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Archive for the ‘Washington Post’ Category

All the President’s Men is still an excellent movie

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Free on Amazon Prime, All the President’s Men (1976) pulls you right in. Really extremely well done. One thing people watching now may not immediately realize: the Committee for the Re-Election of the President had an acronym, CRP, that was pronounced “creep.”

I doubt that young adults know will know the name John Mitchell or what a thoroughly unsavory man he was. He was Attorney General, of all things, then director of CRP. He eventually went to prison for his role in the Watergate break-in, serving 19 months.

A movie that won 4 Oscars (including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Robards, as Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (William Goldman, who—among many other things—wrote the novel and the screenplay The Princess Bride). It was nominated for 4 other Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Worth checking out if you have Amazon Prime. Even if you’ve seen it before. I have, and it pulled me right in.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2016 at 9:24 pm

Omitting Sanders from favorability ratings—because he looks too good?

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Take a look at the Washington Post article by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa that includes this table:

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Isn’t it odd that Bernie Sanders is not listed? Perhaps not, when you consider that Sanders has extreely high favorability ratings, much higher than other candidates, and the Washington Post doesn’t favor Sanders—so they simply airbrush him out of the results.

Amazing. This is what passes for journalism.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2016 at 12:45 pm

The Washington Post seems too willing to ignore journalistic standards

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Paul Krugman in his blog:

lmost 15 years have passed since I warned about media “balance” that involved systematically abdicating the journalistic duty of informing readers about simple matters of fact. As I said way back when,

If a presidential candidate were to declare that the earth is flat, you would be sure to see a news analysis under the headline ”Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.” After all, the earth isn’t perfectly spherical.

So have things improved? In some ways, they may have gotten even worse. These days, media balance often seems to involve retroactively rewriting history to avoid telling readers that one side of a policy debate got things completely wrong.

In particular, when you see reports on monetary disputes, you often see characterizations of what the Fed’s right-wing critics have been saying that go something like this, in the WaPo:

Among the criticisms: The Fed was keeping interest rates artificially low and fueling speculative bubbles. The helicopter-drop of money known as quantitative easing did little more than inflate stock markets and fund Washington’s deficit spending. The bailout of big banks left them bigger than ever.

Um, no. The people who gathered at the anti-Jackson-Hole eventweren’t warning about bubbles and too-big-to-fail. They warned, in apocalyptic terms, that runaway inflation was just around the corner. Here’s Ron Paul; here’s Peter Schiff.

Why would a reporter credit the Fed’s critics with warnings they didn’t give, and fail to mention what they actually said? The answer, pretty obviously, is that if you were to say “Ron Paul has been predicting runaway inflation ever since the Fed began its expansionary policies”, that would make it clear that he has been completely wrong. And conveying that truth — even as a matter of simple factual reporting — is apparently viewed as taking sides.

So what we get instead is a whitewashing of the intellectual history, in which Fed critics are portrayed as making arguments that haven’t been shown to be ridiculous. It’s a pretty sorry spectacle.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2015 at 6:33 pm

A ‘Golden Key’ for Encryption Is Mythical Nonsense

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In Motherboard Sarah Jeong points out what should be obvious, but something the Washington Post editorial staff cannot seem to grasp:

Last year, the Washington Post editorial board called for tech companies to create a “golden key” that would decrypt otherwise secure user communications for law enforcement. Apple, Google, Facebook, and others ignored the editorial, coming out with end-to-end encryption for iMessage and Facetime, end-to-end encryption for Gmail, and PGP for Facebook notification emails. Now, the Washington Post isdoubling down on its call for a “golden key.”

The problem noted by many last year is that a backdoor to encryption, even if euphemistically rebranded as a “front door” or a “golden key,” is by definition a vulnerability. Building in backdoors threatens consumers and makes them vulnerable to criminals and hostile foreign governments alike. See, for example, the FREAK andLogjam vulnerabilities, discovered earlier this year. The FREAK attack can allow a malicious hacker to “steal or manipulate sensitive data” in transit—think, a password for your online banking, a credit card number, a compromising photo.

Both FREAK and Logjam originate out of 1990s “export-grade” cryptography—purposefully weakened encryption from the last time the government was pushing for the kinds of “golden keys” that the Washington Post is now advocating for. These days, not a week goes by that another major hack makes the news: OPM, Hacking Team, Ashley Madison. All this, even without a federal mandate to purposefully make things less secure.

The newspaper’s editorial board last week called for the National Academy of Sciences to examine “the conflict.” In other words, the Post thinks we had better hear both sides. “All freedoms come with limits,” the board writes, “it seems only proper that the vast freedoms of the Internet be subject to the same rule of law and protections that we accept for the rest of society.”

But it’s not illegal to lock your door at night. It’s not illegal to have a whispered conversation in a park. It’s not illegal to walk out of sight of a CCTV camera. It’s not illegal to carry cash.

Certainly, it is a great blow to law enforcement that some encryption cannot be broken for them, just like it is a great blow to law enforcement that we don’t have the telescreens from 1984 installed in our bedrooms. There are some things law enforcement do not get to see and do not get to have, even with a warrant. That is how things have always been, and our society has yet to fall apart because of it.

For a long time, the fight around online privacy has orbited around the phrase, “Get a warrant.” But that does not mean a warrant is a magic incantation that should conjure any information imagined and desired. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 9:52 am

The Horror of a ‘Secure Golden Key’

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Chris Coyne clearly explains the problem with the Washington Post editorial board’s infantile idea:

This week, the Washington Post’s editorial board, in a widely circulated call for “compromise” on encryption, proposed that while our data should be off-limits to hackers and other bad actors, “perhaps Apple and Google could invent a kind of secure golden key” so that the good guys could get to it if necessary.

This theoretical “secure golden key” would protect privacy while allowing privileged access in cases of legal or state-security emergency. Kidnappers and terrorists are exposed, and the rest of us are safe. Sounds nice. But this proposal is nonsense, and, given the sensitivity of the issue, highly dangerous. Here’s why.

A “golden key” is just another, more pleasant, word for a backdoor—something that allows people access to your data without going through you directly. This backdoor would, by design, allow Apple and Google to view your password-protected files if they received a subpoena or some other government directive. You’d pick your own password for when you needed your data, but the companies would also get one, of their choosing. With it, they could open any of your docs: your photos, your messages, your diary, whatever.

The Post assumes that a “secure key” means hackers, foreign governments, and curious employees could never break into this system. They also assume it would be immune to bugs. They envision a magic tool that only the righteous may wield. Does this sound familiar?

He-man
Government or Apple employee in the year 2015

Practically speaking, the Washington Post has proposed the impossible. If Apple, Google and Uncle Sam hold keys to your documents, you will be at great risk.

In case you’re not a criminal

Perhaps the reason the WaPo is so confused is that FBI Director James Comey has told the media that Apple’s anti-backdoor stance only protects criminals. Unfortunately he’s not seeing beyond his own job, and WaPo didn’t look much further.

Apple’s anti-backdoor policy aims to protect everyone. The following is a list of real threats their policy would thwart. Not threats to terrorists or kidnappers, but to 300 million Americans and 7 billion humans who are moving their intimate documents into the cloud. Make no mistake, what Apple and Google are proposing protects you.

Whether you’re a regular, honest person, or a US legislator trying to understand this issue, understand this list.

Threat #1. It Protects You From Hackers

If Apple has the key to unlock your data legally, that can also be used illegally, without Apple’s cooperation. Home Depot and Target? They were recently hacked to the tune of 100 million accounts.

Despite great financial and legal incentive to keep your data safe, they could not.

But finance is mostly boring. Other digital documents are very, very personal.

Hack twitter
Consider: she deleted her pics long ago…we’ll get to data permanence in a bit.

So hackers have (1) stolen everyone’s credit cards, and (2) stolen celebrities’ personal pictures. Up next: your personal pics, videos, docs, messages, medical data, and diary. With the Washington Post’s proposal, it will all be leaked, a kind of secure golden shower.

There is some hope. If your data were locked with a strong password that only you knew, only on your device, then the best hackers could get nothing by hacking Apple’s data servers. They’d look for your pictures but find an unintelligible pile of goops instead.

To begin to protect yourself, you need the legal right to a real, working password that only you know.

Threat #2. . .

Continue reading. There’s a lot more and it’s quite good.

The WaPo editorial board are idiots, but we knew that already.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 October 2014 at 6:38 am

Something big is brewing when you read something like this in a NY Times story

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From a report by David Carr in the NY Times.For context, read the story to which this is a parenthesis:

(In one bit of irony in the aftermath of the events on Wednesday, President Obama said, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their job and report to the American people what they see on the ground.” This from an administration that has aggressively sought to block reporting and in some instances criminalize it.)

And you can see here how Twitter exploded.

And do read the story at that first link. It’s an important account of events that show how we’re headed.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2014 at 12:40 pm

When newspapers become outlets for military-industrial propaganda

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The reports on Israel’s Iron Dome defense system read like press releases—which, indeed, they are, for all practical purposes. And like most press releases, the truth is not to be found in them.

James Fallows has some excellent examples of the propaganda articles, and also some pushback from actual experts, who point out that the system doesn’t work all that well.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2014 at 8:43 am

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