The Future of Regulation in the Perma-Cyber-Infowar

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

Looks like we could use an open thread to discuss all the stuff not directly related to the Trump-Russia investigation.

I do want to toss out a topic we should visit given the transition of power in the House from one political party to another and the sea change over the last several years in public awareness about information security.

Most regular readers here have been aware of the dynamic tension between civil liberties and national security, individuals’ rights to privacy and autonomy too frequently falling victim to the state’s efforts to surveil and control.

This site has wrestled with the threats to privacy and security posed by hardware (like cell phones and servers) and software (like vulnerabilities, ransomware, cyberweapons).

But how do we address the threats social media and other information platforms pose? Can we really ignore that Facebook has been weaponized against its country of origin let alone other host nations from the U.K. to Myanmar? Does Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up the largest social media platforms and label them ‘platform utilities’ under a new regulatory structure adequately address users’ privacy rights, information security, and national security?

How far should we push for disclosure of proprietary intellectual property like the platforms’ algorithms? How do we regulate the operation of these without jeopardizing their viability?

Do we need a mandatory ethical standard to which startups must build and existing platforms must comply? Facebook’s iffy interpretation of user consent to use in academic research, for example, was key to its weaponization. What regulatory standard would have prevented the abuse of users’ trust and their data?

Does the likely permanence of cyber warfare as well as information warfare require more or less than Warren has proposed?

Hash it out here in comments. Bring all the stray dog-and-cat issues as well.

137 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    Oh, Rayne, not only do I have a bunch of stray cats and dogs (tho admittedly lacking in gumption to rustle up and post them)— I have the FUNNIEST one.

    From a thread on Zucker interviews at SXSW:

    Jeremy Barr: “Jeff Zucker at SXSW on Sarah Isgur flap: “I didn’t really see any issue with having somene who was smart and understands the way that Washington works as part of our organization. Unfortunately a lot of people made assumptions based on their own biases””

    Standard. Then:

    Jeremy Barr: “.@joepompeo asks Zucker how real his political ambitions are. “I’ve harbored these ambitions for 30 years. I’m still interested the idea. At some point i’d like to really give that a shot. It’s not imminent. It’s not happening next year. We’ll see where the world goes.””

    HAHAHAHAHA Jeff Zucker has political ambitions. HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    One Thousand fuck-offs to you, Zucker.

    PS: also in the thread:

    Jeremy Barr: “Jeff Zucker at SXSW: “At fox, Donald trump can do no wrong. At MSNBC, Donald Trump can do no right. And, I don’t think either one of those is right.”

    Sounds like a contender for the Cillizza Prize in Non-Contentual Journalism.

    • Wajim says:

      Only a thousand fuck-offs? This is the man (though not the only one) who spent some 2 or 3 billion plus dollars on airtime for Trump over 2016, and now he takes the moral high ground above Ship Smith and Chris Wallace because they won’t quit Fox? He’d hire both in a second. Viper.

  2. Vinnie Gambone says:

    My ignorance of algorithms and what not allows my inclusion in the study of coprolites, but I read years ago there was a clamor that voting machine manufacturers would not disclose codes by which counts could be validated. The charge at the the time was that any piss- ant programer could fix it so a NO vote registered as a YES. But manufacturers claimed the codes were proprietary.That is unfinished business.

    As far as the psycho demographics mind control- If you go outside you risk wind and rain. If you stay in side and look at the stupid little box, there is not one second the ants aren’t trying try to get inside your skull. People have to smarten up. No doubt we primates have entered a new phase, that it’s more than news we crave from the little boxes, it’s the increasingly exclusive current for cerebral stimulation. and it is happening on a massive scale. How many bits can one human brain process in one lifetime? I think we monkeys learn which vines to swing on and which ones to leave alone.

  3. Wajim says:

    All useful prompts, Rayne, assuming one will remain even minimally connected. I’m of the cohort who grew up with rotary phones, then (gasp) “touch-tone” (my dogs at the time cocked their heads in amazement when I dialed the phone with the handset next to their ears). I loved my walkie-talkies (4 D-cell batteries lasted about 25 minutes and weighed 2 lbs). When the recently late Jan Michael Vincent was hot in a fake helicopter, the state of the art phones were heavy as bricks, and only slightly smaller than and WW2 squad radio, about the side of a small shoebox.

    And now, you newfangled IT kids. I recall when Ma Bell was broken up back then, and it lowered all our bills, so I suspect Warren’s right, especially (exponentially) with regard to F-Book, Google, et al. My solution (which I recognize is a boutique view, and a privilege of age and perhaps experience) is no Facebook, and (Lord), no Twitter (ugh, why?); Google sparingly, deny as much personal date as you can, VOIP as you can, deny locations, cheap toss-away phones, and mostly speak to friends and those you must face to face. Hell, I still send snail mail to a secret lover from forty years ago. Just sayin’.

    • Eureka says:

      Snail-mail privacy aside in three parts:

      Postal Service Confirms Photographing All U.S. Mail
      “Aug 03, 2013 · The digital mail tracking programs had raised concerns about their sweeping nature because the post office and law enforcement agencies are allowed to monitor all mail, not just the mail of those …”


      The US Postal Service Will Soon Email You Scans of Your Mail …
      “The US Postal Service Will Soon Email You Scans of Your Mail … The US Postal Service is rolling out a new service that emails you scans of the mail you’ll be getting in your mailbox each day …”

      • Eureka says:

        Act Three:
        USPS Finally Starts Notifying You by Mail If Someone is Scanning Your Snail Mail Online

        In October 2017, KrebsOnSecurity warned that ne’er-do-wells could take advantage of a relatively new service offered by the U.S. Postal Service that provides scanned images of all incoming mail before it is slated to arrive at its destination address. We advised that stalkers or scammers could abuse this service by signing up as anyone in the household, because the USPS wasn’t at that point set up to use its own unique communication system — the U.S. mail — to alert residents when someone had signed up to receive these scanned images.

        The USPS recently told this publication that beginning Feb. 16 it started alerting all households by mail whenever anyone signs up to receive these scanned notifications of mail delivered to that address. The notification program, dubbed “Informed Delivery,” includes a scan of the front of each envelope destined for a specific address each day.

    • e. a. f. says:

      We kept the rotary phones. amazing colours. Still have land lines, corded ones because in case of emergency, they’ll be the ones which will work. Cordless is nice, but really, when the power goes out, you’re screwed. Cell phones are good as long as the towers stay up and you can charge them. A couple of weeks without electricity and not able to get off the property because of downed trees……

      Now back in the day, some parents told their children never to put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the Vancouver Sun. (Vancouver, B.C.) Have pretty much stuck to that. When computers came into Canadian government offices, didn’t trust them. They were just amazing. Once things went on a computer it would be there forever.. Never got onto Face Book. thought they would just collect our information.

      Elizabeth Warren has the right idea.

      People carry on about their privacy and then put everything about themselves on their Facebook, computer, phone, instagram, etc.

      When they want information you don’t want to give out, be creative. that is why you took that course on creative writing. You have your personal life/person. You can create some one else for the computer. Still like typewriters and safety deposit boxes. of course make sure that bank has the vault secured. You’d be the surprised banks who have vault rooms but the ceiling isn’t part of the vault.

      • Silence Hand says:

        Yes, Battlestar Galactica military security. No networked computers. Corded phones. Really one of the reboot’s great contributions.

        The “anonymity in a crowd” thing must be hardwired into us, from teenagers firing off pics of their giblets to congresscritters digitally in flagrante delicto. People just Do. Not. Understand. Search.

        Why don’t we do it in the road, indeed….

    • matt says:

      I don’t like that MS gets skipped on this; they’re somehow being glossed over. The absence of owning a social network doesn’t = ignore the goliath in the corner.

  4. P J Evans says:

    There’s one site I’d like to use, but it requires signing up for an account, with not only name and year of birth, but actual birthdate and gender. I’m strongly inclined to lie about the last two – they DO NOT need to know that. Age, okay – they don’t want minors using the site (though it’s genealogy, and you can’t get much that’s more recent than 20 years old, any more, due to privacy laws).

    • Tech Support says:

      Yes, lie.

      I mean, maybe in a fit of masochism you might pour through the TOS in the hope of discovering that it offers two-way protections like a real contract. I would respect and admire that in you but I can’t endorse it as a wise use of your time.

  5. Eureka says:

    From yesterday: Robert Costa: “This story by veteran writer Michael Bamberger is a revealing glimpse of how President Trump operates at his clubs, even as president.”
    Links to a golf dot com article:
    “President Trump wins club championship without actually playing in it
    President Trump won the 2018 men’s club championship at Trump International in
    West Palm Beach. FIa But there’s a catch: He didn’t enter it”

    • Rayne says:

      Yikes! Need to add contest prizes to the How to Profiteer from a Golf Course list. And my dad laughed at me when I said games of chance with prizes from participants’ pooled money could be used to launder money. I just hadn’t thought big enough! Thanks, eureka, much appreciated.

      • P J Evans says:

        The mail the other day had one of those “raffles” where the Big Prizes are a house or a Mercedes SUV; tickets for those usually start at $150 (this one didn’t say; they expect you to hit their website or their phone). Those have always sounded just a bit skeevy to me: where do they get those $4 million homes? How do they pay for things (bulk-mail 4-color fliers/post cards, the URL, the phones, the people who do the actual work, the prizes)?

  6. Rayne says:

    Have been thinking about Warren’s proposal — I like the idea of a platform utility, but I think we have unfinished business with the inequity between telecoms and cable/other ISPs with regard to regulation as utilities. Must address them at the same time with an eye to net neutrality.

    I’d also been stewing on Facebook’s original sin, allowing Aleksandr Kogan access to Facebook users, content, and data, ostensibly for the purposes of research. It’s human experimentation and it didn’t meet the Nuremberg Code and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We need to address this failing punitively as well as legislatively, but we’ve struggled to articulate a problem statement. The Nuremberg Code Article 1 gives us a good place to begin:

    The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. …

    Platform utility users including social media users must voluntarily give active consent to each facet of data extraction — this must be embedded in legislation. No Facebook user consented to be used for profile modeling, nor did they consent to shar their networks, nor did they consent to the eventual use of their Facebook experience for the purposes of electing a government official.

    • P J Evans says:

      Then there’s the collection of data from people who are merely friends, or friends-of-friends, of someone who may possibly have consented to the use of their data.
      Somehow I’m not surprised that techbros don’t get the idea of consent.

      • e.a.f. says:

        Once upon a time B & E artists would check the obits to see which houses to rob. Now they just check everyone’s facebook accounts. they’ll know when you’re out, on vacation, etc. new things in the house to steal….

        • Tom says:

          … the big cardboard box your home theatre system came in sitting out by the curb for recycling. Some people have absolutely no idea what they’re doing when they post stuff on Facebook. When I worked in child protection services we would find photos of children exposed to potential risk that their parents had posted on their Facebook page. Or parents who were under court order not to have contact with one another would post photos of themselves having a beer together at the local bar. And yes, they were supposed to be abstaining from alcohol as well.

    • Eureka says:

      You/we might get some ideas from the National Research Act, Belmont Report, and what IRBs do, as they address also behavioral-type research and risk of harms (none are too ‘small’ to consider, even embarrassment and upset) / benefit assessment, as well as consent and other ethical issues and their interactions (including risks related to ‘deception,’ such as uninformed or masked consent in some behavioral research).

      This is all obviously why FB would first in-house then later apparently outsource/ offshore/ keep private their or FB-based ‘research.’** The PNAS debacle bit them in the PR-ass, so instead of funding academic cachet while attempting to ethics-launder through peer-review, they apparently moved on to (other) private company cash.

      Research as ads, ads as research– how perfectly diabolical!

      National Research Act – Wikipedia

      Belmont Report – Wikipedia

      National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research – Wikipedia

      **Editorial Expression of Concern: Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks | PNAS
      Correction for Kramer et al., Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks | PNAS

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks, Rayne- this ultimately sent me onto some thought paths as to how we otherwise need to regulate FB and anyone like them.

      And replying to PJ’s comment, I still don’t know what we do about the shadow profiles. I/many have no relationship or terms with those assholes beyond FB users having my phone number in their phones, etc. (another one heavy on the ‘etc.’). Which gets into both how FB interferes with actual human relationships, and the general problem of unconsented data brokers.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        There is also the meta data (the so-called data exhaust), e.g. individualized profiles of when and for how long someone connects. There are companies that pay a lot of money for this data but for the users, this doesn’t even appear to be data (or at least, not something that they would think requires consent).

    • justlp says:

      The European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) would be a great template to leverage for congress to start addressing user’s data privacy rights.

      There should also be consequences for companies that allow huge data breaches. Probably everyone here has been compromised in one or more of them. This website lets you check based on your email address (also keeps near real-time counts of breaches and accounts affected).

      • justlp says:

        And then there is facial recognition software and license plate readers who collect data on every car that drives by them and share it. It’s a shitstorm of data collection that we may have lost the ability to control because it has been implemented stealthily and will be nearly impossible to claw back.

  7. Anvil Leucippus says:

    Womp womp

    “Tonight, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank regarding to their financing of Trump projects, according to the New York Times. These projects include Donald Trump’s failed attempt to purchase the Buffalo Bills, and four Trump Organization projects.”

    In any fair election, Trump would lose 100% of the time. You can buy an election, and you can obfuscate the process. Every day sheds more light on the proof that this happened.

    • cfost says:

      Interesting that Letitia James is doing this, rather than Khuzami at SDNY. Khuzami and Berman have some history with Deutsche Bank which makes their objectivity open to suspicion.

  8. Tech Support says:

    This is an area where I constantly struggle to organize coherent and meaningful thoughts. If I could go back in time 25 years, I would roll up on my younger self, listen to him wax ecstatic on the transformative power of computing and the Internet to usher in a new age of enlightenment and I would pat him on the head and say “You are so adorable!”

    I do think there is a substantial need for a more robust legal framework that balances out the power disparity between those who own and exploit “network effects” for economic or political gain and those who are simply trying to communicate and share their lives with each other in meaningful ways, but I’m pressed to cite any concrete examples.

    One thing that I do sort of feel like has been a missing link in the evolution of poeple’s relationship with infotech is the absence of a meaningful infrastructure for micropayments. It’s at the point where the very notion of it is so tired that I’m almost embarrassed to use the term, but I do think the whole notion of the end-user as the product rather than the customer is an outcome of the perverse revenue models that most tech companies find themselves subsisting on in the absence a direct economic relationship. Even companies that actually do charge end-users for services find it difficult to NOT silently exploit end-users on the back end.

    Oh, and if any of you try to come at me with that libertarian crypto-gold-standard ponzi scheme Bitcoin, I will cut you.

    • P J Evans says:

      Newspaper site had a “sponsored story” (AKA infomercial) the other day, on bitcoin and other currency “mining”. I’m sure it didn’t point out that it’s a powerhog and has declining revenues for those trying it.

  9. fpo says:

    With the essay “Fixing Social Media’s Grand Bargain,” Jack Balkin explores the concept of treating social media companies as “information fiduciaries” – whereby (new) laws, akin to those that now apply to doctors, lawyers, etc. would be applied to social media companies, end users and their data, and third parties.

    In brief – use tailored fiduciary laws to impose duties of loyalty, good faith and non-manipulation on the Facebooks and Googles of the world. Includes an overview of the problems inherent with the digital public square, a discussion of the EU’s privacy regulations (GDPR) and other reform proposals (e.g., public utility approach, anti-trust/pro competition laws). A lot to chew on here – a tasty link follows:

    Curious to hear what others think of this approach…

  10. Michael says:

    “How far should we push for disclosure of proprietary intellectual property like the platforms’ algorithms?”

    I don’t know. I do know this though: users need some way to evaluate the security policies, plans and procedures of any and all web sites that demand private information in exchange for use of the site. How does the site store a passphrase, for instance? As plain text (terrible!)? As a hash? If so, what flavor of hash (there are many, some strong and some weak) and how many “rounds” of that hash algo are done? Is passphrase “salted” before hashing? If so, with what data?

    These and other security measures/policies descriptions should be posted prominently on sites. Such information could provide legitimacy to the familiar “Security of our users’ private data is our highest priority” message, often just a trope that is trotted out after a breach. A user should not learn details about a site’s security measures *only after* the site is breached and from news stories and security experts instead of the site’s owner, but exactly this is what we have today.

    Karl Bode, on Motherboard
    “If We’re Going to Break Up Big Tech, We Shouldn’t Forget Big Telecom”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Even if the comment were sarcastic, it makes a good point. Telecoms are effectively monopolies, local if not national, as are many insurers and health care providers, to name a few.

      The next Democratic president needs to revivify antitrust law, because social harm is defined by much more than just a high ticket price. Walmart and Amazon employment practices provide the first examples to prove that point.

      • P J Evans says:

        The tendency is to think of anti-trust laws as intended only to prevent the formation of giant companies. The fact that anti-trust laws are supposed to keep competition going at all levels, even neighborhood, is getting lost.
        (We got a very brief course in basics of anti-trust law at work: it emphasized that it’s about maintaining competitive businesses.)

  11. BobCon says:

    I think one of the basic pieces of regulation should be simple auditing of user numbers — publicly analyze the claims of large social media companies about the size of their user bases and hold them accountable for inflated numbers of live users.

    Facebook and Twitter get a massive amount of their market value from grossly inflated numbers. Facebook regularly claims 2.2 billion monthly users, which is absolutely bunk.

    There are 7.5 billion people in the world. Facebook is banned in China, and while there are still some users there, it’s not many. So drop the potential users to 6.5 billion. Then toss children. Again, they’re banned from Facebook, and while some still use it, it’s not that many. About 20% of the world is 12 or under, so drop the potential user base to about 5.2 billion.

    You can see where this is going. Remove people without electricity, without internet access, without the income to afford a device, and you’re left with the impossible claim that Facebook is being used monthly by 2/3 or more of the possible user base. There is simply no way that’s true.

    What’s obviously happening is that Facebook is grossly inflating the number by stunts such as overcounting activity by users. But fake accounts is another huge piece. Forcing Facebook to audit its user base and expose its fake account problem will go a long way to knocking out its usefulness as a tool for 2016 style attacks.

    Force large social media companies to submit to public audits of their user bases and allow advertisers to easily file claims against Facebook for misrepresenting their numbers of actual users. This would be absolute poison for social media companies, because it would strike at the heart of their valuations, but it would also bring much needed transparency and accountability to what remained of their businesses.

      • BobCon says:

        There are all different levels of it. There are code-created accounts that issue random friend requests and so forth. There are companies in India and Belarus that pay people a few cents per account that are manually managed to look a little more authentic.

        The thing is that Facebook claims they are masters of data and able to distinguish between liberal upper income under 30 Honda owners and conservative upper income under 30 Honda owners. And yet, they also claim that they are unable to sniff out the difference between real and fake people.

        Forcing social media to submit to honest auditing of their user base and their categorization would certainly knock down their fake accounts by a large margin, and would probably also give advertisers a much more honest reading on how good Facebook’s targeting really is (I suspect it’s much less accurate than they claim).

  12. Rollo T says:

    I had a sad realization the other day that I shared with my spouse. I predicted that at some point, you won’t be able to meet anyone new or see and experience anything new because (most of) the data will have been collected on everyone and everything and this data will have already been fed into your senses or will be made available to you. For example, you’ll go to a party of strangers and your iPhone 30 will already know who is at the party and everything about them, and you. It will tell you who you will “like” or find interesting and who you should avoid and why. Similarly, why bother seeing the Grand Canyon when you can experience it where you sit. The ability to collect and store all this data on everyone and everything–whether provided willingly or not–will profoundly affect how we all interact. The loss of anonymity is coming. And the threat is not just from a nosy government. Here’s hoping we can find ways to deal with this because I really like meeting new people :)

  13. harpie says:

    Good morning Rayne,
    ICYM this:
    Rep Katie Porter [Representative for #CA45. Irvine mom & Consumer Protection Attorney.] posted this video on twitter:
    [quote] I handed @CFPBDirector Kraninger a calculator and asked her to calculate the APR on a payday loan. She couldn’t. And she’s supposed to be the top government official protecting consumers from predatory lending practices? [VIDEO] [end quote]
    So, a little later she posts this:
    [quote] I’m so excited that so many people have been trying to figure out the calculation I asked @CFPBDirector to do, I thought I’d walk you through it. [end quote]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Katie Porter picked a great example of financial corruption. Now, the consumer lending industry works hard to avoid disclosing the true cost of its loans: it invents jargon, uses unreadable fine-print, plays accounting games, and hides fees and total costs. But the “APR financing” scheme Porter highlights is a scam worthy of an organized crime kingpin.

      Most people think APR means “annual percentage rate” – it does – and that it equates with the total cost of a loan. It does not. It excludes fees and charges. In Katie’s example, a consumer might think that at 10% simple interest, a $200 loan, with a single repayment at year-end, would cost about $20 in interest, plus a $20 fee, or $40. [Notice that doubling of revenue with the added fee.]

      In fact, “APR financing” would generate $540 in fees and interest. Add the original $200 in principal, and the debtor needs $740 to get out of hock. Debt peonage in all its glory, because anyone who needs to borrow $200 could never fully repay $740.

      The 10% APR is a bait and switch. The “formula” starts with 10%, multiplies it by 365 days in a year, divides by 14, and multiplies by 100 (to put it in percentage terms). Voila! 10% magically becomes 260%. On $200, that’s $520 in interest, plus the $20 fee, or $540, virtually none of it dischargeable in bankruptcy.

      Why does any state or federal regulator or elected official accept this theft from their most vulnerable citizens as a reasonable business practice?

      • P J Evans says:

        Money from the “financial services” sector in their kitties. Look at how many banks own, wholly or in part, payday lenders. They don’t want regulation, because that income improves their bottom line. (I’m fairly sure that all of the TBTF banks were actually bankrupt in 2008-2009, and are only around because of the bailoouts and the payday lenders they have.)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            The reinvented Wells Fargo, which hopes you’ll be persuaded by images of sweaty horses and exhausted riders, delivering mail for the Pony Express, that it is once again a safe bank in which to put your money? That Wells Fargo?

            The Wells Fargo PR campaign is equivalent to being shown sepia images of Amadeo Giannini, while listening to a script that claims his character, standards and practices have everything to do with today’s Bank of America.

          • P J Evans says:

            I gather it Did Not Go Well for him. (Good. I’ve been ticked off at them for years. Pulled my account when they kept trying to make me pay for a charge that I’d already told them was fraudulent, and then they wanted to charge for stuff that had been free until then (because of amount in account). Moved everything into existing credit union account – and that’s not even in the same one now, having gotten ticked that the previous two, one because they tried to renew a time deposit without asking, and the other because they had closed the one branch in my area, and were taking their time about replacing it. (They still haven’t – they have a mobile unit that shows up once a week, in midweek when people who work can’t use it.)

    • bmaz says:

      Thank you! CNN’s aviation expert, former FAA head Mary Sciavo, said the same thing this morning. I am flying across the county on Southwest starting Thursday and very much do not want to end In one of those things.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Exactly. Good risk management practice in high-risk, high-loss environments is for the provider of the good or service to serially prove the safety of its product, otherwise the product comes off the market. There should be no safe harbor that says approved once, approved until you prove me wrong. The FAA – and the FDA – should take note.

      The tort system, for example, should be a last resort, not a primary regulatory mechanism, because it often has an effect only after the damage has occurred.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        “The tort system, for example, should be a last resort, not a primary regulatory mechanism, because it often has an effect only after the damage has occurred.”

        Thank you for saying this….nothing galls me more than relying on Tort for issues that humans have the knowledge and expectation to address before a known or reasonable occurrence. From the Challenger to groundwater contamination, Tort is not the solution.

        Democrats should support Technocracy instead of the Republican mantra of Idiocracy.

    • Jockobadger says:

      My older son flew from JFK to Gatwick last night and from there to Dublin today. I’m terrified he’ll be on one of those damn things. Ordinarily these would be irrational thoughts and I’d know that and would try to dispense with them (prob without much luck.) Now? Is that really irrational? Jesus H Christ. Thanks for this bmaz/eoh. Oh, and Sen. Blumenthal.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Two points:

      One, commentators on MSNBC are playing a little loose with their logic about the 737 Max 8. At one point, they do their normalizing thing and say that air travel is much safer than road transport. Correct as far as it goes, but there’s the rub.

      It is false to use industry-wide statistics, which support that conclusion, and imply that they apply to the safety record of a newly modified aircraft, two years on the market, which has suffered two catastrophic crashes within less than five months. I believe that’s a unique record for a commercial aircraft.

      Two, the Ethiopian government has apparently found but not begun to analyze the aircraft’s black boxes: the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. It proposes to send them offshore to a facility that has specialist expertise in analyzing them.

      I strongly recommend that the Ethiopians send it to a neutral, third party (the Swiss or French, for example), not to Boeing or to the US. Boeing has a bet-the-company conflict of interest, and Trump’s government is not known for keeping politics out of its regulatory process.

      • harpie says:

        Speaking of which:
        [quote] So I wondered who’s heading the FAA during this whole 737 question. Answer: Three people who are all “acting.” [link] [end quote]
        [quote] FAA’s failure to take action on 737 Max raises question of capture by Boeing, not just in this but also in original certification. See this piece from last month in the NYT. [link] [end quote]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Also seriously calls into question how vigorous is the historical “culture of safety” in today’s airline industry. It suggests more the standards of Weyland-Yutani.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Relax. Pretend you’re already back in Benet Street and about to have your favorite beverage at the Eagle after a long week of pouring over test tubes and electronic gadgets. Or you’ve escaped to Grantchester and can’t decide which pub to choose. When in doubt, try the Green Man.

              • Valley girl says:

                Right. I’ll expect to meet you at the Eagle at 10:30 p.m. sharp. Then we can talk about Brexit. I’ll be holding a small branch from a rowan tree so that you can identify me.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  22.30? You’re not very thirsty or needing to talk for very long. Never mind, it’s a start.

              • Valley girl says:

                Oh my, the Green Man….”This would explain why in some areas he is Jack, while in others he is Robin of the Hood…”

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  As long as it’s real ale and brewed nearby, it’s ok with me. Personally, I’ll take the pagan over the Christian: “The sun is half up and betokens the hour.”

                  (And I suppose I should pour the ale and pore over the test tubes.)

            • Jockobadger says:

              Valley G – I was freaked out too, knowing that my 20 yo was flying around over in the UK yesterday and today. Not anymore, now that the EU and the UK have grounded the fleet. Boeing ought to be leading the charge on this instead of begging trump not to ground the lot of them here at home.

              The Green Man sounds beautiful right about now.

              • Valley girl says:

                Jock- thanks. You had good reason to be freaked out. Did your son make it to Dublin? If his flight there was on an M737 MAX 8 (you didn’t say) did he get there b/4 they were grounded?

                • Jockobadger says:

                  Hey Valley G, got a text that he made it to Shannon fine (still a bit unclear about exactly what they’re doing but I imagine it involves fun and ale!) Very much relieved. Thank you for asking. Btw eoh, I’m with you – pagan is the way.

                  • Valley girl says:

                    Ah… memories..Shannon airport.. the one and only time I was there, stranded in route to LHR, was on a PanAm flight from LAX (diverted to Shannon b/c it couldn’t land at LHR). There weren’t many passengers on that flight. I was off to England for my post-doc, and family and friends were there to see me off. And, as it happened, I recognized the guy who was checking in ahead of me. Joe Zawinul. Of The Weather Report, my favorite group at the time.

                    Various events ensued, once we got to London.

                    Well, Rayne did say that this was an open thread!

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Hope the flights were fine.

                The Green Man will be fine until the Tories build their new direct route from Oxford to Cambridge and erect a half million new houses along the route. (The Huntingdon-to-Cambridge “improvement scheme” is bad enough.) I suppose that will be easier without the EU looking over the Tories’ shoulder.

                • Valley girl says:

                  A lot of new to me information to absorb here! Crikey! You obviously follow what’s going on in England/ Britain with much much greater knowledge and understanding than I can manage. How do you do it? And, no, it would not be a short conversation if we got onto Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

                  On a completely different note, from the Robin Hood wiki:
                  In 1953, during the McCarthy era, the Republican members of the Indiana Textbook Commission called for a ban of Robin Hood from all Indiana school books for promoting communism because he stole from the rich to give to the poor

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    My screen name might give you a clue, especially concerning that part of the country.

                    But I misspoke. The Tories plan to allow their banking, real estate developer, builder, and construction company patrons to build up to **a million** new homes alone their planned new expressway connecting the two most serene, well-preserved, and ancient cities in England: Oxford and Cambridge.

                    If Elizabeth Cheney and her mom are any indication, I find it unsurprising that Republicans in the 1950s would want to ban the story of Robin Hood – like Daniel Boone, he and his merry band were extraordinarily popular.

                    They must have found it incomprehensible and an existential threat that anyone would find it admirable to steal from the rich and give to the poor because the rich stole it in the first place and the poor desperately needed the help.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    And, yes, a conversation covering Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn would last long after they called last orders. But that’s what instant coffee, warm milk, Bourbon creams and Garibaldis are for.

                  • Valley girl says:

                    I am replying to my own comment, rather than yours above, so that the text doesn’t get horribly narrow.

                    I long ago guessed, at least, that the Huntington part of your moniker indicated something, like a familiarity with the town or area, or some other close association. Later, I discovered the usage associated with Robin Hood, quite by accident, and figured (rightly or wrongly) that you had chosen your moniker as a bit of a sly joke.
                    Yes, a conversation about Corbyn and Brexit could well last long after closing time.

      • e.a.f. says:

        how to make stats say anything you’d like. industry/world wide it may look safe, but why do some countries’ airlines have far fewer crashes than others and why do some people really care about that.

        A couple of decades ago saw an “article” on t.v. where they interviewed a former head of what ever American agency looks after plane safety and said, she’d not recommend flying on small regional air lines and avoided most of the large American airlines and gave impressive comments regarding a couple of other world air lines, I believe it was the Quantas and the Israeli airline.

        One of the first countries to ground the new 737s was China. If they did that, I’d suggest the rest of the world pay attention.

        Canada and the U.S.A. continue to fly them but the Flight Attendant’s Unions are speaking out. In Canada the Union which represents flight attendants at Air Canada, expressed concern. the one for West Jet, didn’t see a problem. Given the union at Air Canada has been around longer, I’d go with them. The Canadian labour code does give workers the right to refuse to work in “dangerous’ situations. It then has to be investigated…..

    • harpie says:

      11:34 AM – 12 Mar 2019 NBC News
      [quote] President Trump spoke with the head of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg this morning. [end quote]
      12:08 PM – 12 Mar 2019 NYT
      [quote] NEW: @Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke by phone with TRUMP this a.m., urging him not to ground 737 Max 8s after Sunday’s crash. // Muilenburg has tried to cultivate Trump. He visited Mar-a-Lago after AF1 dust-up, & Boeing donated $1M to Trump inaugural. [end quote]

      • P J Evans says:

        Fuck that. One crash, on a plane that had problems before, okay. One with a brand new plane and an experienced pilot – that’s a problem with the plane. They grounded all the DC10s, back in 1979, for that. (I remember, because we had tickets to fly to the UK and back on an airline that didn’t have anything else.)

        • P J Evans says:

          Also there are reports – informal ones – that pilots were having problems with it nosing down and had to shut off the autopilot to get it to go back to nose-up. Boeing says that shutting off the autopilot causes it – but I’ll take the pilots’ word on this.

  14. Willis Warren says:

    We need to get rid of the “selling data” market. Economically, it’s useless anyway. All the data collectors do is suck money out of the system and drive up costs

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hear, hear. There’s also the mass invasion of privacy that feeds on and becomes an end in itself. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”

      The last thing we need, as a small example, is to replace cash with a fully digital economy. The complete loss of anonymity would be a huge loss to individuals and to society, perhaps for the reason that someone once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

      • Silence Hand says:

        Yes. I love this app. I’ve discussed this idea with people who study graph theory and complex systems. Enough of it makes it difficult to assemble useful graphs; not clear what “Enough” means.

    • BobCon says:

      I suspect a lot of it is going to crash. I think the marginal benefits are tiny in most cases and people paying for the data and analysis are going to realize they’re getting crumbs.

      There’s an expectation built into this model that there is a lot of fat in old models of marketing and a lot of efficiencies in the new models, but I think people will be waking up to realize the big money is limited to a fairly small number of markets and customers.

  15. Fran of the North says:

    I think that Speaker Pelosi’s comments about impeaching POTUS as ‘not worth it’ have a couple of different purposes.

    First, I believe she is acknowledging that the exercise is futile at present. Absent undeniable new information of criminal wrong-doing, the senate will never vote to impeach at the present time.

    Second, I think she is going ‘on-record’ with the MSM as a forewarning to the more junior (and activist) members of her party. “Just cool your jets. We’re not going to go off script at this point in time.”

    Third, tamping down impeachment talk serves to provide breathing room to Mueller et al.

    Finally, I think her message “And he’s just not worth it.” is a not so subtle finger poke in the eye, designed to get under his skin. Nothing burns up the Grifter like being the butt of the joke, or disrespected.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Absolutely agree, don’t distract from the huge political conversation going on about issues policies and a new ideological consensus while Mueller and the House Of Reps force new information into the process.

  16. Badger Robert says:

    Question: does Trump want to be impeached? That makes him the center of attention, and creates a battlefield of his making. Denying impeachment is the first step to focusing on the future of the country.

  17. dave the welder says:

    as bad as facebook and ilk are, (bad!) the screaming, shitting itself, trumpy-normalizing gorilla in the room is still the fox news network. they get too much real estate in the marketplace of ideas by any measure of value.

  18. viget says:

    So, sort of kidding here, but maybe not really… was Boeing hacked at all?

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, the 737 MAX has some design “issues” with the heavy engines needing to be mounted further forward leading to the nose up tendency that Boeing was trying to mitigate with its MACS system (instead of properly designing the plane, which would have been more expensive). But, it’s also entirely possible that this MACS system could be getting incorrect inputs on purpose leading to inexperienced pilots not knowing how to stop this.

    Or it could be worse than that… maybe no pilot can stop it.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    MSNBC is getting its coverage of Joe Biden wrong, all day. “He’s got the passion, he’s got the commitment,” has “working class Joe”. Hrrmphshit.

    Joe Biden has the usual excessive ego and name recognition from several decades in Congress and almost a decade as vice president. But his progressive hull is heavily encrusted with bankers’ barnacles, and he has holed it below the waterline with his 2005 bankruptcy reform law, his pet project, which helped no one but bankers. It’s one reason they love incorporating in the secrecy jurisdiction that is Joe Biden’s Delaware.

    No, Joe, “everybody in America” does not “get a shot.” That’s part of what’s wrong with it. That America’s mythology is outdated, brutally frustrating, and needs to be re-imagined, is one of the things that progressives and Trump’s base agree on. Heirs and heiresses do not pick themselves up by their bootstraps, and billion dollar businesses that two guys or gals started in their backyard garages are exceptions, not rules. The vast majority of start-up businesses end up failures.

    Joe is, in fact, a garden variety neoliberal in progressive clothing.

    • Badger Robert says:

      Senator and former VP Biden had a long career in a safe state. He either did not compete or lost in previous Presidential nomination contests. He is the perfect example of a candidate that will get a pass from the media until he is nominated, and then they will rip him into little pieces. The media only wants a contest. They don’t care who wins.
      He has never been the nominee because of his own shortcomings, which have hardly been cured by age. Nice guy though.

    • P J Evans says:

      The majority of businesses fail – even bigger ones fail. (They fail a lot faster when the people investing in and running them expect to make more than 3% profit per year.) The idea of “entrepreneurship” is pushed by people who aren’t going to go broke soon.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good point. AOC might have a hard time, but for a corporate-friendly, glad-handing, secrecy approving, white male Democrat, Delaware is a safe state. And Joe has long polished his acceptance of those norms. He has less experience in and commitment to appealing to the middle and changing America than his speeches imply.

      And Puhleeze, MSM, stop talking about a Biden-Beto ticket. In presidential politics, Beto’s a greenhorn and Biden is past his sell-by date. You can’t average the two together and produce either a durable hybrid or a competitive ticket.

      The idea seems borrowed from a Hollywood casting computer: Star A is hot, star B is hot, put them together and their film will be hotter. With the notable exception of Newman and Redford, that logic usually fails.

      More importantly, it ignores the policies the Dems need to back to gain a majority and the people it will need to put them into place and make them work. Beto is a largely untried Texas liberal and Biden has spent decades supporting bank and corporate interests. Their partnership, like an earlier one, would be more hope than change.

      • Tom says:

        The only advantage that I can see Biden has to offer is in terms of re-establishing America’s credibility and reputation on the international stage; i.e., he’s not Trump. Otherwise, he seems like yesterday’s man. It gets a little tiresome seeing old white men in so many leadership positions, and I say that as an old white man myself.

      • Badger Robert says:

        The Democrats have to win on turnout. They have three candidates that can drive turnout. Sen. Sanders, Sen. Harris and the women senators that are similar to her, and O’Rourke. Sen. Harris, or one of the women Senators, can fit in with either of them.
        Sanders and O’Rourke do not fit together.
        Sanders got a lot of votes in the national nomination contest.
        Sen. Harris is much more of self made person than Sec’y Clinton was. And O’Rourke can get people to get off their rear ends and vote. If someone can do better than those three they are going to have be very good.
        Former VP Biden is an automatic lame duck if he were to win, which will become more obvious by December of this year.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          But what will generate the turnout? I think it’s a mix of aggressive progressive policies promoted by someone legitimately likely to implement them. I think that leaves out Biden and probably Booker and Harris.

          Sen. Warren, for example, has less baggage than Harris, is authentically more liberal, and has a better machine behind her. Not as snappy at electioneering, but I would not count her out. Kirsten Gillibrand needs a little more fire.

          Not to be missed is that many of those candidates will be auditioning for Cabinet posts, which they are more likely to win than the presidency.

          • P J Evans says:

            I’d prefer that Harris serve at least one full term in the Senate, then we can decide if she’s good enough for higher office, with some idea of what she’s really like.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Exactly. That holds for many of the current list of top contenders.

              Regarding the next generation, AOC, for example, should spend a term or two in the House and then unseat Schumer before she considers a run for the White House.

      • Badger Robert says:

        The Democrats seem to have three issues: further progress towards 100% medical insurance coverage; reassertion of the voting rights protection; and zero compromise on the legitimacy of Hispanic and Latin/Americans. Full participation of women in political representation could be added as a fourth. That is enough of a domestic platform to run on, and they can leave corruption to outside investigators or safe committee chairpeople.

      • justlp says:

        I like Kamala Harris, but she does have some baggage (I live in the SF Bay Area where she was a DA before she was AG). My dream ticket at this early moment is Elizabeth Warren (for her policy ideas) and Beto (for the excitement factor).

  20. cat herder says:

    Apologies in advance, just having one of those days.

    I kinda-sorta agree with Pelosi on impeachment. She’s right but for the wrong reasons.
    There is an active, ongoing national security threat in the WH with control of both the Supreme Court and the nuclear arsenal, so, no, a political process, whether Impeachment or waiting for the next election, is not the correct tool to fix that problem. This is a madman-with-a-gun-holding-hostages threat. We don’t deal with other imminent threats by initiating political debates or even multi-year investigations before somebody figures out what to do. This is not normal and the lack of solutions is alarming. The lack of alarm over the lack of solutions is alarming.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Absolutely agree, keep the political conversation about issues, policies and a new ideological consensus in a new expanded electorate. All while Mueller and the House Of Reps keep forcing the information out into the political conversation.

      • cat herder says:

        But how much more information is needed? The multiple daily scandals are an explicit tactic to distract and overwhelm anyone trying to investigate them. No one will ever be able to keep up, and that’s the point. It’s like a Ponzi scheme, to stay afloat it requires a steady stream of new crime to hold off accountability for previous crime. And it seems to be working.

  21. fpo says:

    Seriously in need of a little levity here, so…

    23 y/o “international model” and former full-time staffer for the dumb campaign, Elizabeth Pipko, is now the self-declared spokesperson for Jexodus – the newly formed organization calling for millennial Jews “tired of living in bondage to leftist politics” to leave the Dem party.

    “We left Egypt, and now we’re leaving the Democratic Party,” and “…together we will break the shackles of leftist tyranny, and with your help, we will change the face of American Jewry.”

    Still not persuaded? Pipko is also a ‘poet and patriot.’ Little thin on the education side of the equation, but hey, she wrote “About You” – one of the “best books to read before you go to sleep” according to Thrive Global.

    And of course, look no further than a tweet of support from dt as evidence of the Rs going all-in with this nonsense. Gee, wonder what got his attention here…

    Can’t wait for Junior leading chants of “Can I get an ‘Oy Vey!?’” at the next maga rally – but what are the chances of that ever happening..?

    • P J Evans says:

      Like that’s going to happen while the Rs are being in-your-face racist bigots. They’re the party of people who want to end birthright citizenship – even though it’s in the Constitution.

    • Diviz says:

      I can’t take the credit for this, but I don’t remember exactly whose twitter I read it on. The fact that she doesn’t realize that there’s no need to create a new portmanteau to describe Jews leaving en masse is disqualifying. The Exodus was literally exactly that.

    • Yogarhythms says:

      Ty for this thread. Nuremberg consent statement is unparalleled.
      1. R’s 2020 convention in Charlottesville is David Dukes wet dream of hate.
      2. Rules of order and laws are essential for democracy.
      3. Ethics and Logic demonstrates principles don’t change only situations and conditions.
      OT Fukushima Daiichi 8Tb Anniversary 11MAR19;
      Fukushima Daiichi (FD) airborne fallout is directly to blame for Urchin, Starfish, Molusks, native to N. California, population decimations August 2011as shown in SF Bay View article March 4th 2019 by Harun Minhaj.” The Future of all Life: …”.
      LLRadLabs are complicit with TEPCO FD catastrophe denial relating to FD units 1,2 and 3 meltdown Corium clean up. For example Three Mile Island (TMI) meltdown according to IAEA involved 18,000,000 kilograms of meltdown Corium and took 13 years to remove from TMI worksite.
      FD units 1,2 and 3 all suffered total reactor meltdowns of the following materials: reactor, control rods, reactor fuel rods, (including both conventional fuel rods and MOX fuel rods.), reactor housing, weighing 265,000,000 Kilograms of meltdown Corium . UsingTMI experience as historic meltdown Corium cleanup timeline guideline FD will take 182 years to remove 265,000,000 kilograms meltdown Corium.
      Muon energy location technology (MELT) revealing FD Primary Pressure Vessel Breach leading to Primary Containment Vessel Breach causing TEPCO to construct ice wall. FD Corium has left the building’s. We can’t wait 182 years to remove meltdown Corium and we don’t have the robot powered twist drills to speed up the removal process. TEPCO release your MELT documentary evidence and we will help create a solution. Secrets delay and destroy life in all forms.
Yours in

  22. Robert Britton says:

    I have made a living in IT to this day. I’m an ancient, but not quite prehistoric, IT geek. Learned to program 6502 machine code on an Apple II and been making my place even today as a Director of IT. Social Media had offered so much potential. But it’s a disease. More than that, it’s destructive to societies and countries and governments.

    My problem with Social Media is the use as a state weapon, as a privacy exploit, and as a bullying platform. There’s a lot of good from Social Media, but there are SO many factors, left unregulated, that have adversely affected societies, governments, and individuals.

    1. Require a law that all persons (including corporate “citizens”) on social media have VERIFIED full identities. No more troll accounts, or BS. accounts, or bullies hiding behind false personas. SNARKYBOB222 should be traceable in the OPEN to John Q. Public, the specific identifiable, legal person.

    2. Out of #1, enable laws for the consequences of individuals actions on the social media platforms: Spreading hate, encouraging violence, deception, fraud, needs to be punishable when violated. Fines. Taxes. Fees. Jail. What ever. Accountability.

    3. DO NOT leave it to the individual companies to regulate themselves. Self-regulation is a joke. Just look at google or FB. Puh-lease.

    4. AI is NOT the answer, as Zuckerburg suggests. Sure, there’s a scale issue when you have billions of advertisers making billions and billions of ads and posts. But AI is not the answer to the problem. Sure, it can help. But if ads do not undergo scrutiny for hate speech, malicious intent, by humans, then perhaps it’s time to scale down the advertisement model.

    5. The Advertisement model has to go. A PAID model, or even a government funded social media platform, or some time of a subsidized credit system (for those unable to afford) out to be brought forth. I’d pay for an alternative to FB where I can control who I connect with, what i see, what I post, and what others can see about me and my posts.

    6. The digital “agreement” model farce has to end. There is no “agreement” when you click ok to access a program, site, or app. There is only your complete acceptance of THEIR protections and benefits for YOUR agreement. There was no redlining, there was no negotiating, there was no representation of ME as a user in that “agreement.” And, there is zero accountability about how my information can be used, often times without my consent. It’s all or nothing?

    6a. Why the hell are people allowed to give access to their friends/family away to some app/site so that they can play some cute CandyGem game? That should be illegal. No one else has the right to give away MY consent to share MY info. There should be a built in auto-veerify: “Sister Sally wants to play CandySnark. She is offering up your private information. Do you consent to share your INFO so that she can play her free game?” NO! Access DENIED!

    7. OPTING IN needs to be the norm, not opting OUT. This includes newsletters, advertisments, SPAM call lists. The punishment for sending ppl spam/unsolicited ads needs to be FIERCELY a deterrent. It’s presently upside down by design to benefit the advertisers and the social media benefactors, not the everyday user. Why the hell to I need to fight to remove myself from a list/app/game/site I never opted into in the first place?

    8. There needs to be an online consumer/user protection bureau. Online social media reporting going not to the company (FB, Google) but to a body of online protectors for review, investigation, and consequence.

    9. EMAIL (SPAM) is so easily fixable. Unsolicited messages being sent from any IP can be easily done by any 7 year old. Spearfishing et al are easy things to do, even a caveman can do it! With SPF and other mail security tools, messages can be not only auto- DROPPED from illegal / unregistered senders, but they could also be auto-reported for violation. (See #10 where we should not allow IP anonymity.

    10. IPs need to be registered, like an identity, or we need to have like a USER SUPER IDENTITY. You want online? Here’s your IP (SSN). It’s tied to your government online ID (VERIFIED). (Trust me, I get the routing issue and limits of IP 4, but no reason we cannot develop some kind of DNS/IP/Identity system that maps between a person, their devices, and their specific network addresses, esp with IP6 and other security protocols. Every packet should have a sub-component inserted that identifies the person, company, owner. With a centralized registration system mapping person/company to IP/Identity sub-component, illegal IPs can be blocked, identities reported for investigation/prosecution.

    11. While I worry about government over reach (a la Patriot Act) regarding privacy, we are on the doorstep of national security threats when we allow encrypted, read once and then auto-expire messaging apps. If we expect to have a secure and safe online community, allowing people to hide behind these programs has to be limited to some form of a registered use/need, and that need to be specific and auditable. No one should be able to hide behind some anonymous bogus online identity/account, transferring encrypted untraceable messaging. How do we keep and enforce laws of this land if we cannot 1) identify, and 2) examine and assess content for security (and social) purposes. Yes, I get the “Big Brother” worry, but frankly, it’s not Big Brother destroying our society. It’s Russian Trolls, demagogs, foreign actors using online psyops. We need tools to protect ourselves against Cyber Guerilla Warriors.

    My two cents. Probably not worth even that much. Mostly likely all pie in the sky. Heck, we can’t even agree to battle Climate Change/Global Warming, how the hell we ever going to address all the darkness and harm of social media? Unplug them, and deal with the life extinction event (climate change, environmental/ecological destruction) on our immediate horizon.

    I get tired of ALLOWING ppl to hide behind bogus identities, privacy VPNS and apps, and then who bitch about an insecure, hate-filled, terror-filled world where those doing harm can’t be tracked or held accountable.

    I represent myself online as I am (my name). I take responsibility for what I say.

    What makes me mad is those who hide (fake untracable identities), who use hate and terror to undermine societies and democracies using programs/apps/tools to hide in the dark.

    We will never have a healthy online community without accountability and without sunshine, and without laws that hold people and companies accountable for their use, their speech. And Great Grand Pa and Grandma who never sent a text message let alone a SnapChat or an IG/FB post does NOT have the knowledge and understanding on how to regulate social media and online communications. the 90 year olds in Congress need to be replaced with more savvy members. They through their ignorance and negligence fostered a lot of what is wrong with today’s online communities.

    But you know what? Until GREED is regulated and the greedy checked, and real representation in government of those who are competent and those who openly represent SOCIETY NOT THE CAPITALISTS, nothing will change.

    Mo Money, Mo Money… people and societies, ecology and environments be damned.

    It’s long past due since Social Media companies got regulated, broken apart, competition encouraged, and alternate non-advertisting models brought forward.

    Cyber warefare, psyops are also real. We need modern laws, tools, and govt agencies, and regulations and such to account for the wickedness of an unregulated online social internet.

    In my extremes, I almost feel as if govt should shut down FB, TW, IG, et al, because of the dangerous threat to society, governments, and economies. Then rebuild from the ground up where they can be brought back online in a healthy, lawful, beneficial way.

    • P J Evans says:

      People don’t want traceable accounts, because it can get them fired. Or threatened. Or killed. Traceable by law enforcement, with properly-issued warrants, for legal purposes (like threatening the president or a congresscritter), okay…but that’s doable now.

      • Robert Britton says:

        Exactly. No accountability. Stay hidden, snark from the dark. Undermine, cause harm. No accountability. Yes, there’s dangers and potential for abuses. But clearly, anonymity today is just crushing societies, governments, businesses, families, and individuals.

    • Rayne says:

      I stopped reading as soon as you advocated mandatory verified ID. That’s what China has done and continues to do, expanding to facial ID tied to social media and credit scores. Fuck that. Unending surveillance isn’t freedom; it has a chilling effect on speech.

      I write under pseudonym to protect my family. Pseudonymity has also been a part of our American history — recall Poor Richard’s Almanac? Or the pseudonyms used during the Constitutional debates?

      The problem isn’t user’s identity. The problem is what the user does. Focus on the acts.

      You might think again about this since you willingly posted in this thread without a clue who the post’s author really was. My true identity wasn’t a problem now, was it.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with Nancy Pelosi, but probably for different reasons. Moving to impeach Donald Trump, on the public record as it now exists, is premature. What is essential, however, is for her House committees to vigorously investigate the obvious potential crimes and wrongdoing being committed by Trump, those close to him, and some of his Cabinet. Fitness for office includes many issues beyond whether a candidate or officeholder has committed prosecutable crimes. Many of Trump’s tax games, for example, might be legal or outside the statute of limitations. Same with a laundry list of other abuses. Vetted information should be made public.

    Legislative fixes for the most egregious wrongdoing, whether or not a crime, should be proposed. Among those, I would include mandatory divestiture of a president’s outside business interests, prohibitions on conducting business from the White House, mandatory disclosure of nominee and presidential tax returns, annual physical and mental health exams (with summaries made public), and a more vigorous regime for creating, preserving, and making public presidential records. Obama’s recent plans for his no access to documents Chicago real estate development and entertainment center demonstrate how not to handle presidential records.

    Such fixes are an essential part of restoring faith in government that neoliberals, in general, and Trump, in particular, have done so much to shake.

    • cat herder says:

      Yes, more investigations! Getting to the bottom of just the stuff known to date will stretch into the mid-2040s if they work really hard and have adequate budgets.

      I am not reassured.

  24. Michael says:

    Re: http://makeinternetnoise(dot)com/index.html

    My Firefox says:
    “Your connection is not secure. The owner of has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.”

    I have set Firefox for “strict 3rd-party content blocking”, and also run the browser extension “HTTPS Everywhere” to *force* HTTPS protocol. YMMV.

  25. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne. Too much technology, data, computers, cell phones, whiplash news – exhausting, overwhelming.
    Unplugging, getting off the grid to hang out with Mother Nature next week.
    Recharging my batteries. A healthy regulation.

  26. jockobadger says:

    This is an interesting piece by Nelson Cunningham w/The Daily Beast. He describes a possible “2nd Report” from Mueller, et al., that would deal solely with counterintelligence issues identified as part of the SC investigation. I’d be interested to hear opinions on this from the more learned folk of the Commentariat. I earnestly hope this is a possibility – it would certainly make for interesting reading. Anyway, I’ve tried to cut out the tracking bits, Rayne. I hope all is ok since this is an open thread?

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In other news, Britain is all but certain to crash out of the EU with no deal at 11.00 pm London time, March 29th. Britain is about to become an analogue of 1970s Chile, minus the guns and CIA, which have been replaced by vulture capitalists. Naomi Klein has the subject for a new edition of The Shock Doctrine [], her major work on the ruthless opportunism she calls disaster capitalism.

    Aaron Banks and Nigel Farage, two of the main hard right figures behind the leave campaign (the identities of their patrons is another matter), have apparently lobbied the rightwing governments of Italy, Hungary and Poland to encourage them not to agree to any extension of the March 29th deadline, which would require other EU member states to agree. Not that the UK government’s gross mismanagement of this affair has given even friendly EU member states a reason to delay what now seems inevitable.

    Carol Cadwalladr has followed this closely on twttr. [] and for the Guardian []. There are many similarities in methods and people between the leave campaign and Trump’s election, which have echoes among the victories of right wing governments in Hungary and Poland.

  28. Christenson says:

    I don’t know what to do, exactly, about privacy, but I think we need to start out with a few difficult-to-dispute facts.
    ** First, I can and should be able to tell any single individual basically anything for any reason. That is called Liberty.
    ** However, as the corporate entity (or really the power) becomes steadily larger, responsibility must increase. “Tobacco is safe” is the poster child; I have had two people in my personal life in the last 20 years die pretty directly from it. A thousand DMs telling me I deserve to die has a definite, negative effect.
    ** Whatever I put out on the Internet as a whole can be re** ad by *anyone*. Heck yes, I need to be OK if it is on the front page of, well, it used to be the New York Times, or sent to someone I value, such as my mother.
    ** I cannot fully trust my computer. Hackers… and MS-Windows…and hardware hacks like Meltdown…that is *before* we get to the spoofed IP address I might be posting from.
    ** Mike Masnick of Techdirt has a post somewhere about lies, damned lies, and audience metrics. The value of advertising is super difficult to measure, computers are making it no easier. Sure, something loaded the emptywheel site a certain number of times tonight, but were there any eyes actually reading it???
    ** Advertising is a trade between getting what you want and snooping. Micro-targeting is a particular problem; there are horrible stories of women having ads for baby products follow them around on the internet, or even before the internet when the baby has been dead for months.
    ** I do think smaller is better, simply because it makes aggregation harder. Variation in systems is a useful thing to have, and greedy, bad or merely immoral actors like Mr Zuckerberg (or your preferred rat-fucking villian) are nothing new.
    ** Deciding whether something is acceptable or not is *not* automatable. Techdirt discusses moderation at scale, and it basically doesn’t work because I can add a few words of context to something horrible and it is no longer horrible. For example, Roger Stone, ratfucker might say something reprehensible, like “I wouldn’t cry if that Covington Kid were disappeared tomorrow”. Marcy reports that “Roger Stone, ratfucker, threatened murder by proxy, saying, “I wouldn’t cry….”. And that is before we get into decoding, say, Mobster code, which Marcy might have to explain to us.

    Beneath it, I think we have yet to accept that the internet is quite a powerful tool for erasing all kinds of boundaries, some of which are useful, some of which are not. We are finding that anonymous humanity can be quite vicious, now that *everyone* has access.

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