Purpose unclear. Why are the FBI *really* trying to subvert encryption?

Tim cook says Apple will fight a federal order to help the FBI hack an iPhone.  

An earlier version of this page has a paragraph which seems to have been deleted later;

It was not immediately clear what investigators believed they might find on Farook’s work phone or why the information would not be available from third-party service providers, such as Google or Facebook, though investigators think the device may hold clues about whom the couple communicated with and where they might have travelled.

Is that “Whom” grammatically correct?

This does raise a ‘why’ in my mind.
Cant the other service providers (who would it be, AT&T, Verizon?) supply the ‘traffic analysis of who they communicated with? Isn’t this the sort of “metadata” that the government spies are supposed to be collecting?

Opening the phone won’t give the content of the messages past, they are gone like the snows of yesteryear[1]. Dead as the author of that famous quote.

So what are the FBI looking for? The address book? I’m not sure how helpful that will be and its likely to cast suspicion on innocent parties. Continue reading Purpose unclear. Why are the FBI *really* trying to subvert encryption?

An OP-ED by Richard Clarke on China


This is better written than most ‘chicken little’ pieces, but please can we have ‘history’ of how most nations, including the USA, have engages in ‘industrial espionage‘.

I recall a presentation by CSIS that was making the point that Canada’s greatest threat on the Industrial Espionage scene was France, and France had been practising Industrial Espionage against the “English Speaking World” for centuries. And he had evidence to back that up from at lest Napoleonic times.

But then don’t forget that the “English Speaking World” stole such secrets from China as “Tea“:

For centuries, the secret of growing tea was one of China’s
most closely-guarded treasures. Along with silk, tea was an
extremely valuable agricultural commodity, prized as a luxury
item across Asia and into Europe.

In the mid-19th century, however, Briton Robert Fortune
dressed as a Chinese man (complete with queue) and set out
to discover the secret of tea-growing. He located the bushes
that produce tea, and stole seedlings that he transported to
British India. China’s tea monopoly was broken.

Robert Fortune (1812-1880)
Robert Fortune (1812-1880) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortune’s explorations are detailed in a new book, For All
the Tea in China
, by Sarah Rose. She frames this not
simply as a tale of Victorian exploration, but as early
industrial espionage – which, of course, it was.

I’m not saying this justifies anything, any more that the Opium trade or forcing products from the Industrialized West onto Asian markets, also part of or common historic context, justifies any reprisals.

I’m just saying Context is Everything and if you ignore history (especially when dealing with people for whom history is an important context) then you are setting yourself up for a sea of troubles.

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Naval War College uses Russian software for iPad course material



The Navy’s premier institution for developing senior strategic and
operational leaders started issuing students Apple iPad tablet
computers equipped with GoodReader software in August 2010,
unaware that the mobile app was developed and maintained by
a Russian company, Good.iWare, until Nextgov reported it in February.

OK so its not news and OK I’ve posted about this before, but …

Last week I was reading another report about malware and it stated that most malware yamma yamma yamma had it origins in the USA. No doubt you’ve seen reports to that effect with different slants.

So the question here is: Why should software produced in the country where there are more evil-minded programmers be superior to software produced in Russia? Continue reading Naval War College uses Russian software for iPad course material

Economic Impact: Patent trolls chase app developers out of the U.S


The Debt ceiling crisis will pass; even if there is a crash, the USA can recover from it …

IF its core economic worth, that is its industrial productivity, is unharmed.

There are a number of ways this can be harmed, poor credit rating among them, lack of availability for investments. Continue reading Economic Impact: Patent trolls chase app developers out of the U.S

Congressman blames U.S. unemployment crisis on iPad


In it U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) blasts Apple and Steve
Jobs claiming that the iPad is responsible for killing thousands of
American jobs.

Jesse Jackson i Almedalen 2011
Image by Socialdemokrater via Flickr

In the rambling manifesto Jackson claims that the iPad is to blame
because it enables anyone to easily download books and newspapers. Thus
everyone who works at bookstores (i.e. Borders) or the publishing
industry will lose their jobs to workers making iPads in China.

Over the top?

Well, he is a politician.

However, there is this:

Yet, last week, the president met with eight CEOs such as the heads of
Xerox and American Express to ask what he could do that would give them
confidence to invest in the United States. But these are precisely the
wrong people with whom to consult and the question is precisely the
wrong question. They are the wrong people because they have benefited
enormously from offshoring and from the distortions built into the
global system. Their interest is not the same as that of the United
States but rather that of their shareholders and, in some cases, of the
authoritarian governments of the countries to which they have moved much
of the production capacity. The question is wrong because rather than
trying to bribe them the president should, a la The Godfather, be making
them “offers they can’t refuse.”

In South Carolina, Governor Perry emphasized that he would make
Washington disappear from the lives of the people in his audience. That
did not strike me as the comment of a person using all his power to find

But think about it for just a moment. There will be no more significant
fiscal stimulus for the economy. The emphasis is all on debt reduction,
cutting expenditures, and retrenching. Not only will the federal
government be cutting back, but the state and municipal governments are
already slashing and burning. All of this will result in further job
reduction, less consumer spending, and declining stimulus which in turn
will lead to reluctance on the part of business to invest. In these
circumstances, the only possible source of jobs is a reduction of the
trade deficit.

He or she who wakes up to this fact first is likely to be the next president.

That’s my emphasis in red.

These executives are responsible to the shareholders, though the board.  If the economic climate and system of taxation – that is the employment costs, make it favourable to employ foreign workers rather than American workers than that is what these people will do.  If they do otherwise then they are clearly not acting in the best interests of their corporations and will be dismissed and replaced by someone who will.   This is basic corporate economics, and any politician who fails to recognise it may popular for crowing about “America First” but is displaying woeful ignorance.

The other way to look at it is that US workers have priced themselves out of the market.

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait.
Image via Wikipedia

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953

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Swine Flu Issues – insufficient discrimination

The trouble with some people is that they make some deceptively reasonable comments that don’t stand up under critical analysis

 With an ailing economy and a whole lot of cancelled contracts resulting from
that poor economy. Pandemic planning is a major threat to our most important
asset people and it appears as though that vulnerability may have been
activated. Its time to dust off the BCP plan and update it with a Pandemic
Mitigation strategy.

If it takes a pandemic to motivate you to create or review a BCP then
something is seriously wrong, and it has nothing to do with the pandemic.

As one manager said to me a long time ago, “show me the numbers”.
I read:

The number of confirmed cases rose Monday to 50 in the U.S., the result
of further testing at a New York City school. The WHO has confirmed 26
cases in Mexico, six in Canada and one in Spain. All of the Canadian
cases were mild, and the people have recovered.

The Mexican government suspects the virus was behind at least 149 deaths
in Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, with hundreds more cases

I’m sure just about any ocotr – or the ‘Net – can supply us with figures on the cases and deaths from ‘regular’ flu world-wide, as well as the named versions. Continue reading Swine Flu Issues – insufficient discrimination