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:
- 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
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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).
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
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).
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.
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.