Power And Cruelty In George Orwell’s America

1984 - power and cruelty in George Orwell's America

Power

George Orwell on power:

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.

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A Few Nice Things

Charlie Mackesy - The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse

We can all use some nice things.

The illustration above is from Charlie Mackesy’s book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse, a gentle book about love and friendship and how they build resilience; about hopes and fears; about courage in difficult times. It’s a simple book, pen-and-ink drawings with some splashes of watercolor and a few words, but it’s not a children’s book, not in these troubled times. […] continued

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Covid-19 Is Straining The Internet

Server farms under strain from increased streaming & videoconferencing during Covid-19 outbreak

Across the globe, hundreds of millions of people are using their Internet connection more intensely than they did just a few weeks ago. Usage ramped up so quickly that the infrastructure is being stretched past its limits.

I don’t have any tips. You don’t have to do anything differently. It’s just another interesting way that Covid-19 is turning our economy and culture upside down. […] continued

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The Dangers Of Location Tracking

Location tracking is a nightmarish invasion of privacy

Having government and big companies track our locations is a horrific invasion of privacy. We can be sure that big companies will be careless with private information about us, allowing it to be misused by bad actors. The government will almost certainly weaponize it against us. The risks of location tracking outweigh the benefits. […] continued

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Location Tracking Could Help Combat Covid-19 – But At What Cost?

Location tracking could help combat coronavirus - but is it worth giving up our privacy?

Health authorities could track your location and use the data to monitor and model the spread of Covid-19. It would help researchers learn how long the virus survives on a surface, what percentage of the population is asymptomatic, and where to target medical resources. The government could compare your movements with those of known coronavirus patients and alert you if you came into close contact. […] continued

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Prices And Algorithms: It’s A Game Of Cat And Mouse, And You’re Always The Mouse

Pricing changes & algorithms - a game of cat and mouse

You probably have the idea that you can use the power of the Internet to compare prices and find deals. Savvy travelers look for advice about the best time to buy airline tickets for a trip – on a Tuesday, about 90 days before the trip, right? You compare several hotel chains when you’re looking for a room. […] continued

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Google, Microsoft, And Unethical Behavior

Google & Microsoft choose the dark side to promote their businesses instead of protecting consumers

Two weeks ago, Google changed its web search results to fool you into clicking on paid ads by mistake.

Last week Microsoft announced that an upcoming update for Office will force web searches in Chrome to go through Bing instead of Google – without consent and with no notice.

These are both terrible ideas, the kind of thing that erodes public trust and makes us understandably angry. […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Data Brokers: The Companies Hiding In The Shadows That Know Everything About You

Tight focus on the data broker industry

Your personal information is being bought and sold by companies that lurk in the shadows. You’ve never heard of them. That’s the way they like it.

This is the most important issue that affects your privacy today.

Let’s start with a tight focus.

Assume there’s a company that methodically scrapes information from public records – drivers licenses, voter registration, property rolls, census and change of address records, birth certificates, marriage licenses, bankruptcy records. […] continued

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Pixel 4 And Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Google Pixel 4 phones are not as terrifying as the reviews would make you think

Google has two new phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. They’re quite nice. If you had one, you’d like it. They might not tempt iPhone users to leave the Apple world, but anyone with an Android phone should consider a Pixel 4, now available through all the carriers. […] continued

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Chilling Tales Of Lost Passwords

Bizarro cartoon - Alibaba forgets his password

Here’s a scary story about the government’s preparations for the 2020 census and how it was exposed to “potentially catastrophic risk” when it lost some passwords.

Costs for the census have soared in the last few decades. After the 2010 census, the Census Bureau decided to embrace technology in 2020 to make the count more accurate and keep costs down. […] continued

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If You’re Worried About FaceApp Sending Your Photo To Russia, You’re Missing The Big Picture

FaceApp - Beatles

FaceApp is a popular phone app that uses AI on selfies to make you look older. It’s cute. It had a resurgence recently when some celebrities posted photos of themselves with wrinkles and grey hair, and then a lot of people freaked out because they realized the app does its work by uploading your picture to Russia. […] continued

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Security Tip: Google’s Lessons About Media Literacy Aren’t Just For Kids

Google's lessons about media literacy aren't just for kids

Media literacy – being able to recognize phishing messages, disinformation, and scams – has become one of the most important skills needed to survive in the 21st century. Your children may take classes in media literacy before long; lawmakers and educators are working to elevate the issue in legislatures and schools. […] continued

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Huawei And The Dog That’s Not Barking

Huawei and the dog that's not barking

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

  — “Silver Blaze,” The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The United States is spearheading a multinational effort to destroy Huawei Technologies. […] continued

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The Mueller Report, Obsolete Technology, And Inferior PDFs

CD & DVD optical drives - obsolete technology

The Justice Department hand-delivered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report to Congress on Thursday morning – on CD-ROMs. Isn’t that the cutest thing? House Judiciary Committee staff looked in the closets and found a computer with a working CD-ROM drive.

The report was then posted to the Department of Justice website as a 139Mb PDF file. […] continued

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