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Weaver, who has spent much of the last decade investigating NSA techniques, said that all PGP traffic, including who sent it and to whom, is automatically stored and backed up onto tape. This can then be searched as needed when matched with other surveillance data.

Yet another reason to try to increase PGP use: no pattern can be found if there is no pattern to find.

The Bay Area already is packed with surveillance equipment installed by the government and private businesses. The hardware includes an array of cell phone surveillance devices, video cameras, automated license plate readers, and most recently, social media monitoring software. “Northern California law enforcement is always on the cutting edge of new surveillance technologies,” said Matt Cagle, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “With the Super Bowl in town, I would not be surprised if many of the technologies that law enforcement agencies have purchased with federal grants are are taken off the shelf and used.”


This past fall, I sat down with a former Googler who asked that I withhold his name because he wasn’t authorized to talk about the company’s inner workings, and we discussed the role of neural networks inside the company’s search engine. At one point, he said, the Google ads team had adopted neural nets to help target ads, but the “organic search” team was reluctant to use this technology.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my Mastering Regular Expressions book was just reviewed on Slashdot. One thing that struck me in reading all the resulting comments was the (several different copies of an) apparently famous quote that goes something like:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I'll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.

It's apparently quite well known, so it floors me that this is the first I've seen it. Despite being a manifestation of the ignorance discussed in my previous post, I can certainly appreciate it for its wit.