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News Teaching the NSA files and data security – news and resources round up
A collection of links and teaching resources to help your students understand revelations about the NSA gathering user information and data protection issues
The news surrounding the National Security Agency (NSA) gathering user information keeps on coming. The latest reports focus on a top secret NSA programme, XKeyscore, that allows analysts to search, with no prior authorisation, through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.
Here, we pull together the latest news stories, multimedia, teaching resources and websites that focus on both the programme, but also on data security. You will find useful information regarding data protection, copyright and hacking that should stimulate discussion in English, citizenship, ICT and the debate club.
From the Guardian
XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'
This piece offers extraordinary details about the XKeyscore programme, which allows the NSA to collect vast amounts of data about what a user does on the internet. When discussing data protection and privacy you really couldn't ask for a bigger story to for an example.
What questions are raised by the latest NSA revelations? – video
Nick Hopkins outlines the questions raised by the latest revelations from US National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden. How much money has the NSA paid to Britain's secret services? What does the deal look like? What are the NSA's demands? And is Britain's national security compromised?
Data security and privacy: can we have both? – data blog
Is it possible to have both data security and privacy? This excellent examination from our friends on the data blog explores this question in detail. Areas under discussion include anonymisation and the more stringent legislation coming out of the European Information Commission. Overall the piece looks into the challenges that are being faced and how risk can be minimised.
XKeyscore presentation from 2008 – presentation slides
This interesting presentation shows the training materials for the XKeyscore programme. The presentation details how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases and develop intelligence from the web.
Cyber criminals targeting UK, say MPs – video
The government and country are failing to keep up the increasing danger that is posed by cybercrime, according to chair of the home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz. With technology advancing at such a fast rate, he wants to see more effort to protect users, business and government itself.
On the Guardian Teacher Network
How to run a school hack day
You might be thinking that this link is slightly inappropriate considering the content of the news articles above. However, Alan O'Donohoe's excellent post highlights the positive effects of using interesting subject matter to inspire students to learn. The piece offers some great tips about setting up your own hack day and how it can play a key role in the delivery of the new computer science requirements.
The data protection act
Save yourself some time and effort by using this ready-to-go presentation on the data protection act. Jumping from the moral obligations of data users to the basic principles of the act itself couldn't be easier through the interactive drop-down menu.
The Computer Misuse Act, copyright and viruses
Using the same style as the presentation above, this resource offers the chance to explore the computer misuse act in an engaging way. This would be good to use either as a front-of-class activity or you could allow your students to explore the presentation independently. I can think of a few people across the pond who could do with giving this presentation the once over.
Hack Rap by Alan O'Donohoe: a must read for any teacher
More brilliance from Alan O'Donohoe – if you haven't seen this before then you're in for a treat. Once again Alan has produced a resource that makes learning fun and allows you to show your fun side when teaching.
Best of the web
Bradley Manning case in 90 seconds – video
The BBC offers a quick yet thorough look into the Bradley Manning case.
National Security Agency
Find out more about the NSA from its official website.
How the NSA's XKeyscore programme works – video
Here we have a US take on the XKeyscore affair from NBC News.
The Data Protection Act
Granted this isn't the most easy to read information out there on the Data Protection act but this is the legislation in full that seeks to protect us and our data.