A keynote of digital crimes of harassment

In my last post, The New York Times on the digital tools of abuse. I commented on a recent article about abusers adopting technology as a means of harassing their partners. That article chronicled the dangers of reporting the unfamiliar phenomenon of household devices that shut down, speakers that blare, doors that lock and lights that flicker, seemingly of their own accord.

Most ominously for victims of this emerging type of harassment is the fact that women reporting it have been perceived as mentally ill; one woman was even detained for a mental evaluation after she reported that devices in her home were acting outside of her control.

American jurisprudence has a bad case of “blame the victim.” Women who are raped are promiscuous; women who are harassed are crazy. My own experience with technology-based harassment as a victim of real estate mobbing at the hands of an unethical neighborhood watch in northeast Seattle hasn’t been much different. In my case, not only does the crime I describe make me sound crazy; in fact, the “mobbers” have countered my reports and attempted to mislead investigators by telling them I am “paranoid schizophrenic.” This crime takes full advantage of a phenomenon I wrote of in an earlier post, the “Martha Mitchell effect,” in which the truthful reports of a victim or witness are taken for delusion.

Wikipedia notes that it is common for cyberbullies to accuse their victims of harassment. This can be regarded as a keynote of cellphone “mobbing” (bullying) and other forms of cyber-harassment. Given the emerging trend for victims of technology-based harassment to be regarded as mentally ill, I suggest that investigators be made aware of this keynote of a growing predatory and personal crime. Whether investigators are told by a claimed victim that her devices are acting against her or told by those she accuses of harassing her that she is mad as a hatter, investigators must be wary of accusations of mental illness by interested parties or of their own presumptions when they hear unusual victim stories. Frankly, I would hope that investigators who are well trained always question the use of defamation. Based on my experience in this matter, however, I believe that investigators should regard accusations of mental illness or the assumption of mental illness based solely on unusual description as a keynote of the use of digital crime in stalking and harassment.

And since there’s a strong possibility that women are the greatest victims of this presumption that exacerbates an already horrific crime, the police, investigators, mental health professionals, and attorneys  should not only be educated about the phenomenology of technology crimes, they must begin to unlearn their gender bias or at least cultivate awareness of it and learn to refrain from acting on it in their professional capacities. Additionally, rules should be promulgated to stop those who are not licensed mental health professionals—especially attorneys who are apparently permitted to challenge competency at whim—from exceeding their qualifications, making challenges to competency to discredit or intimidate witnesses, or as courtroom strategy.

 

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The New York Times on the digital tools of abuse

The New York Times article, Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse (June 23, 2018) is relevant to real estate and neighbor mobbing. This article describes the growing number of domestic abuse calls reporting the use of technology in domestic violence. A keynote of the abuse is the remote control of in-home devices including air-conditioning, cameras, and speakers. According to victims, the use of internet-connected devices by their abusers was invasive—one called it a form of “jungle warfare” because it was hard to know where the attacks were coming from. This is an integral part of the phenomenology of hacking, drone, and other technology-based attacks.

The tactics likely have universal appeal for the control stalker. Said one victim about her engineer husband, “He controls the lights. He controls the music…. Abusive relationships are about power and control, and he uses technology.” These are tactics that appeal to those who harass people out of their homes, whether or not they are real estate mobbers or a neighborhood watch cum hate group.

Unfortunately, “smart” technology is not required to “invade” a neighbor’s home. Techniques like diversion of video or radio signal, accomplished in the analog world with a directional antenna and in the digital world with little more than a Yagi WiFi antenna, do not require the deployment of smart technology in the home of the victim whose speakers are co-opted. Not to mention the abundant possibilities for directional sound or drones in harassment. As well as being used in real estate, drones are being used in organized crime—for example by Mexican cartels—as well as in private surveillance. I’ve touched on these methods of harassment in other blogs and will try to return to this later, to provide some links.

Thermostats, Locks and Lights is a must-read for law enforcement as well as for those victims of harassment, like me, whose reports are not being heard. One Silicon Valley victim was even detained at a medical facility for a mental health evaluation after she reported the technology-based abuse. According to Ruth Patrick of WomenSV in Silicon Valley, it’s “easier to believe that someone is crazy” than that they’re the victim of some draconian type of harassment. This is especially true considering the dynamics of mobbing and how it ultimately enlists hierarchical organizations in the punishing of the victim. It may also be true when the person who is astute enough to understand what is happening, and to realize it is a crime that must be reported, is a woman (“The Martha Mitchell effect: When defamation in the neighborhood violates due process in the courtroom“). Ruth Patrick of WomenSV in Silicon Valley commented:

If you tell the wrong person your husband knows your every move, and he knows what you’ve said in your bedroom, you can start to look crazy.”

Take her words to heart. In my experience, even the attorney you pay a hefty sum to help you may be the wrong person.

You can read Nellie Bowles’ article in The New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/technology/smart-home-devices-domestic-abuse.html.

Consumer Reports finds vulnerabilities in Samsung TV and Roku streaming media player

I expected to have published the fourth and, hopefully, final installment of the Cell Phones are Radios blog by now.  This is where we’ll talk about the convergence of technologies like phones and radios, dirty detectives, and post-military haters. These last weeks, however, I’ve been in the Bay Area tending to my continued survival as a victim of real estate mobbing in northeast Seattle. A critical component of surviving in this unfortunate situation is continuing to work in San Francisco and doing what I have to do to ensure that I have work going forward.

Living in this situation is pretty tough, so some months it’s difficult to write the kind of blog entries that I’d like to write while holding everything together. Nevertheless, with any luck, the final installment of Cell Phones are Radios won’t be long coming, and after that, I’m looking forward to writing about how televisions don’t have to be smart to get hacked. Tonight, however, so people don’t forget this writer, a Seattle woman who is the victim of the human rights crime that is real estate mobbing and all the felony crimes it entails, I’m finishing my day with a short post about a news report on some vulnerabilities that could reach many of us in our own homes.

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Sound crimes: Are Australian speculators using low-frequency noise to turn over houses?

Every now and then, I run across some bit of information on the Internet that suggests that what has happened to me in northeast Seattle is not an isolated occurrence. Last week I found another, a bit of cross-talk in a years long thread of Australians seeking advice in the NoiseHelp forum on persistent humming and vibrating noises intruding into the quiet of their homes.

Much of the thread is to be expected, the usual discussion about the clatter of industry, the pulsing of the grid, tinnitus, and the maliciousness of neighbors. There was also discussion about electronic noise from “smart meters” and an illness called “Smart Grid Syndrome.”

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The social engineering of mobbing

Real estate mobbing as performed by those mobbing me in northeast Seattle, has required a corrupt neighborhood watch, a speculative climate, and unethical house flippers and developers. The mutual interest of the parties involved in profiting off of escalated housing values is more meaningful than the psychopathology of any one individual. Nevertheless, understanding the context within which mobbing occurs cannot, in and of itself, prevent mobbing.

Texts on workforce mobbing tend to describe mobbing as an expression of passive-aggressive or sociopathic behavior. I believe that’s true of the real estate mobbing in my own neighborhood, a phenomenon that constitutes an organized crime. In the case of my neighborhood, I suspect that some of those involved in this murder of crows may be psychopathic or suffer from malignant narcissism. But using psychopathology to explain events is usually a human attempt to come to grips with the “why” without addressing the “how.” Again, we lack information about how mobbing is put into place.

There’s no lack of greed and psychopathology in this world. And there’s not much a person can do to prevent encounters with those who suffer from both of these sicknesses. All we can do is understand how mobbing works. But once we do, we’ll be well on the way to ensuring it no longer does.

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Radiohead: Cell phones are radios (part 3)

A few weeks back, having picked up a few bottles of wine at KL Wines in San Francisco, I swung a wide turn out of the parking lot to the far side of the one-way street, pulled up to the intersection, and waited to make the turn to double back to the Bay Bridge. A beat-up white sedan pulled up on my driver’s side. The passenger window was open; a wiry man who was probably not more than thirty stared stiffly ahead, elbow crooked over the open window.

The car had one of those distinctively round headlamps or speakers mounted off the outside of the passenger-side door, positioned in front of the passenger-side mirror. It was the kind of headlamp you see on the vehicles of police, unmarked detectives, and security vehicles.

What caught my eye was the bulb of a microphone mounted on a metal arm just inside the door; the arm appeared to connect the microphone to the headlamp or whatever it was outside the door. There were no markings on the vehicle, but the emblem on the man’s sleeve made it clear it was a uniform of someone who worked in security.

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Radio Head: Cell phones are radios; mobbing is radio-based harassment (part 2)

Gossip is the devil’s radio.

George Harrison

Smartphones may be computers. But first, they’re radios. Radios are the guts of the computer. Hacking the radios of a computer bypasses driver, operating system, firmware and application layer, going straight to the signal. When you hack the hardware—the radio—the software is irrelevant. This blog entry provides some basic information about the radios in smartphones, as well as the antennas that make real estate mobbing—at least mobbing done like the real estate mobbers of northeast Seattle do it—possible.

Ω

Mobbing is another name for cyber-bullying. Real estate mobbing is defined by the United Nations as a type of forced eviction that may result from a host of conditions including real estate and private business actions or “land-grabbing” by entities including armed groups and paramilitaries (Forced Evictions: Fact Sheet No. 25 Rev. 1, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS25.Rev.1.pdf). It’s likely that the list of conditions and agents in the United Nations document should include hate groups. The real estate bullies of northeast Seattle, self-dubbed “mobbers,” have used the term to characterize what they claim is “property war” and even a “professional real estate hit.”

In the United States, harassing someone out of their house is implicitly illegal, undermining basic civil and human rights. Those who would commit such a crime, whether out of hate or for profit, must hide the highly illegal utterances they use to threaten, coerce and con their victims out of their homes. At least in northeast Seattle, this they do by adopting the methods of private investigators, phone phreakers and hackers. Radio figures prominently in all of these.

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“Dangerous sounds” in Seattle and abroad

Back in the first days of September, I wrote a blog entry about the ease with which technology abstracts the crime away from the criminal, making for attacks effected from remote positions, attacks that may not be recognized even as they are underway. Esoteric forms of sound including the infrasonic and ultrasonic have been deployed by the military as well as by the hate groups that sometimes include their disaffected. Drones have gained ground on the battlefield, their tactical superiority the platform for an arsenal commanded by artificial intelligence. In war-torn regions civilian populations already run from the maneuvers of dumber “slaughterbots” roaming overhead (https://autonomousweapons.org/); in real estate, the aerial shot is money shot and advertising platform. Drones confer the God’s eye view to industry and to commerce; in the business of war, the retailer who commands the skies takes all.

Was the sonic attack of US diplomats in Cuba a drone or “neighbor” attack included a few paragraphs about the “dangerous sounds” reported to have injured diplomats in the U.S. mission to Cuba. I suggested that the “sonic attack” could have been waged remotely, by drone, or by neighbor. I hoped that an investigation of how sound is being used here in northeast Seattle in what appears to be an organized crime by house-flippers in concert with a corrupt neighborhood watch, would not only give me back my life but would contribute to the information available to investigators of the Cuban “sonic attack” on the design and deployment of “dangerous sound.”

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A million-dollar row

Property values on my street have skyrocketed during the years I’ve endured the assault of a corrupt neighborhood watch and its speculating cronies. On Zillow.com, the property values in this northeast neighborhood jump with the sales, and in the years since the Great Recession there have been many. The result is an escalation in value of sixty percent or more.

The houses flanking my own modest 1940s home are now approaching the million dollar mark despite the lesser value of this property, each of them increasing in value something like $400,000 since the two single white male owners moved into them within weeks of each other about five years back. Recently sold houses line the street; yellow dots on the Zillow.com map show the path to the million dollar mark. The norm is houses sold recently, with few coming available.

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A history of real estate scams

Often the most effective way to defeat wrongdoing is to shed light on the condition. Perhaps that’s what’s happening now with the airing of sexual harassment in Hollywood, in government, in tech, and in all places where those who have power over others—often white men—believe this power gives them carte blanche to take what they want from the lives of others. Like my “neighbors” and their bullying friends, or at least those who claimed to “represent” or to “be” them, said about their use of harassment in real estate using directional speakers and clandestine sound piped into my home after they had unveiled themselves to me as “mobbers,” “The industry is built on it!”

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