Sunday, June 6, 2021

Bill Crawford: National & Personal Security at Risk from Harmful Digital Technology

The amazing and menacing futuristic era of digital technology has furnished us smartphones, digital TV and radio, wi-fi, virtual assistants, online shopping and such but also blockchain, autonomous weapons, artificial intelligence, ransomware, the dark web, and more.

Oil, gas, and meat shortages from foreign ransomware cyberattacks on Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest pipeline companies in the U.S., and JBS, one of the world’s largest meat processors, have stoked public fears of menacing digital technology run rampant. Many are certain that disruptive attacks on our financial systems, power grids, and transportation systems are just around the corner.

And it seems that our all-powerful defense systems designed to keep foreign enemies at bay are helpless against digital enemies.

But there are other digital calamities that hit closer to home. CNBC reports about 50% of identity thefts come from digital thefts. Experian estimates that 1 in 20 Americans suffer such thefts yearly. Unauthorized charges to credit and debit cards, takeover of checking and cell phone accounts, filing of fake tax returns, and more can be life debilitating events.

Then there is deepfake technology. Did you see the sad story in Sports Illustrated last month about a mom who used deepfake video technology to slam her daughters’ competitors in a cheerleader competition? The mom created fake videos that showed a teenage competitor “in unflattering and potentially compromising situations” including nudity.

The SI article describes how deepfake technology, now readily available for use on smartphones, can be used to create videos and photos where the appearance of one person is substituted with another. “We’re not safe in cyberspace,” the story emphasizes. “Anyone can grab any image we put out there and manipulate it to look unseemly.”

“The capacity to generate deepfakes is proceeding much faster than the ability to detect them,” reported the Brookings Institute in 2020. Sen. Marco Rubio warned in 2018 that deepfakes could be used to attack America and other democracies.

The last two National Defense Authorization Acts directed the Department of Homeland Security to study the use of deepfakes and investigate possible detection methods. The Department of Defense is assessing the risks of deepfakes being used against military personnel.

On the broader front, national efforts to thwart cyberattacks and harmful digital technology are limited. Pipelines, power grids, Internet networks, and such are owned and run by private businesses which must provide their own security. Government has little authority to intervene. The Biden administration is making noise about retaliating against foreign hackers, but so far that’s just talk.

Government and business must take steps to prevent menacing digital technology from doing harm. However, at this point in this new era, even laws criminalizing such acts after the fact are limited. In Mississippi cyberbullying and identity theft are criminal acts. Last month Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill criminalizing revenge porn where “intimate parts” are depicted without consent. Other states have passed similar laws. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the main federal law. But it hasn’t been updated since 2008.

Laws are nice, but prevention is what we need for both national and personal security.  

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” – Psalm 82:4.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.



Anonymous said...

No, Bill. We didn't have "meat shortages." And, no, the Mom did not use "deepfakes."

“While investigators originally believed at least one video showed evidence of the use of so-called Deep Fake face replacement technology, police are at this point unable to confirm the video evidence was falsified,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said via his office in a statement Friday."

Charges on "deepfakes" were dropped.

The Globalist Corporation CEOs have deemed that our privacy is very marketable, and the energy corporations that failed, both the Texas Electrical Grid and Colonial, FAILED to invest in any winterization or cyber defense.

IOW, Bill, globalists will stick to short term gain and fail to invest in long term supply and production systems. Wall Street has and will reward them handsomely for offshoring jobs, cutting wages, and cutting corners.

None of this is new, but you can't even track it accurately.

Anonymous said...

1:08 makes way less sense than Bill does. This is more boring than South Jackson water issues.

Anonymous said...

Our legislators are just too old to offer any real understanding of the issues that face our country. Term limits are the answer to this.

Anonymous said...

Damn 1:08 Anonymous - you need to start writing a weekly column with your vast insight. Will look forward to skipping over it should KF ever decide to publish your weekly rants.

Anonymous said...

Not quite so fast, 1:08 with your quick crap - while it might not be "deepfake", the point Crawford makes is still valid (unlike whatever it was you tried to convey)

"Prosecutors said Friday they still intend to argue that Spone harassed the girls and attempted to sully their reputation by sending images of them from an anonymous number — one of which was said to have been “manipulated” to make one girl “falsely appear to be unclothed in a public place.” A judge on Friday ordered the case to trial.

Weintraub’s office said in its statement Friday that “while the original assessment that some of the evidence was created by media manipulation may not end up being accurate, a neutral finder of fact will ultimately have the opportunity to determine if the evidence in this case shows Ms. Spone sent photos, videos and texts designed to harass three innocent children.”

Anonymous said...

3:02, you've never spent time in criminal court if you don't recognize the complete incompetence of this prosecution to have to withdraw sensational charges, especially when it's likely to turn out they either misidentified their own victims or provided their nude film to the court as evidence.

And, it completely disproves his pearl clutching Boomer hysterics over communication mediums.

The "point" was not that folks have been blackmailing people or sending "poison pen" letters for 1000 years. It was hysterics over digital issues that have been around for 40 years but Boomer Billy Bob is just hearing of them.

The sky is not falling.

You must have been first in line to hoard at the gas station.

Loons said...

I think 1:08 has reappeared at 10:20.

Anonymous said...

Our legislators are just too old to offer any real understanding of the issues that face our country. Term limits are the answer to this.

Not opposed to term limits but not an active proponent either.

Term limits, though, are not a solution to the problem of ageism. Get off your asses and go win some elections. Changing the rules because you don't want to work too hard is [one of] the problem[s] with your ilk.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS