Friday, January 26, 2018

OpenStack 01/26/2018 (p.m.)

  • Tags: net-neutrality, FCC-rulemaking, comments, fraud, criminal-investigation

    • An analysis of public comments on the FCC's plan to repeal net neutrality rules found that 2 million of them were filed using stolen identities. That's according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

      "Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process—including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law," Schneiderman said in an announcement today. "Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation."

    • Some comments were submitted under the names of dead people.

      "My LATE husband's name was fraudulently used after a valiant battle with cancer," one person told the AG's office. "This unlawful act adds to my pain that someone would violate his good name."

      Schneiderman set up a website where people can search the FCC comments for their names to determine if they've been impersonated. So far, "over 5,000 people have filed reports with the Attorney General's office regarding identities used to submit fake comments," the AG's announcement said.

    • While the 5,000 reports provide anecdotal evidence, the AG's office performed an analysis of the 23 million public comments in order to figure out how many were submitted under falsely assumed identities.

      Many comments for and against net neutrality rules are identical because advocacy groups urged people to sign form letters, so the text of a comment alone isn't enough to determine if it was submitted by a real person.

      The AG's office thus examined comment text along with other factors, such as whether names matched lists of stolen identities from known data breaches. Schneiderman's office also told Ars that it looked into whether or not the submission of comments was in alphabetical order, one after another, in short time periods. In general, analysis of formatting and metadata played a role in the analysis.

      The number of comments believed to be fake has grown as the A.G.'s investigation continues, and it isn't done yet. Schneiderman's office is still analyzing the public comments. We asked Schneiderman's office how many of the fake comments supported net neutrality rules, and how many opposed them, but were told that the information was not available.

      While fake comments used names and addresses of people from across the nation, more than "100,000 comments per state" came "from New York, Florida, Texas, and California," Schneiderman's announcement said.

  • Tags: net-neutrality, FCC-rulemaking, comments, fraud, GAO, investigations

    • The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate the use of impersonation in public comments on the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality repeal.

      Congressional Democrats requested the investigation last month, and the GAO has granted the request.

      While the investigation request was spurred by widespread fraud in the FCC's net neutrality repeal docket, Democrats asked the GAO to also "examine whether this shady practice extends to other agency rulemaking processes." The GAO will do just that, having told Democrats in a letter that it will "review the extent and pervasiveness of fraud and the misuse of American identities during federal rulemaking processes."

    • The GAO provides independent, nonpartisan audits and investigations for Congress.

      The GAO previously agreed to investigate DDoS attacks that allegedly targeted the FCC comment system, also in response to a request by Democratic lawmakers. The Democrats charged that Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC did not provide enough evidence that the attacks actually happened, and they asked the GAO to find out what evidence the FCC used to make its determination. Democrats also asked the GAO to examine whether the FCC is prepared to prevent future attacks.

      The DDoS investigation should happen sooner than the new one on comment fraud because the GAO accepted that request in October.

    • The FCC's net neutrality repeal received more than 22 million comments, but millions were apparently submitted by bots and falsely attributed to real Americans (including some dead ones) who didn't actually submit comments. Various analyses confirmed the widespread spam and fraud; one analysis found that 98.5 percent of unique comments opposed the repeal plan.
    • The FCC's comment system makes no attempt to verify submitters' identities, and allows bulk uploads so that groups collecting signatures for letters and petitions can get them on the docket easily. It was like that even before Pai took over as chair, but the fraud became far more pervasive in the proceeding that led to the repeal of net neutrality rules. Pai's FCC did not remove any fraudulent comments from the record.

      Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called for a delay in the net neutrality repeal vote because of the fraud, but the Republican majority pushed the vote through as scheduled last month.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating the comment fraud and says the FCC has stonewalled the investigation by refusing to provide evidence. Schneiderman is also leading a lawsuit to reverse the FCC's net neutrality repeal, and the comment fraud could play a role in the case.

      "We understand that the FCC's rulemaking process requires it to address all comments it receives, regardless of who submits them," Congressional Democrats said in their letter requesting a GAO investigation. "However, we do not believe any outside parties should be permitted to generate any comments to any federal governmental entity using information it knows to be false, such as the identities of those submitting the comments."


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

OpenStack 01/25/2018 (a.m.)

  • Tags: EU, European Commission, digital-privacy, rules

    • The European Commission, on January 24, published its guidance aimed to facilitate a direct and smooth application of the European Union’s new data protection rules across the EU as of 25 May. The Commission also launches a new online tool dedicated to SMEs.
    • With just over 100 days left before the application of the new law, the guidance outlines what the European Commission, national data protection authorities and national administrations, according to the Commission, should still do to bring the preparation to a successful completion.

      The Commission notes that while the new regulation provides for a single set of rules directly applicable in all Member States, it will still require significant adjustments in certain aspects, like amending existing laws by EU governments or setting up the European Data Protection Board by data protection authorities. The Commission states that the guidance recalls the main innovations, opportunities opened up by the new rules, takes stock of the preparatory work already undertaken and outlines the work still ahead of the European Commission, national data protection authorities and national administrations.

      Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: Our digital future can only be built on trust. Everyone’s privacy has to be protected. Strengthened EU data protection rules will become a reality on 25 May. It is a major step forward and we are committed to making it a success for everyone.”

      Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added:” In today’s world, the way we handle data will determine to a large extent our economic future and personal safety. We need modern rules to respond to new risks, so we call on EU governments, authorities and businesses to use the remaining time efficiently and fulfil their roles in the preparations for the big day.”

      • The guidance recalls the main elements of the new data protection rules:

        • One set of rules across the continent, guaranteeing legal certainty for businesses and the same data protection level across the EU for citizens.
        • Same rules apply to all companies offering services in the EU, even if these companies are based outside the EU.
        • Stronger and new rights for citizens: the right to information, access and the right to be forgotten are strengthened. A new right to data portability allows citizens to move their data from one company to the other. This will give companies new business opportunities.
        • Stronger protection against data breaches: a company experiencing a data breach, which put individuals at risk, has to notify the data protection authority within 72 hours.
        • Rules with teeth and deterrent fines: all data protection authorities will have the power to impose fines for up to EUR 20 million or, in the case of a company, 4% of the worldwide annual turnover.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

OpenStack 01/21/2018 (p.m.)

  • Tags: surveillance state, NSA, voice-surveillance

    • These and other classified documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA has developed technology not just to record and transcribe private conversations but to automatically identify the speakers.

      Americans most regularly encounter this technology, known as speaker recognition, or speaker identification, when they wake up Amazon’s Alexa or call their bank. But a decade before voice commands like “Hello Siri” and “OK Google” became common household phrases, the NSA was using speaker recognition to monitor terrorists, politicians, drug lords, spies, and even agency employees.

      The technology works by analyzing the physical and behavioral features that make each person’s voice distinctive, such as the pitch, shape of the mouth, and length of the larynx. An algorithm then creates a dynamic computer model of the individual’s vocal characteristics. This is what’s popularly referred to as a “voiceprint.” The entire process — capturing a few spoken words, turning those words into a voiceprint, and comparing that representation to other “voiceprints” already stored in the database — can happen almost instantaneously. Although the NSA is known to rely on finger and face prints to identify targets, voiceprints, according to a 2008 agency document, are “where NSA reigns supreme.”

      It’s not difficult to see why. By intercepting and recording millions of overseas telephone conversations, video teleconferences, and internet calls — in addition to capturing, with or without warrants, the domestic conversations of Americans — the NSA has built an unrivaled collection of distinct voices. Documents from the Snowden archive reveal that analysts fed some of these recordings to speaker recognition algorithms that could connect individuals to their past utterances, even when they had used unk

    • The classified documents, dating from 2004 to 2012, show the NSA refining increasingly sophisticated iterations of its speaker recognition technology. They confirm the uses of speaker recognition in counterterrorism operations and overseas drug busts. And they suggest that the agency planned to deploy the technology not just to retroactively identify spies like Pelton but to prevent whistleblowers like Snowden.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Friday, January 19, 2018

OpenStack 01/19/2018 (p.m.)

  • Tags: AI, Internet-censorship, Facebook, journalism

    • For Facebook, journalism has been a pain in the neck from day one. Now, bogged down with the insoluble problems of fake news and bad PR, it’s clear that Facebook will gradually pull the plug on news. Publishers should stop whining and move on.

      Let’s admit that publishers have been screwed by Facebook. Not because Mark Zuckerberg is evil, but because he’s a pragmatist. His latest move should not come as a surprise. On Thursday, for the second time in six months, Facebook stated publicly that news (i.e., journalism) will appear further down in everyone’s newsfeed, in order to favor posts from friends, family and “groups.” Here is how Zuck defended the move:

      “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions”.

      Consider us notified. Facebook is done with journalism. It will happen, slowly, gradually, but the trend is here. In this context, the emai

  • Tags: AI, Internet-censorship, Google, Twitter, Facebook

    • Where power is not overtly totalitarian, wealthy elites have bought up all media, first in print, then radio, then television, and used it to advance narratives that are favorable to their interests. Not until humanity gained widespread access to the internet has our species had the ability to freely and easily share ideas and information on a large scale without regulation by the iron-fisted grip of power. This newfound ability arguably had a direct impact on the election for the most powerful elected office in the most powerful government in the world in 2016, as a leak publishing outlet combined with alternative and social media enabled ordinary Americans to tell one another their own stories about what they thought was going on in their country.

      This newly democratized narrative-generating power of the masses gave those in power an immense fright, and they’ve been working to restore the old order of power controlling information ever since. And the editor-in-chief of the aforementioned leak publishing outlet, WikiLeaks, has been repeatedly trying to warn us about this coming development.

    • In a statement that was recently read during the “Organising Resistance to Internet Censorship” webinar, sponsored by the World Socialist Web Site, Assange warned of how “digital super states” like Facebook and Google have been working to “re-establish discourse control”, giving authority over how ideas and information are shared back to those in power.

      Assange went on to say that the manipulative attempts of world power structures to regain control of discourse in the information age has been “operating at a scale, speed, and increasingly at a subtlety, that appears likely to eclipse human counter-measures.”

      What this means is that using increasingly more advanced forms of artificial intelligence, power structures are becoming more and more capable of controlling the ideas and information that people are able to access and share with one another, hide information which goes against the interests of those power structures and elevate narratives which support those interests, all of course while maintaining the illusion of freedom and lively debate.

    • To be clear, this is already happening. Due to a recent shift in Google’s “evaluation methods”, traffic to left-leaning and anti-establishment websites has plummeted, with sites like WikiLeaks, Alternet, Counterpunch, Global Research, Consortium News, Truthout, and WSWS losing up to 70 percent of the views they were getting prior to the changes. Powerful billionaire oligarchs Pierre Omidyar and George Soros are openly financing the development of “an automated fact-checking system” (AI) to hide “fake news” from the public.
    • To make matters even worse, there’s no way to know the exact extent to which this is going on, because we know that we can absolutely count on the digital super states in question to lie about it. In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was asked point-blank if Twitter was obstructing the #DNCLeaks from trending, a hashtag people were using to build awareness of the DNC emails which had just been published by WikiLeaks, and Dorsey flatly denied it. More than a year later, we learned from a prepared testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism by Twitter’s acting general counsel Sean J. Edgett that this was completely false and Twitter had indeed been doing exactly that to protect the interests of US political structures by sheltering the public from information allegedly gathered by Russian hackers.
    • Imagine going back to a world like the Middle Ages where you only knew the things your king wanted you to know, except you could still watch innocuous kitten videos on Youtube. That appears to be where we may be headed, and if that happens the possibility of any populist movement arising to hold power to account may be effectively locked out from the realm of possibility forever.

      To claim that these powerful new media corporations are just private companies practicing their freedom to determine what happens on their property is to bury your head in the sand and ignore the extent to which these digital super states are already inextricably interwoven with existing power structures. In a corporatist system of government, which America unquestionably has, corporate censorship is government censorship, of an even more pernicious strain than if Jeff Sessions were touring the country burning books. The more advanced artificial intelligence becomes, the more adept these power structures will become at manipulating us. Time to start paying very close attention to this.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

OpenStack 01/18/2018 (p.m.)

  • Tags: computer-security, vulneratiblities, Spectre, Meltdown, investigations

    • The request is one of the first responses from the U.S. Congress to the disclosure earlier this month by security researchers of the two major flaws, which may allow hackers to steal passwords or encryption keys on most types of computers, phones and cloud-based servers.

      McNerney, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, asked the companies to explain the scope of Spectre and Meltdown, their timeframe for understanding the vulnerabilities, how consumers are affected and whether the flaws have been exploited, among other questions.

  • (video)

    Tags: Facebook

    • With over 1.5 billion people using Facebook has become the superpower of the social media landscape. With with power comes responsibility and Facebook has unfortunately been responsibly for some pretty shady revelations!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

OpenStack 01/13/2018 (p.m.)

  • Tags: wireless, broadband, 5G, rollout

    • It's an uncertain waiting game as to when the next-generation high-speed wireless service known as 5G will reach mass market, but the business implications are already a major talking point at CES 2018.
    • The term "5G" refers to the fifth-generation wireless broadband technology based on the 802.11ac standard. The packet of technology will bring speed and coverage improvements from 4G, with low-latency wireless up to 1GB/s, and it'll spur a host of new opportunities for enterprises and workplace productivity.

      In a panel discussion at CES, a trio of executives from Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Nokia discussed how 5G could transform industries ranging from transportation to manufacturing.

    • Some 5G rollouts are already planned for 2018. Samsung announced last Wednesday that it will provide Verizon with routers and radio frequency planning services for the carrier's initial 5G commercial rollout that will begin in Sacramento, Calif., in the second half of 2018.

      Meanwhile, AT&T announced that it will provide 5G services in roughly 12 markets by late 2018, with plans to offer the service to consumers while it trials 5G technology with businesses across all industries.

      Still, the panel of executives at CES remain skeptical that 5G would roll out for most Americans before late 2019 or 2020.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

OpenStack 01/10/2018 (a.m.)

  • Tags: net-neutrality, internet, broadband-availability, ISPs, stats

    • Such profiteering tactics have disproportionately affected low-income and rural communities. ISPs have long redlined these demographic groups, creating what’s commonly known as the “digital divide.” Thirty-nine percent of Americans lack access to service fast enough to meet the federal definition of broadband. More than 50 percent of adults with household incomes below $30,000 have home broadband—a problem plaguing users of color most acutely. In contrast, internet access is near-universal for households with an annual income of $100,000 or more.

      The reason for such chasms is simple: Private network providers prioritize only those they expect to provide a return on investment, thus excluding poor and sparsely populated areas.

    • Chattanooga, Tennessee, has seen more success in addressing redlining. Since 2010, the city has offered public broadband via its municipal power organization, Electric Power Board (EPB). The project has become a rousing success: At half the price, its service is approximately 85 percent faster than that of Comcast, the region’s primary ISP prior to EPB’s inception. Coupled with a discounted program for low-income residents, Chattanooga’s publicly run broadband reaches about 82,000 residents—more than half of the area’s Internet users—and is only expected to grow.

      Chattanooga’s achievements have radiated to other locales. More than 450 communities have introduced publicly-owned broadband. And more than 110 communities in 24 states have access to publicly owned networks with one gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service. (AT&T, for example, has yet to introduce speeds this high.) Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a pilot project in 2015 and has recently urged her city to invest in municipal broadband. Hawaii congressperson Kaniela Ing is drafting a bill for publicly-owned Internet for the state legislature to consider next year. In November, residents of Fort Collins, Colo. voted to authorize the city to build municipal broadband infrastructure.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.