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Category Archives: E-Mail

Was E-mail a Mistake? The mathematics of distributed systems suggests that meetings might be better

The New Yorker: “The walls of the Central Intelligence Agency’s original headquarters, in Langley, Virginia, contain more than thirty miles of four-inch steel tubing. The tubes were installed in the early nineteen-sixties, as part of an elaborate, vacuum-powered intra-office mail system. Messages, sealed in fibreglass containers, rocketed at thirty feet a second among approximately a hundred and fifty stations spread over eight floors. Senders specified each capsule’s destination by manipulating brass rings at its base; electro-mechanical widgets in the tubes read those settings and routed each capsule toward its destination. At its peak, the system delivered seventy-five hundred messages each day.

According to oral histories maintained by the C.I.A., employees were saddened when, in the late nineteen-eighties, during an expansion of the headquarters, this steampunk mail system was shut down. Some of them reminisced about the comforting thunk, thunk of the capsules arriving at a station; others worried that internal office communication would become unacceptably slow, or that runners would wear themselves out delivering messages on foot. The agency’s archives contain a photograph of a pin that reads “Save the Tubes.”

The C.I.A.’s tube system is a defining example of one of the major technological movements of the twentieth century: the push to create what communication specialists call “asynchronous messaging” in the workplace. An interaction is said to be synchronous when all parties participate at the same time, while standing in the same room, perhaps, or by telephone. Asynchronous communication, by contrast, doesn’t require the receiver to be present when a message is sent. I can send a message to you whenever I want; you answer it at your leisure…”

Digital Privacy Does Matter to You

Anonymone Labs: “At this moment, there is a copy of every unencrypted email, text, photo, gif or emoji you have ever sent in your digital life. These copies are stored under your name/identity in the national data storage facility operated by the U.S. National Surveillance Agency. (One of the newest and largest of these is… Continue Reading

What all the stuff in email headers means—and how to sniff out spoofing

ars technica – Parsing email headers needs care and knowledge—but it requires no special tools: “I pretty frequently get requests for help from someone who has been impersonated—or whose child has been impersonated—via email. Even when you know how to “view headers” or “view source” in your email client, the spew of diagnostic wharrgarbl can be… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues August 4, 2019

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues August 4, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the… Continue Reading

The Equifax settlement has already spawned deceptive websites

Follow up to my previous postings via BeSpacific – Skip Cash for Equifax Breach and Get Credit Monitoring, F.T.C. Tells Victims – more guidance via the Washington Post – “It’s been less than two weeks since the Equifax data-breach settlement was announced, and already at least two websites trying to scam information-seekers have been shut… Continue Reading

Edward Snowden memoir to reveal whistleblower’s secrets

The Guardian – In Permanent Record, the former spy will recount how his mass surveillance work eventually led him to make the biggest leak in history – “After multiple books and films about his decision to leak the biggest cache of top-secret documents in history, whistleblower Edward Snowden is set to tell his side of the… Continue Reading

The FOIA Charade: A Brief Case Study

Kelley Green Law Blog , Joseph Green, July 20, 2019: “With the release last month of proposed new EPA regulations on how the agency intends to handle responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), critics have raised concerns about provisions that would give authority to senior management officials (i.e., political appointees) to… Continue Reading

Never-Googlers: Web users take the ultimate step to guard their data

Washington Post – As reports surface regarding how the online advertising giant tracks consumers, some try to reclaim their online footsteps. “…Kelly is one of a hearty few who are taking the ultimate step to keep their files and online life safe from prying eyes: turning off Google entirely. That means eschewing some of the… Continue Reading

Government breaches – can you trust the US Government with your data?

Comparitech: “The US government suffered 443 data breaches since 2014, with 2018 being the worst year so far, according to a new study by Comparitech. Data breaches are often associated with the private sector—hackers break into databases owned by businesses to steal user data and other valuable information. But the government is also a frequent… Continue Reading

Phishing Emails Have Become Very Stealthy. Here Are 5 Ways to Spot Them Every Time

Inc: “Phishing scams are nothing new. In fact, we’ve all heard about the “Nigerian prince” phishing emails that have been showing up in inboxes for years. Unfortunately, phishing attacks continue to increase exponentially in volume, and are considered a serious threat to both companies and individual internet users since they can result in devastating financial… Continue Reading