Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Monday, August 20, 2012

TV Related News

Hey all!

Just a quick note today - busy, busy and all that:

For those interested, it looks like I may be -- provided there is sufficient interest -- running a free 'Dramatic Screenwriting for TV 101' class over at the University of Reddit.

If that's something you're down for, pop on over here and express your interest.  I'm hoping to get at least 10 or so involved.

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why is US spy surveillance 'TrapWire' in Ottawa?

Here it is, as straightforward as can be said without any plausible reason for it to be a lie:

"TrapWire is in place at every HVT in NYC, DC, Vegas, London, Ottawa and LA. " [Source]

What is Trapwire?

First of all, before we go off the rails read this excellent article on what Trapwire is.

There's also an interesting white paper on TrapWire from 2007 that's worth a read.

From the paper:
"TrapWire is a unique, predictive software system designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance"

As far as I can understand it, the best way to explain it is to think of it as a giant network between all of the security cameras that surround 'HVT's (High Value Targets) around the US - and Ottawa - where each and every camera is constantly logging people's faces, putting them into/checking them against a database and then tracking their whereabouts.

It's not deployed 'countrywide' - it's not watching you in your bedroom or while you work.  We're not that far gone yet.

And, luckily, there's no way at all that this network of surveillance could ever, possibly, be abused...

Right?

And yet WikiLeaks had been suffering under a 10 Gigabit per second DDOS attack pretty much since the story broke (Just over 10 days now of sustained attack on WikiLeaks and all it's mirrors).

From the article:

"Anti Leaks describes itself as a group of “young adults, citizens of the United States of America.” The first question, for which there is no immediate answer, is can a new hacking group come from nowhere and mount a sustained 10 GB/sec DDoS attack (it’s now in its tenth day) against a high profile site like WikiLeaks?"

Also:

"TrapWire is a surveillance system that links IP CCTV cameras across the country with facial recognition and data analytics (and, according to Anonymous, online social media monitoring)."

And yet we end up at my biggest question:

How the hell did TrapWire find it's way into Ottawa?

As far as the leaked email goes, it confirms that TrapWire's been up and running here since February 15, 2011.

But is this, perhaps, why Harper stripped Canadians of our CSIS watchdog?

It certainly wasn't to save $1 Million per year.

Axing CSIS watchdog 'ridiculous'
Axing CSIS watchdog 'huge loss,' says former inspector general

Lose a watchdog, gain the beginnings of a surveillance state?

Because once the network is installed, how hard is it, really, to add to it?

And what is a 'High Value Target' anyway?

Who gets to decide what's 'High Value'?

Can private enterprises in Canada sign on?

(Can a Bank join in? How about Bay street? or... a Movie Theatre?)

More importantly:

Where is all that TrapWire data going?

It's being collected in Ottawa, but is it crossing our border into US hands?

Where is the facial recognition software hosted? How does it link up?

I mean, it has to link, right? How could CSIS know that their facial recognition has caught an image of someone the FBI suspects is a terrorist?

Is CSIS even the party responsible for running/monitoring 'TrapWire' in Canada?

How little we know and yet each point brings more and more questions to light:

Could Canadians be walking around in Canada and end up in a US Database?

How long is that data held onto for?

When and how is it deleted?

I mean, if you created a network looking to sift for a needle in a haystack, to pinpoint 'terrorist activities' you never know when anyone could end up being a terrorist, right?

Better to monitor and keep everything you find on everyone just in case.

Oh and remember how our government was calling Environmentalists 'Terrorists' and 'Extremists'?

Doesn't this TrapWire reveal just add a whole scary, new level of context to those statements?

I know I feel safer.

Don't you?

Also worth a read:
Google, Salesforce were allegedly offered 'TrapWire' spy tool

Here's the text of the page that #trapwire removed from Google cache

Here's Anonymous' take on the situation

Papers released by WikiLeaks show US department of homeland security paid $832,000 to deploy system in two cities

PNG format screencap of TrapWire's Leadership page (who's who)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Waiting Out The Storm

The problem with caring is that to do so means lowering your guard. 

Admitting that something matters to you.

Being vulnerable.

In a world that can so often seem both strange and hostile -- where lying men can make decisions for you while residing hundreds or thousands of miles away; who can ignore you and mock you and label you 'terrorists' and 'extremists' at their leisure.

For caring.

About your nation's environment.

About your fellow Canadians' well-being.

These folks don't have to live with the consequences of their decisions - they won't have oil flowing through their backyards, or their children swimming through oil-slicked ponds or water that could ignite with a spark.

It is you who will find yourself left with no recourse save 'being radical'.

Which is, of course, all part of the plan.

As the RCMP gushes about how 'Radical environmentalism is on the rise' and the Oil sands get their own Counter-Terror unit it's almost as if someone's begging for you to throw the first punch.  To get riled up and give them an excuse.

Nothing would help their argument more right now than some idiot going off and attacking a pipeline - proving that all of this bluster of theirs is somehow warranted.

So don't play that game.  Don't fall into that trap.

But then what can you do?

There are a myriad of answers to that question, but for my 2 cents' worth, I say this:

Document it.  Document everything.

Pictures, video, sound, paper.

Get it, keep it safe.

If you'll notice, the pipeline is an especially touchy subject right now and that's the reason that Harper's being as hands-off as he is.  His numbers have been hurting already and being dragged into the current pipeline fight will only hurt him further.

Because even his own base has started to attack him.

Cracks that have been forming in secret for a while now are finally starting to blister through the whitewash -- and everyone can see them.

Truth be told, you have more power now than you ever had before and all you have to do is pay attention.  Focus.  Document it as it plays out.

Just the facts.

The unvarnished truth.

No interpretations, no bitter anger.

No rhetoric.

And then you share it.  You post it and spread it and let the truth do the talking for you.

The best part?

No one gets hurt.

Remember that, for all of your passion and anger and frustration, this is a problem that won't be fixed overnight - it's never going to go away.

There's simply too much money and too many vested interests involved.  The foreign interests that own the Tar Sands want their oil taken out to the coast.

And, to be clear, 71% of the Oil Sands is now owned by foreign interests.

So be meticulous.  Prepare.

And share.

Keep yourself safe and let them make all the mistakes.

Because they are.

Cheers,
Brandon