John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

We're Calling It "Omnivore" in Memory of "Carnivore"

If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, what does absolute information awareness do?

That’s a good question to ask in light of FBI Director Robert Mueller’s call for “omnibus” Internet surveillance. In testimony to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Mueller suggested legislation be passed that would give the bureau the right to monitor the Internet at the backbone level.

Said Mueller: “I think legislation has to be developed that balances on one hand, the privacy rights of the individual who are receiving the information, but on the other hand, given the technology, the necessity of having some omnibus search capability utilizing filters that would identify the illegal activity as it comes through and give us the ability to preempt that illegal activity where it comes through a choke point as opposed to the point where it is diffuse on the Internet.”

Shades of Carnivore, right? The “choke point” to which Mueller alludes is presumably the National Security Agency, which has been probing the data passing through the Internet backbone like some Orwellian spinal surgeon. Which is a little frightening. Because the packets of data being passed back and forth over the Internet don’t come prelabeled. There’s no “ILLEGAL ACTIVITY” designation. It’s just activity, and Mueller would apparently like permission to survey it all.

While respecting the privacy rights of the individual, of course. Thoughtful.

Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik