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Archive for June 1st, 2015

The Double Steal — The Right and Wrong Way to Steal Trade Secrets

Bill Davidson

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

It took about 5,000 years from the discovery of glass until a process was developed to economically mass produce flat glass, and only a few years before the technology was stolen.

Glass is one of the great fundamental inventions – not at the level of the wheel or fire, but up pretty high on the list. Glass is chiefly made from relatively common and inexpensive raw materials: sand, soda ash (sodium carbonate) and lime.

No one knows when glass was first invented or by whom. It does occur in nature when lightning strikes sand or sometimes from volcanic eruptions (obsidian). Its first use seems to have been as a glaze for ceramic vessels in about 3,000 BCE. It wasn’t until about 1,500 BCE that glass vessels were produced in Egypt (ultimately used to hold beer, one of my favorite inventions). The use of a pipe for blowing superheated glass wasn’t invented until circa 30 BCE.

Through the ages uses for glass have multiplied and are as diverse as flat glass to optical lenses which enabled the development of telescopes and microscopes. But this story is about the technology to produce flat glass, and why some people would go to great lengths to steal it.

Flat glass is used primarily for windows and doors on homes, buildings and vehicles. Until relatively recently there wasn’t an economical way to produce large quantities of quality flat glass.

Flat glass was originally made by blowing cylinders of glass that were cut open and flattened then cut into panes. Most window glass up until the early 1800s was made using the cylinder method. The cylinders were limited in size. They were 6-8 feet (2-3m) long and 10-14 inches (~30cm) in diameter, thus limiting the size of the panes that could be cut. Large windows had to be made of multiple panes.

In 1848 Henry Bessemer, an English engineer, designed a system that produced a continuous ribbon of flat glass by forming the ribbon of molten glass between rollers. This was an expensive process as the surface of the glass had to be ground and polished. This did overcome the size limitations of the cylinder method. Beginning in the 1920s, a continuous ribbon of glass was passed through a lengthy series of inline grinders and polishers, reducing glass loss and cost.

The major breakthrough in the production of flat glass didn’t come until the late 1950s. Sir Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff of Pilkington Brothers, Ltd. in the UK developed the first successful commercial float glass process.

Bill Davidson

Float glass uses common glass-making raw materials. The materials are mixed with cullet (waste glass) in a furnace where it is heated to ~2,800 degrees F (1,500C). When the mixture becomes molten, it is allowed to pour onto a “tin bath,” a bath of molten tin about 2.3 inches (6cm) deep, 3-4 feet (3-4m) wide and 150 feet (45m) long.

The glass enters via a canal. The speed and volume of glass flow is controlled by a gate called a twill. The glass literally floats on top of the tin with uniform thickness. (The molten tin does not adhere to the glass, but an oxygen free atmosphere has to be maintained to keep the tin from oxidizing and adhering to the glass.) As the glass flows along the tin bath, the temperature is gradually reduced. At the end of the bath, the glass has cooled to approximately 1,100F (600C). At that temperature the glass can be lifted from the bath onto rollers. The glass ribbon is pulled by the rollers at a controlled speed. The speed at which the glass is pulled determines its thickness.

As the glass is pulled from the bath, it passes through a lehr (a type of kiln) where it gradually cools so that it anneals and does not crack from more rapid temperature change. After exiting the lehr, the glass is cut by machines.

Read more »

Stejskal: The Double Steal — The Right and Wrong Way to Steal Trade Secrets

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

Greg Stejskal

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

It took about 5,000 years from the discovery of glass until a process was developed to economically mass produce flat glass, and only a few years before the technology was stolen.

Glass is one of the great fundamental inventions – not at the level of the wheel or fire, but up pretty high on the list. Glass is chiefly made from relatively common and inexpensive raw materials: sand, soda ash (sodium carbonate) and lime.

No one knows when glass was first invented or by whom. It does occur in nature when lightning strikes sand or sometimes from volcanic eruptions (obsidian). Its first use seems to have been as a glaze for ceramic vessels in about 3,000 BCE. It wasn’t until about 1,500 BCE that glass vessels were produced in Egypt (ultimately used to hold beer, one of my favorite inventions). The use of a pipe for blowing superheated glass wasn’t invented until circa 30 BCE.

Through the ages uses for glass have multiplied and are as diverse as flat glass to optical lenses which enabled the development of telescopes and microscopes. But this story is about the technology to produce flat glass, and why some people would go to great lengths to steal it.

Flat glass is used primarily for windows and doors on homes, buildings and vehicles. Until relatively recently there wasn’t an economical way to produce large quantities of quality flat glass.

Flat glass was originally made by blowing cylinders of glass that were cut open and flattened then cut into panes. Most window glass up until the early 1800s was made using the cylinder method. The cylinders were limited in size. They were 6-8 feet (2-3m) long and 10-14 inches (~30cm) in diameter, thus limiting the size of the panes that could be cut. Large windows had to be made of multiple panes.

In 1848 Henry Bessemer, an English engineer, designed a system that produced a continuous ribbon of flat glass by forming the ribbon of molten glass between rollers. This was an expensive process as the surface of the glass had to be ground and polished. This did overcome the size limitations of the cylinder method. Beginning in the 1920s, a continuous ribbon of glass was passed through a lengthy series of inline grinders and polishers, reducing glass loss and cost.

The major breakthrough in the production of flat glass didn’t come until the late 1950s. Sir Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff of Pilkington Brothers, Ltd. in the UK developed the first successful commercial float glass process.

Bill Davidson

Float glass uses common glass-making raw materials. The materials are mixed with cullet (waste glass) in a furnace where it is heated to ~2,800 degrees F (1,500C). When the mixture becomes molten, it is allowed to pour onto a “tin bath,” a bath of molten tin about 2.3 inches (6cm) deep, 3-4 feet (3-4m) wide and 150 feet (45m) long.

The glass enters via a canal. The speed and volume of glass flow is controlled by a gate called a twill. The glass literally floats on top of the tin with uniform thickness. (The molten tin does not adhere to the glass, but an oxygen free atmosphere has to be maintained to keep the tin from oxidizing and adhering to the glass.) As the glass flows along the tin bath, the temperature is gradually reduced. At the end of the bath, the glass has cooled to approximately 1,100F (600C). At that temperature the glass can be lifted from the bath onto rollers. The glass ribbon is pulled by the rollers at a controlled speed. The speed at which the glass is pulled determines its thickness.

As the glass is pulled from the bath, it passes through a lehr (a type of kiln) where it gradually cools so that it anneals and does not crack from more rapid temperature change. After exiting the lehr, the glass is cut by machines.

Read more »

U.S. Government Loses Terrorism Fighting Tools As Patriot Act Provisions Expire

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has fewer tools to fight terrorism after key provisions of the Patriot Act expired late Sunday despite a last-minute push by some Senators.

CNN reports that the expiration ends the NSA’s controversial bulk data collection program. The NSA had been collecting phone metadata on millions of Americans.

Law enforcement also won’t be able to get roving wiretaps to track suspects who frequently change phones. Now they will have to get individual warrants – a timely, burdensome task that could mean some suspects slip away, law enforcement officials said.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch warned last week that the U.S. would face a “serious lapse” in national security without these tools.

The Senate is expected to debate restoring some of the expired authorities later this week.

Deadly Police Shootings Reach Nearly 400 Through May of This Year

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Police killed at least 385 people nationwide during the first five months of the year, far more than the rate tallied by the FBI, the Washington Post has found.

The tally shows that more than two people are killed on average a day, a rate that is more than twice the one tallied by the federal government over the past decade.

“These shootings are grossly under­reported,” said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement. “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information.”

Because of rising tension between police and African Americans, the Post is detailing every use of deadly force by police.

In the first five months of the year, about half of the victims were white. When adjusting for population, black people were killed at rates three times  that of white people or other minorities.

Heroin Making ‘Roaring Comeback’ After Painkiller Addictions Increase

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Heroin is making a “roaring comeback” in New York after people became addicted to opiates by taking prescription painkillers, The New York Daily News reports.

“A lot of people became addicted to prescription pills (that were) either legally prescribed or (as) young people taking pills for kicks. And unfortunately, those pills are opiate-based, and opiates are very, very addictive,” James Hunt, a special agent in charge of the New York office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said on AM 970 The Answer’s “Cats Roundtable” radio program.

“Unfortunately in recent years, heroin has made a roaring comeback, basically fueled by this prescription pill craze,” he said.

“When pills became too expensive for them or too hard to get, they resorted to heroin,” Hunt explained. “And there’s a lot of heroin on the street. It’s cheap and plentiful.”

The news comes about a week after one of the largest heroin busts in the city’s history.

Gizmodo: Justice Department Makes It Easier to Hack Computers

Maddie Stone
Gizmodo

Oh, good. A Department of Justice-proposed rule change that would make it way easier for FBI agents to obtain warrants to hack a computer from basically anywhere was just approved by a US Court committee.

Which is to say, we’re one step closer to having our digital privacy rights eviscerated in the name of federal investigations.

In the old world, federal search warrants are typically only valid within the issuing judge’s jurisdiction. Law enforcement officials needs to demonstrate probable cause, find the right jurisdiction to petition for a warrant, and notify the person they’re planning on searching. (That last bit is a cornerstone of our Fourth Amendment privacy rights.)

In rare cases, the Feds have gotten permission to legally conduct remote computer searches, outside of the issuing judge’s jurisdiction. To make it easier for the FBI to conduct these sorts of remote hacks and track down criminals who use anonymizing software, the DoJ would now like to expand that power.

Unfortunately, the latest bright idea for doing so amounts to a massive shit all over the Fourth Amendment. Not only would the rule change permit judges to authorize FBI agents to surveil and exfiltrate any suspect’s computer anywhere, the vague language of the rules might make it totally acceptable in certain cases to search our computers without ever telling us.

To read more click here.

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