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2018-12-14 13:00 by Karl Denninger
in POTD , 55 references

you want it....

An awesome self-gift for Christmas, or for a loved one.  Brand new -- and it can be all yours.


Just email now!

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2018-12-14 06:50 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 157 references
[Comments enabled]  

Still think this is no big deal eh?

One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark to a nearby Planned Parenthood, remaining there for more than an hour. Another represents a person who travels with the mayor of New York during the day and returns to Long Island at night.

Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7 a.m. and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, a 46-year-old math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.

An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than a million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. While Ms. Magrin’s identity was not disclosed in those records, The Times was able to easily connect her to that dot.

Dozens of firms receive this information; the Times cites 75 they were able to identify.

It just takes one that sells that data to, or has someone working for them who is, a terrorist and wants to assassinate police officers, all of whom go to the cop shop daily (duh.)  Or military members, who go to their assigned base daily.  Or political figures, all of whom go to their respective political offices daily.  Or abortion doctors.  Or...... {you fill in the blank.}

IBM bought "Weather Channel" apps.  You install it to get the weather on your phone.  Do you knowingly let IBM have your precise location 24x7x365 to do with it whatever they want?  No.  Foresquare is owned Goldman and Peter Thiel.

Is it trivial to figure out who someone is?  You bet.  You go to an address and are precisely identified as being there public records provide the rest.  You go to a specific work location and a residence and the odds of knowing who you are with a trivial amount of effort reach 100%.

What if your health insurance company knows you go through McDonalds' daily?

Do you really think this doesn't happen?  Of course it does.  Facesucker and the rest make billions; over $27 per person per quarter, including children, in the US.  Note that this includes duplicate accounts and those for your dog, of which there are many.  Now consider that the actual amount you pay to make this "worth it" to some alleged "advertiser" must be at least ten times as much -- because you must make more for the company in question in profit, not revenue, than it costs to "advertise."  In other words if you're on Facebook on average you're getting hosed out of at least $1,000 a year.

"Free and always will be" eh?  Sounds like consumer fraud to me.  Of course nobody goes to prison if they're a "big executive", so why not screw you?  It's not like you have the balls to do anything about it -- right?

Note that Google and Apple design their systems so this sort of intentional abuse cannot be avoided.  For example it would be trivial for both operating systems to forbid access to location data of any sort unless an application was actually in the foreground -- visible on the screen.  This would be very easy for them to do.

But it would make data collection worthless unless you were actively using an app -- for example, asking "Where is the nearest Starbucks?"

Nobody is bothered (much) by a mapping application having access to your location while you are driving and using it to navigate.  How else can it possibly work?  The problem is that apps like "Gasbuddy" grab that data all the time if you will let them, and the phone makers intentionally make it hard for you to shut it off.  You can turn off location entirely but then nothing has it, and if you turn it back on to use it and forget to shut it off again -- sucks to be you.

This is not an accident; it's by design.

Further, both firms have been caught sending location data for themselves when you have location off!  They use the cell location information for this, which you can't disable without turning off the ability to make and receive calls.

So let's fix this legislatively.

  • It is a felony to, without explicit consent as to both the exact scope of use to which such data will be made, to collect, process or sell same irrespective of alleged "de-identification."  Such an explicit and easily-understood statement of use, including the scope of all possible users, buyers or purposes, must be made before any collection takes place and affirmative consent must be obtained.  In the case of a minor under the age of 18 the consent of an adult must be obtained (yes, this effectively makes it illegal to have any device marketed at or primarily used by a child, or activated by a child, collect any of this information, ever.)

  • No firm may alter the terms of past data collected so as to render it less restrictive in its distribution than the policy in force at the time the data was first acquired.

  • All firms that collect, analyze, include in their code or cause to be transmitted such data shall be held jointly and severably liable for any breach by any party who acquires that data, whether through sale, business transfer or theft.  (In other words if you collect, handle or process it you're responsible for it, including loss by negligence.  "I didn't  know" is not a defense.)

  • No firm may sell any device which does not permit the individual selection of authorization for collection of location data by any means, whether cell, GPS, WiFi BSSID, Bluetooth beacon or other technology now present or in the future invented where (1) the barring of collection of all location information is not selectable, (2) the barring of all location information to or from a given application, including factory or carrier installed applications, is not individually selectable and (3) the ability exists via easily and clearly-noted means exists to bar location information except when an application is in the foreground and actually visible to the user on an unlocked, lit screen.

  • All persons must be given a simple means, no more difficult to use than a click on an option screen, to permanently revoke permission from all past data collected and its use, and such a revocation must cause the immediate and permanent removal of all such data by all parties who have acquired it, without limitation.  The act of de-installing an application from a device must, by default, cause this option to be selected.

  • These prohibitions shall apply to all parties including OEMs, carriers and software system developers as well as individual application developers, with liability being joint and several among all parties involved in the violation.  The criminal penalty for violations is 10 years of prison for each person so-impacted along with a $500,000 statutory civil penalty payable to each person so affected with an individual right of action for each person who has had their data collected.  In short if you violate any of this you go to prison, right now, and your entire company (yes, including publicly traded firms) is destroyed, and individual consumers can make sure it happens even if the government refuses to file criminal charges as it has repeatedly against the medical industry's scams.

I hear the wailing already -- that would destroy the online ad industry!

Well, if it would destroy the industry for people to know what you're doing, for you to have to disclose to them clearly and plainly what you're doing, and to give them the ability to say "No" by simply de-installing your app or turning off the ability to track them without their knowledge when they are not using your product then you are not an "industry."

You are a bunch of thugs intent on screwing people and you deserve to be in prison -- or worse.

If we don't make these changes in the law it is simply a matter of time before 1,000 police officers, politicians or military members are assassinated all at once by a moderate-sized gang of thugs who infiltrate or set up such an "advertising" firm and identify, with 100% accuracy, exactly who 1,000 cops are all across the nation and nail them all at the same time on the same day as they leave their homes to go to work.

Think it won't happen?



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2018-12-13 07:55 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 238 references
[Comments enabled]  

No, really, you mean the law really does apply?

Executives at more than a dozen generic-drug companies had a form of shorthand to describe how they conducted business, insider lingo worked out over steak dinners, cocktail receptions and rounds of golf.

The “sandbox,” according to investigators, was the market for generic prescription drugs, where everyone was expected to play nice.

“Fair share” described dividing up the sales pie to ensure that each company reaped continued profits. “Trashing the market” was used when a competitor ignored these unwritten rules and sold drugs for less than agreed-upon prices.

15 USC Chapter 1.

Which has been completely ignored by the Federal Government and its prosecutors now, when it comes to the medical industry generally, for 30+ years.

This, despite the fact that the industry twice, in concert with the insurance business, tried to claim exemptions.  Both of those cases went all the way to the Supreme Court and the medical and insurance industries lost both cases.

So the law does apply, and has been tested.

Doesn't matter.  The drug makers don't care.  They have broken the law with impunity.  And why not?  Nobody goes to prison.

If you think this is just about generic drugs, you're dead flat wrong.  It applies to everything in the medical industry.  The very premise of being unable to get a price as a customer while the very same hospital has negotiated a price with an insurance firm is in essence the definition of anti-trust.  Predatory, collusive behavior intended to prevent you from shopping -- that is, exercising competition.  15 USC Chapter 1 says that sort of behavior is a criminal felony.  Well?

Screwing people who can't negotiate violates all manner of anti-gouging laws that exist on the books in most states as well.  Those laws may have as their predicate natural disasters but few of them actually require that; most require only duress, which is why the motel has to post a sign on the back of the door with the "rack rate" and they can't bill you 10x that, or refuse to give you a price, before you sleep on the bed.  Never mind the implied covenant of fair dealing that is in all contracts and cannot be waived.

None of this stuff is hard to fix.  Enforce existing law and it all gets fixed.  Is it really that difficult?


So why are the states going after this?  Likely because Medicaid comes with an unfunded mandate they have to cover, and it's hurting them.  Finally.

Does the federal government care?  Obviously not, but they damn well should since Medicare alone spent over $1 trillion last fiscal year -- and likely paid close to 500% what they should have.

Yes, you read that right.

But heh, if you won't charge people and actually throw them in prison why shouldn't they break the law, even if the behavior in question has been a felony for the last 100+ years?

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2018-12-12 12:13 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 175 references
[Comments enabled]  

Here we go.

Cohen goes to the big house for the same offense Hillary committed, Obama committed and Clinton committed.  Oh, and Bush probably did too.

Want to talk about rule of law again?

Yeah, ok... you can all STFU until Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with Obama are all doing three years -- at least -- for the same crime.

Which they all committed, and for which none of them were prosecuted.

PS: That includes anyone who claims Trump is a "Rule of Law" President or waves a "MAGA" anything within my vision.

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2018-12-12 08:01 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 121 references
[Comments enabled]  

Now the truth comes out....

Two groups of Central American migrants marched to the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana on Tuesday with a list of demands, with one group delivering an ultimatum to the Trump administration: either let them in the U.S. or pay them $50,000 each to go home, a report said.

Or else..... what?

My response would be simple: Issue a call to all Americans who are willing and able to defend the border themselves.  Issue them blanket permission to stop anyone who sets foot on American soil over a marked border (e.g. by climbing a fence or tunneling under one) by whatever means are necessary.

These people are not fleeing for "humanitarian" reasons.  They're extortionists and extortion is a criminal felony.

In the context of international relations extortion is a casus belli.

Declare war against the US and then demand we pay you to stop it?  I have a answer to that.

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