Niccolo Machiavelli

Meet Niccolo Machiavelli, born in 1469. He was an Italian writer, philosopher, theorist and humanist during the Renaissance. He is considered one of the leading founders of modern political science. While Sun Tzu’s was more military based, Machiavelli was political. His piece, The Prince, outlined many beliefs ranging from politics to ethics. His philosophy was a take prisoner type of thought and so comes the term “Machiavellian.”

Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiave...

Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His quote, “Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions,” rings true today. So many hundreds of years later and this line is still on the money. What Machiavelli is telling you is that there is a sucker born every minute and it’s not surprising that the one with the three hundred friends just might be it. The Internet is filled with cowboy entrepreneurs wanting your information to profit from your information. Think about it, they feed your need for instant gratification.

The tactic that you, the deceiver, need to adopt is that of Machiavelli!

Pretext: Lying to obtain information.

Once upon a time Frank M. Ahearn was kick ass skip tracer that had no boundaries when it came to obtaining information.  Listen here: “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” This applies perfectly to my pretext days when I was making tons of dough obtaining phone records, bank records and any other records I could extract and sell.

Frank’s Philosophy of Pretext

-If you could afford it I could get it-

-Every no leads to a yes-

Extracting information from large companies through the use of the pretext was how the business was done. The gold was your information, just as your information online is the gold that fills website for Google click through ads, even if the information about you is incorrect.

Meet Roy: a very successful businessman who has his finger in a lot of pies. Despite all of his success and the cool things people write about him online there is a blemish that still haunts him. Roy became concerned that the dark piece of information known about him might be discovered by the wrong party, namely his wife.

When we first spoke Roy was under the impression that we could press a few buttons and relieve the Internet of his negative information. That is a big wrong and it cannot be done.

Imagine the Internet having gossip continuously chatting about you. Well that would be the Internet aggregator.

Aggregator – from our friends at Wiki

In computing, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.

An aggregator is your biggest problem. They are the ones that spread your information like a bad germ. It’s a question of what sites pick up and post the information on line, and attempting to locate is like chasing dragon. Therefore deception is the only weapon against the aggregator and users.

People contact me constantly with the hopes of disappearing their information, and believe me, I wish could. Well, I could but it would be extremely expensive since I would need to locate the actual root of where the information stems from and create a pretext to remove the information.

I know, you are thinking what type of pretext? Hmm, if it’s a newspaper I would find the department that is responsible for uploading and maintaining the information on their website. Then I would pretext as the in-house legal department claiming there is a mistake with that piece of information and we need it removed until such dispute is settled. Now this may be illegal. I do not suggest you posing as a lawyer or any licensed professional.

Note

Just because Frank would do does not mean you should do it!

One of the concerns about trying to pretext to get a client’s information off a website is having the information kick back at us. What I mean is what if the person you pretext calls the bluff and does not take the information down? Then they decide to write in their blog about the “strange” call they received. That could make matters worse.

What I did was set up a several websites that used his name, however, changed the first name from Roy to Ray, keeping the last name the same, accompanied by .com or .net. I then developed the website using content from the negative information.

The Goal – Convince the website with the negative information to change the first name from Roy to Ray.

That negative information read something along the lines of:

Roy Duesterdick

22 Foknee Lane

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

-Along with a disconnected phone number as his contact-

I picked up a cell phone with a Beverly Hills area code and set up a voicemail using the name RAY Duesterdick and began e-mailing several of the websites explaining that they had conflicting information on their web site.

“My name is actually Ray Duesterdick, not Roy. Could you perhaps correct the mistake?”

Most of the websites changed the information, however, if someone decided to search my client’s name there would be conflicting information as to the negative information. Is it Roy or Ray? Like the old saying says if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with b*llshit.

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“THIS IS VON CLAUSEWITZ SHIT. TOTAL F*cking WAR…”

In the movie Law Abiding Citizen, Gerard Butler plays Clyde Alexander Shelton, a man imprisoned for seeking revenge against those who wronged his family. In the film, he wreaked havoc on the legal system, like we all wish to do at one point or another. To a degree, that character was the embodiment of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Karl Von Clausewitz in the digital age. The philosophies of these three iconic leaders were used in various aspects of war and business, and even today the ideologies ring true.

Sun Tzu, believed to be born around 544 BC, was an ancient Chinese philosopher, strategist and military general under the Kingdom of Wu. It is said that his victories in war inspired him to write the piece he is considered most famous for: The Art of War. Giving a philosophy of combat, The Art of War offers itself as a military treatise, devoting thirteen chapters to various aspects of warfare. It is definitive on military strategies and tactics and is still read for its offensive and defensive insights today. Much of the text is still pertinent, proving all too true that the game never changes… simply the players.

Cover of "The Art of War"

Cover of The Art of War

Sun Tzu is quoted saying, “The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

The enemy in our world happens to be those who utilize our information without discretion. These are the vultures that prey on those who might have made some indiscreet mistake that just so happened to be captured by a video, photo or a piece of public information. There are hundreds of websites that have compromising photos of individuals passed out, partially nude, flipping the bird, drunk as a skunk, flashing or even mooning. Most of those people are quite fortunate that they will most likely never see their digital indiscretion. In doing a simple search on YouTube for ‘embarrassing videos’, it was revealed that getting a few million hits was no big thing.

The above Sun Tzu quote is telling us that we need to take control of our information and begin kicking some ass. Kicking ass does not mean paying some $9.99 service that makes bullshit promises. You need to become your own warrior and philosopher of war. If all of those websites want to publish things about you to make money through clicking then you should publish back. It’s total war and How to Deceive is your weapon of mass destruction.

One serious online problem comes from you and what you put out into the digital world. Sorry people but it is true. It’s what YOU place out there that can get you into trouble. Dump the third party social networking sites! Keep in mind your photos and information can be manipulated. Why do it?

Third party: someone other than the principals who are involved in a transaction.

Why would two adults—both of whom have perfectly functional cell phones that can easily make calls, texts and sometimes e-mail—need a third party involved in their communications? Here we are in a society that is weary of Big Brother but allowing third party websites and networking sites to be the broker of our connection.

And don’t worry; we will leave the dehumanization that accompanies the third party to the shrinks. It is absurd that people have 815 friends on Facebook, 620 followers on Twitter and 432 whatever you call it on MySpace.

 

Internet ID

President Obama is spearheading a plan to boost web security by issuing American computer users with an Internet ID. The President has put the U.S. Commerce Department in charge of the cyber security initiative.

The Obama administration is drafting a paper called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities, which investigates ways that web users can protect their online identities. But Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was quick to reassure people that it wasn’t a guise for more big brother government.

‘We are not talking about a national ID card,’ he said at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

‘We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorise a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities,’ he added.

Possible methods of creating a ‘trusted identity’ could include issuing a ‘smart card’ or digital certificates that would prove that online users are who they say they are. They could then be used to buy goods and carry out financial transactions on the Internet.

From Daily Mail by David Gardner | 10th January 2011

And an update…

The Obama administration said today that it’s moving ahead with a plan for broad adoption of Internet IDs despite concerns about identity centralization, and hopes to fund pilot projects next year.

At an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., administration officials downplayed privacy and civil liberties concerns about their proposal, which they said would be led by the private sector and not be required for Americans who use the Internet.

There’s “no reliable way to verify identity online” at the moment, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, citing the rising tide of security threats including malware and identity theft that have grown increasingly prevalent over the last few years. “Passwords just won’t cut it here.”

A 55-page document released by the White House today adds a few more details to the proposal, which still remains mostly hazy and inchoate.

It offers examples of what the White House views as an “identity ecosystem,” including obtaining a digital ID from an Internet service provider that could be used to view your personal health information, or obtaining an ID linked to your cell phone that would let you log into IRS.gov to view payments and file taxes. The idea is to have multiple identity providers that are part of the same system.

Administration officials plan to convene a series of workshops between June and September of this year that would bring together companies and advocacy groups and move closer to an actual specification for what’s being called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC.

Left unsaid was that the series of workshops, which will be open to the public, will give the proposal’s backers a chance to downplay concerns that it could become the virtual equivalent of a national ID card.

During his speech, Locke lashed out at the “conspiracy theory set” who have criticized the proposal. A column in NetworkWorld.com, for instance, called NSTIC a “great example of rampant, over-reaching, ignorant, and ill-conceived political foolishness.”

CNET by Declan McCullagh | 15th April 2011

Personally, I do not think politicians should be allowed to use the words ‘conspiracy theory’ considering it is not paranoia to believe that what a politician is saying might be a flat out lie, or that they misuse programs and systems of laws. Tricky Dick claimed that he was not a crook. George W. claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Look at how many disgraced politicians have hit the headlines over the years:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Sperminator – Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his maid while married to Maria Shriver. The child was born just five days after his and Maria’s was born. The maid continued to work for him for 14 years.

Eliot Spitzer – Governor’s Got Game, Money & Some Pretty Good Taste – The New York Times reported on March 10, 2008 that the democratic Governor had patronized a prostitution service called Emperors Club.

Larry ‘The Leg Reacher’ Craig – Arrested for lewd conduct in the men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He later resigned from being senator of Idaho.

Randy Duke Cunningham – Resigned from the US House of Representatives in 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery, admitting taking bribes of at least $2.4 million from at least three defense contractors in exchange for government business. This is the highest known amount of congressman has ever taken.

Christopher Lee – From Shirtless on Congress to Scared Shitless on Craigslist – resigned suddenly after a scandal broke over e-mails and a shirtless photo of him on Craigslist. Supposed it was sent to a woman in response to a dating ad on the site.

John Edwards – Amid all the celebrity sex tapes—Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee, Kim Kardashian—everyone stood in line to see John Edwards mouth-pleasing his pregnant woman… except she was not his wife. Edwards engaged in the extramarital affair with a filmmaker hired to work his campaign, Rielle Hunter. Oh, and the relationship produced a child.

Jim McGreevey – The Hiding Homosexual – McGreevey resigned as New Jersey’s governor on November 15, 2004. He claimed that he had engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man. He apologized to his wife and family.

Mark Foley – “Paging Young Boys” – Breaking in September 2006, this scandal centers on e-mails and sexually suggestive instant messages sent by Foley, a republican congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages.

Mark Sanford – Sanford Is Done – After a slight disappearance, the South Carolina Governor reported that he had been in Argentina with a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The list goes on and on, however, at an attempt to save some trees we decided it best to reduce the list.

A guy like Locke should think before he speaks but that is asking too much from a government man. We are supposed to have faith in the system and believe that our leaders of the nation will lead without corruption. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Corruption runs deep in all politics, flowing ever so rapidly. Therefore it is not crazy to question what ills Big Brother could possibly do with our alleged private information. I wonder how many bills, laws and policies were drafted and signed by the ill ink of corrupt politicians. Conspiracy theory? No, just common sense. These people we entrust are the zookeepers to our information.

You never know, maybe the time will come one day when the government will issue e-mail addresses based on our Internet ID numbers. If the paranoia grows even further perhaps our cell phone numbers will become issued for permanent use.

Airlines now want full dates of birth. Why? Who knows? But it is probably only a matter of time until they want our social security numbers. And in truth I have no issue with this one. It’s an object flying in the sky… I say check out everyone who flies.

The fact of the matter is that you need to approach your digital life with caution and adopt the principles of a warrior preparing for battle. The commodity or land at stake is your information, and my friends, the enemy wants it all – either to profit, control or both.

All of us who own a social security number have a credit report looming somewhere in the credit bureaus and that information is used to profit and make judgments for or against you. We have become digitized beings. We are not ourselves anymore. We are credit cards. We are Facebook. We are the digital life forms defined mainly by those nine evil numbers. Your digital report will soon be available… just you wait and see. What will yours read?

“I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.”   Woody Allen

Skip Tracing

SKIP TRACING BLAST FROM THE PASTIn my early days of Frank M. Ahearn skip tracing, Voter Registration offices were the easiest places to extract information from. I use to call and find if someone was registered and I would get an address and phone number. If I remember correctly I believe I was able to obtain party affiliation also. This is kind of a loony idea to let volunteers possible access you your driver’s license and last four digits of a your social security number. I wonder if they do background check on employees and volunteers.

I began looking into Voters Registration fraud but, goddam, there is so much of it I did not know where to start. I figured it best to leave it alone and move on. My final words are I cannot believe big brother gives these numb nuts at Voters Registration such access.

An old Social Security card with the "not...

An old Social Security card with the “not for identification” message (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The states are required to verify the driver’s license number against the state MVA database. Only in situations where no driver’s license exists should the states verify the last four digits of the new voter registrant’s Social Security Number—now coining the hip abbreviation of SNN. Gotta appeal to the younger folks.

The state submits the last four digits of the SNN, the name and the date of birth to the MVA for verification with SSA. In addition, the SSA is required to report whether its records indicate that the registrant is deceased. It’s like a game of monkey in the middle the information goes here, there and everywhere for verification. The more hands that are involved open the door to making the information vulnerable.

To ensure the privacy of the SNN, HAVA restricted the collection to only the last four of the SSN. HAVA provides that these last four digits do not constitute an SSN. This make total sense when you call most companies what do they ask for verification? Correct the last four of your social security number.

The moral of this social security story is that roughly one hundred years later Big Brother is still figuring out ways to categorize and track us by using our number, our identity. Something that was once assigned to give us aided security now gives security to the handlers. And we have no choice but to accept it and fall into the gap.

What is next? Well, perhaps the Internet ID Plan…

CHAPTER 1: 001-01-0001

When the day comes that you lay How to Deceive to rest it is essential that you preserve the information you walk away with and keep it like a gun in a holster. This book is your weapon against the future, the talisman that keeps you out of the system, and that system being any and every database that stores your personal information.

Realistically I cannot keep you out of every database but would sure wish I did have that power. This chapter is very important and shows how we as humans and citizens became catalogued like cattle on a farm. 0001-01-0001 is one of the earliest social security number assigned it looks like binary code and it is obvious to me that this was the first step of digitizing Americans.

Remember, Big Brother and Big Business does not create things for our benefit. They are created for either profit or some type of social control. So before you click yes to downloading or accepting the terms of service keep in mind that there is always a man behind the curtain who has other plans for your information.

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The birth of social security numbers came in the mid-thirties when Big Brother devised the New Deal Social Security program. This program focused on the three R’s: Relief, Recovery and Reform. And in less than three months over twenty five million social security numbers were assigned. The original purpose of the number was to be able to track an individual’s accounts in the social security program and bring everyone under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Yes, perhaps this was a great idea nearly a hundred years ago, however, now the social security number has turned into our digital identity. You are not you; you are your number. There are no people. There is only a sea of floating (and drowning) numbers.

The Commerce clause sounds like circular mumbo jumbo that the average individual probably cannot comprehend, and I don’t mean it as an insult. It just seems that we should be able to understand the laws that govern us. Or maybe they should have a section for guys like me called the “No Mumbo Jumbo” section; just strait up how to for dummy’s section. Check it out.

THE COMMERCE CLAUSE

The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3. It states that the United States Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each other these three areas of commerce as a separate power granted to Congress. It is not uncommon to see the Commerce Clause mentioned as “The Foreign Commerce Clause”, “The Interstate Commerce Clause”, and “The Indian Commerce Clause”, each of which refers to a different application of the same sentence in the Constitution.

ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8 OF THE US CONSTITUTION

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imports and Excises in order to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States of America; [Altered by Amendment XVI “Income Tax”].

To be honest there is much more to the Commerce Clause. I suggest that you take the time to educate yourself because if we were to go over it all, this fascinating read you are experiencing would turn into a textbook study session, and that’s no fun for anyone. However, I do believe the first line in Article 1, Section 8 tells plenty. It reads that Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes. It appears that somewhere along the mix there was a politician behind the curtain saying, “Hey, we can keep track of who owes us money by assigning numbers!” In reality it should have been named not the social security number but the Tax Collection Number. This number that began with the idea of providing social security has been changed, rearranged and deranged into a control number that we need in order to have the most basic services that a human must have.

Most people who know me think I’m just a loud mouth liberal afraid of government control. Hmm… maybe they are not too far off. Seriously though I dig the idea of America and freedom. For example, on my back—shoulder to shoulder—I sport a tattoo that reads freedom. Then—on my ankle—a professional tattoo in Chinese reads to deceive again. I guess there is some sort of theme going on in my ink. The idea of capturing the American dream in the land of opportunity is sexy. It gives us hope. But the truth is that if you do not have a nicely polished social security number you will have some major problems accomplishing those desires in order to grab at that dream. The stars get further away if that SS# of yours has a bad FICO which measures your credit risk. Try getting the dream with a crappy FICO.

Right now I am sitting in my home, looking around and I realize that my electric company wanted my social security number to turn on my electricity. The cable company also wanted my social security number to get HBO so I can watch Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The water company wanted my number too. Shouldn’t water be free? It’s a human need. Yet being short on cash I had to charge my big screen TV, and Visa needed my social security number. In order to live in these cool digs I had I had to provide my social security number. The home, motorcycle and car insurance companies wanted my social security number. The freaking publisher wanted my social security number so they can pay me to write this book. I am social security numbered out!

Is this really a social security number? Or is it a number to provide credit card companies and lending institutions security from those with less polished numbers? I guess the tarnished need not apply.

DID YOU KNOW?

Social Security cards, up until the 1980s, expressly stated that the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everything in the United States now has a number it has become convenient to use it anyway. Needless to say, the message was removed.

Here we are, seventy-five years since the first social security card was issued to John David Sweeney, Jr. Oh, how things have changed. Big Brother and Big Business have found a tremendous amount of uses for the nine dastardly numbers. Also to obtain a driver’s license one must provide a social security number, to obtain a voters registration card in some states the number is needed.

DID YOU KNOW?

Auto insurance companies are now running credit reports on the insured and utilizing a person’s credit score to evaluate the premium. Dig this… my credit sucks but I have not had a moving violation in over twenty years. Like the song says. “Living in America!”

But fear not good citizens, HAVA will protect your social security number…

HAVA: the Help America Vote Act of 2002, P.L. 107-252 (HAVA). This requires States to verify the information of newly registered voters for Federal elections. Each State must establish a computerized statewide voter registration list and verify new voter information with the States Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

By Frank M. Ahearn & Kyle Dowling

George Orwell who wrote the Preface to How to Deceive

George Orwell who wrote the Preface to How to Deceive, the New Times Bestseller, was finally going to be interviewed by Stephen Colbert.

In the audience were comics and political newscasters of all sorts. Bill Maher accompanied by Cornell West and Ann Coulter. Maher had originally tried to secure the interview but Colbert managed to steal it away with a case of his Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream Ice Cream. Also in the crowd was Jon Stewart next to Bill O’Reilly, the two arguing over the armrest between them. Eventually O’Reilly ceded since the armrest was too much in the middle for his liking, and in the back sat Geraldo Rivera twirling his mustache, praying for Colbert to blow the interview.

“This one’s for you, Papa Bear,” said Colbert to O’Reilly as he headed up to the hot seat. He accepted the claps and cheers, many happening because of the ‘Applause’ sign. He then lowered into his chair and sat across the table from the legendary writer, refusing to shake his hand as Orwell stuck it out.

American comedian and television show host Ste...

American comedian and television show host Stephen Colbert. Photographed June 3, 2006 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Now you wrote the novel 1984, correct?” he continued with Orwell nodding. “Well, my friend let me tell you something. I’ve got some problems with it. I don’t remember 1984 quite the way you described it. Let me tell you a little something about my 1984, about what I remember because let’s not forget, my brain is outstanding.”

Stephen’s finger pressed against the wooden table, “In 1984 President Reagan announced he would seek a second term—a great time for America. The Senate rejected amendments to permit spoken prayer in public schools—not such a great time for old glory. The CIA’s Information Act passed which secured America’s safety… and you can see how that’s panned out.”

Colbert moved on as Orwell simply sat and listened. “And in 1984 the US and Iraq regained diplomatic relations, a clever ruse even back then.” He breathed. “There was no dystopian society, no Winston Smith, no thought-crime. There were hair bands, Madonna and David Lee Roth demonstrating the spin kicks.

Stephen pulled up the copy of How to Deceive. Opening to the preface page he stated, “You wrote the preface to this book. In it you said, and I quote, ‘How to Deceive is the most important book of 2012. Read it; study it. The words between the covers will be remembered and referenced for years to come.’ Well, frankly, I’m afraid that’s hogwash. This coming from a man who lived in France and wrote about farm animals. I believe, sir, that YOU have deceived us with your rubbish thoughts.”

“Here, here,” shouted O’Reilly from the crowd. Dirty looks spread about, never penetrating his rough exterior. Colbert kept on laying the grit to the writer, “You, Mr. Orwell—master of newspeak—shame on you!” He held up the book, “This book, How to Deceive, is propaganda. Don’t you see?”

Orwell attempted to say something but was cut off, “Not yet sir. You’ll have your turn.” Colbert continued, “Now I don’t know much about Ahearn and Dowling—they don’t have an iPhone app—but I can tell you this. These guys are rabble-rousers. They are teaching America to lie, telling Americans to create false identities to deceive government and big business because they claim the two deceive us in turn.”

Colbert proceeded. “We are not being lied to, sir. The case of Goldman Sachs was an accident, poor judgment. Who hasn’t had a bad day? City Bank, Bear Sterns, AIG, AmTrust Bank, Mutual Bank, Colonial Bank… Mr. Orwell, can you not see the propaganda of this book?” He slammed down the book.

“Now what do you have to say for yourself, Jorge,” asked Colbert? Orwell leaned forward from the chair. “Stephen, if you tell a lie big enough, and tell it frequently…” he paused. “It will be believed. That is the message of How to Deceive”.

“Which novel is that from, sir; the one about disobedient farm animals or the one about disobedient humans,” asked Colbert?

Orwell stated “Adolf Hitler…”

By Frank M. Ahearn & Kyle Dowling