Royce Eddington

Nothing to see here. Move along people.

Category: Rant (Page 2 of 12)

A Niece, a Barbie and a Jedi

Just a personal happening I wanted to share.

Today while visiting my 6 year old niece, I asked her what toy she wanted her Tio to bring her today – a Barbie or a lightsaber.

Without hesitation, she said “Barbie!”

Without hesitating myself, I pulled both out from my bag of goodies. A Halloween Barbie and a Star Wars SFX lightsaber.

She’s been a green blade swinging Jedi for hours. Excuse me. Let me add some completely unnecessary exaggeration for effect… hoooourrrssss!

She challenged her older brother to multiple lightsaber duels, expertly bounced a deadly purple balloon high through the air, explored pitch dark rooms by humming green light, and even managed a half cartwheel with the lightsaber in full twirl.

Barbie who?

Give the little baby girls in your life the best of both worlds, ya’ll. It’s absolutely glorious.

On Tuesday October 6, an epic court decision concerning online data came to pass and nobody said peep

On Tuesday October 6, one of the biggest mind-shifts in online data and technology this decade finally came to pass via an EU court ruling. This ruling will have serious repercussions for both US consumers and all US intelligence agencies, and nobody over here has said peep about it.

The headline says it all… “EU ruling means Facebook and Google can’t send data to the US”

HA!! This is wonderful! This is titanic! This is… well, kinda hard to explain.

OK, supposing you move into a new neighborhood. Walking in the door, you meet a fellow named “Bo” who lives across the street in a funny looking house.

For the most part, Bo seems friendly. He mentions he has a cousin in another far away city named “Luke” who also sounds just as friendly.

A few months into living in the city, Bo makes a copy of your house key and takes it to Luke.

Luke uses the key to open your front door to your home and takes your TV.

Luke gives your TV to Bo.

When you confront Luke, he says since he lives in another city the local laws in your town do not apply to him and he wasn’t breaking any laws in his town. Luke also says Bo gave him the key directly and said he could do whatever he wanted with whatever he found inside. Luke insists he has no idea what he was doing was wrong. You need to take it up with Bo.

When you confront Bo, he says he didn’t steal your TV and never touched your TV. Bo says he had no idea Luke was going to do what he did, and is shocked you have the nerve to accuse your neighbor of such a terrible thing. You need to take it up with Luke.

Ridiculous, right? A cheap shell game from two obvious criminals no police officer, DA or judge would let fly.

Here’s the catch – the part of Bo and Luke are being played by the US government and certain governments in the EU. They were (NOTE: probably still are) doing the exact same thing with our data.

The US gave access to overseas intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on our conversations and bypass encryptions, and then the overseas intelligence agencies told the US agencies what information they found.

Technically the US didn’t steal the information or eavesdrop on our conversations. Technically the overseas intelligence agencies didn’t break any of their own laws in the process.

Finally, with this EU court ruling, part of this “technically” foolishness was brought to a screeching stop.

This epic win for privacy and the upholding of constitutional law is all thanks to Austrian lawyer Max Schrems, who brought the lawsuit “against Facebook in 2013 for participation in US mass surveillance.”

I’m going to have to add Max Schrems to my Christmas card list. Like, forever.

Now, companies’ (and probably certain governments’) “ability to pool data from both sides of the Atlantic for analysis will be affected”.

Will this ruling actually change anything?

Maybe.

The last two paragraphs in the article are the best…

“The ruling basically says US surveillance cannot be allowed to override our fundamental rights, but US law says surveillance must override fundamental rights… The EU court is largely saying that indiscriminate gathering of data is enough to interfere with fundamental rights, and therefore you shouldn’t be able to do it.”

“US companies that obviously aided US mass surveillance may face serious legal consequences from this ruling when data protection authorities of 28 member states review their cooperation with US spy agencies”.

A brief comment on evil…

I’ve learned one thing well. Evil people may have an abundance of allies, money and power, but the one thing they never have is the truth.

Truth is everything. It is the best and only weapon to have. It cannot be destroyed. Only hidden.

To find it, to go through the fire and darkness, you must have the focus of a monk. The strength of a prizefighter. The faith of the innocent.

Fight. Endure. Believe.

You. Will. Prevail.

A serious question on police body cameras and evidence admissibility

I have a serious question about police body cameras.

Supposing a police officer with a body camera apprehends a suspect.

In the process, the suspect says something very incriminating about the issue at hand.

The suspect had not been mirandized yet. (The whole “you have the right to remain silent” bit.)

Does the admission on the police officer’s body camera count?

On a traffic stop, the courts have found the stop to be a variation of an arrest and detention, so anything said or caught on the police officer’s vehicle camera during a traffic stop is admissible as evidence. However, in the “normal” performance of their duties, a police officer only arrests and detains an individual upon the announcement of such, which is always followed by a miranda warning to that suspect.

Speaking to a police officer with a body camera, about anything, is a whole new paradigm.

Assuming the admission of anything in the proximity of a police officer with a body camera WILL count as admissible evidence, is the very notion of a police officer present with a body camera mandate a “standing/universal” miranda warning? Or will the concept of a miranda warning need to be re-examined and re-evaluated?

Thoughts for the near future, folks.

Social media-meets-reality television job board

Have you had enough of your job? Ready to quit, but really need another job lined up to get those bills paid?

How would you like to be a wildlife volunteer in Thailand? Or maybe a backup singer for Michael Bolton? Perhaps a culinary explorer in Hawaii? Or a writer for Lance Bass?

Good news, bad news then! The good news is that there IS such a job board for crazy gimme-gimme jobs like this and absolutely anyone can log in and apply.

The bad news? It’s a social media-TV-reality snaggle-tooth bow-legged Frankenstein representation of modern society.

Dreamjobbing.com has the exact jobs open that I listed above, but to get these jobs (according to Travel and Leisure), you will have to upload “an application video and promote it on your social media networks to apply. A winner is selected from the most highly ranked videos.”

Well there goes everyone who is…

  • Over 30
  • Fug
  • Not insanely popular

The “winners” will be “given” the jobs temporarily and if they’re camera ready lucky, they might “be featured as an episode on the upcoming DreamJobbing TV series”.

Welcome to the job board of the future. Even though this is blatantly set up for a TV show, if it is successful, you can bet all the TVs in your house there’s going to be a flood of these share-and-vote job sites popping up shortly after.

The link to apply to dreamjobbing is right here.

“Crispy Sweet Bread” is a LIE

For those of you that don’t know already, here’s a very important safety tip: “Crispy Sweet Bread” is neither sweet nor is it a bread.

I was at a restaurant and ordered this innocent sounding side, expecting some professional variation of a Krispy Kreme donut.

No. Oh no. “Crispy Sweet Bread” is, in fact, some seriously twisted cousin of chitlins.

Lies. Damn lies!

WHY call something “Crispy Sweet Bread” if NONE of the words involved in the description are in the dish?!? If I wanted chitlins, I would have ordered chitlins!

That’s OK. That’s alright. Two can play that game.

From now on…

  • “Louisiana Swiss Cake” will refer to unshaven pig snouts
  • “Fluffy BooBoo Pancakes” will refer to unsalted burnt grits
  • “California Thai Tofu” will refer to rooster feet in BBQ sauce
  • “Basted German Apples” will refer to shoe leather

“Crispy Sweet Bread”… the nerve.

WHOOF

Why McAllen might have been overlooked for emergency immigration funds

There’s some surprising news that the city of McAllen was completely overlooked in President Obama’s recent Federal emergency immigration fund.

As it stands now, not one single penny from the $3.7 billion requested by President Obama in emergency funds to help stem the sudden immigration crisis will go to the city right at ground zero.

Of course, the mayor of McAllen had a few words about this for NBC.

What’s especially odd is that while President Obama is in Texas, he isn’t going to visit McAllen or any city in the Texas valley.

This really is an ongoing crisis. McAllen is literally pitching tents to help the flood of incoming immigrants coming across the border.

McAllen Tents

McAllen Tents

I took that photo yesterday. Me. That’s the church my wife and I got married at in the background. I can testify, firsthand, what is being reported in the news about the immigration flood really is happening.

So, back to the $3.7 billion dollar question. Why was McAllen given the red-headed-stepchild treatment?

This is thin. Real thin. Probably don’t mean anything. But it might have something to do with the fact that the Rio Grande Valley is a massive Clinton fundraising center.

Bear with me for a second.

An article in the Washington Post perfectly summarizes the valley fundraising juggernaut. Way back in 2007, Hillary raised $640,000 in the Texas valley region alone. Compare that with President Obama’s $2,086 total for the Texas valley region during that same time. That’s a difference of $637,914.

Jump ahead to 2013. $587,566 was raised for the Clintons, and again, in this region alone.

The not-so-big secret about all this money coming in for the Clintons is really the result of one very secretive man. Alonzo Cantu.

The local Brownsville Herald newspaper has a great article on Alonzo Cantu and confirms the 2013 fundraising number I mentioned above.

USA today has an additional article on him, saying back in 2008 he pulled in around $1 million cash for the Clintons, again, in the Texas valley region alone.

Consistently pulling in around $1 million a year? That’s a super powerful friend to have on your side.

The Clinton valley fundraising juggernaut is still going full steam. Hilary Clinton was “just” down here in March at a fundraiser not even 10 minutes North of downtown McAllen.

Let me change channels real quick to a second observation. The Texas valley is solid blue Democrat [NPR link].

Take a look at the last presidential election result. Everything below (and including) San Antonio is solid blue.

So, how do the Clintons getting major bank and the area being hardcore Democrat both tie to an emergency aid “oversight”?

Like I said, this is thin. Real thin. Probably don’t mean anything.

But maybe it has something to do with President Obama promising Senator Elizabeth Warren he would back her for president.

Not Hilary Clinton.

I seriously hope I’m just being a paranoid old fart. That none of these things tie in together and I just need to up my dosage.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to President Obama. I’m sure there’s a solid reason not to give McAllen any help despite the fact that every major news outlet reports on the crisis from McAllen and despite the fact the mainstream media is practically camping out down here and keeps writing story after story after story about it.

I’m also very sure things are going to get a lot worse if something isn’t done soon.

UPDATE 7/11/14 : From today’s New York Times G.O.P. Pushes Back on Approving Border Funds article : “Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told the committee that “we can and we will stem this recent tide of illegal migration into the Rio Grande Valley sector.””   Again – it’s all focusing in McAllen.

A serious question to the NSA about Snowden and master passwords

If anybody from the NSA reads this, I have a serious question.

Have you all scanned what Snowden stole/liberated (whatever floats your boat) for government backdoor and/or “master password” references? Were there any government backdoor and/or “master password” references stored in the systems he had access to?

OK, in English now… for a long time there have been rumors of backdoor and/or “master passwords” for all computer systems. With a certain password for a certain system, an “authorized” person could get full access.

There really are “master passwords” currently in place for PC BIOS systems, all vehicle-embedded systems, and even on all iPhones. (Seriously. It’s not a secret that “alpine” works for full SSH access on all iPhones.)

To make things even more interesting, since 1984 there have been ways to put backdoor and/or “master passwords” into compilers so not even programmers who make applications on their own would know such a backdoor and/or “master password” was put into the app they just created.

Cool, huh?

You do need a specialized program to access each of these systems, sometimes you also need local access to the device, and most of the Google-able backdoor and/or “master passwords” that show up are for things like maintenance and root-level hijinks, not “watch what people are doing live” kinds of things.

Regardless, I would bet there’s just a few backdoor and/or “master passwords” reserved for the government that are already embedded in some critical systems. I would also bet with the right password combination, a “watch what people are doing live” kind of thing could be set up with no problem.

All theoretically, of course.

Snowden stole/liberated somewhere between “too much” and “oh dear God” levels of data from the NSA. Now all that data was classified information. Communications. Transfers. Notes. Reports. Stuff not meant to see the light of day for some reason or other (justified or not).

I’m thinking things like this were in the pile of data…

  • Senator John Doe thinks Ambassador Moe Howard has a funny haircut, smells bad and isn’t too smart. This should remain classified because we need to make nice with Ambassador Howard for now, but if it got out, no big deal. Doe and Howard could work it out over a golf game and some scotch.
  • Senator John Doe is on the top secret Kinetic Intelligent Satellite Striker (KISS) committee – well, that’s bad, but not world-ending. There’s not much hard proof about this project, the locations are all buttoned down, and there’s nothing other countries can act on directly.
  • Senator John Doe used the password “BOHONKUS” to access files from a Dell Latitude E5430 system on an ambassador’s laptop from a country currently designated as “hostile”.

That last one? Clearly naming the government backdoor and/or “master password” for a specific system and purpose?

If that gets out, it can be used by ANYONE. Anywhere. Anytime. You can kiss EVERYTHING that backdoor and/or “master password” is embedded in goodbye forever.

Plan on everyone using that backdoor password, and by everyone I mean especially…

  • The Chinese “we’re not hackers – we’re just curious” brigade
  • Russia
  • North Korea
  • ISIS
  • Bored Americans

As an extra bonus, there’s no resetting a backdoor and/or “master password” on most embedded systems without local “hands on” access. No way to erase it. No way to change it. No way to block it.

I don’t know if Snowden would or would not release something like this if he found it in his data pile, but I guarantee a hostile government with access to this information would use it without question.

Which brings me back around to my question for the NSA.

Has the NSA scanned what Snowden stole/liberated for government backdoor and/or “master password” references? Were there any government backdoor and/or “master password” references stored in the systems Snowden had access to?

Finally, if there are backdoor and/or “master password” references in the pile of data Snowden has, what is the worst case scenario if a hostile entity uses this password to access the system(s) it is embedded in?

It’s going to be a terrible thing to admit to the U.S., but if there is a backdoor and/or “master password” reference of any kind in Snowden’s data pile, we need to do something about it right now.

The alternative would be far, FAR worse.

Any compromised systems for private citizens or commercial businesses would need to be updated as soon as possible.

Any compromised military systems would need to be taken offline IMMEDIATELY and kept out of active service until they have all been secured.

And NSA, going forward, if you’re going to ignore that “unreasonable search and something or other” part of the Constitution and put in backdoor and/or “master passwords” on some systems, please install VERY secure backdoor and/or “master passwords” that require multi-factor authentication that can be changed or be deleted if necessary.

The back door needs to be more secure than the front door.

At the bare minimum, I suggest a DIFFERENT password for different series of devices and/or software with something like a random key fob authentication system for each.

For example…

  • The backdoor password for Dell laptops model A with serial numbers 00001-10500 would be DWW-TATANKA.BUFFALO synced to key fob series ALPHA-9.
  • The backdoor password for Dell laptops model G with serial numbers 00001 – 10500 would be CJLP-TEA.EARL.GREY.HOT synced to key fob series ALPHA-3.
  • The backdoor password for accessing everything the “Angry Birds” app sends to the NSA would be HONEY-WHERE.IS.MY.SUPER.SUIT synced to key fob series BETA-111
  • Etc.

Make a different password string for each manufacturer’s series and each manufacturer’s model numbers. Tie all of that into a version of a key fob multi-factor authentication generator for final access.

After this update, to access a system’s backdoor, you would not only need the “master password” embedded in the device, you would also need the randomly synced password that would be generated on the key fob to proceed.

Worst case – if a master backdoor password is compromised or stolen by a future Snowden, it would be useless in and of itself without the key fob generator to finish “opening the door” and it would only be valid on a limited set of systems. If both a master backdoor password and its’ correlating key fob system were compromised, you would only risk access to a limited series of systems.

That’s the minimum recommended civil-rights violations per serving. Seriously. No more single word passwords for an entire warehouse of systems or for all software made with compiler X.

I know there’s insanely more complex ways of implementing backdoor access, but depending on the “audience” using the backdoor passwords, the NSA guys need to keep it accessible by the non-tech-savant crowd and reasonably quick as well.

Systems from the 80s, 90s and 2000 era are still out there. Applications built and modified on top of existing systems in this time period are legion. Only the NSA knows if there’s really such a thing as backdoor single-word-passwords and where they might be installed at.

To quote Forrest Gump, “that’s all I got to say about that.”

Now back to silly cat photos, already in progress.

Courting a disaster with open-door immigration

I saw an article in the New York Times titled “Migrants Flow, As Do Rumors, In South Texas” (see the article scan following my rant).

I don’t think anyone has mentioned a massive problem with how this is playing out right now.

Since there is “no specific plan to monitor compliance” for those illegally crossing over the border, what is to stop an Al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist agent with intent to harm the US from crossing into the US completely undetected and dispersing into America once they are released with their free “bus ticket to travel where they have relatives in the country”?

Humanitarian care must be provided for those that need it, and the current immigration policy desperately needs streamlining, but there must also be an accounting for every individual who crosses over during this de-facto open-door immigration policy.

Failure to do so is courting a national security disaster.

 

Migrants Flow NYT article

Migrants Flow NYT article

 

EDIT: Corrected ISS to ISIS

GM seems to be racing toward something else

So if I understood everything correctly from the article in the 6/12 Wall Street Journal titled “Lawyers Race GM to find black boxes“…

* GM executives ordered their engineers to secretly change a core vehicle component for new vehicles after they discovered its’ critical failure rate, but did not disclose this critical failure rate on existing vehicles to the public or to the NHTSA.

* GM executives are currently ordering their employees and persons in their employ to search and recover evidence (“black boxes”) from multiple mortal accidents, but apparently are not returning this evidence to the accident victims or to the NHTSA.

* GM executives refused to allow the full disclosure of the data content of those “black boxes” involved in mortal accidents to the NHTSA until February of this year.

An organized activity sanctioned by upper management to obscure and withhold evidence? Evidence that could potentially tie the multiple deaths of individuals to the permissive knowledge that upper managers have?

Has GM ever heard of RICO?

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