#Apollo11: The People Who Built Our Way To The Moon.

What Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were able to do on this flight was because of a dream and a challenge.

Once upon a time, humans would never have thought of flying. Until the Wright Brothers took a gamble. That gamble led to the start of aviation and then it started people thinking of more impossible dreams …such as SPACE.

President John F. Kennedy challenged this nation and the world on May 25, 1961. His speech set our nation on its way to the moon. But it took a great number of resources and people to get us there.

“More than 400,000 people worked tirelessly to put astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into space on a hot Florida day for the most famous space exploration mission in history, Apollo 11. After touchdown on July 20, 1969, Armstrong would spend just slightly more than 151 minutes walking around on the Moon’s surface, with Aldrin clocking in at 40 minutes less. For these men, July 16 was nothing short of extraordinary — and extraordinarily hectic.”

A year after his May 25th speech, JFK said the following:

“”We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.””

And it was hard. The Race to the Moon was something that had never been tried. Something new had to be designed to make this work.

In order to get men to the moon, first you had to get a man into orbit. What kind of craft was needed? A company in St. Louis, Missouri called McDonnell had an idea.

“Even before the Soviet Union launched Sputnikin 1957, James S. McDonnell tasked 45 engineers in St. Louis to start working on the first manned spaceship. That foresight made St. Louis ground zero for America’s first human spaceflight program, Project Mercury, and McDonnell manufactured 20 space capsules to send the first Americans – and chimpanzees – into space, and much of the simulation and training America’s first astronauts underwent happened in St. Louis. Through the Mercury program, America sent its first man to space, Alan Shepard, and John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth in the Friendship 7 capsule, now on display at the Smithsonian alongside the Spirit of St. Louis.”

My family and I have a personal connection to this history. My grandfather, William R. Orthwein Jr.,  started with McDonnell in 1942 and stayed with the company until he retired in 1982.

How to get a man into space and then eventually to the moon? The McDonnell teams basically created something entirely new. The Mercury space capsule.

And it was indeed a team effort. In all the years my grandfather talked about his time at McDonnell Douglas, he always talked about the company’s accomplishments, never about himself. There was no “I” in team with him, nor with the many others at McDonnell that I’ve been fortunate to know. Instead all of them were as vested as everyone else in getting us into space and putting a man on the moon.

We owe our thanks to the Apollo 11 crew and to all the rocket ship builders. What they ALL did was a glorious triumph of human spirit and ingenuity that is unmatched to this day.

Con Edison: Relay system failure caused Manhattan blackout

These are computerized systems. And it failed? So why did it fail?

NEW YORK (AP) –
A relay protection system that should have isolated a faulty distribution cable but didn’t led to the loss of power that darkened Manhattan for several hours.

A preliminary review of Saturday’s blackout shows that the relay system at a West 65th Street substation should have kept the problem from spreading, Con Edison said. Instead, the electrical fault was isolated at a transmission substation at West 49th Street.

 

Peter Thiel says FBI, CIA should probe Google

Peter Thiel, billionaire investor and Facebook board member, on Sunday night said that Google should be federally investigated for allegedly aiding the Chinese military.

Why it matters: Thiel is the tech industry’s highest-profile Trump supporter, and one of the most powerful players in Silicon Valley.

Thiel spoke at the National Conservatism Conference, a new event that bills itself as being focused on Trump-era nationalism, with part of his speech focusing on “three questions that should be asked” of Google:

“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?

Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?

Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”

He also added that those questions “need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA, and I’m not sure quite how to put this, I would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

Thiel did not specifically mention Facebook, but it likely will be mentioned by later speakers at the conference, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has agitated against big tech on the air, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who is seeking to strip major web platforms of certain legal protections.

Con Ed can’t explain what caused the Manhattan blackout

dry run?

Con Edison has yet to figure out why a large swath of Manhattan’s West Side was plunged into darkness by the blackout that lasted more than five hours on Saturday night.

In a statement released late Sunday morning, the power company said it “will be conducting a diligent and vigorous investigation to determine the root cause of the incident.”

“Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public,” the company said.

Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz blamed the blackout on a “disruption on the transmission side” of the company’s power grid.

Con Ed’s overhead transmission lines carry 438,000 volts of electricity to substations where the power is lowered to about 13,000 volts before being distributed to homes and businesses, he said.

Officials initially suspected a manhole fire that affected an underground transformer, but Quiroz said there’s “no evidence of a fire at this point.”

How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State

What about the one here?

An American organization founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China’s authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens, The Intercept can reveal.

The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.

Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people.

Amazon home robot prototype is reportedly waist-high and can be summoned by voice

So will it be also programmed to silently roll down the halls so it can listen in at your or your kid’s bedroom doors at night and load it all on Amazon’s cloud servers too?

Amazon is still working on a robot that will roam around homes, according to Bloomberg.

A prototype of the robot, codenamed “Vesta,” is about “waist-high,” can be controlled by voice and is capable of moving around on its own using built-in cameras, according to the report.

A similar report last April revealed that Amazon is interested in creating home robots that might be able to provide access to the company’s Amazon Alexa voice assistant no matter where you are. Bloomberg said the robot isn’t ready to launch this year as originally planned.

An Amazon representative declined to comment.

Amazon has continued to invest in robotics and in June introduced new warehouse robots including the Pegasus and Xanthus.

Man arrested for alleged domestic violence after Alexa calls the cops

Okay, good outcome to a violent situation.
But it was because the device “interpreted” a question?
So what happens when the thing might be programmed to ‘interpret’ something in the future as perhaps not “politically correct” or illegal?
It’s already been acknowledged that this records everything it hears and keeps it on an Amazon server (where of course no unscrupulous person would ever hoover anything of interest for further use).
What then?

A New Mexico man was taken into custody after an Amazon Echo device called the police during an alleged domestic violence incident.

Police say 28-year-old Eduardo Barros got into a physical altercation with his unidentified girlfriend following an argument at a Tijeras residence just outside of Albuquerque on July 2.

Barros, who is also accused of threatening to kill the women while in possession of a firearm, allegedly asked her if she had contacted law enforcement.

“Did you call the sheriffs?” Barros reportedly questioned.

An Amazon virtual assistant plugged into the home’s landline interpreted the question as a command to call police, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Felicia Romero told the New York Post.

An arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Post indicates that 911 contacted the female moments later, prompting Barros to throw her to the floor after seeing emergency services on her phone’s caller ID.

Google admits listening to some smart speaker recordings

Google has admitted it gives workers access to some audio recordings from its Google Home smart speakers.

The technology giant said it uses language experts around the world to study a small number of audio “snippets” from users.

Google said this work helps with developing voice recognition and other technology in its Google Assistant artificial intelligence system, which is used in its Google Home smart speakers and Android smartphones.

The assistant understands and responds to voice commands given to it, answering queries about the news and weather as well as being able to control other internet-connected devices around the home.

In a statement, the company said a small number of anonymous recordings were transcribed by its experts, and revealed that an investigation had been launched after some Dutch audio data had been leaked.

“We partner with language experts around the world to improve speech technology by transcribing a small set of queries – this work is critical to developing technology that powers products like the Google Assistant,” Google said.

“Language experts only review around 0.2% of all audio snippets, and these snippets are not associated with user accounts as part of the review process.

“We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data.

“Our Security and Privacy Response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action.

“We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”

The Sinister, Unconstitutional Effort to Ban Secure Encryption Is Back

In a bizarre flashback to the 1990s, domestic restrictions on the use of encryption are being proposed once again.

Politico has reported that a National Security Council committee discussed last week whether to ban encryption without a mandatory backdoor for government access to plaintext. “Senior officials debated whether to ask Congress to effectively outlaw end-to-end encryption, which scrambles data so that only its sender and recipient can read it,” the article said.

The best way to read this report is that it represents the latest extrusion of the permanent cadre of law enforcement and national security bureaucrats who have never abandoned their efforts, underway for over 20 years, to allow U.S. government agencies to break or bypass encryption embedded in hardware and software products.

The last time this extra-constitutional campaign against encryption kicked off was during the George W. Bush administration, in mid-2008, when FBI officials briefed Senate Intelligence committee members on what they called the “Going Dark” problem. This campaign continued without apparent interruption during the Barack Obama administration, when the FBI asked all field offices in 2009 for anecdotal information about cases in which  “investigations have been negatively impacted” by encryption. By 2012, as I disclosed in an article at the time, the FBI had drafted a proposed law to force tech companies to build in backdoors and was asking the companies not to oppose it. That legislation was never publicly introduced.

Details on the latest discussions are nonexistent, as Politico delicately acknowledged (they were “unable to determine what participating agency leaders said during the meeting”). But anti-crypto legislation has been introduced in the past.

In 1997, after lobbying by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, one House of Representatives committee actually voted for mandatory backdoors. The committee’s rewritten version of the bill, H.R. 695, said: “After January 31, 2000, it shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture for distribution, distribute, or import encryption products intended for sale or use in the United States, unless that product includes features or functions that provide an immediate access to plaintext capability” in response to a court order. The plaintext must be able to be acquired, the legislation said, “without the knowledge or cooperation of the person being investigated.”

Industry efforts killed this version, and it was not taken up by the full House of Representatives. But let’s review for emphasis. Elected members of Congress actually wanted to imprison American citizens (and permanently take away related liberties like the right to own firearms, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit recently reminded us) for allowing other Americans to communicate privately. A lawyer, working as legislative counsel, actually agreed to undertake the task of drafting language. And a committee of the U.S. Congress actually voted for it.

In a constitutional republic, this is properly seen as risible. Police may be granted the authority, through legal processes, and within reasonable limits, to search our possessions. But they are not guaranteed success. We are not required to speak only in languages that senior FBI officials prefer. We are not required to talk only in locations where police can readily eavesdrop. As John Gilmore, the libertarian co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, pointed out during the 1990s crypto wars, the patriots fighting the American Revolution were able to enjoy perfect privacy by rowing to the middle of Boston Harbor. (Encryption wasn’t unknown to those revolutionaries either.)

Based on the Politico report, last week’s meeting is the continuation of efforts by federal agencies that now qualify as multi-generational. It can be traced back to when the National Security Agency convinced IBM to use a shorter, easier-to-crack key length for the DES encryption algorithm in the 1970s, and continues through the National Security Agency’s efforts, disclosed by Edward Snowden, to weaken encryption algorithms today. This is what detractors might call the “deep state,” the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections, which outlasts individual politicians and department heads.

In other words, this is no Trump administration-specific plan. But the danger is that it could become one.

If there’s a terrorist attack with mass casualties, and encryption is reported to have been involved, look for a renewed push for domestic restrictions on encryption without backdoors. Technology companies will complain, of course, but in a political environment where the executive branch has turned against Silicon Valley because of its increasing bias against conservatives—a White House summit on that topic is planned for July 11—would anyone expect the president to listen?

 

To Hell With the Naysayers—Hawley Is Right About Big Tech

David French and his fellow peacetime conservatives are at it again, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth as U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) takes a run at curtailing the immense power of Big Tech.

As French channels Neville Chamberlain, the fact is that unless the tech companies are forcefully confronted, now, in the immediate, our self-governing republic will be over in less than a generation and we will be ruled by a tech oligarchy.

French and his types sputter that this is outrageous, that government shouldn’t be involved in curtailing the harmful behavior of private companies. First, we would do well to remember that roughly 20 years ago, Washington, D.C. created this problem by carving out the Section 230 exemption for neutral platforms online. Only a fool would think that the tech companies are neutral platforms today. They have, by their own distinct decisions, become publishers and telecommunications companies: if you are making publishing decisions, if you are deploying broadband, if you are creating and streaming live content, you are a publisher or a telecommunications company, and sometimes both.

As these companies have changed of their own volition, Washington, D.C. has continued to live under the happy fiction that they are still nothing more than neutral platforms. What do policymakers not understand? Why are they so blind? Perhaps re-election campaign money, perhaps organizations like National Review being bought off by tech company donations—who can really say? There are all sorts of reasons why we’re in defiance of common sense, but it doesn’t remove the fact that we are.

Ask yourselves why these companies get to play by one set of rules while publishers and telecommunications companies are forced to play by others? They are in fact the same, though now the tech companies dwarf many of their fellow publishers and telecommunications companies yet still get to play by rules that favor them. This is in defiance of free-market principles: government isn’t supposed to pick winners and losers. It is supposed to create a fair playing field for everyone to compete according to the same rules and regulations so that the consumer benefits. Instead, we see it creating rigged games that allow monopolies to develop.

But this is also about what the internet actually is and who gets to decide what speech or content resides on the internet. Would Google, Facebook, and Amazon exist if there were no internet? Of course not—and I hesitate even to broach the question because it’s an absurd one. They didn’t create the internet; they are in effect, squatters having built on a foundation they did not build and do not own.

In many ways, you could argue no one really owns the internet. It is a public square, a public arena, much like the Agora and Forum of ancient times, only in digital form. So why do squatters on property not their own get to dictate anything on any level on that property? These companies were given a great deal of freedom to grow, to innovate products, and—while the Justice Department’s antitrust division pulled a Rip Van Winkle—become monopolies. To put it mildly, mistakes were made. Those mistakes need to be corrected.

If we do not correct our mistakes, our great rights of speech and assembly, offline and online, are in danger. Someone is going to be the final defender of our natural rights as codified in the Constitution. Do we want un-elected global monopolistic corporations—entities that may or may not consider themselves American companies, ruling you by algorithms? Do we want them limiting the flow of information in the online public arena, manipulating it to benefit themselves and their view of the world? Or do we want duly elected leaders of a constitutional republic defending our rights?

 

Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020 on Hidden Cam

video

“This is the third tech insider who has bravely stepped forward to expose the secrets of Silicon Valley.  These new documents, supported by undercover video, raise questions of Google’s neutrality and the role they see themselves fulfilling in the 2020 elections.”

I missed downloading this from Veritas’ account on YouTube (owned by Google) before they deleted it. I’ve downloaded the vid from Vimeo and I’m going to upload it on my YouTube account and see how long it lasts there.

Walmart adds AI-powered cameras to more than 1,000 stores to reduce checkout theft, report says

What? You didn’t know that your every move at a Wal-Mart store, including the parking lot,  is on live video and scrutinized in exacting detail?

Walmart is working to reduce checkout theft in more than 1,000 U.S. stores with the help of cameras powered by artificial intelligence

The retailer began investing in the surveillance program, dubbed Missed Scan Detection, several years ago in an effort to combat shrinkage — loss due to several causes including theft, scanning errors, waste and fraud, a Walmart spokeswoman told Business Insider

“Walmart is making a true investment to ensure the safety of our customers and associates,” Walmart spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins told the business site. “Over the last three years, the company has invested over half a billion dollars in an effort to prevent, reduce and deter crime in our stores and parking lots.”

“We are continuously investing in people, programs and technology to keep our stores and communities safe,” she added.

The AI-powered cameras were rolled out to more than 1,000 stores about two years ago and the retail giant has seen positive results since then, according to Jenkins, who said shrinkage has reduced in stores where the cameras have been added.

Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships

I am unable to confirm, or deny, that Nitro Zeus is still in operation.
, and I can neither confirm, nor deny that Ich Bin had a very small part in it.

WASHINGTON — On Thursday evening, U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships, according to two former intelligence officials.

The group, which has ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, has over the past several years digitally tracked and targeted military and civilian ships passing through the economically important Strait of Hormuz, through which pass 17.4 million barrels of oil per day. Those capabilities, which have advanced over time, enabled attacks on vessels in the region for several years.

Though sources declined to provide any further details of the retaliatory cyber operation, the response highlights how the Persian Gulf has become a staging ground for escalating digital — as well as conventional — conflict, with both the United States and Iran trying to get the upper hand with cyber capabilities.

The retaliatory cyber response follows several weeks of mounting tension in the region, which appeared set to boil over after last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf. U.S. officials blamed Iran for the attacks and threatened to strike back if U.S. interests in the region were harmed. Then, on Thursday, Iranians shot down a $240 million U.S. military drone.

In response, President Trump initially authorized — but then decided against — targeted military strikes on Thursday night. He said in a series of tweets Friday morning that he pulled back before any missiles were launched when he learned 150 Iranians might die.

Meanwhile, multiple private U.S. cyber intelligence firms have reported attempts by Iranian hackers in recent weeks to infiltrate American organizations. U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal they fear heightened escalations not only in physical space but in cyberspace as well.

The National Security Council declined to comment on the Iranian cyber group or the U.S. Cyber Command response. The National Security Agency, U.S. Central Command and the Navy all directed Yahoo News to U.S. Cyber Command for comment. Cyber Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Heather Babb, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Yahoo News that “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.”

Iran’s cyber capabilities are not the most sophisticated, at least compared to the United States’, but they are getting better. Tehran’s ability to gather information and unleash offensive operations have developed significantly in the last decade or so, particularly after Iranian centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant were struck by a malicious computer worm created by U.S. and Israeli intelligence and first revealed in 2010.

“After the Stuxnet event, Iran really cranked up its capability,” said Gary Brown, who served as the first senior legal counsel for U.S. Cyber Command and is currently a professor on cyber law at the National Defense University. Brown cited Iran’s cyberattacks on global financial institutions, Saudi Aramco and the Sands Casino. While unfamiliar with current activities, Brown told Yahoo News that Cyber Command has long been interested in Iranian cyber capabilities and “undoubtedly they’re continuing to track them.”

Legislation would outlaw the distribution of blueprints for 3D printed firearms

“Can’t stop the signal…”

Sens. Edward J. Markey (Demoncrap-Mass.) and Robert Menendez (Demoncrap-N.J.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (Demoncrap-FL) introduced legislation last week that would make it illegal to distribute online blueprints and instructions that detail how to automatically program a 3D printer to produce or manufacture a firearm.

The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act is in response to a lawsuit the Trump administration settled in 2018 with gun proponents. The administration agreed to permit the online posting of schematics for the 3D printing of firearms.

3D printed firearms are made out of plastic. This makes them untraceable because they do not have serial numbers. It also means they can bypass metal detectors at security checkpoints.

When instructions for 3D printing firearms and firearm parts are available online, they can easily be accessed by those intending to commit gun crimes, felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people, Markey’s office said.

The bill was cosponsored by more than 50 senators and representatives and is supported by the Violence Policy Center, the States United to Prevent Violence, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Orange Ribbons for Jaime.

Last year, Congress members urged tech companies to block 3D gun blueprint distribution.

Brain chipping for good — brain chipping for bad.

More ‘good intention’ pavers.

Brain chipping to enhance mental acumen isn’t just Big Tech. It’s Big Government, Big Medical, Big Corporate, Big Military, Big Science. National Security, even.

First come the tiny, barely intrusive and inarguably beneficial electrical implants for epileptics — to those who already have devices inside their heads that track seizures. Then comes the fine-tuning of devices to fit and aide those with tragic brain injuries, with loss of the use of limbs and loss of physical limbs — with the motor skills needed for prosthetics, for instance.

Then come the medical patients with Alzheimer’s, with muscular dystrophy, with schizophrenia, with debilitating effects from sudden strokes and so forth.

And then?

Then come the pushing of boundaries, the ethical dilemmas.

Then come the Clockwork Orange considerations.

After all, if sociopathic behaviors that endanger all of society can be wiped clear with a simple chip to the mind, what’s the harm? Where’s the foul?

Then come the questions of whether it’s fair for a rape victim to suffer the memory. Or for a child traumatized by abuse to deal with the ongoing trauma. Or for a depressed person to have to deal with depression — a lonely person to have to deal with loneliness — a panicky person to have to deal with panic.

Zap, it’s gone.

Google Parses Your Gmail for Financial Transactions

If you don’t know how to manage your online accounts, learn.

Recently I came across this story by Todd Haselton that describes how the author located an obscure “purchases” page in his Google account settings and there found a methodical list of his online purchasing history, from third-party outside vendors, going back to 2012.

The upshot of the story was that:

Google saves years of information on purchases you’ve made, even outside Google, and pulls this information from Gmail. It’s complicated to delete this private information, and options to turn it off are hidden in privacy settings. Google says it doesn’t use this information to sell you ads.

Naturally, I flagged this story for the next edition of our #AxisOfEasy newsletter. Haselton reports that it isn’t easy to locate and delete this information, nor is there a straight-forward path to find it in your privacy settings to disable this behaviour.

This can’t be true (can it?)

The more I thought about this the more I thought “this can’t be true”. I apologize for doubting Haselton, but I thought he had to have it wrong, that maybe he had a stored credit card in his browser that he had forgotten or something, because the ramifications if true, are dire.

The Unstoppable 3D Gun Revolution Continues to Heat Up

Editors Note: AmmoLand News readers have reported that some CAD files from sites linked below have virus and malware hidden in them. As with all unknown files on the world wild web be sure your security and virus protection is up to date & hardened before downloading or visiting. Please re-read our series on internet security and virus protection.

The group “Deterrence Dispensed” has started distributing CAD files allowing people to 3D print firearms. Deterrence Dispensed is unlike that of Defense Distributed. Defense Distributed is a registered non-profit that was started by Cody Wilson. Their leaders are well known.

Deterrence Dispensed is a decentralized group. The group doesn’t have a real leadership structure, they do not have a physical address, and their real names are not known. It would be tough for states like New Jersey to sue Deterrence Dispensed into silence.

Much like Deterrence Dispensed is decentralized, they use a decentralized method of sharing files called peer to peer (P2P) networks. P2P networks use the user’s computers to form a neural-like network to disseminate files. Since there is not a central server, there is nothing to shut down. If one node is shut down multiple other nodes pop up.

P2P networks came to fame in the late nineties to share pirated music files. Since that time, it has gone mainstream and is used by multiple companies to distribute data. The most popular P2P format are Torrents.

Members of Deterrence Dispensed communicate using apps such as Signal. Signal allows a user to communicate with other users using an encrypted channel. The encryption hides the messages from prying eyes such as an overreaching government.

The group also uses Discord servers to communicate. Discord is a popular communication (free text and chat tool) method used by gamers. Although primarily used by gaming enthusiast, Discord has been used by a myriad of people, including YouTube stars, to communicate with their fan base.

Twitter was another place where these crypto-anarchists communicated until recently. Last month, at the behest of New Jersey, Twitter banned the most famous member and DeFacto spokesman for Deterrence Dispensed.

Known as only IvanTheTroll, the member has been the target of the Garden State. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez put immense pressure on Twitter to ban Ivan because he was sharing his CAD gun files which are illegal to download in New Jersey. The social media giant banned the prominent free speech advocate without warning.

Although the pressure of the Democratic Senator did get Ivan kicked off Twitter, Menendez has not been able to silence Ivan or Deterrence Dispensed. IvanTheTroll still has an active Bitchute channel where he shows off his creations on video and he distributes his files through sites like Mega.

Bitchute is a YouTube alternative with more of a libertarian philosophy. The site has become a haven for free speech advocates on the Web. Mega is the site of the New Zealand based crypto-anarchist known as Kim Dotcom. The German-Finnish entrepreneur originally founded MegaUpload before the US Government successfully shut it down over piracy concerns.

Deterrence Dispensed is not the only decentralized group disseminating firearm cad files. FOSSCAD is another group that is sharing their work via P2P networks. They offer a 1.2G torrent on their site with all their CAD designs for 3D guns.

In addition to using P2P networks, these groups also share their files on CAD sharing sites such as Grabcad and Spee<h. Users can find files shared on the Defense Distributed Reddit page.

Google Announces a Security Flaw That Could Let an Attacker Access Your Device
Google is replacing some versions of its Titan Security Key because of a known issue with Bluetooth pairing that could leave your device and account vulnerable.

Advisory: Security Issue with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Titan Security Keys

We’ve become aware of an issue that affects the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) version of the Titan Security Key available in the U.S. and are providing users with the immediate steps they need to take to protect themselves and to receive a free replacement key. This bug affects Bluetooth pairing only, so non-Bluetooth security keys are not affected. Current users of Bluetooth Titan Security Keys should continue to use their existing keys while waiting for a replacement, since security keys provide the strongest protection against phishing.

What is the security issue?

Due to a misconfiguration in the Titan Security Keys’ Bluetooth pairing protocols, it is possible for an attacker who is physically close to you at the moment you use your security key — within approximately 30 feet — to (a) communicate with your security key, or (b) communicate with the device to which your key is paired. In order for the misconfiguration to be exploited, an attacker would have to align a series of events in close coordination:

  • When you’re trying to sign into an account on your device, you are normally asked to press the button on your BLE security key to activate it. An attacker in close physical proximity at that moment in time can potentially connect their own device to your affected security key before your own device connects. In this set of circumstances, the attacker could sign into your account using their own device if the attacker somehow already obtained your username and password and could time these events exactly.
  • Before you can use your security key, it must be paired to your device. Once paired, an attacker in close physical proximity to you could use their device to masquerade as your affected security key and connect to your device at the moment you are asked to press the button on your key. After that, they could attempt to change their device to appear as a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse and potentially take actions on your device.

This security issue does not affect the primary purpose of security keys, which is to protect you against phishing by a remote attacker. Security keys remain the strongest available protection against phishing; it is still safer to use a key that has this issue, rather than turning off security key-based two-step verification (2SV) on your Google Account or downgrading to less phishing-resistant methods (e.g. SMS codes or prompts sent to your device). This local proximity Bluetooth issue does not affect USB or NFC security keys.

Am I affected?

This issue affects the BLE version of Titan Security Keys. To determine if your key is affected, check the back of the key. If it has a “T1” or “T2” on the back of the key, your key is affected by the issue and is eligible for free replacement.

Steps to protect yourself

If you want to minimize the remaining risk until you receive your replacement keys, you can perform the following additional steps:

iOS devices:

On devices running iOS version 12.2 or earlier, we recommend using your affected security key in a private place where a potential attacker is not within close physical proximity (approximately 30 feet). After you’ve used your key to sign into your Google Account on your device, immediately unpair it. You can use your key in this manner again while waiting for your replacement, until you update to iOS 12.3.

Once you update to iOS 12.3, your affected security key will no longer work. You will not be able to use your affected key to sign into your Google Account, or any other account protected by the key, and you will need to order a replacement key. If you are already signed into your Google Account on your iOS device, do not sign out because you won’t be able to sign in again until you get a new key. If you are locked out of your Google Account on your iOS device before your replacement key arrives, see these instructionsfor getting back into your account. Note that you can continue to sign into your Google Account on non-iOS devices.

On Android and other devices:

We recommend using your affected security key in a private place where a potential attacker is not within close physical proximity (approximately 30 feet). After you’ve used your affected security key to sign into your Google Account, immediately unpair it. Android devices updated with the upcoming June 2019 Security Patch Level (SPL) and beyond will automatically unpair affected Bluetooth devices, so you won’t need to unpair manually. You can also continue to use your USB or NFC security keys, which are supported on Android and not affected by this issue.

How to get a replacement key

We recommend that everyone with an affected BLE Titan Security Key get a free replacement by visiting google.com/replacemykey.

Is it still safe to use my affected BLE Titan Security Key?

It is much safer to use the affected key instead of no key at all. Security keys are the strongest protection against phishing currently available

That mental health app might share your data without telling you.
You don’t have to be a user of Facebook’s or Google’s services for them to have enough breadcrumbs to ID you.

By intercepting the data transmissions, they discovered that 92 percent of the 36 apps shared the data with at least one third party — mostly Facebook- and Google-run services that help with marketing, advertising, or data analytics. (Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.) But about half of those apps didn’t disclose that third-party data sharing, for a few different reasons: nine apps didn’t have a privacy policy at all; five apps did but didn’t say the data would be shared this way; and three apps actively said that this kind of data sharing wouldn’t happen. Those last three are the ones that stood out to Steven Chan, a physician at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, who has collaborated with Torous in the past but wasn’t involved in the new study. “They’re basically lying,” he says of the apps.

The researchers don’t know what these third-party sites were doing with this user data. “We live in an age where, with enough breadcrumbs, it’s possible to reidentify people,” Torous says. It’s also possible the breadcrumbs just sit there, he says — but for now, they just don’t know. “What happens to this digital data is kind of a mystery.”

 

Nancy Pelosi Declares a ‘New Era’ of Internet Regulation; E.U. Threatens Same
Nancy Pelosi wants to gut Section 230

Little wanna-be tyrants…some with dementia.

We’ve all been watching this develop for years now: The internet is being slow-choked, not by rapacious ISPs forcing users to pay for “fast lanes,” but by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who want to have a bigger role in what we’re allowed to do and say online. To be sure, lawmakers are being greatly aided in their efforts by major tech players such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s Tim Cook, who are explicitly calling for regulation to maintain current market positions in a sector defined by creative destruction (all hail MySpace and Blackberry!).

In an interview with Recode‘s Kara Swisher, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) pronounced that in the tech sector, the “era of self-regulation” is over when it comes to privacy and speech rules. Sounding a lot like conservative Republicans such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, she zeroes in especially on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as the thing that needs to be torched.

As the title of a new book puts it, Section 230 comprises “the twenty-six words that created the internet.” Author Jeff Kosseff explains that by immunizing websites, platforms, and service providers from “lawsuits over materials that their users upload,” Section 230 “fundamentally changed American life.” Indeed, the internet as we know it is based on both “content created not only by large companies, but by users,” writes Kosseff, who observes that of the top 10 most-trafficked websites in the United States in 2018, only Netflix “mostly provides its own content.” All the rest—Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, et al.—either rely heavily on user-generated content (including potentially actionable reviews and comments about everything under the sun) or exist to guide users to such content (Google, Yahoo).

Pelosi is done with all that, telling Swisher that the freedom of expression empowered by Section 230 is “a gift” and a “privilege” that can be rescinded if major tech companies don’t move in the direction she and other politicians want.

Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa

Only if you have one of these spybots in your house.

Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that someone might be listening.

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

The Alexa voice review process, described by seven people who have worked on the program, highlights the often-overlooked human role in training software algorithms. In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching.

The team comprises a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work in outposts from Boston to Costa Rica, India and Romania, according to the people, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program. They work nine hours a day, with each reviewer parsing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift, according to two workers based at Amazon’s Bucharest office, which takes up the top three floors of the Globalworth building in the Romanian capital’s up-and-coming Pipera district. The modern facility stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure and bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.

 

 

The EU releases guidelines to encourage ethical AI development.

Real AI has the capability to write its own code.
Q: So what could keep it from overwriting such ‘ethical’ programming?
A: Nothing.

Prepare to bow to your cybernetic overlords!

Human agency and oversight: AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy.

Robustness and safety: Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems.

Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.

Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured.

Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility.

Societal and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility.

Accountability: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes.

Brain zaps boost memory in people over 60.

Maybe a cure for CRS?

NEW YORK (AP) — Zapping the brains of people over 60 with a mild electrical current improved a form of memory enough that they performed like people in their 20s, a new study found.

Someday, people might visit clinics to boost that ability, which declines both in normal aging and in dementias like Alzheimer’s disease, said researcher Robert Reinhart of Boston University.

The treatment is aimed at “working memory,” the ability to hold information in mind for a matter of seconds as you perform a task, such as doing math in your head. Sometimes called the workbench or scratchpad of the mind, it’s crucial for things like taking medications, paying bills, buying groceries or planning, Reinhart said.

“It’s where your consciousness lives … where you’re working on information,” he said.

The new study is not the first to show that stimulating the brain can boost working memory. But Reinhart, who reported the work Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, said it’s notable for showing success in older people and because the memory boost persisted for nearly an hour minimum after the brain stimulation ended.

One scientist who has previously reported boosting working memory with electrical stimulation noted that the decline in this ability with normal aging is not huge. But “they removed the effects of age from these people,” said Dr. Barry Gordon, a professor of neurology and cognitive science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“It’s a superb first step” toward demonstrating a way to improve mental performance, said Gordon, who was not involved in the new study.

Reinhart agreed that more research is needed before it can be formally tested as a treatment.