Open Thread: All the Privacy You Can Buy, Citizen!

(Reminder: Schooley writes cartoon shows for a living. Yes, it’s a joke!)

Now, *this* is depressing: Tim Cook is happy to tell us that privacy — like clean water, decent health care, education, and so many other valuable commodities — is just another luxury good…

Speaking at a town hall event hosted by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher, Cook said Facebook put profits above all else when it allegedly allowed user data to be taken through connected apps. The event is part of MSNBC’s “Revolution” series.

When asked what he would do if he were in Zuckerberg’s position, Cook replied: “What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”…

Of course, Apple’s already made such ‘tons of money’ selling to “discerning” customers that its biggest problem is not drawing undue attention from government authorities, so Mr. Cook can afford to look down his nose at penny-an-ad barrel-scrapers like Zuckerberg…

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: FaceBorked

(Drew Sheneman via

I considered using the subtitle “Evil Is Overdetermined”. Here’s a roundup of the latest thumbnails ICYMA (In Case You Missed Any… )

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Russiagate Open Thread: Today’s Cambridge Analytica / Facebook Thumbnails

All this… seems significant. You more technologically adept people want to explain why it is or isn’t?

Mild Disappointments Open Thread: Rod Rosenstein & the Persian Menace

Of course, foreign espionage agents are always very bad news. But after Thursday’s press release, I can’t have been the only person hoping/fearing for a less… anodyne announcement:

The Trump administration on Friday announced sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network it said was involved in “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns” ever prosecuted by the United States, targeting hundreds of U.S. and foreign universities, as well as dozens of U.S. companies and government agencies, and the United Nations.

None of the alleged hackers were direct employees of the Iranian government, but all worked at the behest of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), officials said. While not the first such punishments imposed on Iran for such malicious acts, the new measures address more extensive Iranian efforts than previously alleged.

Nine of 10 named individuals were connected to the Mabna Institute, a Shiraz-based tech firm that the Justice Department alleged hacks on behalf of Iranian universities and the IRGC. The institute conducted “massive, coordinated intrusions” into the computer systems of at least 144 U.S. universities and 176 foreign universities in 21 countries, including Britain and Canada, officials said.

The hackers stole more than 31 terabytes of data and intellectual property — the rough equivalent of three Libraries of Congress — from their victims, prosecutors alleged. Much of it ended up in the hands of the IRGC, which has frequently been accused of stealing information to further its own research and development of weaponry. The Guard Corps is the division of Iran’s security forces charged with overseeing Iranian proxy forces abroad and is under the direct control of the country’s religious leaders…

The Trump Regency has gotten us into a very weird mindspace. Under normal circumstances, would one’s first thought be “Yes, yes, Mr. Bolton — those crafty Iranian terrorists, and their mad mullahs, always looking to DESTROY THE GREAT SATAN… “

Unintentionally (?) perfect coda:

… Also sanctioned was Behzad Mesri, who U.S. prosecutors announced last November had been indicted on a charge related to the hacking of HBO and theft of unaired episodes of programs including “Game of Thrones,” which the hacker threatened to release unless he was paid $6 million….

Open Thread: Unplugging from FaceBorg, or Changing Your Settings?

Not a FaceBook user myself, because my brain chemistry already compels me to waste too much time trying to get to the end of the internet (and, yes, I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t ‘needed’ to set up an account for my job or my social life). So I can’t test Mr. Fallows’ advice here, but I figured it might be useful…

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Just Say No

This story got buried under the news of Andrew McCabe’s firing on Friday, but it’s important if we want to elect people who can bring about responsible government. That starts now, as we move toward November’s elections.

You know those cute little quizzes that are supposed to tell you something about who you are? Which movie star are you? Are you a cat or a dog person? What is your color? So much fun to compare with what you think of yourself and with your friends’ results. In fact, you could share on Facebook and urge your friends to see what their favorite color was. Those quizzes asked you to share most of your Facebook data before you could play.

You may have been contributing data to Cambridge Analytica’s work to help elect Donald Trump. Read more

Incompetence or Disloyalty?

That always seems to be the choice with these bozos.

Mr. Tillerson has voiced skepticism that the United States is even capable of doing anything to counter the Russian threat.

“If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that,” Mr. Tillerson said in an interview last month with Fox News. “And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.”

This is a man who was the CEO of Exxon. If he knew that Shell was stealing his top geological talent, would he have said something like that? Presumably he can talk to the NSA about what they would suggest? WTF is wrong with this guy?

Amazingly, there is actually a person in the relevant job of under secretary for public diplomacy, who seems to have a different view from his boss.

“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation,” Mr. Goldstein said.

I really hate the conclusion that so many folks at the top of our government are disloyal. But they keep pushing me toward it.

It might be worthwhile to frontpage a list of all the Russia-friendly things that they’ve done. There’s this, and, only this week, Trump’s total disinterest in, and active distraction from, Vladimir Putin’s threatening speech.

If you’ll supply them, I’ll write a post in a day or so. My excuse for crowdsourcing is that it’s allergy season, and I’ve got a very busy Monday and Tuesday.