Showing posts with label surveillance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surveillance. Show all posts

Monday, June 25, 2018

Who Will Disrupt the Disruptors? A Review of Live Work Work Work Die

The final words of Corey Pein's Live Work Work Work Die are, "Off with their heads." In an engaging, hilarious, and gutwrenching first person account of the netherworld of Silicon Valley startup culture, Pein implores the reader to consider seriously the titans of tech are leading us into. By his account, it is a highly stratified society in which the toiling masses take turns pretending that they are among the tech elite.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

All That For This

Published an article over at Jewish Currents today about the first round of acquittals in the J20 trials. The process dragged out for almost a year, and somehow made it to a jury despite some rather unusual procedures. Here's a sample:

During the pretrial, hearing dates were rescheduled without notifying defendants who were required under penalty of arrest to attend. Law enforcement agents were demonstrated by the defense to be lying on the witness stand, and in closing arguments, lead prosecutor Jen Kerkhoff all but told the jury that their instructions were irrelevant and that reasonable doubt “doesn’t mean a whole lot.”
“We saw that the U.S. Attorney’s office has no problem with the fact that their interests overlap with [rightwing organizations] Project Veritas or the Oath Keepers,” explained Menefee-Libey. “We also saw that the DC Superior Court is willing to let all of these things proceed under their legitimizing purview. This was procedurally strange, but politically and morally terrifying and abhorrent.”
What the trials have helped bring to light above all else is the absolute disregard for procedure on the part of the police.
According to court documents, law enforcement had infiltrated the planning for all three events but zeroed in on the the anti-fascist, anti-capitalist bloc, which departed from Logan Circle at 10:00 that morning. Despite apparent concerns about their undercover infiltration methods, the DC police opted not to contact the protest organizers, as required by the department’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) regarding First Amendment activity. On the day of the protest, moreover, the police violated more of their SOP: In radio communications entered into evidence, the police commander and frontline officer discussed whether the protesters were anarchists, and made the call to mass arrest before the march even left the park, which violates their SOP requirement that protesters be arrested and charged individually. (Since the SOP was issued in 2004, mass arrests have been effectively prohibited in DC.)
Certainly going to be chilling to watch the prosecutor bring 188 more people to trial.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Feds are Stalkers

On Thursday November 16th, Agent Eric Fagen, a task force officer in the FBI’s Philadelphia field office, visited my parents’ house to question my mother about me. Upon being told about the encounter by my mother, I contacted the activist lawyer who is representing me pro bono. Because it was after business hours, she resolved to contact the agent the next day which she did on the morning of the 17th. My lawyer has yet to hear back from this agent. She says that it is not uncommon, once the FBI finds out that a person they’re interested in questioning has a lawyer, for them to back off.

The Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination provides strong protections for anyone who may be questioned by law enforcement in connection with a criminal investigation. Federal agents often attempt to make direct contact with individuals who may be willing to speak to them without the advice or presence of counsel. This tactic is intended to take advantage of the ignorance, isolation, and intimidation that an FBI visit necessarily evokes to get people to forgo their legally protected rights in a moment of panic. For this reason, people whom agents know to be represented by counsel are far less attractive targets for questioning.

As I frequently say, there is no law; there is only enforcement. Irrespective of one’s rights on paper, agents of the state seek to use any means at their disposal – however legally dubious – to fatten the purse of the state and the corrections corporations it subcontracts through fines, fees, and prison labor. This is the necessary consequence of capitalism. The state apparatus must ultimately be maintained by the same incentive structure upon which all other economic phenomena rest – the acquisitive drive for profits above all other values.

I have no knowledge of, nor have I been charged with, any federal crime. I will not cooperate with any law enforcement investigation as is my legally protected right. I especially will not cooperate with any FBI investigation as their protocol requires that the only official record of any interrogation is the agent’s handwritten notes which are notoriously inaccurate. For more information on why you shouldn’t talk to the FBI, please view this instructional video.

Friday, July 22, 2016

All Your Faves Are Problematic

One of my favorite magazines, Orchestrated Pulse, published a piece by Ray Valentine critical of the viability of lone wolf tactics in building a broader left.

While I don’t dispute any of the facts presented in the article, to my mind, there are some omissions that I think calls into question the absoluteness of Valentine’s moral thesis. The failure to consider the material realities of security policy and liberal politics, in my estimation, weakens Valentine’s argument that the left (or perhaps, more appropriately, society from a leftist perspective) cannot benefit from condoning independent acts of mass violence.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Full Amnesty

This week, I wrote a post on the New School Economic Review blog advocating for a complete abolition of immigration restrictions. Here's a sample:

From my interactions with Branko both in person and online, I'm fairly certain that he has absolutely no desire to embrace racism and would likely rebuke it at any opportunity. However, the geopolitical paradigm he crafts here makes such a result nearly inevitable. By essentializing historically fluid categories such as national culture and language, Milanovic sets up a framework in which migration is an invasive force. By treating geographic income disparities as historically neutral and sacrosanct, he sets up a Paretian world in which changes are only permissible insofar as they are immediately beneficial to everyone involved. In other words, Milanovic's assessment of migration creates a paradigm in which only the wealthy should be allowed to migrate.

For Milanovic, migrants bring nothing but their monetary endowments to their new host countries. Anyone migrating without her own wealth, according to this reasoning, will merely drain the system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, studies show that more often than not, migrants end up in forms of employment that create the opportunity for the creation of new higher-skill job in complementary sectors. All of this amounts to the strengthening of the very systems which Milanovic claims they will destroy.

Far from being idle surplus population, migrants provide an overwhelming economic boon where institutional systems support it. Historically, this institutional support has not led to the destruction of national culture and language, but rather its expansion. When flocks of Jewish and Slavic migrants fled the Ottoman and Austrian persecution in Milanovic's native Serbia in the latter part of the 19th century, they brought with them cultural and linguistic traditions that have since become so sewn into the fabric of this country as to go without notice.

Read the full post here

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why 'Expert Hackers' Can't Write the Code

In a recent letter to the Financial Times, associate professor of the University of Hong Kong John Ure asked why if Apple could theoretically write code to bypass the iPhone message encryption service for the FBI why the expert hackers Apple warns of couldn’t do so as well. This speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of how end-to-end encryption works.

This misunderstanding is completely understandable. Admittedly, before switching to Whisper (an open-source encryption service put out by the makers of Twitter) and doing some research, I probably would have had the same misunderstanding. While the actual workings of encryption itself are fairly complex, I think I can make them understandable by means of an analogy.