(PNO) Despite widespread disapproval from constituents, S.J.Res 34 has passed the United States Senate with a vote of 50-48, with two absent votes. Thursday, at 12:25 Eastern March 23, 2017, the US Senate voted on S.J.Res 34, and will use the Congressional Review Act to strip away broadband privacy protections that kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms from selling your internet history and app data usage to third parties. S.J.Res 34 was first introduced by 23 Republican Senators earlier this month and its blitz approval is a giant blow to privacy rights in the United States.
The resolution, which is now effectively half passed, will hand responsibility of broadband privacy regulation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and disallow the FCC from making any rules protecting Internet privacy ever again.
The 50 Republican Senators that voted for S.J.Res 34 are (thanks to happyxpenguin):
Senator Roberts (R-KS)
Senator Lee (R-UT)
Senator Boozman (R-AR)
Senator Blunt (R-MO)
Senator Crapo (R-ID)
Senator Scott (R-SC)
Senator Cotton (R-AR)
Senator Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Capito (R-WV)
Senator Alexander (R-TN)
Senator Toomey (R-PA)
Senator Perdue (R-GA)
Senator Cochran (R-MS)
Senator Inhofe (R-OK)
Senator Ernst (R-IA)
Senator Lankford (R-OK)
Senator Collins (R-ME)
Senator Sullivan (R-AK)
Senator Thune (R-SD)
Senator McCain (R-AZ)
Senator Graham (R-SC)
Senator Wicker (R-MS)
Senator Grassley (R-IA)
Senator Burr (R-NC)
Senator Hoeven (R-ND)
Senator Tillis (R-NC)
Senator McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Heller (R-NV)
Senator Cruz (R-TX)
Senator Daines (R-MT)
Senator Portman (R-OH)
Senator Murkowsky (R-AK)
Senator Cassidy (R-LA)
Senator Flake (R-AZ)
Senator Johnson (R-WI)
Senator Rubio (R-FL)
Senator Corker (R-TN)
Senator Risch (R-ID)
Senator Gardner (R-CO)
Senator Young (R-IN)
Senator Barasso (R-WY)
Senator Moran (R-KS)
Senator Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Enzi (R-WY)
Senator Kennedy (R-LA)
Senator Shelby (R-AL)
Senator Rounds (R-SD)
Senator Paul (R-KY)
Senator Isakson (R-GA)
The FCC broadband privacy rules are closer to ending – allowing your private internet history to be sold
The Senators that voted for this have been lobbied by the telecoms and ISPs. Those in support of this stripping of privacy rights have even filed with the FCC attempting to claim that web history and app data usage information is not sensitive information. The EFF put it concisely: Senate Puts ISP Profits Over Your Privacy. Now, the only chance to maintain the hard earned FCC broadband privacy rules lies in defeating H.J.Res 86, the House version of this resolution, which will likely be voted on in the House of Representatives within the next month. It’s up to us to Save Broadband Privacy and make sure that we Don’t Let Congress Undermine Our Privacy.
Smart Cities use commercialized military internet of things tech to spy on everyone
Pegasus Global Holdings (PGH) a Trademark of Mobile Arch Partners (MAP) is working with DHS, the CIA , the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create total surveillance Smart Cities.
Two years ago, PGH announced their plans to spend $1 billion to build a full scale mock-up Smart City, complete with surveillance cameras, microphones, Bluetooth monitoring devices, License Plate Readers and probably Stingray cell phone surveillance equipment. (Click here to learn how Bluetooth monitoring devices spy on motorists and pedestrians.)
What this means is, the Feds have created a mock-up city specifically designed to perfect their surveillance of citizens.
According to PGH’s website, they’re also a prime-vendor for the U.S. government and a manufacturer of defense equipment and technologies. PGH are also experts in commercializing military tech for the marketplace and the militarizing of global commercial technologies for the DOD and other U.S. Government Agencies. (Click here to find out how the Department of Defense funds MAP.)
What they’re really saying is, PGH specializes in using military spying equipment in Smart Cities.
Brief list of companies working on Smart Cities:
Corporations don’t care about our privacy, they only want their piece of the projected $1.56 trillion dollar Smart City market.
Over 30 different Android smartphones and tablets have been found to have had malware pre-installed on them before users even switched them on, according to a cyber security firm.
Check Point detected a “severe infection” on 38 handsets being used by two of its corporate clients, a telecommunications firm and a multinational technology company that have not been named.
The issue affects smartphones from a number of big-name brands, including Samsung, LG and Google. Those named by Check Point are:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- LG G4
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Xiaomi Mi 4i
- Galaxy A5
- ZTE x500
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
- Oppo N3
- Vivo X6 plus
- Nexus 5
- Nexus 5X
- Asus Zenfone 2
- Lenovo S90
- Oppo R7 plus
- Xiaomi Redmi
- Lenovo A850
It must be made clear, however, that not all models of the devices named above are affected.
“According to the findings, the malware were already present on the devices even before the users received them,” reads the Check Point blog post announcing the discovery.
“The malicious apps were not part of the official ROM supplied by the vendor, and were added somewhere along the supply chain.”
Most of the malware discovered by Check Point were info-stealers, but one of the phones had been pre-loaded with ransomware called Slocker.
Ransomware allows a hackers to lock a user out of their device, only restoring proper functionality in exchange for money.
“Pre-installed malware compromise the security even of the most careful users,” continues the report. “In addition, a user who receives a device already containing malware will not be able to notice any change in the device’s activity which often occur once a malware is installed.”
However, users can protect themselves by downloading and running a malware scanner as soon as they first fire up their new device.
WikiLeaks’ recent Vault 7 data dump raised serious alarm bells in the technology community, with allegations that the CIA and MI5 developed techniques for hacking into phones, TVs and computers.
The agency hasn’t commented on the documents, but a number of major technology firms have detailed ways for users to stay safe online.
Proof of intelligent design …
The insect has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing ‘teeth’ that inter mesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronize the animal’s legs when it launches into a jump. The finding demonstrates that gear mechanisms previously thought to be solely man-made have an evolutionary precedent. [source]
Through a combination of anatomical analysis and high-speed video capture of normal plant hopper movements, scientists from the University of Cambridge, led by Malcolm Burrows and Gregory Sutton, have been able to reveal these functioning natural gears for the first time. The findings were reported in the journal, Science (Vol. 341, Issue 6151).
The gear teeth on the opposing hind-legs lock together like those in a car gear-box, ensuring almost complete synchronicity in leg movement – the legs always move within 30 ‘microseconds’ of each other, with one microsecond equal to a millionth of a second.
“This precise synchronization would be impossible to achieve through a nervous system, as neural impulses would take far too long for the extraordinarily tight coordination required,” said lead author Professor Malcolm Burrows, from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology.
“By developing mechanical gears, the Issus can just send nerve signals to its muscles to produce roughly the same amount of force – then if one leg starts to propel the jump the gears will interlock, creating absolute synchronicity. [source]
Interestingly, the mechanistic gears are only found in the insect’s juvenile – or ‘nymph’ – stages, and are lost in the final transition to adulthood. These transitions, called ‘molts’, are when animals cast off rigid skin at key points in their development in order to grow.
It’s not yet known why the Issus loses its hind-leg gears on reaching adulthood. The scientists point out that a problem with any gear system is that if one tooth on the gear breaks, the effectiveness of the whole mechanism is damaged. While gear-teeth breakage in nymphs could be repaired in the next molt, any damage in adulthood remains permanent. [source]
Read more about this fascinating research and discovery at the University of Cambridge.
Will help catalog attempts to limit information
The new code – 451 – is in honor of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 in which books are banned and any found are burned.
The idea is that rather than a web server, proxy or some other system returning a 403 code to a browser when information is blocked – i.e. you are not authorized to see it – the 451 status code will mean “unavailable for legal reasons.” Specifically, according to a draft RFC:
This status code indicates that the server is denying access to the resource as a consequence of a legal demand.
The server in question might not be an origin server. This type of legal demand typically most directly affects the operations of ISPs and search engines.
The IETF published the proposal late last week; this should encourage some people to start using it early. There will be a few more steps before it becomes official. It was first proposed back in June 2012 when British ISPs started being forced to block The Pirate Bay.
In a post on Friday, the chairman of the relevant working group, Mark Nottingham, revealed why it had taken so long to get approval: because the powers that be at the IETF were not persuaded is was a good use of a limited number of status codes.
“Initially, I and some others pushed back,” reveals Nottingham. “HTTP status codes are a constrained name space; once we use everything from 400 to 499, for example, we’re out of luck. Furthermore, while 451 met many of the guidelines for new status codes (such as being potentially applicable to any resource), there wasn’t any obvious way for machines to use it.”
However, as time has passed, things have changed. Says Nottingham: “As censorship became more visible and prevalent on the Web, we started to hear from sites that they’d like to be able to make this distinction. More importantly, we started to hear from members of the community that they wanted to be able to discover instances of censorship in an automated fashion.”
Different groups have started spidering the web to look for examples of censorship, and the 451 code makes that task significantly easier, so the engineers have come around to the idea.
Of course that does not mean to say that 451 will be used for all censorship efforts, but it does provide an official way to do so, and the IETF is hopeful that big companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter will start using it.
Nottingham also suggests that the error code could be used a way to “prompt the user to try accessing the content in a different way”. For example, it could point users to the Tor network as a way to bypass censorship.
Don’t expect to see 451 codes pop up in countries that routinely censor the internet, however. Typically those countries are not overly keen on letting their citizens know just how much information they are hiding from them. The code is however in the best traditions of the internet: using the network itself to gently press on efforts to control it.
Today, U.S. fast-food workers will strike across 270 cities in a protest for higher wages and union rights that they hope will catch the attention of candidates in 2016 elections, organizers said.
The walkouts will be followed by protests in 500 cities by low-wage workers in such sectors as fast food and home and child care, a statement by organizers of the Fight for $15 campaign said on Monday.
The protests and strikes are aimed at gaining candidates’ support heading into the 2016 election for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and union rights, it said.
The strikes and protests will include workers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King , KFC and other restaurants, the statement said.
And while we sympathize with their demands for higher wages, here is the simple reason why they will be very much futile.
Dear fast food workers of the US – presenting you nemesis: the Momentum Machines burger maker.
According to a recent BofA reported on how robotics will reshape the world, San Francisco start up Momentum Machines are out to fully automate the production of burgers with the aim of replacing a human fast food worker. The machine can shape burgers from ground meat, grill them to order with the specified amount of char, toast buns, add tomatoes, onions, pickles, and finally place it on a conveyor belt.
The robot is shown below. It occupies 24 square feet, and is much smaller and efficient than most assembly-line fast-food operations. It provides “gourmet cooking methods never before used in a fast food restaurant” and will deposit the completed burger into a bag. It does all of this without a trace of attitude.
According to public data, the company’s robot can “slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.” Unlike human workers, the robot is “more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour” or a burger every 10 seconds.
Furthermore, future generations of the device “will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.”
As the company’s website adds, “our various technologies can produce an ever-growing list of common choices like salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and many other multi-ingredient foods with a gourmet focus.”
But most importantly, it has no wage demands: once one is purchased it will work with 100% efficiency for years. And it never goes on strike.
As the company’s co-founder Alexandros Vardakostas told Xconomy his “device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.“
The company’s philosophy on making millions of fast food workers obsolete:
The issue of machines and job displacement has been around for centuries and economists generally accept that technology like ours actually causes an increase in employment.
The three factors that contribute to this are
- the company that makes the robots must hire new employees,
- the restaurant that uses our robots can expand their frontiers of production which requires hiring more people, and
- the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy.
This is a major problem for the US economy, which once built on a manufacturing backbone, has seen the fastest jobs growth in recent years for workers employed by “food service and drinking places” i.e., fast food workers, waiters and bartenders.
Finally, for those complaining that there will be no “human touch” left to take the orders, robots have that covered too:
And now it’s time to calculate how many tens if not hundreds of billions in additional welfare spending these soon to be unemployed millions in low-skilled workers will cost US taxpayers.