Oz Blog News Commentary

Alt Right vs. Alt Left, Cajun Navy, Experts vs. Pilots, Tolerance for Disinfo

September 18, 2017 - 23:55 -- Admin

Some random items of interest:

  • Alt Right vs. Alt Left (Vice).  The US is now ground zero in an open source war for the future of democratic governance.  'Whatever happens next, the genie is out of the bottle, and intelligence and surveillance capabilities that once belonged only to militaries and state spooks are now available to anyone with a high-speed internet connection.'  Quotes from Singer and Robb.  
  • Global Guerrilla resilience (Houston Chronicle) "I downloaded the app.  And suddenly, I was part of the Cajun Navy. "After two minutes of training, I was talking to people desperate for help."   1024x1024BTW: the app they were using is called Zello.  It turns your smartphone into a PTT (push to talk) walkie talkie.  Here's another app like this, built by a former Green Beret, called Voxer.

  • Skin in the game (New Yorker).  It's important to note that unlike most experts, pilots live (or die) with the consequences of their decisions. This makes them very unforgiving of poor decision-making. 21731534_1353660384755984_5714818874861776241_o
  • Algorithmic warfare (Gizmodo).   Uber's "Greyball" -- An algorithm built to thwart police harassing Uber drivers.  'Greyball showed officials “ghost cars” in a fake version of the app in an attempt to dodge regulators and also allegedly created geo-fences around potential investigative areas.  The ride-sharing service also reportedly traced user credit card information and searched social media accounts in an effort to track down potential investigators. And when Uber figured out that officials were using burner phones, employees looked up the device numbers of the cheapest ones on sale at local electronics stores, “which were often the ones bought by city officials, whose budgets were not sizable.'
  • Disinfo warning (via Bloomberg) The former deputy commander of the Department for Active Measures and Disinformation in the Soviet-directed Czechoslovak intelligence service (now a university prof in the US) on fake news.  "To create the kind of disinformation that changes the world, he told me, you need a story that’s at least 60, 70 or even 80 percent true."   My take:  We complain about disinformation today, but we've been embracing establishment disinfo for decades... from WMDs to a blameless financial crisis.   We accepted it when we were told that transferring a trillion dollars a year in manufacturing to China wouldn't hurt us economically or when we're told America is moving ahead economically when we haven't seen an increase in median income for 40 years (outside of the DC area) or that nation building in Afghanistan is the way forward when there is no chance of it ever working.

    In short, we don't have any defenses against disinfo today because we've been fed a steady diet of it for decades.