Extortion emails are getting wilder and wilder. First we had sextortion scams that threatened to reveal victims doing dirty deeds on video, then bomb threats, which brought the worlwide attention of law enforcement, and now we have threats that a hitman is targeting the recipient unless they pay $4,000 in bitcoin.
These emails started appearing this week and have a subject line similar to “Pretty significant material for you right here 17.12.2018 08:33:00”. The content of the emails are written in poor English and grammar and state that the sender is the owner of a Dark Web site that offers different kinds of services for a fee.
The email goes on to say that someone came to the site to hire a hitman to target the recipient for an “instant and pain-free” execution. The owner of the site, though, is willing to call the hitman off if they receive $4,000 in bitcoin. As an extra bonus, they will also “remove the hitman”.
Hitman extortion email
The full text of this new scam is:
Daily Archives: December 24, 2018
(CJ Opinion) — Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump’s planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. I’m having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white noise of the paranoid, conspiratorial, fearmongering establishment reaction to the possibility of a few thousands troops being pulled back from a territory they were illegally occupying.
Endless war and military expansionism has become so normalized in establishment thought that even a slight scale-down is treated as something abnormal and shocking. The talking heads of the corporate state media had been almost entirely ignoring the buildup of US troops in Syria and the operations they’ve been carrying out there, but as soon as the possibility of those troops leaving emerged, all the alarm bells started ringing. Endless war was considered so normal that nobody ever talked about it, then Trump tweeted he’s bringing the troops home, and now every armchair liberal in America who had no idea what a Kurd was until five minutes ago is suddenly an expert on Erdoğan and the YPG. Lindsey Graham, who has never met an unaccountable US military occupation he didn’t like, is now suddenly cheerleading for congressional oversight: not for sending troops into wars, but for pulling them out.
The newest job at Google: checking its AI to make sure it’s ethical.
The company has added a “formal review structure,” which consists of three groups to make big picture and technical decisions around the use of AI. That’s according to a blog post the company published yesterday (Dec. 18).
Google instated a new ethics policy earlier his year as a response to the worker movement opposing its controversial Project Maven contract with the Department of Homeland Security. This new framework is where that policy actually gets implemented, so that it’s no longer left to individual programmers or product groups to decide on their own if something is designed ethically.
Here’s what each team will be responsible for, according to the blog post:
A responsible innovation team that handles day-to-day operations and initial assessments. This group includes user researchers, social scientists, ethicists, human rights specialists, policy and privacy advisors, and legal experts on both a full- and part-time basis, which allows for diversity and inclusion of perspectives and disciplines.
A group of senior experts from a range of disciplines across Alphabet who provide technological, functional, and application expertise.
A council of senior executives to handle the most complex and difficult issues, including decisions that affect multiple products and technologies.
The Google blog post says that this framework has already made more than 100 assessments of deals and products, like the company’s temporary hold on releasing facial recognition technology. Going forward, Google will also be adding an external advisory group with interdisciplinary experts, a technique which has been heralded by critics as a way companies and governments can avoid unethical AI.
This month marks one year since the FCC repealed the controversial net neutrality rules, officially killing the internet as we knew it forever—or so net neutrality proponents would have liked you to believe. But as we take a closer look at what has actually happened in the year since the rules have been abolished, we find that the (often hysterical) rhetoric doesn’t reflect reality at all. On the contrary, the internet has actually improved since regulations were relaxed.
The internet has been a household commodity available for public use since August 6, 1991. However, according to net neutrality’s most fervent supporters, the internet didn’t truly take off until February 2015, when the FCC passed and adopted the new rules.
In both the lead up to the vote on net neutrality and its subsequent repeal, mass hysteria ensued in which many people were honestly convinced that without government intervention, all the online services we enjoyed would cease to exist. In an article called “How the FCC’s Killing of Net Neutrality Will Ruin the Internet Forever,” the magazine GQ even went so far as to say:
Think of everything that you’ve ever loved about the Internet. That website that gave you all of the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City cheat codes. YouTube videos of animals being friends. The illegal music you downloaded on Napster or Kazaa. The legal music you’ve streamed on Spotify. …The movies and TV shows you’ve binged on Netflix and Amazon and Hulu. The dating site that helped you find the person you’re now married to. All of these things are thanks to net neutrality.
It’s rather shocking that this sentiment was so widely accepted as truth considering that every single one of the listed examples existed prior to net neutrality. In fact, the only reason the internet was able to become such an integral part of our lives was that it was left virtually untouched by regulatory forces. And since spontaneous order was allowed to occur, internet users were blessed with unbridled innovation that brought forth a robust variety of services, which GQ prefers to attribute to government action that wasn’t taken until nearly 24 years after internet use became the norm.