Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lab Notebook: NSA, Google, cookies

In Scalable Innovation (Chapter 5. System Control Points: Where to Aim the Silver Bullets), we introduce the concept of aboutness and use the example of web cookies to explain how it helps solve detection problems. In the second edition of the book, we should illustrate the concept with the recent revelation that NSA uses Google cookies to identify targets for hacking. This is exactly the use our system model predicts.

The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using "cookies" and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency's internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations. (Source: Washington Post, December 10, 2013).

tags: detection, control, system, model, example

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