The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets

No, not on the shoppers.

Or even on Daesh.

No, declare war on Apps.  Specifically, apps that siphon off your location (and often other) data on an unchecked, constant basis once loaded. with many of them making a diligent effort to keep you from stopping them.

Reality is this: "Free" apps aren't free.  The price is that they want to advertise to you.  Location-based advertising is more-accurate in terms of value to the advertiser in that it's more likely to result in a sale.  Fine -- as long as you're actively using a given app -- that is, as long as it has focus, or is on the display.  It's also fine if it's something like a fitness tracking app while you are actually performing some activity you're trying to track (like a run, hike, etc.)

But it's not ok for an app to keep doing this sort of thing when it doesn't have focus and is not in some activity you've asked for.  There are many reasons for this, which I will outline here:

First, the most-mundane.  Every time an application on your phone does this it consumes battery power.  If you're wondering why your phone dies so fast, that's a big part of the reason.  If you have 20 apps on your device that all do this that's 20x every five minutes or so (which is the average interval!) that these apps all pull your location and send it to "momma".  Every one of those instances consumes both battery power and network bandwidth, which I remind you is something you're paying for.

Do not believe for a second that this sort of misbehavior is isolated or uncommon.  All of the social messaging apps do it, including Facebook and others.  But the offenders aren't limited to apps like Facebook; they're also things like Walmart's app, which continually pulls location data once started.  Even worse are games, which almost-universally do this sort of thing.

Some of these apps are extremely persistent, such as Charity Miles that I documented earlier; these will hammer on location requests, including trying to use the GPS repeatedly, if you're in a location without a clear view of the sky.  This is extremely bad for your power consumption because the GPS chip is one of the most-hungry in your phone when it comes to power budget.

Second, there is the less-mundane.  This data can be trivially used to identify you with specificity along with your daily habits.  It requires no linkage to your device ID or a login to do so either; all it requires is a bit of time.  Within a few days or weeks it is trivially easy to know exactly who you are and since there is a unique device ID associated with each of these data points it's not even slightly difficult to link it to your characteristics.  While this might not link it to a name that doesn't matter.

And this brings me to the real risk: You have absolutely no idea nor control over who has this data, who's keeping it, for how long (the presumption has to be "forever") and who it's being given or sold to.

The latter is an extremely serious issue.  Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Daesh wanted to murder a bunch of law enforcement officers and military members in this country.  Let's further assume that they managed to get a few thousand of their jackasses into the country and they obtained illicit arms (both solid assumptions, by the way; even though an illegal invader cannot legally buy a gun he can sure steal one or get it from a gang-banger.)

Now they buy one of these databases.  They don't get names this way, but they don't need to.  What they analyze and obtain is a number of people who on a daily basis go from a residence to a police station or military base, both of which are endpoints that are trivially associated with a place of work and residence by the times spent there.

It is an utterly trivial matter to determine this from an every 5 minute location ping.

Now the jackasses have a list of homes to target their assaults; that not every one of them is correct doesn't matter.  What does matter is that this constitutes a high-value target list and there is not a damn thing you can do about it once the data has been collected and is owned by these companies as they do, can and will sell that data.  There is no way to determine with certainty that the person buying it wants it only for a so-called "legitimate" purpose, never mind the risk of the database being stolen once sold or resold by the buyer.  Worse, all of this analysis can be completed from thousands of miles away beyond the reach of American law enforcement or anyone else for that matter and once the analysis is complete exactly zero exposure to arrest occurs until the jackass attempts his hideous act.

THIS is why the practice of allowing that sort of data "mining" from your personal devices must be stopped and those firms doing so severely sanctioned.  It is probably already too late in terms of whether this kind of abuse will eventually happen (it will) but the longer we let this go on the worse, and more irrevocable, the damage will be.

There is utterly nothing that can be done to filter or mitigate this risk other than prohibiting app publishers along with phone and OS vendors from doing this in the first place, defaulting any such tracking to off when other than in a legitimate activity and allowing it to be disabled entirely for a given app or globally.  Here's looking at you, Google and Apple, but those are not the worst of the offenders -- no, the worst are the app publishers over which there is zero oversight or accountability.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

2015-11-26 09:30 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 247 references

As you cook up a "thankful" feast you might want to contemplate a few things.  In no particular order.....

In Chicago there was a shooting of LaQuan McDonald over a year ago.  400 days later, there was a murder charge leveled in that shooting, even though the shooting itself was caught on video tape and the tape was known to exist and was in the custody of police within hours.  That's because the recording was made on a cop dashcam.

The dead guy was 17, had a 3" pocket knife and was on drugs.  The latter, of course, was only known posthumously.  However, he wasn't attacking anyone with said knife, the blade was folded into the handle and thus not capable of stabbing anyone and in fact he never made a move in the direction of the officers with the (folded) knife -- an act that, for anyone who knows anything about knives, at reasonable distance is certainly reason to shoot (you can close the distance in a shockingly short period of time and even a 3" knife is more than enough to kill; knives are bad news and in may ways can be worse than guns.)

But, in this case, the deceased did not have an open blade and more importantly he was walking away.  The cop who shot him took an entire six seconds after exiting his car and fired the first rounds from 15'.  Then he kept shooting after the teen was hit and had fallen to the ground, emptying his weapon.  Of the officers there including his partner, he was the only one to fire.

The pig department appears to have to tried to cover it up, as did the city.  For 400 days they tried; there is evidence that the city and cops attempted to not only prevent release of the footage of what looks a lot like an execution they also tampered with security camera footage from at least one nearby business. The media is not only complicit they're outright in on it with pieces that say things like this:

The majority of police officers are incredible men and women who suit up every day to protect and serve their communities. By waiting 400 days to charge Van Dyke, as he collected a paycheck, it looks like the city is not only protecting Van Dyke, it is dragging its feet on justice.

No they're not.

Every single one of the Chicago police officers from the beat cop on up who knew of tampered evidence and said nothing are accessories after the fact to this apparent crime, yet none will be charged.  Every single one of them, were they to be an ordinary civilian, would be facing felony charges right here and now.  Were you or I to shoot someone in circumstances similar to this cop it wouldn't take 400 seconds before we were charged rather than 400 days.  The city and its government knew damn well how bad this was up front, as evidenced by the fact that they paid off the family long before charges were laid.  They didn't have to wait to be sued -- they knew they'd lose, so they forked up the citizens' cash before that ever hit a courtroom.  The city government, here's looking at you Rahm, robbed the citizens to pay for the crime committed by the entire Chicago PD.

Everyone, of course, wants to make this about race. It's not about race.  It's about murder because we can, and then paying people off with someone else's money that is forcibly taken from them, in this case forcibly taken from the people who live in Chicago.  That adds theft to the litany of abuses, all under the general category of corruption, abuse of power and direct violations of your rights.

But nobody cares about where the real issues lie nor will they do anything about it.  Oh sure, there are protests both past and planned, including threatened protests to try to disrupt Black Friday on the Miracle Mile.  The latter, by the way, is not only good it's about ******n time because the people who butter the bread in the city are the businesses that pay exorbitant rents and taxes and if you can't get someone's attention by appealing to common sense try economic pressure; it often works.  After all it's far more likely that a merchant paying millions in taxes will get the attention of the corrupt city when their income is cut off than you will by waving a sign.

This of course is not the first nor will it be the last of these "adventures" by our cities, states and federal government.  It just happens to be a particularly egregious example that the city is trying to cover up by hitting the cop with a murder charge -- but only one cop, rather than everyone involved in what is obviously rank obstruction of justice and evidence tampering, all of which are felonies.

When are we going to stop this crap as a society?  It's not just the murder of a 17 year old, an act that many will excuse because he was high.  So what if he was high?  Yes, I know, there are claims he was burgling vehicles but that's not cause to execute him, it's cause to arrest him.  There was quite-clearly no attempt to arrest made here but more importantly what is evident is that the entire apparatus of government tried to cover it up, including paying off the family.

The same crap happens all over the country and has for decades.  9/11 anyone?  Nobody ever faced the music for their failures, yet those attacks were utterly preventable even without any of our "modern surveillance" state.  The FBI had multiple reports on the sheetheads who committed the attacks and yet did nothing.  We have a former governor running for President that had his administration give driver licenses -- that is, valid state IDs -- to the majority of the hijackers despite them not being either citizens or permanent legal residents.

Those two acts alone were tremendous enabling factors in the deaths of 3,000 Americans and were you or I do any of those acts as ordinary citizens we would have been charged as an accessory before the fact to 3,000 acts of murder and death-by-terrorism.  Yet Jeb and the Fibbies involved not only walk free the former is running for President!

Hillary Clinton undertook a blatantly unlawful set of actions while Secretary of State with her email server.  She knew it was illegal as she was well-aware of the requirements to maintain not only all correspondence in relationship to her job as a government employee but also the fact that much of what she did was inherently classified.  Civilians and members of our armed forces and government agencies comply with these laws every single day, including my friends and associates who work for various branches of same.  They comply because it's the right thing to do and in addition it's legally required.  Clinton did not comply because she believed (justly so thus far) that she was above the law and could do whatever the hell she wanted, including quite possibly actively getting people killed in Benghazi.  It is known that she directly lied to the American people about the cause of that attack because she told her daughter what the true cause was within hours and it had nothing to do with an Internet video.  One of the reasons for public records laws is to expose such lies and one of the reasons Clinton did what she did was to try to prevent that exposure.  This alone ought to disqualify her from running for President yet nearly half the nation is prepared to vote for her anyway!

These are just a few small examples of why your "thankfulness" today ought to be something else.

But it won't be, will it?  Naw -- not only today, but this evening and tomorrow this nation will commit to its rituals of trampling one another trying to get the hottest new toy or big TV, utterly ignoring the fact that more than a quarter of everything you make and produce is literally stolen through corruption and fraud.

We are the turkey.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

I give this guy credit for what he's doing, and I am a member and supporter of Team RWB myself.

But he's going about it the wrong way.

Derek Mitchell, a 500-lb man from Kansas City, Missouri, has committed to run at least one 5K race a month— not only to get in shape, but also to encourage other people to do the same. Fox 9 reported that since March, Mitchell has run 19 5Ks, during which his story has begun going viral.

Now granted, this guy has a legitimate medical issue that is playing hell with his metabolism.  But that just makes the central point I've been making even more important: Thou shalt not fill thy glycemic stores.

And that, in short, means not eating refined carbohydrates of any sort.

Were Derek to do that I suspect he'd literally see his pants fall off in short order.

The running will certainly help, but as I proved when I lost my 60lbs (because I kept instrumentation for it) the running was only responsible for about 20 of the 60lbs I lost.  In fact, the impact of that running might have been zero, in that when you exercise you would expect to be more-hungry and thus, all things being equal, you'd expect to consume more food.

But even ignoring that fact 40 of the 60lbs was a metabolic shift and the cause of it was not running.

The cause of it was getting all of the refined grain and sugar products out of my diet, and the consequence of doing so was that the natural regulatory system that your body has to control food intake to your actual metabolic requirements started working properly again.

And thus my pants fell off and I'll bet so will Derek's if he does the same thing I did.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

It's about damn time.

Officials in Chicago urged protesters to be "peaceful" as a dash-cam video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black teenager was released Tuesday. A state prosecutor said the release prompted her to move up the announcement of the officer’s murder charge out of concern the footage would spark violence.

I wonder why, given that it appeared to be an execution from what I can see.

First degree murder, however, is the right charge.  No namby-pamby nonsense going on this time.  Whether the (effectively forced) release of the video, which was fought incidentally, had anything to do with the timing of the charges is not known.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Van Dyke is "going to have to account for his actions," but the department was prepared for any protests following the release of the dash-cam video of the shooting.

"People have a right to be free speech, but they do not have a right to criminal acts," he said.

Just remember, Garry, that neither do cops.

Well, except when they think they can get away with it, which is (of course) most of the time.

The people have always had and always will have the ability to put a stop to corruption, and sunlight is the best disinfectant, applied liberally and without delay.

May there be much more of it in the future.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

This is a bummer, but it points out that human stupidity knows few boundaries, and when mixed with "matters of the heart" it can (and often does) get you killed.

An Austrian teen who ran away to Syria last year to marry an ISIS fighter was beaten to death when she had a change of heart and tried to escape from the terror group, local media reported.

Yeah, well, marrying a musloid nutjob who believes in cutting off heads is pretty far up on the list of human idiocy. It's not like these people haven't made well-known their penchant for doing that crap either; the entire world has seen their "ideology" in action over the last many years.

Wake up folks, especially if you're young and idealistic.  A mountain lion doesn't care that you're vegan: He is a carnivore, and you look very much like dinner.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection:
Really, Let's Cut the Crap Eh?

Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access

Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.


The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.