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Category: Question (Page 1 of 3)

Volodin’s Prism

Continuing a branch from Internet Research Agency source reference sheet.

Chen, 2015, NYT article:

“Volodin, a lawyer who studied engineering in college, approached the problem as if it were a design flaw in a heating system. Forbes Russia reported that Volodin installed in his office a custom-designed computer terminal loaded with a system called Prism, which monitored public sentiment online using 60 million sources. According to the website of its manufacturer, Prism “actively tracks the social media activities that result in increased social tension, disorderly conduct, protest sentiments and extremism.” Or, as Forbes put it, “Prism sees social media as a battlefield.””

Difficult to find other sources on the subject of Volodin’s Prism. NYT is plenty canonical for present purposes, but seems like Forbes source should be easier to trace.

I don’t trust 4chan as a source, but on /pol/ May 2014 there is what may be an auto-translated paragraph, which reads:

“At present, the Russian special services have no control over these sites , however, conduct external monitoring events, and look for the ” holes” in the protection of resources to deal with the political opposition , they can already .Note , some media reported earlier to establish a system to monitor social media developed by “Medialogia” . Program “Prism” supposedly allows you to track detached blog sites and social networks by scanning 60 million sources and tracking key statements users. Under the “eye” of the program were blogs users «LiveJournal», «Twitter», «YouTube», other portals . One of the alleged instances of the program installed in the office of the first deputy head of the department of internal policy of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin , RBC reports “

RBC has the recent famous IRA article, so perhaps I can find whatever the source might be here (if real).

Medialogia is a new entity here.

Searching more turns up this January 2014 piece from globalvoices.org (not sure who/what that is).

“The Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) is asking software developers to design a system that automatically monitors the country’s news and social media, producing reports that study netizens’ political attitudes. The state is prepared to pay nearly one million dollars over two years to the company that wins the state tender, applications for which were due January 9, 2014.”

Link to the site where the tender is listed. Name, auto-translated from Russian:

“Providing services for providing the results of automatic selection of media information, studying the information field, monitoring blogs and social media”

Organization:
Special communication of the FSO of Russia

Mailing address
Russian Federation, 107031, Moscow, Bolshoy Kiselny lane, house 4,

[…]

The contact person
Karygin Mikhail Yakovlevich”

Globalvoices also links out to iz.ru January 2014 article (auto-translated).

“Professionals, using specialized systems, will have to provide FSO with a personal compilation of messages from bloggers, which will allow daily monitoring of significant events on specific topics and regions. In addition, monitor negative or positive color of events. Information materials will be preliminarily processed, they will be grouped on specific topics: the president, the administration of the president’s administration, the prime minister, opposition protests, governors, negative events in the country, incidents, criticism of the authorities.”

Advox / Globalvoices (supported by Ford Foundation), which I’m starting to agree with, also says, in regards to the above iz.ru article:

“Izvestia’s coverage of the story bears all the hallmarks of Kremlin-friendly reportage, sandwiching comments by one critic of the FSO between two supporters of monitoring the Internet.”

Globalvoices links to this as the Medialogia website.

This text from their corporate site seems to match pretty well the Prism NYT description at top:

Blog monitoring and analysis reports

Medialogia offers regular blogosphere monitoring and analysis for companies. Monitoring sources: more than 40,000 social media, including LiveJournal, Twitter, VKontakte, Blogi@Mail.ru, Ya.ru, industry blogs and forums.”

Is this a real company and product? Hard to really tell.

Tacking this on here, though not strictly related – it came up in similar searches and seems worth saving: Russia Beyond, December 2016 on new Russian cyber-security doctrine.

In his words, Russia’s government has paid special attention to countering new “Twitter revolutions,” those similar to the ones that occurred in the Middle East in the beginning of the decade.

“The Arab Spring demonstrated that Facebook, Twitter and other instant messaging services allow a lot of content that threatens social and political stability. The main thing is that we don’t have an effective model for blocking such processes,” said Demidov.

 

 

Handkerchief & The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe

There’s a line in a 2014 Buzzfeed article about some supposedly leaked documents relating to the Internet Research Agency that I keep puzzling over. It reads:

“The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.”

I’m unable to find any additional clarifying statements about what this means from other sources. Many repetitions of the same phrasing as this Buzzfeed article are available, but none explaining this.

  • What is meant by ‘archetypes’ for accounts? Is it like a general model personality profile that operators use to create new false identities? (That’s what I’m assuming)
  • What do each of the names refer to specifically? What are the archetypes?
  • Where are the leaked emails (and English translations) of the specific documents which mention these ‘archetypes’?

Location: Other Offices

Entity: Other firms. Addresses. Co-located groups.

As in IRA/FAN/GLAV STPETBG.

Senate Panel on Disinformation and Social Media

I watched all three hours of this today, live:

…and have to admit I found it utterly fascinating.

The main theme I took away from it is that “Washington” seems to want to move towards legislative oversight of social media

Is the Akashic Record a massive violation of privacy?

According to the internet, the Akashic Records are a kind of magical record of everything that ever happened, is happening or will happen. Wikipedia quotes Alice Bailey in 1927:

The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time.

The inestimable “Crystal Links” references an associated myth:

“A Chinese man named Sujujin was reported to need only the first name of anyone to access the Akasha and describe their life history.”

From a privacy and data protection perspective, this sounds pretty alarming. Why aren’t adequate security measures in place? Why haven’t the known risks been mitigated? Who is responsible in the event of a data breach? What rights do I have as a data subject to not be included in this so-called “Book of Life”?

Countless pathways to infringement of PII (personally identifying information) have been laid out by careless Practioners in books such as Linda Howe’s How to Read the Akashic Record.

For thousands of years, mystics, masters, and sages from various world traditions have read the Akashic Records-a dynamic repository that holds information about every soul and its journey. Once reserved for a “spiritually gifted” few, this infinite source of wisdom and healing energy is now available for readers everywhere to answer questions big and small.

If you ask me, giving free and unrestricted access to just anyone to the universe’s vault of secrets about every person creates a major vector for harassment, hate postings and many other types of abuse.

I reached out to AKASHIC RECORDS LIMITED via their LinkedIn profile to find out what they were doing to bring their systems into compliance in advance of the GDPR coming into force on 25 May, 2018. I have yet to hear back from them. To be on the safe side, I also reached out to LIFES AKASHIC RECORDS LIMITED, also a UK company. I’m uncertain which of these organizations, if any, are responsible for this mess. For what is supposed to be the biggest database in the Universe, I couldn’t even find an official website.

Keyboard that inputs words not letters

Is there a way on Mac OS X Sierra to enter whole words rapidly, instead of letter-by-letter, as per normal typing?

I’ve experimented a lot with Dragon Dictate for text entry and it can work well under specific circumstances – one of which is having an allowance for vocalizations in the workplace (not always convenient).

What I’m after is to basically be able to set up word banks, and then rapidly plop in values from each group to form descriptive sentences  for SEO on a high volume of images. Since many of the subjects of the images repeat again and again, I’m wanting to split them up into re-usable chunks.

So it could be a little like this, genericized:

[Person][Action][Preposition][Location]

Where each item is a bank of related words, which I can quickly flip through to find the correct combination, something like:

Man walking on a beach

I have aText, which is a decent basic text expander app, and I see people talking about some autocomplete options in Mac OS, but so far nothing quite fits the bill.

I guess the closest I’ve come so far has been finding (more on iOS) some applications for augmentative/assistive communications boards, like so:

If I were able to customize this kind of thing with my own word banks, and make it into like an app that can be called up system-wide (or at least in Firefox), and which will output strings of text into Google Sheets + allow for easy switching to regular text/letter-by-letter entry style, I would be pretty much golden…

Maybe I’ll just have to cobble it together myself though, it looks like.

Privacy vs. data protection

Sometimes I wonder if introverts are more prone to being interested “privacy” when it comes to technology. I’m not entirely sure what else to posit as my probable cause for having concerns about this subject in my online and/or personal life, but I always have.

Was just looking at a Reddit r/privacy thread about this, where someone is trying to convince their family member to get into Linux, get into privacy, etc. As far as Linux goes, I’m sure it’s great and I’ve had other people try to convince me to get into it as well, and have never had the time/interest to do so.

But being concerned about privacy just comes naturally to me.  That said, I agree there is a big brick wall you hit when talking to people who aren’t naturally interested in this subject. It’s the old argument of “I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t need to hide what I’m doing.”

I’ve heard this argument so many times now that it almost makes my brain fritz when I hear it. What could one possibly say in response? Something, something tyranny? I don’t know the answer really. I’m also not overly concerned with converting anyone to the privacy cause.

In discovering the EU conception of privacy though, I was happy to see it flipped in the direction of data protection instead. While it might be just a semantic difference, I like looking at data protection moreso than privacy because it seems a bit easier, or more neutral, to explain the virtue of it. Someone who doesn’t necessarily care about privacy might still be able to grasp and be interested in the idea that their personal data ought to be subject to some kind of controls and safeguards.

You don’t have to be “doing something wrong” to benefit from having your personal data protected, and even — gasp — regulated (yes, I know regulation is anathema in the American mythic identity). Data protection to me is more like the ability to set limits of who can access what in the data-streams we create out of our lives. Who are we willing to share what with? What are the expectations of use for any given point of data?

When you set something to be shared only with one or two trusted people, or a select group of friends, what are the repercussions of that setting not being respected? You don’t have to be doing something against the law to get into trouble sharing information with the wrong target audience.

Though I still use both terms, it was a relief to me to discover the articulation of a clear(er) mandate in the realm of data protection regimes, versus the often muddy and seemingly arbitrary realm of “privacy.”

It may very well be that in the next two decades, our expectations for what was traditionally called privacy may go way down, whereas our need for strong data protection will go up, up and up as we generate and are awash in more and more data…

Amazon Prime Minister

If there’s an Amazon Prime, is there an Amazon Prime Minister?

To weirdos with questions

I’ve been 🕵 investigating what it takes to become a licensed private investigator in the province of Quebec. Kind of just for fun, really, as an extension of a burgeoning interest in privacy and data protection.  Apparently there is a 135 hr training requirement, but no one seems to be able to point me to an equivalent training that’s both available in English and online.

Okay, fine. So sue me for living in a French province in a bilingual country and asking for resources in English. I get it, there’s a charter to protect the French language from being overwhelmed in a predominantly English-language culture. But still. We can do both, right? I think that’s the ideal.

Anyway, I’ve been simultaneously querying a variety of agencies for help: from associations, to training providers, to provincial authorities in neighboring Ontario. My hobby is emailing people I don’t know, with some weird questions. So I’m actually pretty used to this now.

Ontario has, by comparison, an only 50 hr training requirement which is significantly less than Quebec. Unclear still if you have to actually *be* a resident of that province to be licensed there.

I don’t know though what your practice would conceivably consist of though. If you’re licensed in one province, but operating in another. Maybe I’m going about all this in the completely wrong direction.  One possible pathway would be to have the operating province recognize the license given in the other. But for what benefit and to what eventual end?

I’m really not an expert on these things. I’m just someone with a lot of questions. 👀 ❓ But here’s the thing you find when you start asking the people or the agencies, or the people who are out there and who *are* the experts: no one necessarily knows the answer. The questions may never have been asked before. A specific pre-built answer may require interpretation and invention.

And few people acting in official capacities are comfortable being publicly wrong. So it’s a natural human response, I’m sure, to just not to want to answer weirdos with questions. At least that’s commonly where I end up on these hare-brained tangents of mine where I end up emailing a dozen different people for help or answers with a specific question or problem.

There exists, a certain, I guess we could call it ‘tenacity of research‘ which one may possess or perhaps develop as a personality trait… such that following through with it in fullness, and learning to harness and direct it, may actively create answers that didn’t exist before through a radical act of questioning. In the course of asking and answering certain questions, you may through patience and persistence become the eventual expert. You might just invoke an unthing into being.

I don’t know what any of this means, though vis-a-vis where we started. Except, if you gotta 🕵, then 🕵. If you look and you find there’s no answer, you make one out of what’s available and what you can dream up.

 

Format: Flash Cards, Q&A

To convey a storyline using a series of Q&A flashcards which must be memorized and an examination passed before the next chapter of the story will unfold.

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