Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might
be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)
Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:
Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you. The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:
As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.
What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service
How’s the security of these devices? You can’t know. What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy? You can’t know:
Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.
Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…
So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want. The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations. And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:
In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.
And so would NSA listen in? The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in. How much data do they have? Who knows?
It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.
It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler
cannot afford such things. My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys! Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli? They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating. If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
TUAK so informs us…
U.S. Airport Pat-Downs Are About to Get More Invasive
While few have noticed, U.S. airport security workers long had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs at the screening line. Now those options have been eliminated and replaced with a single universal approach. This time, you will notice.The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more “comprehensive” physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.
Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”
*It actually is.
Is there a NEED for more strict (illegal) searches? Have more people passed through with ‘inappropriate’ items? More terrorists or attacks tracked to air travel?
Has Amendment the Fourth been excised from the Bill of Rights?
For the many good things (translation – things of a semi-Constitutional nature) the current President is doing (in comparison to the last guy!), we must remember he is only a Law and Order guy, but he is NOT a libertarian!
He is willing to (attempt to) abolish the Departments of Education and Energy, but not the TSA and Homeland Security.
What does that tell you?
In my mind, more of the same brought to us by George W. Bush and continued (and expanded) by Barack Obama.
(As the President does hold a N.Y. State CCW permit, I think he should continue to push for universal, nation-wide reciprocity. Then abolish the TSA and let the passengers, ground crew and airline crew deal with the threat of terrorism! Fewer repeat offenders?)
A good friend (and former co-worker) has been posting on FB regarding the schism in American Politics.
Those who believe Rights are given to them by government, versus those who believe Rights are inherent, and only partially enumerated by government.
And the piling-on and discussion brought me back to the ubiquitous question – WHAT constitutes a Right?
There’s the Right to keep and bear arms
The Right to free speech, assembly and worship
Trial by jury
The Right NOT to self-incriminate.
The Right to legal representation
No search without a warrant (I know, pretty funny! Given the NSA, FBI, DHS, Border Patrol, DUI checkpoints, etc.)
But, then, folks pile on…
The ‘Right’ to Drive?
The ‘Right’ to Health Care
The ‘Right’ to ‘Free’ College
The ‘Right’ to a base income from government
The right to privacy
Ad infinitum, ad nauseaum…
Subscribing to a libertarian philosophy, I believe in self-ownership, and by extension, personal property. And the non-aggression principle. Neither persons (or corporate persons or governments) may deprive me of my self-ownership (life, liberty or property) without due process of law.
This includes my labor and the fruits of my labor (taxation is theft).
AND compelling me to support someone else involuntarily is also! (paying for anothers’ health care, college, income. Redistribution of wealth (socialism/Fabianism/communism) are methods by which this is achieved.
NOT compatible with our capitalistic constitutional Republic.
NOW, if I CHOOSE to help others voluntarily with the fruits of my labor, that’s a whole ‘nother thing! Then it becomes my choice.
What does this mean for the ‘right’ to drive? Well, if that person purchases fuel, which has road use taxes, I suppose.
What do you guys think?
Privacy mavens have been going on for some time regarding the complete lack of privacy on the Internet. Coupled with private industry and public intelligence, license plate readers and facial recognition software, the NSA listening to our cellular telephone calls and reading our email, and cameras everywhere, from about 2002, lets face it…
Now, another factor has entered the arena.
According to Motherboard, it’s a real threat.
A global conference of senior military and intelligence officials taking place in London this week reveals how governments increasingly view social media as “a new front in warfare” and a tool for the Armed Forces.
The overriding theme of the event is the need to exploit social media as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies; as well as a propaganda medium to influence public opinion.
. . .
The event, the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, is sponsored by the Thales Group, the tenth largest defense company in the world, which is partially owned by the French government.
Participants in the conference—chaired by Steven Mehringer, Head of Communication Services at NATO—will include military and intelligence leaders from around the world, especially “social media experts from across the armed forces and defense industry.”
. . .
“Social Media is increasingly important to the portrayal of armed forces, at home and abroad on operations; raising awareness of institutional issues; and gaining support through successful recruitment campaigns,” said conference Chairman, NATO’s Steven Mehringer, in an invitation brochure for the event.
The military’s goal of using social media to influence the beliefs of populations to win wars is alluded to in the description of other panels. A proposed panel titled ‘NATO’s Digital Outreach: Creating a Global Conversation’, describes NATO’s aim of “cultivating a global audience through social media to support The Alliance.”
Another panel discussion makes direct reference to the role of social media in covert US military ‘psychological warfare’ operations—i.e. propaganda—as well as the use of social media to support mass surveillance.
There’s more at the link.
At first I assumed that the conference was about nothing more or less than the usual propaganda exercises employed by all sides in any conflict. However, reading between the lines, it appears that they’re talking about more active – and more covert – interventions, such as ‘sock-puppeting‘ comments on or reactions to articles, blog posts, etc. that they don’t like. In other words, they wouldn’t act openly, or say that this is the view of a particular party; so one wouldn’t be able to exercise informed judgment on what they have to say.
I know some of the more totalitarian governments have been doing this for decades. (The so-called ‘Great Firewall of China‘ is a good example, and it’s now morphing into a ‘citizen score‘ for every person, upon which will depend their ability to get good jobs, get loans, or even eat well.) If Western nations are now starting to venture into the same territory, we’ll have to be on our guard.
To coin a phrase: Big Brother is not your friend.
(Originally, I was going to say The National Enquirer, but that periodical appears to have achieved more gravitas of late than The New York Times and Time magazine, combined!) 🙂
Let’s see. In the past week…
- Hillary WILL DEFINITELY be indicted
- Hillary WILL DEFINITELY NOT be indicted
- Global Warming is real (as determined by bribed/blackmailed scientists)
- Oklahoma Fracking is causing the increased earthquake activity there (as determined by the same ‘team’ of scientists)
- Assange states Wikileaks will release astounding information damning to Hillary in the next couple of days. – from Saturday last (We’re still waiting, Julian!)
- GMO foods are killing us.
- Vaccinating is bad
- Vaccinating is good.
- More BEE species are facing extinction (due to Monsanto pesticide and GMO development)
- Big corporations (like Monsanto) are bad. Just because they are big, and make money.
- Hillary will win (because the fix is in, ballot box stuffing, voter fraud, Soros, Illuminati, etc.)
- Hillary will win (based on some Quija board predictions in the past – see Groundhog Day)
- Trump will win (see above Hillary win stuff for reasons)
One thing I have noticed. Many of the same scientists are aligned with the same forces who believe in global warming, are anti-GMO and ANTI-vaxxer types, and have the ‘humans are bad for the Earth’ (and obtaining oil is bad, and think we need a global government to solve everything) way of thinking.
IF YOU HAVE NOT VOTED, PLEASE DO SO. IF NOT, YOU WILL HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.
Thank GOD today is Election Day, and it will all be over soon!
One way or another…
God save The United States of America, from herself!
…but, they sure as Hell will!
(from my friend Kevin @ The Smallest Minority)
I WILL NOT Register
I discovered in 2003
that the state of New Jersey had outlawed the original Marlin Model 60 .22 caliber rifle as an “assault weapon” because its tubular magazine held “more than 10 rounds.” Now New York City has done something similar, but it’s magazine capacity limit is five
. And they’re serious about it:
The only effective
use of a firearm registry is to make it easier to take guns away from the law abiding.I will not register. After the first felony, the rest are free.
Thank the gods I live in the (relatively) Free State of Arizona, wherein there is no registration, both CCW licensing and Constitutional Carry, and (still) open carry. And with my five-year CCW permit, no background check for me, if I choose to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer.
(of course, being on disability means my income precludes any firearm purchase! 😦 )
Funny how we share a border with The People’s Democratic Republic of California, and none of their ridiculous restrictions on civil liberties have bled over.
Not that Bloomberg & Co. don’t keep trying.
Peter (of Bayou Renaissance Man) posted a concise analysis of the the hows and whys of where this election could possibly go.
And, it’s NOT a positive post!
At least for those of us who believe in this Constitutional Republic and Individual Liberty.
His last paragraph:
I remain convinced that if Clinton wins, this Republic cannot survive in its present form. She and her urban elite supporters have already all but trashed our Constitution, blatantly selling themselves and their public offices to the highest bidder. If they win again, they’ll trample underfoot what remains of our nation. We’ll be swamped by illegal aliens, many of whom will vote (illegally or not) for the party that promises them the biggest handouts. If our Republic and Constitution are to be preserved, I fear this election may be the final opportunity to do so via the ballot box.
You should really go and read the whole post.
And it’s precursor.
I’ve posted before regarding how this Republic is unique in history, and how even the Romans probably thought they would continue forever. I think most folks don’t read history or blogs. They are too busy trying to eke out an existence, living paycheck to paycheck, hoping the Government won’t continue to tax them into oblivion, or continue to erode their God-given rights to dust.
If they even consider such things.
They feel they are tiny cogs in the uber-machine, and have no control over the inevitable outcome.
And that The American Experiment will not continue forever.
Peter says: “If our Republic and Constitution are to be preserved, I fear this election may be the final opportunity to do so via the ballot box.”
What could happen after that is too painful to consider.
Please VOTE, as if your Life and The Republic depends on it!
I fear it does…
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is one of those federal agencies that tends to inspire intense reactions among the traveling public. It’s a bureaucracy that interacts with millions of passengers each day, requiring their shoes, jackets, laptops—and time.
Virtually all this occurs at airports, with about 80 percent of the agency’s $7.4 billion budget spent on aviation security. Only 2 percent of the TSA’s funding goes to surface transportation, according to a report by the Office of Inspector General earlier this month. Congress is looking to change that.
Several U.S. senators want the TSA to focus more attention and resources on rail, highway, and marine transportation, which would mean greater security oversight at such places as Amtrak stations and Megabus coach stops. A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency’s terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation also would increase the TSA’s canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation.
But, but…terrorism! They’re protecting us!
Because there are so many attempts to take buses and trains to Cuba! And there have been so many domestic attacks on boats, buses and trains.
WHAT? There haven’t?
I remember a time when there were few restrictions in public transportation regarding explosives and firearms, and very little occurred. People could purchase firearms through the mail! And the citizenry was not searched wholesale without benefit of a warrant or active crime. And they could travel relatively unmolested.
Government has used the excuse of airline hijackings and drunk drivers in the 70’s for ‘checkpoints’, and ‘no-knock’ warrants for ‘the drug war’, and now in this century, terrorist attacks on people, planes, buildings and infrastructure to create the PATRIOT Act and NDAA to further erode our civil rights. Rampant surveillance, secret prisons, secret courts and suspension of Constitutional Rights are the order of the day.
Emphasis on ORDER.
The TSA has stopped exactly HOW MANY attacks, now?
That’s right. ZERO, ZIP, BUPKIS.
And how many rights have we given up?
And now, the government is trying to steal more!
© Office of the Inspector General
Senator Wyden Puts A Hold On Intelligence Authorization Bill To Block FBI Warrantless Surveillance
from the there-goes-that-wyden-guy-again dept
As we’ve discussed, some surveillance/law enforcement hawks have tried to rush through a law to expand the power of national security letters (NSLs) to paper over the long standing abuse of NSLs, by saying that they can use those documents (which have basically no oversight and don’t require a warrant) to collect a ton of private info, including email info and web browsing histories. The rushed vote on this — stupidly citing the Orlando attacks, despite the fact it would have done nothing to stop that — failed but just barely. Basically, if Senator Dianne Feinstein were able to attend the vote, it likely would have passed. The support for it was one vote shy, and then Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote for procedural reasons to be able to bring it back for a quick follow up vote.
Now, as Congress rushes towards that vote, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up today to use his power as a Senator to put a hold on the entire Intelligence Authorization bill. He gave a short floor speech explaining his reasons.
I certainly appreciate the FBI’s interest in obtaining records about potential suspects quickly. But Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are very capable of reviewing and approving requests for court orders in a timely fashion. And section 102 of the recently-passed USA FREEDOM Act gives the FBI new authority to obtain records immediately in emergency situations, and then seek court review after the fact. I strongly supported the passage of that provision, which I first proposed in 2013. By contrast, I do not believe it is appropriate to give the government broad new surveillance authorities just because FBI officials do not like doing paperwork. If the FBI’s own process for requesting court orders is too slow, then the appropriate solution is bureaucratic reforms, not a major expansion of government surveillance authorities.
The fact of the matter is that ‘electronic communication transaction records’ can reveal a great deal of personal information about individual Americans. If government officials know that an individual routinely emails a mental health professional, or sends texts to a substance abuse support group, or visits a particular dating website, or the website of a particular political group, then the government knows a lot about that individual. Our Founding Fathers rightly argued that such intrusive searches should be approved by independent judges.
It is worth noting that President George W. Bush’s administration reached the same conclusion. In November 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised the FBI that National Security Letters could only be used to obtain certain types of records, and this list did not include electronic communication transaction records. The FBI has unfortunately not adhered to this guidance, and has at times continued to issue National Security Letters for electronic communications records. A number of companies that have received these overly broad National Security Letters have rightly challenged them as improper. Broadening the National Security Letter law to include electronic communication transaction records would be a significant expansion of the FBI’s statutory authority.
And unfortunately, the FBI’s track record with its existing National Security Letter authorities includes a substantial amount of abuse and misuse. These problems have been extensively documented in reports by the Justice Department Inspector General from 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014. As one of these reports noted, “the FBI [has] used NSLs in violation of applicable statutes, Attorney General guidelines, and internal FBI policies.” No one in the Senate should be surprised by this pattern of abuse and misuse, because this is unfortunately what happens when federal agencies are given broad surveillance powers with no judicial oversight. In my judgment, it would be reckless to expand this particular surveillance authority when the FBI has so frequently failed to use its existing authorities responsibly.
Of course, to some extent, this is little more than show. It’s pretty clear that McConnell has the votes to get this passed, which is why Wyden has now taken the dramatic step of putting a hold on the bill. But the 60 votes here are usually what is necessary to break a hold (which remains a widely used, but informal, Senate rule). So in the end this won’t mean much, but we’ve been here before again and again and again. And by now it should be clear: When Ron Wyden says that the government is abusing laws to spy on Americans, he’s not lying. We shouldn’t then paper over that abuse and give the FBI or the NSA or anyone else greater powers to spy on Americans. Because they use that power and they don’t tend to use it wisely and judiciously.
Can anyone explain, seriously, why the emergency powers that allow the FBI to do the search in an emergency and then get the warrant after are somehow too problematic? Or why the FBI can’t go and get a warrant at all? It’s a petty quick process for them these days. This whole effort seems designed solely to wipe out what little oversight there is of the FBI and its use of national security letters. (Techdirt.com)
AND, how much coverage of this was out there in the “press” (again, in air quotes)?
More importantly, why doesn’t the American Public care?
I’m speaking of this Republic.
With Rome, it was either when the Ottoman Turks took Byzantium (Constantinople) 1453 AD or when a barbarian deposed the last western Roman emperor 476 AD (ancient history About.com)
My Western Civilization professor said it began with (and I’m quoting here) “Moral decadence and pleasures of the flesh!” (to the cheers of the 400 or so horny underclassmen)
What is/was the beginning of the end of this Constitutional Republic we know as The United States?
The Whiskey Rebellion? (1791)
The Civil War? (1861)
Federal income tax (1913)
Direct election of Senators? (1913)
Establishment of the Federal Reserve? (1913)
The National Firearms Act (1934)
Or is it an amalgamation of these and many other things, eating away at our Constitutional substance, punctuated by further federal government oversteps such as Ruby Ridge and Waco? No-knock warrants, followed by airport searches and sobriety checkpoints. Massive surveillance of our electronic communications. Prohibitions of Speech seen as ‘politically-incorrect’. The killing of Blacks by police – whether or not legitimate actions – spun by self-serving propagandists into an ersatz race war?
Now followed by widespread racial civil unrest, punctuated by acts of terrorism against civil authority.
I’m certain all ‘civilizations’, be they primitive neolithic cultures like the American Indian when the White man first laid eyes on him, or the Romans, or the Christian Turks all thought they would endure forever.
And so have most of we Americans.
I guess the true question isn’t what was the tipping point.
It’s what do we do NOW?
from a miniseries The Dark Ages