US Intelligence Community Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
from the reasons-to-be-cheerful dept
There’s been quite a lot of excitement in the press about the latest leaks that the NSA has been spying on not just one French President, but (at least) three of them. As Mike pointed out, this isn’t such a big deal, because it is precisely the kind of thing that you would expect the NSA to do — as opposed to spying on the entire US public, which isn’t. There is, though, an aspect that most people have overlooked: the fact that these NSA leaks don’t appear to originate from Snowden’s stash.
Of course, Mr Crypto himself, Bruce Schneier, did spot it, and pointed out it could be one of his “other” US intelligence community leakers, listed a couple of months ago, or even a completely new one. As that post shows, there are now a few people around that are leaking secret documents, and that’s a pretty significant trend, since you might expect enhanced security measures taken in the wake of Snowden’s leaks would have discouraged or caught anyone who attempted to follow suit. Continue reading →
Earlier this month, the Israel Air Force grew significantly stronger with the arrival of its newest training aircraft: the “Lavi”. On the forefront of aerial technology, the Lavi allows pilots to acquire operational flight skills much faster resulting in a more efficient training process. Major A., the deputy commander of the Lavi Squadron, explains the enormous benefits of this new aircraft.
Major A., deputy commander of the Lavi Squadron explains, “This aircraft is revolutionary for the Flight Academy. Its flight characteristics are very similar to those of the F-16I and F-15. We can show students the possible maneuvers on their future fighter aircraft and thus shorten the training and adaptation processes significantly.” Continue reading →
After the worst anti-China violence for 15 years took place in Vietnam this month, it took China’s propaganda authorities nearly two days to work out how the story should be handled publicly. However, this was not a simple information blackout. The 48-hour gap between the start of the riots and their eventual presentation to the country’s mass audiences exemplified some of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sophisticated techniques for managing information during fast-breaking foreign affairs incidents in the Internet era. Far from seizing on incidents at sea to demonstrate China’s strength to a domestic audience, the official line played down China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea and emphasized Vietnamese efforts to stop the riots, effectively de-coupling the violence from the issue that sparked them. This indicated that, rather than trying to appease popular nationalism, China’s leaders were in fact reluctant to appear aggressive in front of their own people. 
By framing the issue in this way, China’s media authoritiescultivated a measured “rational patriotism” in support of the country’s territorial claims. In contrast to the 2012 Sino-Japanese confrontation over the Diaoyu Islands, when Beijing appears to have encouraged nationalist outrage to increase its leverage in the dispute,  during the recent incident the Party-state was determined to limit popular participation in the issue, thus maximizing its ability to control the escalation of the situation, a cornerstone of the high-level policy of “unifying” the defense of its maritime claims with the maintenance of regional stability (Shijie Zhishi [World Affairs], 2011). Continue reading →
YEHUD, ISRAEL — A month after launching Israel’s newest spy satellite into space, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the Ofek 10 and its advanced radar-imaging payload, is poised to transfer the strategic intelligence system to military hands.
IAI Chief Executive Yossi Weiss said Ofek 10 should be delivered to operational users “within weeks,” following extensive in-orbit testing by specialists with the company’s MBT Space Division here and Defense Ministry research and development authorities.
“So far, along all parameters, we’re quite satisfied,” Weiss said of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite launched April 9 by an IAI-produced Shavit rocket.
“We’re taking our time to work through a very methodical and thorough testing program,” he said. “There will be no cutting corners. … And when it’s ready — within weeks — we will hand it over to the government of Israel to operate as an additional strategic asset for its use.” Continue reading →
Disclosures of controversial U.S. surveillance practices, including the monitoring of some foreign leaders, have reignited an international debate over Internet governance. Some countries hope to leverage the scandal to diminish the influence Washington has over some Internet infrastructure—principally processes managed by the U.S.-based nonprofit, ICANN, that coordinates the unique identifiers (Internet Protocol addresses and domain names) that people and devices use to connect on the Internet. (ICANN is an acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.) But a broader discussion of Internet governance touches on a range of public policy issues, including freedom of expression, trade, privacy, cybersecurity, and sovereignty.
What is Internet governance?
The term Internet governance has evolved over time, and various groups have attempted to develop working definitions. As the Internet first opened to commerce and the wider public in the mid-1990s, the term referred to a limited set of policy issues associated with the global synchronization and management of domain names (e.g., samplesite.com) and IP addresses (e.g., 188.8.131.52).
But as the Internet became a unified medium for all types of information, the definition broadened considerably. In 2005, the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society defined Internet governance as “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”
As contentious public policy issues have emerged, the concept of Internet governance has conflated management of the technical resources necessary for its stability and continued expansion with discussion of behaviors emerging from the use of the Internet at what is known as the content layer.
Internet users surf at a cyber cafe in Kuala Lumpur August 7, 2009. (Photo: Bazuki Muhammad/Courtesy Reuters)
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorist leaders has become a centerpiece of the United States’ global counter-terrorism strategy. Each new report of a strike in Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia provides new fodder to critics, who point to civilian casualties and the resulting anger at the United States as evidence that the strategy is counterproductive in the long term. Recently, one critic, Col. Gary Anderson, USMC (ret.), raised an even more fundamental question: “Why…do we think that targeting what we consider key terrorists with drone strikes will bring down their network as a whole?”
Last week, Xi Jinping‘s chairmanship of the Communist Party was announced, and collectively, the Chinese Internet breathed a sigh of relief. Netizens rejoiced as the web returned to its normal speed, while censors, government officials, and Internet companies finally allowed themselves to stop fretting about making any missteps during the highly sensitive week-long, once-in-a-decade political meeting — the 18th Party Congress — which decided China’s new leadership structure.
Within a few hours, the top trending topics on Sina Weibo, China’s homegrown equivalent to Twitter, included political topics like incoming Premier Li Keqiang’s resumé and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s November 15 comments that he isn’t bothered by online criticism because such things are normal in a democracy. But for most of the week-long Party Congress, however, the top Weibo chatter (part censorship, part apathy) had focused mostly on Chinese pop celebs.