Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander | Glenn Greenwald
featuring some mental pics of the “Information Dominance Center”, the Star Trek bridge which NSA chief Keith Alexander built with taxpayer money
(tags: big-brother nsa politics keith-alexander star-trek funny bizarre)
Schneier on Security: Reforming the NSA
Regardless of how we got here, the NSA can’t reform itself. Change cannot come from within; it has to come from above. It’s the job of government: of Congress, of the courts, and of the president. These are the people who have the ability to investigate how things became so bad, rein in the rogue agency, and establish new systems of transparency, oversight, and accountability. Any solution we devise will make the NSA less efficient at its eavesdropping job. That’s a trade-off we should be willing to make, just as we accept reduced police efficiency caused by requiring warrants for searches and warning suspects that they have the right to an attorney before answering police questions. We do this because we realize that a too-powerful police force is itself a danger, and we need to balance our need for public safety with our aversion of a police state.
(tags: nsa politics us-politics surveillance snooping society government police public-safety police-state)
Biometric authentication failing in Mysore
Biometrics was rolled out for food distribution in order to cut down on fraud, but it’s now resulting in a subset of users being unable to authenticate:
The biometric authentication system installed at the PDS outlets fails to establish the identity of many genuine beneficiaries, mostly workers, as their daily grind in the agricultural fields, construction sites or as domestic help have eroded the lines on their thumb resulting in distorted impressions.
(tags: fail risks biometrics authentication mysore security india fingerprinting)
Sketch of the Day – Frugal Streaming
ha, this is very clever! If you have enough volume, this is a nice estimation algorithm to compute stream quantiles in very little RAM
(tags: memory streaming stream-processing clever algorithms hacks streams)
Spam Arrest is a company that sells an anti-spam service. They attempted to sue some spammers and, as has been widely reported, lost badly. This case emphasizes three points that litigious antispammers seem not to grasp: Under CAN SPAM, a lot of spam is legal. Judges hate plaintiffs who try to be too clever, and hate sloppy preparation even more. Never, ever, file a spam suit in Seattle.
(tags: anti-spam spam law seattle us can-spam spamarrest sentient-jets)
Benchmarking Redis on AWS ElastiCache
good data points, but could do with latency percentiles
(tags: latency redis measurement benchmarks ec2 elasticache aws storage tests)