five things tagged “wtf”

The Freedom Phone

Just some quick notes about a piece of shit from the hit machine that is Conservative Tech.

The Freedom Phone is another grift for those inside the Sphere of Shit who are upset that their Orange Daddy got censored by Facebook (that mighty ethical paragon of Silicon Valley) and Twitter (they aight.) It’s about empowering Conservatives, and is a fine device for Newsmax-lobotomized patriots who proactively disregard their own digital safety and well-being in the interest of sticking it to the Libs as much as possible.

Hardware

It’s a skinned Umdigi A9 Pro you can pick up from AliExpress for $120 but which is sold through the website for $500 (plus $20 shipping because the grift never stops.)

It’s manufactured in Shenzhen, China, although you can totally ignore this like the good Conservative you are and lie about how it’s actually made in Hong Kong (which is a part of China) and hence supports the good democratic anti-China people there with zero fucking evidence.

Software

It runs FreedomOS, of course, which is a “blend of AOSP, LineageOS, GrapheneOS, and our personal development.” Because you have total and complete Freedom of Choice, it has preloaded Conservative-friendly apps like MeWe, Parler, Newsmax, and Rumble (a YouTube competitor that will definitely be around two years from now.)

Need more Conservative-friendly apps? You can get them from the uncensorable “PatriApp Store.” Yes, that’s the actual name. Who needs Liberal creatives when you can just ask your Aunt Sally to smush some shit together? And no more Big Tech censoring you! ‘Uncensorable’ also absolves the PatriApp store of any responsibility apropos terrible exploitative or neo-Nazi content. Freedom is freedom is freedom.

Security

It’s a fucking nightmare. But it’s not a problem if you’re willing to give up on personal liberty, safety, ethics, humanity, and data if you’ve just had it with anyone who hurts your Daddy’s fee-fees and doesn’t love him as much as you do.

Founder

It’s Erik Finman. He has, in his own words, “made it in Silicon Valley and accomplished a lot in my life already.” How, you ask? He invested in BitCoin when he was a wee lad and his investment is now worth some millions.

That’s it.

But winning the lottery makes this Discount Bin Steve Jobs completely trustworthy and eminently capable of dealing with supply-chains, ISPs, regulatory bodies, software and hardware engineering, and the few thousand moving parts needed to create a modern phone and ecosystem worth a shit. It’s not his fault though. As Conservatives like to say, the problem isn’t tech oligopolies… it’s regulation bro 🧐😡

Product Pitch

Enjoy. Plucking MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech out of its context is totally appropriate here.

People Using It

Absolute fucking morons aside, a few Conservative people with large followings did express a lot of interest in this horror but appear to still spew their bile onto the internet with their iPhones and Androids.

The Great Republican Bamboo Fiber Hunt

You know, the one where Evil Liberals partnered with Soros and Hillary and flew in 40,000 ballots (and not more) from China (or thereabouts) to Maricopa County in Arizona (and nowhere else.) So the only way to make sure the ballots are authentic is to stick them under a microscope and look for bamboo fibers because… you know… Kung-Fu Panda? Asians? Bamboo?

From an article in The Guardian:

[…] “I do think it’s somewhat of a waste of time, but it will help unhinge people,” Brakey said on Wednesday. “They’re not gonna find bamboo … If they do, I think we need to know, don’t you?”

I don’t think anyone’s getting unhinged in that party anymore, Mr. Brakey.

One of the people who spread the lie about China dumping ballots, according to Slate, was Javon Pulitzer, a treasure hunter and inventor, who is reportedly assisting with the Maricopa county audit. Though it’s not clear in what capacity Pulitzer is assisting, Brakey told reporters on Tuesday that the machines capturing the microscopic images of the ballots were linked to Pulitzer. “This guy is nuts,” he said. “He’s a fraudster … It’s ridiculous that we’re doing some of this.”

Then why do you keep doing it?

The county has hired a firm called “Cyber Ninjas” to perform the audit. Because it’s the late 90’s and we just allow teenagers to give ‘cool’ names to companies. Like most entities in the World of Orange, they’re exceedingly good at their job, just like all the top-notch attorneys on the Elite Strike-Force Team 💯

[Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan’s “Stop the Steal” antics extend beyond social media. He is listed as an expert witness in a lawsuit alleging voter fraud in Michigan. Logan was also the author of a document called “Election Fraud Facts & Details” that Sidney Powell, the conservative attorney who is now embroiled in a defamation lawsuit concerning her election conspiracy theories, shared on her website. In the document, he props up the Venezuela narrative and a similarly absurd and debunked theory regarding Chinese investment in the voting machine manufacturer Dominion.

[…] Election experts noted that the company has already made rookie mistakes. For instance, Arizona Republic reporter Jen Fifield spotted auditors using blue pens, which is not best practice since there is a risk of altering the vote on a ballot. The state’s own election process manual prohibits anything but red pens from being used. When Fifield brought the issue up with Logan, she says he was unaware that the blue ink could be a problem and seemed unsure overall about the correct procedure. A judge later ordered the removal of all black and blue pens from the facility where the recount is taking place. The Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank associated with New York University, also sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week alleging that Cyber Ninjas has not been following basic security practices like locking doors to the facility holding the ballots and preventing unauthorized individuals from entering.

Arizona Is Holding Yet Another 2020 Recount. The Company Running It Makes It Even Worse., Slate

For more ineptitude, here’s an account from Jennifer Morrell at The Washington Post (cached)

I was stunned to see spinning conveyor wheels, whizzing hundreds of ballots past “counters,” who struggled to mark, on a tally sheet, each voter’s selection for the presidential and Senate races. They had only a few seconds to record what they saw. Occasionally, I saw a counter look up, realize they missed a ballot and then grab the wheel to stop it. This process sets them up to make so many mistakes, I kept thinking. Humans are terrible at tedious, repetitive tasks; we’re especially bad at counting. That’s why, in all the other audits I’ve seen, bipartisan teams follow a tallying method that allows for careful review and inspection of each ballot, followed by a verification process. I’d never seen an audit use contraptions to speed up the process.

Speed doesn’t necessarily pose a problem if the audit has a process for catching and correcting mistakes. But it didn’t. Each table had three volunteers tallying the ballots, and their tally sheets were considered “done” as long as two of the three tallies matched, and the third was off by no more than two ballots. The volunteers only recounted if their tally sheets had three or more errors — a threshold they stuck to, no matter how many ballots a stack contained, whether it was 50 or 100. This allowed for a shocking amount of error. Some table managers told the counters to go back and recount when there were too many errors; other table managers just instructed the counters to fix their “math mistakes.” At no point did anyone track how many ballots they were processing at their station, to ensure that none got added or lost during handling.

I also observed other auditors working on a “forensic paper audit,” flagging ballots as “suspicious” for a variety of reasons. One was presidential selection: If someone thought the voter’s choice looked as though it was marked by a machine, they flagged it as “anomalous.” Another was “missing security markers.” (It’s virtually impossible for a ballot to be missing its security markers, since voting equipment is designed to reject ballots without them.) The third was paper weight — the forensics tables had scales for weighing ballots, though I never saw anyone use them — and texture. Volunteers scrutinized ballots for, of all things, bamboo fibers. Only later, after the shift, did I learn that this was connected to a conspiracy theory that fake ballots had been flown in from South Korea.

The fourth reason was folding. The auditors reasoned that only absentee voters would fold their ballots; an in-person, Election Day voter would take a flat ballot, mark it in the booth and submit it, perfectly pristine. I almost had to laugh: In my experience, voters will fold ballots every which way, no matter where they vote or what the ballot instructs them to do. Chalk it up to privacy concerns or individual quirks — but no experienced elections official would call that suspicious.

[…] Their equipment worried me more than their wild theorizing. At the forensics tables, auditors took a photo of each ballot using a camera suspended by a frame, then passed the ballot to someone operating a lightbox with four microscope cameras attached. This was a huge deviation from the norm. Usually, all equipment that election officials use to handle a ballot — from creating to scanning to tallying it — has been federally tested and certified; often, states will conduct further tests before their jurisdictions accept the machines. It jarred me to see volunteers using this untested, uncertified equipment on ballots, claiming that the images would be used at some point in the future for an electronic re-tally.

[…] What I saw in Arizona shook me. If the process wraps up and Cyber Ninjas puts together some kind of report, that report will almost certainly claim that there were issues with Maricopa County’s ballots. After all, Cyber Ninjas chief executive Doug Logan has publicly voiced his wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. But the real problem is the so-called audit itself.

The Best People, folks ♥️