What Price Privacy?

Sunday in the park…….not unless it is air conditioned…..(yes I knows we all spoiled)…..enough with the dilly dally….on ward.

I recall about 5 or 6 years ago when the nation learned that the NSA was listening to your phone calls and the people went batcrap crazy at the invasion of their cherished privacy.

Can you remember back that far?

Something I read made me think about those days in our past….with a bit of nostalgia…..

Amazon has admitted that it doesn’t always delete the stored data that it obtains through voice interactions with the company’s Alexa and Echo devices — even after a user chooses to wipe the audio files from their account. The revelations, outlined explicitly by Amazon in a letter to Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), which was published today and dated June 28th, sheds even more light on the company’s privacy practices with regard to its digital voice assistant.

The answers are a follow-up to a request from Coons dating to last month when Coons questioned how long the company holds on to voice recordings and transcripts from Echo interactions. In this week’s letter, Amazon confirmed some of the allegations. “We retain customers’ voice recordings and transcripts until the customer chooses to delete them,” the letter reads.

Following a CNET investigation published in May, there was also a question about whether Amazon held on to text transcripts of voice interactions with Alexa, even after a user has chosen to delete the audio equivalent. Amazon says some of those transcripts or information gleaned from the transcripts are indeed not removed, both because the company has to scrub the data from various parts of its global data storage systems and because, in some cases, Amazon chooses to hold on to the data without telling the user.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/3/20681423/amazon-alexa-echo-chris-coons-data-transcripts-recording-privacy

Seriously?

Americans will give up their privacy so that they do not have to start their car or change TV station or the music or dim the lights…..Really?

I have NO problem believing that the American people elected Trump for they are morons.

Return To Political Warfare

First of all we need to explain what “political warfare” entails……

Political warfare is the use of non-military means to manipulate and undermine the political system of a competitor. Political warfare with Russian and Chinese characteristics involves the use of myriad tactics—cyberattacks, disinformation, electoral meddling and others—to disrupt and destabilize the political systems of America and its allies, thereby rendering these countries less geopolitically effective. Authoritarian powers are “using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies,” warns the 2017 National Security Strategy, to “shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, [and] divide our Nation.” As the turmoil sowed by Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election of 2016 shows, these campaigns are having an impact.

We now know what is meant by the term…..we know about Russia and the others that are trying this back door approach but what about the attempts by the US?

Expanding on weekend reports that the US had been carrying out cyberattacks against Russia’s electricity grid and other infrastructure, Russian news agencies are quoting unnamed security sources who say that the US attacks were thwarted.

Kremlin officials said they consider the reports “worrying,” and that a major cyber war was possible. Security officials said that so far they remain able to neutralize all of the US attempts to infiltrate and plant malware in the systems.

Maybe there is a new way to approach this technique……

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-wage-political-warfare-38802

The Rand think tank has issued a new white paper on political warfare…..

he United States faces a number of actors who use a wide range of political, informational, military, and economic measures to influence, coerce, intimidate, or undermine its interests or those of its friends and allies. This brief summarizes a study that provided a clearer view of these adversarial measures short of conventional warfare and derived implications and recommendations for the U.S. government and military. To this end, at the request of the sponsor, RAND Corporation researchers examined the historical and current practices that fall into this realm of conflict short of conventional war. The starting point was the term political warfare, as defined in 1948 at the outset of the Cold War by U.S. diplomat George Kennan: “Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as . . . the Marshall Plan), and ‘white’ propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of ‘friendly’ foreign elements, ‘black’ psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.”[1]

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10071.html

This is the battleground of the future between “major powers”….the days of massive armies attacking each other is all but dead.

Learn the fight or be conquered.

Closing Thought–21May19

By now we all have heard that Russia diddled around in our elections and have also done the same for other “Western” countries……and they have been condemned by most people that know of their interference.

Of course they are not the only one that has attempted to diddle….some say China, North Korea, even Iran possibly…..this is reported by our dynamite media…they want us and the world to know of these attempts…..

But there is one that is not getting any attention and as usual the MSM is protecting one country from criticism…….

Facebook said Thursday it banned an Israeli company that ran an influence campaign aimed at disrupting elections in various countries and has canceled dozens of accounts engaged in spreading disinformation.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the tech giant had purged 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts.

Although Facebook said the individuals behind the network attempted to conceal their identities, it discovered that many were linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based political consulting and lobbying firm that publicly boasts of its social media skills and ability to “change reality.”

“It’s a real communications firm making money through the dissemination of fake news,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council, a think tank collaborating with Facebook to expose and explain disinformation campaigns.

https://www.apnews.com/7d334cb8793f49889be1bbf89f47ae5c

The MSM made sure to report on the Eurovision piece of crap but have not thought it was important enough to report on their meddling……so damn typical!

At least Facebook has stepped up….but I think it is more because of the bad press they have gotten recently more than any serious concern……

Is Cybersecurity A Priority?

You would think that cybersecurity would be a priority with this government after learning that it is so damn easy to hack our systems and process.  You would think.

So far with this 2 year old admin I do not see this as a priority…..instead of lambasting opponents try focusing on the security of this nation if your tiny mind can comprehend what we are looking at……

Not only were the elections vulnerable but our electric grid is not looking too safe either….and then a new GAO report really brings this gap home……

A new report out of the Government Accountability Office says the Department of Defense is “just beginning to grapple” with vulnerabilities in most of its new weapons systems. The upshot of the 50-page GAO analysis, per NPR: that, based on five years’ worth of tests, “nearly all” of its latest weapons systems are a cybersecurity nightmare, with easy-to-guess passwords and known vulnerabilities that were never remedied, among other issues. Just as concerning is that the DOD doesn’t even know “the full scale of its weapon system vulnerabilities” as the tests that were carried out “were limited in scope and sophistication,” the GAO notes. The tests, conducted from 2012 to 2017, were initially prompted by a request from the Senate Armed Services Committee to look into just how secure the Pentagon was able to keep its weapons systems.

The GAO notes the “widespread examples of weakness” fell under the umbrella of four cybersecurity categories: “protect, detect, respond, and recover.” The results weren’t great: In one case, for example, a test hacker guessed an admin password in nine seconds; in another, two testers needed just an hour to gain initial access to a weapons system. And, “once they gained initial access, test teams were often able to move throughout a system, escalating their privileges until they had taken full or partial control of a system.” To make matters worse, when vulnerabilities were found, they were often neglected: One test report showed just one vulnerability remedied out of 20 identified. Staffing issues contribute to the problem, as the salaries that cybersecurity aces can command in the private sector far exceed those that the government can pay. Full eye-opening report from the GAO here.

More from The American Conservative………

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-pentagon-incompetent-on-cybersecurity/

Great news if you are an adversary….not so much if you are a member of the cyber team that needs all the help they can get.

Hey D/bags….FOCUS!

Google Offers A Middle Finger

As usual on weekends I try to be informative or humorous or both…..yes it is a struggle since I am old and grumpy as my granddaughter describes it.

I guess we could call this post my FYI post for the weekend……

Remember a few  months ago most social media sites were caught screw over their members….sites like Facebook……it appears that a popular search engine may be giving its users a middle finger…..

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to. An AP investigation found many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they’ll prevent it from doing so. Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request. For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to your location if you use it for navigating. But the company will also let you “pause” a setting called “Location History,” which it says will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

But even with “Location History” paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app; automatic daily weather updates on Android phones also pinpoint roughly where you are. The privacy issue affects some 2 billion users of devices running Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search. Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking its users’ locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue. In a statement, a Google rep says the company is being perfectly clear and offers “robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.” Check out the AP for more on why Google’s remarks may be simplifying a more complex issue.

I do posts like this one to help emphasize the fact that people need to be constantly aware that their information is at threat even by those that promise that one is safe by using their site.

Fore warned is fore armed…..

Have a great day…..be well, be safe….chuq

Who Will Make The Internet More Secure?

This is a subject that we all should be focused on….I mean we are here and doing our thing because of access of the internet….but recently with a new president the security of the internet has come into question…..I did write about it at the time….

https://lobotero.com/2017/03/30/repeal-of-internet-security/

Even Alexander Hamilton could teach us a thing or two about cyber security policy…..

In 1774, Alexander Hamilton posited that good policy consists of three ingredients: “First, that the necessity of the times require it. Secondly, that it be not the probable source of greater evils, than those it pretends to remedy. And lastly, that it have a probability of success.”

Though this Hamiltonian framework is useful for any policy discussion, it is a particularly good lens for the cyber realm, for it encourages policymakers to balance the expected effects and unintended consequences of a proposed policy; and to harmonize concerns over too little, or too much, government intervention.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/07/what-alexander-hamilton-can-teach-us-about-cyber-policy/149921/

There are a few Dem Senators that have put together a deal for the internet…….

Mandatory location verification. The paper suggests forcing social media platforms to authenticate and disclose the geographic origin of all user accounts or posts.

Mandatory identity verification: The paper suggests forcing social media and tech platforms to authenticate user identities and only allow “authentic” accounts (“inauthentic accounts not only pose threats to our democratic process…but undermine the integrity of digital markets”), with “failure to appropriately address inauthentic account activity” punishable as “a violation of both SEC disclosure rules and/or Section 5 of the [Federal Trade Commission] Act.”

Bot labeling: Warner’s paper suggests forcing companies to somehow label bots or be penalized (no word from Warner on how this is remotely feasible)

Define popular tech as “essential facilities.” These would be subject to all sorts of heightened rules and controls, says the paper, offering Google Maps as an example of the kinds of apps or platforms that might count. “The law would not mandate that a dominant provider offer the serve for free,” writes Warner. “Rather, it would be required to offer it on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” provided by the government.

Other proposals include more disclosure requirements for online political speech, more spending to counter supposed cybersecurity threats, more funding for the Federal Trade Commission, a requirement that companies’ algorithms can be audited by the feds (and this data shared with universities and others), and a requirement of “interoperability between dominant platforms.”

If you are still interested in this deal then go to the paper ……..Titled “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms,” the draft policy paper

What The Hell Is “Shadow Banning”?

I am an old fart so I am getting confused with all the new techno talk……I recently was introduced to a new term, “Shadow Banning”, now what the Hell is this all about?  (Could this work to the tune of “Jive Talkin'”?)

President Trump said Thursday the White House will look into complaints that Twitter is treating conservatives unfairly by limiting their voice on the platform. “Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans,” he tweeted. “Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.” The tweet comes after reports surfaced about the practice and Twitter promised to investigate. Details of what’s happening, including what is broadly meant by “shadow banning”:

  • A definition: “Shadow banning” means punishing a user by making his posts visible only to himself, explains Brian Feldman at New York. The idea is that the user will then get tired of posting and leave voluntarily because of a lack of interaction. Under this definition, that’s not really what was happening as described by a Vice News article, which has been seized on by Republicans and apparently the president himself. (No, “Twitter Is Not ‘Shadow Banning’ Republicans” is the New York headline.)

The Vice story: On Wednesday, the news outlet reported that the names of several big-name figures on the right no longer auto-populated in the site’s popular drop-down search box, and it used the term “shadow banning” in its original headline. Those names included RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, a number of conservative congressmen (including Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz), and the spokesman for Donald Trump Jr. However, the story said the same didn’t apply for well-known liberal figures and lawmakers, with none of the 78 members of the Progressive Caucus affected. (An update to the story says the “shadow ban” problem appears to have been fixed.)

  • Twitter’s response: “We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box and shipping a change to address this,” a spokesperson told Vice in the original story. “I’d emphasize that our technology is based on account *behavior* not the content of tweets.” Twitter also referenced this company blog post from May, which states that after changes to the platform to crack down on “troll-like behavior,” those “contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search.” That is, those who interact with the fringe might be limited as a result, per ThinkProgress.
  • On the left, too: Ashley Feinberg of HuffPost points out that leftists were being similarly affected by the drop-down search limitations.
  • Gizmodo story: The Vice article follows one in Gizmodo over the weekend reporting that far-right figures such as white nationalists Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer were being buried in search results. The Vice News report goes further, suggesting that far more mainstream figures on the right also were being affected.
  • ‘Victimized’: Whatever the term being used, Florida Rep. Gaetz tells the Hill he feels “victimized and violated by a platform that holds itself out to be a public forum.” His office reports a “significant decrease” in retweets and followers gained since the above-mentioned May blog post by Twitter.
  • Facebook, Infowars: The Twitter controversy is playing out as Facebook comes under criticism for refusing to pull controversial content from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his far-right site Infowars, reports Politico. YouTube recently yanked four of Jones’ videos and banned Infowars for broadcasting for 90 days, and Mark Zuckerberg has declined to follow suit. Forbes has details on the yanked videos, including one titled, “How to Prevent Liberalism” that shows a kid pestering a man, then being shoved to the ground.

Seriously?  Is this just the typical bullsh*t from Our Dear Leader’s mouth?…if they were banning conservatives would they not start with the biggest waste of time on Twitter?