Society's Child


Big Brother: Google's Location History is Still Recording Your Every Move

Google could be tracking and recording your every location on your Android device, and you may not even know it!

The culprit is a largely ignored feature in Android called Google Location history. The actual location service isn't unusual. It uses information like Cell IDs and Wi-Fi routers to locate and place your device. Other companies such as Apple and Microsoft use similar services for their devices.

The existence of Google's Location history is nothing new, in fact other sources have reported it previously, but it's still surprising how few people know or realize what it is and how it works. What isn't surprising are the reactions to it, which usually range from "creepy" to "scary" and a few others between.

Comment: How very interesting that Google make it so difficult for people to even know this facility exists as well as the serious ramifications for privacy. If you must use a mobile phone, turn off the location tracking and history service immediately.


Leaked Celebrity Photos: Don't perpetuate the abuse of privacy by looking at hacked photos

Taking naked photos isn't illegal. Stealing them and publishing online is.

Yesterday, pictures of women posing naked were stolen from their phones and posted on image sharing forum 4chan by an anonymous hacker, supposedly in exchange for Bitcoins. He claims he has more to come. The photos are intensely private, taken in intimate situations by trusted partners, and have now been shared millions of times, viewed by hordes of salivating strangers across the globe.

Why? Because the images are of celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Kate Bosworth, Kate Upton: talented, beautiful women whose only mistake was to choose a career which erroneously gives the public a belief that we own their bodies.

I can understand the temptation to perform a speedy search. Just to see what the fuss is about, obviously. You're not a bad person: you abhor the man who leaked them, but the pictures are already out there, so the damage has been done. One extra person quickly flicking through isn't going to add to the hurt and humiliation. You aren't even going to masturbate over them, just 'inform' yourself, and it's not as if you haven't seen almost all of it before - Kate Upton's swimwear shoots? Rihanna's mesh dress? These women aren't known for their modesty; they use their bodies to sell their brand. Plus if they were stupid enough to take explicit pictures and leave them lying around on the iCloud where any half-decent hacker with the inclination could access them then, frankly, they deserve everything they get. They knew the risks.

But this is utterly, breathtakingly, wrong. Taking naked photos isn't illegal. Stealing them is. Searching out these images is to be complicit in the crime. Lawrence's spokesperson has already released a scathing statement, warning that the authorities will "prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos". And rightly so. These women had a reasonable expectation of privacy from Apple's iCloud. Serious questions need to be answered about how their protection was breached so disastrously, and what is being done to ensure the safety of other users.

Celebrity photo leaks being investigated by FBI and Apple

© AFP Photo/Robyn Beck
Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California
The FBI and Apple were urgently investigating after an apparent massive hack of a cloud data service unleashed a torrent of intimate pictures of dozens of celebrities across the Internet.

Anonymous posters to online message boards boasted of having nude images of scores of female stars including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and top model Kate Upton.

Reports suggested hackers had "ripped" private images from Apple's iCloud online data storage, a potentially embarrassing -- and damaging -- breach for the California tech giant.

"We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, the Re/code website reported.

The FBI has also joined the hunt, other US reports said.

"The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter," The Los Angeles Times quoted Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, as saying.

"Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time," she added.
Eye 2

GCHQ attack? Anonymous website shut down following privacy rights protest

© Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay

Following a privacy rights protest outside GCHQ's headquaters, Anonymous UK's site has been taken down.
Anonymous UK's website was recently targeted and taken down in the midst of a four-day privacy rights protest organized by the collective. The demonstration was held outside Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

A spokesman for the hacktivist group believes the targeted attack was carried out by GCHQ officials.

The protest, which began outside Britain's Cheltenham-based spy base last Friday, was reportedly launched to highlight an ongoing assault on Britons' privacy rights against a backdrop of increasing mass surveillance. But prior to the main day of protest scheduled for Saturday, Anonymous UK's website was taken down. The incident occurred late Friday evening.
Anonymous protest disrupts UK spy agency #GCHQ#OpGCHQ
- Mr & Mrs AjacxUK (@AjacxUK) August 31, 2014
This is not the first time the group's communications platforms have been shut down. A spokesman for the hacktivist collective, who runs its online radio station, insists Anonymous UK has been unjustly targeted by GCHQ on several occasions. "One of our servers was destroyed and our UK radio station has been shut down," the told RT on Friday, adding that the group's site was also targeted following the launch of a campaign to feed homeless people.

Comment: If Anonymous UK has attracted the attention of the GCHQ, they are probably doing something right. Keep up the good works hacktivists!

Heart - Black

Mississippi gay man says Baptist teacher raped him for three years so he'd hate men

man in black suit wearing handcuffs
A Gulfport, Mississippi man says that he was repeatedly molested by a teacher at the conservative Christian school he attended in the 1990s, beginning when he was 14 years old and ending when he was 17.

The Washington Blade reported that Jeff White said his teacher at Bethel Baptist School in Wills, Mississippi justified the abuse by calling it "ex-gay therapy," designed to make White "hate men."

White told the Blade that he was enrolled at Bethel from 1996 to 1999 and that his appointments with the accused teacher took place every Wednesday.

"He would rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change," White said in a July interview.

White's parents sent him to the school when he came out to them at the age of 14. The teacher is now an associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, which operates the Christian school. The church is known for its hardline approach to Christian doctrine.

"[Bethel's pastors] looked at Southern Baptists like they were liberal faggots, like they would say from the pulpit," White told the Blade.

"In general it was a cult," he said. "Aside from all of that other stuff going on, there was a thousand other things that they were doing."

The Associated Press said that White was forced to have oral and anal sex with the pastor every week.

Vanished without a trace: Authorities investigate unexplained disappearances in Centre County, Pennsylvania

Editor's Note: This is the first in a six-part series highlighting missing persons cases in Centre County.

Jennifer Cahill-Shadle is the most recent one - but she isn't the only one.

Authorities are investigating the unexplained disappearance of Cahill-Shadle, 48, who was last seen May 15 at Walmart on North Atherton Street in Ferguson Township. She joins a group of missing persons connected to Centre County, including Joey Lynn Offutt, Ray Gricar, Hyun Jong "Cindy" Song, Dawn Marie Miller and Brenda Louise Condon.

In all cases, these adults vanished. While in some instances evidence indicates foul play, each disappearance remains a mystery.

Kenneth Mains, founder of the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) and detective for the Lycoming County District Attorney's Office, says missing persons cases are challenging to solve due to investigators' workloads and a lack of resources.
Bizarro Earth

Brutal suicide: Bronx man decapitates himself

© Shutterstock
In a particularly gruesome story out of the Bronx, a Hunts Point man apparently decapitated himself in broad daylight today.

According to the New York Daily News, an unidentified 51-year-old man parked his 2005 Honda CRV on the street on Monday around 9:35 am. He reportedly looped a chain around his neck, secured it to a pole, and got back into his car.

Police told the newspaper that the man then stepped on the gas, decapitating himself. According to the Daily News, "The man's head was left on the street by the pole after his vehicle hit a parked truck on the opposite side of the street."

Comment: Sad way to go, a shame he felt so much pain that tearing off his own head seemed justifiable.


Human Rights Watch: Ukrainian government forces responsible for civilian casualties

Ukrainian military are responsible for attacks and civilian casualties in Luhansk, the Human Rights Watch organization said in its report published on Monday.

Unlawful government and insurgent attacks in and around Luhansk are contributing to rising civilian casualties. According to a morgue doctor in Luhansk, explosive weapons have killed more than 300 civilians in the city since May, it said.

"During an August 20-22, 2014 visit to Luhansk, under siege by Ukrainian armed forces, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than a dozen people who witnessed or became victims of artillery, mortar, and rocket attacks that killed or injured civilians in populated areas. Many of the attacks appeared to be indiscriminate, in that they did not or could not distinguish between civilians and combatants, Human Rights Watch said. Indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law, or the laws of war.

"With communications cut, there is less information available about the situation in Luhansk than other areas in the east," said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. "But the truth is, local residents are subjected to terrifying daily shelling, much of it apparently unlawful, and that the number of civilian casualties is steadily rising."

"The fighting has subjected the city and surrounding area to daily shelling, often killing and injuring civilians.

Comment: As if we needed more confirmation, but there you have it: Kiev is violating international law and murdering civilians -- exactly what Russia has been saying all along. Unfortunately, in any war, civilians receive the brunt of the destruction.


EU rules our private lives: Bans "powerful" vacuum cleaners in order to conserve energy

© Unknown
In the near future the EU wants us all to sweep the floors in order to save energy
The EU has introduced a ban on powerful vacuum cleaners that run on 1,600 watts or more, which came into force September 1. Europe hopes it will help to save energy, but critics say the law is just meddling with private life.

The ruling was thought up at the end of 2013 and is part of the EU's drive to reach their target of cutting energy usage by 30 percent by 2030.

By 2017, new regulations regarding hoovers will mean that it will only be possible to purchase those with 900 watts or less.

A study drawn up by the European Commission looks at 30 electrical appliances they say use too much energy, ranging from kettles to tumble dryers.

"It's not just people in their own homes who will be affected but businesses such as hairdressers who use powerful hairdryers to get customers' hair dried as quickly as possible for their mutual benefit," said Paul Nuttall, a UKIP MEP for North West England.

There are already calls to drop the bans from the National Hairdressers' Federation (NHF), which is urging the EU to reconsider saying its "ill thought-out" plans. High-powered hairdryers are also on the line.

"There really is no area of our lives into which these nannying Eurocrats won't stick their nose," Nuttall said. "They have set an impossible energy reduction target which is pointless since other countries such as China and India are building hundreds of coal fired power plants and climate change is not man-made anyway."

Comment: Never, ever should you forget that you have nothing to say about your own private life and home. That said, the solution is easy: stop the suicidal sanctions against Russia -- they're pointless and have no rational justification.


Patriarchal Catholic Church and the Great Nunquisition

© Seth Perlman, AP
Today's generation of nuns are progressive women, two things the Church isn't used to.

Nuns are an endangered species. They are dying and not being replaced.

If you think the news is bad now, a world without nuns would be a far worse place. The nuns that I know are much too humble to tout their achievements and all of the good they contribute to society, but make no mistake, they are an integral part of the fabric that holds our civilization together.

In 2014 there were just 49,883 religious Catholic sisters in the United States, down 13% percent from 2010 according to figures from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. To put it in greater perspective, that is a 72% decline since 1965.