In Which Zuckerberg is Right

Attorney General William Barr has taken up ex-FBI Director James Comey’s battle for government backdoors into private citizens’ encrypted private messages.  Apple MFWIC Tim Cook won a similar fight regarding iPhone passwords and a demand that government should be allowed backdoors into those, and Comey’s FBI was shown to have been dissembling about that difficulty by the speed with which a contractor the FBI hired successfully broke into an iPhone the FBI had confiscated.

Now Barr has broadened the fight, demanding Facebook give Government backdoors into Facebook’s planned rollout of encryption for its messaging services.  He wants Facebook, too, to hold off on its rollout until Government is satisfied it has such backdoors.  Barr’s cynically misleading plaint includes this tearjerker:

In Which Alphabet may be Getting One Thing Right

Alphabet’s Google subsidiary is developing a new Internet protocol, and competitors are worried that the protocol would mak[e] it harder for others to access consumer data. Some thoughts on that below.  Congress is concerned, too, and its “antitrust investigators” are looking into the matter.

A Chinese Firewall

…erected by the European Court of Justice.  The ruling is a partial victory for Alphabet’s Google subsidiary in a “right to be forgotten” case brought by Google as it appealed a fine imposed by the French watchdog, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties, which wanted Google to delete all references worldwide to personal data an EU citizen wanted “forgotten.”

The ECJ ruled that the EU’s “right” applied only within the EU—the partial victory.  However, it added that

Dishonest Journalism

Kyle Smith is too polite to call it that, but he comes very close in his National Review piece about an interview Robin Pogrebin gave to WMAL back on the 17th.

Some excerpts:

[Pogrebin’s and Kelly’s story [sic]] failed to mention that a woman who, according to a man named Max Stier, had Kavanaugh’s penis pressed into her hand at a campus party by multiple friends of his has said she recalls no such incident. That woman has also declined to talk about the matter with reporters or officials. Why even publish Stier’s claim, which was discounted by Washington Post reporters who heard about it a year ago, that he witnessed such an incident during a Yale party in the 1980s? Because of the narrative, Pogrebin says. “We decided to go with it because obviously it is of a piece with a kind of behavior,” she said on WMAL.

In Which the 9th Gets One Right

Facebook’s use of the output of its facial recognition software—imagery of individuals’ faces—without those individuals’ prior permission can be contested in court, according to the Ninth Circuit.  Facebook had demurred when the case was brought.

On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Facebook’s efforts to dismiss the ongoing class-action lawsuit, which could potentially require the company to pay billions in compensation.
The lawsuit dates back to 2015 when three Facebook users living in the state [Illinois] claimed the tech giant had violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to obtain consent when collecting their biometric information.

The Dangerous Mr Castro

Congressman Joaquin Castro (D, TX) still pretends he did nothing wrong in telling the world in general and us Americans in particular how to locate 44 of us when he doxed those 44 and called them racists because their politics were not his.  Castro still insists they deserved to be called out; all he was trying to do was identify despicable persons whose “contributions are fueling a campaign of hate.”

Here is a telephone message one of Castro’s minions, who answered his call to arms, left on the phone of one of those whose location information he so carefully, maliciously exposed. Play the recording, ugly as it is, but be careful where you play it; the recording does not contain gentle language.

There’s Surveillance

…and there’s surveillance.

The FBI is looking at ways to scan Facebook (and Twitter, et al.) postings with a view to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests.

In late 2016, following an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union into social-media monitoring done by outside developers on behalf of law enforcement, Facebook and Twitter cracked down on those services and explicitly banned the use of their data for surveillance purposes….
Facebook’s ban allowed law-enforcement agencies to look at public profiles manually but not use software designed for large-scale collection and analysis of user data.

Lies of Progressive-Democrats

Here’s another.  Recall Congressman Joaquin Castro’s (D, TX, and brother of Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Julian Castro) doxing of donors to a Trump campaign organization.

[T]he Texas congressman’s original tweet included a list of San Antonio residents who had donated large amounts to the Trump campaign, along with the names of their employers. …
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” Castro tweeted, along with the Twitter handles of several owners of local businesses who apparently donated to Trump. …
The list—titled “WHO’S FUNDING TRUMP?”—had 44 names of donors and their employers.

Warrant-Proof Encryption

Attorney General William Barr, in front of the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University, said that

“warrant-proof” encryption was “enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield.”

Of course.  And the FBI, in the aftermath of a mass-shooting in California a while back, (in)famously said that it needed Apple to crack the lock on one of the murderer’s smartphone so they could read it, insisting they were helpless without Apple’s cracking (and they demanded then, too, that Apple install encryption backdoors on its commercial cell phones).  Then the FBI hired a third party, which cracked the encryption forthwith.

The PRC and Facial Recognition

The People’s Republic of China is moving “beyond” the use of smart phones for making on-the-spot retail payments, starting to supplant that with facial recognition—with personal images tied to personal financial accounts.

Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd, rivals that operate, respectively, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two largest mobile-payments networks, are competing for dominance in the next stage of China’s cashless society. Each is racing to install its own branded facial-recognition screens at retail points-of-sale all over the country, marketing the screens as a way to speed up sales and improve efficiency.