Internet Must be Decentralized, Says Wikipedia Founder

In this exclusive interview with The New American’s Alex Newman, Wikipedia Founder Larry Sanger explained why he is now a critic of the online encyclopedia he helped to create. Sanger, who serves as executive director of the Knowledge Standards Foundation, blasted the liberal bias of Wikipedia, as well as the lack of public participation. He says the Big Tech companies have centralized the Internet, and that must be reversed. And finally, he talks about the pedophilia scandals involving elites from Silicon Valley, Hollywood, government, and beyond, saying humanity must understand how the world really works.

NOTICE: Facebook And Google Indexing Your Firearm Serial Numbers

Google and Facebook have now made it possible to find photos of firearms by simply typing a serial number into the search box.  Earlier today, the automotive website Jalopnik published a story showing how license plate numbers are evidently scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) on Google images, allowing them to be searchable using text queries. Using the OCR hypothesis, TFB wondered if this image data mining technique might be able to be used to search for firearm serial numbers. Using images posted previously on TFB with serial numbers displayed on firearms, we tested the serial number search technique.  As you can see from the results below, firearm serial numbers are in fact part of this apparent large-scale data mining operation by companies like Google and Facebook.

Facebook and Google are Reading and Cataloging Your Firearm Serial Numbers

It appears Google, with the help of Facebook, is archiving this information and making it easier to aggregate.  In order to further test this theory, I tried a different serial number, this time from a silencer review. Placing the search term in quotes, Google is forced to search for only that specific character string. Here are the results.

Facebook and Google are Reading and Cataloging Your Firearm Serial Numbers. If you’re an avid TFB reader, you might have read our article about how we’re not concerned about posting firearms serial numbers.  However, this does not mean that we should be complacent in the information that we share being controlled or censored.

It’s clear that the firearms community is not being singled out by this data mining operation.  And no, you as an individual cannot readily lookup someone’s personal information with only firearm serial numbers.  Regardless of this, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and YouTube is owned by Google.  As both of these companies are privately owned, but heavily relied upon, the knowledge of this publicly available data mine is unsettling.

Samsung proves the folly of so called ‘smart guns’

Why cant we have thumbprint guns, they said. It would work just like my cell phone, they said. Noted gun expert and Silicone Valley consultant Joe Biden has pushed this on many occasions.

“My cell phone – like yours -I just put my thumbprint on, and that is my access to everything. (…) Why can’t you do that for a gun?”

Well, Samsung just blew that entire argument out of the water, now didn’t they?

Headline: Samsung: Anyone’s thumbprint can unlock Galaxy S10 phone

DOH! Thats a big F-UP. Inconvenient if its a phone, tragic if its a ‘smart gun’.

The scanner sends ultrasounds to detect 3D ridges of fingerprints in order to recognise users.

Samsung said it was “aware of the case of S10’s malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch”.

South Korea’s online-only KaKao Bank told customers to switch off the fingerprint-recognition option to log in to its services until the issue was fixed.

Previous reports suggested some screen protectors were incompatible with Samsung’s reader because they left a small air gap that interfered with the scanning.

On This Day in Space Oct. 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier


I’d like to think this was like it was.

On Oct. 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time! Yeager was a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force who made history by flying an aircraft faster than the speed of sound.

Yeager made his historic flight in a Bell X-1 rocket plane that he named “Glamorous Glennis” after his wife. Yeager had broken two ribs the night before when he fell off a horse, but that didn’t stop him!

His aircraft was dropped from a Boeing B-29 bomber before accelerating to a speed of Mach 1.07, which is about 821 miles per hour. The speed of sound, Mach 1, is about 760 miles per hour.

California Turns Off a Lot More Than Just the Lights.

Going solar isn’t necessarily any protection from California’s new “planned” power outages, and local residents and businesses are enduring a lot more than just a few inconveniences.

Bloomberg’s Chris Martin has a story on California’s troubles with one of my favorite headlines ever: “Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts.” Apparently, many of California’s would-be Earth-savers had no idea that just putting solar panels on their roofs doesn’t mean they’ll have power when PG&E switches it off. As Martin explains:

Most panels are designed to supply power to the grid — not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night. So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires.

The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries. That market is just starting to take off. Sunrun Inc., the largest U.S. rooftop solar company, said some of its customers are making it through the blackouts with batteries, but it’s a tiny group — countable in the hundreds.

Martin quotes Sunrun Chairman Ed Fenster explaining that solar power with local battery storage is “the perfect combination for getting through these shutdowns,” although he fails to mention just what an expensive proposition that is, especially in the rural areas most affected by California’s return to the primitive. Fester, whose company sells those very batteries, expects battery sales “to boom” now that the promised blackouts have begun.

If you’re wondering what that smell is, it’s the scent of crony capitalism — and it stinks.

At UC Berkeley, where you’d expect all this planet-saving to be applauded, at least one student is probably less than thrilled. ABC7 reports that biochem grad student Sarah Morris says that the recent outage — again, a planned and on-purpose outage — “may have destroyed two years of her ground-breaking cancer research, valued at $500,000.” If you’re wondering what its value could have been to cancer victims who now might never receive the benefits of Morris’s research, I suspect you’re not alone.

Latest Mac Pro to be made in Texas after securing tariff exemptions.

Apple is boosting its commitment to the American workforce, part of a push to invest hundreds of billions into the U.S. economy.

In a major announcement on Monday, Apple said it will build its redesigned Mac Pro in Austin, Texas.

The move comes three days after U.S. trade officials approved exemptions that allow Apple to import key Mac Pro parts from China without them being subject to tariffs.

“The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer ever and we’re proud to be building it in Austin,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We thank the administration for their support enabling this opportunity.”

ATF Admits No Legal Authority For Bump Stock Ruling

Show of hands, who has been paying attention to the various lawsuits dealing with the ATF’s reinterpretation of Bump Stocks? Because to be completely honest, I haven’t been paying as much attention as I clearly should have been. In their most recent court filing, the ATF has admitted some truly explosive news. Namely, they concede that they do not have the authority to reinterpret the definition of machine guns in the  bump stock ruling under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

ATF Admits No Legal Authority for Bump Stock Ruling

Let’s back up and provide some context. So, on December 26th, 2018, the ATF issued a final ruling on “bump stocks”. A bump-stock is a device that allows an operator of a firearm to simulate automatic fire by muscle power. While previously the ATF had decided that bump-fire or slide-fire stocks were legal devices, they then reclassified them as illegal machineguns. All current owners were ordered to destroy them. If you did not do so, you faced up to 10 years in federal prison.

Naturally, a lot of people became somewhat ticked off that the ATF would seemingly arbitrarily change their ruling to make thousands of Americans potential felons overnight. As a result, many people filed lawsuits. One such lawsuit was filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance on behalf of plaintiff W. Clark Aposhian.

This Case in Particular

This lawsuit rests on a fairly straightforward presumption. The complaint states that since all legislative powers lie with Congress, the ATF, as a part of the executive branch, cannot reinterpret statutes to mean something else. Since the law regarding machineguns has not changed, bump stocks can’t be reclassified as machineguns.

There are another 30 odd pages of the original complaint, but that’s about the gist of things. Mr. Aposhian is a law-abiding citizen, the ATF told him that bump stocks were legal so he bought one. The filing states that the ATF lacks the authority to reclassify bump stocks, and thus the ATF has violated Mr. Aposhian’s constitutional rights, as well as exceeding its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch.

ATF Bump Stock Ruling Admission – Why Should We Care?

The million-dollar question. Why do we care? Because as of September 18th, the ATF has written a court brief that admits it exceeded its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch. The court filing states specifically that;

The statutory scheme does not, however, appear to provide the Attorney General the authority to engage in “gap-filling” interpretations of what qualifies as a “machinegun”. Congress has provided a detailed definition of the term “machinegun”…

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, on behalf of Mr. Aposhian, quickly filed a for a preliminary injunction. Essentially, as Mr. Aposhian has suffered “irreparable harm” from the deprivation of his lawfully-acquired bump stock, and the ATF (in the opinion of the Plaintiffs) clearly lacks the authority to cause such deprivation, the Final Rule on Bump Stocks should be struck down.

NCLA Brief

ATF’s Brief on the bump stock ruling is behind a login-wall in the PACER system. It can be found in the 10th Circuit Court’s filings, case number 19-4036, Aposhian v. Barr, et al.


ATF Admits It Lacked Authority to Issue Legislative Rule, NCLA Condemns the Agency’s Attempt to Ban Bump Stocks Anyway

This case is not about whether gun control is a good idea. Rather, Mr. Aposhian’s appeal raises key issues about how an agency may create such a ban—that is, whether agency regulations may contradict a statute passed by Congress. The appeal also challenges the notion that a mere interpretive rule can bind third parties, such as owners of bump stocks.

The bump stock rule made it a new federal crime to own a bump stock, even one purchased with ATF’s prior permission. ATF knows it didn’t have the authority to enact such a law. Instead of defending the rule, ATF now pretends the ban is just a recommendation for the public. NCLA is confident the court will see through ATF’s games and strike down this invalid rule.” Caleb Kruckenberg, Litigation Counsel

ATF is caught between a rock and a hard place. The agency lacks legal authority to issue a so-called legislative rule, but a mere interpretive rule is not legally allowed to bind any third parties outside the government. By ordering half a million bump stock owners to surrender their devices—or face prosecution—ATF has acted in a completely unconstitutional fashion. It is high time for the federal courts to put a stop to this regulatory nonsense.”
Mark Chenoweth, Executive Director and General Counsel

Congress could have passed bipartisan legislation making bump stocks illegal. Instead, ATF has tried to ban them via administrative action in the Bump Stock Final Rule. This Court has a constitutional obligation to strike down ATF’s attempted legislative rewrite. Otherwise, the Executive Branch will usurp Congress’ legislative function in other areas, and the Constitution’s careful limits on how laws are made will be undone.

SMART FAUCETS AND TOILETS USE ALEXA TO LISTEN TO YOUR CONVERSATIONS

That is if you have these ‘smart’ devices in your home.

(Mass Private I) It is hard to imagine a more intrusive home surveillance device than a faucet or toilet that listens to everyone’s conversations, but that is just what Delta Faucet and Kohler have done.

Delta Faucet’s “Voice IQ” takes advantage of where lots of people like to congregate and turns it into an Alexa eavesdropping center.

“Designed with the understanding that 20 percent of all WiFi-enabled homes are equipped with a connected home device, VoiceIQ Technology pairs with existing devices to dispense the exact amount of water needed, all with a simple voice command.”

SMART FAUCETS AND TOILETS USE ALEXA TO LISTEN TO YOUR CONVERSATIONS
Posted on September 17, 2019
TwitterFacebookEmailPinterestRedditShare
(Mass Private I) It is hard to imagine a more intrusive home surveillance device than a faucet or toilet that listens to everyone’s conversations, but that is just what Delta Faucet and Kohler have done.

Delta Faucet’s “Voice IQ” takes advantage of where lots of people like to congregate and turns it into an Alexa eavesdropping center.

“Designed with the understanding that 20 percent of all WiFi-enabled homes are equipped with a connected home device, VoiceIQ Technology pairs with existing devices to dispense the exact amount of water needed, all with a simple voice command.”

Delta lets Alexa decide how much water everyone gets.

“VoiceIQ Technology allows users to easily warm water and turn it on and off with voice activation, lending a hand in an active kitchen space. Consumers can command the faucet to dispense a metered amount of water in various quantities for precise measurement. Additionally, consumers can customize commands to make everyday tasks easier, like filling a coffee pot, a child’s sippy cup, or a dog bowl.”(To learn more about Voice IQ click here.)

What they are really saying is Amazon will now monitor your home and individual water usage.

How is that for Orwellian?

Install Alexa in your kitchen at you own peril:

I cannot tell you how often TV shows like “Buying Hawaii” or “Caribbean Life“ show prospective homeowners discussing how they want to entertain friends and family in their new kitchen.

So despite what Delta’s promotional video says, “the kitchen is not a great place for some hands-free help.”

I mean who in their right mind thinks that Alexa’s “hands free help” does not include moderators listening to your conversations while entertaining?

The Real Robot Threat.

In the fall of 1989, the peoples of Eastern Europe rose up against their Communist oppressors. The tyrants ruling these nations had no moral compunction about shooting their subjects down, but fortunately, they couldn’t count on their armed forces to do it. So the Iron Curtain fell, and two years later, even the mighty Soviet Union was brought down when the Red Army, sent into Moscow, refused the orders of those attempting to brutally reinstate Stalinist rule.

But imagine what might have occurred had those soldiers been not human beings but robots, lacking in any sympathy or humanity, ready, willing, and able to reliably massacre anyone the authorities chose to be their targets.

This is the threat posed by the emerging technology known as “autonomous weapons.”…………….

This danger is illustrated by a recent paper written by a committee of artificial-intelligence experts, which included both strong advocates for autonomous weaponry and some with more cautious attitudes. Reaching a compromise, the group proposed that:

States should consider adopting a 5-year, renewable moratorium on the development, deployment, transfer, and use of anti-personnel lethal autonomous weapon systems . . .

The moratorium would not apply to:

  • Anti-vehicle or anti-materiel weapons

  • Non-lethal anti-personnel weapons

  • Research on ways of improving autonomous weapon technology to reduce non-combatant harm in future anti-personnel lethal autonomous weapon systems

  • Weapons that find, track, and engage specific individuals whom a human has decided should be engaged within a limited predetermined period of time and geographic region.

One cannot help but note that most of the applications called out to be excluded from the moratorium are those directed against civilians, rather than opposing armed forces.

A Modest Reaction to HARPA

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Cooke, add the ‘/sarc’ tag

The Washington Post reports:

The White House is considering a controversial proposal to study whether mass shootings could be prevented by monitoring mentally ill people for small changes that might foretell violence.

Former NBC Chairman Bob Wright, a longtime friend and associate of President Trump’s, has briefed top officials, including the president, the vice president and Ivanka Trump, on a proposal to create a new research agency called HARPA to come up with out-of-the-box ways to tackle health problems, much like DARPA does for the military, say several people who have briefed.

. . .

Advisers to Wright quickly pulled together a three-page proposal — called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes – which calls for exploring whether technology like phones and smart watches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.

At first, I was horrified by this idea. But then I remembered that it’s “time for leadership” and that we have to “do something,” and all my objections disappeared upon the instant. Sure, there are obvious Fourth Amendment problems here. But, when you think about it, there’s no way that the Founding Fathers could have imagined cell phones or smart watches (where exactly does the Constitution mention them!?) — and, anyway, if you read the Fourth Amendment’s text you’ll notice that it uses the same “right of the people” language as does the Second Amendment, and that it should therefore be read to apply not to individuals but collectively.

The question we have to ask here is whether the freedom to use a high-bandwidth telephone is really more important than the lives of our kids. As the Trump administration has made clear, HARPA wouldn’t ban cell phones outright; it would just impose some common sense safety regulations on their use. What’s the problem? As one of the project’s architects has asked:

“To those who say this is a half-baked idea, I would say, ‘what’s your idea? What are you doing about this?’ ” said Geoffrey Ling, the lead scientific adviser on the HARPA proposal.

Exactly!

Google is always listening. Now it’s watching, too, with the Nest Hub Max

With the new Nest Hub Max, Google is adding an eye to its talking artificial intelligence. When I flash my palm at the device, a camera spots me and immediately pauses my music. Talk to the hand, robot!

When I walk by a Hub Max, the Google Assistant greets me on its screen, “Good afternoon, Geoffrey.”

This wizardry is made possible by facial recognition. The $230 Nest Hub Max offers a glimpse of how this controversial tech might be used in our homes – if people aren’t too turned off by the privacy implications.

Living with Google’s latest creation for a few days embodied the cognitive dissonance of being a gadget guy in 2019. You can appreciate the fun and wonder of new technology that you also know brings new concerns. I kept wondering: Do any of these camera functions make it worth bringing face surveillance inside my home? Despite some applaudable privacy protections from Google, my family never got to a yes………..

Ultimately, the Hub Max suffers from the same affliction as many new Google products: It’s frighteningly advanced technology that hasn’t identified the problem in our lives that needs solving. None of the camera functions the Hub Max offers today make it worth bringing surveillance inside my house.