Archive for the ‘Meddling’ Category

NSA can track everyone’s phone calls again — for a while – CNET

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Who needs the Patriot Act when a judge can simply extend NSA’s domestic spying with the stroke of a pen?

When did you last call your mother? Don’t worry if you can’t remember — the National Security Agency can once more keep track of that for you. That is, for the next 180 days.

After briefly suspending its bulk collection of phone call data, the NSA now has the authority to start it up again, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Source: NSA can track everyone’s phone calls again — for a while – CNET

Daily Mail invents critics of Facebook’s “Celebrate Pride” feature

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

A friend shared a story on a website called the “Conservative Post” called “Everyone Who Changed Their Facebook Photos To Rainbow Just Got DUPED.” I’m always curious of what gets my righty friends all worked up so I read it.

Conservative Post got duped

Conservative Post got duped

Over a million people changed their facebook profile pictures to a rainbow filter in support of gay marriage.

New reports reveal that the “Celebrate Pride” tool may not have been the best idea…

According to Daily Mail, this tool was actually Facebook’s way of performing psychological testing on their users.

Cesar Hidalgo wrote on Facebook yesterday. “The question is, how long will it take for people to change their profile pictures back to normal.”

Experts say that by setting up the tool, Facebook was able to get an unprecedented insight on how to influence their users.


Drones not yet cleared for takeoff

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or "drone"

An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or “drone”

After having had such fun with the Structure Sensor I borrowed through the N.C. State Libraries Technology Lending program, I suggested that they consider lending quadcopters like the DJI Phantom 3. Drones like the Phantom 3 are so cutting-edge that they are far ahead of Federal Aviation Administration regulations, so much so that many common-sense uses of drones (or as the FAA calls them, “unmanned aircraft systems” or UAS) are currently banned outright.

Like other university libraries, N.C. State Libraries would love to lend out drones but the present legal limbo with the FAA prevents that from happening. You see, what many people don’t realize is that the FAA is in charge of the nation’s airspace from the ground up. Not just 500 feet and above but starting at the ground. Public property, private property, it doesn’t matter. If you fly anything, anywhere, the FAA makes the rules.

National Archives mailed me sensitive records of other veterans … twice

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Pvt. Hardy's DD-214 (redacted)

Pvt. Hardy’s DD-214 (redacted)

Starting in February, I decided to enroll in the Veterans Administration healthcare system. In order to review my health history, I submitted a form to the National Archives and Records Administration to get a copy of my military medical records.

A packet soon arrived from NARA and I marveled at how quickly it had arrived. My pleasure quickly turned to disbelief, though, when I saw the name on the record was not mine!

The Pulitzer Prize In Bullshit FUD Reporting Goes To… The Sunday Times For Its ‘Snowden Expose’ | Techdirt

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Rupurt Murdock’s Sunday Times published a whopper on Sunday in an effort to smear Edward Snowden and was promptly shredded by other journalists for its fabrications and shoddy reporting.

Let’s start with this. Soon after Daniel Ellsberg was revealed as the source behind the Pentagon Papers, White House officials started spreading rumors that Ellsberg was actually a Soviet spy and that he’d passed on important secrets to the Russians:None of it was true, but it was part of a concerted effort by administration officials to smear Ellsberg as a “Soviet spy” and a “traitor” when all he really did was blow the whistle on things by sharing documents with reporters.

Does that sound familiar? Over the weekend, a big story supposedly broke in the UK’s the Sunday Times, citing anonymous UK officials arguing that the Russians and Chinese got access to all the Snowden documents and it had created all sorts of issues, including forcing the UK to remove undercover “agents” from Russia. That story is behind a paywall, but plenty of people have made the text available if you’d like to read the whole thing.

Source: The Pulitzer Prize In Bullshit FUD Reporting Goes To… The Sunday Times For Its ‘Snowden Expose’ | Techdirt

Why the “biggest government hack ever” got past the feds | Ars Technica

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Ars Technica takes an in-depth look at the “biggest government hack ever,” the OPM hack that exposed over 4 million records of federal government employees.

As I posted to Twitter, while the NSA was busy monitoring Grandma’s phone calls, the Chinese made off with 4 million federal government employee records. Tell me again why we are spending billions on the NSA?

n April, federal authorities detected an ongoing remote attack targeting the United States’ Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computer systems. This situation may have gone on for months, possibly even longer, but the White House only made the discovery public last Friday. While the attack was eventually uncovered using the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Einstein—the multibillion-dollar intrusion detection and prevention system that stands guard over much of the federal government’s Internet traffic—it managed to evade this detection entirely until another OPM breach spurred deeper examination.

Source: Why the “biggest government hack ever” got past the feds | Ars Technica

Stepson of Stuxnet stalked Kaspersky for months, tapped Iran nuke talks | Ars Technica

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

A fascinating, in-depth account of how security firm Kaspersky was infected by (and later discovered) one of the world’s most powerful hacking tools.

“These guys are so confident to develop their entire platform based on this zero day it means if they get caught and this zero day is patched they probably have another one they can use, which I would say is a pretty scary thought,” he said. “Nobody develops an entire malware platform based on just one simple assumption that this zero day will work forever, because eventually it will be discovered and patched. And when it is patched your malware is not going to work anymore. I think that’s also very scary and quite impressive.”

Source: Stepson of Stuxnet stalked Kaspersky for months, tapped Iran nuke talks | Ars Technica

Another canceled credit card

Friday, May 15th, 2015

We got an email from earlier this evening, alerting us to fraudulent charges on our credit card. Someone has apparently programmed our credit card number onto another card and gone on a shopping spree.

It began with a swipe in a food vending machine owned by Berkshire Food, Inc. somewhere in Connecticut. Berkshire is in Danbury but there’s no way of knowing whether the transaction was there or the payment was processed there. The first tranaction was $1.60. I’ve heard that thieves will usually start off their spree with a small amount and increase as they gain confidence in their card.

Our thieves then began to get hungry, so they stopped into L.C. Chen’s, a Chinese restaurant in Fairfield, CT, at 6:19 PM. The two women bought Pad Thai and a drink, one signing the receipt as “Vanessa Smith,” according to Linda, the nice lady I spoke with.

Seymour M. Hersh · The Killing of Osama bin Laden · LRB 21 May 2015

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

On Sunday, Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an account of the bin Laden SEAL raid that differs markedly from the official account. Hersh insists that Pakistan knew of the raid and that the Obama administration’s is a “lie.” Hersh’s reporting is now being called into question as he relies heavily on a single anonymous source.

I’ve been a fan of Hersh’s work, but these are extraordinary claims which demand convincing evidence. Unless Hersh can provide stronger sources I will have to wonder whether his account is trustworthy.

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.

Source: Seymour M. Hersh · The Killing of Osama bin Laden · LRB 21 May 2015

Text of Brian Dyson’s commencement speech at Georgia Tech, Sept 1991.

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

This is the full text of the speech given by Brian Dyson, former CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, at Georgia Tech’s 172nd commencement on September 6, 1991, as reported in the Georgia Tech Whistle faculty newspaper. See my previous post to learn how I tracked this down.

Coca-Cola CEO’s Secret Formula For Success: Vision, Confidence And Luck

(Brian G. Dyson. president and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. was the featured speaker at Georgia Tech’s 172nd commencement on Sept. 6.)

I think the ingredients for success, or as we would say at Coca-Cola. “the secret formula,” is a combination of three things: vision, knowing what you want to be when you grow up; confidence, knowing who you are; and luck, or what I would call being in the right place at the right time.

With those three ingredients and your Georgia Tech diploma, you have the formula for success. You have a first class education from a world class university, and I really congratulate you all on your achievement.