A working group for Internet regulators at ICANN wants to close all Whois databases. They what to force anybody needing this data to grovel before them before granting access. They are trying to centralize global control over a key component of the Internet. WHOIS allows you to find out who owns a domain name. Without this data, fraud and other crimes will become easier to commit and harder to solve.
Archive for the 'News' Category
An article titled, Tim Hortons apologizes for blocking gay and lesbian news website by The Canadian Press on Friday, July 19, 2013 caught my attention. Tim Hortons is a popular Canadian coffee shop chain.
The online site of a popular paper that caters to the gay community was blocked by the coffee shop chain as “not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment.”. Once the outrage got going, Tim Hortons relented and changed its WiFi network policy.
What has all this got to do with Investigative Internet Research (IIR), you ask? Well, think about it. We often work while on the road and that means doing some aspects of IIR in places like coffee shops.
When you do IIR outside your normal work environment, different rules apply. How do you know what the WiFi network allows and what it doesn’t? How do you know if some things are censored and others are not? How do you know that your results are complete?
Now do you understand the dangers that doing this presents? I haven’t even mentioned the security issues.
If you haven’t heard, the Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, supposedly appears in a video smoking crack. Gawker wants donations to buy the video for $200,000. Well this seems like a 80/20 situation. 80% of the damage done in 20% of the time that this goes on.
Here are some things to consider about this strange news item:
1. If they don’t get enough money to buy this video, then we don’t know if it really exists, but the damage is done.
2. If they buy it, then they are paying-off criminals. After all they are self-professed crack dealers. They are the gangsters that bring about most of the shootings and murders in Toronto.
3. If they buy it, they need to buy the device that recorded the video or we can’t tell if it was altered.
4. It will take a long time to analyze the video to determine if it is likely unaltered. If it is altered or fake, it doesn’t matter, the damage is done.
5. While the video may be unaltered, we might not ever know if it was a continuous recording or one that was recorded selectively for some desired effect.
6. No matter what happens, the damage is done — damage that goes far beyond one mayor or city. Welcome to the brave new journalism.
The Boston Marathon incident is somewhat instructive from an Investigative Internet Research (IIR) perspective.
News reporters are skilled at IIR — some to the exclusion of real journalistic skills if the preponderance of churnalism in the popular media is any measure. However, one instance of a reporter finding the terrorist’s Amazon Wish List is interesting. The reporter was drawing conclusions about the terrorist from the contents of the wish list.
The default Amazon Wish List setting is ‘Public’. The other settings are ‘Shared’ and ‘Private’ which seems to defeat the purpose. The default setting is the most common.
The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act comes into full force on March 11, 2013. The act may be found at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/AnnualStatutes/2012_9/FullText.html and some background on the act may be found at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2012/doc_32762.html.
The Canada Gazette entry regarding the act coming into effect may be found at http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2013/2013-02-13/html/si-tr5-eng.html.
The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK reports that the receptionist who was subjected to a pretext call by two Australian DJs may have committed suicide.
In the call at 5.30am on Tuesday impersonating the Queen, Miss Greig said: ‘Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?’
Thinking she was speaking to the Queen, the receptionist replied: ‘Oh yes, just hold on ma’am’.
She then put the presenters through to one of the nurses who was caring for the Duchess.
The nurse also believed she was speaking to the Queen and went on to make a number of deeply personal observations about Kate’s health.
This prank/pretext was bragged about by the two Australian DJs. This no doubt subjected the receptionist to a lot of ridicule.
The Australian DJs violated two of the three rules for doing pretext calls.
The three rules:
- Do not personate a living person.
- Do not personate a representative of any existing company (or business) or anything to do with government.
- Do not cause anybody to be concerned for their own safety or the wellbeing of any person, business, company, or property.
The Internet Archive now has a searchable “lending library” of major television news broadcasts back to 2009. TV News Search & Borrow allows searching the closed caption transcripts of these broadcasts. However, these transcripts are rife with spelling errors and phonetic spellings because the caption writers work in real time and type what they’re hearing in a live newscast.
The more/borrow button leads to a collection of short clips that comprise the whole show rather than a continuous video of the whole show, while the Share Clip button brings up the URL of the video.
Their loan fees for DVDs begin at $50 and include shipping charges.
The Vanderbilt University’s Television News Archive contains copies of network news back to 1968 and now contains more than one million records. Their fee schedule can be found at http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/tvn-orders-fee-schedule.pl.
“Without a pocketknife, a man isn’t properly dressed.”
- My Father.
According to the Los Angeles Times, an 11-month-old girl died in a burning car 28 Aug 11 because no one on the scene had a knife to cut her out of a car seat. The article clearly illustrates that a knife would have saved the child’s life while another article illustrates just the opposite result: Father’s Day knife saves accident victim’s life.
I wonder how many times events like this happen without comment in the accident report or news media?
I have been a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) for about 20 years. Norma Goldsmith prodded me into collaborating on an article for the association’s newsletter, Connections. This was my first article for Connections. and my first collaboration. The article, Alert Services: Keeping Current, appears in the September 2012 issue.
The recent spate of drug gang shootings in Toronto has brought out the worst in the chattering classes and politicians while most people can’t see any solution for this problem. Continue reading ‘Drugs, Violence, and Economics’
While researching an issue surrounding violence to women in a particlular neighbourhood, I came across an article titled, Men who buy sex tend to commit more crimes, study says. This is a typical use of statistics to lie.
Careful examination of the article reveals the sample is not representative. The respondents were only people who read “a local free daily newspaper”. This can create all kinds of biases in the resulting data, both deliberate and not.
Next, one has to consider the medium reporting the “study”. In this case the popular media. Media outlets usually report things that they feel will raise readership and are not above tweeking the content to make it more sensational. The author is described as a ” anti-prostitution activist” so what would you expect the conclusions of the “study” to be? In this case, the study states that men who are open about their use of sex-workers are more likely to admit that they’ve committed crimes. This merely means that this particular group of customers are likely to be more open about their misdeeds. The control group could easily have much less propensity to be open. How can a corelationship be established if the propensity to be open about past misdeeds is not the same?
These types of “studies” are just an attempt to support a pre-existing belief or world view and offer little in the way of hard data.
The case of the person suspected of sending a dismembered foot to the offices of the Conservative Party of Canada is macabre, but some excellent investigative reporting appears in the newspapers that Private Investigators can learn from — namely a search that should be conducted in every background investigation. I’m talking about searching for a change of name.
This used to be a very difficult search to conduct though the normal bureaucratic channels. Today, we have the Internet. The provinces are in charge of matters involving the change of one’s name.
Each province has an Gazette where changes to legislation and other legal notices are published. In the case of Ontario, the government prefers that readers use the official web site where issues of the Gazette dating back to January 2000 are published in PDF format. This format allows full-text searching.
In the case of the suspect who now calls himself Luka Rocco MAGNOTTA, the intreped reporter went to the Ontario Gazette search page and searched this name, without using quotation marks. The reporter found an entry on 12 August 2006 that revealed that Magnotta’s original name was Eric Kirk NEWMAN.
As this is only a Gazette Notice, it required further investigation to confirm that the Notice related to the suspect.
Today’s Front Pages
Through a special agreement with more than 800 newspapers worldwide, the Newseum displays these front pages each day on its website. The front pages are in their original, unedited form.
Roll over the cities you are interested in and double click when you see a front page that interests you to get a larger image than the thumbnail that appears to the right of the map.
This is something I just found and I think it is a great idea to keep track of what is the main story in other cities.