Wednesday, August 21, 2013

late summer smash up

if i don't slam this thing together, i'm just not gonna write it, so here we go.

(last post was sooo off... as always, your mileage w/ my speculation n theory may vary ;)


Gotta start w/ saying I luvz my prez...  just do, that's all.

What a cluster...  The admin is historically pretty hard on whistleblowers, so the way things have played out can't be called a complete surprise.  I think there may be a missed opportunity, b/c it seems like answering the father's request to allow Snowden to remain a free man until his trial was a win/win situation for all.  Try to remember how he's being debriefed by our BFF Mr Putin when you try to work out your argument against that one....  More on the guts of that story later.

The same way you might argue that the Snowden whistleblowing could've (mayyybe) advanced the speed and substance of the discussions about NSA inet spying stuff...  Well maybe Manning advanced the US public's willingness and desire to move away from the two wars we were in.  I know we're peeved he leaked stuff, and wikileaks published stuff, but trying to contain information leaks by punishing the leaker or whistleblower seems like trying to hold water in your hand...  And there was a lot of loose talk about how this giant leak was going to cause terrible amounts of damage, but we're a long way down the road and I'm not seeing the chaos and harm to America so clearly atm...  The world learned a lot of interesting information, and other than the extreme fuck-up of publishing completely unredacted information at the outset (endangering individual lives), it seems like maybe that hasn't been a terrible thing.  Maybe his punishment can be somewhat lightened if you take into account that his actions may have saved lives in a roundabout way...  maybe...  maybe not.  who knows.

I know this guy didn't make it either way...

Chilly war times seem to be back...  I've heard there are people who see the current 'instability' in Egypt as 'good'...  I cannot comprehend it.  But maybe we should just smile and nod while Saudi tells us to chill while they support the re-installation of the prior egyption regime.  You know, it's just like Bahrain or something...?  I know energy and money and middle east politics are complex, but I still want to believe that core US principles don't waver for those things...  Booooo :(

I heard there are signs that maybe economic aid may be used as a lever...

There are so many low boil conflict zones w/ ethnic issues and poverty that are just ripe for chilly war badness.  Booooo...  If you want to make some blood money w/o the diamonds, invest in your military industrial complex corps for future returns.  Booooo  :-\

Corporations are people, my friend.  But for some reason, corps are allowed to do just crazy ass shit.  As a corp, you can get thousands of chickens or turkeys and lock them in a dark room, and pump them full of steriods so they are mutated and couldn't survive outside...  Or you do genetic bioresearch and imitate nature the way a child imitates an adult driving a car... :-\  You can treat those thousands of birds so bad that they go bald from stress, and that's one of the least gross side effects of the way we're making our food today...  crazy...

But if you're just a person, then slowwwww down there partner....

If you own 20 cats, the authorities might just kick down your door and take your animals and take you to court.

Do you want to mix some common household chemicals into a fun little concoction?!?  Well, enjoy maybe being a felon and serving the prison industrial complex forever.  Just google around a little and you can find examples of people having fun with some relatively harmless blowing shit up and being charged with a variety of crimes even up to 'weapon of mass destruction' concerning 'bombs' like mentos in coke bottles.  serious post 9/11 use of police resources, indeed.  some work has been done documenting the disturbing trends in police militarization.

Hate to use the same source for two links, but the rabbit hole goes pretty far in terms of corps being not quite as limited as traditional people when it comes to tinkering with things.

Side note, is the problem here that he had a GPS jammer, or that the airport doesn't use more advanced jamming resistant systems?

Alright, sorry, I have to drop by and derp some derp... derp...

Ok, there have been a number of odd plane crashes and emergency incidents.  A lot, but not all, have been Boeing aircraft.

I'm not sure I've heard that any of these incidents couldn't have been caused by computer issues... eek :-\

Moving right along, that's what technology is doing in our lives...  And holy crap, you can't validate bitcoins like that or you'll make them into real things! And HOLY CRAP, didn't I see that in COD:BLOPS2?  It seems too easy and unlikely to be legit, but who knows...?  And the best for last, 3d printed food sounds AMAZING!!  (ok, I'm sleep deprived, but srsly the idea of using any type of protein is nifty...)  And wherever there's tech, you know the mil-spec cats are already there...

Oh, tech moves on unless you're at the FSO...

Alright, here we go..  The first I heard of this came after the Boston bombings when the FBI admitted they could reconstuct phone conversations back in time, which sounded kinda odd...

Then Snowden came out and claimed responsibility for leaking info about the programs.  At the time, he asked for people to focus on the content, and not make the story about him....  Unfortunately, we probably spent far more time talking about Snowden himself and/or royal babies, rather than talking about the capabilities that the NSA might have, and why they might need those capabilities, and where we might want to draw the line on those types of activities.

It's funny how the companies identified as working with the NSA came out with complete double-speak initially.  They strongly stated to press conferences that they definatively didn't let the government access their servers.  People who understand how some of the tech allegedly works would know that the government could snoop everything with MitM SSL without ever accessing the private servers.  Eventually the story evolved.

And then things started getting silly...  The NSA claimed it was unable to search it's own internal emails, even though they are capable of searching a whole world's worth of emails.

The tough part of this situation is that nothing seems clear.  You have a spook from a family of spooks, who apparently saw some thing(s) so terrible that he had a crisis of such magnitude that he decided to leave his family, and girlfriend, and career, and nation...  And unfortunately, the people who commited the acts that caused him such trouble probably took the very same oath that he did to protect the United States.  So who is really the bad guy here?

What I hear from Charlie (full interview is great!) and others is: working at one of the most secretive places in the world doesn't mean you really know what's going on...  And I believe that.

We aren't protecting the NSA stuff for national security imho.  Well, not in any real logical way.  The terrorists already believe the spooks can do all kinds of crazy voodoo, because their partners in terror are always getting blown up by missles.  That's why the head of AQ was using an IRL courier and living without inet.

We're invoking state secrets because we don't want other nations to know what we can do to them.

But all the other nations are free to (and surely executing on) invest in technology just like the NSA does.  So the strategy of keeping our techniques private probably won't pay off.

I believe the official press conf on the NSA spying stuff included a quote about the 2 leaked programs referred to w/ numeric identifiers "215 and 702".  Ok...  If we're using 3 digit codes here, then is it safe to assume there are at least 10 similar programs instead of two? Or 100?  Or 250?!?  Or what?

Would we really be talking about these programs without a leak?  It's hard to see it.

So just put sunshine on all the stuff, so the public can decide what trade-offs are reasonable.  I've previously advocated for a number of ways to leverage tech for the greater good, in ways that many might initially find uncomfortable (ie: monitoring all cell phones for gunshots and/or screams of terror).  I believe tech can be leveraged for good, but only when people can see and understand how it's being used.

At the moment, we're seeing violations as we peek under the rug...  And it doesn't sound like a small thing.

But things are not trending toward sunshine, rather towards more automation...  It's like a Bourne movie...  Some things that have been outed will be dismantled, and those capabilities will re-emerge in a new shadowy form with a new code name or number, and things will continue.  Boooooo, cynical :(

Don't get me wrong, I believe there have been successes, but do we know the cost?  For Snowden, it appears the cost may have been high enough to throw his life away in order to try to wake us up...?

There have been some unusual and odd theories running around about Boston.  I am not getting spun up in conspiracy theories, but I see an interesting side thought.  In the modern day and age, how difficult would it be to plant images in legit journalist HDDs and web sites, in order to manufacture a meta-conspiracy...  You could then point the internet investigators in the right direction, and stand back while they do your work to propogate the story you planted...  crazy, right? :)

So let's talk tech instead.  If you controlled all of the major inet links for a nation, and if you had SSL MitM for most connections...  and nearly unlimited tech and resources...  In my imagination you could create a sensory deprevation tank capable of control and influence that is far more insidious than the controls described in 1984.  An individual could be put in a virtual reality-distortion tank.  Communications inbound and outbound to that person could be influenced in real time.  The subject could be isolated and influenced to communicate with the 'right' people by letting some calls go to voicemall, and delaying texts and emails.  Their web browsing could have dynamic content injections to control their thinking.  Their steaming music streams could be hijacked to influence their mood.  Their computer could crash and act against them at the times to cause maximum disruption.  The sky is the limit when you're imaging the modern capability set...  Some people are starting to understand.

I recently hung out with 5 cool cats who are part of the 中華民族, but didn't seem like typical 華夏族.  They were very nice to me, and I enjoyed chatting them up, and I learned some cool stuff.  Anyway, they told me that in China, you can't even get to YouTube...

They might've been decent with computers, and I wish I'd had the presence of mind to remind them that the 金盾工程 is reportedly not too difficult to bypass.  And I hear there *might* be some hackers in China... ;)

So then the question becomes, do people who have powers that others don't have bear a shared responsibility for not using those power to help the people who don't have them...

If you can help people like you have basic freedoms that they don't have today, do you owe them that?

If you are drafted into servitude to enslave your brothers, is there really no way you can act to do what you think is right?  Where and how do you decide what you will do to be proud when you see yourself in the mirror?

It seems like I'm not the only one thinking this way...  Take a look at how those crazy scary Anonymous cats used their power FOR GOOD!  And it isn't just a one time thing, they are kinda like that special drop box the SAS has, but they HELP police solve crimes on the side instead of killing people ;)  I've got a good friend who has been concerned about how hacker geeks treat women at conferences and in the office and such, and I guess I think Anon has really stood up w/ these actions on behalf of battered women, so maybe he can have hope...

So does this type of demonstration of power mean that current and future hackers are really becoming a 5th column?  Power grids are shaking, and elites are being called out on BS, and standard quos are being upset.

There will always be things we can't control, but don't we all choose how we add or subtract to this world?  Are we cogs in a machine that enable oppression, or are we the ghosts and gremlins that upset the general order and disrupt how those machines operate?

Just a parting shot/thought...  is this what it looks like when you let guys with computers tell guys w/ missles and guns where people are?  Tragically breathtaking...


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