The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks

A weekly reading list to stimulate thoughts about the (digitised) world you might (or might not) want to live in.

Here’s a collection of links to articles that caught my eye last week. They offer data about the world we presently live in, and hints about the one we might wish to pass on to future generations.

Facebook Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Saving Text and Call Logs of Users — Breitbart

“In other words, Facebook scraped years’ worth of call and text data, including whether the call was ‘incoming’ ‘outgoing’, or ‘missed;’ the data and time of each call; the number dialed; the individual called; and the duration of each call.” — People have a different expectation of how a phone number ID is treated versus a social media ID. What does this tell us about what kind of ID we should use for extremely intimate biosensed data? And how close should Facebook be allowed to any of it?

The Scientism Delusion — Gregory Lessing Garrett

I’ve not read this book, but it caught my eye, since I am always attracted to “new zones of ignorance” — subjects whose whole existence I previously was unaware of. In this case, it is an examination of the Masonic philosophical roots of much of modern science. My childhood exposure to the Jehovah’s Witnesses — also of Masonic construction — tells me ignoring such “out there” matters is perilous.

To what extent are our framing questions about the development of technology limited by the conceptual box we have put around “science”? After all, it is still struggling to fully explain the scientist, which is its figural phenomenon! “Scientism” has an implicit theology and spiritual axiom: the scientist is separate from Source. Is this really so? Would be behave differently if we truly felt the scientist was interconnected with her or his science’s consequences?

Meet the dominatrix living inside an Echo Dot — Engadget

“Right now, Mistress Alexa isn’t the most elegant of devices, and she’s been cobbled together using Gary’s fairly limited technical knowledge. An Echo Dot connects to a Raspberry Pi, which is bolted on to an Arduino. From there, a wire runs out into the remote control of a pet-store electric shock collar that’s normally used on dogs.” — I find Siri’s truculence quite painful enough, thanks.

Talpiot, founded 1979 — Joseph Davis

Israel’s long-term Talpiot programme to dominate critical sectors of high-tech is no secret, yet remains obscure to most, and few seem to understand its significance and impact on the world.

CNN On Verge Of Collapse As Ratings Plunge 20 Percent — YourNewsWire

I wouldn’t be surprised if that get shut down anyhow when the criminal racketeering surfaces to the public consciousness in the next few months. Live by the lie, die by the law.

The age of authenticity — Destroy the Illusion

This YouTube video from Jordan Sather is a recapitulation of the Cluetrain for the Millennial generation. Speak real human, or go the way of CNN.

Greatest Scenes In Film: They Live – Sunglasses — YouTube

This is a hidden gem: an Orwellian 1988 movie that told the unpleasant truth about the mainstream media, had a huge opening, and then vanished to be left as a cult hit. What if you could put on magic glasses, and every propaganda manipulation was shown for what it is? This ten minute segment captures the essence, and is disturbing in its simplicity.

Trees Talk To Each Other In A Language We Can Learn — Era of Light

Trees engage in an inter-species social gift economy of carbon. The “survival of the fittest” is a reductionist analytic fantasy and fallacy. Lessons for how we design tech — capitalist competition vs collaborative commons?

Facebook found 200 more apps that may have misused your data — Engadget

Is it just me, or is this company involved in Chernobyl-level unhealthy releases of personal data?

How to Access Your Curiosity, Compassion, and Courage — TwentyThirty

“At the core of any profound transformation is the awakening of curiosity (open mind), compassion (open heart), and courage (open will) as powerful antidotes to the self-limiting voices of doubt, cynicism, and fear that tend to keep us in the grip of the old.   

Although this awakening is happening in many small communities and networks around the world, we do not yet see it transforming the larger systems. What’s missing today is a mechanism that allows the global eco-system of change makers to collaborate and co-create across sectors more intentionally.”

Huge new Facebook data leak exposed intimate details of 3 million users — TruePundit

It’s a day ending in a ‘y’, so there must be yet another new Facebook privacy scandal…

Robocaller Who Made Millions Caught, Fined $120 Million — Western Journal

“Adrian Abramovich is reported to have made over 100 million illegal robocalls from 2016 to 2017, the FCC reported, offering vacation deals to unsuspecting customers. His scheme instructed them to “Press 1” to hear more about “exclusive” vacation deals from prominent companies like Marriott, Hilton and TripAdvisor. Customers would be transferred to a call center with live operators offering to sell them one or more “discounted” [i.e. inflated price] vacation packages, such as timeshares.” — The FCC’s new management is tackling real problems, not a “neutrality” fantasy.

Growing number of children groomed to film own sexual abuse — Guardian

“The vast majority (96%) showed a child on their own in a home environment, leading the IWF to conclude they are being groomed, coerced and blackmailed into live-streaming their own sexual abuse over webcams, tablets and mobile phones.” — This is chilling, and not amenable to technical quick fixes. My pre-Internet childhood now looks very innocent.

Twitter Will Start Hiding Tweets That “Detract From the Conversation” — Slate

It’s a rather long way of spelling “censorship”. It’s also likely illegal in the US — and exposes their hypocrisy around “neutrality”, which is seems is only for packets, not people. Karma will come knocking; there’s a whiff of scandal around @jack’s business dealings with crims and crooks like Nancy Pelosi.

Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene — Boing Boing

“The demands Raleigh police issued for Google data described a 17-acre area that included both homes and businesses. In the Efobi homicide case, the cordon included dozens of units in the Washington Terrace complex near St. Augustine’s University.

The account IDs aren’t limited to electronics running Android. The warrant includes any device running location-enabled Google apps, according to Raleigh Police Department spokeswoman Laura Hourigan.” — This opens up a classic false positive problem and statistical fallacy; trawling data this way is dangerous.

Why Taxpayers Should Sue Google — New York Central News Post

“Over 400 Google shills were placed inside of state and federal offices in order to try to shut down any disclosure of Google’s corrupt and illicit actions. This is not theory. It is fact. We have the names and HR data for each person and it will hold up as evidence in the court room. Google has expended tens of millions of dollars in bribes and illegal activities. Now it is time to shut Google down.” — At least they are better than evil Facebook. Aren’t they? Oh dear…

How citizen science and open-source tech can create change — Fast Company

“While much is often made about new tech solutions to entrenched problems, citizen science advocates for equipping ordinary people with basic tools and analytical frameworks to better understand issues in their own backyards. It’s a movement, Cooper says, that’s rapidly evolving, but will only become more important.”

Your photos, decentralized and encrypted — a first look at the tech inside Textile Photos — Textile

“We believe this way of sharing is a more honest approach to sharing digital data… the reality is, digital data sticks around. While many companies claim that you can delete your data, the reality of technology and data itself is that it is never so easy. Like an email, you probably want to be pretty comfortable with what you share and who you share it with, since the ability to copy and forward data is limitless. Still, there are some neat ways to facilitate data removal in a decentralized network that we are going to experiment with.”

Bitcoin’s energy use got studied, and you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual — Grist

“A fluctuating bitcoin price, along with increases in computer efficiency, has slowed the cryptocurrency’s energy footprint growth rate to “just” 20 percent per month so far in this year. If that keeps up, bitcoin would consume all the world’s electricity by January 2021.”

Facebook has disabled almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past six months — Recode

But don’t worry, as there’s strong governance oversight to avoid mistakes and correct any injustices. In other news, first supersonic pig reported over Pacific ocean…

Facebook is in the privacy business in the same way tobacco companies are in the respiratory business. Stop inhaling their app and exhaling your freedom.

Website leaked real-time location of most US cell phones to almost anyone — I-UV

Thankfully privacy is now a first-class design object in all OSes, databases and networks, so this will never, ever be repeated. Ever.

From Twitter:

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