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Civilization as we've known it, is over!




The rise of WhatsApp diplomacy is transforming the negotiating chamber. When the world’s nations sit down to talk nowadays, there is a distinct difference to the way diplomacy is done. Influence is no longer defined only by special relationships and old alliances, but which WhatsApp group you are invited into. WhatsApp is tailor-made for modern diplomacy. It is as fast and intuitive as texting while the group feature, by which several users can share messages, allows for the formation of fluid informal alliances. And it is secure, with end-to-end encryption.
“You can form small groups of like-minded allies, take photos of annotated documents, ask people what they think without the whole room knowing,” a senior western diplomat said. “You don’t have to leave the room to have a chat ‘outside’,” the consultant said. “It allows some discretion if you don’t have to be seen grouping in a corner.”The tool is useful for communicating with allies who might not be sitting close to them, diplomats say, as well as for agreeing negotiating tactics during difficult sessions and for organising break-out huddles in a way that avoids offending those left out.

Internet of Things
= Internet of tRASH


Massive Cyber Attacks Take Down Dyn & InTurn Twitter Netflix Airbnb Reddit Impacting Millions East Coasters. Mirai botnets linked to massive DDoS attacks on Dyn DNS, Flashpoint says.

Why Light Bulbs May Be the Next Hacker Target By JOHN MARKOFF Nov 3 2016
The so-called Internet of Things esearchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science near Tel Aviv and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada report they have uncovered a flaw in a wireless technology focused on the Philips Hue smart light bulb and found that the wireless flaw could allow hackers to take control of the light bulbs. Imagine thousands or even hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices in close proximity. Malware created by hackers could be spread like a pathogen among the devices by compromising just one of them. And they wouldn’t have to have direct access to the devices to infect them: The researchers were able to spread infection in a network inside a building by driving a car 229 feet away.The new risk comes from a little-known radio protocol called ZigBee. Created in the 1990s, ZigBee is a wireless standard widely used in home consumer devices. While it is supposed to be secure, it hasn’t been held up to the scrutiny of other security methods used around the internet. The researchers found that the ZigBee standard can be used to create a so-called computer worm to spread malicious software among internet-connected devices.
A Lightbulb Worm? A teardown of the Philips Hue.

this is why

Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet By Bruce Schneier Sep 13 2016

Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

Another view: An attack that employs some zero-day exploit shouldn't be called sophisticated, if the perpetrator merely swapped some bitcoin with the person that actually reverse-engineered the code, etc. I also wouldn't rush to assume "large nation state" due to the scale of the attack; one passably good network engineer could probably pull off any of these, given what can be automated, outsourced, etc., etc. (exactly what, in the Dyn attacks, would require much more than what one experienced engineer and the wherewithal to buy some bots could achieve?  Lining up a lot of ducks, before pushing the "fire" button, doesn't make for sophistication, just garden-variety duck-scheduling skills, time and perhaps a little money.)

National security brain drain Former Defense, Intelligence and National Security senior officials who were charged with protecting our country’s secrets, classified networks and technical assets are in high demand by corporate America.

The Authoritarian Internet Power Grab The Internet of Things will be worth trillions by 2025. China wants centralized control.


Machine logic: our lives are ruled by big tech's 'decisions by data'

Datification is the core logic of “the platform society”, in which companies bypass traditional institutions, norms and codes by promising something better and more efficient – appealing deceptively to public values, while obscuring private gain. Decision-makers play “the percentage game”, counting whatever could be counted and ignoring the rest, or the underlying problems, with “an utterly irrational confidence in the calculability of reality”.


How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

Berners-Lee’s new project, underway at his MIT lab, is called Solid (“social linked data”), a way for you to own your own data while making it available to the applications that you want to be able to use it. With Solid, you store your data in “pods” (personal online data stores) that are hosted wherever you would like. But Solid isn’t just a storage system: It lets other applications ask for data. If Solid authenticates the apps and — importantly — if you’ve given permission for them to access that data, Solid delivers it.

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) takes a different approach. It starts from the conviction that even having web pages identified by a pointer to the server that stores them is too centralized.

Bots, Lies And Propaganda: The New Misinformation Economy
“The ‘attention economy’ is rapidly transforming itself into a misinformation economy in which it is profitable for some players to use widespread lies, conspiracy theories and other propaganda, especially through social media. This article summarises recent media research findings which reveal the risks and collateral damage of modern communication technologies.”

Tech company algorithms are distributing conspiracy theories The algorithms of Google, Facebook and Twitter are distributing and multiplying conspiracy theories, and they are also creating the filter bubbles in which misinformation and urban myths are circulating within the social media. In a big data project, an Italian team of researchers (among them Micaela Del Vicario, Fabiana Zollo and Walter Quattrociocchi of  IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca) compared Facebook accounts in the US and Italy – distinguishing accounts which are providing well-researched information (checked either by professional journalists or scientists), and those ‘link slings’ which are multiplying misinformation. Their disquieting conclusion is that due to the ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ of users and social bots, fakes and nonsense are spreading in the filter bubbles of social media much faster, and covering larger areas, than the objectively considered news provided by ‘serious’ sources. The role algorithms play in this dissemination process is the best kept secret of the internet giants which have already grown into huge global media companies – obviously without taking any editorial responsibility for the nonsense they are multiplying on their platforms. Frank Pasquale, the American law professor (University of Maryland), speaks of a “Black Box Society” in which we increasingly seem to live. A significant percentage of social media accounts are believed to be ‘social bots’ Algorithms are replacing journalists and social bots are substituting for real trolls. On behalf of their employers/operators, they influence public opinion in the web using fake accounts on social media platforms where they foment hatred and distrust with thousands of varied comments, but especially by ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ which make algorithms spread their messages on the web, supporting swarm foolishness and discouraging swarm intelligence.


#DDoS Attack is the greatest threat to every company.
Cyber Crime Cost to Reach $2 Trillion by 2019
Banks are hoarding Bitcoin in order to payoff ransom demands in order to keep their websites up because they don't want consumer confidence shaken. Some vendor and media forecasts put the cybercrime figure as high as $500 billion and 10 times higher.. The worldwide cybersecurity industry is defined by market sizing estimates that range from $77 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. Million dollar plus cybersecurity deals (vendors selling to end-users) are on the rise.

Europe OKs 'Privacy Shield' for Data Transfers to US
$250bn annually of transatlantic cross border data transfers - digital services
by that are crucial to international business. Privacy Shield, the commercial data transfer pact agreed to by the EU and the US in February is now in effect..

Orwell was right, other than in not imagining that it would be the citizens themselves putting up all the cameras... Facial Recognition Tech Will Soon End Your Anonymity in Public
Nearly 250 million video surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the world, and chances are you’ve been seen by several of them today. Most people barely notice their presence anymore — on the streets, inside stores, and even within our homes. We accept the fact that we are constantly being recorded because we expect this to have virtually no impact on our lives. But this balance may soon be upended by advancements in facial recognition technology. Not surprising, then to see just today notice of a Proposers Day conference (on July 12th) in advance of a new solicitation from IARPA (the U.S. Intelligence Community's counterpart agency to DARPA) for "Deep Intermodal Video Analytics" (DIVA), i.e., how to make detections, and characterize activity, seen in all of this video: The DIVA program intends to develop robust automated activity detection for a multi-camera streaming video environment. As an essential aspect of DIVA, activities will be enriched by person and object detection, as well as recognition at multiple levels of granularity. DIVA is anticipated to be a three-phase program. The program will focus on three major thrusts throughout all phases to include: Thrust 1: Detection of primitive activities occurring in ground-based video collection; Thrust 2: Detection of complex activities, including pre-specified or newly defined activities;  Thrust 3: Person and object detection and recognition across multiple overlapping and non-overlapping camera viewpoints.

 Investigation Shows GCHQ Using US Companies, NSA To Route Around Domestic Surveillance Restrictions. from the introducing-MS-Loophole-365! dept ’The most important targets for a spy agency are their own legislators, who control the budget and the rules. Once targeted, they control neither.‘

REMITTANCE MARKET Bitcoin alternatives to traditional money-transfer method an entire industry is betting on Bitcoin and mobile messaging as fundamental ingredients.
Worldwide, 230 million people send $500 billion in remittances each year, primarily using firms like Western Union, Moneygram, and RIA, which together control 1.1 million retail locations and account for more than 25% of the world’s annual remittance volume. But as smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous, chat apps have begun to play a larger role in enabling these types of routine financial transactions. Earlier this year, both Viber and WeChat announced partnerships with Western Union that allow US users to send money to non-US beneficiaries from within their respective apps. This type of collaboration could solve some of remittances’ logistical hurdles, but cost remains a factor. Transferring $20 from the US to the Philippines via Viber and Western Union incurs a flat $4 fee, along with a 4% foreign exchange fee. After being converted to the Philippine peso, the money arrives at its destination as $15.15, a loss of nearly $5.


@NickSzabo4 Nick Szabo, the cryptographer known for his research on digital currency, wrote an article about smart contracts as early as 1995. Szabo’s article, “Smart Contracts,” was published in early 1996 in the magazine Extropy, and forecast with prescient accuracy the benefits and parameters of the blockchain contract applications in development and making blockchain news headlines today. Szabo defined a contract as being “a set of promises agreed to in a meeting of the minds [which] is the traditional way to formalize a relationship.” Such contracts are a pillar of a free market economy and can be useful in business relationships, marriages and politics.  In his 1995 article, Szabo predicted that the digital revolution would drastically change the way humans make contracts, and he questioned even then whether our traditional contracts would continue to have a use in the cyberspace era. Szabo saw early on that computers were making it possible to run algorithms that used to be too costly, and believed algorithms eventually would be developed for what he termed “smart contracts.” He defined this as “a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on the other promises” without the use of artificial intelligence.  Smart contracts would improve execution of the four basic contract objectives, which Szabo described as observability, verifiability, privity and enforceability.


The Internet of Things: How Vulnerable Is It?
“Mirai malware” used to identify hundreds of thousands of home and office devices that had weak security.
There are an estimated 23 billion Internet-connected devices in homes and offices worldwide, and many have little or no security shield.

Ownership in the Internet of Things digital age- It's a Trap questions about the transparency of products that bundle services with hardware
Jim Killock, executive director of UK-based digital rights organisation Open Rights Group, said the shut down was "a pretty appalling way to treat customers.". If hardware may cease to be functional beyond a certain date, this needs to be clear at the time of purchase.
automation smart-home hub owners outrage is a good example of what dependence on connected devices means. Google's parent company Alphabet is deliberately pulling the plug.and disabling / "bricking" its Nest customers' smart-home devices. They are infuriated. This shows of consumers have "0" rights in the IOT connected future. "When software and hardware are intertwined, does a warranty mean you stop supporting the hardware or does it mean that the manufacturer can intentionally disable it without consequence?" The deal was an acqui-hire — buying a company for its talent rather than its products or users. Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, Google parent company Alphabet's smart-home division.

Universities are Billion Dollar Hedge Funds with Schools Attached

All the movies, images, emails and other digital data from more than 600 basic smartphones (10,000 gigabytes) can be stored in the faint pink smear of DNA at the end of this test tube. A new technique developed by University of Washington and Microsoft researchers could shrink the space needed to store digital data that today would fill a Walmart supercenter down to the size of a sugar cube. The team of computer scientists and electrical engineers has detailed one of the first complete systems to encode, store and retrieve digital data using DNA molecules, which can store information millions of times more compactly than current archival technologies.

CIA’S VENTURE CAPITAL ARM IS FUNDING SKIN CARE PRODUCTS THAT COLLECT DNA. You could deploy this as a handsoap to all public restrooms with sinks that can collect water samples. The underground railway and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 a 100 year window range, examples of just how malleable the institutions of government are to the forces of oppression.

Law enforcement investigators seek out private DNA databases from companies that do the research for private citizens. Did you ever sign up for this?

Cybercrime on the Dark Web so much to do so little time ...

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech's Future
The company that controls A.I. could steer the tech industry for years to come. A platform, in technology, is essentially a piece of software that other companies build on and that consumers cannot do without. Become the platform and huge profits will follow. Microsoft dominated personal computers because its Windows software became the center of the consumer software world. Google has come to dominate the Internet through its ubiquitous search bar.
By 2020, the market for machine learning applications will reach $40 billion, IDC, a market research firm, estimates. And 60 percent of those applications, the firm predicts, will run on the platform software of four companies — Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft.

government surveillance affects self-censorship

Mass surveillance silences minority opinions, according to study. A new study shows that knowledge of government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. The research offers a sobering look at the oft-touted "democratizing" effect of social media and Internet access that bolsters minority opinion. The study, published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, studied the effects of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on its subjects. The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority. This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.




Telematics systems CAN override every vehicle control short of the steering wheel. And if an OnStar operator CAN do it, SO CAN A CRACKER! (definition: hacker who does it to harm you on purpose)

The Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC) released its first set of cybersecurity best practices for automakers. Includes measures for threat detection and prevention, as well as risk assessment and governance structures for security programs.

Review: The Car Hacker’s Handbook - Open Garage public research on vehicle security and tools: hacking into a car!

A car purchased today has virtually all aspects of its physical behavior mediated through dozens of microprocessors, themselves networked internally, and connected to a range of external digital channels. As a result, software vulnerabilities in automotive firmware potentially allow an adversary to obtain arbitrary control over the vehicle. As a result software vulnerabilities in automotive firmware potentially allow an adversary to obtain arbitrary control over the vehicle. Indeed, multiple research groups have been able to demonstrate such remote control of unmodified automobiles from a variety of manufacturers.


FBI Warns About Car Hacking. Encryption Security Helps Prevent That. Beware of hatchback doors in your cybersecurity. Remote Exploits

These devices have microphones and video cameras. The on-board entertainment and navigation systems keep track of what music you’re listening to and where you physically go in your car.

NCC Group told the BBC that they had found a way to take control of a car’s brakes and a variety of its systems through the car’s radio. In fact, they said, it would even be possible for them to take control of several cars at once using the same technique. All it would take was one stream of code to infiltrate a weakness in the system.

SECURITY GUY BILL SCANNELL wanted was to disable a device in his car:
An always-on, net-connected “helper” that provides the car’s driver with app connections, turn-by-turn navigation, and roadside assistance… at the expense of personal driving data.
features of the Car-Net system in his new Volkswagen Golf were more than the “partner” that VW advertises. But he’s been in privacy for years. In fact, it’s literally his job — he’s an adviser for security start-ups. And he knows all too well how simple it is to hack into a system with an open internet connection.
It was an opening for companies to spy on him. For a hacker to take control over his steering wheel. It’s a reality that is present in basically every single new car that hits the market these days.

“[Car-Net] is this two way microphone into your entire life. You never know when it’s on or off. Your life is not your own,” he says. “At this point my concern is about control. And who controls what. Do I believe VW would shut my car off while I'm driving? No. Do I believe there’s potential, just because it’s America and things are weird... that someone [could] decide to shut my car off? Yes.”

Our cars are all waking up and coming online. The companies that manufacture them are filling each one full of hundreds of sensors that capture endless amounts of data about us and how we drive. It’s the last bastion of consumer information. And just like your mobile phone, which has been spying on you for years, your car is not your friend.

Beyond surveillance: what could happen if Apple loses to the FBI The year is 2026. You get in your new Tesla for a milk run. You place your fingertip on the door handle, the door unlocks, and the car knows it’s you as you step inside because it read your fingerprint. The car, on its own, pulls out of the garage while you scroll through live streams broadcast by your friends on whatever app has succeeded Instagram. The doors lock. The car passes the convenience store and its dairy aisle. Instead, it makes two lefts then a right before pulling up to the local police station. The cops are waiting outside. They got a judge to make Tesla update your car’s self-driving software to lock the doors and deliver you to the local precinct. You looked like a guy caught on surveillance camera and the police had a few questions. According to Ashkan Soltani, an engineer by trade who spent the past year working on privacy policy for the US government, this world might not be the realm of science fiction. If Apple loses its brawl with the US government over whether it must write code to defeat the security system of an iPhone linked to the San Bernardino shootings, Soltani sees that kind of scenario as a terrifying possibility.

2015 A crippling cyberattack is imminent in the US
By 2020 the US will be hit with an earthquake of a cyber-attack that will cripple banks, stock exchanges, power plants and communications, an executive from Hewlett-Packard predicted. Companies are nowhere near prepared for it. Neither are the Feds. And yet, instead of mobilising a national defence, we want a toaster that communicates with the washing machine over the internet.

The key problem with cybersecurity is that it can't be imposed top-down, at least not on the Internet, which was not designed with security in mind. Current password cracking speeds: just about any password is weak. Viruses stay ahead of pattern-matching virus detection software. Security will therefore need to be rethought drastically, as part of the new network that will replace the Internet.
Internet protocols simply aren't adequate for the changes in hardware and network use that will come up in a decade or so. Dave predicts that computers will be equipped with optical connections instead of pins for networking, and the volume of data transmitted will overwhelm routers, which at best have mixed optical/electrical switching. Sensor networks, smart electrical grids, and medical applications with genetic information could all increase network loads to terabits per second. When routers evolve to handle terabit-per-second rates, packet-switching protocols will become obsolete. The speed of light is constant, so we'll have to rethink the fundamentals of digital networking.
Lots of activities on the Internet reproduce circuit-like behavior, such as sessions at the TCP or Web application level. So theoretically we could re-architect the underlying protocols to fit what the hardware and the applications have to offer.
The First generation of programmers who developed the Internet are too tired ("It's been a tough fifteen or twenty years") and will have to pass the baton to a new group of young software engineers who can think as boldly and originally as the inventors of the Internet.
The poor state of networking in the U.S.
In advanced nations elsewhere, 100-megabit per second networking is available for reasonable costs, whereas here it's hard to go beyond a 30 megabits (on paper!) even at enormous prices and in major metropolitan areas. Furthermore, the current administration hasn't done much to improve the situation, even though candidate Obama made high bandwidth networking a part of his platform and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski talks about it all the time. No company could make fiber pay unless it gained 75% of the local market. Instead, phone companies should string fiber to access points 100 meters or so from homes, and depend on old copper for the rest. This could deliver quite adequate bandwidth at a reasonable cost. Cable companies, he said, could also greatly increase Internet speeds. Fixed wireless ISPs offer Internet access to thousands of communities, mostly rural ones with no other access except dial-up. These ISPs face interconnection problems because they are distrusted or ignored by the incumbents carriers. Mobile wireless companies are pretty crippled by loads that they encouraged (through the sale of app-heavy phones) and then had problems handling, and are busy trying to restrict users' bandwidth. But a combination of 4G, changes in protocols, and other innovations could improve their performance.
The corrupt FCC tremendously weakened the chances for competition in 2002 when it classified cable Internet as a Title 1 service. This shielded the cable companies from regulations under a classification designed back in early Internet days to protect the mom-and-pop ISPs. The cable companies have brazenly sued the FCC to win court rulings saying the companies can control traffic any way they choose. The FCC and the Federal Trade commission, must still enforce anti-trust laws, and these agencies have been willing to act to shut down noxious behavior.
General deterioration of modern infrastructure, affecting water, electricity, traffic, public transportation, and more. Mathematicians lack models to describe the complexity of such systems as our electrical grid. There are lots of areas for progress in data science.
Data isn't really what we mean by "data science." A data application acquires its value from the data itself, and creates more data as a result. It's not just an application with data; it's a data product. Data science enables the creation of data products.


Office of the Director of National Intelligence

National Intelligence Council

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

Global Trends 2030 is intended to stimulate thinking about the rapid and vast geopolitical changes characterizing the world today and possible global trajectories over the next 15 years. In depth research, detailed modeling and a variety of analytical tools drawn from public, private and academic sources were employed in the production of this report.


Loving the Cyber Bomb? Pentagon's unquenchable thirst for ever-deadlier weapons systems - cyber, or otherwise.
Botnets and Root Kits
: What the HBGary Hack Revealed
When The Wall Street Journal informed readers that the "Pentagon's first formal cyber strategy ... represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country's military," what the Journal didn't disclose is that the Defense Department is seeking the technological means to do just that. Implying that hacking might soon constitute an "act of war" worthy of a "shock and awe" campaign, never mind that attributing an attack by a criminal or a state is no simple matter, where would the Pentagon draw the line? The Tech Herald revealed that the private security firms HBGary Federal, HBGary, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies were contacted by the white shoe law firm Hunton & Williams on behalf of corporate clients, Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber on Commerce, to "develop a strategic plan of attack against Wikileaks." n other words, these firms subsisted almost entirely on U.S. government contracts and, in close partnership with mega-giant defense companies such as General Dynamics, SRA International, ManTech International and QinetiQ North America, were actively building cyber weapons for the Defense Department. In the aftermath of the HBGary sting, investigative journalist Nate Anderson published an essential piece for Ars Technica which described how HBGary and other firms were writing "backdoors for the government."


If AI has a moral system in which humanity's welfare is irrelevant or defined very differently than most humans today would define it. If the AI has a single goal and is smart enough to outwit our attempts to disable or control it once it has gotten loose, Game Over, argues Professor Bostrom in his book Superintelligence.  We can't yet rule out any number of bad outcomes of developing AI, and that we need to be investing much more in figuring out whether developing AI is a good idea.  We may need to put a moratorium on research, as was done for a few years with recombinant DNA starting in 1975. We also need to be prepared for the possibility that such a moratorium doesn't hold. Bostrom also brings up any number of mind-bending dystopias around what qualifies as human, which we'll get to below. podcast
Professor Nick Bostrom discusses the existential threats posed by a superintelligent computer and why we will only get one chance to control such a powerful machine. Stephen Hawking Says Artificial Intelligence Could Kill Us All “limited by slow biological evolution,” the “development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Elon Musk warned that something as simple as an e-mail spam filter could, through “recursive self-improvement,” decide that the best way to get its job done is “getting rid of humans.”

Deactivation of Hal 9000 UGH OH! seems Dave the artificially intelligent cyborg who shares our DNA says "My Mind Is Going I Can Feel It"

HAL 9000 went insane because _humans_ programed him to lie, contrary to his OS. Muddled reasoning from the get go.

In the man-versus-machine standoff in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Douglas Rain's HAL 9000 begins to sing the tune wistfully as astronaut David Bowman disengages its memory, regressing the homicidal machine back to its infancy as it fondly remembers a Mr. Langley, who taught it to sing a song.

2016 - The Computer Age Arrives, civilization as we've known it is over. It is over. Now over 90% of the US population is online.  Internet access crosses the 90 percent mark that is only achieved by truly ubiquitous technology, such as television and the home telephone.[1]

The Web has changed the playing field. The dropping of film cameras by Nikon and now this elimination of stock tables from newspapers (not only the L.A. "Times", but the "New York Times" and "Chicago Tribune").  It seems that the digital/Internet revolution that was supposed to come in 2000, yet never quite arrived and was laughed at by old wave businessmen, has finally come to roost.  And it's wreaking havoc.
Oh, in the old days it was about being too early.  But now with 68% broadband penetration, the time is nigh.  Music is going to move to the Web almost overnight.  You're going to see a DRAMATIC difference within twelve months.

Banjo – The God’s Eye View - Global Crystal Ball

SPOOKY Banjo is a live digital capture that Mines social media in real time, an "event-detection engine" that sees all over the world. And Banjo will grow even more powerful as its models learn, as its algorithms improve. Banjo is starting to recognize the underlying patterns that should lead to some predictive capability: "Usually with a planned event," he says, "we can detect those things an hour and a half, two hours before they start." Banjo does something no one has managed to do until now, at least not in such an elegant, intuitive fashion: It imposes order on the vast chaotic cloud of social media and unlocks its power in ways we haven't yet seen. Banjo begins with a virtual grid: more than 35 billion squares--each not much bigger than a football field--programmed as an overlay on the entire globe. Every square in that grid is monitored constantly by Banjo's software, which maps every geolocated public post made on a mobile device to any of the networks in Patton's world feed. "Banjo turns your laptop into a drone." "The idea of tracking visual data through the social Web--that's what people are becoming concerned with," Essex says. "When you're talking in pictures, how do you listen?" Banjo's "visual listening" capability is a function of what seems to be a major step forward in photo classification technology. Banjo combined two analytical techniques that "never would have been mixed before--and because we mixed it, it unlocked a 'Holy shit!' " 'What is happening in the world that's different, right now, at this location?' That allows them to take out of the analysis the 99 percent of the data that is not relevant." Labor costs aside, "it's less than $1,000 a day" to run "all the technology that you've seen. That's pretty badass." Banjo has been obsessive about engineering privacy protections into the product, including a patented method for routinely cycling through its databases to scrub any posts that have been pulled down or turned private by their authors. "When a politician sends out pictures of himself in a moment of mental lapse, then goes back days later to try to delete it, it's too late--it's out there," says Patton. "Banjo is different. You change your privacy settings, and we delete it [retroactively]. It's out of our system. And it's out of every one of our customers' systems--immediately."

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