Thursday Morning: Number 49

Name day of Saint Simon (Simeon), and Greek name day for Leon and Agapitos, it’s also the 49th day of the year, only 317 more to go. Make the best of it, especially if your name is Simon, Leon, or Agapitos.

Hollywood hospital paid ransom — $17K in bitcoin, not millions
See the official statement linked in this updated report. Speed and efficiency drove the payment. Given the difference between the original amount reported and the amount paid in ransom, one might wonder if there was a chaining of devices, or if many less important devices will be bricked.

Laser pointed at Pope Francis’ plane over Mexico
Someone pointed a laser at the Pope’s flight just before it landed in Mexico City yesterday, one of the highest profile incidences of “lasering” to date. The incident follows an international flight forced back to Heathrow on Monday after one of its pilots suffered eye injury from a laser. Thousands of laserings happen every year; it’s illegal in the U.S. and the U.K. both, but the U.S. issues much stiffer penalties including fines of $10,000 and prison time. If Mexico doesn’t already treat lasering firmly, it should after this embarrassing and threatening incident.

Air strike on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ Syrian hospital spurs call for investigation
It’s absolutely ridiculous how many MSF medical facilities have been hit air strikes over the last year, the latest west of Aleppo in Syria. MSF has now called for an independent investigation into this latest attack which killed nine medical personnel and more than a dozen patients. This particular strike is blamed on the Syrian government-led coalition, but Russia and the U.S. have also been blamed for attacks on MSF facilities this year, including the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last October. You’d think somebody had it out for MSF specifically.

Is China rousing over Korean peninsula escalation?
Tension spawned by North Korea’s recent nuclear test, missile and satellite launches, as well as South Korea’s pull back from Kaesong industrial complex and U.S. F-22 flyovers have increased rhetoric in media.

Just as it is in the U.S., it’s important to note the origin and politics of media outlets covering China. GBtimes, for example, covers Chinese stories, but from Finland. ~head scratching~

All Apple, all the time
A huge number of stories published over the last 24 hours about Judge Sym’s order to Apple regarding unlocking capability on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone.

I wonder if this is really a Third Amendment case, given the lack of daylight between the FBI and the U.S. military by way of Joint Terrorism Task Force involvement, and the case at hand in which a non-U.S. citizen’s illegal activities (Farook’s wife Tashfeen Malik) may have triggered related military counterterrorism response. Has the U.S. government, by demanding Apple create code to permit unlocking the shooter’s iPhone, insisted on taking private resources for government use? But I’m not a lawyer. What do I know?

That’s it for now. Thursday, February 18th is also “Teen Missed the Bus Day”; ‘Agapitos’ he is not at the moment. Kid’s going to owe me some time helping with the next morning post.

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.
38 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    The best documented attack on an MSF hospital was by good old Uncle Sam in Afghanistan. It was our “allies’ the Saudis who bombed the MSF hospital in Yemen using planes and bombs supplied by us. Our hands aren’t exactly clean.
    .
    In this latest attack in Syria, there were no MSF personnel present, it was deemed (correctly) too dangerous. Nor is it clear that the facility was marked as a hospital. No attack on a hospital is ok, but this current event in Syria has enough unknowns that it is not yet possible to rule out deadly propaganda designed to blame the evil Ruskies.
    .
    Boy you were right! Ed Walker’s post on Piketty and the Dems was spectacular. It is full blown class war within the Party. His closing paragraph sums it up:
    .
    “This is the fight in the Democratic Party. Either you believe that we can change our government and our economy to work for all the people and not just the few, or you believe that we are doomed to remain under the thumb those who rule us from the far side of the money gulf with their laughable claim that they are the meritocracy and not a plutocracy.”

  2. orionATL says:

    you dont seem very busy this am, rayne.

    i’ll repeat here a question i asked yesterday (at your tuesday post) in response to a criticism of me you made:

    – what is “spamming a thread

    – give me an example.

    i’d appreciate an answer to my question.

  3. harpie says:

    Hi Rayne:
    wrt: the timeline- The email from Mike Glasgow was sent on 4/17/14 [not 4/14] Mlive has a screenshot {I think that’s what it is…] at slide #4/38, here:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/02/see_flint_water_crisis_unfold.html#3

    [quote]
    From: Michael Glasgow [email protected]
    Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 11:05AM
    To: Adam Rosenthal,(DEQ)
    Cc: Prysby, Mike (DEQ); Busch, Stephen (DEQ)
    Subject: Proposed Water Monitoring-City of Flint
    Thank you for the quick response. I assumed there would be dramatic changes to our monitoring. I have people above me making plans to distribute water ASAP. I was reluctant before, but after looking at the monitoring schedule and our current staffing, I do not anticipate giving the OK to begin sending water out any time soon. If water is distributed from this plant in the next couple of weeks, it will be against my direction. I need time to adequately train additional staff and to upgrade our monitoring plans before I will feel we are ready. I will reiterate this to management above me, but they seem to have their own agenda.
    Thank you,
    Mike Glasgow
    Laboratory & Water Quality Supervisor
    City of Flint Water Plant
    [end quote]

    *****
    It sounds like he’s responding, after having received notification from DEQ about new monitoring requirements for the plant. [?]

  4. blueba says:

    “Thousands of laserings happen every year; it’s illegal in the U.S. and the U.K. both, but the U.S. issues much stiffer penalties including fines of $10,000 and prison time. If Mexico doesn’t already treat lasering firmly, it should after this embarrassing and threatening incident.”

    So is this the Emptywheel response to laser crime, tougher fines and sentences??? Really, it has worked so well on terrorism and drugs lets use it all over the place. Really?? I mean really…

    • seedeevee says:

      “If Mexico doesn’t already treat lasering firmly, it should after this embarrassing and threatening incident.”

      Yes, I felt this is a little over-the-top, also.

  5. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (10:37) — I pointedly referred to the Kunduz hospital attack to my post because of its egregious nature; I don’t believe we have had a solid investigation into what happened there, or in the case of Russia’s recent attack on medical facilities. And yes, Ed’s post was very important; the fragmentation within the Democratic Party is real, split along approaches to economic theory and policy. The same divide led in part to my walking away from party activism five years ago.

    orionATL (11:08) — I don’t always go back to old threads as I have a lot of research and writing to do every day (both related and unrelated to this site) and I can’t spend a lot of time in threads. In response to your question:

    Comment spamming may consist of:
    — posting inappropriate content, including advertisements/links to malicious content;
    — trolling, especially repeated provocation and antagonistic content inside the same thread;
    — flooding, by way of multiple sequential comments, especially those which do not add substantively new material to the thread, and those which are excessively long while not adding substantively to the thread;
    — behavior in thread obstructive to dialog between site users.

    Increasingly, blog audiences retrieve content on mobile devices; comment spam interferes with their ability to read contributions by other audience members. Readers may skip comments altogether if they find exchanges are not worth their time. Commenters who want their remarks to reach a wider audience and generate more thorough conversation will consider effectiveness and readability of their content before publishing.

    harpie (11:13) — Thanks, I’ll go tweak the timeline. I still have a post backend I need to publish wrt Governor’s timeline. I also need to do something about adding Flint Water Crisis timeline to front page/timeline library. Have not had as much time as I want to work on Flint this week. Ugh.

    • orionATL says:

      very clinical and abstract definition, as such, non-responsive.

      again, what is “spamming a thread” in the context in which you used it with regard to me.

      let me be very specific. what are the specific examples you had in mind that caused you to accuse me of “spamming a thread”.

    • lefty665 says:

      Rayne @6 Sorry, didn’t mean to disparage your Kunduz reference.
      .
      We’ve had thorough documentation that a US AC-130 gunship repeatedly attacked the MSF hospital in Kunduz. There’s still considerable dodging, weaving and finger pointing as to exactly why it happened, but what happened is perfectly clear.
      .
      Don’t believe your jump to the conclusion that “Russia’s recent attack on medical facilities” in Syria has been established. I have not seen any confirmation that the site was visibly marked as a hospital or the coordinates provided by MSF. Those both may have happened, and documentation of those actions by MSF in Kunduz changed the nature of our attack. It could well turn out to be the Russians with an SU-24 and a bomb in Syria, but we’re not there yet. I hope the investigation requested by MSF is completed quickly.

  6. Rayne says:

    blueba (11:43) — What’s your so-much-more-effective response, besides criticism of this site? “Smoked” glass eyeware is not a solution as it interferes with pilots’ vision. Lasers may also be used to do more than blind pilots–they can be used for targeting. What’s your fix? Drive-by pokes certainly don’t do the trick.

    harpie (11:59) — Whew! THANKS! That helps a lot, to know where it originated. I still need to go through every entry in that TL to validate what Gov’s office published.

    • seedeevee says:

      “The incident follows an international flight forced back to Heathrow on Monday after one of its pilots suffered eye injury from a laser.” — There was no reported eye injury to any pilot on that plane.

      Lasering Hysteria isn’t an “answer” to the someone questioning the wisdom of an increased police state. — “blueba (11:43) — What’s your so-much-more-effective response, besides criticism of this site?”

      Educating the public is usually more effective than “much stiffer penalties including fines of $10,000 and prison time”. In case you didn’t notice our prisons are full, our families are poor and Mexico would be smart to not follow our criminal justice system.

      Someone’s airplane being shined upon by a bright light is hardly “embarrassing and threatening” for Mexico or any place else.

      http://www.vice.com/read/planes-more-dangerous-laser-beams-drones

  7. omphaloscepsis says:

    On the Apple story, some good summaries of the intended and unintended consequences of compliance:

    https://freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/dwallach/apple-the-fbi-and-the-san-bernadino-iphone/

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/02/eff-support-apple-encryption-battle

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/02/why-tim-cook-is-right-to-call-court-ordered-iphone-hack-a-backdoor/

    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/02/judge_demands_t.html

    Also worth reading Apple’s letter:

    http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/

    Short version:

    “The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

  8. bloopie2 says:

    Apple’s giving in would set a precedent by which one person can give up another person’s privacy. We can’t let that happen. Maybe I don’t mind giving up the shooter’s privacy, but not if that sets a rule that someone else can give up my privacy. I do not give anyone permission to give up my privacy.

  9. bloopie2 says:

    To change the topic just a bit, and provide a bit more information that I didn’t know about Justice Scalia. The other day, bmaz wrote about some good things that Scalia had done for criminal defendants. On reflection, I believe that those things may be more a happy accident than the product of a caring jurist. As an example, one either is or is not entitled to examine the witnesses against one; there’s no in-between. For, when it came to issues where discretion and judgment were involved, matters of degree, Scalia was a cold-hearted, hateful man. I quote from a Slate article on point.
    .
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2016/02/antonio_scalia_made_america_s_incarceration_problem_worse.html
    .
    “In McCleskey v. Kemp, one of the first cases he heard, anti-death penalty advocates brought compelling evidence of pervasive racial discrimination in Georgia’s administration of capital punishment. A sophisticated statistical study demonstrated that sentencing was tied to the race of the victim and offender. All other factors being equal, blacks who killed whites were the likeliest to receive a death sentence. Justice Scalia was unfazed.
    .
    “Scalia would also play a significant role as the Supreme Court licensed ruthless sentences leading America to world record incarceration levels. He wrote the operative part of the influential Harmelin decision, a 1991 plurality opinion holding that the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishments” does not require that a prison sentence be “proportional” to the crime. The court thus upheld a life-sentence for cocaine possession.
    .
    “Scalia again was in the majority in Lockyer v. Andrade, a 2003 case upholding a 50-year-to-life sentence under California’s three-strikes-law for a man who shoplifted videotapes worth $153 because he had prior convictions for petty theft, burglary, and transporting marijuana. Erwin Chemerinsky, who zealously represented the prisoner, was in tears as the media asked him about his reaction to the court’s inhumane decision.
    .
    In Brown v. Plata, the court ordered California to reduce its dramatically overcrowded prison population because “depriv[ing] prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity.” In a vehement dissent, Scalia charged that this was “a judicial travesty” and that the majority was “wildly” overstepping its authority.
    .
    “Similarly, he fiercely dissented in other rare cases where the court decided to check ruthless punishments. If it had been up to Scalia, it would still be constitutional to execute mentally retarded people or teenagers, not to mention sentence teenagers to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for homicide or any other crime. Scalia further suggested that executing an innocent person would not be unconstitutional per se.

  10. pdaly says:

    The Apple iPhone’s security is a pleasant surprise. I assumed the Third Party Doctrine had effectively made everything we do on our smart phones low hanging fruit for the government agencies to harvest at their whim.
    .

    I guess privacy is not completely dead after all.
    If only Monica Lewinsky had had an iPhone on which to compose and keep her unsent love letters safe from Kenneth Starr’s prying eyes. She could have bricked her phone before handing it over.

  11. bloopie2 says:

    This quote is from an Interesting post by Orin Kerr. Explains why Apple is focusing on the “backdoors are bad” issue rather than the “privacy is good” issue. In sum, the government already has a search warrant, and the owner of the phone has consented to the search.
    .
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/02/18/preliminary-thoughts-on-the-apple-iphone-order-in-the-san-bernardino-case-part-1/
    .
    There are no Fourth Amendment issues in the case. Some have speculated that it might violate the Fourth Amendment to require Apple to assist the government’s efforts to break into the phone. That’s not correct. The search here would comply with the Fourth Amendment for at least two independent reasons. Most obviously, the government has a search warrant. The assistance order is based on that; it seeks Apple’s help in carrying out the warrant that the government already has.
    .
    Second, even if the government didn’t have a warrant, the government has the consent of the phone owner. The phone in this case was owned by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Farook’s employer. Farook used it, but the county owned it. The county has already consented to a search of the phone. Some have speculated that the people who communicated with Farook may have Fourth Amendment rights in their communications on the phone. Not so. When you send a communication to someone, you lose Fourth Amendment rights in the communication when the message arrives at its intended recipient. As a result, you have no Fourth Amendment rights in someone else’s phone just because you sent them messages. And even if you did have such rights, either the warrant or the phone owner’s valid consent — or here, both — would ordinarily trump them.
    .
    For these reasons, the legal issues in this case are not about the Fourth Amendment. Instead, they’re about the use of the All Writs Act to compel Apple to help the FBI so the FBI can try to guess the passcode to the phone. I’ll discuss the application of the All Writs Act, and the broader policy issues it raises, in my next post.

    • orionATL says:

      i assume this is so obvious that it has been often asked before, but –

      is it the case that if apple gives in to fbi/judicial demands, it will have given the nsa, not just fbi, but nsa, the means it needs to destroy apples’s encryption system?

      to put it more directly,

      is the fbi/nsa – and they are identically the same in this issue –

      using a “domestic terrorism” gambit to get at apple’s security, in the same way the fbi has so opportunistically used child pornography to attack 4th ammendment issues?

      to me, the bottom line is quite simple – never trust the natsec gov niebelungen’s, fbi or nsa, arguments for invading citizen privacy. they will always paint the most lurid picture despite their repeated incompetence to act prospectively to prevent any crime.

      the crime at hand has been solved weeks ago.

      what is likely at issue here is the fbi’s media-exploiting the s.b. crime to force apple to give up its encryption system.

      this is likely just another gov-run-wild intrusion into citizen privacy like the burr/feinstein cisa legislation that paul ryan snuck thru congress.

  12. omphaloscepsis says:

    The 3-page court order to Apple:

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2714001/SB-Shooter-Order-Compelling-Apple-Asst-iPhone.pdf

    The 40-page motion requesting the order:

    http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SB-shooter-MOTION-seeking-asst-iPhone.pdf

    The motion is copy-protected, so excerpts are tedious. Pg. 5 of the PDF describes the current situation, implying the FBI did not attempt to guess the passcode for fear that auto-erase might be activated. Pg. 7 of the PDF says that iOS-9 uses AES-256, which is about as strong as it gets.

  13. jerryy says:

    .
    The animated video at the top of the report:
    .
    http://us.tomonews.net/tim-cook-says-apple-ain-t-building-a-backdoor-for-the-feds-in-san-bernardino-case-336027805827073?utm_source=NMA.tv+Press+List&utm_campaign=43f54e9bcf-021816+Press+Newsletter_Apple+Feds&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cc11b56d47-43f54e9bcf-205417897
    .
    while not very flattering toward autoritarians, explains succintly very real cocerns toward policy implictions this Apple case holds. It could undermine a whole lot os US State Department work in many regions, as well as the DOD’s similar work.
    .

  14. pdaly says:

    The 40 page motion (above) on page 6 declares the phone was backed up on the iCloud. Can’t the government try to decrypt the iCloud content unencumbered by the iPhone’s ’10 tries then auto erase’ feature?

    • jerryy says:

      That approach is not practical, Apple says they use a combination of 128 bit and 256 bit keys for iCloud storage:
      .
      https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202303
      .
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard

      “This is a very small gain, as a 126-bit key (instead of 128-bits) would still take billions of years to brute force on current and foreseeable hardware. Also, the authors calculate the best attack using their technique on AES with a 128 bit key requires storing 288 bits of data (which later has been improved to 256 [28] ). That works out to about 38 trillion terabytes of data, which is more than all the data stored on all the computers on the planet. As such this is a theoretical attack that has no practical implication on AES security.”

      • pdaly says:

        That is good to know, jerry.
        But Micah Lee on the Intercept advises not to back up data on iCloud.
        .
        He also mentions that 11 digit passcodes (only if truly random order, not easily guessable number such as birthdates, addresses, etc) will take on average 127 years to brute force guess with unlimited tries. Micah recommends memorizing 11 digit random passcode (and eliminating finger print code) to keep data on your iPhone safe.
        .

        https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/passcodes-that-can-defeat-fbi-ios-backdoor/

        • jerryy says:

          .
          Not using the fingerprint scanner is an easy one, you can be compelled almost any where in the world, and certainly in the US – because of court rulings to give up your fingerprint. It is not considered personal nor private.
          .
          Using longer passcodes is because the default four digit, now six digit code can be cracked in a matter of hours, and , that auto erase feature has to be turned on, it is not set as default. I am not not so sanguine about using 11 digit random characters, the 11 digit part is okay, but Randall Munroe and I beleve Bruce Schnier have discussed compellingly that random digits are more easy to guess than personable memorable phrases.
          .

        • jerryy says:

          .
          As far as backing up on external severs, it is a question of trust, how much trust do you want to put into strangers that can be compelled to give up your stuff?

  15. harpie says:

    Rayne, wrt: Legionaella in Flint, the Bridge has updated its timeline—see 3/31/15, with more information about what Darren Lytle contributed to the conversation.
    http://bridgemi.com/2016/02/flint-water-disaster-timeline/
    ***
    It was previously reported information from him that spurred my comment about changes in water treatment procedures at Marcy’s legionella post, here:
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/02/12/flint-the-legionnaires-will-be-what-brings-criminal-charges/#comment-700317
    …where I also wondered about water sitting around in storage reservoirs and pipes in warm weather…and look what else we learn, today:

    ****************
    [quote]“Darren said they have been doing studies for Homeland Security, collecting sediments at the bottom of storage tanks. He is finding high concentrations of Legionella in the bottom of the tanks.” […] If Legionella is present, in the tanks/pipe, then disturbance of changing the water quality and flushing, could cause it to proliferate.” [end quote]

    [As you mentioned the other day, it makes a huge difference if we can read the actual sources, instead of just getting bits and pieces in news articles.]

  16. orionATL says:

    it’s thursday evening. reviewing a group of recent posts as a hole, i realized something interesting and gratifying:

    the anti-clinton viciousness has subsided. it has been replaced by various thoughtful pieces directly or indirectly criticizing the candidate’s positions, but nothing about personal incompetence or indecency.

    that’s a nice step up.

    congratulations to the emptywheel weblog.

  17. Rayne says:

    orionATL (12:12) — I want you to go back and point to where I said *you specifically* need to stop spamming. I told you there are two bannable behaviors, and the banned user was guilty of one of them. If the shoe fits…

    lefty665 (12:50) — When I referred to Russia vs MSF site, I was NOT referring to this week’s attack. The Russians shrugged when U.S. politicos complained; we’d lost any shred of credibility after Kunduz.

    seedeevee (3:28) — Yeah. Let’s just treat blinding a pilot or targeting a plane like a mere prank. Why not just give out tickets for vandalism? Or how about some *real* hysteria, like outlawing laser pointers and any devices with lasers that can be used to point at planes? Further educating the public is a waste; adults doing this know damned well what they are doing. The FDA requires warning labels on lasers for a reason.

    left665 (3:49) — The FBI has been trying to beat down Apple on this topic for some time. Just read any of Marcy’s post wrt Comey’s attacks on encryption. This particular case provides the best crack the FBI has, given the profile of the shooters. And yes, why did the county not have administrative control of a cellphone they issued? That’s the real crux–mismanagement of an electronic communications device by a *government agency*, not Apple’s software.

    harpie (5:38) — Thanks much for that. Been tied up with other non-EW stuff today, will try to address ASAP. I wonder how long that Legionella just sits around in the system, and if greater water demands like summer pool fills/lawn watering/cooling/etc. cause it to move around more than in cooler months? Ugh. Heartbreakingly gross.

    • orionATL says:

      thanks for the comment, rayne, but don’t play games with me.

      from your tuesday morning thread (2-16):

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/02/16/tuesday-morning-i-dont-want-it-good/#comments

      [… orionATL (8:28) —

      (1) Thalidomide…

      (2) Monsanto:

      (3) I invite you to run your own blog, open for comments and figure out at what point you’ll block commenters who insist on abusing your welcome. Distorting or misattributing a contributor’s work repeatedly, in spite of being cautioned against doing so, is a hard limit here. Spamming threads is another risky move…

      orionATL on February 17, 2016 at 10:10 am In reply to Rayne

      i don’t spam anyone. if haarmeyer does i didnvt know that.

      i went entirely by the content of the piece ew wrote, haarmeyer’s comment, and ew’s banishment. there was nothing i could read of or into haarmeyer’s statement that warranted her reaction. was there some background i missed?

      have you carefully read the dialogue i am talking about? i suggest you do.

      i know ew very well by now. after i cautioned “time for a break”, she stopped, which was the sensible thing to do.

      i have never before known ew to write in the intellectually trashy way she is writing about clinton. i am baffled by her animus. one can be a partisan and still be analytical….

      orionATL on February 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

      what does “spamming threads” mean?

      are you suggesting my sometime large nos of comments are deliberatey designed to harm a post? that would be a really stupid assumption about my motives….]

    • orionATL says:

      rayne –

      i have re-read your comments and mine and suddenly the fog was lifted from mine eyes. :)

      i think i completely misinterpreted your response; i apologize to you for that misinterpretation.

      i think now, i hope correctly, that your comment about spamming threads was directed at the same person with whom i had been so furious more than once for completely disrupting a discussion.

      i continue however to be a simple-minded liberal who believes this individual can be a useful to very useful contributor, once his “anti-social”/libertarian views have been, shall we say, harnessed.

      in one of haarmeyer’s first appearances here a commentor wrote “is that you, john? “. i took that as a warning, not as a salutation.

  18. Evangelista says:

    1. In regard to the FBI demand for a backdoor to Farouk’s Apple iphone, note that there is NO “public safety” issue involved: The deeds are done, the activity is in the past, the FBI actions are investigative, not preventative. The FBI wants a ‘knee-up’ to help it find clues, which clues it wants, or needs, to help it determine how it can spin the case law-enforcement has already made and carried through execution (by shooting suspects to pieces — ‘suspects’ means people not proved perpetrators), instead of attempting to capture, encustody and try in due process. If the case was a false-flag, which is not unlikely at all, unless law-enforcement can spin it to appear justified, law-enforcement is in trouble, not only for mis-handling, but for being duped and patsy’d, used by the false-flaggers. This would make American law-enforcement not only overzealous shoot-first murderers, but also ninnies and stooges.

    For “public safety” law-enforcement would have needed to be investigating a priori, before the shooting event, when they seem to have not had a clue, even though they seem to have been attempting to “hollywood” Farouk.

    2. In regard to lasering aircraft (from the ground): The lasering is done for fun. It is done for targeting ‘practice’ Even the most powerful of the lasers used are incapable of damaging the aircraft. The high powers used for the laserings, where used, are to make ‘hit’ reflections visible to the person pointing the laser.

    Cockpits are up on aircraft, toward and at the tops. Ground laserers are targeting from the ground, under the aircraft. There is, in fact, virtually no way a ground beamed laser can directly strike a pilot’s eye. Laser ‘shooters’ can figure this out for themselves, very quickly. For this they call “bullshit!” on authorities’ assertions of lasering aircraft being dangerous, somewhat as marijuana smokers used to call the same in regard to marijuana-danger claims. For some reason, probably mostly because they are authoritarian and so stupid, authorities do not explain how ground-beamed lasers pose danger to aircraft operators (pilots). So here you have it:

    The aircraft involved, that are endangered, are aircraft that use ‘heads-up display’, a means by which instrument images, and readings, are displayed on the aircraft windscreen, so the pilot is able to see surrounding visual and instrument display simultaneously, by shifting focus. Laser pointer beams reflecting off of overhead surfaces send streaks of laser-light shooting through the heads-up reflection display, interrupting and disrupting the display. Pilots have to re-orient to the display lines after the ‘transient beam’ has gone by. In some instances momentary disorientation can occur. Almost all ground-source lasering of aircraft occurs when the aircraft are near the ground, most often on approaches to landing. Approaches, especially at night, are the most critical of aircraft maneuverings. They are when the most different factors and systems must be monitored simultaneously, and when pilot attention is required to adjust between inside and outside their aircraft, with the pilot maintaining aircraft orientation, relative to flying airspeeds and approaching ground, and perspectival orientation (avoiding vertigo). The load and critical nature of the load are reasons heads-up displays were developed. Approach, at night, is not a good time to have dancing light-beams darting around through one’s heads-up display, which includes such items as artificial horizons, the angularities of whose lines are depended on.

    It is for recreational laser-targeters’ beams disrupting heads-up displays and potentially disorienting a pilot in a critical moment that lasering aircraft is an irresponsile and endangering activity that should be refrained from. It will be peer education that stops and prevents instances of the practice, not law-enforcement threatening and posturing. So spread the word why, so that it can spread on.

    • P J Evans says:

      Laser targeting affects helicopters even more than airplanes – they’re generally closer to the ground and have cockpits with more visibility.

  19. Rayne says:

    evangelista (8:07) —

    Cockpits are up on aircraft, toward and at the tops. Ground laserers are targeting from the ground, under the aircraft. There is, in fact, virtually no way a ground beamed laser can directly strike a pilot’s eye.

    Right. A pilot just decided to turn around an international flight because he needed a smoke break, not because he had visual problems after this week’s lasering. Sure.

    It will be peer education that stops and prevents instances of the practice, not law-enforcement threatening and posturing. So spread the word why, so that it can spread on.

    Uh-huh. Because that’s been sooo effective this last year. Hate to think how many more laserings there would have been beyond 5400 reported.

    P J Evans (8:23) — Thank you for making that point. Aircraft pilots who may be affected by lasering — and with greater ease — definitely include helicopter pilots.

    Done with this thread, time to work on Friday morning before it’s morning UTC. ~yawn~

  20. seedeevee says:

    Still going to leave the false information about the “The incident follows an international flight forced back to Heathrow on Monday after one of its pilots suffered eye injury from a laser”?

    You can do whatever you want – but disparaging us for pointing out your hysteria and non-factual statements is a sign of weakness.

  21. omphaloscepsis says:

    @seedeevee:
    People pointing lasers at aircraft has become nearly epidemic. The distraction and possible spatial disorientation at night could be catastrophic, though fortunately hasn’t been so far. It’s just a matter of time.

    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/lasers/

    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/lasers/hazards/

    This site, linked to by the FAA, is run by a guy who is in the business of putting on laser light shows — he’d like to keep doing that if the morons don’t ruin it for him:

    http://www.laserpointersafety.com/laser-hazards_aircraft/laser-hazards_aircraft.html

    Wikipedia article:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lasers_and_aviation_safety

    Boeing’s viewpoint:

    http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/qtr_01_10/3/

    Airline Owners and Pilots Association:

    http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2014/November/12/Laser-defense-for-pilots

    “The number of laser attacks on aircraft has increased sharply in the past decade, from 283 in 2005 to nearly 4,000 in 2013, according to the FAA.”

    An FAA sponsored medical study from 2003, when this was already a problem:

    https://www.aopa.org/-/media/Files/AOPA/Home/Supporting-General-Aviation/Advocacy/Air-Traffic-Services-and-Technology/Air-Traffic-Services-Brief-Lasers-and-General-Aviation/laser_study.pdf

    The British Airline Pilots Association:

    http://www.balpa.org/News-and-campaigns/News/LASER-INCIDENT-SHOWS-MORE-ACTION-IS-NEEDED.aspx

  22. orionATL says:

    haarmeyer getting booted is still eating at me so i’ll say this and leave it go. haarmeyer had good potential. his motives were suspect, but if you look at the change in his style of commenting from mid-oct when he started at emptywheel until now, it is a big change for the better – shorter, more to the point.

  23. OSS says:

    “And yes, why did the county not have administrative control of a cellphone they issued? That’s the real crux–mismanagement of an electronic communications device by a *government agency*, not Apple’s software.”

    Apple doesn’t put much effort(if any) into companies being able to manage iOS devices. You’ve got to go to third parties for that, and from what I’ve seen, most just separate corporate data from personal data, rather than provide the ability to inspect corporate data. And apple’s security still overrides the third party software. Not an expert on this though.

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