fake news in election, cybersec, facebook, social media

hi all the chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” is out in full force these days. have tried to avoid blogging much on the election here but it has some interesting/ intense cyber/ tech angles. the media is reporting a few dribbles of the possibility of a recount in critical “swing” states michigan, pennsylvania, wisconsin by jill stein who has already raised a few million dollars on her web site.[a]

it is with a heavy heart this info/ pov/ angle is passed on here. one would think in 2016 we’d have it figured out how to hold secure elections/ voting (and woe unto us in this world where that phrase is not a tautology!). but the tragedy of democracy is that the apparently simple act of counting votes seems to be a very, very difficult problem and that our highly advanced information technology is a double-edged-sword and/or pandoras box added to the problem.

my feeling is that if we could get a national/ bipartisan consensus/ initiative on secure voting built up in congress, maybe some real progress is possible. DREAM ON right? but what could be more important for democracy? (as an old troll expr on the internet goes, not sure where it originated, “humans are stupid!”)

every state has different technology, there are a lot of private corporations involved, and it seems like a federal approach to this might help somewhat. or could it make it even worse? govt initiatives are like that sometimes. 😦

more heavy heart over the rumors about fake news circulating all over the internet (apparently mostly centered around facebook sharing).[b] unf it did not hit my radar and many elses until after the election. it was thought to be a fairly low-key problem but am quite alarmed at the scale and background. it seems quite possible that Russia was behind some of the fake-news generation. and from my own long experience on the web, have noticed an angle that apparently hasnt been reported or investigated anywhere is a plausible scenario that there was also a lot of “click fraud”.

this is where botnets all over the world could be used to (“fake”) “click” on the fake news articles and generate revenue. the general idea now is just that right wing americans aka “low information voters” tended to click on the fake news, but my suspicion is that there could be a deeper story. clickfraud is very difficult to detect, maybe even nearly untraceable if done in a “systematic” way, and think even a brilliant software engineering empire/ powerhouse like Google could conceivably have this as an achilles heel or even be “brought to its knees” wrt it by a “determined (cyber) adversary” which apparently russia qualifies. am starting to wonder if internally google is aware of more than they are currently letting on eg with their announced initiative to crack down on “untrue content” wrt their advertising network.

whats really going on? there are a lot of shadowy players in all this and its hard to figure out whats really going on and what the ulterior agendas are. Putin himself denied any russian state interest/ involvement in US hacking. it does look like the new age of CyberWar is upon us and its hitting us right at home in a very uncomfortable/ alarming way. it is said that he wants to undermine faith in democracy or our govt and there are probably not many better ways to do it…

could it be some of our most dangerous enemies are also the most untraceable and impervious to defense?

its quite disturbing/ verging-on-scary that large amounts of propaganda could have played a substantial role in swaying the election, but its not inconceivable given what is known so far. hopefully the “head-in-the-sand” adherents will not “win” this position this time. we need to investigate thoroughly and just because we think someone was elected, does not mean the process had full integrity.

social media is now an area where cybersecurity meshes with media.[c][d] the mainstream media is in decline (possibly epitomized by the following, did you hear about the meeting between trump and media heads, turning into a near screaming match?)

elite/ widely-quoted/ influential intellectual Fukiyama decades ago had massive confidence in liberal democracy in his now (in)famous essay/ thesis/ book “the end of history” nearly all-but-declaring it the lone victor (shortly after the euphoria of the iron curtain falling, admittedly an extraordinary/ singular historical event). who now has that same heady optimism/ faith in democracy? lately it looks quite fragile/ vulnerable amidst the piercing onslaught of the darker sides/ forces of “globalization”.

this is a tricky subject to write on because its fluid/ dynamic/ developing! this blog is just an obscure corner of cyberspace, and doesnt have a lot of influence, but conscience compels me to write on this stuff. to borrow a pov from Nietzsche, sometimes it feels overwhelming, like staring down the monster in the abyss. the abyss continues to stare back.

a. election/ challenge/ recount
b. facebook/ fake
c. cybersec
d. social media
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