Weekly Axis Of Easy #111
Last Week’s Quote was “Just as not all butterflies produce a hurricane, not all outbreaks of bubonic plague produce a Renaissance.” …by Eric Weiner, winner was Joss Rowlands
This Week’s Quote: “..in order to draw its conclusions ‘science’ is forced to accept a great many purely hypothetical propositions as known and unquestionable data, requiring no proof.” …by ???
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted below.
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. (Back to skool).
In this issue:
- How to combat information overload
- Running Dovecot? Upgrade it now
- Amazon’s Ring does facial recognition and collaborates with LEA
- Google’s multiple privacy violations
- Google uncovers mother of all iPhone hacks
- Protocols vs Platforms is the defining struggle of our time
I came across this poignant blog post called “The Best Way To Consume Information” which makes the observation that at some point since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century information has shifted from being scarce to being plentiful. That shift of course, is largely due to computers and the advent of the Internet. Once that took place, the precious commodity ceased to be information and became filters. How to sort out what is important vs what is largely irrelevant, or only fleetingly relevant. Most of what comes across the newswire is useless. Half the time it’s wrong anyway. Social media is even worse.
Financial analyst Nick Maggiulli argues that the key differentiating factor is shelf life. For that reason, he mainly consumes books, reading 40 to 50 of them per year. He doesn’t watch TV, or sports, or play video games.
He’s not saying to cut out all non-book media, there is high quality material out there, like his blog post, and of course… #AxisOfEasy 🙂
A critical vulnerability has been discovered in Dovecot and Pigeonhole affecting all versions prior to 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 and Pigeonhole 0.5.7.
Apparently, it’s complicated, but a skilled attacker can engineer out-of-bounds writes to objects on the heap which can lead to remote code execution or data leakage.
Despite Amazon’s protestations that their video doorbell subsidiary, Ring, does not engage in facial recognition, all signs point toward Ring cameras doing, or at least preparing to do, facial recognition. For example, Ring’s Ukrainian website states “We develop semi-automated crime prevention and monitoring systems which are based on, but not limited to, face recognition”. The company also employs a “Head of Facial Recognition Research”.
Further, as has been reported previously in this space, Amazon is working with various law enforcement agencies to facilitate access to footage without a warrant, and as the Guardian reports, is actively working to “shape” how the various police forces communicate with the public about it.
A couple of unrelated instances of the “Don’t Be Evil” corp violating users’ privacy. In the first, Google and Youtube paid out $174 million USD in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General “over charges that Youtube made millions by violating children’s privacy laws”.
That “record setting” settlement amount works out to a staggering equivalent of almost 10 hours of the search behemoth’s 2018 revenues.
The other item came out this morning when Brave (who is a competitor in the browser space to Google’s Chrome) released a report detailing how Google appears to be circumventing European GDPR laws. The report gives detail in the matter of an Irish Data Protection Commission investigation into Google’s Doubleclick/Authorized Buyers ad network. Brave purports to have evidence that the ad network broadcasts personal data of the subject’s web browser which contravenes GDPR, and they uncovered a mechanism called “Push Pages” which enables multiple companies to share profile identifiers about a person when they load a web page.
Analogous to how an easyDNS customer who recently called me “a champion turdweasel” on Twitter later conceded “sometimes he’s decent”; the news out of Google isn’t always bad. Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) uncovered an unprecedented malware campaign being directed against iPhones which has been going on for two years and infected thousands of phones simply by having the users visit an infected web page. Google passed their findings onto Apple who fixed the issues in Feb 2019. Make sure you update your iOS if you haven’t since then.
In my recent Guerrilla Capitalism piece on the ramifications of Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, I opined “Where Western Capitalism vs Communism was the defining question of the now ending age of industrial nation states, the fraternal twins of the future may be that of platforms vs protocols.”, it was timely to come across a lengthy paper that examines exactly that paradigm by Techdirt’s Mike Masnick. He has been writing on this tension for a long time, specifically as it relates to free speech, and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University has published Masnick’s paper: “Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech”
..and that piece of mine on GC in case you’re interested: https://guerrilla-capitalism.com/articles/first-bitcoin-then-libra-the-1-2-punch-against-fiat-economic-hegemony/