TikTok: Redefines Regular TV

January 11, 2022

What do most people under the age of 30 want to watch? YouTube? Sure, particularly some folks in Eastern Europe for whom YouTube is a source of “real news” and tips for surviving winter in Siberia. (Tip: Go to Sochi.)

TikTok videos Will Be Playing at Restaurants, Gyms, Airports Soon” reports:

TikTok partnered with Atmosphere to bring short-form videos to the background of your next gym session, restaurant meal, or airport visit. Startup Atmosphere streams news and entertainment to commercial locations such as restaurants, airports, hotels, doctors’ waiting rooms, and other venues. That content is sourced from a host of free, ad-supported networks, including YouTube, Red Bull TV, AFV TV, World Poker Tour, The Bob Ross Channel, and, now, TikTok—making its out-of-home video service debut.

The airport venue may not be A Number One with a Bullet today, but it has promise, particularly when paired with those surveillance centric smart TVs from some folks in South Korea and elsewhere.

My thought is that the short form video looks like the future of entertainment. Instead of smash cuts, the new programs will be structured like TikTok videos. The idea will be to create an impression with the individual videos providing the shaped or weaponized content.

Dystopia? Nah, just the normal progression of information when new tools, techniques, capabilities, and methods become available. In the case of TikTok, the addition of a China-linked approach adds spice. Perhaps it is time to think in terms of managing the content streams which are set to displace what Boomers and other old timers find reliable.

That requires understanding, will, and commitment. Those are qualities on display in many seats of government, aren’t they?

Stephen E Arnold, January 11, 2022

DarkCyber for December 28, 2021, Now Available

December 28, 2021

This is the 26th program in the third series of DarkCyber video news programs produced by Stephen E Arnold and Beyond Search. You can view the ad-free show at this url. This program includes news of changes to the DarkCyber video series. Starting in January 2022, Dark Cyber will focus on smart software and its impact on intelware and policeware. In addition, Dark Cyber will appear once each month and expand to a 15 to 20 minute format.

What will we do with the production time? We begin a new video series called “OSINT Radar.” OSINT is an acronym for open source intelligence. In a December 2021 presentation to cyber investigators, the idea surfaced of a 60 second profile of a high value OSINT site. We have developed this idea and will publish what we hope will be a weekly video “infodeck” in video form of an OSINT resource currently in use by law enforcement and intelligence professionals. Watch Beyond Search for the details of how to view these short, made-for-mobile video infodecks. Now when you swipe left, you will learn how to perform free reverse phone number look ups, obtain a list of a social media user’s friends, and other helpful data collection actions from completely open source data pools.

Also, in this DarkCyber program are: [a] the blame for government agencies and specialized software vendors using Facebook to crank out false identities. Hint: It’s not the vendors’ fault. [b] why 2022 will be a banner year for bad actors. No, it’s not just passwords, insiders, and corner-cutting software developers. There is a bigger problem. [c] Microsoft has its very own Death Star. Does Microsoft know that the original Death Star was a fiction and it did not survive an attack by the rebels?, and [d] a smart drone with kinetic weapons causes the UN to have a meeting and decide to have another meeting.

Kenny Toth, December 28, 2021

DarkCyber for December 14, 2021, Now Available

December 14, 2021

The December 14, 2021, Dark Cyber video news program is now available on the Beyond Search Web log and YouTube at this link.

Program number 25 for 2021 includes five stories.

The first is that a list of companies engaged in surveillance  technology and specialized software for law enforcement and intelligence professionals is available without charge. The list is not comprehensive, but it is one of the first open source documents which identifies companies operating “off the radar” of many analysts, law enforcement professionals, private detectives, and would-be investigative journalists.

The second story adds another chapter to the chronicle of missteps by a company doing business as NSO Group. The Israel company develops and licenses specialized software to government agencies. However, the use of that software has become problematic. This edition of Dark Cyber reports about the alleged use of the Pegasus mobile phone data collection system to obtain information from US diplomats’ mobile  devices. The consequences of MBA thinking have roiled the specialized services market worldwide.

The third story extracts pricing information made public by the Brennan Center. The documents obtained via a FOIA request to California were prepared by the Los Angeles Police Department. Although redacted, the documents contained what appears to be trade secret pricing information about the Voyager Labs’ surveillance data analytics system marketed worldwide.  The Dark Cyber story reveals how to download the document
collection and additional details about a very low profile company’s technology and methods.

The fourth story describes new digital cameras which are the size of a grain of salt. Dark Cyber then reveals that
a small roll up drone has been developed. The form factor is similar to a seed which spins as it floats to the
ground. Combining the miniature cameras with the seed-like phone factor creates opportunities for a new approach to video surveillance.

The final story announces a new Dark Cyber service. The weekly Instagram post will provide specific information about Web sites now used by law enforcement, analysts, and intelligence professionals to gather data about persons of interests, the social media activities, their location, and other high-value facts. The new service goes live in January 2022.

Dark Cyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold, who publishes the Web log called Beyond Search and available at this link.

Kenny Toth, December 14, 2021

DarkCyber for November 30, 2021: Sean Brizendine, SecureX

November 30, 2021

This DarkCyber program features an interview with Sean Brizendine. He is one of the founders of SecureX, where he serves as the director of Blockchain technology. The interview covers:

  • SecureX’s secret sauce in the crypto currency and services market
  • How open source software fits into the company’s technology portfolio
  • How the products and services further the capabilities of Web 3.0, distributed computing, and enhanced online security.

Mr. Brizendine is a certified Certified IIB Council Blockchain Professional & EC Council Online University Lecturer covering Blockchain in their Cyber Talk Webinar Series.

You can view the 11 minute interview on YouTube at this link.

Kenny Toth, November 30, 2021

YouTube: Helping Out TikTok

November 23, 2021

I read “YouTube Co-Founder Predicts Decline of the Platform Following Removal f Dislikes.” The write up includes information from “co founder Jawed Karim.” Here’s a statement I circled in blue:

Jawed Karim, the third co-founder of YouTube, has condemned the platform’s removal of public dislike counts on videos, suggesting that the change will lead to YouTube’s decline.

There’s other information in the write up. However, I think the decline of YouTube may take a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong. The Google is annoying me and maybe one or two other people with some of its “business” actions; for example:

  • Advertising on YouTube videos. More ads are appearing and soon some YouTube content will take less time to view than the ads.
  • Advertising which is off the mark. I know that some thing my ability to write is terrible. Nevertheless, displaying ads for Grammarly multiple times a day is unlikely to have a return for anyone other than Google. Also, I am a Liberty Mutual customers. Too bad Google YouTube shows me multiple Liberty Mutual ads a day.
  • Flawed search function. Try finding videos about a specific retired legionnaire who makes videos in German. Let me know how that works out for you.
  • Crazy recommendations. We did a project related to a certain high profile content creator. I was then bombarded with suggestions for videos created by females living together in a van. Yeah, too bad the project ended months ago, but the Google YouTube does not forget.

Net net: The death of YouTube is going to take a while to arrive. The major factor in the decline will be one neither Mr. Karim nor I have yet mentioned.

What will do in the Tube?

TikTok. That’s a prediction in which I have about 60 percent confidence.

Stephen E Arnold, November 23, 2021

DarkCyber for November 16, 2021, Now Available

November 16, 2021

DarkCyber, Program 23, is now available at this link. The mid-November 2021 DarkCyber (Number 23 in the 2021 series) includes six stories.

There are two cyber “bytes”. The first reports about the legal pressure being applied to Signal, a maker of secure messaging software. The second explains that an international team of police arrested more than 100 people in Operation HunTor. Sixty-five of these bad actors resided in the United States.

Malware is tough to stamp out. In fact, Rootkits, a well-known method of compromising targets is returning, is regaining popularity. Plus, bad actors have begun placing malware in computer source code. The targets are unaware that their systems have been compromised. The program provides a link to a report about the Trojan Source method. the US government has blacklisted the NSO Group, a developer of specialized software and systems. What’s interesting is that three other firms have been blacklisted as well. One of the organizations responded to the US action with a sign and indifference. Amazon and Microsoft have learned that their customers/users have been subject to somewhat novel attacks. For Amazon, the Twitch “bit” reward system was used for money laundering. Google ads were used to distribute malware via a old-fashioned spoofed pages which looked legitimate but weren’t.

The drone news in this program reveals that Russia presented more than 200 war fighting technologies at a recent trade show in Lima, Peru. The point DarkCyber makes is that Russia perceives South America as a market ripe for sales. DarkCyber is produced every two weeks by Stephen E Arnold, publisher of the Beyond Search blog at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and subject matter expert in some interesting technical specialties.

Kenny Toth, November 16, 2021

Prevarication: Part of the Global Game?

November 11, 2021

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. China is infamous for its Big Brother tactics on its citizens and enemies. It is reasonable to assume China is using TikTok to spy on Americans. Gadgets 360 reports, “TikTok Tells US Lawmakers It Does Not Give Information To China’s Government.” Michael Beckerman is TikTok’s executive of public policy for North and South America. He assured the US Congress the video sharing platform safeguards US data.

Congressmen from the Republican and Democratic parties are concerned about TikTok’s influence in the US and what data is potentially fed to China. Republicans pressured Beckerman for more information about user data than the Democrats. Both parties are worried how TikTok encourages negative and harmful behavior in young people:

“Executives from YouTube and Snapchat also testified. In a show of bipartisanship, senators of both parties, including Democratic panel chairman Richard Blumenthal, accused the three companies of exposing young people to bullying and sometimes steering them to information that encouraged harmful behaviors such sexualized games or anorexia. The executives responded that their companies have sought to create a fun experience and to exclude dangerous or unsavory content.”

Former President Donald Trump sought to ban TikTok in the US, because he believed it collected data on US citizens that was shared with China. Trump said this was a threat to the US’s safety. Current President Joe Biden rescinded the proposed ban, but he did seek to review foreign-controlled apps.

Does anyone truly believe TikTok? If the company succeeds in converting short videos into a super app, what’s going on behind the digital smokescreen?

Whitney Grace, November 11, 2021

YouTube: Doing the We-Are-Responsible, People Thing

November 8, 2021

YouTube has been criticized for how it handles child centric related content. The video platform implemented safety features, including a filter to prevent kids from watching inappropriate content as well as a kids only app. YouTube has responded to critics once more by hitting kid content creators where it hurts: the wallet. TechCrunch explains why YouTube is changing its rules for kid videos in the article, “YouTube Warns Creators It Will Demonetize Low-Quality Kids’ Videos Next Month.”

Many “made for kids” YouTube channels are mass-produced without any oversight. They are heavily commercial, low quality, and encourage bad behavior. YouTube warned these content creators that in November 2021 their videos could be demonetized and/or banned from the platform.

The new rules are similar to the same complaints kid TV shows and movies have faced since the mid-twentieth century:

“Ahead of this move, a number of consumer advocacy groups had been pressuring YouTube and regulators alike to put an end to these types of videos, saying they blurred the lines between content and advertising. Plus, they argued, some creators weren’t disclosing that they had brand relationships behind the scenes that were fueling this sort of content production.

But without enforcement and guidelines around what’s appropriate for kids, some of YouTube’s largest creators were channels like multimillionaire Ryan Kaji of Ryan ToysReview (now Ryan’s World), which focused heavily on consumerism and toy unboxings.”

Videos that promote excessive consumerism, children’s media characters in unofficial videos in non kid-friendly situations, and bad behavior such as bullying, disrespect, dangerous pranks, lying, and unhealthy habits will be deemed low quality. Content creators will be warned by email before their videos are removed. YouTube has not disclosed how any creators will be impacted.

The good news is that better YouTube’s algorithm filters, the “better” quality videos to young viewers. Better quality videos include themes being a good person, promoting learning and curiosity, encouraging creativity, imagination, diversity, equity, and inclusion. None of that bulimia or self abuse hoo hah.

Allegedly? Yep.

Whitney Grace, November 8, 2021

DarkCyber for November 2, 2021: Spies, Secrets, AI, and a Robot Dog with a Gun

November 2, 2021

The DarkCyber for November 2, 2021 is now available at this link. This program includes six cyber “bites”. These are short items about spies who hide secrets in peanut butter sandwiches, a drug lord who required 500 troops and 22 helicopters to arrest, where to get the Pandora Papers, a once classified document about autonomous killing policies, a US government Web site described as invasive, and a report about the National Security Agency’s contributions to computer science.

The feature in the cyber news program is a look at the Allen Institute’s Ask Delphi system. The smart software serves up answers to ethical questions. The outputs are interesting and provide an indication of the issues that bright AI engineers will have to address.

The final story provides information about a robot dog. The digital canine is equipped with a weapon which fires a cartridge the size of a hot dog at the World Series snack shop. That’s interesting information, but the “killer” feature is that the robot is its own master. Watch DarkCyber to learn the trick this machine can perform.

DarkCyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold. The video contains no advertising and the stories are not subsidized. The video is available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress or at https://youtu.be/Y24vJetf5eY.

Kenny Toth, November 2, 2021

TikTok: A Billion Users Like the Burger Joint

October 25, 2021

I just wanted o document this post from TikTok. “Thanks a Billion!” states:

More than 1 billion people around the world now come to TikTok every month to be entertained as they learn, laugh, or discover something new. We’re honored to be a home for our immensely diverse community of families, small businesses, and creators who transform into our favorite stars.

I noted this statement too:

TikTok has become a beloved part of life for people around the world because of the creativity and authenticity of our creators.

How valuable are TikTok users’ data?

Answer: Really valuable. Unregulated, non-US owned, and chugging along because billions don’t understand short, often weird videos. Mistake.

Stephen E Arnold, October 25, 2021

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