Issue 1410 - Monday 19th July, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

NSO Group's hacking tools busted getting used "off-label" by governments and cops

Evidence has popped up that NSO Group's powerful hacking software, called Pegasus, has been used by governments and law enforcement agencies not only for pedos and terrorists like they promote, but also to spy on "hundreds of business executives, religious figures, academics, NGO employees, union officials and government officials, including cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers". The Guardian, via Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, got their hands on a list of 50,000 persons of interest that Pegasus was used on since 2016. I think most sane people knew the allure of hacking into your political enemy's phone is too strong to resist for most governments, but it's nice to have proof. Bill Marczak has a Twitter thread explaining how Pegasus takes advantage of errors in iMessage to sneak in to fully patched iOS devices.

US President & Surgeon General call out Facebook for spreading anti-vax nonsense

Joe Biden has called out Facebook for spreading anti-vax bullshit. When asked by a journo at a door stop interview if he had a message for platforms like Facebook, he said that "They're killing people... the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people" - making the link that unvaccinated people are unvaccinated predominately due to the anti-vaccine hysteria they allow to run rampant in Facebook groups, in Whatsapp chain messages, on live video streams, in Instagram stories and god knows where else. A day before Biden's sound bite, the US Surgeon General said similar, blaming Facebook's constant kneeling at the altar of engagement (my words) for encouraging the lies to spread. Facebook responded with "more than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine", like that absolves them of any responsibility.

Pocket Casts no longer owned by NPR, is an Automattic business now

My favourite podcast app, Adelaide legends and mates of The Sizzle, Pocket Casts, have fled the grips of NPR and landed in the warm embrace of Automattic - who you might better know as the parent company of Wordpress. There's not a lot of detail on what Automattic has in store for Pocket Casts but Russell and Phil are still in charge and based on Automattic's other acquisitions (Day One, Tumblr, Simplenote, WooCommerce), there's a high chance they won't fuck it up. I love Pocket Casts because it's multi-platform. I can listen on my iOS devices, I can listen on an Android device, I can even listen on anything with a web browser and it all syncs perfectly whilst retaining native app speed and platform specific features. I've been using Pocket Casts pretty much daily since 2010 (11 years ago!) and it's still great.

Something I Saw On The Internet

A sloppy collection of news that didn't make the cut but I still wanted to share


The End

📻 You Could Easily Have Me - Metronomy

😎 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​