Facebook’s Surveillance Machine

19 March 2018

Zeynep Tufekc, for the New York Times:

Mr. Grewal is right: This wasn’t a breach in the technical sense. It is something even more troubling: an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model, which involves having people go to the site for social interaction, only to be quietly subjected to an enormous level of surveillance. The results of that surveillance are used to fuel a sophisticated and opaque system for narrowly targeting advertisements and other wares to Facebook’s users.

People are finally starting to catch on that Facebook’s value proposition (“Tell us everything about you, all the time, so we can help get dictators elected around the world”) is pretty weak.

Facebook Quietly Hid Webpages Bragging of Ability to Influence Elections

14 March 2018

Sam Biddle for The Intercept:

When Mark Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the founder and CEO dismissed the notion that the site even had such power as “crazy.” It was a disingenuous remark. Facebook’s website had an entire section devoted to touting the “success stories” of political campaigns that used the social network to influence electoral outcomes. That page, however, is now gone, even as the 2018 congressional primaries get underway.

‘ol Zuck just can’t stop lying.

How Defective Guns Became the Only Product That Can’t Be Recalled

28 February 2018

An enraging story from Michael Smith and Polly Mosendz, for Bloomberg:

Taurus sold almost a million handguns that can potentially fire without anyone pulling the trigger. The government won’t fix the problem. The NRA is silent.

Gun manufacturers have long held an unassailable position in American business and politics. They need to be reminded that they aren’t above the law… and we can start by making them follow the same goddamn rules as everyone else.

The Great Stink

23 February 2018

Laurie Penny has some advice for men in the current cultural moment, and it is good advice. This passage, near the end, caught me right where it was aimed:

Suck it up and let go. Let go of your resentment at women’s lack of patience, let go of your wounded pride, let go of your useless shame, and let go of the idea of being a “good guy.” “Good” is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do, or don’t do. The world is not neatly divided into good and bad men. It never was, and we need to let go of the idea that it ever was, so that we can finally be better to one another, finally learn to deal with our shit like grown-ups in this strange new cityscape we’re crawling through together, trying to find our way to the light. That’s the only way we’re going to move from a place of holding abusers to account, into a future where abuse is less likely to happen.

Suck it up and let go.

KDE Bug Executes Arbitrary Code Based on Name of Thumb Drive

13 February 2018

This is one of the dumbest and most dangerous bugs I’ve ever heard of. From the KDE security list:

When a vfat thumbdrive which contains “ or $() in its volume label is plugged and mounted trough the device notifier, it’s interpreted as a shell command, leaving a possibility of arbitrary commands execution. an example of offending volume label is “$(touch b)” which will create a file called b in the home folder.

It’s jaw-dropping.

Lanetix Inc Fires Workers for Attempt to Unionize

01 February 2018

You can add Lanetix Inc, the developer of a subpar CRM, to the list of wannabe union-busters. They’re also now on the shitlist of every decent engineer in the world. We don’t forget this shit.

The union alleged in the complaint, which was filed with the NLRB Jan. 29, that the company threatened the software engineers after they began discussing unionizing in an internal instant messaging group. Lanetix later terminated “all engineers and senior engineers in retaliation for demanding recognition,” CWA said.

Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False

18 December 2017

The FCC, and it’s vile Head Liar Ajit Pai, withheld even more information from the American people than we already knew:

Internal FCC documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request show that the independent, nonpartisan FCC Office of Inspector General—acting on orders from Congressional Republicans—investigated the claim that Obama interfered with the FCC’s net neutrality process and found it was nonsense. This Republican narrative of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet, then, was wholly refuted by an independent investigation and its findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.

The longer this goes on the more obvious it becomes that Ajit Pai is a plant from Verizon, whose job is to torpedo Net Neutrality before he’s fired for incompetence. Congress can still stop the Verizon/FCC power grab by letting Congress know. We have to stop this asshole and the assholes that he works for. Join the Battle for Net Neutrality.

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful things for a troubled world. I'm a designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator at Occipital.

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