Archive for September, 2010

Archive for September, 2010

Dystoparx — Part 6

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Bill is at a meeting. The meeting. Japan and the United States are both very on board with doing whatever it takes to catch major producers of child pornography. There are plenty of issues with sharing the kind of data that they’re talking about, but people at all levels are involved. Both countries have formed small task forces similar to Bill’s, somehow without alerting the media to what they are doing.

Bill takes the heads of these task forces aside into a separate room. He opens up his laptop and shows them the data his team has been pulling together for the last week.

“None of that is admissible in court,” the FBI guy has had the book thrown at him too many times.

Bill is unfazed, “I’m not proposing court measures.”

“You’re aware, I’m sure, of how grossly unethical this sort of data collection is?”

Bill just shakes his head, “Come on, man, I’m talking about taking down child pornography. All the way down. You guys can shoot running criminals, why shouldn’t you be able to comb technically public data to eliminate child abuse?”

The Japanese representative breaks in, “Our people have been thinking along similar lines.”

Bill smiles as the FBI man also nods in agreement. Let the politicians worry about should and ought, these guys worked all the time to protect their citizens from actual evil. The FBI man may talk by-the-book, but every crime fighter feels the need to do what it takes to stop injustices.

Bill, at the very least, is willing.

fakepm: Normal people can’t handle political stress. That’s why I’m so abnormal.
acklas: Someone needs to create a vacation spot where it’s easy to get away from those who are opposed to healthy discussion.
m0rty: I love cookies! Free cookies downtown!
jjdavis: @acklas just stay at home and only visit geeky parts of the Internet
nicnus: @acklas geek monastery?

Jack is back in his apartment in Atlanta. He stares blankly out the window. Without even engaging his brain, his left hand flicks a couple keys and soon some chiptunes are playing quietly from his cheap computer speakers.

He can hear his girlfriend rummaging around in the other room. Staying at home and visiting only the geeky Internet can’t work for him. Some geeks fall in with geek girls, but not Jack. His girlfriend isn’t unreasonable, he wouldn’t be able to deal with that, but sometimes she fails to care about issues he thinks are of vital importance. That may be a part of most relationships, it’s rather hard for him to tell for sure. Probably no matter how bad the political situation in the United States got she would want to stay. Of course, she’s never been outside the country, so it makes sense that she’s not interested in leaving. Still, if he ever has to jump she—

“Hey, babe, have you seen my slippers?” her voice enters the room and disturbs his thoughts.

He thinks for a minute before replying, “You have slippers?”

“Found them!”

Acklas is sitting in the dark. It’s daytime, but that doesn’t keep it from being dark. Curtains were invented for a reason. Acklas is actually between jobs right now. Normally, he works as a consultant, but he doesn’t have any contracts just now. That’s not normally a problem, since he can find an infinite number of things to occupy his time with. Right now, however, he has chosen to occupy his time by sitting in the dark and thinking of nothing.

This is even better sometimes than geeky parts of the Internet. The only person here is himself, and he isn’t really engaging his brain. No one, not even Acklas, can annoy Acklas with a lack of understanding.

Eventually he stirs long enough to notice the LEDs from his computer are putting light out into his space. He grabs a blanket and drapes it over the system. There. Dark.

Bill is much more productively engaged. Now that three teams from three countries are working full-time to gather information from not only legal spyware, but from any source they can find, there is just too much data to go through by hand. That sort of model never made sense in the first place, but now it really doesn’t. Thankfully, their teams are over half made up of IT professionals. These guys are writing lots of little programs they call “scripts” to process the data looking for patterns.

In the process, they are pulling up all kinds of data about people engaged in money laundering, identity theft, and all kinds of suspicious activity. They throw all this data into storage for later. The stuff they’re really interested in is there too. Images and references to child pornography in all its forms showing up in forums, on websites, and in emails. They need to figure out where most of the content is coming from, or where it is being stored. With the amount of data they’re now collecting, privacy laws or no privacy laws, it is only a matter of time before someone finds out a large enough amount of it is correlated in some way.

Of course, as far as the team is concerned, this is all on the up-and-up. Bill and the other two team leaders have seen to it that all the data from every source they could think of to monitor is coming in looking the same as data from MusicBox. It was actually the FBI guy who got all the technical bits going. Bill isn’t sure if the guy is actually technically savvy, or if he let one of his more trustworthy engineers in on it, but either way the data is flowing and the analysis is happening. It’s exactly what has always been needed to solve the problem of the Internet, and maybe, eventually, they can use it to solve other problems as well.

20:03 <nicnus>
20:06 <jjdavis> What? What!
20:07 <nicnus> I know.
20:08 <nicnus> I think acklas may have seen this earlier.
20:09 <jjdavis> No wonder he wanted to be alone. This is depressing.
** nicnus le sigh
20:09 <jjdavis> There can’t be many people thinking this way. Can’t be.
20:09 <nicnus> My brother’s girlfriend probably agrees with it.
20:10 <jjdavis> The existence of two crazy people does not prove that we’re screwed.
20:10 <nicnus> Well… someone let him publish it.
20:10 <jjdavis> Man…
** acklas has joined your chat
20:13 <jjdavis> You saw it?
** acklas nods
20:14 <jjdavis> Just wait and see, we’ll have forgotten all about it soon. Luddites are nothing new.
20:15 <nicnus> Militant ones are, at least recently
20:15 <acklas> Well, recently real ones…

Jack sends the link to his girlfriend. Unbelievable.

20:20 <nicnus> Some of the comments are suggesting we take a similar line in reverse.
20:21 <acklas> I’d like that idea if it didn’t make us evil in the process.
20:21 <jjdavis> Peoplereally need to calm down. If this escalates…

Bill is very pleased. The first phase of their media blitz is a complete success. The anarchy of anonymous hackers has taken such offence to their story that they have spread it all over social media. In their efforts to fight the idea, they have spread it to the world. Mainstream media will pick it up tomorrow, and then sympathizers, of which there will be many, will get access to it.

Politicians will get access to it.

Just as the idea is leaving the public consciousness, they will have enough data to make a huge media splash. They won’t have to make the connection themselves, eventually someone else will do it for them. Maybe even one of those hackers they want to take down.