1034: Privilege Walk

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 2m
May 17th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Sir KMack of PA, Sir ATTACK KNIGHT: The Night Attack Knight who Might Attach Night Attack!, Grand Duke Sir Thomas Nussbaum

Associate Executive Producers: Sir 1034, Anonymous, Zachary Stanko

Cover Artist: Cesium137


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Adam -
My sister was taking notes in Microsoft Word while at work
this week. She noticed the red underline indicating a misspelled word -
different from the green underline for grammar mistakes. When she right-clicked
the word ?maternity? to correct the spelling, MS Word suggested that she use a
more ?gender-neutral? word. SMH
NAACP President Claims He Was Profiled On Stop, Then Chief Releases Video - Blue Lives Matter
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:07
Timmonsville, SC - The South Carolina NAACP president posted about how he was racially profiled on a traffic stop, and now the police chief has responded by releasing bodycam video and calling him a liar (video below.)
NAACP President Rev. Jerrod Moultrie posted to Facebook on April 13 about how he was just racially profiled on a traffic stop.
The allegations in his account are disturbing, and would indicate profiling by the officer - except none of it was true.
Below is a transcript of the interaction as posted by Rev. Moultrie:
Me: hello sir how can I help you
Officer: I am stopping you cause you fail to put on a turn signal and do you have any drugs in the car
Me: sir how would you know If I used my tum signal when you was approaching me as I turn and is there any drugs in your car?
Officer: License and registration
Me:sir can I take off my seat belt and get it
Me: (as i open glove box i said )sir this is a new car i just purchased and all ! have is bill of sale, insurance card and registration from car I am transferring tags
Officer: ok where you work and who car is this and why you in this neighborhood
Me: sir I am a pastor and I live in the house on the left
Officer:And I guess I am the bill gates
Me: sir what's the problem
Officer: I ask who car for the last time and why you in this neighborhood
Me: I told you for last time who car and where I live.( as my neighborhood starts to come out there house) By the way sir can I speak to your supervisor
Officer: walks away with my information When he returned he said did you know your tags comes back to another vehicle
Me: sir I just explain this to you
Officer: you need to park this vehicle and never drive it till you get this straight with DMV
Me: sir I have purchased multiple vehicles and never heard this now officer and I start fussing cause I said well i will be driving my car sir and anyt time I want
Officer: I am waming you to not drive this car till tags get straight and just know I am doing you a favor tonight not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket
Me: sir you might be doing your Self a favor but you certainly not doing me a favor.
The reverend finished off his post by saying that his wife and baby were in the back seat, but still he was profiled and accused of having drugs.
"Guess I can't be a pastor and can't drive a Mercedes Benz and live in a nice neighborhood," Rev. Moultrie said. "...someone needs to answer for this behavior and this officer will."
After seeing the post, local community activist Timothy Waters went down to the police department to look at the bodycam and dash camera footage, according to WPDE.
He was shocked to see that everything the reverend said was a lie.
"Once I got a copy of that body cam, it's as if he made the whole story up. And I felt like he set us back 100 years, because think about all of the racial profiling cases (that) are true," Waters told WPDE.
WPDE reports that Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown said that Rev. Moultrie even went so far as to contact him the next morning to claim that he had been racially profiled and mistreated.
"He made a comment that the officer accused him of having drugs in the car. He said that his wife and grandchild was in the car. He asked them not to move because the officer looked as if he might shoot them or something. He also made mention that the officer continued to ask him about his neighborhood. Why was he in that neighborhood? And threaten(ed) to put him in jail in reference to something dealing with the registration to the vehicle," Chief Brown told WPDE. Except all of those accusations were lies.
"When I saw the video, I was shocked that someone who is supposed to be a community leader, a pastor, and head of the NAACP would just come out and tell a blatant lie. It bothered me. It really bothered me, thinking about the racial unrest it could've cost in the community and it's just troubling to me that someone who held a position like that would come out and just tell a lie," Brown told WPDE.
Rev. Moultrie refused to comment to the news station, and instead referred them to Timmonsville NAACP officers Kenneth McAllister and Henry James Dixon.
Both men told the station that they didn't need to see the video because they support Rev. Moultrie, and know that he's a man of integrity who wouldn't lie.
You can see the video of the traffic stop below:
Nieuwe juridische stappen tegen cowboys- en indianenfeest | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 17 May 2018 14:03
14 mei 2018 in BINNENLAND
UTRECHT - Actiegroep De Grauwe Eeuw heeft maandagmiddag aangekondigd verdere juridische stappen te nemen tegen TivoliVredenburg. In de concertzaal werd in juni vorig jaar een cowboys- en indianenfeest voor kinderen gehouden.
Vorige week oordeelde het OM dat het feest niet strafbaar was.
De actiegroep start daarom nu een zogeheten artikel 12-procedure om alsnog om vervolging te vragen. Hiernaast stelt de actiegroep de gemeente Utrecht in gebreke omdat deze 'niet binnen de wettelijke termijn handhavend heeft opgetreden'. De actiegroep had de gemeente gesommeerd de subsidie van TivoliVredenburg in te trekken.
Mochten de nieuwe acties niets opleveren, dan gaat De Grauwe Eeuw door met procederen. 'žWij gaan alle procedures volgen tot aan het Europees hof.''
VolkerenmoordKinderen die het feest bezochten hadden het verzoek gekregen zich te verkleden als cowboy of indiaan. Dat ging volgens de actiegroep om racistische stereotyperingen, maar het OM was het daar niet mee eens. Evenmin is volgens het OM te bewijzen dat het de bedoeling was om een groep te beledigen of volkerenmoord als iets 'leuks' neer te zetten. 'žAls kinderen zich verkleden dan is dit een spel en houdt dat geen goedkeuring van geweld tegen enige groep in.''
TivoliVredenburg heeft inmiddels besloten geen cowboys- en indianenfeesten meer te geven.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Uitschrijven kan met 1 klik
Lees meer over14 mei 2018 in BINNENLAND
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Uitschrijven kan met 1 klik
Spike Lee Slams 'Motherf'--er' Trump for Charlottesville Response '' Variety
Tue, 15 May 2018 23:52
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville.
Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday night, the director said the film was on the ''right side of history'' while denouncing the president for not taking a firm stance in the wake of violence that erupted following a white nationalist rally, leaving three people dead.
''That motherf'--er was given a chance to say we are bout love, and not hate, and that motherf'--er did not denounce the motherf'--ing Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazi motherf'--ers,'' he said.
''It was a defining moment, and he could've said to the world'...that we were better than that.''
''BlacKkKlansman'' is based on the incredible true story of black police detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.
Describing it as a ''major comeback'' for Lee, Variety called the film ''as much a compelling black empowerment story as it is an electrifying commentary on the problems of African-American representation across more than a century of cinema.''
Though set in the '70s, Lee said it was ''our job as filmmakers and storytellers'...to connect this period piece to the present day.'' He framed the film in the context of the bloody history of a country he said ''was built upon the genocide of native people, and slavery,'' calling it ''the fabric of the United States of America.''
He added, ''What's happening did not just pop up out of thin air.''
Lee recalled watching the Charlottesville violence unfold on CNN while in Martha's Vineyard, and recognizing ''right away'' that the footage ''had to be my'...coda for the film.''
The director got permission from the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a man drove a Dodge Charger into a crowd of protesters, to use footage of her death in the movie. ''I was not gonna put that murder scene in the film without her blessing,'' he said.
Focus will be releasing ''BlacKkKlansman'' in the U.S. on the one-year anniversary of the riots, which Lee described as an ''ugly, ugly, ugly blemish on the United States of America.''
Calling the film a ''wake-up call,'' he repeatedly returned to the moral failings of President Trump, while adding that the rise in right-wing hate speech and violence had become a global scourge. ''We look to our leaders to give us direction, to make moral decisions, and I like to say this is not just something that pertains to the United States of America, this bulls''t is going all over the world,'' he said.
''We have to wake up,'' Lee added. ''And we can't be silent.''
''BlacKkKlansman'' is peppered with digs at the current president '' one KKK member talks about embracing an ''America first'' policy '' while drawing parallels between the rise of Trump and the political aspirations of former Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace). After the premiere, the film received a six-minute standing ovation.
Lee walked the red carpet Monday evening wearing the iconic ''love'' and ''hate'' brass knuckles from ''Do the Right Thing.'' Speaking on Tuesday, he said that while he couldn't predict the outcome of this year's mid-term elections '' ''even though my friends call me Negrodamus'' '' he still remained hopeful about the future.
''I believe in hope, but I'm not blind or deaf,'' he said. ''I think that you could be hopeful but still be aware of what's happening. Too many people walking around in a daze.''
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he'd shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year's deadly riots in Charlottesville. Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of ''BlacKkKlansman,'' which world premiered in Cannes on Monday ['...]
EXCLUSIVE: Cheesecake Factory Employees Attack Black Man For Wearing MAGA Hat, Witnesses Say | Daily Wire
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:48
On Mother's Day, employees at a Cheesecake Factory in Miami, Florida, verbally attacked and made threatening gestures toward a black man who dined with his girlfriend's family simply because he was wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, according to multiple witnesses interviewed by The Daily Wire.
The Sunday incident allegedly began at the Cheesecake Factory located inside Dadeland Mall when 22-year-old Eugenior Joseph was seated while wearing his MAGA hat.
According to multiple witnesses and Joseph's own account, a woman who worked at the restaurant walked up to him and started pointing at his hat, signaling for the other employees to come over.
"Her finger was literally on top of his head, we were all looking at her like 'what is happening?'" one witness told The Daily Wire. "She was pointing at him, calling her other coworkers, telling them to look at this guy wearing a Make America Great Again hat."
At that point, approximately a dozen or so employees approached the table and began making comments about the hat, with some saying they wanted to punch Joseph in the face. Witnesses also allege that some of the employees also referred to him as a "n**ger" in their conversations among each other.
"So then all the employees started standing there, saying things out loud, like, 'I'm going to knock his head in so hard his hat's going to come off," the witness continued.
One of the employees gave Joseph intimidating looks, clenching his fists and making hand gestures that appeared to indicate that he was ready to engage in a fistfight.
"He got behind me and another coworker came by and they were staring at each other and he fist bumped him and then he started looking at me, balling his fists, smacking his fists, trying to scare me," Joseph told The Daily Wire.
Another witness told The Daily Wire that the group of employees looked like a lynch mob and they couldn't stand to see a black man wearing a hat that showed support for the president.
Employees at the restaurant continued to mock and intimidate Joseph after he got up to use the restroom.
"I got up and went to the restroom, my girlfriend followed me, and as we were walking back, a group of [the employees] came out from the back and they just started clapping and yelling, and just screaming things at me," Joseph says.
Another witness verified the claims, saying that the employees in the kitchen were booing Joseph loudly as he walked by.
One of the witnesses said that the event was so traumatic and threatening that an elderly woman who was present had to take medication to calm herself down.
Multiple witnesses said that as the family exited the restaurant the manager followed them out and told them that some of the employees admitted to their actions and that one of the employees had been sent home.
As the family left the restaurant they ran into police that had been called to the scene who documented the incident in the police report but supposedly did not file any charges, according to multiple witnesses.
The Daily Wire contacted the Cheesecake Factory where the alleged incident took place and spoke to a manager who refused to answer any questions and instead recorded this reporter's contact information and had a public relations firm representing the Cheesecake Factory reach out to this reporter. When this reporter brought up the incident and asked whether or not he could confirm that it took place in the restaurant, the manager's tone became slightly hostile as he reiterated: "I'm going to have someone get in touch with you."
The Daily Wire viewed multiple video clips and photos that validate the claims made by the witnesses about the number of employees appearing to stand around the table. One of the photos showed one of the men described by the witnesses as being the one who made the threatening hand gestures, making the fist bump with another employee, which was described by at least three witnesses.
Another video reviewed by The Daily Wire showed a young girl crying at the table, afraid of the hostile environment created by The Cheesecake Factory employees.
Another video showed the family leaving the restaurant and speaking to multiple law enforcement officials who arrived on scene. The video shows Joseph in a state of disbelief over what had just unfolded as other witnesses were visibly angry over the way he had been treated.
Joseph says that he has not heard from anyone at The Cheesecake Factory about what he experienced inside their restaurant.
Despite being new to politics, Joseph says that he wears the hat because he thinks Trump "is a really good president," adding that he is disappointed that a black man can't wear a hat to support the president without being attacked.
UPDATE: The Cheesecake Factory has responded to the allegations in this report in a statement that can be viewed here.
Antifa Activists: California Anti-Fascist May Go on Trial - Rolling Stone
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:24
Eric Clanton took to the streets with anti-fascists during a season of violence in Berkeley '' and may spend the next decade in prison
Eric Clanton took to the streets with anti-fascists during a season of violence in Berkeley '' and may spend the next decade in prison
Shortly after Donald Trump took office, the college town of Berkeley, California, found itself at war. Three violent protests broke out in the city within three months of Trump's inauguration. In early February, a riot erupted at its famously liberal university as masked anti-fascists from the movement known as antifa attacked the student union center and stopped the alt-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos from delivering a speech. Four weeks later, a second group of anti-fascists descended on a local public park, coming to blows with a raucous gathering of the president's supporters. It seemed at the time that Berkeley had again become what it hadn't been in more than 50 years '' a battlefield for radicals. But the third event, Patriots' Day, a "free-speech" rally planned for April 15th by a broad array of far-right groups, was poised to be the biggest battle yet.
Protesters from both sides showed up early that day, slowly filling Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, a landmarked greensward in the middle of the city. The police had cut the park in half with a barrier of orange plastic mesh; the left-wing demonstrators made their way to one side, the right-wing to the other. Kept at bay by riot cops, most of the participants were passionate but peaceful. A throng of Berkeley liberals, carrying signs and banners, squared off with a band of their MAGA-hatted rivals, many of whom were shouting "USA! USA!" and waving American flags. While the hostile camps initially did little more than heckle one another, as the day went on and the crowd grew into the hundreds, the threat of partisan bloodshed started rising.
Early in the fray, a group of antifa combatants, clad in ninja black, had ducked into no-man's-land and pepper-sprayed an alt-right partisan in a Roman-era gladiator helmet. That set off a series of aggressive scrapes between the anti-fascists and some members of the Rise Above Movement, a group of white supremacists who had shown up wearing skull masks. For the next few hours, as marchers waved signs, the militants in the crowd scuffled at its edges in probing skirmishes. But at 3 p.m., there was an explosion deep in right-wing territory '' some would later say it was an antifa M-80 '' and the skirmishes erupted into a brawl. The men from Rise Above charged across the antifa frontline: People were body-slammed, punched in the face, kicked in the gut. Tear gas filled the air and the park became a swirling sea of fists and sticks and pipes. As a helicopter shuddered overhead, the park's perimeter gave way and the conflagration spilled into the streets. Unable to contain the melee, the police withdrew and a three-by-four-block section of the city was consumed by open war.
Amid the chaos was a brief, but brutal, scene of violence. Out on the street, a young anti-fascist dressed in a hoodie, his face obscured by a bandanna, swung what seemed to be a large metal bike lock squarely onto the skull of an unwitting alt-right demonstrator. The victim was a 20-year-old college student, Sean Stiles, who had made the trip to Berkeley from his home in Santa Cruz. Though Stiles had been consorting with the men from Rise Above, the bike-lock attack was unprovoked. Stiles had been arguing with two young leftist women about illegal immigration; when he was hit, he simply put his hands on his head, which started gushing blood, and stumbled off as his assailant disappeared. (Reached by Rolling Stone, Stiles had no comment on the attack.) According to the Berkeley police, Stiles was one of 11 people injured at the rally. There had also been 20 arrests '' but the man with the lock was not among them.
The bike-lock attack seemed at first like a footnote to the city's season-long experience with violence. In the days that followed, the media focused on the broad themes of the protest '' "a little American civil war," as the Daily Beast called it '' but appeared less interested in the details of the fighting. Many reporters were also unaware that even after Civic Center Park returned to normal, a clandestine battle triggered by the conflict had continued online. Driving that campaign was /pol/, the politically incorrect chat board on 4chan.
"A lot of anti-fascists don't expect much from the mainstream," says an antifa member. "The mainstream could have stopped what's happening '' and it didn't." As soon as the protest ended, the trolls and hackers who used the site launched a fevered search for Stiles' assailant '' a suspect they took to calling "Bike Lock Guy." From the moment it was formed in 2011, /pol/ had been a breeding ground for some of the right's most virulent movements, an online swamp for everyone from Gamergaters and men's rights activists to overt racists and white supremacists. Now its digital sleuths were poring over videos for clues about Bike Lock Guy, eagerly swapping tips with one another. "Look into the OakRoots anarchist group in Oakland," one wrote of a lead that turned out to be false. "You will find him."
By April 17th, two days after the battle in the park, the 4channers had compiled a list of "Bike Lock Guy Identifiables." The man they were looking for was five-feet-six or so, slimly built and had worn a hoodie, dark jeans, black gloves, a black backpack and knockoff-Rayban sunglasses. When one /pol/ user theorized that "given his footwork," the suspect might belong to a martial arts or boxing gym, another posted a list of local facilities. When the hackers ran the evidence they had '' partial photographs of Bike Lock Guy's unmasked eyebrows and "nasolabial" angle '' through an image search, it came back with a hit: a 28-year-old Bay Area college professor named Eric Clanton.
Clanton was a perfect target for /pol/. He was not just a professor, but an ethics professor who taught philosophy and critical thinking at Diablo Valley College in the East Bay suburb of Pleasant Hill. In a detail that provoked the chat board's sardonic ire, his work encompassed "restorative justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective." Once /pol/ had found Clanton's name, its hackers found his OkCupid account, discovering that he had described himself to suitors as a "gender-nonconforming" sapiosexual interested in "helping to precipitate the end of civil society." They also published the home phone numbers and addresses of some of his closest relatives. "Poor little terrorist snowflake," one 4channer wrote, "about to get melted."
But /pol/ was not content to sit on its scoop. On April 20th, Milo Yiannopoulos broke a bombshell story on his website. Topped by photographs of Clanton, the site announced that the Internet had identified "the antifa rioter who weaponized a giant bike lock." One day after the story ran, the Berkeley Police Department got an email from the Alameda County sheriff's office; it had been sent to the sheriff's anonymous public tip line. "Recently," the email read, "there has been an individual assaulting people with a U-Lock at various rallies and events in California. After intensive investigation a group of concerned citizens has identified the suspect as Eric Clanton."
Attached to the email were a half-dozen video clips of right-wing marchers on Patriots' Day being clubbed with a lock by a young man in a hoodie, black pants, black gloves and a black backpack. Though the Berkeley police had no idea who had sent the trove of evidence, they seemed to take it seriously. Within two days, detectives had obtained a photograph of Clanton from the state DMV. According to investigative documents, the photo showed that Clanton's nose, jaw, hairline and facial hair were at least similar to those of the bike-lock attacker.
The police began surveillance on Clanton's house in San Leandro, a few miles south of Oakland. They also started tracking his cellphone, and determined from a mapping program that he'd connected twice to a cellular tower two blocks north of Civic Center Park on the day of the attacks. On May 24th, the cops used Clanton's phone to locate him at a large communal house in Oakland. A strike team broke into the house and found Clanton standing in the middle of an upstairs bedroom. When they searched the room, they found a canister of bear spray, two flip knives, metal knuckles, Rayban sunglasses and a Tupperware of psilocybin mushrooms. They also discovered a Billy club stashed inside Clanton's car.
By 3 p.m., Clanton was in custody at Berkeley police headquarters. Two detectives sat him down in an interview room. After they Mirandized the suspect, the first detective asked a question: "Why?"
There was no response. So the second took a shot: "Why," he said, "did Mr. Clanton do what he did?"
The roots of antifa arguably stretch back decades, to the communist street gangs in Europe that battled fascists when they first emerged in the 1920s and '30s. Almost a century later, the movement is again making headlines. Since Trump first stepped into the presidential race, antifa's frontline fighters have been engaged in near-constant conflict. They have sparred with skinheads in California, punched a neo-Nazi at Trump's inauguration, shut down speeches by xenophobic ideologues and fought against the preservation of Confederate-era statues. Almost from the start, the right has demonized antifa followers as cartoon villains. The left, meanwhile, has split over the movement and its use of violent tactics. As white supremacists and proto-fascists have re-emerged across the culture, many progressives have embraced antifa's cause, though others remain wary of its eye-for-an-eye approach, concerned that it could merely serve to inflame right-wing extremism. After the violence in Charlottesville last summer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said antifa's militants should be prosecuted; others, like the scholar Cornel West, praised them as heroes.
When I flew to California to speak with Clanton three months after his arrest, he told me he had granted the interview only because he'd already been outed by the criminal-justice system. Even as antifa has attracted more attention under Trump, it remains a source of mystery to many, cloaked in a shroud of secrecy its followers seem eager to sustain. Unlike the far right, which despises but often engages with the press, antifa activists tend to shun reporters. For security reasons, they avoid revealing their identities, mask themselves during illicit operations and typically communicate through encrypted chat apps like Signal. "A lot of anti-fascists don't expect much from the mainstream of society," says Daryle Jenkins, a self-described member of the movement who has been involved in protests for nearly 30 years. "The reason is, the mainstream could have stopped a lot of what's happening before it took root '' and it didn't."
I met Clanton in a conference room at his lawyer's office in Oakland. Though he had been charged with felony assault, there was no outward sign of the violence that the bike-lock attacker had evinced on video. A slim young man with watchful eyes and wavy blond surfer's hair, Clanton seemed instead like a distracted academic. In his blue jeans and preppy sweater, he was pensive, full of halting pauses and obviously frightened by the possible 11-year sentence he was facing. (Clanton is scheduled to be in court next month for a hearing that could decide whether he pleads guilty to a lesser charge or goes to trial.)
He immediately told me there were things he wouldn't talk about: antifa's tactics, its hangouts in the Bay, any specific groups or individuals. He was also adamant that he not be represented as a spokesman for a movement that has none. Antifa is not a cohesive group with a top-down leadership. It is structured horizontally, with autonomous local cells that act independently in cities across the country. While there is often cooperation among its chapters, there is no central antifa authority. "To me, it's like an expansive circle of friend groups," Clanton says, adding that the movement is composed of "friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends."
A 1929 anti-fascist protest in New York City. "Fascism is re-emerging, and there are structural reasons for it," says a political scientist who counts himself as an adherent of antifa. "So it's no accident that we also see the re-emergence of those willing to fight fascism." GettyIn the United States, the movement's origins can be traced back to the 1970s and '80s, when neo-Nazi skinheads started making inroads on the punk scene. In response, leftist punks formed a loose resistance known as Anti-Racist Action, which shut down their rivals' gatherings and music shows, using the slogan "Never let the Nazis have the streets." The current antifa movement has borrowed tactics from the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s, in which "black blocs" of fighters wearing balaclavas marched against international finance groups like the W.T.O. Antifa's egalitarianism and consensus-based governance largely derive from the Occupy phenomenon. More recently, in an effort to fight institutional racism, a kind of proto-antifa joined forces with Black Lives Matter in its serial protests against police brutality.
All of these strands '' anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarianism '' have come together in the struggle against Trump. Drawn from a diverse array of backgrounds '' labor unions, anarchist clubs, communist and socialist political parties '' the groups of radical leftists that have aligned themselves with antifa's ideals have come to the conclusion that the president, and the extremists who have flocked to him, present the closest thing to a fascist threat the country has seen in decades. "I hate to mention the actual historic Nazis, because of America's unique relationship to white supremacy, but I'm going to," Clanton says. "It took a decade or so for the sort of social and political situation in Germany to normalize anti-Semitism such that it was viable for things to happen the way they did. And I think that the alt-right building power in the streets is the sort of beginning of the same sort of normalization."
I heard the same from every follower of antifa I spoke to: In an echo of 1933, a virulent strain of nativism is ascending in the West as political leaders, from Warsaw to Washington, have sought to reorient state power toward white populations and blame the failures of the economic system on refugees and immigrants. "Fascism is re-emerging, and there are structural reasons for it," says George Ciccariello-Maher, a political scientist at the Hemispheric Institute in New York who counts himself as both a scholar and an adherent of antifa. "So it's no accident that we also see the re-emergence of those willing to fight fascism."
Beyond street-fighting, antifa members also write expos(C)s on the methods and movements of far-right leaders; host anti-fascist conferences and workshops; and tout ideals about fostering sustainable, peaceful communities '' tending neighborhood gardens and setting up booths at book fairs and film festivals with literature on everything from Native American sovereignty to Sacco and Vanzetti. But their chief means of beating back the neo-fascist threat is "direct action," the tactical term for using force to deny extremists a platform from which to spread their rhetoric. "You can't reason with fascism '' it's irrational," Ciccariello-Maher says. "You can't argue your way around it. You just have to stop it."
People come to antifa through different channels. Clanton's channel was academics. Raised in a stable family in Bakersfield, one of California's most conservative cities, he studied at Bakersfield Christian, an evangelical high school. He says he felt like an oddball there and struggled to find a voice for his out-of-step beliefs, which he described as an "embryonic anti-state communism." Even when he went to college '' at Cal State Bakersfield '' few of his fellow students were interested in his budding notions about capital and race. He remembers feeling a sense of isolation as he watched a live-stream of the cops in New York City raiding Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street. It was only when he left for grad school in 2013, heading off to San Francisco State, that he finally found a language for his politics. He started reading anarchist zines and theorists like Errico Malatesta in between attending seminars on the prison system.
Far more alluring than his classwork, though, was the Bay Area's robust community of activists and organizers. Clanton started spending time in Oakland, the nation's "riot capital," where queer folk, militants of color, Marxist academics and tech-bro-hating anarchists were protesting Google buses and mass incarceration. "I felt like my politics had a home," Clanton says. "I wasn't alone in what I thought about the world."
Oakland's radicals were particularly focused on police brutality, and Clanton's first taste of violent protest came that summer after George Zimmerman was acquitted in Florida of killing Trayvon Martin. Clanton tagged along '' merely watching, he insists '' as a swarming crowd took to Oakland's streets, smashing windows, blocking freeways and occasionally fighting the police.
Within a year, he had reached a deeper level of engagement. In November 2014, a grand jury declined to indict the cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and this time Clanton joined the angry mob that flooded downtown Oakland, with some in the crowd rioting and looting for nearly two weeks. Soon after, Clanton took part in another massive protest when Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner in New York, escaped prosecution. Running with a throng that shut down trains and freeways, Clanton was arrested for the first time in his life, charged with public nuisance and willful obstruction of movement in a public place.
Marching against the police directed Clanton's energies against white supremacy and what he described as "the structural violence of the state" '' and set him on a path toward antifa. The protests also proved that, with sufficient motivation, radicals could oppose even the most entrenched forms of authority. "Before I saw those things happen," Clanton says, "I had this very docile academic sense of what I believed to be wrong with the world and no real sense of power to do something about it." But after, he adds, he realized that he had been part of "a force of people that were going to hold the street and that weren't going to back down easily. It was, I think, the first time that I believed that people had a power sufficient to challenge the state."
Users of the 4chan chat board /pol/ went on a fevered search for the antifa assailant they called Bike Lock Guy. Their efforts led them to Eric Clanton. "Poor little terrorist snowflake," one 4channer wrote, "about to get melted." Paul Kuroda/ZUMAIn the wake of his arrest, Clanton took a break. Burned out on politics, he returned to his studies, working on a master's thesis about the roots of human ethics. In what he called a "mutual education," he also took a job as a volunteer instructor at San Quentin State Prison, teaching Emma Goldman and Angela Davis to the inmates.
But then, in June 2015, something brought him off the sidelines: Donald Trump rode a gold escalator into one of the strangest ­'' and most overtly racist '' political campaigns in recent memory. Trump was the embodiment of everything that Clanton had been fighting: a law-and-order billionaire who vowed to use the full force of the government to redress white grievance. Clanton told me that when he heard the candidate talk about his Muslim ban or his plan to wall off Mexico, his instinctive reaction was "Fuck Donald Trump." But Trump was only part of the problem.
A few months into the campaign, Clanton started noticing recruiting posters for Identity Evropa '' a California-based neo-Nazi group that would later fight in Berkeley '' on both the U.C. and Diablo Valley campuses. Around the same time, Trump was having trouble disavowing David Duke, a former grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan, and three protesters were stabbed at a violent Klan rally in Anaheim. Things were getting worse, but Clanton says the situation did not seem ripe enough for action yet. "At that point," he explains, "we weren't seeing right-wing guys with sticks and bats coming into our neighborhoods."
In fact, most of the violence then was taking place at Trump's campaign events. At a gathering in Miami, one of Trump's followers shoved and kicked a Latino protester; at another, a black man was sucker-punched by a Trump supporter in North Carolina. On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, when a left-wing demonstrator interrupted a rally in Las Vegas, Trump told a cheering crowd, "I'd like to punch him in the face."
By the spring of 2016, the anti-Trump forces started fighting back. Much of the pushback came in California. On April 26th, left-wing protesters scuffled with the right at a city council meeting in Anaheim; a few days later, leftists tossed eggs at Trump supporters in San Jose. Then, on June 26th, the Traditionalist Worker Party, a neo-Nazi group from Indiana, held a march in Sacramento with the Golden State Skinheads. Its stated purpose was to take a stand against the anti-Trump protests '' or what the rally's planners called the "orchestrated pogroms by Zionist agitated colored people." A group called Antifa Sacramento organized a countermarch, arranging carpools for its members, readying medics for the injured and setting up a bail fund for those who got arrested. The neo-Nazis' permit allowed them to march in a park outside the domed state capitol at noon. The two sides clashed almost at the moment they arrived. Within minutes, one antifa fighter was stabbed. There were fistfights, stick attacks and six more knifings.
"Personally, I've always wondered whether nonviolence was a better means," says one anti-fascist, a friend of Clanton's who gave her name as Lou. But Sacramento, Lou explains, "cemented for me that these people are willing to use violent measures. They have no moral restraint in inflicting harm, whether through their ideology or their actions. And we need to do everything we can to stop them and silence them." She adds: "These are punchable people, these are people who should be punched."
Clanton won't say whether he was in Sacramento that day, but he does admit that the violence there radicalized him further. Antifa, he tells me, had been watching the right expand for months, but Sacramento was the first time that weapons had been used as the two sides came to blows. "That's a moment in which things escalate," he says. "It's like an 'oh, shit' moment in which things start to seem really serious."
Trump's inauguration was another. Shortly after 10 a.m., as the president-elect was preparing to take his oath of office at the Capitol, a crowd of several hundred black-clad anti-fascists formed two miles away at Logan Circle. Over the next half-hour, the antifa column traveled 16 blocks, the authorities say, its members smashing windows at a gas station, a Starbucks, a bank and a Bobby Van's steakhouse. After the police arrested dozens '' journalists and legal observers among them '' splinter groups veered off to commit more mayhem: They set fire to a limousine, and one antifa marcher, who remains unidentified, slugged the neo-Nazi Richard Spencer in the face. "It was the largest black bloc I'd ever seen in the U.S.," said one man who took part. "It was actually sort of shocking."
Several hundred black-clad anti-fascists protested during Trump's inauguration in Washington, DC. Spencer Platt/GettyDuring Trump's transition, the extreme far right had a public coming out. Two weeks after the election, Spencer threw a victory party a few blocks from the White House, shouting "Hail Trump! Hail our people!" to a room full of supporters making Nazi salutes. On inauguration weekend, a roster of conservative luminaries '' including the "alt-light" tweeter Mike Cernovich and James O'Keefe, the dirty-trickster activist '' appeared at a triumphant D.C. gala known as the DeploraBall. Around the same time, Matthew Heimbach, the founder of the neo-Nazi group that fought in Sacramento, lunched with Republican operatives at the Capitol Hill Club. Milo Yiannopoulos was meanwhile traveling the country, triggering college students on the finale of what he called his "Dangerous Faggot" tour. In a calculated and lavishly funded assault against the left, the incendiary roadshow of Islam-bashing and misogyny was partly underwritten by the billionaire Mercer family, which had also supported Stephen Bannon in his roles as both the chairman of Breitbart News and as one of Trump's chief White House counselors.
Anxiously watching as all of this unfolded, the antifa website ItsGoingDown.org published a report in January claiming that these various activities were evidence of a "growing far-right which is attempting to leave the confines of the internet and enter into the streets in the wake of Trump taking power." The move offline had already had consequences. On Inauguration Day, an IWW union worker was shot at one of Yiannopoulos' speeches in Seattle; five days later, fights erupted when Yiannopoulos appeared in Boulder, Colorado. Now he was scheduled to speak at Berkeley, where he planned to announce a new initiative that dovetailed with the president's agenda: an effort to abolish "sanctuary campuses" that harbored illegal immigrants. "For all these reasons and more," ItsGoingDown wrote, "several thousand people are expected to come out to UC Berkeley in the hopes of shutting down Milo's event."
On February 1st, before Yiannopoulos arrived, more than 1,000 protesters gathered in the dark at Sproul Plaza in the heart of Berkeley's campus. A small detachment of antifa activists moved among them. When the anti-fascists started throwing rocks at the police, the protest spiraled into a riot. Windows were smashed; barricades were trampled; people hurled fireworks; gas-powered spotlights erupted into flames. The administration canceled the address. All told, the vandalism caused more than $100,000 in damage.
The campus riot was a signal event, escalating the antagonism between the anti-fascists and their right-wing rivals, and shaping the contours not only for the battles that would soon be fought in Berkeley, but also for those that would take place later in cities like New Orleans; Portland, Oregon; and, ultimately, Charlottesville. While many on the right may not have felt much affinity with Yiannopoulos, a larger number could detect a common enemy in the black-clad youths who had seemingly defiled the First Amendment by chasing him from one of the country's premier universities. In the wake of the riot, critics on the left also had qualms about the canceled speech. But wielding free-speech rhetoric as a cudgel, the right '' especially in Northern California '' began to organize around it. Leaders emerged who couched the conflict with antifa as a patriotic defense of liberty '' a gambit that attracted to the fray many conservatives who until then had been silent. Some of these conservative recruits were not just eager to oppose their new enemy, but to physically confront it. They went into their basements, grabbing pipes and two-by-fours, and readying an ersatz armor of football pads, plywood shields and motorcycle helmets. As rallies were announced that spring, a right-wing fighting class was born.
"Free speech is being used to [cover for] a very violent message," says one anti-fascist. "What they're trying to protect is hate speech and calls for genocide."The first time this militia took the field was at March4Trump, a free-speech protest held in Berkeley and a dozen other cities on Saturday, March 4th. In advance of the event '' the first to occur in Civic Center Park '' Kathy Zhu, one of its local organizers, tweeted, "If you want to defend your liberty and your rights, then march with us on Berkeley." Antifa had closely tracked the gathering, and a company of its activists was planning, as one of its communiqu(C)s said, on "confronting fascists in the streets." What resulted was a multi-hour rumble of fistfights, stompings, pepper-spray attacks and wrestling matches.
Clanton was in the park that day, unmasked, he says, as an observer. "What happened on the ground on March 4th actually seemed like more of a shit-show," he recalls. "Fights just broke out, and it was very confusing who was who, and people were just getting hit all over the place."
If the Yiannopoulos protest served as a wake-up to the right, March4Trump had a similar effect on antifa. What disturbed the movement most was that, under the rubric of defying the left, the right was starting to bring together its disparate factions. A coalition was emerging, ItsGoingDown wrote, of "libertarians, ancaps, armed militias, brownshirt alt-right enforcers, the 'patriotic' Tea Party crowd, and alt-lite Deplorables without alienating any of them." Even Berkeley's College Republicans were now involved '' and the hardcore neo-Nazis would soon join them on the frontline.
"The energy began before Trump, but there's no question that the deplorable subculture that developed around him and the free-speech rallies were something new and different," says James Anderson, the editor at ItsGoingDown. "It looked very scary, like the far right could do whatever it wanted and get away with it. That was people's mindset then '' like, 'Holy shit, this is the new normal.'"
Anderson admits there was concern in antifa circles that the free-speech rallies were a trap of sorts, designed to provoke the anti-fascists and expose them to both public censure and police reprisals. But when a new group on the right, the Liberty Revival Alliance, took to YouTube in April announcing that it would hold another free-speech rally in Civic Center Park, the anti-fascists decided to respond. The Patriots' Day protest was going to feature a list of celebrity speakers '' among them Kyle Chapman, a commercial diver from San Mateo who had swung his stick with such ferocity at March4Trump that he was christened with the nom de guerre Based Stickman. In the run-up to the rally, Chapman went on a publicity tour that included an interview with Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of VICE and the leader of the Proud Boys, a cult-like fight club of young "western chauvinists."
"People are totally inspired by you," McInnes told Chapman. "We're pushing back the antifa and the liberals and the nutbars and the commies and the Marxists."
"I think that calling these people anarchists or antifa isn't good," Chapman answered in his bright-red "USA" cap. "I think we need to start calling them what they are '' these are domestic terrorists."
As Patriots' Day approached, the stakes kept getting higher. First, the Oath Keepers, a gun-toting nationalist militia, agreed to provide security, calling on "three percenters, military veterans, patriot police officers, bikers, and all other brave American patriots" to help protect the rally against "radical leftists who use violence" to "shut down and silence free speech." When several neo-Nazi groups '' among them, Rise Above and Identity Evropa '' announced that they were also going, antifa sounded the alarm. Calls to "defend the Bay" were issued from ItsGoingDown and Northern California Anti-Racist Action, a regional antifa collective. On Facebook and Twitter and through real-world social networks, friends spread word to friends (and friends of friends) to fetch their balaclavas and head toward Berkeley again.
On the advice of his lawyer, Clanton won't talk about Patriots' Day. But it's clear that he considers the event, and the fighting there that led to his arrest, as a kind of last straw. The Bay Area was the liberal bastion where he had found his place in the world after fleeing Bakersfield. For months, he'd watched in outrage as the right showed up like insurgents in the Bay, ranting about feminists and illegal immigration, not in coded dog whistles, but openly and proudly in public places.
"I found that personally fucking offensive," Clanton says, "because the Bay Area is my home. And it's hard not to take it personally when people come into your home and say these things: praising Pinochet, wanting to throw leftists out of helicopters, talking about the supremacy of whiteness, talking about what amounts to rape culture. That is offensive. It's infuriating. And it's infuriating because it praises and legitimizes violence against my friends, my neighbors and me."
After Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the Sacramento Nazis; after Donald Trump, Richard Spencer, Milo Yiannopoulos and Kyle Chapman, it seems Clanton had finally had enough. Which may be why, when the Berkeley police searched his house on the day of his arrest, among the other things they found was a U-shaped metal bike lock.
Alt-right marcher Sean Stiles moments after being hit on the head with a bike lock at the Patriots' Day rally last April Paul Kuroda/ZUMAThe Alameda County courthouse sits just east of downtown Oakland, across from a jogging path that curves around the shores of Lake Merritt. It was built in 1934 and once held the office of District Attorney Earl Warren before he served on the Supreme Court. Made of granite with a terra-cotta trim, the structure is blocky and imposing, in the California Gothic style, like something out of Chinatown. Last May, Clanton was there for his arraignment. The hearing was procedural, but afterward, there was drama in the hallway. Clanton's lawyer, Dan Siegel, took questions from reporters, and among the scrum was a video crew from the alt-right outfit TheRedElephants.com. "If your client goes to jail, will this be the first time he moves out of his parents' house?" one of the Elephants asked. A few moments later, the same man shouted, "An ethics professor decided to attempt murder on people! What kind of ethics is that?"
On the last day of my trip to California, I have coffee with Clanton and Lou, his antifa comrade. It's a Sunday afternoon, two weeks after Charlottesville, and Berkeley is again on high alert. Yet another right-wing protest '' this one billed as "No to Marxism in America" '' is underway in Civic Center Park. As we sit in a caf(C) in Oakland, I watch the news, which does not feel new, unfold on Twitter. An antifa mob is breaking through police lines. Its fighters are swarming their outnumbered opponents. Now they're pepper-spraying people. Now they're chasing them away with flying fists.
Learning of the scuffle, Clanton shares a look with Lou: They hope aloud that everyone's OK. Earlier that morning, both had attended a breakfast at an antifa communal space where their colleagues were preparing for the conflict. Because of his court case, Clanton isn't going to the protest, but it's clearly on his mind. Perched on a patio chair, smoking American Spirits, he says, "Just about all of my thoughts are up in Berkeley."
We had spent much of the weekend going back and forth about using nonviolence to confront the right. Clanton had been adamant: Showing up unarmed and unprepared to protest people who were willing to hurt others was simply too risky. While peaceful demonstration might serve to dispel antifa's critics, Clanton says he isn't interested in giving up his safety, or that of his friends, to seize the moral high ground, which he dismisses as a notion created by the "narrative class." Nor does he put much stock in the right's high-minded assertion that it's fighting for free speech. "Was [Yiannopoulos coming to Berkeley] defensible in terms of free speech? It is an open question," he says. "But what is not defensible is outing undocumented students in a way that, if not directly advocating, suggests or sort of incites violence against them." Lou is more direct: "Free speech is being used to [cover for] a very violent message. What they're trying to protect is hate speech and calls for genocide."
Whether what we're seeing now is fascism or not, it would not be hard to argue that Donald Trump has already accomplished more than any recent president to imperil both the day-to-day welfare of the country's most vulnerable residents and the various democratic norms that have long protected even the powerful from authoritarian rule. At the same time, he has reanimated a class of extremists, some of whose explicit goals are to rid the nation of its nonwhite races. Sitting with our coffees, Lou says, "The inherent truth to fighting fascism is that we just want people to be good to each other, and fascists aren't good to each other." The only way to end the fascist menace, she adds, is by "smashing it immediately."
As the Twitter reports keep rolling in '' tear gas has now been fired '' I ask Clanton if he thinks there is any meaningful distinction between a white supremacist like Richard Spencer and a Trump supporter who wants to build the wall. After one of his academic pauses, he acknowledges the two are not the same. The real difference, he suggests, is "who is wielding bats and sticks and shields and knives, and who is not?" But does he apply those parameters to the unarmed right-wing marcher who was set upon just 30 minutes earlier in Berkeley and kicked by antifa protesters as he lay on the ground?
Clanton's moral certainty, his deep conviction that the fascist threat is real and needs to be snuffed out even at the cost of his liberty or scruples, makes me think of a letter he wrote to his loved ones while he was being hunted by the cops last year. Addressed to "the broken hearts," it seems to make reference to Patriots' Day, but was apparently never sent.
"It will be a very long time before anyone who isn't a part of this fight will come to any understanding of the fucked up events of that day," he wrote. "The world is much stranger and more complicated than you seem to realize. I've tried to have open conversations about my politics, but mostly I've sheltered you from them, another mistake. Well those days are over now and it's time to do the hard work of finding actual common ground if we want to have a relationship. It's time to have hard conversations about where you stand in this messy world and which side you're on."
All major U.S. carriers give your real-time location info to third parties | Android Central
Tue, 15 May 2018 13:20
It's hard to believe that much of anything is truly private these days. Between smartphones, the internet, and everything else, so much of our data and lives are on full display for various businesses to see. Recently, it was discovered that all four of the major United States carriers provide your real-time location info to third-parties thanks to a loophole in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
How'd this matter come to light? Between 2014 and 2017, former sheriff Cory Hutcheson used a service called "Securus" to track the location of a judge and members of Missouri's Highway Patrol around 11 different times. Securus is a service that allows police officers to facilitate calls made to inmates, but it can also be used to pinpoint the location of a cell phone in a matter of seconds.
Securus obtains this location info from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, but according to ZDNet, it does so through a middle-man called "LocationSmart."
LocationSmart can pinpoint your real-time location in about 15 seconds.
LocationSmart is based out of California, and after it obtains this data from carriers, sells it to companies like Securus. The location data LocationSmart gets is based on tower information it gets from carriers, and while this process is slower than using GPS, it works in the background without your knowledge and has little-to-no impact on battery life. LocationSmart touts it can pinpoint someone's real-time location in just 15 seconds.
In other words, carriers are letting LocationSmart have your real-time location information so it can then share it with other third-parties. Is any of this even legal?
Unfortunately, it sure is.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevents carriers from sharing user location to the United States government, but there aren't any restrictions in place on other companies. As noted by Kevin Bankston, the Director of New America's Open Technology Institute, this is "one of the biggest gaps in US privacy law."
If you're looking for a silver lining, LocationSmart says that companies that use its services must get "explicit consent" from users before obtaining their location '' whether it be through an app or text. However, there are other instances where it's implied that a user wants their location shared and this step can be avoided (such as when someone calls a towing company to pick up their car).
The FCC's been asked to investigate the matter by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, but it remains to be seen what actions (if any) will be taken.
Visible: Everything you need to know about Verizon's new phone service
US cell carriers are selling access to real-time phone location data | Hacker News
Wed, 16 May 2018 18:17
Throwaway account.I work in location / mapping / geo. Some of us have been waiting for this to blow (which it hasn't yet). The public has zero idea how much personal location data is available.
It's not just your cell carrier. Your cell phone chip manufacturer, GPS chip manufacturer, phone manufacturer and then pretty much anyone on the installed OS (android crapware) is getting a copy of your location data. Usually not in software but by contract, one gives gps data to all the others as part of the bill of materials.
This is then usually (but not always) "anonymized" by cutting it in to ~5 second chunks. It's easy to put it back together again. We can figure out everything about your day from when you wake up to where you go to when you sleep.
This data is sold to whoever wants it. Hedge funds or services who analyze it for hedge funds is the big one. It's normal to track hundreds of millions of people a day and trade stocks based on where they go. This isn't fantasy, it's what happens every day.
Almost every web/smartphone mapping company is doing it, so is almost everyone that tracks you for some service - "turn the lights on when I get home". The web mapping companies and those that provide SDKs for "free". It's a monetization model for apps which don't need location. That's why Apple is trying hard to restrict it without scaring off consumers.
I can confirm this is happening, I designed some of the analysis systems used. Contrary to what many people assume, this is not just a US thing. It is done throughout the industrialized world to varying degrees, including countries where most people believe privacy protections disallow such activity. Governments tacitly support it because they've found these capabilities immensely useful for their own purposes. reply
Should they? The vast quantity of users find it incredibly useful and have no reason to be concerned about governments or third parties being able to determine their geographic location, because governments or third parties don't generally care. reply
Several recent HN stories have had this kind of comment (first noticed with the Securus submission) that's a weird mix of "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" and "They will never come for you, you're too unimportant." Is this a sustained campaign or just a way for folks who have contributed to these issues to feel good about themselves? reply
You can be upset about an aspect of a product, and seek to change that aspect, without abandoning use of the product. For example, 1.3 million people are killed by cars every year, and while we recognize the risk, we also constantly improve them through safety regulations, training and improved technology. Just because people use cell phones and apps today doesn't mean we're okay with the downsides and should stop trying to improving them. reply
Did they? They're sales pitch claimed they could but what we've heard of actual methods and impact didn't appear more effective than regular FB ads. reply
Mass surveillance is not really for investigating individuals.The game being played is not '1984', it is 'Foundation'.
It is for steering entire societies, and this works far better on the boring people who think they have nothing to hide as they are the easiest to model
The general public and repeatedly-reported-upon understanding of how data collection can be leveraged to find unexpected insights not obvious from the data, coupled with the Snowden leaks, coupled with the ever-increasing user count for cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet in general.If people were deeply individually concerned about the risks vs. rewards of these technologies, they'd stop using them. That's the rubber-meets-the-road calculus I see.
Do you trust the public is informed about these technologies? I think you might be overestimating individuals... most folks still don't know about Cambridge Analytica. reply
> "If people were deeply individually concerned about the risks vs. rewards of these technologies, they'd stop using them."Why do you think that? It clearly doesn't apply to stuff like oil, for instance.
I could give up my phone, but I would be in deep shit if I did it tomorrow. It would take a lot of arrangement to do so and it would piss off my family and lose me work.
If they "don't generally care", they wouldn't be collecting that data to begin with. reply
They collect the data because they can find themselves needing to care in the future, at which point nobody wants to be kicking themselves for failing to collect the data. reply
> for their own purposesSuch as?
If this also happens in the EU and is as blatant as you say it is and with GDPR and all, surely this is just waiting to blow up?
Parralel construction.You pull the phone location records of everyone near a protest without a warrant (and no intention of using the location data in court) then you dig into them to find something unrelated to the protest you can nail them on.
That way you take out key players without it looking like a political crackdown.
Based on the discussion in this thread doing such a thing seems relatively easy.Obligatory Orwell:
''The most gifted of [the Proletariate], who might possibly become a nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated.''
Yep, that's on the simpler end of the spectrum, they can/could be far more insidious and subtle.It's horrible but beyond supporting ORG, EFF and writing to my MP (I'm in the UK) not sure what else I can do, even if I protect myself from it my family and friends are still potentially fucked.
I'm in the space as well. I've tried telling my congressmen but they ignore me. I'm waiting for the backlash, especially will all the recent privacy issues. It hasn't happened yet and the problem is so large that I honestly doubt whether the public will ever truly grasp what the scope.The advice I always give when this topic comes up us to be very careful with what you install on your phone. The least expensive mobile location data tends to come from random apps collecting the data to sell it, and ad networks. Permission to use your GPS is permission to track you until you uninstall the app.
If you're willing to have your name attached to this, if / when it does finally blow up, please make an effort to talk to news organizations about who and when you initially reached out to congress people.If you're not comfortable with your name being publicly attached, at least give news orgs the information and request confidentiality.
Part of the reason congress people can punt is that the cost of inaction < cost of action before it penetrates media.
A big part of shifting that equation is starting to publicize "You had all the information available now on X date and did nothing" as loudly as possible. Naming and shaming has been healthy for vulnerability disclosure.
Are you able to send them a copy of their individual location data, or the location data of their staffers/friends/family? That might make for a potent wake up call. Though, you'd want to run that by an attorney first. reply
Screw that. Put together a consumer stalking website, sell the data directly. Advertise, make tons of money, and let the outrage from that bring light to the entire industry. reply
that's only the low end. app gps usage shows up on the UI.the article discusses when the ISP/telco sells the data that you have zero visibility on. there's no way to get around this.
btw, apple and google ad spyware process (google play service) will collect gps and wifi data without any user visible UI, not to mention download ads in the background.
>It's not just your cell carrier. Your cell phone chip manufacturer, GPS chip manufacturer, phone manufacturer and then pretty much anyone on the installed OS (android crapware) is getting a copy of your location data. Usually not in software but by contract, one gives gps data to all the others as part of the bill of materials.so what's the flow here? is it something like this?: phone gps -> manufacturer installed crapware app -> crapware server -> (various third parties)
wouldn't this be mitigated if you use a custom ROM like lineageos?
some of crapware can be avoided by using custom ROMs, but not all of it. For example: Qualcomm IZat location services and other location-based trustzone applets remain running even on custom ROMs. reply
How is it sending the data though? if it's using mobile plans, wouldn't it be noticeable on the data usage plan? (or is it that manufacturers have agreements with carriers to not charge for it?) reply
>Qualcomm IZat location servicesdid a quick check, it's not on my phone (SD 820 SoC).
>other location-based trustzone applets remain running even on custom ROMs.
I have no doubt some proprietary blobs still remain on custom ROMs, but do those actually send back location data to the OEM?
You have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820? Oh yes, IZat is definitively there, along with other interesting trustzone applets :)It is running under QSEE (Qualcomm) and/or MobiCore (Trustonic) OS, which is separate from your Android OS. It is left untouched by custom ROMs.
I do not understand.Even if there was a separate OS running in parallel with Android, how could it access the wireless-networks-based and satellite-based location data? I thought that access to these things is controlled by Android.
In other words, when I turn off e.g. satellite location data in Android, can IZat (which, according to your post, runs outside of Android) or other similar spyware keep secretly using it anyway? That would be quite worrying.
I suppose that the location data can be collected by sniffing the low-level communication between the radio device and Android kernel, provided that it has been enabled in Android first. But even then, how could this location data be transferred out of the device? Are these "parallel-running" OSs also able to somehow "tap into" Android's network layer and send the collected data out?
Oh, sweet summer child ..."Even if there was a separate OS running in parallel with Android, how could it access the wireless-networks-based and satellite-based location data? I thought that access to these things is controlled by Android."
There is a separate OS running in parallel with Android and it is running on the very hardware that makes the network connections to the cellular network that you are speaking of.
In fact there are two - the OS and software stack that run on the baseband processor and the OS and software (java apps) that run on your SIM card, which is a full blown computer with its own memory and processor, etc. In fact, your carrier can upload new java programs to your SIM card without your knowledge at any time.
Your final question is a good one - many (most ?) implementations give the baseband processor DMA to the main, application processor. So you are hopelessly owned. Deeply, profoundly, hopelessly owned.
True++ there are at least 4-5 OSes on Qualcomm with direct access to the Internet:1. Linux Kernel / Android OS, running on main ARM CPU in "normal mode"
2. QSEE or Trustonic OS, running on main ARM CPU in "trusted execution environment" mode, in parallel with "normal mode"
3. OKL4 / REX Kernel + AMSS OS, running on the baseband CPU (modem)
4. SIM card processor, although it is very limited (typically 32k RAM) and acts only as a MITM for SMS's, not cellular data
5. The OS running on the Wi-Fi card
You're looking in the wrong place.TrustZone OS is started during SBL2 (secureboot level 2), running in hypervisor mode, while you're looking at the Android OS started during SBL3 (secureboot level 3). You cannot see hypervisor processes & apps from your vantage point (the android kernel).
The trustzone OS is usually located in TZ partition, and it uses some additional partitions for custom TZ apps and data persistence.
The hypervisor has independent access to the internet, the wifi card (for indoor location), and more.
Qualcom boot process, showing SBL1, SBL2 and SBL3 stages:
It goes without saying that without TrustZone OS, the phone won't boot to Android OS (won't proceed to SBL3).
You don't seem to appreciate the fact that the OS you interact with on a modern smartphone is essentially a guest.There's a world of proprietary complexity you have zero visibility into, and much of it is running with direct access to hardware the application OS you interact with can only partially make use of.
If all that is claim in here isn't conspiracy, how can it stay a secret?Isn't it the reason wikileaks was created in the first place? reply
if you want to get it to blow up then (based on past experience of what seems to catch regulator/legislator interest) I'd say that someone tracking the locations of a load of politicians for a while, finding things of interest about places they've visited and then publishing on a news outlet would do the job. reply
Your approach starts off by making the very politicians that you want to help you extremely pissed off at you.More effective would be to track a few key politicians, such as those on the committees that would deal with regulating these things, and also a few reporters who have agreed beforehand to participate.
Then the tracking on the politicians is turned over to the politicians, but NOT made public. The reporters write stories about this, illustrating the tracking detail by publishing what it showed about them.
This approach gets the news out to the public, personally shows the key politicians the scope of the issue (and that they are vulnerable too), and lets the public know that the politicians have seen proof of how serious the issue is so that the politicians know that they need to get to work on this because their opponents come the next election will certainly be gearing up to use it as an issue if they do not.
Expose's by investigative Journalists have often made politicians angry, but they have also effected change.My idea is based on the fact that in my experience people rarely really care about privacy until it personally affects them.
Will it blow up, even if the public is aware?When Snowden revealed the extent of NSA activities, it caused a momentary uproar but the people moved on pretty quickly after that. As far as I know (and let me know if I am wrong!!), there was no fallout for the government, and business continues as before.
So I am not sure if people will care this time either.
Snowdens' revelations had a massive effect on the tech. sector.It provided security people with ammunition to push things like encryption of data over "private" network connections, which prevented their misuse by governments (or at least made it harder)
It also pushed tech. companies to publicly take positions on government spying, in general by insisting they wouldn't co-operate.
Good way to loose your job very quickly. I don't think we should have to rely on somebody sacrificing themselves to make a difference. reply
Not sure anyone would lose their jobs.1) Be an investigative Journalist
2) Purchase access to these location vendors data
3) Correlate data with known mobile numbers of politicians
4) Find things in data that might be of interest to readers (e.g. "politician x was noted to be in the same place as Lobbyist y on 5 different occasions")
5) Publish Story :)
I you are willing to be blacklisted than more power to you. I wouldn't want to force that on someone. reply
Not if precautions are taken, and even if someone did, such a patriotic disclosure (if done responsibly a la Snowden) would put that person is very esteemed company. reply
Yes, but Snowden is currently living in exile, and there's no end to that in sight.Few have the stomach for that sort of thing...
Tested and same result.I have a strong suspicion that it intentionally places you some distance from where it knows you actually are. Unless there is some underlying reason why it would never be 100% accurate -- I've seen dozens of people post their results and every time it's 1-300 meters off.
And it's not just "no one tests while under the cell tower" because the location it gave me was 150 meters in the opposite direction of the cell tower that I can see out my window. And the location it gave was smack in the middle of a neighborhood I know well and know to be free of cell towers. Or I'm just paranoid.
I just used the internet site it said up to 14 miles off in accuracy on the results page. It was actually 4 miles off with my wifi off and GPS off and ZLAT off. I'm also pretty sure the location it picked is very close to an existing cell tower. reply
I'm somewhat weary. This might be the final missing piece to connect your mobile phone number to your mobile browser user agent, or even worse, your desktop browser agent. reply
If the mobile carriers are selling your real time location data, I don't think there is much stopping them from also selling your browser user agents. reply
I believe that dmichulke means that when the phone number is linked to the user agent it's much more dangerous than when they are sold without that connection being known. reply
Interesting. I wonder if the mistaken use of "weary" comes from a combination of "wary" and "leery"! I always assumed it was because "wear" is pronounced the same as the first syllable of "wary". Unfortunately "weary" is already a word and "I'm wary of X" has a different meaning from "I'm weary of X", but similar enough that a lot of confusion could result. reply
Can you post the SMS opt-in message you received? Curious as to whether this is exploitable as well reply
LocationSmart: Reply YES or YES LS to confirm consent for cloud location & messaging demo. Reply HELP for help, Reply STOP to cancel. Msg&Data Rates may apply.That is what I was sent.
I'm betting the opt-in is something along these lines"FirstName LastName wants to obtain your location..."
Also betting that you can put 160 characters into those fields, so effectively a blank SMS is received
Betting further still that you can just spoof the SMS reply
And how can I buy this realtime data? Also> Hedge funds or services who analyze it for hedge funds is the big one. It's normal to track hundreds of millions of people a day and trade stocks based on where they go.
Any articles/webpages about this one? Or a company name who is doing it?
Pinsight is a big one.But there are too many to name. In 2018, you should assume that any free service (Unroll.me), web/mobile SDK (Slice), email client (Airmail), personal finance tracker (Mint), integration API (Plaid), geolocator (Foursquare), etc is monetized by selling your data en masse for market research.
It's not just location data. Dig into the TOS of free services you use. It's your receipts, your transactions, your subscriptions...all are "anonymized" to varying degrees of success. Even Meraki, the network router/switch company, sells location data.[1]
1. https://meraki.cisco.com/technologies/location-analytics
Link to pinsight: https://pinsightmedia.com> Ever wonder what your consumer thinks minute-by-minute? Pinsight's ID Suite gets behind the lock screen to understand the mindset of your best customer. Leveraging 24/7 insights from the mobile device, we uncover new audiences and discover new market opportunities so you can engage with consumers in ways that matter.
''Gets behind the lock screen''
Jeez that is some brazen marketing.
Assuming you're talking about Airmail, the iOS and Mac mail client[1] (which is not a free app), do you have any reference to back up this claim? Their privacy statement states:> Airmail does not share your information with any third parties. We are not in the business of selling your data. However, we may disclose information if we determine that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to comply with the law.
They also state that they do not send information to their servers unless you enable push notifications, store data only for this purpose, and delete the data when you disable this setting.
[1] http://airmailapp.com
Foursquare is selling business services based on the data they collect, not the data itself (as far as I know). reply
Do you get that data before you place the bid? Can you can just bid the minimum amount so you never actually buy an ad, but get the tracking data anyway? reply
You get all the data (geo, user's year-of-birth, user interests, device type, etc) before you place the bid. All the json data fields are defined in the standard. I can see iOS and Windows-phone in the feed, it's not limited to Android phones.https://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/OpenRTB_API_S...
You don't actually have to bid.
(HN is rate-limiting me)edit: Data is pushed to you as fast as you can process it. It's a firehose.
To get a seat on the exchange, you need to bid, and exchanges also don't allow you to store data of bid requests that you don't win for purposes other than bid algorithm optimization in their terms and conditions, since that's stealing data. If they find out you're freeloading, they'll cut you out.Also, most of the data on it is pretty shitty with lots of fraud since the publishers want to get more money. The geo data is often fraudulent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographic_center_of_the_conti...), and that's why companies that bid hire data scientists to sift through the fraud.
There's also rarely, in my experience, year-of-birth or any personally identifiable data.
In a typical bid entry there are between 500 and 5000 bits of information relating to an individual, per the definition of GDPR. And that's not including the dreaded "IFA", which uniquely identifies the individual.I don't agree with your claim that "the geodata is often fraudulent".
Anyone can read the linked pdf specification (above), download sample data from the exchanges, and judge for themselves.
Is it pushed to you or do you pull it? Is there no rate limiting?That's really creative honestly.
>> Hedge funds or services who analyze it for hedge funds is the big one. It's normal to track hundreds of millions of people a day and trade stocks based on where they go.> Any articles/webpages about this one? Or a company name who is doing it?
Foursquare does it, there were some articles last year about how they pivoted to providing that data. They were able to accurately predict Chipotle customer declines after their food contamination scandals.
I'm not sure if they use this carrier location data, or just the data from the people who are still using their app.
Edit: here's one: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/04/2...
Advan, Reveal Mobile, QuestMobile, Pinsight, Streetlight Data, RootMetrics, OpenSignal, SafeGraph are a few of the companies selling various forms of mobile user location data. reply
Allow me to ask some questions :)> It's not just your cell carrier
No reason to think this is only US right?
> cell phone chip manufacturer, GPS chip manufacturer
How & when is this transmitted and what other data apart from lat & long?
> pretty much anyone on the installed OS [...] is getting a copy of your location data
You mean the devs of whatever app is installed on the phone? The outgoing data should be visible in things like Charles proxy, right?
Is this analogous to FB data being available to any dev that gets permission to access your profile?
> It's normal to track hundreds of millions of people a day and trade stocks based on where they go
Whaaa ... ? Do explain, fascinating.
Can this all be mitigated by those smartphones-hardened-for-criminals type devices?
Is this happening with iPhone as well, or primarily android due to the third party nature of the hardware? reply
The problem is once it's at the cell carrier level it doesn't even matter if you use a dumb phone. They know roughly where you are based on tower triangulation. reply
Not my area of knowledge at all, so perhaps someone who knows radio better could chime in: Would it be possible to fool the triangulation from the device, by arbitrary (or intelligently) delaying the mobile radio signals? Or are they too dependent on timings and such to work? reply
> Would it be possible to fool the triangulation from the device, by arbitrary (or intelligently) delaying the mobile radio signals?Not without messing up your ability to make and receive calls. Cell towers use precise timing and power-level measurements in order to do things like decide which cell-site is best, and to hand-over your call from one tower to the next without breaking your call or glitching.
Edit: Even if you were to play around with timing of responses of the radio signal, you have no control over how it radiates in free space. The time-delta between reception of the same signal by 3 towers at known locations is enough to triangulate your position. Maybe a unidirectional antenna pointing to just one tower might work, if there are no other towers within the beam behind it and no sideway leakages.
There are no available cellphone radio baseband computers/transceivers that allow you do do things with that. You would literally have to implement the entire cell baseband from scratch with a software defined radio. It would be a very non-trivial project.And it'd be useless unless you had many of these custom transmitters faking your signal spread out over large physical distances.
That's always been common knowledge, the shocker is that it's being transmitted to "everyone and their dog" or even being sold. Afaik that was never the case with dumb phones. reply
A dumb phone can be localized by cell triangulation. The US military disclosed that it was using such a technique in Afghanistan to locate Al-Qaeda targets (they disclosed this because Al-Qaeda had gotten so paranoid about he accuracy of US military operations that they had assumed they had human spies on the ground feeding the US information and began killing civilians on suspicion of spying). reply
As an amateur radio operator, I would expect nothing less for carrying a highly networked radio transceiver with loads of sensors including geopositioning.Simply put: don't want to be tracked? Put your phone in a lead sealed box or leave it at home. Tracking only tracks the phone , not your person.
Yeah they know where you are at any given moment, but they don't have to record it. And they especially don't have to sell it to third parties. That's what we mean by "tracking". reply
So basically either give up your right for privacy or don't use any new technology? That doesn't look practical. A better idea would be to ban cell carriers (and anyone else) from using location data for anything except explicitly permitted by law, like help in emergencies or conducting investigations. reply
What would be most effective would be a pair of rules in tandem:1. Allow the location data to be utilized by the cellular carrier only for legitimate engineering purposes relevant to the delivery of the cellular services. (The network needs to know your location in real time in order to route calls to you.) Also, allow the use of real time location data for emergency services in response to an emergency call. Potentially also allow the use of emergency services initiated real time locations, with a non-suppressible UI required to be presented to the user if this is performed.
2. Require that the cellular service providers purge / NOT retain this location data for any longer than is literally required to provide proper service.
The data retention policy #2 item here is essential in preventing temptation to come up with end-runs for the first rule. It's important that historic data that has no legitimate use under rule #1 not be preserved so that there isn't a mound of accumulating data of theoretically increasing value if only we could change / get rid of rule #1. That sort of thing will create ever mounting incentive to repeal / replace rule #1.
A better idea would be to ban cell carriers (and anyone else) from using location data for anything except explicitly permitted by law, like help in emergencies or conducting investigations.That doesn't do anything to protect your data from being accessed by the State, which is actually the bigger problem.
If it does great harm for the state to have this data, and also great harm for the cell carriers to have this data...Why thwart one great harm yet happily tolerate the other?
Does it cause "great harm" for private businesses to have access to this? I'm not sure sure. After all, there is a qualitative difference between the State, which employs men with guns and arrogates to itself the right to use force to impose its will on people, the right to jail people, etc.If Starbucks knows my location, they can send me a coupon if I enter a Dunkin' Donuts store. If the State knows my location they can falsely accuse me of a murder that I just happened to be near the location of and - if I'm unlucky or have a bad lawyer - execute me for it.
That's not, of course, to say that there aren't some cases where a private business having access to my location could have a deleterious effect. But here's the rub: if you rely on regulation to prevent those cases, you're right back to needing to trust the State, which is - IMO - a foolish proposition.
> Does it cause "great harm" for private businesses to have access to this?Wide availability of tracking data facilitates domestic violence and stalking, for starters.
Say that someone gets killed by their ex who found them through tracking data leaked by some irresponsible and/or profiteering company. How do we hold that company accountable? How can we prove that it was them who leaked the data, when it's everywhere?
We can't hold the credit authorities like Equifax accountable today for the identity theft they facilitate. This is the same problem. The aggregation of our individual data by companies causes massive negative externalities, borne by individuals.
It doesn't really matter, if a business has the data and the state wants it, the state gets access to the data via the business.The division is so trivially violated it's pretty much irrelevant.
Whataboutism. Yes, there is a bigger problem. No, that should not prevent us from solving the smaller problem first. With regard to the bigger problem, we build checks and balances in the legal system. reply
That doesn't mean banning corporations from exploiting your location is a bad idea, even if it's not the optimal privacy-enabling solution. reply
I don't think we want an outright ban. I certainly have the right to allow a corporation to access my location if I choose to. There may be cases where an individual would judge it in their interest to allow a corporation to have such access.The problem with the current setup is that we don't know who's gaining access, when they're gaining it, what they're doing with it, etc. Once the cell carriers have it, there's no easy way of knowing who they are selling the data to, and who that entity sells it to in turn, and so on.
Sadly, I don't see a good way to resolve this at the moment. If you use a cell-phone the carrier can always get your (at last approximate) location through triangulation. And regulation only makes sense if you trust the State, and I would like to think we've all learned better than to do that by now. So what do we do?
For communications technology: yes, that seems to be the norm.Don't like the rules of the road, don't drive.
Don't like that your data goes over a third-party's network to get to its destination, don't put your data on a third-party's network.
Bans "by law" only work until the people making the law become people interested in your location and they change the law.
So basically either give up your right for privacy or don't use any new technology?I think this is probably correct.
The problem with the ban you suggest is that it will degrade service in many instances. Some level of location tracking is necessary for all cellular phones to make a smooth handoff between towers or for example to load balance connectivity between different towers.
In the end the more personalized the service you want to have, the more "invasive." Opt in is probably the best total solution, however it quickly becomes an education game if you want it to be effective, and most people don't have the time or technical understanding to put up with a dozen different opt ins.
Uh, not really. They can still utilize location data to make smooth handoffs and the other services you mention without bending us over and fucking us with a rusty chainsaw.They do not need to sell location data to other parties in any way, shape, or form.
Define me the following then about the metadata:Who does your cell phone's location belong to?
Who does the tower's connection data belong to?
Who does the multitude of tower signal strengths belong to?
Who does the user's cell phone data belong to if allowing multiple apps to use it?
Answer: User's location data belongs: to the user, 3rd party apps they have allowed, and terrestrial cell companies that run towers with the appropriate frequencies for your phone.
The technology isn't the right area to change it. In the end, you're doing stupid stuff with encryption and still emitting point-source radiation that can and will be triangulated.
There's no need for lead sealed box, Faraday cage will do. :)I think they even sell phone casing Faraday cage nowadays. reply
It's android for the hardware manufacturers and OS crapware getting location data.For iOS, assume every app using your location is selling the data. That means every app using a map or location smoothing SDK (GPS jumps around, there are services to smooth it out), since the map SDK providers (and there's not many) are selling your data even if the app itself isn't.
Google, Apple, Microsoft etc are pretty careful for good reason. Anyone below that is probably selling it.
Every app that has access to nearby WiFi SSIDs (or even just the one you're connected to) can also turn this data into location data.In fact I don't think that is even a gated permission on iOS.
> This data is sold to whoever wants it. Hedge funds or services who analyze it for hedge funds is the big one. It's normal to track hundreds of millions of people a day and trade stocks based on where they go. This isn't fantasy, it's what happens every day.I initially thought this was too far fetched but then I started duckduckgoing* and found this: https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/regulators-campaigners-sou...
* If 'googling' is a verb, why not this.
This is a problem with the GSM/UMTS standards themselves. Carriers always know where you are, but one could create a standard where they wouldn't have to know unless you make a call. With enough encryption and effort, I'm pretty sure one could even create a standard where carriers would never know where you are, even while you are using services. reply
Would not it be easier to ban anyone from using this location data for anything except explicitly permitted by law? The problem is not with standards, the problem is with people. reply
Banning things works relatively well for people because they fear having trouble with law and justice. Doesn't work that well for corporations whose law department is just like any other department. In this case you must assume that if it's technically possible then it's done. reply
This argument can be used against any law, like antitrust law. Having a law department doesn't give you a free pass to break laws. reply
Unless we start throwing the legal department and higher ups into prison then it basically becomes a free pass to break laws. Currently, we assess fines to corporations that violate these laws.It then becomes a cost/benefit analysis weighing the likelihood of getting caught * cost of potential fine vs business value of ignoring the law. Ignoring the law is frequently the correct decision.
Agreed. There needs to be criminal liability for folks like Stumpf and other big bankers/corporate overlords.But do you think our government will ever stand up? Doubtful
Exactly. I assume that's part of the point.But having a law doesn't mean people or corporations won't break it out of the 'kindness of their heart'. Or because they're 'good people'.
For example, look at 'No gun zones'. You think a criminal is not going rob a bank at gun point because the bank is a no gun zone? If anything it incentivizes them because they know they'll have a monopoly of force upon entering ( if they have a gun, and can fairly assume no one else will because of 'no gun zone' policy )
Maybe not, but when the cost of breaking the law is less than the gain, it seems logical. A law department is probably better equipped to make that calculation.edit: Reading into the context of 'too big to fail' and 'collateral consequences' reveals exactly that kind of behavior.
How does one determine which tower to route an incoming call through, in your model? How could roaming work?Spoiler: I don't think doing what you are describing is feasible.
Calls could be done over IP, and as long as you could anonymously authenticate to the tower then you could be granted a new IP address at each tower via something like DHCP. I imagine roaming and handovers would have to be done on the end-device though; the end-device would need to proactively associate to new towers and both ends of the voice call would need to agree to switch to the new IP address.But if the tower operators collude then they can still track you across towers by localizing the physical source of the end-device's signal.
If you really wanted to do this, a more secure approach is onion routing. It's essentially the same problem -- attempting to preserve anonymity in the face of adversarial network hardware, while being limited by a requirement to enter / exit through certain nodes.So you'd want a mesh network, formed adhoc out of currently in range cellular device neighbors, with packets re-encapsulated and encrypted at each hop, eventually hitting the tower from a random device.
Authorization would be impossible (the intent of the scheme) without a side channel (as you can't simultaneously have individual authorization and individual anonymization). Which makes it a non-starter for commercial use.
Oh yeah, that's an interesting solution.I'm not sure simultaneous authorization and anonymization is impossible. Couldn't you use something like Chaum's e-cash to obtain tokens that guarantee the holder the right to use the network for some amount of data, but these tokens are tradeable and therefore the spender doesn't have to be the same as the buyer. Then you could spend this token in the network to get access and the network could authenticate the token without identifying the spender. I'm guessing something like zcash could be used as well...
That's what I meant by side channel. So yes, you can split authorization responsibilities into a different entity, but then that entity is going to be able to deanonymize you.And it wouldn't play well with billing accounts being deactivated / reactivated.
And... now that I think about it, given the tower:location mapping, you'd also have to include bouncing traffic back out to a non-tower-sharing peer and then back into their tower w/ randomized timing, else outer layers of encapsulation would still identify tower association.
Which means latency would be utter crap.
"without a side channel"Do you have any links where this is done without a third party?
Off the top of my head, you could have this system: you use a new id that authenticates you with the carrier every n packets, and you do the routing from the source to your id on a server that you control yourself. reply
Spoiler. The utility of the live call is overstated. Most of the people I interact via a phone vastly prefer async SMS over sync voice calls. We can do SMS via polling, the network doesn't need to push anything to us. reply
People text so much because there is an expectation the other person is going to respond pretty quickly. There is definitely value derived from having people accessible all the time, and I doubt a service would sell if people weren't. reply
With the current setup, sure, but that's by design. The cellular modem could stay off until you decided to take the call if there was a nationwide page circuit listening, the user would get the ring, see the number the page sent, and if desired, answer, which powers on the modem, hits a tower and connects to a backend system that sent the page which took the incoming call.Page messages are in-the clear, but that's fixable by (gasp) OTP.
You want every single cell phone call in the world to send out a signal over every single cell tower? reply
No. But at a certain point, with the high speed modulations we have today, it is totally feasible to broadcast these passively to a multi-state region encompassing a radius of hundreds of miles.There's not a legitimate engineering reason that the network needs to maintain constant fine-grained location data for each registered device at this point. The scope of the registration can be far more widely cast.
This would even have upsides for the devices and users. As check-ins to the network in which the device must transmit to the network would be far reduced, battery life improvements can be had.
Yes, this increases the amount of "broadcast" traffic, but honestly, even for some of the busiest telco switches in New York or LA, those data streams don't even approach the throughput requirements of a single HD Youtube stream...
> where they wouldn't have to know unless you make a callPresumably this is actually "unless you make a call or use data"?
How can one prevent this and still carry a cell phone? Would keeping one's phone in a faraday bag defeat this constant tracking? reply
I don't think it's possible through technological means to avoid being tracked and still use a wireless network. Even if you could anonymously authenticate to the network, if the base stations have a large number of antennas then they can locate the physical origin of your signal and track you that way.It may be possible of course through other means, like government regulation or only using carriers that have some guarantee of privacy.
I mean unless you've got a ham license and bounce your signal through your own network of relays using a different band than the final signal to the cell tower. But I don't think that's going to work as a popular solution. Would be a really fun experiment to build though.I wonder if you could still use latency timing to get a rough fix on location through a secondary network like that. Not that anyone would be trying to.
A good start would be using a prepaid mobile phone (paid with cash, via an intermediary to avoid appearing on store CCTV), plus using phone apps that are not tied to your real identity. A Faraday bag for the phone when it's not in use.Honestly, it just depends on how paranoid you want to get, and who your adversary is.
If your goal is to simply avoid your location being sold by your carrier for marketing purposes, an intermediary seems a little excessive, no? Unless you have reason to believe that your local pharmacy or cell shop is selling facial recognition data as well ... reply
Selling facial recognition data is the next big revenue stream. There is a reason the Googles of the world are gushing over installing internet connected surveillance cameras on every block [0].[0] https://nest.com/cameras/
Carriers will still be able to track you via the cell towers you're connected to. I'm sure they can triangulate based upon signal strength, and that's strictly using your cellphone as a dumb phone. reply
> "But switching off location will probably do it too."Wrong. Phones can be triangulated by the carriers regardless.
Can we trust the GPS receiver to be powered down when we the OS tells us it's powered down? I know Android keeps listening for WiFi stations even if you tell it to turn off the antenna. Might it do the same thing with GPS? reply
It may help in regards to your exact location via GPS, but cell companies can still triangulate your location based off how strong your signal is to certain towers in the area and which towers you have connected to recently. reply
No switching off location would not do it - why would it? Cell tower data is sold at the carrier as per the article. reply
How much of this data is archived and searchable?Most of the descriptions of the service so far indicate a real time or near real time feed. I'm curious if it's possible to go take a phone number and ask "give me location data for this person around xx:xx at yyyy-mm-dd."
i'm not quite following. are you saying that individual,identifiable location data is being collected and sold? reply
What specific data about the person is traded alongside their location history in the... schemes that you describe? (name? Some govt ID number? Phone number? Address? ....) reply
Ah yes I've personally seen this while working at an OEM. There are a lot of other insane things happening on a phone like CIQ. FYI, listening to users via microphone is one thing that actually does not happen. reply
okay, so, to cut to the chase here: how do we disrupt or destroy the companies doing this?it isn't acceptable that they are taking advantage of us in this way.
we can't expect any political solution to the problem, which leaves us to pursue other means if we want to protect ourselves.
is there a way to introduce fake data or noise? what about opting out?
is there a law being broken here that we can make into a lawsuit? i wonder if there is a precedent regarding restraining orders or unwanted surveillance by private entities...
Making a cell phone out of a pi with a sim card and gps daughter board is sounding less and less crazy each day. Really looking forward to when the librem phone starts shipping. I wonder if they've really been thorough enough vetting hardware for those bare-metal security issues.This is at once staggering and completely unsurprising that companies would violate user trust in such a way and sell data without proper vetting that exploits people and could potentially put them in danger. Yet another episode in the misadventures of techno-illiterate regulation and totally unread TOS agreements.
Even a RPI won't help you unless you can build all of the software for the microprocessors which drive the wireless stack. Even then, vendors (e.g. Qualcomm) will already have their software on the chip when you get it.A completely open spec, open source set of components is what the community has desired for a long time. As standards get more complex and evolve faster, 4G and beyond, it becomes less possible to keep up in the open.
It's funny that this is coming up now. The other day I was on the phone with Geico's roadside assistance and they wanted to know my location. I told them I didn't have their app downloaded, they said it wasn't a problem and they could get it without it. Sure enough they could. I checked their disclaimers [1] and they purchase the data from my cell carrier. They didn't even have to know which one.[1] https://www.geico.com/web-and-mobile/mobile-apps/roadside-as... (see disclaimers at the bottom)
Wow. The fact that they can just get this with "oral approval" (relayed by them to your carrier) is shocking to me. This is ridiculous. reply
The other respondents to this message more or less have it right.The way this stuff works is that when GEICO signed the deal to get access to this, they pinky-swore in a contract to only use the data certain ways.
Often, the representatives on both sides of such transactions even have a wink-wink nod-nod deal going which is different from what the contract materially represents.
Importantly, these contracts virtually always avoid talking about mechanisms for tracking such usage, auditing such usage, and even any remedies for violations (beyond discontinuing the service access - and then only if it's egregious).
You'd be amazed how much in the telecom world is handshake and contractual with no technological enforcement and often neither side of these agreements are incentivized to enforce the terms laid out.
The parts of these agreements that are solid is how transactions, events, etc are measured and what these cost and who pays and how. Shocking, that.
They don't need oral approval or any approval. GEICO is only asking so that their customers won't freak out when GEICO magically knows where they are. The customer service rep probably had the data up on their screen already when they asked. reply
I wonder if they use this data to price insurance -- they would easily know when their drivers are going over the speed limit (or, if such data is not so precise, if their average speed over 10 minutes exceeded the speed limit). reply
More likely is approximating number of miles driven and price discriminating based off that. More miles driven = more risk of an auto accident. Basically pay-per-mile car insurance, but hidden. reply
I believe the relevant T-Mobile privacy policy (that I definitely read before signing up...) is:"With your consent. We may provide location-based services or provide third parties with access to your approximate location to provide services to you." https://www.t-mobile.com/company/website/privacypolicy.aspx
That is why a text message confirmation is required to get a cell phone's location from https://www.locationsmart.com/try/
For those on T-Mobile, there are privacy settings that can be adjusted here: https://my.t-mobile.com/profile/privacy_notifications/advert... I already had all of them disabled, and I was still able to get the location of my cell phone from LocationSmart.
I chatted with T-Mobile support yesterday to see if I could opt-out of them sharing my data. Not surprisingly, the support agent was less than helpful. "Don't worry, your data is secured"
Are there any US carriers that respect privacy and do not share private information with 3rd parties? Or is that a pipe dream?
> Kevin Bankston, director of New America's Open Technology Institute, explained in a phone call that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act only restricts telecom companies from disclosing data to the government. It doesn't restrict disclosure to other companies, who then may disclose that same data to the government.It seems like intelligence services spend a lot of their time dreaming up ways to do an end-run around the law. This is the same reason US intelligence does partnerships with foreign intelligence services.
I'd rather them try to do end-runs around the law than run it up the gut... (If I had to choose) reply
Just think of how amazing the museum will be for your great grandkids when we completely dismantle them when, inevitably, their stated mission goals supersede common sense and a responsible relationship to the American public. reply
I doubt any of the privacy invasions are going anytime soon.The big tech cos pull in ~100B in revenue precisely because they can capitalize on the data.
As long as there is crazy amount of money to be made, it will keep on getting worse. Having hope on the US govt to do anytime is wishful thinking. Govt and corporations are hell bent on knowing everything about you. It gives them the power.
Carriers have been providing these services to 3rd party providers since at least 2006https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2006/feb/01/news.g2
A few points to note:
* Obtaining consent is entirely left to the provider to implement. It does not appear to have any auditing. A provider can query any number they like.
* The opt-in process used by many providers is easy to exploit, by spoofing SMS replies or abusing the SMS template so that the surveillance target does not get notified
* The providers have are well aware of the potential to exploit this and have been for some time. It has never been resolved in over 10 years.
I just discovered this treasure trove from the UK house of commons in 2006https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo06...
"To extend that to adults, The Guardian journalist Ben Goldacre showed recently that someone needs possession of another person's mobile phone for only a couple of minutes to appear to give the consent required under mobile phone companies' current procedures. The person he was tracking never got any of the warning messages that were meant to have been sent to her. Even more scarily, a hacker's website has recently published information telling how to spoof consent without even having to have temporary possession of the target's phone; all that is needed is the number. If someone has a person's number, he can track them. It is not a problem. I know where the website is, but I am not going to tell Members. It is possible to track people just through their phone numbers."
Is it even considered an exploit?It's a cell carrier providing data about the radio communications between hardware they own and someone else. At a moral level, seems somewhat equivalent to a web server providing data about clients that access the server.
To opt out, stop using some third-party corporation's owned hardware to route your communications near lightspeed around the world. Hey, the Amish communities may have something in their overall philosophy of "Don't be beholden to strangers who aren't part of your community."
I'm not clear if you missed the point here? This isn't aggregate data, it's obtaining the location of a specific individual just by knowing their phone number. It can be done without their knowledge or consent.By your webserver analogy, the equivalent would be more akin to google publishing the contact details and search queries of anyone using the service.
One of these days, most of you will finally understand just how right RMS was and is...It's just a shame so many can't see it, and worse, give those of us who do shit.
I am starting to wonder what all have I consented to? Every week I learn I have consented to this and that because of a news article as I never read those contracts or TOS. I wonder if there will be a way to phrase long contracts into bullet list of ideas for someone simple minded like me in the near future. reply
One of the things that GDPR requires is real informed consent, small print hidden inside a thirty-page EULA is not acceptable. reply
And unlike some of the recent proposals in the U.S., it's generalized to all industries. reply
Maybe by some 3rd party then? Maybe an application of all the fancy natural language processing or some other ML. I visit the site, paste the TOS or maybe there is a list of TOS that has been translated and i get a nice gist. reply
I think a more realistic option is Congress imposing a requirement on them, the way the terms of a loan have to be presented in a standard form. reply
The worst part is there isn't any possible way I know of to defend yourself against this other than not having a phone. reply
A while ago I thought of a very neat 'future job': you walk around town with somebody else's phone. So if you 'need to be' somewhere, you just hire this service, deliver your phone, which will be returned to you, and there goes your track record. reply
I'm hoping the Librem 5 succeeds. I think disabling the baseband would be a solve and at least slightly more trustworthy than airplane mode.Right now I think you're right, there's no defending against it without turning off devices.
What about a decentralized networks over 802.11?It wouldn't be a total solution, because access points get hacked, etc. but it would make the data a lot fuzzier.
The reason that cell phone networks actually work (they're effectively decentralized networks) is that they pay the big bucks to rent space on high towers, building roofs, etc.The only thing that matters for radio communications is line of sight. The only thing that gives you line of sight is relative height. The only thing that gives you consistent height is money.
Voice over WiFi definintely works. I don't think ''works'' is the word you are looking for. ''Won't have great coverage'' is maybe what you were going for.A WiFi-based network with stronger privacy characteristics would be valuable to the small part of the market who cares more about privacy than coverage. Those people exist, ya?
>The only thing that gives you consistent height is money.Or long rope, a balloon, and a heat source ;)
You still can't be sure. Your car may contain a SIM card nowadays, always connected, for your protection, sure thing. reply
While unreliable it wouldn't be unrealistic to use wifi in densely populated areas. It looks like the pager industry is still alive, too. reply
Most wifi hotspots have location information anyway, so your phone will know where it is, and then one of the many apps on your phone can report back with that information.And isn't a pager just a really simple cell phone? I'm not sure how that's a solution if cell towers can triangulate your position.
Until/unless they modify the law - turning off your phone thwarts it. While your phone is powered off, it has no ability to track & record your location movements. Obviously your active location will then be picked back up after you power it on, it won't have a record of anything inbetween.A simple example of limiting the invasiveness using this approach, would be to have your phone on only at work & home, or similar. In absence of phone snooping, someone can already easily locate you at those two standard destinations, and can easily discover when you'd typically be at those places (ie you're not giving them much by using your phone there under normal circumstances).
The way I understood it is that the requester of the location is trusted to have gotten consent from the subject of the query. The providers will answer any queries.So Securus works on the "we're sure our customers are getting consent for their inquiries" presumption. What are the consequences if a company is found to not have gotten consent? Business sense dictates there to be no consequence at all if Securus can avoid it.
The way this should work is that the carriers can get permission to share location data with third-parties. They should not do it without having gotten permission from their customer. But then they probably get that when you sign the contract. Or do they just not mention it?
The most obvious use of the data appears to be by credit card companies to detect fraudulent use of a card and decline those transactions. This is something I'm relatively comfortable with, though it's plainly in the interests of the bank and I only indirectly benefit from the tracking. reply
As blocking fraudulent claims could remove a reason for my premiums to he higher, I can't say I'm against that.With the caveat, for course, that people are not always where their phone is so this taken on its own would be circumstantial evidence: one would hope decisions are not made directly based on this information.
It's not in the interest of insurance companies to lower premiums. They only do it if competition is eating them alive. Geico has been raising their margins ever so slightly. I bet they are also the purchasers of ungodly amounts of data for targeting marketing.Insurance companies #1 goal is to make maximum profits for their shareholders without getting caught with their pants down.
Are you changing insurance companies regularly? Why would an insurance company have any reason to reduce your rates unless legally required to? Even if they've been overcharging you for years compared to competitors, if you aren't calling them up and threatening to change insurers, why would they ever give you money back? reply
Or maybe parallel construction used to deny/approve loans. E.g. I can't weight the loan approval negatively specifically bc the person is black, but the GPS information suggests they frequent black areas.But really every use of this information is highly assymetrical. If they're using it to trade stocks, while regular people are using traditional means, it's an advantage we don't have access to. This is basically the virtual castle walls keeping us peasants out in the fields. Modern feudalism.
Yes, I am greatly bothered by it, especially because I am not aware of the extent that my information is being distributed.On the one hand, I opt-in to location tracking for apps and services such as Google services, because I genuinely believe that I benefit greatly from location-targeted information. On the other hand, I would opt out of any other location tracking of my cellphone to companies that I do not see the benefit of having. I want fraud-protection and no liability when it comes to fraudulent purchases (opt-in for credit card companies and banks), but I don't want the government/Facebook/retailers/insurers to have this access without permission.
How do you expect this data to be used in your favor? If there is a technical glitch/human error and your data is intermingled with someone else's, it will be used against you silently and you will have no recourse. reply
I was aware the cell phone companies were selling anonymized data for some time (not revealing the numbers and adding some jitter to the location data to avoid identifying users).This is the first I'm hearing that they're releasing detailed personal tracking by phone number. When I sat in on a recent presentation with Verizon execs they flat out said they were not doing this. Oops.
Airplane mode would work, yes. But it only works against the cell provider. The on-phone GPS can still work and sync the data later. reply
The off button/battery out is a simpler solution. You won't be receiving calls anyway. reply
Previously discussed yesterday, and again two days before that: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17069459This is one of the reasons I use a public-facing Twilio number, which forwards to a private number which I never hand out.
This isn't something that people should have to do to opt-out of tracking like this, but it doesn't seem like there are many other reliable options.
If you take that cell phone home with you regularly and don't live in a multi-unit building, it would be relatively trivial to figure out your identity using this data. reply
Undoubtably. Not a strong protection against doxxing, but might offer some semblance of protection from 'drive-by-lookups'. With a modern smartphone and location services, there's only so much you can do. reply
Just a heads up: Twilio now offers a metric fuckton of services geared towards SIM-enabled IoT. You can order SIM cards by the pile and then bind them to a Twilio number by activating it in the UI (or via API). So now instead of (or in addition to) simply forwarding traffic from garbage numbers to your real number, you can get Twilio numbers that are registered on T-Mobile's network via an actual SIM card, making it much easier to send from your Twilio number than it used to be without it bound to a SIM card. Fairly good price, too. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what happened to Twilio's API as it's now as opaque and awkward as any AWS API (almost as though someone on Twilio's engineering team made the decision to model their API after the way AWS builds their APIs), but the services they offer are as compelling as they always were. I'd give Twilio a solid D for what the API has turned into, but A+ for service innovation. reply
Last time I checked the data price for twilio sim was not good for daily use. Far cheaper to use something like Google Fi and a data only sim. reply
I wondered how the spam callers knew what area code I was in while traveling out of state.I would assume that through clustering analysis (eg coworkers/friends travel together) even fairly coarse position data can allow you to construct relationships. Then they can spam/fish both you end your coworkers with the same fake number. That makes it seem more important to answer and more organic.
A friend of mine just got back from NYC and then received a fake call from an NYC area code. I get several every day from random area codes, and we had to wonder whether it was coincidence or not. reply
When are we going to wake up and reform privacy laws?! This cannot be the new norm.Something about this has to be illegal.
This exploits a vulnerability in the SS7/MAP protocols that power mobile networks worldwide; the cooperation of the carrier isn't even required (even if carriers were against this; bad actors can and will get this data anyway). reply
> the Electronic Communications Privacy Act only restricts telecom companies from disclosing data to the government. It doesn't restrict disclosure to other companiesClearly the US has their priorities completely the wrong way.
Part of the American mythology is that government involvement is always bad. It's hard for me to know if this developed because of the myths of the America Revolution, that a small colony won it alone and not because of external factors, and how much is due to people preaching small government politics. Regardless a distrust of the government seems to be ingrained in the American psyche IMO. reply
Small government just means localized government.At a more local level, people have much more influence and ability to change problems that they see. At a more federal level, policy is imposed without localities having much/any influence.
That centralization and imposition of policy that half the country opposes is the reason for the political divide that we see today. If the same policies that we argue about so much were implemented at a state level, people would have the ability vote with their feet.
That doesn't mean some legislation shouldn't be federal, but there is a reason that the intention was for federal policy to be overwhelmingly agreed upon rather than forced in along party lines.
This is a good summary. The US was designed similar to the EU; each "state" is autonomous, but some things are shared, like currency, etc. Allowing frictionless movement between states is also paramount (and explicitly defined).The logic being, if a state starts to get out of control, you can just move to another state. This allows states to experiment with various laws specific to the population.
Most of this was undone with the Civil War. As abhorrent as it was, the federal government had no legal power to ban slavery outside a constitutional amendment. The 13th-15th amendments actually banned slavery after the war, not the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, the federal government bans whatever it pleases and uses the commerce clause to skirt the constitution.
Take the drug war for example. Because a group of drugs was federally banned, states were powerless to do anything about it. I think most people would agree that federally banning all drugs ended up being a terrible idea and ruined many lives and families over the course of it's execution. It continues to do so today. If the constitution was actually followed, each state can determine which drugs it would allow. As far as I know, Colorado hasn't devolved into a cesspool of depravity since it legalized pot. Imagine all the hell that could have been avoided if states were allowed to decide which drugs to ban rather than the federal government.
Of course a strong federal government has some plusses as well. It was hotly debated during the country's inception, but the ultimate compromise all the states agreed to is what we got.
Ahaha what? There's no myth that we won it alone. Elementary school texts on the subject lay it out fairly clearly that we did it with the French. reply
There are a worrying number of people in the US who believe in American exceptionalism. When the French are brought up by them, it's generally in the context of "We saved their asses in WWII", not "They were vital in our war of independence". reply
Trump just spent his formal state visit with Macron repeatedly extolling the role the French played in American independence. Trump addresses almost everything he does to the same audience that elected him (the same people that your premise would imply don't understand how vital France was to US independence). It's blatantly clear that average Americans for two centuries have understood the very important role France played. It is taught in all schools in the US.Just about all nations believe in their own exceptionalism. Ask a person from Scandinavia what the best nations on earth are sometime. You really don't need to ask, they'll start all of their replies with: in Sweden we are bestest. Ask a French person how glorious their culture is. Ask a person from China how extraordinary their nation is and about how it's going to dominate the world in the future. Ask a German who makes the best cars on earth (they'll volunteer that, you know, Americans should make better cars if they want to fix the trade deficit, snark snark, chortle). Ask a Canadian if their country provides for a superior way of life vs the US - they won't hesitate for a second to proclaim that as a matter of fact their way of doing things is superior. Ask a Japanese person, off the record, if they're superior to the Chinese.
America's exceptionalism, is that it's the only nation aggressively called out for believing it's exceptional.
'Generally'.Also, a severe lack of commentary on those who live in other countries believing in their own exceptionalism. So not sure what you're responding to.
There's no doubt that those were factors that aided. As always nothing in world history happened due to a singular factor or cause. But it is not mythology that a lot of brave and enlightened people fought an empire and have become a very successful country. What next? Are we to discount the Allies win over the Axis because well the Third Reich was worn down due to fighting in Russia? I am a US born citizen and criticize our country quite a bit, but it is insulting to say that the uprising here wasn't the main factor in us achieving our independence. reply
Until the levee en masse in France pretty much all European armies consisted of mercenaries, criminals, and various other people considered the dregs of society, rather than patriotic citizens devoted to the cause.Also the British Empire lasted significantly longer and a big factor in pulling out was protecting the Caribbean possessions from the French.
Probably a bigger myth is that farmers hid out in trees and picked off stuffy Englishmen foolishly clinging to warfare in lines (so why was von Steuben important, then?), which only comes close to describing reality in places like Kentucky where a bunch of partisans were participating in what we might today call guerilla warfare. But even in that case it was less picking off soldiers and more killing your loyalist or patriot neighbors. Warfare in lines was completely logical given the weapons available at the time. reply
> There's no myth that we won it alone.Yes, there is.
> Elementary school texts on the subject lay it out fairly clearly that we did it with the French.
Textbooks are a mixed bag, but most I've seen at K-12 levels do mention that the French eventually were involved in some way, but very few give a real idea of the nature, extent (material or temporal), and criticality of French aid. E.g., approximately zero note that France started covertly arming and funding independence-minded Americans before the Declaration of Independence.
But even if the textbooks told the whole story, that wouldn't disprove the existence of a popular myth, it would just make it's persistence more remarkable.
Even if it were factually accurate that we won it alone, the story of the revolutionary war has still taken on mythic status in our society. The revolutionary war is just as much a mythic story as many religious stories. reply
Another part of the American mystique is that every politician is for sale via legal bribery where companies donate to their campaigns and get them to do mostly whatever the company wants, totally contrary to the interests of the public. reply
They do, some folks.The idea is companies, caring only about their own revenue, are purer of heart than politicians who are interested primarily in their own social status.
... that a kind of bulk morality emerges from many individuals all working to maximize a single product's sales.
It's reasonable and wise to distrust government. What is unreasonable is American blind faith in private industry.This tracking is a great example of the threat posed by industry to individual citizens.
You leave out another option: Americans distrust government because we see it fail us every day. Corruption, police brutality, inefficiency, politician sleaze baggery...In general corporations provide a much higher quality service than the government in the US.
It always boggles my mind how 1/2 the people that realize and complain about those things go on to recommend more government and that only they should have effective guns. reply
It's not half, it's a tiny percent who recommend those things.Saying half the country wants those things because they vote D is the same as saying half the country wants to ban Muslims because they vote R.
You can't treat populations as individuals. You can't take the many desires of a group of people and expect them to make sense as if they were one mind.
This mindset is the reason political discussion has broken down in this country. Rather than treat each other as individuals with diverse opinions, we treat each other as mini clones of the nonsensical amalgam of the worst aspects of half the country.
You make a good point about the government, but I don't agree it extends to corporations. Corporations do much of the dirty work of the government.Defense contractors and mining concerns operate hand-in-hand with the government, training police, researching weapons, running prisons, crunching data. Look at the story of this article: it's corporations doing the dirty work the government isn't technically allowed to do.
Furthermore corporations only submit to greatly reduced requirements for attending to those with special needs, like in wheelchairs, deaf, etc. There are some valuable services provided to them, like closed captioning, but only under passioned support from idealists and with profit incentive.
If we left it all to corporations, only the most able-bodied and well-off people would run the country for the most able-bodied and well-off, forming tight-knit circles to maintain their power and never perceiving the world as a place for living, only protecting power.
> ...There are some valuable services provided to them, like closed captioning, but only under passioned support from idealists and with profit incentive.It's worth noting that video closed captioning had to be mandated by law (Telecommunications Act of 1996) before it became universal[1]. Some broadcasters were ahead of the curve & implemented it prior to the legislation, but it was rarely comprehensive.
Of course, this just underscores your point that disabled consumers were not a large enough group to have their needs met by market forces alone.
[1] https://www.fcc.gov/general/telecommunications-act-1996-and-...
The clever part is that the government in turn is allowed to purchase data from the other companies. reply
Also, if a government employee does a lookup in their spare time as a private person out of curiosity, it is ok? Or if they ask their friend to do the lookup? reply
Why? Releasing the data to the government creates Big Brother. I thought we were all against that? reply
Now you've created a corporate Big Brother, who is hell bent on pure profits and doesn't even have to answer to you in the elections. Is that better? reply
Yes? Government Big Brother can put me in jail just because a cell phone record said I was near a crime while being committed. Corporate Big Brother can only make money from me. reply
Here the difference shows pretty clearly, as I would trust the government more than any company. Government serves the people, while companies mostly care just about profit. Any of companies' privacy concerns are related to legal and PR risks.Being from Northern Europe, I do feel I have a good reason to trust the government. It's a machine that is working for my benefit, with my tax money, and is held accountable via my votes.
''Here the difference shows pretty clearly, as I would trust the government more than any company.''What the?
''Government serves the people''
Wait seriously?
''Being from Northern Europe,''
OH. Yea, I'm pretty sure there is a cultural difference we just aren't going to agree on. I don't know what country you are from but I'm going to guess it's population is pretty small and what you effectively have is small government anyway.
Whether or not they live up to that purpose is another discussion, but at a base level the government exists to serve the people while (for-profit) corporations exist to make money. Regardless of cultural differences. reply
What stops Corporate Brother from voluntarily sharing/selling/giving data to the government out of patriotism? Or for some help in exchange. Especially if done unofficially. reply
Well, such a release should of course be limited, regulated and with oversight. But I'd argue that at least police should have some possibility to get at customer data, even without opt-in.Release of privacy-sensitive data to other companies should strictly be by clear customer opt-in, with clear limits on its use. And even some of that should be forbidden for semi-monopolies such as telecom providers.
Contrasted to Palantir, Facebook, cambridge analytica and private firms working for NSA?Ironically, governments are somewhat still under democratic control... somewhat.
Corporations are completely authoritarian, and by design.
But that act says it's telecoms that can't sell it to the government. Doesn't the government purchase data from other 3rd party entities anyways? reply
What if I as an European visit the states? Am I protected by through some agreements with my local provider or even GDPR? reply
Maybe [1]. I wouldn't count on being protected while outside the EU.Art. 3 GDPR Territorial scope
Article 3(1) This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the Union by a controller or processor not established in the Union, where the processing activities are related to:
Article 3(2)(a) - the offering of goods or services, irrespective of whether a payment of the data subject is required, to such data subjects in the Union; orArticle 3(2)(b) - the monitoring of their behaviour as far as their behaviour takes place within the Union.
Article 3(3) This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data by a controller not established in the Union, but in a place where Member State law applies by virtue of public international law.
[1] https://gdpr-info.eu/art-3-gdpr/
Practically you're just going to get extra tracked because you're a foreigner. Also if the articles about TSA borrowing your phone to clone it real quick or forcing you to log into facebook are true, I wouldn't expect them to abide to GDPR. reply
Through FISA, all foreigners are legal monitorable, no matter what.This is part of how US mass surveillance works. We record everything and if it turns out to be a citizen, we're supposed to throw it out. Of course in reality, it goes to the Parallel Construction Department who uses the information to build a case against someone through other means, knowing the answer in advance.
I'm shocked that anyone is shocked about this! Transportation departments have been buying this data since the late 90s.More creepy are the planning solutions for commercial development. You can buy datasets that will tell you the average income of drivers on larger highways in hourly buckets.
So as a private citizen, I can pool some money and get the same level of tracking that American intellignece services have of individual cell hardware?Sounds like a win for the citizens.
> Cook: What would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? His answer: ''I wouldn't be in this situation.''Sounds like one of those situations to me...
The article mentions banks tracking your credit card usage to detect fraud. Are there known instances of banks reselling this location data? reply
I tried location smart website said location accuracy was up to 14 miles off. They were really 4 miles off. So not that accurate. If it was 2 blocks like other poster I'd be worried. reply
Has anyone suggested a practical way that people can avoid being tracked? (Aside from Airplane Mode or keeping your phone in a Faraday Cage) reply
I see a lot of suggestions about reducing or shutting off your signals, but what about boosting them in certain directions? As far as I understand cell tower triangulation, having a stronger signal in one direction might offset your calculated position in that direction. I wouldn't expect that to decrease connectivity, just require special equipment and more battery life. reply
If it's happening at the carrier level (triangulation via towers) there's zero you can do at the client (your phone) besides stop transmission by turning it off or placing it in a faraday cage. reply
It sounds like GPS units are also involved: tower triangulation is inaccurate so by carrying a phone that has no GPS you would be able to claw back a few meters. reply
Out of all the solutions suggested - this is the most practical. This would actually fix the problem at hand. Make it illegal for them to either obtain and/or sell this data. reply
There's no way to do this without using your own antenna network. Even then, you need encryption just to anonymize your calls, but if you end up talking to people subscribed to the same carriers you're trying to avoid, you can trivially be de-anonymized by timing attacks. So there's no good solution, unless you're willing to turn your calls to voice mail.More practical solutions would include:
-(physically) Powered off radio unless you want to make a call. A clear drawback is that you can't receive calls.
-Satphones. I'm pretty sure satellite phone providers aren't in this yet. They could be, but my guess is that they wouldn't want to waste bandwidth triangulating their users. Also satellite-based triangulation would be much harder and less accurate, and if you use your own directional antenna and sat-tracking mount, you can avoid this altogether. Until they start installing phased array antennas or something.
-Finding a provider that doesn't sell your data to third parties. Probably the hardest of all, and you have to rely on their word.
It used to be possible to buy prepaid SIM cards with cash and not have to provide any identification. AFAIK, this isn't possible anymore. Does anyone know for sure? reply
Laws are everywhere to prevent this, because without ID, a terrorist can buy a SIM card and put it in his GSM-controlled IED. Not sure how strong it is being enforced though, the terrorist can just give a homeless guy a few bucks to buy a SIM card for him. IIRC when I bought a SIM card in an Asian country I went to visit, the seller just entered her ID number into the system. reply
The real question being: How hard is it to bypass/cheat the identification requirement? Especially considering the US doesn't even have something like an official ID card.They also changed this in Germany. Now you have to fill out a form to activate your SIM, but afaik nobody ever checks if the information in the form is actually yours.
The providers in our country require ID. I think there was an EU directive in 2006 that gradually forced all providers to require identification. Of course this doesn't stop criminals in the slightest, they just get second hand SIMs registered by homeless or just SIMs from outside the EU, so it was a pointless law with regards to reducing crime, but if the goal was more surveillance they did ok. reply
You don't have to use a Google powered phone. But the modern economy almost demands you have a cell phone. reply
Carrier IQ was far more invasive than just location. Their "Experience Manager" was supposedly tracking every app launch, time spent in that app, metrics on key & button presses within that app, and other misc interactions.They got accused of being a "keylogger" which they rightly said they weren't, but that ignores how invasive and creepy Experience Manager was (is?). Their whole argument was that carriers can use this app data to see what apps are draining battery, which is kind of bs since carriers are in no position to resolve battery issues or advise customers.
The reality is that carriers wanted more information on how customers were using their devices, Carrier IQ provided that raw data, and both got rich. They survived the scandal because the critics focused on keylogging, instead of the highly invasive usage analytics which it really was.
Carriers are also selling your billing records. They offer a service to return the carrier billing address/name based on the mobile number.Not only this but late last year all 4 of the major US carriers are offering APIs to convert mobile IP to a billing record (name/address/phone number).
It's so strange--I never would have expected the boot of tyranny to come from private corporations, but here we are. And what all this proves is that technology is value-neutral and can wipe us all out, or just make us incredibly miserable, if we let it.Hopefully there will be a way to opt out. Otherwise, I should start selling faraday bags for devices. Probably should anyways.
This tracking abomination is an emergent phenomenon of the merger of private industry and government in the US. See for example both legalized bribery (a.k.a. unlimited campaign contributions by corporations thanks to Citizens United) and outright bribery (Cohen) by telecoms like AT&T, ensuring that they will have the flexibility to perpetrate such garbage as this tracking data sale.Why not distrust both government and industry? The rule "power corrupts" holds in either case.
Why not? Both government and private industry bring innumerable benefits to humanity. But we can and should view them both with constant skepticism and exercise vigilance. Why should holding one accountable mean that we can't hold the other accountable?If you're looking for someone to root for, I'd suggest the individual citizen.
> Hopefully there will be a way to opt outDon't use a cellphone.
See also: the FBI can't wiretap your phone lines if you never use a telephone.
Live in a cabin in the woods and never have contact with anyone. Now your surveillance worries are solved. reply
I think it depends a lot on the kind of capitalism you have. There's what I think of as small-business capitalism, where business owners in a community naturally take the community's interest into account because that's where they live.I think that's distinct from American MBA capitalism, which is the increase-shareholder-value, up-and-to-the-right, maximize-short-term-cash-gains kind.
The former is positive-sum, the latter can easily be negative sum. And I think the latter, because it doesn't include any humanity in its calculus, is perfectly capable of profitable tyrrany.
I've just started using Signal and was surprised by how good the call quality is. For those that aren't aware, Signal calls are encrypted, so you effectively give nothing to the cell carrier when you make a call through it (except that you used some data). reply
Unless I misunderstood, this has nothing to do with what apps you use to communicate. It has to do with connecting to the cellular network at all. I think the only way around this would be to run airplane mode with wifi only, and then taking lots of steps to keep your wifi use private too. reply
While it is true that Signal's call quality is great, this doesn't seem relevant to the fact that cell providers can track you regardless of what apps you use. reply
> Signal calls are encrypted, so you effectively give nothing to the cell carrier when you make a call through it (except that you used some data).Maybe not to your carrier, but presumably Google could capture some form of metadata.
Mycroft Talking Tube
Social p2p integration is important, yet we're not even looking at each other or others on the street! Phone Zombies
Millennial Producer goes OTG
Hello Adam, Great show 1034. I wanted to share my experience
with social media / screen addiction.
I am a 22 year old slave in Gitmo Nation, and I recently had
two things happen that have made me realize how bad social media is for us.
I stopped using my iPhone in favor of a cheap flip phone,
and my laptop died. I have noticed withdrawal symptoms, not unlike those of the
use of benzodiazepenes (Xanax and Klonopin, both of which I have abused in the
past) and quite similar to that of large quantities of THC.
It really has been helpful to me, and I'd recommend it to
anyone else who has struggled with mental health issues- it's quite likely I
was substituting online communication with the real thing.
Thanks Adam. Keep it up.
What Google can really do with Nest, or really, Nest's data '' Ars Technica
Thu, 17 May 2018 08:36
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Location Sharing with Google Home | Hackaday
Thu, 17 May 2018 08:14
With Google's near-monopoly on the internet, it can be difficult to get around in cyberspace without encountering at least some aspect of this monolithic, data-gathering giant. It usually takes a concerted effort, but it is technically possible to do. While [Mat] is still using some Google products, he has at least figured out a way to get Google Home to work with location data without actually sharing that data with Google, which is a step in the right direction.
[Mat]'s goal was to use Google's location sharing features through Google Home, but without the creepiness factor of Google knowing everything about his life, and also without the hassle of having to use Google Maps. He's using a few things to pull this off, including a NodeRED server running on a Raspberry Pi Zero, a free account from If This Then That (IFTTT), Tasker with AutoRemote plugin, and the Google Maps API key. With all of that put together, and some configuration of IFTTT he can ask his Google assistant (or Google Home) for location data, all without sharing that data with Google.
This project is a great implementation of Google's tools and a powerful use of IFTTT. And, as a bonus, it gets around some of the creepiness factor that Google tends to incorporate in their quest to know all the data.
The AI is Always Watching | Hackaday
Thu, 17 May 2018 08:13
My phone can now understand me but it's still an idiot when it comes to understanding what I want. We have both the hardware capacity and the software capacity to solve this right now. What we lack is the social capacity.
We are currently in a dumb state of personal automation. I have Google Now enabled on my phone. Every single month Google Now reminds me of bills coming due that I have already paid. It doesn't see me pay them, it just sees the email I received and the due date. A creature of habit, I pay my bills on the last day of the month even though that may be weeks early. This is the easiest thing in the world for a computer to learn. But it's an open loop system and so no learning can happen.
Earlier this month [Cameron Coward] wrote an outstanding pair or articles on AI research that helped shed some light on this problem. The correct term for this level of personal automation is ''weak AI''. What I want is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) on a personal level. But that's not going to happen, and I am the problem. Here's why.
Blindfolding AILike most people, my phone is now part of who I am. Although I spend hours a day using an actual desktop computer (that's the kind where the monitor and keyboard aren't one integrated part of the computer) much of my life passes though a 5.2'" touchscreen. Google is always watching but for now it's relegated to a small portion of what is going on. It sees those monthly bill notices I previously mentioned because I use gmail, but it doesn't watch my browser activity close enough to see me pay them.
Everything in life needs an impetus to happen. If there isn't a closed loop on my bill payments it's no surprise that I get deprecated reminders about them. This means my current automation is annoying rather than assistive. It can't see everything I do.
How to Look at Someone Without Creeping Them OutCayla is always listeningIn many cultures there is a social norm that you don't stare at people. That is to say, there are times when it is and isn't appropriate to look at people; there is a maximum amount of time you can continue gazing upon them; and the rules that make this work are a game of moving goal posts.
Yet almost all humans are capable of, and do learn this game. Even strangers who have never met you before can quickly recognize when you need help and if they should offer it or not. This is the keystone to unlocking useful personal AI. It's also an incredibly difficult task.
A much easier method is to watch absolutely everything the user does. This makes a lot more data available but it's super creepy and raises a ton of ethical concerns. Being observed the majority of the time is unprecedented '-- there's no human-to-human paradigm for this type of watchfulness. And the early technology paradigms have not been going well. Just last week authorities in Germany recommended that owners of a doll called ''Cayla'' destroy the microphones housed within. The doll's microphone is always listening, routing what is heard through a voice recognition service with servers outside of the country.
Creepiness aside, privacy is a major issue with allowing an system to watch everything you do. If that information is somehow breached it would be an identity theft goldmine. Would your AI need to know to shut itself down anytime you walk into a public restroom, hospital, or other sensitive environment? How could you trust that it had done so on every occasion?
My mind also jumps to a whimsical scenario where your personal AI gets a bit too smart and decides to blackmail you (a Douglas-Adams-like thought'... I will try to keep this discussion on the track of what is plausible). More likely, once your personal assistant knows you well enough and proves it can get you to do your work more efficiently it'll be promoted from your assistant to your manager. Are you still an effective team?
Machine Learning as a Social NormSeth Bling's neural network learning Super Mario WorldMachine learning is the key to doing amazing things. But gain a bit of understanding of how it works and you immediately see where the problem lies. A machine can learn to play video games at a very high level, but it must be allowed to see all aspects of the game play and requires concrete success metrics like a high score or rare/valuable collected items.
Yes, for a personal AI to be truly useful it must have nearly unrestricted access to collect data by watching you in daily life. But I think it goes even a step further. An AI can't speed-run your Monday over and over the way it would a level of Super Mario World. For machine learning to work in this case it needs to share data across large populations to get a useful set. It would definitely work, but that's a peeping-tom network of epic proportions. That's not an uncanny valley, it's a horror movie plot.
We have already seen the implications of this flavor of data collection. Social media is the machine learning without any of the AI benefits. Millions of people have published what might seem to them as innocuous information on innumerable platforms. But big data turns that innocuous information into predictions about the behavior of segments of the population.
If the dopamine drip of social media got people to share all of this data, what impact would effective personal AI have? It would be your friend, advisor, confidant, all in one. I tip my hat to Charles Stross who depicted a very scary AI in his book Accelerando. It takes the form of realistic robotic house cat. It's incredibly easy to underestimate abstract intelligence.
Given Access, AI Still Lacks VisionGoogle's 'Inceptionism' turned out some trippy images but it still doesn't know what it's looking at.The current state of the art could allow a unified data collection effort to watch everything on your various computers and portable devices. It could listen to the audio in your life. And even record video of limited use.
First things first, even given total digital access to your life it is a big task to make sense of everything you're doing. This is not an insurmountable challenge right now, but it would certainly require that the processing happen remotely to get the necessary horsepower. The same goes for audio data. This is already the case for many systems like the Amazon's Echo, Apple's Siri, Google's Allo, and for children's toys like the aforementioned Cayla and Mattel's Barbie.
Video recognition doesn't really exist right now. This is the real cutting edge of a lot of robotics research (think self-driving cars and military robots) so it is surely coming. As with voice recognition, there are services like Google Cloud Vision that depend on a system of constraints: orientation of the item to the camera, lighting levels, known sets to compare, and more. But in the foreseeable future I don't think that dependable computer vision will be a suitable data source for personal AI purposes.
This is a real problem for making sense of our lives. How will your AI know who you are talking to? Without a view of what you see, gathering context becomes very hard. And the most obvious route for this input would have been wearable cameras like Google Glass. We all know how that turned out. Perhaps Snapchat's entry into that field will change the landscape.
What We Could Get But Won'tOkay, I've done a lot of bellyaching about the problems. If those were all solved, what do I actually want? In a nutshell I want my intelligence augmented.
If my wife and I have a passing conversation about a musical coming to town I want my personal AI to remember and tell me when tickets go on sale. For that matter, I want it to know my seating and cost preferences for me and to check my calendar and my wife's calendar to choose the perfect day, simply asking me to pull the trigger on the purchase. I want it to know that we usually will pair a show with a dinner or with drinks afterward and the collate our restaurant visit history to guess which place we would most enjoy visiting this time around. I want the moon.
But I also want privacy. I want my humanity, and I want to live my own life. So I'll pull myself back from visions of a brave new world and appreciate what we have: access to information which was lunacy to imagine 30 years ago. Technology will continue its march forward and we will benefit from it. But for now that tech isn't and can't watch us closely enough to make an Artificial General Intelligence system part of your daily life. But people will try and that will be very interesting to read about on Hackaday.
'I Lost It': The Boss Who Banned Phones, and What Came Next - WSJ
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:16
Two thousand six hundred seventeen times a day. That is how often the average person taps, pokes, pinches or swipes their personal phone.
It all adds up to about 2 hours and 25 minutes, according to a study by mobile app research firm Dscout Inc. And a good chunk of that time comes during work hours.
Jason Brown had had enough of it. Two years ago, the chief executive of Brown, Parker & DeMarinis Advertising paused for a moment to look across the meeting room as he delivered a presentation. The majority of those gathered were fiddling with their phones.
''I lost it,'' says Mr. Brown.
In his anger, he issued a companywide edict: ''Don't show up at a meeting with me with your phone. If someone shows up with their phone, it'll be their last meeting.''
Many managers are conflicted about how'--or even whether'--to limit smartphone use in the workplace. Smartphones enable people to get work done remotely, stay on top of rapid business developments and keep up with clients and colleagues. But the devices are also the leading productivity killers in the workplace, according to a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 executives and human-resource managers conducted by CareerBuilder, an HR software and services company.
There is also some evidence that productivity suffers in the mere presence of smartphones. When workers in a recent study by the University of Texas and University of California had their personal phones placed on their desks'--untouched'--their cognitive performance was lower than when their devices were in another location, such as in a handbag or the pocket of a coat hanging near their workspace.
''I firmly believe that multitasking is a myth,'' says Bill Hoopes, an IT project manager at L3 Technologies Inc.
Mr. Hoopes put his convictions into practice at group gatherings when he took over a team of about 25 people at the aerospace defense company three years ago. ''Every time someone's phone went off, they had to stand for the rest of the meeting,'' he says. Before long, he asked the group to leave their phones at their desks when two or more people got together.
Over time, he says, he has noticed not only an improvement in the quality of conversation and ideas in meetings, but also that his people seem to show more respect and appreciation for one another's work.
Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, banned technology from meetings about two years ago and recently asked that his executive team and other managers not check their phones as they walk to and from meetings.
''Don't act like we're too important to say hello,'' he says he told them. ''Make eye contact with people.''
Mr. Ishbia is now piloting another solution to phone addiction. A group of about 250 workers are part of an experiment in which they refrain from all personal phone use at their desks. If they want to use their devices they must go to a common area designated for phone use and socializing. Forty-five days into the trial run, workers are checking their phones a lot less, he said.
Bryan Lee, a product manager at enterprise software company Docker Inc., suspected that his daily phone use was a problem, so last month he installed an app called Moment on his iPhone that tracks the total amount of daily time he spent on his phone. His first measurement revealed four hours in a day. Since early April, he's reduced that to roughly an hour.
At work, Mr. Lee persuaded his team of eight to download the app and post their daily phone hours on a whiteboard. The team member with the lowest time gets bragging rights.
''We're thinking of having a trophy we can pass around'--or maybe just shaming the loser,'' he says.
Handheld devices can be a valuable source of information during office gatherings. Shane Wooten, CEO of enterprise video platform company Vidplat LLC, recently surprised a group of corporate clients with a request that they leave their electronic devices outside. ''They didn't like it,'' he says.
Since January, Mr. Wooten has limited personal devices at meetings with his employees and faced some resistance. Workers argue their phones are vital for staying in touch with a sick child or researching information relevant to the meeting.
''I told them we're not in middle school,'' he says. ''I'm not collecting phones in a bucket. Just don't have it out faceup on the table.''
Google Inc. announced last week that the next version of its operating system for Android phones will include a feature that is meant to a help people who feel tethered to their devices. It will let users see how much time they spend on their phones, show which apps they use the most and display how often the phone gets unlocked.
Software may be the key, because not all workplace solutions work. The no-phones-at-meetings rule at Mr. Brown's ad agency lasted about two months, because it wasn't all that effective.
Instead of phones, staffers wore smartwatches to meetings or brought their laptops, which were just as distracting, he says, adding that workers said they were worried about missing calls and emails from clients.
Now, he tells his 40 employees not to attend meetings unless they really have to be there and strongly advises they fully engage.
Mr. Brown missed his phone too and likened the experience to outlawing alcohol during the Prohibition era: ''A theoretical state that almost no one wants to live in, including those making the rules,'' he says.
Write to John Simons at John.Simons@wsj.com
FaceBag Analytica
Facebook deleted 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018 - CNET
Wed, 16 May 2018 02:18
Facebook deletes millions of accounts every day, the social network revealed.
/ Getty Images Facebook is in a state of constant deletion.
The social network released its Community Standards Enforcement Report for the first time on Tuesday, detailing how many spam posts it's deleted and how many fake accounts it's taken down in the first quarter of 2018. In a blog post on Facebook, Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said the social network disabled about 583 million fake accounts during the first three months of this year -- the majority of which, it said, were blocked within minutes of registration.
That's an average of over 6.5 million attempts to create a fake account every day from Jan. 1 to March 31. Facebook boasts 2.2 billion monthly active users, and if Facebook's AI tools didn't catch these fake accounts flooding the social network, its population would have swelled immensely in just 89 days.
Facebook has been dealing with mounting pressure from lawmakers and public opinion over how powerful it's become. In April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress , promising greater transparency and responsibility from the social network. Facebook has gone under intense scrutiny over issues of disinformation campaigns from Russian trolls , as well as a data scandal involving 87 million people .
Fake and automated accounts plague other popular services too, including Twitter and YouTube. A Pew Research Center report in April said that two-thirds of tweeted links on Twitter came from bots, while a study last year from the University of Oxford showed that bots on social networks were a significant force in swaying political opinions .
Rosen also said that Facebook blocks millions of fake account attempts every day from even attempting to register, but did not specify how many.
A key tool in the fight against fake accounts: artificial intelligence. But AI isn't perfect. While it blocked more than 500 million fake accounts, Facebook estimates that about 3 percent to 4 percent of accounts on the website are fake.
Even at that low percentage, with Facebook's massive scale that's at least 66 million fake accounts hiding in plain sight on the social network.
Facebook's AI also went after 837 million spam posts in the first quarter, nearly all of which it deleted before anyone reported the posts.
CNET Daily News Get today's top news and reviews collected for you.Some other stats from the first quarter of the year: Facebook down 21 million pieces of adult nudity and sexual activity; took down or applied warning labels to about 3.5 million pieces of violent content; and removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech.
The work won't be ending anytime soon -- if ever.
"We're up against sophisticated adversaries who continually change tactics to circumvent our controls, which means we must continuously build and adapt our efforts," Rosen said. "It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology."
Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.
Blockchain Decoded: CNET looks at the tech powering bitcoin -- and soon, too, a myriad of services that will change your life.
Facebook took down almost 1.3 billion fake accounts in last six months - Recode
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:35
Facebook disabled nearly 1.3 billion ''fake'' accounts over the past two quarters, many of them bots ''with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams,'' the company said on Monday.
Facebook disabled 583 million accounts in Q1 2018, down from 694 million accounts in Q4 of last year, a decrease the company attributes to its ''variability of our detection technology's ability to find and flag them.''
Most of the accounts ''were disabled within minutes of registration,'' Facebook claimed in a blog post, but Facebook doesn't catch all fake accounts. The company estimates that 3 percent to 4 percent of its monthly active users are ''fake,'' up from 2 percent to 3 percent in Q3 of 2017, according to filings documents.
Those numbers are big, a reminder of what Facebook is up against just 18 months after it was learned that a Russian troll farm used Facebook to try and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook says it finds most of the accounts on its own using software algorithms, but a small percentage '-- about 1.5 percent of the disabled accounts '-- were discovered after they were flagged by Facebook users.
Facebook published the numbers for the first time on Tuesday, along with another set of numbers outlining the other kinds of content the company takes down on a regular basis.
Publishing the data is a way for Facebook to hold itself accountable, but it's also a chance for Facebook to show users that it's actually working on these problems in the background, something that's not always obvious to the average user scrolling through her News Feed.
''This is the start,'' said Guy Rosen, a Facebook product VP working on safety and security. ''People can report a lot more types of bad things [than we are updating here.] So we want to have more numbers to share [next time].''
The numbers Facebook is sharing this time focus on major content categories. The company removed 21 million ''pieces of adult nudity or porn,'' for example, the vast majority of which was discovered using software programs. It also removed 2.5 million pieces of ''hate speech,'' 56 percent more content than the 1.6 million pieces it removed in Q4.
Unlike nudity or terrorism-related content, though, hate speech is still primarily discovered by humans, not software programs. Only 38 percent of the hate speech Facebook removed in Q1 was first identified by algorithms. That's an improvement over 23.6 percent in Q4, but still much smaller than some of the other content categories Facebook looks for.
That makes sense, as ''hate speech'' is much more subjective than nudity. What one person might describe as hate speech, another might describe as free speech. The fact that Facebook still has trouble detecting it without human help shows that the problem won't go away anytime soon.
''Hate speech is really hard,'' said Alex Schultz, Facebook's VP of analytics, in a briefing with reporters. ''There's nuance, there's context. The technology just isn't there to really understand all of that, let alone in a long long list of languages.''
Facebook has been working to win back the trust of its users ever since the 2016 election '-- and the more recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal in which user data was collected by an outside research firm without users' consent.
Facebook rewrote its data policies, and also published the rulebook it uses for content policy decisions over the past few months. It plans to publish data around what types of posts it removes every six months or so moving forward.
''We hope we get better, but there is the interesting balance around what happens in the real world versus what happens on our site,'' Schultz said. ''It would be good for the world if wars ended, and I'm sure that would be good for the graphic violence number on Facebook. Also there could be another war breakout, and that would be terrible, and that would be bad for those numbers.''
''I think we should measure them well, and we should be good at explaining to you why they have moved,'' he added.
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Facebook Says It's Policing Fake Accounts. But They're Still Easy to Spot. - The New York Times
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:35
How do bots and trolls work to infiltrate social media platforms and influence U.S. elections? We take a closer look at these insidious online pests to explain how they work. Published On Oct. 31, 2017WASHINGTON '-- Executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google pledged to Congress this week to do more to prevent the fakery that has polluted their sites. ''We understand that the people you represent expect authentic experiences when they come to our platform,'' Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, told the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said the company was doubling its review staff to 20,000 and using artificial intelligence to find more ''bad actors.''
Mr. Stretch, meet Keven S. Eversley. Mr. Eversley's Facebook profile informs us that he is from Minneapolis. But a glance at the web address for his profile reveals a different name: Aleksandar Teovski. And nearly all of his Facebook friends, his family photographs, his alma mater and even his employer are in Macedonia, a center for internet fakery.
Despite months of talk about the problem of fraud facing Facebook and other tech companies, and vows to root it out, their sites remain infected by obvious counterfeits. The Russian influence operation during the 2016 election, which occasioned the three congressional hearings this week, is only one especially consequential sample of a far larger problem, in which the platforms are gamed for profit or political influence.
Image Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, testified this week before multiple congressional committees. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times Most experts say financial motives for the chicanery, in fact, are far more common than political goals. ''Keven Eversley'' is probably a case in point. Every few days, the Eversley profile posts on Facebook links to sensational, if fact-challenged, articles, all from the same obscure website, conswriters.com: President Trump has ended welfare for immigrants; the F.B.I. was ordered to halt its investigation into the mass shooting in Las Vegas; Hillary Clinton was ''hit with terrible news'' about Benghazi, Libya.
Conswriters.com, like hundreds of ''clickbait'' sites, pastes enticing headlines on articles that read like the work of time-pressed high school students. But it is packed with Google ads that generate revenue for every click, highlighting Google's foundational role in the ecosystem of online deception.
Jonathan L. Zittrain, who studies the internet and society at Harvard, said the companies are reluctant to aggressively purge bogus users and deceptive content because of their business model, which is built on signing up more and more people.
''These platforms are oriented to maximize user growth and retention,'' Mr. Zittrain said. ''That means not throwing up even tiny hurdles along the sign-up runway, and not closing accounts without significant cause. I suspect they figure there are enough accounts that are the subject of complaints to review without looking for more to assess.''
It takes no great technical expertise to spot the dubious accounts, and amateur sleuths around the country have taken up the task. Zachary Elwood, a technical writer and an author of poker books in Portland, Ore., who started tracking evidence of fake Facebook profiles this year, found dozens of impostors, including Keven Eversley.
He noticed that a dozen profiles, several clearly with Macedonian content, using the same photographs and other details of a single real person, a Virginia real estate agent named Harry Taylor. Mr. Elwood found a network of what appeared to be attractive pro-Trump American women, but older posts and other details revealed that the accounts originated in the Middle East.
''It's amazing how sloppy some of these accounts are,'' Mr. Elwood said. ''I hate liars and I'm drawn to understand stuff like this.''
Red Flags: How to Spot Fake Content
Check out who a profile is ''friends'' with. Is the hometown listed on a profile similar to its friend base? For example, ''Keven Eversley'' claims to be from Minneapolis, but the majority of his friends are from Skopje, Macedonia.
Compare the profile's public name to its web address. For the Eversley profile, it has a different name in the address: Aleksandar Teovski.
Image If a profile seems suspicious, search for similar pages that draw on the same personal details or images.
With more than two billion users worldwide, Facebook relies on complaints to police its content. So, Mr. Elwood used Facebook's internal complaint tool to report the Keven Eversley profile and 27 others showing evidence of deception. In all but a couple of cases, Facebook responded with a standard message of thanks for the feedback but said the profiles did not violate its community standards '-- even though those standards require users to give their ''authentic identities.''
''The reporting process is frustrating,'' Mr. Elwood said. ''Facebook seems to be lagging way behind the problem.''
Facebook estimates that as many as 60 million accounts, 2 to 3 percent of the company's 2.07 billion regular visitors, are fakes. Sean Edgett, Twitter's general counsel, testified before Congress that about 5 percent of its 330 million users are ''false accounts or spam,'' which would add up to more than 16 million fakes.
''Spammers and bad actors are getting better at making themselves look more real,'' Mr. Edgett said.
Independent experts say the real numbers are far higher.
On Twitter, little more than an email address is needed to start tweeting. Facebook's requirement that users be their authentic selves means the company asks for a smattering of information to sign up '-- name, birthday, gender and email address. But few checks exist to verify that information.
''Part of the problem is that Facebook is a black box,'' said Michael Serazio, a professor of communications at Boston College. ''They do what they do, and we don't know to what degree their operations can even handle these issues '-- not to mention how handling them maps with their economic model.''
In fact, fighting too hard against deception may clash with the business models that have allowed the companies to thrive. Facebook, Google and Twitter all offer self-serve advertising systems allowing anyone in the world to buy, target and deliver ads for as much '-- or as little '-- money as they wish to spend. More scrutiny could hamper growth.
Facebook, for instance, reported record profits this week in its quarterly earnings even as executives testified about Russian exploitation of their services. Shares of the social network soared to an all-time high on Wednesday afternoon after the news. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, insisted in the earnings call that the company is prepared to sacrifice profits to crack down on illicit activity.
''Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,'' he said.
Whether public concern about the manipulation of the platforms might at some point threaten the business remains to be seen. But many customers who run up against the fakery problem end up unhappy.
Kristofer Goldsmith, an assistant director for policy and government relations at Vietnam Veterans of America, noticed last summer a look-alike Facebook page calling itself Vietnam Vets of America that initially borrowed the real group's logo. Linked to a website hosted in Bulgaria, the upstart page pushed viral content, weighing in on N.F.L. players' protests of police shootings. It posted looping videos that were months or years old but presented them as breaking news, he said.
''Sometimes their grammar was off,'' Mr. Goldsmith said, but there was no way to know who was behind the page.
Soon, the look-alike page had 200,000 followers '-- more than the 120,000 than the page of the real group, which has a long history of service, a congressional charter and chapters around the country. Mr. Goldsmith said the linked website had few ads, so he suspected a political motive, probably in line with the Russian campaign to divide Americans.
In August, Mr. Goldsmith began complaining to Facebook. But officials there hesitated; hosting pages for millions of groups, they were hardly equipped to assess in detail whether a particular veterans group was worthy and another was not.
Finally, in late October, Facebook shut the newer page, deciding it had illicitly stolen the intellectual property of the older page. But Mr. Goldsmith said the experience was disturbing.
''I don't think they're taking a very proactive approach,'' he said of Facebook. ''There was a foreign entity targeting American vets and inserting itself into divisive debates. Someone could do this to us every month.''
Correction:An earlier version of this article misstated at one point Facebook's most recent report of its monthly average users. The correct number is 2.07 billion, not 2.3 billion. That earlier version also misstated how many users Facebook estimates are fakes. The company estimates that 10 percent of its accounts, or 200 million, are duplicates used by real people, and that 60 million accounts are fake.
Lilia Chang contributed to this article.
A version of this article appears in print on
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Facebook Says It's Policing Fake Accounts. So Why Are They Still Easy to Spot?
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Facebook Details Policing for Sex, Terror, Hate Content | Technology News
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:34
Facebook axed 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018, the social media giant said Tuesday, detailing how it enforces "community standards" against sexual or violent images, terrorist propaganda or hate speech.
Responding to calls for transparency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, Facebook said those closures came on top of blocking millions of attempts to create fake accounts every day.
Despite this, the group said fake profiles still make up 3-4 percent of all active accounts.
It claimed to detect almost 100 percent of spam and to have removed 837 million posts assimilated to spam over the same period.
Facebook pulled or slapped warnings on nearly 30 million posts containing sexual or violent images, terrorist propaganda or hate speech during the first quarter.
Improved technology using artificial intelligence had helped it act on 3.4 million posts containing graphic violence, nearly three times more than it had in the last quarter of 2017.
In 85.6 percent of the cases, Facebook detected the images before being alerted to them by users, said the report, issued the day after the company said about 200 apps had been suspended on its platform as part of an investigation into misuse of private user data.
The figure represents between 0.22 and 0.27 percent of the total content viewed by Facebook's more than two billion users from January through March.
"In other words, of every 10,000 content views, an estimate of 22 to 27 contained graphic violence," the report said.
Responses to rule violations include removing content, adding warnings to content that may be disturbing to some users while not violating Facebook standards; and notifying law enforcement in case of a "specific, imminent and credible threat to human life".
Improved IT also helped Facebook take action against 1.9 million posts containing terrorist propaganda, a 73 percent increase. Nearly all were dealt with before any alert was raised, the company said.
It attributed the increase to the enhanced use of photo detection technology.
Hate speech is harder to police using automated methods, however, as racist or homophobic hate speech is often quoted on posts by their targets or activists.
Sarcasm needs human touch"It may take a human to understand and accurately interpret nuances like... self-referential comments or sarcasm," the report said, noting that Facebook aims to "protect and respect both expression and personal safety".
Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of hate speech content during the period, a 56 increase over October-December. But only 38 percent had been detected through Facebook's efforts - the rest flagged up by users.
The posts that keep the Facebook reviewers the busiest are those showing adult nudity or sexual activity - quite apart from child pornography, which is not covered by the report.
Some 21 million such posts were handled in the period, a similar number to October-December 2017.
That was less than 0.1 percent of viewed content - which includes text, images, videos, links, live videos or comments on posts - Facebook said, adding it had dealt with nearly 96 percent of the cases before being alerted to them.
Facebook has come under fire for showing too much zeal on this front, such as removing images of artwork tolerated under its own rules.
In March, Facebook apologised for temporarily removing an advert featuring French artist Eugene Delacroix's famous work "Liberty Leading the People" because it depicts a bare-breasted woman.
Facebook's head of global policy management Monika Bicket said the group had kept a commitment to recruit 3,000 more staff to lift the numbers dedicated to enforcing standards to 7,500 at the start of this year.
Business sales SCL and Cambridge Analytica
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:34
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If you would like more information about this opportunity and to register your interest please download and sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement and return via email to jhills@lsh.co.uk .
IMPORTANTThis briefing sheet contains information supplied by company personnel. LSH provides no warranties or indemnities in respect of such information. All interested parties must rely on their own investigations when reviewing this opportunity.
475 (08/05/2018)
Twitter will hide more bad tweets in conversations and searches - The Verge
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:50
Twitter will begin using a wider range of signals to rank tweets in conversations and searches, hiding more replies that are likely to be abusive, the company said today. Comments from users that have often been blocked, muted, or reported for abuse will be less visible throughout the service, CEO Jack Dorsey told a group of reporters. ''We are making progress as we go,'' Dorsey said.
Twitter already ranks tweets in search and in conversations. But until now, it has not taken negative signals into account when ranking them. This has meant that replies could easily be gamed by bad actors, whether they're spammers hawking cryptocurrencies or bot networks attempting to influence elections.
Twitter will now begin examining a much wider variety of signals when ranking tweets in conversations and in search, Dorsey said. Some of those signals include number of accounts created by the person tweeting, IP address, and whether the tweet had led people to block the person tweeting it. Twitter won't remove the tweets from Twitter, it said, but they will now be moved to the ''see more replies'' section of a conversation, where they are hidden behind an additional tap.
A test of the new approach to ranking found that the number of abuse reports generated from conversations declined by 8 percent, the company said. ''The spirit of the thing is, we want to take the burden of the work off the people receiving the abuse or harassment,'' Dorsey said.
Relying on algorithmic signals could have several advantages for Twitter as it works to reduce abuse on the platform. They work without respect to the content of the tweet, sparing Twitter from having to make tricky decisions around the tone or intent of a message. And they work regardless of the language the tweet was written in, allowing the company to roll the changes out globally all at once.
At the same time, decisions made by algorithms can also go disastrously awry, and can be difficult for outsiders to understand. Dorsey said Twitter is conscious of that and would invest in making sure the product communicated about how it makes decisions. The company will also consider issuing reports on the enforcement actions it takes across the platform, said Del Harvey, the company's vice president of trust and safety.
''We want to take the burden of the work off the people receiving the abuse or harassment.''
The moves are meant to address Twitter's longstanding struggle to rein in abusive accounts. The company has made several high-profile moves over the past two years to make the service feel more civil, but continues to draw criticism for its opaque policies and inconsistent enforcement.
The changes, which will roll out to all users globally this week, come two months after Twitter issued a request for proposals from researchers and academics to help the company measure the health of public conversations on the site. The company received 230 such proposals, product manager David Gasca said, and Twitter will announce its next steps with those proposals within the next several weeks.
Twitter Shares Pricing on New Account Activity APIs, Some Third-Party Apps in Jeopardy - Mac Rumors
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:27
Twitter today unveiled new details on its upcoming
activity API changes, which will affect how third-party apps are able to access Twitter APIs and provide services to Twitter users who prefer to use apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot.
Third-party Twitter app developers will be required to purchase a Premium or Enterprise Account Activity API package to access a full set of activities related to a Twitter account including Tweets, @mentions, Replies, Retweets, Quote Tweets, Retweets of Quoted Tweets, Likes, Direct Messages Sent, Direct Messages Received, Follows, Blocks, Mutes, typing indicators, and read receipts.
Premium API access, which provides access to up to 250 accounts, is priced at $2,899 per month, while enterprise access is more expensive, with pricing quotes available from Twitter following an application for an enterprise account.
At least some third-party apps have said they will not be able to afford access to the new Twitter APIs, including Twitterrific.
It's looking like it won't be financially possible for us to afford the new account activity API from twitter.
'-- Sean Heber (@BigZaphod) May 16, 2018
These APIs also will not include access to streaming connections, which Twitter says are used by only 1 percent of monthly active apps.
There's no streaming connection capability as is used by only 1% of monthly active apps. Also there's no home timeline data. We have no plans to add that data to Account Activity API or create a new streaming service. However, home timeline data remains accessible via REST API.
'-- Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 16, 2018
Twitter says it will be delaying the deprecation of its current APIs for three months to give developers time to transition over to the new platform. These APIs will be deprecated on Wednesday, August 16 instead of June 19, the original date Twitter planned to end support for the APIs.
It is not yet clear what impact all of these changes will have on major third-party Twitter apps, but we should hear updated details soon. Tapbots, the creators of Tweetbot for Mac and iOS, said on Tuesday that its apps will continue to function, but a few features could be slower or removed.
Tapbots says the worse case scenario on Mac is that notifications for likes and retweets will not be displayed, and notifications for tweets, mentions, quotes, DMs, and Follows could be delayed by one to two minutes.
Twitter Announces New End-of-Life Date for APIs and Pricing That Affects Third-Party Apps '' MacStories
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:27
In April, Twitter delayed a transition to a new API that was expected to have a significant impact on third-party Twitter clients like Twitterrific and Tweetbot. The delay came in the wake of an outcry from users of third-party Twitter clients prompted by developers who banded together to encourage users to complain to Twitter about the API changes that were set to take effect on June 19, 2018. Today, Twitter announced that those changes would go forward on August 16, 2018 '' about two months later than originally planned.
Yesterday, in an interview with Sarah Perez of TechCruch, Paul Haddad of Tapbots, the maker Tweetbot, said:
''Twitter has a replacement API that '' if we're given access to '' we'll be able to use to replace almost all of the functionality that they are deprecating,'' he explains. ''On Mac, the worst case scenario is that we won't be able to show notifications for Likes and Retweets. Notifications for Tweets, Mentions, Quotes, DMs and Follows will be delayed one to two minutes,'' Haddad adds.
He also says that Tweets wouldn't stream in as they get posted, but instead would come in one to two minutes later as the app would automatically poll for them. (This is the same as how the iOS app works now when connected to LTE '' it uses the polling API.)
In addition to announcing transition date, Twitter announced pricing for its new API, and it's expensive. A subscription covering 100-250 users will cost $2899/month, which works out to over $11 per user for 250 users. Anyone with over 250 users, which would include all the major third-party Twitter clients, is advised to contact Twitter for enterprise pricing. However, the pricing on the API's lower tiers doesn't leave much room for optimism.
Third-party clients that can't or don't want to pay those prices will have to make do without timeline streaming and push notifications for likes and retweets. Other notifications will be delayed approximately 1-2 minutes according to statements by Haddad to TechCrunch.
For its part, Twitter has made it clear, that the functionality of the old APIs will not be coming to the new APIs:
''As a few developers have noticed, there's no streaming connection capability or home timeline data, which are only used by a small amount of developers (roughly 1% of monthly active apps),'' writes Twitter Senior Product Manager, Kyle Weiss, in a blog post. ''As we retire aging APIs, we have no plans to add these capabilities to Account Activity API or create a new streaming service for related use cases.''
We contacted The Iconfactory, the maker of Twitterrific, and Tapbots,1 the maker of Tweetbot, to ask about the impact of the API changes on third-party clients and Twitter users. According to Iconfactory developer Craig Hockenberry:
A lot of functionality that users of third-party apps took for granted is going away. That was the motivation for the apps-of-a-feather.com website - to soften the blow of this announcement.
Hockenberry elaborated that The Iconfactory has reached out to Twitter regarding enterprise pricing for the new APIs, but says that he doesn't anticipate the pricing will be affordable absent a significant discount.
On the one hand, this latest blow to third-party Twitter clients may be something that some users, including me, are willing to tolerate. On the other hand, this is yet another example of third-party client hostility demonstrated by Twitter stretching back at least five years that doesn't bode well for the long-term viability of those apps. I asked Hockenberry what he thinks the changes mean to third-party Twitter apps. His response:
Long term, I don't think there will be any apps other than the official one. I also don't think Twitter realizes that many long-time users, who are highly engaged on the service, are also the people who use third-party apps. These folks will look elsewhere for their social media needs.
Given Twitter's repeated hostility towards third-party clients, that's a hard sentiment to argue against and one that gets my attention more than Twitter's announcement. I can live with the latest changes to Twitter's API, but if third-party developers conclude that their time and resources are better spent elsewhere, I expect the end of the Twitter I know and use today is closer than I thought.
Any Collusion?
EXCLUSIVE: Evidence That George Papadopoulos Was The Trump Campaign Spy - Blunt Force Truth
Mon, 14 May 2018 02:53
WASHINGTON '-- Former Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos was closely surveilled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to official court documents.
The Trump campaign never quite knew who George Papadopoulos '-- a man who showed up to one campaign meeting on Russia '-- was.
Now, it is clear that Papadopoulos was monitored at essentially all times by the FBI during his interactions with the Trump campaign, based on the affidavit in United States of America v. George Papadopoulos (presented below) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Here is the affidavit:
Papadopoulas FBI agent affidavit
Former FBI Special Surveillance Group member and Robert Mueller case whistleblower Chuck Marler explains the situation for Big League Politics:
''In the ''August 2017'' Senate Testimony of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, it confirmed that he was told by Christopher Steele that he learned from FBI Agents that they had a source in the Trump Campaign. Steele had told Simpson this in September of 2016. The ''Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint'' filed in July 2017 by an FBI Agent against George Papadopoulos unwittingly shows that the FBI was monitoring Papadopoulos' communications in real time. ['...]
Read full story here
Want more BFT? Leave us a voicemail on our page or follow us on Twitter @BFT_Podcast and Facebook @BluntForceTruthPodcast . We want to hear from you! There's no better place to get the #BluntForceTruth.
Florida to monitor Broward election chief after judge finds 'unlawful' ballot destruction in Wasserman Schultz race
Tue, 15 May 2018 10:31
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office said it had nothing to do with the decision to destroy the ballots. | AP Photo
MIAMI '-- The elections supervisor in Florida's second-most populous county broke state and federal law by unlawfully destroying ballots cast in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's 2016 Democratic primary, a judge ruled Friday in a case brought by the congresswoman's challenger who wanted to check for voting irregularities.
In light of the ruling, Gov. Rick Scott's administration '-- which has expressed concerns with how Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes has handled the case '-- told POLITICO that he's reviewing the judge's order and will have her office monitored.
Story Continued Below
''During the upcoming election, the Department of State will send a Florida elections expert from the Division of Elections to Supervisor Snipes' office to ensure that all laws are followed so the citizens of Broward County can have the efficient, properly run election they deserve,'' Scott's office said in a written statement.
Snipes and her lawyer, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, did not return an email from POLITICO for comment, though a consultant working on the office's behalf confirmed its receipt. Snipes' predecessor was removed from office by former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Senate for botching the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor who ran against Wasserman Schultz in 2016 and is challenging her again this year as an independent, said Scott should suspend Snipes for destroying the paper ballots while his lawsuit was ongoing. Snipes has said it was a mistake and has noted her office made copies of the ballots.
But federal election law and state public records laws clearly show the paper ballots should have been preserved by the office.
''The governor has the power to dismiss Snipes from office for malfeasance and misfeasance,'' Canova said. ''The judge also pointed to the supervisor's bad faith for continuing to litigate for months after admitting she destroyed the ballots, which will certainly run up the cost to taxpayers.''
Estimated attorney's fees for Canova's lawyer: More than $200,000 for more than a year of litigation.
In recent years, Snipes has faced a handful of controversies and lawsuits, one of which she recently won, over her handling of elections and voter information. A bipartisan group of election law experts told POLITICO last year that Snipes broke the law in destroying the ballots during the court case, but she kept fighting Canova in court.
The controversy unfolds as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has warned Florida election supervisors of the threat of hackers who could at least attack voter registration systems and undermine confidence in elections in the nation's biggest swing state. With nearly 1.2 million registered voters, heavily Democratic Broward County is second only to Miami-Dade County in population.
Canova has expressed concerns about elections integrity as well.
After Canova lost his Aug. 30, 2016 primary to Wasserman Schultz, Canova began voicing doubts when documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat posted a blog item calling the results of the primary race between Canova and Wasserman Schultz ''improbable,'' prompting the congresswoman to later accuse Canova of trafficking in conspiracy theories.
Wasserman Schultz's office said it had nothing to do with the decision by Snipes' office to destroy the ballots.
But Snipes' lawyer, Norris-Weeks, insisted in one hearing that she ''certainly could get [a sworn statement] from Debbie Wasserman Schultz'' to say that ''she knows that they're preparing a documentary, and they're running all around talking to different people trying to do that.''
Canova has denied the accusation but noted that it suggests communication between the two offices.
In March of 2017, Friesdat, acting as Canova's ''agent," made a public records request to inspect the ballots in the 2016 primary, according to the court ruling. At one point, Snipes' office wanted to charge $71,868.87 to sort and produce the ballots for inspection, according to documents filed in the case. In June of 2017, Canova sued.
As the suit dragged on, Snipes signed a Sept. 1 document to destroy the ballots '-- without informing either Canova or the court. The document she signed specifies that there should be no pending litigation.
''Nonetheless,'' the following month, Snipes filed an answer to one of Canova's motions and then ''the destruction of the original paper ballots was not revealed until November 6, 2017," Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal said in his ruling.
That wasn't the only problem.
Under longstanding federal law, ballots cast in a federal race aren't supposed to be destroyed until 22 months after the election. And under state law, a public record sought in a court case is not supposed to be destroyed without a judge's order. Also, state law says public records can't be ''for a period of 30 days after the date on which a written request ... was served.''
Snipes' office, however, contended that it made high-quality digital copies of the ballots, so the records weren't completely destroyed.
The judge wasn't persuaded.
''This Court finds the Defendant's violation is two-fold: (1) violation of state and federal retention requirements and (2) violation of the affirmative responsibility to preserve evidence,'' Singhal wrote. "This Court finds such premature destruction of the records unlawful and in violation of the Public Records Act."
Snipes argued in court that Canova made unreasonable requests and believed she ''has broad discretion in determining if a records request is reasonable,'' according to the suit. But Singhal said her argument was ''contrary to the statutory requirements and plain and ordinary meaning of the Public Records Act.''
''Defendant's lack of intent to destroy evidence while this case was pending is irrelevant,'' the judge noted.
Canova's attorney, Leonard Collins, said Snipes' intent in destroying the paper ballots would be a factor in determining criminal sanctions. He said the state attorney should investigate.
''We can't bring the ballots back. But there are consequences to violating the law,'' Collins said. ''There are provisions in the law that: A) allow for criminal penalties for doing something like this and B) allow Gov. Rick Scott to suspend a records custodian for this. And we have a supervisor of elections in Broward who has shown complete malfeasance in terms of her ability to function and run and operate an office.''
Collins said the official in her office in charge of disposing of public records wasn't able to easily distinguish between a state and federal election. That's a problem because ballots cast in state elections can be destroyed 10 months earlier than ballots cast in federal elections. The man is paid $87,000 yearly, Collins said.
Scott's office said he needs to know more about the case.
''We will review the order,'' spokesman Jonathan Tupps said in a written statement. ''The Secretary of State's office will continue to ensure that every Supervisor of Elections understands and follows the law.''
FBI surprises again, shares files on Bill Clinton pardon of Marc Rich
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:51
The FBI released documents concerning a questionable pardon Bill Clinton issued of a financier charged with tax evasion back in 2001. See how the investigation played out. USA TODAY NETWORK
The FBI gave the Hillary Clinton campaign another unpleasant surprise Tuesday, this time releasing 129 pages of documents from a 2001 investigation into Bill Clinton's controversial presidential pardon of fugitive Marc Rich.
The bureau initially released the heavily redacted files on Monday, but drew more attention to the documents in a tweet Tuesday. The Clinton team questioned the timing of the release, which comes one week before the election and just days after Director James Comey's stunning announcement that the FBI was looking into newly discovered emails related to its investigation of Hillary Clinton.
William J. Clinton Foundation: This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the Will... https://t.co/Y4nz3aRSmG
'-- FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 1, 2016"This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization," reads a statement on the FBI records vault website. "The bulk of these records come from a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich (1934-2013), aka Marcell David Reich, by President Clinton in 2001; it was closed in 2005. The material is heavily redacted due to personal privacy protections and grand jury secrecy rules."
Rich, who died in 2013, was a financier who fled to Switzerland after being indicted on multiple federal charges, including tax evasion, in 1983. Clinton's motive for pardoning Rich on his last day in office was questioned because Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a wealthy Democratic donor who made a $450,000 donation to Clinton's presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
In a statement, the FBI said that any material requested three or more times under the Freedom of Information Act is automatically made available to the public online on a "first in, first out basis."
"Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd," Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted before the FBI released its statement. "Will the FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70?"
Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd. Will FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70s?https://t.co/uJMMzX6rtI
'-- Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 1, 2016The FBI actually did release a file on Donald Trump's father, Fred, on Oct. 8. The bureau also tweeted a link to those documents, along with links to files from 20 other cases '-- including the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server '-- from its Records Vault account on Sunday. Prior to that, the last tweet from that account was in October of 2015.
David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, said the document release is another case of the FBI intervening in the election.
"Whatever the reasoning behind it, this latest release further brands the @FBI as the Federal Bureau of Intervention," Axelrod said in a tweet. "It's a head-scratcher!"
Whatever the reasoning behind it, this latest release further brands the @FBI as the Federal Bureau of Intervention. It's a head-scratcher!
'-- David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 1, 2016The majority of the pages in the documents are completely redacted and they do not appear to shed any new light on the case. Comey took over the FBI probe into the Rich pardon in 2003 and the case was closed in 2005 with no charges filed.
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EXCLUSIVE: James Comey's Leaker Friend - Guess Who His Neighbor Is? - Big League Politics
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:29
James Comey's friend, Columbia University professor Daniel Richman, leaked classified information that Comey gave him. During this leaking period, Richman was apartment-building neighbors with a partner at the law firm that strategized with Fusion GPS operative Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian plant who set up Don Jr. in Trump Tower.
''Yes, he is my neighbor,'' Amy Wenzel, a partner at Cozen O'Connor, confirmed in a phone conversation with Big League Politics, confirming that they spoke. They live near each other in a Brooklyn high-rise.
Cozen O'Connor managing partner Howard Schweitzer is listed here on a DOJ form from an investigation into the breaking of lobbying laws by Russians trying to repeal the Magnitsky Act '-- which was just a front to get Russians in the room with Don Jr. It turns out that Natalia Veselnitskaya was actually operating out of the Cozen O'Connor offices.
Trending: EXCLUSIVE: White House Leaker Identified As Trump's Former Scheduler Caroline Wiles
The Washington Post reported on Cozen O'Connor. Read the firm's ties to Natalia:
Akhmetshin was a controversial figure. In a letter this spring to U.S. government officials, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) described Akhmetshin as a person who ''apparently has ties to Russian intelligence.''
Akhmetshin said he never worked as an intelligence agent, but he did say he was drafted as a teenager and served for two years in a unit of the Soviet military that had responsibility for law enforcement issues as well as some counterintelligence matters. He immigrated to the United States in 1993 and gained citizenship in 2009.
''I was not an intelligence officer. Never,'' he said.
In the spring of 2016, as the presidential race was heating up, Akhmetshin and lobbyists he hired sought meetings on Capitol Hill to make their case against the sanctions law. Akhmetshin hired former Democratic congressman Ron Dellums, along with a team of lobbyists from the law firm of Cozen O'Connor.
Steve Pruitt, a business colleague speaking on Dellums's behalf, said his involvement was brief and ended when he determined that Congress was unlikely to change the law.
In June, after visiting Trump Tower in New York, Veselnitskaya came to Washington to lend a hand in the lobbying effort.
She attended a meeting of the team at the downtown offices of Cozen O'Connor, where she spoke at length in Russian about the issues but confused many in the room, who had not been told previously about her involvement, according to several participants.
A spokesman for Cozen said the firm had been hired by the nonprofit. But in a statement, the firm said that the role and involvement of the Russian lawyer was ''not at all clear.''
While Veselnitskaya was not allowed to testify in Congress, she did secure a prime, front-row seat for a June 14 hearing in the House on Russia-related issues.
Her high-profile spot in the room gained notice this week with the circulation of a photo in which she looms over the shoulder of former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, an adviser to President Barack Obama and a witness before the panel. Some conservative blogs this week have said the photo suggests she had accompanied McFaul and was a Democratic plant.
US identifies suspect in leak of CIA hacking tools-KIDDIE PR0N
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:49
By Shane Harris | Washington Post
WASHINGTON '' The U.S. government has identified a suspect in the leak last year of a large portion of the CIA's computer hacking arsenal, the cyber tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents.
But despite months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against the man, who is a former CIA employee currently being held in a Manhattan jail on unrelated charges.
Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, is believed to have provided the agency's top-secret information to WikiLeaks, federal prosecutors acknowledged in a hearing in January. The anti-secrecy group published the code under the label ''Vault 7'' in March 2017. It was one of the most significant and potentially damaging leaks in the CIA's history, exposing secret cyber weapons and spying techniques that also might be used against the United States, according to current and former intelligence officials.
Schulte's connection to the leak investigation hasn't been previously reported.
Federal authorities searched Schulte's apartment in New York last year and obtained a personal computer equipment, notebooks, and hand-written notes according to a copy of the search warrant reviewed by The Washington Post. But that failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks.
''Those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure,'' Matthew Laroche, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, said at a hearing on Jan. 8, according to a court transcript.
Laroche said at the time that the investigation ''is ongoing,'' and that Schulte ''remains a target of that investigation.''
Part of that investigation, Laroche said, was analyzing whether a technology known as TOR, which allows Internet users to hide their location, ''was used in transmitting classified information.''
In other hearings in Schulte's case, prosecutors have alleged that he used TOR at his New York apartment, but they have provided as yet no evidence that he did so in order to disclose classified information. Schulte's attorneys have said that TOR is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks.
Schulte is currently in a Manhattan jail on charges of possessing, receiving, and transporting child pornography, according to an indictment filed last September. He has pleaded not guilty.
A former federal prosecutor, who is not connected to the case, said that it's not unusual to hold a suspect in one crime on unrelated charges, and that the months Schulte has spent in jail doesn't necessarily mean the government's case has hit a wall. The former prosecutor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, also said that if government lawyers acknowledged in a public hearing that Schulte was a target, they probably believe he acted alone.
In documents, prosecutors allege that they found a large cache of child pornography on a server that was maintained by Schulte. But he has argued that anywhere from 50 to 100 people had access to that server, which Schulte, now 29, designed several years ago in order to share movies and other digital files.
Schulte worked in the CIA's Engineering Development Group, which produced the computer code, according to sources with knowledge of his employment history as well as the group's role in developing cyber weapons.
At the time of the leak, people who had worked with that group said that suspicion had mainly focused on contractors, not full-time CIA employees like Schulte. It's not clear whether the government is pursuing contractors as part of the leak investigation, but prosecutors haven't mentioned anyone other than Schulte in court proceedings.
Schulte, who also worked for the National Security Agency before joining the CIA, left the intelligence community in 2016 and took a job in the private sector, according to a lengthy statement he wrote that was reviewed by the Post.
The CIA declined to comment.
Schulte said in the statement that he joined the intelligence community to fulfill what he saw as a patriotic duty to respond to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Schulte also claimed that he reported ''incompetent management and bureaucracy'' at the CIA to both that agency's inspector general as well as a congressional oversight committee. That painted him as a disgruntled employee, he said, and when he left the CIA in 2016, suspicion fell upon him as ''the only one to have recently departed [the CIA engineering group] on poor terms,'' Schulte wrote.
Schulte said he had also been planning a vacation with his brother to Cancun, which may have given the appearance that he was trying to flee the country.
''Due to these unfortunate coincidences the FBI ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me,'' Schulte said.
Related Articles Dell EMC hit for $2.9 million as feds say it paid Bay Area women less than men Driver: Tesla's autopilot engaged during Utah crash Google staff rebel as company embraces military links Elon Musk: Tesla 'flattening' its management structure Amazon Go targets Chicago, San Francisco for new stores Schulte, who has launched a webpage to raise money for his defense, claims that he initially provided assistance to the FBI's investigation. Following the search of his apartment in March 2017, prosecutors waited six months to bring the child pornography charges.
The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
Shut Up Slave!
Lie detectors with artificial intelligence are future of border security
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:48
Source: San Diego State University
Aaron Elkins, a professor at the San Diego State University, is working on a kiosk system that can ask travelers questions at an airport or border crossings and capture behaviors to detect if someone is lying.
International travelers could find themselves in the near future talking to a lie-detecting kiosk when they're going through customs at an airport or border crossing.
The same technology could be used to provide initial screening of refugees and asylum seekers at busy border crossings.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded research of the virtual border agent technology known as the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time, or AVATAR, about six years ago and allowed it to be tested it at the U.S.-Mexico border on travelers who volunteered to participate. Since then, Canada and the European Union tested the robot-like kiosk that uses a virtual agent to ask travelers a series of questions.
Last month, a caravan of migrants from Central America made it to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they sought asylum but were delayed several days because the port of entry near San Diego had reached full capacity. It's possible that a system such as AVATAR could provide initial screening of asylum seekers and others to help U.S. agents at busy border crossings such as San Diego's San Ysidro.
"The technology has much broader applications potentially," despite most of the funding for the original work coming primarily from the Defense or Homeland Security departments a decade ago, according to Aaron Elkins, one of the developers of the system and an assistant professor at the San Diego State University director of its Artificial Intelligence Lab. He added that AVATAR is not a commercial product yet but could be also used in human resources for screening.
The U.S.-Mexico border trials with the advanced kiosk took place in Nogales, Arizona, and focused on low-risk travelers. The research team behind the system issued a report after the 2011-12 trials that stated the AVATAR technology had potential uses for processing applications for citizenship, asylum and refugee status and to reduce backlogs.
High levels of accuracyPresident Donald Trump's fiscal 2019 budget request for Homeland Security includes $223 million for "high-priority infrastructure, border security technology improvements," as well as another $210.5 million for hiring new border agents. Last year, federal workers interviewed or screened more than 46,000 refugee applicants and processed nearly 80,000 "credible fear cases."
The AVATAR combines artificial intelligence with various sensors and biometrics that seeks to flag individuals who are untruthful or a potential risk based on eye movements or changes in voice, posture and facial gestures.
"We're always consistently above human accuracy," said Elkins, who worked on the technology with a team of researchers that included the University of Arizona.
According to Elkins, the AVATAR as a deception-detection judge has a success rate of 60 to 75 percent and sometimes up to 80 percent.
"Generally, the accuracy of humans as judges is about 54 to 60 percent at the most," he said. "And that's at our best days. We're not consistent."
The human elementRegardless, Homeland Security appears to be sticking with human agents for the moment and not embracing virtual technology that the EU and Canadian border agencies are still researching. Another advanced border technology, known as iBorderCtrl, is a EU-funded project that aims to increase speed but also reduce "the workload and subjective errors caused by human agents."
A Homeland Security official, who declined to be named, told CNBC the concept for the AVATAR system "was envisioned by researchers to assist human screeners by flagging people exhibiting suspicious or anomalous behavior."
"As the research effort matured, the system was evaluated and tested by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and DHS operational components in 2012," the official added. "Although the concept was appealing at the time, the research did not mature enough for further consideration or further development."
Another DHS official familiar with the technology didn't work at a high enough rate of speed to be practical. "We have to screen people within seconds, and we can't take minutes to do it," said the official.
Elkins, meanwhile, said the funding for the AVATAR system hasn't come from Homeland Security in recent years "because they sort of felt that this is in a different category now and needs to transition."
The technology, which relies on advanced statistics and machine learning, was tested a year and a half ago with the Canadian Border Services Agency, or CBSA, to help agents determine whether a traveler has ulterior motives entering the country and should be questioned further or denied entry.
A report from the CBSA on the AVATAR technology is said to be imminent, but it's unclear whether the agency will proceed the technology beyond the testing phase.
"The CBSA has been following developments in AVATAR technology since 2011 and is continuing to monitor developments in this field," said Barre Campbell, a senior spokesman for the Canadian agency. He said the work carried out in March 2016 was "an internal-only experiment of AVATAR" and that "analysis for this technology is ongoing."
Prior to that, the EU border agency known as Frontex helped coordinate and sponsor a field test of the AVATAR system in 2014 at the international arrivals section of an airport in Bucharest, Romania.
People and machines working togetherOnce the system detects deception, it alerts the human agents to do follow-up interviews.
AVATAR doesn't use your standard polygraph instrument. Instead, people face a kiosk screen and talk to a virtual agent or kiosk fitted with various sensors and biometrics that seeks to flag individuals who are untruthful or signal a potential risk based on eye movements or changes in voice, posture and facial gestures.
"Artificial intelligence has allowed us to use sensors that are noncontact that we can then process the signal in really advanced ways," Elkins said. "We're able to teach computers to learn from some data and actually act intelligently. The science is very mature over the last five or six years."
But the researcher insists the AVATAR technology wasn't developed as a replacement for people.
"We wanted to let people focus on what they do best," he said. "Let the systems do what they do best and kind of try to merge them into the process."
Still, future advancement in artificial intelligence systems may allow the technology to someday supplant various human jobs because the robot-like machines may be seen as more productive and cost effective particularly in screening people.
Elkins believes the AVATAR could potentially get used one day at security checkpoints at airports "to make the screening process faster but also to improve the accuracy."
"It's just a matter of finding the right implementation of where it will be and how it will be used," he said. "There's also a process that would need to occur because you can't just drop the AVATAR into an airport as it exists now because all that would be using an extra step."
WATCH: Researchers say they've created an automated test that can tell if you're lying by tracking your eyes
Emotional Support Mamals
Collared: New laws crack down on fake service dogs
Sun, 13 May 2018 23:37
Move over, Rover. Your time in the grocery store, the movie theater and pizza parlor is running out.
Twenty-one states have in recent months mounted a major crackdown down on people who falsely claim their pets as service and support animals so they can bring them into restaurants, theaters and other public places where Fido and Fluffy aren't typically allowed '-- and the movement has picked up speed in the last few weeks.
Last month, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, signed into law a bill making it illegal for people to misrepresent their pets as service animals, under which pet-loving perps are subject to a $100 fine and a misdemeanor charge. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a nearly identical bill, under which those who "fraudulently misrepresent" service animals can be fined $250.
"I couldn't go into a store or an airport or even an office without seeing some disorderly four-legged creature dragging its owner around, wearing a vest that said 'service animal,'" Republican Arizona state Sen. John Kavanagh, who sponsored the Arizona bill, told NBC News. "I would see people in the supermarkets with animals in the shopping cart or walking around sniffing all the food."
Exactly how big a problem the use of fake service animals isn't clear. No organization keeps records of illegitimate service animals. But people who work in the service, hospitality and entertainment industries have seen it all.
A contingent of NEADS Service Dog teams and others gather to show support for House Bill 2277, an act relative to misrepresentation of service animals, outside of the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Sep. 12, 2017. David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via Getty ImagesAndrew Hendrickson, a northern Vermont resident who volunteers regularly at a local performance venue, has seen it all too often.
"We've had dogs bark through the whole show, sit in the middle of the aisle,'' said Hendrickson, who added that he once even saw one "hump the legs of a stranger."
The venue allows people to enter with animals they say are for service or support.
"It's kind of hard to question though," he said. "We have very little grounds on which to challenge a patron who claims the animal as a support."
Animal and legal experts say that the explosion of reported problems is due to several factors.
There is no uniform nationwide certification or registration process for legitimate service animals '-- which receive up to several years of specialized training '-- making it easy for people to scam a non-existent system. And the easy availability online of "service dog" harnesses and vests is all too tempting for animal-owners who want company running errands and going out.
Most prominent, however, is that a new generation of animal-lovers are seeking notes from their doctors declaring that their pet helps soothe anxiety or ease depression and that the animals should be deemed "support animals." Support animals, however, don't qualify as service animals, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act '-- the governing law of all service animals, according to experts.
Under the ADA, only dogs can be considered service animals '-- with an exception for miniature horses.
Business owners, according to the federal law, can only ask two questions of anyone who says they have a service dog.
"They can ask only if it is a service animal, and what is it trained to do," explained David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University's College of Law, whose expertise is animal law. They cannot ask for documentation and they cannot ask about the disability, under the law, Favre said.
That makes abuses difficult to enforce.
More than 20 states have cracked down on those who falsely claim their pets as service animals so they can bring them on planes, or into stores, restaurants, theaters and other public places. Laura Fay / Getty Images"Are business owners and restaurants really going to go after people who claim their dog is a service or support animal? If it has a vest of if the owner says it's helping them? They won't. They don't want to get sued," said Curt Decker, the executive director of the National Disability Rights Network.
Likewise, business owners don't want to delve into whether the animal is a "service" animal '-- protected under the ADA '-- or a "support" pet. Support animals are not protected under the ADA, with exceptions for those that comfort veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"It's compounded by the confusing terminology around this," said Amy McCullough, the national director of research and therapy programs at American Humane, an international animal rights nonprofit. "People prey upon that with the purpose of gaming the system."
The new laws largely do not apply to "support" animals, because businesses already have the legal right to turn away almost all of them.
But because most business owners won't risk a suit by asking about specifics, legislators and advocates are simply hoping that their laws will discourage support and service animal scammers.
"Keep some posters up...a few timely prosecutions and good media coverage of those could serve as a good deterrent and a good reminder that people shouldn't do this," said Decker, of the National Disability Rights Network.
The new state laws would likely crack down on people like David Chin, a visual designer from San Francisco. Chin said he visited a psychiatrist to get letters deeming his dogs, a four-year-old Cockapoo named Theo and a seven-year-old Bichon Frise named Bailey, as support animals that helped him with anxiety.
"None of the times was it for a true emotional need, it was for bending the system," Chin admitted, explaining that he enjoys being able to take his pups to otherwise restrictive patio restaurants and on airplanes.
It's that kind of scenario that prompted Republican Minnesota state Rep. Steve Green to sponsor his state's recently passed bill. Green said he drafted the legislation after several disabled constituents told him that their own legitimate service dogs had been fatally attacked by other dogs whose owners had illegitimately claimed them as service dogs.
White House can't explain how Chinese financing of Trump-linked project doesn't violate Constitution '' ThinkProgress
Tue, 15 May 2018 11:31
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah cannot explain how the Trump Organization's involvement in a project in Indonesia partially financed by the Chinese government adheres to the Constitution's emoluments clause and Trump's personal promise not to pursue new foreign business deals while he's president.
''The Trump Organization is involved in a project in Indonesia building hotels, golf courses, residences '-- it is getting up to $500 million in backing from the Chinese government,'' Noah Bierman of the Los Angeles Times said during Monday's press briefing. ''Can you explain the administration's position on A, how this doesn't violate the emoluments clause; and B, how this wouldn't violate the president's own promise that his private organization would not be getting involved in new foreign deals while he was president?''
Shah didn't even attempt to answer Bierman's question. ''I'll have to refer you to the Trump Organization,'' he said.
Bierman pushed back, pointing out to Shah that ''the Trump Organization can't speak on behalf of the president as the president '-- the head of the federal government, the one who is responsible, who needs to assure the American people, and they don't have that responsibility.''
But Shah wouldn't budge.
''You're asking about a private organization's dealings that may have to do with a foreign government. It's not something I can speak to,'' he said, before calling on another reporter.
Watch the exchange:
A National Review report about the Chinese government's involvement in financing ''an Indonesian theme park that will feature a Trump-branded golf course and hotels'' came just one day after Trump posted a bizarre tweet on behalf of the Chinese phone company ZTE '-- a company that had been hit hard by the Commerce Department for violating a ban on American companies ''selling components to ZTE for seven years after it illegally shipped goods made with U.S. parts to Iran and North Korea,'' according to Reuters.
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
During Monday's briefing, reporters repeatedly grilled Shah about what prompted Trump's tweet promising to help ZTE '-- especially since the tweet came on the heels of a campaign in which Trump accused China of ''the greatest single theft in the history of the world,'' saying things like, ''we can't continue to allow China to rape our country.''
Shah had no good answers for them.
''This is part of a complex relationship between the United States and China that involves economic issues, national security issues, and the like,'' Shah said at one point, in response to a question about what motivated Trump's tweet.
Later, another reporter asked Shah why Trump wants the Commerce Department to review sanctions on ZTE in the first place.
''The president has asked Secretary Ross to look into the matter,'' Shah said, adding that ''the issue has been raised at many levels by the Chinese government with various levels of our administration.''
''So just raising the issue is enough to spawn a presidential tweet and directive?'' the reporter pressed.
''It's a significant issue of concern for the Chinese government, you know, and in our bilateral issue there's a give an take,'' Shah replied.
Shah has no explanation for Trump's weird tweet on behalf of a Chinese company pic.twitter.com/CbVZBqe7CQ
'-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 14, 2018
The emoluments clause is a provision in the U.S. Constitution prohibiting presidents from leveraging their office into gifts from foreign governments. Trump is the only modern president to refuse to divest from his business interests upon taking office.
Despite promising before his inauguration not to profit from foreign governments, there is little evidence Trump has followed through on his commitment. Meanwhile, foreign governments and diplomats have made a show of spending money at his properties.
Angola's Chinese oil debt-trap - Axios
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:51
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Angola's Chinese oil debt-trapAngolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images
Angola repays its $25 billion debt to Beijing with crude oil, creating a host of problems for its economy, reports Yinka Adegoke, Quartz's Africa editor, in his weekly brief.
Why it matters: That means Angola's ability to repay debt is dependent on the price of oil. And it leaves the country with lower volumes of oil to sell to other trading partners.
Fur Babies
Men in their 30s hit by impotence epidemic as half suffer from erectile dysfunction - Mirror Online
Wed, 16 May 2018 21:27
Half of men in their 30s struggle to get an erection, studies have shown.
Surprise polling reveals this age group is most likely to struggle keeping it up, with 49% blaming stress and 24% blaming boozing too much.
Almost a third have broken up with their partner as a result.
Nearly half (43%) of men aged 18-60 across the UK are suffering impotence, with four in ten men blaming stress, followed by tiredness (36%), anxiety (29%) and boozing too heavily (26%).
Almost a third have broken up with their partner as a result (Image: Getty) Read MoreHow to last longer during sex - the best ways to keep yourself going in bedResearchers polled 2,000 men for Coop Pharmacy and found largest affected age group of men with erectile dysfunction is those in their thirties, with half (50%) reporting difficulties getting or maintaining an erection.
This compares to 42% in their 40s, 41% in their 50s, and 35% of under 30s.
TV doctor Hilary Jones said: ''Erectile dysfunction is a taboo in our society that needs to be broken.
''In an age when many people are happy to share intimate details of their lives on social media, it is a huge cause for concern that men today do not feel confident enough to discuss openly their struggles with impotence.''
A third of men aged 18-60 surveyed say they have not told anyone about their erectile dysfunction.
Only 28% have gone to their GP and just 9% have discussed it with another man in the family.
Worryingly 43% of those affected by impotence say they could not discuss the issue with friends and 23% would feel uncomfortable discussing it with a GP.
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A third of men aged 18-60 surveyed say they have not told anyone about their erectile dysfunction (Image: Getty) Read MoreHow our bodies react when we DON'T have sex revealedAn incredible 27% of men say they would rather break up with their partner than talk to their GP about being unable to get an erection.
Of those affected in their 30s one in five said they had brought viagra from a source other than their GP.
Adrian Wilkinson, spokeswoman for Coop Pharmacy said: ''The results of the survey clearly show that erectile dysfunction is something that's having a huge impact on almost half of the male population in the UK.
''It's with this in mind that we want to de-stigmatise any negative misconceptions and start talking about impotence and normalising it, to help men feel good, know they're not alone and know they're not being judged.''
The pharmacy has launched a social media campaign called #Whatdoyoucallit to combat the stigma of impotence.
U.S. Births Hit Lowest Number Since 1987 - WSJ
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:16
American women are having children at the lowest rate on record, with the number of babies born in the U.S. last year dropping to a 30-year low, federal figures released Thursday showed.
Some 3.85 million babies were born last year, down 2% from 2016 and the lowest number since 1987, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. The general fertility rate for women age 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women'--the lowest rate since the government began tracking it more than a century ago, said Brady Hamilton, a statistician at the center.
The figures suggest that a number of women who put off having babies after the 2007-09 recession are forgoing them altogether. Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire, estimates 4.8 million fewer babies were born after the recession than would have been born had fertility rates stayed at prerecession levels.
''Every year I expect the number of births to go up and they don't,'' said Prof. Johnson.
This dearth of births could exacerbate the problems of America's aging population. Many baby boomers are in or are near retirement, leaving a smaller share of young workers to pay into Social Security and Medicare. That is creating a funding imbalance that strains the social safety net that supports the elderly.
The postrecession baby lull appeared to be ending when births ticked up in 2014. But they've now fallen for three straight years, and last year's fertility-rate drop was the largest one-year decline since 2010.
Even women in their 30s'--a group that had increasingly carried America's childbearing in recent years'--saw their fertility rate decrease in 2017. For women age 30 to 34, there were 100.3 births per 1,000 women, down 2% from the prior year. Among women age 35 to 39, the birthrate was 52.2 births per 1,000 women, down 1% from 2016.
The only age group that had babies at a higher rate in 2017 was women in their early 40s, with those age 40 to 44 having 11.6 births per 1,000 women, up 2% from the prior year.
One bright spot in Thursday's figures, which are preliminary, is a continued sharp decline in teen births, which fell 7% last year. Since 2007, the teen birthrate has declined by 55%, and is down 70% since its peak in 1991. Children born to adolescents are more likely to have poorer educational, behavioral and health outcomes throughout their life.
''I'm absolutely astounded at the continuing decline in teen birthrates,'' Mr. Hamilton said.
Public health advocates credit the broader use of long-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices with helping drive down these rates, though many factors are likely at play.
Mr. Johnson estimates that lower teen fertility accounts for about one-third of the overall decline in births among U.S. women.
The increase in women attending college is another force behind the birth decline, researchers say. Those with more skills face a greater trade-off if they interrupt their careers to have children.
''People are coming out with a lot of debt,'' said Jennie Brand, professor of sociology and statistics at UCLA who has studied the impact of education on fertility. That gives them an incentive to keep working. ''It's another thing they have to grapple with before they might think about starting a family.''
Write to Janet Adamy at janet.adamy@wsj.com
From Knight
I like it best when you DON'T
talk about Israel. Obviously anything I say on the subject is very biased. I am
unapologetically a Zionist and a supporter of my country (I wouldn't have
immigrated here from Australia and stayed 30 years if I wasn't). I don't think
we are perfect, but I also think we are very often unfairly maligned in the
media. It was actually JCD who once said something which I think is quite
accurate - i.e. the media is controlled by self-loathing Jews.
Love you guys,
Best Regards,
Sir Jono
Elder of Zion
Opinion | Falling for Hamas's Split-Screen Fallacy - The New York Times
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:29
By Matti Friedman
Mr. Friedman, a journalist, is the author of the memoir ''Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story of a Forgotten War.''
May 16, 2018 Sheikh Ismaeil Haneiya of Hamas flashed the victory sign on Tuesday near the border with Israel in the east of the Gaza Strip. Scores of demonstrators had been killed by Israeli soldiers the day before. Credit Mohammed Saber/European Pressphoto Agency, via Shutterstock JERUSALEM '-- During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story.
At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press's Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.
Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant ''jeopardizing his life.'' Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.
Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.
The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday's awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there's no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film.
About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.
Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel's current political leadership '-- an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing.
The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to ''tear out the hearts'' of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.
The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn't really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.
Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn't work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom '-- the soldiers won't know which '-- will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas's tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel's enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?
These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn't what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey's president called it ''genocide.'' A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about ''whiteness and Zionism,'' part of an odd trend that reads America's racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age '-- the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous '-- have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.
For someone looking out from here, that's the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.
WH Is Bugged
Donald Trump and Sean Hannity's Late Night Calls
Wed, 16 May 2018 13:08
/ behind the scenes May 13, 2018 05/13/2018 9:00 pm By Olivia Nuzzi The call to the White House comes after ten o'clock most weeknights, when Hannity is over. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sean Hannity broadcasts live at 9 p.m. on Fox News, usually from Studio J in midtown, where the network is headquartered, but sometimes from a remote studio on Long Island, where he was raised and now lives.
All White House phone numbers begin with the same six digits: 202-456. Hannity calls the White House switchboard, a number listed publicly, and reaches an operator. The operator refers to a list of cleared callers, a few dozen friends and family members outside the administration who may contact President Donald Trump through this official channel '-- among them his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr.; private-equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman; media billionaire Rupert Murdoch; real-estate billionaire Tom Barrack; Patriots owner and also-billionaire Robert Kraft; and Hannity.
The operator then dials the president, who leaves the Oval Office around 7 p.m. and who, by this point in the evening, is almost always by himself on the third floor of the executive residence (the First Lady reportedly sleeps in a separate bedroom). He tells the operator to put Hannity through.
Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What's going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, ''I just hung up with Hannity,'' or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.
Trump and Hannity don't usually speak in the morning, which the president spends alone, watching TV and tweeting. During the first months of the administration in particular, the tweets launched at the beginning of the day landed like bitchy little grenades directed at the programming and personalities that angered him on MSNBC and CNN. ''Early on, usually we could count on the president watching Morning Joe first thing, at 6 a.m.,'' one White House official told me. ''He'd watch an hour of that. Then he'd move on to New Day for a segment or two. Then he'd move on to Fox.''
Senior staffers worried about this pattern of behavior: By the time his day was formally under way with the daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office '-- scheduled as late as 11 a.m. '-- the whole world was often thrown off course, wondering whether there were ''tapes'' of his conversations with a fired FBI director (May 12, 2017, 8:26 a.m.) or if a TV host had been ''bleeding badly from a face-lift'' at Mar-a-Lago (June 29, 2017, 8:58 a.m.).
With the hope of calming him down, then''chief of staff Reince Priebus and then''press secretary Sean Spicer began a subtle campaign. ''It got to the point that they were just like, 'We need to get him off these channels and onto Fox & Friends or else we're going to be chasing down this crazy-train bullshit from MSNBC and CNN all day,''…'' one former White House official said.
Like all other ideas, this had the highest chance of implementation if Trump believed he'd thought of it on his own. Priebus and Spicer worked talking points about the network's high ratings and importance to his base of supporters into conversation until, eventually, it stuck, so that the president's television consumption is today what the current White House official called ''mainly a complete dosage of Fox.'' The former official added, ''Trump's someone who loves praise more than he likes hate-watching Morning Joe.''
But the current official acknowledged that it has created a different set of problems: ''Sometimes on Fox, a lot of stories are embellished, and they don't necessarily cover the big news stories of the day. When they cover the smaller stories, if that gets the president riled up, then that becomes an issue. Whenever he tweets, all of us do a mad dash or mad scramble to find out as much information about that random topic as possible. We're used to it in a lot of ways, so it's part of our morning routine.''
More than most politicians, Trump abides by the Groucho Marx law of fraternization. He inherently distrusts anyone who chooses to work for him, seeking outside affirmation as often as possible from as vast and varied a group as he can muster '-- but Hannity is at the center. ''Generally, the feeling is that Sean is the leader of the outside kitchen cabinet,'' one White House official said, echoing other staffers (current and removed). I was told by one person that Hannity ''fills the political void'' left by Steve Bannon, a statement Bannon seemed to agree with: ''Sean Hannity understands the basic issues of economic nationalism and 'America First' foreign policy at a deeper level than the august staff of Jonathan Chait and the fuckin' clowns at New York Magazine,'' he said. The White House official assessed the influence of White House officials and other administration personnel as exactly equal to that of Fox News.
The TV PresidentA brief history of Trump taking his cues from Fox News.
Unlike on Fox & Friends, where Trump learns new (frequently incorrect) information, Hannity acts to transform Trump's pervasive ambivalence into resolve by convincing him what he's already decided he believes and what he's decided to do is correct. After the New Year, Hannity went on air with what he said was ''breaking news'': a list of Trump's accomplishments, which scrolled by on the screen like song titles from an infomercial for Hits From the '70s. His accomplishments included things like ''drafting a plan to defeat ISIS,'' signing individual executive orders, and the separate accomplishment of having ''signed 55 executive orders.'' The former White House official called the trouble caused by Hannity, and Fox more broadly, ''a fucked-up feedback loop'' that puts Trump ''in a weird headspace. What ends up happening is Judge Jeanine or Hannity fill him up with a bunch of crazy shit, and everyone on staff has to go and knock down all the fucking fires they started.''
But for the most part, policy has taken a back seat on Hannity; regardless of the news of the day, the overarching narrative of the show is the political persecution of Trump, and by extension of Hannity and Hannity's viewers, at the hands of the so-called deep state and the Democratic Party, and the corrupt mainstream media, a wholly owned subsidiary of both. Everything comes back to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, a phony, petty diversion from what should be the real focus: prosecuting Hillary Clinton. Hannity admits to advising Trump, but on the air, he's repeatedly mocked suggestions that he functions as an unofficial chief of staff and criticized the ''fake-news media'' for not bothering to reach out to him for the truth (a spokesperson for Fox News declined multiple interview requests for this article on Hannity's behalf). More than any other figure of the right-wing infosphere, Hannity has behaved as if he were an extension of the Trump communications department, his daily stream of assertions serving to prop up Trump and, in real time, define what Trumpism is supposed to be.
On the phone, he and the president alternate between the ''witch hunt!'' and gabbing like old girlfriends about media gossip and whose show sucks and who's getting killed in the ratings and who's winning (Hannity, and therefore Trump) and sports and Kanye West, all of it sprinkled with a staccato fuck '... fucking '... fucked '... fucker. ''He's not a systematic thinker at all. He's not an ideologue,'' one person who knows both men said of Hannity. ''He gives tactical advice versus strategic advice.''
The talks may be more important for Trump than for Hannity in a therapeutic sense, even if it's nearly impossible to accept what we're seeing from the president reflects any kind of therapy. ''He doesn't live with his wife,'' one person who knows both men said of Trump, explaining that he lacks someone ''to decompress'' with at the end of the day. When they spoke a few hours before Trump welcomed home the newly freed Americans who'd been held hostage in North Korea, he and Hannity told each other how proud they were, how happy the news made them. ''You can't function without that,'' this person said, adding that Hannity ''actually likes him'' even though ''he knows how nuts he is. He's decided that you're all in or you're not.''
At 2:46 p.m. on April 16, Hannity was on Long Island preparing for a three-hour stretch of radio. ''Let not your heart be troubled,'' he says at the start of each program, a line from John 14:1''6, his favorite Bible verse.
Thirty miles away from his circulatory organs, half the reporters in America had joined Stormy Daniels to look on as lawyers representing Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen argued, before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, that thousands of pages of records seized from Cohen's home, office, hotel room, and safe during an FBI raid a week earlier were protected under attorney-client privilege. As were the identities of his clients, which, he admitted, amounted to a grand total of three. (''A shockingly low number of clients for a lawyer to have unless they're right out of law school,'' Michael Avenatti, the extraordinarily tan lawyer for Daniels, who seems to be conducting our current news cycle by force of will and witchcraft, told me.)
Cohen's lawyers released the identities of only two of them: Trump and former Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy, for whom Cohen reportedly negotiated a nondisclosure agreement involving a love child with a Playboy model '-- an agreement some now speculate was in fact on behalf of the president, who may have been the actual father. At the time, Cohen was still presenting himself as a fairly conventional lawyer and these as fairly conventional clients. But on May 8, after Avenatti somehow obtained Cohen's financial records, we learned that he'd been paid more than $1 million in total by several large corporations '-- among them Novartis; AT&T; and Columbus Nova, an investment firm whose biggest client is the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg '-- for unclear reasons.
At 2:52 p.m., the world learned that Cohen's secret third client was Sean Hannity '-- meaning that he was, at least for a moment, one of four players, including Trump, at the very center of multiple investigations he had been railing against on-air for the better part of a year. ''It was like a bomb went off in the courtroom,'' Avenatti recalled. Several reporters described how, at the mention of his name, there were gasps. CNN, MSNBC, and momentarily even Hannity's own network, Fox News, covered the development as if it were a missing plane. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith referred to Hannity as ''the elephant in the room.''
It wasn't as though nobody had suspected the president's relationship with Hannity went beyond the symbiotic chumminess traditional to the social-climbing media figures and egomaniacal politicos of the Northeast Corridor (you don't become a ''media elite'' by abiding). Anyone who watched Hannity's show or listened to his radio broadcast '-- together they add up to four hours of talking each day, for which he is paid a reported $36 million a year '-- would have suspected exactly that. But its obviousness was almost too much to take in without something snapping; it was ridiculous, in the way that Law & Order can seem ridiculous if you don't suspend your critical faculties: The same few detectives are present and central at every pivotal moment of each case, as though there were no other cops in all of New York.
At three o'clock, Hannity came on the radio as scheduled. It was ''very strange,'' he said on-air, describing the moment he read his own name on his own network as a breaking-news chyron. He joked about how ''all these media people'' had to listen to his show that day. ''I actually think it's pretty funny,'' he said. He explained that Cohen wasn't his lawyer but had offered legal advice as a friend, and Hannity had assumed their conversations '-- companies connected to Hannity own more than 870 homes in seven states, the Guardian quickly reported '-- which he said were related to real estate, were privileged.
His new phone vibrated, the hum of every friend and colleague and reporter alive going straight to the source to figure out what the hell was happening. ''I am on-air,'' he said later on the show. ''I wish everyone would stop calling me.''
At other networks, on-air personalities failing to disclose their personal relationship with a leading figure in a major news story, a figure whom they repeatedly defended, would surely suffer some kind of consequences. At Fox, things were different. ''It didn't even register. The real sin is false advertising,'' said the person who knows Hannity and Trump, adding that both have gotten away with a whole lot by being seemingly up front about it. (Fox issued a statement of full support the next day.) ''People can't deal with hypocrisy and lying, but they can deal with everything else. When the Stormy Daniels story broke, it was like: Are you surprised, really? Are you kidding? He told us that. We know who he is. Was the Cohen thing like, 'I can't believe it?!' It was like, Yeah, of course. Hannity says that kind of thing on-air. He's totally transparent. You didn't know about that, but was it plausible? Does he have dinner over there? If he wife-swapped with Melania, would you be shocked? No, of course not. If Chris Hayes was doing that, you'd be like, 'Wait a second, what?' This, you're like, They probably have a vacation house in Punta Gorda.''
Earlier this year, Smith dismissed the ''opinion side'' of Fox News as strictly entertainment: ''They don't really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want,'' he said. But the fact that the network took no action over its host's very intimate, very strange relationship with the president and his chief fixer also reflects just how much autonomy Hannity has managed to carve out for himself since his friend took the White House.
Hannity is the designated prime-time survivor from the Roger Ailes era. But at the outset of Fox's new post-Ailes age, there were reported speculations that James Murdoch '-- Rupert's son and chief executive of 21st Century Fox, who is known to hold some liberal views '-- had intentions of pushing the network closer to the center, or at least bringing it back from the edge of the cliff (the Murdoch sons have said publicly they have no plans to alter the editorial direction of Fox News). Over the summer, rumors began to circulate that Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, who was fired from Fox in April 2017, were talking to Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local TV stations in the country, about the company's plan to purchase a cable channel and position itself as a far-right competitor to Fox. To those who knew Hannity, the rumors didn't look like an accident. ''It's really simple: If you're in prison and someone cuts in front of you in the chow line, you bite his nose off,'' says the source. ''You do that not because you care about your place in the chow line, but because if you don't, you're gonna get raped in the showers. You need to establish that there's a massive cost to messing with me, and so why don't you go mess with someone else. There are lots of people to pick on and micromanage, and there are a lot of weak people here, and go have fun wrecking their lives, but if you touch me, I will make you regret it. You have to say that right away.''
Today, a year into a very harmonious relationship with the president and despite being something like the face of Fox News, Hannity doesn't entertain calls from network leadership, according to a source, though they rarely try to call him anyway. He's only met James Murdoch once, at a baseball game. His relationship with Fox News management is nonexistent, according to the source. (A Fox News representative says Hannity has an excellent relationship with management.) If he wants to defend the president's lawyer every night without telling anyone the president's lawyer is also his lawyer, he can do it. And if he wants to broadcast from inside his own house, a few feet away from a golden retriever and a White Russian, he can do that, too.
The political divides of the Obama years were good for Hannity, but the Trump administration has been even better. In April, on average, he aired in more than 3 million homes across the country each night, according to Nielsen, a wider audience than Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon, although you'd never know it, watching or listening to him; central to Hannity's storytelling about himself, which is a big part of what he does every night, is maintaining the sense that he's the underdog.
Sean Hannity has never been about the news; he's a specific form of entertainment, a high-energy delivery device for a simplistic far-right worldview that is less about ideology and policy outcomes and more about winning. Hannity is a space in which all conversations are debates and all debates are winnable by the protagonist, Sean Hannity. When he does make news, it's usually by accident, as when, earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani appeared on the program to throw several months of consistent lying off course by announcing that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Stormy Daniels. ''Oh, I didn't know,'' Hannity said. ''He did?''
''Hannity was always someone where, if you were a Republican and you went on his show, it would be the easiest interview possible,'' a person who worked on the campaign of one of Trump's Republican-primary rivals told me. ''It was legitimately impossible to get jammed up by Sean Hannity. It wasn't even something you'd consider. It was the softball of softball interviews.''
But almost as soon as Trump announced his candidacy, in June 2015, Hannity's reputation changed: ''I think it was just the star angle. He was just wowed by Trump's star factor more so than anything else. Sean Hannity's the world's biggest starfucker. It was just kind of crazy how he went from being someone who everyone tried to have at their launch events to have a full-hour puff piece to someone who people were like, Oh, we can't really go on. We're not gonna get a fair shake because he's so pro-Trump.''
That fandom may also explain Hannity's otherwise inexplicable ''legal'' relationship with Cohen '-- an unlikely counsel for someone of Hannity's wealth and status. ''Why would anybody be nice to Cohen?'' asked a person close to the president. ''Because he was 'Trump's lawyer,' so Hannity sees that and he assumes, If Trump thinks he's smart, then he's smart!'' The person who knows Hannity and Trump agreed. ''I think the obvious answer is the answer: He's a total suck-up. It's almost like getting a lock of Elvis's hair or something.''
Even before the campaign and the FBI raid connected them through martyrdom, Trump and Hannity were men of similar habits and preoccupations, both outward-facing, projecting to the world all day long and yet prone to stretches of retreat, to a little bit of weirdness that accompanies any comparable level of fame. Both golf, both diet by cutting out carbs. (Hannity adheres to a version of the ketogenic diet, cooking often for himself, while the president removes the buns from the two Big Macs and two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches he gets from McDonald's, according to a book written by his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.)
Although Hannity shills a custom pillow on his radio show that he says cured his insomnia, it didn't; both he and the president are night owls who sleep for only a few hours, and however differently their days begin, they arrive to the same comfortable sense of freedom after dark, as highly visible people who are temporarily unseen. ''One reason they click is because of being celebrities,'' John Gomez, Hannity's friend since elementary school, told me. ''In broadcasting, you live and die by the ratings. I think they have that in common, and they're competitors, you know? They're competitive.''
They were born 15 years apart '-- Trump at Jamaica Hospital to rich parents and Hannity at Metropolitan Medical in upper Manhattan to a county-jail official and a family-court officer '-- and they were raised 12 miles from one another, in Jamaica, Queens, and Franklin Square, Long Island, respectively.
Hannity leans on his personal narrative 70 percent like a person running for office and 30 percent like someone just dumbfounded by his luck, or his ''blessings,'' as he characterizes it. He was an uninspired student who found outlets for his restlessness and need to connect with others through odd jobs during his childhood and early adulthood: paperboy, busboy, line cook, bartender, housepainter, dishwasher, finishing one shift only to walk into the next, like so many other men and women for whom better fortune never comes.
Trump, meanwhile, was getting into the casino business in Atlantic City, where he would stiff guys like young Hannity left and right. Only in America could they end up in the same green room, convinced they look at the world the same way. At the Cheesecake Factory in Islip, Gomez told me he didn't think Trump would've fit in with him and Hannity growing up. That they were different types of guys. ''I do not see those two guys growing up together. I don't see it,'' Gomez said. ''He just wouldn't be attracted to us.'' He added, with a laugh, ''You could fit Hannity's plane inside his plane. He's a helluva lot more flamboyant than Hannity is.'' Hannity had been using the same beat-up old grill, which he lit with newspaper, for decades, he said, taking it with him from modest house to bigger house to mansion to compound. He always drove the same model car, an Escalade. ''It would be nice if Hannity, you know, forked over a few bucks for an Aston Martin or something,'' Gomez said. ''That I would borrow.''
''He really didn't have a pot to piss in, pardon the expression, and he did everything on his own,'' Lynda McLaughlin told me. McLaughlin's been the executive producer of Hannity's radio show for the past eight years and his sidekick for 12 (''People refer to me as his Robin,'' she said). Of Hannity's listeners, she theorized, ''I think they get him. He was their dream, you know?''
As a dropout 29 years ago, Hannity was hired as a shock jock on a college-radio station, KCSB, in Santa Barbara, hosting a show called ''The Pursuit of Happiness.'' Listeners protested when Hannity, on-air, said gays were ''disgusting people'' who were ''brainwashing'' the public. When he was fired, he enlisted the ACLU to defend his right to free speech. The case, which he won, brought him publicity, and he moved to Alabama to accept a job with WVNN, and then to Georgia to work for WGST. In 1996, Roger Ailes hired him. (Hannity, married for 25 years, has a 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter; when he was asked, by Playboy, how he would feel if one of his children were gay, he said he would love them unconditionally and would only be upset if they were Democrats.)
Hannity first met the future president during his early years at Fox. In 2011, he provided Trump with a platform to discuss birtherism, the racist conspiracy theory that Obama wasn't born in America and therefore was not a legitimate president. ''The issue could go away in a minute,'' Hannity said to Trump. ''Just show the certificate.'' During the campaign, as Trump attempted to argue that he'd been against the Iraq War from the beginning, even though he was on the record as initially having supported it, Hannity came to his aid, claiming that, after his shows back then, Trump would call him to argue.
But Gomez told me he didn't think Hannity and Trump were truly friends before 2016, when Hannity helped Trump get elected and Trump helped Hannity become the most popular person on cable news '-- an entanglement that has now made Hannity a secondary character in the drama of a major federal investigation.
Every morning, Hannity meets Glenn Rubin, a man he calls his ''sensei,'' who coaches him through two hours of ''street martial arts.'' He does this for fitness and, despite carrying a firearm (which he once reportedly took out and pointed at Juan Williams on set), for self-defense. On his show, he once aired footage of his training session with former UFC heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. ''This is my fist,'' he said, pointing it at the camera. ''You can pan in on that.'' The shot got tighter around his balled-up hand. On Twitter, he proved an easy mark for trolls who detected a weak spot: ''Do you even lift, bro?'' one asked. ''Street martial arts for 5 years. A lot of core work,'' he said flatly in response. Another time, he listed the number of push-ups (100) and sit-ups (100) he does each day. He's discussed this hobby with such frequency that, in 2016, he inspired the Washington Free Beacon to create a 2:23 supercut titled Sean Hannity Karate Update. (Applying the term karate to his workouts greatly agitates him. ''Why does everyone say karate? Not even close to what I do,'' he tweeted once. A year later, he tweeted again: ''Oh and by the way, I never did 'karate' in my life. Another lie.'')
When he's not doing karate, he's golfing, but the rest of the time, he's often alone, fussing over his dogs: a Bernese mountain dog, Gracie, and an English cream golden retriever, Marley. (''I love dogs!'' he once said in a tweet.) He's trying to breed Marley, whom he got from Majestic Manors, a high-end breeder in Indiana, and if he doesn't renew his contract when it's up, he dreams of moving to a farm full of dogs. He maintains constant contact with a million people all at once, texting his friends as compulsively as he vapes (he likes Njoys) all throughout his radio show and even on TV during commercial breaks and whenever the camera isn't on him. At home, he watches movies (GoodFellas, Braveheart, Schindler's List) and TV (Homeland, Billions). He drinks White Russians or Coors Lite or vodka with Sprite Zero or, if he's at Del Frisco's, a frozen concoction of vodka and pineapple juice that they describe as a martini (it is not). He cooks for himself, and is especially proud of a dish he calls ''turkey chop'' '-- a ''Hannity special.''
But he's not entirely bunkered in, out on Long Island '-- he has bursts of manic sociability, too. Gomez told me of a typical invite to lunch at Peter Luger '-- the Great Neck spinoff, of course, not the Brooklyn original '-- with all signs suggesting it'd be just the two of them and their steaks. Somehow, in the few hours between the end of their call and the beginning of lunch, Hannity would accumulate 23 additional guests, having invited seemingly every living being to cross his path, such is his inability to turn off the thing that drives him to connect with others. '''…'You hungry? You like steak?''…'' Gomez said, impersonating his friend's distinct, cheerful bark. '''…'Meet me at Luger's!''…''
Privately, Hannity has expressed openness to a different kind of retirement, far removed from a dog farm: running for office, something he hadn't considered in the past. Gomez, whose own unsuccessful congressional race Hannity advised on, said he thought the only way he'd do it is if he didn't think there was anybody else for the job '-- something, incidentally, Trump used to say before the beginning of his political career. McLaughlin burst out laughing when I asked about Hannity 2024; she doesn't believe he has any interest. But on the show, the two of them joke often, lately, about how Hannity might as well run, since he's ''being vetted more than Obama.''
''The job itself creates such intense isolation that you'd go crazy if you didn't have '... people do go crazy. They all go crazy,'' said the person who knows both Trump and Hannity.
''You have two choices: You can either go insane, or you can create your own separate world. And that's what he's done. He hired his brother-in-law as his producer. And people look on at that and they're like, 'Oh, that's nepotism.' No, that's his effort to build a world that he's safe in, because it's so crazy that you have to do that.'' The only thing you could compare it to, this person said, would be the presidency.
*This article appears in the May 14, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
The Strange Cocoon of Donald Trump and Sean Hannity
Amazon, Starbucks Furious After Seattle Passes Controversial "Homeless Tax" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:28
Update: Amazon is not alone in its anger at Seattle's plans. Starbucks took a moment away from signaling its virtue and lashed out at the city's new tax. John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Public Affairs & Social Impact at Starbucks, said in a statement.
"This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside.
If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction.
This City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter."
Ouch! How long before we hear a new round of boycott starbucks?
* * *
Despite Amazon's decision to halt construction on a new tower and threats to sublease space in another newly built downtown skyscraper, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City Council have passed a controversial "homelessness tax" that will require the city's largest companies to pay an additional $300 a year per full time employee based in the city.
And while the law has been significantly watered down from the version introduced last month by the city council, Jeff Bezos still isn't happy about it.
To wit, the company said in an official statement that it's still "apprehensive" about expanding the number of employees it has based in the city, as Fortune reports.
"We are disappointed by today's City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs," Amazon said in a statement. "While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council's hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here."
Amazon has resumed construction on its 17-storey Block 18 tower, but we imagine the company now has even more incentive to shift employees to its planned HQ2, though, as CNNMoney warned in a recent piece, Amazon's strident reaction to the proposed tax in Seattle might give some of its suitor city's reason to reconsider (as foolish as that might seem from an economic development perspective).
The law will require employers who generate more than $20 million in gross revenues within the city limits to pay roughly 14 cents per man hour per employee every year - which comes out to roughly $275 per employee. Roughly half of the money collected by the tax will be paid by Amazon.
So, at the end of April, the Seattle City Council released draft legislation that would force companies with revenues of over $20 million in the city to pay 26 cents for each hour worked by a Seattle-based employee, or roughly $540 per head per year. This "head tax" was to apply over 2019 and 2020, generating $86 million a year for social programs, before turning into a 0.7% payroll tax. (The annual proceeds of the tax were originally calculated at $75 million before the council revised its estimates.)
However, with Mayor Jenny Durkan threatening to veto the tax because she was concerned about its impact on employment, the measure had to be watered down to pass.
In the end, the version that passed - unanimously - will see large employers pay 14 cents per head per hour, or $275 per head per year. The tax will now generate $47 million a year, and it will run for five years, rather than turning into a payroll tax after a two-year run.
For what it's worth, Amazon says it has independently done more to ease homelessness than the city government, touting a corporate initiative to donate space to shelter 200 homeless people in one of Amazon's new buildings.
The company said it recently contributed $40 million to a city managed fund for affordable housing.
As Fortune points out, Amazon isn't the only company angry about the tax, which will impact more than 500 businesses. Starbucks, which hosts its headquarters in the city, slammed the city council, calling it incompetent and incapable of taking care of the city's homeless.
Three-fifths of the money raised will go to building new, affordable housing, while the rest will fund emergency services for the homeless.
Amazon wasn't the only company left grumbling. Starbucks also responded, with public affairs chief John Kelley saying Seattle "continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside."
"If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction," Kelley said.
And while that statement should of course be taken with a grain of salt given that it's obviously in Starbuck's interest to do everything it can to pressure the city, the company's spokesman may have a point.
The roughly $50 million raised by the tax would go toward affordable housing initiatives that help the homeless find permanent shelter - while some of the money would go toward an emergency response program for people at risk of homelessness.
But the city has other options that might be more effective at alleviating the city's housing shortage, like changing restrictive zoning regulations.
Instead, by passing the tax, Seattle's mayor and city council have only provided further proof that the city is willing to do whatever it can to combat homelessness, short of actually building more homes.
NA-Tech News
Attention PGP Users: New Vulnerabilities Require You To Take Action Now | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Mon, 14 May 2018 11:45
A group of European security researchers have released a warning about a set of vulnerabilities affecting users of PGP and S/MIME. EFF has been in communication with the research team, and can confirm that these vulnerabilities pose an immediate risk to those using these tools for email communication, including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages.
The full details will be published in a paper on Tuesday at 07:00 AM UTC (3:00 AM Eastern, midnight Pacific). In order to reduce the short-term risk, we and the researchers have agreed to warn the wider PGP user community in advance of its full publication.
Our advice, which mirrors that of the researchers, is to immediately disable and/or uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted email. Until the flaws described in the paper are more widely understood and fixed, users should arrange for the use of alternative end-to-end secure channels, such as Signal , and temporarily stop sending and especially reading PGP-encrypted email.
Please refer to these guides on how to temporarily disable PGP plug-ins in:
Thunderbird with Enigmail Apple Mail with GPGTools Outlook with Gpg4win These steps are intended as a temporary, conservative stopgap until the immediate risk of the exploit has passed and been mitigated against by the wider community.
We will release more detailed explanation and analysis when more information is publicly available.
Efail press release
Mon, 14 May 2018 17:56
Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org Mon May 14 14:27:44 CEST 2018 Previous message (by thread): Mailpile on Efail Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]
EFF Wins Final Victory Over Podcasting Patent | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:29
Back in early 2013, the podcasting community was freaking out. A patent troll called Personal Audio LLC had sued comedian Adam Carolla and was threatening a bunch of smaller podcasters. Personal Audio claimed that the podcasters infringed U.S. Patent 8,112,504, which claims a ''system for disseminating media content'' in serialized episodes. EFF challenged the podcasting patent at the Patent Office in October 2013. We won that proceeding, and it was affirmed on appeal. Today, the Supreme Court rejected Personal Audio's petition for review. The case is finally over.
We won this victory with the support of our community. More than one thousand people donated to EFF's Save Podcasting campaign. We also asked the public to help us find prior art. We filed an inter partes review (IPR) petition that showed Personal Audio did not invent anything new, and that other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent.
Meanwhile, Adam Carolla fought Personal Audio in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas. He also raised money for his defense and was eventually able to convince Personal Audio to walk away. When the settlement was announced, Personal Audio suggested that it would no longer sue small podcasters. That gave podcasters some comfort. But the settlement did not invalidate the patent.
In April 2015, EFF won at the Patent Office. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidated all the challenged claims of the podcasting patent, finding that it should not have been issued in light of two earlier publications, one relating to CNN news clips and one relating to CBC online radio broadcasting. Personal Audio appealed that decision to the Federal Circuit.
The podcasting patent expired in October 2016, while the case was on appeal before the Federal Circuit. But that wouldn't save podcasters who were active before the patent expired. The statute of limitations in patent cases is six years. If it could salvage its patent claims, Personal Audio could still sue for damages for years of podcasting done before the patent expired.
On August 7, 2017, the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB's ruling invalidating all challenged claims. After this defeat, Personal Audio tried to get the Supreme Court to take its case. It argued that the IPR process is unconstitutional, raising arguments identical to those presented in the Oil States case. The Supreme Court rejected those arguments in its Oil States decision, issued last month. Personal Audio also argued that EFF should be bound by a jury verdict in a case between Personal Audio and CBS'--an argument which made no sense, because that case involved different prior art and EFF was not a party.
Today, the Supreme Court issued an order denying Personal Audio's petition for certiorari. With that ruling, the PTAB's decision is now final and the patent claims Personal Audio asserted against podcasters are no longer valid. We thank everyone who supported EFF's Save Podcasting campaign.
Da Cloud
Pentagon Wants Cloud Secure Enough to Hold Nuke Secrets - Nextgov
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:32
ByFrank Konkel ,Executive Editor
The Defense Department's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud will be designed to host the government's most sensitive classified data, including critical nuclear weapon design information and other nuclear secrets.
The Pentagon is expected to bid out the controversial JEDI cloud contract this week, and new contracting documents indicate the winning company must be able to obtain the full range of top secret government security clearances, including Department of Energy ''Q'' and ''L'' clearances necessary to view restricted nuclear data.
In response to questions from Nextgov, Defense Department spokeswoman Heather Babb confirmed ''JEDI cloud services will be offered at all classification levels.'' Babb said military and defense customers ''will determine which applications and data migrate to the cloud.''
Amazon Web Services, considered a front-runner to win the JEDI contract, is already able to host some Defense Department classified data in a $600 million cloud it developed several years ago for the CIA.
JEDI, however, represents a massive jump in size and scale. The contract could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years, with Defense officials describing it as a ''global fabric'' available to warfighters in almost any environment, from F-35s to war zones. Because government customers could use the cloud for almost anything, it must be built to host almost everything, Steven Aftergood, head of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, told Nextgov.
''It sounds to me like the government is covering all their bases,'' Aftergood said. ''Everything we've got might be part of this system, therefore you need to be potentially cleared for everything. And 'everything' includes information on weapons systems, operations, intelligence and nuclear weapons.''
Aftergood said the Defense Department's requirement for individual ''Q'' clearances for personnel at the contractor that wins JEDI suggests the cloud may be able to ''host information pertaining to nuclear weapons or classified information pertaining to the deployment and utilization of nuclear weapons.''
Q clearances originated in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. They are typically granted to contractors or scientists involved in the management or maintenance of the nuclear weapons complex and national laboratories. Q clearances would be a rarity among employees at the tech companies bidding on JEDI, though Aftergood said investigative requirements can be shortened through ''reciprocity'' arrangements if contracted personnel have attained similar clearances. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and General Dynamics have indicated interest in JEDI.
The Pentagon has said it plans to award the JEDI contract in September and to begin migrating Pentagon systems early next year. Bloomberg, however, has reported that several companies have vowed to protest the contract and potentially take the Pentagon to court over its decision to award JEDI to a single cloud provider.
Alternative Universe
Opinion | Liberals, You're Not as Smart as You Think - The New York Times
Mon, 14 May 2018 11:48
By Gerard Alexander
Mr. Alexander is a professor of political science at the University of Virginia.
May 12, 2018 Credit Illustration by Alvaro Dominguez; Photographs by ZargonDesign/E+, via Getty Images, and Renaud Philippe/EyeEm, via Getty Images I know many liberals, and two of them really are my best friends. Liberals make good movies and television shows. Their idealism has been an inspiration for me and many others. Many liberals are very smart. But they are not as smart, or as persuasive, as they think.
And a backlash against liberals '-- a backlash that most liberals don't seem to realize they're causing '-- is going to get President Trump re-elected.
People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture.
Take the past few weeks. At the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, the comedian Michelle Wolf landed some punch lines that were funny and some that weren't. But people reacted less to her talent and more to the liberal politics that she personified. For every viewer who loved her Trump bashing, there seemed to be at least one other put off by the one-sidedness of her routine. Then, when Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, remarked that ''sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn'' and should ''maybe not have so much to say.''
Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America's universities. This means that people with progressive leanings are everywhere in the public eye '-- and are also on the college campuses attended by many people's children or grandkids. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can't ignore.
But this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are. Or, more accurately, this kind of power is double-edged. Liberals often don't realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.
In fact, liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way. I'm not talking about the possibility that jokes at the 2011 correspondents' association dinner may have pushed Mr. Trump to run for president to begin with. I mean that the ''army of comedy'' that Michael Moore thought would bring Mr. Trump down will instead be what builds him up in the minds of millions of voters.
Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years. They have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society. News reports, academic commentary and movies now regularly relate accounts of racism in American history and condemn racial bigotry. These exercises in consciousness-raising and criticism have surely nudged some Americans to rethink their views, and to reflect more deeply on the status and experience of women and members of minority groups in this country.
But accusers can paint with very wide brushes. Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans '-- specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.
In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.
It doesn't help that our cultural mores are changing rapidly, and we rarely stop to consider this. Some liberals have gotten far out ahead of their fellow Americans but are nonetheless quick to criticize those who haven't caught up with them.
Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important. ''Gender identity disorder'' was considered a form of mental illness until recently, but today anyone hesitant about transgender women using the ladies' room is labeled a bigot. Liberals denounce ''cultural appropriation'' without, in many cases, doing the work of persuading people that there is anything wrong with, say, a teenager not of Chinese descent wearing a Chinese-style dress to prom or eating at a burrito cart run by two non-Latino women.
Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided '-- these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority. It's one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people's. The former can set an example. The latter is domineering.
This judgmental tendency became stronger during the administration of President Barack Obama, though not necessarily because of anything Mr. Obama did. Feeling increasingly emboldened, liberals were more convinced than ever that conservatives were their intellectual and even moral inferiors. Discourses and theories once confined to academia were transmitted into workaday liberal political thinking, and college campuses '-- which many take to be what a world run by liberals would look like '-- seemed increasingly intolerant of free inquiry.
It was during these years that the University of California included the phrase ''America is the land of opportunity'' on a list of discouraged microaggressions. Liberal politicians portrayed conservative positions on immigration reform as presumptively racist; Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, once dubiously claimed that she had heard Republicans tell Irish visitors that ''if it was you,'' then immigration reform ''would be easy.''
When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters ''get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them,'' it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking.
These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, ''Obama caused Trump.'' Many liberals might interpret that phrase to mean that America's first black president brought out the worst in some people. In this view, not only might liberals be unable to avoid provoking bigots, it's not clear they should even try. After all, should they not have nominated and elected Mr. Obama? Should they regret doing the right thing just because it provoked the worst instincts in some people?
This is a limited view of the situation. Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don't have to gratuitously drive people away, including voters who cast ballots once or even twice for Mr. Obama before supporting Mr. Trump in 2016.
Champions of inclusion can watch what they say and explain what they're doing without presuming to regulate what words come out of other people's mouths. Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don't pick that fight?
People determined to stand against racism can raise concerns about groups that espouse hate and problems like the racial achievement gap in schools without smearing huge numbers of Americans, many of whom might otherwise be Democrats by temperament.
Liberals can act as if they're not so certain '-- and maybe actually not be so certain '-- that bigotry motivates people who disagree with them on issues like immigration. Without sacrificing their principles, liberals can come across as more respectful of others. Self-righteousness is rarely attractive, and even more rarely rewarded.
Self-righteousness can also get things wrong. Especially with the possibility of Mr. Trump's re-election, many liberals seem primed to write off nearly half the country as irredeemable. Admittedly, the president doesn't make it easy. As a candidate, Mr. Trump made derogatory comments about Mexicans, and as president described some African countries with a vulgar epithet. But it is an unjustified leap to conclude that anyone who supports him in any way is racist, just as it would be a leap to say that anyone who supported Hillary Clinton was racist because she once made veiled references to ''superpredators.''
Liberals are trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle. When they use their positions in American culture to lecture, judge and disdain, they push more people into an opposing coalition that liberals are increasingly prone to think of as deplorable. That only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.
Those prejudices will be validated even more if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2020, especially if he wins a popular majority. That's not impossible: The president's current approval ratings are at 42 percent, up from just a few months ago.
Liberals are inadvertently making that outcome more likely. It's not too late to stop.
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Brian Graden Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse '' Variety
Wed, 16 May 2018 23:40
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex.
Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his idea for a gay reality dating show. The suit states that Carrington and Graden had a two-year sexual relationship, during which time Graden promised to help produce various reality shows that Carrington was working on.
Carrington also alleges that he was sexually assaulted by Brad Grey, the late CEO and chairman of Paramount Pictures. He contends that Grey blacklisted him from working at Viacom after Carrington refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Carrington said he initially agreed to have sex with Graden because Graden agreed to help him work at Viacom again.
''Graden indicated to Carrington that if he wished to move forward with his reality show, and come off Viacom's banned list, that he would be required to have sex with Graden, Carrington agreed, as having sex with Graden was now his only option if he wanted to work in the entertainment industry,'' the lawsuit states.
In the suit, Carrington describes himself as ''Hollywood royalty'' because he is a great-grandson of Moe Howard, one of the Three Stooges. He says that in 2010, he began pitching various reality shows drawn from his life, including one called ''The Life of a Trendsetter.'' The show would feature ''good looking kids from wealthy families, living together in a home, spending theirparents' money.'' He also pitched a ''dark comedy'' called ''Inheritance,'' and a gay dating show.
Carrington accuses Graden of stealing his idea for the dating show and turning it into ''Finding Prince Charming,'' which ran on Logo and featured Lance Bass. Graden left MTV in 2009, five years before the alleged sexual misconduct took place. He has since been an independent producer.
Carrington is seeking $100 million in damages from Viacom. The suit also names Grey's estate as a defendant.
Viacom issued this response: ''We take allegations of this sort seriously, and are reviewing the complaint.''
Graden's attorney Larry Stein issued a statement Wednesday, writing: ''This sensationalized and meritless lawsuit is particularly egregious as it attacks two respected executives, one of whom is an industry icon whose death prevents him from defending himself, and the other, who has had a long, sterling and unblemished career free of any implication of inappropriate behavior personally or professionally.
''The complaint, which reads more like fiction than fact, seems to be based more upon Mr. Carrington's entitled belief that he is 'Hollywood royalty' with a 'pedigree of a star' because he claims his great grandfather was one of the Three Stooges, than on facts.
''It is unfortunately too common for wannabes to hold on to their entitlement, but uncommon for such claims to make headlines by use of hyperbole and baseless allegations of rape and conspiratorial extortionist conduct.
''The complaint ends just as it started, wildly untethered to reality, seeking damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We are confident that Mr. Graden will be fully vindicated and Mr. Carrington will be exposed for what and who he truly is.''
Updated at 4:06 p.m. PT with statement from Graden's attorney.
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
A self-described Hollywood ''It boy'' has sued producer Brian Graden, alleging that the former MTV executive used the lure of a potential reality TV series to extort sex. Rovier Carrington filed the suit in New York Supreme Court. It accuses Graden, a former head of programming at MTV, of destroying his career and stealing his ['...]
This German Bank Uses Bitcoin to Make Low-Cost Int'l Loan Payments
Mon, 14 May 2018 00:21
Bitbond, an online bank founded in Germany in 2013 by German Radoslav Albrecht, has found an innovative use case for bitcoin's borderless nature: international loan payments.
It was the first to use bitcoin to transfer credit in currency internationally, not only as loan collateral, and it's currently processing about $1 million in loan payments per month.
As the company explains on its website:
''By innovating in the fields of payments and credit scoring, Bitbond makes financial inclusion a reality around the world. All payment transactions on Bitbond are conducted via the bitcoin blockchain. Therefore our service is available worldwide via the internet and is independent of banks.''
While many outsiders (and even hodlers) see bitcoin as only a highly speculative asset, Bitbond has found a business model that competes with traditional systems. Using bitcoin came as a smart move for Albrecht as an alternative to the Swift payment system, which is slower and more expensive.
''Traditional money transfers are relatively costly due to currency exchange fees, and can take up to a few days,'' Albrecht told Reuters TV in his office in Berlin's fashionable neighborhood Prenzlauer Berg. ''With Bitbond, payments work independently of where customers are. Via internet it is very, very quick and the fees are low.''
Source: ShutterstockThe downside, according to Albrecht, is the coin's volatility.
As CCN reported in December, businesses are reluctant to accept bitcoin as payment because of its wildly shifting exchange rates. Bitbond avoids this issue because clients only posses the tokens for their loans for a few seconds or minutes until it's ready to be exchanged to the national currency that they prefer.
Bitcoin's core premises of cheap transfer and low fees drive the business' success.
Since 2013, Bitbond has grown in popularity. The company has been mentioned in Forbes and Lend Academy. The news has been stayed positive, with VC funding Currently, Bitbond employs 24 people from 12 countries. The lean team takes care of the bank's 100 clients, which bring in $1 million each month.
The clients are mostly made up of small businesses and freelancers who do not exceed loans over $50,000. The company also became officially licensed as a bank in 2016, solidifying its longevity and successful track record
Germany is a global forerunner in Bitcoin adoption. While other countries remain skeptical and enact anti-crypto regulation, such as India, Germany, along with the United States, is open to crypto-related businesses. Germany is second to the United States, according to Bitnodes, a service that tracks the transfer information broadcast by Bitcoin nodes.
Images from Shutterstock
Russian government mulls law to register and identify cryptocurrency users - report '-- RT Russian Politics News
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:30
The Russian government plans to fight money laundering by only allowing members of the state-run ''register of crypto-investors'' to mine for and use digital currencies, a popular daily reported.
Mass circulation daily Izvestia quoted its unnamed sources ''close to the Russian Central Bank and Finance Ministry'' as saying that the bill regulating all cryptocurrency operations is already in the works and it could receive an assessment from the State Duma Committee for Legislative Work as soon as this week. The head of the body, MP Pavel Krasheninnikov (United Russia), confirmed the news.
''We aim to minimize the existing risks of using digital objects for transferring assets into an unregulated digital environment for legalization of criminal incomes, bankruptcy fraud or for sponsoring terrorist groups,'' the lawmaker said.
Read more
On Wednesday, Krasheninnikov told reporters that the bill introduces the definition of 'cryptocurrency' or 'digital money' into Russian law, along with the provision that such means of payment cannot be considered legal tender. He did not, however, rule out future amendments to the law that would allow the use of cryptocurrencies in Russia on certain conditions.
The existing draft requires anyone who intends to conduct operations with a cryptocurrency on Russian territory to undergo state certification and get on the special state register of crypto-investors, according to Izvestia. The register will be maintained by the Finance Ministry or the Central Bank.
Any crypto-wallet will be associated with personal data of its owner, such as passport number and individual taxpayer identification number. The bill could allow investors' identification by biometric data, such as fingerprints.
The draft has received support from the self-regulating group Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RAKIB). Its president, Yuri Pripachkin, said that regulating bodies all over the world opposed the anonymity of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) operations and the state register can be as good a solution as the broadly used Know Your Client (KYC) screening.
However, some industry experts, such as the head of the IT department of the Russian Otkritie Bank, Sergey Rusanov, noted that the draft in its existing form does not contain any punishment for those who violate it and the trans-border nature of crypto-currency operations makes it very difficult for state agencies to enforce the regulations.
According to RAKIB Russia currently has about 2 million crypto-investors and the group foresees this number as reaching 3 million by the end of the year and 4 million in 2019.
SCOTUS Makes Sports Betting a Possibility Nationwide, State by State | New Hampshire Public Radio
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:44
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.
One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.
"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.
The court's decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state. Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken "within two weeks" of a decision.
On Monday, after the ruling was announced, Christie tweeted that it was a "great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions." The state's current governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, also cheered the ruling, saying he was "thrilled" to see the high court strike down the "arbitrary ban." He said he looks forward to working with the legislature to "enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future."
It's possible that the first to market with sports betting in New Jersey will be a racetrack at the Jersey shore. Monmouth Park has already set up a sports book operation and has previously estimated it could take bets within two weeks of a favorable Supreme Court ruling.
Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, said his Atlantic City casino will "absolutely" offer sports betting once it can get it up and running. "It's been a long time coming," he said.
More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the law barring states from authorizing sports betting. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can't require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.
All four major U.S. professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law. In court, the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball had argued that New Jersey's gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games. Outside court, however, leaders of all but the NFL have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports gambling.
The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year.
New Jersey has spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees trying to legalize sports betting at its casinos, racetracks and former racetracks. In 2012, with voters' support, New Jersey lawmakers passed a law allowing sports betting, directly challenging the 1992 federal law which says states can't "authorize by law" sports gambling. The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued, and the state lost in court.
In 2014, New Jersey tried a different tactic by repealing laws prohibiting sports gambling at casinos and racetracks. It argued taking its laws off the books was different from authorizing sports gambling. The state lost again and then took the case to the Supreme Court.
'--Jessica Gresko, Associated Press
War on water
Desalination plants still not ready | CapeTown ETC
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:15
The City of Cape Town has fallen short on their commitment to deliver desalinated water to the supply system, to help ease the strain of the water crisis.
To date, not a single one of the three desalination plants is in full operation. The plants located in Monwabisi, Strandfontein and V&A Waterfront remain disconnected from the main water supply.
The plant in Strandfontein was expected to go online on March 21, Monwabisi was meant to start production on April 6 and V&A is already suppose to be pumping out potable water.
On Wednesday, EWN asked Acting Mayor Ian Neilson what the status of the desalination plants were and he could not confirm when the project would be actively working to supply water.
''The one at the V&A Waterfront is producing water. There were some issues around the water quality that's getting attention now before we connect that into the system. The other two at Monwabisi and Strandfontein are far advanced, and we expect them to start producing water quite soon,'' he told EWN.
In March, work at the aquifer drilling sites were halted due to theft of equipment. No mention of the aquifer sites have been made. Dam levels are sitting at 20.9% full and Level 6B water restrictions still apply.
Picture: Pixabay
Cape Town's desalination plant budget dries up | News | M&G
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:15
The city of Cape Town's desalination plans have run over budget and there is no money to pay suppliers ready to deliver a huge desalination plant to Cape Town's harbour, which would deliver 50-million litres of water a day.
The project, likely to be awarded to Fluence Corporation, was put on ice after the R1.4-billion budget was depleted on three other plants, water reuse systems and boring into aquifers.
The technology costs billions of rands, and Cape Town residents may have to foot the bill if the national government doesn't step in.
In addition, the completion of the first desalination plant, at Monwabisi near Khayelitsha, by Proxa Water Solutions has been delayed for a month.
Despite this, the city still plans to get 25% of all its water from desalination by 2020, with billions more rands needed for a long-term plant. Currently, less than 5% of the city's water comes from the desalination at Strandfontein, near Mitchells Plain, but the city's target is not unreasonable, according to Xanthea Limberg, the city's water and waste services mayoral committee member.
Professor Mike Muller of the University of the Witwatersrand's school of governance said: ''If you throw enough money at the problem, you can get what you want.But Capetonians will have to pay and I would be concerned that it will increase water costs dramatically.''
Desalination took up the largest portion of the R1.4-billion budget for the drought relief projects, primarily going to Proxa's projects at Monwabisi and Strandfontein.
Proxa was also meant to construct a plant at the V&A Waterfront but Nomvula Mokonyane, then the water affairs minister, announced the project would be taken over by the Umgeni Water Board, at a cost of R400-million.
Mokonyane's announcement, made at the Cape Town Press Club at the end of January, surprised Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who said it flouted procedure because the city had already designated the site for the Proxa project. Zille has, however, accepted the national government's intervention.
The city is locked in a billion-rand deal with Proxa for the Monwabisi and Strandfontein plants, which are to each produce seven million litres of water a day.
Proxa was meant to pay penalties because the Monwabisi plant was a month behind schedule, but was exempted after claiming that the residents had held up construction.
''They weren't directly responsible for that delay; the community blocked them from accessing the site at one point,'' Limberg said. ''Proxa did make themselves readily available to the community to find a solution and where possible they have tried to accelerate components of construction.''
Now Australian company Fluence Corporation wants to know why the contract for the Cape Town harbour project has been shelved. The two-year contract was expected to cost just under R1-billion.
Fluence Corporation chief executive Henry Charrab(C) flew to South Africa last week to meet city officials after the company was announced as the lowest bidder for a contract to supply 50-million litres from large containers modified to hold the technology.
Charrab(C) said the equipment is already in South Africa. ''We've been announced as the lowest bidder in December already. We've been here for a week and trying to reach officials but no one is talking to us. They have just gone silent.''
Limberg said the Cape Town harbour contract was still in the procurement stage and a decision had not yet been made but she did confirm that the money meant for the project had been depleted.
Proxa, which will also operate the Strandfontein and Monwabisi plants, was paid R500-million to build them. The plants will contribute 14-million litres to the 500-million litres that Cape Town uses in a day. It will charge the city close to R500-million a year for this water. The deal runs for two years, after which the plants will be closed down.
Limberg said Cape Town had been left to fund its own desalination plants yet a plant at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, was built at no cost to the local municipality.
''We have made a request for additional resources but other than R20.8-million from Cogta [the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs], we've received no support.''
She acknowledged the high price of the technology but said ''this is the cost of this kind of infrastructure globally and we must obtain this infrastructure at global market rates''.
Limberg said the city is intent on long-term desalination.
''We want to review the long-term approach to desalination by taking on external advice. The World Bank indicated we should be opting for plants [of] no more than 150 megalitres because, beyond that, you need additional marine works,'' she said.
''The objective is long-term permanent desalination on a large scale as well as underground water reuse. We're looking at a long-term target of 25% contribution from desalination,'' she added.
The national water strategy states that conventional water treatment uses up to 10 times less electricity than desalination, and warns of the potential negative effects of large-scale plants.
''The sustainability of desalination projects can be advanced if such projects are implemented in a carbon-neutral manner. This can be achieved by developing desalination projects in parallel with nuclear energy and renewable energy projects,'' the strategy states.
Muller said: ''It is dangerous trying to do big projects like this quickly '-- not least because it can be very expensive. It would have been best to do cheaper things first, such as groundwater, water reuse and the Volvlei expansion [pumping water from the Berg River into the Volvlei Dam] in a carefully prepared, sequenced way.''
Muller warned that, in Barcelona, only 10% of a 200-million litre desalination plant has been used since it was unveiled 10 years ago and Australia has had a similar experience. ''[Desalination plants] make everyone feel comfortable, but they've cost a huge amount of money to build and to maintain '-- even when they are not producing anything.''
Love & Light
Tom Wolfe - Wikipedia
Tue, 15 May 2018 19:25
Tom Wolfe BornThomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. ( 1930-03-02 ) March 2, 1930Richmond, Virginia, U.S.DiedMay 14, 2018 (2018-05-14) (aged 88)New York City, U.S.OccupationJournalist, authorLanguageEnglishNationalityAmericanEducationWashington and Lee University (BA) Yale University (PhD) Period1959''2016Literary movementNew JournalismNotable worksThe Painted Word, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, A Man in Full, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Back to BloodSpouseSheila WolfeChildren2Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (March 2, 1930 '' May 14, 2018)[1] was an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence in stimulating the New Journalism, in which literary techniques are used extensively.
He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. In 1979, he published the influential book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts, which was made into a 1983 film of the same name directed by Philip Kaufman.
His first fiction novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, and also became a commercial success. It was adapted as a major motion picture of the same name, directed by Brian De Palma.
Early life and education [ edit ] Wolfe was born on March 2, 1930 in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Louise (n(C)e Agnew), a landscape designer, and Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Sr., an agronomist.[2][3]
Wolfe grew up on Gloucester Road in the Richmond North Side neighborhood of Sherwood Park. He recounts childhood memories in a foreword to a book about the nearby historic Ginter Park neighborhood.
Wolfe was student council president, editor of the school newspaper, and a star baseball player at St. Christopher's School, an Episcopal all-boys school in Richmond.
Upon graduation in 1947, he turned down admission to Princeton University to attend Washington and Lee University. At Washington and Lee, Wolfe was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. He majored in English, was sports editor of the college newspaper, and helped found a literary magazine, Shenandoah, giving him opportunities to practice his writing both inside and outside the classroom. Of particular influence was his professor Marshall Fishwick, a teacher of American studies, educated at Yale. More in the tradition of anthropology than literary scholarship, Fishwick taught his students to look at the whole of a culture, including those elements considered profane.[citation needed ] Wolfe's undergraduate thesis, entitled "A Zoo Full of Zebras: Anti-Intellectualism in America," evinced his fondness for words and aspirations toward cultural criticism. Wolfe graduated cum laude in 1951.
While still in college, Wolfe continued playing baseball as a pitcher and began to play semi-professionally. In 1952 he earned a tryout with the New York Giants but was cut after three days, which he blamed on his inability to throw good fastballs. Wolfe abandoned baseball and instead followed his professor Fishwick's example, enrolling in Yale University's American studies doctoral program. His PhD thesis was titled The League of American Writers: Communist Organizational Activity Among American Writers, 1929''1942.[4] In the course of his research, Wolfe interviewed many writers, including Malcolm Cowley, Archibald MacLeish, and James T. Farrell.[5] A biographer remarked on the thesis: "Reading it, one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: It deadens all sense of style."[6] Originally rejected, his thesis was finally accepted after he rewrote it in an objective rather than a subjective style. Upon leaving Yale, he wrote a friend explaining through expletives his personal opinions about his thesis.
Journalism and New Journalism [ edit ] Though Wolfe was offered teaching jobs in academia, he opted to work as a reporter. In 1956, while still preparing his thesis, Wolfe became a reporter for the Springfield Union in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wolfe finished his thesis in 1957.
In 1959 he was hired by The Washington Post. Wolfe has said that part of the reason he was hired by the Post was his lack of interest in politics. The Post's city editor was "amazed that Wolfe preferred cityside to Capitol Hill, the beat every reporter wanted." He won an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also won the Guild's award for humor. While there, Wolfe experimented with fiction-writing techniques in feature stories.[7]
In 1962, Wolfe left Washington D.C. for New York City, taking a position with the New York Herald Tribune as a general assignment reporter and feature writer. The editors of the Herald Tribune, including Clay Felker of the Sunday section supplement New York magazine, encouraged their writers to break the conventions of newspaper writing.[8] During the 1962 New York City newspaper strike, Wolfe approached Esquire magazine about an article on the hot rod and custom car culture of Southern California. He struggled with the article until his editor, Byron Dobell, suggested that Wolfe send him his notes so they could piece the story together.
Wolfe procrastinated. The evening before the deadline, he typed a letter to Dobell explaining what he wanted to say on the subject, ignoring all journalistic conventions. Dobell's response was to remove the salutation "Dear Byron" from the top of the letter and publish it intact as reportage. The result, published in 1963, was "There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby." The article was widely discussed'--loved by some, hated by others. Its notoriety helped Wolfe gain publication of his first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection of his writings from the Herald-Tribune, Esquire, and other publications.[9]
This was what Wolfe called New Journalism, in which some journalists and essayists experimented with a variety of literary techniques, mixing them with the traditional ideal of dispassionate, even-handed reporting. Wolfe experimented with four literary devices not normally associated with feature writing: scene-by-scene construction, extensive dialogue, multiple points of view, and detailed description of individuals' status-life symbols (the material choices people make) in writing this stylized form of journalism. He later referred to this style as literary journalism.[10] Of the use of status symbols, Wolfe has said, "I think every living moment of a human being's life, unless the person is starving or in immediate danger of death in some other way, is controlled by a concern for status."[11]
Wolfe also championed what he called ''saturation reporting,'' a reportorial approach in which the journalist ''shadows'' and observes the subject over an extended period of time. ''To pull it off,'' says Wolfe, ''you casually have to stay with the people you are writing about for long stretches . . . long enough so that you are actually there when revealing scenes take place in their lives.''[12] Saturation reporting differs from ''in-depth'' and ''investigative'' reporting, which involve the direct interviewing of numerous sources and/or the extensive analyzing of external documents relating to the story. Saturation reporting, according to communication professor Richard Kallan, ''entails a more complex set of relationships wherein the journalist becomes an involved, more fully reactive witness, no longer distanced and detached from the people and events reported.''[13]
Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is considered a striking example of New Journalism. This account of the Merry Pranksters, a famous sixties counter-culture group, was highly experimental in Wolfe's use of onomatopoeia, free association, and eccentric punctuation'--such as multiple exclamation marks and italics'--to convey the manic ideas and personalities of Ken Kesey and his followers.
In addition to his own work, Wolfe edited a collection of New Journalism with E.W. Johnson, published in 1973 and titled The New Journalism. This book published pieces by Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, and several other well-known writers, with the common theme of journalism that incorporated literary techniques and which could be considered literature.[14]
Non-fiction books [ edit ] In 1965, Wolfe published a collection of his articles in this style, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, adding to his notability. He published a second collection of articles, The Pump House Gang, in 1968. Wolfe wrote on popular culture, architecture, politics, and other topics that underscored, among other things, how American life in the 1960s had been transformed by post-WWII economic prosperity. His defining work from this era is The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (published the same day as The Pump House Gang in 1968), which for many epitomized the 1960s. Although a conservative in many ways (in 2008, he claimed never to have used LSD and to have tried marijuana only once[15]) Wolfe became one of the notable figures of the decade.
In 1970, he published two essays in book form as Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. "Radical Chic" was a biting account of a party given by composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein to raise money for the Black Panther Party. "Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers" was about the practice by some African Americans of using racial intimidation ("mau-mauing") to extract funds from government welfare bureaucrats ("flak catchers"). Wolfe's phrase, "radical chic", soon became a popular derogatory term for critics to apply to upper-class leftism. His Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1977) included Wolfe's noted essay, "The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening."
In 1979, Wolfe published The Right Stuff, an account of the pilots who became America's first astronauts. Following their training and unofficial, even foolhardy, exploits, he likened these heroes to "single combat champions" of a bygone era, going forth to battle in the space race on behalf of their country. In 1983, the book was adapted as a successful feature film.
In 2016 Wolfe published The Kingdom of Speech, a controversial critique of the work of Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky. His take on how humans developed speech was described as opinionated and not supported by research.[16][17]
Art critiques [ edit ] Wolfe also wrote two critiques of and social histories of modern art and modern architecture, The Painted Word and From Bauhaus to Our House, published in 1975 and 1981, respectively. The Painted Word mocked the excessive insularity of the art world and its dependence on what he saw as faddish critical theory. In From Bauhaus to Our House he explored what he said were the negative effects of the Bauhaus style on the evolution of modern architecture.[18]
Made for TV movie [ edit ] In 1977 PBS produced Tom Wolfe's Los Angeles, a fictional, satirical TV movie set in Los Angeles. Wolfe appears in the movie as himself.[19]
Novels [ edit ] Throughout his early career, Wolfe had planned to write a novel to capture the wide reach of American society. Among his models was William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair, which described the society of 19th-century England. In 1981, he ceased his other work to concentrate on the novel.
Wolfe began researching the novel by observing cases at the Manhattan Criminal Court and shadowing members of the Bronx homicide squad. While the research came easily, he encountered difficulty in writing. To overcome his writer's block, Wolfe wrote to Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone, to propose an idea drawn from Charles Dickens and Thackeray: to serialize his novel. Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work.[20] The frequent deadline pressure gave him the motivation he had hoped for, and from July 1984 to August 1985, he published a new installment in each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone.
Later Wolfe was unhappy with his "very public first draft"[21] and thoroughly revised his work, even changing his protagonist Sherman McCoy. Wolfe had originally made him a writer but recast him as a bond salesman. Wolfe researched and revised for two years, and his The Bonfire of the Vanities was published in 1987. The book was a commercial and critical success, spending weeks on bestseller lists and earning praise from the very literary establishment on which Wolfe had long heaped scorn.[22]
Because of the success of Wolfe's first novel, there was widespread interest in his second. This novel took him more than 11 years to complete; A Man in Full was published in 1998. The book's reception was not universally favorable, though it received glowing reviews in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. An initial printing of 1.2 million copies was announced and the book stayed at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. Noted author John Updike wrote a critical review for The New Yorker, complaining that the novel "amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form."[23] His comments sparked an intense war of words in the print and broadcast media among Wolfe and Updike, and authors John Irving and Norman Mailer, who also entered the fray.
In 2001, Wolfe published an essay referring to these three authors as "My Three Stooges."[24] That year he also published Hooking Up (a collection of short pieces, including the 1997 novella Ambush at Fort Bragg). ,
He published his third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), chronicling the decline of a poor, bright scholarship student from Alleghany County, North Carolina, after attending an elite university. He conveys an institution filled with snobbery, materialism, anti-intellectualism, and sexual promiscuity. The novel met with a mostly tepid response by critics. Many social conservatives praised it in the belief that its portrayal revealed widespread moral decline. The novel won a Bad Sex in Fiction Award from the London-based Literary Review, a prize established "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel".[25] Wolfe later explained that such sexual references were deliberately clinical.[citation needed ]
Wolfe has written that his goal in writing fiction is to document contemporary society in the tradition of John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and ‰mile Zola.
Wolfe announced in early 2008 that he was leaving his longtime publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His fourth novel, Back to Blood, was published in October 2012 by Little, Brown. According to The New York Times, Wolfe was paid close to US$7 million for the book.[26] According to the publisher, Back to Blood is about "class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption and ambition in Miami, the city where America's future has arrived first."[27]
Critical reception [ edit ] Critic James Wood disparaged Wolfe's "big subjects, big people, and yards of flapping exaggeration. No one of average size emerges from his shop; in fact, no real human variety can be found in his fiction, because everyone has the same enormous excitability."[28]
Recurring themes [ edit ] Much of his later work addresses neuroscience. He notes his fascination in "Sorry, Your Soul Just Died," one of the essays in Hooking Up. This topic is also featured in I Am Charlotte Simmons, as the title character is a student of neuroscience. Wolfe describes the characters' thought and emotional processes, such as fear, humiliation and lust, in the clinical terminology of brain chemistry. Wolfe also frequently gives detailed descriptions of various aspects of his characters' anatomies.[29]
White suit [ edit ] Wolfe adopted wearing a white suit as a trademark in 1962. He bought his first white suit, planning to wear it in the summer, in the style of Southern gentlemen. He found that the suit he purchased was too heavy for summer use, so he wore it in winter, which created a sensation. At the time, white suits were supposed to be reserved for summer wear.[30] Wolfe maintained this as a trademark. He sometimes accompanied it with a white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes. Wolfe said that the outfit disarmed the people he observed, making him, in their eyes, "a man from Mars, the man who didn't know anything and was eager to know."[31]
Views [ edit ] In 1989, Wolfe wrote an essay for Harper's Magazine titled "Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast". It criticized modern American novelists for failing to engage fully with their subjects, and suggested that modern literature could be saved by a greater reliance on journalistic technique.[32]
Wolfe supported George W. Bush as a political candidate and said he voted for him for president in 2004 because of what he called Bush's "great decisiveness and willingness to fight."[33] Bush reciprocates the admiration, and is said to have read all of Wolfe's books, according to friends in 2005.[34]
Wolfe's views and choice of subject material, such as mocking left-wing intellectuals in Radical Chic and glorifying astronauts in The Right Stuff, sometimes resulted in his being labeled conservative.[35] Due to his depiction of the Black Panther Party in Radical Chic, a member of the party called him a racist.[36] Wolfe rejected such labels. In a 2004 interview in The Guardian, he said that his "idol" in writing about society and culture is ‰mile Zola. Wolfe described him as "a man of the left"; one who "went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there. Zola simply could not'--and was not interested in'--telling a lie."[35]
Asked to comment by the Wall Street Journal on blogs in 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of their advent, Wolfe wrote that "the universe of blogs is a universe of rumors" and that "blogs are an advance guard to the rear."[37] He also took the opportunity to criticize Wikipedia, saying that "only a primitive would believe a word of" it. He noted a story about him in his Wikipedia bio article at the time, which he said had never happened.[37]
Personal life [ edit ] Wolfe lived in New York City with his wife Sheila, who designs covers for Harper's Magazine. They had two children: a daughter, Alexandra, and a son, Tommy.[38]
Wolfe died in Manhattan on May 14, 2018, at the age of 88.[39]
Influence [ edit ] The historian Meredith Hindley credits Wolfe with introducing the terms "statusphere", "the right stuff", "radical chic", "the Me Decade", and "good ol' boy", into the English lexicon.[40][dubious '' discuss ] He is sometimes credited with coining the term "trophy wife" as well, but this is incorrect. He described extremely thin women as "X-rays" in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, but did not use the term "trophy wife".[41] According to journalism professor Ben Yagoda, Wolfe is also responsible for the use of the present tense in magazine profile pieces; before he began doing so in the early 1960s, profile articles had always been written in the past tense.[42]
List of awards and nominations [ edit ] 1961 Washington Newspaper Guild Award for Foreign News Reporting1961 Washington Newspaper Guild Award for Humor1970 Society of Magazine Writers Award for Excellence1971 D.F.A., Minneapolis College of Art1973 Frank Luther Mott Research Award1974 D.Litt., Washington and Lee University1977 Virginia Laureate for literature1979 National Book Critics Circle Finalist General Nonfiction Finalist for The Right Stuff1980 National Book Award for Nonfiction for The Right Stuff[43][a]1980 Columbia Journalism Award for The Right Stuff1980 Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Institute of Arts and Letters1980 Art History Citation from the National Sculpture Society1983 L.H.D., Virginia Commonwealth University1984 L.H.D., Southampton College1984 John Dos Passos Award1986 Gari Melchers Medal1986 Benjamin Pierce Cheney Medal from Eastern Washington University1986 Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence1987 National Book Critics Circle fiction Finalist for The Bonfire of the Vanities1987 D.F.A., School of Visual Arts1988 L.H.D., Randolph-Macon College1988 L.H.D., Manhattanville College1989 L.H.D., Longwood College1990 St. Louis Literary Award from Saint Louis University Library Associates[44][45]1990 D.Litt., St. Andrews Presbyterian College1990 D.Litt., Johns Hopkins University1993 D.Litt., University of Richmond1998 National Book Award Finalist for A Man in Full[46]2001 National Humanities Medal2003 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for Lifetime Achievement2004 Bad Sex in Fiction Award from the Literary Review2005 Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award2006 Jefferson Lecture in Humanities2010 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters[47]Television appearances [ edit ] Wolfe was featured as an interview subject in the 1987 PBS documentary series Space Flight.In July 1975 Wolfe was interviewed on Firing Line by William F. Buckley Jr., discussing "The Painted Word".[48]Wolfe was featured on the February 2006 episode "The White Stuff" of Speed Channel's Unique Whips, where his Cadillac's interior was customized to match his trademark white suit.[49]Wolfe guest-starred alongside Jonathan Franzen, Gore Vidal and Michael Chabon in The Simpsons episode "Moe'N'a Lisa", which aired November 19, 2006. He was originally slated to be killed by a giant boulder, but that ending was edited out.[50] Wolfe was also used as a sight gag on The Simpsons episode "Insane Clown Poppy", which aired on November 12, 2000. Homer spills chocolate on Wolfe's trademark white suit, and Wolfe rips it off in one swift motion, revealing an identical suit underneath.Bibliography [ edit ] Non-fiction [ edit ] The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965)The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)The Pump House Gang (1968)Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970)The New Journalism (1973) (Ed. with EW Johnson)The Painted Word (1975)Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1976)The Right Stuff (1979)In Our Time (1980)From Bauhaus to Our House (1981)The Purple Decades (1982)Hooking Up (2000)The Kingdom of Speech (2016)Novels [ edit ] The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)A Man in Full (1998)I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004)Back to Blood (2012)Featured in [ edit ] The Sixties (2014)Smiling Through the Apocalypse (2013)Salinger (2013)[51]Felix Dennis: Millionaire Poet (2012)Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood (2012)A Light in the Dark: The Art & Life of Frank Mason (2011)Bill Cunningham New York (2010)Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006)Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (2006)Breakfast with Hunter (2003)The Last Editor (2002)Dick Schaap: Flashing Before my Eyes (2001)Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union (1998)Peter York's Eighties: Post (1996)Bauhaus in America (1995)Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990)Spaceflight (1985)Up Your Legs Forever (1971)Notable articles [ edit ] "The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!" Esquire, March 1965."Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street's Land of the Walking Dead!" New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 11, 1965)."Lost in the Whichy Thicket," New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 18, 1965)."The Birth of the New Journalism: Eyewitness Report by Tom Wolfe." New York, February 14, 1972."The New Journalism: A la Recherche des Whichy Thickets." New York Magazine, February 21, 1972."Why They Aren't Writing the Great American Novel Anymore." Esquire, December 1972."The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening" New York, August 23, 1976."Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast", Harper's. November 1989."Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died." Forbes 1996."Pell Mell." The Atlantic Monthly (November 2007)."The Rich Have Feelings, Too." Vanity Fair (September 2009).See also [ edit ] Creative nonfictionHysterical realismWolfe's concept of fiction-absoluteNotes [ edit ] References [ edit ] ^ Bloom, Harold. Tom Wolfe, Infobase Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-7910-5916-2, pg. 193. ^ Rolling Stone interview on May 2, 2007 samharris.org (Retrieved November 15, 2008) ^ Weingarten, Marc (January 1, 2006). "The Gang that Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, and the New Journalism Revolution". Crown Publishers '' via Google Books. ^ Available on microform from the Yale University Libraries, Link to Entry ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 6''10 ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 9 ^ Rosen, James (2006-07-02). "Tom Wolfe's Washington Post". The Washington Post . Retrieved 2007-03-09 . ^ Mclellan, Dennis (July 2, 2008). "Clay Felker, 82; editor of New York magazine led New Journalism charge". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2008-11-23 . ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 11''12 ^ Wolfe, Tom; E. W. Johnson (1973). The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. pp. 31''33. ISBN 0-06-014707-5. ^ "A Guide to the Work of Tom Wolfe". contemporarythinkers.org. ^ Wolfe, Tom (September 1970). "The New Journalism". Bulletin of American Society of Newspapers: 22. ^ Kallan, Richard A. (1992). Connery, Thomas B., ed. "Tom Wolfe". A Sourcebook of American Literary Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre. New York: Greenwood Press: 252. ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 19''22 ^ "10 Questions for Tom Wolfe". Time. August 28, 2008 . Retrieved May 25, 2010 . ^ Coyne, Jerry (2016-08-31). "His white suit unsullied by research, Tom Wolfe tries to take down Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky". The Washington Post . Retrieved 2016-09-01 . ^ Sullivan, James (2016-08-25). "Tom Wolfe traces the often-amusing history of bickering over how humans started talking". The Boston Globe . Retrieved 2016-08-26 . ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 22''29 ^ "Tom Wolfe's Satirical Look at Los Angeles". The Daily News of the Virgin Islands. Daily News Publishing Co., Inc. January 25, 1977. p. 18 . Retrieved October 20, 2017 '' via Google News Archive. ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 31 ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 32 ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 30''34 ^ Updike, John (2009). More Matter: Essays and Criticism. Random House Publishing Group. p. 324. ISBN 978-0307488398 . Retrieved 2018-05-15 . ^ Shulevitz, Judith (2001-06-17). "The Best Revenge". The New York Times . Retrieved 2018-05-15 . ^ Rhind-Tutt, Louise (2017-11-27). "Celebrating 25 years of the worst sex scenes in literary history". The i Paper . Retrieved 2018-05-15 . ^ Rich, Motoko. "Tom Wolfe Leaves Longtime Publisher, Taking His New Book", The New York Times, January 3, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2008. ^ Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. "Tom Wolfe Changes Scenery; Iconic Author Seeks Lift With New Publisher, Miami-Centered Drama", The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2008. ^ https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2018/05/15/tom-wolfe-chronicler-and-satirist-american-culture-dies ^ "Muscle-Bound". The New Yorker. 15 October 2012. ^ Ragen 2002, pp. 12 ^ Freeman, John (18 December 2004). "In Wolfe's clothing". The Sydney Morning Herald. ^ Wolfe, Tom (November 1989), "Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast", Harper's Magazine ^ Rago, Joseph (March 11, 2006). "Status reporter". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones and company, Inc. WSJ . Retrieved 15 May 2018 . ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (February 7, 2005), "Bush's Official Reading List, and a Racy Omission", The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2010 ^ a b Vulliamy, Ed (November 1, 2004), " 'The liberal elite hasn't got a clue ' ", The Guardian ^ Foote, Timothy (December 21, 1970). "Books: Fish in the Brandy Snifter" '' via www.time.com. ^ a b Varadarajan, Tunku (July 14, 2007), "Happy Blogiversary", The Wall Street Journal ^ Cash, William (November 29, 1998). "Southern Man". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications . Retrieved December 12, 2015 '' via sfgate.com. ^ "Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic Nonfiction Writer and Novelist, Dies at 87". New York Times. May 15, 2018. ^ Tom Wolfe '' Jefferson Lecturer Biography, Meredith Hindley, National Endowment for the Humanities,2006 ^ Safire, William (May 1, 1994). "On language; Trophy Wife". The New York Times. ^ Yagoda, Ben (2007). When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It. Broadway Books. p. 228. ISBN 9780767920773. ^ "National Book Awards '' 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-11. ^ "Saint Louis Literary Award". slu.edu. Saint Louis University. ^ "Recipients of the Saint Louis Literary Award". slu.edu. Saint Louis University Library Associates . Retrieved July 25, 2016 . ^ "National Book Awards '' 1998". nationalbook.org. National Book Foundation . Retrieved 2012-03-11 . ^ "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters". nationalbook.org. National Book Foundation. Includes Wolfe's acceptance speech . Retrieved 2012-03-11 . ^ Scura, Dorothy McInnis (January 1, 1990). "Conversations with Tom Wolfe". Univ. Press of Mississippi '' via Google Books. ^ "The White Stuff". March 8, 2006 '' via IMDb. ^ Bond, Corey (November 30, 2005). "Crisis on Infinite Springfields: "Tom Wolfe Is Screaming " ". ^ "About Tom Wolfe". Bloom, Harold, ed. (2001), Tom Wolfe (Modern Critical Views), Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, ISBN 0-7910-5916-2 McKeen, William. (1995), Tom Wolfe, New York: Twayne Publishers, ISBN 0-8057-4004-X Ragen, Brian Abel. (2002), Tom Wolfe; A Critical Companion, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-31383-0 Scura, Dorothy, ed. (1990), Conversations with Tom Wolfe, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 0-87805-426-X Shomette, Doug, ed. (1992), The Critical Response to Tom Wolfe, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-27784-2 External links [ edit ] Wikiquote has quotations related to: Tom WolfeOfficial websiteTom Wolfe papers, 1930-2013, held by the Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.George Plimpton (Spring 1991), "Tom Wolfe, The Art of Fiction No. 123", The Paris Review. Article about Wolfe's recent public appearance at the Chicago Public Library from fNews (a publication of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago)"The Word According to Tom Wolfe": Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5 from National ReviewThe Future of the American Idea: Pell-Mell in The Atlantic Monthly (November 2007)June 2006 interview from friezeTom Wolfe author page by Guardian UnlimitedNational Review 100 Best Non Fiction Books 20th centuryTom Wolfe's 2006 Jefferson LectureSorry, but Your Soul Just DiedWorks by or about Tom Wolfe in libraries (WorldCat catalog)TOM WOLFE'S STEAMY PORTRAIT OF COLLEGE LIFE: an interview about 'I Am Charlotte Simmons' " in BookPage (December 2004)Appearances on C-SPANIn Depth interview with Wolfe, December 5, 2004"Should Tom Wolfe Still Hate The New Yorker?" in Construction Magazine (January 9, 2012).
Florida School Shooting
Nikolas Cruz violated Obama's Promise diversion program, but never sent to court - Washington Times
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:38
Confessed mass shooter Nikolas Cruz had no criminal record despite dozens of disciplinary infractions, but there was one case in which Broward County school administrators were obligated to send him before a judge '-- and didn't do it.
After trashing a middle-school bathroom in 2013, Mr. Cruz received a three-day referral to a newly created diversion program called Promise designed to help kids who had committed misdemeanors avoid arrest and stay out of the ''school-to-prison pipeline.''
He didn't show. At that point, school policy dictated that he should have been hauled before Judge Elijah Williams of the Broward County Delinquency Division, and yet there is no record that it ever happened, based on what the district has released, according to Timothy Sternberg, a former assistant principal who helped run Promise from 2014-17.
''There's possible negligence here if no one ever followed up,'' Mr. Sternberg told the Washington Times.
Since the deadly Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland, Florida, Broward County officials have been accused of creating a lax disciplinary climate in their drive to reduce suspensions, expulsions and arrests, an environment that allowed Mr. Cruz to act out for years without serious consequences.
Files obtained by the Orlando Sun Sentinel show that Mr. Cruz committed 58 infractions from 2012-17 at Westglades Middle School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, even though he was enrolled in 2015 at another school, Cross Creek, for students with emotional and behavioral disorders.
After nearly every episode, Mr. Cruz received the same type of punishment '-- detention, an in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension for one to three days'--which also went against district policy.
A repeat offender like Mr. Cruz should have been brought before the district's Behavior and Intervention Committee to decide ''whether this student is appropriate for another setting,'' Mr. Sternberg said.
''When you look at the discipline data, it's not progressive,'' said Mr. Sternberg, who sat on the committee. ''It's a one-day [suspension], and then he does the infraction again, and he gets another one-day. There's no progression of discipline whatsoever.''
As a result, ''With the child, it does create a false sense of 'I can do this and nothing's going to really happen to me,' '' he said.
The district was lambasted after reversing its story on Promise, admitting last week that Mr. Cruz was once referred to the counseling-intensive program even though superintendent Robert Runcie had insisted for months that he wasn't.
The district also said that Mr. Cruz underwent the intake process on Nov. 26, 2013, at Pine Ridge Education Center, but that he did not complete the program.
For Mr. Sternberg, the problem wasn't that Mr. Cruz was referred to Promise'--the problem is that district failed to follow its own rules.
''There was a breakdown in communication,'' said Mr. Sternberg, who arrived after the Cruz referral. ''Normally, when a student doesn't complete the program, the district is supposed to tell the school, which then refers him to Judge Williams, but it doesn't appear that ever happened.''
Under the protocol, the judge first tries to convince the student to participate in the program, an approach that usually works.
''They're sitting in front of the judge, and the judge tries to reengage the student, telling them that, 'If you don't go to Promise, you have to go before the state's attorney and further criminal action will take place,''' said Mr. Sternberg. ''And 95 percent of the time, the student goes back into the program.''
Even if Mr. Cruz had refused, he would have at least landed on the juvenile-justice radar.
''He would have had some kind of contact with law enforcement,'' said Mr. Sternberg. ''Whether or not he would have been arrested'--it's discretionary always with law enforcement. Sometimes they'll arrest you, sometimes they'll give you a warning. But the school would have had the responsibility pre-Promise to call the police on that incident to report it and file a police report.''
Critics have pointed out that if Mr. Cruz had a criminal record, he would have been barred from purchasing the AR-15 used in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, which left 17 dead.
Broward County schools declined to comment, saying the district continue to review Mr. Cruz's disciplinary record and noting that an independent firm is also investigating.
''Rather than speculate about the possible reasons for his not returning, we feel it's important to wait until we have the facts associated with his specific circumstances,'' said the district in a statement.
Mr. Runcie was on the cutting edge of the Obama administration's 2014 guidance warning schools to reduce racial disparities in discipline or face a civil-rights investigation, which has prodded hundreds of school districts to reduce their suspensions, expulsions and arrests.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is reviewing whether to rescind the directive amid complaints about rising school chaos from parents and teachers.
Even before the shooting, Mr. Sternberg, who left his job at the district's Pine Ridge Education Center last year, had been urging the school board to investigate the ''broken'' disciplinary system.
While Promise has come to symbolize for some parents the district's disciplinary failures, Mr. Sternberg continues to support the program, saying it provides resources to disruptive students with dysfunctional families that they might not otherwise receive.
''If Nikolas Cruz had gone through the program, he would have at least met with that counselor and gone through the DAP [Developmental Assets Profile],'' he said. ''They may have looked further into his home background. He would have gotten definitely another level of support.''
Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina Petty was killed at Stoneman Douglas, said the problem in Broward County schools is bigger than Promise.
''Students need a second chance. They need another opportunity, and I think that's the intention of the Promise program,'' Mr. Petty told the Miami New Times. ''I think the issue is the overall discipline policies within the school district.''
Of course, even if the school system had followed its own protocol with regard to Mr. Cruz, there's no guarantee it would have changed anything.
''Who knows whether what happened would have happened,'' Mr. Sternberg said. ''But at least he would have seen somebody else.''
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VIDEO - We Made a Tool So You Can Hear Both Yanny and Laurel - The New York Times
Thu, 17 May 2018 14:33
The internet erupted in disagreement on Tuesday over an audio clip in which the name being said depends on the listener. Some hear ''Laurel.'' Others hear ''Yanny.''
We built a tool to gradually accentuate different frequencies in the original audio clip. Which word or name do you hear, and how far do you have to move the slider to hear the other? (The slider's center point represents the original recording.)
Let us know when you hear the words change and help us learn where Yanny people become Laurel people (and vice versa).
The clip and original ''Yanny or Laurel'' poll were posted on Instagram, Reddit and other sites by high school students who said that it had been recorded from a vocabulary website playing through the speakers on a computer.
One detail may frustrate some and vindicate others: The original clip came from the vocabulary.com page for ''laurel,'' the word for a wreath worn on the head, ''usually a symbol of victory.''
Frequency, in kilohertz
(The controversial audio clip)
The source ''laurel''
A spectrogram of a vocabulary.com clip of the word '' laurel '' shows strong lower frequencies and relatively faint higher frequencies.
An ambiguous recording
Playing the ''laurel'' clip over speakers and re-recording it introduced noise and exaggerated the higher frequencies.
Those higher frequencies may have led to confusion over whether the word was Laurel or Yanny .
A simulated ''Yanny''
For comparison, a spectrogram of the same vocabulary.com voice saying '' Yanny '' shows a similar pattern of strong high frequencies.
The spectrogram was created by merging clips of the voice saying ''Yangtze'' and ''uncanny.''
Frequency, in kilohertz
(The controversial audio clip)
The source ''laurel''
A spectrogram of a vocabulary.com clip of the word '' laurel '' shows strong lower frequencies and relatively faint higher frequencies.
An ambiguous recording
Playing the ''laurel'' clip over speakers and re-recording it introduced noise and exaggerated the higher frequencies.
Those higher frequencies may have led to confusion over whether the word was Laurel or Yanny .
A simulated ''Yanny''
For comparison, a spectrogram of the same vocabulary.com voice saying '' Yanny '' shows a similar pattern of strong high frequencies.
The spectrogram was created by merging clips of the voice saying ''Yangtze'' and ''uncanny.''
The source ''laurel''
A spectrogram of a vocabulary.com clip of the word '' laurel '' shows strong lower frequencies and relatively faint higher frequencies.
(The controversial audio clip)
An ambiguous recording
Playing the ''laurel'' clip over speakers and re-recording it introduced noise and exaggerated the higher frequencies.
Those higher frequencies may have led to confusion over whether the word was Laurel or Yanny .
Frequency, in kilohertz
A simulated ''Yanny''
For comparison, a spectrogram of the same vocabulary.com voice saying '' Yanny '' shows a similar pattern of strong high frequencies.
The spectrogram was created by merging clips of the voice saying ''Yangtze'' and ''uncanny.''
One way to understand the dynamics at work is to look at a type of chart called a spectrogram '-- a way to visualize how the strength of different sound frequencies varies over time. The spectrograms above show that the word ''laurel'' is strongest in lower frequencies, while a simulated version of the word ''yanny'' is stronger in higher frequencies. The audio clip shows a mixture of both.
By using the slider to manipulate which frequencies are emphasized, it makes one word or the other more prominent.
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VIDEO - Nestle falls behind as millennials warm up to frozen meals | Reuters
Thu, 17 May 2018 14:26
Solon, OHIO (Reuters) - At Nestle's $50 million research center outside Cleveland, food technicians and packaging experts set out three years ago to remake its frozen food lineup and appeal more to busy, health-conscious adults in their 20s and 30s.
Nestle (NESN.S ) may have gotten the menu right, but its timing was off. When young consumers came back to the frozen food aisle last year, the company's supply chain wasn't ready. The result: It lost market share to rivals.
Jeff Hamilton, who heads Nestle's U.S. food business, said in an interview the company did not have the manufacturing capacity ready to meet extra demand for its Stouffer's Fit Kitchen and Lean Cuisine meals. He described it as ''sudden, significant and beyond our expectations.''
To catch up, Nestle recently increased capacity at several of its U.S. factories, including making adjustments to its plants and adding a new line in its factory in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Hamilton said.
''That doesn't mean we're not close to the edge, but I think we're one step ahead from where we were,'' he said.
Investors have long pressed Nestle to improve the performance of its frozen food business, leading the company to bring consultants, focus groups and international chefs to its Ohio research facility to help overhaul its menu. Today, the lineup includes items such Coconut Chickpea Curry and Sweet Earth Veggie Lover's pizza, advertised as organic or high in vitamin C.
Much of its effort revolved around a pitch to millennials, the young adult demographic that executives believed would purchase frozen meals if they were offered healthier, more modern choices at the right price point.
So when demand began rising a year ago, it should have offered Nestle a chance to quickly quiet critics. Instead, it marked a missed opportunity.
After several flat years, frozen food sales in the United States rose 1.4 percent in the last year, according to Nielsen, the market research firm. Young adults helped drive the surge. In 2017, millennial homes spent 9 percent more than average households per trip on frozen foods.
Yet since September, retailers have sold fewer Nestle frozen entrees than during the same period the prior year, hitting a low point in January when Nestle volumes were about 5 percent down from last year, according to Bernstein analysts who reviewed data from Nielsen.
Competitors filled the gap. Frozen entree sales rose for both Conagra Brands Inc (CAG.N ) and Pinnacle Foods Inc (PF.N ), two key rivals, according to the data. Conagra's volumes were up about 10 percent in March, compared with a year ago.
Nestle's retail sales have started to pick up, but are still well below last year's levels, Bernstein said.
Slideshow (20 Images) INEXPENSIVE AND EASY Frozen food is a relatively small part of Nestle's sprawling portfolio, which also includes Nescafe instant coffee and Pure Life bottled water. It is one of the reasons some investors have called on it to sell the business, saying it would free the Swiss company to focus on more important or higher-growth businesses.
''Nestle will never be able to convince me that management attention on a business like frozen is the same as what they're giving to high-growth businesses,'' said one Nestle investor, who declined to be named.
Frozen meals and pizza accounted for 14 percent of Nestle USA's $27 billion sales in 2016, or around 4 percent of the company's global sales of about $89.35 billion. More recent figures were not available.
Instead of divesting the business, Nestle joined other food makers in revamping its product line to win over a new generation of consumers. Frozen food aisles, once dominated by frozen pepperoni pizzas and meat lasagna, now feature meals with trendy ingredients such as cauliflower and quinoa.
The newer entrees cater to a wider variety of cultures and dietary requirements, including people who eat gluten-free, organic or want antibiotic-free meat. They also offer a relatively inexpensive meal choice for younger, cash-strapped shoppers.
''Something as simple as buying frozen food is really just symptomatic of the trends we're seeing at large,'' said Allie Aguilera, Policy and Government Affairs Manager at Young Invincibles, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group.
''When you're seeing $400 dollars come out of each paycheck to pay a student loan, that's certainly going to impact your ability to go grocery shopping in a way that people more traditionally used to.''
Rachel McCarthy, a 26-year-old translator based in Austin, Texas, is among those sought-after millennials turning to frozen meals. Over the past year, she has started buying more Nestle Lean Cuisine entrees, in part because of tight finances.
''They're inexpensive and require no prep,'' McCarthy wrote in a Twitter message. ''I make $30,000 a year and have lots of student debt that I'm trying to pay off while also trying to afford to live in Austin where rent prices are rising.''
To ensure it can also cater to wealthier millennials, willing to pay more for higher-end ingredients, Nestle plans to roll out its frozen bowl brand Wildscape to 3,000 stores around the country in the coming weeks. The bowls have taken over a year to develop using millennial focus groups.
Thomas Russo, whose firm Gardner Russo & Gardner has a stake worth more than $1 billion, said he was confident that the company would deliver on the frozen food business, despite the recent supply chain issues.
But, he added: ''It's conceivable that they've taken their eye off the ball temporarily.''
Reporting by Richa Naidu in Solon, Ohio and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Vanessa O'Connell and Paul Thomasch
VIDEO - Licking County offering free Naloxone kits | WSYX
Thu, 17 May 2018 14:06
Ben-Licking Naloxone sign.jpg
NEWARK, OHIO '-- Health officials in Licking County said they can't fight the heroin epidemic alone so they are trying to get everyone to carry Naloxone, the heroin antidote.
The county health department put up billboards encouraging people to carry it even if they don't know anyone struggling with heroin addiction.
"Most people don't know where to go or what to do," said Karey Dyer whose daughter struggles with addiction. "They don't know what the resources are."
Dyer said there's still a stigma about heroin addiction. She hoped billboards like that will start to change that.
"That billboard is the Health Department saying, 'it's okay if we have a conversation about this' and people need to know that," she said. "People need to be willing to talk and maybe change their mind."
The Licking County Health Department has 300 Naloxone kits to give away for free. They also offer free training on how to use it.
"Some of our own staff have pulled into a strip mall and seen somebody slumped over a wheel and knew they were in trouble," said Mary Beth Hagstad with the Licking County Health Department. "Time is everything so if people have a kit they can quickly get this nasal spray Naloxone into them until the medics arrive. That could save a life right there."
Dyer said she hears maybe people question why they should save an addict. She said each time someone addicted is saved, it gives them one more chance to get clean.
"That gives her another opportunity, instead of burying her, I get a chance for her to choose recovery again," Dyer said.
Dyer is part of a Facebook group for the parents whose children are struggling with addiction.
VIDEO - Tesla Loses Energy Leaders as Musk Reorganizes - Bloomberg
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:26
PrintTesla Inc.'s energy unit has lost two leaders, adding to departures at the electric-car maker while CEO Elon Musk readies a reorganization of the top management team, according to people familiar with the matter.
Arch Padmanabhan, the product director for Tesla's stationary storage unit, and Bob Rudd, a former SolarCity vice president who led North American commercial and utility sales, have both left the company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren't authorized to speak publicly. Tesla didn't immediately comment on the departures. Padmanabhan confirmed that he left last month and is working on a new venture, declining to comment beyond that. Rudd couldn't be reached for comment.
Several of the money-losing company's top leaders have been leaving. Matthew Schwall, Tesla's primary contact with U.S. regulators, left to join Waymo, the self-driving-car company started by Google. Jim Keller, head of the driver-assistance system Autopilot, left last month for Intel Corp. Two top financial executives left in March, and sales chief Jon McNeil defected to Lyft Inc. in February. Musk told employees in an email on Monday that he's ''flattening'' Tesla's management structure to improve communication.
Tesla listed only four executive officers in its recent proxy statement: Musk, Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel and engineering chief Doug Field, who's taking a break from the company.
The automaker's stock fell for a fourth straight day as the drumbeat of bad news persisted, including a bearish note from Morgan Stanley about Tesla's manufacturing struggles. With a drop of 2.7 percent, Tesla's losing streak is now the longest since March 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Read more: Model 3 woes and another fatal crash sink Tesla shares
Tesla has used its lithium-ion battery technology to position itself as a key player in the emerging energy-storage market that supplements and may ultimately threaten the traditional electric grid. Musk first announced that Tesla was working on a home battery -- now known as the ''Powerwall'' -- during an earnings call in February 2015. Since then, Tesla has acquired solar-panel installer SolarCity Corp., where Musk was also chairman. The combined company was approaching headcount of 40,000 employees at the end of 2017.
States including California and New York see energy storage as a critical tool to better manage the electric grid, integrate a growing amount of solar and wind power, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Tesla has partnered with Southern California Edison to provide batteries at the utility's Mira Loma substation.
VIDEO - Couric investigates campus culture in 'America Inside Out'
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:10
Avenatti: Two more women claim Trump hush deals 11:59
Trump tweets on 'greatest Witch Hunt' in US history 03:43
Sen. Blumenthal: My own view is Trump can be indicted 15:15
FBI kept 2016 investigation into Trump campaign secret: NYT 10:54
Senate panel breaks with House on Russia interference 09:41
Giuliani appears to say campaign got dirt on Clinton 04:04
VIDEO - YouTube
Thu, 17 May 2018 12:03
VIDEO - Chelsea Manning to Appear on Newsy Tuesday Night (VIDEO) | Politics > Elections > Midterm Elections
Wed, 16 May 2018 03:13
Tuesday night on "The Why," Newsy airs its full interview with Chelsea Manning. The former Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks is now running for U.S. Senate in Maryland.
Bianca Facchinei talks to Manning about her candidacy, the ethics behind government secrets and more.
"The Why" airs Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. on the Newsy channel. You can find local listings here.
VIDEO - ''Yanny'' or ''Laurel'': the audio clip that's tearing the internet apart
Wed, 16 May 2018 01:18
Like a dress that's either gold and white or blue and black, the two seemingly unrelated words ''Yanny'' and ''Laurel'' are threatening to split the internet in half.
On Tuesday, Cloe Feldman, a social media influencer and vlogger, posted a seemingly obvious question on her Instagram story, which she then cross-posted to Twitter: ''What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel,'' accompanied by a recording of a computerized voice that is clearly saying ''Laurel.''
Some maniacs, some of whom I work with, swear they hear ''Yanny'' even though the recording, in the plainest English, says the word ''Laurel.'' Some even claim to be able to hear both words at once.
Because the internet is a place where opinions are given equal weight, some generous people have tried to understand what would cause an ostensibly logical person to think they're hearing ''Yanny'' '-- and the answer seems to boil down to frequency. According to a theory posited by one redditor, what you hear depends on the amount of bass that's being produced from the device you're listening on.
By manipulating audio and changing the pitch of the voice, we upstanding citizens who hear ''Laurel'' can, for brief seconds, hear what the world sounds like through the ears of a maniac.
I'm playing with the audio in Audacity so I can hear both Laurel and Yanny because I'm a normal person with a normal brain
'-- Russell Steinberg (@Russ_Steinberg) May 15, 2018But even though the generosity of these strangers is proof that the internet is an open and weird and great place where we can connect with people who don't see or hear the world the way we might, the voice is clearly saying ''Laurel.''
VIDEO - Swedes are embedding microchips under skin to replace ID cards - Business Insider
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:38
May. 14, 2018, 8:09 AM
A microchip implant as shown in this photo with "body-hacker" Jowan Osterlund of Sweden. James Brooks/AP
About 3,000 Swedish people have inserted a microchip into their bodies to make their daily lives easier.People with the implants can wave their hand near a machine to unlock their office or gym, rather than taking out a key card.So-called biohacking is on the rise as more people depend on wearable technology and interconnected devices.Many microchip users are not concerned with hacking or surveillance at this point. Thousands of Swedes are having microchips implanted into their bodies so that they don't need to carry key cards, IDs, and even train tickets.
About 3,000 people in Sweden have inserted a microchip '-- which is as tiny as a grain of rice '-- under their skin over the past three years, Agence France-Presse reported. The technology was first used in the country in 2015.
The implants have already helped replace the need for a host of daily necessities. Ulrika Celsing's microchip, which is in her hand, has replaced her gym card and office key card. When she enters her workplace, the 28-year-old simply waves her hand near a small box and types in a code before the doors open, AFP said.
Last year, the state-owned SJ rail line started scanning the hands of passengers with biometric chips to collect their train fare while on board. See how it works around the 2:24 mark in the video below.
There is no technological reason the chips couldn't also be used to buy things just like a contactless credit card, but nobody appears to have started testing that yet.
'A slight sting' The procedure is similar to that of a piercing and involves a syringe injecting the chip into the person's hand. Celsing, who obtained her injection at a work event, told AFP she felt just a slight sting.
But the chip implants could cause infections or reactions in the body's immune system, Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at MAX IV Laboratory in southern Sweden, told AFP.
This clip from 2015 shows a microchip being inserted into a person's hand:
The rise of 'biohacking' Biohacking '-- the modification of bodies with technology '-- is on the rise as more and more people start using tech wearables such as Apple Watches and Fitits.
About four years ago, Swedish biohacking group Bionyfiken started organising "implant parties" '-- where groups of people insert chips into their hands en masse '-- in countries including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Mexico.
Some 50 employees at Wisconsin vending-machine company Three Square Market voluntarily agreed to insert microchips into their hands, which they could then use to buy snacks, log in to computers, or use the photocopier.
Tony Danna, a vice president at Three Square Market, receives a microchip at his company headquarters in Wisconsin in August 2017. Jeff Baenen/AP
Swedes seem more willing to try the technology than most other nations.
The country's 10 million-strong population is generally more willing to share personal details, which are already recorded by the country's social-security system and readily available. According to AFP, people can find each others' salaries by simply calling tax authorities.
Many of them also don't believe the microchip technology is advanced enough to be hacked. Libberton, the microbiologist, also said the data collected and shared by implants are too limited for users to fear hacking or surveillance.
Bionyfiken founder Hannes Sj¶blad told Tech Insider in 2015:
"The human body is the next big platform. The connected body is already a phenomena. And this implant is just a part of it. [...]
"We are updating our bodies with technology on a large scale already with wearables. But all of the wearables we wear today will be implantable in five to 10 years.
"Who wants to carry a clumsy smartphone or smartwatch when you can have it in your fingernail? I think that is the direction where it is heading."
An X-ray of a hand with a microchip between the person's thumb and index finger. Mark Gasson
More: Internet of Things Microchip Sweden News UK Powered By Sailthru
VIDEO - VIDEO: NAACP President Claims He Was Profiled On Stop, Then Chief Releases Video - Blue Lives Matter
Wed, 16 May 2018 00:07
Timmonsville, SC - The South Carolina NAACP president posted about how he was racially profiled on a traffic stop, and now the police chief has responded by releasing bodycam video and calling him a liar (video below.)
NAACP President Rev. Jerrod Moultrie posted to Facebook on April 13 about how he was just racially profiled on a traffic stop.
The allegations in his account are disturbing, and would indicate profiling by the officer - except none of it was true.
Below is a transcript of the interaction as posted by Rev. Moultrie:
Me: hello sir how can I help you
Officer: I am stopping you cause you fail to put on a turn signal and do you have any drugs in the car
Me: sir how would you know If I used my tum signal when you was approaching me as I turn and is there any drugs in your car?
Officer: License and registration
Me:sir can I take off my seat belt and get it
Me: (as i open glove box i said )sir this is a new car i just purchased and all ! have is bill of sale, insurance card and registration from car I am transferring tags
Officer: ok where you work and who car is this and why you in this neighborhood
Me: sir I am a pastor and I live in the house on the left
Officer:And I guess I am the bill gates
Me: sir what's the problem
Officer: I ask who car for the last time and why you in this neighborhood
Me: I told you for last time who car and where I live.( as my neighborhood starts to come out there house) By the way sir can I speak to your supervisor
Officer: walks away with my information When he returned he said did you know your tags comes back to another vehicle
Me: sir I just explain this to you
Officer: you need to park this vehicle and never drive it till you get this straight with DMV
Me: sir I have purchased multiple vehicles and never heard this now officer and I start fussing cause I said well i will be driving my car sir and anyt time I want
Officer: I am waming you to not drive this car till tags get straight and just know I am doing you a favor tonight not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket
Me: sir you might be doing your Self a favor but you certainly not doing me a favor.
The reverend finished off his post by saying that his wife and baby were in the back seat, but still he was profiled and accused of having drugs.
"Guess I can't be a pastor and can't drive a Mercedes Benz and live in a nice neighborhood," Rev. Moultrie said. "...someone needs to answer for this behavior and this officer will."
After seeing the post, local community activist Timothy Waters went down to the police department to look at the bodycam and dash camera footage, according to WPDE.
He was shocked to see that everything the reverend said was a lie.
"Once I got a copy of that body cam, it's as if he made the whole story up. And I felt like he set us back 100 years, because think about all of the racial profiling cases (that) are true," Waters told WPDE.
WPDE reports that Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown said that Rev. Moultrie even went so far as to contact him the next morning to claim that he had been racially profiled and mistreated.
"He made a comment that the officer accused him of having drugs in the car. He said that his wife and grandchild was in the car. He asked them not to move because the officer looked as if he might shoot them or something. He also made mention that the officer continued to ask him about his neighborhood. Why was he in that neighborhood? And threaten(ed) to put him in jail in reference to something dealing with the registration to the vehicle," Chief Brown told WPDE. Except all of those accusations were lies.
"When I saw the video, I was shocked that someone who is supposed to be a community leader, a pastor, and head of the NAACP would just come out and tell a blatant lie. It bothered me. It really bothered me, thinking about the racial unrest it could've cost in the community and it's just troubling to me that someone who held a position like that would come out and just tell a lie," Brown told WPDE.
Rev. Moultrie refused to comment to the news station, and instead referred them to Timmonsville NAACP officers Kenneth McAllister and Henry James Dixon.
Both men told the station that they didn't need to see the video because they support Rev. Moultrie, and know that he's a man of integrity who wouldn't lie.
You can see the video of the traffic stop below:
VIDEO - First Lady Melania Trump Underwent Medical Procedure To Treat Kidney Condition : NPR
Mon, 14 May 2018 23:38
First Lady Melania Trump Underwent Medical Procedure To Treat Kidney Condition First Lady Melania Trump underwent an operation Monday at a military hospital just outside of Washington, D.C. Her office said it was to treat a benign kidney condition.
First Lady Melania Trump Underwent Medical Procedure To Treat Kidney Condition Download Embed <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/611145067/611145425" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
First Lady Melania Trump underwent an operation Monday at a military hospital just outside of Washington, D.C. Her office said it was to treat a benign kidney condition.
VIDEO - (7) Opus 55 Legacy - YouTube
Mon, 14 May 2018 18:01
VIDEO - Financial Svcs Dems on Twitter: "Yesterday, on the House floor, RM @RepMaxineWaters had #notonesecond for Republican efforts to undermine anti-discrimination policies. Watch '¬‡'... https://t.co/r8r1qngOXG"
Mon, 14 May 2018 14:47
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VIDEO - 7 Dead In Southwestern Australia Mass Shooting | Daily Wire
Mon, 14 May 2018 04:23
In Osmington, a town of just 135 people in southwest Australia, seven people were killed in what could be the largest shooting the nation has seen in more than two decades.
According to the Associated Press, when police were called to the home at approximately 5:15 a.m. local time Friday, they found the bodies of three adults and four children.
"The bodies of two adults were located outside. Five bodies were located inside a building on the rural property," said Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson.
"It appears that ... gunshot wounds are there, but I don't want to go further than that, as two firearms have been located at the scene," Dawson added.
9 News Perth spoke with a family friend, Felicity Haynes, who claims to have heard multiple gunshots coming from the property in the early morning. The network quoted Dawson, who stated that a man made the emergency call that brought police to the property. However, the man's identity has not been revealed.
The commissioner was circumspect about the incident, refusing to release the names and ages of the deceased, only revealing that officials were attempting to contact family members.
Additionally, Dawson stated: "At this point in time, we don't have any information to raise further public concern." The commissioner's statement may indicate that the crime was a murder/suicide, according to multiple outlets, but authorities have not released details to that effect.
Following the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in which 35 people were killed, Australia tightened its gun laws and instituted a buyback program. According to The Council on Foreign Relations, however, only one-sixth of the "national stock" of "assault weapons" were recovered during the buyback:
The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a ''genuine need'' for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.
In 2002 and 2003, following a shooting in which multiple handguns were used, the Australian government further restricted the nation's gun laws, and instituted another buyback.
The Library of Congress writes:
... in November 2002, various resolutions were agreed to, which included restricting the classes of legal handguns that can be imported or possessed for sporting purposes, changing licensing requirements for handguns, and exploring options for a buyback program for those guns deemed illegal. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the resolutions in December 2002, and these formed the National Handgun Control Agreement. ...
The federal Parliament also enacted the National Handgun Buyback Act 2003, which provided for financial assistance to be granted to states in connection with the implementation of a buyback program for handguns that did not comply with the new restrictions. The buyback program, which was implemented by the individual states and territories, resulted in about 70,000 handguns and more than 278,000 parts and accessories being surrendered.
The Daily Wire will provide further information regarding the Osmington shooting as it become available.
VIDEO - Hotep Jesus on Twitter: "This white woman is anti-Semitic.
Sun, 13 May 2018 23:33
Log in Sign up Hotep Jesus 🧠@ VibeHi This white woman is anti-Semitic. ðŸ‚
pic.twitter.com/SZ1uuzIkEB 6:35 AM - 12 May 2018 The following media may contain sensitive material. Learn more.
Shawn LeFebvre @ scubashawn21
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi Actually I agree with her.
View conversation · Hotep Jesus 🧠@ VibeHi
May 12 Replying to
@scubashawn21 Me too. ðŸ‚
View conversation · Louis Gascoigne @ codecow
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi I'm sitting here looking at an empty Monster Zero I just drank and I feel 10% more influenced by Satan.
View conversation · Kiara Robles @ kiarafrobles
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi God Christians only drink Red Bull.
View conversation · Proud Boys DC @ proudboysdc
May 12 Replying to
@AmericanBraveh1 @VibeHi He's obviously joking
View conversation · John Davey @ johnisaacdavey
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi Great delivery tho
View conversation · JUDGEðŸ--¹ @ judge274
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi You cannot deny this woman is crazy! ðŸ‚🤣
View conversation · Curt Bader @ CurtisBader
May 12 Replying to
@codecow @VibeHi Just 10%? Not 66.6%?
View conversation · Curt Bader @ CurtisBader
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi I want what she's smokin'.
View conversation · Louis Gascoigne @ codecow
May 12 Replying to
@CurtisBader @VibeHi I think to get that much out of it I would have had to listen to some Slayer or something during the consumption.
View conversation · That Guy T @ _BlackGuyT
May 12 Replying to
@VibeHi @TrueDilTom @TrueDilTom View conversation · Curt Bader @ CurtisBader
May 12 Replying to
@codecow @VibeHi Slayer! Youre showing your age brother.
View conversation · ð'–ð'–—ð'–šð'–Šð'–‰ð'–Žð'–‘ð'–ð'–--ð'–' @ TrueDilTom
May 12 Replying to
@_BlackGuyT @VibeHi Now you know the secret to being a sipboy...
View conversation · That Guy T @ _BlackGuyT
May 12 Replying to
@TrueDilTom @VibeHi pic.twitter.com/llHpUOgNsB View conversation · Louis Gascoigne @ codecow
May 12 Replying to
@CurtisBader @VibeHi Yep. I listen to new stuff too like Power Trip.
View conversation · Pragmatic Culture ðŸ‡>>ðŸ‡... 🇺🇸 🐕 @ TheAustrian_
May 12 Replying to
@TrueDilTom @_BlackGuyT @VibeHi pic.twitter.com/z4NEZWAxMy View conversation · ð'–ð'–—ð'–šð'–Šð'–‰ð'–Žð'–‘ð'–ð'–--ð'–' @ TrueDilTom
May 12 Replying to
@TheAustrian_ @_BlackGuyT @VibeHi pic.twitter.com/DqdjHNdHE8 View conversation · Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
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