The Internet is a pit of epistemological chaos. As Peter Steiner posited -- and millions of chuckles peer-reviewed -- in his famous New Yorker cartoon, there's no way to know if you're swapping packets with a dog or the bank that claims to safeguard your money. To make matters worse, Edward Snowden has revealed that the NSA may be squirreling away a copy of some or all of our packets, and given the ease with which it can be done, other countries and a number of rogue hacker groups may very well be following the NSA's lead.
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, ranked as the most authoritative science and technology think tank in the U.S. (second in the world behind Max Planck Institutes of Germany), has just released its latest report on the impact of the existence and disclosure of the broad NSA national and international spying programs.
If there's a poster child for the challenges facing open source security, it may be Werner Koch, the German developer who wrote and for the last 18 years has toiled to maintain Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG), a pillar of the open source software ecosystem.
A funny thing is happening in the wake of the <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2490179/security0/security0-the-snowden-leaks-a-timeline.html">Edward Snowden NSA revelations</a>, the infamous <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2601905/apple-icloud-take-reputation-hits-after-photo-scandal.html">iCloud hack of celebrity nude photos</a>, and the hit parade of customer data breaches at <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2490637/security0/target-finally-gets-its-first-ciso.html">Target</a>, <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2844491/home-depot-attackers-broke-in-using-a-vendors-stolen-credentials.html">Home Depot</a> and the <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2845621/government/us-postal-service-suffers-breach-of-employee-customer-data.html">U.S. Postal Service</a>. If it's not the government looking at your data, it's bored, lonely teenagers from the Internet or credit card fraudsters.
A report Thursday by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board calling the NSA's bulk phone records collection program illegal and mostly useless puts the Obama Administration in an awkward spot.