The Estonia eID thing. Is it what I think it is?

A little bout of insomnia and I found this gem. And the brain is a rolling.

So, you can go on-line and sign up for the equivalent of an Estonian “Green Card.” (Legal resident alien card.) … This gives you the right to work in Estonia. But, since Estonia is a part of the EU and they have reciprocity, you now have the right to work anywhere in the EU. Right? They don’t touch on this in the article, but based upon what they’re saying, this is the next logical conclusion. They only requirement to keeping the “Estonian eID” is to keep a bank account over there and file your income taxes through them, and even that seems to be a workaround.

It’s not like this type of e-immigration WITHIN the EU is unheard of. Here’s a URL to a presentation from 2012. This just looks like the Estonians are widening their application pool to anyone with an Internet connection. It looks like the eIDs in this document are the same ones you can get by applying on-line (once the Estonia program goes live.)

If you’re looking to expatriate to the EU, this may just work, until the xenophobic naysayers in the EU figures this out and find a way to block it (UKIP, BNP, and similar in other locales.) Anyone with a computer, whether in China, Australia, Crimea, Sudan, Central African Republic (think of anywhere where there is crazy strife) this can get them legal residence somewhere and they only have to arrange travel.

Imagine 1000 “refugees” (not the UN definition, but a politically repressed or socially maligned population) doing this anywhere, then begging/demanding for some kind of help in physical transport to a new land. They could be a large group of dissidents in China, persecuted gays in Russia, persecuted Christians in Sudan, etc. With these examples I’m going for people with legitimate fears for safety. Ethically (and under Estonian laws and EU treaties) would evacuations of these maligned groups occur? Via government pocketbooks? Look at the current situation with North African populations trying to get into Italy. This is a crisis for Italy far worse than what we see with people making rafts in Cuba and trying to get to Florida. [Background for those unfamiliar: ] Except if these folks going to Italy were able to get on-line and register with Estonia first, they won’t be fined for illegal immigration to Italy.

Or, what if you’re in a place with for-profit healthcare, and you’re in a situation where even if you have insurance, you can’t get them to cover specific treatments you need. This then opens the door for medical-based immigration. You get your EU ID card, go over, get a job, and then get into the health system there to get the treatments you need. I’m thinking of specific examples of people who have insurance but can’t afford prescriptions or have insurance that won’t cover specific treatments.

This could be VERY interesting.

I #fail at tumblr — a rant on intel

Snowden isn’t a hero.

There, I said it. I’m going against a lot of what my colleagues in info sec and who care about privacy think. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. But I’ll present a different contrarian view of what Snowden has done.

Here’s what everyone can agree upon.

  • Snowden stole a ton of documents from the NSA.
  • Some of those documents prove that the NSA has the ability to do lots of scary/nifty things, and in some cases has likely bent and broken rules around civil rights and surveillance.

That’s fair. We now have a good debate about civilian oversight of intelligence gathering. At least it’s starting.

But, of the documents that Snowden stole, the items leaked focus on abuses of solely western powers. The kind of thing that news media like Russia Today (RT) likes to harp on. If he’s really “anti-government surveillance” of ALL kinds, he could have found documents on other countries and leaked them as well.

Snowden and Greenwald haven’t released info on what other powers (Russia, Japan, France, Brazil, etc) do. [ If they have, I haven’t find it. Please comment with links. ] Everything at The Intercept is all about the NSA and GCHQ. 

There are also reports that the items he took include how the US determines the military capabilities of adversaries. This is far more scary, to me, anyway. Snowden is now in an aggressive Putin’s Russia, with documents on the US and NATO’s military capability. This raises all sorts of alarm bells, the most serious being that Snowden was working with or for the Russians all along, a theory many in the US Intel community believe but don’t have much hard evidence on.

There is circumstantial evidence that some of the info on NATO and US military capability did make it from Snowden into Russia’s hands. After Snowden absconded to Moscow, Russia’s special operations forces reorganized. Why would they reorganize unless they needed to? It could be coincidental, maybe not? One can find more and more of these anecdotes out there. Why were the Russians so easily able to evade our SIGINT (signals intelligence) now?

From what we can tell, most of the documents Snowden has released are not anti-surveilance for the world, but instead just lambasts the west and exposes what the west does. That puts a very different spin on things.


Phineas and Ferb with Jeremy, James and Richard will air  on Saturday March 1 at 8:00am ET/PT on Disney XD

I can’t wait to see this. 


Phineas and Ferb with Jeremy, James and Richard will air  on Saturday March 1 at 8:00am ET/PT on Disney XD

I can’t wait to see this. 


Top Gear in America!

Maybe they’ll come back. And follow my wish of coming to the Indy 500.


Top Gear in America!

Maybe they’ll come back. And follow my wish of coming to the Indy 500.



Menchen Addition

Two other things I’ve done.

I always plow snow in my neighborhood with my snowblower. I got a block work of sidewalks today after the big snow.

I also sent a care package to a friend’s daughter who is recovering from surgery. So we’re up to the 7th with a few acts each day.

Tikkun Olam x365

Not really. 

I plan to try and do “extra” good things this year (2014) and be an über menchen. I’m going to chronicle it all here. On Facebook it would be too self-serving. No-one reads my tumblr.

1) Fixing/sending a computer to a friend who is essentially home-bound so he has something faster than 1.8Ghz. I have several P4-based systems that are 2-3Ghz in speed. Still 32 bit, but a bit more Mhz won’t hurt.

2) Mowing snow; I usually do this not only for my driveway, but the entire block around my house, portions of the alleyway and the paths to my 82 year-old neighbor’s home. I’ll have to do this again on Sunday once it snows again. Too many people rely upon the sidewalks and other infrastructure in my ‘hood.

3) I’m selling a car (my Volvo XC90) on-contract to a friend/neighbor who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a new vehicle.

4) The wife is scouring second-hand shops for scarves and ski masks so they can be donated via a local homeless outreach group another friend and neighbor runs.

And it’s only the third day of the year.


Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would have been 107 today, and is being honored with a great Google Doodle. It’s quite literally impossible for us to imagine, as we sit here reading about her on the internet, but people used to use things like paper and pencils and chalk and slide rules to solve (and often not solve) complicated problems. Grace Hopper quite simply helped usher in the modern age, her impact, I think, is no less than the steam engine or the cotton gin.

Some awesome stuff she did: Grace Hopper developed first compiler, allowing computer calculations to move beyond simple arithmetic and into more complex problems. She also developed first standardized computer language, COBOL, which laid the groundwork for all the languages we use today.

One day she found a dead moth disrupting one of the electronic relays in the Mark 1 computer, and upon removing it (and fixing the computer), the term “debugging" was born. Here’s her daily log from that day, with the offending moth taped to the page:

Beyond that, she was a charming scientific communicator, and she possessed a marvelous ability to make people, and mind you this was in a time when almost no one owned their own computer, truly appreciate both the importance and the complexity of computing technology.

She famously carried around a bundle of nanoseconds in her purse for illustrative purposes. Here she is charming the socks off of David Letterman, and giving him a nanosecond of his very own (don’t miss the picosecond joke, either) :