Pluralistic: 17 Oct 2020

Today's links

Beastie Boy mashups (permalink)

On Thursday, I posted a fond recollection of djBC's groundbreaking Beastie Boys/Beatles mashups, "The Beastles," which are in the canon of Beatles mashups along with The Grey Album.

But there's another canon they belong to: the canon of Beastie Boys mashups, which goes beyond classics like BC's own "Intergalactic Robots" (Kraftwerk vs Beasties):

It's a canon that's still growing in 2020! There's straight up novelty tracks like Kevin Miller's Beachstie Boys (multitrack plumbing of the odd coincidence of rhyme structure between "I Get Around" and "Fight For Your Right to Party"):

And this seasonal gem: Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters theme mashed with Intergalactic, an incredible match with a video to match from William Maranci:

Come for Maranci's virtuoso pitch- and time-matching, stay for the anus jokes at the end!

Educator sued for criticising "invigilation" tool (permalink)

High-stakes tests are garbage, pedagogically bankrupt assessment tools that act as a form of empirical facewash for "meritocracy."

They primarily serve as a way for wealthy parents to buy good grades for their kids, since expensive test-prep services can turn even the dimmest, inbred plute into a genius-on-paper.

All of this was true before the pandemic. Now it's worse. Most of us meet the plague and ask, "How can I help my neighbor?" But for sociopaths, the question is, how can I turn a buck in a way that only stomps on the faces of poor people who don't get to hit back?

Maybe you hear that and think of the absolute garbage people who ran out and bought as much hand-san and bleach and TP as they could in the hopes of selling it at a markup.

But those petty grifters quickly disappeared in our rear-view mirrors. The real scum were the ones with long cons that hit whole swathes of victims.

Think, in other words, of the "remote invigilation" industry, whose products spy on kids during useless high-stakes tests.

These are tools that allow teachers to get a 360' view of students' surroundings (a special hardship for poor kids in close quarters) while relying on racially biased facial recognition systems and modern phrenology like facial expression analysis.

These are effectively rfootkits: spyware you are required to install on your computer that grants remote parties sweeping access to your files and processes – especially hard on kids who share computers with siblings or precariously employed parents.

Unsurprisingly, people who make these tools are unsavory, immoral bullies.

Take Mike Olsen, CEO of Proctorio, who dumped dox on a child who criticized his company in a Reddit forum:

(Proctorio told the Guardian they "take privacy very seriously")

Educators aren't any happier about Proctorio than their students are. Ian Linkletter is a Learning Technology Specialist at UBC's Faculty of Education.

He was so aghast at Proctorio's sweeping surveillance capabilities that he tweeted links to the company's Youtube videos documenting them. These videos were public, but unlisted.

In response, Proctorio sued Linkletter, getting an injunction in an ex parte court proceeding that LInkletter was not informed of.

Proctorio claims that linking to its public videos constitutes a copyright infringement and a breach of confidentiality.

This is bullshit, but Linkletter is an employee at a public university while Proctorio is a ruthless profiteer that has raised millions in the capital markets to peddle surveillance tools:

Thankfully, British Columbia has strong SLAPP protections that allow people victimized by nuisance suits brought by deep-pocketed, thin-skinned jerks to get them expeditiously dismissed.

Linkletter's colleagues are standing behind him, and he's being represented by Joseph Arvay of Arvay Finlay LLP. Arvay's SLAPP motion to the BC Supreme Court is a thing of beauty:

Legal threats from wealthy, ruthless corporate bullies are incredibly stressful, even if you win. Trust me, I speak from experience (ohai, Bird, Magicjack, Playboy and Ralph Lauren!). And even with SLAPP laws and liability insurance, the out-of-pockets are severe.

That's why I'm contributing $100 to Linkletter's Gofundme for his legal fees, which have mounted to tens of thousands of dollars.

Linkletter can't really talk about the case, thanks to Proctorio's sneakily obtained injunction. That means that it's incumbent on us, the people who care about justice for students and whistleblowers, to spread the word.

Please consider retweeting this and also investigating whether any of the educational institutions you or your children are involved with use Proctorio's products and point them at this lawsuit.

Any ed-tech firm that answers academic criticism with lawsuits has permanently disqualified itself from being entrusted with learners' educations. When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

(Image: Cryteria, CC BY, modified)

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago G20 Toronto cop who was afraid of girl blowing soap bubbles sues YouTube for “ridicule”

#10yrsago Furniture made from rusted Soviet naval mines

#5yrsago 23andme & aggregated the world’s DNA; the police obliged them by asking for it

#1yrago Pacifica Radio ignores injunction, continues to play canned content on NYC’s WBAI

#1yrago 6 years after expose revealed docs taking millions from pharma companies, it’s only getting worse

#1yrago Leaks reveal how creepy, cultish monopolist Intuit lobbied Congress and the IRS to kill free tax-filing

#1yrago Berkeley city council unanimously votes to ban facial recognition technology

#1yrago Yahoo Groups is being prepared for shutdown, with all stored archives to be deleted on Dec 14

#1yrago Cable is bullshit, and so is 5G: give me fiber or give me death!

#1yrago The first book collecting the new Nancy comic is incredibly, fantastically, impossibly great

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Fipi Lele, Ian Linkletter.

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. Friday's progress: 519 words (73931 total).

Currently reading: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 17)

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When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla