Aug 15

Apple, The FBI and the End of Detective Work

If The Network’s digital eyes were able to capture his full facial view, it would likely register an anomaly, and prompt a tracer protocol to determine where the human had originated his trip and the entire route of his travel. SDetective - free imageergei’s artificial adjustment was only designed to avoid instant recognition, by slowing The Network down. The Network did not disregard humans who attempted to evade its surveillance protocols. Any human digitally caught wearing a disguise would be automatically flagged by an automated suspicious behavior tracker, and stay on a watch file waiting for another report.
– from The Unbroken Line

Wither Sherlock Holmes. The word ‘detective’ has its roots in the Latin ‘de’ which is to reverse and ‘tegere’ which means cover, in other words, ‘to uncover.’  History and everyday life, for the moment, tell us a detective is the person uncovering the clues to crimes. And pop culture has provided us with a string of memorable stars from Holmes to Friday (that’s Joe Friday from 1950s TV show Dragnet) to Crocket and Tubbs (80s TV Miami Vice) to Olivia Benson (after 17 TV seasons, yes you know who that is) and back to a resurgent Holmes. Yet despite the contemporary intrigue surrounding the famous British detective character, the joyous wonder of watching a human being use skill and expertise to wade through facts is fading with the co-opting of technology to do the tasks human eyes and brains used to do at a crime scene. Continue reading

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May 30

Yes or No to Sex – Is a Consent App a Good Answer?

“On this I know my risks and they are sky-high. Are you okay with it or not?”
Janna frowned at him, then half smiled. “All right fine. The answer is yes,yes, you can record me if you want. I am one hundred percent okay with it.”
Hagen picked up his com and pointed the device towards her mouth. “Can you repeat your consent, please?”
“Seriously?”
“It was your idea. And a voice modulator app will be able to detect whether you’re under duress when you speak. I always forget I have it.”
Janna looked at the com with disdain. “Did you make Kadie do this?” Janna asked emphasizing the Commander’s name.
Hagen feigned shock. “Uhhh…how dare you. That’s so inappropriate and totally unanswerable.”
“So, no.”
“No comment. Where were we again? Oh yeah, the CYA part.” He held up the com again.
Janna looked at him, then at the com. “Fine,” she said reaching out, and pulling his hand, holding the com, closer to her mouth. Hagen touched an icon, then Janna clearly stated, “Under no threat or duress, I, Janna Marric am saying yes, I am one hundred percent okay with having sex with Hagen Writstone.”
Hagen grinned as he touched the icon again. “Thank you,” he said pulling her into his arms.

– from The Unbroken Line

Consent App screenshotThe latest affirmative consent app called Yes to Sex has come out with a college campus version to be tailored to a school’s requirements. It is not as sophisticated as the app on the com (smartphone) described above in the outtake from the technothriller The Unbroken Line, but it’s another step towards using technology to fight crime and gather digital evidence. In the novel, you can state your consent and the app uses a voice modulation feature to determine if you’re under duress. In today’s technology, the app only goes as far as making the recording.

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Jan 30

The Sony Pictures Hack and the Rise of The Network

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Full disclosure: The author was a Sony Pictures Entertainment employee from 2001-2012)

The game playing days on the Internet are over. Those that thought the global communications network would remain a fun toy for idle social media wanderers are about to be separated from those who know that it is a vital part of the business operational infrastructure. The first automobile drivers probably self-selected which lane to use and routinely ran over whatever they could, their days were numbered by the reality that the roads were going to one day be used by all. As that process went, so goes the stabilization of The Internet. And with it will come the regulations and protections that oversee all other information. But the challenge for governments, business and the average user will be, now and forever, the ability to stay technically ahead of the criminals who seek to disrupt the infrastructure and the lives of those that use it. How will business get ahead of the hackers, and what will the government do to help?

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