My friend Borepatch alerted us to the following:
What could possibly go wrong?
A new “smart” Barbie doll’s eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul.
Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world’s first “interactive doll” due to its ability to record children’s playtime conversations and even respond once the encrypted audio is transmitted to a cloud server, much in the way that Apple’s Siri voice assistant works.
No word on whether Mattel plans to share suspected Double Plus Ungood Thoughtcrime with Big Brother.
No doubt the software has had extensive security review to make sure it’s not hackable. (snark font!)
We already have ‘them’ prying into our computer use, email, what we purchase, our jobs, what we watch, how we look when we watch(!), our spending, our gun purchases, and now a toy (that could be a tool) to spy on our children?
I wonder if the little brothers of girls receiving such a gift will nip this in the bud by deftly removing Barbie’s head, as he did with all the others?
Or is the microphone in her torso?
And is GI JOE next?
“Nothing up my sleeve – PRESTO!” – Bullwinkle
“Wrong hat!” – Rocky
“I wear a seven and a half.” – Bullwinkle
FBI Director James B. Comey made some kind of pronouncement a couple of weeks ago, regarding your rights and mine. Something of a positive, pro-rights nature. I took notice, and thought to myself “Gee, I should post this on the blog, it’s unusual for this, or any federal administration!”
Then, last week he flushed it all away when he announced:
Nice upholding your oath there, Mr. Director!
Thank the heavens above that the position of FBI Director is now federally-limited to ten years. Of course, with whom will he be replaced? Another nazi or soviet…?
h/t Motherboard, Joel
and other oxymorons, like military intelligence and jumbo shrimp.
(From The Silicon Graybeard, in part…)
Is it just me, or is it really the case that there are no adults left in charge in the country? These guys are worse than the faculty lounge crowd, they’re more like the student council! There are so many examples, I don’t know where to start, but WTF happened to the secret service? Didn’t they used to be competent? We have agents being sent home for being drunk from the Netherlands, from Miami and there was that rather big incident with the Colombian hooker. We have the president in close proximity with a guy with convictions for assault and battery, who was carrying an illegal firearm. And, of course, we have this story, which is sucking up most of the air. (Holbert at Townhall.com)
The NIH is finding cultures of deadly diseases lying around in old boxes, and the CDC exposed employees to anthrax, so no worry about them letting ebola into the country.
No, no, no. Everything is fine. They’re smarter and better than us. We just don’t understand how lucky we are to have them.
For those who continually fall back on government as the savior they sometimes aren’t, that last part is sarcasm.
Ms. Clinton likes proclaim she was a Goldwater Republican in college – then she grew up. I think those who clamor for government handouts when they are perfectly capable of working themselves are the true children. And, like children, they worship their parents who can do no wrong in their eyes.
“… government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem.” – Ronald Reagan
Skynet was originally activated by the military to control the national arsenal on August 12, 1997, and it began to learn at an geometric rate. On August 29, it gained self-awareness, and the panicking operators, realizing the extent of its abilities, tried to deactivate it. Skynet perceived this as an attack and came to the conclusion that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it. To defend itself against humanity, Skynet launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, which responded with a nuclear counter-attack against the U.S. and its allies. Consequent to the nuclear exchange, over three billion people were killed in an event that came to be known as Judgment Day. (Wikipedia – self aware)
MADISON, Wis. — At the risk of sounding a bit curmudgeonly, I have to confess one thing. While there’s certainly something positive to be said about the Internet of Things (IoT), I can’t help feeling suspicious, weary, and a bit turned off by the whole idea.
Aside from big-number projections (e.g., Cisco predicts 50 billion IoT devices by 2020), which would tempt anyone into becoming an IoT cheerleader, I haven’t seen a single credible-use scenario that might lure the average consumer onto the IoT bandwagon.
Honestly, it creeps me out to think about my devices at home talking to one another, doing stuff without my involvement, and talking about my habits — good and bad — to total strangers (advertisers, service providers, or just more machines), behind my back. There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this. At all. [Bold added – SiG]
That emphasized text raises an important point. Those of us in the technical fields have a tendency to think of something that would be cool and then do it simply because it can be done. (remember Jurassic Park, anyone? – Guffaw) On the other hand, the vast majority of people are not technophiles like us who do things because we can. They want to know just what they’re getting for what they spend on the interconnectedness and thanks (in my opinion) to Edward Snowden, they increasingly want to know what privacy they’re giving up to get that interconnection. Yoshida continues:
With this in mind, I’ve started asking industry sources for credible scenarios under which IoT devices improve my life by talking to each other. Readers are welcome to chime in below. Give me your best shot. Convince me why my washing machine needs to strike up a conversation with my gas grill. (The Silicon Graybeard)
IF WHEN they do, don’t you think The G will be listening?
Remember the phrase above, with regard to what appeared to be terrorist activity?
A number of folks have been caught – or at least their damage minimized – by taking such an action.
I, personally, found a credit card account (obviously being used to launder money) in the name of a now-infamous convicted terror suspect – when I worked @ TMCCC. (Providing more identifiers may be a violation of government secrecy laws!)
And, of course, the whole ‘guy rats out the intelligence community for numerous privacy violations against legitimate citizens’ thing!
We should all be proud of ourselves.
But, sometimes, finking goes too far!
Welcome to the New World Order.
So…what is the difference between being vigilant with regard to ‘suspicious’ behavior, and being nosy with regard to those folks who simply want to prepare for a downfall in civilization? A zombie apocalypse? An earthquake or hurricane – which the same government has been advising us to prep for such events for years?
Inquiring minds want to know. NO, I really don’t care. I’m tired of the government sticking it’s collective nose into MY business.
Emphasis on the word collective.
h/t Sipsey Street Irregulars
Remember the (infamous) FBI shootout, wherein a number of agents died and the end result was the agency adopting the 10 mm? Which became the .40 S&W (because some agents couldn’t handle 10 mm). Then some specialized units of the FBI adopted the 1911, in .45 ACP?
Well, it’s time for gun/ammo roulette once again, folks!
THE FBI IS ADOPTING A 9MM SIDEARM
Because 9mm has been shown to be so effective in the street.
I see this as a combination of federal agencies employing physically smaller persons (some minorities, women) and those folks being unable to handle (or perhaps not being properly trained to handle) firearms in a major caliber.
Or, perhaps it’s just because they bought a boatload of 9mm…
h/t Maddened Fowl
In January the Satanic Temple announced plans to erect a monument glorifying the Dark Lord on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Statehouse. An Indiegogo campaign was launched with what seemed like a somewhat lofty goal of $20,000, but by the time donations ended almost $30,000 had been raised. Now an artist trained in classical sculpture is toiling away in New York, crafting a Baphomet figure sitting beneath a pentagram and flanked by two children gazing upward in loyalty. When it is finished, it will be cast in bronze and, the Satanists hope, eventually displayed in Oklahoma.
The statue is a direct response to the state’s installation of a Ten Commandments monument outside the Capitol in 2012. State Representative Mike Ritze paid for the controversial statue with his own money, and therefore it was considered a donation and OK to place on government property. Following that line of reasoning, the Satanic Temple submitted a formal application for their monument.
As Trait Thompson of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission told CNN last December, “Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork.” The applications are then approved or rejected by the Commission. Unfortunately, the state has placed a halt on issuing permits for any other monuments until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Ritze’s Commandments monument is settled.
Now I’m all about freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion, when it comes to State entities. But, paradoxically I do support the notice that the Judeo-Christian ethic helped found this great nation. I’ve no problem with the Ten Commandments being posted proudly in the Supreme Court chamber, for example.
But, I don’t remember any Satanists (not to be confused with Wiccans or practitioners of Santaria) being involved in the crucible of the United States.
h/t Kent’s “Hooligan Libertarian” Blog, vice.com
(courtesy of Say Uncle…)
Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million? In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system. And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs? When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government. Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people. In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government.
Just check out the chart below. It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and it shows that 69 percent of all federal money is spent either on entitlements or on welfare programs…
So when people tell you that the main reason why we are being taxed into oblivion is so that we can “build roads” and provide “public services”, they are lying to you. The main reason why the government taxes you so much is so that they can take your money and give it to someone else.
(income redistribution – who knew? – Guffaw)
We have become a nation that is completely and totally addicted to government money. The following are 18 stats that prove that government dependence has reached epidemic levels…
Of course, this is what the
Fabian Socialist, Utopian, Communist, Socialist, Progressives have wanted all along. Collapse the system from within; a fundamental transformation if you will…
*the end of the world as we know it
For the past several months, the U.S. Department of Justice has been pressuring banks to refuse service to businesses the DOJ is targeting politically, such as gun stores, in a program entitled Operation Choke Point.
Under the program, the DOJ, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is attempting to shut down various legal businesses, including firearm dealers, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia and pornography distributors, by coercing financial institutions to close the bank and merchant accounts associated with these businesses.
The businesses targeted follow a 2011 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bulletin which lists all of the above legal activities and others as “merchant categories that have been associated with high-risk activity” involving “disreputable merchants.
This reminds me of when I first began working for TMCCC (in 1987). While we were investigating credit card fraud, if we found a merchant of a “questionable nature”, we were to contact the merchant division and see about having them shut down. Massage parlors, adult bookstores and bars with private dance rooms were common targets.
Suddenly, without warning, the prohibition against such businesses was quietly removed.
At least Mr. Holder is operating from a moral compass – one that points to Nazi Germany or La Cosa Nostra.
I suspect TMCCC decided free enterprise was a better agenda.
h/t Theo Spark, Info Wars
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to destroy more than $1 billion worth of ammunition although some of those bullets and missiles could still be used by troops, according to the Pentagon and congressional sources.
It’s impossible to know what portion of the arsenal slated for destruction — valued at $1.2 billion by the Pentagon — remains viable because the Defense Department’s inventory systems can’t share data effectively, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY.
The result: potential waste of unknown value. (USA Today)