Showing posts with label Surveillance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surveillance. Show all posts

August 22, 2020

No, It's Not Fort Knox

Did I just walk into Urgent Care or is this Fort Knox's repository for gold bullion?

I don't think I've ever seen this many surveillance cameras in one relatively small room that's not related to national security! 

And there were even more cameras around me--they were freakin everywhere. 

I get that people are afraid and want security, but seriously over a dozen cameras in the entry/waiting room to see a doctor!

Did someone go a little overboard here?

Maybe they had a bad experience, who knows.

Still, this is beyond dystopian and never a private moment shall one have!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2019

Take Your Head Out of My Shopping Cart

So this was funny today at Harris Teeter. 

I'm checking out on the express line with a few things. 

First some tofu.

The lady at the cash register goes:
Hmm.  Healthy!

Then some Meal Mart Buffalo Style Chicken Wings.

Again, the lady at the cash register comments:
Have you tried that?  Is it good?  It looks good!

Politely, I replied:
Yes, they are really good.

At the same time I was feeing smart-alecy, like what the heck, should I open the package on the conveyer belt and let you taste one--right here, right now.   

Sure privacy is a big issue when it comes to technology, social media, and all sorts of surveillance these days

But even when one simply goes to the grocery store--there is the very basic privacy about what one is buying. 

Yes, I see people looking into my cart, with eyebrows raised eyeing my goodies.  I can hear them thinking:
What is he buying?  Is it marked Kosher? (Uh, actually it is!]  That doesn't seem like a balanced diet!

Another time, the checkout person asked me when I was buying a bunch of something:
Oh, are you having a party? What's the occasion?

While I appreciate the good-natured banter and people being friendly, it seems more than weird in a way to be discussing what I'm buying, why, and for whom.  

Not quite Big Brother, but maybe that's the leftover small town feel in our lonely urban and high-tech living.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 13, 2018

A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame


This story continues to fascinate me. 

China's social credit system started in 2015. 

China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as "information collectors" (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing--good and bad. 

Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 

If you do good things in Chinese society--helping people, cleaning up, being honest--you get points added. 

If you do bad things in China--fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest--you get points deducted. 

Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble--and can get blacklisted!

A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 

But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts--it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 

While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of "Big Brother"!

On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn't that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?

Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?

It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.

Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people's knickers is another. 

This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. ;-)
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August 27, 2018

How Do You Lock A Tree


So this is one of the craziest things in Washington, D.C. 

There is a tree with a lock on it. 

Yes, with a Master Lock on it. 

Hidden in plain sight. 

It has letters and numbers or symbols on each button. 

Have you ever seen anything like that before?

Uh, what do you think that is:

- A lock to prevent the tree from being stolen?

- A Maxwell Smart (shoe) phone?

- A surveillance device in the tree bark or along the limbs?

- A secret compartment?

Hmm, is there something locked in the tree?

What could it be?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2018

Weaponizing Your Privacy


So this was the funniest War of the Roses on the Kane Show that I ever heard. 

They use the Alexa personal assistant from Amazon (voiceover) to call the cheater. 

In this skit, we really see the potential power of these home computing devices. 

Alexa hears and knows everything that goes on in the house (including the cheating).

Alexa confronts the cheater and calls him a few descript names for his infidelity.

Alexa punishes the cheater by going online to purchase items with his credit card. 

Alexa betrays him by calling his girlfriend and telling her about the cheating. 

Cheating aside, maybe this is a great lesson how we should all be considering our privacy in our homes and on our persons before we install Alexa, Siri, Cortana, the Google Assistant or any other personal or home surveillance systems. 

With all the bad actors out there and people that want to steal everything from your money, identity, secrets, and maybe even your wife--these devices are a direct line into your personal life.

This is called weaponizing your privacy!

Tell me, do you really believe that no one is listening or watching you?  ;-)
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December 31, 2017

Social Media Totalitarianism

The Chinese government has the most brilliant as well as frightening use and control of social media. 

I am not just talking about blocking Internet sites and free information flow. 

They actually have mastered the use of social media for tracking and rewarding or punishing citizen behavior.

Their social credit system rates people's behavior online for everything they do!

Similar to likes and dislikes, you are either labeled a "model citizen" sought after for jobs and good housing or you can be an "enemy of the state" treated as a social outcast who can't even leave the country anymore. 

Everything about you is now based on what you are rated (whether true or not)!

Now in China the government has added a snitching tool/app where people are encouraged through a points system that offers rewards like store discounts, coupons for coffee, taxis, and music streaming, in order to get them to report covertly on their neighbors--are their fellow citizens fighting, is there mental illness, are people cheating on their taxes, etc. 

You're being surveilled not just by the grid system, where every 300 households are watched and checked-in on by a "grid manager," but you are subject to daily intrusion by anyone that wants to report on you. 

Communication to "Big Brother" is way overvalued, while privacy and respect of the people are no longer important values or concerns. 

Instead of a Security Operations Center to monitor and command response to life-threatening catastrophes and emergencies, now there is a "Social Governance Integrated Command Center" to display video and biometric surveillance from throughout the country as well as to show what are the "moods" and which "issues" are trending. 

Talking about having a finger on the pulse of what's going on...

I say this is all brilliant and malign, because social media which can be a tool for connecting people and for the free flow of information and progress is instead used for near ultimate control and enslavement of the masses--both their minds and their behaviors. 

People should not be treated as servants of the state and subjected to ever-encroaching social media surveillance and control that is not carefully balanced directly to absolutely necessary national security. 

Rather the state and its levers of people's supreme power should be subject to the wants and needs of its people who must freely decide on their collective futures and maintaining human rights. 

Totalitarianism by police state, imprisonment, torture and "re-education" is now unfortunately facilitated by social media monitoring,  and credits system where truly you are watched by Big Brother in the flesh and in the bytes. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 5, 2017

Reading Your Emails

So you know you typically get a message when you log on your computer at work that there is "no expectation of privacy."

Meaning...you're on the corporate network and so remember that you can be monitored. 

Well we all read that warning and sort of know it by heart.

But do you really think that someone is watching you.

Well be assured that they are!

Talking to one of my colleagues and friends recently and this is what happened.

He had to fire one of his senior guys. 

And I asked him why?

He said:
"Because he was dead wood."

I asked what he meant as this was a senior person in the organization that was being let go.

So he said:
"Well I read the last few days of his emails on his account and he was doing absolutely nothing!"

And I was like hmm, that's amazing that you actually go into his account and read his stuff.

Yeah, I know it's not really his employees--the guy is at work--but still it's his email account that he uses, seriously.

So it's not just some corporate spooks sitting in the bowls of the building in a darkened security operations center behind a lot of cool looking screens monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.

It's your management too that can logon and see and read your stuff, whenever.

So this guy that was fired wasn't just dead wood, he was actually dead meat. 

"Smile you're on camera" in more ways then one.

So if you decide to write some juicy emails today or save some salacious files on "your" computer or on the network, the expectation surely is that they are being read--you can take that to your privacy bank. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2017

Watch A Terrorist In His Evil Action


This is an incredible disturbing video from today's terror attack in Israel.

A Palestinian terrorist is caught on surveillance camera committing his vile deed. 

The terrorist in the brown t-shirt comes down the grocery store aisle.

But he is not there shopping for groceries. 

Rather, the terrorist is stalking his prey--an innocent Jewish man working in the store stocking shelves for customers. 

The terrorist at first takes a pass by the man checking things out. 

Then he suddenly circles back pulling a deadly knife from his waist and starts viciously stabbing and beating the Jewish worker. 

The mortally wounded victim desperately tries to fend off the terrorist attacker as he comes again and again at him.

Fortunately, others nearby chased the terrorist who was apprehended by police, while the victim remains in critical condition in the hospital fighting for his life. 

Unfortunately, this is daily life in the Holy Land, where bombings, shootings, stabbings, vehicular rammings, Molotov cocktails and rocks are used to kill Jews in their one homeland, Israel.

From Paris and London to New York, Orlando, Jerusalem, and all over the world, terrorists continue to plot and murder innocents. 

Yet, how often do we make excuses for them--it's not their fault, it's just a minority, they're brainwashed, if only we gave in to their demands, etc. etc. etc. 

But does anything really seem to make a difference--more people, more land, more palaces and oil wealth, more respect, more morally corrupt votes at the UN, more, more, more...and still the global radical terrorism and human rights abuses continue.

What happens when one day the terrorist attack becomes one employing true weapons of mass destruction--will anyone really be surprised? 

We pray to G-d for peace and security for your people and for evil to be utterly destroyed. 

Oh L-rd, how long will you let these murderous, vile terrorists attack your children...how long before justice is done. ;-)
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July 31, 2017

Gorgeous Border Wall

Hey, I'm not for erecting walls when there is no need for them.

Who instead doesn't love to build bridges--full of peace and brotherhood, definitely. 

But after 9/11 and the ongoing, endless wave of global terrorism and serious threats that we are confronting (including from WMD), let's face it...we need secure borders.

This is called common sense security, and it's been highly regarded and employed throughout history and all around the world. 

That doesn't mean that good people don't come in...only that we have a thoughtful and effective way to work to filter the bad people out. 

Anyway, it seems that the bake-off of border wall prototypes has yielded this brilliant design.

If it's truly rugged and includes intelligent border security mechanisms such as sensors, surveillance cameras, biometrics, and so on, then this could be an awesome looking and functional option.

Time to stop the bickering and time to start moving forward with security. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to True Pundit) 
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June 24, 2017

Way Out Of Social Bounds

So on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone...

I want to say that the iPhone is probably one of the greatest inventions of all times...congratulations to Apple and especially to Steve Jobs!

I also want to say how far people have gone crazy in using these smartphones without any filters as to privacy or propriety. 

HERE IS A TRUE STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED :

We are in this building waiting for an elevator to come. 

A man comes around the corner speaking into his smartphone held at chest height with the speaker on blast!

He sees us, but apparently doesn't even think to pause the conversation or turn off the speaker and put the device to his ear.

Instead, we hear from the phone from what is apparently his immediate family member.


"That's right, it's a yeast infection!"

We are looking at each other like is this really happening or are we on Candid Camera or something.

And he respond still on with the speaker as we get on the elevator:


"A yeast infection, yeah, yeah, you better not let it get any worse."

Then from the phone:


"With these yeast infections, you know how it can be. I'll try to take care of it today,"

Him again, now as he's getting off the elevator:


"Well anyway, hope I'll be seeing you over later today."

My wife and I look at each other, and I blurt out after the elevator door closes:


"Yeah, yeah, I guess we'll be seeing you later today--with that yeast infection and all--hope it's not contagious!"


And we both start cracking up at how insane people are. 

While we can't (completely) help what people are over-hearing -and seeing through surveillance mechanisms on our smartphones, this guy with his phone, he didn't even flinch at the conversation he was having in the open on the speaker. 

It's a different day and age, and some people have no sense of boundaries anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 9, 2017

Drones Vs. Man

I took this photo of this man and drone in Florida. 

Look how close this machine is flying to his head!

Aside from the surveillance capabilities and offsetting privacy issues, these are bringing some dangerous fighting capabilities anywhere and everywhere.

Just today, I read about how the U.S. shot down an armed Syrian drone--presumably made and deployed by Iran!

I guess it's not proprietary technology anymore!

As drones and robots become better, faster, and cheaper and ubiquitous on the battlefield and on main street, who will be (relatively) safe anymore? 

Unless of course, my drones are stronger than your drones!

It's going to be a war of technology and machines more than ever before. 

Small ones like insects, swarms of them like engulfing locust, and large ones like Godzilla. 

What was once human flesh against a steel blade, arrow, and then bullet is now going to be an superfast artificially intelligent, armed to the hilt "man of steel" (and they don't miss) against just regular everyday people.

Don't hurt your hand punching that Robot in the face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 19, 2017

Killer Bots--Massive and Nano

There are big deadly weapons to worry about, such as weapons of mass destruction that come on an ICBM or even in a suitcase bomb to frightening armies of massive killer robots.

And then there are small nanobot weapons to worry about--which don't sound like much, but they could be the ultimate killer machines.

About 10 nanometers make up the width of a human hair, so we are talking about microscopic or bug size weaponized drones. 

Nanobots can be manufactured or scarily can be self-replicating. 

They can fly alone or in massive swarms. 

They can surreptitiously enter/exit and carry out their missions virtually undetected. 

Whether surveillance or delivering a mini-nuke or a toxin.

Nanobots could function like a biological weapon killing millions--targeted or indiscriminately. 

Cambridge University forecasts a 5% chance that nanotech weapons could cause a human extinction level event by the year 2,100

Soon wars will not be fought by people any longer--by rather by robots and nanobots.

People are too fragile for fighting and war against ruggedized and militarized bots that are designed for one purpose only...to kill, kill, kill. 

Terminators are coming--from massive to nanoscale--and mere humans will be dogmeat to these killing machines.

Add in a cyber warfare component that will turn off 21st century civilization leaving us to fend as if we were back in the stone ages, and overpopulation is the last and funniest joke any of us will ever tell. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 26, 2017

Camera Of Life

So this open-door market has no workers there.

Someone comes in to stock the shelves periodically, and that's it!

It's completely automated of workers, and only has this automated kiosk for check-out. 

As you shop, there are cameras watching you, so you don't steal anything. 

Then you go to the checkout and like in other stores, you scan you items and pay with your credit card, but the difference is that it's without anyone else around at all.

Can you imagine someone would leave there business and there is no one watching you, except the cameras.

You're on your honor system. 

Just think how much money the owner saves by not having to stand there or hire someone to stand there all day. 

He can have 10 or 100 or 1,000 of these stores and no daily labor to pay for. 

Talk about people losing their jobs to automation and robotics!

So even if someone does steal 1 or 2 things, it's a minor loss to the owner compared to paying someone to stand there and check people out all day (salary, benefits, payroll taxes, workers comp insurance, and more). 

What if the camera isn't even real and it's just a dark cone, so you are just left to think that you're being surveilled...another savings for the owner. 

Now imagine if we all internalized this thought in life that we were under the watchful eye of our Maker, and everyone would do the right thing even when no one else was there watching. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 23, 2016

Your Score Is Your Life

Absolutely fascinating article in the Washington Post

China is working on a plan to use big data to score people on their social behavior. 

Every interaction you make in life either increments or decrements your social score. 

You social score determines how trustworthy you are. 

The social score would vacuum up data from the "courts, police, banking, tax, and employment records."

People in service professions like teacher, doctors, and business could be scored for their professionalism. 

Doing positive social actions like caring for the elderly earn you added points and doing negative social actions like DUI or running a red light subtracts points from your score. 

As the score includes more and more data feeds over time, you could eventually be scored for doing your homework, chores in the home, how you treat your wife and children, the community service you do, how hard you perform at work, how you treat people socially and on dates, whether you are fair in your business dealings and treat others well, whether you do your religious duties, and so on. 

People can get rated for just about everything they do.

And these rating get aggregated into your social score. 

The score is immediately available to everyone and so they know how good or bad you are on the scale of 1 to a 1,000.

If you think people are stressed out now, can you imagine having to worry about everything you do and how you will be rated for it and how it can affect your score and your future. 

If you have a bad score, say goodbye to opportunities for education, employment, loans, friends, and marriage prospects. 

Imagine people held hostage by others threatening to give you a bad score because they don't like you, are racist, or for blackmail. 

What about society abusing this power to get you to not only follow positive social norms, but to enforce on you certain political leanings, religious followings, or policy endorsements. 

Social scores could end up meaning the ultimate in social control. 

Personal scores can manipulate your behavior by being rewarding or punitive and rehabilitative to whatever end the scoring authorities dictate. 

Moreover, hackers or the people who control the big data machinery could destroy your life in a matter of milliseconds. 

So this is what it comes down to: You are your score!

Play along and do what you are told to do...you are the Borg and you will follow. 

Conform or you are dead by number!

Transparency is everywhere. 

Pluses and minuses every day. 

What is my score today? 

Today, I am desirable and successful, and tomorrow, I am disregarded and a loser. 

Please don't kill my score.

Please don't destroy me. 

Please, I will be socially good. 

Please, I will not resist. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 8, 2016

Content Filtering - Should We Restrain Ourselves?

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 

He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage--road rage, email rage, etc.--and you can't let your rage dictate your actions. 

People can certainly get under your skin--just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.

But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.

The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 

The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he's supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)

Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling--that husbands and wives should drink this "special water" that they hold in their mouth--this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can't say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 

The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 

And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 

When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that--it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 

She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, "93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media."

I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, "write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic]."

Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful--"locker room banter"--maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren't listening. 

Realistically, we can't and shouldn't have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do--there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 

But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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May 19, 2016

Bird's Nest Surveillance

I took this photo today of a bird's nest on top of a surveillance camera. 

I find this fascinating!

The pure irony of a bird finding safety and shelter in a nest atop a surveillance camera looking out for bad things like criminals and terrorism. 

On one hand, safety and security.

And on the other hand, the fear and insecurity of it all. 

A bird may find a peaceful nesting place there.

But for the rest of us, the world continues to be a very dangerous place. 

Often walking the streets of a major urban city, I think to myself the chaos and danger that could so easily ensue if events took a sudden and serious turn for the worse where society as we know it can completely start to unravel, and as they say, "the sh*t hits the fan!"

I believe that many, if not most people are worried about this, hence the incredible popularity of shows and movies far and wide such as:

 (Fear) The Walking Dead
Containment
The 100
The Last Ship
Jericho
Mad Max
Road Warrior
I am Legend
The Book of Eli
The Postman
World War Z 
Waterworld
Children of Men
Outbreak
Armageddon
Oblivion 
The Day After Tomorrow 
and more. 

The camera is surveilling and the bird is watching from their perch. 

We go about our days like the post apocalyptic zombies that wander the Earth.

But not so deep down, in our minds and hearts is the terror of what can happen at any moment and what is likely destined to happen eventually. 

This is not about doom and gloom, but about what the threats are out there, what is being done or not done about them, and who will ultimately survive and would you even want to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 12, 2016

Turn, Press, Pull -- Gonna Get Ya

So as I go around town, I see more and more of these industrial-type control panels. 

The problem is that they are stupidly in the open and unprotected or otherwise easily defeated.  

While probably not a serious threat of any sort, this one apparently is a unit to control some fans in an underground garage open to the public. 

You see the knobs you can just turn.

And one with a yellow warning sticker above it.

As if that will keep someone with bad intentions from messing with it. 

You also see the red and yellow lights...hey. let's see if we can make those flash on, off, on.

Panel 13, nicely numbered for us--let's look for 1 to 12 and maybe 14+.

It just continues to amaze me that in the age of 9/11 and all the terrorism (and crime) out there that many people still seem so lackadaisical when it comes to basic security. 

Anyone in the habit of leaving doors and gates open, windows unlocked, grounds unmonitored, computers and smart phones without password protection, data unencrypted and not backed up, even borders relatively wide open, and so on. 

Of course, we love our freedom and conveniences.

We want to forget bad experiences.

Could we be too trusting at times?

Maybe we don't even believe anymore that the threats out there are impactful or real.

But for our adversaries it could just be as simple as finding the right open "opportunity" and that's our bad. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 17, 2016

Exercise It Dirty

So these ladies and gents are exercising underground in the Metro tunnel. 

They have grabbed the banister underneath and are doing pullups. 

However, the tunnels are really ick!

Often a sheltering place for the unfortunate, homeless, and sick trying to get out with their belongings from the cold or rainy weather. 

And the smell of urine is not uncommon even with the CCTV cameras at either end, 

Nice to workout and toughen up, but this is more than a share of morning wash up or hand sanitizer can deal with. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 8, 2016

When Technology Is Our Superhero

I liked this Linux Cat Superhero sticker that someone put on the back of the street sign in Washington, D.C. 

There is something great about the promise of technology (with G-d's help of course) to make our lives better. 

When we get excited about technology, envision it, invest in it, and bring it to market--we are superheros making the world a better place. 

While many technologies may be "pie the sky" invoking more hype than higher purpose, if we can discern the doers from the duds then we can achieve the progress for ourselves and our children that we desperately want. 

Technology should be a superhero and not a villian--when its about the mission and doing what we do better, faster, and cheaper.

While Washington DC is a long way from entreprenurial and innovative Silicon Valley, the nexus between IT and public service has never been greater or more important. 

For example, when it comes to ideological clashes between (the iPhone's) security/surveillance and privacy or between the proliferation of robots vs. jobs for real human beings, balancing the competing interests is the soul of technology and public policy. 

Every truly useful technology should have it's superhero to represent and advocate for it, while us mere mortals sort out the implications and make sense of it all for the real world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2016

Terrified Of Terrorism

Sure there are terrorism scares that are just hoaxes, and generally-speaking, we feel quite protected by our nation's values, wealth, and entrepreneurial spirit, by Homeland Security, and by being surrounded with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and our friendly neighbors Mexico and Canada. 

So we can be very assured--no fear, right?  That's what we need and want to function normally in every day life.

But perhaps behind the veil of daily bravado is a not-so subtle fear about something really bad happening again--whether a 9/11 or a San Bernardino or a Boston Bombing or anything in between or even possibly more extreme, including attacks on our critical infrastructure (via kinetic means, cyber attacks, or EMP weapons) or even attacks with WMD (from anthrax to nukes in suitcases)--there is certainly plenty of attack vectors, means, and bad actors. 

It was interesting-scary, the other day, there was a video circulating on Facebook of a "radical Muslim"-like character with a turban or something distinctive (I can't really remember) and carrying a backpack. In scene after scene, the character goes up to innocent bystanders and throws his backpack in their direction. The people didn't know him or what was in the backpack or why he was throwing it in their direction. Yet, over and over again, the people jumped up hysterically in fear running for cover like there was very possibly no tomorrow. 

Similarly, we watch on the news almost daily of terrorist attacks around the world--school attacks, beach attacks, restaurants and cafe attacks, theater attacks, grocery store attacks, house of worship attacks, funeral attacks, ambulance attacks...and there literally is no end to this list of what and who is considered a legitimate target by terrorists--we all are.

In the last couple of weeks, there was surveillance captured of Muslim women visiting a number of synagogues in Miami around the same time and asking questions suspiciously--could they have been staking these out for possible future attack, similar to the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue with butcher knives, axes, and guns that massacred people praying and in devotion to their maker?

In the last half a year, we have seen terrorism morph in Israel from volleys of missiles indiscriminately shot at cities, tunnels to attack and abduct, and suicide/homicide bombings to become up close and personal butcher knife attacks in the throat, chest, and back of victims old, young, man, women. Everyone who is available to kill is being called to martyrdom, even the most little children being indoctrinated to slash and thrust a knife into any unsuspecting victim. 

So as we listen and watch the goings-on in the world and we say to ourselves those attacks happen in Paris and London and Turkey and Ukraine and Libya and Tunisia and Nigeria and Yemen and Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and Kuwait and Pakistan and Afghanistan and India and Indonesia and and and...but not [so much] over here. 

We say it, and we hope it, and we pray it, but in the back of our minds we instinctively fear otherwise. 

So while panic is certainly not helpful, perhaps phony bravado is not what is really needed either, but rather a renewed focus, investment, and commitment to our security--with more gates, guns, guards, intelligence, and advances in technology to stop the next attack(s). ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irina Slutsky)

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