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The future of political warfare: Russia, the West, and the coming age of global digital competition
The Kremlin’s political warfare against democratic countries has evolved from overt to covert influence activities. But while Russia has pioneered the toolkit of asymmetric measures for the 21st century, including cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, these tools are already yesterday’s game. Technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning, combined with the growing availability of big data, have set the stage for a new era of sophisticated, inexpensive, and highly impactful political warfare. In the very near term, it will become more difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between real and falsified audio, video, or online personalities. Malicious actors will use these technologies to target Western societies more rapidly and efficiently. As authoritarian states such as Russia and China invest resources in new technologies, the global competition for the next great leap in political warfare will intensify. As the battle for the future shifts to the digital domain, policymakers will face increasingly complex threats against democracies. The window to mount an effective “whole-of- society” response to emerging asymmetric threats is quickly narrowing.
!write!dystopia  #russia  #us#elections 
5 hours ago by lemeb
Leave.EU, Arron Banks and new questions about referendum funding | Politics | The Guardian
When asked about the use of Leave.EU’s database to send advertisements about his insurance products to campaign supporters, [Aaron Banks, a major Brexit backer and donor] said: “Why shouldn’t I? It’s my data.” When asked again last week, he said: “Leave.EU after the referendum campaign carried the occasional ad for insurance, so what?”

what a time to be alive.
#conservatives  *whatatime  #brexit  #t#ad  !write!dystopia 
10 days ago by lemeb
Yet More Proof Facebook’s Surveillance Capitalism Is Good at Surveilling — Even Russian Hackers – emptywheel
I’ve long tracked Facebook’s serial admission to having SIGINT visibility that nearly rivals the NSA: knowing that Facebook had intelligence corroborating NSA’s judgment that GRU was behind the DNC hack was one reason I was ultimately convinced of the IC’s claims, in spite of initial questions.
~fb  #techpol  #surveillance  !write!technologist  !write!dystopia 
14 days ago by lemeb
Chairman of Sinclair TV network met with Trump during White House visit | Media | The Guardian
The chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group met Donald Trump at the White House during a visit to pitch a potentially lucrative new product to administration officials, the Guardian has learned.

David D Smith, whose company has been criticised for making its anchors read a script echoing Trump’s attacks on the media, said he briefed officials last year on a system that would enable authorities to broadcast direct to any American’s phone.

filed under serious-news-report-that-reads-like-a-conspiratorial-spy-novel. more:
The company has been a driving force in the development of a new broadcasting standard known as Next Gen TV, and is one of the first involved in making chips for televisions, cellphones and other devices to receive the new transmissions.

A broadcasting industry group, of which Sinclair is a prominent member, lobbied federal authorities last year to force manufacturers to incorporate the chips in all new devices. This would have created orders for millions of chips and likely new revenues for Sinclair.
!write!dystopia  !write!technologist  !write!readthenews  #us#trumpland  #conservatives 
15 days ago by lemeb
Combatting Deep Fakes through the Right of Publicity
Bobby Chesney and Danielle Citron recently sounded the alarm on Lawfare about the threat to democracy from “deep fakes,” lamenting “the limits of technological and legal solutions.” They argue that existing law has a limited ability to force online platforms to police such content because “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes from (most) liability the entities best situated to minimize damage efficiently: the platforms.” But in fact, a loophole built into Section 230 immunity—the intellectual property exception—could be helpful in combating deep fakes and other next-generation fake news. Victims of deep fakes may successfully bring “right of publicity” claims against online platforms, thereby forcing the platforms to systematically police such content. At a minimum, such right-of-publicity claims are likely to generate crucial litigation

ha! us law is not that permissive maybe.
!write!dystopia  #fakenews 
22 days ago by lemeb
Sinclair Made Dozens of Local News Anchors Recite the Same Script (
On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers. It included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment “if you believe our coverage is unfair.” It may not have seemed strange to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last month from CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech. Mr. Burke tracked down the Sinclair affiliates and found when they had aired what he called a “forced read.”
#conservatives  !write!dystopia  #us#trumpland  !write!readthenews  *wtf 
22 days ago by lemeb
UN: Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar (
UN investigators have said the use of Facebook played a "determining role" in stirring up hatred against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

so much for the arab spring effect
!write!dystopia  !write!technologist  #techpol  ~fb 
22 days ago by lemeb
The industry of inequality: why the world is obsessed with private security | Inequality | The Guardian
At least half the world’s population lives in countries where there are more private security workers than public police officers, according to a new Guardian analysis.

More than 40 countries – including the US, China, Canada, Australia and the UK – have more workers hired to protect specific people, places and things than police officers with a mandate to protect the public at large, according to the data. In Britain, 232,000 private guards were employed in 2015, compared with 151,000 police.

The global market for private security services, which include private guarding, surveillance and armed transport, is now worth an estimated $180bn (£140bn), and is projected to grow to $240bn by 2020. This far outweighs the total international aid budget to end global poverty ($140bn a year) – and the GDPs of more than 100 countries, including Hungary and Morocco.

Around the world, private security guards patrol shopping malls, elite gated communities and some public streets. They often wear uniforms that resemble police clothing and in some countries, including Spain and Italy, private guards carry handguns as well.
january 2018 by lemeb
The death of the internet
For a long time I’ve dreaded the coming of “Facebook’s Internet” — now we are literally at the precipice of such a thing existing. In other countries where Facebook operates with more autonomy and less oversight, this is already happening. One can easily envision a day when an internet provider like Comcast offers a tier of access wherein your ability to view and interact with content online will be channeled only through Facebook’s pages and services. This would be a virtuous circle for the two companies. There won’t be an internet where you can watch shows on Hulu then jump over to Gmail — you’ll watch Facebook TV and send Facebook Messages. Services that look and act like something distinct but are sadly part of a homogenized whole will also be available; Instagram and WhatsApp do this already. There you will be delivered ads according to your interests, interests predicated on the content you view, content promoted by bots and agents of a corrupt government and its many corporate and civilian allies. It will be a win-win for everyone but you. This is not science fiction. This is the reality we are hurtling towards now. A closed system where all information gathers that can be endlessly gamed. A fascist’s wet dream.
%criticism  !write!dystopia 
december 2017 by lemeb
A Night at the Garden
In 1939, New York's Madison Square Garden was host to an enormous—and shocking—gathering of 22,000 Americans that has largely been forgotten from our history.

(It’s a nazi rally.) incredible.
%doc  !write!dystopia  #xxi#nazi 
november 2017 by lemeb
A Republican tax plan built for plutocrats
A not dissimilar threat arises for today’s plutocrats. The economics and politics of pluto-populism have stoked cultural, ethnic and nationalist anger in the party’s base. Skilful demagogues are able to exploit this anger for their own purposes. At least Mr Trump remains a servant of the plutocracy. But his former adviser, Steve Bannon, seeks someone to promote rightwing populism shorn of its more blatantly plutocratic elements.

The plutocrats are riding on a hungry tiger. The pluto-populism of the Republican elite brought forth Mr Trump. This is not going to be forgotten. If the current tax bills get through, the tensions within the US are almost certain to get worse. Latin American inequality leads to Latin American politics. The US the world once knew is drowning in a tide of unconscionable and apparently unlimited greed. We are all now doomed to live with the unhappy consequences.
#conservatives  #swamp  %policystats  ~taxreform2017  !write!dystopia  #us#trumpland 
november 2017 by lemeb
The Coming Software Apocalypse - The Atlantic
What made programming so difficult was that it required you to think like a computer. The strangeness of it was in some sense more vivid in the early days of computing, when code took the form of literal ones and zeros. Anyone looking over a programmer’s shoulder as they pored over line after line like “100001010011” and “000010011110” would have seen just how alienated the programmer was from the actual problems they were trying to solve; it would have been impossible to tell whether they were trying to calculate artillery trajectories or simulate a game of tic-tac-toe. The introduction of programming languages like Fortran and C, which resemble English, and tools, known as “integrated development environments,” or IDEs, that help correct simple mistakes (like Microsoft Word’s grammar checker but for code), obscured, though did little to actually change, this basic alienation—the fact that the programmer didn’t work on a problem directly, but rather spent their days writing out instructions for a machine.

“The problem is that software engineers don’t understand the problem they’re trying to solve, and don’t care to,” says Leveson, the MIT software-safety expert. The reason is that they’re too wrapped up in getting their code to work. “Software engineers like to provide all kinds of tools and stuff for coding errors,” she says, referring to IDEs. “The serious problems that have happened with software have to do with requirements, not coding errors.” When you’re writing code that controls a car’s throttle, for instance, what’s important is the rules about when and how and by how much to open it. But these systems have become so complicated that hardly anyone can keep them straight in their head. “There’s 100 million lines of code in cars now,” Leveson says. “You just cannot anticipate all these things.”

!tech!humancomputing  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb
Breitbart is too dumb to survive the net neutrality apocalypse / Boing Boing
Case in point: Breitbart News. The only reason Breitbart was able to be economically viable and politically influential is because of net neutrality: if their ability to contact their constituencies was contingent on approval from the establishment they decry, they'd have been strangled in their cradle.

This is true of many things I love and many things I hate: insurgencies rely on free, fair, open infrastructure and suffer under systems of control and incumbency. Boing Boing thrives because of the same free, fair and open network that let Breitbart arise.

What Breitbart doesn't realize is that the weapon they fashion for Trump and his FCC will remain locked and loaded for the administrations that come next: once you erode the principle of net neutrality, then a 2018 Democratic Congress or a 2020 Democratic President could simply turn Breitbart off.
#conservatives  #techpol  %contrarian  !write!technologist  !write!readthenews  #$#journalism  #us#trumpland  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb
It’s time for online media to pivot from advertising.
Leading national newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal realized that years ago, and their push for digital subscribers has gradually helped to stabilize their businesses. ProPublica and some others have shown that nonprofit status can work, for a certain kind of journalism. Those models are going to be a lot harder for digital media outlets that lack established subscriber bases, prestige, or a clear investigative focus. In many cases, they’d have to get much smaller and focus much more intensely on serving their readers’ needs—a very different proposition from simply reaching as many readers as possible. No doubt some less journalistically ambitious sites will find it more attractive to consolidate in pursuit of scale than to abandon the click-based model that they were born to monetize.

But giving everything away appears more than ever to be a path to commoditization and low margins, if not outright ruin. The idea that Facebook and Google would share the wealth was a pleasant one, but it now looks naïve. Platforms are in the advertising business, not the charity business. And while they’ve long paid lip service to the notion that it’s in their own long-term interest to make sure publishers survive, they’ve never made it much of a priority.

A major contraction in online media would be very painful for a lot of people, especially journalists like me. But it’s hard to argue that the public would be too much worse off in a world where there are fewer outlets chasing clicks and video views, and more of them trying to prove to readers or donors that they’re worth paying for.

Hmm... And then what? Majority of population gets no journalism, or journalism becomes tool subsidized by people with agenda?
#$#journalism  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb
Breitbart’s Coming Exploitation of the Believe Women Movement | Crooked Media
Imagine it’s September or October 2020, and out of nowhere multiple women accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of sexual abuse, but instead of surfacing in a meticulously sourced story in a news outlet with a healthy tradition of careful reporting, it runs in a blind item on Or imagine such a story about a current Democratic candidate or leader landed in such an outlet tomorrow.

Oh shit 😮
#conservatives  %contrarian  #fakenews  !write!dystopia  #xxi#sexualassault  #us#trumpland 
november 2017 by lemeb
The Christian Right Was Right
It turns out that every single one of their raw-throated, brimstone-breathing prophecies were true:

That the wolves would come in sheep’s clothing to devour the innocent.
That there would be a twisting of the Scriptures to justify vile evil of every kind.
That people would do what was right in their own eyes and make themselves into the very God they most worshiped.
That money and power and pride would be too seductive to avoid for far too many.
That the Church was in danger of being polluted to the point of death.
That the least of these would be discarded and brutalized.
That good people would be preyed upon by opportunistic monsters.

These sage prognosticators had everything about the approaching disaster correct—except its source.

Ouch, that's violent.
#conservatives  %contrarian  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb

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