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2014: The year of the hack
Dec 27th, 2014 by Warren Swil

Brazen attacks shred

faith in data security

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was not amused by Sony’s movie “The Interview.”

As the year began, more than 40 million credit card holders got a rude awakening when they learned their account data had been stolen from retailing giant Target.
As it draws to a close, the world has been regaled by emails and other sensitive data stolen from electronics and entertainment mega-corporation Sony.
These two major hacks bookend a year in which data privacy and security have been dominant themes in the news.
Never before has it seemed that everyone is at such risk from unseen, unknown threats. You are not alone if you have little faith that government and businesses cannot be trusted with your data.


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As new year nears, a word for our times: surveillance

PRIVACY MOVES TO TOP OF AGENDA, LIKELY TO REMAIN THERE
As the clock ticks down to a Gregorian-calendar new year, we can look back and see the term “surveillance” as the most discussed and analyzed during the past 12 months.
As we ponder what’s ahead for the new year, one of the items at the top of our list should be our notion of privacy. The line between public and private has become blurred beyond recognition. Most are only subliminally aware of this.
This is a vitally important topic for each and every one of us as we enter a new calendar year.
Let us hope it is a happy new year.


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Spying on friends, charities doesn’t deter terrorism

LATEST DISCLOSURES WEAKEN CASE FOR MASS SURVEILLANCE
Through his disclosures, Edward Snowden has not only gotten the attention of President Obama, but other world leaders and countless millions who use electronic communications.
He has attained what he said he wanted: a major public discussion at the highest levels about a hugely important issue.
Congratulations.
He deserves to be heralded as the most influential person of 2013.


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Spying panel recommendations: a matter of trust

REPORT FURTHER ERODES FAITH IN ELECTRONIC PRIVACY
While the recommendations of a presidential panel on government spying have been mostly welcomed, they could be seen as a confession that the revelations of Edward Snowden are accurate, and that everyone for years has been monitored on a massive scale unprecedented in its scope and size.
The key issue is one of trust. It has been seriously damaged.
Reform is urgently needed. The longer it is delayed, the more trust will erode.


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Spying fallout: Internet giants launch offensive defense

CALL FOR CURBS ON GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE IS SELF-SERVING
Some of the biggest players on the internet launched a massive public relations campaign Monday calling for new limits on government surveillance.
But it is so transparently a move to protect corporate profits that only the most naïve would not see it as such.
The corporate appeal should be seen for what it is: an attempt to get the companies on the right side of an issue that poses an existential threat to them. It’s not a pretty picture.


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UK government attacks press freedom everywhere

PUBLIC LYNCHING OF GUARDIAN EDITOR AN OMINOUS SIGN
The British government on Tuesday struck a blow against press freedom everywhere with its public inquisition of the editor of The Guardian newspaper.
The reporting by The Guardian, The New York Times and others on the Snowden documents has revealed serious lapses in government oversight, particularly in the U.S.
It is deeply troubling that British politicians would mount such a ferocious attack on press freedom. Journalists everywhere should stand with The Guardian in resisting this blatant intimidation.


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Spying scandal: lies, truth and the need to earn a living

REPORTER GREENWALD MOUNTS PASSIONATE, CONVINCING DEFENSE
A vituperative verbal battle has broken out about the journalist at the center of the reporting on the documents leaked by Edward Snowden: Glenn Greenwald has responded with a passionate, extensive and convincing defense of his methods and actions.
It is an absolutely must-read for anyone who cares about how the most startling and significant revelations about government wrongdoing have been exposed – and, likely, will continue to be so.


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NYT: Sitting on a story that might have changed the world

COURAGEOUS PUBLIC AIRING EXPLAINS MUCH, EXCUSES LITTLE
In a courageous – if overdue – explanation of one of the most enduring mysteries at The New York Times, the public editor on Sunday examined why the paper delayed publishing a vital story that might have influenced the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
The damage done by this regrettable episode is incalculable.
We and The New York Times can never measure the credibility lost but we can hope it has learned the lesson expressed in the last paragraph: it’s better to err on the side of disclosure.


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SPYING ON EVERYONE: Google, Yahoo data caught in dragnet

NOW IT’S PERSONAL FOR ALMOST EVERY INTERNET USER
In a major development in the government spying scandal, it was revealed Wednesday that not just chancellors and prime ministers are targeted by the NSA.
The Washington Post reported that massive data streams are diverted off-shore from Google and Yahoo into government data warehouses.
As the spying scandal unravels, it comes closer to home for each and every user of the internet, no matter where one is located on the map.
There can be no doubt that online privacy is vanishing, if it has not already disappeared.


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Spy scandal spirals into diplomatic crisis

QUESTION OF COVER-UP ARISES IN EUROPEAN MEDIA
As media in the U.S. largely ignored it, the scandal over government spying on allies in Europe spiraled over the weekend in unexpected directions.
The White House was described as “in disarray” in its response to the reports.
The story seems to be taking a familiar route: what did the president know and when did he know it?
We would be wise to take a cue from our democratic friends and allies across the pond and bring pressure to bear on our own representatives to end the spying abroad and at home.


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