This Can’t End Well: 3D-Printed Gun in Israeli Parliament

At some point, maker culture opens the door to un-maker culture…

Imagine a person holding a gun on his lap, fully visible, while in the same room as President Barack Obama. The equivalent recently happened in Israel when investigative journalists from Channel 10 TV tested government security by slipping a functioning 3D-printed gun into the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and into an address by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the journalists got past Knesset security twice. The Channel 10 journalists printed the gun based on designs from U.S. nonprofit Defense Distributed, and although it contains one metal part, a nail that serves as a firing pin, the gun even made it past a metal detector.

(Via Sean Captain at TechNewsDaily.com | 3D-Printed Gun in Israeli Parliament Ignites Security Concerns. Story has links through to the original Israeli news report.)

Markey Letter to ATF re: Printed Guns

U.S. Congressman Ed Markey’s letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about Defense Distributed’s manufacturing of 3-D printed guns (public domain)

In an interview that covered key ideas on the singularity, advanced technology proponent Ray Kurzweil argued that while new, powerful technologies open the door to harm and terrorism, humans have the power to rein in the danger. But to do that, he suggests “we need to give a higher priority to preparing protective strategies and systems. We need to put a few more stones on the defense side of the scale.”

Given what has been revealed about the NSA data gathering and the broadening legal acceptability of online surveillance, somehow I don’t see anyone adding “more stones” to law enforcement anytime soon. Indeed, part of the motivation for printed guns seems to be precisely protection from the “defense side of the scale”.

Not to be a total downer, but how does this end well?

And what was that about an eye for an eye leaving the world blind?

A Different Kind of Cord Cutting

I don’t tend to think of myself as a tech dependent guy. I’m probably fooling myself, of course. I use my computer and iPad a ton. I watch television and listen to digital music.  But the big thing for me is that I don’t have a smartphone. What I have may not even rank as a feature phone: a $14.99 special on a pay-as-you go plan. There’s not much to check on it, so I tend not to pull it out. So I’m not addicted, right?

But last week my email was acting up, probably because of distributed denial of service attack on Spamhaus.  That reminded me really quickly of how much I need email, especially for communication with students.

But it could be worse. As David Meyer wrote on March 28 at Gigaom:

According to the Associated Press, on Wednesday the Egyptian Navy detained three scuba divers in a dinghy near Alexandria, who were “cutting the undersea cable” of local telco Telecom Egypt. This was confirmed on the Navy’s Facebook page. Egyptian news agency MENA identified the affected cable as SMW4: the same one whose cutting caused an internet slowdown in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia…

Incidentally, the SMW4 cable more properly known as South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 4 or SEA-ME-WE 4 was also involved in a very serious outage five years ago, which cut the capacity of the main Europe-Middle East connection by 75 percent. This one appears to have been less drastic.

So, we are literally hanging by a thread. A thick thread, but a thread nonetheless.

On the upside, both the digital and analog hacking incidents have passed and systems seem to be back to normal.

Maybe I should just stick to my feature phone.

(For more coverage, check out Om Malik’s piece as well.)

Privacy Is Only as Strong as Your Weakest Friend, David Petraeus Edition

You may be awesome at keeping the lid tight on your online data. Like, “Leader of the CIA” tight. But how about your friends?

The collapse of the impressive career of CIA Director David H. Petraeus was triggered when a woman with whom he was having an affair sent threatening e-mails to another woman close to him, according to three senior law enforcement officials with know­ledge of the episode.

The recipient of the e-mails was so frightened that she went to the FBI for protection and help tracking down the sender, according to the officials. The FBI investigation traced the threats to Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and a Petraeus biographer, and uncovered explicit e-mails between Broadwell and Petraeus, the officials said.

When you share data, you share data with everyone that your partner ever shared data with…

BTW, an email counts as “data”. Even if the accounts are anonymous (as Broadwell’s seems to have been). Service providers are being asked to give it up more and more all the time. And they frequently comply.

Via Sari Horowitz and Greg Miller at The Washington Post. For more technical info, click through Ars Technica’s coverage.

Institutional Trust and Silencing a 9-Year-Old Girl

Happy Father’s Day, belatedly! My parents and in-laws were in town this weekend, so I was not able to finish this post on time. But here it is, hopefully still of interest.

Over the course of Friday, we saw an interesting story unfold about an Scottish food blog written by primary school student. John Russell at The Next Web (UK: Local Authorities Silence 9-Year-Old Girl Behind School Lunch Blog) writes:

A nine-year-old British school girl has had her popular blog about school food closed by a local council. Martha Payne, a primary school student in Western Scotland, began posting photos of her school dinners with commentary in May and today ‘Never Seconds‘ passed more than 2 million page views.

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Dharun Ravi, Tyler Clemente, and How We Accept Spying

Today, Dharun Ravi begins his thirty day prison sentence for his conviction on crimes relating to using a webcam twice to spy on his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clemente.  Clemente committed suicide a day later.  (For background, The New York Times has a topic page on the case.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the case over the past couple of years, especially since Ravi’s conviction in March.  And especially given what he was actually sentence for.

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Automation Errors

I’m guessing that the Harvard Alumni Association assumed that its databases would never let something like this through:

Occupation: “prisoner.” Awards: “eight life sentences.” The Harvard Alumni Association was apologizing on Wednesday evening for publishing those and other details in an update from Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, in a directory for alumni attending their 50th class reunion this week.

via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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