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surveillance

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The Joy Of Minutiae

Nope.  Not just Trivia!

When it comes to Hollywood entertainment, much like art, I may not know it, but I know what I like.

I love the back stories, the behind-the-scenes stuff.  And production people who pander to their audience.

An old-school example:  Remember The Man From UNCLE (you baby-boomers out there)?  Yeah, there were board games, and toys and books, and movies.  But I especially appreciated the minutiae.

We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement without whose assistance this program would not be possible

Man, I loved that in the credits!  I knew they couldn’t put that statement there unless such an organization existed!

I remain a fan of the TV show Person of Interest (even though it’s ratings are down and IF it returns it will be later this year with only 13 episodes :-(  )  And I was trolling the Internet, looking for some tidbit of information regarding an actual start date and/or show renewal.

And I found THIS telephone number:

917-285-7362

(for the unitiated – or less obsessed – this is a number given by Mr. Finch to Shaw in an effort to recruit her in his efforts to save people using the machine – if this is meaningless to you, you really need to catch P.O.I. on You Tube or Netflix!)

Usually, fictional telephone numbers on TV or films are separated from the real by the inclusion of the prefix 555, which the telecoms have agreed means non-working and fictional, lest a real number be shown and people start calling someone’s real number.  (867-5309 or Pennsylvania 6-5000 ring any bells?  Yes, I know, I’m old…)

But, if you are a fan of POI, you should really call the number…

It goes to a Harold Wren of Universal Heritage Insurance (!) which is one of Finch’s covers.  (Of course, Finch isn’t his real name, either.)

But wait, there’s more – Universal Heritage Insurance has a website!

You see?  Minutiae.  And production people pandering to their audience.

(Obviously, I’ve too much time on my hands.)

:-)

Surveillance, By The Numbers

(Nick Otto/For The Washington Post)
While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.The man had a firearm conviction and gang associations, so out of caution police called a negotiator. The suspect surrendered, and police said the intelligence helped them make the right call — it turned out he had a gun. ()
Another twist on ‘the machine’ from TV’s Person of Interest.  Not video or audio surveillance, but data-mining to determine if a subject suspect person-of-interest is a potential danger.I wonder if it finds blog posts and comments and scores them with regard to potential danger, based on a peaceful expression of concern for governmental abuses?Guess I’m worthy of a bright red warning…h/t Liberty Headlines

Windows 10

Yep, I bit the bullet and installed it.

I also followed Borepatch‘s advice, with regard to change the security settings.

Thus far (Day Three) it seems to work alright.  I previously was using Windows 7 Home, which I LOVED!  Of course, not unlike my ancient (three-year-old) Android cellular telephone, I was advised it would no longer be supported (as of some date).

So, I updated that, as well.  (I paid it off.  WTH!)

And, regardless my changing the security settings, I’m certain Microsoft will continue to follow my perusal of the Internet, and diligently pass along what it finds to governmental and corporate entities.

It’s already disconcerting that my new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 seems not only to know where I am in space, but remembers where I have been previously, and makes recommendations regarding where to go next!

(Note to self – Windows 10 resembles Android!  Who knew?)

The Singularity isn’t far off, and I expect Cortana to ask me, “What are you doing, Guffaw?” any day now.

The times – they are a changin’.

hal 9000

 

How The NSA Is Working To Threaten Your Second Amendment

Food for thought.

 

h/t Survival Frog

Much Corruption? Naw…

Government corruption has become rampant:

  • Senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes
  • NSA spies pass around homemade sexual videos and pictures they’ve collected from spying on the American people

More @ Zero Hedge

There was a time many of us (well I) trusted ‘the authorities’ to generally do that which was ‘right’.  Sure, mistakes were made, but people took oaths and policies were in place, yatta…yatta…yatta.

Not so much, anymore.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”  –  Lord Acton

 

Person-Of-Interest, Part Deux

Those of you who know me, or who have read this blog at any length, know I love TV, movies, etc.  In spite of this, I’ve come late to the table on many popular shows (original Star Trek, Firefly/Serenity to name a couple) and am now dogged by the idea that anything I truly enjoy is doomed to be canceled.

Person-Of-Interest, for example.

Here is a show with interesting characters, good acting and an engaging theme with caught my interest a few years ago.

The government (and others) are spying on us ALL through public surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, ATMs, personal computers, security systems, cellular telephones ad infinitum, and crunching the data to use for their ‘purposes’ (propaganda, ‘nudging’, marketing, politics).

The lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays a spec-ops former CIA guy in the show, even took it upon himself to train with Navy Seals near his home to learn realistic weapon handling and unarmed combat techniques.

Sounds fantastic, right? (from the root word fantasy)

Now, approaching the delayed beginning of Season Five, we’ve been told this will be a truncated season (13 episodes) starting later this year, and probably the last.

Damn.

I’ve never written a letter to a production company (as an adult – I remember writing Sky King when I was age 7 for an autograph!  :-)) but I am considering writing one now.

But, a comment by another fan of the show on an entertainment website may have said it all:

Well, maybe it is not the rating but the subject matter this show speaks about – not so much science fiction at all anymore. Better shut up.

Sigh.

poi

Register To Vote!

and good things will happen!

(as posted in full by Peter…)

So much for privacy . . .

If you’re a registered voter in the USA, it looks like your personal information has been compromised.

A whitehat hacker has uncovered a database sitting on the Web containing various pieces of personal information related to 191 million American citizens registered to vote. On top of the concomitant problems of disclosing such a significant leak to that many people, no one knows who is actually responsible for the misconfiguration that left the data open to anyone.

Researcher Chris Vickery … has his hands on all 300GB of voter data, which includes names, home addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, party affiliations, and logs of whether or not they had voted in primary or general elections. The data appears to date back to 2000. It does not contain financial data or social security numbers.

. . .

Right now, thanks to someone’s carelessness, it’s free to anyone who can find what Vickery did. That means anyone in the world can find out where a person in the US lives and what political beliefs they may have. If they can find the database, scammers and marketing folk alike will likely benefit most.

There’s more at the link.

I fear that in the age of the Internet, personal privacy has become nothing more than a contradiction in terms . . .

Peter

Droning On Further

(…further on?)

I’d two encounters regarding drones the other night.

One was an episode of Madame Secretary, wherein the female Secretary of State co-opts her own brother to obtain information to locate and assassinate an American-born Isis member.

Via a drone strike in a foreign land.

(I’ve an ongoing discussion regarding this TV show – a friend thinks it’s a stalking horse to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.  I disagree.  The protagonist is a former CIA officer, married to a religious ethics professor at The War College, who is a part-time NSA guy.  Hardly The Clintons!)

ANYWAY…

The second encounter was a TV commercial showing a drone package delivery (Amazon? – I don’t remember, we have The Hopper and fast-forward through most of the commercials! :-) )

Now, I don’t know if this was a planned placement of drones on commercial television to get us used to the idea of them flitting about, or serendipity, or what?

I do remember this administration’s last attorney general not ruling out the idea of drone strikes against American citizens on our own soil(!)

Two drones and The Hopper in one evening?  Perhaps it’s just coincidental?  Showing us how far technology has advanced?

Perhaps.

Drone Biggest

But Wait, There’s MORE!

from the Government…

Campaign for Liberty

Guffaw,

The Senate intends to pass a new warrantless surveillance bill granting government broad new authorities for collecting your personal information from private businesses, and it’s up to you and me to stop them.

On Wednesday the Senate may hold its first vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), S. 754.

Promoted as a “much-needed” “cybersecurity” bill, Congress devised a new way for intelligence agencies to collect your emails and sensitive data.

The bill “encourages” private companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo to monitor their networks and share “cyber threat indicators” broadly with agencies like the FBI, NSA, and CIA.

Worse yet, the bill allows the government to share and use your information for reasons completely unrelated to cybersecurity!

And on top of all that, this bill grants companies immunity to ensure they give the government as much information as possible…

Without having to make any effort to redact your sensitive information.

Let that sink in for a moment…

The same government that can’t protect its own data on 22.1 million federal employees, contractors, and their families and friends wants private businesses to share your personal information freely with them.

And if (more likely, when) your information is misused either by government agencies, private businesses, or both, you will be unable to hold anyone accountable.

Guffaw, you and I can both see this isn’t going to end well.

CISA is justified as necessary to stop hackers…

But sharing your Google searches and emails with Homeland Security will not stop hackers.

In fact, nothing in this bill would stop any of the cyber-attacks publicized in the press this year.

When it comes down to it, this is nothing more than a new warrantless surveillance bill.

Congress should be rolling back intelligence agencies’ surveillance powers, not granting new ones.

Recently, the President of the American Library Association, Sari Feldman, spoke out against the bill saying,

“When librarians oppose a bill with ‘information sharing’ in its name you can be sure that the bill is decidedly more than advertised.”

Businesses like Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, and Google all oppose this bill.

You only need to look at who is sponsoring this bill to realize it isn’t for your benefit or mine.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), two of the biggest surveillance state proponents in the Senate, are working diligently to ram this legislation through.

And that makes the first potential vote on Wednesday crucial.

Per standing Senate rules, the Senate needs 60 votes to proceed on the bill.

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have all vocally opposed this legislation.

But it’s going to take an outpouring of opposition from grassroots Americans like you to stop this warrantless surveillance bill from passing the Senate.

That’s why it’s vital you sign your emergency “Stop the Surveillance State!” Fax Petitions to your U.S. Senators today.

These petitions let your senators know you see right through the thin façade of “cybersecurity” and recognize this bill for what it is – a new warrantless surveillance bill.

At a time when Congress needs to do more to rein in the intelligence agencies to protect your privacy, many senators are trying to expand the surveillance state.

Let them know you’ll have nothing of it.

Please take action today, then forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to sign their emergency “Stop the Surveillance State!” Fax Petitions as well.

Public pressure matters. And if you remain silent, don’t look to blame others later for your lost liberties.

It’s time the American people stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”

In Liberty,

Tim Shoemaker
Director of Legislation

P.S. After you’ve signed your emergency “Stop the Surveillance State!” Fax Petitions, please consider making a generous contribution to Campaign for Liberty to help defray the cost of this program to fight back against this new warrantless surveillance bill.

Because of Campaign For Liberty’s tax-exempt status under IRC Sec. 501(C)(4) and its state and federal legislative activities, contributions are not tax deductible as charitable contributions (IRC § 170) or as business deductions (IRC § 162(e)(1)).www.CampaignForLiberty.org

This came my way, and I thought it worth sharing!  –  Guffaw

Soon Coming To A Social Security System Near YOU (?!)

China is launching a comprehensive “credit score” system, and the more I learn about it, the more nightmarish it seems. China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, “authoritarianism, gamified.” Read this piece for the full flavor—it will make your head spin. If that and the little other reporting I’ve seen is accurate, the basics are this:

  • Everybody is measured by a score between 350 and 950, which is linked to their national identity card. While currently supposedly voluntary, the government has announced that it will be mandatory by 2020.
  • The system is run by two companies, Alibaba* and Tencent, which run all the social networks in China and therefore have access to a vast amount of data about people’s social ties and activities and what they say.

More @ Liberty Upward

*Alibaba is a Chinese company not unlike Amazon, with a partner component selling wholesale merchandise.  It has made it’s founder and chairman Jack Ma, the richest man in China.

Welcome to the Brave, New World.  A major multi-billionaire capitalist in charge of companies controlling a communist population.

Fascism?

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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