Archives for : hacktivist

Big Things Promised

Hacktivist organization Dramatis Personai, has been making noise on social media, promising another privacy rights protest in Los Angeles on the 20th. After a flurry of activity in the month of October, including blacking out the major news networks and calling out social media giants for their shady data practices I know they were a particular favorite of Fawkes so I will follow the story. I’ve reached out to Dramatis mouthpiece, YoureWelcomeSOS, and hope to hear from him soon.

 

-Bob

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Evan Baxter & The Election

Another election day has come and gone. After Angela Lovett’s narrow triumph, I wanted to address the campaign season’s wild card: “hacktivist” STOP’s dramatic interruption of the second Tooms/Lovett debate and what (if any) effect it had on the election’s outcome.

Despite the spectacle of STOP’s interruption and the subsequent frenzy surrounding the revelations he brought to light, they seem to have barely played a role in voters’ decision-making.

It seems that no one is really asking how much Lovett knew. As the former head of the country’s top spy agency, the answer is probably “A lot.” People seem fine with the simple promise of reforms to Internet privacy rights without any assurances. But it’s worth asking if America just made a giant mistake in the fight for not only Internet privacy but the future of piracy in general.

I’m sure wherever Fawkes is, he’s asking himself the same question: Did STOP, aka Evan Baxter, die in vain?

-Bob

LIVE-BLOGGING THE GRANVILLE HIGH DEBATE

5:01 PM – Bennett Avery of CNN introduces the candidates. There’s the usual smiling and small talk; there’s usually no opportunity to score a point at this stage of the proceedings, but Lovett manages one when she turns and heads to her podium; she takes the opportunity to whip out her phone and send a shout-out to the school over Panjea—complete with a hashtag (#webdeb). As usual her campaign team is killing it with social media.

5:10 PM – First question of the night is on climate change. You can almost see Tooms groan. He basically bunts—spewing out a carefully constructed party-line word salad that hits all the talking points but basically refuses to make any admission that climate change even exists. Lovett, by comparison, grabs the ball and runs with it. A big early lead for the Governor here.

5:26 PM – A series of questions on foreign policy. Neither candidate has a huge amount of experience in foreign affairs, so they’re free to spout all the idealistic blather they want without having to answer much for it. Not that they don’t take some hits: Lovett denounces Tooms as being one of the Senators who voted for various wars and military operations; and he returns the favor, pointing out that she was for years the head of the secret service. But I think most people understand that her tenure was focused primarily on homeland security. On balance, I’d give this one to Lovett.

5:44 PM – A brisk exchange on Internet regulation. Lovett lost serious ground here, as Tooms questioned her commitment to rolling back the surveillance state, while still backing more government regulation of the Internet. Lovett tried to dance her way out of that one, but she’s not nimble enough for the job, and it tripped her up big time. The only bad news for Tooms is that he puffs out his chest and beams a big grin at the audience; gloating over a defeated adversary isn’t exactly presidential. Still, this round’s clearly his.

6:09 PM – A very revealing exchange on nuclear power. You could see that neither Tooms nor Lovett was entirely prepared for this question to come up, which is a pretty alarming indication of how far we’ve degenerated since the 1980s. Since both candidates are basically in bed with the major power companies, both of them spun wildly without either managing to say anything substantial. A draw…and a very pathetic one.

6:17 PM – A question on the national debt. Lovett manages to regain lost ground by hammering home Tooms’ role in the financial crisis, which was basically, letting all the big banks off scot free for their economy-cratering chicanery. The guy’s face is beet red and he even let out a nervous laugh at one point. Advantage Lovett.

6:25 PM – Next question is from Samir Gupta, a kid from Bakersfield…that means Courtney Garcia’s next. Looking forward to seeing whether she takes any of my (admittedly rather pushy) suggestions.

6:27 PM – Wait a minute—thought there was some kind of technical error. But now a new video just came up…Is that someone in a Dramatis Personai mask? Did they just hack in? Is that even possible? I have no idea what’s happening here…

6:29 PM – Whoa. Double-whoa. The debate has been hacked—actually hacked—and by the looks of it, by Dramatis Personai. Same spokesman…same mask. The video of Granville High, and of Tooms and Lovett is just…gone. Trying to listen…

6:31 PM – The masked hacker—who introduced himself STOP—managed to get one line out before his feed was cut, presumably by the network. Still no Granville High; no idea what’s going on there. Lots of scrambling at our local affiliate to fill the blank screen. I’m still scrambling myself, mentally. Did STOP just directly piss off one of the two candidates for most powerful person in the world? I’m kind of excited by this, but also a little wary. Is it too much, too soon?…Or is this kind of sheer nerve the reason some people are hacktivists, while other of us just blog anonymously from our apartments?

6:42 PM – In all the confusion I managed to forget I was DVRing all this. I rewound and transcribed what STOP said: “Will you end the silence of six?”—a phrase that already surfaced in a previous Dramatis Personai video…and whose meaning is still a complete mystery.

Then…black. Is there anyone out there who can tell me exactly what just happened in Granville High? The cable news channels—worthless, as usual—are only reporting what everybody already saw. I’ve checked Google, Panjea…nothing. Granville students—are you there? Courtney Garcia, this is your moment—Full Cort Press’s moment. Talk to us…!

 

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Clue 5 : Part 2

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DAVID CHOOSES HIS FIRST GOLIATH

Aaaand the hits keep on coming. (And when I say “hits,” I mean roundhouse punches to the solar plexus.) In its latest video, Dramatis Personai goes for broke, squaring off against social media titan Panjea—specifically for the crime of turning its users’ privacy into a marketable commodity. The justice DP metes out is both impressive and hilarious. Anyone know where I can get me a Dramatis Personai t-shirt?

JAMES COMEY’S NIGHTMARE

With recent revelations by Apple and Google that their new hardware will come with default encryption for e-mails and messages, FBI Director James Comey, proving that the government could really use a PR person, came out on Thursday screaming that it will be the downfall of society as we know it.

Citing the “Post-Snowden Pendulum” that has seen US citizens awake from their sleepwalking ways and come out in support of stronger privacy rights, Comey all but told the public that they have no right to safety or security and has promised to go to war with major tech companies who are simply fulfilling their consumers’ wishes for a sense of security.

Of course, it’s all a smokescreen as those same tech companies who promise their PROPRIETARY encryption software will be impenetrable, EVEN TO THE COMPANY ITSELF, continue to mine data in their ever expanding efforts to sell you to advertisers. In encrypting your selfies and sexts, the monoliths of Silicon Valley have brilliantly found a new customer base: the US government. Don’t be fooled, dear readers. The movement to default encryption does little to protect the consumer and only serves the interests of multinational corporations.

Meanwhile, as hacktivist group, Dramatis Personai, recently uncovered, questions surrounding the FBI’s top secret surveillance tactics, particularly as it relates to data privacy, have come under intense scrutiny by Congress.

Until humans evolve into telepaths, the only safe form of communication for those of us that prefer our solitude, is behind a wall of proxies and bots.

A LABOR DAY MANIFESTO—WITH A KICKER

Don’t know how I missed this one. Back on September 1, the new hacktivist collective Dramatis Personai (who by now I think we can safely describe as indefatigable) reminded us of what Labor Day is really all about…then concluded a special gift for Walmart employees forced to put in their hours on the holiday ostensibly set aside for the relief and enjoyment of workers. Have a look. It’s priceless.