balloons+pier

A terribly executed reply to an article on a popular forum that I luckily decided not to post *whew*

This is in reference to an article I read online regarding "Big Data" - Facebook, Google, Amazon, web advertising, second and third-party middlemen, and the whole general data-mine profiteering of personal information.

It's too bad that we, as the users, aren't the ones to reap the financial benefits that Facebook, Google, etc. gets for mining our ("us" being the users) own personal info. We'd all be seriously loaded by now! Then again, if this were the case, said companies/corporations probably wouldn't be anywhere close what they are today, or even exist for that matter, therefore probably not making the payout we'd collect not nearly as sweet as they currently receive. We just can't win, I suppose. Hah.
OK, this is probably going to come off as a bit fruit-loopy and will undoubtedly be misconstrued in some way by some, but I'll take my chances and spit it out. I've no shame - I keep telling myself that...
So, as most of us already know, the people (i.e. users) whose info is getting mined, collected and sold off by and to the "Big Data world" is what's making these corps/companies so wealthy and/or is the entire reason for their existence in the first place! Meaning, many of them are absolutely nothing without us. Yet, even though all that data and info is originally and personally our own, we don't get a dime of it. It seems that keeping touch with long-distance friends is what justifies this for some companies as though we can't just pick up the phone or text those friends instead? But I digress from the point which I am at long last trying to make... This bizarre "relationship" we have with web services and "social networking sites" (need I really name who they are?) where we are choosing to essentially hand over our own lives, and freely, for them to sell and churn out a profit, is akin to a prostitute working for a pimp. Not to mention the slight feeling of being repeatedly violated more and more (in another way; not in a sexually/bodily way, of course!). There's definitely some parallel between these two "industries" in that exploitation is what they bank on, albeit the drug addiction, mental and physical health issues, and murder which normally goes with the former business (ie being whored out and virtually owned by evil pimp for his own income).

I know, I know, it's a just a wee far-fetched and an utterly crap analogy that is figuratively and quite literally stupid/laughable! But I can't help it that this metaphor continues to pop into my head more and more lately. Until I get a better analogy, this is where it'll stay. Besides, getting this off my chest and typed out (even if less than mediocre) was necessary and I feel better already. Plus I was bored and daydreaming when I start writing this.
  • Mood: uncomfortable uncomfortable
aggressive, My-Little-Pony with AK-47's

Copy of: Reddit and 4Chan Are on Boston Bomber Case By Alexander Abad-Santos for The Atlantic Wire

Reddit and 4Chan Are on the Boston Bomber Case
theatlanticwire.com

The Boston Marathon bombing investigation, now in its third day, is not just the largest crime scene in the city's history — it's the most crowdsourced terror investigation in American history. With the FBI, the ATF, and Boston law enforcement soliciting videos, cellphone pictures, and anything that could lead to the capture of whoever set off those pressure cooker bombs, the plea has more or less turned the interested and the Internet into amateur investigators armed with what we know the remains of the bag and the bomb look like. On Reddit, where they can now apparently track murder by way of Google Maps and where some of the most detailed information on the Boston case has surfaced publicly, the FBI's plea for info has spurred the "Find Boston Bombers" subreddit, with all kinds of analysis. But here's the find they're most excited about: They've found a photo of a man with a backpack that has straps which resemble what federal officials believe is the detonated backpack. (Update: Authorities appeared to have a suspect — follow here.)

We have obscured the man's face because, well, the only suggestion of a connection to the bombings comes from people on Reddit who have been looking at photographs:






















And one more angle, showing extreme close up of the straps.
























Again, we can only vouch for the image of the detonated bag, which the FBI says contained one of the pressure cooker bombs. There are no details on where the image of the man in the blue jacket came from, or at what time it was taken during the marathon, or the location— the only reference we have is that it trickled down from social media and Flickr,and down to sites like 4chan andReddit. Redditors, to their credit, haven't been shy in voicing the skepticism and concern with pinning this terror attack on an innocent man:











The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal has a compelling point about how this Internet vigilantism movement is troubling, and could end up in people being unfairly singled out. And yes, there's a deep, and problematic potential of that happening. The blue sweater picture isn't the only other photo popping up however, like this one who one poster believes could be smuggling a pressure cooker bomb because of the shape of his backpack:



Internet sleuths believe this a photo of that same man without his backpack (we can't tell one way or another):































And this, one, which we sorta have no idea why things are being circled:































Reading through the amateur forensics feels like an intense and puzzling game of Where's Waldo.  But it's a byproduct of what you get when the FBI asks the public for help. Jittery nerves lead to things like the New Yorkers who reported 77 suspicious packages in the wake of the Boston bombings, and multiple incorrect Chris Dorner sightings in February. And the blue robe man, along with the pressure cooker backpack man, are all tips—tips that part of the thousands the FBI receives. As The Washington Post reported:



[Richard] DesLauriers said cooperation from the community will play a key role in the investigation. He said the range of suspects remained wide open, but by midday Tuesday more than 2,000 tips had been received.



By Alexander Abad-Santos for the Atlantic Wire
For the source click
HERE
waterfall braid

LuxoMafia

LuxoMafia - A 60 Minutes segment from a few weeks ago touching upon the monopolization of brand name eyewear independents being swallowed up by Italian mega corporation, Luxottica, who produce all everything from Ray Ban's to Gucci to Tiffany to COACH, plus owning the entirety of whats sold at Sunglass Hut (and the actual entity itself), the 2nd largest eye insurance company in N. America, Target vision, etc. etc. Just another example of corporate monopolization.

Seriously, for a long time now I've been wondering why so many sunnies I try on in the store these past few years, all seem vaguely similar to one another no matter the brand or style.

Now I know (and why they're all out the ass expensive).




Here is the sourceCollapse )
angry, mad, annoyed

Writer's Block: American Censorship Day!

Um. 

Hell to the N-O! 

Sheesh.
Why the eff would I?
Kinda hate some of these ridic questions but it's 3am and I can't sleep, so what's new....smh.  :C







Today, Congress holds hearings on the first American Internet censorship system.
This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. [Learn more here.]


Do you support this bill?

View 689 Answers

carefree

Article: 'The Death of a Journal: Who is cracking down on Livejournal?'

Not that this topic is exactly anything  new  for us ~loyal~ Livejournal users/readers (or, more precisely, what's left of the non-Russian Livejournal users/readers) but thought I'd copy/paste this article from Russia Profile nevertheless.
Here's the source:
SourceCollapse )     


By Svetlana Kononova            
Special to Russia Profile              
August 8, 2011
 
 
LiveJournal, the largest and most popular blogging network in Russia, was knocked offline for several days at the end of July due to DDoS attacks, the platform’s owner SUP reported. This is the third attack on LiveJournal since the beginning of the year – an apparent sign that somebody is trying to limit its popularity and impact on public opinion. Experts and users have conflicting theories on the recent attacks and on where the pressure against the blogging platform is coming from. When LiveJournal was crippled by hacking attacks last month, theories quickly developed as to who was behind the sabotage. For some experts, such as Ilya Sachkov, the general director of Group-IB, a Moscow-based company that specializes in investigating computer crime, the scale of the attacks was significant and indicated that it was the work of well-off and professional saboteurs. “The average cost of DDoS attacks varies and may reach $1,500 a day. But in some cases, the cost can reach record levels of $5,000 per day,” Sachkov said, adding that costs depend on the quality of DDoS services and the difficulty of launching an attack. DDoS attacks block access to Web sites and halt their activities by overloading them with requests sent from a network of computers or a “botnet,” controlled by a virus distributed by cyber-criminals. When the target network is overloaded, the site shuts down. “Attacks on such a popular platform as LiveJournal lead to a wide public response and increased attention from law-enforcers. Therefore, it requires highly professional perpetrators who can commit cyber-crimes for a long time without being punished,” Sachkov said. In terms of the motivation behind the attacks, three main theories have emerged: political interference; internal problems at SUP; and a battle for control of the blogging market. Of these, many users and experts are pointing to political interference as the most likely. LiveJournal plays the role of independent mass media in modern Russia, where television is fully controlled by the authorities. More than 32 million Internet users have accounts on LiveJournal, of which around two million blogs are updated regularly. LiveJournal users, unlike TV audiences, are well-known for their skepticism toward the authorities. Used predominantly by the educated middle or aspiring middle-class, LiveJournal is often seen as the “cradle” of civil society. Protest movements such as the blue bucket flash-mobs against “migalki” – the blue flashing lights that allow high-ranking officials to flout basic traffic rules; the defenders of the Khimki Forest protesting against construction of a new Moscow to St. Petersburg highway; and pregnant women opposing diminishing maternity benefits have all used the platform to share information and galvanize support. Previous attacks add weight to the theory that attempts to bring the site down are politically motivated. On April 5, Maria Garnaeva, an expert at antivirus company Kaspersky Lab, published data from the company’s monitoring of LiveJournal. “The first attack on LiveJournal was implemented on March 24. The owners of a botnet initiated an attack on Alexei Navalny’s [a leading anti-corruption activist] blog. On March 26, the bots received instructions to initiate attacks on the Web site of another well-known champion in the fight against corruption – Rospil.info,” she wrote. Garnaeva also published a list of blogs which were attacked on April 4, all of which have a large Internet audience. Beyond Navalny, this list includes Internet-guru Anton Nossik, writer Tatiana Tolstaya, designer Artemy Lebedev, photographer Ilya Varlamov, journalist Bozhena Rynska and a few dozen other popular bloggers. Most of those on the list are famous for their criticism or mocking of the authorities and not one is either a member of United Russia or a governmental official. But some experts believe that internal problems at SUP are playing a decisive role. Writer Alexei Exler said he believes in a theory of “crooked hands and unprofessional management.” Meanwhile, Eugene Kaspersky, the head of Kaspersky Lab and a leading Internet security expert, said that “the patient is closer to DeadJournal than LiveJournal. It seems the problems are clinical. And in order to ‘straighten itself out,’ LiveJournal will not only need to upgrade its technical staff, but also to clean out the rot. It’s hard to believe that this will happen and problems with access to LiveJournal will probably happen again from time to time,” he wrote in his blog, relocating his posts from LiveJournal to his own personal Web site. The third hypothesis over the attacks is that they were an attempt to expose problems within LiveJournal in order to weaken bloggers’ loyalty to the platform and lure them to its competitors in the market. While many popular bloggers created accounts on alternative platforms in the wake of LiveJournal’s problems, other large social networks like Facebook and VKontakte are not as convenient for blogging. Twitter gives users limited space, while Google+ requires users to post under their real names. Most top Russian bloggers still consider LiveJournal to be their “home.” But combating the attacks, which can be managed from anywhere in the world, remains a challenge, beginning with identifying the perpetrators. Security experts have different ways to investigate DDoS attacks and identify cyber-criminals, explained Sachkov. “One method is ‘pattern.’ Every botnet is a set of computers with certain characteristics such as an IP-address and an operating system. These characteristics are constantly changing, but there is a mathematical model which allows us to calculate these changes and compare them. ‘Patterns’ are like unique fingerprints that include different geographical and technical data,” Sachkov said. “The other method is the ‘Honey Pot.’ This is a form of bait, which is installed on a controlled computer or virtual machine. When a virus infects the computer it is possible to monitor its activity: the instructions it receives, from where and who else it attacks.” But even if caught, prosecutors may find it hard to bring the perpetrators to justice. Irina Levova, a leading analyst at the Russian Association of Electronic Communication (RAEC), said that if identified, the perpetrators of DDoS attacks on LiveJournal may be punished under Articles 272 and 273 of the Criminal Code, which cover “Illegal access to computer information” and “Creating, using and distributing malicious programs.” She believes current legislation is too lenient toward cyber criminals, allowing them to commit crimes repeatedly and inflict expensive damage. “From the point of view of members of the Committee against Cyber-Crime at the RAEC, the current Criminal Code is too kind to cyber-criminals. Work on amendments is a very difficult task and should be done via the joint efforts of Internet companies, law enforcement representatives and computer security experts,” Levova concluded.
  • Mood: pessimistic pessimistic
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