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Morning Musings

  • North Korea aptly names its space agency, NADA (in Spanish, “nada” means nothing) …
  • Cuba I: A US-Cuba democracy program was Snowdened … and most of the coverage is downright wrong. If it turns out to be true that USAID was helping set up Twitter networks, and increase Internet accessibility for Cubans, mega kudos. The true criminals are the leakers, likely from Capitol Hill, Senate side. They’ve put U.S. and Cuban lives in danger.
  • Meanwhile, Turkey is allegedly lifting its Twitter ban. I say allegedly because any country that restricts speech is already suspect in my book, including allies. There is no need to do this. Does Turkey’s move really mean that Ergodan secured advanced surveillance equipment to tinker with Twitter and other Internet apps? Maybe. Turks can always use HideMyAss as well as related technologies and applications.
  • Human rights groups waking up to the potential use of export controls to keep surveillance technology from totalitarian regimes. The thing is, this may be an awakening that is too little too late. Unless allies cooperate, and I doubt China and Russia would, export controls on surveillance technology (with a few exceptions) will serve to hurt the forces of freedom.
  • Cuba II:  U.S. journalists should read s. 109 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. It is the reporting that is “dumb, dumb, dumb” not the program. Friends of Castro on Capitol Hill – Democrats and Republicans – are holding hearings next week. This could spell the end of U.S.-Cuba democracy programs. Opponents of U.S. policy did not mess a beat. They are already fundraising.
  • Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.) wins one for the Left. In a secret vote, the Senate intelligence committee voted 11-3 to declassify a summary of the CIA’s terrorist detention program. Sen. Harry Reid hailed the occasion and called the program “one of the more regrettable episodes of our past.” Looking forward saying the same on November 5, 2014, the day after the mid-term elections, the day the Left loses control of the U.S. Senate.
  • When will we know if Senate staff illegally removed classified documents from a secure facility?
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Jason Poblete (at the podium), former NSA IG Joel Brenner, Esq., national security law expert David Laufman, and Senator Evan Bayh talk emerging issues in cyber security at the ABA Section of International Law 2014 Spring Meeting

I was in New York yesterday for the Spring 2014 ABA  Section of International Law meeting. Our Committee hosted a program “Private Contractors, Snowden, and Cyber Security: Did the Reorganization of the Intelligence Community Achieve Success?,” that I moderated.

In a few days I’ll post a few thoughts about the discussion. One thing is certain, the legal community, as well as corporate America, have a lot of data security work to do in the years ahead. Which is why Congress, among many other reasons, needs to better focus the ongoing debate between privacy advocates and national security concerns.

  • The Hill newspaper asks this morning: Is it Clarence Thomas‘s Court? I sure hope so.
  • The Culture of Intolerance: Mozilla CEO forced to step down over defense of traditional marriage.
  • Washington Times: Snooping in sensitive or off-limits databases a growing problem.
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