Loss Of Internet Freedom = Loss Of Freedom

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE)

 

Editor’s Note:In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news. Subscribe to the Brookings Creative Lab YouTube channel to stay up to date on the latest from Unpacked.

The issue:

On June 11, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Open Internet Order—the net neutrality rules—went into effect. In the wake of this change, Americans are wondering how the repeal will affect them, and what it means for the future of internet access. Though consumers may not see changes quickly, the shift on net neutrality undermines the nation’s history on network regulation, creating a new era in how these networks operate in America.

Internet companies will now have the opportunity to start to discriminate in very subtle ways.

The things you need to know:

  • Consumers can expect not to see any rapid changes as a result to the change in Net Neutrality rules
  • Internet services will likely not jump on this quickly and begin to extract the advantages of this repeal, but they will begin to discriminate in subtle ways
  • There is a pending court appeal that challenges the FCC’s ability to repeal Net Neutrality
  • The Congressional Review Act, which has already passed the Senate, would repeal the FCC’s decision
  • To understand what impact the repeal of the Open Internet rule might have, you have to understand why it was put in place to begin with
  • The underlying concept of networks in America, all the way back to the telegraph, has been that there needs to be first-come, first-serve, non-discriminatory access
  • The reason why we have this rule is because of monopoly networks
  • In most communities, there is one internet service provider – you don’t have a choice. When you have a monopoly situation, there is an incentive to discriminate to help the monopoly owner
  • In the past the government has always said that companies cannot discriminate to favor themselves – those concepts were at the heart of the Open Internet Order and they have now gone away
  • Internet companies will now have the opportunity to start to discriminate in very subtle ways
  • The court decision on the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner (and its assets like CNN) is important because when you have a merger of wired and wireless internet service and give them the opportunity to discriminate against competitors to favor their own content, then you have a new day in how America’s networks operate

The sources:

A wide gulf between federal agencies on broadband competition

The state of tech policy, one year into the Trump Administration

Where’s the fire? With unclear legal authority, Trump FCC rushes to hand responsibility over internet service to FTC

Multiple people shot at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Multiple people shot at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis

A shooting has occurred at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, a paper that is owned by The Baltimore Sun, according to reports from Gazette staff.

Anne Arundel County Police confirmed there was an “active shooter” at 888 Bestgate Road, where the newspaper’s offices are located. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed it was responding to a “shooting incident” at the Gazette.

Phil Davis, a Gazette crime reporter who was there at the time of the shooting, said that multiple people had been shot. Police did not immediately respond to requests for further information.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police. “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

Police said the building was being evacuated as officers continue searching it.

Agents with the ATF were on the scene in Annapolis to provide support to local law enforcement, said Amanda Hils, a spokeswoman for the federal agency. ATF can help with tracing weapons, conducting interviews and other assistance.

Gov. Larry Hogan, on Twitter, wrote, “Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.”

He said he was in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and that Maryland State Police were on the scene assisting county police.

“Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community,” he wrote.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote on Twitter, “My heart is with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation. We must unite to end the violence.”

Police were also at The Baltimore Sun newsroom in Baltimore. Police said there was no threat on the Sun, and that their presence was a precaution.

This story will be updated.

[email protected]

twitter.com/rectorsun

MALICE WITH JOKES ABOUT NEYMAR INVADES PLAYER’S GAFFE

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247 NEWSPAPER)

 

U.S. Government Separating Children From Parents At Border: And One Big Lie/Lyers

U.S. Government Separating Children From Parents At Border: And One Big Lie/Lyers

 

Today most of the news on the Google News site that I use is loaded with different articles about the child separation from parents at the U.S. Southern Border. One of the things I wonder about is why is this policy not being followed that same way at our Northern Border with Canada? Is this because most Canadians are white folks and most folks at our Southern Border are not white folks? Even though this is an issue that seems to be a non issue at this time maybe one of the major News Agencies will decide to look at the ‘why’ of this issue at some point. Even though this is an important issue it is not the issue that my article today is about. My article today is about what is going on at our Nations Southern Border with Mexico right now.

 

Like most all things in life, there are at least two sides to every issue, this disaster at our Southern Border is no exception. Technically any person crossing into our country at a non designated entry point is breaking the law and should be arrested. People wanting to live in a country should enter that country legally so that they do not have to always be worried about being deported. The last I heard the U.S. only allows about 55,000 people to legally migrate through the legal system so that they can become legal citizens.  That policy, that kind of a number, in my opinion should be raised to about 250,000 for all Americans, North Americans and South Americans. If the legal number was a more realistic number hopefully most people coming to the U.S Borders would choose to try to come in legally so that they could truly feel free once they started working and living here without having worry about ICE arresting them everyday.

 

I have spoken with many people from Mexico who are here illegally during my decades as a long haul truck driver (1981-2013). Constantly I heard the same thing from them, that they would rather be at home but there was no way to survive there, meaning that the Mexican economy was/is lousy. They were here trying to find a way to send money back home so that their families could afford to pay rent and to buy groceries. Some U.S. people make fun of the reality of having 10-15 Mexican people living in a two bedroom apartment, it is cruel and ignorant to make such comments even though in many cases it is true. Yet the reason you may have 10 working men living in a two bedroom living quarters is because they are pooling their money together so that they can send more money home to their wife and children. I have just been speaking of Mexican folks so far but the reality reaches to the southern end of the South American Continent. People in Central America and South America face the same issues as the poor people from Mexico face. Example, you don’t see Mexican billionaires trying to sneak across the borders do you? This issue in countries south of the U.S. is not going to change until these southern nations are able to get a good strong working economy so that their people can have livable wage jobs.  If you are living in (for example) Guatemala and you have a good paying job to where you have a nice home, good food, vehicles, clothes and the such are you really going to give it all up to try to sneak into the U.S. so that you can be a criminal under constant threat of arrest and deportation?

 

Now let us get to the point of the children being separated from their parents at the U.S. Southern Border. If you break the laws of a Nation that Nations law enforcement agencies are going to consider you to be a criminal whom they will arrest if they possibly can. Lets get away from the Border for a moment and let us look at another angle. If I am a person who lives in Chicago or New York and I commit a crime to where I am arrested and sent to a prison the law does not allow my minor children to be put into prison with me. If I don’t have someone else here in the States the government will give my children to the (DCS) Department of Children’s Services who are going to take my children and house them until they can find someone to give custody to while I am in prison. Would you want your minor children to be thrown into an adult prison with you? This policy that Donald Trump has put into place is cruel, but, what should our government, any government do in these cases?

 

Do not fall for the Trump Administration lies, this is a Presidential Policy, it is not a Law, and it is not a Law that was instituted during the Obama Administration, this one is all on the habitual liar, Donald Trump. This morning the Chief of the Department of Homeland Security Kristen Nielsen angerally told reporters that the Trump Administration has no policy in place to separate the children form their parents at the Border. Yet many documents from the DOJ and Jeff Sessions state very clearly for the security personal at the Mexican Border to do exactly that. That I know of there is no good answer for the Trump Administration to follow on this issue. They can either do what they are doing which is angering many people and is a death dart for Republicans this November in the Mid Term Elections or they can just say the heck with it and just open up the Borders to anyone who wishes to cross it. Folks, I don’t know how to be the most humane here on this issue unless North and South American Countries all totally open up their borders sort of like what the EU has done. Here is my single biggest issue with Donald Trump and his flunkies who work for him, just be honest, quit lying all the time, quit trying to blame everyone else for what you yourself are doing.

US envoy to reporters: ‘Keep your mouths shut’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

(OPED: EVEN THOUGH I AGREE WITH THE U.S. ENVOY BELIEFS IN HIS BACKING OF ISRAEL IN THIS MATTER I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH HIS “TRUMPIAN” B.S. THEOLOGY OF TELLING THE PRESS OR OTHER PEOPLE IN GENERAL TO “SHUT UP” AND TO NOT EXPRESS THEIR DIVERSE OPINIONS. YOU CAN’T HAVE A DEMOCRACY IF THE PEOPLE ARE OT ALLOWED TO HAVE BUT ONE OPINION.)(oldpoet56)

 

REPORTERS ‘CREATING IMPRESSIONS THAT HAVE NO BASIS IN FACT’

US envoy to reporters: ‘Keep your mouths shut’ on criticizing Israel over Gaza

David Friedman says the media should either figure out how anyone could have better dealt with the border protests or stop its negative coverage of the Jewish state

David Friedman speaking to the media in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018. (Lior Mizrahi)

David Friedman speaking to the media in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018. (Lior Mizrahi)

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attacked the media on Monday over what he said was a failure to fairly cover deadly protests on the Gaza border over the past months, advising reporters to “keep your mouths shut” unless they know better than Israel how to deal with the demonstrations.

Some criticism of Israel may be legitimate, Friedman allowed, but said journalists should have worked harder to find alternatives to Israel’s use of lethal force, which has left scores of Palestinians dead, before accusing the state of wrongdoing.

“It would seem to me that in a journalistic environment where nine out of ten articles that are written about the Gaza conflict are critical of Israel, you’d think that some journalists would take the time and go and meet with experts and try to understand what could have been done differently or better before they criticize. And I just haven’t seen it,” Friedman said at a media conference in Jerusalem.

Friedman said he had spent a great deal of time speaking to military experts in the US, Israel and other countries about the proper rules of engagement — which he said reporters should have done — and had found that the criticism of Israel was for the most part unfounded.

Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. (AFP/ MAHMUD HAMS)

Saying that his criticism was mainly geared at US media, Friedman said reporters should “just keep your mouths shut until you figure it out. Because otherwise, all you’re doing is creating impressions that have no basis in fact. They fit a narrative. They fit an opinion. They fit an agenda. But it’s not reporting, because it’s not based on hard, factual analysis.”

Israel has defended its use of tear gas, as well as lethal force, as a means of defending the Gaza border during violent riots which have seen tens of thousands of people gather at the fence weekly, starting March 30. The protests peaked on May 14, coinciding with the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

Military officials said terrorists used the protests as cover to carry out attacks on troops or try to damage or infiltrate across the border. Dozens of the over 110 people killed were members of Hamas or other terror groups, according to Israel and Gazan sources.

A Palestinian uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza City, on May 18, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Criticism of Israel renewed on Friday after a Gazan medic was shot and killed while apparently trying to help wounded protesters during a border demonstration. The IDF said it was investigating the case.

Friedman said experts had told him tear gas, water cannons and other nonlethal means of crowd dispersal would not have been effective during the weeks of riots and clashes, but did not provide more detail.

“If what happens isn’t right, what is right? What do you use instead of bullets?” he asked rhetorically.

The US envoy, who has been criticized for hawkish views closely mirroring those of Israel’s right-wing government, said the last several weeks had seen “lots and lots of criticism of Israel” in the media.

Israeli forces take position near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. (Thomas COEX/AFP)

“Some of it even may be legitimate. I think the State of Israel itself hasn’t concluded its own internal inquiries into what happened. Maybe there are things they could have done better. I am sure there’s always things you could do better,” he allowed, adding: “With all the criticism Israel’s gotten, nobody has identified the less lethal means by which Israel could have defended itself during the last four weeks. Nobody.”

Friedman said Israel had performed as best it could under what he described described as an unprecedented situation.

“Who did this better in some other circumstances? Where is the other case where 40,000 people rush the border under the cover of burning tires, with Molotov cocktails, pistols, kites painted with swastikas, starting fires everywhere — fires that are still burning today?” Friedman said.

“Where did that happen in some other place, where the people rushing the border were committed to killing the citizens on the other side, and somebody did it better? Where is the manual that says, when this happens, you do this, this and this, and you can avoid the loss of human life or bodily injury?”

Without this comparative analysis, “all the reporting is completely superficial,” Friedman said.

‘No democracy without free press’

During his speech, Friedman, a former bankruptcy lawyer, also had some good words for the media, hailing the First Amendment of the US Constitution and saying a free press was vital to a functioning democracy, even if it attacks positions he holds dear.

“We don’t have a democracy without a free press. It’s simply impossible to do that,” he said. “Criticism is fair game. It’s what I would expect and what I appreciate,” he added.

The comment seemed to contrast with some of those made by his boss, US President Donald Trump, who has recommended cracking down on media freedoms and dismissed critical reporting as “fake news.”

Having to grapple with the competing requirements of accuracy and speed was not a valid excuse for sloppy journalism, Friedman said Monday, speaking at the launch of the new Jerusalem office of The Media Line, an American news organization covering the Middle East. While everybody is entitled to their own opinion, not everybody is entitled to their own facts, he said.

“And the facts do matter. If you get the facts wrong, there ought to be some recognition and some accountability,” he said.

“And as long as there isn’t, I think people will continue to feel comfortable with getting it first and getting it wrong. Because if you’re getting it first and you’re getting it wrong, and there’s no price to pay, you’ll do it over and over again.”

READ MORE:

Charles Krauthammer ‘Only A Few Weeks Left To Live’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Charles Krauthammer Pens Final Column: ‘Only A Few Weeks Left To Live’

“This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” the Washington Post columnist wrote.
X

In his final column for The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer announced he has only weeks to live.

Krauthammer explained he’s spent most of the last year recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen.

Although the operation was initially thought to have been successful, Krauthammer said he’s been fighting “a cascade of secondary complications” ever since.

FNC

“It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health,” he wrote.

However, the cancer returned and is spreading rapidly.

“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” he wrote.

Krauthammer said he is ”grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

He added:

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

In a separate column, the Post’s editorial staff honored Krauthammer, saying, “His unsparing judgments were cheered by some readers while angering others. But few could disagree that he wrote a column of breathtaking range and intelligence and integrity.”

Krauthammer graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1975 even after suffering a diving accident as a freshmen that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life, according to Fox News.

He switched to journalism in the early 1980s after spending some time writing speeches for Walter Mondale.

Krauthammer became a columnist for The Washington Post in 1985 and won a Pulitzer Prize two years later.

Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox News, responded to Krauthammer’s column with a tribute tweet, saying the pundit’s “always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world.”

Fox News

@FoxNews

A statement from Rupert Murdoch on Charles Krauthammer’s cancer diagnosis. https://fxn.ws/2xVqH3d 

 

Trump’s lies betray his desperation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Column: 

Trump’s lies betray his desperation

Here’s what I hope Robert Mueller will conclude when he is done investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign: The president is innocent of criminal wrongdoing. He did not know of or approve contacts with Russians to influence the election. His interactions with FBI Director James Comey and other Justice Departmentofficials never rose to the level of obstructing justice.

But it would require an extraordinary faith in Trump’s character and a stubborn disregard for his behavior to expect that outcome. If there is one inference to be drawn from everything he has done with respect to the investigation and the Russian government, it’s that he suffers from a powerful consciousness of guilt.

The latest came in a tweet expressing bitter regret that he didn’t choose someone other than Jeff Sessions for attorney general — because Sessions recused himself and therefore can’t send Mueller packing. Trump doesn’t want a fair and impartial investigation; he wants no investigation.

He insists over and over that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. But we already have evidence there was — in the form of guilty pleas by Trump aides Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians.

We have evidence in the 2016 meeting hosted by son Donald Jr. and attended by son-in-law Jared Kushner with a Russian lawyer who had promised information from the Kremlin incriminating Hillary Clinton. Meeting secretly with Russians in hopes of cooperating for mutual benefit is collusion, whether illegal or not.

This week, we got confirmation that the statement Donald Jr. issued — claiming the meeting was primarily about adoption issues — was dictated by his father. When The Washington Post reported that last year, the White House denied the story. In a memo to Mueller obtained by The New York Times, however, Trump’s lawyers admitted it was true.

Yet he has insisted that “nobody’s found any collusion at any level.” The assertion is not only false; it’s flagrantly, obviously false.

Over and over, Trump has resorted to complaints, attacks and deceptions. He fired Comey ostensibly because of how the director mishandled the investigation of Clinton. But Trump went on to say repeatedly that he did it because of the Russia probe. Recently, though, he tweeted, “I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” Lying is generally not a manifestation of innocence.

His shifting position on being interviewed under oath by Mueller likewise betrays him. When the question first was posed, Trump declared himself “100 percent” willing. Or maybe it’s zero percent. In January, his lawyers sent a letter to Mueller rejecting the idea.

“Your office clearly lacks the requisite need to personally interview the President,” they told him. “Having him testify demeans the Office of the President before the world.” One of his lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, added another reason for this reluctance, expressing concern that Mueller might “trap him into perjury.”

But someone who tells the truth is in no danger of committing perjury. What Trump might be in danger of is admitting to crimes that could lead to his indictment or impeachment.

Giuliani, however, has not ruled out that Trump, if subpoenaed, might invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. (Trump in 2016: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”) Nor has Giuliani ruled out refusing to submit to a subpoena.

If that weren’t enough to indicate the president has a large pile of things to hide, Trump now claims the power to grant himself a full pardon. But a pardon would be necessary only if he is guilty of specific crimes.

It’s impossible to exaggerate his lawyers’ claims about his impunity. They say a president may not be indicted. Giuliani said Trump could not be indicted even “if he shot James Comey.”

The president can’t obstruct justice, his team insists, because the president has complete power over federal law enforcement. Anything he does in that realm is therefore legal.

Maybe his pattern of chutzpah and untruth is just the essence of his toxic character, which bubbles over no matter what. But more likely, the conduct of Trump and his attorneys reflects their knowledge that he is guilty of serious offenses and their fear that he will be exposed and punished. He looks like someone terrified of going to prison.

Even congressional Republicans say he won’t do anything so foolish as to fire Mueller or pardon himself. But desperate men do desperate things.

Steve Chapman, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/chapman.

[email protected]

Twitter @SteveChapman13

The West is ill-prepared for the wave of “deep fakes” From AI

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE)

 

ORDER FROM CHAOS

The West is ill-prepared for the wave of “deep fakes” that artificial intelligence could unleash

Chris Meserole and Alina Polyakova

Editor’s Note:To get ahead of new problems related to disinformation and technology, policymakers in Europe and the United States should focus on the coming wave of disruptive technologies, write Chris Meserole and Alina Polyakova. Fueled by advances in artificial intelligence and decentralized computing, the next generation of disinformation promises to be even more sophisticated and difficult to detect. This piece originally appeared on ForeignPolicy.com.

Russian disinformation has become a problem for European governments. In the last two years, Kremlin-backed campaigns have spread false stories alleging that French President Emmanuel Macron was backed by the “gay lobby,” fabricated a story of a Russian-German girl raped by Arab migrants, and spread a litany of conspiracy theories about the Catalan independence referendum, among other efforts.

Europe is finally taking action. In January, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act came into effect. Designed to limit hate speech and fake news online, the law prompted both France and Spain to consider counterdisinformation legislation of their own. More important, in April the European Union unveiled a new strategy for tackling online disinformation. The EU plan focuses on several sensible responses: promoting media literacy, funding a third-party fact-checking service, and pushing Facebook and others to highlight news from credible media outlets, among others. Although the plan itself stops short of regulation, EU officials have not been shy about hinting that regulation may be forthcoming. Indeed, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared at an EU hearing this week, lawmakers reminded him of their regulatory power after he appeared to dodge their questions on fake news and extremist content.

The problem is that technology advances far more quickly than government policies.

The recent European actions are important first steps. Ultimately, none of the laws or strategies that have been unveiled so far will be enough. The problem is that technology advances far more quickly than government policies. The EU’s measures are still designed to target the disinformation of yesterday rather than that of tomorrow.

To get ahead of the problem, policymakers in Europe and the United States should focus on the coming wave of disruptive technologies. Fueled by advances in artificial intelligence and decentralized computing, the next generation of disinformation promises to be even more sophisticated and difficult to detect.

To craft effective strategies for the near term, lawmakers should focus on four emerging threats in particular: the democratization of artificial intelligence, the evolution of social networks, the rise of decentralized applications, and the “back end” of disinformation.

Thanks to bigger data, better algorithms, and custom hardware, in the coming years, individuals around the world will increasingly have access to cutting-edge artificial intelligence. From health care to transportation, the democratization of AI holds enormous promise.

Yet as with any dual-use technology, the proliferation of AI also poses significant risks. Among other concerns, it promises to democratize the creation of fake print, audio, and video stories. Although computers have long allowed for the manipulation of digital content, in the past that manipulation has almost always been detectable: A fake image would fail to account for subtle shifts in lighting, or a doctored speech would fail to adequately capture cadence and tone. However, deep learning and generative adversarial networks have made it possible to doctor imagesand video so well that it’s difficult to distinguish manipulated files from authentic ones. And thanks to apps like FakeApp and Lyrebird, these so-called “deep fakes” can now be produced by anyone with a computer or smartphone. Earlier this year, a tool that allowed users to easily swap faces in video produced fake celebrity porn, which went viral on Twitter and Pornhub.

Deep fakes and the democratization of disinformation will prove challenging for governments and civil society to counter effectively. Because the algorithms that generate the fakes continuously learn how to more effectively replicate the appearance of reality, deep fakes cannot easily be detected by other algorithms—indeed, in the case of generative adversarial networks, the algorithm works by getting really good at fooling itself. To address the democratization of disinformation, governments, civil society, and the technology sector therefore cannot rely on algorithms alone, but will instead need to invest in new models of social verification, too.

At the same time as artificial technology and other emerging technologies mature, legacy platforms will continue to play an outsized role in the production and dissemination of information online. For instance, consider the current proliferation of disinformation on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

A growing cottage industry of search engine optimization (SEO) manipulation provides services to clients looking to rise in the Google rankings. And while for the most part, Google is able to stay ahead of attempts to manipulate its algorithms through continuous tweaks, SEO manipulators are also becoming increasingly savvy at gaming the system so that the desired content, including disinformation, appears at the top of search results.

For example, stories from RT and Sputnik—the Russian government’s propaganda outlets—appeared on the first page of Google searches after the March nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom and the April chemical weapons attack in Syria. Similarly, YouTube (which is owned by Google) has an algorithm that prioritizes the amount of time users spend watching content as the key metric for determining which content appears first in search results. This algorithmic preference results in false, extremist, and unreliable information appearing at the top, which in turn means that this content is viewed more often and is perceived as more reliable by users. Revenue for the SEO manipulation industry is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

On Facebook, disinformation appears in one of two ways: through shared content and through paid advertising. The company has tried to curtail disinformation across each vector, but thus far to no avail. Most famously, Facebook introduced a “Disputed Flag” to signify possible false news—only to discover that the flag made users more likely to engage with the content, rather than less. Less conspicuously, in Canada, the company is experimenting with increasing the transparency of its paid advertisements by making all ads available for review, including those micro-targeted to a small set of users. Yet, the effort is limited: The sponsors of ads are often buried, requiring users to do time-consuming research, and the archive Facebook set up for the ads is not a permanent database but only shows active ads. Facebook’s early efforts do not augur well for a future in which foreign actors can continue to exploit its news feed and ad products to deliver disinformation—including deep fakes produced and targeted at specific individuals or groups.

Although Twitter has taken steps to combat the proliferation of trolls and bots on its platform, it remains deeply vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, since accounts are not verified and its application programming interface, or API, still makes it possible to easily generate and spread false content on the platform. Even if Twitter takes further steps to crack down on abuse, its detection algorithms can be reverse-engineered in much the same way Google’s search algorithm is. Without fundamental changes to its API and interaction design, Twitter will remain rife with disinformation. It’s telling, for example, that when the U.S. military struck Syrian chemical weapons facilities in April—well after Twitter’s latest reforms were put in place—the Pentagon reported a massive surge in Russian disinformation in the hours immediately following the attack. The tweets appeared to come from legitimate accounts, and there was no way to report them as misinformation.

Blockchain technologies and other distributed ledgers are best known for powering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. Yet their biggest impact may lie in transforming how the internet works. As more and more decentralized applications come online, the web will increasingly be powered by services and protocols that are designed from the ground up to resist the kind of centralized control that Facebook and others enjoy. For instance, users can already browse videos on DTube rather than YouTube, surf the web on the Blockstack browser rather than Safari, and store files using IPFS, a peer-to-peer file system, rather than Dropbox or Google Docs. To be sure, the decentralized application ecosystem is still a niche area that will take time to mature and work out the glitches. But as security improves over time with fixes to the underlying network architecture, distributed ledger technologies promise to make for a web that is both more secure and outside the control of major corporations and states.

If and when online activity migrates onto decentralized applications, the security and decentralization they provide will be a boon for privacy advocates and human rights dissidents. But it will also be a godsend for malicious actors. Most of these services have anonymity and public-key cryptography baked in, making accounts difficult to track back to real-life individuals or organizations. Moreover, once information is submitted to a decentralized application, it can be nearly impossible to take down. For instance, the IPFS protocol has no method for deletion—users can only add content, they cannot remove it.

For governments, civil society, and private actors, decentralized applications will thus pose an unprecedented challenge, as the current methods for responding to and disrupting disinformation campaigns will no longer apply. Whereas governments and civil society can ultimately appeal to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey if they want to block or remove a malicious user or problematic content on Twitter, with decentralized applications, there won’t always be someone to turn to. If the Manchester bomber had viewed bomb-making instructions on a decentralized app rather than on YouTube, it’s not clear who authorities should or could approach about blocking the content.

Over the last three years, renewed attention to Russian disinformation efforts has sparked research and activities among a growing number of nonprofit organizations, governments, journalists, and activists. So far, these efforts have focused on documenting the mechanisms and actors involved in disinformation campaigns—tracking bot networks, identifying troll accounts, monitoring media narratives, and tracing the diffusion of disinformation content. They’ve also included governmental efforts to implement data protection and privacy policies, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, and legislative proposals to introduce more transparency and accountability into the online advertising space.

While these efforts are certainly valuable for raising awareness among the public and policymakers, by focusing on the end product (the content), they rarely delve into the underlying infrastructure and advertising marketsdriving disinformation campaigns. Doing so requires a deeper examination and assessment of the “back end” of disinformation. In other words, the algorithms and industries—the online advertising market, the SEO manipulation market, and data brokers—behind the end product. Increased automation paired with machine learning will transform this space as well.

To get ahead of these emerging threats, Europe and the United States should consider several policy responses.

First, the EU and the United States should commit significant funding to research and development at the intersection of AI and information warfare. In April, the European Commission called for at least 20 billion euros (about $23 billion) to be spent on research on AI by 2020, prioritizing the health, agriculture, and transportation sectors. None of the funds are earmarked for research and development specifically on disinformation. At the same time, current European initiatives to counter disinformation prioritize education and fact-checking while leaving out AI and other new technologies.

As long as tech research and counterdisinformation efforts run on parallel, disconnected tracks, little progress will be made in getting ahead of emerging threats.

As long as tech research and counterdisinformation efforts run on parallel, disconnected tracks, little progress will be made in getting ahead of emerging threats. In the United States, the government has been reluctant to step in to push forward tech research as Silicon Valley drives innovation with little oversight. The 2016 Obama administration report on the future of AI did not allocate funding, and the Trump administration has yet to release its own strategy. As revelations of Russian manipulation of digital platforms continue, it is becoming increasingly clear that governments will need to work together with private sector firms to identify vulnerabilities and national security threats.

Furthermore, the EU and the U.S. government should also move quickly to prevent the rise of misinformation on decentralized applications. The emergence of decentralized applications presents policymakers with a rare second chance: When social networks were being built a decade ago, lawmakers failed to anticipate the way in which they could be exploited by malicious actors. With such applications still a niche market, policymakers can respond before the decentralized web reaches global scale. Governments should form new public-private partnerships to help developers ensure that the next generation of the web isn’t as ripe for misinformation campaigns. A model could be the United Nations’ Tech Against Terrorism project, which works closely with small tech companies to help them design their platforms from the ground up to guard against terrorist exploitation.

Finally, legislators should continue to push for reforms in the digital advertising industry. As AI continues to transform the industry, disinformation content will become more precise and micro-targeted to specific audiences. AI will make it far easier for malicious actors and legitimate advertisers alike to track user behavior online, identify potential new users to target, and collect information about users’ attitudes, beliefs, and preferences.

In 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released a report calling for transparency and accountability in the data broker industry. The report called on Congress to consider legislation that would shine light on these firms’ activities by giving individuals access and information about how their data is collected and used online. The EU’s protection regulation goes a long way in giving users control over their data and limits how social media platforms process users’ data for ad-targeting purposes. Facebook is also experimenting with blocking foreign ad sales ahead of contentious votes. Still, the digital ads industry as a whole remains a black box to policymakers, and much more can still be done to limit data mining and regulate political ads online.

Effectively tracking and targeting each of the areas above won’t be easy. Yet policymakers need to start focusing on them now. If the EU’s new anti-disinformation effort and other related policies fail to track evolving technologies, they risk being antiquated before they’re even introduced.

A how-to guide for managing the end of the post-Cold War era. Read all the Order from Chaos content »

Trump Spends Weekend With Don King Talking About Policies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Fourteen months into his presidency, Donald Trump is acting more defiant and independent as more and more senior-level aides and administration officials resign or are fired, according to a Washington Post report published Saturday.

The paper obtained the details of this new White House scene through interviews with 23 administration officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Noting that this type of defiance is typical for Trump, who for years ran the Trump Organization with a heavy hand, the paper reported that with both the President’s handful of advisers and his chief of staff John Kelly “nowhere to be seen,” Trump was left without a collection of “moderating forces eager to restrain the president from acting impulsively.”
As a result, the President made appearances and statements that many considered to be things over which his inner circle might have voiced disapproval. And by the end of the week, the President was at Mar-a-Lago with Don King, a boxing promoter who vented to Trump about the Stormy Daniels situation, according to the Post.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” King said to Trump, according to the report. CNN has reached out to King for further comment.
On Friday, CNN reported that White House officials were starting to consider Dan Scavino to be the replacement for former communications director Hope Hicks, who finally left the White House this week. While Scavino, who is Trump’s current social media director, may not become the new communications director, many West Wing officials are expecting him to fill the confidant and conspirator role that Hicks’ resignation left open.
CNN also reported Thursday that Trump’s outside advisers have told him over the past week that neither a chief of staff nor a communications director may be necessary. So far, the President has given no indication as to whether or not he’s interested in taking the advice, and, on top of that, there are no signs that Trump is looking to dismiss Kelly.
As far as his “hasty” decisions go, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the Post: “The President is in an action mood and doesn’t want to slow-roll things, from trade to the border to staffing changes.”
“He wants to make things that he’s been discussing for a while happen,” she said. “He’s tired of the wait game.”

The Matches Are Lit, The World Is Burning

The Matches Are Lit, The World Is Burning

 

What is it that we westerners do not get about what the rest of the world is experiencing around us? Do we really think that our children will live in a world that is safer than the world we grew up in? If you would, please lend me your ear for a few moments. Hopefully the things you read will help to broaden your understanding as to why I chose the title that I have for this conversation with you.

 

Do you remember the so-called “Arab Spring” of a few years ago? O what a beautiful thing this could have been for this region of the world plus the vibrations it could have caused around the world, this shaking off of dictators. But the people of the region have learned it seems that a military strong man is the only way to keep other religion based dictators from taking their place. Back during the first Gulf War than American President George H.W. Bush knew the importance of keeping the dictator in Iraq in power. It seems that his son George W when he took power of the Office had not learned at his dads feet, or, was it ego that made him make up a story so he could attack Iraq and remove Saddam? There are many American people who I have come across who believe that “we the people” are paying fat pensions to at least three international war criminals (President, V.P., Secretary of Defense). Criminal or not because of their actions the whole world is crawling with the Asps they helped unleash on all of humanity.

 

In this real world that hopefully the politicians will soon join us in, it does not matter if you are a republican, democrat, independent (like me), or none of the above. Hopefully soon partisan party politics can be shelved and they and the national media outlets can become more concerned about current imminent physical threats to our people. This threat is to all of our non-strict Muslim cultures, to their property, their religions, and their very lives. There are tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of fellow brothers and sisters who because of being misguided who simply want you to get off of the face of the earth, “their earth”. A life where only loyal followers of Allah will be allowed to live a non-slave life, if you are allowed to live at all, doesn’t that sound exciting? America our location on the globe no longer gives us an immunity from other continents griefs. When it comes to ideologies land or water give us very little protection any longer.

 

By mans laws here in the States any person can choose to be of any faith they wish, or of no faith system at all. Mans laws write in a few laws governing people’s physical safety though that should be a no brainer, besides what actual religion would condone attacking or killing other people? Then these laws of civil society for all must be enforced if a humane society itself is going to be able to exist, or it will be erased.

 

Within the religion of Islam are two main sects, the Sunni, and the Shiite. These two sects have existed on this planet for almost 1,400 years now, and it seems that they have hated each other right from their earliest roots 1,400 years ago. For the few year’s a large Sunni militia called ISIS by western media has murdered and plundered their way into power covering hundreds of miles of land belonging to two adjoining Shiite nations, Syria and Iraq. ISIS is like several other high-profile Sunni groups like Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda in that they want to bring strict Islamic law to the middle-east, then the world. Their difference by what we hear in the West is that ISIS is the most violent and most strict toward adherence to Islamic fundamentalist theology, Sunni theology.

 

By what I have heard and read from the media throughout the years is that within Islam the Sunni are about 80% and the Shiite the other 20% of the Islamic faith. So when you take into account the hatred between these two groups is it any wonder why the Mullahs in Iran want the ability to nuke other nations?They can say it is a defensive weapon though knowing very well that it is a preemptive strike weapon also. Then it comes down to a trust factor, or a stupidity factor, how much you are willing to trust their “Supreme Ruler”  and others just like him with the lives of everyone on earth?

 

For those of you who don’t already know it the word Islam by definition means submission, as in absolute submission to the will of Allah. I have another question for everyone, what kind of religion is it that tells its followers to kill everyone who will not obey? Why would anyone ever listen to a “prophet” who orders either worldwide conversion, or worldwide extermination? Here in the States we have as a nation been blessed, lucky, and just plain good at shutting down larger terror cells who wished to kill us and our families. But folks there are supposed to be at least 18 million Islamic believers inside our borders with us. If only 1% of this population is a true believer of Islamic teachings that equals 180,000 soldiers implanted waiting on their orders to kill as many infidels (non-believers) as they possibly can. America, when they strike, not if, what are you going to do? Are you going to fall apart and burn into ashes? Only time will tell, or, a person could simply read the play book on-line if you are not allowed a paper copy, it’s called the Bible! For those who don’t understand it, the end times are spelled out very well in its last book, the book of Revelation. The human race has a simple choice of living and possibly dying for the winner or, living for a short time but in slavery to the biggest loser in the history of all eternity.

 

The matches are lit, for now several large Islamic hate groups are fighting each other all over the Middle-East in an attempt to kill each other. If all of those efforts to kill each other were being directed at western targets as they soon will be, what then? If the two main Islamic factions were to quit fighting among themselves they would then join forces in their hatred for everything and everyone that is not Islamic. Every nation, every people on earth, you, your culture, your religion, your country, you are currently being measured for bagging. America (and every other nation on earth), folks, life is about to change more rapidly toward the negative than any sane person could ever want. The question is simple, are we going to fold as a culture, and as a Nation, when more horrible things start happening on our soil? By these horrible things I do mean markets and grocery stores being blown up, bridges blowing up, churches being shot up and our school children being massacred live on CNN? This is the reality that the whole world is facing, we as a people must all decide how we are going to react to this reality when it comes busting into our own homes, because folks, it is coming, soon!