Letter to 8Chan from Homeland Security


Letter to 8Chan from Homeland Security
by Susan Basko, esq.


The letter below was sent to Jim Watkins, the owner of the message board 8Chan, from  Bennie G. Thompson, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives.  Notice, it was sent by mail, email, and Twitter.  The letter outlines how 8Chan has been used as a place to post white terrorist manifestos before at least 3 mass shootings in recent months. The letter then asks Watkins to come appear before the Committee to tell what steps he is taking to stop the "proliferation of extremist content on 8Chan."

Well, la ti da, finally... I have been singing a chorus for years about the predatory and dangerous hate-filled websites -- 8Chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Bullyville, Doxbin, Kiwi Farms, and online racist groups that promote online and real-life hate, such as those connected to Rustle League, Bullyville, GNAA, etc.  Other killings have been linked to Encyclopedia Dramatica and Kiwi Farms. Numerous people (including myself) have reported being terrorized, defamed, harassed, having their privacy invaded, and their safety endangered by the owner and denizens of Bullyville, a smear-extortion website.  Doxbin was closed down by the Feds, but a mirror of it is reportedly being used by Neo-Nazis to swat and endanger lives of journalists and many others. There have been reports for many years of peoples' lives being harmed or destroyed by the people who use the website and forum of Encyclopedia Dramatica to post defamation, sexual filth, and extortion against many victims.

In many cases, the users of these sites and members of the associated groups overlap with each other.  A lot of them consider themselves "edgy" or involved in the hacker - doxer - swatter scene. The overlay is one of misogyny, often hate for older people, white racism, antisemitism, often a promotion of swastikas, Hitler, and Nazism, and a continuous theme that the victims are to blame for the harm that has come to them.  The people from these groups often label their victims as "pedos" or "rapists," common terrorizing smears meant to harm their reputations while making the victims easy targets for others.  Other common denigrations include calling people "lolcows," "ni--er," and claiming that those who call for decency and civility must be crazy, stupid, or don't understand how the internet works.  When you see these things on websites, you know the sort of territory you have stepped into.  Another ongoing theme is that those who object to this sort of uncivilized terrorizing discourse are "thin-skinned" or even against the First Amendment or free speech. 

Swatting (fake emergency calls meant to get an emergency response sent to the person) or wellness calls (similar to swats, but claiming concern for the person as a way to harass them with a visit from police) are popular methods of harassment with the people from these groups.  It is all about endangering others, endangering lives, smearing reputations, harassment, stalking, invasions of privacy, and creating an overall environment of misogyny, racism, antisemitism, hate, and most of all -- danger to others.

The pattern of mass shooters and other criminals being radicalized among these groups and on these websites is finally being recognized.  Finally.  I have been hollering about this for years now and finally it is being officially recognized.  The internet should not be a dangerous place and should not be a breeding ground for crimes.

Jim Watkins reportedly lives in the Philippines, but his website is registered in Reno, Nevada.  Since his website appears to be used as part of crimes, it seems the U.S. probably has jurisdiction over him.  That could become a legal question.

Owners of such websites often rely on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to shield them from liability for torts, such as defamation.  They claim, sometimes truthfully and often not, that the harmful postings are made by third party users, not by the owners and workers on the sites.  However, Section 230 does not apply to criminal acts and there is no shield protection when a website is used for crimes, even by the users of the site.

It will be interesting to see what happens.  The internet should not be a breeding ground for stalkers, swatters, mass shooters, bombers, and on and on -- but it has become that.  It's good to finally see Homeland Security Committee stand up.





Trademark Office hammers down on fake uses!

Gas station and general store shack in the Wild West
 Trademark Office hammers down on fake uses!
by Susan Basko, esq.


The U.S. Trademark Office has just instituted two new procedures that are meant to weed out fake uses or non-uses of a trademark. These two changes are bound to leave a lot of people losing their trademarks.

First up, the trademark office has instituted new procedures for detecting fake specimens.  Up till now, the U.S.Trademark Office has been like the Wild West with trademark applicants providing fake specimens -- but there is a new sheriff in town now, or at least, there are new specimen examinations procedures.  A while back, the trademark office noticed that quite a few trademark applicants were submitting specimens that appeared to be digitally created or digitally altered specimens or mock-ups.  Specimens are supposed to be pictures of the real goods with the trademark on them or on the tags, etc.  The goods are supposed to actually exist, and some applicants were faking that or were submitting fake specimens because they thought they looked better or something.

For example, let's say a person wants a trademark on a certain saying or logo for use on t-shirts.  The person might go to a website that prints anything on anything, such as t-shirts, mugs, etc., and create a digital picture of their saying or logo on a t-shirt, mug, etc.  If that picture is submitted as a specimen, it is a a digitally-created specimen, a fake, and cannot be accepted.

Mock-ups are also unacceptable specimens.  That's when you create a picture that shows what something would look like if it was ever made.  That is not good enough for the Trademark Office!  To get a trademark, the goods must actually exist and you must actually be selling the goods in commerce, for real.

What's the problem here?  Many one-off printers have sprung up online. These companies print anything on any of a whole line of products.  They don't print the item until someone orders it.  What this means is that if a trademark applicant wants a trademark for each of those items, the applicant is going to have to get printed up and made at least one of each thing on which they plan to get a trademark.  You want to get a trademark for your logo on t-shirts, hoodies, and hats?  You cannot submit digitally-created pictures of your logo on a t-shirt, hoodie, and hat.  Instead, you have to have at least one of each of those printed and sent to you, take a picture of them, and submit those pictures as your specimens.

This is a situation created by trademark law not keeping up with real life.  There are many such examples of this lag time between the trademark rules and practices and the way things are done now.  With an online one-off printer, the items really are for sale.  Anyone can order any of the items, and the companies print them up and fulfill the order by shipping them to the buyer.  There is nothing fake or unreal about this.  But the trademark office exists in the olden days, when, in order to sell a t-shirt with a particular logo on it, you had to first have a batch of those printed up, have them in stock, and then sell them.

The only way to deal with this issue is by having at least one of each item you hope to get trademarked, take pictures, and use those pictures as your specimens.  If you try to use digitally-created specimens, your trademark application will be denied.

The booklet below, published by the U.S. Trademark Office, explains the procedures the examiners will use to weed out fake specimens. They plan to use such top secret tricks, such as using searching images in Google.

The second big thing being implemented by the Trademark Office is the Post Registration Proof of Use Audit Program. This is a program where some people who have been granted trademark registration are going to have to prove that they are actually using the trademark in commerce on all the categories of goods or services for which the mark is registered.

For example, some people or companies will register a trademark on many categories of goods or services, but are not really offering for purchase at least several of those goods or services.  Let's say a trademark owner registered a trademark for women's clothing, hats, wallets, bedsheets, linens, perfume, shoes, stationery, and dishes.  Maybe they are only actually using the trademark in commerce on clothing and perfume.  The audit will show that the other categories are not in use, and then those trademark categories can be cancelled, so the trademark is freed up so someone else can use it.

Always keep in mind, the main rule about trademark is that you must be using a trademark in order to have a trademark.  Using it is everything.

I'll be attending a seminar run by the Trademark office that will tell about the audit process.  After that, I'll let you all know more about it. 

This is the booklet that tells trademark examiners how to detect a digitally created specimen, a digitally altered specimen, and a mock-up.  If you would like to see the booklet full-screen size, click in the lower right-hand corner of the booklet on the "full screen" icon, which is four arrows pointing out.

Palantir Cybermesh - some info about it


Palantir Cybermesh - some info about it
by Susan Basko, esq.

see also: Palantir Foundry

If you woke up this morning hoping to learn more about an obscure data-sharing software suite sold by Palantir Technologies, Inc. (herein called Palantir), today is your lucky day.  Today's topic is Palantir Cybermesh -- a peer-to-peer data sharing tool that allegedly allows detection of and an intelligent, coordinated response to computer and network threats.

Cybermesh is marketed to businesses, governments, and non-governmental agencies.  What kind of computer threats might such groups face?  Banking malware.  Ransomware. Theft of data. Phishing of emails and the associated social engineering and theft of information.  Denial of service attacks.  And on and on, whatever is thought up by people as diverse as kids in their bedrooms all the way up to organized hacking agencies from other governments.  Such attacks work to shut down services, lock up important information, interfere with relationships, steer the course of activities and decisions.  

The idea behind Cybermesh seems to be that with peers sharing threat information, they might notice common situations faster and be able to identify a set of common events as being an existing threat.  Let's say the peers sharing information are hospitals.  One hospital might notice something that appears to possibly be someone trying to use ransomware.  If five hospitals notice a similar thing, they can see there is a pattern of attempted attacks.  Then they can all gather and decide how to respond as one, to protect all of them.  That's risk mitigation based on peer sharing.

First up, let's look at how Palantir describes Cybermesh:.  I added the colored highlights to the words I found interesting.

CYBERMESH
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: computer security consultancy in the field of analysis of computers and networks to assess information security vulnerability and cyber threats; development of customized plans for improving computer security and preventing wrongful or risky activity for businesses, governmental and non-governmental agencies by designing, developing, and advising on the effective use of computer software solutions for detecting, analyzing, and mitigating computer and network security threats; consulting services in the field of design, selection, implementation and use of computer hardware and software systems for others; research in the field of cyber intelligence technology and cyber security technology; software-as-service (SaaS), namely, hosting software applications for others in the field of analysis of computers and networks to assess information security vulnerability and cyber threats; application service provider services (ASP), namely, hosting software applications for others in the field of analysis of computers and networks to assess information security vulnerability and cyber threats. FIRST USE: 20140700. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20140700

045. US 100 101. G & S: monitoring of computer systems for security purposes; monitoring of computer systems for security purposes for improving computer security and preventing wrongful or risky activity for businesses, governmental and non-governmental agencies. FIRST USE: 20140700. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20140700


WHAT THIS ALL SAYS is that Cybermesh is a set of computer security that is going to be marketed to governments, businesses, and non-governmental agencies.  Palantir says it sells software, consulting and plans for what hardware and software for the clients to buy.

Palantir also says it runs SaaS (software as a service) for such clients.  For those unfamiliar with the concept, SaaS is when a client or customer does not purchase software, but instead, logs in to a server to use such software, often with a virtual desktop on the site.  Among the possible advantages to SaaS is that it can be constantly updated and maintained by the host company, rather than relying on the customer to acquire and install updates.  A possible disadvantage is that a client only has access to SaaS as long as they keep paying the subscription fee.  However, this usually balances out because most purchased software quickly becomes obsolete, while SaaS is supposedly being kept fresh and improving all the time.  Today, everyday people use SaaS for everything from screenwriting to photo editing to sending party invitations; using SaaS for computer security seems to make sense.

Next, let's look at 17 pages of Cybermesh ads, explanations, and a marketing booklet.  If you would like to read it in full-size, go to the bottom right-hand corner of the booklet and click on the "full size" icon, which is 4 arrows pointing outward.  Analysis and Commentary follow after the booklet.

Cybermesh ads, brochures, etc. Fair Use for purposes of analysis and commentary, which is posted below the pdf.





ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY:  Palantir is a marketing genius, similar to other companies I have looked at that market software that is supposed to mitigate cyber threats or IRL threats.  I think they keep taking the same basic software and packaging it under different names for different high-ticket markets.  Palantir registers trademarks on a lot of its products.  The trademarks make the product seem important or unique, but a trademark is not a patent, and there is nothing to stop Palantir or any company from marketing a simple software as as if it were a complex system, or from marketing the same software over and over under different names.  The ads and brochures have sophisticated imagery and wording that appear iconic and scientific.  I suspect they're rebranding the same basic popsicle sticks as building supplies, firewood, educational tools, easy-to-carry small weapons, etc.  Whatever.  If this is what it takes for businesses and governments to catch 14 year-olds in their bedrooms who are hell-bent on raiding computers for fun, frolic, and financial gain, so be it.  Yes, yes, yes, we all know there are some sophisticated players in the cyber threat arena out to wreak havoc on the very institutions that make our lives comfortable and safe.  I am just poking fun.

Palantir Foundry - some info about it



Palantir Foundry - some info about it
by Susan Basko, esq.


There's some brouhaha about this company, Palantir Technologies, Inc., and how their products are possibly used.  Therefore, I will post some info about some of their products.  Today's product is Palantir Foundry.  If you come back again, other products will be elucidated.

My intention is not to make a value judgement or say these products are good or bad.  Most products of all kinds are neutral and can be used for good or bad purposes.  

The following are the ways that Palantir has chosen to describe the goods and services being offered under the Palantir name:  (the highlights are added by me)

Word Mark PALANTIR FOUNDRY
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer software for information and data integration, analysis, management, collaboration, algorithmic and human-driven exploration, viewing, modeling, exporting, visualization, organization, modification, book marking, transmission, storage, exchange, sharing, querying, auditing, collection, editing, hosting, security, and tracking of data and information designed for and marketed to governmental, business, or other institutional users, but not to individual consumers, and not distributed through retail channels. FIRST USE: 20141201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20141201

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Educational services, namely, providing training, conferences and seminars in the fields of data and information, data analysis, computers, computer software, and information technology; providing online non-downloadable publications in the nature of reports, presentations, spreadsheets, case studies, tutorials, guides, and user manuals in the fields of data and information, data analysis, computers, computer software and information technology; all the aforementioned services designed for and marketed to governmental, business, or other institutional users, but not to individual consumers, and not distributed through retail channels. FIRST USE: 20141201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20141201

PALANTIR FOUNDRY
Goods and Services IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Business data analysis designed for and marketed to governmental, business, or other institutional users, but not to individual consumers, and not distributed through retail channels; consulting services concerning use of business data and information by financial institutions, health institutions, nonprofit organizations, legal institutions, commercial entities, and government agencies for business purposes; data and information analysis consulting services related to business data and information provided by financial institutions, health institutions, nonprofit organizations, legal institutions, commercial entities, and government agencies; all the aforementioned services designed for and marketed to governmental, business, or other institutional users, but not to individual consumers, and not distributed through retail channels. FIRST USE: 20141201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20141201

042. US 100 101. G & S: Software-as-service (SaaS) featuring software for information and data integration, analysis, management, collaboration, algorithmic and human-driven exploration, viewing, modeling, exporting, visualization, organization, modification, book marking, transmission, storage, exchange, sharing, querying, auditing, collection, editing, hosting, security, and tracking of data and information; providing online non-downloadable software for information and data integration, analysis, management, collaboration, algorithmic and human-driven exploration, viewing, modeling, exporting, visualization, organization, modification, book marking, transmission, storage, exchange, sharing, querying, auditing, collection, editing, hosting, security, and tracking of data and information; computer services in the nature of providing a website with technology, for information and data integration, analysis, management, collaboration, algorithmic and human-driven exploration, viewing, modeling, exporting, visualization, organization, modification, book marking, transmission, storage, exchange, sharing, querying, auditing, collection, editing, hosting, security, and tracking of data and information and troubleshooting of computer software problems for others; all the aforementioned services designed for and marketed to governmental, business, or other institutions.

The following are two different booklets used by Palantir to promote Palantir Foundry.  

To see the booklets larger, go to the bottom right-hand corner of each booklet and click on the "full screen" icon that looks like four arrows pointing out.


Palantir Booklet one - 18 page booklet





Palantir Booklet two - 26 page booklet





COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS:  Palantir Foundry sounds like a complex data-organizing tool that has many potential applications in government and business.  Mostly, it sounds like people will use it to make charts to try to explain what they are doing or plan to do or to justify spending money.  I am not seeing anything nefarious; though, like anything, Foundry could be used for such purposes.

FAIR USE ON THE BOOKLETS FOR USE IN COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS.

The Wrap - trademark info



The Wrap - Trademark info
by Susan Basko, esq.

You may have seen this on Twitter - a scary restraining device purchased by ICE to use to capture people for deportation.
Note: All materials in this post have been obtained and used legally.

You can follow a twitter thread on the topic by @kenklippenstein:
https://twitter.com/kenklippenstein/status/1030159090050326530

You can read an article about it and see pictures here:
https://legacy.tyt.com/2018/08/16/ice-orders-dozens-of-straitjacket-like-restraints/

The Wrap GSA ad page
The Wrap - ad picture 


The Wrap - price page


Here is trademark information on it. 
NOTE:  The full trademark application below, in pdf format, contains a full product training manual, with photographs.  The product manual as a pdf is also separately below the full trademark information.

WHAT THEY ARE CALLING IT:  THE WRAP BY SAFE RESTRAINTS, INC.

HOW THEY DESCRIBE IT:  Belts for medical purposes; Blankets for medical purposes; Braces for limbs and joints, for medical use; Gurneys, wheeled; Straight jackets; Cervical collars; Hospital gurneys; Patient safety restraints; Stretcher straps; Stretchers; Stretchers for patient transport; Therapeutic compression wraps

WHO OWNS IT:  
SAFE RESTRAINTS, INC.
*STREET712 BANCROFT RD. SUITE 782
*CITYWALNUT CREEK
*STATE
(Required for U.S. applicants)
California
*COUNTRYUnited States
*ZIP/POSTAL CODE
(Required for U.S. and certain international addresses)
94598
PHONE800-972-7911
FAX9257985985
EMAIL ADDRESSinfo@saferestraints.com
WEBSITE ADDRESSwww.saferestraints.com

THE FULL TRADEMARK APPLICATION:






The Wrap -- training manual in pdf format - each page has a lot of white space on it:




FBI Warrant against 8Chan


FBI Warrant Against 8Chan
by Susan Basko, esq.


The FBI was granted a search warrant against 8Chan, a right wing troll message board.  John T. Earnest is a young man who went to a synagogue in Poway, California, and shot and killed people.  Several days before the killings, he posted a manifesto onto pastebin.  Shortly before the killings, he posted a link to the manifesto onto 8Chan.  Earnest stated that he had been a lurker on 8Chan for a year and a half, and learned a lot.

According to the FBI application for the search warrant, the agent states that several users of 8Chan reported to the DOJ about Earnest's final postings onto 8Chan.

ANALYSIS OF THE PURPOSES OF THIS SEARCH WARRANT:  The FBI wants to know how and by whom John T. Earnest was "radicalized" on 8Chan.  Earnest comes from a family that is not racist or antisemitic, but rather, an educated California open-minded family.  Earnest was an accomplished classical pianist and a nursing student.  He was a highly unlikely person to turn into an antisemitic domestic terrorist.  His most "radical" connections seem to have come on 8Chan, which, by his own admission, was the location where he came upon his ideas that led to the shootings.

This search warrant is trying to find the identities of Earnest's contacts on 8Chan by obtaining the IPs and metadata of those commenting on Earnest's posts.  However, those on 8Chan are likely to be using VPNs and/or Tor, so IPs may not actually be available.

One thing to always keep in mind is that a person who may appear to be agreeing with a person who is posting bad ideas or bad plans may be fake-agreeing with the goal of drawing out the person or getting the person to give more details of their plan.  If an observer acts shocked or disagrees sharply, usually the person will not divulge details.  This is a very standard technique in gathering information and one we can assume was in practice on 8Chan among some of those interacting with John Earnest.  Not everyone who acts as if they agree is actually in agreement; some may be trying to elicit further details.

This is not the first time a person heavily involved in a troll message board has been involved in a terroristic shooting.  William Edward Atchison, a young man who was an admin on Encyclopedia Dramatica and active on Kiwi Farms, two right wing troll/ hate/ defamation websites, killed school students and then himself.  At that time, I called upon the DOJ to investigate how white people are  being radicalized online by troll hate websites.  It seems that the goal of this search warrant is to try to gain some insight into how and by whom this inspiration to kill is occurring.

 I have read the entire manifesto written by John T. Earnest and posted on pastebin.  I also read the public statement posted by his parents, apologizing and vowing to assist the FBI in its efforts to find out how and why their son was radicalized into hating and killing Jews.  These are attitudes and actions that Earnest's parents say go against their beliefs and against how they lived their lives and what they taught their children.  I am intentionally not posting the manifesto here, since it may inspire others who are easily influenced or gullible or mentally imbalanced.  In the manifesto, Earnest admits that his beliefs and actions run contrary to how he was raised.  He also notes that he is giving up a good life and a promising future to engage in the killings.

There is a very real question of the mechanism by which an accomplished young man from a seemingly normal family became radicalized into an antisemitic killer.  John T. Earnest himself wrote that he learned by lurking on 8Chan for a year and a half.

The search warrant asks 8Chan to turn over the IP addresses and any other information regarding people who were interacting and commenting on Earnest's postings.  Just below is the main pertinent part of the application for the warrant.  Further below is the full application for the warrant.

Below are excerpts from the warrant application from page 10 and on, that explain the motivation of the FBI in asking to get the IP and metadata on those who commented on John Earnest's 8Chan post.  The headings are written by me to explain each excerpt from the warrant application.

WHAT THE FBI WANTED -- John Earnest's IP info, all postings made from that IP, all postings made by people responding to Earnest's posts or commenting about them, and all IP and metadata related to those comments:
D. Basis for Information Sought. Agents seek IP address and metadata information about Earnest's original posting and the postings of all of the individuals who responded to the subject posting and/or commented about it. Additionally, agents seek information about any other posting coming from the IP address used by Earnest to post the subject posting.

WHAT EARNEST WROTE - his 8Chan farewell address, a link to his manifesto on pastebin, and a link to the facebook location where he planned to livestream the shootings using a GoPro camera:
As discussed above, Earnest made a posting in which he thought to draw attention to his forthcoming attack on the Chabad of Poway, share his views through his open letter, and offer people the opportunity to observe the attack itself.

WHO RESPONDED (See my notes above about how a person who appears to be sympathizing may be pretending to sympathize to try to elicit more details.  Never take online conversational roles at face value.):
Several people responded, both individuals who were taken aback about the posting as well as people who were sympathizers.

HOW THAT MIGHT IMPLICATE THEM:
As a result, some of the individuals may be potential witnesses, co-conspirators and/ or individuals who are inspired by the subject posting.

HOW COULD THAT POSE A DANGER OF ANOTHER ATTACK:
Based on agents' training and experience, following attacks such as those conducted by Earnest, other individuals are inspired by the attacks and may act of their own accord. For example, as described above, Earnest himself was inspired by the Christchurch event in New Zealand.

COMMENTS MAY BE EVIDENCE OF EARNEST'S MOTIVATION:
Regardless of the nature of the comments, the evidence sought to be seized as described in Attachment B is relevant as evidence of Earnest's bias and motivation in committing the hate crimes set forth in Attachment B.

POTENTIAL WITNESSES, CO-CONSPIRATORS, OR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE INSPIRED:
Even comments made in response to the subject posting or about it are relevant to Earnest's motivation for his violent attacks to the extent that as explained above, some of the posters may be potential witnesses, co-conspirators, or individuals who are inspired by the subject posting.

JOHN EARNEST SAID HE WAS INSPIRED BY 8CHAN:
As discussed above, Earnest stated in the subject posting, "I've only been lurking for a year and a half, yet, what I've learned here is priceless."

EARNEST INSPIRED OR EDUCATED BY THOSE WHO COMMENTED ON HIS THREADS:
This information suggests that Earnest was inspired and/or educated by individuals who commented on his threads.

IP AND METADATA SOUGHT ON ALL COMMENTERS FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION:
Based on this information, there is reasonable cause to believe that the information sought, specifically IP address and metadata for all commenters, constitute evidence of his motivation in committing the offenses described herein and are thus relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation, information that may be sought by an order issued pursuant to l S U.S.C. § 2703( c) and ( d).

MAY LEAD TO IDENTITY OF PEOPLE WHO INSPIRED OR EDUCATED JOHN EARNEST:
That is, the information may lead to the identity of individuals who inspired and/or educated Earnest or are aware of his motivation in committing the attacks.