Trump’s media handlers and the Russians knew they could use fake news and ads in social media and the internet to manipulate millions of voters. Now it will be interesting and scary to see whether they can do it again.
Another scary question is whether social media and the internet will kill democracy, and whether we will even notice:
The great hope in the early days of the web was that it would facilitate democracy by leveling the playing field so that anyone could participate in the process and have a voice. Trump, though, turned that potential for good upside down.
I agree with the tech evangelists who point out that social media is neither inherently bad nor inherently good. But, as we saw with the election of Trump and the success of Brexit, it can be used with devastating effect to manipulate millions of people to act against their own interests. The algorithm beast is constantly learning at the speed of light, and its data are available for sale to the worst possible political candidates.
Here is one way to defend yourself against this manipulation:
Another way is to read the best of journalism:
John Stuart Mill was right in pointing out that truth does not always defeat falsehood in the short run. Truth can win out, though, if we do our part.
It is encouraging to see so many millennials doing their part by reading the best news media:
Marking posts private may not keep out prying eyes, as the spies can and do get warrants to force the tech giants to turn over user data. It can help partially protect privacy in some cases, though, as some court orders only apply initially to metadata instead of the content of messages.
Undocumented people and citizens as well will self-censor when they are afraid of mass surveillance by the government. And democracy dies each time a voice is silenced:
Trump has a long history of attempting to bully people. His brutish behavior may come back to haunt him when the recordings he apparently made are subpoenaed:
Trump recommended that Comey imprison journalists:
Trump is acting increasingly paranoid and unstable, and it’s all uphill from here. Next up may be charges of obstruction of justice, which could lead to his impeachment:
Update: Former intelligence chief James Clapper says Trump and Russia are threatening the nation’s institutions:
Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says that Trump’s firing of the FBI director represents a dangerous situation:
Update: Trump unsuccessfully pressured the FBI director, prior to firing him, to cancel its probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia:
Update: Trump’s attempt to pressure Comey to cancel the FBI’s probe was illegal and may lead to his impeachment:
A national poll has found that “idiot” is the most common word used to describe Trump. Also common were “incompetent” and “liar”:
Trump is so ignorant that he believes fake stories his staff gives to him:
No surprise here. Republicans always help corporations at the expense of consumers:
Trump has signed the new plan to eliminate privacy protections:
Using a good VPN can help protect privacy, for now at least:
And here is the reason that privacy is essential online. The Trump administration is demanding to know the identity of an anonymous Trump critic:
Not only do these security flaws make it possible for Trump to use the spy agencies to snoop on his critics, but they also open the door to hackers worldwide to steal data from innocent people as they conduct banking and make purchases online:
Trump adviser Steve Bannon said he wants to destroy the nation. Here is how this insanity will be carried out:
Trump’s EPA director, contradicting official EPA findings and the overwhelming consensus by 97 percent of climate scientists, stupidly or dishonestly claims that climate change is not caused by people:
The EPA’s environmental justice leader has resigned in protest against Trump’s plans to dismantle the program:
Trump’s plans to accelerate the planet’s becoming a dystopian hellhole, choked with pollution and searing heat, are rolling forward.
Most Americans oppose Trump’s plans:
Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, retweeted a fake news story claiming Clinton’s emails involved child sex:
And we are to believe that Flynn is part of the Trump team who will “make America great again.”
Flynn’s son repeatedly promoted a fake news story falsely claiming the Clintons were involved in a child sex ring at a pizza restaurant, which then led to a deranged man shooting an assault rifle in the business:
Trump has fired Flynn’s son from his transition team because of his wacky Twitter posts, but Flynn is still Trump’s pick as security adviser. Flynn’s own inaccurate claims are known by his colleagues as “Flynn facts”:
Here is one reason Trump’s people spread lies on the internet: There are millions of Americans who believe any wacky garbage they read online:
Some people were so convinced that the lies were true that they claimed, as did Flynn’s son, that the gunman was used as a diversion to trick people. When the claims were proven false by Snopes and others, Trump supporters became furious that anyone would dare to insist that the Clintons were not involved with child sex trafficking.
The restaurant even had to close for a few days because of the fake news stories. I hope that the restaurant’s owner sues Flynn’s son and all of the fake news websites that spread the lies.
Heaven help us:
Trump’s extremist picks to fill his cabinet and serve as his advisers support mass deportations of Latinos, registration of all Muslims living in the U.S., harsh torture in hidden locations overseas, and mass surveillance of millions of innocent Americans without warrants or oversight:
The registration of all Muslims living in the U.S., by orders from an openly hostile Trump administration, must be considered as a possible prelude to mass deportations or imprisonment of U.S. citizens because of their religious beliefs, in direct violation of their constitutional rights. Such unconstitutional orders should be universally disobeyed.
Or Trump could choose to revive an awful program to require registration of Muslim immigrants, temporary workers and visitors:
President Obama eliminated a registry for foreigners, but Trump has vowed to bring it back:
Trump has signed an xenophobic executive order banning Muslim refugees and introducing “extreme vetting,” effectively banning victims fleeing terror instead of blocking those who cause it. Congress banned such discrimination more than 50 years ago, which means that Trump’s executive order is illegal:
“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty”:
Judges have issued temporary blocks on Trump’s deportation of Muslims with valid visas:
Here is what Trump has pledged to eliminate, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department:
Trump met with anti-teacher Michelle Rhee to discuss the possibility of selecting her as the Education Department secretary:
Rhee says in this audio recording that she taped the mouths of 35 children when she was a teacher, and when the tape was removed their skin came off, their lips were bleeding and all of the children began crying:
Rhee said she recounted the story in part because she thought it was funny:
Trump has selected an anti-gay vouchers advocate as the Education secretary:
Trump and his supporters have been attempting to portray him on TV as more moderate than how he came across in his campaign, but authoritarian actions speak louder than soft words.
Trump says he wants to use torture:
Yahoo spied in real time for the government, without a specific warrant, on millions of innocent Americans who were not suspected of any wrongdoing:
The government issues gag orders to technology companies that ban them from disclosing surveillance:
The gag orders raise Fourth and First Amendment questions about government overreach. All reasonable people want the government to catch the bad guys, but is it acceptable to shred the Constitution in that effort?
Our government is authoritarian:
And the sad irony is that the death of democracy occurred with a Democrat in the White House.
Human rights workers, attorneys, activists, protestors, journalists and sources all depend on privacy to protect themselves and their clients including refugees, immigrants and the disenfranchised. Imagine what will happen to many of them if a dictator becomes president. Read Sinclair Lewis’ “It can’t happen here,” Phillip Roth’s “The plot against America,” Glenn Greenwald’s “No place to hide” and Robert Scheer’s “They know everything about you.”
Lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt calls Edward Snowden a patriot:
Peter Gabriel’s song “The Veil” for the film:
More songs about mass surveillance:
Showtimes for the film:
Human rights groups ask for a presidential pardon for Snowden:
A petition to request a pardon for Snowden:
More about the pardon request:
Highly recommended. Essential viewing for everyone with a moral conscience and for those who need to get one.
Update: Trump has said he would attempt to execute Snowden.
“By preying on the modern necessity to stay connected, governments can reduce our dignity to something like that of tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they’re in our pockets.”
-Edward Snowden, The Intercept
Snowden criticizes the news media:
These steps help protect iPhones from Big Brother, even if Apple is forced to install a decryption backdoor:
It might be helpful to law enforcement to be able to examine the digital data stored on the iPhone used by the terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino.
The risk, however, is that once law enforcement has that power, police and the NSA could then use it to access anyone’s iPhones and iPads. And so could law enforcement, the military and spies of all other nations throughout the world. And that would put the lives of hundreds of courageous journalists, bloggers, human rights workers, dissidents, attorneys and opposition politicians in jeopardy. Their work — and their lives — depend on privacy:
If Apple does have this ability to enable decryption by disabling iPhones’ auto erase security function or by using other methods, the judge’s order will have already put the lives of hundreds of people at risk. Despotic governments could soon demand Apple provide access to thousands of cellphones, and Apple would then have to comply or stop doing business in that country.
With her ruling the judge may have already set back democracy and human rights on a mass scale throughout the world.
Apple will likely appeal, setting the stage for an eventual ruling by the Supreme Court. Even if Apple eventually prevails, the cat may already be out of the bag in the rest of the world.
The judge’s ruling would require that Apple install malware on the iPhone:
Apple’s official response:
Protests are planned against the government’s attempt to force Apple to enable decryption of iPhones:
A petition opposing the government’s attempt to force Apple to enable decryption:
Update: Apple releases a FAQ about the iPhone controversy:
Apple CEO Tim Cook wonders what would be the next decryption demand if the FBI were to win this iPhone case:
The FBI is trying to win the argument for decryption by creating a false dichotomy between saving lives versus privacy, as if the issue is that simple:
Update: The Justice Department’s claim that it just wants Apple to help decrypt one iPhone is an outright, indisputable lie:
Update: The FBI ineptly asked the county to attempt to reset the iPhone’s password, which then eliminated the possibility of recovering data from an automatic backup:
The FBI also apparently lied about the bungled attempt to reset the password, blaming the county government by making it look as though the idea was the county’s:
The FBI’s bumbling its investigation of the terrorists’ iPhone follows its decision to release the terrorists’ townhouse in Redlands just two days after 14 people were murdered in San Bernardino. The decision to release the townhouse to the landlord, an action that was criticized by law enforcement experts who questioned the lack of a thorough investigation, led to dozens of journalists handling the family’s belongings and contaminating the crime scene with their fingerprints and DNA on live TV.
This whole controversy with the iPhone is now looking more and more like the FBI is trying to compensate for its ongoing ineptness by forcing Apple to do its heavy lifting, civil liberties be damned.
Update: Judge rules in favor of Apple in other iPhone decryption case:
Update: Dozens of technology companies and law professors add their support to Apple in its court battle to protect privacy:
Think you have nothing to worry about? Think again:
Former CIA director James Woolsey opposes the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to rewrite its iPhone code:
Update: More Americans now support Apple than oppose it in its fight to protect privacy:
What a convenient way for government officials to simultaneously dodge their failure to prevent terrorist attacks while also ignoring terrorists’ use of encryption prior to Edward Snowden’s leaks to the news media:
Of course, these officials do not accept responsibility for an increased interest in encryption by millions of innocent people who oppose government snooping on their private communications. Instead, they blame Snowden.
Weakening encryption is not the answer to confront terrorism, but it would make everyone more vulnerable to hackers:
Advertisements that do not track will still be displayed:
Firefox is vastly superior to other popular browsers in several important ways, including its privacy features, security, extensions and bookmarks management.
The U.S. government can continue to spy on the call records of millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing:
Journalists, human rights activists, attorneys and politicians cannot effectively do their work with Big Brother peeking over their shoulder.
Update: Another judge declares the NSA’s mass surveillance likely unconstitutional:
The NSA’s presumed authority to spy on millions of innocent Americans is set to expire Nov. 29.
Update: And still another court decision to increase privacy protections, this time requiring a warrant to monitor Web browsing:
There is some glimmer of hope that authoritarianism will be reigned in.
As the NSA’s mass surveillance authority is set to expire soon, this new legislation would add a different twist to mass surveillance. Instead of the government collecting everyone’s digital data, tech companies would be pressured to spy for the government.
Most large tech companies oppose the bill, but it is expected to pass:
Senators’ claims are inaccurate that compliance would be voluntary:
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill and approve it Oct. 27:
If the U.S. Senate approves the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, two-faced Facebook will deserve some of the blame for its secretive lobbying:
Update: Facebook now denies it supports the bill, but it refuses to take a stance:
Update: The U.S. Senate approved the bill Oct. 27:
Feinstein and Boxer voted for CISA to sacrifice privacy in favor of a false sense of security:
Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.
The new law applies to all digital data, including metadata and files stored in the cloud:
The new law does not apply to the various federal agencies that spy on millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. The NSA can continue to spy on innocent Americans through the end of 2015: