Posts Tagged ‘PRISM’

“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

Upping the eBook Cool Factor

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/

eBooks are cool, but they could get even cooler with EPUB3, the next version of the widely adopted distribution and interchange format for digital books (well, except for Amazon). The latest version of the standard could make it easier for publishers to more flexibly represent their offerings to digital book retailers, and add a lot of excitement to the eBook reading experience, too.

EPUB3 is based on HTML 5 and was proposed to include RDFa. RDFa is in question for eBook metadata now, however, though there is still the possibility to embed RDF/OWL within eBook content. (Membership comments on EPUB3 are due in by Aug. 22). EPUB 3 requires the same three metadata elements as EPUB 2, which are dc:identifier, dc:title, and dc:language, while also permitting many more. “We left it open to using something like RDFa so you can put in what you need to,” says Eric Freese, solutions architect at digital publishing solutions vendor Aptara. That could include, for example, using the PRISM (Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata) XML metadata vocabulary for managing and aggregating publishing content, or ONIX metadata for representing and communicating book industry product information.

However the RDFa question fares, one thing that is increasingly clear to publishers that have done any looking at all into eBooks, Freese says, is that “it doesn’t take long before they get hit in the face with the metadata problem. And as more time goes by there are fewer and fewer publishers who haven’t thought about doing eBooks.”

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