Sept. 20, 2007. Dan Rather is suing his former employers at CBS and Viacom (CBS’s former parent company) for $70M.

I know, it’s not something that would normaly be on the front of Cyberpunk Review, but what Dan Rather says about how the network “news” is being filtered and delivered to you…

Samantha Gross (Associated Press Writer):

Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.

“Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news,” he said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Rather cites the “discredited” 2004 story about Bush’s military service for making him a scapegoat, causing his removal from the CBS Evening News in 2005.


Sound familiar yet? One theme of cyberpunk is corporate control over society (see What is Cyberpunk?), and what better way to exercise that control than to inject propaganda into the evening news, displacing hard reality with brain-draining fluff about some pop-tart.

Ever wonder why the “news” seems dominated by the latest Britney Spears fuck-up while little to no negativity against the Bush administration is present? And why has the number of bloggers exploded, while traditional press and news outlets struggle to adopt the Internet’s abilities?


What’s the reality, Kenneth? Rather’s career has been historical, but also controversial at times, including an on-air confrontation with then Vice-President “Papa Bush.” Like father, like son; George Bush senior never gave Dan Rather another interview and junior has never been interviewed by him either. Ironically, it was Air National Guard documents that described junior Bush as “unfit” that began the end of Rather’s career. A Bush family vendetta against Mr. Rather? Quite possible…

But Rather’s beef goes beyond the Bush family; He also says that journalism has lost its guts:

Daniel Terdiman, Staff Writer, CNET News.com:

During his hour-long keynote address Monday at South by Southwest Interactive, Rather opined at length on the state of his profession, in which too many journalists have become lapdogs to power, rather than watchdogs.

Rather reiterated the journalist’s role as a watchdog.

“Not as an attack dog…But what does the lapdog do? He just crawls into someone’s lap,” he said. “A good watchdog barks at everything that’s suspicious. I submit to you, the American press’ role is to be a watchdog.”

Part of the problem, according to the the CNET article, is that journalists don’t want to rock the boat and risk confrontation with the power elite so as not to jeopardize their access to them… something even Rather admits to doing. Unfortunately, this leads to the journalist becoming a puppet of the elite. Another problem is the growing consolidation of media companies that causes newsrooms to be more interested in keeping shareholders happy than finding the truth.

While he sees traditional journalists as seduced by corporate (and government) interests, he also sees hope in the Internet’s blogosphere:

“The Internet is a tremendous tool for not just news, (because) its potential is unlimited for that,” Rather said, but for “illumination and opening things up.”

Rather responded that he sees a lot of potential in the Internet, and in the blogosphere in particular, but that he worries about anonymity on a lot of Web sites and blogs.

He said it’s very easy to attack someone when you don’t have to put your name to your complaints. He’s not sure how to strike the right balance between professional and citizen journalism, but he believes the market will eventually provide that solution.


A quest for the TRUTH… maybe. Reuters reports that Rather’s reason for the lawsuit isn’t about the money:

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter:

Instead, Rather said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that he wants to use the litigation to find out what really happened behind the scenes after his discredited report on President Bush’s military record aired on “60 Minutes II” in 2004.


If this lawsuit leads to a gov-corp-newsroom connection being exposed, it will confirm the extent of the ruling power’s influence in crating a virtual reality to keep the sheeple clueless and sedate. If not, we can file it a conspiracy theory, complete with whispers of corporate control of the newsrooms.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.


How will you be tracked, monitored, and surveyed in thirteen years? One man gives his predictions on the marketing zine-site DMNews. While these predictions are meant more for “direct marketing” purposes, it wouldn’t take much to turn them into spy tools for Big Brother.

Washington-based privacy and information policy consultant Robert Gellman looks into his crystal ball and gives these predictions on future surveillance and possible consequences:


Auto tracking. Every car will be required to have a transponder, and automated highway readers will record all trips. The transponders will allow agencies to monitor driving habits and to issue electronic tickets for violations. The system will collect fees for using congested roads, replace parking meters and prevent undesirable people from driving in certain areas. For example, pedophiles will not be permitted to drive near schools. Driving with a malfunctioning transponder will be illegal. A black market will emerge in cars registered to “clean” or dead individuals.

Sounds like an evil E-ZPass, doesn’t it? Think I’ll take the bus… or get some “accessories” for my car like a black market transponder, machine guns, smoke screens, anti-aircraft missiles… :twisted:


Very personalized PCs. Every computer will have a static IP address. No one will be able to operate a computer without registering through a token, fingerprint or other identification device. All e-mail will be stored permanently, and records of other network activity, including searching and transactions, will also be retained. Stolen computers will be a hot black market item for criminals who will use them to avoid accountability for online actions.

Static IP addresses for PCs should make it easy for someone to trace where you are… unless you use an onion router or Tor, preferably one that isn’t easily defeated by traffic or timing analysis, or compromised by “security analysts.” Biometric login devices will be a safe way to access your system, until someone chops off a finger or digs one of your eyes out to defeat it. Don’t worry too much about the retention of e-mails and activities; Companies may not want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for more storage until terabyte drives become affordable. As for the black market computers, go with something relatively low-end, cheap, and disposable. You don’t want to spend too much on a system that you may only get to use once.


Mandatory MySpace. Every individual will be required to maintain a personal Web page with basic contact information accessible by the government and the public. People with out-of-date pages will be fined. An individual will be allowed to post minimal information for public use, but the government will demand more. Everyone will be required by law to have an active e-mail address. Official government notices will be sent by e-mail rather than by post.

Do we really want everyone on the net? It’s like driving; Some people should NEVER be allowed on the roads, real or virtual. They’ll just get in the fast lane and travel 25 when the limit is 65 and hold everyone up. Besides, can you see an Amish or Luddite webpage?

Also, people may not want to give much information out where perverts and telemarketers troll for people to harass. Then again, there’s nothing that says the information has to be 100% correct. :wink:


Society caught on tape. Surveillance cameras will be even more universal than they are today. You will not be able to walk down a street, enter a store, park in a garage, ride the subway, sit at your desk at work, open your front door or do anything else outside your home without being recorded.

Like that isn’t going on already. The big shock is quite a bit of surveillance is being done not by the government, but by the citizens themselves! That boy across the street with his RC car… it has a camera built into it, and his mother is watching him, and you, through her cell phone.


Penniless marketplace. Currency will disappear and all money will be electronic. Every transaction will be permanently tracked. Private money systems will develop using tokens, gold and other forms of intrinsic value. Paying in private money will work for some things, but prices for non-tracked activities will be double to cover the risks involved.

Guess Mr. Gellman hasn’t heard of “debit cards” yet. People who have checking accounts have them, they work almost like credit cards sans the high interest rates, they’re electronic, and transactions are tracked by your bank. Private money systems already exist as Warcraft players can attest to. But the idea of paying with “forms of intrinsic value,” to me that sounds like the Open Source community, where information is power and currency. 8)


Dog tags go digital. Identification chips implanted in the human body will be banned after some people are maimed or killed to obtain their chips. However, governments will promote the wearing of personal transponders so that scanners can identity each person within range. Personal transponders will first be touted as a safety program for children and then as a protection against terrorists. If your transponder does not work, you will be subject to arrest in any public space. Trafficking in transponders will be illegal, but widespread.

Mr. Gellman wrote his article the day before the reports of RFID chips causing cancer in lab rats. Personal transponders? Bad idea, unless you’re someone who works or plays in remote areas where rescuers need to find you fast. And if your transponder suddenly fails or runs out of battery juice, that automatically makes you a terrorist? Plus the possibility of cancer due to the radio waves they use…


Fast food goes under the table. The health and insurance industries will try to control costs by monitoring food purchases. They will begin by offering discounts to individuals who allow monitoring of their eating habits, but monitoring will eventually become mandatory. Separate checks will be universal in restaurants. Restaurants will prosper by putting fish on the menu, but will tell customers that the halibut is actually a hamburger. Eventually, insurers will audit restaurant food purchases to try to keep the reporting system honest. There will be a black market in unregistered junk food.

We’re already seeing a hostile takeover by “healthy foods,” surprisingly done voluntarily by restaurants and food manufacturers who are using “lower trans-fat oils” and making “zero carb, zero calorie, zero fat, zero salt, zero taste” foods. Next step: Everyone eats cardboard. MMMMMmmmmm….. cardboard. :p


Healthy living is a must. Government and private insurers will mandate that individuals agree to health treatments as a cost-saving measure. Computerized health records will be centrally reviewed to monitor compliance. If you don’t get a required treatment, your insurance will cost more or be cancelled, you will lose your job, your tax return will be audited and you will be labeled as unpatriotic. Digital health records will permit precise scoring of individual and family health risks. Each insured person and family will be individually rated and priced, even under employer-provided health insurance policies. An underground system of healthcare will develop for people who don’t want their insurer to know about some medical conditions. People will pay privately for care to avoid higher rates, uninsurability or monitoring.

Don’t forget about “data brokers” who would like nothing better than your private medical records to sell to the pharmacy cartels.



Relax, they’re only predictions. While some things like the penniless marketplace and “health food” replacing fast food are here already, the mandatory MySpace pages and transponders may never see daylight due to consumer boycotts and privacy and health concerns. Those transponders are just EVIL!

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living by Mr. Roboto.

WTF??? The Bush Administration is ever more determined to change the laws of the land to justify their (unconstitutional) actions. The latest attempt to stretch and skew definition now involves a Seattle man’s indictments on identity theft and wire fraud… and for “hacking” that wasn’t hacking. The story comes from Wired’s Threat Level blog.


The Story of the (non) Hack. Gregory Kopiloff used file sharing services like Limewire to find and download files with personal information, then used that info to make some $78K US in fraudulently secured credit cards. How did he pull the hack off?

He used Limewire’s search engine where he entered search terms like “tax return” or “credit card number” and he was able to find the files with sensitive information that he used to commit his fraud. That’s it… all he did was use a search engine to find the files… no brute-force password cracks, data stealing viruses, or custom made port opening programs were used. Instead, he knew that there were file-sharing (l)users who didn’t know how to set the software’s security to restrict sharing to certain files and directories and keep such theft from occurring.


A brief definition of “Hacking.” Even among long-time hackers, there’s some discrepancy as to what “real hacking” is. Some say it’s tunning and tweaking your wares to maximize your computer’s performance. Some say it’s exploring your computer and the Internet to see how they work. Others (the mass-media machinery) say it’s defeating security systems, breaking-and-entering, to gain unauthorized entry into a system. There is some obvious overlap in what hacking is, such as a broad knowledge of computers and the willingness to use it, but the act of using a search engine to find unsecured files is stretching the definition. One could find some similar stuff just by using Google or Yahoo.

Earlier this year, a research firm reported to the House Oversight Committee that they found some 200 classified files on P2P networks. More proof that the government is made up of techno-tards.

File Sharing = Hacking? Right. The RIAA would love to see such a hyper-extended, over-stretched definition of file-sharers as criminal hackers. In reality, the glove don’t fit so you must acquit!

Mr. Kopiloff is NOT a hacker. He’s a criminal, a fraud, and a thief… but he’s no hacker.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

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