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Archive for December 4th, 2013|Daily archive page

Aaron Swartz MIT Surveillance Video & Secret Service Documents

In Aaron Swartz, Archive on December 4, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Aaron Swartz


Kevin Poulsen/WIRED:

The door to the network closet pops open and a slender figure enters, a bicycle helmet hanging at his side. He sheds his backpack and pulls out a cardboard box containing a small hard drive, then kneels out of frame. After about five minutes, he stands, turns off the lights and furtively exits the closet.

This scene, captured by a video camera hidden in a wiring closet at MIT, was the beginning of a probe that led to federal charges against the late coder and activist Aaron Swartz. The video, along with dozens of other documents related to the case, has been released to the public for the first time through my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service.

Photos from the putative crime scene, also released by the Secret Service, add context missing from the video: a concrete support in the network closet is crammed with a jumble of Sharpie graffiti dating back to the early 1980s — earlier generations of hackers at the institution that invented hacking, going places they shouldn’t go, doing things they shouldn’t do, leaving their mark at the very spot where, on January 4, 2011, MIT lost its tolerance for such behavior.


The Secret Service has also released about 400 pages of documents about Swartz. All but 147 pages are copies of already-public court filings.

Related Link: FBI Spied On & Terrorized Aaron Swartz

Sandy Hook 9/11 Calls

In Archive, Newtown: Sandy Hook School Mass Shooting on December 4, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Balloons hang from the Sandy Hook Elementary School sign in Sandy Hook, in Newtown,


Recordings of the Emergency 911 telephone calls received by Newtown police from people at Sandy Hook School on the morning of the December 14, 2012 shootings.

The town released the 911 recordings on Wednesday after blocking their disclosure for nearly one year due to privacy concerns.

On November 26, a judge ruled that that the town must disclose the recordings, as had been ordered by the state Freedom of Information Commission in September

Related Link: Sandy Hook Report

Canada Info Comm. Wants Gov’t to Stop Using Blackberry Messenger; Officials Keeping Messages from Public View, Contrary to Law

In Archive, Canada, Politics on December 4, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Vodpod videos no longer available.



BlackBerry Messenger is one of the products on which BlackBerry, the ailing smartphone maker, is basing its revival. And the government of Canada, which has about 98,000 BlackBerrys in service, remains one of the company’s last strongholds.

Last week, however, the messaging service and the government came together in an unfortunate way. The independent commissioner responsible for Canada’s equivalent of Freedom of Information laws recommended that the government switch off B.B.M., as it is known.

In a lengthy report, Suzanne Legault, the information commissioner, found that B.B.M. was being used in a way to keep messages from and between bureaucrats away from public view, contrary to the law.

“There is a real risk that information that should be accessible by requesters is being irremediably deleted or lost,” she wrote, referring to requests made under open-information law. “No valid operational requirement was provided to me to justify this risk.”

Ms. Legault’s investigation began last year when one bureaucrat asked another in an email to continue their correspondence through B.B.M. That followed numerous cases in which her office found that there were few or no email records related to significant issues.

Her staff members discovered that in the vast majority of government departments, B.B.M. messages were erased every 30 days. Given that the government has 30 days to respond to requests for information, a deadline that Ms. Legault’s office has found it rarely meets, the instant messages generally vanish before anyone can obtain them.

While Ms. Legault’s study does not directly state the point, it is an open secret in Ottawa that B.B.M. is the medium of choice when bureaucrats wish to keep their communications hidden from view. Several parliamentary journalists have said that leaked information is often delivered by B.B.M.. (Politicians’ messages of all kinds are exempt from the Canadian information law.)

Because the law requires the government to retain “any documentary material, regardless of medium or form,” Ms. Legault initially asked the government to archive its instant messages on servers, as it does with email. But it declined, citing the cost of both storage and the burden of searching old messages to complete access to information requests. So the government adopted an honor system that requires individual users to personally archive any instant messages they believe are related to government business.

Given that position, Ms. Legault concluded that the only alternative was shutting down BlackBerry Messenger service on government phones.

Tony Clement, the cabinet minister in the Conservative government who is responsible for government technology, flatly rejected that idea. Unless Parliament unexpectedly overturns Mr. Clement’s formal rejection of what he called a “nonsensical recommendation,” bureaucrats can continue to use the service. The bureaucrats who risk seeming unpatriotic by using anything other than a BlackBerry are also in luck. The company recently introduced apps that allow B.B.M. use on iPhones and Android-based phones.

Is GWU Economics Professor Nick Szabo Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

In Archive, Bitcoin, Internet, Satoshi Nakamoto, Technology on December 4, 2013 at 4:33 AM




I recently became interested in identifying the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. I started from the Bitcoin whitepaper [0] published in late 2008, and proceeded to run reverse textual analysis –essentially, searching the internet for highly unusual turns of phrase and vocabulary patterns (in particular places which you would expect a cryptography researcher to contribute to), then evaluating the fitness of each match found by running textual similarity metrics on several pages of their writing.

Which led me rather directly to several articles from Nick Szabo’s blog.

For those who wouldn’t know Nick Szabo and his documented links to Bitcoin: prior to the apparition of Bitcoin, Nick had been developing for several years (since 1998 [1]) the enabling mechanism for a decentralized digital currency, eventually converging on a system he called “bit gold” [3], which is the direct precursor to the Bitcoin architecture.

According to what seems to be a widely accepted origin story of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto was a highly skilled computer scientist (or group thereof) who found about Nick’s proposition for bit gold, hit upon an idea for bettering it, published the Bitcoin whitepaper, and decided to turn it into reality by developing the original Bitcoin client. Nick denies being Satoshi, and has stated his official opinion on Satoshi and Bitcoin in a May 2011 article [1].

I would argue that Satoshi is actually Nick Szabo himself, probably together with one or more technical collaborators.

As I mention above, what originally led me to this hypothesis is that reverse-searching for content similar to the Bitcoin whitepaper led me to Nick’s blog, completely independently of any knowledge of the official Bitcoin story.  I must stress this: an open, unbiased search of texts similar in writing to the Bitcoin whitepaper over the entire Internet, identifies Nick’s bit gold articles as the best candidates. It could still be a coincidence, although an unlikely one -since cryptocurrencies were a fairly niche topic in 2008 and earlier (seemingly 3 or 4 people), every contributor to the field was going to be reusing the same shared expressions and vocabulary. Satoshi would have been a reader of Nick’s blog, so you would expect him to describe the same concepts in a similar way. But there’s more.

Running similarity metrics on the whitepaper and Nick’s bit gold articles as well as his paper “formalizing and securing relationships on public networks” [2] indicated an excellent match over content-neutral expressions as well –so either Nick wrote the whitepaper, or it was written by somebody imitating Nick’s writing style.

Then, there is secondary evidence. It is obvious that Satoshi did extensive research about prior mentions of concepts similar to Bitcoin, as any proper scientist writing a paper would have. This is evidenced by Satoshi’s reference to Wei Dai’s b-money, as well as hashcash, while both of them do not even seem to have been a direct inspiration to Bitcoin. However, he made no mention of Nick Szabo’s bit gold, whereas Bitcoin is quite visibly built directly on top of the bit gold ideas. If Satoshi had been writing independently from Nick, wouldn’t he have cited his work as per proper scientific etiquette?

There is also the remarkable lack of public reaction on Nick’s part when Bitcoin started taking off. For somebody as deeply involved in these concepts as Nick, it strikes me as surprising that it took Nick many months to even mention Bitcoin, while his ideas were coming to life in an exciting way.


Related Link: The Well Deserved Fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin Creator, Visionary and Genius

Restricted U.S. Army Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Officer Training Manual (2007) & Specialist Training Guide (2008)

In Archive, Army, Military, PSYOP on December 4, 2013 at 3:29 AM


via PublicIntelligence (1) (2)

Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies and their contractors only to protect technical or operational information from automatic dissemination under the International Exchange Program or by other means.

Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.

July 2007

This manual is the first OFS for PSYOP. It is specifically designed to support the establishment of the PSYOP branch. This OFS identifies the individual requirements for company grade officers serving as 37As in the PSYOP branch. The OFS describes operations-based individual tasks required of all PSYOP officers at the detachment/company level. For the new PSYOP captain, this manual serves as the primary reference and base document to support further self-development and sustain career progression in the PSYOP branch. In addition, this OFS provides former PSYOP career field designated majors and lieutenant colonels, previously assigned to PSYOP positions, with a standard reference of critical tasks for all Branch 37 officers.

August 2008

This Soldier training publication (STP) is for Skill Levels 1 through 4 Soldiers holding the military occupational specialty (MOS) 37F, Psychological Operations Specialist. It contains standardized training objectives in the form of task summaries to train critical tasks that support unit missions. All Soldiersholding MOS 37F should have access to this publication. This publication applies to the Active Army, the Army National Guard (ARNG)/Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS), and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) unless otherwise stated.

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