Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

The Death of “Exit”

Friday, May 27th, 2016


Yesterday in Paris, France the concept of exit died on the floor of the Google headquarters. Leftists worldwide have realized how wealthy the technology sector is and they want their money so they can pay for the bennies that keep the citizens complacent and stupid:

A dawn raid was launched on Google’s office in Paris yesterday as part of a probe into ‘aggravated tax fraud’ and money laundering.

Around 100 police officers, five magistrates, 25 computer experts and about 100 tax officials entered the US internet giant’s premises at 5am as France ramped up its efforts to clamp down on alleged tax evasion.

Google is accused of owing the French government £1.2billion in unpaid taxes.

While Google is arrogant enough to hide its money however possible, let us be honest: this is a shakedown. If you have the money, Leftist government will take it because all of the voters want it. Leftism creates a perpetual cycle of not having enough and working too much, and this makes workers angry at anyone who is not in that condition. These shakedowns are frequent and eventually kill off industry so that the Leftist cancer can enter its final phase.

The reason that the concept of “exit” died is that a principle has been formalized: if you have money, They will come to take it from you.

The notion of fairness in laws or some kind of reason existing behind the whole process is fallacy. The French have creatively interpreted their laws, which democratic societies produce in vague abundance, to legitimize the theft of money from Google (who creatively interpreted tax and accounting codes for the opposite purpose). This is what Governments do. They also wage war.

Most “collapse” scenarios are like most human thinking, linear and binary. Suddenly there is a huge SNAP! and society just falls apart, leaving a smouldering ruin through which starvation-crazed people wander. In reality, collapse is like Brazil: a society slowly fades away into third world levels of hygiene, wealth and order. It never really fails, it just becomes useless, kind of like ancient Greece and Rome.

When an empire dies, you are left with vast monuments in front of which illiterate peasants squat to defecate. Brazil is in approximately that condition now. This does not mean an absence of government however, nor the more important problem caused by herd mobilization. In every society, the people create the government. When the herd needs money or fears the competition from an exit-stage, politicians arise who will promise to take action.

This creates the They mentioned above: a vast and desperate herd, needy for plunder, and its enablers — who also have a motive of corruption themselves. The enablers will in fact work both coming and going by taking protection money from businesses, and then confiscating a few to demonstrate their power and keep the rest in line. And when the herd calls for Google’s head? Then government will do whatever it has to in order to generate a pretext for seizure.

Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley will react with evasion as it is already doing in response to government demands that it decrypt its customers’ data:

In Silicon Valley, there’s a new emphasis on putting up barriers to government requests for data. The Apple-FBI case and its aftermath have tech firms racing to employ a variety of tools that would place customer information beyond the reach of a government-ordered search.

The trend is a striking reversal of a long-standing article of faith in the data-hungry tech industry, where companies including Google and the latest start-ups have predicated success on the ability to hoover up as much information as possible about consumers.

Now, some large tech firms are increasingly offering services to consumers that rely far less on collecting data.

Tech companies have already figured out that against governments, especially third world regimes, they cannot win. The internet exists in its wires, switches and servers, and all of those are located in the physical world, and can be controlled. Markets can be closed.

If we had a true Terminator-style collapse of civilization that was nice and crisp and binary, this would not be a problem as people could set up a bootleg internet and keep it running with energy generated from flatulence or something. But in Brazil, there is still government… corrupt, incompetent, and slow, but still able to feed itself.

The anarchist fantasy turns out to be far from the reality (although it sounds cool):

Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button. Stop hustling and you sank without a trace, but move a little too swiftly and you’d break the fragile surface tension of the black market; either way, you were gone, with nothing left of you but some vague memory in the mind of a fixture like Ratz, though heart or lungs or kidneys might survive in the service of some stranger with New Yen for the clinic tanks.

Biz here was a constant subliminal hum, and death the accepted punishment for laziness, carelessness, lack of grace, the failure to heed the demands of an intricate protocol.

Alone at a table in the Jarre de Thé, with the octagon coming on, pinheads of sweat starting from his palms, suddenly aware of each tingling hair on his arms and chest, Case knew that at some point he’d started to play a game with himself, a very ancient one that has no name, a final solitaire. He no longer carried a weapon, no longer took the basic precautions. He ran the fastest, loosest deals on the street, and he had a reputation for being able to get whatever you wanted. A part of him knew that the arc of his self-destruction was glaringly obvious to his customers, who grew steadily fewer, but that same part of him basked in the knowledge that it was only a matter of time. — William Gibson, Neuromancer

Human illusions always favor solidly defined and rigidly delineated events instead of the gradualism with which natural events occur. Decay is a natural event, since it is not deliberate like a human command, but the result of human actions in the world and the consequences created by those. This often resembles a “conspiracy of details,” with humans accomplishing their goal but experiencing unintended results as well.

For this reason, the concept of “exit” has died: there is no way out of a dying civilization except to overthrow the parasite (the government, the elites, and the less-than-honorable portion of its populace) and deport it, then set up a more sensible social order. This is why the wisdom of our forebears was always to stand and fight rather than try to escape, because in the end, there is no escape from the consequences of our actions, whether individual or collective.

Tim Cook learns the hard way that SJWs are always toxic

Thursday, February 25th, 2016


You know; I’m just not an Apple Guy. I tend to just view computers, cars and the rest as exactly what they are – machinery. But today I’m writing in praise of Apple’s usually-execrable CEO Tim Cook. He has taken on the leviathan and told it to go blow one out its monstrous rear-end. Well done, Tim. You just made your home state of Alabama proud.

You see, Tim Cook recently had a learning experience, an epiphany if you will. He reached the point where he got it. He came down out of the elite bubble, the Davos Smug-Cloud and really understood how badly life could suck down here on Earth. Down here in Amerika. It was when the FBI leaned on him to give them a backdoor code to allow them unfettered access to Apple’s iPhone products that he finally learned what it was like to spend a day being a regular human being under the power of an oppressive “people-powered” government like INGSOC.

Our FBI is attempting to hack an iPhone that belonged to one of the terrorists who shot up the San Bernardino Christmas Party this past December. They’ve got their smart guys, the real Harvard Men; measuring every physical dimension of the iPhone with their laser micrometers and their slide-rules. It was all going well and the investigation was making progress! But the iPhone then asked for a password so the whole electronic phase of things where they piece together what phone numbers the terrorist called has kind of stalled out.

So it now becomes Tim Cook’s patriotic duty as an Amerikan to fork over code that will allow Wile E Coyote Supra-Genus to instantly access any password protected iPhone through physical means or Wi-Fi with or without the user’s knowledge or permission.

At this juncture, one can imagine Tim Cook as an NFL head coach on the sideline. He has just watched his multi-million dollar franchise get jobbed out of a potential game-clinching touchdown by one of the worst officiating mistakes he has ever seen in his life. He stands there somewhat aghast and asks himself a vital epistemological question. Perhaps he phrases it like this: “Did I really just f*&^%$# see that?!”

Upon convincing himself to that he really did f*&^%@# see that, his face turns a rather unhealthy purplish-orange color. His blood pressure could get a moon rocket fifty feet off the launching pad. He rummages in the back pocket of his Bike Coaches’ Pants and dramatically tosses his Red Bullsh!t flag onto the field to demand a replay challenge of the offending call. Kevin Williamson at NRO gives us the broader extended rant that occurs after CBS Sports quickly pans the camera away before six-year old kids accomplish too much lip-reading.

Yes, of course we’d like to have some prosecutions and convictions in the San Bernardino case, inasmuch as it is clear that the jihadists there did not act without some assistance. And, yes, there probably is some useful information to be had from that iPhone. But there is something deeply unseemly about a gigantic and gigantically powerful national-security apparatus’s being stymied by ordinary consumer electronics and then putting a gun to the head of Apple executives and demanding that they do Uncle Stupid’s job for him. You know what would be better than prosecuting those who helped the San Bernardino jihadists? Stopping them, i.e., for the Men in Black to do their goddamned jobs. An arranged marriage to a Pakistani woman who spent years doing . . . something . . . in Saudi Arabia? Those two murderous misfits had more red flags on them than Bernie Sanders’s front yard on May Day, and the best minds in American law enforcement and intelligence did precisely squat to stop their rampage. Having failed to do its job, the federal government now seeks even more power — the power to compel Apple to write code rendering the security measures in its products useless — as a reward for its failure.

One can imagine Coach Cook at a post-game press conference after his disappointing loss. He is now trying to patiently explain to the media what he really meant by all the nasty and unrepeatable things he said during what we’ll politely describe as a loss of sideline demeanor. He politely suggests that such a software code does not exist and is “too dangerous to create” because it could fall into Hillary Clinton’s toilet Internet-server, oops; I mean the wrong hands. This is a far better PR strategy than giving in to his baser desires, snapping off some beat reporter’s geeky, little head and driving a nice pile of steaming feces down that tosser’s pathetic, bloody stump of a neck. A careful observer can notice that Coach Cook’s hands shake to an unsettling degree while he struggles to maintain a calm and soothing tone of voice. Now is not the time to ask Coach Cook about the playoffs.

In conclusion, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shown what Earnest Hemmingway described as the true measure of a worthy man. Unlike the fictional Coach Cook described above, he has displayed grace under pressure. He properly and exquisitely dealt with the outrage he must have felt when he was strong-armed by our desperate, incompetent excuse for a government. It has been said by many that all of us are Conservatives about the things we truly care for and cherish. Attempting to jack Apple’s intellectual property, at least for the nonce, brought forth an impressive streak of small-government, libertarian conservatism from one of Amerika’s most conspicuously SJW CEOs. I congratulate Mr. Cook on his quantum of enlightenment. I hope that it causes him to reevaluate some of his decisions and lead his particular corner of America to a far better place in the foreseeable future.

On free markets and the Apple issue

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Mr. Wilkinson has an excellent article about the Apple debacle which is coming up in the future, but it makes sense to clarify the technical issues first. Vox has an article which describes the technical challenges in this issue:

But the fact that we don’t know how to make an encryption algorithm that can be compromised only by law enforcement doesn’t imply that we don’t know how to make a technology product that can be unlocked only by law enforcement.

The fight over the iPhone’s encryption is not really a fight about encryption. Backdooring encryption is a bad idea because if the bad guys find the backdoor, there is no way to protect any of the encrypted traffic. But we have a workaround: We The People can command Apple to put a backdoor into the operating system that allows us to control specific phones.

That is what this fight is about. Can a government compel a private company to modify its products so that at government request, specific units can be compromised?

Legally, the answer is yes, of course. If the people vote for such a thing, it can be done. If there are civil rights or human rights objections, the answer will always be that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, a concept I find problematic because it assumes the equality of people as if we could be weighed by the pound and our value thereby determined.

In realistic thinking of course the answer is no. The real issue here is far from the question of iPhones or governments. If we drill down to the core of this fight, it is thus: government cannot substitute for culture.

You will never have enough cops, judges, lawyers and spies to control a population. You would need not just a true panopticon, where every act was visible, but an observed panopticon where a wise and alert cop watched every act all the time. Only then do you have safety; but even then, there are many points of failure.

Those of us who want a Restoration point out that you either have a society of good people or the bad people win. There are no grey areas and no middle ground. People must police themselves. When your culture rewards good behavior and is intolerant of bad, terrorists and other crazies can have no place in your society. This works far better than police enforcement and spying on people through their phones.

Surrogate fears

Monday, November 28th, 2011

We bury our greatest fears. In their place we erect symbolic ones, totems from our primitive past, which we then bash and conquer “symbolically” in order to make ourselves feel better.

Reality doesn’t change. The reality inside our heads does.

Right now, there’s a huge publicity blitz on the internet designed to make you think that Voldemort-Hitler is going to censor the internet unless we all band together and fight him. Time to rage! For great justice!

The reality is that this is the daytime show. It’s there to keep you busy. It’s basically harmless. And in the background, the sinister reality is taking form.

I’m not arguing this sinister reality will be apocalyptic. In fact, I’m neither a utopian nor doomsayer. To me, it’s clear that the primary threat to this society is the same thing that threatens all societies, which is slow decay from within.

But it might be worth keeping an eye on, because we will pay the price for it.

Back to that false fear, the surrogate and symbolic talismanic fear:

SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act — has been presented in the House of Representatives as a way to protect movie studios, record labels and others whose music and films are taken and copied online. There was a hearing on it today. Its Senate counterpart is called the Protect IP Act.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said the bills would overdo it — giving copyright holders and government the power to cut off websites unreasonably. They could be shut down, and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo could be stopped from linking to them.

“The solutions are draconian,” Schmidt said Tuesday at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “There’s a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.” – ABC

It sounds terrifying indeed. Until you realize that he’s describing a slight enhancement to the status quo powers that law enforcement has, and that we’ve lived under the current powers and we’re all still here and not censored.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides essentially the same functionality, just not as smoothly. Its purpose is to allow information owners to stop its spread quickly. It’s like any other injunction, just faster and with fewer barriers.

The new law takes the DMCA and extends it further. Remember the ruckus and hue and cry that arose when the DMCA passed? We were told censorship was coming, to use HAM radios instead of the internet, and that the end was nigh. It didn’t happen that way.

It won’t here, either. This isn’t censorship — it’s being used to block leaks of copyright content. Anyone who uses it to “censor” is then going to be liable in civil court, which makes this a bad tool to use for censorship. You can get sued into poverty for misusing it.

In the meantime, what sneaky things could be happening instead…

The idea is to analyze interactions over video conferences, telephone, text messages and other forms of digital communication to look for patterns of behavior that have been defined in advance as negative or positive, and then assign a score to each person based on what the system finds. – Geekwire

Evil Satan-Hitler Microsoft (MSFT) is attempting to take over our world again and make us slaves to a Minority Report styled fascist 1984 future! …right?

No. The point is that we insisted on full employment, and sent women off to the offices as well as men, and then insisted that incompetents be hired, and then imported a huge horde of people. Now we have literally millions of people who should not be in the jobs they’re in, but they can’t be fired.

Microsoft has seen the niche opportunity, and will use it to make some money. Most people at jobs are incompetent, bored, evasive and subversive. This software will use what was once done by human minds — when people were smarter — to assess them and yank the least competent.

But you might not want this technology deployed everywhere. It’s not that bright. You might prefer a human in this role.

An analyst types Fikri’s name into a search box and up pops a wealth of information pulled from every database at the government’s disposal. There’s fingerprint and DNA evidence for Fikri gathered by a CIA operative in Cairo; video of him going to an ATM in Miami; shots of his rental truck’s license plate at a tollbooth; phone records; and a map pinpointing his movements across the globe. All this information is then displayed on a clearly designed graphical interface that looks like something Tom Cruise would use in a Mission: Impossible movie.

As the CIA analyst starts poking around on Fikri’s file inside of Palantir, a story emerges. A mouse click shows that Fikri has wired money to the people he had been calling in Syria. Another click brings up CIA field reports on the Syrians and reveals they have been under investigation for suspicious behavior and meeting together every day over the past two weeks. Click: The Syrians bought plane tickets to Miami one day after receiving the money from Fikri. To aid even the dullest analyst, the software brings up a map that has a pulsing red light tracing the flow of money from Cairo and Syria to Fikri’s Miami condo. That provides local cops with the last piece of information they need to move in on their prey before he strikes. – Business Week

Truly evil governments do not announce their new powers. They use them.

Palantir and systems like it work on a simple principle: now that just about everything is in a database, we can collate all that information and use it to form a very accurate profile of what an individual is doing.

While right now this is in the hands of government, it’s also already in the hands of many paid services. Soon other private citizens will be able to look you up this way. They already can Google-stalk you. Who do you fear more, a government conspiracy or the illogicality of other people?

More on that:

Trust in information on the web is being damaged by the huge numbers of people paid by companies to post comments online, say researchers.

Fake posters can “poison” debate and make people unsure about who they can trust, the study suggests.

Some firms have created tens of thousands of fake accounts to flood chat forums and skew debate. – BBC

We trust the internet, with its user-editable resources including Wikipedia, as a source of information.

But when anyone in the crowd can edit that information, what prevails? People game the system. If Joe runs a pizza parlor, he’ll be sure to write a few reviews.

If you blindly trust information on the internet, you will be easily misled.

Yet blind trust in the internet seems to be very popular. Why? (Who benefits?, we might ask)

Here’s another sneaky not-so-good development:

The last thing to note is the dark side of the social media. Watching rumors pose as facts over and over is not good for anyone and I cannot see any way to prevent bad things from happening because of it. The best example of this was last night when someone took a report directly from someone in the middle of the fracas. The person had a landline so calling out was possible.

Over and over, when asked, the person reported that there was no use of tear gas. Yet, the chat rooms were ablaze with accounts: “They are using tear gas!” None of these people was actually there to report this information. Finally, a bogus video of a tear gas attack appeared on Twitter. Nobody knew where this came from but it was passed all over the place. Still, the insider said there was no tear gas.

Tear gas or not, you can easily see how a planted video or plausible falsity could take off like wildfire and enrage the protestors. – John Dvorak

We have no evil government or corporation to blame here. Cue 99% of people tuning out, because their televisions and movie screens have told them that evil must be concentrated in a single actor, not distributed among all of us.

Instead, what we see is our mental inactivity as a population leading us away from reality. Who cares if it’s true, when someone else said it, and it’s important to us to be seen as tolerant and inclusive of others? Let’s just spread the rumor.

That in turn will of course start more panics about how various government bills are the end of the world, and will in turn lead to a lower standard of behavior, requiring more software to monitor us at work. But our citizens and pundits aren’t thinking that far ahead. They’re preoccupied with surrogate fears.

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