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Why is the EFF at the RSA Security Conference? (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-hail-the-mighty-Electronic-Frontier-Foundation dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 34

Timothy asked Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) International Outreach Coordinator Maira Sutton that very question. Watch the video for her answer. It turns out that the EFF has lots of friends among RSA ("the most comprehensive forum in information security") attendees, and has some very good reasons to be there, in the midst of companies and government agencies that Timothy thinks might not only violate your privacy once in a while, but (gasp!) might even enjoy it.

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Alas... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219497)

I, for one, would love to be more surprised that 'security' has, in information systems as in the physical world, grown a nasty underbelly of people and entities who don't really distinguish between 'security' and 'surveillance' (and, quite possibly, 'offensive capability').

Re:Alas... (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219607)

I, for one, would love to be more surprised that 'security' has, in information systems as in the physical world, grown a nasty underbelly of people and entities who don't really distinguish between 'security' and 'surveillance' (and, quite possibly, 'offensive capability').

But it's all just for protection. (Though probably not yours)

Re:Alas... (5, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219933)

"who don't really distinguish between 'security' and 'surveillance'

Surveillance is a legitimate component of security. You will never be able to eliminate the capability of an opponent to defeat other security controls. Surveillance is a powerful deterrent and can mitigate losses by enhancing the potential for recovery.

Is surveillance an appropriate solution all the time, hell no. It certainly has a place in the security professional's tool box and there are plenty of perfectly ethical uses for it.

Re:Alas... (1)

UltimaBuddy (2566017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228955)

As opposed to the default "There should be a law!" response, I think "There should be a book" (on the ethics of security and surveillance).

Know of any?

Totally outdated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39219531)

They could just use the cloud to do that.

Transcripts? (5, Interesting)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219543)

Transcripts would be nice. I come to Slashdot to read news which is a much faster form of direct information transfer than video. Now if there was other information which couldn't be conveyed well with words, then video is an appropriate format, but the relevent content here isn't about the coffee cup in the background or even what Ms. Sutton looks like. Even then, a quick sentence could describe the appearance of the interviewee and the t-shirt she sports if the modern school of journalism (draw in the reader with POV, socio-economic status, etc...) is to be followed.

We could protest .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39219621)

... what Ms. Sutton looks like.

How to protest. Go off topic. Like:

Hmmmmm, Ms. Sutton.....she looks like she's got a little Asian in her and some European background - pretty. I would definitely like to put in some American in her.

Or ...

It looks like she might have had something hot and black in her.

She could have drank her coffee black. Get it? Hot and black?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you thought I was making a crude sexual racial innuendo, didn't you!?

Re:Transcripts? (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219627)

In other words: TL;DW

Re:Transcripts? (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219661)

No, actually I did watch to the entire Q&A (well listen anyway) it because it's something I'm interested in. But yeah, the speed of the information which I wanted was reminiscent of dialing into AOL at 2400 baud.

Re:Transcripts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220379)

Problem downloading the player. Please check your Internet connection

My Internet connection is just fine, but I guess here it's 0 Bd for me.

Re:Transcripts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220779)

I tried to watch the whole thing, but kept being distracted by how cute the EFF girl is.

Re:Transcripts? (2)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219867)

Transcripts would be nice.

Much easier would be to use WebM. Not only Flash bloated and insecure, it is tied to a binary blob which is available on a decreasing number of important systems. Firefox [mozilla.com], Opera [opera.com], and Chrome [gigaom.com] all support WebM. There's no excuse to not be using it for the video already and reach a larger public.

Transcript - you ask, we deliver (5, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220097)

And by 'we' I certainly don't mean Slashdot staff.

-- begin transcript --
[0:00] <TITLE>
The background shows the EFF logo and the following three lines:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
protecting Rights and promoting Freedom on the Electronic Frontier

The logo for Slashdot, with the subline "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters." scrolls into view.

Timothy> A lot of the companies here at RSA probably don't mind violating your privacy once in a while in fact, I get the feeling some of them enjoy it.
Timothy> So, what's a nice bunch like the EFF doing here?
Timothy> I talked to International Outreach Coordinator Maira Sutton to find out.

Timothy> Why is the EFF at an event like this surrounded by companies that do very different things and don't necessarily respect privacy?

Maira> Well, we are part of the community.
Maira> Whether or not we do the same things, we are a counter point to a lot of the work that these companies do.
Maira> And, I think we need to be here to add to the conversation.
Maira> And at the same time, we do support coders' rights and programmers' rights.
Maira> So on an individual level a lot of people come to us to support what they do.
Maira> So, we have a lot of fans here.
Maira> Sometimes, you know, they might say "It's great that you're here.. but why are you here? It's strange that you're here".
Maira> But, I think it's important that we add to the conversation and just by having a presence, I think we are making a statement.

Maira> So the question as to whether privacy can be a security risk:
Maira> It's a complicated question, it's something that we deal with constantly.
Maira> The age-old example is child pornography.
Maira> You know, what are you supposed to do with these criminals that can hide their identity and do evil, criminal things?
Maira> But at the same time, you can't assume that they're doing something criminal.
Maira> And that's where that delicate balance comes in, and that's where [the] EFF is at the forefront.
Maira> We take on cases dealing with these delicate, fragile issues.

Maira> People that come by here - I would say they're pretty much a fan.
Maira> I've seen some people who don't know who we are, and we explain, and they say "Whoa," you know, "that's strange that they're here in the first place."
Maira> But for the most part the people that do approach us are huge fans, and they are members or they are becoming members.
Maira> So it's great, we're getting a lot of love here.

[02:05] <TITLE>
What threats to you see to online freedoms now, in the year 2012?

Maira> Well, a large issue is situations in which ISPs, intermediaries, are handing over user data to the state - whether it's in the U.S. or in other countries.
Maira> So that's an on-going issue.
Maira> When should a company hand over user's data to the state or to police authorities if they are charged with doing a crime?
Maira> Locational information, GPS, cases such as license plate monitoring - biometrics is actually a large new issue -

[02:44] <TITLE>
The background shows a shot of the stand for the (U.S.) Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Maira> - tracking people's biometric data, so their eye color, their face structure - and how these new technologies are making it much easier for that data to be put in a database and filed away, so that if you are filmed on a camera on the street, they can recognize that you're there.
Maira> You know, it's some scary stuff.

Timothy> What would make a company better in your eyes?
Timothy> If they're already companies, you know, any actions that come to mind that would make a company, you know, seem like a better netizens, and a better protector of online freedoms?
Timothy> What sort of thing does [the] EFF want from companies like AT&T or [1] or anyone else to be doing?

Maia> I would say the biggest thing they could do is be transparent about what they're doing.

[03:35] <TITLE>
Background shows a shot of the stand for HB Gary, with the title "Detecting Tomorrow's Threats Today"

Maira> To say, if they are handing over user's data to authorities, to be clear that they're doing that.
Maira> And on a more general level, be faithful to the users.
Maira> Understanding the kind of risk that the users face with the kind of data that they have, and making sure that they are putting people at risk - whether it's meaning putting people to jail, or just making their data vulnerable.
Maira> It's all about these companies trying to become aware of the power that they have, and making sure that they understand it and that they are protecting the users when they're going about their business.

[04:16] <TITLE>
Background shows a shot of the EFF stand's merchandise.
The logo for Slashdot, with the subline "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters." fades into view.

[1] Note: I think he says Blue Code and... well I don't know what company he names third. Timothy: speak into the microphone, man.
-- end transcript --

I sure wish they would invest in a decent video platform/player, by the way. Constant CPU lock-ups that make it impossible to seek meant that in the end I recorded it all to audio and used Audacity to skip back to where I was last caught up instead.
If they had chosen YouTube, it even has an automated closed caption generator (which fails more often than it works).

Some of the visual appeal of this video is lost in the transcript - if you're into that sort of thing.

Re:Transcript - you ask, we deliver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220313)

The only thing the Slashdot staff delivers is pizza.

Re:Transcript - you ask, we deliver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220357)

Thank you!

Video (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39219595)

It still shoots right through YesScript and Flashblock, but at least the video doesn't autoplay this time.

What the hell are you doing to make the video do that, Slashdot? (Don't actually tell us though, because then every advert will be doing it. And then I will have to kill you.)

We need well defined borders. (5, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219869)

How dare we live in a world that allows for ambiguity, and complex relationships. We need to live in a world where there are well defined good guys and bad guys. Where the good guys are always good and the bad guys are always bad.

People don't wake up in the morning plotting on how to make the world a bad and miserable place to live. For the most part most people are thinking about themselves, how can I get more out of life, do I need more money how can I get more money, do I want to be better admired how can I do that. Not that they don't think of other people too but normally think of themselves, this is natural because we know ourselves the best.

Now people join groups of like minded individuals to help empower themselves by giving more numbers to their cause as well as a way to share resources.

Now here is where we get into problems. Groups tend to have different approaches and motivations for what they are doing, they have different points that they feel pain and points that give them pleasure. Sometimes these points are in conflict with each other. Eg. Group R wants less government control, as they feel pain from government regulations and pleasure from being able to work to move themselves across the social ladders. Not Group D wants more Government Control, as they feel pain from mistakes made outside of government scope, and pleasure from an orderly system.

Now neither approach is evil, however extremism on both sides can lead to more trouble then they worth. But the ideas are always in conflict with each other thus creating tension across the groups. But Group R and Group D do also have similarities that they can agree on as they both feel pain when a foreign power aggression effects their self interests, they both feel pleasure when the general population is working and employed.

Unless you have been brainwashed by a political party, most individual people have their own opinions which may differ from the groups ideals, but they may still belong to the group as it matches many or at least their highest rated ideals.

Re:We need well defined borders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220891)

And then you also have Group W, who seeks to be able to extract as much as they can from everyone around them by contributing back as little or nothing if possible. These are the ones who have rightly earned the evil label. They are the ones who try and get your taxes raised in such a way as to allow them loopholes to avoid paying it as well and encourage a system setup where they may enforced their will upon others with force of law at the detriment of the nation as a whole. These are the people who are aptly labeled as Sociopaths and rightly so.

They also try and setup a system where their power may be inherited by their children who most of the time have been brought up living in a fantasy world by most standards of living and believing they are better than most of the world and the more we have, the more it somehow devalues their own worth. And then they go into the system and continue in their parents footsteps in an attempt to make the world their own with the people forced to bow to their will.

These are the people who ask you to pay for everything yourself so they don't have to pay taxes to help you while at the same time attempting to force you into accepting a job where the pay is so low you can not afford to do more than just live and fighting any attempts at increasing the wages or benefits to sustainable levels and watching the nation slip further into debt with their tax avoidance and encouraged spending to line many of their own pockets at our continued expense as well as our children's futures.

Re:We need well defined borders. (1)

mr.mctibbs (1546773) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220893)

"People don't wake up in the morning plotting on how to make the world a bad and miserable place to live."

You clearly haven't worked with the military. A great number of people, many in positions of power in this country, have it their personal mission to create misery for others. Usually those others are brown, or Muslim, or both, so they feel it to be justified. "Those people are *others*, they are not like us. We will hurt them, but it's for the best."

Transcripts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220007)

Provide them please.

Some of us are at work and are not allowed/able to view video for a variety of reasons.

On a side note (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39220197)

Maira Sutton is quite stunningly beautiful.

Re:On a side note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39221087)

I'm also impressed.

Why wouldnt they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39225429)

I would just assume they would be.

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