A growing number of real world experiences demonstrate the application of fractals throughout nature. The recent US NSA debacle said to reveal new information about an old operational methodology serves to indicate another application of fractals. That is, secrecy surrounding intelligence and counterintelligence. Under the umbrella of public safety, sorting out the criminal elements of any society might seem like sorting out grains of sand in a bucket.
State (i.e. national) protection of secrecy and intelligence are not modern inventions, however the recent NSA internet articles claim links to the largest US corporations selling/using modern electronic devices to this age old method. Namely members of PRISM (Apple, Google, Facebook etc) are purportedly implicated in supplying corporate data to the NSA (security agency) invoking public debate on civil liberties. This is also an age old issue not particular to 2013.
Intelligence (of the State secret type including intellectual property) has always involved data gathering. The data can be graded from Top Secret to Public domain in decreasing order of value. This value is not just in sensitivity but also in commercial $$ value linked to espionage of an industrial/corporate variety. The development of the atomic bomb was a textbook example of corporate espionage purportedly to “protect humanity”. Scientists defected to the US in order to explicitly defeat German efforts to develop atomic weapons of mass destruction. This was open border industrial espionage under the cover of “humanitarian causes”.
Back to the NSA in June of 2013 on the collection and use of PRISM data, this would be graded in the same system of valuation for State secrecy. Despite the civil libertarian issues, what value is this data really? Given it is public domain listed corporations with voluntary legal and moral obligations, you have to say very little. It is dumb information from the public domain. Only dumb, unsophisticated criminals would use a public network using public tools not specifically designed to maintain secrecy. Sophisticated criminals would stay well away from public communications networks and public protocols. Sophisticated criminals would be using state of the art point to point communication using hardware with encrypted communication. It has been this way since the start of the 1900’s and possibly before then.
In short, sophisticated strategies use sophisticated methods, and nothing about all the Apple, Google or Facebook public domain stuff is sophisticated. While it is ‘possible’ to use these devices more securely, nothing about their use guarantees absolute security or secrecy. Using an Apple iPad to Google search fertiliser suppliers from a cave in Afghanistan was never a clever strategy. Likewise using Facebook to post and tag photos of your associates involved in masterminding a public display of protest is sure to get you on the fast road to jail. The popularity of these corporations is purely commercially driven on face value. They are not deemed secure networks nor are they sophisticated, which invokes the only 4 questions worth asking and answering
- Why would users think they are entitled to secrecy and protection of the information they post on these public and commercial platforms?
- Why would the NSA assume any of the information gathered from an unsecured public network would be highly classified in nature (except by accident, incompetence or negligence)
- Why would the US government think that sophisticated, highly dangerous criminals would use public network utilities (like those in PRISM) if intended to harm the State?
- What effect will publically disclosing the NSA use of this low level effectively “dumb” information have on the members of PRISM on the various agents involved in the game of secrecy?
I don’t think the US Government is claiming any rights to ownership of the issues of intelligence and counterintelligence while every other nation is heavily involved in the same intelligence gathering game, as they have been for centuries. The phrase “get over it” is not appropriate as the bigger issue of intelligence gathering value and civil liberty has not been addressed. In order to sort grains of sand from a bucket, you need a bucket full of sand so suck it up and take the red pill in the mean time …
To be continued in Part 2.