looking for. The main difference is that with the NSA, finding these exceptions can result in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to dig deeper—and FBI agents knocking at your door. So what is it, exactly, that the NSA has in its pile of ‘big data,’ and what can they do with it?” Read more

Semantic Web Jobs: DERI and the NSA

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in Galway, Ireland, is looking for Semantic Web in Life Sciences Researchers: “DERI is a leading research institute in semantic technologies that offers a stimulating, dynamic and multi-cultural research environment, excellent ties to research-groups worldwide, close collaboration with industrial partners and up-to-date infrastructure and resources. The DERI HCLS group has embarked on an ambitious European FP7 project which uses semantic web technologies to enable sharing and collaboration between life scientists in cancer chemoprevention… The successful candidates will have key roles in this project as DERI’s role and experience in Linked Data is central to the technology to be used in the project.” Read more

Semantic Job Openings

College sophomores and juniors can apply for the National Security Agency’s paid Semester Intern Program for Science and Technology. The program is a 16-week internship for students of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Systems Engineering, Network Engineering, or Telecommunications: “As a SIP/ST participant, you will have an opportunity to work with leading computer scientists on the nation’s toughest cyber-problems while enhancing your skills in an assignment that relates to your major. SIP/ST interns work closely with your mentor on a specific, mission-focused problem.  To participate in this program, the student must have successfully completed ‘Data Structures’.” Read more