Charlie Rose copped out on Apple vs FBI

charlie rose, ted olson

Yup. Charlie Rose copped out on Apple vs FBI.

I don’t watch Charlie Rose very often. I’ll go to his website and search for something, someone, if I’ve heard about a solid interview or – more likely – I caught the end of a segment. I like his interviews because unlike 99% of the Talking Heads on TV he knows how to ask a leading question. Most rely on a stupid question. A whole nuther topic.

Tonight I caught his discussion with the constitutional attorney Ted Olson who is representing Apple vs FBI crap request to bust into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino terrorists. Charlie spent almost the whole discussion sounding like a high school Young Democrat – completely avoiding any question of relevance to the Bill of Rights, personal privacy, the important aspects of this case.

He blathered, repeated every banal talking point the FBI and DOJ, the Obama administration has decided to plant through all the usual sources. We’re just asking for a one-time use in one case — A lie. We’re not trying to connect this to backdooring into everyone’s portable life-style computer which still happens to be called a cellphone — A lie. And on and on.

And I don’t think he is naive. I believe his personal political dedication to the Dark Side is complete. The side that says fear and panic over terrorism is more important than any liberties we have built over centuries through the Bill of Rights – or the advances made despite decades of conservative domination of the Supreme Court. He was solely involved in making the FBI’s case. Trying to counter everything Ted Olson offered in explanation – believing Charlie Rose’s problems were with comprehension.

I think he understands everything he tried to accomplish for The Man. It stinks on ice!

Oil and gas companies are leaders in stealing from their own employees


Click to enlargeKen James/Bloomberg
Halliburton’s idea of a healthy prairie

In a finding from last summer, the US Department of Labor said oilfield services company Halliburton underpaid about a thousand workers a total of $18 million…

Oilfield bankruptcies of companies large and small have been surging as prices remain at their lowest levels in a decade or more. But it’s not the only way a worker can be left underpaid. An Inside Energy analysis shows a growing number of oil workers are turning to the courts, saying they weren’t paid fairly even when times were good…

With the exception of a couple weeks in November, 28-year-old oil driller Kody Armajo has been out of work for a year. He has returned home to live with his parents in Riverton, Wyo…

Then one day last winter Armajo received a letter about a class action lawsuit, saying that his former employer, Precision Drilling, didn’t pay him enough overtime when he worked for them. He was eventually awarded $6,000…

As oil prices started dropping a year and a half ago, lawsuits like Armajo’s jumped in numbers. In Colorado, where he worked,there were nine times as many wage suits against oil and gas companies in 2015 as there were in 2010.

In Texas, the biggest oil state, there were nearly 10 times as many lawsuits…

Federal records show oil and gas companies are among the top violators of wage laws – particularly in not paying overtime. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division was seeing sufficient problems with apparent violations by 2012 to specifically investigate the oil and gas industry in some parts of the country.

Since then, the office has recovered about $40 million dollars in unpaid wages…

The biggest case…settled, by far, was against oilfield services giant Halliburton this past summer. In this case, the investigation found that Halliburton owed about a thousand workers a total of $18 million dollars.

Anyone surprised that some of the least responsible corporate citizens in the world are also the sleaziest employers? Someone, someday, will probably discover these creeps have been stealing from charities dedicated to widows and orphans.

Secret memo reveals Uncle Sugar’s strategy to hack cellphones

Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation forcing technology makers to install “backdoors” in their software — secret listening posts where investigators could pierce the veil of secrecy on users’ encrypted data, from text messages to video chats. But while the companies may have thought that was the final word, in fact the government was working on a Plan B.

In a secret meeting convened by the White House around Thanksgiving, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software and gain access to the most heavily protected user data on the most secure consumer devices, including Apple’s iPhone, the marquee product of one of America’s most valuable companies…

The approach was formalized in a confidential National Security Council “decision memo,” tasking government agencies with developing encryption workarounds, estimating additional budgets and identifying laws that may need to be changed to counter what FBI Director James Comey calls the “going dark” problem: investigators being unable to access the contents of encrypted data stored on mobile devices or traveling across the Internet. Details of the memo reveal that, in private, the government was honing a sharper edge to its relationship with Silicon Valley alongside more public signs of rapprochement.

The public got its first glimpse of what those efforts may look like when a federal judge ordered Apple to create a special tool for the FBI to bypass security protections on an iPhone 5c belonging to one of the shooters in the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has vowed to fight the order, calling it a “chilling” demand that Apple “hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers.” The order was not a direct outcome of the memo but is in line with the broader government strategy…

Security specialists say the case carries enormous consequences, for privacy and the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and that the National Security Council directive, which has not been previously reported, shows that technology companies underestimated the resolve of the U.S. government to access encrypted data…

Silicon Valley and Washington have had a decades-long distrust of each other over encryption, stemming from a failed Clinton administration push in the 1990s for a government backdoor in telecommunications networks. In that case, the National Security Agency developed a technology called the Clipper Chip, which the White House approved as a government standard. Security experts assailed it as insecure and a violation of privacy.

Security experts say the U.S.’s insistence on finding ways to tap into encrypted data comes in direct conflict with consumers’ growing demands for privacy.

“The government’s going to have to get over it,” said Ken Silva, former technical director of the National Security Agency and currently a vice president at Ionic Security Inc., an Atlanta-based data security company. “We had this fight 20 years ago. While I respect the job they have to do and I know how hard the job is, the privacy of that information is very important to people…”

The truly stupid part of this government pressure is that it is exactly counter to public policy towards other nations. The White House and Congress blather all the time about any other nation that threatens to require the same access to tech products our federal snoops say they need.

You can’t have it both ways.

Admittedly the hubris of our government spies is nothing new. And given the paranoid spy mentality, when some other nation breaks into the same backdoors Uncle Sugar demands – if our federal alphabet snoops succeed – they’ll simply swear it must have been foreign spies who stole our wondrous technology. No one in government is going to take responsibility for building in the flaw that breaks privacy.

Pic of the day


Click to enlargeAP

This 2013 file photo shows an 80-foot thick coal seam at Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek strip mine near Decker, Montana. As far as US energy barons like the Koch Bros. are concerned it may as well be gold.