Showing posts with label surveillance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surveillance. Show all posts

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Update on Johnstown Zip Code Testing

Last week I reported that my most viewed post on COVID-19 was on zip code testing in Johnstown zip codes compared to the county, state and the U.S I reported that the testing rates for the zip code for downtown Johnstown (15901) was nearly identical to the U.S. rates while the rates for the other zip codes and the county lagged behind the state and the U.S. rates.  I reposted the chart from that post above. 


As I was tracking the testing rates I noticed that the pattern was changing in the testing rates.  You can see that pattern in the bar chart above from the Google Sheets I put together for the county.  The rate for 15901 is still the highest in the city but it is falling behind the U.S. rate. The 15902 zip code has been inching upwards while the 15909 zip code lags behind the others and the county.  

I updated the line chart at the top of the post with the trend in testing up to the current date.  I got rid of the data table to make it more readable. In the chart we see that the testing rate for 15901 started to fall behind the U.S. rate on May 29. The post for the chart at the top was on May 17.  

The 15902 zip code (red dotted line) testing rate has nudged ahead of the state rate (solid black line.  Finally we see that the 15909 zip code has fallen further behind the other zip codes and the state and county overall in the testing rates on May 26.  

The number of COVID-19 cases in the county on May 17 was 54.  Today (27 days later) it is 61.  The 15902 zip code (Hornerstown and Moxham) now has a cluster of five confirmed cases and between 1 and 4 probable cases (the exact number is not released for privacy concerns) while 15901 has between 1 and 4 confirmed cases according to the PA Department of Health.  
Does the lag in testing account for the decrease in the number of new cases for the county?  I suppose only God knows for sure.  The COVID cast website shows a decrease in the indicators that they use to forecast the future cases from may 17 to May 31.  These indicators include doctor visits with COVID-19 symptoms, google search data, and Facebook search data.  After May 31 the indicators has leveled off which suggests that a surge in cases is not imminent.  Dr. Fauci has warned that a surge could happen as the states have been reopening.  So far it has yet to materialize in Cambria County.  Time will tell.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Assange, Manning, and Snowden Thoughts

I am forced to post once a week on my blog as I am working on my book.  I feel that I have to comment on the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden's continued exile in Russia.  Some like Noam Chomsky below see it as a blatant violation of freedom of the press.  Others see it as necessary to protect counter terrorism operations.

There is a sexual assault allegation against Assange in Sweden which may or may not be true and which was the original reason for him to be ensconced at the Ecuadorian embassy.  He is also charged in the US with working with Manning to hack into a defense department account for classified info that he (he was a he then) did not have access to.  It is so far unclear if Assange will be extradited to the US or Sweden.

Snowden remains in Russia with asylum from the government.  Russia hasn't always been a paragon of virtue on civil liberties and the freedom of the press.  His asylum could be revoked at any time and he would have to face the music in the US.  

It is always dangerous to be a whistle blower at the highest level of the US power structure. It takes a lot of bravery to challenge the powers that be.  For me it is possible to learn a lot by investigating publicly available data.  I have no desire to have access to national security data as it is increasingly dangerous to work with.  Having access to a small piece of data can be easily misinterpreted when the proper context is not understood.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Comparing the 6th Year of CSI wo Dead Bodies to the 5th: More Engagement from Russia

For my 6th anniversary post, instead of just listing my most popular posts, I thought I would take a look at how traffic to the site has changed over the past year (9/29/2015 to 9/28/2016) compared to the previous year (9/29/2014 to 9/28/2015).  The measures I chose are listed in the Google Analytics output below in the Times-Roman font.  The graph at the top shows the total sessions for each month with increased sessions for every month of the last year compared to the previous year except for the months of May and August.

The total sessions (when someone visits the blog), total pageviews (the total posts visited on the blog), and number of users (unique individuals who visit the blog) for the period increased by 34.04%, 22.09%, and 36.96% respectively.  The number of pages per session and the average pages per session decreased in the last year by 8.91% and 13.21% respectively.  This suggests that while the number of visits to the page have increased in the past year, the level of engagement has declined slightly which is to be expected as a wider audience is reached.  

Beneath these statistics are the charts for the % of new visitors to the site for both years.  This % increased by 2.07% which shows that hew users are coming to the site more often.  The bounce rate (the% of single page visits) increased by 26% which corresponds to the decreased engagement.   

At the bottom of the output, the top countries from where the number of sessions come are listed with the United States of course coming out on top.  The total number of sessions from the US increased by 32.1% while the its share of the total number of sessions decreased slightly by 1.4%.  This indicates a greater share of foreign traffic to the site.  The countries with larger % increases in sessions are Iraq (2100%), India (196.15%), Russia (191.67%), Canada (80.65%), and ones where the country is not set (69.86%).  

The increased foreign traffic raises thoughts of hackers or surveillance as the Russians have been accused of hacking into various election servers.  I have no data that I haven't publicized on the election.  As programmers would say the information on this site is open source available to all.  Looking at the level of engagement from Russia the bounce rate increased by 44% while the average time on the page increased by 1382.79%.  In India it decreased by 75.39%, in Canada it increased by 37.06%, in Iraq it decreased by 100%, and in areas where the country was not set it decreased by 93.71%.  This suggests greater engagement from Russia.  Looking at the cities that the traffic is coming from are Moscow, Sverdlovsk Oblast, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, and Novosibirsk Oblast.  An oblast is a state in RussiaThese are remote states in Russia where the time on the page was the highest.  I don't know if these are intelligence gatherers or just curious Russians.

Select a metric
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016: Blue Line
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015: Orange Line
Oc…January 2016April 2016July 2016250250500500
3,989 vs 2,976
3,346 vs 2,443
11,671 vs 9,559
Pages / Session
2.93 vs 3.21
Avg. Session Duration
00:00:48 vs 00:00:56
Bounce Rate
47.93% vs 37.80%
% New Sessions
83.20% vs 81.52%
New Visitor
Returning Visitor
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016
16.8% 83.2%
New Visitor3,320 Sessions
Returning Visitor669 Sessions
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015
18.5%81.5%New Visitor2,426 Sessions (81.5%)
New Visitor2,426 Sessions
Returning Visitor550 Sessions

CountrySessions% Sessions
United States
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20163,08277.26%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 20152,33378.39%
% Change32.10%-1.44%
United Kingdom
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20162015.04%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 20151334.47%
% Change51.13%12.75%
(not set)
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20161243.11%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015732.45%
% Change69.86%26.73%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016771.93%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015260.87%
% Change196.15%120.95%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016701.75%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015240.81%
% Change191.67%117.60%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016561.40%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015311.04%
% Change80.65%34.77%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016411.03%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015351.18%
% Change17.14%-12.61%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016270.68%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015210.71%
% Change28.57%-4.08%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016250.63%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015210.71%
% Change19.05%-11.18%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016220.55%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 201510.03%
% Change2,100.00%1,541.31%
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Surveillance Update, Netroots Nation, RightOnline and PodCamp

Here is an update on my last post on NSA surveillance.  The magazine MotherJones has posted graphs on how often Google, Microsoft, and Twitter complied with NSA requests (along with other local, state, and federal law enforcement requests for data) for user data with Google (which owns blogspot, and YouTube) being most compliant and Twitter being the least.  

Twitter is often favored by younger users.  Although it is the least compliant it is the most open for anyone to gather metadata.  It would be more revealing to learn how many actual criminals were caught.  While they might not be happy that the NSA has their metadata, the families of Newtown, CT would love to know what the NSA might have on shooter Adam Lanza (he destroyed his computer before going on his rampage) and his mother.

Of course there are other internet domains not listed in this report such as Facebook and Verizon.  Also they do not disclose what was disclosed to the government. The article states that a total of 64,936 unique individuals' data were turned over by those three companies.  This number obviously is the tip of the iceberg.

As reported today by Wikileaks, Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong for Ecuador possibly via Moscow where he has asked for asylum.  This was obviously a hot topic at the annual Netroots Nation conference held in San Jose, CA this year from June 20-23.  It will be in Detroit next year.  Former House Speaker and now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was booed when she talked about Snowden as a lawbreaker.  

NetRoots Nation is a left wing political version of PodCamp where I have presented. RightOnline is the US conservative equivalent to be held Aug 30-31 in Orlando, Fla this year where Sarah Palin has presented.  PodCamp is an apolitical version of these two events held in local areas.  The things learned at these events can be applied to any kind of activism or activity.

What implication does surveillance have for online activists?  If the government believes that monitoring blogs and twitterfeeds like this one will lead to the next Boston Bombing plot it will be very disappointed.  This blog operates in the open, terrorists operate in the shadows.  Edward Snowden operated in the shadows until three weeks ago.


Stephen Colbert has a great take on the search for Snowden.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

We All Do Surveillance

Just one week after posting on the trial of Bradley Manning, the big news is Edward Snowden's leaking of a domestic surveillance program to Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian Newspaper.  Naturally jaws are dropped in Congress and in the public.  Personally I am not surprised that we are tracked in this modern world where almost all of us are electronically connected.  I have written many posts on how web statistics are compiled on us by sites like Google and Facebook and used for marketing purposes (see related posts below).  I've also done PodCamp presentations on it as can be seen in the reproduced Google Analytics output at the bottom for May 12-Jun 12 2013. 

Susan Landau in the clip above explains how metadata from domestic surveillance can reveal real patterns about ones life.  Looking at friends Facebook pages is similar to collecting metadata.  One can learn a lot by simply observing.  Whenever the old Soviet Union had parades with large missiles, the US military brass and intelligence would be there to learn what they could about their military hardware.  The technology has changed since then. 

Is there potential for abuse just as there was in the old Soviet Union?  You bet.  We are all observing each other to learn info.  The government says it's doing it to stop terrorist attacks but it did not stop the Boston Marathon bombings or other mass shootings in the US with higher death tolls.  The Christmas underwear and Times Square bombers were thwarted by perceptive onlookers.  Some surveillance is needed.  What Snowden, Manning, and Assange are doing is giving those who are doing is giving the surveillance class at the NSA a taste of their own medicine.  The need for privacy is understandable.  The unchecked need for data and metadata on those around us is what is dangerous.  As a researcher I abide by limits all the time on privacy and I must be on guard against invasions into mine as by blog is trolled from all over the world.  My advice to those who are concerned about privacy on Facebook and other social media is if you don't want the public to see it don't post it. 

There are ways to investigate social issues including terroism without invading privacy.  The founding fathers created the constitution to protect our rights and also mandated the US Census taken every 10 years since 1790.  It is now a valuable source of information about the US population. 

Google Analytics Output

284 people visited this site
Unique Visitors
Pages / Visit
Avg. Visit Duration
Bounce Rate
% New Visits

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