Monday, February 25, 2019

Social media dragon monitoring tools: Under the Hood of Secrets Management

A century before Hannah Arendt considered the most extreme and gruesome manifestation of this tendency in her classic treatise on the normalization of evil, informed by the Holocaust and its incomprehensible phenomenon of ordinary people “just following orders” to murder, Thoreau writes:
Herein is the tragedy; that men doing outrage to their proper natures, even those called wise and good, lend themselves to perform the office of inferior and brutal ones. Hence come war and slavery in; and what else may not come in by this opening? But certainly there are modes by which a man may put bread into his mouth which will not prejudice him as a companion and neighbor.

Thoreau on the Long Cycles of Social Change and the Importance of Not Mistaking Politics for Progress

Sofia Coppola Is An Auteur, And It’s Time We Give Her An Auteur’s Respect

J. Hoberman: “Coppola is a true auteur — a filmmaker with a distinct worldview and sensibility and a personal set of quasi-autobiographical interests. … [And] it should be noted that on the basis of six features she’s directed since 1999, she’s also the most celebrated American filmmaker under 50.” – The New York Times

Social Platforms Want To Cut Down On Spreading Fake Conspiracy Theories. But There’s A Problem…

Part of the problem for platforms like YouTube and Facebook — which has also pledged to clean up misinformation that could lead to real-world harm — is that the definition of “harmful” misinformation is circular. There is no inherent reason that a video questioning the official 9/11 narrative is more dangerous than a video asserting the existence of U.F.O.s or Bigfoot. A conspiracy theory is harmful if it results in harm — at which point it’s often too late for platforms to act. –The New York Times

The Challenges Of Trying To Define “Cool MEdia Dragons" 

What exactly is ‘intellectual cool’? For a start, although it includes intellectual trends, or what we sometimes call ‘fashions,’ it obviously is not just this. And here we run up against a very difficult problem – what we call ‘cool’ never describes itself, never declares itself, and never advises who it will be visiting next. People who write about Spinoza will never say they’re doing so because he’s really cool at the moment. Equally, ask a hipster who they hate the most and they will say, without a moment’s hesitation, ‘Hipsters! I f*cking hate them!’ – Sydney Review of Books

Facebook security app used to ‘spy’ on competitors BBC

Joel S. Baden, The Book of Exodus: A Biography is forthcoming, a good general introduction.

David C. Rose, Why Culture Matters Most, is from the perspective of a Douglass North-type economist. 

20 of the best social media dragon monitoring tools 

Social Media Explorer: “There’s enough social media monitoring tools on the market to get you absolutely confused. This list is here to help. Every tool on the list does what it claims to do (which is not universal among software and products in general) – it either focuses on social media monitoring exclusively or does social media monitoring as a part of a broader toolkit. When in the right hands, it will definitely help improve customer service, raise brand awareness, and prevent a social media crisis. And some of the tools do even more than that…” 

Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, is in no position to negotiate in good faith with the U.S., in large part due to Communist Party politics. Trump, therefore, has to either abandon his ambitious trade goals or push Beijing to the edge of the cliff.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Xi on Friday and the talks head for Washington next week.
“I hope you can make persistent efforts to push forward an agreement that can benefit both sides,” Xi said, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. “We all think that in terms of maintaining the prosperity and stability of the world, as well as promoting global economic prosperity and development, our two countries share broad mutual interest.”
China and the U.S. “share broad mutual interest”? Actually, both countries, at far different stages of economic development, do not.

Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice

Richardson, Rashida and Schultz, Jason and Crawford, Kate, Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice (February 13, 2019). New York University Law Review Online, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN in PDF: “Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using algorithmic predictive policing systems to forecast criminal activity and allocate police resources.
Yet in numerous jurisdictions, these systems are built on data produced within the context of flawed, racially fraught and sometimes unlawful practices (‘dirty policing’). This can include systemic data manipulation, falsifying police reports, unlawful use of force, planted evidence, and unconstitutional searches. These policing practices shape the environment and the methodology by which data is created, which leads to inaccuracies, skews, and forms of systemic bias embedded in the data (‘dirty data’). Predictive policing systems informed by such data cannot escape the legacy of unlawful or biased policing practices that they are built on. Nor do claims by predictive policing vendors that these systems provide greater objectivity, transparency, or accountability hold up. While some systems offer the ability to see the algorithms used and even occasionally access to the data itself, there is no evidence to suggest that vendors independently or adequately assess the impact that unlawful and bias policing practices have on their systems, or otherwise assess how broader societal biases may affect their systems.

Study – Password Managers: Under the Hood of Secrets Management

Independent Security Evaluators: “Password managers allow the storage and retrieval of sensitive information from an encrypted database. Users rely on them to provide better security guarantees against trivial exfiltration than alternative ways of storing passwords, such as an unsecured flat text file. In this paper we propose security guarantees password managers should offer and examine the underlying workings of five popular password managers targeting the Windows 10 platform: 1Password 7 [1], 1Password 4 [1], Dashlane [2], KeePass [3], and LastPass [4]. We anticipated that password managers would employ basic security best practices, such as scrubbing secrets from memory when they are not in use and sanitization of memory once a password manager was logged out and placed into a locked state. However, we found that in all password managers we examined, trivial secrets extraction was possible from a locked password manager, including the master password in some cases, exposing up to 60 million users that use the password managers in this study to secrets retrieval from an assumed secure locked state.”

Google Blog: “Providing useful and trusted information at the scale that the Internet has reached is enormously complex and an important responsibility. Adding to that complexity, over the last several years we’ve seen organized campaigns use online platforms to deliberately spread false or misleading information. We have twenty years of experience in these information challenges and it’s what we strive to do better than anyone else. So while we have more work to do, we’ve been working hard to combat this challenge for many years…we presented a white paper that gives more detail about our work to tackle the intentional spread of misinformation—across Google Search, Google News, YouTube and our advertising systems. We have a significant effort dedicated to this work throughout the company, based on three foundational pillars:

    • Improve our products so they continue to make quality count;
    • Counteract malicious actors seeking to spread disinformation;
    • Give people context about the information they see.
    • The white paper also explains how we work beyond our products to support a healthy journalistic ecosystem, partner with civil society and researchers, and stay one step ahead of future risks…” [but is industry self regulation the answer?]
    Quartz: “More than 60 years after philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theories on language were published, the artificial intelligence behind Google Translate has provided a practical example of his hypotheses. Patrick Hebron, who works on machine learning in design at Adobe and studied philosophy with Wittgenstein expert Garry Hagberg for his bachelor’s degree at Bard College, notes that the networks behind Google Translate are a very literal representation of Wittgenstein’s work.n Google employees have previously acknowledged that Wittgenstein’s theories gave them a breakthrough in making their translation services more effective, but somehow, this key connection between philosophy of language and artificial intelligence has long gone under-celebrated and overlooked.

     COMMUNIST FRONT CORPORATION: How Huawei Targets Apple Trade Secrets.

    Not just Apple:

    Huawei, which recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker, has been at the center of a trade fight between the U.S. and China amid accusations by U.S. authorities that Huawei steals technology. In January, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment accusing Huawei of pilfering trade secrets from wireless carrier T-Mobile USA.
    U.S. companies such as Cisco Systems and Motorola have made similar claims against Huawei in civil lawsuits. Earlier this month, Chicago-based Akhan Semiconductor, which makes durable smartphone glass, said it cooperated with a federal investigation into theft of its intellectual property by Huawei. Akhan claims Huawei used the prospect of a business relationship to acquire samples of its glass, which Huawei then took apart and studied.
    The Justice Department said Huawei had a formal program that rewarded employees for stealing information, with bonuses that increased based on the confidential value of the information. Huawei employees were encouraged to post stolen information on an internal company website, and they were also given an email address where they could send the information, which was then reviewed by what was known internally as the “competition management group.” Huawei assured employees they wouldn’t be punished for taking such action, the indictment said.
    Other smartphone makers have accused each other of intellectual property theft. Most famously, Apple successfully sued Samsung for copying its products. But the accusations against Huawei suggest a more brazen and elaborate system of seeking out secret information.

    The Atlantic – Taylor Lorenz on what happens When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online- Googling yourself has become a rite of passage. “Almost a quarter of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal sonogram scans to the internet [and] 92 percent of toddlers under the age of 2 already have their own unique digital identity.”