Inside Fog Data Science, the Secretive Company Selling Mass Surveillance to Local Police
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/08/inside-fog-data-science-secretive-company-selling-mass-surveillance-local-police, posted Sep '22 by peter in law mobile privacy transparency usa
In materials provided to law enforcement, Fog states that it has access to a “near real-time” database of billions of geolocation signals derived from smartphones. It sells subscriptions to a service, which the company usually billed as “Fog Reveal,” that lets law enforcement look up location data in its database through a website. The smartphone signals in Fog’s database include latitude, longitude, timestamp, and a device ID. The company can access historical data reaching back to at least June 2017.
Vladimir Putin Has Fallen Into the Dictator Trap
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/putin-dictator-trap-russia-ukraine/627064/, posted Mar '22 by peter in fascism opinion politics russia transparency war
If you live in a fake world long enough, it can start to feel real. Dictators and despots begin to believe their own lies, repeated back at them and propagated by state-controlled media. That might help explain why Putin's recent speeches have stood out as unhinged rants. It's certainly possible that his mind has succumbed to his own propaganda, creating a warped worldview in which the invasion of Ukraine was, as Trump put it, an incredibly "savvy" move.
Autocracy Is Winning
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/12/the-autocrats-are-winning/620526/, posted Dec '21 by peter in china fascism politics propaganda russia transparency
Today, the most brutal members of Autocracy Inc. don't much care if their countries are criticized, or by whom. The leaders of Myanmar don't really have any ideology beyond nationalism, self-enrichment, and the desire to remain in power. The leaders of Iran confidently discount the views of Western infidels. The leaders of Cuba and Venezuela dismiss the statements of foreigners on the grounds that they are "imperialists." The leaders of China have spent a decade disputing the human-rights language long used by international institutions, successfully convincing many people around the world that these "Western" concepts don't apply to them. Russia has gone beyond merely ignoring foreign criticism to outright mocking it.
This is what the death of democracy looks like
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/9/30/this-what-the-death-of-democracy-looks-like, posted Sep '21 by peter in opinion politics transparency usa
America is in a dark place. There are no simple ways forward or easy solutions that could bring people together.
Accounting Fraud And Waste Is Standard Procedure at the Pentagon - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/11/accounting-fraud-and-waste-routine-pentagon/355233/, posted 2021 by peter in politics transparency usa war
Despite a handful of new laws designed to force the Pentagon to submit to at least a partial audit in the next few years, Reuters's investigation indicates that they'll miss those deadlines. Why? In recent years, the department wasted billions of dollars installing faulty software intended to make them audit-ready.
In the meantime, a disparate patchwork of offices in the Defense Department attempt to do the best they can to "balance" the budget against what the U.S. Treasury says they should have spent. This is a monthly process, and it often involves a healthy imagination. Here's an example from the Navy's bookkeeping at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service:
Every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from ... The data flooded in just two days before deadline. As the clock ticked down ... staff were able to resolve a lot of the false entries through hurried calls and emails to Navy personnel, but many mystery numbers remained. For those, Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to take “unsubstantiated change actions” - in other words, enter false numbers, commonly called “plugs,” to make the Navy’s totals match the Treasury’s.
No vaccine for cruelty - The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights | International | The Economist
https://www.economist.com/international/2020/10/17/the-pandemic-has-eroded-democracy-and-respect-for-human-rights, posted 2020 by peter in fascism health politics transparency
The disease poses a grave and fast-moving threat to every nation. Governments have, quite reasonably, assumed emergency powers to counter it. But such powers can be abused. Governments have selectively banned protests on the grounds that they might spread the virus, silenced critics and scapegoated minorities. They have used emergency measures to harass dissidents. And they have taken advantage of a general atmosphere of alarm. With everyone’s attention on covid-19, autocrats and would-be autocrats in many countries can do all sorts of bad things, safe in the knowledge that the rest of the world will barely notice, let alone to object.
A Government Error Just Revealed Snowden Was the Target in the Lavabit Case | WIRED
www.wired.com/2016/03/government-error-just-revealed-snowden-target-lavabit-case/, posted 2016 by peter in humor law privacy transparency usa
But federal authorities recently screwed up and revealed the secret themselves when they published a cache of case documents but failed to redact one identifying piece of information about the target: his email address, Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com. With that, the very authorities holding the threat of jail time over Levison’s head if he said anything have confirmed what everyone had long ago presumed: that the target account was Snowden’s.
Recently Bought a Windows Computer? Microsoft Probably Has Your Encryption Key
https://theintercept.com/2015/12/28/recently-bought-a-windows-computer-microsoft-probably-has-your-encryption-key/, posted 2015 by peter in crapification microsoft privacy security toread transparency
As Green puts it, “Your computer is now only as secure as that database of keys held by Microsoft, which means it may be vulnerable to hackers, foreign governments, and people who can extort Microsoft employees.”
Congress Drops All Pretense: Quietly Turns CISA Into A Full On Surveillance Bill | Techdirt
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20151215/06470133083/congress-drops-all-pretense-quietly-turns-cisa-into-full-surveillance-bill.shtml, posted 2015 by peter in opinion politics privacy transparency usa
Remember CISA? The "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act"? It's getting much, much worse, with Congress and the administration looking to ram it through -- in the process, dropping any pretense that it's not a surveillance bill.
TPP trade deal: Here's what the Internet hates so far
www.dailydot.com/politics/what-is-tpp-internet-intellectual-property/?tw=dd, posted 2015 by peter in business copyright opinion politics toread transparency
After years of warning that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership would be devastating for Internet freedom, intellectual property experts have finally gotten to look at the final draft of the proposed treaty.
And they say it’s as bad as they feared.