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Digital Threats / War on Drugs

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Date Host George Knapp
Guests Chris Hadnagy, Colleen Cowles

Computer security specialist Chris Hadnagy joined George Knapp in the first half to discuss how online predators are trying to take advantage of ignorance and fear and how you can protect yourself and your family from becoming victim to these growing digital threats. Hadnagy said he began his career over 25 years ago as a hacker, which he said used to mean someone who "wanted to figure out how things worked and then find better ways to do them," and not what people think of today with the negative connotations. At this time, there are bad actors that range from individuals to groups and even nations involved in hacking for profit, extortion, and espionage. A recent case investigated by Hadnagy's firm involved a large company that was telephoned and emailed by a hacking group pretending to be a major client. The criminals were able to convince the accounting department to wire them $995,000.

Hadnagy's Innocent Lives Foundation traces online threats from pedophiles and sex trafficking rings and helps law enforcement track and locate suspects. He cautioned parents to keep a close eye on their children's online activities, pointing out that "91% of all sextortion cases involve social media. He also discussed hacking by nations against other nations, saying that all of the ISPs in Russia and China are state-owned, which means the government can monitor all online activity. US servers are still privately owned but can be opened for scrutiny by the government if there is suspected criminal activity, such as terrorist threats. Although Hadnagy said that "there is no human on the planet that is not susceptible to attack," there are various services and software (such as Proton and Signal) that can be used to protect most people.

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We've all become victims of the War on Drugs, according to Colleen Cowles, an attorney, author, and mother. In part two, she discussed how this has caused patients with severe illnesses or chronic pain to be denied access to proven pain medications, how doctor-patient relationships are jeopardized with medical records being accessed by the DEA, and how pharmacists now police physicians and refuse to fill prescriptions to protect themselves from liability. Cowles began with the story of her sons, who dealt with chronic pain, self-medication, and addiction. This made her aware of the twisted legal framework that is the drug policy of the US. As an attorney, she also witnessed people who "were dealing with a dysfunctional justice system and draining their assets" as their families battled addiction and abuse. After years of working with addicts and the legal system, Cowles said she believes that "drug use is a choice, addiction is not a choice" and that this country's drug laws should reflect a policy of compassion and recovery rather than punishment.

Cowles lamented the high rates of incarceration in the US, many from the 1.6 million drug convictions made every year, and added that 86% are "for drug possession only." In light of recent events and protests against law enforcement, she believes that a change in drug laws would do far more to fix a broken system rather than defunding police departments. She also addressed the opioid crisis, quoting a statistic that indicates that deaths from legal opiate drugs in the US is just 02%. In 2001, Portugal legalized all drugs, and Cowles said that their rate of death from drugs is 1/50th that of the United States. She concluded that "we have a lot of evidence that legalizing and regulating all drugs would make more sense."

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George Knapp shares a number of recent items of interest, including the big brother-like reach of the FBI, and an article about COVID's long-term effects on tech.

Bumper Music:

Bumper music from Sunday June 28, 2020

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