OpenStack: Reflecting on the FOSS paradigm in a post-Snowden world

This past week I attended a business meeting in Houston involving several leading Perl developers.  During one segment of the meeting we discussed OpenStack as part of a mastermind brainstorming session.  OpenStack is an open source IaaS platform that has a lot of industry wide support, creating a mature product that can compete with Amazon’s EC2.  During this session one participant found and showed the following clip (see below).

In April 2013 (two months before Snowden leaked documents), Nathanael Burton, CIO of the NSA, gave a talk on how the agency adopted OpenStack internally.  He discussed how after seeing some demos of it at various conventions, they brought it into a lab environment in Fort Meade whereupon they quickly were able to scale it for production loads all with minimal staff.  The interesting parts are not so much that open source software is being used by an intelligence agency but rather the euphemisms that are used throughout this presentation (like “external partners”) which then raise questions: were these “external” sources aware of how their databases were being tapped into?

It’s a relatively straight forward presentation yet again there are quotes that make you do a double-take now due to what has been uncovered the past 7 months.

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