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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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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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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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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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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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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We Believe In Free Speech Until People Exercise It

Freedom of speech and content moderation

We believe in freedom of speech in the US, except when people actually exercise it. Then we discover there are lots of people who should be seen but not heard – and a fair number that we wish we couldn’t see, either.

Governments, regulators and large tech companies are launching into a debate about content moderation that will be long, messy, and unsatisfying. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 5: What Can We Do?

Privacy in the surveillance era - relax

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 4: Facebook’s Unforgivable Acts

Facebook and invasions of privacy

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 3: What Do They Know And How Do They Know It?

Spooky predictions from data analysis

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Breaking News: February 18, 2019

Hot off the press! Breaking news!

I’m trying to get my thoughts in order for a couple of long articles about how to think about privacy in our world of surveillance by giant tech companies. That’s not quite ready yet. Now, now, don’t be disappointed, get a grip on yourself – it won’t be long before you have a chance to read four or five thousand words about things that I’m poorly qualified to talk about, and won’t that be fun? […] continued

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Bloomberg And Chinese Spies: The Strangest Technology Story Of The Year

Bloomberg Businessweek - The Big Hack

The Chinese government has put secret spy chips on US government servers. They’re stealing secrets from Apple and Amazon. And the US government is engaged in a massive effort to prevent us from learning anything about it, for unknown reasons.

Maybe.

How about this: the US government is mounting a full-court disinformation campaign, spreading lies through multiple sources to discredit China and gain an advantage in trade wars – and taking down a huge media entity as collateral damage. […] continued

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