Year 1 under an authoritarian regime.

UPDATE: 20170612

Due to extenuating circumstances, I don't think I can keep updating this entry.  For the sake of my mental, emotional, and physical health I'm going to let it go.  Lifeline, Edison, and other parts of me are going to continue monitoring and archiving the USian political situation but I, the organic core of everything, need to step back and do other things.

UPDATED: 20170604

In response to reading this tweet, I thought I'd type up the following list, and add links to some stuff I've observed.  I'll update it as necessary.  List beneath the cut.

1. They will …

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Controlling genes by thought, DNA sequencing in 90 minutes, and cellular memory.

A couple of years ago the field of optogenetics, or genetically engineering responsiveness to visible light to exert control over cells was born. In a nutshell, genes can be inserted into living cells that allow certain functions to be switched on or off (such as the production of a certain hormone or protein) in the presence or absence of a certain color of light. Mostly, this has only been done on an experimental basis to bacteria, to figure out what it might be good for. As it happens to turn out, optogenetics is potentially good for quite a lot of …

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Some thoughts on the Seattle police's surveillance mesh network.

In the past day or two an interesting piece of news has been making the rounds. Earlier this year the police department of the city of Seattle, Washington set up its own wireless mesh network for what many people are saying is for the purpose of keeping people under surveillance. The hardware was purchased from Aruba Networks; it is unknown whether or not the company set up the gear, or if another outfit was contracted for installation and maintenance. Each of the nodes is apparently broadcasting frames containing ESSIDs that reflect its location (such as 4th Avenue and Union Street …

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GPS tracking device smartassery at its finest.

The battle over whether or not law enforcement agencies can legally use a GPS tracking device to monitor your activities is still raging in the US court system. Right now animal rights and environmental activists are being surveilled with these devices; it's only a matter of time before cypherpunks who have come in from the cold, lawyers, and privacy and anonymity advocates come under the watchful eye of Big Brother for exercising their First Amendment Rights. To complicate matters, lower courts scattered around the United States all have different opinions on the practice, so a few are hoping that the …

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So, what exactly should you do?

Earlier today while prowling around in my RSS feed reader I came across this thread on Reddit, and I've been pondering what I would do were I in a similar situation. The original poster brought to Reddit a tale of a strange device found in the undercarriage of his friend's car, near the exhaust system but farther toward the center of the vehicle (if I interpret his description correctly). The mechanic didn't know what to make of it but some research showed that it was a GPS tracking device manufactured for federal law enforcement agencies by a company called Cobham …

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Proposed bill will require wiretapping, cryptographic insecurity of services operating within the USA.

Once upon a time, monitoring someone's communications was a relatively simple matter for law enforcement: they sent someone out to the pole or the side of the house with a hex driver and patched a transmitter into the pair of wires leading into the building that would kick on and send both ends of any conversations to a listening post some distance away. Since then, technology's changed just a bit (consider this my entry for the Understatement of the Year Award) but the powers that be are finding themselves hard pressed to keep up. In the year 1994 a law …

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The walls are closing in.

Every couple of days - usually on the weekends - I force myself to go on a media fast. If I can get away with it, I don't watch television, I don't look at my RSS feed reader, and I don't let myself get wrapped up in the newswires. These days it's about the only thing that lets me get a good night's sleep on the weekends and makes my blood pressure managable. I'm pretty much a desk jockey these days so that's about the only exercise I get, but that's beside the point.

Many years ago, during the early time of …

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If they want to see any more, I want a nurse to be present.

It seems that the controversy over full body x-ray backscatter scanners hasn't died down yet. Since word got out that the TSA was, in fact, saving images from the machines (note: NSFW pictures) quite a few ears have perked up. Like those of a couple of US Senators. Senators Lieberman and Collins, who are the Chairman and a ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee along with a number of other senators have made an official inquiry of the US Marshals Service about the practice. They aim to determine whether or not they are intruding unnecessarily into …

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Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning, and The Next HOPE.

As you may or may not be aware The Next HOPE was last weekend, and a veritable firestorm of hacker drama broke out (in both of the usual senses of the word) at the con. I won't be writing about the keynote on Saturday, not yet. Instead, I'll be putting some thoughts together about the arrest of PFC Bradley Manning who is charged with leaking the gun camera footage known as Collateral Murder among other things. If you're not aware of what happened Adrian Lamo, known a few years ago as the homeless hacker, was contacted by PFC Manning who …

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Wow, I feel ever so much safer.

Unless you're dealing with the federal government, it has long been a given that the police can't enter and search the place you live without a properly filed and signed search warrant, as guaranteed by the fourth amendment to the US Constitution, which reads thus: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Sounds …

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