NSA Headquarters Fort Meade

ICREACH: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google -The Intercept

The online publication The Intercept has a fascinating story on the National Security Agency’s “Google-like” search engine, which was created to chew through almost a trillion records containing “metadata:” the cell phone calls, email messages, geo-location data and other online communications the agency has harvested. The story exposes a tool called ICREACH. Author Ryan Gallagher cites classified documents obtained by The Intercept that provide what he calls hard evidence that the NSA has, through ICREACH “made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies” including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Read more via The Intercept with: ICREACH: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google -The Intercept.

Mobile Metadata, Google Dorking Expose Your Secret Life

A study of more than 500 mobile phone owners by researchers at Stanford University suggests that call records and other “metadata” stored on our phones can easily be used to infer a wealth of sensitive information about phone owners – laying bare details of private lives that many would prefer to keep hidden. The findings of the study were outlined in a blog post by researcher Patrick Mutchler on Wednesday. Researchers concluded that the data collected from the phones was very accurate in painting a picture of the phone’s owner, including their work, social interests and medical conditions. That was true even across a small sample population monitored for just a few weeks. In the study, researchers placed an application, MetaPhone, on Android smartphones belonging to 546 participants and collected a wide range of information including device logs, social network information and call records for analysis. In all, researchers collected calls […]

In Next Phase: Web Tracking Cookies Grow Legs

It’s easy to focus on the low hanging fruit in the Internet of Things revolution – the Internet-connected thermostats, connected vehicles and lawn sprinklers that you can manage from the Web.   But the biggest changes are yet to come – as powerful, wearable technology, remote sensors and powerful data analytics combine to map and record our every waking (and sleeping) moment. I got a glimpse of that reading this article over at the blog, a site that concentrates on the hyperlocal marketing sector. Hyperlocal was a big thing about six or seven years ago, as online media outfit (and their advertisers) decided that consumers were losing interest in the thin gruel that online mass-media provided, but remained intensely interested in local news and affairs. Alas, capitalizing on the relatively small-scale opportunities in ‘hyperlocal’ proved harder than anyone thought, as this week’s decision to shutter AOL’s remaining Patch web […]

Wolfram Floats Common Language For Internet Of Things

Amid all the “connected device” hoopla coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, one of the most interesting announcements came from an unexpected corner: Wolfram Research, a maker of high-end software that is used in scientific research. On Monday, the company’s CEO, Stephen Wolfram, announced The Wolfram Connected Devices Project – an initiative that will comprise both a common catalog of connected devices and a common language to connect them. “Connected devices are central to our long-term strategy of injecting sophisticated computation and knowledge into everything,” Wolfram said. “With the Wolfram Language we now have a way to describe and compute about things in the world. Connected devices are what we need to measure and interface with those things.” Wolfram’s short-term goal is to begin cataloging IoT devices and making those devices ‘searchable’ via its Wolfram Alpha web portal – what the company describes as a ‘computational […]

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Thingful is a Facebook for Smart Devices

The data on exactly how many Internet of Things devices will be online by the end of the decade is a matter of debate. Cisco famously put the number at 50 billion by 2020, though Morgan Stanley thinks it could be as high as 75 billion. The analyst firm IDC estimates the number at 50 billion. But others have put the number lower. Gartner puts the number of connected things at around 30 billion by 2020. We might all be better off taking a cue from McDonald’s and just start using the phrase “billions and billions” by the end of the decade. As with McDonald’s hamburgers – the exact number doesn’t really matter, so long as everyone agrees that it’s going to be big. Really big. But all those devices – and the near-limitless IPV6 address space that will accommodate them – do present a management and governance problem: how […]