Tuesday Morning: Wow, You Survived Business Day 1

The post-holiday season debris field continues to thin out, making its way by the truckful to the landfill. I wonder how much oil the season’s plastic wrappings consumed.

Here’s what the trash man left behind this morning.

Hackers caused power outage — the first of its kind?
Marcy’s already posted about the electrical power disruption in Ukraine this past week, labeled by some as the first known hacker-caused outage. I find the location of this malware-based outage disturbing due to its location in western Ukraine. Given the level of tensions with Russia along the eastern portion of the country, particularly near Donetsk over the past couple of years, an outage in the west seems counterintuitive if the hackers were motivated by Ukraine-Russian conflict.

And hey, look, the hackers may have used backdoors! Hoocudanode hackers would use backdoors?!

Fortunately, one government is clued in: the Dutch grok the risks inherent in government-mandated backdoors and are willing to support better encryption.

‘Netflix and chill’ in a new Volvo
I’ve never been offered a compelling case for self-driving cars. Every excuse offered — like greater fuel efficiency and reduced traffic jams — only make greater arguments for more and better public transportation.

The latest excuse: watching streaming video while not-driving is Volvo’s rationalization for developing automotive artificial intelligence.

I’m not alone in my skepticism. I suspect Isaac Asimov is rolling in his grave.

US Govt sues pollution-cheater VW — while GOP Congress seeks bailout for VW
WHAT?! Is this nuts or what? A foreign car company deliberately broke U.S. laws, damaging the environment while lying to consumers and eating into U.S.-made automotive market share. The Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against Volkswagen for its use of illegal emissions control defeat systems. The violation of consumers’ trust has yet to be addressed.

Thank goodness for the GOP-led House, which stands ready to offer a freaking bailout to a lying, cheating foreign carmaker which screwed the American public. Yeah, that’ll fix everything.

Remember conservatives whining about bailing out General Motors during 2008’s financial crisis? All of them really need a job working for VW.

Massive data breach affecting 191 million voters — and nobody wants to own up to the database problem
An infosec researcher disclosed last week a database containing records on 191 million voters was exposed. You probably heard about this already and shrugged, because data breaches happen almost daily now. No big deal, right?

Except that 191 million voters is more than the number of people who cast a vote in 2012 or even 2008 presidential elections. This database must represent more than a couple election cycles of voter data because of its size — and nobody’s responding appropriately to the magnitude of the problem.

Nobody’s owning up to the database or the problem, either.

Here’s a novel idea: perhaps Congress, instead of bailing out lying, cheating foreign automakers, ought to spend their time investigating violations of voters’ data — those folks that put them in office?

Any member of Congress not concerned about this breach should also avoid bitching about voter fraud, because hypocrisy. Ditto the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Whew, there it is, another mark on the 2016 resolution checklist. Have you checked anything off your list yet? Fess up.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
11 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    And before you ask, NO, I am not in the bag for any presidential candidate. I just think if you’re going to go nuclear on another candidate because of a data breach caused by a third party, you’d better be consistent on your position about cybersecurity and privacy while your cheese is still hanging out in the wind.

  2. orionATL says:

    “… Massive data breach affecting 191 million voters — and nobody wants to own up to the database problem…

    … that 191 million voters is more than the number of people who cast a vote in 2012 or even 2008 presidential elections. This database must represent more than a couple election cycles of voter data because of its size — and nobody’s responding appropriately to the magnitude of the problem…. ”

    i saw that. the voters were supposedly christian conservatives. but half the nation isn’t christian conservative, is it?

    could that have been 191 mill (plus another 59 mill stash) of discrete voter info, e. g., ss#, address, income, gun ownership (yes, that was one bit of info), church attendance, etc?

    plus, these folks were supposedly “leaking” this info. for what purpose and to whom i wondered? perhaps a mutually beneficial arrangement with certain russian criminal gangs would be in order.

    • Rayne says:

      129M people voted in 2012 general election; 131M voted in 2008’s general. That’s everybody, regardless of political affiliation. If this database doesn’t consist of the last two general elections alone, there’s more than a decade of voter data in this system. It can’t be just conservatives or just liberals, unless the database is even older in age–like two or more decades.

      There’s 239M voters of age, and the breach is nearly 80% of that number. It’s just mind-boggling how big this database is. Only the U.S. government would have a bigger database. What the hell do all these people have in common except for their citizenship? Who/what/why is this needed? *shaking my head*

      • orionATL says:

        well maybe “voter data base” or “voter data” refer to all the votes taken from diebold, et al., voting machine since, say, 2000 or 2004 :)

        • Rayne says:

          About that…how exactly was all of this data compiled? I suppose this is one reason nobody wants to own up to the database, would open up a yuuuge can of worms.

  3. Les says:

    It looks like it’s been openly available so the political parties and candidates could access it whenever they wanted and build their own databases.

    • Rayne says:

      So why the screaming and hollering by DNC+Clinton over NGP VAN data? Sanders would be better off with a detailed database untainted by a Clinton-generated voter score — which is what this is.

      Now we have a dog-not-barking scenario: why isn’t DNC complaining about potential GOP access to this database, or vice versa, if campaigns have been paying tens of thousands of dollars for this kind of information?

      Situation simply doesn’t add up.

  4. orionATL says:

    somwhow i had early acquired the clearly eccentric notion that how or whether i voted was private info, as private as my bank account #.

    ha. ha. the laughs on me.

    are political bigwigs on this list? if so, opo research should have a field day thru late october, 2016.

  5. Evangelista says:

    TOTAL voter-base basic data, or as near to as is possible to concatenate, in an election milieu, e.g., county, state, nation, is requisite for electronic manipulations of election results: If you are going to “seamlessly” ‘adjust’ electronic tabulations of electronically cast vote-counts you need to know who has not voted, who is not likely to vote, which ways which voters lean/incline when they vote, where voters vote (precinct where their votes, when they vote, are cofirmed) and so on, so that your manipulations will not result in multiple-votings of the same voter, anomalous votings (Republicans for Democrats) and a hundred thousand votes being cast in a precinct where eighty or ninety are registered, and so on.

    There is no fraud that the voters (who do not vote, themselves) need to worry about: Each voter’s personal data is safe, since the purpose is only to help the voter, to use, but not abuse, his or her franchise, that he or she forgot or left to languish.

    Come on guys, lets not perpetrate a panic, elections manipulation has been going on since the first political organization put canvassers in saloons to offer drinks for votes and multiple drinks for multiple votes for as long as the voter could keep the latest name separated from the one he voted under the round before. The only differences are, one, scale, nowadays being in the millions, two, computer-enhancement, and three, elimination of the physicalities, the drinks, the conducting from precinct to precinct, etc. It is Virtual Voting, it is computer automation, it is what computers make possible, it is what computers are for. Driverless cars, voterless democracies, it is the future today…

    We should be proud, or corruptors are making progress in their corruptions, bringing them up to twenty-first century levels…

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