Article 43


Privacy And Rights

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 53 - The Next Patriot Act

image: social media challenges
[W]orries about TikTok’s addictive ALGORITHMS, its effects on teens’ mental health, and its hosting of propaganda and extreme content are common to its American rivals, including Google’s YouTube and Meta’s Instagram. Congress has not meaningfully addressed those, either.
- Blaming TikTok For Our Lack Of Privacy Protection Laws
I work for a pretty large MSSP in SOC in the U.S. I’m closing in on almost 3 years here, a couple months ago I was promoted to senior security analyst. I noticed a trend starting early last year, the company starting doing layoffs at first for the tier 1 soc roles and helpdesk, not all of them but a good amount, then after a week or so we were introduced to NEW TEAM MEMBERS FOR THE SAME ROLES THAT WERE LAID OFF BUT THEY WERE BASED IN INDIA. Then in Sept of last year, layoffs again, this time tier 2 where I was at, at the time. Same thing a week later more teammates from India. Finally once I was promoted a couple months ago to a senior I thought I would be safe. 2 weeks ago, again layoffs announced, this time some of our security engineers and software engineers, you can see the cycle here, surprise, the following week those roles were replaced by people in India.
- Jobs Being Outsourced, Reddit May 4, 2024


The TikTok Ban Is The Next Patriot Act

By Aaron Sobczak
Mises Wire, Mises Institute
May 10, 2024

HR 7521, called the PROTECTING AMERICANS FROM FOREIGN ADVERSARY CONTROLLED APPLICATIONS ACT, is a recent development in American politics. TIIKTOK has been in the news for the past few years, after the public became aware of its connections to China. The popular social media mobile app is currently owned by ByteDance Ltd, a Chinese company. China and the United States currently have a rocky relationship, leading to fears that the Chinese government could potentially use this app to spy on American citizens. Several states and counties voted to RESTRICT THE USAGE of the app in some ways, mostly disallowing government employees from using it on government-owned phones. Earlier this month, the United States Congress passed a piece of legislation that would restrict the apps availability if certain requirements are not met by ByteDance.

Putting aside the idea that politicians rarely have pure motives, this act has the potential to be just as dangerous as the Patriot Act. With a supposed goal of protecting American national security, the Patriot Act granted sweeping permissions to the federal government and the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens, with far less due process. In addition to having the potential to violate privacy rights and the Fourth Amendment, this new act is a blatant attack on property rights. Mobile device manufacturers and owners have every right to install whatever software they would like, as it is their property. Any illusion of a right to national security is immediately contradicted as collective rights are POSITIVE IN NATURE and thus not rights at all.

When looking through this act, several parts stick out. It begins by restricting any entity from distributing, maintaining, or updating any application that is controlled by a foreign adversary. As skeptics of the state would point out, this is already problematic. It should be obvious that one cannot adequately trust the American national security regime to determine which countries or entities are adversarial. A recent egregious example would be when the United States was determined to paint IRAQ, and Saddam Hussein, as a uniquely evil power that assisted with the events of 9/11. Additionally, one can point to how the Trump and Biden administrations SUPPORTED covid lockdowns, thus making Americans who understood the Constitution and property rights look like enemies in the eyes of many. The state has proven itself to be incapable of telling Americans who or what they should fear.

The act then goes on to even ban the hosting of internet services that enable the use of these apps, furthering the state’s control over the internet. In addition to these fears of further government censorship, Senator Rand Paul has pointed out that many Americans OWN A STAKE in ByteDance; this restriction would mean that the government is taking away American property without suspicion of a crime. The act does not just restrict companies that are directly controlled by a foreign government but even companies that are owned by private citizens of an adversarial state. When it comes to government censorship, the Chinese government is the gold standard. The American government would be following in the steps of the Chinese Communist Party if President Joe Biden chooses to sign this piece of legislation. The Constitution and the natural-law-based rights that the United States was founded upon conflict greatly with this level of state censorship.

Setting aside any pretense of national security, this act will restrict competition in the American marketplace, if not incidentally. Companies such as Alphabet and Meta will benefit greatly from a huge decrease of competition in the social media marketplace. Additionally, foreign cooperation in the global marketplace serves to spread the values of capitalism and free expression. It is understood that free trade greatly reduces the risk of traditional warfare between states, resulting in greater global competition. Further alienating states that are considered adversarial is shown to diminish peace. This is seen in how IRAN reacted to the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, how NORTH KOREA positively reacted to President Donald Trump’s brief attempts to normalize diplomatic relations, and how RUSSIA reacted TO THE TO THE EXPANSION AND AGGRESSION of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

While not quite as wide-ranging as the Patriot Act, this recent act is dangerous in multiple ways. The natural rights to free expression, property, and privacy are at further risk with legislation such as this. One can point to how this will greatly support very large companies such as Alphabet and Meta in the American marketplace, companies that have spied on American citizens on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additionally, already-estranged nations are less likely to come to any sort of reasonable agreement as they are continually backed into a corner by the global community. Skeptical Americans who are knowledgeable of history should not trust the American national security regime to properly determine who their enemies are, or the best way to keep Americans safe. This legislation will only give increased power to the expansive state, power that the state has proven itself unable to use judiciously.


Posted by Elvis on 05/11/24 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Privacy And Rights
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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Still Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From Windows? Part 24

image: microsoft vista
China is now flexing its post-Olympic power with an aggressive new cyberespionage campaign, targeting government, military and civilians with equal force. If you use Windows, the Chinese Communist Party to knows how to hack into your laptop. If you have friends and associates in China, they’re reading your e-mails.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 44, September 2011
As it scrambled to compete in the internet world, the once-dominant tech company cut tens of thousands of U.S. workers, hitting its most senior employees hardest and flouting rules against age bias.
- Cutting Old Heads At IBM, March 2018
The United States has collectively decided that certain industries, like ELECTRONICS, are not worth keeping. Other industries, like MEATPACKING and chicken-processing, are worth keeping, but only if theyre staffed by a new proletariat IMMIGRANTS who labor for low hourly wages and without benefits or union representation. And now we’re being told that other industries like steel, coal, textiles, and auto parts can survive only to the extent that middle-class stakeholders choose to become INSECURE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS.
- Is Globaliation Over, September 1922
India has been one of the LEADING OUTSOURCING DESTINATIONS due to low costs, 24/7 service, a highly-experienced workforce, a vast talent pool, and continuous support from the government.
- Outsourcing Big Tech, July 2022
I’m pretty sure that as telco manufacturers and phone companies REPLACE their Nobel Prize winning SCIENTISTS and HIGHLY-SKILLED WORK FORCE with temporary day laborers, outsource operations and development to politcal adversaries and countries with HORRIBLE LIVING CONDITIONS...raises the possibility that America’s phone system may be easier to penetrate tomorrow, than getting through an opened door today.
- The Athens Affair, 2007
In the early days of the internet, before we realized everything we do, can - and probably will be - tracked, analyzed, stored and shared - internet companies would send us a CD that included a BRANDED version of a web browser, with a unique USER-AGENT STRING - making it easy to track ones web surfing way back then… For web crawling here, I invite BING, and a few others in… Yeah, I know it’s Microsoft.  But I figure they ALREADY KNOW more than we can possibly imagine.
- The Web Crawler Problem, 2024


Microsoft is ‘ground zero’ for foreign state-sponsored hackers, executive says
“It’s very difficult to defend against,” a top Microsoft executive for security said of state-sponsored hackers

By Laura Bratton
April 15, 2024

A top Microsoft executive said in a new interview that the tech giant is “ground zero” for foreign government-backed hackers.

"They’re incredibly good at collecting data over time, gathering and gathering more and more momentum and then figuring out how to keep parlaying that into more and more success,” Charlie Bell, Microsoft’s executive vice president of security, told Bloomberg of state-sponsored hackers in AN INTERVIEW PUBLISHED MONDAY. “It’s very difficult to defend against.”

Microsoft launched a security initiative called the SECURE FUTURE INITIATIVE in November following a number of cybersecurity breaches with ties to foreign governments. Last May, HACKERS BACKED BY CHINA BROKE INTO CUSTOMERS’ EMAILS. Then in the summer of 2023, Russia-linked group Anonymous Sudan STOLE 30 MILLION CUSTOMERS’ DATA.

Even after the launch of Microsoft’s initiative, a Russia-backed actor called MIDNIGHT BLIZZARD ATTACKED OTS EMPLOYEES’ EMAIL ACCOUNTS - including those of executives = in January. A SCATHING REPORT FROM THE U/S. CYBER SAFETY REVIEW BOARD (CSRB) earlier this month said a cascade of security failuresӔ was to blame for the January breach.

The CSRB said in its report that Microsoft’s “security culture was inadequate and requires an overhaul, particularly in light of the company’s centrality in the technology ecosystem and the level of trust customers place in the company to protect their data and operations.”

Bloomberg’s report highlighted how Microsoft has implemented its security revamp thus far. Its removed 1.7 million ғidentities linked to old accounts and more than 700,000 out-of-date apps, and itԒs further enforcing multi-factor authentication for over 1 million accounts. The company is also taking steps to make it harder for hackers to steal Microsoft employees IDs.

Still, an independent cyber security expert interviewed by Bloomberg said the actions taken by Bloomberg aren’t enough to fix its fundamentally “inadequate” system. Microsoft did not immediately respond to Quartz’s request for comment.


Posted by Elvis on 04/17/24 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Friday, March 29, 2024

YouTube Shares Viewer Data With Feds

pc-eye.jpg image: pc eye border=0

If you watched certain YouTube videos, investigators demanded your data from Google
Shared YouTube data prompts civil liberty worries.

By Chase DiBenedetto
March 23, 2024

If you’ve ever jokingly wondered if your search or viewing history is going to “put you on some kind of list,” your concern may be more than warranted.

In now unsealed court documents reviewed by RORBES, Google was ORDERED TO HAND OVER the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and user activity of Youtube accounts and IP addresses that watched select YouTube videos, part of a larger criminal investigation by federal investigators.

The videos were sent by undercover police to a suspected cryptocurrency launderer under the username “elonmuskwhm.” In conversations with the bitcoin trader, investigators sent links to public YouTube tutorials on mapping via drones and augmented reality software, Forbes details. The videos were watched more than 30,000 times, presumably by thousands of users unrelated to the case.

YouTube’s parent company Google was ordered by federal investigators to quietly hand over all such viewer data for the period of Jan. 1 to Jan. 8, 2023, but Forbes couldn’t confirm if Google had complied.

The mandated data retrieval is worrisome in itself, according to privacy experts. Federal investigators argued the request was legally justified as the data “would be relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation, including by providing identification information about the perpetrators,” citing justification used by other police forces around the country. In a case out of New Hampshire, police requested similar data during the investigation of bomb threats that were being streamed live to YouTube - the order specifically requested viewership information at select time stamps during the live streams.

“With all law enforcement demands, we have a rigorous process designed to protect the privacy and constitutional rights of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement,” Google spokesperson Matt Bryant told Forbes. “We examine each demand for legal validity, consistent with developing case law, and we routinely push back against over broad or otherwise inappropriate demands for user data, including objecting to some demands entirely.”

Privacy experts, however, are worried about the kind of precedent the court’s order creates, citing concerns over the protections of the first and fourth amendments. “This is the latest chapter in a disturbing trend where we see government agencies increasingly transforming search warrants into digital dragnets,” executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Albert Fox-Cahn told the publication. “Its unconstitutional, itҒs terrifying, and its happening every day.”


Posted by Elvis on 03/29/24 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Community Broadband

image: wired earth

America Tires Of Big Telecoms Shit, Driving Boom In Community-Owned Broadband Networks

By Karl Bode
February 8, 2024

For decades, frustrated towns and cities all over the country have responded to telecom market failure by building their own fiber broadband networks. Data routinely shows that not only do these networks provide FASTER, BETTER, AND CHEAPER SERVICE, the networks are generally more accountable to the public - because they’re directly owned and staffed by locals with a vested interest in the community.

Despite relentless industry lobbyist efforts to paint these networks as some kind of SOCIALIST BOONDOGGLE HELLSCAPE, such community ISPs continue to see massive, bipartisan popularity. Case in point: The Institute For Local Self Reliance, which tracks community networks, SAYS THEY SAW A DRAMATIC UPTICK IN SUCH NETWORKS after COVID lockdowns highlighted the importance of affordable access.

According to a DATABASE of such networks tracked by the organization (disclosure: I’ve worked with the nonprofit researching municipal broadband projects), there are now 450 municipal broadband networks in the U.S. Since January 1, 2021, at least 47 new networks have come online, with dozens in the planning or pre-construction phases. And this may be an undercount given the FCC’s failure to track them all.

There are now more than 400 communities all over the country served by such networks, which can take a variety of forms, whether its a local cooperative, a city-owned broadband utility, an extension of the existing city-owned electrical utility, or a direct municipal build. Closer to a thousand if you include local public-private partnerships.

In rural North Dakota, local cooperatives have driven the kind of AFFORDABLE FIBER ACCESS many city residents in more populous states still haven’t seen. In Vermont, numerous municipalities have fused to CREATE COMMUNITY UTILITY DISTRICTS to deploy affordable fiber to long neglected rural markets. In Tennessee, the city-owned utility in Chattanooga has created one of the most popular ISPs in the nation providing speeds upwards of 25 GIGABITS PER SECONS TO LOCAL RESIDENTS.

They all represent local, grass roots’ responses to local market failure caused by often-mindless consolidation, stifled competition, and feckless federal policymakers unwilling to address (or OFTEN EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE) the problem of unchecked monopoly power. ILSRҒs Chris Mitchell put it this way:

“The monopoly cable and telephone companies frequently claim that there are no problems with broadband in the U.S., even as millions of students cannot access the Internet from their homes, whether in rural or urban areas. These cities remind us of the work that has to be done to make sure everyone can take advantage of modern technologies.”

During peak pandemic lockdowns, a viral photo made the rounds featuring POOR KIDS FORCED TO HUDDLE IN THE DIRT OUTSIDE OF TACO BELL, just to attend class. As somebody who has covered U.S. broadband policy for decades, I watched as that photo did more to move the needle on U.S. telecom policy and broadband affordability than any activism campaign or press release crafted in the last quarter century.

Many of these municipalities have been greatly buoyed by billions in both COVID relief money (The American Rescue Plan Act) and infrastructure funding (The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). As a result, countless communities are now deploying cutting edge, affordable, gigabit-capable fiber networks for the first time to customers long trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

It’s a movement that could have been pre-empted at any time by the likes of Comcast and AT&T if they’d been willing to expand service, improve speeds, and compete on price. Instead, such companies quickly got to work trying to pass ANTI-DEMOCRATIC STATE LAWS banning such networks, spreading disinformation VIA FAKE CONSUMER GROUPS, or FLINGING LAWSUITS at towns and cities across America.

Even during the peak of the pandemic, when such networks were busy showcasing their benefit to affordable access for telecommuting and home education, the telecom lobby convinced House Republicans to try and BAN SUCH NETWORKS NATIONWIDE. It didn’t work, again, because nearly everybody in America dislikes Comcast, and these locally owned alternatives have significant, bipartisan support.

Our collective disdain for the local cable and broadband monopoly is one of the few things that bridges America’s ugly (and intentionally well cultivated) partisan divide. And this kind of local activism is going to be increasingly important as corporate efforts at the Supreme Court to unravel what’s left of federal corporate oversight GAIN STEAM in the months and years to come.

None of this is to say community broadband is a magic panacea. Such efforts require competent leadership, a good plan, plenty of money, and public support. But it is a very cool example - 100 years after a similar backlash played out with rural electrification - of locals banding together to combat regional monopolies (and the corruption that protects them) to dramatically improve their quality of life.


Posted by Elvis on 02/10/24 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Monday, January 22, 2024

Netflix and Net Neutrality

ISPs with rival streaming services have ‘clear incentive’ to flout net neutrality rules, Netflix claims

Netflix cites Peacock’s recent stream of the AFC Wild Card game between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs as a prime example of why the FCC is justified in restoring network neutrality rules.

By Jeff Baumgartner
Light Reading
January 22, 2024

Netflix weighed in on the network neutrality debate this week, holding that new FCC rules are necessary in order to keep a watchful eye on broadband operators that have affiliated pay-TV or content services that compete directly with “independent” streamers.

A prime example that Netflix cited in REPLY COMMENTS filed Wednesday (January 17) was Peacock’s exclusive stream (outside of the local Miami and Kansas City TV markets) of the AFC Wild Card game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs on January 13. Touted by Comcast/NBCU (Peacock’s owner) as the most streamed event in US history, the game DREW an average audience of about 23 million viewers across Peacock, NBC stations in Miami and Kansas City and on mobile via NFL+. PolicyBand was FIRST TO SPOT first to spot the reference.

“[M]any ISPs have affiliated Pay TV and/or streaming content services that directly compete with independent, online content companies,” Netflix argued. “ISPs with affiliated services have a clear incentive to advantage their affiliated services by either (1) degrading the quality of their competitors’ content or (2) increasing their competitors’ costs.”

Cable operators, of course, don’t share that view. NCTA The Internet & Television Association and eight state cable organizations ARGUED in their reply comments this week that cable operators, faced with today’s competition, have no incentive to flout net neutrality principles.

Those comments flowed into the docket this week as the FCC moves ahead with a proposal to restore network neutrality rules that apply a more heavily regulated Title II (telecommunications services) classification on broadband. The Democrat-controlled FCC is widely expected to vote in favor of the rules later this year.

Netflix likewise believes that open Internet rules are necessary to ensure that access to legal content is available without interference.

“ISPs should not be permitted to block or throttle such access or engage in paid prioritization, and should be required to be transparent about their network management practices,” said the company, which estimates it has invested more than $60 billion in content alone over the past five years ֖ about 50% of its total revenue.

Peering concerns

Netflix also believes that such rules and requirements should not be imposed on content delivery networks (CDNs) and other “non-mass-market BIAS [Broadband Internet Access Service] offerings, such as web hosting and data storage services.” Those fall outside the scope of the rulemaking, Netflix argued.

But Netflix does want the FCC to ensure the rules apply to interconnection practices and peering, holding that large ISPs “exploit the size of their networks” by demanding fees for the ability to interconnect directly to their networks to deliver content to subscribers. Some of that reasoning stems from a PAID PEERING AGREEMENT WITH COMCAST that Netflix reluctantly agreed to about a decade ago.

Netflix continues to point to its own Open Connect edge caching platform as an option for ISPs to access and deliver Netflix content more efficiently and economically. Netflix said it has spent more than $1 billion on Open Connect (offered free to ISPs) at more than 700 caching locations in the US.

Until the restriction lifted in May 2023, Charter Communications was banned from employing usage-based home broadband data policies and striking paid peering deals as conditions of its 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Charter TOLD LIGHT READING at the time that the operator had no plans to change its policies on data caps and paid peering.


Posted by Elvis on 01/22/24 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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