Saturday, April 28, 2018

In which the pond continues to celebrate the evil empire ...

It seems as if the reptiles have decided to abandon - at least temporarily - their hard-edged paywall. Likely enough, the drop-of in hits got the marketing team a little agitated.

It's all a part of the paranoid, defensive, circle the wagons mentality that afflicts the reptiles, and to what avail?

The circulation of this blog, for example, is minuscule, the level of attendance risible. It poses no real threat to the reptiles if they were strong within themselves and true believers.

Alas the product they're selling has its flaws, but even so, to be a minor part of the conversation is better than being ignored.

Sure, there's the odd attendee who turns up at the pond motivated by malice and a desire to avoid paying to sup on the reptile conversation, but think of the up-side.

Everyone knows that in Star Wars the best character is Darth Vader, followed by the emperor himself. They wear black, they have the best samurai helmets or alien cloaks, and they know how to mess with the force.

Leaving good old Sir Alec aside (the pond's heart stays with The Ladykillers), there's not a single character to match the baddies. It certainly isn't that jumped up swamp frog with his Latinate abuse of the English sentence …

So for every visitor to the pond wishing evil on the evil empire, it's just as likely that other visitors will become entranced by the dark side, and be drawn into its wicked web …

Yes, that's it. The reptiles should be paying the pond for all the publicity it provides, and its ongoing devotion to herpetological studies …

And so to the lunch-time feast, this time featuring the dog botherer, scribbling about privacy.

Why did this set the pond's irony alert to 11?

So much for the Murdochians and privacy ...

And right now somewhere in the lizard Oz empire there will be an SEO studiously tracking the reptile subscriptions, working out how they can flog stuff to their suckers, and what more they can do with the data they've scored from their subscribers …and if there isn't, that helps explain why the reptiles are struggling ...

So it's on with the comedy …

The pond wonders if the dog botherer will get around to the real intrusions into privacy currently being mounted by the federal government …

The bureaucrats, thanks to the mutton Dutton, right this minute are still beavering away on a database that will cover just about everything and everybody.

There's only one real hope: the government will implement it in its usual incompetent way, and some howlers will draw attention to its more egregious uses:

The purposes for which the Department can use the information it gathers are very broad. They include preventing and detecting identity fraud, law enforcement, national security, protective security (protection of government assets, persons or facilities), community safety (for instance where a person is acting suspiciously in a crowded public place), and road safety. Those categories include criminal intelligence gathering and profiling, policing of public spaces and public events, and policing of activist communities and protests. Many of these policing exercises are highly data-driven, using new predictive techniques to identify criminal suspects and political agitators before any activity has even occurred. (The Conversation, here).

Yes, we don't know what you've done, but we know you're up to something.

Some have already raised tentative concerns, as listed at Itnews here …

The OVIC said it also holds concerns around extending identity-matching services to the private sector and local government because of “the variation in the quality of governance and security that can be expected”. It welcomed the fact that the use of the facial identification service (FIS) was limited to law enforcement and border protection agencies, but said it would be “very concerned” if those functions were to undertaken by the private sector, particularly given the “broad power” handed to the minister. The "breadth of discretion” surrounding the operation of the identity-matching services and the minister’s ability “to do anything necessary or convenient” were also worrying, the OVIC said. “The ability for fundamental controls to be amended without parliamentary oversight may also be problematic,” it states.

The OVIC statement is available in full here as a pdf, direct link, and while it's couched in serious bureaucratese, it does also express serious concerns…

And little wonder, because the federal government is currently embarking on the most massive surveillance program the country has ever seen …

Why was the pond expecting this not to turn up in the text of the mutton Dutton-worshipping dog botherer, when the easy fruit of social media is easier to write up?

With hapless punters being blamed for their careless ways ...

What about our involuntary submission to the federal government?

Oh never mind, though the story of how a genealogy website - at The Atlantic here - helped catch the alleged Golden State killer via DNA matching does provide a warning to anyone making use of such services for genealogical purposes. Not everyone's a criminal, but some people might find unexpected surprises popping up if they start letting their DNA data loose ...

Your data isn't safe, though the pond understands why many find it hard to follow the pond in only using cash at supermarkets (let them work out the pond's shopping tastes from that), refusing to be on Facebook, refusing to tweet, and refusing to become an addict to the small screen and bump into anyone passing in the street, on foot, or of late, while driving (and there's a reason the pond is anonymous, and it's not just fear of reptile persecution).

And so back to the dog botherer, to give him one last chance to mention the biggest developing scandal of them all, featuring the mutton Dutton and his over-reaching department, and their desire to make all sorts of data available to all sorts of people, including the geese in councils …

Yes, they're all eager and Toowoomba led the way back in 2017, and here's the thing: if you've got a vast array of surveillance devices, in the street, or inside buildings, hooked up to facial recognition hooked up to a potent database, the intrusions Facebook has managed might look small beer up against an allegedly liberal Liberal government (and don't expect comrade Bill to change things should he get into power) ...

For the record, m'lud, might the pond be allowed to note that Angus Taylor is a clueless goose, and a part of the problem.

There he was boasting about 'contactless' international travellers in company of the mutton Dutton, back in 2017, with nary a thought as to what might happen to all those pictures sitting the databank, while the real business, of having a visual record of every Australian sitting in a government database for specified and unspecified purposes rolls on …

Oh yes, we're in the big league, and scored a mention in a 2016 Fortune story about the nightmare of facial recognition, here

So why is this so bad? The problem is that the technology is escaping the control of any gate-keepers, and now more and more people are using it. Online images are turning into a way to spy on us in the real world. If this keeps up, anyone will be able stand outside a gay bar or a mosque or an AIDS clinic, and use their phone to identify people going in and out. We’re not there yet, of course. Right now, the worst abuses are taking place in Russia. But face-tracking is catching on in other countries too. Australia is preparing a tool called “The Capability” that will give police the power to pick out faces from millions of photos, possibly including ones from Facebook. Meanwhile, Malaysia is mulling plans to deploy the technology to screen for trouble makers outside night clubs.

And if you follow that link, to the ABC back in 2015, and remember that the mice have been very busy since then, this is what you read ...

The Capability will give law enforcement and security agencies quick access to up to 100 million facial images from databases around Australia, including drivers' licences, passport photos, and perhaps even Facebook photos. The photos will be coordinated through a system called The Hub that will help agencies quickly identify people and tackle cross-border crime. 
 Privacy activists, such as Australian Privacy Foundation vice-chair David Vaile, are concerned. "Biometrics, unlike any other form of identification, is tied to your biological existence, which has some benefits for its use as an identifier but it has the great downside that if something goes wrong, if it's breached, if it's hacked, it can't be revoked," Mr Vaile said. "It's not like cutting up a credit card or getting a new phone number or something. 
 "Basically if anybody manages to get this, they breach the security, potentially you're compromised for life."

Forget the hackers, the mutton Dutton has got you for life …

There's the dog botherer rabbiting on about Orwellian, and there's the mutton Dutton busy pursuing a 1984 dream …and not a boo to a goose from the dog botherer about it.

Is it any wonder that for a little light relief, the pond turns to the Pope for some papal wisdom, with more available here

Remember, an infinite capacity for bungling might be the country's only hope ...


  1. Hang on - the Botherer is producing this tosh from a cafe? Shouldn't he be banning out his word count on a battered Remington while a durry hangs from his lips and the Copy Boy waits by anxiously? Instead he's hogging the Wi Fi in some inner-city, hipster leet hangout - and could be actually be sipping on a _latte_ ? For shame, Botherer?

    Most of the article reads like he's done a simple cut-and-paste from the Summary section of an old Productivity Commission report (and why doesn't anyone ever suggest including them in government cost cutting - 20+ years of generating free market fantasies with bugger-all in the way of real achievements), so of course he's not going to address possible misuse of data by government - his source certainly won't have done so. However, at least he notes that 80% of data is useless, so I'm assuming he accepts that applies to the total outlet of News Corp.

    Oh, and if we're such early adapters of technology, how come we've ended up with such a fucked NBN?

    1. Because we are "adapters" rather than just "adopters", Anony. So instead of just adopting a perfectly workable NBN like just about everybody else on the planet, we had to "adapt" it to provide for a "multi-technology solution".

  2. "Sure, there's the odd attendee who turns up at the pond motivated by malice and a desire to avoid paying to sup on the reptile conversation.."

    Me ! Pick me, DP !

    But the only part of any conversation that the Murdochratian reptiles are upholding, is that the Melbourne Hairoiled-Scum is running a full repeat of Calvin and Hobbes. Now that's a product well worth selling (especially as I missed a lot of it the first time 'round).

    "Remember, an infinite capacity for bungling might be the country's only hope ..."

    Is that just another one of those things that I'll see when I believe it ? Since we are talking about 1984 ...

  3. Speaking of the great Sir Alec, The Man in the White Suit is a favourite. A parable on the insatiability of modern capitalism.

  4. No need to patronise Rupert's rubbish GB. The compleat Calvin and Hobbs is available here:

    1. Now you might have thought that a bright young lad like me could have thought of that himself. But I didn't, so thanks for the pointer Anony.

      I really will have to have a good look at gocomics ... I wonder if it has Hagar the Horrible and Garfield as well.


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