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The Internet of “Things” is the Jonestown of Privacy

The latest lunacy to arrive for the internet is the Internet of Things. Things being any device that takes electricity and can be equipped with a wireless transceiver.
I’m not sure who coined it, nor do I care, as it has to be the single dumbest meme since Social Networking.

Social Networking is the Jonestown of the Advertising Industry.

The Internet of Things theory is we interconnect our computers and or ‘smart’ phones with every other appliance and gadget we own. Really? Status updates from your appliances, car and TV?

Google’s Nest Labs which makes Thermostats and smoke alarms is the poster child for this lunacy. Here we have a device with an LED display that can be programmed to allegedly save you money by learning your habits and patterns, and stop unnecessary heating and cooling. Having an ‘app’ on your phone to play with your thermostat is just a bit nuts. Most folks look at their thermostat twice a year, during heating and cooling seasons.

The first problem with this is your house is probably not airtight, and its construction negates any ‘savings’ you may achieve. Raising the temperature when you are not home and lowering it before you arrive is a nice theory, and the electric companies make a compelling case for setting your temps higher.
(You can live life at 79 degrees in the summer) The problem comes in the physics of temperature control. By raising and or lowering your temps, your HVAC unit has to work much harder to control this swing, negating any ‘savings’.

Being WiFi enabled just gives hackers another opening into your life either by war driving or compromising your smart phone. To add insult to injury having the phone company flogging these products on their sites and the information traveling over their networks just adds another bit of surveillance information that gets passed along to three letter agencies.

SMART TV’s are Back in the News again. I have written about this before. The latest revelations concern any brand of Smart TV sold that is compatible with the new HbbTV standard (short for hybrid broadcast-broadband) which is giving advertisers a gigantic pulsing erection to TARGET you with Messages. This is not some obscure hack only discussed in hacker forums, but is a real threat.

From Forbes comes this nugget
“Broadcasters and advertisers have been eager to use the HbbTV to target ads more precisely and add interactive content, polls, shopping and apps, to home viewers. But millions of TV sets would be vulnerable to hackers with the right gear, as long as the sets are receiving an over-the-air digital broadcast signal.”
Source Forbes.com

Now if your TV is connected to your home network, or smart phone your life is gonna be basically over.

The Internet of Things is not content to screw around with your house, they also want to fuck up your driving as well.

GM whose first foray into automotive spyware interactive driving was OnStar, billed as a safety feature originally. Their latest brainchild is an app that lets you scan a license plate, then text the driver.

New ways to practice road rage.

the creep factor is enormous..
……
Hi Hal I noticed you have a large pack of toilet paper in your back seat, Would like us to come and check out your plumbing?
…..

Hey baby, how about pulling over at the rest stop?
….

Hello Hal. This is the Onstar dispute resolution APP. We noticed that You texted another driver about an un-signaled lane change, would you like us to help you resolve this?
…..

Hello Hal. Your last text to another driver contained threats regarding bodily harm. The Police have been notified and your car will be shut down in 30 seconds, so please move to the shoulder and await the authorities.
…..

To add insult to injury having the phone company transmitting this information over their networks just adds another bit of surveillance information that gets passed along to three letter agencies.

One important point that is not mentioned by the IOT weenies is every electrical device has an OFF Switch.

The Internet of Things is the Jonestown of Privacy

Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.

I have been on the internet probably longer than majority of current folks today have had pubic hair. Some of the promises of universal access, universal information and something for everyone, like left handed pipe fitters who enjoy hamsters, is coming, but at a cost that is risking everyone’s privacy, safety and security.

If you want to understand how fucked up the internet is today, READ THIS.

Yeah it is this bad.

P.S. The title of this posting is a take away from the author Maciej Ceglowski posting from the link above. If you missed it here it is again. READ THIS.

Quote of the day

One of the maxims of a free press is that news is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to print: everything else is advertising

Without fear or favour: why we broke the spy story

The Amazon Washington Post

The news that Jeff Bezos whose Amazon.com has changed the face of retail marketing with books, music,DVD’s and now just about everything else including kitchen sinks,has bought the Washington Post has the Internet in an uproar.

My friend George Snell over at Hightalk.net made these observations:

Here are some facts about the news business that ALL of us are going to have to come to grips with:

Consumers, especially those under the age of 30, will no longer pay for news. Not in print, not even online. For them, news has always been free – a simple search and click on Google or a link embedded in their Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Consumers no longer care where their news comes from. They use search engines and social media channels to find and discover information. Fewer people are going directly to news destinations. This is why news sites that specialize in SEO – The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed – are soaring to the top while newspapers (which continue to put content behind firewalls) continue to lose.

Fewer consumers understand (or even care) about the difference between “reporting” and “journalism.” Or, in fact, between propaganda and news.

Brand marketing is how news is now delivered as the rise of talk radio, FOX News, MSNBC and blogging attest. Many consumers see little to no difference between getting “news” from Rush Limbaugh or getting it from the New York Times.

Nobody – not Google, not Amazon.com, not anybody – has figured out a successful and profitable business model for selling news and journalism in the age of the Internet. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but right now there isn’t one (unless you count subsidized journalism like PBS and NPR).
Source: Hightalk.net

While George’s points are all valid, (considering I haven’t bought a newspaper in over 10 years,and unless it is online or in the real world, and the closest I get to newsprint for news are grocery circulars addressed to resident, which find themselves in the recycle bin, and I am light years past 30) I think that JB is looking at a different game.

One of the other things so many of the internuts and webheads either never learned, forgot, or ignore is the physicality and permanence of the printed word. Every word that you are reading is because someone put a book in your face and trained you to make connections between the characters to the thoughts you have. The next time you pick up that book it is the same. It hasn’t been edited, overwritten or deleted. Even today with the changing consumption of news, the printed document regardless of format, is still gold. Check your desk and tell me there is no paper.

The theories abound. All of the lunatic ravings that Bezos is gonna have a bully pulpit for some crypto liberal disgorgement of views opposed to reality is so much bullshit. That JB will drive the final stake into the heart of print journalism, which has with the help of the internet put newspapers on the endangered media list.

Newspapers have done it to themselves. Journalism especially in print has shot itself in the foot maintaining their ex catherdra pronouncements and writings with “we have seen the source, trust us”. We all know that we can fact check their ass six ways from Sunday. Guys like Jason Blair don’t help either.
As for journalists they are a glut on the market. content is not a problem. As for having journalists running the paper, having the inmates running the asylum comes to mind.

Bezos is a businessman. He wants to be in every home.
He started with tangible products, books, cd’s, dvd’s. yeah it killed the big bookstores, but outlet and remainder stores are moving right along. Hell you can even buy a kitchen sink at amazon.
He has already reduced the cost of delivery for amazon products to almost zip.

Will he kill the physical paper? Depends. Newspapers have just begun linking and presenting source materials to validate their stories. they ripped that off from us old linker’s and hippies:) The Post could become an Kindle Exclusive. Probably the worst outcome.

Newspapers have had an intimate relationship with the areas they have served.
The most valuable thing is the subscription data. Present and especially the past.
Names and addresses of everyone who ever ordered the paper.

The second most valuable thing is the physical distribution data. From press to doorstep. Like every other newspaper, the classifieds cash cow all went to craigslist. What does it really cost to print. What does it cost to get from the end of the press into your hand. vehicles, distributors, paperboys.

One of the things that newspapers have is their archives. stories, pieces that printed, spiked stories, notes, photos, and work products that did not make it to the front page. This is worth the purchase price alone.

No what I think he is gonna do is look at getting subscription numbers up and offering discounts at amazon for subscribers and expanding the delivery role to include your purchases with your news.
He doesn’t have square miles of fulfillment centers to house products.

Buying the Washington post is a brilliant move, on a number of fronts. He now has access to the highest level of political power in this country as well as their spouses, and every federal dept, staff and aides, pages, and friends.
He can also expand the Arts and Entertainment Sections with robot puke QR squares for books music videos and so on from the print editions. Hell the WaPo can become an Amazon Affiliate and make some money for itself.

If he can do this in Washington, when these folks go back home they will remember and probably scream for it in their home towns.

I can see the Amazon Post Trucks(like the ice cream trucks do now) cruising neighborhoods selling papers and delivering products. In the afternoon for evening delivery.
If you want to see if this will work, watch for bezos ordering a 1000 vehicles for delivery. Manufacturers will be screaming for the business. An example is uhaul and ryder rental vehicles. They look like their civilian counterparts but are built differently. something i picked up in my wrecking yard days.

When amazon buys fedex, ups or privatizes the us postal service, remember you heard it here first.

Copyright, Click Wrap and the Fourth Circuit Court

Copyright in the United States was originally enumerated as a short term monopoly for authors as a method of defining ownership of ideas and concepts(aka ‘Intellectual Property’) and also creating opportunity for financial wealth for authors in the “short term” and increasing the intellectual wealth of the society as a whole upon expiration of its term, with assignment to the Public Domain. I use “short term” advisedly as US Copyright has been savagely extended for the benefit of the so called Entertainment Industry.

Click Wrap is the term used to define an electronic agreement between an owner and a user. Most commonly found on the internet when signing up for such things as social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and registration on sites that allow interaction like commenting, uploading images, and other forms of interaction. In the heat to become one of the cool kids and or join the gang, folks blow past these agreements in their rush to belong, assigning licenses and giving up rights to their individual property. This has happened time and time again.

These “agreements” all contain the following:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos and videos), you specifically give us the following permission, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos and videos), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook. of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with (Insert Your Social Site Name Here).

Basically while you maintain ‘ownership’, these sites can use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of any content you post Derivative Works can be as simple as resizing an image to just renaming it, which if you ever used Typepad was their MO. Also is the game of removing metadata in an image, further obscuring actual ownership. Also a claim can be made for Derivative work status, creating something that you cannot claim. Sort of like filing the serial number off a gun or changing the VIN Number of a car.

Also understand that these ‘agreements’ are subject to change at any time. Be aware that these fulfill all the requirement of a contract between you and them. And in almost every case You Lose.

Which brings us to this article from Copyhype:
Fourth Circuit: Clickwrap Agreement Fulfills Writing Requirement for Copyright Transfer

The important tidbit:

The underlying dispute in this case is between two competing real estate listing businesses, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (“MRIS”) and American Home Realty Network, Inc. (“AHRN”). Plaintiff MRIS, located in Maryland, maintains a database of property listings to which real estate brokers and agents subscribe. These subscribers upload their listings to the MRIS database, and they agree via acceptance of the website’s terms of use to assign ownership of the copyrights in whatever photographs they upload to MRIS. Defendant AHRN, located in California, operates a nationwide real estate search engine. MRIS alleges that AHRN displayed real estate listings that contained copyrighted photographs from the MRIS database, and it filed suit claiming direct and indirect copyright infringement by AHRN.

MRIS is a social network for real estate agents with one important distinction: Their click wrap agreement assigns copyrights to them. Which was used as club to sue AHRN for copyright infringement. Due to the nature of click wrap contracts MRIS won.

Your really need to read the whole thing.

You should be very careful who you play with.

RSS Feed Reader

inoreaderIf you are looking for a feed reader that does the job like google used to, Try inoreader.

Works Great, no bullshit ads, and has addons, and mobile apps for the desktop challenged.
highly recommended

Advertising Rights Management ARM

When you venture out on the web, and go places like here, you are a guest. Normally guests are treated with respect, and are not subject to ID checks, cavity searches, pickpocketing or data theft.

Commercial websites do not treat you like a guest, but rather squeeze you for every morsel of information they can grab from your computer to sell you shit you can probably do without.

Advertisers, Marketeers, and websites that are supported by advertisers think that your personal information from your IP address to your browser history, cookies, Local Storage Objects and other information on your personal computer is theirs for the taking.

Cookies are not required to build or present webpages.

Anybody who tells you that they are required is lying.

The current scheme is having a Third Party manage advertising is what is creating this crisis in privacy.

You have the choice to deny info thieves anything but what you choose to share.

Privacy is not the default setting in your browsers. Although that is changing. But there are things that you can add to deny data collection, tracking and restrict invasion of your privacy.

I like to call it Advertiser Rights Management. ARM
Here are a few things that you can add to your browser to take back your privacy
My personal favorites are
AdBlock Plus
AVG Do Not Track
Albine Do Not Track Me
Ghostery

This is your internet. Take it back from the pricks who think that you are fodder for marketing.

Stop DRM in HTML 5


The web works because the underlying code HTML has up until now been open. Some folks want to close it down.

“Encrypted Media Extensions” is a proposal to allow DRM style proprietary types of content into the web. Dumb Move.

Read More:

Don’t let the myths fool you: the W3C’s plan for DRM in HTML5 is a betrayal to all Web users.

Take Action:
More than 22,000 people have signed.
Help us reach 50,000!
Tell W3C: We don’t want the Hollyweb

We already have too many bad media extensions like Flash, Java, and Silverlight, which constantly put users at risk with constant security updates. It is time to get off this treadmill.

Facebook’s Fantasy Island and GM’s Drive By Shooting

Today it seems that having a Facebook page is the height of cool. It is not. First a little trek down memory lane.
15 years ago having an email address was the height of cool.
10 years ago having a website was the height of cool.
5 years ago having a blog was the height of cool.

With each iteration the number of participants has increased by orders of magnitude making your coolness less valuable and harder to find. With each new communication channel(email, website, blog) companies and advertisers want you to buy their stuff. As the population has grown and the internet has supplanted print, radio, and television in delivering raw numbers of prospects, or suckers depending on your viewpoint, Advertisers have and are betting big on getting you to ‘Yes’ from email,banner ads,websites and now Facebook pages. Using other peoples money to make a living selling you shit is as old as the first print advertisement. This is not a new business model. The FB mission is to deliver eyeballs to advertisers in exchange for money.

Facebook membership is a suckers bet. Here is a piece of poker player wisdom; ”If you look around the table and can’t spot the sucker, than you are the sucker.” If you are under the illusion that Facebook is about sharing and caring about you, I would like the opportunity to offer you either a piece of the London Bridge or a square inch of the Moon.

Facebook is arguably the current darling of the internet with a ‘reported’ 900 million users, whose sole function is to encourage members to provide information by ‘sharing’ yourself with others for the marketing machine that is Facebook. This is not a new business model. However with web beacons, third party advertising companies and Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons infecting the web,(Imagine being an alcoholic and going to the local mall and every store is a bar or liquor store.) data mining, collection and data sales has gone into overdrive.

Facebook has become the internet’s Digital Plantation and its members are all sharecroppers slaving in the digital fields living in the company town, buying ‘cred’ from the Plantation owner, and in the big house there is a giant party as the ‘bosses’ buy and sell attention data, your data.

I mentioned before that this is not a new business model, but a 21st century feedlot(fattening the cattle before sale and slaughter) that has attracted the attention of advertisers and companies in a big way.

In October 2007 was this quote in a Wired Article
“The key thing is that Facebook has an audience,” says Forrester analyst Charlene Li. “Wherever audiences go and people spend time, that becomes an advertising medium.”
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/10/facebook_future
The buzz and revenue being earned by Facebook has led to the upcoming stock sale to the public. If you have a few bucks and want to double your money… fold your money in half and put it back into your pocket. Institutional traders and program traders will be snapping it up and bouncing it around for days.

As I mentioned earlier Facebook is generating revenue by selling advertising and data to companies who have been sucked into the Social Media Kool Aid. On the back of a matchbook, the ability to reach up to 900 million ‘customers’ would seem to be a great bet. Since you can sell almost anything on the web from abacuses to zebras. Almost.
If you consider 1/2 of 1% of ads actually get clicked, and you have a pool of fish even around 450 million would give you about 4.5 million leads to turn into sales, it might be a good deal if you are selling stuff folks need. But need is the last item on the list of advertising objectives.

GM’s Drive By Shooting
However GM, the largest auto manfacturer in the US is pulling out of Facebook. Holy Crap Batman! Somebody in ad land figured out that trying to sell cars used to drive to destinations to folks who are sitting down at a screen or even on a mobile phone is just about the dumbest way to spend money advertising a product that requires you to use your head as an active participant where your tablet, monitor, or mobile phone will get you seriously hurt if you try to multitask.

Once more folks figure this stuff out, ad revenue will plummet, people will demand more accountability from these networks, and the death spiral of irrelevance will suck Facebook into another What Happened to…. article on the back side of the web.

Apple Phone Tracking and the Massive PR Failure

The latest lunacy from the web wing nuts is the discovery of the I Phone data collection and home phoning tracking users across the world. Discovering that your phone is spying on you should not come as a surprise especially since connectivity is being provided by the telecom industry who made a fortune charging you by the second and recording the number called and time talking.

The introduction of GPS tech in phones let all those cute apps like where am i , and where do i get condoms RIGHT NOW work. The fact that most smart phone users use their phones for letting the world know they took a successful dump rather than actually calling and speaking to anyone doesn’t make a very convincing case for connecting the dots between ‘smart phones ‘ and any increase in intelligence in the gene pool. Quite the reverse if the popularity of Farmville and stupid bird games sucking up more minutes than folks talking is any indication.

Apple’s failure and by extension the Windows and Google phones which all do the same thing is not that they are collecting this information, or got caught doing so, but not immediately performing a PR Magic Trick. But I will get to that in a moment.

Behind the cute little screens of every mobile phone are ones and zeros which make up the digital universe. The one true thing in the electronic  universe is: If you make it with ones and zeros somebody will come along and break it.

From passwords to viruses, if it is binary it is breakable. Think about every data breach you have heard of since the first two web pages went live.  Hell, they even have a word for it.  Jailbreaking does not mean digging a tunnel out of the big house, but stands for hacking phone operating systems to do more and different things. Like making useful and free apps that do things that folks actually want, rather than being bombarded with commercial messages offering shit you don’t want, need, or could care less about.

The PR Magic Trick   or the Massive PR Failure

This was a watershed moment for PR/Social Media companies to continue to justify their existence and they fell down. The solution to the black eye and the creepy factor could have been dialed way down using the time honored gag of misdirection.

BLAME IT ON THE PHONE COMPANY!!!!

Holy Shit! If every there was an opportunity to toss somebody under the bus, this was a golden moment. Everybody hates the phone companies and this could have been a PR Coup sticking it to the telecoms and pleading that the phone company made them do it. Especially in the case of the iPhone being nose to ass with AT&T for years. Think NSA Black Rooms. Some of the data collected are the different cell towers used to make connections between you and whatever the fuck you are doing with your phone. This translates into location data which can give a pretty good indication of where you are when you are using your phone. And what you are doing with it.

The Anonymous  data collection excuse  is so much bullshit for a number of reasons. The phone company and Apple will never let go of user data for billing and selling apps on your phone. This means that the unique identifiers like your MAC address and phone number nails you to the data crucifix harder than superglue on your fingertips.

Three Card Monte

BLAME IT ON THE PHONE COMPANY!!!! Apple could have said the phone company made them do it. The phone company could have said that they were collecting this data to determine where and how the network needed upgrading,(not that they will spend any money on doing this, preferring data caps, usage plans, extra numbers you don’t need) or better yet, to keep the tinfoil hat crowd happy, blame it on the government! Yeah! AT&T and the NSA Black Rooms at the switching stations.

Apple’s response is so tepid as too be meaningless.

Apple Admits it Botched iPad, iPhone “Location” Code, Says Fix is Coming


Apple Q&A on Location Data

But Wait!! There’s More!!!
IN an effort to prove that they are the peoples representatives, the Congress is gonna grill Google, Apple and Microsoft. This of course after getting their tits slammed in the door of party posturing.
Google, Apple and Microsoft questioned on data tracking

Jesus, you just can’t make this shit up.