ZDNetGovWeek: America held hostage (by Congress) week 2, and still the NSA is in the headlines

Looks like we got carried away rockin' the Columbus Day controversy, so we're a bit late on our weekly update. Even so, rest assured that our unworking, unworkable government still has some entertainment for y'all.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

ZDNet's worldwide team provides global 24/7 technology news and analysis. In addition to my own coverage analysis here in the ZDNet Government column and on ZDNet's DIY-IT, every week I'll bring you a selection of the best government-related articles posted by our intrepid reporters and analysts. Here are some of the most interesting from the last week.

Top stories this week

NSA's massive database struggling under weight of spam
Apparently our NSA buddies have a bit of a spam problem. Think about it. If they're grabbing every bit of email metadata they can get their hands on, what are they really getting?

NSA: Can it find signals over noise?
Strip away the politics and privacy debate and the NSA's penchant for hoarding data is a major big data problem.

Lavabit back online to allow personal data downloads
After shutting down while the US government demanded it hand its SSL keys over, Lavabit is back online to allow users to retrieve their data.

NSA, ASD rifle through users' address books: Report
US and Australian intelligence agencies are collecting users' address books and contact lists for intelligence, but they are also being defeated by spammers.

Secret U.S. surveillance court suspends Silicon Valley lawsuits until government shutdown ends
The secretive court suspends operations until the government ends its shutdown. A number of Silicon Valley tech companies are battling the court for data disclosure transparency.

Completely private email is not legal and shouldn't be
Lavabit, Edward Snowden's email provider back before he skipped town, is claiming in appeals court that it's immune from criminal subpoena. This is unreasonable and it's a good thing he will almost certainly lose.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

Balloons to bring internet to remote areas in Brazil
The government is developing its own equipment and will prioritize national companies for partnerships.

No evidence that NSA hacked Dutch telcos, say MPs
Three Dutch ministers have published an open letter stating that, unlike Belgium's incumbent telco, KPN hasn't been targeted by foreign intelligence services.

AAPT breached Privacy Act, Melbourne IT given all-clear
After being hacked by Anonymous, AAPT has been found to be in breach of two sections of the Australian Privacy Act.

Victorian government appoints new head of CenITex
The state government has designated its chief technology advocate to also head up the CenITex board.

Will Attorney-General Brandis be the spooks' breakwater?
The tide of public opinion is turning, but the digital spooks are still surviving the shower of criticism. How long can they last?

Brazilian government to ditch Microsoft in favour of bespoke email system
President Dilma Rousseff requested the deployment of the in-house communications platform across all federal government bodies

Food stamp glitch lesson: IT failures go mainstream
A Xerox routine backup turns into a food stamp disaster in 17 states. IT failures are becoming everyman's business.

Deutsche Telekom to foreign secret services: 'Eyes off our internet!'
Germany's incumbent telco is spearheading an effort to keep local internet traffic inside the country.

Brazil seeks to secure own emails amid US spy allegations
The country's president wants to create email that is free from prying eyes.

Is Bitcoin the future of money? Not a chance
Bitcoin has appeal as an unregulated medium of exchange and value. But, its days as an efficient funding source for illegal activities are coming to an end.

How to spy on the NSA datacenter
They really don’t like it when you watch them.

100Mbps broadband and easier fibre rollouts: Norway's new coalition sets out its IT priorities
A policy statement from Norway's incoming coalition plans to tackle broadband, infrastructure, telehealth and more.

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