Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Of cyber stalking and cyberwar

Let's begin with the snitch in our pockets. Consider that:
There was an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times ... that argued that we should begin calling our cell phones by a more accurate descriptive name, e.g., our personal “tracker.” The piece argues that the purpose of cell phones is increasingly less about servicing the communication needs of their owners, and increasing more about gathering data about their users’ activities to be analyzed by third parties, commercial and government alike.
Did you find the NYT article linked to in that snippet a tad discouraging? Me, too. For more of the IEEE Spectrum opinion piece from which that paragraph was excerpted see "Is Your Cell Phone Snitching on You?".

Stuxnet, per DOE
On a more global scale, consider the Stuxnet and Flame worms set loose to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program (and mind you, I think the goal is beyond admirable).

 We now know that Israel and the US were behind the attacks. (Don't get me started on the White House leaking that information.) The policy implications of cyber attack as an announced form of international intervention are ... huge. See (both from IEEE Spectrum), "Declarations of Cyberwar: What the revelations about the U.S.-Israeli origin of Stuxnet mean for warfare" and "Gone Missing: The Public Policy Debate on Unleashing the Dogs of Cyberwar."

How sophisticated is this cyberwarfare? Very. See (once more, from IEEE Spectrum) "Flame: Cyberwarfare’s Latest, Greatest Weapon."

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