You may call it a face-saving effort, but it looks like the Obama administration is taking some good measures to do damage control after the NSA disclosures fiasco. Presently, the Commerce Department of the U.S. government has a hold over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This is a body that manages Internet names and addresses and other technical functions that assist computers across the globe to find correct servers and websites. When their contract expires in 2015, the governing agency plans to give up its control and put into place a neutral alternative.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg called President Obama to complain about the US government presenting a threat to the internet, claiming to be "confused and frustrated" by the recent spying and surveillance scandals. "When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security" Zuckerberg wrote, "we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government."
There’s an online-only interview show by the name of Between 2 Ferns out there in the wild, and President Barack Obama has just appeared on it. This show began as a comedy skit with comedian Zach Galifinakis with the comedy website Funny or Die, hosting such celebrities as Bradley Cooper, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Hamm, this show has been an exercise in the awkward side of giggles. With Barack Obama, believe it or not, the formula hasn’t changed a bit.
There was a time when Barak Obama was defending NSA’s spying actions to the extent that he was supporting the team as patriots that were assigned “an extraordinarily difficult job.” In January this year, he shifted his tone to promise reforms that will assure individual privacy and by February, the White House was looking into four possible options for overhauling the NSA's phone-surveillance activities. At the recent SXSW talk by WikiLeaks head Julian Assange, we get to know of a different new theory about Obama’s plans.
The White House is weighing four possible options for revamping the NSA's phone-surveillance activities, security insiders say, including dumping such monitoring altogether or allowing the carriers themselves to operate it. The possible restructures follow President Obama's promise in January that the NSA would be reformed so as to present less of a threat to individual privacy, specifically focusing on one of the more reviled projects where millions of phone records are gathered by the agency and sifted for metadata.
President Obama has launched the new Cybersecurity Framework, the Whitehouse's guide for infrastructure providers like gas, electric, and water, as well as banks and power plants to fend off digital attacks. The handiwork of a year's collaboration between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the private sector, the Framework consists of three components - the core, profiles, and tiers - designed to assess existing security levels, bring them (and employee understanding of them) up to a safer level, and then maintain those levels in future. However, there are already criticisms that the plan does not go far enough.
The first stages of President Obama's overhaul of NSA data collection have gone into action, placing limits on how easy it is for security services to monitor individuals, though new insider claims suggest only a fraction of the surveillance believed to be underway was actually taking place. For a start, if the NSA requires phone records, it must now get Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval on each occasion, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper writes.
Fans of the West Wing - and of getting greater insight into how the US government ticks - will be excited to hear that today is Big Block of Cheese Day, with the Obama Administration throwing open the virtual doors and answering public questions across social networks. Named after the fictitious day when West Wing's President Bartlet and staff took questions from special interest groups, however wacky, according to The White House the real thing will be playing out today across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram.
The nation is all ears today as President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. As such, it will be highly unlikely anyone will miss the President's special mention of Apple, Microsoft, and a few other key players in the tech industry for their efforts in improving the country's education system by connecting students to high-speed broadband.