New piece from senior fellow Barton Gellman at the Washington Post outlines Microsoft's efforts to improve encryption on its Internet traffic in light of NSA spying.
"Documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggest — but do not prove — that the company is right to be concerned. Two previously unreleased slides that describe operations against Google and Yahoo include references to Microsoft’s Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger services. A separate NSA e-mail mentions Microsoft Passport, a Web-based service formerly offered by Microsoft, as a possible target of that same surveillance project, called MUSCULAR, which was first disclosed by The Washington Post last month."
Read the full article here.
"In Kennedy's brief tenure in office he brought pragmatism, flexibility, proportionality, and a willingness to be challenged -- and to challenge political orthodoxy -- to his foreign policy decision-making. The man who urged Americans to pay any price and bear any burden in the fight against communism repeatedly adopted positions of restraint...Most decisively, he went against the opinion of virtually his entire foreign policy and national security team in responding to the placement of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba by agreeing to a diplomatic resolution to the most serious crisis of the nuclear era."
The Associated Press put out a piece on eminent domain, which touches on the compelling work from TCF fellow Robert Hockett. The piece was circulated on many media outlets, including NPR. Here's an excerpt:
"According to Cornell University law professor Robert C. Hockett, who helped devise the plan, eminent domain works because only government has the power to forcibly sidestep mortgage contracts.
The eminent domain plans focus on so-called private label security mortgages, or ones that are not backed by the U.S. government. And that worries some who believe the use of eminent domain could cause investors not to put money in mortgage-backed securities."
"In a recent appearance at MIT's Engaging Data 2013 Conference, Chomsky split the bill with Washington Post 'big brother' reporter Bart Gellman.
'Big data is a step forward,' Chomsky is quoted as saying by Computer World. 'But our problems are not lack of access to data, but understanding them. [Big data] is very useful if I want to find out something without going to the library, but I have to understand it, and that's the problem.'"
FreeSpeech.org wrote in a recent article, "There's nothing wrong with reporters fully exploring all the changes our ever-evolving health-care system goes through, so long as they do it accurately." TCF fellow Harold Pollack is cited for his work on the topic.
"Harold Pollack estimates that there are over 10 million uninsured Americans who have significant medical issues like a cancer diagnosis or diabetes, and thus find it difficult or impossible to get insurance on the individual market under the pre-ACA system. These people will now be able to get reasonably priced insurance, which for many will be literally life-saving. But journalists find these people boring and not worth talking about."
At this year's Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit, fellow Daniel Alpert received attention on the Reuters website for his thoughts on municipal bonds in 2014.
"'If you don't diversify against the risk of the equity markets bubbling ... if you're not looking at the macro level statistics, if you're not tracking the economy relative to the market, you're going to make big mistakes in 2014,' said Daniel Alpert, managing partner at Westwood Capital, a New York-based boutique investment bank. Alpert declared himself a 'bond bull' in the coming year."
At the Council on Foreign Relations' site, TCF senior fellow Morton Abramowitz is mentioned in a piece about the "real China."
"Two of the contributors to My First Trip make clear that the U.S.-Chinese relationship has long been a two-way street. Morton Abramowitz visited China in 1978 as a U.S. Defense Department official, accompanying President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose goal was to fashion a de facto alliance with Beijing against the Soviet Union. Abramowitz's mission was to brief the Chinese on Soviet capabilities on their borders -- a huge show of faith from the United States. Abramowitz recalls Brzezinski joking with their hosts, pointing north to the Soviet border and saying, 'Out there is the Russian bear and I am the bear tamer.' While Abramowitz shared sensitive American intelligence, his counterpart from the People's Liberation Army soaked it in; then, he shook Abramowitz's hand and left without a question. 'I was impressed,' Abramowitz writes, with 'how well China played a weak hand.'"
At the site healthinsurance.org, TCF fellow Harold Pollack interviews Joanne Kenen of Politico in a new edition of "Curbside Consult." Pollack and Kenen discuss the potential decline of healthcare costs, and whether or not the Affordable Care Act has anything to do with it.
Watch the full series here.
"We begin and go to Beirut, Lebanon for an update on the repercussions from the bombings at the Iranian embassy and speak with Thanassis Cambanis who writes “The Internationalist” column for the Boston Globe and is the author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel”. We discuss Lebanon’s shaky stability and how much it is being sucked into the vortex of the brutal civil war next door in Syria."
Listen to the full program here.
An article on techdirt.com highlights an important fact related to TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman's work on the NSA: large amounts of Internet traffic was hijacked...and almost no one noticed. This comes off the back of a debate between Gellman and former NSA head Michael Hayden at MIT's Engaging Data 2013.
"[Hayden] talked about this 'wonderful' 'accident of history and technology that put most of the world's web traffic inside the United States.' He used this to suggest that it was our right and duty to therefore use that traffic to spy on everyone possible. I'm thinking about that statement, because (1) it was no 'accident' of history or technology that resulted in that, but rather a concerted effort based on where the internet was first built and (2) because there's no reason why it needs to remain that way."