Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier

Eye-opening. Reminded me of the extent of the NSA’s surveillance activities, of the importance of the documents Snowden disclosed.

Schneier’s style is easy to read and straightforward, no small feat for a subject that takes in law, cryptography, and communications technology. I plowed through this book in a few days, but I’ll be digesting his points for a good while.

Three of the many things I learned:

  • There are companies that sell the ability to send a silent, undetected phone call to a mobile phone. Call won’t ring, but will cause it to signal nearest cell tower, giving away its location.
  • FBI can (and does) collect personal data from third parties (phone companies, email servers, etc) via National Security Letters, without a warrant.
  • NSA audit showed it broke its own rules against spying for personal reasons at least 8 times a day (!) from 2011 to 2012