Links for 2013-08-20

  • Groklaw – Forced Exposure ~pj

    I loved doing Groklaw, and I believe we really made a significant contribution. But even that turns out to be less than we thought, or less than I hoped for, anyway. My hope was always to show you that there is beauty and safety in the rule of law, that civilization actually depends on it. How quaint. If you have to stay on the Internet, my research indicates that the short term safety from surveillance, to the degree that is even possible, is to use a service like Kolab for email, which is located in Switzerland, and hence is under different laws than the US, laws which attempt to afford more privacy to citizens. I have now gotten for myself an email there, p.jones at mykolab.com in case anyone wishes to contact me over something really important and feels squeamish about writing to an email address on a server in the US. But both emails still work. It’s your choice. My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it’s possible. I’m just an ordinary person. But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can’t stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible. I find myself unable to write. I’ve always been a private person. That’s why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours. Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world’s economy would collapse, I suppose. I can’t really hope for that. But for me, the Internet is over. So this is the last Groklaw article. I won’t turn on comments. Thank you for all you’ve done. I will never forget you and our work together. I hope you’ll remember me too. I’m sorry I can’t overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can’t.

    (tags: nsa surveillance privacy groklaw law us-politics data-protection snooping mail kolab)

  • Nelson’s Weblog: tech / bad / failure-of-encryption

    One of the great failures of the Internet era has been giving up on end-to-end encryption. PGP dates back to 1991, 22 years ago. It gave us the technical means to have truly secure email between two people. But it was very difficult to use. And in 22 years no one has ever meaningfully made email encryption really usable. […] We do have SSL/HTTPS, the only real end-to-end encryption most of us use daily. But the key distribution is hopelessly centralized, authority rooted in 40+ certificates. At least 4 of those certs have been compromised by blackhat hackers in the past few years. How many more have been subverted by government agencies? I believe the SSL Observatory is the only way we’d know.
    We do also have SSH. Maybe more services need to adopt that model?

    (tags: ssh ssl tls pki crypto end-to-end pgp security surveillance)

  • Recordinality

    a new, and interesting, sketching algorithm, with a Java implementation:

    Recordinality is unique in that it provides cardinality estimation like HLL, but also offers “distinct value sampling.” This means that Recordinality can allow us to fetch a random sample of distinct elements in a stream, invariant to cardinality. Put more succinctly, given a stream of elements containing 1,000,000 occurrences of ‘A’ and one occurrence each of ‘B’ – ‘Z’, the probability of any letter appearing in our sample is equal. Moreover, we can also efficiently store the number of times elements in our distinct sample have been observed. This can help us to understand the distribution of occurrences of elements in our stream. With it, we can answer questions like “do the elements we’ve sampled present in a power law-like pattern, or is the distribution of occurrences relatively even across the set?”

    (tags: sketching coding algorithms recordinality cardinality estimation hll hashing murmurhash java)

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