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Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

Former NSA Chief Compares ISIS Air Strikes to ‘Friends with Benefits’

nsa_logoOne of the fundamental tactics for any flack is writing talking points ahead of interviews. This isn’t purely “spin”, by the way — but clients do sometimes get skittish during on-the-air talks. The prep sheet, then, is like a security blanket minus Elmo.

Because of that perfunctory aspect of PR, it’s always easy to tell which clients don’t have proper talking points. When it happens, you sometimes hurt for the spokesperson (a little).

At other times, though, you laugh so hard that you pee (again, a little).

The latter happened when former NSA and CIA major domo Gen. Michael Hayden went viral for all the wrong reasons while discussing ISIS and air strikes.

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Edward Snowden to the World: ‘Let That Whistle Blow!’

edward snowden anonymous

Edward Snowden has become a cult icon for people who “work” in their grandparents’ basements, pining away on Alienware while talking to Star Wars figures still ensconced in their original packaging.

The NSA and American consultant-turned rogue whistleblower was a guest at H.O.P.E. 2014 (that’s Hackers On Planet Earth) last weekend, and he asked the world to do something via secluded Google Hangout:

“Spill more government secrets.”

He made this questionable edict to all hackers, coders, and developers who were gathered at the New York City conference, as well as the ones watching via live stream online. While Snowden was applauded, he wasn’t the only famous whistleblower at the event.

That guy is after the jump.

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Bloomberg: ‘NSA Knew about Heartbleed Bug for Two Years’

nsa heartbleedAnd things were going so well with the National Security Agency’s community relations repair after the Snowden ballyhoo. No? Oh, then never mind. Let’s just pile on because this report is so many shades of crap.

Last week, the technology community were flipping its lid because of a nasty virus called “the Heartbleed bug.”

In essence, if you have any presence on social media, you may want to change your passwords, like now (check out this nice breakdown from the sages at Mashable). At any rate, it skeered a few million people and it turns out the NSA may have known about this thing — and exploited it for its benefit — for two years.

Whoops.  Read more

NSA Tries, Fails to Improve Its Reputation With Damage Control ‘Interview’

You may have heard that the National Security Agency is currently one of the least popular organizations in both the United States and Germany, because for some reason Angela Merkel doesn’t like people tapping her phones.

Somebody within the group thought it might be a good idea to offer the public some clarity on the “data collection” issue by sitting director general Keith Alexander in front of a camera and letting him say whatever came to mind under the pretext of answering questions written by a Pentagon employee. It gets a little weird.

The video is more than thirty minutes long, so allow us (with the help of MSNBC’s Adam Serwer) to give you some takeaways:

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A New Trend in Successful Startup Pitches: Anonymity!

Given recent reports about the NSA‘s ability to foil pretty much any form of privacy encryption/ protection on the Web and the lengths to which Americans go to (unsuccessfully) erase their digital footprints, we’re not surprised to learn that startups promising online anonymity have been doing quite well on the fundraising and earned media fronts.

Beyond the success of Snapchat and Bitcoin, tech writers and investors are paying more attention to “anonymous” apps and networks like Spraffl, The Story Vine, PriveyoDuckDuckGo and, most recently, Whisper. This app, which just raised a good bit of money, gives users the power to share photos and text completely anonymously with a growing digital community that’s interested in this sort of thing. Sounds like a high school goth message board to us, but we get the “morbid curiosity” angle.

What we’re saying is: this theme would make a great topical pitch to any major tech or business publication. Hint, hint.