Weekly Axis Of Easy #134
Last Week’s Quote was “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration” by James Allen, winner was Richard Perritt.
This Week’s Quote: “An era can be considered over when its basic illusions have been exhausted” …by ????
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.
Listen to the podcast here:
#AxisOfEasy 134: Canadian Media wants government to regulate “trusted sources” for news from Mark Jeftovic on Vimeo.
- US Defense Agency system breached, data leaked
- Personal info of 360K teachers leaked in Quebec
- Leaked doc shows how big companies buy personal data on millions
- Tesla on Autopilot tricked into accelerating to 85MPH with duct tape
- Canadian Media wants government to regulate “trusted sources”
- Chinese government cracks down on VPNs amid censorship backlash
- Was Nortel brought down by Huawei’s corporate espionage?
- FOIA requests reveal how US government intel agencies influence Hollywood
- Twitter testing new community verified trust system
US Defense Agency system breached, data leaked
The US Defense Informations Systems Agency (DISA), admitted last week that they have experienced “a major data breach that has compromised its entire network”.
That agency is tasked with providing IT services and protecting the communications of: the President, the Vice President, the Secret Service, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and various other high level positions and offices.
The leak has exposed the personal and private details of over 200,000 personnel attached to those offices.
Personal info of 360,000 teachers leaked in Quebec
Meanwhile, in Canada, the personal details of approximately 360,000 teachers in Quebec have been breached. The Quebec government announced that using a stolen userid/password, attackers were able to access the Quebec Treasury Board’s systems and exfiltrate data on the teachers.
“The reliability of the government’s computer systems is not called into question, since the theft would have been carried out using a fraudulent password and access code, the board said on Friday.”
This just in: nobody within the Quebec Treasury Board has ever heard of Multi-Factor Authentication.
Leaked doc shows how big companies buy personal data on millions
There is a company I’ve never heard of called Yodlee. They are a data broker, one of the biggest in existence, apparently. They claim that the data they aggregate on millions of citizens, and then sell, is anonymized and can only be used to spot aggregate trends.
Vice’s Motherboard obtained an internal Yodlee document explaining how the anonymized users could be individually unmasked. Vice showed some of their masked data to an independent security researcher who reported back that the anonymization used was sub-par (exact words “bullsh*t anonymization”).
Yodlee’s parent company, Envestnet, is currently under investigation by the US FTC for selling American’s transaction information without their knowledge or obtaining prior consent.
Tesla on Autopilot tricked into accelerating to 85MPH with duct tape
(From The Singularity is Near Dept.)
Researchers at McAfee who look at ways to trick “AI” (which doesn’t actually exist, btw) were able to trick a Tesla’s autopilot system to dramatically accelerate from 35MPH to 85MPH. How? They simply stuck a piece of black electrical tape on a speed limit sign, extending the middle of the “3” leftward far enough to register as an “8” on the Tesla. To humans, the sign is still clearly visible as a “3”, although an odd looking one. Contrast to a Tesla in autonomous mode, a human thinking the sign looked weird would probably not punch the pedal to the metal in response, however.
On April 22, 2019 Elon Musk declared that the company would have one million self-driving robo-taxis on the road by 2020.
CBC wants government to regulate “trusted sources”
Canada’s national, and taxpayer funded broadcast network is leading the charge with a few other media companies like Torstar, Postmedia and Winnipeg Free Press, are requesting the Canadian government to introduce legislation to regulate in support of “trusted news” sources. My guess is “trusted news sources” would be those guys and everybody else who is eating into the market share would be relegated to the #fakenews bucket.
As per Michael Geist “The open letter warns ominously about the impact of Internet platforms and calls on the government to establish ‘fair rules on competition, copyright, and taxation’. The involvement of the CBC, which over the past two years has supported website blocking, characterized Netflix as a cultural imperialist, and sued the Conservative Party during the federal election, continues to demonstrate that the public broadcaster has lost its way on public policy and the public interest.”
The timing of the open letter is interesting, coming on the heels of the recent Broadband Telecom Legislative Review (BTLR) which included similar calls for mandating visibility toward “trusted” news sources and requiring all content creators to be licensed by the government.
If you haven’t already checked out our overview of the BTLR, read it here. If you haven’t already signed our petition to spike it, do that here, and don’t forget to tell all your friends, ‘case Facebook keeps canceling our ads when we try to boost it (read more).
Chinese government cracks down on VPNs amid censorship backlash
Coronavirus, or COVID-19 officially looks like it’s going to be a big deal, and my guess is at the very least it will crater the global economy as Chinese companies shut down and supply chains worldwide seize up. Details coming out of China are either vague or chilling. Some of the videos circulating on Twitter are difficult to verify but look like something out of a zombie apocalypse flick. Out of all that, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is clamping down even harder on information flow than their normally Stalinist level of control.
China had already banned the use of VPNs, effective March 31, 2018. But for those who could do a bit of digging, it was still possible to find some ways to access the outside world. This is becoming increasingly more difficult now that the government is hellbent on controlling the narrative around the situation on the ground there.
Chris Martenson’s coverage is a first rate source of non-hyperbolic, non-tin-foil-hat information. Martenson is a Duke University PHD in pathology and I’ve been a subscriber to his Peak Prosperity site for years. https://www.peakprosperity.com/coronavirus
Also worth following is our own client, Charles Hugh Smith’s coverage of the likely economic shockwaves: https://www.oftwominds.com/pandemic-posts2020.html
Was Nortel brought down by Huawei’s corporate espionage?
A pretty interesting (and long) piece in the National Post exploring the role Huawei may have played in the demise of the erstwhile Canadian telecom giant, Nortel. Over the years it seems Nortel had been penetrated by spies who were downloading documents and reverse engineering their tech. It had even been warned on multiple occasions by Canada’s CSIS intelligence agency about penetration by foreign intelligence and hackers.
When Nortel’s star waned, there were talks around Huawei saving the company via a merger, but the talks collapsed and Huawei subsequently scooped up many of Nortel’s top employees and assets in bankruptcy.
A good example, timeline laid out in the piece, on how something that is “out of scope” for discussion in polite circles suddenly becomes discussable in light of recent events. Canada’s government is currently expected to deliver a decision on whether to allow Huawei to participate in the construction of Canada’s 5G infrastructure (recall our coverage last week on how Huawei has maintained backdoor access into the global mobile networks they’ve participated in).
FOIA requests reveal how US government intel agencies influence Hollywood
In my new book, I quote Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda as we know it, who said that “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Would it be any surprise to learn that the military industrial complex is actively shaping the direction of narratives that come out of Hollywood, in the films and TV shows we watch? Insurge Intelligence, a crowdfunded alternative journalism outfit has been combing through thousands upon thousands of documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests.
“The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made — not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years.”
While the report was authored by Tom Secker and Matthew Alford, Insurge was founded by Nafeez Ahmed who we covered way back in #AxisOfEAsy 16 when he wrote about US intelligence’s role in seed-funding and shepherding a well known web platform called Google.
Twitter testing new community verified trust system
NBC obtained a leaked memo describing a new system Twitter is developing for a Community Verification system, where verified users (a.k.a “the blue checks”) will have the ability to flag other people’s tweets as misinformation. At that point, a flag will display below the tweet that it has been deemed misinformation, and Twitter will reduce visibility of the tweet across their platform.
What could possibly go wrong? So much in fact, that I wrote a separate post about it.
steve hartwell says
That Nortel article is horseshit fake news history re-write cooked up by the American corporate elite to further foment it’s citizens and colonies against China, which is gobbling up the overseas American Empire.
I don’t believe anything Canada’s CSIS and CSE say because they are branchplant colonies of the U.S.
Before this National Post Feb 2020 article previous coverage never ever contained any Chinese involvement.
Just look at who got the majority of patents and took over Nortel’s massive networks.
Oh sure, one could say Sony is Japanese, but in fact the Sony we know of was an American creation after WWII.
One can also argue that China is just as bad, but, most of what China has become since the early 1990s has been because of Americans who flooded in there after the global fall of of the pretense of Communism
I could type several books about how Canada is a U.S. colonial satellite territory, the American corporate elite deliberately keeping Canada’s population around 10 percent that of the U.S., and has been since at least the 1880s, but instead I’ll summarize all that by saying that today there are over 3 million dual-citizen ‘manager’ Americans in Canada and many more non-duals who own control and run Canada for their benefit and the U.S.
So, somebody could well ask, if true, why didn’t the U.S. simply annex Canada back in the 1880s ?
Because even before that the American corporate elite that own control and run the U.S. realized that if they did that, Americans would flood north into Canada like a tsunami consuming all of Canada’s natural resources in jiffy quick time just as they have in the U.S. That the day would come in the future when they would lose control of their global empire of resource extractions to feed the U.S. and they would need ‘at home’ reserves to fall back on. Without which their North American Empire would starve shortly thereafter. They decided to keep the pretense of the existence of a separate Canada in order to control and manage Canada’s resources to keep those resources feeding their existence.
Can Canadians do anything about it ?
Ask the ghosts of Nortel, Corel, Matrox, Future Shop, Rona, WardAir, Dome Petroleum, Bombardier, Ferranti-Packard, Eaton’s, and many more who tried and died, murdered by Americans.
st catharines, ontario (canada)
steve hartwell says
darn, meant to also include the ghosts of the AVRO Jetliner and Arrow.
Rob Marmen says
I am reposting this at Mark’s request. I am a former BNR/Nortel Employee
I read your Nortel piece with great interest. While I agree that there was undoubtedly corporate espionage from China, Russia and France, the demise of Nortel came from a multitude of sources.
I spent 18+ years at BNR/Nortel, mostly in the IT division in Ottawa and I saw other contributing factors at play.
First, BNR/Nortel never really got past the connection oriented aspects of telephony based networks. Everything was FR/ATM. The IT division was putting in a global TCP/IP connection-less network based on Cisco routers. When we used our own products, the performance was not the same. We built voice boxes that did data networking, and not data boxes that pushed voice connections. Two totally different approaches to networking. Of course I am biased as I was a data person.
Second, Nortel’s big business was the big voice switches which had a 9 year development cycle. Nortel never understood that the data networking side in the consumer space had a nine month product cycle. Our internal development practices often killed the flexibility needed for smaller product lines. One of Nortel’s most successful PBX products, Norstar, was the result of an R&D group going rogue and bypassing a lot of sluggish processes.
Third, Nortel spent money acquiring companies and then killed them with bureaucracy. When the drunken spending binge ended, they had a lot of debt with nothing to show for it.
While it would be nice to blame others for the demise, we unfortunately drank our own kool-ade.
With regards to the espionage, I have two stories to recount. When I was cleaning out the back labs during the first phase of the meltdown, I came across a $500K electron microscope that was used to look at “chips”. Don’t know how often it was used, but I am sure some people did some “investigative” research on their own. The second story is more humorous. It appears that we had a PCB duplicator on premises. Some enterprising students fed in an Apple IIe (yes, I am that old) and created their own personal computer PCBs right down to the Apple trademarks. Management had fit over that one….
To this day, I remember a single line from the book “In Search of Excellence”, : “Just because you are successful in one line of business, doesn’t mean that you will be successful in another business”.
Thanks again, I enjoy your posts…