(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming
business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)
I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continuedRead more
Your personal information is being bought and sold by companies that lurk in the shadows. You’ve never heard of them. That’s the way they like it.
This is the most important issue that affects your privacy today.
Let’s start with a tight focus.
Assume there’s a company that methodically scrapes information from public records – drivers licenses, voter registration, property rolls, census and change of address records, birth certificates, marriage licenses, bankruptcy records. […] continuedRead more
Google has two new phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. They’re quite nice. If you had one, you’d like it. They might not tempt iPhone users to leave the Apple world, but anyone with an Android phone should consider a Pixel 4, now available through all the carriers. […] continuedRead more
Here’s a scary story about the government’s preparations for the 2020 census and how it was exposed to “potentially catastrophic risk” when it lost some passwords.
Costs for the census have soared in the last few decades. After the 2010 census, the Census Bureau decided to embrace technology in 2020 to make the count more accurate and keep costs down. […] continuedRead more
FaceApp is a popular phone app that uses AI on selfies to make you look older. It’s cute. It had a resurgence recently when some celebrities posted photos of themselves with wrinkles and grey hair, and then a lot of people freaked out because they realized the app does its work by uploading your picture to Russia. […] continuedRead more
Media literacy – being able to recognize phishing messages, disinformation, and scams – has become one of the most important skills needed to survive in the 21st century. Your children may take classes in media literacy before long; lawmakers and educators are working to elevate the issue in legislatures and schools. […] continuedRead more
“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.
— “Silver Blaze,” The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The United States is spearheading a multinational effort to destroy Huawei Technologies. […] continuedRead more
The Justice Department hand-delivered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report to Congress on Thursday morning – on CD-ROMs. Isn’t that the cutest thing? House Judiciary Committee staff looked in the closets and found a computer with a working CD-ROM drive.Read more
We believe in freedom of speech in the US, except when people actually exercise it. Then we discover there are lots of people who should be seen but not heard – and a fair number that we wish we couldn’t see, either.
Governments, regulators and large tech companies are launching into a debate about content moderation that will be long, messy, and unsatisfying. […] continuedRead more
I’m trying to get my thoughts in order for a couple of long articles about how to think about privacy in our world of surveillance by giant tech companies. That’s not quite ready yet. Now, now, don’t be disappointed, get a grip on yourself – it won’t be long before you have a chance to read four or five thousand words about things that I’m poorly qualified to talk about, and won’t that be fun? […] continuedRead more
The Chinese government has put secret spy chips on US government servers. They’re stealing secrets from Apple and Amazon. And the US government is engaged in a massive effort to prevent us from learning anything about it, for unknown reasons.
How about this: the US government is mounting a full-court disinformation campaign, spreading lies through multiple sources to discredit China and gain an advantage in trade wars – and taking down a huge media entity as collateral damage. […] continuedRead more
A famous thought experiment shows how an AI could be designed with good intentions and without malice, and still wind up destroying humanity.
Imagine that an artificial intelligence is told to maximize production of paperclips. Through an oversight it is not given any instructions about also considering human values – life, learning, joy, and so on. […] continuedRead more
There is a difference between Russian hacking, on the one hand; and Russian meddling in American society and interfering with our election, on the other hand. The terms are used interchangeably and imprecisely in news coverage. Let’s try for clarity. Knowing the difference will help you sort out the claims flying back and forth in the headlines. […] continuedRead more
The Perfect Weapon by New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, is the most important book you will read this year.
Before I describe the book, let me start with something essential to know about it: The Perfect Weapon reads like a thriller. It does not get technical or difficult. […] continuedRead more