The Leak-Prevention Tech the Government Could Deploy

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In the wake of the publication of the WikiLeaks war logs from Afghanistan, observers are expecting the government to take steps to plug leaks. Today, Technology Review reports that adding watermarks to government documents is technically possible, and would make tracking down leakers easier.

One way the government could finger a leaker is through digital watermarking of the documents themselves. James Goldman, a cyber forensics expert at Purdue University, says it's not clear whether the government uses digital watermarking, "but it's certainly possible."

Such watermarks would consist of hidden digital data--or even slight alterations in the pattern of words--added to documents in ways that are hard to detect, but are readily decodable with the right software.

Read the full story at Technology Review.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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