Corona Virus Not Stopping Netflix

The numbers have been released and Netflix nearly doubled the amount of new subscribers they were anticipating. Netflix added nearly 16 million paid subscribers in the first quarter compared to the 9 million they added this time last year. The stock closed in at a record high on Monday of $437.49 per share. Despite all the new streaming services that have been released this past year like Disney plus, peacock, and the upcoming release of HBO max, Netflix has been able secure its foothold in the land of streaming thanks to the optimal releasing of exclusive programs like tiger king, Ozarks, and money heist. Luckily for the subscribers Netflix also said they have over 200 projects in postproduction that are getting worked on by employees remotely at their houses. The second quarters is expected to unveil another flood of content to its platform.

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Surveillance and Covid-19

Fear can make people do terrible things, like tracking people and infringing on citizens rights in the name of national security. Fear also makes people more susceptible to suggestion making it one of the most exploitable human emotions. China was the first to encounter the corona pandemic so china is also the model for how to deal with the virus.

China uses a variety of tactics to control its society of over a billion people these include the worlds largest Internet censorship program dubbed “The Great Firewall of China”, an AI centered facial recognition program, and a mandatory social credit system that can affect a persons way of life by limiting travel based on a poor social score. All this data is collected to assess a person’s loyalty to china and the novel coronavirus provides justification to expand on these controversial activities around the globe.

Countries like hungry are also using this crisis to expand surveillance, hungry passed a bill that allows their Prime Minister to rule by decree. 23 other countries have implemented “contact tracing apps” allowing countries to keep record of person’s social relationships. In Hong Kong people are forced to wear wristbands that alert authorities if a person leaves their place of quarantine. In all the world powers are noticing this is a chance to rein in control over their citizens and so far we have been compliant.



Amazon Doesn’t Care

Amazon has recently fired two tech workers after they became whistle blowers about the companies warehouse working conditions. The two workers, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, are both members of an Amazon workers advocacy group for climate justice say warehouse workers have insufficient protections at their job sites. Amazon responded swiftly noting that they “support every employees right to criticize their employer but that does not come with blanket immunity”. Amazon says the employees were let go do to repeat violations of internal policies.

Another Amazon warehouse employee was also fired but said they were fired do behavior and violating social distancing guidelines. Then just last month Christian Smalls, a central organizer for protesting against working conditions was also terminated for violating “multiple safety issues”. His termination sparked advocacy groups into actions linking together elected officials who pushed to get him reinstated.

It just seems like Amazon would rather push unruly workers out the door rather than listen to their sentiments and try to resolve some underlying work place conditions. Companies as big as Amazon have so much money under their belt they can give in to some of these small concessions. However, the company was even bold enough to delete emails from the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group. These emails detailed an online meeting of over 1000 workers that was slated to tackle the current issues Amazon is facing.  Truth is Amazon cares about one thing and it isn’t their employees its their profit margins.



Security Flaws for Apple

Security experts have fun weak spots in Apples Safari browser that could be used to spy owners of apple products. The microphone and camera in the Ipad, Iphone, and Mac were all compromised according to researchers, all an attacker would need is for you to click on a malicious link and they would have access to you. Luckily thanks to Apples Bug Bounty program the flaw was found and a hacker who discovered the flaw was the recipient of a $75,000 check.

There were seven flaws total in safari, 3 of those were used for the ability to hijack victims webcams. Normally each app must ask for permission to access someone’s devices, however Apples own apps do not require this function. To make matters worse new technologies have been emerging and gaining more of a foothold in our lives do to the corona virus like Skype and Zoom. These platforms utilizes safaris permission to access your device without having to ask for the users permission first. For an attacker to take advantage of these systems they would make a Fake URL that tricks safari into thinking the hacker controlled site is “secure”. Safari then gives the attacker complete permission to access the webcam via MediaDevices Web API.

Apple patched the web came vulnerabilities in a January update and the other remaining flaws in March. The discloser came out after last week two Zoom flaws in the macOS web conferencing platform were discovered.  



Hey, All You Cool Cats and Kittens

The Netflix hit tiger king released at the perrrfect time with everyone stuck inside with nothing to do but binge watch. The documentary series has everything to keep you locked and engaged from love to murder and some of the most beautiful and dangerous animals in the world. The two main protagonists in the series are two archenemies Joe Exotic and Carole Baskins. Joe is the owner and operator of a wildlife zoo in central Oklahoma where he claims to have the largest privately owned tiger zoo in the world. Carole is the owner of a wild life “sanctuary” in Tampa, Florida. From the look of things these two individuals should have a commonality that would bind them as colleagues, big cats, but they couldn’t be further from friends.  

The series is so outrageous and full of characters it’s almost hard to imagine that this show wasn’t scripted but sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.  One of the most captivating of all the sub plots in the series is the disappearance of Carole Baskins second Husband Don Lewis. Don Lewis was the money behind the big cat operation and as soon as it seemed Don was done with Carole and was getting ready to file for divorce he up and disappeared without a trace. The series alludes to Carole having something to do with the disappearance but law enforcement was never able to find and hard evidence to support the speculation. The show is dramatic and captivating so if you haven’t seen it yet it’s time.



Stand-Up Season on Netflix

Netflix is cranking out the stand up just in the right time because I think we could all use a laugh or two right about now. Tom Segura is back on Netflix with his forth stand-up special, Ball Hog. The special is Tom’s iconic story telling style where he can get personal about his life and family all while upsetting audiences in the best of ways.

Tom is a host on a number of podcasts the most popular being “Your Moms House” which is co-hosted by his wife Christina P. Your Moms House Podcast is full of found Internet characters, Current events, special guests, and long running inside jokes that take silliness to the extreme. If you trying to keep things high and tight during quarantine give Tom Segura’s Ball Hog a shot, try it out.

Since the beginning of march Netflix released Taylor Tomlinson quarter life Crisis at just twenty-five this is already her second stand-up special, she’s hilarious and her comedy has the stamp of approval from all the comedy greats. Comedy legend Marc Maron’s special premiered March 10th And Bert Kreischer’s Hey Big Boy premiered on week later on March 17th.  Also in april there will be more specials coming to nextflix with Chris D’elia heading their Marquee with special that’s sure to rip. Stay safe, stay inside, and laugh.



U.S. Health and Human Services Department Hacked

The Department of Health and Human Services experienced a cyber attack over the weekend. People close to the incident say the attack’s goal was to disrupt and cause disinformation as the corona virus pandemic spreads across the United States. It is believed that a foreign actor implemented the attack but at this point the federal network is functioning normally.

On Sunday night the National Security Council sent out a tweet warning about fake text messages. The tweet also prompted a message from a unknown military source saying he overheard that a mandatory quarantine was the next step for our nation. When misinformation is spread with reckless abandon it can certainly effect the population especially in weird times like this where everyone is looking for all the facts to keep themselves safe.

The attack also involved overloading the Department of Health and Human Services servers with millions of hits in only a few hours and thankfully the agency said the overloading was unsuccessful in slowing down their systems. The attack was suspected and as the intensity of the corona virus was ramping up the agency put extra protections in place to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

Along with the cyber security attacks president Trump issued a statement that at this time there is no mandatory quarantine but the issue of social distancing has gotten more traction within the last week. It started with cancelation of sporting events to cancelation of events with 250 people and now as of Monday people should limit themselves to groups of no more than ten people and people should work from home when possible.



Have you heard of this corona virus thing?

If you haven’t heard were in the middle of a new fancy pandemic called the corona virus. The national and local media have been reporting on the virus on a 24/7 basis giving the public quite a good scare. This week the four biggest pro sports in the United States have closed locker rooms and clubhouses to media and all non-essential staff. This comes after the leagues all consulted with infectious disease and public health experts and they decided this was the best course of action at this time. Media will still have access to the team but all media activity is suspended to designated areas outside the locker room and in the sporting venues. When conducting press conferences from now on there will be a six-foot barrier between team coaches and players and media personal.

No games have been canceled yet but outside of the United States in countries where the corona virus is more prevalent pro soccer matches were played without fans being present. When Lebron James was asked if he would play without fans present he said, “I play for the fans; that’s what it’s all about, if I show up to the arena and there ain’t no fans there, I ain’t playing.”

Along with no direct media access MLB teams have asked their players to stop signing autographs and instead have pre signed merchandise for their fans. Some players like Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers have stopped meeting with fans all together over fears of the contagion. At the end of the day the goal of these measures are to keep everyone safe, hopefully the pandemic dissipates before it gets more serious.



Memes Won’t Save Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg came on the democratic campaign trail late but his presence has certainly been made and not necessarily for the right reasons. Hundreds of social media campaigners in California are being offered $2,500 dollars a month to post on social media accounts in support of Mike Bloomberg. However useful money is for Bloomberg it’s not buying him loyalty with these social media influencers.

Bloomberg’s coalition has been asked to spend up to 30 hours a week using various forms of media to engage with their respected followers in hopes to secure California in the democratic primary. However it seems most of the newly acquired army of social media pages are strictly there for monetary reasons. The only qualifications for the job are to have social media accounts and know how to use them. According to business insider one of Bloomberg’s social media operatives said their friends had thought that their social media accounts have been hacked and one comment read, “I hope you’re being paid for this”.

The campaign blurs the lines between a grassroots movement and political advertising but the message aren’t being received the way Bloomberg would have hoped. The goal was to meet voters on all platforms but the lack of true support is seeping into the fray. When twitter realized users were posting an identical tweet from Bloomberg’s campaign they quickly suspended the accounts for platform manipulation and spam.  The copied tweet was then later the butt of a joke across twitter sparking memes such as a photo shopped Bloomberg throwing money from a helicopter. All in all Bloomberg has spent over $409 million of his personal cash on his own campaign with more wasted money surely to come.



Beating Facial Recognition software

Facial recognition software is no longer a hypothetical instrument used in the future it’s here and now. London and Chinese police have already begun to implement the software in real time in their respected countries closed-captioned TV network. The software is able to track the whereabouts of any individual that it targets. Facial recognition is a huge topic in today’s politics and cities like San Francisco have already banned the technology for police use and other government agencies. This new technology is problematic however covering your face is a simple hack to beat the software. Wearing a facemask in public isn’t exactly practical either. To combat this artist and fashion designers are creating new ways to fool the software.

One method to beat facial recognition is anti-facial recognition makeup. The makeup design template was developed by artist Adam Harvey as a way to promote conversations about being under surveillance in public spaces. The make up makes the individual stand out in reality but hides their identity digitally by blending lines, shapes, and colors that create a façade to hide ones face from recognition software.  This method won’t stop all facial recognition software however. For instance your Iphone and other technologies use an infrared dot-mapping grid that can easily discern your face no matter what makeup tricks you use. So to fight this researches from china and Indiana University have developed a hat that emits an infrared light pattern that completed disrupts the infrared recognition software.

In order to beat facial recognition software you have to know what you are up against. As soon as the software can be beaten the developers will make updates and fortify their technology. The cat and mouse game of facial recognition is in full swing.