Spies on Tinder, in megascrapers in New York, on your insecure router, in your journalism.
An Army Captain infiltrated a civil liberties group in São Paulo, Brazil by posing as a "macho leftist" on Tinder, flirting with women to connect with various activist groups. The piece goes on to discuss similar work in US history, including Hoover's COINTELPRO which used similar infiltration and social manipulation tactics in order to monitor and disrupt activists. COINTELPRO was responsible for the "suicide letter" sent to Martin Luther King Jr.
An exposé into an iconic, windowless, brutalist 550-feet structure that's existed in New York City since 1974. It's a communications hub, but also likely one of the NSA's most important monitoring hubs, called TITANPOINTE. On top of that, the building was initially designed to withstand nuclear attack, providing food, water, and recreation for 1500 people. The Intercept does a great job of using declassified documents and some real-world investigation to deliver this article.
Mr. Robot is a fantastic show, if for no other reason than that it panders completely to people like me. It portrays the pure surface boringness of technology (lots of text, inscrutable UIs, obscure code) alongside the inherent drama of the anthropology of hacking (who to hack, how to hack, and why).
An interesting examination of how state actors can intentionally and surreptitiously influence journalists and other media figures to release key pieces of information. Disinformation on the social scale! Webscale spycraft!
The LOw-Cost Unmanned vehicle Swarming Technology is "lots of small drones, folded up into tubes, and then put into the sky to cover and scout an area together. . . . throw lots of smaller, cheaper robots into the sky, with a single human controlling them from afar, and let the enemy waste expensive anti-air missiles on drones, while redundant swarm members complete the mission." A short video demoing the tech inside.
"Russian photographer and art student Egor Tsvetkov used his own photos and a facial recognition app" to match random photos in real life to their social media profiles on the Russian social network VK.com. Pretty eerie to see random photos of people just living out their day paired up with their highly curated social media profile pictures. The original article is in Russian, but you can find it here if you want to use Google Translate (or you speak Russian).
A good and thoughtful piece on how exactly the media is currently treating "fake news", frequent portrayals of the "problem in search of evidence" in a dishonest way by journalists trying to score clicks, and the conflation of completely fake news and pure political clickbait.
The Mirai botnet which broke the internet by taking out DynDNS is still at large, and thanks to millions of insecure IoT devices, it's not clear how to stop it. This reminds me of a tweet (I forget the source, sorry) - "What turned you in?" "Alarm clock. You?" "Fridge."