Government Regs Killing Internet – China Selling Tyranny To Venezuela – Russian Malware Infecting Plants and more Today on TTWCP Radio Show: [04-13-19]
Are we in the Matrix? Well, An MIT professor says our whole experience could be a simulation thing. So we’ll get into that today
Are Amazon workers to your Alexa conversations? Well if they are it is for only max 30 seconds. They don’t have context. I get it. It may be an invasion of privacy but could they tell anything about the context. We will delve into this more today
Why are conservatives (or so-called conservatives) saying we’ve got to start regulating the internet? I will be covering the reasons why today.
Is China selling high tech tyranny to Latin America? And it’s true, and it’s scary and we will discuss it.
Then there is Malware that is attacking our Critical Infrastructure sites. Today. it’s on our list to discuss.
We’ve talked about autonomous cars, and about insurance and liability for them before? However, the bigger concern is DATA! Did you know that a car can generate about 25 gigabytes of data every hour, and as much as four terabytes a day? So, who’s getting that data? Listen in for my take on that
- Amazon Workers Are Listening To What You Tell Alexa
- Mysterious Safety-Tampering Malware Infects A Second Critical Infrastructure Site
- Rise Of The ‘Splinternet’: Experts Warn The World Wide Web Will Break Up And Fragment As Governments Set Their Own Rules To Filter And Restrict Content
- China Selling High-Tech Tyranny To Latin America, Stoking US Concern
- Are We Living In A Simulation? This MIT Scientist Says It’s More Likely Than Not
- 3 Technologies That Could Create Trillion-Dollar Markets Over The Next Decade
- Your Car Is Watching You. Who Owns The Data?
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment; it might contain errors.
Airing date: 04/13/2019
Government Regs Killing Internet – China Selling Tyranny To Venezuela – Russian Malware Infecting Plants
Craig Peterson 0:00
Hello, everybody Craig Peterson here. We’ve got a lot of security and technology to talk about today, including one of my favorite topics, you might not be aware of this. But wow, you’re going to love this. It is from an MIT professor. And he agrees with me about this whole simulation thing. So we’ll get into that in just a few minutes. I was watching the news this week. In fact, it was yesterday on Friday. And it was kind of crazy because they were talking about oh, my gosh, Amazon workers are listening to what you’re telling Alexa and the, you know, invasion of privacy and all this other stuff? Really? Really? I don’t think so. Okay, so we’ll talk about that. What’s really happening there. Your car? We know we’ve talked about autonomous cars are about insurance before? Where’s the liability shifting? Is it something that you really have to worry about? Well, how about all of the data? It’s saying right now, this is an article from Roll Call, that a car can generate about 25 gigabytes of data every hour, and as much as four terabytes a day. So who’s getting that data? And what does it mean and what’s going to happen? We’ve had more and more calls for government regulations over the internet. Now, we’ve seen a lot of those in Europe, we’re going to talk about what’s happening right now in the US. We’ve even got so-called conservatives, who are saying we’ve got to start regulating the internet, because, of course, they feel their voices are being squashed. So we’ll talk about that. China selling high tech tyranny to Latin America. This is from the Washington Examiner, in kind of an intriguing headline. And it’s true, and it’s scary. We’ve got another piece of malware out there. It’s called Triton. And now it is infected a second critical infrastructure site. This is a bad, bad thing. And one more that’s in my show notes for this week. And we may not get to all of us on the air today, right. So make sure you visit them online, you’re going to have to go to http://CraigPeterson.com. And you can subscribe right there to my weekly show notes. You get all of the top articles that I have found during the week, right there in the daily or the weekly newsletter comes out Saturday morning.
But this particular one’s interesting because 16 months ago, researchers were reporting and unsettling escalation in hacks, targeting power plants. This is from ArsTechnica.com. And we talked a little bit about that before. And, you know, we know about some of the compromises that happened, for instance, in Iran that was conducted by the US and Israel. But what’s unprecedented in this attack is the use of advanced malware that is targeting the site’s safety processes. So it’s shutting down all kinds of things that are going to help keep the plants safe. And when you think about gas field pressures, reactors, reactor temperatures rising, it gets very, very nasty, you know. Some of this stuff is designed to automatically close valves to really mess you up. And when we say mess you up, we mean to make that whole nuclear power plant go into a meltdown.
So what’s happening with this? There’s some researchers over at FireEye who are saying that this same security firm, by the way, discovered Triton, and it ties it to Russia, that they’ve uncovered an additional intrusion use the same malicious software framework against a different critical infrastructure site. So I guess the big question here is, Does this mean that countries like Russia, for instance, are using malware as kind of a first strike opportunity? Right? It’s hard to trace, it’s hard to prove that it’s them that that attacked you. Right? How can you prove it?
Well, frankly, you can’t in most cases, it just has fingerprints, like the Russian language, or this is attacks we know, that have previously come from Russia. Those are the types of things that we’ve got to watch out for. And we now know that Russia has been involved in some this hacking. We know China has been involved in some. North Korea has been involved in some to let me tell you, it’s a different world. And the next war we have is going to be a much different war, that’s for sure.
Let’s talk about this China story here, where China is selling some high tech tyranny to Latin America. This is, as I mentioned, the Washington Examiner. And this is very, very concerning. Because what we found now is China has been working with these companies like Huawei, which we know about, it’s been a very, very big deal. And Huawei’s devices have been banned from US military bases, and from others, but it’s also saying this ZTE, is tied into this. And we know about the concerns with 5G and ZTE and all of the stuff that’s going on all this stuff they’re doing. And we’re getting really concerned now because what’s happening is that China is taking these tools that they’ve developed in order to monitor their people within China and really displace the United States. They’re putting all of the surveillance equipment all around the US and the Western Hemisphere. Well, not so much in Canada, although, obviously with 5G rollouts, we do have some of that Chinese equipment going up there. But they’re supporting right now Venezuelan strong man, Nicolas Maduro, the current president who’s really clinging to power, after the western democracies, I think all of them said, Yeah, you got to be out of there. And recognize the opposition lawmakers, the interim president, China has been exporting technology that helps a South American socialist to monitor and strong arm the Venezuelan people, which is what he’s been doing for quite a while. So here’s an example of politics being really promoted and expanded the power base due to some of this technology. So think about that now. China is really now intertwined in the Western Hemisphere and things that are going on. And they’re able to surveil, monitor, surrounding the US, that’s all part of the Asia Pacific influence that they’ve been building here for a while. And it’s very concerning very, very concerning.
Maduro, by the way, paid ZTE as part of this, but to build a $70 million database and payment system for what they’re calling a homeland card. Now, what’s concerning about this is this so-called homeland card, that ZTE sold the technology to Maduro for is designed to be used to control access to food, to cash, bonuses, social services, a social credit system for a political control mechanism. In fact, it’s even used to track your voting. So they know how you voted, it’s recorded right there with the card, it goes into the database. This is all part of their smart card thing. And if you don’t vote the right way, what’s going to happen? It’s just like in Chicago, right? If you don’t pay the local Chicago thugs in the party that’s in control in Chicago, you know, all of the criminal activity that’s been alleged there for years, much of it’s been proven, in fact, you end up with potholes in your street that won’t get fixed, because you’ve been speaking out against the local candidate for the town, for the city, for the county, for the state. It’s just it’s still so corrupt in Chicago. It’s unbelievable, how bad it is there. Well, it is much, much worse in Venezuela using these Chinese technologies that the Chinese have been building. Have you seen the Black Mirror episode, for those that are sci-fi fantasy, it is a series out of UK, it’s a really, really good one. And the whole idea, the whole premise behind this particular episode is that every time you do something, you get social credit, or you get credit taken away from you. And this poor lady just ends up in a downward spiral and, and has no credit left, right? It gets to be really, really bad. Well, in China, now, they have facial recognition technology all over the place throughout all of the major cities. If you jaywalk, you get points taken away, because the computers know who you are. And now you don’t have the social credit. And if you don’t have the social credit, because you’ve done things that the socialist, communist government doesn’t like, you cannot vote, you can’t get on an airplane, you can’t get on a train even they block you from those if you don’t do what you’re told to do. And if you’re not politically correct. Free speech is just going down the tubes worldwide and very, very scary. So let’s talk about friends speech here for a minute.
Here’s an article from the Daily Mail. And course they are ahead of us in some of this stuff, right? Free speech is outlawed in the United Kingdom. Now, it’s legally outlawed in Canada, you cannot say certain things. You can’t even ask legitimate questions, legitimate political questions. You cannot have a dialogue about certain things. You know, if you question about somebody’s birth sex, and now they say, well, you have to use this gender when addressing me, or you’re supposed to go on bended knee to his or her royal highness and request permission to speak to them what’s going on? Because in Canada, and in the UK, if you say something they don’t like, you can go to jail. And it’s that simple. So there is no freedom of speech there. And in the US now, we’ve got these fascists running around, who are beating people up, threatening people, yelling, screaming, trying to stop free speech rights. And that is the definition of fascism, isn’t it? It’s a definition of socialism or communism, they all do it. They all try and stop free speech because they don’t want the free exchange of ideas because their ideas are right. And the only reason it hasn’t worked before is because of what? Well, because the other people weren’t smart enough. We’re smart, our generation is smarter than all generations that have ever come before us. Right? That is not what they say. So now we’re tying technology into this. We’re seeing it in China. Big time, big time. And we’re now seeing it in Venezuela, as the current president tries to hold on to his socialist powers to control everyone’s lives. And of course, people are dying, they’re starving, They’re digging through trash to try and find food. Right? A socialist utopia, just like the Soviet Union became?
Well, now we’re looking at government regulations. In the US over free speech in places like the public square. Is Facebook, the public square? Is Twitter the public square? Obviously not. But we passed laws in the US that said, Hey, listen, we’re going to consider you as a public square, all you have is a faucet. And all of these ideas are coming out of that faucet. And therefore, we are not going to allow anyone to hold you liable for the things that your users say online. And that’s the sort of thing that you expect from free and open fair discussions from a democracy, right? You expect that kind of free speech, and you don’t want to have regulations or restrictions on the people that are providing those free speech areas, just like the public square. You could go get a soapbox, you could stand up in the public square, and you could say anything you wanted, no matter how crazy it was. Right? That that was the idea of the public square. That was the idea behind the laws that are protecting Facebook and Twitter and, and others online.
Well, now we found that they are doing various types of censorship, let’s put it that way. Google is being sued. And just this week, a big lawsuit was announced, because Google’s showing search results that favor them versus their competitors. Now, I gotta say, if you’re writing code that’s going to give good search results, of course, you have to discriminate against materials that you don’t consider to be, you know, up to your standard that people aren’t looking at that aren’t, aren’t popular.
But if you’re looking for an unpopular opinion online, you know, remember, the majority isn’t always right. Right? Slavery. The majority of people endorsed it, but it wasn’t right. It was never right. So just because of the majority says something should be done. And just because political correctness would lead me to believe that that’s what you should do. That doesn’t mean that it is the right thing. Well, China’s walled off a lot of Western services on the internet, you’ve heard about the Great Firewall of China before. The UK now is planning to hold executives personally liable for posts on social media that they consider harmful or illegal because remember, there’s no free speech in the UK anymore. And this came out in the government white paper on Monday this week. They say this would put the country at the far end of internet censorship and further fuel, what they’re calling now this splinternet. This is a term circulated for, you know, more or less a decade here, this gained some popularity recently. And this comes in the tail end of Mark Zuckerberg saying, you know, Facebook’s chief, that he wants a common global frame that a framework of internet rules, which is never going to happen, right. Tim Burners Lee, you might remember him, he started the worldwide web’s, software. And he came up with what he called a contract for the web that establishes an ethical sense of principles for the internet. A whole lot here. The New Zealand Christchurch mosques, massacre, you remember, this was very recent as well live streamed online. It’s a heightened sense of urgency in New Zealand. They just knee-jerked, passed laws within two weeks that change the face of what’s happening there. Huge debates in the US and the EU on curbing what they’re calling incitement to violence. Now, obviously, you can tie this into, can I yell fire in a crowded theater? Right? There’s a lot of things that you could do here.
In free speech, that would step over lines like that. So how about the line for inciting to violence? What is that? What does it mean? Well, in Australia, there’s a law now it’s a new one that can jail social media executives for failing to take down violent extremist content quickly. A proposal in Britain that makes executives personally liable for harmful common content posted on social platforms. How do you define this? How do you define harmful content? Where is the line? If someone says, Oh, my feelings were hurt? Is that harmful? Well, of course, it is, because their feelings were hurt. So does that mean we can’t say anything that might upset anyone again, refer back to that, that Black Mirror episode of the UK proposal, this is from a White House technology advisor, who’s now over at MIT says that it’s a very bad look for rights-respecting democracy to do what they’re doing in the UK would place the UK toward the foreign the internet censorship spectrum.
And the UK culture Secretary says, you like that? They got a culture Secretary over there. The Culture Secretary says the proposed laws will not limit press freedom. Okay, so where’s the line on the press? Look what’s happening right now, the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain. And you have a guy who is now under arrest, who’s claiming he is a publisher, right? He published documents that were stolen by two military members, one was a military contractor and one, another military man who was working with secret information. Was he a publisher? Did he help them steal it by providing instructions on how to sneak classified information out? Was he a co-conspirator? There’s just so much right now going on. And you know, when we’re looking at free speech, I think free speech is almost absolute.
If it can be shown that something caused physical harm to someone, you know, that’s kind of where the my you’re right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins. Now, obviously, at some point, while that fist is being swung, I’m feeling threatened.
But where do you draw the line? Well, I think you draw the line at touching me, certainly at hitting my nose. And this is something that the internet pioneer has never really thought about. Remember, I’ve been on the internet since 83. Of course, it wasn’t called that back then. We had different types of networks and things. But since 83, and free speech was always a big deal. We didn’t really get free speech until September of 91 online, because it was still heavily controlled by the federal government. Remember it was a federal government research project that funded it, but then they kind of let loose of it in 91. But man, what a world out there.
Let’s get into this Amazon article right now. I was listening to the news. I was watching a morning news program, in fact, this week, and they were talking about how bad it is that Amazon Alexa workers are sitting there listening to you. Okay, so that’s one level. And then they said, Oh, and on top of it now, they won’t call the police if they hear something that might be bad. Now, I like it. I like that, right. And I understand the first part. And I like the second part. Because you know, the second part, you don’t have the full context, you’ve got a 3o second snippet. You know, somebody wakes up that that Amazon device, or that Google device, or whatever it might be. You wake it up, it records for up to 32nd, sends it up to the cloud, processes it, and then execute your command. So they’re listening to max 30 seconds. You don’t have context. You don’t know what’s going on. And you certainly don’t want to destroy people’s lives over a vague suspicion. Right. So I like that. I really like that. It’s just like as when I spent 10 years in emergency medicine, we were all mandated-reporters. But we did not have to report unless we thought there might be something going on that’s reportable.
So I think that’s a pretty straightforward thing. I think that’s pretty simple to look at and understand because it didn’t think that something was reportable, then I never reported it. And so different people had different bars, right? How high that was. Now, let’s go to the first part of this where they were very upset that Amazon employees were listening in.
It’s very limited when Amazon employees are listening in and they’re not listening to all of the audio coming from your house. So listening to at most that 30-second snippet, when you told Alexa, that you had a command for her. That’s it. That’s that simple. And what they’re doing is they’re using your audio to better the speech interpretation, better the machine learning, so that it understands how people are asking questions, what sort of accents they might have, how it works. For instance, when I talked to Alexa, I get great responses, because she understands me. She understands me speaking, hopefully, you guys do too. But my wife has issues with it. I have a son that has issues with it. And that has to do with your cadence, your clarity of speech, right, enunciation. And how do you improve your software? You improve it by testing. How do you test software, that design that’s intended to be able to process human speech and understand what it’s going for? Understand what the goal is of that human that’s asking you to do something? Well, this is the only way to do it. Right? They don’t have these employees that hear the audio don’t have your name. They don’t have your account number, they have no idea who you are, they don’t have the email address. All they have is a snippet of sound, and how the Alexa voice processor processed it. So they can listen to what they can see was Alexa correct in parsing much you said? And was it correct in understanding your intention behind what you said? So it’s pretty simple, it’s pretty straightforward. Don’t get too freaked out about this. And there have been court cases where Amazon has been asked for and did provide under court order, the audio that has been captured. But remember, it’s very limited audio. And unless that device has been hacked, and you know, it hasn’t happened in at least a couple of years that I’m aware of. If it’s hacked, it is possible to make it so it’s recording. But the way the hardware setup in that Alexa, it cannot record you, unless that little light is on. It’s a physical hardware limitation that they purposely built into it. So it’s not as though they can just turn on the microphone and life is good. It’s like on your MacBook Pro, the hardware that when your camera is active, that light comes on. It’s all designed in one piece. So unlike many Windows machines, you can’t just turn on the camera and not have that green light come on. The same thing with Alexa. Now, if you have physical access to the device, there may be you know, there’s always ways right ultimately, to get into that.
Man, we are almost out of time. Three technologies that could create trillion dollar markets over the next decade. I got that from Barons, but it’s up there on http://CraigPeterson.com. Very interesting. And they talk about some genetic stuff and quantum computing and material science. You’d find that fascinating, I’m sure and I have it up again along with all of these at my website http://CraigPeterson.com. And if you go to htttp://CraigPeterson.com/radio-show, you’ll see my show notes, but you also get those in the email if you signed up. This is the one that I really am interested in.
Are we living in an illusion? Did you notice back in 99, there were three movies that came out that were implying, inferring, opening our minds to the possibility that we are living in a simulation. And I had a guest on my show about that time. He’s just a regular engineer. But he had done a lot of thought a lot of research and put together a book that was specifically addressing that question. Very thick book, very convincing book. And he did all the math behind it. And basically, what he said is that, eventually, any civilization will get good enough to be able to have a virtual reality that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.
And the odds are that within 20, 30 years from now, that’ll be true here. You’ll be able to plug yourself in one way or the other and live in whatever worlds you want to. Have a vacation in Fiji and just enjoy it and not have any jet lag okay. That’s coming. So if that happens, basically he said the odds are millions to one that we are living in that timeline that invented this virtual reality.
We may be all running this, this whole world, this universe that we perceive around us, is millions to one likely to be a simulation. We are not likely to be that very first time through. And what’s interesting is this ties into a lot of religions as well. Because again, God created the heavens in the earth. He did it in six days. Oh, maybe he did. Maybe we’re running in a simulation, and on a computer in somebody’s basement? Who knows what we’re doing? And are we all just artificial intelligence programs? So this is fascinating. When I get this book, Rizwan Virk, I may try and get him on the radio show. He’s a computer scientist. Video game developer, he leads PlayLabs at MIT. And his book’s called The Simulation Hypothesis. I love it. I love just the mental gyrations you kind of have to go through to think about this and the potential of being a simulation.
Well, I appreciate everybody being with us today. We will be back next week. And course I’ve been releasing podcast now, six days a week. Most weeks, it’s you know, it’s between two and six. But most recent six weeks we have you know, It’s A Security Thing where we’re talking about current recent security problems businesses have had what could have been done to prevent them what you can do, and then also just talking about all these great articles that we send out in our show notes. So have a great day. We’ll see you next week and thanks for listening. http://CraigPeterson.com for more. Bye-Bye