CIA Launches “Onion” Site

Headlines are popping up all over that the CIA has created an “Onion” site. If you are like me, you immediately think of things like this:

And on that note, the first story on the CIA Onion site might be something like “CIA Prototypes Real-life Wolverine Missile-claws”.

Then it would give examples of how a remote-controlled projectile can penetrate small armored spaces to murder anyone inside, as blades launch that won’t harm bystanders outside the boundary.

Oh, wait, that’s a real news disclosure.

The new missile, which has never been acknowledged publicly before today, is called the R9X and is a variant of the Hellfire missile. But unlike a traditional Hellfire, the R9X is designed with six long blades that only emerge from the missile seconds before impact. The R9X, nicknamed the “flying Ginsu” by insiders, doesn’t contain a warhead. The goal, according to anonymous U.S. officials speaking with the Journal, is to reduce unnecessary casualties and hopefully only kill the person who was targeted in the first place.

Saying “Ginsu” in that story reveals something about the age of those involved. I’d expect “vita-mix” if this were a younger research team.

Anyway, saying the CIA has an “Onion” news site is not really a good way to describe what is happening. It doesn’t disambiguate from or give some kind of shout out to “The Onion” news site, which we all know and love for its past reporting on the CIA.

Thankfully Wired posted a more clear (albeit yelling) headline with “CIA SETS UP SHOP ON TOR

…people around the world can browse the agency’s website anonymously…the US government can benefit from using the anonymity service…

Ohhhh, it’s a Torrent option for connecting to CIA information. And that begs the question why not use a headline like “CIA Offers Reader Privacy with New Information Service”?

Privacy is the real story here, and probably should go right in the headline. Not mine, though, as I’m trying to draw attention to The Onion.

The Facebook Trust Disaster Was Easily Predicted

Five years ago in 2014, the future of Facebook trust was in the balance. What happened?

‘When I joined Facebook in 2016, my mom was so proud of me, and I could walk around with my Facebook backpack all over the world and people would stop and say, ‘It’s so cool that you worked for Facebook.’ That’s not the case anymore,’ a former product manager says. ‘It made it hard to go home for Thanksgiving.’

First of all, Thanksgiving is literally a holiday created by Abraham Lincoln after the defeat of pro-slavery forces that had been aiming to break apart the United States. It’s supposed to be the easiest time to get back together with family, even for those unwilling to give up human slavery.

Second, 2016? Let’s talk about warnings as early as 2011, which are easy to find even in the public forums…and maybe the better question is what didn’t happen? Facebook didn’t hire a qualified CSO during these years, and didn’t have executive leadership committed to respect for human rights (e.g. privacy) let alone ethics.

Third, recent studies by the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona cited that only 14% of Facebook users deleted their account after Cambridge University researchers violated privacy. More importantly, the studies found that user behavior changed measurably and “sensitive words” were removed as users start self-censoring and encoding their meanings in a manner similar to slaves in American history.