Weekly Axis Of Easy #117
Last Week’s Quote was “as civilization has become more complex, the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented” ….by Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda as we know it. Winner was Steve.
This Week’s Quote: “It seems that in the advanced stages of stupidity, a lack of ideas is compensated for by an excess of ideologies” 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.
We are transmitting late this week on account of Canadian Thanksgiving and US Columbus Day holidays. (Spent the weekend in Chicago…. My kind of town…. Chicago is…..wonderful there).
In this issue:
- US Political parties track and target you via your mobile phone
- Amazon employees view Cloud Cam video clips
- Chinese citizens will require facial ID scan to use internet
- FBI still doing illegal searches
- Apple removes police tracking app used by Hong Kong protestors
- WIRED: old code spells waiting disaster for IoT deployments
- Senate extortion letters behind Libra exodus
This story from the WSJ describes a technique called “Geofencing” which collects data off of mobile phones and cross references location data with various next step actions. Those can include seeing a particular ad, to who gets fundraising calls or even a knock on their door at home. Political parties on both sides of the aisle are using the technique and it is expected to get more intense as the 2020 presidential election draws closer.
This is a common theme, one reported on here so often one should just assume. Any time you have a cloud connected device that contains a microphone, or a camera, in your home, you should assume that the companies’ employees are listening or watching recordings or clips in order to “train the AI”. In this case, it’s Amazon’s Cloud Cam home surveillance system, where the clips are viewed by remote workers in India and Romania. The reviewers annotate about 150 clips per day in effort to help the system differentiate between say, a home invasion, and a rubber fetish.
According to Amazon, submitting clips for review is voluntary, there are definitely clips in the traffic that it would presumed their owners wouldn’t want shared.
Spot 3 things that are profoundly wrong with this Epoch Times excerpt: “The Chinese regime announced a new rule which requires residents to pass a facial recognition test in order to apply for an internet connection via smartphone or computer.”
Here they are in case you’re having difficulties spotting it:
- The Regime announced a new rule.
- Requires residents to pass a facial recognition test.
- In order to apply for an internet connection.
I understand that China is a very different place than the West. Orwell described the Orient’s version of global Totalitarianism in his prophetic book 1984 as “obliteration of the self” (the loose analogs of North America and Europe were “Ingsoc” and “Neo-Bolshevism” respectively). But what worries me about all this happening in China, with Sesame Credit, compulsory obedience to the State and total regimen over every aspect of the citizenry’s lives etc; is that China is just version 1.0. It’s a beta. If it works there, don’t think for a second that the powers that be will not move toward a uniquely Westernized version (read: outsourced to Big Tech) of it here.
A ruling from the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has found that the FBI is still misusing federal surveillance tools and violating the privacy rights of American citizens. The ruling was issued in late 2018 but only recently declassified in heavily redacted form. In it the presiding judge found that in spite of congress enacting reforms to limit searches under section 702 of FISA, the FBI was still not properly limiting the scope of its searches and violating citizens’ 4th amendment rights in the process.
Apple has removed an app from the App Store which Hong Kong protestors were using to monitor police movements and usage of tear gas. The reason cited was that the HKMap.live app violated polices by having “been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents”. My understanding of it is that this app is like Waze, in that it’s simply a crowd-sourced mapping app that lets field users report on goings on within the space.
The Chinese government took a dim view of the protestors using it to avoid skirmishes with the police, so Apple, in full boot-licking mode, nixed the app.
The scope of this report from Wired goes beyond IoT per se and affects embedded systems of all kinds. Once they become network connected, they become, in my mind, IoT devices. In the olden days, it seems, there was a Swedish software firm called Interpeak that created its own TCP/IP stack called IPNet. IPNet went on to become bundled in myriad systems, such as an embedded systems o/s called VxWorks. A recent investigation instigated by a hospital running VxWorks in some of its pumps to their security company, Armis, has opened a can of worms.
It seems a suite of network protocol bugs dubbed Urgent/11 is deployed far wider than originally thought, prompting warnings to be issued by agencies as varied as the US FDA and Department of Homeland Security. This brings to mind a quote (as best I can remember it) from Jaron Lanier from around the same era when IPnet was invented “software has this tendency to ossify underneath later layers of software. So it becomes very important to get it right at the outset”.
Interpeak, it seems, didn’t, and is now long gone, having been acquired by Wind River, and subsequently dissolved. Along the way, support and upkeep for IPNet was discontinued. The bugs, and associated software vulnerabilities, including Remote Take Overs, linger on….
I originally tagged this Bloomberg article enumerating a mass exodus of Libra founders exiting the project. Later I came across the letters that the US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent to each member of the founders group.
The letter reads like an extortion demand, the implication being: Facebook has all kinds of problems (they’re not wrong), including, they further allege, being a primary delivery mechanism for child p**n, thus…
“Your companies should be extremely cautious about moving ahead with a project that will foreseeably fuel growth in criminal activity… If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only from Libra related activities, but all activities”
Suddenly, all the companies quit the cartel. It doesn’t surprise me that the gloves are off in terms of governments vs anybody trying to disrupt control over the very nature of money out from under them. I wrote about this awhile back over on Guerrilla Capitalism, and it was also picked up on Zerohedge.
Remember Stephen Zarlenga’s axiom (he was author of The Lost Science of Money, the definitive history of money as political power) “Whomever controls the structure of money, controls society”. It’s reminiscent of the apocryphal quote attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws”. There’s no documentation he actually said this, but Zarlenga’s historical account exhaustively proves the point that it’s essentially correct.
The stakes are high and I don’t expect the battle to be civil.
The letters are linked in article (very long URL).