Dallas Metzger would have had a difficult time explaining why he was part of the Walter Mitty bulletin board.
It wasn’t the technical challenge. He had assembled and programmed more complex devices in high school. Compared to the gaming computers he made as a sophomore, the sniffers were bone-simple. They had a few tweaks to conserve battery power but they functioned as simple data-loggers.
Dallas appreciated that Jarrell was willing to do more than just host the board. Jarrell had planted the first sniffers right in the heart of downtown Lansing.
Finding somebody to plant sniffers along I-96 and I-23 was going to be more of a challenge.
Jarrell didn’t seem too worried. He wanted to prove the hardware before he expanded the net.
Dallas thought that was over-kill. He was supremely confident that the equipment set was more than capable of the task, even though all of the components were gray-sourced, that is, recycled. The top half of the “bricks” were a polymer impregnated, paper-mâché . 32 cubic inches is an incredible amount of volume to package electronics.
The reason he participated is because Jarrell made it fun. It was like the worlds greatest video-game...better than GTA and COD and AC combined. It gave Dallas a sense of doing something historic and of using his skills. Nobody on the board belittled him or second guessed him. There was nobody trying to take credit for his work or throw him under the bus.
It was a heady environment for somebody who had been a grunt in a lab working for a bunch of lifers who fixated on climbing the corporate ladder.
The State of Michigan has several things in common with California, Oregon and Washington. For one thing, the economic powerhouse is distant from the state capital.
In the case of Michigan, Lansing is 80 miles from Detroit and about the same from Ann Arbor. A great many politicians and heads-of-departments opted to commute from the Detroit area to Lansing, not wanting to lose the potential appreciation their homes would realize in the hotter, Detroit-area housing market.
Since the top positions in government changed with each administration, the movers-and-shakers knew their job was a short-time gig; long enough to make contacts and pay-off future benefactors but too short a time to justify moving.
With the troubled times, the Governor had authorized State Police escorts for her most important lieutenants. The very most important merited five police cars, one to carry the VIP, one behind and in front and two to either side as they drove down the freeway at 80 miles per hour.
Loath to lose two, potentially productive hours a day, the VIPs sat in the backseat with their assistants and processed emails and did other administrative tasks during the commute.
There was no consensus in the Walter Mitty community what they would do with the information. They did know that the first step for any action would be to pattern the targets.
In the finest tradition of spy-craft, the targets were given names: specifically Lizard Lips and Whales.
Lizard Lips was extremely punctual. Whales was not. Whales could be anywhere between one-minute-after Lizard Lip’s phalanx to 90 minutes later to not even going to Lansing.
Squints Palledorous was the other half of the INTEL brain-trust. Squints knocked together a relational database on a stand-alone computer. All data was ferried to it on thumb-drives. Squints accessed it through anonymous VPNs housed in Latvia, Iceland and Finland. Into the database went the names of local DAs, Election officials, Judges, reporters, professors and media celebrities.
One branch of the records captured information that was used to create an index that represented how much they had perverted Western concepts of responsibility and accountability. Squints labeled it "Wokeness index". The index was not comprehensive but tracked bellweather metrics like bail requested and percentage of charges dismissed, funding accepted from Progressive PACs.
The other branch in the records captured mundane information like property records and business filings. The database not only included the individual's data but the data of their children's, grandchildren's, significant-others, ex-significant others, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews. Squints mined social media and professional organizations to flesh-out the database. Because this branch was so much more labor intensive, Squints only populated the entries for the most-woke of each category.
When completely populated, an record in Squint's database would have less than one-tenth of one percent of what Big Tech knew about ANYBODY in the United States.
Jarrell was still finessing the organization of the bulletin board. Players needed to be able to focus but they also needed to share information and tasks within levels and between levels.
Since there was no consensus on the best action to take against the targets, Jarrell defined several groups that were fire-walled from each other so they could develop their plans free of criticism.
Membership was by invitation only.
Strange but obvious. Obvious that inclusion of the allusion to what Big Tech knows is it is to be a warning to us to at least reduce our digital footprint this day going forward.ReplyDelete
Strange that if the characters in the story are aware of that tidbit, even if not knowing the actual amount, they would indeed have a consensus of how to use the information which they are gathering.
Off topic: I very much enjoy your writing. I've expressed this in the past by buying your books (link at at top!).ReplyDelete
Just thought I'd say it out loud.