Who Said That?

Breaking News:  Sorry to break with IST tradition and posting on the news of the day on weekends…but this is kinda important….

Before I begin I feel I must update my readers on the Christmas gift that Federal employees got yesterday…..

……a high-profile meeting was raising hopes that a government shutdown could be averted, reports Politico. Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, and acting Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney met with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer at the Capitol to try to forge a compromise on the president’s demand for $5 billion to build a border wall. “I’m feeling better now than I did an hour ago because that meeting is occurring,” said GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “The fact that that’s happening represents progress.”

The meeting comes after Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the idea of changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to push through a bill containing the border money with a simple majority, reports the Washington Post. President Trump had urged him to do so earlier in the day. A week ago, Trump said he would be “proud” to have a shutdown over the wall impasse, but on Friday he made a reversal of sorts, reports the Hill. “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” he tweeted. Late in the afternoon, the president also tweeted an image of what the barrier might look like: “A design of our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful!”

Now the blame game begins but that will be little comfort to the many fed employees that were laid off just days before Christmas…..sadness given as a gift is pure pathetic theatrics.

Who will blink first?

Sorry for the interruption……..

Saturday and some things I read just make me laugh and then worry…..the way that we seem to give technology more and more power over our lives worries me.

As Christmas approaches there is always the dash for that perfect gift to slip under the tree for the whole family…..

Look under the tree……what is that little box with no name on it?

Echo, Google or Alexa?

The trend these days is to have your home wired so that the refrigerator gives you the time, your TV can start your car for you on cold days, and it goes on and on…..

Personally, I refuse to give my toilet the power to lock and unlock doors (humor not real)…..technology can be a wonderful thing….within limits….but beyond my dislike what could go wrong with speaking a command and your coffee maker turns on?

After a man in Germany contacted Amazon to request any a copy of any data the company had collected on him—his right under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, Gizmodo notes—he was surprised to receive 1,700 audio files in response. Why? Because he doesn’t use Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant that is used with its smart devices and that is known for listening in on people that use it. According to an article in Germany’s c’t magazine, the audio files (which were sent to the customer along with the data he likely expected—files relating to his Amazon searches) turned out to be recordings of a complete stranger, who used Alexa via his Amazon Echo, Fire box, smartphone, and smart appliances. The man also received a PDF transcript of the stranger’s recorded voice commands.

The customer says when he contacted Amazon about receiving data from someone else, no one responded, but the link to the data was disabled. He had already downloaded a copy of it, and got in touch with c’t. From the recordings, the magazine was able to locate the person whose data the man had received, and even identify the other man’s girlfriend. The man was “shocked” to find out his data had been sent to a stranger, and noted that Amazon had not alerted him to the breach. Amazon finally got in touch with both men only after being contacted by c’t. As the incident started making headlines, an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters, “This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case. We resolved the issue with the two customers involved and took measures to further optimize our processes. As a precautionary measure we contacted the relevant authorities.” The incident is one of multiple reasons Gizmodo recently published a post entitled, “You Should Return the Amazon Echo You Bought and Get a Better Gift.” (Alexa may play a role in a murder case.)

If I want the “Jones'” to know what goes on inside my house then I will invite them over for a chat.

I am sure some of my younger readers will be in favor of this technology and if they would like to defend please do so…I am open to the experience.

If you are going to be traveling on this holiday please drive safely and take care of yourself the flu is out there looking for a body to invade.

Have a Day!

Be well, be safe!

A Flash from the past……

Peace Out!

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10 thoughts on “Who Said That?

  1. No electronic assistants or smart devices in my house either. I am not so worried about them listening in, as they probably monitor the PC anyway. My main concern is depending on a wi-fi signal that is variable, and affected by power cuts too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. G4S is a huge security company here. (Group Four Security) They started out providing static security guards, moved into the cash-in-transit industry, then took the biggest contracts for ‘privatised’ prison management, and delivering prisoners to courts or prisons. After 9/11, they began to operate armed guards in Iraq and other war zones, ostensibly protecting UK businesses, and some government offices and buildings abroad. Over the past few years, they have been employing foreign mercenaries, as they are cheaper than those ex-soldiers from the UK. It is occasionally featured on news reports, but mostly covered up.

    British mercenaries have served abroad for as long as I can remember, starting in the Congo in the early 1960s, and in every single zone of conflict since, including Bosnia and Syria. Some of these are still the old-style ‘soldiers of fortune’, but there are allegations that many are little more than government-sponsored special forces and ‘death squads’. They are supposed to actually be British troops, though disguised as ‘mercenaries’ to exclude any accusation of direct involvement by our government.

    Proving any of those reports is difficult, if not impossible, though there have been isolated cases of former soldiers coming forward with their own accounts of serving as ‘mercenaries’. Most are usually discredited by having their private lives examined in detail. A few of them have also conveniently ‘disappeared’.

    1. Yes I ran int some in Africa when I was there in the past……sounds like the UK’s Blackwater…….I am still working on why the prez wants troops out of Afghanistan…..I appreciate your heads up…..chuq

  3. I am proud to shut down the government…I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not gonna blame you for it.”

    —Donald Trump, December 11

      1. True that and I have a few that visit here and some are starting to see the folly of this fool…..I figured they would come around but it took longer than I had thought….chuq

  4. Just spoke to one of my daughters. She is one of those affected by the shutdown. She said she will not get paid until they go back to work and congress has to vote to pay them for the time the government was shutdown. Her boss is going to go in the office and do some work next week for taxpayers who need something done before the end of the year. Some work needs to be done or some tax payers will suffer. Loan commitments for example expire and if loans don’t get closed before the commitments expire people lose money.

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