National Reconnaissance Office serves Cthulu?

Posted on: Tue, 01/19/2016 - 13:12 By: Tom Swiss

A giant tentacled beast grips the earth. An illustration from a Lovecraft story about the Elder Gods? No, a mission logo from the secretive National Reconnaissance Office.

"A little sinister!!" The story behind National Reconnaissance Office's octopus logo (MuckRock)

When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they had hoped for ...

That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth.


The 15-page file clears up a lot of questions surrounding the logo approval process - rather than simply being somebody's bad idea that just didn't get squashed, it turns out the octopus had made it across many, many desks before that final OK.

...[A]n article for what appeared to be the ODNI's internal magazine reveals the "secret origin" of the octopus, which has less to do with an admiration of mollusca and more with a faulty component called an "octopus harness."

That article draws from a speech made by the Mission Manager - a full transcription of his remarks are included in the file, and they expand upon NRO's capabilities with a charming obliviousness to just how terrifying all this sounds.

Spied-on Congresscritters suddenly discover the value of privacy

Posted on: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 10:37 By: Tom Swiss

While some Democratic partisans have been misrepresenting the NSA's findings to claim that Netanyahu bribed Republican members of Congress, the real story here is the NSA spying on Congress -- and the sudden conversion of former fans of spying into defenders of privacy, now that they find themselves the targets. Hypocrisy is indeed the greatest luxury.

Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated (The Intercept)

In January 2014, I debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking. “Spying is a matter of fact,” he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported, Hoekstra “laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information” — referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, “Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans.”

But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime of spying on him and his friends.

This pattern — whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on — is one that has repeated itself over and over.

Jimmy Wales May Use Encryption To Fight Snooper’s Charter (Tech Week Europe)

Posted on: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 13:17 By: Tom Swiss

Good on you, Jimmy Wales.

Jimmy Wales May Use Encryption To Fight Snooper’s Charter

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has spoken out against the Draft Communications Bill, the UK government plans to monitor and store all digital communications, dubbed the “Snooper’s Charter”.

In case Draft Communications Data Bill becomes the law, the US entrepreneur has promised to encrypt all connections between Wikipedia servers and the UK, effectively reducing the government’s ability to snoop on use of Wikipedia. Wales was speaking to a joint committee tasked with scrutinising the proposed Communications Bill before it is debated in the House of Commons.

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