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I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone - Motherboard
The bounty hunter did this all without deploying a hacking tool or having any previous knowledge of the phone’s whereabouts. Instead, the tracking tool relies on real-time location data sold to bounty hunters that ultimately originated from the telcos themselves, including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, a Motherboard investigation has found. These surveillance capabilities are sometimes sold through word-of-mouth networks.

Whereas it’s common knowledge that law enforcement agencies can track phones with a warrant to service providers, IMSI catchers, or until recently via other companies that sell location data such as one called Securus, at least one company, called Microbilt, is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters, according to sources familiar with the company’s products and company documents obtained by Motherboard. Compounding that already highly questionable business practice, this spying capability is also being resold to others on the black market who are not licensed by the company to use it, including me, seemingly without Microbilt’s knowledge.
!tech!practicalprivacy  #t#👺  #t#oops  #t#cable  #surveillance  %journalism  !write!dystopia 
9 weeks ago by lemeb
Sally Rooney Gets in Your Head | The New Yorker
an exceptional profile of an exceptional writer:
Rooney’s most dazzling argument, her riskiest proposition, is for a sort of transcendence through interdependence. At the end of “Conversations with Friends,” Frances decides to continue her relationship with Nick, despite its deficits. “You live through certain things before you understand them. You can’t always take the analytical position,” she asserts, abandoning herself to the generosity of trust. There is salvation, Rooney seems to be saying, in giving oneself over completely to another person. She is positing a world in which we might stop apologizing for apologizing, in which we might seek compromise and see vulnerability as a form of courage. We might stop protecting ourselves. We might love with bleeding, imperfect hearts. ♦
#xxi#sex  *lit  #xxi#lit  !write!dystopia  #$#ineq  #$#👺  %philosophy  #p#philo  ?love  #xxi#culture  %portrait  %itw  #eu  ~abortion  #gender 
10 weeks ago by lemeb
What a Student Loan 'Bubble' Bursting Might Look Like - VICE
Meanwhile, Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, presented an even more alarming possibility to me: That the student loan market may share a lot of characteristics with an economic bubble—except for the one where there is a possibility of relief. She was careful not to minimize the devastating emotional impact of needing to, say, walk away from your home. But short of fleeing abroad or going underground or something, you can't ever—ever—walk away from student debt. The idea that college might be massively overvalued amid a deluge of irreversible debt sets the stage for some kind of (potential) collapse to be more devastating.

"You're not going to see the entire market bottom out, I don't think, like we did in the foreclosure crisis, because you won't see everyone default and then the bank is left holding the bag," she said. "Here, everyone defaults and the government just takes their wages, tax refunds, or Social Security benefits."
#$#nextcrash  #us#educ  !write!dystopia  %😱 
10 weeks ago by lemeb
‘Black Mirror’ Gives Power to the People - The New York Times
black mirror
What Netflix is really building is a voting machine. It’s simple to see how technology like this could be used during, for instance, debates by presidential candidates. Viewers would react to promises being made, with their reactions immediately relayed to the candidates.

“Black Mirror” anticipated this sort of possibility in its very first episode. In 2011, “The National Anthem” posed the question, What if a British politician were forced to follow the whims of the public in real time? He would end up having sex with a pig on live television, of course.

“Bandersnatch” as a show is entertaining, but as a glimpse of the near future of technology it is horrifying. It is the grimmest “Black Mirror” yet, which is saying something for a series that, for its “Metalhead” episode, took the Boston Dynamics robot dogs and put them in a scenario where they hunt and kill people.
“Whatever path you take, there’s darkness ahead,” observed David Slade, who directed both “Metalhead” and “Bandersnatch.”
*tv  ~infoviz  #$#entertainment  #creativeprocess  #writing  !write!dystopia 
10 weeks ago by lemeb
Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Lost and Left Out - The New York Times
americans feel disempowered, whether dems or republicans
The findings echo other polling on the question since Mr. Trump’s election. And together, the results suggest a rare political moment when Americans on all sides worry that they don’t recognize what the country is becoming.

“Normally, even in a politically polarized society, one side wins and they’re content,” said Stephanie McCurry, a historian at Columbia University. “It’s the other side that feels shut out of power.”

The moment now reminds her of the 1850s, when Northerners and Southerners were locked in a morally imbued fight over the nature of American values — and whether America was at its core a slave-owning society. Many Northerners were horrified by the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which effectively declared the United States such a place. Southerners were horrified by Northerners’ reaction to it, Ms. McCurry said.

so cool
#p#polar  *polisci  %policystats  !write!dystopia  #us#dems  #conservatives 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
The biggest technology failures of 2018 - MIT Technology Review
the article ends with this:
The eventual goal was the transhumanist aim of mind uploading. Preserve your brain perfectly today, and maybe one day your memories and personality could be extracted and loaded into a computer or robot. The catch: to prevent damage to the brain, the embalming procedure has to start before you actually die—in other words, it involves euthanizing you. (Nectome believes this would be legal under doctor-assisted suicide laws in California, at least.)

The company, which is supported by Y Combinator, has actually done a great job preserving animal brains, but its interest in suicide-by-brain-fixation proved a little too controversial for MIT, which had to cancel a research collaboration it had with the startup. Nectome isn’t dead, though: it says it is continuing basic research and is looking to hire. Better ask about the retirement plan.
#t#👺  #t#oops  #t#social  #t#bio  !write!dystopia  !write!technologist 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
Health-tech predictions for 2019
amazing /s:
In 2019, one mental health expert said, there will be new research on how technologies that are widely used by consumers can track conditions such as depression and anxiety. For instance, a Silicon Valley start-up called Mindstrong Health is attempting to use the smartphone keyboard to pinpoint behaviors that might be indicative of depression. For that reason, "the breakout companies will look less like mental health tech, and more like tech that creates efficiencies in the background," said Sarah Seegal, co-founder of Affect Mental Health, an incubator for mental health start-ups.

But Seegal said that 2019 will also raise some important questions related to privacy and consent, especially as consumers start to realize that the technology services they use on a regular basis are collecting knowledge about their health. "If Target knows that you're pregnant, it sure as heck knows if you're bipolar, as patterns of spending money is one of the things used in professional diagnosis."

#surveillance  #t#ad  #healthcare  #xxi#health  !write!dystopia 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
What It’s Like to Deliver Packages for Amazon - The Atlantic
a surprisigly upbeat account of a big-time sport journalist who now delivers packages for amazon:
The hero’s journey, according to Joseph Campbell, features a descent into the belly of the beast: Think of Jonah in the whale, or me locked in the cargo bay of my Ram ProMaster on my second day on the job, until I figured out how to work the latch from the inside. During this phase of the journey, the hero becomes “annihilate to the self”—brought low, his ego shrunk, his horizons expanded. This has definitely been my experience working for Jeff Bezos.

During my 33 years at Sports Illustrated, I wrote six books, interviewed five U.S. presidents, and composed thousands of articles for SI and Roughly 140 of those stories were for the cover of the magazine, with which I parted ways in May of 2017. Since then, as Jeff Lebowski explains to Maude between hits on a postcoital roach, “my career has slowed down a little bit.”

and there is the infamous bathroom issue:
Before sending me out alone, the company assigned me two “ride-alongs” with its top driver, the legendary Marco, who went out with 280 packages the second day I rode shotgun with him, took his full lunch break, did not roll through a single stop sign, and was finished by sundown. Marco taught me to keep a lookout not just for porch pirates—lowlifes who swoop in behind us to pilfer packages—but also for portable toilets. In neighborhoods miles from a service station or any public lavatory, a Port-a-John, or a Honey Pot, can be no less welcome than an oasis in the desert. (The afternoon I leapt from the van and beelined to a Honey Pot, only to find it padlocked, was the closest I’ve come to crying on the job.)

i’m wondering what amazon thinks of this... and, of course, something should be said about the fact that the risks are passed on to the drivers

280/12 = 23 packages an hour, so roughly $1 a package. these, needless to say, are gigantic costs for what is just a *portion* of the delivery costs. very very doubtful that these can be brought down by self driving...
#$#journalism  %words  %longform  #$#ineq  !write!dystopia  #$#gig  %greatstory  %😃  #t#commerce  #t#selfdriving  #$#outsourcing  #t#state 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
on twitter: facebook’s moderation, and its effects
facebook should probably cut its neutrality bullshit:
I spent months reporting on an aspect of Facebook that's far more significant than most realize: moderation.

Facebook, I found, is going further than it has acknowledged, exerting tremendous — and largely unseen — power over our politics and societies.

so what’s in the story?
There are two things I want you to take away from this story:

(1) Facebook, to address hate and misinformation epidemics of its own creation, is intervening into political and social matters the world over. Like an unseen branch of government, it is governing without our consent

(2) Facebook is doing this all on the cheap, shipping disorganized PowerPoint slides to outsourcing companies it can barely control. And it is making many, many mistakes along the way.
#t#social  #t#👺  !write!dystopia  #t#oops  #t#state  #p#ir  #p#violence 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
Lauren Goode on Twitter: "1/Over the holidays, one relative talked about upcoming trip to Zion National Park and another about her veganism/animal rights work. I myself never searched for these things. I’m now seeing ads for Zion National Park and vegan
Over the holidays, one relative talked about upcoming trip to Zion National Park and another about her veganism/animal rights work. I myself never searched for these things. I’m now seeing ads for Zion National Park and vegan leather bags.
#t#🤖  #t#👺  #t#ad  #surveillance  !write!dystopia 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
on Twitter: data for nothing
a big-ass professor of CS at Princeton:
The online ad tech industry has created an extraordinarily invasive surveillance infrastructure that threatens our democracy. But the most tragic thing is how little has been gained—how poorly ad tech works despite all the data.
%😢  #t#🤖  %🔥  #t#ad  !write!dystopia  #t#👺  #surveillance  #$#cons 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
The year of deleted tweets - The Verge
Twitter has many pitfalls, one of which is the removal of context. Whether it’s misread sarcasm, lost irony, or just one comment taken out of context, a single bad tweet has the potential to make anyone go viral for the wrong reasons. Gunn’s tweets are repugnant, but they reflect an earlier era of the internet, where edgy, inappropriate, or gross-out humor were the law of the land. At best, they’re a relic of a previous time when the goal was to out-top everyone in how offensive your jokes could get; at worst, they’re lazy. “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” said Gunn in his apology. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.” Which raises another question: how long is the statute of limitations online, and at what point do we recognize that someone has grown from their questionable views?

Tweet deletion is no longer a matter of curation, but a necessity. Our lives are lived online more each year. We shouldn’t excuse people who spout racist, misogynist, damaging views online in present day. But as we confront our younger, more problematic past selves preserved online, the line between personal growth and punishment deserves breathing room. Until we can accept that, deleting tweets is all we have.
#discourse  #t#social  *societyhell  !write!dystopia 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
Yascha Mounk on Twitter: "Most importantly, none of this is a reason to be fatalistic: Populists often damage democracy. But even more often, the opposition manages to hold its own. This study is a reason for partisans of liberal democracy to rise to the
some good news from yasha mounk, of all places:
THE debate of the past years has been: Do populists damage democracy? Or are they a healthy corrective?

Until now, nobody has answered these questions on the basis of a comprehensive global dataset.

@jkyleindc and I set out to change that.

Populists often damage democracy. But even more often, the opposition manages to hold its own.

This study is a reason for partisans of liberal democracy to rise to the fight, not to hang their heads.
*polisci  %policystats  #p#pop  !write!dystopia  !write!utopia  %data%original 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
How Much of the Internet Is Fake?
How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”
#t#automation  ~yt  !write!dystopia  #t#👺  %criticism%tech  #t#🤖 
11 weeks ago by lemeb
Discord is a safe space for white supremacists.
White-supremacist groups aren’t turning up publicly, in force, like they did in Charlottesville last year, but they’re still out there. And Discord in particular remains a very popular destination for communities of neo-Nazis and white supremacists to socialize, share hateful memes, boost the ideas that undergird their movements, inculcate strangers, and plan activities that take place elsewhere online. In the course of an afternoon, I found and joined more than 20 communities on the platform that were either directly about Nazism or white supremacy or reveled in sharing anti-Semitic and racist memes and imagery. “Discord is always on and always present among these groups on the far-right,” says Joan Donovan, the lead researcher on media manipulation at the Data & Society Research Institute. “It’s the place where they do most of the organizing of doxing and harassment campaigns.”
!ihop  !write!dystopia  !write!technologist  #t#social 
12 weeks ago by lemeb
on Twitter, Tom Nichols is losing his shit
Today is the day that Never Trumpers warned was coming. Markets crashing, indictments piling up, a President losing his grip; allies horrified, enemies celebrating, government in chaos, and Mattis quitting in protest.
And it’s going to get worse.

i remember very vividly tom nichols saying everything is fine for now, i’ll tell you if you should freak out. well, he is freaking out massively.
#us#trumpland  !write!dystopia  %🙀 
12 weeks ago by lemeb

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