Archive for June 2013

Brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity

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June 26, 2013

Weizmann Institute scientists discover that spontaneously emerging brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity.


The day-after effect of brain activation: The brain image at the back presents spontaneous resting state patterns before an fMRI-based neurofeedback training session. The front brain image presents spontaneous resting state patterns a day after the training session, illustrating the long-term trace of the training. Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science

This research suggests a number of future possibilities for exploring the brain. For example, spontaneously emerging brain patterns could be used as a “mapping tool” for unearthing cognitive events from an individual’s recent past.

Or, on a wider scale, each person’s unique spontaneously emerging activity patterns might eventually reveal a sort of personal profile — highlighting each individual’s abilities, shortcomings, biases, learning skills, etc.

via Brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity | KurzweilAI.


NSA should come clean about domestic spying: Ray Kelly

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Last Updated: 6:18 PM, June 17, 2013

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly launched a stinging rebuke to the federal government’s secret phone and Internet monitoring campaign — and suggested leaker Edward Snowden was right about privacy “abuse.”

“I don’t think it ever should have been made secret,” Kelly said today, breaking ranks with US law-enforcement officials.

“I think the American public can accept the fact if you tell them that every time you pick up the phone it’s going to be recorded and it goes to be recorded and it goes to the government,” Kelly said. “I think the public can understand that. I see no reason why that program was placed in the secret category.”

“Secondly, I think if you listen to Snowden, he indicates that there’s some sort of malfeasance, people . . . sitting around and watching the data. So I think the question is: What sort of oversight is there inside the [National Security Agency] NSA to prevent that abuse, if it’s taking place?”

Kelly said of the leaker:

“He tried to give the impression, it seems to me, that these system administrators had carte blanche to do what they wanted to do,” he said. “I think it’s a problem if that’s in fact what’s happening.”

via NSA should come clean about domestic spying: Ray Kelly –

The Patriot Act must not be used to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens | Ron Wyden and Mark Udall

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Secret data collection does not strike the ‘right balance’ between protecting US security and protecting Americans’ privacy

and, Friday 7 June 2013 18.04 EDT

… We also disagree with the statement that the broad Patriot Act collection strikes the “right balance” between protecting American security and protecting Americans’ privacy.

In our view, it does not.

When Americans call their friends and family, whom they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information.

We believe the large-scale collection of this information by the government has a very significant impact on Americans’ privacy, whether senior government officials recognize that fact or not.

Finally, we have long been concerned about the degree to which this collection has relied on “secret law”.

Senior administration officials have stated on multiple occasions that the Patriot Act’s “business records” authority is “analogous to a grand jury subpoena”.   And multiple senior officials have stated that US intelligence agencies do not collect information or dossiers on “millions of Americans”.

We appreciate the recent statement from the director of national intelligence, which declassified certain facts about this collection, including its breadth.

Now that the fact of bulk collection has been declassified, we believe that more information about the scale of the collection, and specifically whether it involves the records of “millions of Americans” should be declassified as well.

The American people must be given the opportunity to evaluate the facts about this program and its broad scope for themselves, so that this debate can begin in earnest.

via The Patriot Act must not be used to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens | Ron Wyden and Mark Udall |

Whistleblowers NSA warning: Just the tip of the iceberg – TRAPWIRE + PRISM ?

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The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data from all of Verizon’s U.S. customers is just the “tip of the iceberg,” says a former NSA official who estimates the agency has data on as many as 20 trillion phone calls and emails by U.S. citizens.

William Binney, an award-winning mathematician and noted NSA whistleblower, says the collection dates back to when the super-secret agency began domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I believe they’ve been collecting data about all domestic calls since October 2001,” said Mr. Binney, who worked at NSA for more than 30 years. “That’s more than a billion calls a day.”

He called his figures “back of the envelope” estimates, adding that they include emails as well as telephone calls.

Using analytical software, the NSA could use mobile phones’ metadata over time to paint a picture of where their users went, who they talked to and what their habits were, Mr. Wicker said.

“The metadata available is now so fine-grained that it reveals where we’re going, what we’re doing, what our preferences and beliefs might be and who our friends are,” he said.

Federal law and rulings by federal courts have consistently held that metadata, including information about the location of mobile phones, is not covered by the warrant requirements of the U.S. Constitution.

“Unfortunately, technology and the opportunities it presents for surveillance have outpaced our understanding of the Fourth Amendment,” Mr. Wicker said, citing the constitutional ban on unlawful searches and seizures.

Mr. Binney said that, in any case, the NSA already is collecting the content of calls and emails, as well as metadata.

via Whistleblowers NSA warning: Just the tip of the iceberg – Washington Times.

See Also:

The Mind Has No Firewall

Biometric Brainwaves, Your Unique Signature

Hacking the Human Brain

Apparatus and method for remotely monitoring and altering brain waves