Today's big stories are cyber conflict in Syria and disclosures of NSA/GCHQ cryptologic capabilities.
With respect to Syria, the US FBI has issued warnings concerning the threat posed by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), characterized as a "pro-regime hacking group." Cyber operations appear to have begun, well in advance of any international combat action, punitive or otherwise. The SEA has long been active against Western targets, and the Washington Post reports the US State Department has begun providing rebels "tech support," which in this context implies at least means of evading regime censorship and interception.
With respect to NSA's (and GCHQ's) crypto capabilities, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says it's "hardly surprising" that intelligence agencies work to defeat adversaries' encryption (and surely one must agree). But ODNI's statement doesn't mollify most commentators, who see these operations as both indiscriminate and destructive of trust.
The capabilities themselves represent no single set of mathematical breakthroughs. They involve some advanced cryptologic tools, but largely rely on a mix of socially engineered and legally compelled backdoors in crypto systems. Such backdoors amount, critics observe, to deliberate flaws. The revelations complicate the already vexed relationship between US tech companies and the Intelligence Community.
Significant declassification of US documents is promised next week, by Justice to plaintiffs in the EFF lawsuit, by the President to his Brazilian counterpart.
In other news, an argument brews up between biometric identity management proponents and critics—it turns on the distinction between registration and identification.