Archive for the 'Wishware' Category

The solution to the GMO problem: a withering, internet mediated boycott

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In the film of Dune, Paul Atreides scans a box of the Spice Melange with a hand held device, before eating a sample. Passing the device over the spice, and it finding no contamination the device intones ‘safe’ in a soft female voice.

This is all you need to stop the contamination of the food supply with GMO goods.

An iPhone app that connects to a database of all food products known to be safe could be used to inspect every barcode on products you buy, returning safe, or nothing.

If you buy a product that returns nothing, this means it is either safe or not in the database, or that it is a GMO contaminated product and you should not eat it.

It is important that the software works in this way, because it means that the developers will not be at risk of a lawsuit for a wrongly labeled product, placed in the database by mistake. All that is needed is a database of clean foods, not a database of all good foods AND bad foods.

There is a piece of software that works in this way, with a focus on books:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snaptell/id291920403?mt=8

With this app, you can scan the cover of any book, or its barcode and the software will retrieve entries on Amazon and other sites for you to buy it.

There is no reason why an app that scans the barcodes of products and returns wether or not they are contaminated could not be written, very quickly, to address this problem. Creating this software would be a piece of cake.

It is clearly pointless to run to the State to ask it to, “protect our food”. In any case, it isn’t your food until you buy it, and you cannot rely on the State for protection from every possible harm, and neither should you. This is especially true when the protection you need can be had straight away and under your control, totally ethically, without force of any kind.

Clearly there are millions of people who do not want to consume GMO contaminated foods. All of these people either have iPhones or Droids in their pockets. The market is ripe for an app that can put these two together to stamp out GMO food once and for all, via the power of a complete boycott, mediated by the internet on portable devices.

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The heat is slowly building up against the Canadian Royal Mint’s Mint Chip

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Mint Chip, the Canadian Royal Mint’s attempt to enter the digital money market, is doomed to fail. It is being thoroughly attacked from all sides, the technical, the philosophical and economic.

Via a post on Slashdot, we are reminded of Bruce Schneier’s warning signs of Snake Oil, which the Mint Chip suffers from.

What is ‘Snake Oil’ I hear you ask? In cryptography, snake oil is a term used to describe commercial cryptographic methods and products which are considered bogus or fraudulent. The name derives from snake oil, one type of patent medicine widely available in 19th century United States.

There are several parts of Mint Chip that cause even those with a casual interest in cryptography to smell snake oil. Read the rest of this entry »

US CENTCOM Strategy of Troll FAIL

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

As the empire starts to crumble, and the talking heads in the MSM dwindle in influence, replaced by the likes of Alex Jones and Infowars, desperation methods are being rolled out to try and sabotage alternative and social networking media.

It will not work.

The problem they have is one of reputation, and six degrees of separation.

Because everyone is connected to everyone else by only six steps, it is now impossible to inject a lie into the hive mind of The Mass and have that lie survive scrutiny.

We have spoken about The Mass before on BLOGDIAL; it is the accurate prediction of the Twitter mediated hive mind that is impervious to the State and its lies.

Even if this vile attack on the truth through manipulation and lies was successful in any way, countermeasures can be built in software that would completely eradicate the influence of these glove puppet agents provocateurs.

Using the model of the PGP web of trust and the fact of six degrees of separation, it is possible to build a self organising, self healing global network of trusted introducers who can re-tweet only what is known to have not come from a glove puppet.

These trusted introducers and their messages would carry more weight than any glove puppet, and in fact, Twitter almost does this spontaneously through its simple method of people following each other and getting to know the sort of tweets that come out of the people they follow.

Anyone who uses these social networking tools understands that un-following is instant, adaptive network healing; if someone you follow says something that is a lie you either refute them by replying in public or un-following them and never again re tweeting their messages.

These simple actions are like the behaviour of antibodies fighting off infection, in this case, the infection of lies told by lying glove puppets.

These military people simply do not understand the world the are now living in. They cannot use their ridiculous twentieth century PSYOP strategies by ‘upgrading‘ them and superimposing them on Twitter; it simply will not transpose to these media.

What they must now realise is that lying as a strategy is finished. This would be the breakthrough that would put them on a strong footing for total domination of the social networking space. Sadly (or happily) they simply have not got a clue, nor the ethical foundation to make the correct strategic decision.

Lets do this!

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

They will fail.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

Wait a minute, is it the US Military, or is it some snake-oil salesman in California who made a successful pitch?

The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet.

This is utter nonsense, Grauniad style. Censorship has nothing to do with organised glove puppetry; everyone can continue saying whatever it is they like, unimpeded. Can these morons even define the words they are using? Shocking stupidity, and par for the course at the Grauniad!

Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

Critics are nothing more than cry babies whining instead of writing software. As I say above, a web of trust can be built either spontaneously or with software designed to tamp down glove puppetry and MILCOMTROLLS. You can always spot trolls very easily, especially when they use templates or multiple identities to spam comments. The Telegraph comments sections are full of garbage; all you have to do to tune it out however, is to set Disqus to ‘best rated’.

The single act of people rating comments up (and not down, there is no downvote button) crowd-sources the bullshit out of sight. If an organised team of MILCOMTROLLS tries to hijack the comments, it is always the case that the best refuting comment outshines the glove puppetry, and the takeover backfires completely.

The people who put this contract out to tender have absolutely no idea how any of this works, and it is going to backfire on them spectacularly. Just ask Johan Hari about how Google can expose misdeeds in English. Any MILCOMTROLLS that try and poison threads or spin the hash tags will be spotted, outed and crowded out, reinforcing the exact opposite messages that they are trying to push.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities known to users of social media as “sock puppets” could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

So what? Its just like other governments wanting nuclear weapons because the USA has them, or countries like India wanting ID Cards because most European countries have them.

The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.

This is unfeasible, and if it is feasible, the web of trust can isolate and expunge these glove puppets. Also, consider that when individuals write blog comments or send tweets, they think about what they are writing, instead of working from a script. The only way this MILCOMTROLL plan could possibly work is if they hired individuals to write from the MILCOM point of view, genuinely on a case by case basis, with the target articles distributed to them for attack.

You cannot create a fool proof system where one person can control ten identities and not be crowded out or discovered. Because each of these identities, credible or not, will all be propagating the same point of view, this fact alone would be enough to characterise, isolate, and quarantine them.

Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”

Ron Paul 2021!

He said none of the interventions would be in English, as it would be unlawful to “address US audiences” with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.

Its unlawful to glove puppet in English for American audiences, but its A-OK to ASSASSINATE Americans.

You cant make this stuff up.

Centcom said it was not targeting any US-based web sites, in English or any other language, and specifically said it was not targeting Facebook or Twitter.

Lies lies and more lies.

Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.

Once again, coordinated messages will be identified and neutralised. Think about this as a possible way of destroying the effectiveness of this dastardly plan.

Akismet is a distributed tool for eliminating spam. It is 99.99% effective. A system like that could be used to completely eliminate the occurrence of glove puppets and mass up/downvoters.

Since these people will be working in a coordinated way, their acts will be synchronised. It will be possible to identify them as a group and then systematically exclude them from showing up in comments or as up-votes. Digg has some experience in this, where massive groups of paid Diggers were organised to push stories onto the front page. Since these people all work together, it only takes a few instances of them working to simultaneously to generate a unique fingerprint of their behaviour, which can then be tested against when future MILCOMTROLL style attacks are initiated.

Of course, all this happens silently in the software, so like SEOs trying to game Google, they will meet with a very serious problem the instant they roll this programme out. Anyone working with Gmail knows that it is spam free. This proves that distributed, collaborative filtering and secret sauce software can work to keep out the bad guys.

Centcom’s contract requires for each controller the provision of one “virtual private server” located in the United States and others appearing to be outside the US to give the impression the fake personas are real people located in different parts of the world.

These people are not going to be posting in English. This is a big hurdle for the glove puppets who are going to be operating their MILCOMTROLL identities. Online credibility is not just a matter of getting an accurate word for word translation of an idea; there are cultural references, nuances and cues that the American military are notoriously and hopelessly bad at. Can you imagine some shorn headed operative in jungle camo, sitting in an air conditioned room in Tampa Florida, trying to pass herself off as a muslim man in Riyadh? Or ten different people in Riyadh?!

The whole idea is simply ridiculous, and in fact the targets of this rubbish will not need any special software to detect these MILCOMTROLLS, they will give themselves away when they post during prayers or some other stupid (and fatal) basic cultural error.

It also calls for “traffic mixing”, blending the persona controllers’ internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that must offer “excellent cover and powerful deniability”.

This is snake oil straight from the brochure. NO $ALE!

The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces.

Ridiculous. There were no al-Qaida in Iraq before the Americans got there. This is pure and utter bullshit, and those with memories longer than goldfish know this. The war of blowing people to bits, and pictures of it, are worth many thousands of MILCOMTROLLS. You cannot win hearts and minds with a gun, or a drone. Period. This is a waste of time and a waste of money, and I strongly suspect that anyone who has been on a tour in Iraq will confirm this. The military are giving more money to Ron Paul; more than all the other candidates combined. This is not an accident; these people know what is really going on, and no amount of snake oil, lies, glove puppets or trolls can stop the truth from coming out.

Since then, OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

And its not working, on a purely objective PR level, removing all aspects of right or wrong, who started what or anything other than the measure of mindshare. All you have to do is watch the propaganda that these people produce on LiveLeak. No troll, no commenter no one can counter the stark shock value of what these people are disseminating. They are winning the PR war because their PR is quantitatively better. Once again, this has nothing to do with what you personally think about them and their motives, its a pure matter of mathematical fact.

OEV is seen by senior US commanders as a vital counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme. In evidence to the US Senate’s armed services committee last year, General David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard”. He said the US military’s objective was to be “first with the truth”.

The best counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme would be to elect Ron Paul. It is a scientific fact that all terrorism against the USA would cease thirty days after Ron Paul was elected.

Do you think that that is a big claim to make? Very well, dont believe, me take it from someone, the only person in fact, who has done a 100% accurate study of the true nature of terrorism: Professor Robert Pape, in his lecture “Dying to Win”

In this lecture, he will prove to you with unassailable facts that if Ron Paul wins, terrorism goes away.

This month Petraeus’s successor, General James Mattis, told the same committee that OEV “supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities”.

This is utter nonsense on stilts. The ‘enemies narrative’ as outlined by Dr. Pape is that America is occupying other people’s countries. That is the ONLY narrative, and no amount of glove puppetry can alter this fact. Only a complete removal of American forces from foreign lands can change the narrative and end the nightmare.

[…]

Finally, we get to the ‘me too’ part of the article:

It is unclear whether a persona management programme would contravene UK law. Legal experts say it could fall foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which states that “a person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice”. However, this would apply only if a website or social network could be shown to have suffered “prejudice” as a result.

Is an online identity, a nom de plume a ‘false instrument’? Any website that takes comments from anyone using any name has entered into a contract where such an act is acceptable, and so de-facto, the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 could not apply. The fact is that UK law is not anywhere near being relevant to glove puppetry and where they apply existing law, they nearly always get it horribly wrong, like the recent case of the autistic Troll imprisoned for… trolling.

Trolling is a simple matter of freedom of speech (property rights). The people who own the servers are publishing on their own property. They enter into contracts with people who leave comments. It is as simple as that. There is no space in that contract and interaction for the State to interject itself.

This article was amended on 18 March 2011 to remove references to Facebook and Twitter, introduced during the editing process, and to add a comment from Centcom, received after publication, that it is not targeting those sites.

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

Yeah, bullshit.

This is so full of fail there is fail spilled all over the floor.

The people who are least susceptible to MILCOMTROLL propaganda are the targets of this insane scheme. They are not going to buy any of this, and any attempt to spin the Twittersphere or blogosphere in English, in the USUK, as they are no doubt trying to do right now, is doomed to failure.

The mass rejects their malignant attempts at influence at every step, and as the economy continues to degrade, all calls to ignore the Federal Reserve, wage more wars, re-elect mobsters and murderers is going to ring so hollow that the sounds will resemble the biggest bell ever cast.

Introducing the Satoshi Gate

Friday, August 12th, 2011

The Satoshi Gate is a new way for Bloggers to monetize their writing.

It is a WordPress plugin that allows you to collect very small, easy to make payments from your loyal readers.

It works like this.

When a user comes to your Blog, she is presented with a fresh Bitcoin address to which she may send a ‘Satoshi’ (the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin).

Once she sends the Bitcoin, The Satoshi Gate plugin does the following:

It records a hash of the IP of the visitor, and puts it in the DB against the Bitcoin address that was generated for this IP and this visit and/or this page request.

The Satoshi Gate plugin checks the blog owner’s running instance of the Bitcoin client to see if/when the payment is received.

After the payment is sent, a cookie is set and this user/IP is allowed to read the article, or is allowed access to the blog for a day, week month or in whatever way the access policy is set in the Satoshi Gate preferences pane in WordPress admin.

Satoshi Gate gives you the following advantages over other payment systems:

  • Free to download and use
  • No recurring use fees
  • Instant install
  • Easy to configure
  • Super small transaction fees
  • Super small payments
  • Unobtrusive to the readers of your blog
  • No third party involvement
  • Collect your money in realtime, no monthly payouts
  • No risk

The Satoshi Gate allows you to specify the way you divide up and serve your content in a fine grained way.

You can run your Satoshi Gate in tip mode, where a small, vey mild floating nag box appears to one side until you tip to remove it. You can set teaser posts, or give people the first half of a post only, the rest being unlocked by a Satoshi. You can allow them to read three posts for free, then pay for the fourth. You can create flexible post bounties where an entry will be released to everyone for free after a certain amount of Bitcoins have been received… and those are just a few examples of some of the cool marketing strategies you can create and mix and match with the Satoshi Gate plugin.

Because you can ask for extremely small payments for access to your blog, no one will begrudge paying you, and if you are a good writer and have thousands of visitors, or perhaps a blog post that goes viral, it will be possible to collect significant amounts of money.

You can of course, set your Satoshi Gate to collect any number of Bitcoins, including ‘pay what you want‘ not just the smallest denomination.

The Satoshi Gate is quite naturally, open source, and will be available through the WordPress plugin site.

The Hargreaves report on intellectual property: full text

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The Hargreaves report on intellectual property recommends setting up a ‘digital exchange’ for the clearance of copyright. Here is the full text of the report, broken into chapters served as PDFs. You are free to copy them and distribute them at will.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Creation Under Competition
Chapter 3: How Competition Works
Chapter 4: Innovation Without Patents
Chapter 5: The Intellectual Monopoly Apologists
Chapter 6: The Evil of Intellectual Monopoly
Chapter 7: The Devil in Disney
Chapter 8: Does Intellectual Monopoly Increase Innovation?
Chapter 9: The Pharmaceutical Industry
Chapter 10: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly

Its about time that the state has the power to violently prevent you from exercising your property rights removed from it.

In the UK, it is illegal to make a copy of a CD you own for your own use. That is completely immoral; if you own a CD it is your right to copy it, destroy it, lend it or do anything else you like with it.

If you concede that the state is legitimate in telling you that you cannot make a copy (rip a CD to MP3s) then you must also concede that you should be forbidden from destroying a CD, if the maker of that CD demands that you do not do that.

This is how absurd the copyright laws are.

There are companies in the USA that specialise in ripping your CD collection for you.

You send them your CDS, and in a matter of days, you get your CDs back along with a DVDR of MP3s containing rips of all your tracks. These companies, the service they provide and the benefits they produce cannot happen in the UK, thanks to its absurd statutes.

The Hargreaves Report will sweep all of this away in one motion. Its recommendations on patents will result in cheaper drugs and medical care for everyone, making the beloved NHS more cost effective; if you love the NHS, you should hate patents.

There is only one problem with all of this, naturally, and as soon as you read the Hargreaves Report linked above, you will instantly know what it is.

Finally, if you want to attract business to this ridiculous ‘Silicon Roundabout’ push, persuading businesses to locate to Britain, you must remove all the barriers to entry that people recoil from, like punitive non-dom regulations and other absurd anti business nonsense, of the kind that Google say would have prevented them from starting their business in the UK.

I guarantee you that there are companies, right now, that are starting up that shun Britain because it is anti business, and that there are companies in development here that once they start to fly, will fly away from Britain in order to avoid being bogged down by the entrenched anti business climate. Skype was based in Estonia for a reason.

Think about it.

Cloudy Cloud, Google Chrome and privacy in The Cloud

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Zeropaid has this story about Google CEO Eric Schmidt Google Chrome and privacy:

There has been a bit of an uproar about a recent quote by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. While talking to CNBC, Schmidt remarked that, If you have something that you dont want anyone to know, maybe you shouldnt be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search enginesincluding Googledo retain this information for some time and its important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

Not surprisingly, the familiar pro-surveillance slogan of, if youve got nothing to hide, youve got nothing to worry about, raises the hackles of privacy advocates, and especially so coming this time from someone like Schmidt who has, theoretically at least, more access to users information than just about anybody else in the private sector. And Schmidt is not the first Silicon Valley executive to say disturbing things about privacy in the digital age, as the former Sun CEO Scott McNealy once said, You already have zero privacy. Get over it. While not disagreeing with the current state of the situation, noted security expert Bruce Schneier despairs of just this kind of attitude, that clashes so strongly with his own principle of how privacy corresponds with fundamental human rights, preserving internal domains from prying eyes, even if nothing nefarious is occurring.

What makes the question of privacy, user tracking and data collection so complex currently is the daily, almost constant exchange that occurs between users today and the service providers that make up the backbone of the web ecology. Every time we search on Google, use Google Apps (where this post is being written actually), visit a site using the Chrome browser, click on a friends link via Facebook , etc. etc. we are being paid in a sense via these services for the data we provide to the companies. They of course collate all that data in order to sell it, manipulate it, exploit it, what have you. It is precisely that data that has turned Google into a giant of 21st century business and will likely be the eventual route to revenue for innovative companies like Facebook and Twitter and many more.

Is this exchange, surrendering our data (and ultimately our privacy) for services a fair balance? Who is coming out ahead? Do users deserve more compensation for their online footprints, or at least have more control over who gets the data and what they do with it? What are the implications of an entire Chrome OS built upon this notion of exchange?

As we continue to examine the immense promise of cloud computing and online digital services, we should always keep these kinds of questions in mind, if only to be at least aware of what we are giving up, and what precisely we are getting in return.

Zeropaid

“Maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”. Hmmmm; maybe you should? Who knows.

What all readers of BLOGDIAL do know is what we think about “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.

The fact of the matter is if you really want privacy, you can have it. We have been saying this on BLOGDIAL for many years; if you want privacy online, all you have to do is take it.

Even with cloud services like Google’s Chrome OS, that are inherently non private.

Here is how you do it.

Chrome OS is open source.
GPG is open source.
You put them together.

Imagine that your copy of Chrome OS is a layer that sits between you, GPG and the Google controlled cloud. Chrome OS and GPG are both running on your hardware, and you have total control over that hardware and what runs on it. Anything that you do on your machine, via Chrome OS is encrypted before it is sent to and stored on the cloud:

That means that when Google, at the request of the NSA or Homeland Security, look at your cloud data, all they see are a series of GPG encrypted ciphertexts that no one, and I mean NO ONE can decrypt.

That means all of your:

  • Email
  • Spreadsheet Data
  • Documents
  • Calendar items

and anything else that Google want to provide to you as a service are all encrypted and decrypted on the fly, and while they are stored on Google’s servers, they are in a form that cannot be read by anyone except you.

Your Google address book would need to stay in plaintext on the Google Cloud, since the email systems need that information in plaintext for your recipients to get mail from you. This system cannot do anything to protect you from having your email subjected to traffic analysis.

You have all the advantages of the Google cloud, without any of the privacy downside. Google maintains the parts of the Chrome OS that do their work, and people outside of Google maintain the Chrome GPG layer (under open source peer review) protecting your privacy. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone except the police state, and since all of the source is developed in the open, it will not be possible for, say, the French to cripple the GPG layer that everyone uses to secure their data, as they have done with the A5 cipher that is used to encrypt GSM phone calls.

All the cryptographic services to do this of this could be hacked into the Chrome OS so that it is completely seamless and transparent to the user; the only difference in operation of Chrome OS would be that there is a second login page where you type in your GPG passphrase that would unlock all your cloud data.

Zeropaid said:

As we continue to examine the immense promise of cloud computing and online digital services, we should always keep these kinds of questions in mind, if only to be at least aware of what we are giving up, and what precisely we are getting in return.

You do not have to give up any of your privacy for convenience. You can have total, unprecedented levels of privacy in your communications without any degradation of service whatsoever. For generations people have suffered having their letters opened, their telexes, faxes and phone calls tapped and their reading habits known to snoops; now, with GPG and ubiquitous and very powerful computing, it is possible for you to have all your letters absolutely secured, the content of all of your phone calls absolutely private, without any degradation in the utility of the services you use.

All you have to do is THINK, create the tools and then USE THEM.

And in there is a snazzy term to help you think about this… “Cloudy Cloud”… hmmmm ‘Chrome OS: Cloudy Cloud Edition’!

UPDATE

A lurker emailed, intrigued, and asked how Google Calendar could work on a shared calendar if all entries were encrypted by default to a single Cloudy Cloud users system.

Thankfully, with GPG you can encrypt your calendar entries (or any other data for that matter) with another person’s GPG Public Key.

This means that the calendar entries that are encrypted with your Public Key and a colleagues public key will be readable by only you and your colleague, and no one else.

Managing this would be as easy as ticking a single box populated by your contacts. the other person’s GPG Public Key would be imported if it did not already exist on your machine (and you would have to verify the trust of it obviously) and then, automagically, they would have access to all those calendar entries that you want to share.

Homeland Security gets secret access to Google Goggles

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Imagine this future headline:

“Google Goggles is not to go public, but instead will be partitioned off for the exclusive use of Homeland Security.”

Think about it; how could Google say ‘no’ to Homeland Security or the NSA if they ask them to provide this service to them? And what about Facebook or any other social networking service that allows you to tag photos of people?

Do you REALLY imagine that these companies are going to say ‘no’?

Remember what happened with the telecoms industry and the requests for bulk back door access to all comms data? The only company that said ‘no’ found its CEO Joseph Nacchioimmediately charged with ‘crimes’; the only honest company that respected the privacy of its users found itself in very hot water for not obeying the immoral and illegal orders of the NSA.

This my friends:

is the face of a true hero.

I guarantee you that Google Goggles, or something like it will be provided to the NSA or Homeland Security without any hesitation or a word of its existence being uttered to the public.

The people who run these companies are scared shitless of the Federal Government; they know what happened to Joseph Nacchio, and they do not want that to happen to them.

In case you have no idea what this is about:

Privacy concerns have forced Google to delay an expansion of its Goggles service which would have enabled camera-phone users to identify strangers on the street.

The experimental Google Goggles application, which was launched last week, allows smart-phone users to search for subjects simply by snapping a picture of them.

Users can focus their phone’s camera on an object and Google will try to match portions of the picture with the tens of millions of images in its database.

But privacy campaigners have raised fears over the ‘ facial recognition’ potential of the service, which would allow users to track strangers through a photograph.

Google, which has confirmed the technology is available but has yet to decide if it will be rolled-out as part of Goggles, has now confirmed that it is blocking aspects of the application until privacy implications have been fully explored.

Google spokesman Anthony House said: ‘We do have the relevant facial recognition technology at our disposal. For instance with our Picasa picture service a user can tag a friend in their photo album and it will search for and tag any other pictures of that person.

‘But we haven’t implemented this on Google Goggles because we want to consider the privacy implications and how this feature might be added responsibly.

‘So if someone uploads a picture of a stranger on Goggles there is no process to identify them and the search will come up with “no matches found.”

‘We will have talks with privacy advocates and consumers before we consider any changes – it may be people want such a service, but we don’t have a rigid timescale on when any decisions will be made.’

[…]

Daily Mail

The only way you can protect yourself from Google Goggles or Facebook Goggles or the other apps that will make use of social networking sites and tagging is to not only delete your Facebook account, but to get everyone you know to delete theirs also.

It appears that everyone has built the ultimate surveillance system with their own hands; all the spooks had to do is sit back and watch it happen and then infiltrate or blackmail the companies that own the networks.

Brilliant!

As usual, BLOGDIAL suggests that you do not take a pessimistic view of these matters.

An Early Day Motion on the Badman Home Education review put before Parliament

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

EDM 1794 HOME EDUCATION 01.07.2009

James, Utterson

That this House recognises that an estimated 45,000 to 150,000 children are educated at home; believes that the mammalian mating structure is centered around the family, and that what a family is should not be defined by or interfered with by this House, and that parents should have the right to home educate without any interference from this House; notes with concern and disdain the proposals put forward in the recent Badman Review; expresses particular disgust at the lack of consultation involved in conducting the review; considers it unacceptable that local authorities are to be given unprecedented powers to enter the homes of citizens; rejects the need for a system of support to ensure that home educated children receive a good quality of education and rejects the creation of an excessive and damaging extension of bureaucracy; and calls on the Government to enshrine the rights of parents to give their children the widest possible educational opportunities and thereby ensure that all children receive a well-rounded education.

Introducing Sqrinque for iPhone

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Now that the usa has a one hundred mile deep ‘Constitution Free Zone’ where you do not have the right to refuse to be searched without probable cause, it is more important than ever to have a means to protect the private letters, photos and information which are stored on your portable devices.

This is where Sqrinque comes in.

Sqrinque is a new iPhone app that prevents unauthorized access to the contents of your phone, should it be taken from you for any reason.

Using Sqrinque is very easy; lets say that your iPhone is about to come into hostile hands; you can manually Sqrinque your iPhone by typing in your personal Sqrinque Code at the password screen:

which looks identical to the standard iPhone password screen.

Once you insert your Sqrinque Code, Sqrinque runs rm -Rf from the root directory of your phone, wiping it clean. While Sqrinque is running, it gives no indication that the phone is being wiped. It switches to a screenshot of an ordinary iPhone (or iPod touch):

to give Sqrinque time to work. By the time your enemy gets to her computer to try and copy all of your files, there are none there to copy:

Lets say that you did not anticipate that your phone was going to be confiscated for an unconstitutional search. When your enemy tries to unlock the phone, they will see the password page. They will ask you for the password to the phone, and threaten you that if you do not give it to them, ‘things will go bad for you’. You give them the password… which is actually the Sqrinque Code. The phone appears to unlock. By the time they get it to their copying station, all the data is gone. They scratch their heads, not understanding what just happened; the phone appeared to unlock, the normal set of iPhone icons appeared and then… it was ‘broken’. You can then blame them for damaging your phone while it was out of your sight!

Of course, Sqrinque has the feature that if you try and unlock the phone with an incorrect code after three attempts, the phone is wiped. You can set the number of attempts to any number between one and fifteen.

Sqrinque is a free download from the iTunes App Store. It was developed by people who are fed up with governments snooping into their private documents in violation of the forth amendment of the Constitution.

Ending Election Fraud with Three Ballots

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

The ThreeBallot Voting System
Ronald L. Rivest
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge,
MA 02139
October 1, 2006?

Abstract

We present a new paper-based voting method with interesting security properties. The attempt here is to see if one can achieve the same security properties of recently proposed cryptographic voting protocols, but without using any cryptography, using only paper ballots. We partially succeed. (Initially, I thought the proposal accomplished this goal, but several readers discovered a vote-buying attack (see Section 4.4) that appears to be rather di?cult to fix without making the resulting system much less usable in practice. Currently, this paper should thus be viewed more as an academic proposal than a practical proposal. Perhaps some variation on these ideas in this paper might still turn out to be of practical use. The &lquot;OneBallot with Exchanged Receipts&rquot; system sketched at the end of Section 5.3.1, looks particularly promising at the moment. . . ) The principles of ThreeBallot are simple and easy to understand. In this proposal, not only can each voter verify that her vote is recorded as she intended, but she gets a &lquot;receipt&rquot; that she can take home that can be used later to verify that her vote is actually included in the final tally. Her receipt, however, does not allow her to prove to anyone else how she voted. In this &lquot;ThreeBallot&rquot; voting system, each voter casts three paper ballots, with certain restrictions on how they may be filled out, so the tallying works. These paper ballots are of course &lquot;voter-verifiable.&rquot; All ballots cast are scanned and published on a web site, so anyone may correctly compute the election result. A voter receives a copy of one of her ballots as her &lquot;receipt&rquot;, which she may take home. Only the voter knows which ballot she copied for her receipt. The voter is unable to use her receipt to prove how she voted or to sell her vote, as the receipt doesn’t reveal how she voted. A voter can check that the web site contains a ballot matching her receipt. Deletion or modification of ballots is thus detectable; so the integrity of the election is verifiable.

? The latest version of this paper can always be found at http://theory.csail.mit.edu/~rivest/ Rivest-TheThreeBallotVotingSystem.pdf

Introduction

Designing secure voting systems is tough, since the constraints are apparently contradictory. In particular, the requirement for voter privacy (no one should know how Alice voted, even if Alice wants them to know) seems to contradict verifiability (how can Alice verify that her vote was counted as she intended?). The proposal presented here is an attempt to satisfy these constraints without the use of cryptograpy. We get pretty close… Like most cryptographic proposals, ThreeBallot uses a public &lquot;bulletin board&rquot;a public web site where election officials post copies of all of the cast ballots (there will be 3n of them if there are n voters) and a list of the names of the voters who voted. (Some states might use voter ID’s rather than voter names.) One key principle of ThreeBallot is to &lquot;vote by rows&rquot; and &lquot;cast by columns&rquot;. The ThreeBallot ballot can viewed as an array, where the voter places marks in rows corresponding to candidates, but then separates the columns and casts them separately, keeping a copy of one. ThreeBallot provides a nice level of end-to-end verifiabilitythe voter gets assurance that her vote was cast as intended and counted as cast, and that election officials haven’t tampered with the collection of ballots counted.

Background

We assume that the reader is somewhat familiar with voting systems. For more background, the following readings are recommended:

  • Roy Saltman’s new book, The History and Politics 1 of Voting Technology [19] is an outstanding scholarly history of the evolution of voting technology.
  • Andrew Gumbel’s book Steal This Vote [9] is an excellent, entertaining, and very readable review of election fraud in America.
  • The Brennan Center for Justice has published an excellent report [1] on voting system security, with detailed discussions of specific threats and assessments of the risks they represent.
  • Randell and Ryan’s recent excellent article, &lquot;Voting Technologies and Trust,&rquot; [15], which, like this paper, explores paper-based voting system architectures similar to those of cryptographic voting systems.
  • Ben Adida’s recent PhD thesis [3] (particularly Chapter 1) reviews voting system requirements and cryptographic voting systems, before giving improved cryptographic voting systems.
  • There are numerous web sites with information and links about voting and voting technology, such those of Doug Jones [10], myself [16], the CalTechMIT Voting Technology Project [14], ACCURATE [2], or the Election Assistance Commission [7], to name just a few. (Try googling &lquot;voting technology&rquot;.)

Each ballot has two parts: the upper &lquot;voting region,&rquot; and then the &lquot;ballot ID region&rquot; on the lower part. The voting region of a ballot contains the candidate names, each with an op-scan bubble that can be filled in by the voter. Each ballot has a distinct ballot ID, di?erent from the ID’s of other ballots on its multi-ballot and from all other ballot ID’s. The ballot ID’s on the three ballots of a multi-ballot are unrelated in any way to each other, they are merely randomly assigned unique ballot ID’s, with no cryptographic or other significance. The ballot ID might be a long (e.g. 7-digit) number which is essentially random, or some other unique identifier, possibly in barcoded form. For now, we’ll assume that the ballot ID’s are pre-printed on the ballots, but we’ll see that there are security advantages to having them added later instead by the voter or by the &lquot;checker&rquot; (see Section 3.4).

Filling Out The Multi-Ballot

  • The voter is given the following instructions for filling out the multi-ballot. See Figure 2 for an example of a filled-out multi-ballot.
  • You have here three optical scan ballots arranged as three columns; you will be casting all three ballots.
  • Proceed row by row through the multi-ballot. Each row corresponds to one candidate. There are three &lquot;bubbles&rquot; in a row, one on each ballot.
  • To vote FOR a candidate, you must fill in exactly two of the bubbles on that candidate’s row. You may choose arbitrarily which two bubbles in that row to fill in. (It doesn’t matter, as all three ballots will be cast.)
  • To vote AGAINST a candidate (i.e., to not vote FOR the candidate, or to cast a &lquot;null&rquot; vote for that candidate), you must fill in exactly one of the bubbles on that candidate’s row. You may choose arbitrarily which bubble in that row to fill in. (It doesn’t matter, as all three ballots will be cast.)
  • You must fill in at least one bubble in each row; your multi-ballot will not be accepted if a row is left entirely blank.
  • You may not fill in all three bubbles in a row; your multi-ballot will not be accepted if a row has all three bubbles filled in.
  • You may vote FOR at most one candidate per race, unless indicated otherwise (In some races, you are allowed to vote FOR several candidates, up to a specified maximum number.) It is OK to vote AGAINST all candidates. 2

Details

We now describe the ThreeBallot voting system in more detail.

[…]

Read the rest of this paper at Scribd.

Two new indispensable iPhone apps

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

iCancel: beautiful silence from your iPhone

iCancel is a new piece of native software that brings the gift of silence to your iPhone.

It uses the microphone in your iPhone to generate an “antinoise” sound wave that blots out the noise of the outside world. Normally wearers of iPods and the other portable music players plague their fellow bus and underground riders with the tsch tsch tsch of the latest Timbaland tune; now the tables are turned, and the iPhone is being used to block the brain mushing concentration destroying wall of noise that is a byproduct of city living.

Now you can put your iPhone on, fire up iCancel, open that book and actually absorb what you are reading.

SONY’s S7XXF has this feature also.

Obviously not for use when driving a car with screaming children in it, or when riding your bike in heavy traffic.

iMoog

The name of this juicy app says it all.

This is a fully working Moog Synthesizer emulator for your iPhone.

This alpha version is monophonic, has a 16 step sequencer and a keyboard like i-Ano’s. Very impressive and fat sound.