Poppsikle blog

Comments disappeared on Wired post after it is called out on Twitter

I approached Wired reporter David Kravets on Twitter in March of 2014,  about 2012 comments of mine that begged Wired to report on Topix and its NSA data sharing.

At that point, March 11, 2014, all the comments were still on the thread, there were other comments there besides mine. This is the thread:

California Starts Up a Privacy Enforcement Unit

As you can see now, all the comments are gone. Where Comments are numbered on the post, the number is 0.

Here are my deleted comments, which I had fortunately screen-shot:



David Kravets said Wired deleted all the comments on its posts in a site update:

Why would they do that? As my comments prove, they are sometimes crucial information coming from whistleblowers.






Francis Jeffrey: President’s Review Group Finds Biggest NSA Program 100% Wasteful and Hazardous to National Security


Dear Colleagues,

I finally had a chance to read—

Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies  { file:  2013-12-12_rg_final_report }*

–and recount here, following, the portions that seemed most pertinent to the issues I’ve expressed concern over and interest in addressing via the software, “stochastic” & “human factors” paradigms.  (In other words:  pulling signals out of noise via targeted sampling constrained by budget, etc.;  and, pattern recognition that results in patterns recognizable to typical humans.)    The relative efficacy of “Section 215”  and  “Section 702”  are touched-on herein. *+*  {my letter footnotes are at bottom of this document file.}

Herein, attached following, I highlight the key lines.

Best Regards,

Francis Jeffrey


{Note: The following are direct text copies from the published .PDF but I have inserted the page references in parentheses, dotted ellipses & curvy brackets containing my comments and  “f/n” number citation to the original documents own footnotes,  for clarity sake.  Throughout, “section 215” refers to telephony metadata aggregation.  The asterisks and crosses refer to my own, added footnotes at the bottom of this letter}  **

The President’s Review Group writes: Although NSA maintained that, upon learning of these noncompliance incidents, it had taken remedial measures to prevent them from recurring, Judge Walton rejected the government’s argument that, in light of these measures, “the Court need not take any further remedial action.”  Because it had become apparent that NSA’s data accessing technologies and practices were never adequately designed to comply with the governing minimization procedures, NSA Director General Keith Alexander conceded that “there was no single person who had a complete understanding of the  [section 215]  FISA system architecture.”  {f/n.104} (p 106)


PRG: NSA believes that on at least a few occasions, information derived from the section 215 bulk telephony meta-data program has contributed to its efforts to prevent possible terrorist attacks, either in the United States or  somewhere else in the world. More often, negative results from section 215  queries have helped to alleviate concern that particular terrorist suspects are in contact with co-conspirators in the United States.  Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders.{**}   Moreover, there is reason for caution about the view that the program is efficacious in alleviating concern about possible terrorist connections, given the fact that the meta-data captured by the program covers only a portion of the records of only a few telephone service providers.  {++} (p.104)


PRG: Third, one might argue that, despite these concerns, the hypothetical mass collection of personal information would make it easier for the government to protect the nation from terrorism, and it should therefore be permitted. We take this argument seriously. But even if the premise is true, the conclusion does not necessarily follow.  Every limitation on the government’s ability to monitor our conduct makes it more difficult for the government to prevent bad things from happening. As our risk management principle suggests,  the question is not whether granting the government authority makes us incrementally safer, but whether the additional safety is worth the sacrifice in terms of individual privacy, personal liberty, and public trust. (p.114)
{para. refs. implicitly:  f/n.113–Church Committee Report at 778 (April 1976).}


PRG: There are two distinctions between the hypothetical and actual versions of section 215.   First, the total amount of data collected and retained in the hypothetical version of section 215 is much greater than the total amount of data collected and retained in the actual version. This means that the possible harm caused by the collection and the possible benefit derived from the collection are both reduced. Everything else being equal, this suggests that the balance between costs and benefits is unchanged.  {f/n.114}


{footnote here:}

PRG: 114 – It is possible, of course, for the government carefully to target its collection and retention of data in a way that maximizes the benefit and minimizes the cost, thereby substantially altering the balance of costs and benefits.  But there is  no reason to believe  that this describes the decision to collect bulk telephony  meta-data, in particular. (p.116)


PRG: We recognize that there might be problems in querying multiple, privately held data bases simultaneously and expeditiously. In our view, however, it is likely that those problems can be significantly reduced by creative engineering approaches. (p. 118)


{Conclusion is hidden in footnote here extending over bottoms of p.119–p.120:}

PRG: It is noteworthy that the section 215 telephony meta-data program has made only a modest contribution to the nation’s security. It is useful to compare it, for example, to the section 702 program, which we discuss in the next Part of our Report. Whereas collection under section 702 has produced significant information in many, perhaps most, of the 54 situations in which signals intelligence has contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks  since 2007, section 215 has generated relevant information in only a small number of cases, and there has been no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome would have been different without the section 215 telephony meta-data program. Moreover, now that the existence of the program has been disclosed publicly, we suspect that it is likely to be less useful still.

{end of f/n that extends across the bottoms of p.119–p.120}

PRG: C. September 11 and its Aftermath

The September 11 attacks were a vivid demonstration of the need for detailed information about the activities of potential terrorists. This was so for several reasons.

First, some information, which could have been useful, was not collected and other information, which could have helped to prevent the attacks, was not shared among departments. 

Second, the scale of damage that 21st-century terrorists can inflict is far greater than anything that their predecessors could have imagined. {…} (p.71)

- – - – - – -

* Source:
Report and Recommendations ofThe President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies
{ 2013-12-12_rg_final_report }
Executive Office of the President
Washington, DC, 12 Dec. 2013


**Note: Bold emphasis added. In all of the above excerpts except one, “section 215” refers to the automated telephony metadata aggregation program, citing to the section number in the Patriot Act, now codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1861. The exception is “conventional section 215 orders” (on p.104) – viz: individualized orders to collect data, which were the apparent & original intent of that law. Underline emphasis added.

*+* The most obvious (& publicly disclosed) design defects and legal defects in the “Sec. 702” programs will be treated in a subsequent letter.—FJ 12.Feb.2014

++ On p.104, the hazard subtly alluded to is that “alleviating concern” this way is likely to amount to FALSE NEGATIVES, causing real threats to be discounted !

The Roots of the Problem. Francis Jeffrey on Internet development, DARPA, the early NSA and what happened next


How it all began. Government Contractors & Bureaucracy

The government buys lots of goods & services (“contractors”) who push whatever they have to offer.  The government also promotes and nourishes certain developments (for example, DARPA & university research grants). The bureaucracy (for example, Pentagon) is full of people with certain career specialties, and assigned certain tasks.

Who is guarding the People?

Congress is elected largely using money from contractors who supply goods and services to the government. So not only are the wolves guarding the chickens, but also the eggs. (and no one knows which actually came first!)


Remember when I worked for DARPA in the 1970s, we were developing the Internet (then called DARPA-NET & NSF-NET) because it was thought to be a communication method that (a) would survive a war [the parallel ".mil" side of it], and (b) accelerate the pace of collaboration among government, university & industry. I don’t really know whether anyone at that point was contemplating its potential for “data mining”, or even the prospect that it would become a public communication and mass-media system.

The Early NSA

What NSA was thinking in those days is largely documented in a book, “The Puzzle Palace,” which they tried to suppress AFTER it was published. SIGINT in those days seemed to be mostly about interpreting messages picked-out from telephone and radio signals. This required lots of translators (human) and s/w that scanned signals for “key words”. They had “listening posts” all over the world, but the domestic nexus seemed to be “telephone exchanges”, which in the 1960s & 70s were being computerized (UNIX operating system, developed by AT&T Bell Labs).

9/11-fueled Acceleration

The NSA was focused on ther SIGINT contribution to (real) military intelligence and counter-intel, with the identified threats being the USSR, etc. While there were some low-key “NSA snooping scandals” in the 1970 & 80s, i think they really got messed up in the 2nd Bush administration, and the way it played the “9/11″ catastrophe to its own advantage. Suddenly there was a permanent enemy and a permanent state of war — just as George Orwell envisioned.  So the Constitution was abandoned, and money flowed to anyone who was well-connected and seemed to offer a piece of the technology puzzle.

Change that needs to happen

We’d like all this current commotion to result in restoring the Constitution, reinforcing private ownership of our own data and bio-data, and a national SIGINT system that is focused, effective and efficient for its primary and stated purpose (i.e., REAL mil. intel & counter-spy ops). I would be for certain additional functions that are carefully and narrowly defined, only:  AGAINST human trafficking, abduction, torture, murder-for-hire and large-scale international organized crime that corrupts governments or traffics in (specifically) nuclear, biological or nanotech weapons.

- Francis Jeffrey

See also: Lets Solve the Problem of Restoring Internet Privacy! Francis Jeffrey on How to do it




Lets Solve the Problem of Restoring Internet Privacy! Francis Jeffrey, on How to do it


“What I am NOW proposing is that the law must be clarified to re-establish private ownership of all of one’s personal data, with limited and specific rights to use the data to be given in contractual situations.”

Francis Jeffrey, is an early internet pioneer, brilliant inventor/engineer/programmer and thinker.

“Francis Jeffrey is a pioneer and forecaster on the frontier interface between communication technologies and neuroscience. He is a consultant on ethical applications of science and technology, co-founder of civic and environmental organizations, and served as CEO of companies devoted to the application of biological principles in computer software & network design.” According to published accounts

Francis belongs in a fairly small category of highly innovative people I have been privileged to  know:  [Marvin] Minsky [Edward] Fredkin, Ted Nelson, John McCarthy come to mind…” – Jerry Pournelle, SiFi author and former Editor of BYTE magazine

He has some very good ideas, for solving the problems of data invasion, gathering and spying. Here is his concept:

In about 1982, I started talking around the idea of “Futures Leverage” as a networked interactive-creative format, and that each member would OWN their individual “information-action condominium” within a virtual, relational network. You could then invite people into your “condominium” for conversation, planning, etc.;  but you individually OWNED that piece of informational “real estate.”  And what guests brought in or took out, could be governed by agreement — as in the real world.

(Context:  this was with early Internet, but before the web format existed;  lots of BBS  [bulletin board systems, now named "Blogs"] in those days, connected through various dial-up data networks, or as pier-to-pier networks ["CommuniTree" was an early one when the Apple II came out], and eventually Compuserve and AOL, etc., came into action.  SO I quickly learned their limitations & complications.)

What I am NOW proposing is that the law must be clarified to re-establish private ownership of all of one’s personal data, with limited and specific rights to use the data to be given in contractual situations.

For example, if you have a business relationship with someone, then each of you is entitled to use the information exchanged in and necessary for that relationship;  but, no one automatically gets the right to give away, sell or otherwise exploit the data (except by explicit and voluntary CONTRACT). And once the business relationship, or individual transaction, is completed and settled, the data would remain in a CONFIDENTIAL state for some period that is necessary for business records.

This paradigm was assumed under English-American “Common Law”, but has been eroded (lately at an accelerating pace).  It is parallel with Common Law rights to Intellectual Property (“IP”) which supplement formal Copyright protection (etc.).

In addition to the obvious benefits, this approach solves many of what have become now pressing problems.  For example, the dubious “Third Party Doctrine” is a Fed. Ct. precedent that for about 30 years has been exploited to assert that once you give data to a business (or gov. agency), you no longer have “a reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding what was communicated. Courts subsequently have over-applied this idea to, even, situations when the information was given involuntarily, accidentally or unknowingly — or even when it was effectively extorted from you.  (It’s a crack-pot concept, but that is the current state of the Law in the U.S.!)

Much of the “legal basis” for the recently-revealed mass-spying, indeed hinges on the “Third Party Doctrine,”  BECAUSE the laws on privacy say that you have a right to privacy ONLY in communications situations where you “have a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (This comes from the idea that if you are having a quiet conversation at home, or on the phone, it’s private;  but if you are conversing loudly, out in a public place, they you are giving away the information to anyone who hears you..etc. etc.) This was an eminently reasonable view of the obvious the limits of privacy, until it was perverted into the “Third Party Doctrine” by judicial hyper-activism in support of governmental over-reach.

- Francis Jeffrey

Further info:

Software Designers Look for Connections at Event, Los Angeles Times, by Karen Kaplan, staff writer, 18 January 1999


An Interview with Francis Jeffrey, a 1997 interview


Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs


New Year’s Eve Story



This is the New Year’s Eve story I told on Twitter.

Dec. 31, 2013

I am going to tell a New Year’s Eve story.

Its a Cherokee story, but as a footnote, my grandmother was an adopted American Indian, but the story is mine.

There was a Cherokee girl in a tribe, a tribe that was besieged by Grizzly bears, a very dangerous bear, deadly.

She had the ability, to face-down these bears, they had no power over her.

Now you would think, this girl would be very valued by the tribe, but what happened is, the Chief and wanna-be Chief’s,

had big Egos that could not bear, someone being better at bear defense, than they were. To the extent of shunning her, endangering the tribe

So all this carnage happened, that the girl had to witness, just because of Huge Egos, selfish to the point of being deadly.

They became the Grizzly bears. Inside the tribe, not outside of it.

Greedy to the point of being deadly. Profit over People, profit made on human suffering.

They were sooooo very concerned with their appearance, their socially acceptable “face”, they were nervous all of the time.


Meriwether Lewis, wrote about Grizzly bears in the journals he kept on his historic expedition.

He was blown away that the Indians were able to hunt them with the weapons they had, he knew how fierce they were.

Fierce, big, strong, brutal bears, blood-thirsty. Pure animal hatred.

Those Chiefs sure tried hard to mask this, but they were the ones responsible for all the carnage. Blood-money.

The Cherokee girl didn’t know what to do and fell asleep at last, after a long night up.

She had a dream where she was in the mountains, with bears, but they were the friendly kind, they were singing and partying.

They were singing the New Radical’s song, You Get What You Give “Wake up kids We’ve got the dreamers disease”

“One dance left This world is gonna pull through Don’t give up”


“Stop complaining” said the nice bear You’ve got the gift of stopping Grizzly bears, just use it, and stop acting like you are so special.

“We all have our gifts, yours’ is stopping Grizzly bears, lol” and the nice bear danced off into the night.




16 Essential Troll Busting Techniques

16 Essential Troll Busting Techniques

by Virginia Hoge


I have been very heavily trolled for the past four years. There was no way to escape this trolling, I had to deal with it. I have dealt with some of the most difficult trolls in the Country on one of the most violent forums – Topix, a virtual hate-machine – a forum where there was no option to block the trolls or to quickly remove their worst comments. I have learned (the hard way, making lots of mistakes along the way) techniques in how to counter and how to handle trolls in this time.

There are so many practical applications to learning how to counter-troll. For instance, so much has been invested in trolling, and this has not been enough reported on. Learning how to counter these pundits, is an important lesson for the year 2013. Cyber-bullying is ending too many lives and a lot of this could be halted with more training in countering/resistance techniques. I originally began this list 2 years ago, to help gay teens being cyber-bullied. Too many kids are dying and they could learn from learning how to fight back.

These are the techniques I use in dealing with trolls. There are those who would disagree with me, but these are the ones I use.

One:  A show of strength: I think the most important thing with trolls, is to be like a brick wall against them. You put up a verbal wall that says: Nope, you are not going to get away with this. No matter how much you threaten or insult me, I am not going to back down. A show of strength is important with them, they are less courageous than you are. Nothing anyone can say can get to you if you don’t let it. Trolls work to get under your skin, don’t let them. When dealing with trolls, you need to learn to take control of your own perceptions. This is hard and takes time so be patient with yourself.

Two:  All trolls can pretty easily be tripped with their own words. They are illogical and all you have to do, is to point out the illogic of their posts. Turn what they say around, work into it. You leave them frustrated with nothing to say in doing this.

Three:  Humor is a great tool with trolls. Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand. The importance of playfulness and humor, cannot be over-estimated. A collection of funny YouTube videos, of songs etc., is also a good thing to collect to have to use against trolls. A YouTube link makes a funny reply, also links to funny pictures.

Four:  Handling insults and lies. The natural response when insulted or when a troll tells a lie about you, is to say “No I am not” or “No I did not”. This ironically, becomes a way they have caught you up in a troll game. They will keep saying “Yes you are” “Yes you did” (because you have shown them what they said got to you). The best way to counter insults, is with humor and irreverence. Make a joke about it, show humility even, laugh at yourself. When a lie is told about you, say one time only No dude, I didn’t do it”. And walk off. No arguing.

Five:  Never show anger. This is a hard one. They are working very hard to make you angry. Showing anger gives them what they want. Stay as calm as possible, as irreverent as possible, but still being firm. It is very important to recognize when it happens, that a troll has gotten to you, and then to back off of the debate.  Walk away from the computer. There is always another day. Time is something you can us in your favor.

Six:  Never show hurt. The natural response when a troll has hurt you, is to appeal to the “audience”, be it the troll or a number of viewers of the thread on an open message board, about your hurt. Its called crying in trolling. Again, it shows the troll they have got to you and you cannot expect conscience, from the troll, you cannot expect them to feel sorry for you and I have found, you can expect very little sympathy from other audience members also, even if they are your friends. People are very uncomfortable with hurt feelings and your “crying” about them will not elicit the response you seek. Keep your hurt hidden, stay a brick wall. Walk away from the computer if they have gotten to you.

Seven:  Mocking. This is when it gets ugly, but is needed sometimes for stubborn, professional trolls. Mock them, they cannot stand it, and it shows them that you are as adept in their tactics as they are.

Eight:  Ignore them. When trolls keep posting hateful crap, when it gets the most ugly, ignore these comments. When they get really mean, you know they are putting their “all” into it, and your ignoring these comments will drive them the most crazy. I have likened it to a game of tennis. If they hit the ball to you and you do not return it, there is no game. They don’t get the perverse pleasure they seek in getting to you.

Nine:  The LOL. Learning the different meanings of lol (laugh out loud) are important when dealing with trolls. Lower-case “lol”, shows humility – important – it shows you are not being “preachy”. In the example above, adding a lower-case “lol” to “No dude, I didn’t do it, lol” helps to better convey your meaning, as strange as that sounds. It works. “Lol” is used for stronger emphasis and best used on its own. “No dude, I didn’t do it. Lol.” Its stronger so use it carefully. Upper-case LOL means the full out “laugh out loud”. This is used in mocking the troll. When the troll says something ridiculous, sometimes the best thing you can reply is “LOL”. And leave it at that.

Ten:  Back up other posters they are attacking. Back up is important with stubborn trolls, don’t just defend yourself, defend others. Agreement is a troll tactic, they often work in pairs, agreeing with each other. We can do that also.

Eleven:  Persistence. Trolls have all day and night to post away, and will and do. You need to stay on them, not just make one comment and leave, you need to debate with the troll to turn the argument into your favor. Time is something you can use in your favor, take time off, make the troll wait for you, don’t reply to every comment of theirs, be selective, reply to none sometimes. Talk about something completely different. That puts you in control.

Twelve:  Love. Trolls are human beings, as mean, ugly and nasty as they get. Do not hate them, your hatred will only hurt you, not them. You need to see beyond the front they are putting up, into their humanity and always remember it. It can be called on, especially with trolls you are countering for a long time. But do not use it early on, do not try to “win the troll over” too soon. That will not work. Only keep it in the back of your mind and in time, it can be possible to break through and find your common humanity. I have made friends with some trolls who used to troll me.

Thirteen (related to the above): Reconciliation/Understanding. Trolls are often hot-headed people and say hurtful things quickly, often have short tempers, have been hurt themselves by hurtful words and are lashing out. Its important to distinguish between a troll that has a good person underneath and a malicious hater, because one of the most under-looked but important tools in troll busting is Understanding. It is possible to make peace with someone you do not agree with, to find common ground and this is often very productive. 

Beware of biases in yourself, understand that there are going to be people you don’t agree with, don’t make every disagreement a cause for combat. Laugh off minor insults, don’t be too prickly. Again, stay calm, don’t get angry.

Fourteen:  Keep your replies as short as possible. Your reply to the troll is what they will base their “ammo” on for their attacks. The more “ammo” you give them, the worse it is for you. Keeping your replies as short as possible gives them less to work with and nails your point more efficiently.

Fifteen: Troll Crying. Crying, in troll terminology, is over-complaining, crying about someone (if the troll is your combatant, you). Its a show of weakness and I find it all the time in the biggest bullies. The biggest bullies are the biggest crybabies. This is a Win for you. Once a troll starts crying, you know they are weaker than you are and falling back, capitalize on this.

Sixteen:  Have fun with it. In essence, countering trolls is a cyber version of the Great Art of Debate. Read up on debate tactics, study the masters. Importantly: study how trolls fight with each other, find ones that are good at it. Trolls will often call trolling playing.

You can learn to play too.

© Virginia Hoge, Dec. 2013. All rights reserved.

Suggestions for Gen Keith Alexander

General Keith Alexander has pitched the idea of sharing “tools” to help protect the Internet, businesses and us.


I have a few suggestions for him, if he is really serious.

1. Go after the malware epidemic, its causing so many problems, work to find a way to halt malware and its devastation.

2. Get onto Topix an stop the pedophiles, the drug dealers, those causing harm to lives and entire communities. Fight the racists in Sanford FL, Atlanta GA, The African American forum, etc. Make the management responsible for what happens on their site.

3. Initiate a total change of policy that stops gathering the data and spying on, innocent Americans and what has already been gathered is erased. Establish firm support for Internet privacy and take the steps to ensure it, including legislation.

Shadow-ban hack still in place on Twitter.

Spoke too soon, my comments are still being shadow-banned on Twitter on certain threads. It happened again today.

What I see:


What everyone else sees:


LOL! Its funny how scared they are of my opinion but its not funny that even the CEO of Twitter, can’t seem to keep this from happening on his site, although I will approach him again on it.

Stay tuned.


Twitter CEO steps in to remove shadow-ban hack

I am going to cautiously declare the shadow-ban hack I have been fighting for so long, has been removed from my Twitter accounts. A back and forth with Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, appears to have worked to have the problem addressed.


I believe he was honest and truly did not know that his site was being manipulated, I never thought Twitter was behind the shadow-banning, I knew all too well from my experiences on Topix and Facebook also, that shadow-banning was a method of my enemies who have long been terrified of me and my opinion.

Every dirty trick in the book has been played on me because Topix is that corrupt, that empowered, that sheltered from exposure…

That cowardly, that fearful.

Topix’s dealings with the NSA need a lot more investigation, they have proven they have a lot to hide. One thing  is certain already, there is no way the NSA wants their connection with a site that unethical – one that houses illegal drug dealing, pedophiles, harm to children, women and families, harm to so many lives, massive destruction of American lives and communities, World-wide abuse, racism like no where else – known.

My fate has put me in the position of being the whistle-blower on all this, I have paid a high price for it, and the wall of enabling silence has facilitated this.

What can I say. They messed with the wrong person. Some people dig in their heels in storms. Some people know that all walls can come down, that justice in the long run, always prevails.

Force is a failed weapon. It creates and strengthens resistance.

shadow-banning on Twitter – screenshots

Here’s what I see when I reply to a Glenn Greenwald post, on the thread:


Here is what everyone else sees:



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