Saturday, January 03, 2015

Run Silent, Run Deep

Let's take a breather from pontificating about the cop-shoot-unarmed-black-citizen (though if you're a white person firing a real gun and pointing it at cops, they'll find a way to bring you in unharmed), and throw in on this latest instance of The Most Transparent Administration Evah getting dissidents under its thumb.

In 2009, Barrett founded Project PM, “dedicated to investigating private government contractors working in the secretive fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, and surveillance.” He was particularly instrumental in using documents obtained by the hacktivist collective Anonymous to expose secret collaboration between the government and various contractors. The covert factions Barrett’s work threatened are powerful, and fought back. Two years ago, Barrett was arrested and threatened with 100 years in prison—yes, you read that correctly—allegedly for threatening an FBI agent, concealing evidence, and linking to a website that contained stolen credit card numbers.


Eventually, Barrett signed a plea deal on three of the lesser charges against him, the other charges were dropped, and the threatened sentence reduced from over a hundred to eight and a half years. His sentencing hearing has been repeatedly scheduled and then delayed, and is currently set for December 16.
More here. The sentencing has since been pushed back to January 22nd. Brown now faces 8½ years, rather than over 100, which is nice, except that's still a long time to spend in Club Fed. They'll fix his wagon, just like they fixed Jeremy Hammond's wagon, and maybe Michael Hastings. Gee, I wonder why Ed Snowden prefers to wait it out in Russia.

(Just to add to any possible conspiracy guy conjecture about Hastings' death, the linked article mentions how Hastings' Mercedes leaped the median on N. Highland just south of the Melrose intersection, into the palm trees. Here's what that looks like, courtesy of Google Maps:

I don't know which exact spot Hastings dies, but I know this area, have driven through it many, many times over the years, and it's nothing, it's cake as far as urban LA streets go. That's just a few hundred yards south of Melrose, here's another couple yards south:

So yeah, in an age where vehicle computers can be hacked, yeah, I'd say it's fairly hinky that a guy who followed a high-ranking general around a war zone suddenly loses his shit driving around a fairly sedentary Hollywood neighborhood. Maybe it's paranoid, maybe we can see what happens to people who get too inquisitive for their own good.)

I'm in the middle of reading Cory Doctorow's Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, which is quite good. So far, Doctorow describes the venal shenanigans perpetrated by tech mega-corps (cough Apple cough) in the name of "copyright" -- not only is it basically illegal to hack your iPhone and disable the tracking software on it (which is vulnerable to spyware and rootkit viruses, plus it tracks you), but the music you think you're purchasing outright from iTunes are merely "licensed"; you don't actually own them like you would a physical CD or vinyl record. Why? Because those physical objects can't be tracked the way an MP3 can. And life is too short to read and parse the EULA.

So that's the benign side of the matrix, what do you imagine the deep-state implications are, the level of collusion between government and private contractors. The whole reason government outsources everything from war to cybersecurity is because government is still at least theoretically accountable to its constituents (though in reality that's laughable), while a private contractor can cloak itself in proprietary "security" mumbo-jumbo, protected by rather liberally applied digital copyright laws, which go far beyond anything applying to dead-tech physical media.

Remember, this has largely taken place or accelerated under the supposed commie librul preznit; aside from maybe Rand Paul, what do you think it'd be like under any of the Republican goofballs? They'll leave your guns alone, but go overkill on hackers and dissidents.

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