Alec Muffett Profile picture
Jan 28, 2018 33 tweets 20 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Cross-referencing @mjranum's recent post about using Google Maps to identify CIA "Black" sites in Djibouti, with the #Strava heat-map, appears to offer corroboration…
Also there are more drones on the (but older?) DigitalGlobe/Mapbox imagery (Strava) imagery of Chabelly airport, than the (more recent?) equivalent GoogleMaps:…
Seems like this is the exercise ground:
This one is weird because it has perimeter security, but almost nobody goes into it wearing a fitbit / carrying a phone; perhaps _this_ is the CIA site?
#Mogadishu. You might as well start calling this the "First World People In Third World Countries" dataset.
It's probably a good time to remind people that this is an excellent example of what Michael Hayden said; we should all be aware.
In case you missed it:
And they do. They all do. All the Governments, or at least the ones who have people killed, do.
This one is quite impressive: deep in Antarctica…
Presumably this is someone's Polar expedition, straight down:
Looks like BurningMan gets offset year-on-year, or else consistently wrong devices are brought to the site.
But: Back to the spooky stuff, it's not like the US Government are incapable of enforcing good operational security. Groom Lake / "Area 51" is well-mapped, yet basically Strava-free:…
So I think it's worthwhile reiterating that I don't think Strava are doing anything "wrong" here; as in my first post of this thread, one can do this sort of research for general interest (link below) - or @bellingcat make a living from similar.…
By coincidence, in my village a company is headquartered, which in 2002 faced criticism that publishing its aerial photography would "compromise" secret sites in the UK. The world failed to end:… @GetmappingPLC
" openly advertises aerial pictures of the centres on its website, which it calls a complete photo survey of the country." — in 2002 this was mildly shocking. Today it (and similar) is on every phone.
Wow, there is actual available policy about this:… (ht: @SteveBellovin)
I wonder what @ShoebridgeC's perspective would be of the modern environment, now 16 years later when we have all manner of GoogleMaps, mini-drones and whatnot?…
For my money, anyone who somehow blames #Strava for sharing this information is on-par with those who instituted "Selective Availability" for GPS, thereby setting back an entire ecology of location-aware devices (later, apps) by YEARS…
Also, while we're at it, the #Strava heatmap information enables us, and brings us together, in much the same way that this does/did in 2010:…
Looks at all similar?
The world is better, more creative, more open and more livable place when we are not slaves to our irrational, or rational-but-exceedingly-rare fears. I can say this because I am a security expert, but not one of _those_ security experts.…
More CIA / similar bases from @mjranum with GoogleMaps & public news reporting…
#Strava environs of Mogadishu:
And, at a whim, we have confirmation:
Thinks: there's also some activity at Kismaayo… oh, right… I wonder what the curious square ghost is/was?
Let's take a punt: this is a strange amount of activity for a bare field; but it's in a national park in Kenya, and there are huts near west/south (eg: 4th pic) so it might be a wildlife thing? Or it might not...…
The weird thing about the Kenya one are some really straight lines which go either through, or near to, the site; could be GPS artifacts, or maybe a helicopter? Marked-up in dashed purple and projected to the coast for an experiment.…
Wow! Awesome research by @JakeGodin
Looks like this is the airbase documented by @nickturse in @theintercept, however…


However as @bentaub91 points out, there is another (this: helicopter) base, further north towards Arlit, but well SW of the city and apparently served by a rough airstrip, rather than the main airport.


Halfway between the two, this weirdness; no idea what the "pipes" are, centre-bottom:…
Jeez; you most certainly don't need #Strava for this. You just need to know how and what to Google.…

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More from @AlecMuffett

Oct 5, 2018
Re: @timberners_lee's #Solid / @SolidMit

Hi @robertscammell!

More interesting that Facebook, I used to work on TheMine!Project*, a highly influential, much-plagiarised & ultimately unsuccessful stab at personal information stores, from 2006-2011.

If you want to know my opinion of how @timberners_lee's #Solid will impact "tech giants", watch this video (actually, x3) from 2010; the bulletpoints are:

- facebook killers, aren't
- there's plenty of room for alternatives
- first it must grow

The media loves zero-sum, david/goliath stories, and thereby often causes doom ("ello") & even tragically suicidal levels of stress ("diaspora*") to people who are foolish enough to pitch themselves/their platforms as the antithesis of "social media giantism; so do please beware.
Read 7 tweets
Sep 4, 2018
Australia: "The Assistance and Access Bill 2018" - the people of Australia have SIX DAYS in which to register their feelings on encryption back doors:… #straya #endtoend
A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to telecommunications, computer access warrants and search warrants, and for other purposes #otherPurposes
A technical capability notice may require the provider to do acts or things by way of giving help to ASIO or an interception agency in relation to…
Read 13 tweets
Aug 5, 2018
Hey! You remember that piece where I was randomly asked to respond in a 2…3 hour window, about "fixing" Facebook? Well, it's out, and I've found it!
And, of course, like every other Associated Press piece, it is broadly republished in many newspapers, under mostly-the-same-headlines:
You get the same copy at CTV in Canada:
Read 11 tweets
Jul 30, 2018
<pops open bonnet of car>
Mark: "There you go, there's the engine. 4 cylinder petrol engine"
@CommonsCMS: "Where are the horses?"
Mark: "Horses?"
CMS: "We heard it's a 100 Horsepower engine."
Mark: "That's just a metaphor…?"
.@CommonsCMS: "No, we know there are horses. That engine is a black box. You're not being transparent about where the horses are."
Mark: "But that's not how cars really work…"
CMS: "Everyone knows that cars are driven by horsepower. We want to see the horses." #algorithms
Author's Note: this may sound like whimsy, but it's only a few years since I had the following conversation with a member of a London-based "civil society" campaigning organisation:
Read 9 tweets
Jul 27, 2018
HEREWITH: a _different_ argument about why it's easier to put a man on the moon than to have backdoorable cryptography at scale. This fine article got posted by Techdirt a couple days ago…
And it has received reasonable praise, commentary, and dad-jokes from the usual crypto suspects:
And it quotes the highly respectable @mattblaze who as-ever properly demolishes the argument on its own terms of groundless aspiration:
Read 15 tweets
Jul 9, 2018
While we're on the topic of scale: every so often I have the misfortune of having to listen to some politician or former civil servant* demanding that people "NEED TO LEARN THE VALUE OF THEIR PERSONAL DATA, GODDAMNIT!".

*eg: ex-GCHQ
This one can be quite quick:
- Facebook
- About 2 Billion users
- Annual revenue 2017: $40.653 Billion…
Here's simple division as a rough guide: your data is worth about $20

About $20 per annum per user.

Let's implausibly assume that you're a heavy user, and are worth double that, so that you're actually worth $40; that means your value to Facebook would be (40/12) = $3.33/month.
Read 5 tweets

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