Sunday, October 27, 2013

Edward Snowden is Just The Tip of the Iceberg

October 6, 2013, D. S. Kane

For over a decade, the United States has waged war on hackers while it has simultaneously hacked into the lives of its own citizens "to protect us" from ourselves.

Since the beginning of the Snowden scandal, my friends have asked if I believe he is a hero or a traitor. For months, I've pondered an answer, since both answers have very little merit.

Snowden exposed the NSA' s despicable behavior, and for that, he is a hero. The best outcome would be a national debate leading to a national policy the majority of voters could approve (or reject). The worst outcome would be what has happened so far: Snowden is a wanted criminal, the NSA continues to hack into everyone's identities with impunity, and the hacker community is furious to the point where there will be many, many more  Snowdens in our future.

In his thriller novel Black List, Brad Thor envisions a world where new technologies lead to the increasing loss of our personal privacy and inevitably leads to the total loss of our personal liberty.

It's a two-edged sword. Much that the government does for us is beneficial. My tolerance diminishes when it comes to personal privacy and liberty. Which is the sole province of our country's intelligence agencies and services. Those 1,200 organizations now number in excess of 1.4 million people. Way too much manpower unless you fear an uprising. And given the huge and expanding gulf in power and wealth between rich and poor, is that so far fetched?

So, maybe we've ignored the bigger issue. Washington is like an onion. Every scandal is a cover-up for a larger, more important issue:

This country is no longer a democracy, and hasn't been since we turned past the millennia. What we now have governing us is a group of idiots. And they control us using spy agencies and clandestine services. Maybe that's the bigger secret here. But if that's true, then I can only view  Snowden as a hero.

Friday, February 22, 2013

3D Printing will Change Our World

February 22, 2013

One of the most interesting tech developments since nanotechnology, 3D printers may change the world faster than the personal computer did.

Imagine 3D printed body organs, crafted from 3D printed stem cells and transplanted lacroscopically.  My guess is within five years. I've been following this one for a while. Kidney transplants, heart transplants, bypass surgery, pancreas transplants, breast reconstruction, dental tooth replacement, hip and knee replacement, might all be possible soon, by extractting an individual's stem cells or the cells from the actual organ within the body, copying them, and using the 3D software and printer to craft them into organs which won't be rejected. Read the entire article for a vision of this brave new world.

When I spoke with my friend Greg Koss about this, he responded:

The 3D printing idea might take some plausibly interesting turns.

Imagine you can take a picture of a key with your phone.  An app will scan the image of the key, and then a 3D printer will make a copy.

Take that model a step further.  Imagine using an app to quickly turn regular text into Braille to hide it from someone in plain sight.

The current media for 3D printers are restricted to plastic.  But the plastic can be coated with any number of substances.  Imagine using the plastic as essentially a lost wax process to create metal parts when needed.  Now you can create fairly high tolerance metal parts from scratch or by photographing something.

Greg’s vision is spot on.

Let’s assume you’re working in an intelligence service and have to travel. You’ll need to change your identity and arm yourself when you arrive. How about using a 3D printer to produce a weapon? After you travel, take the photos of what you need to have to a cobbler and leave a few hours later with a gun, ammunition, a new passport, driver’s license, credit cards and other tradecraft necessities. Soon, very soon, this will be a nasty tradecraft reality.