MED 122718

early morning edition


The 35th Chaos Communication Congress has begun, streams are up and the schedule is online []

Without trees we are lost [ft]  But we city dwellers, reared on concrete and litter-bins, are running out of distractions: the high streets are closing, our tiny magical computers teleport us to hell. Fortunately, in most towns, there remains one source of calm.

Hi, my name is ___, and I’m addicted to tech’ [ap]  It hasn’t been easy for her son, who still relapses every month or two with an extended online binge. He’s managed to keep his job. But sometimes, he wishes he could be more like his co-workers, who spend a lot of their leisure time playing video games and seem to function just fine.

Our Cellphones Aren’t Safe  [nyt] Anyone who can connect to the SS7 network can use it to track your location or eavesdrop on your phone calls. A more recent alternative to SS7 called Diameter suffers from many of the same problems.

Theaster Gates  NYT –  His ambition, he would argue, is more circumscribed. I’m super-interested in the color black, the history of black painting,” he said. “My daddy made black paintings on roofs.”

A Flood of Questionable Cryptocurrency Offerings [wsj]  Search for hundreds of projects showing signs of plagiarism, identity theft and promises of improbable returns.

Whats on Weibo Reporting social trends in China.

ICYMI Your weekly selection of awesome (holiday themed) robot videos [ieee]  We are at the point where you can curate a collection of robot Christmas card videos

MED 122618


Late City Final

What The California Wildfires Can Teach Us About Data Sharing [wired]

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. [nymag]

Sharing Data for Deals? More Like Watching It Go With a Sigh [nyt]

Digital Privacy Is a Big Concern in Europe. For This Reporter, Too. [nyt]

Why privacy regulations are no longer a pipe dream [axios]

When a Sponsored Facebook Post Doesn’t Pay Off  [theatlantic]

We finally started taking screen time seriously in 2018 [techcrunch]

The Histories Of Today’s Wars Are Being Written On Facebook And YouTube. But What Happens When They Get Taken Down? [buzzfeed]

NOAA Notice [twitter] []


Privacy is Power

MED 122518


The Abstracted Absent Arbiter or The New Other

The absent arbiter and providence obscurer are new mechanisms for control.

We are at the intersection of several concepts that have not fallen in place with such scale before. They form the steps towards a dystopian future, a place where provenance, disintermediation, anonymity, arbitration and AI all intersect.

When connected they raise the need …

  • For provenance across all digital assets. One of the greatest problems of our time.
  • To bring clarity to the abstraction and disintermediation of authority in critical decision making processes that impact our lives.
  • To implement AI’s with goals clearly stated and provenance established

This is important because the absent arbiter and providence obscurer make possible fake news, they make possible for accountability to be obscured.

We need to address provenance not for business need cases like tracking IP for profit, or DRM for protection, but more important – knowing source – is part of understanding truth, and that should supersede capitalistic or technological advancement needs.   Root always matters.

Visible examples of this abstraction when you are unnable to speak with a human on a help line,  or that decision making AI in a black-box abstracting us from the logic and the decision tree that changes your life.  These mechanisms of disintermediation are the ‘anonymity authority’ or ‘absent arbiters’.

Not coincidentally these are all intersections of AI optimization. Abstraction of authority in critical decision making is the mechanism that allows for the casualties of AI’s implementation.

Perhaps even more critical there is also the abstraction and appropriation or our cultural heritage . The corporate copyright against putting  ‘Hakuna Matata’  on a t-shirt  (like trademarking ‘good morning’ use on a tee-shirt). “It’s a common phrase we use every other day. No company can own it.”  Your history and language  “not yours” as the auctioneer says.  The provenance stolen, then claimed. Suddenly saying good morning in your native language on a t-shirt is a crime.

Numerous examples surface everyday in our lives. Located at the intersection of provenience and truth in the area of anonymity. Its at that intersection that we need to be most transparent – as these things ‘move men to action’ and change lives.  Our northern border legal immigration process is being abstracted by the current administration is another current example.

Without the ability to know the goal, motive and ownership of the new master abstractor we all  end up enslaved to prescribed fiction vs news and further disintermediated from things that move us forward. Be it basics like food, shelter, clothing  (2of3  of three are now services) to knowledge and wealth creation for prosperity.


MED 122418



Huawei Had a Deal to Give Redskins’ Fans Free Wi-Fi. Then the Government Stepped In.
[WAPO] a Huawei account tweeted: “Congrats on the great win last night. Can’t wait to see the first tweet from FedEx field via the new #Huawei Wi-Fi network.” The day after that tweet, Michael Wessel read a news article about the Huawei-Redskins deal. A member of a congressional research and advisory panel called the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Mr. Wessel said he asked a high-ranking government friend to call the Redskins.

35C3 – 35th Chaos Communication Congress December 27. through 30. 2018, Leipziger Exhibition Grounds, Leipzig :: The 35th Chaos Communication Congress (35C3) is an annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia. The Congress offers lectures and workshops and various events on a multitude of topics including (but not limited to) information technology and generally a critical-creative attitude towards technology and the discussion about the effects of technological advances on society. 

Photo Wake-Up: 3D Character Animation from a Single Photo – Given a single photo as input (far left), we create a 3D animatable version of the subject, which can now walk towards the viewer (middle). The 3D result can be experienced in augmented reality (right); in the result above the user has virtually hung the artwork with a HoloLens headset and can watch the character run out of the painting from different views. Please see all results in the supplementary video.

No More Settlement Demands: New Rules for Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System Receive Royal Assent   Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act that includes extensive copyright reforms, passed the Senate and received royal assent last week. With little fanfare, the rules for Canada’s copyright notice-and-notice have now changed. The law no longer requires Internet providers to forward notifications that include the following:

(a) an offer to settle the claimed infringement;
(b) a request or demand, made in relation to the claimed infringement, for payment or for personal information;
(c) a reference, including by way of hyperlink, to such an offer, request or demand; and
(d) any other information that may be prescribed by regulation





Privacy is Power

MED 122318


Early Morning Final

Inside Brazil’s Museu Nacional – Rediscover the collection before the fire in 2018.  On September 2nd 2018, a fire struck the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest collections of natural history in the world. An estimated 20 million pieces were lost, including indigenous artifacts, dinosaur remains and the oldest human skeleton ever discovered in the Americas.Starting back in 2016.

Theaster Gates hits the floor at Park Avenue Armory  The Chicago artist will mill a portion of the period wood for the $4m project to replace the historic New York building’s floor

NYPL Top Checkouts of 2018  Jennifer Egan’s historical novel set in New York City topped the Library’s annual top checkouts list, which includes books and e-books from the Library’s collections. The New York Public Library—which includes 92 locations in The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—has about 20 million checkouts per year. (Staten Island list so telling.-ED)

Programming Medicine []  What is a medicine, really? From the days of aspirin from willow bark, medicine is as old as humanity itself: something humans have been discovering, designing, and creating for ages to help heal ourselves. But now, thanks to technology, we’re entering an entirely new age where the very definition of what a medicine is, is changing. In this talk given at a16z’s annual Summit event, Jorge Conde — general partner on the bio fund at Andreessen Horowitz — talks about how we are now harnessing and even programming biology itself in new modalities, from the cell to the gene to the living microbiome.

Update on Facebook’s Civil Rights Audit (PDF) [facebook]  In particular, civil rights groups identified the possibility of false information regarding voter registration requirements or voting logistics. Before the rise of social media, flyers containing false voting information were posted in minority neighborhoods – on street corners or in churches, schools, and public parks.  (ED NOTE: The report is filled with these type of analog comparisons -that are not corollary and try to act as justification with a ‘it’s been happening forever’ reasoning) Today, the same falsehoods may spread online as memes in Facebook’s News Feed, with the potential to reach millions of people in a short amount of time.

Trend 2018-2019: Censorship + content moderation

Google Takes Down Artstation Android App for Explicit Content [artstation]  We have been getting many questions from users asking what happened to the ArtStation Android App, as it seems to have disappeared from the Google Play Store. In the interest of transparency and keeping our users informed, we wanted to let you know what is happening. On Dec.10, 2018, unfortunately  Google suspended the ArtStation App from the Google Play store for the issue of Violation of Sexually Explicit Content policy. Google provided us with the following image as evidence of our violation.

YouTube’s Copyright Protection System is a Total Mess, Can it Be Fixed? YouTube users are becoming increasingly frustrated with the platform’s handling of copyright complaints. Legitimate videos are being claimed or removed based on false claims, either by automated mistakes or intentional abuse. Perhaps it’s time for YouTube to hold ‘abusive’ copyright holders responsible for their actions?

Year End Spots

These three end of year spots resonated. The fact that Google has even made an advertisement worth sharing is really telling. Their significant creative growth over the last few years, first design and now this.

Google really figuring out the way to being a fuzzy warm consumer brand you can related to vs a cold surveillance service they are.  Impressive in the same way that naming conventions for laws have become the inverse meaning of what they do example; patriot act, but I digress .

John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 (Elton)

Holiday — Share Your Gifts — Apple

Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant

Privacy Watch

BBC master troll of Zuck/Facebook   [twitter/bbc] “This is their information. They own it” “And you won’t sell it?” “No! Of course not.” Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, talking to the BBC in 2009. Digging through the BBC archives proved worthwhile as our interview with a younger Mark went viral this year. You all wanted to see.

‘Minority Report’ police computer is being used to ‘predict’ who is likely to commit crimes amid ethical concerns over £48million project  A £48m police computer system can predict who is most likely to commit crimes, The system can also predict victims and works by analyzing masses of data.


top img:  sequence from Wings of Desire 

Privacy is Power

MED 122218



Head-to-head evaluation of five password managers [medium] We created a detailed evaluation checklist and ran five password managers through the gauntlet: LastPass, 1PasswordDashlaneBitwarden, and Keeper. At the end of our evaluation, we decided that Bitwarden is the best choice for our company,..

Apple Transparency Report [apple] Apple is committed to your privacy and being transparent about government requests for customer data globally. This report provides information on government requests received.

Real-time air pollution map [purpleair] A PurpleAir sensor is an “Internet of things” (IOT) air quality sensor or particulate sensor consisting of the following elements….

The top 10 tools for journalism in 2018 – Here are the tools that I liked the most this year.

Closed, Proprietary, Felonious: The Toxic Rainbow of Locked Technology  There’s a saying in the software freedom movement: “if you can’t open it, it’s not yours.”

The Year in Artful Music: Sounds for Contemplation [artnews] Art rock list for 2018

DER SPIEGEL Reveals Internal Fraud  A DER SPIEGEL reporter committed large-scale journalistic fraud over several years. Internal clues and research have provided significant evidence against reporter Claas Relotius, who has since admitted to the falsifications and is no longer employed by DER SPIEGEL. Other media organizations may also have been affected.  (That hit job on small town America was not a good idea after all -ed)

Life of a Song Fairytale of New York — the Christmas song for people who hate Christmas songs “Fairytale of New York”, the 1987 hit single from The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale of New York” was first conceived as a duet between MacGowan and Pogues bassist Cait O’Riordan. In an early demo of the song, the lyrics are dramatically different (and often indecipherable); O’Riordan sounds unconfident, while MacGowan simply disappears towards the end – it’s not hard to imagine him staggering away from the microphone for a lie-dow

The 50 best TV shows of 2018: the full list

Last summer, the Second Circuit issued a positive, landmark decision on Use of Force and Qualified Immunity in our case on the NYPD’s use of a Sound Cannon at a  demonstration. Last night, NYC appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.NYC Mayor files an appeal to use Sound Cannons like they did during a black lives matter protest.  (Bill you don’t even show up as Mayor,  pretend to be of the people, then file this on xmas holdiday break – nice – ed)

 Decolonize This Place  Decolonize This Place is an action-oriented movement centering around Indigenous struggle, Black liberation, free Palestine, global wage workers and de-gentrification. Facilitated by MTL+ Collectiv

Privacy is Power

MED 122118


WireGuard for iOS – now in the App Store  WireGuard is a fast, modern, and secure VPN tunnel. This app allows users to manage and use WireGuard tunnels. The app can import new tunnels from archives and files, from QR codes, or you can create one from scratch.

Suicide Prediction Technology is Revolutionary. It Badly Needs Oversight. Facebook also helps pinpoint users’ locations so first responders can find them. In the past 12 months, the company initiated 3,500 of these “wellness checks,” contacting police about 10 times per day, Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety, said in a recent interview with NPR.

Fortnite Keeps Stealing Dances — And No One Knows If It’s Illegal But the claims are more complicated when it comes to dances. Epic took a dance Ferguson popularized, turned into a visual asset with motion graphics, and then made it into a reward for playing a lot of Fortnite. So the first question would be whether a dance move can be protected by copyright at all.

Why using human ‘super recognizers’ to identify criminals can be bad The results also make the case for matching super recognizers to different tasks depending on their strengths. For example, people with strong face-matching abilities would be better at matching suspects or missing persons across different photographic or video examples. Those with strong face memory skills would be better at selecting potential repeat offenders from lots of archival images.

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act and the agency’s regulation of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds  we recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities. We’re committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.  (why this took 50 years and opioids were approved and protected in a year one heals one kills – wtf – ed)

Five facts about smell writeup

MED 122018



The Vulnerable World Hypothesis  [pdf]  A new working paper from Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford university. This paper introduces the concept of a ​vulnerable world​: roughly, one in which there is some level of technological development at which civilization almost certainly gets devastated by default, i.e. unless it has exited the “semi-anarchic default condition”. Several counterfactual historical and speculative future vulnerabilities are analyzed and arranged into a typology.

GroupM State of Video 2018 report “The young may yet return to the main screen. They are already saturated with smartphones, and screen size is a binding constraint. Big screens encourage viewing, particularly for SVOD, YouTube and sports.”

MediaDeals – Our predictions for 2019 It’s that time of the year. Inevitably, this is a blend of deals that will (almost) definitely happen and those that might or should. See you in 2019.

Data Protection Commission announces statutory inquiry into Twitter [dataprotection] In November, the Data Protection Commission opened a statutory inquiry into Twitter’s compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR following receipt of a number of breach notifications  from the company since the introduction of the GDPR.

Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home [reuters] The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.

Manhole Covers Serve as Antennas Expanding Wireless Network Coverage [] vodafone engineers believe this could be a solution for future 5G networks as well. “The manholes do provide an opportunity to deliver solutions in dense urban environments,”

Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy – Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2018-7 These differences are associated with notably different attack surfaces and threat models. Specifically, democracies are vulnerable to measures that “flood” public debate and disrupt shared decentralized understandings of actors and coalitions, in ways that autocracies are not.

Privacy is Power

MED 121918


in production / busy week

LibreRouter: Powering community networks with free and open hardware [apnic] Community networks have become vital in enabling unserved or underserved communities to access the online information and services they need. Typically, community network infrastructure is built on consumer grade off-the-shelf hardware, which has its firmware flashed, hacked and modified to serve the needs of a community network.

Face Recognition Is Now Being Used In Schools, But It Won’t Stop Mass Shootings [intercept]

As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants   [nyt] Internal documents show that the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed.

The Yoda of Silicon Valley: [nyt] “We are now writing algorithms we cannot read. That makes this a unique moment in history, in that we are subject to ideas and actions and efforts by a set of physics that have human origins without human comprehension.”

The universal decay of collective memory and attention [nature] Our results reveal that biographies remain in our communicative memory the longest (20–30 years) and music the shortest (about 5.6 years). These findings show that the average attention received by cultural products decays following a universal biexponential function.

How Russia used the Internet to perfect its dark arts [wapo]

2018 Briefings are available online. Find whitepapers and slides beneath the individual session abstract

MED 121818



Changes to my quiet west village neighborhood with the Google moving in.  Some renderings of the blocks.  NYC turns inside out every week. So many spaces that define this city close every day. Chelsea’s Half King Pub Will Close After 18 Years in New York.

Reports for the Senate Intelligence Committee released Monday.

  • The IRA and Political Polarization in the United Statest: Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project + Graphika.[]
  • The Disinformation Report by social media research firm New Knowledge, Columbia University and Canfield Research.[newknowledge]
  • Sandberg wrote. “We take this incredibly seriously, as demonstrated by the investments we’ve made in safety and security.” [nbc]

    And, she added, “We need to do more.” 

    (pffffftttt.. the above reports categorized the response as “bare minimum possible” -ed)


SpaceX to launch U.S. spy satellite in first national security mission [reuters] first of 32 satellites in production by Lockheed for the Air Force’s GPS III program.

It’s the end of an era for the POES program, which launched 16 satellites, provided four decades of climate and weather data, 


AI technology realizes ultra-accurate singing voice synthesis ~ “Virtual singer’s singing voice to an era where it can not be distinguished from people”  ~Techno-Speech, Inc.  A.I. voice software produces vocals 

Data opt-out list


Privacy is Power