Monday, April 8, 2013

Hiding (or not) in plain sight

So the French intelligence agency has been quite angry at the Internet the last few days. First, Wikipedia rebuffed their censorship of a wiki page about a radio installation that the DCRI said was classified. Then blogs around the world picked up the story, rightly mocking the French spies for trying to dismantle a page that had both been online for years and was constructed of, as far as anyone could tell, public information.

I'll join the party. Looky here!

Si elle ne peut pas vous voir, vous ne pouvez pas le voir.

But it's interesting to consider what the DCRI might be so upset about. The folks at Wikipedia, who are of course onboard with not breaking laws, offered to take down any specific content that the intelligence agency could show was classified or damaging. But the DCRI insisted that they take the entire page down.

Why is that? Well, if you think about it, they might have a good reason. If you take down the entire page, no one will ever know exactly what bits were so dangerous... and the secret is relatively safe. On the other hand, if you just excise the aforementioned dangerous bits, well, a cached version of the page will tell any spy with a mouse and a monitor exactly what the DCRI didn't want you to read.

Of course, like I said, because most--if not all--of the page is constructed from publicly available information, including a VIDEO INTERVIEW with the person who runs the station, it's tough to see where they're coming from. But then again, they're spies. So maybe that's the point.

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