6 January 2021 was a security clusterfuck.

  uspol coup capital infosec opsec physical_security espionage wtf government

Note the first: I started working on this article last week, but didn't post it until now because I wanted to let all of the (usually astoundingly bad) hot takes die down. While I realize that the Internet has given everyone an attention span rivalled only by the lifespan of the adult mayfly, I think it might be useful to have something laying around that can be pointed to later if need be.

Note the second: A reminder that I do not speak from an official position. I do not speak for or represent my employers, past, present, or future …

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Neologism: DC AC

  business dc government neologisms uspol

DC AC - noun phrase (humorous) - The primary mechanism of air conditioning inside the DC Beltway.  Notionally, the movement of air due to revolving doors caused by the never-ending cycle of contractors becoming civil servants, civil servants becoming lobbyists, and lobbyists forming startups and becoming government contractors once more.

Remember when your mom said that asking the wrong questions would put you on someone's list?

  anecdote eff foia government lists oversight questions us

As a child of the Cold War era I'd always been curious about politics and how things worked. My mom (and grandmother, for that matter) always warned me that asking those kinds of questions would mean that my name would wind up on a list someplace. They were never clear on what sort of list that was, or what effect being on one might have. The context was never a good one and it lead to no shortage of arguments, that was for sure. Those arguments mysteriously stopped when, in one of my high school civics classes (it's important to …

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The people said "No more!" and the TSA said "Shut your pie holes!"

  big_brother dhs government privacy retribution scanners travel tsa usa wtf x_ray

First, I'd like to give special thanks to I/Oerror who's been keeping a hawk's eye on this. I found a couple of the articles for this post on his Twitter feed during my daily news crawl. I wish I had the time to dedicate to scanning feeds constantly for stuff like this.

I haven't been posting about this for two reasons: first, because hearing that stuff like this is going on within the United States of America to decent people who haven't done anything upsets me greatly. There is simply no reason to mistreat people like this, all it …

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Spooks, dirty tricks, and creative linguistics.

  us 2005 big_brother demands fbi government grand_jury leaks nsa patriot_act phone_bills powers records risen subpoena wiretapping

It seems that the US federal government has been busy lately - a pair of news articles released last week show the lengths they're going to so that they can get their way while seeming to be on the up and up. As you'll recall, back in July of 2005 the city of London, England was rocked by a number of explosions which were placed by suicide bombers to maximally disrupt the public transportation system of the city. The British government probably asked the FBI to assist in the investigation (as suggested by a number of documents obtained through the Freedom …

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Is a cold net.war going on between the US and China?

  rant big_picture china cracking government infosec middle_east military networks osint paranoia power propaganda snake_oil systems united_states

Every once in a while a news article about attempts to crack US military and government systems coming out of China or the Middle East hits the 'wires; rumors of groups of systems crackers belonging to the Air Force/United Nations/Department of Homeland Security/Microsoft/the Illuminati regularly make their rounds at hacker conventions. Military data nets are increasingly becoming targets of crackers from abroad, safe from prosecution and extradition because it's so difficult to start legal proceedings against someone you don't even know, let alone can grab by the scruff of the neck (police dramas and MLATs to …

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Explosive post queue flush in three.. two.. one....

  abney_park announcement bioengineering blastocyst_biopsy bobby_fischer cd cellular_biology chess government hearts internet movies music news philadelphia protein_matrix rats release_party rip sleep steampunk stem_cells travel wiretapping

As one might expect, it's been a busy couple of days (a week, really), which has kept me from being able to post anything. I got back from Philly around 1700 EST5EDT last Friday, and I've been offline pretty much the entire weekend because I've been too tired to do much of anything. After I got back, Lyssa made a wonderful hot dinner (all the more special because temperatures in the tri-state area have been averaging in the mid-twenties Fahrenheit), and then we decided to get together with some friendly faces to hang out for the evening. To that end …

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Contractors do the dumbest things sometimes.

  classified_information ftp government hidden_files infosec us www

Like putting classified material online where anyone can stumble across it it.

It has come to the attention of the news media that documents that really shouldn't be getting out (like blueprints of high-security military installations) are being stashed on publically accessible web and FTP servers around the net, sometimes on the networks of the subcontractors themselves where anybody with the time and patience to go digging has a chance at finding it. During research for this article, reporters working for the Associated Press found dozens of sensitive documents that weren't even protected with a basic password. Moreover, sometimes you …

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US government mines even more personal information than previously suspected.

  crime data_mining databases fraud government paranoia terrorism us

Ever since 9/11, the US government has been an informational vacuum cleaner that sucks up information on just about everyone in this country, or who happens to enter or leave the country (as some people with laptops have discovered). What they do with it and where they put it all is a matter of some speculation; suffice it to say that the network attached storage system companies are making a killing selling RAID systems to them... at any rate, it's come to light that they're mining more than just terrorism-related information to generate profiles on people. In fact, there …

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It's taken years of campaigning, but it's finally happened.

  government headstones military sigils united_states

The United States military has finally conceded after all these years - the pentacle has now been approved for the headstones of veterans who are also neopagans. The familiar circled five-pointed star joins the ranks of thirty-eight other philosophical and religious sigils, including the crucifix, the happy human of Secular Humanists, and the Star of David.

Interestingly, they've been taking their sweet old time on this - they approved the happy human and the insignia of the Sikhs in mere weeks.