Sunday Paper - Supporting Strong Encryption, Facebook' Political Ad Policy, CES and vegan food, Music Shuffling versus Album Listening

There is a disconnect between the USA Congress, FBI, DOJ and industry regulatory bodies on encryption. The minute there is a data breach, Congress wants answers and results. That same congress along with the FBI is scaring people into supporting backdoors in everything while the Defense Department argues that robust encryption is necessary for national security. Which one is it?

As the use of mobile devices continues to expand, it is imperative that innovative security techniques, such as advanced encryption algorithms, are constantly maintained and improved to protect DoD information and resources. The Department believes maintaining a domestic climate for state of the art security and encryption is critical to the protection of our national security.Defense Department's CIO Dana Deasy

I think all honest people in the information security community would agree with Bruce Schneier.

Let me be clear. None of us who favor strong encryption is saying that child exploitation isn't a serious crime, or a worldwide problem. We're not saying that about kidnapping, international drug cartels, money laundering, or terrorism. We are saying three things. One, that strong encryption is necessary for personal and national security. Two, that weakening encryption does more harm than good. And three, law enforcement has other avenues for criminal investigation than eavesdropping on communications and stored devices. Bruce Schneier

Facebook doesn't want to be in the business of fact-checking and wants new laws to govern political speech on social media. The American Civil Liberties Union agrees, and I agree with them both. It is disingenuous to suggest that Facebook, any online publication for that matter, would get this right. Heck, both the Republican and Democratic political parties complain that social media companies are biased. The Electonic Frontier Foundation thinks Facebook should not have different rules for politicians and regular users.

"This will not be a popular view. But on the whole, we think that Facebook got this right," says Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

Describing the gray area that political ads often occupy, Wizner added, "I don't think Facebook is capable of doing effective fact-checking, and I don't think as a society we should want Facebook to be the entity that's making those kinds of distinctions."

Part of the issue, he says, is the massive scale of political ads — not only at the federal, state and local levels in the U.S., but also in every country in which Facebook operates. Wizner predicts that if Facebook took up fact-checking in earnest, it would be inundated with demands from candidates and political campaigns that want the other side's ads taken down, rather than responding to them in public.

I find it interesting that, despite not being a vegan, I am more excited about some of the vegan food products demoed at the Consumer Electronics Show. I ordered vegan "shrimp" and vegan extra crispy "fried chicken".

You could easily be fooled into thinking this "shrimp" was the real thing. The consistency is eerily similar to shrimp, as is the flavor, and the outer shell is perfectly crispy. The main ingredient is konjac root, and it also contains vegetable starch, paprika and vegan seasonings. The coating is made of gluten-free flour and unrefined coconut flakes.

"You can't talk about the sustainability of the oceans without talking about plant-based seafood," Van Cleve-Talbert said. "It's there to decrease the pressure that we're putting on these overfished species."

After reading a recent blog post by photographer Patrick LaRoque about his new year reorganisation activities, I decided to try an experiment. Instead of a playlist, I would try listening to an album in its entirety. I think I prefer album listening.

For a while now I’ve been trying to combat the reflex to shuffle what amounts to a literally endless sea of content. To go back to a more precise and active form of listening. Because ultimately, shuffling transforms music from a focused experience into the auditory equivalent of wallpaper. I love the access provided by streaming...but I can’t seem to truly take advantage of it, not without conscious decisions on my part.Patrick LaRoque

I have made a conscious decision that when I discover a new song, I will listen to the album from which it orginated. For me, it feels "complete".

Photographer Olaf Sztaba considers the current state of online journalism in the photography.

With so many competing sites, all the gloves are off. There is no longer any need to check claims or facts. Nothing has to make sense. Capture One against Adobe Lightroom; which famous photographers cheated on their photos; why medium format is a lie; here is the proof mobile phones beat full frame; who stole the photo from who; why film is dead; why film is not dead; how the bride ruined one photographer’s life; why this YouTuber is an idiot; 10 things about photography that you are wrong about… the list is exhaustive and exhausting. I recently opened one of the top portals and couldn’t believe my eyes. I had no choice but to head straight to my bar and grab a drink. No, it wasn’t free but I liked it and it was the only way I could continue to read this nonsense.