As we await the Case-Shiller Housing report in a few minutes (come back for that, right?) most of the news flow today is mild and boring. As it should be just ahead of a long holiday weekend. So much so that we will ultra-compress our thoughts because you’re probably busy stacking chips and beer ahead of time…
A word about two stories which the Mainstream Media is doing its usual terrible job of putting in context. So it falls on us, I suppose.
Story #1: The Fast Company story “Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system.”
Story #2: In the Wall Street Journal we see how “Google Warns Against Blocking ‘Cookies’ Entirely, Triggering Criticism.”
For simplicity, what’s going on is the whole world is now in a preliminary skirmish to “The Big One” and we’ve labeled this The Cookie War.
The agenda is simplicity itself: When you surf the web, greedy media companies (some of which, like search engines, and arguably social media platforms, too) want to make money on you. Sure, they ought to be non-partisan and anonymous.
What blows up privacy (and anonymity) are cookies. Which – in theory – is what drove the Brussels sprouts – the megalomaniacs of the European Union – to demand cookie notices before setting cookies in order to give people a chance to opt-out of having their browsing info sold at a profit to advertisers.
Ever wonder why if you search something like “new car” your browsing for the next few months will contain a disproportionate number of car ads? Cookies are the answer…and they are the problem.
People like you and me are the problem, too. We like browsers that can strip out most ads (Opera) and those which support Ghostery and other plug-ins that block ads, and pop-up. And their delayed-triggering cousins, the “pop-behinds.”
Everything’s a Business Model
How many times do we need to say it? In the midst of The Cookie War, we have to admire the Sun Tzu-like tactics of Global Corporatism. Because the real assaults on our freedom (and which feeds into the massive personal data file on each and every one of us) are cookies. Been to a rabble-rousing site? Sets a cookie. Been to a government site? No telling what they do with cookies.
The Sun Tzu twist is that the dimmer-witted of the herd, the AoC-laced backers of Digital Mob Rule, are spewing about the superficial while the really BIG moves are being made invisibly.
All for MONEY. Tax money, ad money, and even “news money” which is why on an ever-increasing number of news sites, you will only get a headline before the site tells you “ You’re in Privacy Mode. Please log in or sign in with Facebook or Google…” What not disclosed is the remainder of this Cookie War Reality (CWR): “ So we can track you, sell your personal data on tastes and websites and even feed it to the Bumble-hive up in Provo to go into your control file – seems there’s one on every American that Your Government has been building on You because they don’t trust you or Us anymore…”
Sad, But it all dates back to an NSA program called XKeyscore. If you know where to look (here) you will read:
“On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:
You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.
… You can tag individuals … Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”
But, understand, if you really have a “clean computer” and you’re not dropping cookies all over the place and it doesn’t link to you (the computer operator) that takes a lot of teeth out of the program.
A little later on in the Wikipedia article, the XKeyscore program is defended by the government:
“In terms of access, an NSA press statement reads that there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” and that there are “…stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”
Which, since the government is totally infested with lawyers isn’t quite the truth. Lawyers are specialists in half-truthing, understand.
The reality is that while what NSA claims is nominally true with regard to US Nationals (employed citizens) the reason that places like Alice Spring and Menwith Hill are NOT ON AMERICAN SOIL is so that Legal Prohibitions can’t be applied to the foreign nationals who do our government’s bidding.
On the other hand, when foreign nationals put sensitive material (about you or me) into the Bumble hive servers, it’s logical to argue that storing personal data in the cloud (which is really Provo) isn’t a violation, since once there (nominally for processing and analysis by machines, there’s no “analysts or personnel” involved. See how crafty and misleading all this gets? Big Lie Lookout: The “Cloud” is not a non-local place. Every node has a physical location and lat/lon. The lie is its “non-local.”
Back to point, though: The Mainstream Media doesn’t want to put The Cookie War on the front page of their papers. , Because, they too, want to get something (monetary) from your use of “their intellectual property” (the news).
My own view – and the reason we generate so much of our own coverage here via press releases and such, is that 80 percent of all news has a press release behind it somewhere. You can see how the news business has gotten “crookified” I hope?
Say the Employment Situation report comes out from a Labor Department press release. How can any of the jerks claim copyright of publicly available data? Answer: They Can’t. BUT what they can do is put up a “No reading unless you give us your personal data so we can continue as billionaires on your data..”
Which is how the digital realms work.
So if there’s one Big Tuesday Think, it’s how do you want to play in the cookie war? Block all cookies? Refuse to hand over “the digital money?” You won’t make the Lords of Digits very happy if you do. Why, where do you really think you get Social Credit Scores from, though? Cookies are your ante-up.
If everyone blocked all cookies,. hid their phone numbers, turned off their phone…why, social credit scores wouldn’t work. And my, wouldn’t that be a shame?
We now get back to real: It’s a lot less hidden and much shorter.
A Few Things That Matter
Yet another reason for an economic crisis in the EU come Halloween: Brexit: No deal ‘only acceptable’ way to leave EU, says Nigel Farage.
Sour grapes from the opioid trial: Johnson & Johnson calls judge’s ruling “flawed,” plans to appeal $572 million ruling in opioid trial.
Where’s the beef? Papa John’s names Arby’s president as CEO.
Just get in the line: Russian Aircraft Firm Files Lawsuit Against Boeing Over 737 Max Jet Order.
No doubt it will drift around a bit…
Some Personal Woo-Woo
I debated mentioning any of this, but…
We are getting to one of othe two times of the year when my “second sight” and “dream adventures” tend to peak. Seems to happen around equinoxes (equini?) and that’s just over 3-weeks out now.
Dream #1: Had an odd dream about being in (yet another) “class” in a dream and the instructor was an all-but forgotten teacher from like 1st or 2nd grade. The point of the dream? The story line was that a super-secret government agency sent “teachers” into public schools and gave selected numbers of kids minute amounts of a psychedelic in the mid 1950’s to see what the long-term impact would be on their lives. Not MK Ultra, but a low-level dose designed to see what spiritual portals would eventually develop and so forth
Odd as hell while I knew this teacher’s name when I woke, when it came time to write it down it was blocked somehow. With great concentration I finally pulled out “Mr. Fraser” out again but in the dream it was Dr. Fraser and the “students” were lab rats for him as he tested IQ and various potentials.
Yet, I can describe the fellow: round features, light hair, wore a golf cap, and drove an older humpback Hudson. Mind you, this was in the 1950’s… Very strange, huh?
Was there such a program? Was that what the Kool-Aid and cookies were about? Hmmm. Trippendicular, to be sure…
Dream #2: Emergency landing of a jet in an area just before the rise of the Andes in the western Amazon. Plot was interesting: Off-airport landing, two-engine jet, two back-up pilots were with 10-20 others on the plane. Plan had been for the jet to return to somewhere else…so no one had passports with ’em.
Everyone got out OK after the landing and eventually, the plane was towed 3-4 miles through heavy brush/jungle lite to the airport. Where the plane and people had to wait almost a month while parts were flown in. Local officials were incensed at the lack of “papers.”
The landing took place as the plane passed over a large white round building, too. Looked like an upside-down dinner plate.
Oh, and as I got out the front of the plane I was confronted by a wild-man looking fellow dresses in animal furs and speaking what I took to be the local Indian dialect. After “playing me” for a bit, he handed me a business card. Smiled. He was a network engineer who had retired to the bush and made his money ion a nearby town bringing first world IP skills to the thrid world backwaters of the upper reaches of jungle.
Whew! Odd set of dreams, huh? Well, off to wait for the ticker on the Housing numbers, so like the old saying goes “Dew Drop Inn – again!:”