A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Let’s Put a Remotely Accessible Computer in a Door Lock

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Let’s put a remotely accessible computer in a door lock, what could possibly go wrong?

A HomeKit vulnerability in the current version of iOS 11.2 has been demonstrated to 9to5Mac that allows unauthorized control of accessories including smart locks and garage door openers. Our understanding is Apple has rolled out a server-side fix that now prevent unauthorized access from occurring while limiting some functionality, and an update to iOS 11.2 coming next week will restore that full functionality.

The Internet of Things (IoT) introduces all sorts of new and interesting exploits. These exploits range from minor, such as your lights turn colors, to severe, such as having your doors unlock for an unauthorized person. Unfortunately, since software is already incredibly complex and becoming more so every day it’s unlikely we’ll see secure IoT devices anytime in the near future. Fortunately, it appears that Apple caught this vulnerability and was able to patch it before it was actively exploited.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 8th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Technology

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Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

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I guess even the most incompetent, loathsome bastards do something right once in a while:

The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill by 231-198, in their first major gun legislation since a 2012 Connecticut school massacre.

Republicans said the bill would allow gun owners to travel without having to worry about conflicting state laws.

Just kidding! We’re getting fucked over by this as well:

To make the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act more palatable, Republicans have included measures to strengthen the national background check system.

Never underestimate the Republicans’ willingness, even with majority control over Congress and the presidency, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Unaccountable Judges

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I’ve annoyed a great number of electrons writing about the unaccountability of law enforcers. However, law enforcers aren’t the only unaccountable individuals in the “justice” system. What happens to judges who issue bad court orders?

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers.

That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Her mother reported the incident to the Manassas City Police Department in January 2014.

Eventually, the detective assigned to the case, David Abbott, obtained a signed warrant to take photographs of Sims’ naked body—including “the suspect’s erect penis”—so that he could compare them to Sims’ explicit messages.

If you were a judge and a law enforcer came to you asking for a warrant to force a teenage boy to masturbate while he filmed it, what would you do? A decent person would tell the law enforcer to go pound sand. But there is a judge out there who felt that the officer’s request was reasonable enough that he issued the warrant. That raises an important question, what happens to the judge who issued that warrant now that a higher court has ruled against the validity of that warrant? I would argue that any judge who issues such a warrant is deserving of reprimand.

I actually can’t recall a case where a judge was reprimanded when a higher court ruled that a warrant they issued was erroneous. You would think some kind of reprimand would be issued to discourage other judges from issuing similar erroneous warrants.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Start Popping Your Popcorn

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After several women came forward and accused Al Franken of sexual harassment he has announced that he’s going to make an announcement this morning:

WASHINGTON – Democratic Party leaders united Wednesday in calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign from the U.S. Senate, an extraordinary rebuke to the Minnesota Democrat as he faced a new allegation of sexual harassment.

Franken planned to make an announcement about his future Thursday morning on the Senate floor.

His office said it would happen at 10:45 a.m. Central time, describing it as the senator planning to “deliver a speech from the Senate floor.”

This should lead to some good drama. On the one hand, most politicians in his position would be planning to announce their retirement, which is what I’m betting he’ll announce. On the other hand, he does have an overinflated ego so he might actually refuse to abide by the demands being made by his fellow party members to resign. Either way, this is going to be hilarious!

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

Where the Terrible Doctors Go

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Let’s say that you’re a doctor who has had a lot of malpractice accusations brought against you. These accusations are numerous enough where no hospital will hire you. Where do you find employment? At a government healthcare facility, of course!

The Department of Veterans Affairs has knowingly hired doctors with trails of misconduct allegations, licensing problems, malpractice accusations, and patient settlements, according to a recent USA Today investigation.

In fact, the newspaper suggests that the VA may actually attract troubled doctors and clinicians because it doesn’t require that they have their own malpractice insurance. Thus, doctors dubbed too risky for private malpractice insurance based on problematic pasts may find relief at the VA, where malpractice claims are paid out using taxpayer money.

Just as there is evidence that police departments, due to their general lack of holding bad officers accountable, attract violent individuals, there is now also evidence that the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) attracts bad doctors.

This news shouldn’t surprise anybody. The VA was established to provide promised benefits to people who enlist in the military but military recruits cease being useful to the government once they’re no longer in the military. By offering a subpar (and that’s being generous) medical program the government can fulfill its promise to proving medical benefits to retired veterans without having to dump a bunch of money into hiring qualified medical professionals. As an added bonus, the subpar medical program can ensure retired veterans die sooner, which saves the government even more money on the benefits it would otherwise have to continue paying out.

People are a disposable commodity to a government. Military personnel doubly so.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 6th, 2017 at 11:00 am

It’s Not Your Business

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You don’t own your business, the government does. You just get to run it how they want you to run it:

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTXF) – The push to remove bulletproof barriers inside Philly convenient stores just got past another hurdle.

The Public Health and Human Services Committee has passed a bill which enables the city’s Licenses and Inspections department to regulate the bullet-resistant barricade that stands between customers and cash registers in many neighborhood corner stores.

The officials pushing for this legislation are, of course, claiming it’s to fight “indignity.” Indignity is such a useful work in politics because it doesn’t have a fixed meaning. By citing “indignity” a politician can pass a piece of legislation aimed at shutting down some unfavored business without admitting to the purpose of the legislation. For example, if you wanted to shutdown a convenience store you could pass a piece of legislation that would put the lives of its employees in peril, which would either convince them to quit or lead to their demise. Either way the politician wins because without employees a convenience store isn’t convenient at all and will thus shutdown.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 6th, 2017 at 10:30 am

It’s the War That Never Ends

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It’s the war that never ends.

It goes on and on, my friend:

Pockets of Nangarhar remain inaccessible to outsiders because of fighting, making it impossible to independently determine the cause of the fatal explosion. What is not in question is that in the 17th year of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, American airstrikes are escalating again, along with civilian casualties.

Operating under looser restrictions on air power that commanders hope will break a stalemate in the war, U.S. fighter planes this year dropped 3,554 explosives in Afghanistan through Oct. 31, the most since 2012.

This is why I see no appreciable difference between the two ruling parties in this country. While they may disagree on a few minor point, they march lockstep on the issues that matter. Obama initially came into officer on the promise of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After eight years he didn’t end either war and involved the United States in several more. Trump never promised to end the wars so I can’t really call him a hypocrite for continuing to wage them but his commitment to continuing the wars shows that the two parties agree that war is good.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 6th, 2017 at 10:00 am

A Modest Proposal to End Arguing Over Tax Legislation

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Now that they have power the Republicans are pushing through new tax legislation. If you listen to Republicans, the legislation will leave more money in all of our pockets’. If you listen to Democrats, the legislation will lead to the death of billions of people. However, like the Affordable Care Act, the tax legislation is being slammed through too fast for anybody to actually read so nobody can even refute the claims of everybody else. But that hasn’t stopped people from arguing incessantly.

Because I’m a peacemaker by nature, I’ve decided to make a modest proposal to end all of this arguing. That proposal is simple; let’s just abolish taxes.

Without taxes there is no need to argue about tax legislation. By abolishing taxes we can return trillions of hours of unproductive time to the American people so it can instead be used productively. Imagine the economic boom this country will enjoy with trillions of additional hours of labor!

Written by Christopher Burg

December 5th, 2017 at 11:00 am

As If Flying Didn’t Suck Enough Already

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If you thought flying already sucked due to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security theater, get ready for things to become even worse as the various TSA security bypass packages lead to an ever increasing number of security lines:

But as the plan moves forward, we’re seeing all sorts of new wrinkles that most observers had never even thought about. More types of vetting means more types of passenger (Global Entry passengers, No Fly List passengers, risky-but-unvetted passengers), and sorting through all of those passengers is tricky. Even if you can match all of the faces to tickets, you still have to get all of them to the right security line at the airport — so the most recent development has to do with lines. This fall, Homeland Security released two new contract solicitations focused on making airport lines smarter and more complex. One focuses on measuring how long a line is, basically a thermometer for how well all of this is working. The second one calls for “intelligent traveler wayfinding” technologies to direct people through the ever-more complex lines that are clearly on the way.

In the near future you will have to find the line that corresponds to the amount of money you gave the TSA. TSA PreCheck? Line 2. PreCheck+? Line 14. PreCheckDeluxe? Line 27. You didn’t pay the TSA any money for preferential treatment? Get over to that long line in the corner and accept that your wait time will be several hours, pleb.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 5th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Venezuela Tries Its Hand at Creating a Failed Cryptocurrency

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A cryptocurrency managed by the same regime that tanked the economy of a country that has vast natural resource wealth? I can’t see how this could possibly go wrong!

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked to the world of digital currency to circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions, announcing on Sunday the launch of the “petro” backed by oil reserves to shore up a collapsed economy.

The leftist leader offered few specifics about the currency launch or how the struggling OPEC member would pull off such a feat, but he declared to cheers that “the 21st century has arrived!”

I’m doubting that we’ll see any technical white paper about the Petro since that would solidify implementation details and I’m guessing the Venezuelan government’s plan is to have a cryptocurrency it can change on a whim.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 5th, 2017 at 10:00 am