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2018-09-10 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 169 references
[Comments enabled]  

You never knew..... and you never will until and unless you demand this crap stop.

(Bloomberg) -- For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement. 

"Select" advertisers.

In other words, Google picking winners and losers.  The losers are all the small businesses and others who didn't get "selected."  They had less information on purpose, and no level playing field.

What stops MasterCard from selling that same data to your health insurance company?


They own it.  That's how the law is right now.  And they have quietly, over the last few years, gone from collecting just time, date and total ticket amount from a given business (which has a "code" so they know what it's primary business function is -- e.g. a restaurant, a grocery store, etc) into Level 3 data which returns the exact quantity and price on every single item purchased.

This has to change folks, and it must change now because you are being discriminated against right here, right now, today even if the only use is to "prejudice" ads.

You get some opportunity and someone else doesn't.  More to the point you don't on something and someone else does, which means you pay for part of their <X>, where X is whatever it was -- whether it's health care, a product in the store, car insurance or something else.

Competition is supposed to prevent this sort of discriminatory conduct from being successful but it doesn't work when there's no actual competition.  If I can catalog everything you look at and do both in the online and real world then I can make damn sure you get screwed in some form or fashion.

This "maximizes" my profits -- gee, isn't Wall Street "enjoying" that right now -- while you are getting hosed.

Those "record profits" don't come out of thin air.

They all come out of your wallet and it's only reasonable if it happens due to a fair market-based exchange, not one where you are intentionally kept in the dark so you can be screwed -- as is the case today.

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2018-09-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 209 references
[Comments enabled]  

There is a bill pending in the Senate -- which has passed the House -- that basically eliminates compliance requirements (with federal motor vehicle standards) for a large number of driverless vehicles.

Nader is going ape**** over this, as you'd expect (being that his history goes back to the Corvair, if you remember.)

But so-called "driverless vehicles" are potentially much worse than the Corvair.

At least with a Corvair you had to be an idiot (in how you drove it) and in the case of the Pinto you had to be hit from behind.

In this case neither is true.

The "sales job" for driverless cars is that it will "eliminate" DUI, old-age-related and simple negligence (such as crashing while texting.)  Maybe.  But that's no panacea, and what Nader is screaming about is only a small part of the problem.

Note that there are reports that Toyota is working with Uber to bring these cars to reality.  They're not the only one; the entire premise of Tesla rests there long-term, Lyft is active in the space and so are many others.

While I have no quarrel with the premise of driverless cars they must never be allowed to become mandatory either through market pressure or government mandate of any sort, no matter how it happens -- and this includes privileging them in any way whatsoever over a vehicle with a human operator nor allowing them to collect and transmit data as well.  In other words they must not be reliant on "always-on" connections, or even connections to anything outside at all.

Without these protections driverless cars can quickly become effectively mandated even without the government doing so.  Such an outcome can be mandated on a quite-effective basis by industries that collude and destroy owner-operated vehicles and since our government utterly refuses to bring charges under 15 USC Chapter 1 in the medical sector what makes you think they'd do so if car insurance carriers made owning a personally-operated vehicle a $20,000 a year mandatory insurance expense?  This is in fact the goal of most of the firms working in this space, many of them openly admit it, and it must be stopped right here and now.

Can't happen?  The hell it can't.  What has happened in Michigan with its "no fault" law and treble, if not more, charges by medical providers for the very same injury in a car accident as opposed to one obtained by walking your dog?  That is a 10 year in prison felony along with a $100 million corporate fine in penalties to be imposed on everyone involved including the insurance and medical provider businesses yet there has not been one criminal prosecution, not one person or firm indicted and as a result basic liability coverage, which is mandatory under state law, can cost as much as $2,000 a year or more in that state for someone with a clean driving record!

If you can't afford that then your plates and license get suspended.  Get caught driving in that situation and you spend the night in jail.  Keep doing it and it becomes a felony.  Now you can't get a job, rent an apartment or own a gun -- the latter ever again.

Congratulations; you're now a non-person as a direct result of the illegal collusive conduct of the medical and insurance businesses in the state of Michigan and your inability to comply with their manufactured "mandates" coupled with what you need to do in order to get to work and attempt to survive.

For comparison that same (minimally legal) coverage is roughly one tenth as expensive here in Florida where such outrageous felony collusion and concurrent extortion hasn't (yet) occurred, assuming you're in a "good risk" position from a driving record and age perspective.

The true ugly with driverless cars is what you inextricably get with them and which cannot be accepted or allowed to happen.  In fact if such appears to be headed toward any possibility of becoming a mandate I will say it right now even though I'm sure people will call me a nut for doing so -- you had better go grab your guns and kill everyone involved up and down the line, and yes I do mean a shooting revolution aimed at both business and government, as soon as any such movement toward such a state of play takes place.

Let me be clear: There is no such indication today and thus no, this is not a call to commit violence in the present tense but you had better make clear to everyone involved in both industry and government that if they take even one step down that road this will be the result and you damn well better mean it.

This is the real purpose of the 2nd Amendment by the way -- to prevent tyranny by making clear that any attempt to impose same will be met with immediate deadly force and thus preventing the need for such a revolution and the shooting that comes with it.

Why?  Because as soon as any attempt to mandate or materially privilege "autonomous cars" happens all freedom of movement and in fact freedom to live -- that is simply to survive -- disappears permanently.  Since we all have a right to life and to defend same and such predate any government anything that threatens to extinguish that gives proper authorization for the people to stop it via whatever means are necessary -- including violence.

This is the future you have if you don't make this clear to both lawmakers and industry:

  • Every movement you make in such a vehicle is and will be tracked and sent to one or more organizations who own all that data and may do with it whatever they wish.  They will do exactly that; this is the business model -- to profile, sell and screw you using same.  You have already consented to this business model with social media, "reward cards" in the grocery store and the simple act of using a credit or debit card for payment.

  • Every person will be subject to being blackballed and killed or rendered permanently destitute through the simple denial of ability to summon or take a ride anywhere.  Since these are all "private businesses" (just like Twitter and Facebook claim to be today, along with Microsoft, Amazon, Google and more) you will have no right to obtain such a ride anywhere, no matter the reason or consequence if it's denied to you.  This is what you get for allowing so-called "hate speech" -- mere speech -- to be squelched, as well as allowing companies like GoDaddy, Amazon and Microsoft to "blackball" customers of what is a utility service.  Under this very same principle every autonomous vehicle provider can legally collude and blackball you, rendering you a prisoner in your own home.  If you live in a place outside of walking distance to necessary goods and services this means you die.

  • Every trip you take in such a vehicle is subject to the whim in pricing or even possibility of denial of completion by said firms with no redress. Such a change can be made in the middle of a trip as well.  Decide to go visit a family member 500 miles away, get halfway there and suddenly the price doubles or the company simply decides to blackball the destination entirely.  What are you going to do about it?  Walk?  Go ahead and try to claim "contract" -- if you survive.  Oh, such a thing would never happen when the vehicle is in the middle of a gang-banger friendly ghetto, right?

  • Any destination becomes completely unreachable by pure whim.  The companies will claim this is for "safety", of course.  Maybe true, maybe not, but not your choice any more -- their choice.  Want to go to somewhere in a "less good" neighborhood?  Nope, can't.  Want to be picked up in same?   Nope, can't.  End of discussion.

  • At any moment during which the government so chooses it can stop or redirect to a place of its choosing any person or persons in all such vehicles, by force, with no ability to override same.  Since such cars have no steering wheels or pedals -- no user-accessible controls whatsoever, whoever has control over the airwaves and software has absolute control over your destination, travel and even your life.  In the event you, or everyone become "persona non grata" at some point to some official there will be no means of due process, no means of appeal and no means to stop being transported directly to a prison or, for that matter, off an embankment and into a 200' deep body of water.

  • When such vehicles are hacked via their OTA links said criminal hackers can do any or all of the above including intentionally crashing said vehicle into one or more others, killing the occupants or simply shutting down the entire thing, leaving you stuck wherever you are.  If you're in Death Valley when that happens, well, you're dead.  So sorry, so sad, and since it will be blamed on said hacker the company isn't responsible either, not that it matters when you're a corpse.

  • All such travel, along with exactly who is doing the traveling will be transmitted and monitored over the airwaves in real time.  This is already happening with Tesla vehicles over links that we know are factually compromised and monitored in real time.  The government will obtain access to this either by legislative fiat or by breaking the law exactly as the NSA has already done in myriad other cases, and exactly nobody in government or these firms will ever be prosecuted for same.  This will be used to suppress or murder anyone they wish should such become part of what they want to do.  Since they will control the data such decisions will be made at a time, place and in a manner of their choosing designed to prevent anyone from being able to prove that's what happened.

Freedom of association, movement and travel is one of the keys to a society that has some resemblance of freedom remaining.  The ability to do so without being tracked inch-by-inch has already nearly been rendered impossible because our nation is collectively too ****ing stupid to demand that we own said data and we have the right to control it, never mind jailing the **********s in government and private businesses that can and do abuse same. Major corporations and governments are colluding to track and identify people in real time, all the time, reaching absolutely everyone -- not just those on a "100 most wanted" list as is often claimed.

Self-driving vehicles take that weaponized information content and add the ability to severely injure, economically destroy or kill any person or group of persons at whim to what we have already given up and there is exactly nothing that will be able to be done about it once it occurs because at that point you will lose the ability to move that is necessary to put a stop to it!

For this reason if it appears that this path is being undertaken it must be stopped by whatever means are necessary or you may as well just commit suicide as at least if you do that you'll get to choose when and how you die instead of some jackass making the decision for you.

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2018-09-04 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 122 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is utterly stupid and, if done, may result in the death of millions.  For real.

WHITE HOUSE — President Donald Trump’s administration wants to shut down U.S. government radio stations that announce official time, a service in operation since World War II.

WWV and WWVB in the state of Colorado and WWVH on the island of Kauai in the mid-Pacific state of Hawaii, send out signals that allow millions of clocks and watches to be set either manually or automatically.

When I set up MCSNet I managed to find one of these radio clocks for cheap -- and bought it.  It was the master NTP source for our network during the time I ran the company.

Accurate time is essential to virtually everything in modern electronic society.  You have no idea exactly how intertwined it is, but it's not a convenience (such as looking at your watch) it is an utter necessity and without it all electronically-linked commerce (which is damn near all of it nowdays) would literally come to an end within hours.

Most systems nowdays, including mine here at Ticker Central, now get their time reference off GPS (I have a receiver mounted in my attic) and thus the government seems to think WWVB is "deprecated."  That's a huge mistake because anyone with even a modicum of space-faring capability (that is, who can launch a rocket, even a sub-orbital one that can get into the orbital plane) can completely decimate the GPS system using nothing more complicated than this:


All you have to do is get it up there and blast 'em out.  At retail such a package costs about $15.  So give me a few hundred dollars and I can create tens of thousands of tiny little unguided "rocks"!  At 30,000 miles per hour differential speed anything they hit will be destroyed.  Trashing the GPS constellation would not be hard at all, it would not be particularly expensive (certainly within the reach of any turd-world nation that can launch a ballistic rocket since the "payload" isn't very heavy) and it would utterly trash time-keeping and military precision munitions, never mind civilian aviation and navigation, along with anything else in or intersecting with the orbital plane in question instantly.

Worse, if they used something similar made of a non-magnetic material it would be even nastier to clean up since you couldn't use the magnetic property of the pellets against them to attack them to a "collector."  Frankly, I'm not sure that would change things much either way, since once the first few satellites got hit they'd contribute their own pieces to the junk available to hole and destroy everything else up there.

Such an attack would render space-based communications and positioning useless immediately and continue to do so for years into the future.

It's also basically impossible to interdict such an attack as it's taking place since there's utterly no way to know the difference between an attack of this sort on space infrastructure and a legitimate satellite launch attempt (or test) until it's too late and the payload has been released.

When such an event happens if there is no backup remaining because WWVB has been shut down and dismantled then how would simple things like the cellphone network obtain and maintain accurate timing?

Yeah, they're that dumb.

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2018-08-29 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 98 references
[Comments enabled]  

Maybe all you so-called geniuses could have paid attention to the realities of space before designing systems that are so reliant on "clean" access to same that terrible things will happen if that fantasy land is disrupted?

I'm referring to recent hyperventilation over a Russian satellite that is behaving in "mysterious" ways on-orbit.  I assume this refers to the satellite moving around, rather than behaving like a communications, spy or navigation satellite ordinarily would.  That's a guess, since the details have not been published, but I bet it's a good guess.

Well, so what?

Decades ago it was evident to me that it would take almost nothing, technologically, to really hose satellite systems.  You see they're traveling at great speed, because they have to in order to remain in orbit.  This means that something else that travels in the opposite direction simply has to hit it to destroy it, and it could be the size of an ordinarily bolt -- which makes for some very, very cheap and easy "kinetic" ordnance.

May I remind you that something in LEO (low earth orbit, e.g. the ISS) travels at about 17,000 miles an hour?

geostationary satellite (typically used for communications) must be placed almost exactly 22,236 miles above the equator -- and must be exactly above the equator, so it moves at the exact same speed at which the earth rotates.  With 1 degree of separation this means there are exactly 360 "slots"; we now have less than 1 degree separation, by the way, so there are more (current technology allows for ~1/4 degree of separation.)  To remain in that orbit the satellite must travel at almost exactly 1.91 miles/second or close to 7,000 mph; a geostationary satellite travels slower than one in low-earth orbit.  (Yes, I know this sounds wrong but it's not, and it also is invariant with the satellite's mass.)

The point of all of this is that colliding with something, even a very small something, that has a differential speed somewhere between 14,000 and 34,000 miles an hour is going to produce a lot of pieces and making something "tough" enough to withstand such a collision without being destroyed yet is light enough to both be lifted into orbit and contain a useful payload is simply unrealistic.

Further, if you think that any nation that has the ability to launch things into space hasn't figured this out by the time they figure out the basics of orbital mechanics (e.g. how fast a satellite has to move in order to stay in orbit!) you're dumber than Maxine Waters.

As a result anyone who thinks that "if the flag goes up" in any sort of real conflict where the attacked party has the ability to launch things into orbit they will not immediately blind the other side by what amounts to throwing ball bearings and rocks into their opponent's satellites at 35,000 miles an hour you're even more stupid.

Yes they will.

By the way should such a thing happen it would be quite bad.  Of the debris produced nearly all of it would be in an unstable orbital regime and its orbit would decay and fall back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.

However, not all of it would do so quickly.

The counter to this is that it's called space because, well, it is.  Spacious, that is, and as a result the odds of any random piece of junk intersecting with your orbit is tiny.  The problem, of course, is what happens when it's not-so-random.

There's quite a bit of "space junk" up there already; anything from the size of a grain of sand to a paint fleck to things of materially-larger size, all the result of man being up with various missions, both manned and unmanned.  Most of the larger-size pieces have been mapped and their orbits are known (Russia and the US have quite an interest in that, as you might imagine) but an "event" that created thousands of additional pieces all at once could be rather challenging.

But due to the very serious risk of scoring accidental own goals with the debris resulting from such an attack neither the United States or Russia seems to be very likely to engage in such a thing.

This is not necessarily true for any of the handful of "minor nations" who have few in-space assets to lose as an accidental consequence resulting from such an event.

Just something to think about folks....

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2018-06-06 16:23 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 100 references
[Comments enabled]  

Nope, nope and nope.

Quick demo of the lock support in the HomeDaemon-MCP app including immediate notification of all changes (and why/how) along with a demonstration of the 100% effective prevention of the so-called Z-Shave hack from working.

Simply put it is entirely under the controller's choice whether it permits high-power keying for S0 nodes.  For those controllers that have no batteries and no detachable RF stick, which is a design choice, there's not a lot of option.

But for those who follow best practice that has been in place since the very first Z-Wave networks you're 100% immune to this attack unless you insist and intentionally shut off the protection -- even in a world where S2 adoption becomes commonplace (which certainly isn't today but will become more-so over time.)

HomeDaemon-MCP is available for the entity that wishes to make a huge dent in the market with a highly-secure, very fast and fully-capable automation, security and monitoring appliance, whether for embedded sale (e.g. in the homebuilding industry) or as a stand-alone offering.  Look to the right and email me for more information.

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