Last Week in Cyberpunk 6/9/2017

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This last week in cyberpunk we saw a contractor blow the whistle, were reminded why it’s a bad idea to underestimate the youth vote and heard that an old cowboy is on his way back.


Cyberpunk Reality

Reality Winner Leaks Russian Docs, Gets Burned by Intercept and Microdots

Reality Winner

Despite rising to fame through Edward Snowden’s documents, Glenn Greenwald has had a change of heart on government leakers and has also denied the validity of any claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 US election. So it comes as a big surprise that the Intercept published a leaked report from the NSA showing how Russian state actors made a final push on the voting systems days before the election.

The document comes from Air Force veteran and intelligence contractor Reality Leigh Winner, and on the same evening, the Intercept published its report she was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act. She faces 10 years in prison.

Winner isn’t the first whistleblower to come forward with classified information about Russia or the NSA, and she’s definitely not the first to reach the Intercept. So how was she identified so quickly?

In an effort to corroborate the authenticity of the documents sent to them, reporters sent a copy of the documents to the NSA for confirmation or denial. As researchers from Errata Security point out, these color copies provided the NSA with the microdots necessary to find the original printer and determine when Winner used it.

What has the Intercept and Greenwald said about burning an anonymous source that provided them with one of the biggest stories of the week? Founder Glenn Greenwald has acted as if the story hasn’t happened at all, providing no acknowledgment of Winner or her arrest. The Intercept, a news outlet that claims to provide “fearless, adversarial journalism” that holds “the powerful accountable,” has stated they “take this matter with the utmost seriousness. However, because of the continued investigation, we will make no further comment on it at this time.”

At the time of this reporting, the Intercept still praises Snowden’s leaks on their site.

Lyft Enters the Self-Driving Market, Uber Continues to Draw Bad Press

Lyft

By going to war with its employees, being accused of using a designated lactation room for meditation, naps, and the occasional sex break, and having to fire an executive for failing to investigate rape allegations Uber continues to endanger its own future as a company. Competitor Lyft has taken notice and is growing in earnest.

In a new partnership with tech start-up NuTonomy, Lyft announced that it will put thousands of autonomous vehicles on the road starting with a pilot program in Boston. This is the latest addition to Lyft’s autonomous plans which include Alphabet and GM. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green expect the program to be in full swing by 2021.

Apple’s User Data Sold in China

Getty Images

Police in southern Zhejiang have uncovered a criminal ring that sold user data from Apple that was collected through employees for direct sales and outsourcing companies. The 22 suspects had access to phone numbers, names, Apple IDs, and other personal data worth nearly $6.5 million. Authorities have not specified whether this exposed Chinese or American users.

Error 53: Apple Scams Aussie Customers, Gets Raided by Police

Apple Sydney

Australian authorities carried out a sting operation on Apple after it came to light that employees were lying to customers. Since 2014, those who came in with an iPhone or iPad experiencing an “error 53” malfunction, which reacts to repair attempts by a non-authorized technician, were told they would have to replace the unit but did not inform customers they were entitled to a repair or replacement. Apple has been under investigation for these business practices since June 2016, but the company denies any bad action on their part. A court date is set for December.

Privacy Rights in the Hands of US Supreme Court

Simon Dodd

Earlier this week the Supreme Court agreed to hear Carpenter v. United States, a case that asks whether the government can compel phone companies to provide location data, revealing where their users are at any given time, without a warrant. Professor Orin Kerr of George Washington University Law School argues that siding with the United States could mean sweeping changes to surveillance practices at the federal level, which will then trickle down to local law enforcement. These changes could mean bulk collection of an individual’s digital footprint, a significant increase in data requests from police that outside the oversight of any court, and a broadening of third-party doctrine which states that telecom providers, including ISPs of any size, have no obligation to protect the privacy of their customers. This means police could access anything and everything from internet history to wearable technology.

Palmer Luckey, Peter Thiel, and a Sprawling Surveillance Service

@mimiyoooon

Palmer Luckey and Peter Thiel share a working relationship worth envying. These alt-right bros first teamed up to bring us the Oculus Rift, though Luckey’s material support for trolls during the 2016 election cost him a seat at Facebook, and their mutual love for Donald Trump might give their new venture on the much-talked-about, but not actually acted upon, border wall.

The New York Times has reported that Luckey and Thiel’s next project will develop perimeter security to identify persons crossing the Mexican border. It’ll be built on a model similar to Thiel’s data-mining company Palantir Technologies. When contacted, neither would divulge more about the project.

Theresa May, Challenges Young Voters, Questions the Need for Human Rights, and Loses Big in Election

Following a final attempt to embrace fear and deny human rights if it impedes the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to sit by and watch her Conservative party lose its majority in Parliament.

Rather than step down, like David Cameron did when he lost his own forced election, May insisted she’d keep her positions saying, “At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.”

Voters seem to be out of step with May’s direction. Labour undoubtedly won the night by rallying the youth vote, both the unenthusiastic and the unregistered, by pointing out the rightist policies of UKIP and the threat of Brexit. Turnout for voters under 35 rose to 56%, a 15-point increase from 2015. MP Jeremy Corbyn also saw his popularity increase to a +39 on YouGov, compare that to May’s +6.

Corbyn, clearly pleased with the results, called for May to step down:

“The prime minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that’s enough to go and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

Chelsea Manning Gives First Interview as Free Woman

After serving seven years of a 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Chelsea Manning gave her first interview to ABC News and opened up about her decisions to turn to Wikileaks and where the responsibility falls for her actions. While she hasn’t spoken to President Obama, Manning thanked him for commuting her sentence and giving her a chance at living her life.


Cyberpunk Movies

Sofia Boutella Joins Fahrenheit 451

Kingsman: The Secret Service

HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 movie has cast Sofia Boutella (the Mummy, Kingsman: The Secret Service) in the role of Clarisse. Clarisse is a 17 year old subversive in the book who walks with Guy Montag, the story’s protagonist.

Noomi Rapace in Seven Sisters

Noomi Rapace takes on our looming population boom in Seven Sisters. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star plays a group of siblings raised by Willem Dafoe in what’s shaping up to be Orphan Black vs the one-child policy. The release date is set for later this year. We’ll keep you updated with specifics.


Cyberpunk Television

TNT’s Snowpiercer Adds More Talent

snowpiercer bug food
Snowpiercer

Snowpiecer, based on the film and comic series of the same name, continues its pre-production signings. Now Jennifer Connelly as Melanie Cavill, the “Voice of the Train,” and Mickey Summer as the empathetic Bess Till.

Mr. Robot Season 3: Disintegration and the Trump Nightmare

Mr. Robot

While the cast of Mr. Robot sees season three as the disintegration of Elliot’s world, Sam Esmail says this may be the closest the show has ever come to reality. In an interview with IndieWire, Esmail talked about the “Trump nightmare” and how the writers responded to the election while putting together the script for this season:

“I’m never going to deny the energy of what’s happened, but it coincided with what we’re doing in the third season.We kind of went down the road of this sort of dystopic version and here we are present day, so it kind of went hand in hand in a certain extent. But yeah, of course, it informed some of our writing.”

Cowboy Bebop Gets the Live-Action Treatment

Cowboy Bebop

It seems no anime is safe from Western adaptation. Tomorrow and ITV Studios announced that Cowboy Bebop is going live-action. However, unlike other anime adaptations, Spike Spiegel and the gang will have Sunrise Inc., the studio behind the original, executive producing. Comic book writer Chris Yost, known for writing X-Force, New X-Men, and X-23: Innocence Lost, will be writing.


Cyberpunk Books

Anthony Burgess’s Lost Dictionary of Futuristic Slang

Anthony Burgess

Since his death in 1993, many thought the unfinished works of Anthony Burgess would never be discovered. But the International Anthony Burgess Foundation found a vast archive of papers that includes a dictionary started more than 50 years ago, showing the origins of terms known to many through A Clockwork Orange. Archivist Anna Edwards said that the papers were found “at the bottom of a large cardboard box, packed underneath some old bedsheets.”


Cyberpunk Video Games

Cyberpunk 2077 Files Held for Ransom and Released

The lid on Cyberpunk 2077 has been a tight one, with us knowing nothing about the game beyond the early teaser for the game. On June 8th, it was announced that early development files for the game had been stolen by thieves, who then demanded a ransom or they would release them publicly. CD Projekt Red said in a statement on Twitter that:

“We will not be giving in to the demands of the individual or individuals that have contacted us, which might eventually lead to the files being published online. The appropriate legal authorities will be informed about the situation.”

CDPR also said that the files were old and largely unrepresentative of the current state of the game, but were sensitive or potentially revealing. Later the same day, after the refusal to pay the ransom, the files were released online. According to the Nooby Times,

The notes paint a picture of a cold and uncaring city torn apart by crime and conflict, divided between the haves and have-nots. Among the gangs occupying the city is a populist clan called the Droners, who individually aren’t well armed but establish their dominance through the sheer number of their followers. Another competing faction are the Grift-tons, residents of the city underworld, or the Grift. Tyrants over the dilapidated corners of the city, they pride themselves on dominance and the rule of the powerful.

You play as Gary Bolt, a police ghost operative with a scarred past, keeping the peace but also wrestling with personal demons. Trained in both combat and electronic subterfuge as a Glitcher, Gary Bolt carves a path through a city beset by Droners and Grift-tons, doling out justice within and outside of the law, all the while pursuing his mysterious, digital companion… Siri.

Despite the unfortunate way this information made its way to light, it is a fascinating peek at what is coming, but we have no way of knowing how much of this has remained part of the game’s story.


In collaboration with Neon Dystopia, Samjoko Publishing is running a contest to win both a physical and digital copy of The Veil, the cyberpunk roleplaying game. Read our review of the game here. There will be two winners, one based in the USA and the other across international waters, basically anywhere outside the USA. To enter, all you have to do is comment on our Facebook post associated with this article with your country of origin and any comments that you’d like to chime in with. If you aren’t a Facebook user, we won’t leave you out. Just send us a message to hello@neondystopia.com with your country of origin and we’ll include you as well. The contest ends on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017.

Quite a bit happened on the cyberpunk scene this week. Disagree? Let us know what we missed in the comments below.

 

The Veil is immersive cyberpunk roleplaying that allows everyone at the table to shape the world. In collaboration…

Posted by Neon Dystopia on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

6 Responses to “Last Week in Cyberpunk 6/9/2017”

  1. Claire Cavanaugh

    I’m very concerned by the apparently positive portrayal of members of the “alt right” in this article. Neon Dystopia is the very *last* publication I’d expect to see supporting facist white-supremacists

    • Isaac L. Wheeler (Veritas)

      Hi Claire,

      It is certainly not our goal to paint the alt-right in a positive light. To be clear, Peter Thiel and Palmer Luckey are nothing short of the cyberpunk villians that cyberpunk warned us about. The surveillance state, especially in regards to the border of the US and Mexico, is nothing but a furtherance of the expansion of an unnecessary surveillance state that accomplishs nothing but the denial of freedom to the citizens of, not only the US, but also the world. Theresa May and her conservative party represent nothing but an existential threat to the Internet culture as we know it, but to global human rights. Chelsea Manning and Reality Winner are nothing short of heroes that should be celebrated, and not made subject to a corrupt government and justice system. That being said, it is also important to hold people like Glenn Greenwald to account when they mess up or we disagree with them. This isn’t to say that Greenwald hasn’t been a force for some of the best journalism being produced today, and this goes for the Intercept as a whole.

      We do not support the alt-right, nor any political apparatus that supports the denial of freedom to any portion of the global populace. I hope this puts your concerns at ease, and clarified Neon Dystopia’s position.

      Best,

      Isaac L. Wheeler (Veritas)

    • Cyb3rpunkDav3

      Did you read what they wrote? I know someone with the site already got back to you, and I understand the need for clarity sometimes. But there’s a difference between ‘needing clarity’ and ‘concern trolling’.

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