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Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Sarasota
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 26,446

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Atlas of Surveillance

The EFF and Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno launched the Atlas of Surveillance in July 2020 as a literal effort to watch the watchers.

Combining a variety of news gathering tools -- crowdsourcing, data journalism, and public records requests -- the Atlas of Surveillance is an interactive database and map that reveals what surveillance tech is used by more than 4,500 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The Atlas of Surveillance has two main aims:

The first goal is to create a searchable inventory of police tech that can be used by journalists, researchers, and members of the public to better understand what spy tools police have deployed in their communities and how individual technologies, such as face recognition and body-worn cameras, are spreading across the country.

The second goal is to involve as many people as possible in the information-gathering process. To achieve this we developed a crowdsourcing tool called Report Back that allows us to assign small research tasks (e.g. "Spend up to 20 minutes searching the internet for information about drones in Phoenix, Arizona" ). By working with journalism classes and volunteers, we are not only creating a greater resource, but we are also growing the body of people who know how to investigate surveillance technology.

As of December 2021, the Atlas of Surveillance contains more than 8,100 data points — each representing a technology acquired or used by a police agency. That's a roughly 50% increase in data collection since the launch. We also increased the number of agencies covered from 3,000 in mid-2020 to about 4,500 agencies today, including law enforcement from every U.S. state and territory. However, with approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., we still have a long way to go...

We are also proud to collaborate with Data 4 Black Lives on its #NoMoreDataWeapons campaign to increase awareness of surveillance tech in regions with large Black populations and a history of over-policing.

In the coming year, we will continue to grow not only the Atlas but the body of contributors to the project. To learn more about opportunities to collaborate, don't hesitate to reach out.




The scale of this project, like law enforcement, is huge. Very thankful that, into the New Year, EFF takes on the task of watching the watchers, since our democratic enforcement of the enforcers can help save us from violent fascism.

How The Net Destroyed Democracy

(YouTube comments about this are worth a look.)

Technology that guides attention drives attention, controls attention.
Which affords little time for questions and/or thinking during the guided attention time.

Attenders who work to pause, think, and review a-v footage multiple times, try to make time for themselves to think.

Fragmented media fragment thought, map public knowledge, public will, politically manage it, profit from it,
and are terrible for democracy. Singapore and Switzerland offer important lessons.

How do we scale up direct representative democracy?

Until We Get Money Out of Politics, We Have Tweedism -- How We Fix That

The corruption caused by inequality -- all animals are equal, but some tweeds are more equal than others.

Though 2020 brought out record votes, these answers have still not gotten around enough in the last five years.

Nothing we need to solve -- climate change, social security, student debt -- will get solved until this first issue is solved.

If we don't, the corporations who built in this corruption will have won.

Facebook Blocks 7 Malware Purveyors, Deletes 100's Of Accounts, Notifies 50,000 Potential Hacking


Good news from Techdirt, imo, and lots more interesting details at the link.

As a result of our months-long investigation, we took action against seven different surveillance-for-hire entities to disrupt their ability to use their digital infrastructure to abuse social media platforms and enable surveillance of people across the internet," said Director of Threat Disruption David Agranovich and Head of Cyber Espionage Investigations Mike Dvilyanski.
"These surveillance providers are based in China, Israel, India, and North Macedonia. They targeted people in over 100 countries around the world on behalf of their clients."

The full report [PDF] from Meta lists the companies ejected in this surveillance-for-hire purge. And there's a common strain running through the list, one that's going to cause even more problems for a government already dealing with blowback for running interference for a company selling spy tools to a long list of human rights violators.

We removed about 200 accounts which were operated by Cobwebs [Technologies] and its customers worldwide. This firm was founded in Israel with offices in the United States and sells access to its platform that enables reconnaissance across the internet, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Flickr, public websites and “dark web” sites.
We removed about 100 accounts on Facebook and Instagram which were linked to Cognyte (formerly known as WebintPro) and its customers. This firm is based in Israel and sells access to its platform which enables managing fake accounts across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and VKontakte (VK), and other websites to social-engineer people and collect data.
We removed about 300 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to Black Cube, an Israeli-based firm with offices in the UK, Israel and Spain. It provides surveillance services that include social engineering and intelligence gathering.
We removed about 100 Facebook accounts linked to Bluehawk, a firm based in Israel with offices in the UK and the US. We collaborated on this investigation with The Daily Beast who had identified a subset of this activity leading us to uncover the full cluster and who’s behind it earlier this year.
We removed about 400 Facebook accounts, the vast majority of which were inactive for years, linked to BellTroX and used for reconnaissance, social engineering and to send malicious links. BellTroX is based in India and sells what’s known as “hacking for hire” services…
We removed about 300 accounts on Facebook and Instagram linked to Cytrox. This North Macedonian company develops exploits and sells surveillance tools and malware that enable its clients to compromise iOS and Android devices…
We removed about 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to an unidentified entity in China responsible for developing surveillanceware for Android, iOS, Windows, and also Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris operating systems. It also engaged in reconnaissance and social engineering activity before delivering malicious payload to its targets.

Four of the seven entities identified and blocked call Israel home. Cytrox also has links to Israel as both Citizen Lab and the Times of Israel have reported. Cytrox is now part of a spyware conglomerate that has been criminally charged for human rights violations.

Israel has a malware problem. And the government can't claim it was unaware of these companies and their selling of tools to authoritarians and human rights violators. The government was actively involved in brokering some of these deals.

We also alerted around 50,000 people who we believe were targeted by these malicious activities worldwide, using the alert system we launched in 2015. We recently updated it to provide people with more granular details about the types of targeting and the actor behind it so they can take steps to protect their accounts, depending on the phase of the surveillance attack chain we detect in each case.

That's a lot of disrupted surveillance efforts. State actors are paying good money for these exploits, and now they're facing more resistance than ever from the private sector being used to transport malware to targets. That's a lot of money and a lot of surveillance being undone. Governments buying exploits won't be happy but so what. There's no reason to assume that just because it's a government agency doing the targeting there's any legitimacy to the hacking efforts. This is the way it should be -- platforms and device makers protecting customers and users against hacking attempts, no matter the origin of the attacks. The world needs more of this because authoritarians and human rights abusers deserve to have their oppressive efforts thwarted.


Welp, I Gotta Say, 'Thanks, Google, For One Small Step Toward Not Being Evil"

Just because Google says it, doesn't mean it's not true.

We can get through 2022. We'll get through.

Gym Jordan Is Worried, His Boss Is Unnerved

Posted for the Jan 6 SC process expertise of Joyce Vance. If time is tight, start 3:44

HT to Liz Cheney for knowing Jordan's role in all of it.

JV: "... It's important to keep in mind, this is likely not a fact finding mission for the committee. They have more than likely, in the 300+ witnesses that they've already spoken to, put together a pretty good picture of what was going on and what Jordan's role was in it.

So this is the classic gambit at the end of an investigation: when you bring in people who are perhaps still subjects and you're thinking that they might be targets, and you talk with them to see how much of the truth they're willing to tell. That guides where you head...they've already tipped their hand that they're considering making a criminal referral over at the Justice Department...

So that's the real Jim Jordan, that's the unguarded, unpolished Jim Jordan...again, I think that's not the point of their engagement with Jim Jordan. They're simply here to make the point that the Jim Jordan we saw in that clip is a lot more closely aligned with the reality of Jim Jordan and his concern about the role he may have played and the knowledge he may have had about Jan 6, than what we'll see on the public stage as he indicates that the Jan 6 Committee is out of bounds or not legitimate. The real Jim Jordan is that clip you played. "

January 6 Vigils For Democracy Will Be Held Nationwide

A state-by-state list of planned vigils:

On Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, Americans across race, place, party, and background are holding candlelight vigils to say: In America, the voters decide the outcome of elections. To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, advocates are demanding that elected leaders pass urgent legislation including the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood.
In addition to a national vigil at the U.S. Capitol, nearly 150 events are already planned across the country and this number is increasing rapidly.

More than 100 participating organizations and growing from the
Not Above the Law Coalition and the
Declaration for American Democracy Coalition, which include
Public Citizen,
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights,
Center for Community Change,
Center for Popular Democracy,
Common Defense,
DC Vote,
Faith in Public Life,
Franciscan Action Network,
League of Conservation Voters,
League of Women Voters,
National Council of Jewish Women,
NARAL Pro-Choice America,
National Organization for Women,
People For the American Way,
People’s Action,
Progressive Democrats Of America,
Sierra Club,
Stand Up America,
Women’s March

A more comprehensive list is being updated at www.Jan6UnityDay.org.

U.S. Capitol and nationwide. Local event information can be found here (possible duplication of previous link).
A detailed list:https://www.mobilize.us/democracyvigils/?org_ids=7229

Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 at 4:45 p.m. ET

Participants will be holding candles and placards.

Act in haste, regret at leisure.

Congress people! Knock off your fear of offending your broadband donors--get your people broadband!

Terry often writes about how the plan failed to deliver pretty much everything it promised, and very few folks in telecom policy circles seem particularly bothered by that fact.

U.S. telecom policymakers just keep trudging forward, as if we hadn't already promised to fix this problem several times over, despite the fact none of the 2010 plan's primary goals were actually met:

Goal No. 1: At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second. (Nope)

Goal No. 2: The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation. (not even close).

Goal No. 3: Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose. (the pandemic brutally showcased how this absolutely isn't true. In fact, Techdirt ran an entire conference on the subject)

Goal No. 4: Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings. (again, COVID showed how far we actually were from this goal)

Goal No. 5: To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network. (We did finally start building FirstNet, though it's incomplete and been plagued by delays. Also, remember when Verizon Wireless throttled those California firefighters as they were battling record wildfires and tried to upsell them to more expensive plans?)

Goal No. 6: To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption. (never happened at any consistent scale).

We're now poised to spend another $42 billion on broadband despite not having accurately fixed our inaccurate broadband maps. The FCC also just announced another $1 billion investment into rural broadband, without acknowledging this was a problem that was supposed to be fixed years ago...if the 10 year plan in the Broadband Plan had worked as designed, none of this spending would have been necessary, as these shortcomings would have been resolved...

The failure of the National Broadband Plan is more than a digital divide issue, the plan included provisions for a consumer centric digital privacy mechanism that were discarded with the rest of the plan.

To be clear, our new $42 billion broadband plan absolutely will be helpful in driving needed broadband funds to a lot of areas. But it's fairly clear it was crafted without truly reckoning with the failures of past policies. And it once again doesn't target the real cause of spotty, shitty U.S. broadband: monopolization and corruption. The latter (corruption) is a Sisyphean task to be sure. But tackling U.S. competition shouldn't be this hard. Hundreds of towns, cities, co-ops, and utilities are doing it every day, though lending them a hand was one of the first lobbying casualties in the broadband infrastructure bill (again, corruption).

If U.S. policymakers really want to fix U.S. broadband, it starts with clearly acknowledging and calling out regional monopolization (something neither party has much interest in doing for fear of upsetting politically powerful campaign contributors tethered to our intelligence gathering). It involves shaking off lobbying influence, and ending the 30 year tendency of letting monopolistic giants like AT&T and Comcast literally write state and federal telecom policy. And it most certainly involves actually acknowledging the failures of the past so we don't doom ourselves to repeating them in perpetuity.


Not soon enough! We're too smart to be so bought by telecom lobbyists.


The Dad Map

How your parents and others mapped out the world is your default. That's the map you left home with.

If the part of the map they handed you stipulates that it is not revisable, you're stuck, can't get far, have problems figuring out why the world and your map don't correspond. An unrevisable map doesn’t record change. Many fight the world and demand that it conform to their unrevisable map, and so they are stuck at the psychological age they were when they left home, regardless of chronological aging.

The world changes. When the ground and map don't match, adults revise the map. Adults revise and expand their received map so that with age, their map expands and deepens in detail. Children in grownups' bodies deny their map needs revising, demand that the world conform to their map. Who trusts anyone to help them in the real world if that anyone operates with an outdated map, right?

So the world is two kinds of people: those who design new maps, and those who default to Dad's map.

For parenthetical consideration...

(Re human maps, here's one less thing to worry about: General AI won't exist to design our lives in this century.

Stuart Russell says so.

These help show why.


https://www.google.com/search?q=AI+mind+mapping&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwiPx6zOiPX0AhUEIt8KHcnQCXIQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=AI+mind+mapping&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzIGCAAQCBAeOgcIIxDvAxAnOgcIABCxAxBDOgQIABBDOggIABCABBCxAzoFCAAQgAQ6BggAEAcQHjoICAAQBxAFEB5QtQpY6SpgwS1oAHAAeACAAVyIAe8EkgEBOJgBAKABAaoBC2d3cy13aXotaW1nwAEB&sclient=img&ei=19_BYc__EoTE_AbJoaeQBw&bih=708&biw=1316 )

So mapping a way forward is all on us. Do we design or default?
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