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First POST: Bleeding Hearts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 14 2014

Bleeding Hearts

  • Friday, Bloomberg's Michael Riley reported that the NSA knew about the Heartbleed bug for at least two years and instead of reporting it, "regularly used it to gather critical intelligence."

  • While the office of the Director of National Intelligence immediately issued a statement denying the report, on Sunday, The New York Times' David Sanger reported that President Obama decided last winter to leave a large exception for "clear national security or law enforcement" uses of such flaws in Internet security--rejecting the recommendation of his own NSA review advisory committee

  • Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told Sanger that the process of reviewing when such issues are discovered "is biased toward responsibly disclosing such vulnerabilities."

  • People with long memories may also recall that the Obama administration promised on its first full day in office to also bias its replies to FOIA requests in a similar manner. "In the face of doubt, openness prevails," was supposed to be the new policy. The record indicates otherwise.

  • Julian Sanchez explains. why the controversy over Heartbleed and the NSA exposes the contradiction inside the agency: one part is playing offense trying to exploit every advantage to spy worldwide, while another part is supposed to protect information security.

  • Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation calls out the major tech companies that have vocally protested the NSA's encroachment on their servers and violations of their security systems for not actually using any of their lobbying or platform muscle to get Congress to move on the USA Freedom Act. Noting the weakness of the OpenSSL foundation, which manages the encryption library that is the source of the Heartbleed bug, Timm adds drily, "Maybe these multi-billion companies could throw in some money to help preserve the future of the Internet."

  • Andrew Rice captures the scene at Friday's Polk Awards, when Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, co-winners of the award for national security reporting (along with Ewan MacAskill and Barton Gellman) made their long-delayed return to the US.

  • One out of five Americans online say they have had important personal information stolen and/or an email or social networking account compromised, according to the latest Pew Internet survey.

  • Google's mastering the game of "deep lobbying" in DC, according to The Washington Post's Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold.

  • Tucked away in Jason Horowitz's perceptive look in The New York Times at how few young people Barack Obama has inspired to run for office is this bit of candor from Eric Lesser, the 29-year-old who went from being the 2008 campaign bag handler to an economic adviser to the White House and is now running for the Massachusetts state senate:

    "Mr. Lesser admits, however, that it is tempting to watch the new lives of many of his White House peers, among them Mr. Obama’s former chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, and all the others who have gone into consulting. 'My buddies are posting pictures on Facebook of zooming around Davos,' Mr. Lesser said, though he added that those who had gone that avenue had 'missed the point a little bit. I think that if I wanted to get rich, politics wouldn’t have been the route I would have gone down.'”

  • The online feminist group UltraViolent has gotten under Dartmouth University's skin by running targeted online ads raising questions about the school's handling of campus sexual assault issues, Bloomberg's John Lauerman reports.

  • A new Twopcharts report says that about 44% of all 974 million Twitter user accounts have never tweeted.