Supervillain Blofeld Warns: Facebook And Google Are A Menace To Society


Weekly Axis Of Easy #34


In this issue:

  • Supervillain Blofeld warns: Facebook and Google are a menace to humanity
  • Should you be worried about being killed by a Slaughterbot?
  • NSA deletes “honesty” from its list of core values
  • Macleans: 2018 will be the year of cyberwar 
  • Canadian privacy watchdog on your rights to dispute search engine listings about yourself  

Supervillain Blofeld warns: Facebook and Google are a menace to humanity

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the James Bond era criminal mastermind in a speech delivered to the Spectre Supervillain Summit at the Virgin Islands; warned on the menace to society posed by Internet behemoths such as Facebook and Google. Wait …I think my notes are messed up. Yeah sorry, it was actually George Soros who said that at the World Economic Forum in Davos, my bad.

Should you be worried about being killed by a Slaughterbot?

A couple of interesting op-eds on the IEEE website on whether “slaughterbots”, such as tiny autonomous drones programmed to seek out and kill an unsuspecting target, are something we should be worried about in the near future. DoD insider Paul Scharre says that despite the technology being inevitable, fears of this being turned on civilians by terrorists are overblown. Meanwhile while a quartet of high-tech professors disagree and posted their rebuttal here.

To get a sense of what we’re talking about, see this trending Youtube video, I don’t know where this is from, it is a dramatization, obviously, but captures the essence in a particularly dystopian macabre way…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CO6M2HsoIA

Don’t worry: https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/military-robots/why-you-shouldnt-fear-slaughterbots

Be Worried: https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/why-you-should-fear-slaughterbots-a-response

NSA deletes “honesty” from its list of core values

The NSA maintains a page on its website outlining its core values, which used be: “honesty”, “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency”. But earlier this month something curious happened, the word “honesty” was removed from the list of core values. It’s been replaced with “commitment to service”, which they explain means ” excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission”. They also eliminated all references to “trust,” “honor,” and “openness”. At least they’re being “honest” about it now.

Macleans: 2018 will be the year of cyberwar 

Given how bad 2017 was in terms of cyber-security, privacy leaks and massive hacks, 2018 is only looking to be worse, according to Macleans magazine (which is fairly big here in Canada). One of the attack vectors to pay more attention to: SMSPhishing (a.k.a “smishing”) – where phishing attacks are sent directly your mobile device in an effort to harvest it or lock it up (ransomware).

Canadian privacy watchdog on your rights to dispute search engine listings about yourself

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien announced the watchdog’s findings in a paper released last week. The commission asserts that Canadians have the right to force search engines to “de-index” listings which portray inaccurate information about themselves. This right is not specifically encoded in Canada’s privacy legislation (PIPEDA) and they have asked for a Parliamentary review.

On New Year’s Day I called it: in 2018-2019 Bitcoin will enter what Gartner Group’s “Hype Cycle” terms  “the Trough of Disillusion”. This week I plan to release my next article on Guerrilla Capitalism which looks at that more closely. Learn more here.

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