Thursday, August 11, 2016

From Pokemon to Perception Management

Developments related to previous posts and primary blog topics:

Happy Hunting

Iran banned Pokemon Go, stating the wildly popular app raised "security concerns." Ya think?

John Hanke
China will probably never allow use of the app. It recognized the national security risk, explaining locations of secret facilities could be surmised simply from identifying areas inaccessible to the Pokemon hunt. It's for sure there are more reasons, and they weren't that hard to figure out, but here's a key point to date:

Pokemon Go CEO John Hanke was involved in one of the biggest privacy scandals yet when he ran Google Geo, the division responsible for Google Earth and Google Maps. Hanke scored the job when his successful and admittedly CIA-funded venture, Keyhole, was acquired by Google. 

The Intercept reported:

...Pokemon Go is run by a man whose team literally drove one of the greatest privacy debacles of the internet era, in which Google vehicles, in the course of photographing neighborhoods for the Street View feature of the company’s online maps, secretly copied digital traffic from home networks, scooping up passwords, email messages, medical records, financial information, and audio and video files.

The article continued:

It eventually emerged that, in the U.S. alone, this collection went on for more than two years. The scandal, referred to as the “Wi-Spy” case as it was unfolding, resulted in:
  • A bruising Federal Communications Commission investigation, which followed a director’s comment that Google’s activity “clearly infringes on consumer privacy” and which resulted in a $25,000 fine.
  • A federal class-action case against Google, ongoing to this day, in which a district and appeals court have both ruled, against the company’s arguments, that the sort of data Google accessed is protected from interception under the U.S. Wiretap Act. (The Supreme Court has declined to hear Google’s appeal.)
  • Lawsuits brought by authorities in Spain.
  • Regulator intervention in Italy and Hungary.

Pokemon Go reportedly surpassed Twitter, Facebook and Netflix in day-to-day use on Android phones. On Apple devices, the augmented reality game was downloaded more times in its first week than any previous app. 

Romanek Case

The trial of Stan Romanek on charges of sexual exploitation of a child was postponed yet again. Romanek, widely known for doubtful UFO claims and infamous theatrics, was arrested Feb. 13, 2014. The trial may begin March 20, 2017.

Billy Cox of De Void wrote about the case and my assessment of it. His efforts to encourage consideration of the relevant dynamics and continue the discussion are appreciated. 

Annie Jacobsen Interview  

Writer and researcher Annie Jacobsen was recently interviewed by Big Picture Science and it's well worth the listen. In one seven-minute segment, she discussed ongoing research conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop super soldiers. DARPA's efforts included embedding an electronic chip in a moth which enabled researchers to remotely control its flight.

Annie Jacobsen is the author of such non-fiction works as The Pentagon's Brain, in which the history of DARPA is explored. She also wrote Operation Paperclip, a book that - for my money - is the leading resource on the subject.  

Perception Management

Former Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent Walter Bosley has a new book on the horizon. As he tweeted Aug. 10:

Bosley is the author of several books on occult mysteries, breakaway civilizations and related subject matter. He has provided interviews and commentary at numerous venues and media, including Mark Pilkington's Mirage Men.  

Nothing Here, Just a Fog Bank

The Independent Barents Observer, "a journalist owned online newspaper covering the Barents Region and the Arctic," reported this week the Russian Navy is enveloping an entire town in manufactured smoke during an exercise to create camouflage. Severomorsk, population 50,000, is the third largest city on the Kola Peninsula and home to the main base of Russia's Northern Fleet. The operation was scheduled to take place Aug. 10 to 12, during which time townsfolk were instructed to take sensible precautions like keeping windows shut, but told to generally not worry about what's going on.

"Residents are asked to remain calm: the smoke mixture is not dangerous to humans, though, it has a particular smell," the Russian Defense Ministry explained in a prepared statement.

Talk about Mirage Men! 

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