[FoRK] The 377 Words You Can't Say Online

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Jun 1 02:24:39 PDT 2012


On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:20:30PM -0700, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> 
> On May 31, 2012, at 7:49 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> > 
> > Of course, having too many keywords will now have to become an anti-filter.

Of course not, because it shows you're concerned (which is useful
to know about you, if e.g. it's time to put people to the wall,
come the revolution), and it would be easy for a genuine threat 
to camouflage as a security nut. E.g. am I just a security nut
or am I playing one? When I was doing chemical academic stuff on Moscow
and generated interesting search queries from idle curiosity 
I've had a friend of a friend who was in intelligence drop by, 
have a nice chat and drink cognac, and to do some interesting 
AltaVista queries (about solid-state rocket propellant) from my (RedHat)
workstation ostensibly because he didn't have Net access at his office. 
Or just check out the funny guy in person, and calibrate the 
intercept. A little bird told me my name was on a list in Germany, 
when I ran my Tor exit, when these things were new.

I think the lists *are* sticky, but there are multiple cathegories.
And it's probably rather hard to get the status certifyably
harmless, once you've been in a particular social graph, and
have triggered quite a few probes (what was really in
these encrypted emails from Assange? And what was in
that package from Young? And why did he buy these ricinus
beans and lab equipment? And did all these things really
happen, or was this just trigger fodder, again?). 
 
> 
> 
> At worst it is an entertaining way to have people self-categorize by their obsession with a fake keyword list. Identification of nominal threats via text monitoring is vastly more sophisticated than anything normal people would easily understand. Keyword lists are so 1980s.

I think the list is genuine in the sense that there
are Narus boxes primed with that list and others, and
they flag and filter all packets which all go by fiber
to remote location and there into storage, and later 
analysis.

I think there's a database slot for every warm body 
on the planet, but some entirely empty, many thinly
populated, but some extremely well populated. Given
an informal estimate of about 1 megaperson of 
interest/300 megapersons, or about 0.3%. 

These 20-60 million database slots or so have multiple
realtime probes assigned to them, and are refreshed
in realtime. All or nearly all traffic to these goes
to online storage. 

Very advanced data mining is being done both on
the hot spots as well as on the entire database of
7 gigamonkeys. I'm sure Palantir is only the tip
of what's being done.

I know this is what I would do, so I'd expect anyone
marginally competent with a decent budget to do that,
and a lot more. 

Of course the reality could be a lot mundane, but
if you're not operating under such assumptions then
your professional paranoia level needs to be readjusted.


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