Hearsay podcast: Shostack on Privacy

Dennis Fisher talks with Microsoft’s Adam Shostack about the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, the definition of privacy in today’s world and the role of technology in helping to enhance and protect that privacy.

As always, a fun conversation with Dennis Fisher. Ran longer than I think either of us expected at 41:15.

And speaking of PETS, I took a bunch of photos. Should I get permission before posting them to the net? None are embarrassing or compromising. Perhaps as the organizer of a privacy conference, I should hold to a higher standard?

What’s in a name?

Brian Jones Tamanaha has an interesting post about our database-driven society. The core of it is that English is bad at recording some names. The solution? Force people to change their official names for the convenience of the database:

During public hearings on the voter identification legislation in the House, state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, suggested that Asian-Americans might want to adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with” when they want to vote so their names will match what is on registration rolls.

Brown made her statements during testimony from Ramey Ko, representing the Organization of Chinese Americans….

“… do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?”

Quotes from “Lawmaker suggests Asian-descendant voters should adopt names easier for Americans to deal with’,” Houston Chronicle Texas Politics blog.

Of course, this is nothing new. Once

Or read Brian’s “Any Suggestions for My New User-Friendly Name?

The Myths of Security: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

John Viega recently published a new book: The Myths of Security: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know.
It’s a great read, especially if you are new to or are interested in the security industry as a whole. However, even if you are a long term security veteran, you will find it enjoyable.
The book is a series of essays addressing a range of topics from “The Cloud” to the state of the AV industry and everything in between. The essays aren’t long, but they are very thorough. This makes it easy to pick up the book become engaged and learn something quickly.
My only complaint is that the essays around privacy and anonymity. They weren’t nearly as deep as I was either hoping nor on par with the rest of the book. Despite this, the book is excellent and well worth reading. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy.

Dear $LOCALBANK That I Use

Keeping a database of all of your ATM PINs in a clear (or possibly encrypted but easily reversible) text database is not a good idea. I honestly can’t see any use value for this, especially when they won’t tell you what your PIN is even if you have multiple forms of government issued identification.
No thanks; No love

Television, Explained

So I’m not sure if Michael Pollan’s “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” is supposed to be a movie review, but it’s definitely worth reading if you think about what you eat. I really like this line:

The historical drift of cooking programs — from a genuine interest in producing food yourself to the spectacle of merely consuming it — surely owes a lot to the decline of cooking in our culture, but it also has something to do with the gravitational field that eventually overtakes anything in television’s orbit. It’s no accident that Julia Child appeared on public television — or educational television, as it used to be called. On a commercial network, a program that actually inspired viewers to get off the couch and spend an hour cooking a meal would be a commercial disaster, for it would mean they were turning off the television to do something else.

Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

Anyway, enjoy the blog, and please comment!

Is Barack Obama an American Citizen?

It might seem, to the average person, that the “Birthers” must have a tough time proving their case. After all, Barack Obama has released his Certification of Live Birth (pictured above), which meets all the requirements for proving one’s citizenship to the State Department. The authenticity of the certificate has been verified by Hawaii state government. Moreover, Barack Obama’s birth announcement was found in two newspapers at the time, and such notices were provided directly by the Hawaii Department of Health.

Faced with this overwhelming evidence, the average person will no doubt shrug and consider the case closed. There is no question that the evidence points to the conclusion that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is therefore a “natural-born citizen.”

No question, that is, if you accept the dominant paradigm of metaphysical realism. That is, the idea that things exist independent of the mind and that those things are perceivable and knowable. Moreover, those who insist that Barack Obama is an American citizen also rely on philosophic naturalism–the idea that reality is subject to objective, knowable natural laws that can’t be tampered with.

Read the whole thing:
Is Barack Obama an American Citizen?

Hot Singles Are Waiting for You!


Information anyone gives to Facebook can be used by Facebook to do things Faceook wants to do. Like use your face in a personals ad. Even if Facebook knows you’re married. Facebook used Cheryl Smith’s face this way in an ad that it showed her husband. (“oops”)

So go read more in Wife’s face used in Facebook personal ad, and please don’t tell Facebook things about me. It’s none of their business, and I don’t want to be seen as shilling for them, saying something like “Hot singles are waiting for you.”