its the year 2021. you download designer drug for your 3d printer off the bit torrent network. you go to get the drugs out of the printer but instead of drugs it printed a cop. Youre under arrest
Mordecai Mirrorshades cyberplugged his data spike into the robotaxi’s access port. taking a long drag on his e-cig, he coolly downloaded some digi-bullets for his cyber gun. “i hope i have enough digi-bullets,” he said out loud in his head, “to hack the president.”
just another normal day in Neo York Megacity
“It sure is fun to imagine a dystopian security state with flying police robots and hacker activists fighting gamely but doomedly against an overwhelming corporate overwatch that has completely saturated the remaining shreds of democratic governance”
- Teenagers in 1986"
— (via anonmedics)
The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow a watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without their being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.
Even before it was acquired by Microsoft, Skype was never really seen a particularly secure method of activist communication. Given its popularity, Skype has been a particularly attractive target for government and corporate surveillance, and there are plenty of stories (especially recently, with the Syrian revolution in full swing) of activists being tricked into downloading and installing trojan-laden versions of the program and setting themselves up to have their communications monitored. In the US this is generally done under the “lawful intercept” provision of the PATRIOT act. On paper this sort of thing is supposed to be done in specific circumstances involving international communications and “foreign agents”, but guess what.
All this is why it was particularly concerning when Microsoft announced that it was buying Skype for a vast sum last year, shortly after the FBI began agitating for easier wiretap access to popular communications platforms. Microsoft’s record in terms of allowing backdoor access had been pretty suspect for a long time, but given Skype’s semi-decentralized architecture nobody was particularly sure how or when a system like the one the FBI was requesting might be put into place.
Normally, Skype used a peer-to-peer type of communication, via a decentralized series of peer servers called “supernodes”. Supernodes functioned in a superficially similar way to DNS servers, in that they provided the initial “introduction” between clients that allows them to connect directly to one another and bypass any central servers. This was a good thing, since it’s harder to perform surveillance on a direct connection between two computers than it is to just sit your monitoring program on a central server and suck up data as it passes through.
Then, at just about the same time as the “FBI wants easier wiretapping access” stories started to break, Skype replaced the supernode system with centralized servers. Now the peer traffic gets routed through a set of machines owned and maintained solely by Microsoft, which greatly simplifies the process needed to wiretap communications. Microsoft/Skype have denied that the system is intended to be used this way, but given recent developments in the realm of government surveillance it seems difficult to believe that the system wouldn’t be used in this way. Encryption, normally mandatory on Skype communications, isn’t a whole lot of help here since the keys are owned by Microsoft and thus easily provided to third parties.
Yesterday, news came out that Skype had had its source code leaked, though it has not at the time of writing been put to any sort of real use. It’s possible that a modified system could be put into place to bypass the central servers, but this remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the surveillance state marches on largely unopposed.
Basically, Microsoft purchased Skype and completely rebuilt its network architecture in order to make wiretapping literally effortless. This is bad.
If you’re using BitTorrent or uTorrent or any torrenting program, please, do yourself a favor (if you haven’t already) and go to Preferences.
In Preferences, under BitTorrent or uTorrent or the name of whatever program you are using, there should be a section…
PLEASE don’t use Bittorrent over Tor. The Tor network isn’t built to run Bittorrent, and can’t handle the bandwidth load BT clients place upon it. By torrenting your animes through Tor, you’re placing a huge amount of strain on a volunteer-curated network which is used by thousands of people around the world to evade location blocks and government spying. It is a Crap Thing to do.
Not only that, but (check that link) Tor isn’t actually a good solution for Bittorrent anonymity anyway, ignoring that first huge issue. There are some pretty big security holes involved with running BT clients over Tor, none of which would keep you safe in the event of someone actually trying to figure out who you were. Like if, say, some media megacorp wanted to find you so they could sue you into the dirt.
Here’s a better solution that will both hide your IP and let you download My Little Pony: Get a VPN. Virtual Private Networks work almost the same way as what you’re trying to accomplish with Tor, they’re set up for this sort of thing, they keep you anonymous if you get a good one, and they won’t cost you more than five bucks or so per month. Look for something based out of a country with good data protection laws, like Sweden.
iPredator is a good one if you don’t want to investigate yourself, but there are dozens of options. Free VPNs also exist, but you get what you pay for with this sort of thing.
tl;dr stop using bittorrent on Tor, get a VPN instead. It’ll be faster, easier, and you don’t clog the network for people who need it for more pressing matters.
I have been reading books on philosophy and psychology and fanfiction on the web. I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading blogs on the internet, ranging far and wide. These things have become tangled and I think they are very much related.
My son has a friend that lives three houses away. He will text my son and arrange internet game playing. He won’t walk down the street. He won’t even use his voice on the phone. A text is preferred. I have been trying to understand this behavior, by reading.
This essay, like many of the other considerations of “the internet” by people older than 30 (or people raised in the manner of people older than 30), fails to check its very premise: that the internet is “not real”. That writing a text is somehow, magically, less authentic than, say, passing a note in class. Or even whispering in someone’s ear. That those of us raised online can’t decipher tone or feeling in even the most offhanded typing of our friends and loved ones. That our refusal to “use our voices on the phone” makes us emotional, social, even experiential cripples.
I understand the urge to simplify the new social experience this way, and at a first or even second reading it appears sound, but I deplore the almost flippant conclusions reached by our loving, well-meaning, but ultimately uninformed elders.
This assertion—that the Internet, text messages and so on aren’t “real”, that they somehow “don’t count”—doesn’t stand up to examination, except in the very biological, reductionist sense. If you stand on the belief in a sort of “chemical communication” between adjacent physical bodies, pheromones that somehow sign off on every human exchange face-to-face, stamping a big rubber [AUTHENTIC SOCIALIZING] on every bit of small talk, then sure. But what this steps over entirely is the fact that every mode of communication has its accompanying set of falsehoods, either in projection or perception of the message.
If a friend walks up to me in the street and invites me to a party the next day, my perception of the message benefits (in clarity) from the data contained in their tone of voice, their posture, and their cadence (for example), but suffers from the distraction of being outside, of being in a hurry, of having to pee, of being bored (these are my failings) and also of their lying to me, of their having a cold that makes their voice strange, of their being distracted by their own simultaneous experience there on the street. Each of these facets of the exchange are traded for ones of equal weight when the conversation is moved online. My friend sends me a text, Facebook message, wall post, or Tumblr ask, inviting me to a party. At once I am examining their message for clues—the lack of, or inclusion of capitalized letters, the use of specialized argots within our shared social group, the use of emoticons, injokes, or HTML formatting.
My ability to read—and misread—these clues is as robust, if not moreso, than when confronted with the same exchange in person. The message remains the same. My methods of reading it, of deciphering it, flow from medium to medium, but in no sense is the party invitation “less real” for having come via SMS.
The other issue here, which benefits the digital alone, is the ability to master your own expenditure of time. I just finished reading Ada again, so I’ve been considering Time for days. While my friend approaching me physically on the street is intrusive, in that we both must compromise whatever we are doing in order to fit the exchange into a sort of tyrannical bit of gristle between our separate Timestreams (not that my friend is intruding on me, or even I on them, but more that we both must see the chance to have this exchange about the party invitation, and then both must take it simultaneously in order for the conversation to occur, like two world leaders turning two keys on a nuclear launch authorization, or even a shuttle crew waiting for the right orbital window) which, briefly, allows us to talk. If my friend had sent the invitation via SMS, the message would remain perfectly preserved as it left their fingers, and crash on my shores intact, waiting for me there whenever I most wanted to read it, when I could devote the best eyes to it, when I could think about it most clearly. Digital communication, if not freeing us from Time, certainly lets out our leashes a bit.
To put it another way, digital communication allows my friend to communicate through time with me, which goes a long way towards making sure the meeting of minds occurs when both participants are at their best.
The original essay touches on this, but frames it as an “inferiority complex” issue, which leads inevitably to bullying and trolling, and that children like the author’s son cannot “handle” that the friend that lives a mere three doors down is “too real” to interact with. I think this is not giving the kid enough credit, when he’s clearly smart enough to take advantage of the flexibility in the new (and no less devoted) friendships of his generation.
And truly, the same things were said of the telegram, the telephone, the letter, the parchment, the clay tablet, the cave painting…
On Friday afternoon, about 20 bars around San Francisco are set to have special “facial detection” cameras turned on as part of a new smartphone app by Chicago-based startup SceneTap.
The cameras, which are mounted above the door of their client bars, scan patrons’ faces as they enter and exit the bar. The company’s software then immediately determines whether the person is male or female, and counts how many of each are in the bar, divides that by the known capacity of the bar, and then outputs something like: “Crowd: >90% full | Women: 58% | Men: 42%.”
San Francisco bar patrons are unlikely to know that their faces are being scanned, however—the company has only put SceneTap stickers in the windows, but does not explain to customers in an obvious way what exactly is going on.
“Here’s the thing—there are no videos or images stored at any time,” wrote the company’s CEO, Cole Harper, in an open letter to San Francisco. “Once the data is triggered, the images are overwritten, deleted, gone. There are no tapes. There is no video feed either. No one can go to www.scenetap.com and see what is happening. It’s all data and numbers—that’s it. And since we’re only focused on the door, you’re free to do keg stands and dance like Bernie or hit on that bartender all you want—we do not track you in the venue.”
The problem being, of course, that we are being asked to simply trust in the innate good nature of a face-recognition software company to not record, copy, or report this data, even while they have every reason to do so. I for one am entirely willing to send that kind of data off to Scenetap, whom I’m positive will never misuse, sell, or hand over the data to interested parties with subpoenas and/or giant cartoon-dollar-sign-encrusted bags of cash.
(Not to mention the troubling assumption on the part of Scenetap that designation of gender can be left in the hands of software, and then reported without consent. What the hell criteria are they using, anyway?)
Here is a list of San Francisco venues that have installed Scenetap cameras. Ars Technica reports that many bars that are still listed on Scenetap’s page have since pulled out. The fact that they considered the program in the first place is worth pointing out, however. These venues are indicated with an *.
- Bamboo Hut
- Bar None*
- Comet Club
- Eastside West
- Fluid Ultra Lounge
- John Collins*
- Kozy Kar Bar
- Manor West
- Mayes Oyster House
- McTeague’s Saloon
- milk bar
- Mr. Smith’s*
- Polo Grounds
- R Bar
- Scenetap SF Strategy Center
- Taverna Aventine
- The Wreck Room
I think I might do a little tour of their Yelp pages today.
Obama And ISP’s To Launch Largest Digital Spying Scheme In History (Must Read)
If you download potentially copyrighted software, videos or music, your Internet service provider (ISP) has been watching, and they’re coming for you.
Specifically, they’re coming for you on Thursday, July 1.
That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’ bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they will not download copyrighted materials.
Word of the start date has been largely kept secret since ISPs announced their plans last June. The deal was brokered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and coordinated by the Obama Administration. The same groups have weighed in heavily on controversial Internet policies around the world, with similar facilitation by the Obama’s Administration’s State Department.
The July 12 date was revealed by the RIAA’s CEO and top lobbyist, Cary Sherman, during a publishers’ conference on Wednesday in New York, according to technology publication CNet.
The content industries calls this scheme a “graduated response” plan, which will see
-Time Warner Cable
and others spying on users’ Internet activities and watching for potential copyright infringement. Users who are “caught” infringing on a creator’s protected work can then be interrupted with a notice that piracy is forbidden by law and carries penalties of up to $150,000 per infringement, requiring the user to click through saying they understand the consequences before bandwidth is restored, and they could still be subject to copyright infringement lawsuits.
Response: This is much worse than SOPA/PIPA and ACTA. It doesn’t necessarily censor the internet but it spys on everything you do. Your ENTIRE web history will be watched and recorded and might even assist the government. This was coordinated by Obama and his administration with the help of the MPAA and RIAA.
What is so dangerous about this is that this is not a law it is a policy adopted by several companies. That means this will not be debated in Congress and you will agree to be spied on by signing a contract with the company.
Internet censorship is becoming a reality and now the corporate elite will legally be able to spy on you. If we spread this and cause an uproar like what we did with SOPA, maybe they will back down. Either way people NEED to know about this.
I don’t want to hear or see any more horseshit about how much you love Obama, you little Tumblr schweens. And I warned you about the grim cyberpunk future, didn’t I? You know, where corporations overtly control your laws, your behaviors, and your daily goddamn lives?