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Monday links

  • So, do you think Phil Zimmerman’s Blackphone will become the smartphone of smart people? Or …?
  • It could become a crime in Washington state to help the NSA. Government contractors or workers providing electricity or water to an agency violating the Fourth Amendment would be criminals. (They ought to do this in Utah, where that hellish data center gobbles millions of gallons of precious dry-state water.) H/T PT
  • Another of the many ways in which Obamacare is helping.
  • Clever or creepy? Yeah, depends on who (or which alphabet soupers) get their hands on these snake, worm, and otherwise creepy-crawly robots. (H/T O)
  • One might wish that the charming soul who monkeywrenched the ATF booth at last week’s SHOT Show had a better command of spelling. But his (her?) heart was certainly in the right place. View one. View two. (H/T JB)
  • Another Officer Friendly. Yes, another Beloved Hero in Blue, protecting and serving in the style that’s become so reliable lately. Why this creep isn’t a) in prison and b) on the sex-offender registry for the rest of its days is a wonder to me. Oh, but she was “disciplined.” I guess that makes it okay. (Corrected: There were two officers, both female, and both apparently “corrections officers,” not cops. Both were involved, though apparently only one did the worst deed. Personally, I’m still going with “Officer Friendly” because IMHO, there’s a distinction, but not much of a difference, between cops and COs. Thanks, G. for the heads up.)
  • Did hackers recently perform the first malicious act utilizing the “Internet of things”? That is, did they turn everything from “smart” refrigerators and home camera systems into a bot net? So said many reports. Borepatch doubts it.

There are five finalists in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” ad contest. “Cowboy Kid” is the clear winner. If any of the other four beat it, I’m suspecting bribery, collusion, and all manner of other evil. This may be one case where v*ting is okay. As long as you vote my way, of course. 😉


  1. Bear
    Bear January 20, 2014 5:44 am

    My BS detector pegged out when I first heard about the “smart refrigerator botnet”. While it’s certainly possible to load botnet malware onto any processor connected to the ‘Net, you can’t — as noted at those links — prove it with the IP scan this mystery company (I’d never heard of them either) claims unless the routers had been reconfigured in a way that 9.999% percent of people can’t do, and of those who can most wouldn’t… unless they were running a honey pot.

    More than though, Proofpoint would have us believe that the same trojan that hijacks common laptop/desktop computers (i.e.- mostly flavors of Windows) will infect smart fridge systems*. Most of what I can find running on fridges is Android, with Samsung planning Tizen (doesn’t seem to out yet though).

    * And for f—-s sake, they aren’t smart refrigerators, which implies that the function is controlled by the computer. They’re refrigerators with desktops buikt in to the door so you don’t have to walk back to your desk to enter items into your shopping list.

  2. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty January 20, 2014 6:25 am

    I’m so happy with my old dumb refrigerator. Can’t imagine needing a computer chip in the ice box to manage my shopping list. But I’m happy if some folks want them. I’ll laugh if the list prints out in Chinese. LOL

    And the Doritos ad is great. First good belly laugh of the day. 🙂

  3. Graystone
    Graystone January 20, 2014 7:29 am


    I’m not a big supporter of cops these days, but did you even take the time to READ the “Officer Friendly” post. They weren’t cops but Corrections Officers, and they also were female officers, not men, as you refer to them in your post. Not that that makes their actions any less reprehensible, but to maintain credibility, I believe it’s important to get the facts straight.

  4. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal January 20, 2014 7:44 am

    I like snakes, and never kill them, but I had the urge to smash that snake robot with a shovel. If I saw that thing coming toward me, it would be toast.

  5. Claire
    Claire January 20, 2014 8:21 am

    Graystone — You’re right. I missed the part of the article below the Scribd screen. Mea culpa. Though I don’t see much difference between corrections officers and cops, I should definitely have caught the difference between males and females! Will fix.

  6. Bear
    Bear January 20, 2014 8:45 am

    FWIW, I don’t know about that jurisdiction, but in many places COs are cops: POST certification, sworn peace officers, powers of arrest, etc.

  7. Claire
    Claire January 20, 2014 9:21 am

    Bear, ditto. Our local jail officers are cops. But G. was right; I did miss a couple of big details. Corrected now, I hope!

  8. Jim B.
    Jim B. January 20, 2014 10:19 am

    That Doritos commercial is pretty neat, just a little quibble that it was still a feminist thing of a girl beat a boy thing… again. Grrrr.

  9. Curt S
    Curt S January 20, 2014 10:21 am

    Who gives a shit whether they were mail or female cops, or if they were CO’s or Regular cops???? The point is what happened. Granted if they were male cops that would be one more disgusting item. As for if there was a difference between the two, I sure would not make any distinction. No way in hell would I trust ANY cop today or anyone is a like position. That may seem radical….but with things like they are I wonder how much of this kind of thing does not get reported?!!!

  10. jed
    jed January 20, 2014 3:26 pm

    I’d like to see the Blackphone, and other things like it, take off. It’s just the same problem as we have with PGP, and encrypted chat plugins — network effects. When Apple decides that their whole product line will be Blackphones, we might get there.

    Gotta pass on something from Jeffro. Patience … and wisdom.

    What would your dog do?

  11. Shel
    Shel January 20, 2014 5:59 pm

    Some of these comments I’ve probably said before. It’s very saddening to me that people feel a real need to protect themselves from the NSA. Back in the late ’60’s there was absolutely no reason for those concerns. To even monitor the non-secure telephones of a military unit for possible inadvertent breaches of security required a request by the commander of that unit. On one occasion monitoring was stopped because the lieutenant in charge of the monitoring unit was facing potential disciplinary action for something that had happened previously, and the people involved did not want to give him inside information on what was being considered. This I found fair enough.

    While this likely will stir something up, I’ll repeat it because I think it makes general sense. A retired LEO friend told me that most of the BATFE field agents are decent people who are just trying to do their jobs, as they were street cops before joining the bureau and understand how things really work. The two agents I talked to at a recent local gun show certainly fit this profile. Most of the upper level BATFE people, though, come from “higher education” and have a decidedly authoritarian/liberal slant. Likewise, most the current FBI agents have the same tendencies; making the agency a pitiful sequel to J. Edgar Hoover’s pride.

    G. Gordon Liddy, in his autobiography Will, made a clear distinction between street cops and CO’s. He had a high respect for both street cops and criminals, as he considered them risk takers. He had a generally very low opinion of CO’s. The site you linked is excellent; in the right hand column there was another link to even more egregious behavior.

    I agree completely with Jim B; the Cowboy Kid ad was really overdone. It would have been O.K. if they hadn’t thrown in the hog tying at the end. Just a little too much male bashing. Two of the others were suggestive of behavior that historically would have been considered aberrant. One should try to go with one’s gut in these situations. I voted for the Ostrich 🙂

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau January 22, 2014 6:12 pm

    Those are two boys in the Cowboy Kid. The Mom says up front, “Boys, can I get some help?”

    We finally replaced one of our old tube TV sets that threatened never to die, with an LED one. I was amazed at how intrusive the setup experience was, and of course the thing had to connect up to our wireless network, along with the new DVD player. Here I am trying to make our internet secure with a pfsense router, and now I have these things behind the firewall that I don’t trust. Well, I don’t trust Windows either, so maybe there’s nothing new there after all…

  13. Shel
    Shel January 26, 2014 7:47 pm

    Paul B: I just read your entry this afternoon. Obviously, you’re right. I guess only the makers of the ad know why they chose a unisex looking main character.

  14. David B.
    David B. January 27, 2014 2:38 pm

    If someone does manage to invent an affordable, practical cell phone capable of thwarting the surveillance state, you can bet that said surveillance state will promptly ban said phone. To make people “safe” from “terrorists”, of course.

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