some links for you

i read it all so you dont have to - 4/2/20

If I’m reading between the lines correctly, it looks like the US Government is using data brokers, a group of companies many regard as shady due to their privacy practices, to track our locations to help control the virus. 

As WSJ reports

The federal government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local governments have started to receive analyses about the presence and movement of people in certain areas of geographic interest drawn from cellphone data, people familiar with the matter said. The data comes from the mobile advertising industry rather than cellphone carriers.

The aim is to create a portal for federal, state and local officials that contains geolocation data in what could be as many as 500 cities across the U.S., one of the people said, to help plan the epidemic response.

The “mobile advertising industry” has been at the forefront of tracking our movements online and, apparently, in real life as well. It’s a little unnerving that they can do this, and even more so that their normal business outside of a crisis is to sell this capability to other companies. 

Here’s more on the subject from Motherboard, about companies that even more concerning: We Saw NSO's Covid-19 Software in Action, and Privacy Experts Are Worried


We’re in an economic crisis, which means some people are thinking about withdrawing cash. A few US banks have reported running low on cash already. For some reason most of the stories I’ve seen have to do with New York

If you’re reading this your money is probably safe. The FDIC has been out messaging the good advice that you’re most likely fine if your money is in a US Bank, and it’s safer in a bank than under your bed. 

However, in other countries the situation may not be so cozy:


OnlyFans is having a moment: 

Now, I don’t know what OnlyFans is. But I have heard that lots of payment processors don’t like the types of payments being made to and from the site. If people are doing things that are legal, maybe the payment processor shouldn’t care what they are doing. If only there was a better way. 


Lots of people are worried about the EARN IT act, which is the latest chapter in the government’s long running war on encryption. Here’s a good tweet about that.  


Cloudflare launched a tool for families to censor the internet for their kids. Seems like a fine enough idea. I know I looked at some pretty weird stuff as a kid and it probably screwed me up for life. 

The problem is that their filter blocked LGBTQIA+ and sex education content. There are situations where that could be lifesaving material for a person. 

It seems they got the message. But it’s another example of how badly calibrated content censorship tends to be. Youtube has run into similar issues with demonetizing this category

And in censorship of a different sort, Turkmenistan straight up banned their media from mentioning the word “coronavirus” to stymie criticism of its response. 


Someone found a way to bring payment processing  to animal crossing. 



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