Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I got for XMAS was my last shot at freedom....


Expect multiplied dissent by way of indefinite US military detention and human rights errors

In case no one else has noticed, the Congressional escalation of the NDAA, or the indefinite military detention bill, has occurred at the exact same time, as the delivery of legal consequence to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and to PFC Specialist Bradley Manning. You don't have to be a military strategist to see the indefinite detention of Brad Manning and supporters will spawn, literally, millions of legitimate oppositional dissenters and human rights defenders. So much so, the only thing that would make sense to a high ranking military strategist is locking up anyone who has a difference in opinion and whomever also has the legal high ground to do so - like a US citizen.

And as an aside, here is the letter I dumped on the History Channel's, Brad Meltzer's Decoded who recently covered Mob Activity in the United States.

I saw the latest Decoded on the presence of mob or organized crime in the United States. It was revealing, because like your typical History Channel viewer I simply substitute the words "south of the border drug cartel" with "CIA" and it seems to make much more sense to me. The light glaze of "honorable" to "dishonorable" street felons went from white US mobs to "the Mexicans"- seemed a bit racist to me, frankly. You didn't even graze the Russian mob - which has ties to nuclear arms trade, human trafficking & white slavery. 
There were a few other things I did really take issue with. It was the epoxy reasoning your team used to glue the very very broad swath of criminalization taken with the Internet. I walked away from this show thinking the producers might have a military propaganda driven agenda to qualify America as an active war zone [by way of widespread and unknowable mob activity]. 
Here's why... I think you really should have decoupled this topic from exclusively mob activity. You muddled big privacy issues where a corporation like Facebook can sell all of your fan viewers information to the highest bidder and that might include authoritarian regimes like Egypt as buyers. There are huge issues here with Big Brother and the mass surveillance state being built by your government to watch everyone. There wasn't any room touch the fact that there are a ton public-private contractors involved in corporate espionage, who do the same things tin-can bedroom hackers can. In fact, they might be the same people, but you really didn't flip that coin to show the viewers the other side. These contractors work for the government and anyone who pays. A lot of times these guys also work on Wall St. 
The lack of military and law enforcement distinctions in these areas make it very very tricky territory when you get into The Internet. You branded Anonymous as a "gang" - a .gov label which goes disputed in the Internet community. You may not be a fan of Wikileaks or PFC Bradley Manning but they are being classed as terrorists at this time. The NDAA FY2012 is part and party to this sweeping Internet "terrorist" classification. If Obama signs that as is you can kiss your 6th Amendment goodbye and let the US military continue to make the rest of your production decisions. 
After watching this program I might be inclined to think you agree with that assessment, but that also means anyone who has a difference in opinion with a US military authority in the very near future will join that [terrorist] classification. This includes protestors, talk show hosts and the US Judicial Branch. 
This is just a note to let you know someone notices what happens on this [program]. I might not be the only one.

Meltzer's Decoded gave a response:
Thanks for writing, Sheila -- means more than you know. More importantly, thanks for looking out for me. Hope you're well. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who do you trust? A year-end evaluation of the White House plan for online identity management

Discussions on a key White House initiative for online identity model use are now settling in for fine tuning.  The National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace (NSTIC), a big idea launched in January of 2011, recently received $16.5 million in US funding. The plan would continue NGO partner development and standard articulation  of an “identity ecosystem” for users online. Some premises to develop this ecosystem are the obsolescence of password security and the necessary network of identity authorities to prove who you are online. 
There are several agencies engaged in the articulation of the ecosystem, to name a few: The US Dept. of Commerce, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), and the US Dept. of Homeland Security. Plans to standardise identity online will be largely left to a NIST work group group consisting of privacy advocates, Internet businesses, and  government authorities to opt-in to the US developed credentialling system. The boundaries of legal jurisdiction and foreign policy over online identity continue to develop. 
One model proposed by The Kantara Initiative, an OpenID development firm with an International board of consultants, has recommended NSTIC solutions for every government system issuing identity products. For instance, an online accrediting of EBT cards used by social security recipients for ATM transactions use and e-banking. 
Trust & Responsibility
One might naturally look to the most invested stakeholder, the United States government, to assume the lion’s share of the responsibility for the trustworthiness and interoperability of such a monumental effort.  Unfortunately, this is where the responsibilities bead up and roll around into disparate balls of mercurial accountability amid Internet NGOs and government partners. 
Verizon Inc. became the first telecomm industry partner to complete Level 3 certification for it’s mobile platforms.  Facebook and Google have been included in systems which are credentialled for Level 1 use, essentially the use of a password.  While these businesses are certainly user populated, how trustworthy are they to consumer privacy and why should we trust them with anything more than a password as authorities? 
Facebook, one of the most zealous online Institutions against anonymity, made a beta concesssion to take US drivers license information as inveterate proof that you are not a dog online.  They are also the recent recipients of an FCC censure requiring frequent privacy audits.  The fine for its future failures to safeguard consumer data privacy are $16 million per violation. Facebook, whose doors are still open for business, are collecting as much personal information as users will give them. If the government gives Facebook universal accreditation standards - all the better for them.
Facebook, Verizon and Google are top tier industry candidates for OpenID credential adoption. They are also front and center players in the Big Data exchanges with the United States government. Like many of digital companies they also maintain a reputation for folding over to invasive government inquiries into user profiles. 
A Question of Uniform Identity 
How about those non-controversial and more pragmatic government base users, like DoD PX Smart Card holders, electronic Medicaid files or verification of between agency users?  FICAM, a separate program authorised in 2009, destined for differentiation from NSTIC, operates on a conspicuously similar framework for solely government use. Some NSTIC critics have cited duplication of efforts in applying FICAM’s gummy bureaucratic standards to civilian electronic transactions. 
Ahh, yet the brilliance of innovation and the longevity of data are a seductive cocktail for the technocrat.  How complicated it becomes when you mix in NIST’s newly standardised biometrics: DNA, Iris scans, facial recognition and footprints. In an AAMVA forseeable future,drivers licenses(1) may represent a comprehensive identity file containing these items and a neat integrated circuit for “interoperable” and “mandatory use” by travel administrators.
The most alarming consideration of the NSTIC ecosystem alludes to the manufacture of a federal online identity authority with a direct path to the US Dept. of Homeland Security.  Pre-criminal oversight sweeps of all identifiable persons using the Internet in the United States might be left to their broom.  It is no longer so far fetched to speculate DHS would muddle the escalation of an anonymous online transaction to questionable cybercrime-as-cyberterror.  
That’s when you might hear the scenario of “News-at-11” following a Tennessee man detained for uploading pictures of his old band uniform being mistaken for signature gear used by a violent militia.  Interviews would feature a confident police authority citing ability to “absolutely verify beyond a shadow of a doubt who it was that uploaded that uniform.” 
Until then, there is an eagerly awaited trustworthy beta online identity credential which proves you are not a terrorist in 2012.  If you're still on the fence you can always look in on the early adopters of this type of system-- China.

Online businesses in China already reflecting this real-names authentication path are using National ID cards coupled with real name submissions to gain admittance to dating websites and microblogging services. Chinese tech analysts report an estimated 60-80% drop in user account activity. 

SOURCES : (1) pp. 22-23, p.111-112

REAL ID - A Status Report