Sunday, January 26, 2014

NSA, Snowden, and Surveillance

Bruce Schneier

NSA code names are the most fun
Sigat - a tap point
Quantum Cookie forces to release cookies and to "stain" a user for later surveillance
Fox Acid - exploit orchestrator, server that sits on Net that tricks user into visiting it
Egotistic Giraffe - native Firefox exploit
Evil Olive figures out where your cell phone is
NSA has turned the Internet into a giant surveillance platform, a technically and politically robust platform
"Surveillance is the business model of the Internet"
Metadata = surveillance
Snowden's documents show what the NSA does which is also what any other surveillance operation would do
A choice between an Internet vulnerable to attack or protected for everyone
Lesson is the cryptography works but everything around it is insecure
NSA has cryptoanalytic tools to break cyphers but usually uses the weaknesses around it
NSA had no contingency for Snowden's exposure.  That has changed.  Corporations also will change.  When you know that exposure will eventually happen, your actions change.
"Collect everything" has been the modus operandi up till now. No cost benefit analysis on any operations but that may change.
Even when we know something, it may not be actionable for a number of reasons.
"A lot of this is voyeurism"
Generation gap on privacy and surveillance.  Job for life "club feel" is gone.
The goal is to make eavesdropping expensive, make wholesale surveillance expensive and force them back to targeted surveillance.  More encryption by default.  Personal security products (psp) annoy the NSA.  Encrypt your hard drive.  Consolidation makes us less secure.
Transparency, oversight, clarity are the solutions
Make laws that are technologically invariant
And all this affects only NSA - no foreign entities or citizens
"A secure Internet is in everybody's best interest"
Not US versus China but security for everyone
"We have a chance to win the 'tell us what you're doing' argument" not the stop doing it argument
The Balkanization of the Internet is a big problem
NSA has a dual purpose:  to protect our communications and break others'
This problem is bigger than NSA, bigger than security.  It's about data.
Fundamental question of information society is the tension between personal and social uses of data
Q:  no more fruit of the poison tree?  Are we looking at the wrong thing, tech and crypto rather than the law?

International standards because US businesses have lost trust overseas

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Who Stole the American Dream?

Hedrick Smith

Banks put prime candidates into subprimes because it made them money and took $6 trillion of housing value and reduced individual equity by over 40% from 1988 to 2008.

401k's will leave the baby boomers in poverty retirement.

During the 50s & 60s nearly all of the growth in efficiency went into wages, 97% productive growth and 95% wage growth.

What changed?  The Powell memo started a rush of business into government with congress of 1978 becoming the "most pivotal" Congress of recent years - 401k's, change in corporate bankruptcy laws from independent control to management control, credit law changes, and many more, and we moved from stakeholder capitalism to shareholder capitalism (thanks Milton Friedman).

Productivity since the 1970s rose 87% and wages rose 10%.  84% of economic gains went to the top 1%.

Have to go back to the citizen activism of the 60s.  "We the people must take action."

Q:  occupy, public benefit corps?
Occupy Wall Street changes the dialogue but no definite demands.
Q: why Americans don't fight now as yesterday?
Boomers are me first. And we've been sold the idea that it's all beyond our control.
Q: entitlement mentality?
Rhetoric but not so much in reality.
Q:  obama's grade?
A- for the first 2 years for his actions but a C for communicating and a pass for the last two years.
Q: media not covering actions?
Maybe but keep at it

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Economic Gardening

Chris Gibbons, Director, Business/Industry Affairs, Littleton, CO (
An entrepreneurial approach to economic development - data for each state and town, numbers of commercial establishments and jobs
89-90% of businesses self-employed or ten to one hundred employees for 30% of jobs
another 30% of businesses are mid size and for another 30% of jobs
Large companies have had a net loss of jobs over the last decade
Job growth comes primarily from expansion
"Work with local businesses to create good jobs" is the mission statement from the city gov
Started this process in 1987 after losing 7000 jobs at one large defense contractor
Uses complexity science, systems thinking, network economics, temperament
Complexity theory: mechanical versus biological, riding the edge of chaos
Support system using modern tech:  google adwords, GIS, customer and market info, SEO, on a national and international basis, database research, competitor intelligence, social media strategy with facebook, twitter, linked in...
One local company, ADA-ES, removes mercury from coal power plants
From 1990 to 2010 employment doubled, adding jobs all through the recession
1990-2005 job growth rate of 135%
Now more jobs than the town has workers
Florida has begun this statewide in a 2 year pilot funded for $3.5 million and grew jobs by 3,285 with a $2467 cost per job and an increase of tax revenues of $18 million
GrowFL companies got a net job gain of 7% in the last 3 years
Kansas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Nebraska, Washington and regional projects including Vermont, New York, Indiana
Michigan governor's Rick Snyder's economic development plan is completely economic gardening
Q: What is the level of skill needed by public servants to access this data and what about areas where data isn't too great?
A:  skill level needed is high.  Have a learning center and model is a hub and spoke on a regional basis (for instance, Florida has its data center at univ).
Privacy and availability is different depending upon the country.  US has the most data available.
Q: Secret of success in moving from one town scale to many states?
A:  Most communities in US recruit but now the pool is drying up (overseas export and globalization) and people are looking for something else.
National center ( will work with the community and turns info around on three weeks.
Q:  how loyal are the businesses?  How many move?
A:  There is turnover but experience is that there are deep roots locally and few who leave.
Q:  for the first time in thirty years Chinese city of Hsintsin (spelling?) has entered a recession what is your suggestion?
A:  Complexity - punctuated equilibrium, sometime the bottom drops out. It has nothing to do with what you do.  We are riding a wave beyond our control, to a large extent.
Q:  Edge of stability and chaos, how do you keep them on that edge?
A:  Temperament has lot to do with it. Intuitive-thinking-judging personality types on Myers-Briggs personality test are the ones who run companies.  You need a temperament for change and innovation.
Q: Seems to be the same people as before but a different system.  Does that mean everyone can succeed?
A:  Not everyone can succeed, success follows the power law with a long tail and only a few who get most of the goodies.
Q: Building a business ecosystem similar to an industrial ecology?
A:  Need a business ecosystem which may not be available in smaller towns as well as entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurial gene got bred out of industrial midwest due to factory heritage, in great plains Farmers had such thin margins that risk gene is out
Q: Work with start ups?
Failure rate very high but like Little League.  They are more like college ball, candidates having to go through a couple of screens, although they do work with smaller businesses by city council mandate
Q: If you tell everyone your secret won't you build your competition?
A:  Take the moving of jobs out of it and it doesn't really matter.  Every town has its own, different economic garden.
Q: What do you do different from big consulting firm?
A:  Cater to smaller scale businesses and McKinsey has just now stumbled into complexity but they don't use temperament at all and don't use network economics, for instance, Brian Arthur from Stanford on increasing returns and lock in
Q:  If everyone did this isn't the fundamental skill the capacity to network?
A:  Part of the formula.  Any business is either a commodity (product is exactly the same) and price is the only measure (producing a race to the bottom) or innovate (one of a kind) and keep on innovating to stop from becoming a commodity.  Two words based upon 35 years of experience - export innovation, make it new and export outside your community
Q:  How do you structure your service?
A:  National center will do a company for $4000.  Usually a public agency, the city or state, pays.
Q:  How much depends on a high tech work force?
A:  Not high tech per se but innovation instead.  Get out of commodity jobs into skilled and innovative, one of a kind work.
Q: Work force development through community colleges?
A:  Yes, in constant communication with community colleges as to what is needed from education.
800 communities have visited Littleton over the 25 years to learn how they do economic gardening.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fukushima Nuclear Accident and Roadmap for Decommissioning

Kenji Tateiwa, TEPCO, nuclear power programs, Washington DC office

Worked at Fukushima Daini from 1996-2000 and lived in an area that is now uninhabitable.  Also worked on the advanced boiling water reactors of South Texas Project.
US nuclear industry had a team of 10 members in Tokyo for two years through INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations).
Core meltdown in Unit 1
Have now identified the area of leakage in Unit 1
Spent fuel pools at Units 3 and 4
Biggest risk is the molten fuel in the cores, cooled by seawater which is leaking out and ground water is also flowing in.  No water is allowed to be dumped and all is stored on site. Thinking about building a frozen soil wall of about a mile to prevent groundwater inflow.
Seawater contamination only near the plants and offsite radiation has been reduced significantly.

Roadmap:  begin removal of spent fuel, removal of core melt - taking 10 years, decommissioning - taking 30-40 years
Integrated Management of Decommissioning Technologies - IRID established recently

He is extremely serious and committed and looks like he's hurting.  Somber.

Q:  How did TEPCO perform in informing the public?
Didn't hide anything but was perceived to have done so.  Hard to determine core melt although it is likely that three units have experienced it.  Experts never thought that the reactor building would have a hydrogen explosion.

Q:  Reform and breaking up the "nuclear village" with little regulation?
Nuclear safety reform plan from TEPCO issued 3/13 but plan is implemented by people and morale is now low.
Q:  Difficulties of decommissioning and what would it look like?
Cores may have melted to concrete floor outside pressure vessel, Unit 1 most severe.  Debris is mixture of materials from fuel and pressure vessel and needs to be cooled while being removed