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Privacy is Dead – Get Over It

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

News Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Recommended Links

National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature

Big Uncle is Watching You Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State
Big Brother is Watching You Search engines privacy Email Privacy Blocking Facebook Many faces of Facebook Facebook as Giant Database about Users
Nephophobia: avoiding cloud to reclaim bits of your privacy What Surveillance Valley knows about you Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Nineteen Eighty-Four Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Government security paranoia
Cyberstalking Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance The Real War on Reality How to collect and analyse your own metadata Humor Etc

"None are more enslaved than those who
falsely believe they are free."

- Goethe

It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing
that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is.
Steve Rambam
at The Last Hope conference, 2008

"One thing I find amusing is the absolute terror of Big Brother,
when we’ve all already gone and said, ‘Cuff me,’ to Little Brother,”

-- John Arquilla, an intelligence expert
at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.


Introduction

It is important to understand that any networked computer is an insecure computer and it should be treated as such. It’s not so disturbing that that social sites, government, insurance companies, etc collect our data; it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is and how much their personal information they volunteer. Anybody who answered honestly question about their annual income and other confidential information while registering product (Logitech like to ask this information ;-) or enrolling into some stupid social site like Facebook, is an idiot, plain and simple. And he/'she gets what they deserve. Also if after reading this individual does not suspend his/her Facebook account for at least a month to see whether he/she need it or not, he/she does not care about his privacy one bit. For anybody with IQ above 100 it is clear that Facebook does not serve any useful purpose, other then collecting information about you and reselling it to the higher bidder. That's their business model.

After revelation of Prism program, an excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend instantly became an indication of a person stupidity.

The current situation can be described as following:

  1. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have your current location at all times.
  2. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a key to your home at all times.
  3. Federal law enforcement has the access to your mailbox and address book as well as the list of phone called with other party phone, name and duration.
  4. Federal law enforcement has the list of purchases you made with the credit cards at all times for all of your adult life.
  5. Federal government and private companies have  all data about drags you are taking and illnesses you are suffering from
  6. Federal government and private corporation have the access to the list of all your Internet searches (probably for your lifetime)
  7. You might be included in some "for sale" databases as a member of specific category (for example "People getting Social Security, people suffering from asthma, etc). It is easy to deduct some of those list by calls that you get on your home phone if you still have a home phone number.

In other  words from the point of view of the completeness  of the dossier the  government has on you, STASI was an rank amateur. There is no escape form this reality. But you can  follow some simple common sense rules to minimize your "footprint", although they do not protect you from "excessive" Internet/communications surveillance:

  1. Minimize. "If you want to be truly secure, I suggest the bromide of a 19th century Boston politician, Martin Lomasney: "Never write if you [can] speak; never speak if you can nod; and never nod if you can wink..." A very tough system to break even with today's advance technology." (quote for discussion at  Schneier on Security )

  2. Do not succumb to Internet addition. There are  many things in life more pleasurable and even useful than spending hours browsing the Web.

  3. Do not leave your computers up for the night unless they are servers. Switched off computer is pretty safe if "wake-on-LAN" setting in BIOS is disabled.  The same is true with smartphones. Putting them into metal box or metal mesh box for the night like some recommend while cuts possibility for them to get a signal from the tower is probably an overkill. For laptops it's really easy to shut them for the night if you associate shut down computer with closing the lid when your laptop is connected to the power source (this is more tricky if you have a dock; then you might need to change it to "not connected to power source" and remove laptop from the dock for the night). 

  4. Always disable "wake-on-LAN" setting on your PCs. That's trivial thing but that's important. 

  5. Things that should be be discussed by phone, should never be discussed by phone. 

  6. Dilute your Internet purchase history. Use single Amazon account for the whole family or share it with a friends (that allow you to cut  the price of prime in half but exposé you to risks if you "misunderestimated" your friend or part the ways ;-).  It also enforce some discipline on your buying as you know that other people have access to the list of your purchases. In this case it is more difficult to profile single member of household as you need to make some assumption. 

  7. Filler browsing and the use of VPN. If you are concerned the your internet browsing can get you in the  "unload citizens" category of some sort  you might try to use "filler" browsing to dilute the stream of pages you requested and/or use VPN (but you can't use any exotic browser, unless you change the proser identification string, but even this is not enough). Dilution is a trick that is often used in office environment by those who like to play on the edge with enterprise security team (especially if you have nothing to do at night shift).  Using single proxy for the whole family also helps to mask your identity (actually router mask all your Web pages requests presenting them as coming from a single Internet address, not from individual (and local) addresses of computers in your household. But if different computers use different browsers (or different version of browsers) pages access can be differentiated by browser type. In any case proxy gives you much finer control and is not that difficult to install and use. Programmable  keyboard and some skills in programming in LUA makes injecting "politically correct searches" easy. You can randomize the  set of pages too.  

  8. Don't succumb to paranoia. Installing spyware on your smartphone is an expensive operation and you generally have much higher changes to get malware from regular criminals than from the government. Especially if you install "free" applications on your smartphone. More often than not, they are not completely free and like is case of using  Facebook you trade your privacy for the access to them  ;-). Switched off cellphones or computer (with wake-up-LAN disabled) are switched off cell phones,  or computer.  There is probably not that much value in removing the battery and other "drastic" measures like putting them into Faraday case (BTW plastic bags for electronic parts have metallic coating and might serve serve as a Faraday cage)

  9. If you do not want particular travel to be recorded in tiny details do not use cellphones and pay cash for gas, food, etc.  But please understand that when you cross toll bridges your number plate is recorded. And probably not only bridges. So for the government there are many ways to skin the cat, even if the cat is trying to hide. 

  10. Regular simple/basic flip phone like  Samsung Gusto 3 B311 No Contract Phone (Verizon Wireless)  or ZTE Z222 Go Phone (AT&T)   is safer than smartphone as there not much memory in each od such phone to allow any hacking (typically 50 MB or less) . This improves your protection, if you are really paranoid at the cost of Internet access from the smarphone.  People like myself, who do not really need internet on the phone as they have tablet with G3/G4 for this purpose can also use this approach as such phone usually has chaper plans then smartphones.  In any case your call metadata will be recorded anyway. And as Us experience with Iraq insurgetnt had shown, they are probably as revealing as the content of your phone calls.

  11. Never use Gmail/hotmail/yahoo mail for anything of the registrations and spam folder.  Get and account at one of ISPs. It will cost you around $5 a month or less.  You might also wish to obtain you won domain name. They come with email accounts and web page creation capabilities (might also be  useful if you can avoid excessive exhibitionism and limit it to quotes from sources that you like and similar things )

  12. Never store your financial information and other sensitive  files on the same computer you browse Internet. Buy additional laptop and use exclusively it for browsing  financial sites and creating your tax return (if you do it yourself). That also helps against nasty malware.  At least never use the same account -- create and strictly follow the discipline of using different accounts for you regular browsing and for your finances. That's really important.

  13. Periodically change your nicknames if you participate in some "supposedly watched by authorities" forums. Periodically change  DHCP address on your provider using  ipconfig /release or similar methods.  Nicknames that can't be easily found by Internet searches (common words, such as "high speed", "Networker", "not a new Yorker", "Symposium"  ) are better than unique one. Look at Guardian forums for inspiration ;-). You can also use VPN to mask your IP but generally your mileage can vary, as the government has tools to void this protection.

  14. Get PGP key and learn to use PGP. This is useful for separating your regular files from your "confidential" files.  If something is really confidential never store it on a networked computer.  Use paper and non-networked computer for printing it.  Some people install DOS for such purpose, but while fun to do, that's probably an overkill, unless are are into retro-computing. Non-networked means does not have any network card, or WiFi; which means old desktop computer). You will not be alone. There was a story  published in 2013 by major news agencies (see BBC version ) that Russian government bought some number  of electric typewriters for such a switch. See also discussion Soviet Spying on US Selectric Typewriters - Schneier on Security.  It might well be that on a governmental level anything secret shouldn't be prepared or communicated on electronic devices.

  15. Switch off you laptp or smartphone  if you do not use them and do not want to take any calls. There is no any reason to keep smartphone up when you are travelling  in the  car. You can use Airplane mode for that too. That suppresses geolocation, but it leaves phone  up and thus theoretically still enables voice recording using microphone, although if you smartphone is in the pocket, the quality of such recording will be so dismal that it is virtually useless, unless you want to spend large amount of many on filtering off the noise.

If you join Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo and use webmail you should have no expectations of privacy

"Always remember that Google Gmail is "free"
 because you are not the customer, you are the product."

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. A this is a very reasonable policy. Here is a relevant Slashdot post:

General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party.

Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI.

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

... ... ...

While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham, and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.

Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:

"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets. But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said by every citizen of any country."

It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits and tries to play on people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. This Facebook induced  US epidemic  of exhibitionism is really unhealthy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

Facebook has been a personal information sucking device since its inception. It is a toxic, faceless suburban wasteland which actually makes people more lonely (Suburbanization of Friendships and Solitude)

April 18, 2012

Facebook may be making us lonely, giving users the information age equivalent of a faceless suburban wasteland, claims the fantastic cover story of The Atlantic. Key excerpts:

We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

At the forefront of all this unexpectedly lonely interactivity is Facebook.

Facebook makes real relationships harder:

That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

Here’s why:

Our omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook, the source of its power, is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society—the accidental revelations we make at parties, the awkward pauses, the farting and the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact. Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.

Finally, FB fosters a retreat into narcissism:

Self-presentation on Facebook is continuous, intensely mediated, and possessed of a phony nonchalance that eliminates even the potential for spontaneity. (“Look how casually I threw up these three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos!”) Curating the exhibition of the self has become a 24/7 occupation.

Facebook users retreat from “messy” human interaction and spend too much of their time curating fantasy avatars of themselves to actually to out and meet real people:

The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee.

The always-on effects are profound:

What Facebook has revealed about human nature—and this is not a minor revelation—is that a connection is not the same thing as a bond, and that instant and total connection is no salvation, no ticket to a happier, better world or a more liberated version of humanity. Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are. Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect.

One of the deepest and best researched meditations on FB 2012.

To avoid stupid breaches  always use two factor authentication

Many sites allow now two factor authentication. If you bank and broker do not have two factor authentication, think about changing them to the one that is similar but has  one.

Use special laptop for financial transactions (or at least virtual machine)

As a minimum use  different account and non-privileged account on the same laptop for browsing and for financial transactions.

To avoid pilfering of your financial information by malware it makes sense to use a special laptop for access to financial sites and preparing tax information. It is easy to configure your workplace at home with two laptops: one for browsing and other similar "non-secure" activate and the other for financial activities. You can switch monitors using a good KVM switch.  Generally USB switch such  as UGREEN USB Switch Selector is enough. You do not need to switch monitors as there is enough space for two or even for monitor (if you use 4 monitor stand) on most desks.

Never use for such operation a laptop or desktop you children have access to.  Good used Dell laptop is only $300 and  you losses can be measured in  tens thousand of dollars. 

This is inverted totalitarism, my friend

  "As a totalitarian society, the Soviet Union valued eavesdropping and thus developed ingenious methods to accomplish it"

NSA document, cited from Soviet Spying on US Selectric Typewriters - Schneier on Security
 

In any case we should be aware that your Internet communications are under total surveillance. And that does not mean that people in hard boots will come and take you. Just realization of that this under surveillance is enough to change people behaviour. See Inverted Totalitarism:

The key ingredient of classical totalitarism is violence toward opponents. Also in all classic totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the USSR, the citizenry were kept mobilized to support the state. Sometimes wipe up to the state of frenzy by ideological purity campaigns or purges. Opponents were sent to concentration camps or exiled. Here the idea different: a passive but thoroughly monitored and thoroughly brainwashed populace is the goal that can be achieve with just two of three component of traditional totalitarism (ideology, propaganda and violence). Ideology and propaganda components are enough. That why the name "inverted totalitarism".

The term "liberal fascism" is also used and is a synonym, but it has "politically incorrect" flavor. The term "managed democracy" is also used, but more rarely.

It goes without saying that inverted totalitarism is much better then classic variants as close acquaintance with Gestapo or KGB is harmful for one's health. And that's what opponents of the regime faced. Here they just ignore the opponents and cut oxygen, in indirect way. Voice of opponents of the regime is just drown in the see of official propaganda and they are never invited to TV programs with significant popularity and influence on public opinion. As Orwell aptly noted "ignorance is strength" ;-). Also people who failed "loyalty test" might be simply remove from position where they can make a difference. Without too much noise. Net result is very similar, but for dissidents in case of inverted totalitarism teeth remain in place.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites (Web logs). That does not mean that those data are abused, but they are definitely recorded and some of them are stored for several years. In the article Edward Snowden Is Completely Wrong by Michael Hirsh and Sara Sorcher (Jun 15, 2013, NationalJournal.com) the authors warn:

Another problem for the alarmists: No evidence suggests that the worst fears of people like Snowden have ever been realized. In his interview with The Guardian, which broke the story along with The Washington Post, Snowden warned that the NSA’s accumulation of personal data

"increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody.”

In a state with no checks and balances, that is a possibility. But even the American Civil Liberties Union, which has called NSA surveillance “a stone’s throw away from an Orwellian state,” admits it knows of no cases where anything even remotely Orwellian has happened. Nor can any opponent of NSA surveillance point to a Kafkaesque Joseph K. who has appeared in an American courtroom on mysterious charges trumped up from government surveillance. Several civil-liberties advocates, asked to cite a single case of abuse of information, all paused for long seconds and could not cite any.

There is also great misunderstanding about how the NSA system works and whether such abuse could even happen in the future. It’s unclear if the government will be capable of accessing and misusing the vast array of personal data it is accumulating, as Snowden predicts. The NSA appears primarily to use computer algorithms to sift through its database for patterns that may be possible clues to terrorist plots. The government says it is not eavesdropping on our phone calls or voyeuristically reading our e-mails. Instead, it tracks the “metadata” of phone calls—whom we call and when, the duration of those conversations—and uses computer algorithms to trawl its databases for phone patterns or e-mail and search keywords that may be clues to terrorist plots. It can also map networks by linking known operatives with potential new suspects. If something stands out as suspicious, agents are still required by law to obtain a court order to look into the data they have in their storehouses. Officials must show “probable cause” and adhere to the principle of “minimization,” by which the government commits to reducing as much as possible the inadvertent vacuuming up of information on citizens instead of foreigners—the real target of the NSA’s PRISM program. The program, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, has had success. He told NBC that tracking a suspicious communication from Pakistan to a person in Colorado allowed officials to identify a terrorist cell in New York City that wanted to bomb its subway system in the fall of 2009.

Replace the word "terrorist" by the word "dissident" and you will get truer meaning of the collection and mining of metadata by three letter agencies. Here is an insightful post by Chris On February 16, 2010 ( christopherkois.com):

Today, there was an Ask Slashdot Story called: “Did We Lose the Privacy War?” In the story, the user was trying to do things like use NoScript and block Google Analytics, disabling third party cookies, and encrypting IM “to keep data-miners at bay”.

While I think some of these things are a good idea and individually protect against potential threats that may reside on the Internet, in the grand scheme of things, they do not help to protect your privacy on the Internet. The story and the comments on Slashdot that followed remind me of a great talk that was presented by Steve Rambam at the The Last Hope conference in 2008.

Steve Rambam is the Founder and CEO of Pallorium, Inc. Pallorium is a licensed Investigative Agency with offices and affiliates worldwide. In 2008, at The Last Hope conference, Steve Rambam gave a talk called “Privacy is Dead – Get Over It”. I originally heard this talk in 2008, as a podcast that is distributed on The Last Hope website.

This talk is by far one of the best talks I’ve ever heard on the topic of privacy on the Internet. The talk contains information about how an individual person’s information is retrieved, gathered, and correlated to obtain everything about an individual. Even more of a disturbing trend, the aggregation of social networking sites with other data stored by government and other private entities. It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is. The amount of information given away on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. is absolutely amazing. To top it off, an individual has no recourse against an entity collecting information about them. To quote the talk, “the genie is out of the bottle and you can’t stuff it back in.” The talk aims to spread awareness of data gathering on the Internet and how it is used in the past, present, and future.

From the talk: “This is the current state of affairs. There is no more sense of privacy. Not because it’s been ripped away from you in some Orwellian way, but because you flushed it down the toilet”. It’s not just private investigators that use this information, it’s also corporate entities that profit from your information. Take Amazon.com for example, from the talk:

“think for a second what Amazon knows about you: they know where you live, where you work, they know about your finances, they know what you like to read, what music you like to listen to, they know every interest of yours, every like, every dislike… all of things that make you, you. Essentially, they’ve got a database of everyone in America’s soul.”

Rambam points out that EBay, Paypal, and Skype (which is all one company now) have a very similar database of information. Satellite TV/Cable TV/DVR/Tivo all know what you watch on TV, and Tivo is actually selling elements of your data. Furthermore, you don’t know what they have and there is NOTHING that you can do about it.

From the talk:

“What you need to know is that these are “private” companies. Freedom of information does NOT apply. And you’re screwed 2 ways. You go to Choicepoint and you say ‘What’s in your files about me?’. ‘None of your business. It’s our business records. Tough.’ You go to the government and you say ‘This is my Freedom of Information Act request. I know you pulled a Choicepoint report on me. I want to know what was in that report.’ ‘Sorry, we can’t give it to you. It’s a private business record.’ FOIA is dead, buried. It tried to come back to life. Choicepoint hammered a big stake in it’s heart and now it’s gone…”

So, what does this all mean? This isn’t just about people or entities knowing everything there is to know about you: what you do, what you like, where you go, who you talk to, what you buy, what you are interested in buying, interests that you have, etc., etc., etc… It’s how those entities are using the data that they gather. You don’t have to be paranoid to be interested in this. Companies are profiting from the data that they are collecting on you, and you pay them for it. You are paying for their services, but they are still collecting the information and selling it to someone else. In essence, they are “double-dipping” into the profits from selling consumers a product or a service and then, aggregating the data and selling it to advertisers behind the scenes. The advertisers selling you information know more about you then you could ever imagine.

From the talk:

“If you don’t take anything else from my talk today, here’s what I need you to take away. Google is a private company that you have no control over. You have no right and no ability to influence what they gather about you and what they do with that information. And the truth is, most people when they think of Google, they think of a great utility that solved all the problems of finding things on the Internet a few years ago. … Google is photos, blogs, media … Gmail, how many people here use Gmail? … Do you know that your email is searched by bots? … How many of you know that your email is searched, indexed, and categorized? … How many of you care? None of you!

Now the same people, how many would be running out and hiring a lawyer if somebody was opening the mail at your mailbox, reading it, pasting it back shut, and putting it back in the box? Every single one of you. Much worse, but you don’t get it or you don’t care.”

One last quote from the talk that I feel really sums up all of the data collection, mining, and aggregation that many of the Internet Web Services companies do on a daily basis: This quote comes from the EFF, but is referenced in the talk: “This is analogous to AT&T listening to your phone calls all day in order to figure out what to sell you at dinner.”

Steve Rambam does a great job in conveying the current state of affairs. He states the case as to why much of this information can be used in a good way by law enforcement and private investigators to do their job efficiently, but also how the information obtained can and is being abused. The aim of the talk is to make people aware of what data is gathered, what you can do about it (which is not much), and what those entities that are gathering the information are doing with it.

The talk is just over 3 hours. The video is nice so you can see the slides, but you can always download the audio and listen to it on your portable music player.

The giant sucking sound

In his article What Surveillance Valley knows about you (Crooks and Liars) Yasha Levine noted:

Google is very secretive about the exact nature of its for-profit intel operation and how it uses the petabytes of data it collects on us every single day for financial gain. Fortunately, though, we can get a sense of the kind of info that Google and other Surveillance Valley megacorps compile on us, and the ways in which that intel might be used and abused, by looking at the business practices of the “data broker” industry.

Thanks to a series of Senate hearings, the business of data brokerage is finally being understood by consumers, but the industry got its start back in the 1970s as a direct outgrowth of the failure of telemarketing. In its early days, telemarketing had an abysmal success rate: only 2 percent of people contacted would become customers. In his book, “The Digital Perso,” Daniel J. Solove explains what happened next:

To increase the low response rate, marketers sought to sharpen their targeting techniques, which required more consumer research and an effective way to collect, store, and analyze information about consumers. The advent of the computer database gave marketers this long sought-after ability — and it launched a revolution in targeting technology.

Data brokers rushed in to fill the void. These operations pulled in information from any source they could get their hands on — voter registration, credit card transactions, product warranty information, donations to political campaigns and non-profits, court records — storing it in master databases and then analyzing it in all sorts of ways that could be useful to direct-mailing and telemarketing outfits. It wasn’t long before data brokers realized that this information could be used beyond telemarketing, and quickly evolved into a global for-profit intelligence business that serves every conceivable data and intelligence need.

Today, the industry churns somewhere around $200 billion in revenue annually. There are up to 4,000 data broker companies — some of the biggest are publicly traded — and together, they have detailed information on just about every adult in the western world.

No source of information is sacred: transaction records are bought in bulk from stores, retailers and merchants; magazine subscriptions are recorded; food and restaurant preferences are noted; public records and social networks are scoured and scraped. What kind of prescription drugs did you buy? What kind of books are you interested in? Are you a registered voter? To what non-profits do you donate? What movies do you watch? Political documentaries? Hunting reality TV shows?

That info is combined and kept up to date with address, payroll information, phone numbers, email accounts, social security numbers, vehicle registration and financial history. And all that is sliced, isolated, analyzed and mined for data about you and your habits in a million different ways.

The dossiers are not restricted to generic market segmenting categories like “Young Literati” or “Shotguns and Pickups” or “Kids & Cul-de-Sacs,” but often contain the most private and intimate details about a person’s life, all of it packaged and sold over and over again to anyone willing to pay.

Take MEDbase200, a boutique for-profit intel outfit that specializes in selling health-related consumer data. Well, until last week, the company offered its clients a list of rape victims (or “rape sufferers,” as the company calls them) at the low price of $79.00 per thousand. The company claims to have segmented this data set into hundreds of different categories, including stuff like the ailments they suffer, prescription drugs they take and their ethnicity:

These rape sufferers are family members who have reported, or have been identified as individuals affected by specific illnesses, conditions or ailments relating to rape. Medbase200 is the owner of this list. Select from families affected by over 500 different ailments, and/or who are consumers of over 200 different Rx medications. Lists can be further selected on the basis of lifestyle, ethnicity, geo, gender, and much more. Inquire today for more information.

MEDbase promptly took its “rape sufferers” list off line last week after its existence was revealed in a Senate investigation into the activities of the data-broker industry. The company pretended like the list was a huge mistake. A MEDbase rep tried convincing a Wall Street Journal reporter that its rape dossiers were just a “hypothetical list of health conditions/ailments.” The rep promised it was never sold to anyone. Yep, it was a big mistake. We can all rest easy now. Thankfully, MEDbase has hundreds of other similar dossier collections, hawking the most private and sensitive medical information.

For instance, if lists of rape victims aren’t your thing, MEDbase can sell dossiers on people suffering from anorexia, substance abuse, AIDS and HIV, Alzheimer’s Disease, Asperger Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bedwetting (Enuresis), Binge Eating Disorder, Depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Homelessness, Infertility, Syphilis… the list goes on and on and on and on.

Normally, such detailed health information would fall under federal law and could not be disclosed or sold without consent. But because these data harvesters rely on indirect sources of information instead of medical records, they’re able to sidestep regulations put in place to protect the privacy of people’s health data.

MEBbase isn’t the only company exploiting these loopholes. By the industry’s own estimates, there are something like 4,000 for-profit intel companies operating in the United States. Many of them sell information that would normally be restricted under federal law. They offer all sorts of targeted dossier collections on every population segments of our society, from the affluent to the extremely vulnerable:

  • people with drug addictions
  • detailed personal info on police officers and other government employees
  • people with bad credit/bankruptcies
  • minorities who’ve used payday loan services
  • domestic violence shelter locations (normally these addresses would be shielded by law)
  • elderly gamblers

If you want to see how this kind of profile data can be used to scam unsuspecting individuals, look no further than a Richard Guthrie, an Iowa retiree who had his life savings siphoned out of his bank account. Their weapon of choice: databases bought from large for-profit data brokers listing retirees who entered sweepstakes and bought lottery tickets.

Here’s a 2007 New York Times story describing the racket:

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say.

InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.”

Data brokers argue that cases like Guthrie are an anomaly — a once-in-a-blue-moon tragedy in an industry that takes privacy and legal conduct seriously. But cases of identity thieves and sophistical con-rings obtaining data from for-profit intel businesses abound. Scammers are a lucrative source of revenue. Their money is just as good as anyone else’s. And some of the profile “products” offered by the industry seem tailored specifically to fraud use.

As Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Yves Leblanc told the New York Times: “Only one kind of customer wants to buy lists of seniors interested in lotteries and sweepstakes: criminals. If someone advertises a list by saying it contains gullible or elderly people, it’s like putting out a sign saying ‘Thieves welcome here.’”

So what is InfoUSA, exactly? What kind of company would create and sell lists customized for use by scammers and cons?

As it turns out, InfoUSA is not some fringe or shady outfit, but a hugely profitable politically connected company. InfoUSA was started by Vin Gupta in the 1970s as a basement operation hawking detailed lists of RV and mobile home dealers. The company quickly expanded into other areas and began providing business intel services to thousands of businesses. By 2000, the company raised more than $30 million in venture capital funding from major Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

By then, InfoUSA boasted of having information on 230 million consumers. A few years later, InfoUSA counted the biggest Valley companies as its clients, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. It got involved not only in raw data and dossiers, but moved into payroll and financial, conducted polling and opinion research, partnered with CNN, vetted employees and provided customized services for law enforcement and all sorts of federal and government agencies: processing government payments, helping states locate tax cheats and even administrating President Bill Clinton “Welfare to Work” program. Which is not surprising, as Vin Gupta is a major and close political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, Gupta was sued by InfoUSA shareholders for inappropriately using corporate funds. Shareholders accused of Gupta of illegally funneling corporate money to fund an extravagant lifestyle and curry political favor. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit questioned why Gupta used private corporate jets to fly the Clintons on personal and campaign trips, and why Gupta awarded Bill Clinton a $3.3 million consulting gig.

As a result of the scandal, InfoUSA was threatened with delisting from Nasdaq, Gupta was forced out and the company was snapped up for half a billion dollars by CCMP Capital Advisors, a major private equity firm spun off from JP Morgan in 2006. Today, InfoUSA continues to do business under the name Infogroup, and has nearly 4,000 employees working in nine countries.

As big as Infogroup is, there are dozens of other for-profit intelligence businesses that are even bigger: massive multi-national intel conglomerates with revenues in the billions of dollars. Some of them, like Lexis-Nexis and Experian, are well known, but mostly these are outfits that few Americans have heard of, with names like Epsilon, Altegrity and Acxiom.

These for-profit intel behemoths are involved in everything from debt collection to credit reports to consumer tracking to healthcare analysis, and provide all manner of tailored services to government and law enforcement around the world. For instance, Acxiom has done business with most major corporations, and boasts of intel on “500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States,” according to the New York Times.

This data is analyzed and sliced in increasingly sophisticated and intrusive ways to profile and predict behavior. Merchants are using it customize shopping experience— Target launched a program to figure out if a woman shopper was pregnant and when the baby would be born, “even if she didn’t want us to know.” Life insurance companies are experimenting with predictive consumer intel to estimate life expectancy and determine eligibility for life insurance policies. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are raking over this data in order to deny and challenge the medical claims of their policyholders.

Even more alarming, large employers are turning to for-profit intelligence to mine and monitor the lifestyles and habits of their workers outside the workplace. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal described how employers have partnered with health insurance companies to monitor workers for “health-adverse” behavior that could lead to higher medical expenses down the line:

Your company already knows whether you have been taking your meds, getting your teeth cleaned and going for regular medical checkups. Now some employers or their insurance companies are tracking what staffers eat, where they shop and how much weight they are putting on — and taking action to keep them in line.

But companies also have started scrutinizing employees’ other behavior more discreetly. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently began buying spending data on more than 3 million people in its employer group plans. If someone, say, purchases plus-size clothing, the health plan could flag him for potential obesity — and then call or send mailings offering weight-loss solutions.

…”Everybody is using these databases to sell you stuff,” says Daryl Wansink, director of health economics for the Blue Cross unit. “We happen to be trying to sell you something that can get you healthier.”

“As an employer, I want you on that medication that you need to be on,” says Julie Stone, a HR expert at Towers Watson told the Wall Street Journal.

Companies might try to frame it as a health issue. I mean, what kind of asshole could be ag caring about the wellbeing of their workers? But their ultimate concern has nothing to do with the employee health. It’s all about the brutal bottom line: keeping costs down.

An employer monitoring and controlling your activity outside of work? You don’t have to be union agitator to see the problems with this kind of mindset and where it could lead. Because there are lots of things that some employers might want to know about your personal life, and not only to “keep costs down.” It could be anything: to weed out people based on undesirable habits or discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation, regulation and political beliefs.

It’s not difficult to imagine that a large corporation facing a labor unrest or a unionization drive would be interested in proactively flagging potential troublemakers by pinpointing employees that might be sympathetic to the cause. But the technology and data is already here for wide and easy application: did a worker watch certain political documentaries, donate to environmental non-profits, join an animal rights Facebook group, tweet out support for Occupy Wall Street, subscribe to the Nation or Jacobin, buy Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”? Or maybe the worker simply rented one of Michael Moore’s films? Run your payroll through one of the massive consumer intel databases and look if there is any matchup. Bound to be plenty of unpleasant surprises for HR!

This has happened in the past, although in a cruder and more limited way. In the 1950s, for instance, some lefty intellectuals had their lefty newspapers and mags delivered to P.O. boxes instead of their home address, worrying that otherwise they’d get tagged as Commie symps. That might have worked in the past. But with the power of private intel companies, today there’s nowhere to hide.

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill has repeatedly voiced concern that unregulated data being amassed by for-profit intel companies would be used to discriminate and deny employment, and to determine consumer access to everything from credit to insurance to housing. “As Big Data algorithms become more accurate and powerful, consumers need to know a lot more about the ways in which their data is used,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

Pam Dixon, executive director of the Privacy World Forum, agrees. Dixon frequently testifies on Capitol Hill to warn about the growing danger to privacy and civil liberties posed by big data and for-profit intelligence. In Congressional testimony back in 2009, Dixon called this growing mountain of data the “modern permanent record” and explained that users of these new intel capabilities will inevitably expand to include not just marketers and law enforcement, but insurance companies, employers, landlords, schools, parents, scammers and stalkers. “The information – like credit reports – will be used to make basic decisions about the ability of individual to travel, participate in the economy, find opportunities, find places to live, purchase goods and services, and make judgments about the importance, worthiness, and interests of individuals.”


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[Sep 18, 2019] US wants to seize all money Edward Snowden makes from new book - Reuters

Notable quotes:
"... The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants. ..."
"... Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | uk.reuters.com

The United States filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked secret documents about U.S. telephone and internet surveillance in 2013, saying his new book violates non-disclosure agreements.

The Justice Department said Snowden published his memoir, "Permanent Record," without submitting it to intelligence agencies for review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements. In 2013, Snowden wrote "Everything You Know about the Constitution is Wrong."

The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants.

Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith.

Representatives for the book's publisher, Macmillan Publishers, and its unit Henry Holt & Co, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Snowden has lived in Russia since he revealed details of U.S. intelligence agencies' secret surveillance programs.

Though he is viewed by some as a hero, U.S. authorities want him to stand in a criminal trial over his disclosures of classified information.

Speaking by video link at an event in Berlin to promote the book, Snowden said that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement to maintain secrecy, he had also sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

"You've told the government you're not going to talk to journalists. You've told them you're not going to write a book," Snowden said. "At the same time you have an oath to defend the Constitution. And the secret that you are asked to protect is that the government is violating that Constitution and the rights of people around the world."

Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Paul Carrell in Berlin; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

[Sep 14, 2019] 48 States to Investigate Google Anti-Trust or Politicking

the important side effect of dominance in advertizing is a huge surveillance mechanism of Big Brother type that come with it. Google essentially is able to see what particular individual is viewing, unless special steps like blocking Google advertizing server IPs, modifying the page of the fly or disabling Javascript are taken. It does not need access to web server logs, his own advertizing servers produce logs that are equitant if not better.
Sep 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Fifty Attorney Generals from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced on Monday that they are launching an anti-trust investigation into Google. This investigation would be in addition the one that the Justice Department's already conducting. Here's what Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's leading the case, had to say when he made the announcement on Monday.

KEN PAXTON: This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet as they dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side and even the video side with YouTube. And right now, we're looking at advertising, but the facts will lead to where the facts lead. And even as we speak, been up here about a minute, there'll be 3.8 million searches and a lot of advertising dollars just made in every minute that one of these people speaks.

GREG WILPERT: Other major tech companies that have come into the crosshairs of various state and federal government agencies for anti-trust investigations are Facebook, Apple and Amazon. According to a New York Times analysis, Google is facing five major investigations, Facebook eleven, and Apple and Amazon are each facing three. Each area of anti-competitive behavior is different, depending on the market that each one of these companies dominates.

Joining me now to discuss the wave of anti-trust investigations against Google and other tech companies is Bill Black. He is a white-collar criminologist, former financial regulator, and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's also the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One . Thanks for joining us again, Bill.

BILL BLACK: Thank you.

GREG WILPERT: So it's interesting that a Republican State Attorney General is taking the lead on this, Ken Paxton. And that California isn't even a part of the case, along with Alabama. What's going on here? What's your analysis?

BILL BLACK: Okay, so the reason the state AGs are getting involved in general in lots of different things, and going all the way back to the runup to the great financial crisis, is that the United States Department of Justice has basically abandoned cracking down significantly on elite white-collar crimes in general and anti-trust in particular. Now, there's an exception -- cartels. They actually are moderately vigorous until the Trump administration, but in lots of other areas, not so. And so the states felt that the only way that you could have any effective action was to have the states take the lead. But the states lack the capacity to take the lead.

They just don't have -- All the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and DC together do not have the resources in anti-trust, for example, that the federal government has just in its anti-trust division. And that's not even mentioning the FBI, which does the real investigations, and which the states have no real counterpart to. And so the only way the states could even try to be effective was to link together. And they did this in the runup to the great financial crisis sufficiently, effectively, that the federal government actually sought to block the states from bringing this action, claiming that it was preempted, so this is continuing that practice.

They weren't able to get California and they weren't able to get Alabama. So they weren't able to get Alabama on the usual conservative grounds of "why should we sue anybody, the powerful?" But they weren't able to get California of course in part because the state AG is a Democrat, and his leading source of contributions, or among his three leading sources of contributions is Google. And this is one of the real problems with state AGs. They're statewide races, you have to get elected, and they're expensive races, so you're always seeking political contributions and such. That, of course, is something that the US Attorney General doesn't have to do and allows him or her to be more independent.

Then the next question is the states have to face the question always in these kinds of cases that the federal government doesn't face. And that's "who's going to be in charge?" It's obviously that the US Attorney General, unless he has to recuse himself, is in charge at the federal level. But the state level, it's a matter of negotiation. For reasons that pass all understanding, they put Paxton, one of the absolute most notorious state Attorney Generals in the United States, in charge. Paxton is trying to raise political contributions on the basis of this investigation. He sent out an email seeking funds, and I quote "we will continue to fight for your rights and to protect you from monopolistic practices by liberal elites in DC or in Silicon Valley." Now here's a hint, Attorney Generals are not supposed to go after liberals or conservatives or moderates.

That is completely antithetical to the idea of justice, but Paxton is not functioning like an independent, honest person. He's someone who is intensely politically ambitious, who hates anybody who he perceives as even moderate -- much less, liberal or progressive and such -- and he wants to use this investigation as a weapon to go after his political opponents. And on top of that, get paid off, to get a fine that he can use to tout as a success, and to use that resources to do the same type of thing in going after other folks. So again, I have no idea why the state AGs who are Democrats were willing to allow Paxton to take the lead role because it's going to discredit the entire investigation.

GREG WILPERT: I think that's really interesting to see this kind of battle going on, essentially within the elite circles of the United States. It's really breaking out into the open in this case, if that's the real motivation behind -- Well, he said it himself. His real motivation is to go after the liberal elites, which he sees Google and Facebook as being a part of. But I want to turn to the actual issue of anti-trust and monopolies. Now, clearly Google dominates the search market. There's no doubt about that. It's practically the only search engine anyone uses. However, in advertising, Google is not actually a monopoly, at least if one looks at its market share by revenues, where it has a 38% share of digital advertising revenues and Facebook has 22%. Now, give us an idea as to why Google's dominance in search and advertising should actually perhaps be a concern. Is that concern real? And also, if advertisers can simply go elsewhere if they feel that Google isn't treating them fairly, why should their practices in this area be of concern?

BILL BLACK: Okay, so one of the things I teach is anti-trust and such. Monopoly is not the same thing as monopoly power. When we use the word "monopoly," we typically mean one entity that controls nearly everything. There are cases, but they're rare in life where there is actually a monopoly. Long before you have exclusive control over a market, however, you have some degree of market power. How much is incredibly complex and depends on the inner play. But one of the things is, say, use your numbers, we have somewhere around 30 to 40% of control here. We've got a competitor who has 20 and another competitor who has 20. Well then that makes it pretty easy for the three of us to collude. And we can collude implicitly, right? Just don't rock the boat. Anybody that really tries to undercut on fees, then we rush in and we match that and maybe we even cut a little more to show them how vigorous we're going to be. So economists have long been concerned anytime a company gets even close to the degree of market domination that you talked about, so it's not silly in the least that they're worried about it.

Now here's the kicker: people may remember Bork and the phrase "to be Borked." Well one of the reasons he was not approved by the Senate to be a Supreme Court Justice is that he was leading the right-wing movement to say that essentially we should get rid of anti-trust. In the specific context of Silicon Valley and any high tech entity in which numbers matter, penetration matters, the argument from the Right is that there are "network effects." In other words, when I use my email, it's much more valuable if I can talk to everybody than if I can just talk to the 10,000 people who have to be subscribers, in the old days, of some particular email service. And those kind of network effects are fairly common within tech, typically because of this desire to communicate and to search, in this case, much more broadly. So that leads to something close to what, in the old days in economics we would refer to as a "natural monopoly." A natural monopoly just means that there are so many economies of scale, that whoever gets big actually gets cheaper, and they have a competitive advantage over any rivals in those circumstances.

But we want the efficiency of that network and the conservatives are unwilling to do a hybrid, saying, "Okay, we'll have a network that covers everybody, but we'll treat it like a common carrier, and we'll make sure that the private entity doesn't become the multi-billionaire because of the profit from these things." So the conservatives want us just to walk away and let some people become extraordinarily rich and then use their market power, if they choose, to say "I actually don't want those people spreading their views, so I'm going to make life difficult for them." So there's also a political rationale, political science rationale, freedom rationale for saying "you shouldn't let a private company that is not subject at least to the duties of treating everyone fairly have this kind of monopoly power position."

GREG WILPERT: I want to dig a little bit deeper exactly on that issue actually. In the past, major anti-trust cases simply broke up the monopoly; such as, happened with Standard Oil in 1911 and AT&T in 1982. But is that even an option in cases for Facebook and Google? You're speaking about the network effects and they're obviously quite strong in the case of Facebook and Google. That is, do we really want a dozen different search engines or a dozen different baby Facebooks? In other words, wouldn't turning over the company to its users or to some other -- What would a possible alternative look like instead of breaking it up, or is that the only solution?

BILL BLACK: I don't think it is the only solution, but it's been the only solution that the Right has been willing to contemplate and to oppose as well, by the way. Again, their position is "we should just allow this network to be created and allow private parties to gain supernormal profits." In economic jargon, that just means a hell of a lot of money. This is why these people are multi-multi-billionaires, is they control something that has immense monopoly power, and therefore is able to charge more than they should, and that's inefficient. So the efficiency condition should be, "Yes, you create the network, but you don't allow a particular party to become immensely rich from it. You run it instead as essentially a regulated public utility." That says, "No, you can just get a normal return out of all of this. But yes, we'll allow a fully efficient network to be created,"

When you treat it like a public utility, then it has traditionally at law, doctrines of fairness and such that you can't discriminate against the use, that you can't use it as a weapon against your enemies and such, so you have to take all customers on the same terms whether they're big customers or little customers and such. Of course, that harks back to an earlier dispute and one of the first things that the Trump administration sought to eliminate, was any duty on the part of these private monopolies to treat people fairly. So it's quite interesting that the Trump administration is now investigating that which it previously blessed. And of course, the Trump administration has announced that it's going to use the anti-trust laws as a weapon against their political enemies -- the car companies, for daring to agree with California to produce fewer greenhouse gases.

GREG WILPERT: Yeah. I just want to return to the issue of this particular case now with Ken Paxton and Google because obviously, or not obviously, but presumably, he would probably favor a decision that would actually weaken the power of Google and Facebook by breaking it up, which I would think the Democratic state Attorney Generals that are behind this case probably wouldn't necessarily favor. So how are they ever going to come to a resolution in this case, or is this just going to be tied up in the courts forever?

BILL BLACK: So this issue actually cuts across all kinds of ideological dimensions. You have the Texas AG, arguably the most conservative state AG in the country, someone who doesn't care about anti-trust at all, suddenly becoming the great enforcer of antitrust because it's his political opponents. You've got Democrats who often think that monopoly power has gone too far going, "Okay, I'll do a deal with the devil -- Paxton -- on this."

But now, and I mean just like today, the Koch Brothers Foundation has gotten involved. And it's sending out this major effort to get the population to turn against their state AGs because of this very investigation and the Facebook investigation as well. The Koch brothers fear that if this precedence gets created, of actually reinvigorating the anti-trust laws, they could be in the sights of particular Attorney Generals as well. I don't want to say that only conservative or Republican AGs use these laws against their political opponents because there have been a series of scandals involving Democrats as well and it's not so much political there. It's fundraisers. Whoever raises money for them, they help out. You draw the money largely from plaintiff's lawyers and the plaintiff lawyers would really, really, really love it if the state AGs would bring an action against the very folks that they too are suing. That would help their litigation a great deal. So, there are a series of scandals involving Democrats and Republicans in these Attorney General-type suits.

[Sep 13, 2019] Antiwar.com wins legal case against FBI

Notable quotes:
"... The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/court-fbi-must-destroy-...

Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling Antiwar.com a Threat
Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after 9/11.
By KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS • September 12, 2019

In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website's co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.

"It's been a long fight and I'm glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior," said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. "I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened."

Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995

They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and Antiwar.com, had yet to be expunged from the agency's record...

It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to Antiwar.com's attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents' contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on Antiwar.com recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a "preliminary investigation to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security."

Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy ...

Agents noted that Antiwar.com had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo's columns and wondered openly, "who are (Antiwar.com's) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?" This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.

Other things noted in the documents::

-- Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a Antiwar.com reader obviously disgruntled with the website's coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, "YOUR SITE IS GOING DOWN," and proceeded with this missive: "Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight your site is history."

Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI memo entitled, "A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE."

It turns out this "threat" went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI's ongoing interest in monitoring the website.

-- The FBI took interest in Raimondo's writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Manhattan in Union City, New Jersey, on 9/11. After witnesses called the police, the individuals, who all worked for a local moving company, were taken into custody and grilled by FBI and CIA for two months after it was deemed their work visas had expired. They were eventually deported without charge.

Raimondo, in writing about the case in 2002, linked to an American-generated terror watchlist (which had been published elsewhere on the Internet) that went out to Italian financial institutions and included the name of the man who owned the New Jersey moving company in question.

-- The FBI noted Antiwar.com was cited in an article, the name of the author redacted, about U.S aid to Israel.

-- They also noted that Raimondo had appeared on MSNBC to talk about his opposition to the Iraq War.

-- It also cited an article that listed Antiwar.com as a reference was handed out in 2002 at a "peaceful protest" at a British air base in the U.K.

-- The FBI was watching a member of a domestic neo-Nazi group who had "discussed a website, Antiwar.com" while encouraging fellow members at a conference to "educate themselves" about the Middle East conflict.

-- The agency said a special agent's review of hard drives seized during an investigation of an unnamed subject, revealed that the subject had visited Antiwar.com between July 25, 2002 and June 15, 2003, "among many other websites."

The FBI acknowledged it searched the Web, as well as Lexis-Nexis, the Universal Index (FBI central records), the agency's Electronic Case File, Department of Motor Vehicles and Dunn & Bradsheet (credit reports) for information on Antiwar.com and for "one or more individuals" working for the website.

Looking back, it's hard to fathom how such tiny (Constitutionally protected) crumbs led the FBI to the conclusion that Garris and Raimondo, two dedicated activists (Raimondo was also a prolific author) with decades of time in California's political trenches, might be a "threat to national security," but there you are...

The case decided on Wednesday revolved around two remaining memos that the FBI had so far refused to expunge. One involved the call Garris made to the FBI in 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Northern California found that the government did not have a compelling law enforcement reason to keep them.

"Maintenance of a record that describes only First Amendment activity and does not implicate national security is not pertinent to the FBI's authorized activities," the court concluded...

Garris said he was relieved and elated that the court was able to end this ugly chapter for the website...

>dervish
This is an example of why the innocent have nothing to fear from "all surveillance, all the time" is patently untrue.

Not to mention that casual erasures of any part of the Bill of Rights by government are frickin' scary, as are casual acceptance and rationalization of same by ordinary Americans (and/or those seeming like ordinary Americans).

In his memoir, True Compass , Ted Kennedy said that LBJ told him that LBJ considered the FBI culpable in the assassination of JFK, in that the FBI had had its eye on Oswald and considered him dangerous, but never warned the Secret Service.

Many years later, we have failures by the FBI and CIA to coordinate and act upon intel involved in 911. They did nothing about reports from citizens of the suspicious activities of the Saudi assassins while the assassins were in the US, such as taking flying lessons, but saying they didn't need to learn how to land. Moreover, the FBI and CIA had months of Arab conversations awaiting translation because of a shortage of translators cause by the FBI's and CIA's unwillingess to use Arab translators.

Then we have two warnings, not from ordinary citizens, but from the Russian government, that the Tsarnaevs were a threat. Now, that alone sure sounds to me like probable cause for surveillance. However, the FBI interviewed them and supposedly was unable to justify doing anything else.

So, we have culpability in a Presidential assassination AND two terrorist attacks. And that certainly can't be all before and after 1960. For instance, speaking of JFK, there was the Bay of Pigs fiasco. On the bright side, that taught JFK to squint at the CIA and the military, which, in turn, may have avoided nuclear disaster over the Cuban missile "crisis." (When we place missiles somewhere, it's defense on our part and a deterrent; when another nation, especially Russia, does the same, it's casus belli , unless some brilliant politicians can scale it "all the way down" to a "crisis" or a "national emergency." Our hypocrisy sickens.

BTW, according to the memoir, JFK was questioning our Vietnam involvement and Bobby Kennedy had flat out become convinced that bombing should stop immediately and peace negotiations should begin. He volunteered to negotiate the peace himself, but LBJ refused. So, that's another thing Bobby and Jack had in common. (Interestingly to me, by Ted's own account, he was the last of the three Kennedy brothers to lose support for the Vietnam War!)

jim p on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 7:20pm

Doubtless there are other agencies with files and stalking
Pluto's Republic on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 8:34pm
Thanks for reporting on this, Linda

The socially destructive solutions designed by the Intelligence Communities since the mid-20th century are paying off in one way:

There is now a copious amount of research and data, that once harnessed and put to work, will clearly demonstrate without doubt how tragic and destructive their outcomes have been. They have accomplished precisely the opposite of the goal they were reaching for. For example, apply their social engineering to reduce the number of terrorists in a region, and in less than a decade the region will be overrun with terrorists.

Use their strategic genius to stop the flow of drugs from hot-spots of the world, and in another decade, much of the world will be saturated with illegal drugs.

Humanity throughout the world are the losers, and they pay dearly for the blindness of Nazi-mentored techniques and strategies that are embraced by intelligence agencies and military intelligence. In the long term, they are bringers of chaos.

The nazis always lose. Ever since we brought them to America after World War II to teach us their techniques -- the US has lost every war it attempted. The effects of this influence has turned America into a prison complex.

The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them.

If you ask them to send a rocket to the moon, they'll wait until the full moon is directly overhead, then fire the rocket. They are void of subtlety. The failure will be classified and forgotten.

We need Taoist leaders if we want to solve real world problems.

[Sep 13, 2019] Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Durruti says: September 12, 2019 at 12:05 am GMT 200 Words @Tony Ryals

Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency -CIA, was prohibited by Law to operate within the USA, This Law/limitation of the power of a Spy Agency, was designed to limit Government intrusion into the lives of American Citizens. [Bitter laughter in this space]

1. Imagine how much more illegal it must be for a Spy Agency of any Foreign Government to operate within the territorial limits of the United States.

2. Does the Zionist Spy Agency, MOSSAD , come to mind? Indeed.

3. In 2019, we Americans suffer the daily intrusion into our private affairs of as many as 16 Secret Agencies, in addition to the most powerful Spy Agency MOSSAD , (which certainly controls the CIA, NSA, FBI, many local Police Departments, and the other Secret Agencies- those of the Armed forces, etc.).

*Good political news goes in this space [ ]. The dismissal of one Yahoo – by a Yahoo – to be replaced by another Yahoo – does not count.

Restore our American Republic!

Justvisiting , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:24 am GMT

@Durruti The many whistleblowers (Snowden etal) have explained that international intelligence agencies have circumvented local government restrictions on domestic surveillance by trading data.

So, England can legally spy on Americans. America can legally spy on English folks.

Swap data.

Voila!

(Mossad can spy on everybody and trade with everybody–fun, fun, fun.)

[Sep 12, 2019] Israel Accused Of plating StingRays swvices near White House

Sep 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Though it's easy to imagine the outpouring of fury and wall to wall media coverage -- complete with urgent Congressional hearings -- should such allegations center on any other foreign country caught spying on the White House (let's say Russia for example), the bombshell Politico report has barely made a dent in the mainstream media or big cable networks' coverage.

This is partly because the administration's own reaction has been muted, as the report notes that "the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government" after being informed by US intelligence that Israel likely planted the devices.

Politico's sources in most instances held top intelligence and national security posts, who describe the following of the recovered spy devices :

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as "StingRays," mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information . Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use .

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it's not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

From the moment the report was unveiled early Thursday, Israel's stance has been to vehemently deny, and to even suggest the accusations are tinged with "anti-Semitism".


Pure Speculation , 7 minutes ago link

The statement from the prime minister's office added, "There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S. This directive is strictly enforced without exception."

Uh huh... Sure. So how do you explain Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell then?

Vuke , 19 minutes ago link

Come on readers. Next they'll be saying Israel controls all levels of government through political donations. Possible from the $2 Billion a year they get? Anybody know how much total Israeli contributions go to the Pres, Congress etc?

africoman , 21 minutes ago link

How sweet & bitter this revelation come on the anniversary of 911 & perps are free solidifying their grips over America etc

it would be ironically surprising if the MSM took it for repointing to Americans on such a day or we

How could you deprogram Americans especially trumptards when others such as Ilhan Omar tried to hint them who did 911?

i commemorate the anniversary of 911 cos it happened on the eve of my new year and at least 3 of my people died in that fateful event

i wish isisrahell annexed their strong holds DC and leave Palestinians alone

attah-boy-Luther , 32 minutes ago link

... ... ...

http://themillenniumreport.com/2019/09/9-11-truth-exploding-worldwide-perps-desperate-to-distract-populace-and-disarm-patriots/#more-84351

Mustafa Kemal , 33 minutes ago link

I was hoping to see a comment from Einstein, but cant find him. Wonder where he is. I guess we will just have to lower our standards and look to ZD1 for the real scoop.

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 07, 2019] Think of the internet as a tollway with booths at either end and monitoring along the way

Sep 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

anonymous , August 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

Think of the internet as a tollway with booths at either end and monitoring along the way. When you control a booth, for example, you can see which cars pass by.

I have seen that process in action and am in favor of privacy tools (VPN, control of Java scripts, ad/malware blockers, etc) to preserve some semblance of anonymity. Even with those in place, there are still ways for actors to observe. Be guided accordingly.

Epistrophy , August 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

Very difficult to provide choke points – but I am sure they are working on it. Because almost everything depends upon instantaeous network connectivity, such as power systems, logistics systems, communication systems, transport systems, defence systems and banking systems, among others, any interference is going to have side effects that could be quite serious.

In addition, systems are becoming more and more distributed, with no central control point – blockchain being a recent example.

For example, I stopped using youtube.com years ago. Mostly I use bitchute to watch some things directly, view videos through a search engine like DuckDuckGo or view videos embedded in websites like NC.

Bitchute uses bittorrent to transmit videos – meaning that the viewers of the videos also provide the bandwidth to each other – a peer to peer transmission method – so there is almost no bandwidth cost to Bitchute and no central point of control. The more users or 'nodes', the better the system works.

Youtube, on the other hand, can control or 'choke' content, but it has huge central server bandwidth costs.

As I see it, YouTube is going to morph into a proprietary Netflix-type of service in just a few years. Garage-produced indie content and alternative media startups will probably move to a different platform.

[Sep 07, 2019] 9-11 The Road To America's Orwellian Hell by James Bovard

Those measures are nothing special. They are typical for any war or any coup d'état to install totalitarian regime in the country. Fritened people are easily manipulated. . The only question against whom the war was launched and what was real origin of 9/11. Here 1984 instantly comes to mind.
Sep 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by James Bovard via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Next week will be the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Politicians and bureaucrats wasted no time after that carnage to unleash the Surveillance State on average Americans, treating every person like a terrorist suspect. Since the government failed to protect the public, Americans somehow forfeited their constitutional right to privacy. Despite heroic efforts by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden and a host of activists and freedom fighters, the government continues ravaging American privacy.

Two of the largest leaps towards "1984" began in 2002. Though neither the Justice Department's Operation TIPS nor the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program was brought to completion, parcels and precedents from each program have profoundly influenced subsequent federal policies.

In July 2002, the Justice Department unveiled plans for Operation TIPS -- the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. According to the Justice Department website, TIPS would be "a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity." TIPSters would be people who, "in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement." The feds aimed to recruit people in jobs that "make them uniquely well positioned to understand the ordinary course of business in the area they serve, and to identify things that are out of the ordinary." Homeland Security director Tom Ridge said that observers in certain occupations "might pick up a break in the certain rhythm or pattern of a community." The feds planned to enlist as many as 10 million people to watch other people's "rhythms."

The Justice Department provided no definition of "suspicious behavior" to guide vigilantes. As the public began to focus on the program's sweep, opposition surfaced; even the U.S. Postal Service briefly balked at participating in the program. Director Ridge insisted that TIPS "is not a government intrusion." He declared, "The last thing we want is Americans spying on Americans. That's just not what the president is all about, and not what the TIPS program is all about." Apparently, as long as the Bush administration did not announce plans to compel people to testify about the peccadilloes of their neighbors and customers, TIPS was a certified freedom-friendly program.

When Attorney General John Ashcroft was cross-examined by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on TIPS at a Judiciary Committee hearing on July 25, he insisted that "the TIPS program is something requested by industry to allow them to talk about anomalies that they encounter." But, when George W. Bush first announced the program, he portrayed it as an administration initiative. Did thousands of Teamsters Union members petition 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over "anomalies"? Senator Leahy asked whether reports to the TIPS hotline would become part of a federal database with millions of unsubstantiated allegations against American citizens. Ashcroft told Leahy, "I have recommended that there would be none, and I've been given assurance that the TIPS program would not maintain a database." But Ashcroft could not reveal which federal official had given him the assurance.

The ACLU's Laura Murphy observed, "This is a program where people's activities, statements, posters in their windows or on their walls, nationality, and religious practices will be reported by untrained individuals without any relationship to criminal activity." San Diego law professor Marjorie Cohn observed, "Operation TIPS will encourage neighbors to snitch on neighbors and won't distinguish between real and fabricated tips. Anyone with a grudge or vendetta against another can provide false information to the government, which will then enter the national database."

On August 9, the Justice Department announced it was fine-tuning TIPS, abandoning any "plan to ask thousands of mail carriers, utility workers, and others with access to private homes to report suspected terrorist activity," the Washington Post reported. People who had enlisted to be TIPSters received an email notice from Uncle Sam that "only those who work in the trucking, maritime, shipping, and mass transit industries will be eligible to participate in this information referral service." But the Justice Department continued refusing to disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee who would have access to the TIPS reports.

After the proposal created a fierce backlash across the political board, Congress passed an amendment blocking its creation. House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.) attached an amendment to homeland security legislation that declared, "Any and all activities of the federal government to implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps known as Operation TIPS are hereby prohibited." But the Bush administration and later the Obama administration pursued the same information roundup with federally funded fusion centers that encouraged people to file "suspicious activity reports" for a wide array of innocuous behavior -- reports that are dumped into secret federal databases that can vex innocent citizens in perpetuity.

Operation TIPS illustrated how the momentum of intrusion spurred government to propose programs that it never would have attempted before 9/11. If Bush had proposed in August 2001 to recruit 10 million Americans to report any of their neighbors they suspected of acting unusual or being potential troublemakers, the public might have concluded the president had gone berserk.

Total Information Awareness: 300 million dossiers

The USA PATRIOT Act created a new Information Office in the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In January 2002, the White House chose retired admiral John Poindexter to head the new office. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer explained, "Admiral Poindexter is somebody who this administration thinks is an outstanding American, an outstanding citizen, who has done a very good job in what he has done for our country, serving the military." Cynics kvetched about Poindexter's five felony convictions for false testimony to Congress and destruction of evidence during the investigation of the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages exchange. Poindexter's convictions were overturned by a federal appeals court, which cited the immunity Congress granted his testimony.

Poindexter committed the new Pentagon office to achieving Total Information Awareness (TIA). TIA's mission is "to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists -- and decipher their plans -- and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully preempt and defeat terrorist acts," according to DARPA. According to Undersecretary of Defense Pete Aldridge, TIA would seek to discover "connections between transactions -- such as passports; visas; work permits; driver's licenses; credit cards; airline tickets; rental cars; gun purchases; chemical purchases -- and events -- such as arrests or suspicious activities and so forth." Aldridge agreed that every phone call a person made or received could be entered into the database. With "voice recognition" software, the actual text of the call could also go onto a permanent record.

TIA would also strive to achieve "Human Identification at a Distance" (HumanID), including "Face Recognition," "Iris Recognition," and "Gait Recognition." The Pentagon issued a request for proposals to develop an "odor recognition" surveillance system that would help the feds identify people by their sweat or urine -- potentially creating a wealth of new job opportunities for deviants.

TIA's goal was to stockpile as much information as possible about everyone on Earth -- thereby allowing government to protect everyone from everything. New York Times columnist William Safire captured the sweep of the new surveillance system: "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book, and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.'" Columnist Ted Rall noted that the feds would even scan "veterinary records. The TIA believes that knowing if and when Fluffy got spayed -- and whether your son stopped torturing Fluffy after you put him on Ritalin -- will help the military stop terrorists before they strike."

Phil Kent, president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta-based public-interest law firm, warned that TIA was "the most sweeping threat to civil liberties since the Japanese-American internment." The ACLU's Jay Stanley labeled TIA "the mother of all privacy invasions. It would amount to a picture of your life so complete, it's equivalent to somebody following you around all day with a video camera." A coalition of civil-liberties groups protested to Senate leaders, "There are no systems of oversight or accountability contemplated in the TIA project. DARPA itself has resisted lawful requests for information about the Program pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act."

Bush administration officials were outraged by such criticisms. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared, "The hype and alarm approach is a disservice to the public . I would recommend people take a nice deep breath. Nothing terrible is going to happen." Poindexter promised that TIA would be designed so as to "preserve rights and protect people's privacy while helping to make us all safer." (Poindexter was not under oath at the time of his statement.) The TIA was defended on the basis that "nobody has been searched" until the feds decide to have him arrested on the basis of data the feds snared. Undersecretary Aldridge declared, "It is absurd to think that DARPA is somehow trying to become another police agency. DARPA's purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, TIA will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence, and law-enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism." In January 2003, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) learned that the FBI was working on a memorandum of understanding with the Pentagon "for possible experimentation" with TIA. Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Security Paul McHale confirmed, in March 2003 testimony to Congress, that the Pentagon would turn TIA over to law-enforcement agencies once the system was ready to roll.

DARPA responded to the surge of criticism by removing the Information Awareness Office logo from the website. The logo showed a giant green eye atop a pyramid, covering half the globe with a peculiar yellow haze, accompanied by the motto "Scientia est Potentia" (Knowledge is Power).

Shortly after DARPA completed a key research benchmark for TIA, Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a DARPA program manager, publicly announced in April 2003 that Americans are obliged to sacrifice some privacy in the name of security: "When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off." But nothing in the U.S. Constitution entitles the Defense Department to decide how much privacy or liberty American citizens deserve.

In September 2003, Congress passed an amendment abolishing the Pentagon's Information Office and ending TIA funding. But by that point, DARPA had already awarded 26 contracts for dozens of private research projects to develop components for TIA. Salon.com reported, "According to people with knowledge of the program, TIA has now advanced to the point where it's much more than a mere 'research project.' There is a working prototype of the system, and federal agencies outside the Defense Department have expressed interest in it." The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is already using facial recognition systems at 20 airports and the Transportation Security Administration is expected to quickly follow suit.

Two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo sent a secret memo to the White House declaring that the Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable searches was null and void: "If the government's heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it also certainly would justify warrantless searches." That memo helped set federal policy until it was publicly revealed after Barack Obama took office in 2009. Unfortunately, that anti-Constitution, anti-privacy mindset unleashed many federal intrusions that continue to this day, from the TSA to the National Security Agency to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

[Sep 04, 2019] The Future of the Grand Spectacle which is the USA reality by C.J. Hopkins

Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

If you want a vision of the future, don't imagine "a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever," as Orwell suggested in 1984 . Instead, imagine that human face staring mesmerized into the screen of some kind of nifty futuristic device on which every word, sound, and image has been algorithmically approved for consumption by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA") and its "innovation ecosystem" of "academic, corporate, and governmental partners."

The screen of this futuristic device will offer a virtually unlimited range of "non-divisive" and "hate-free" content, none of which will falsify or distort the "truth," or in any way deviate from "reality." Western consumers will finally be free to enjoy an assortment of news, opinion, entertainment, and educational content (like this Guardian podcast about a man who gave birth , or MSNBC's latest bombshell about Donald Trump's secret Russian oligarch backers ) without having their enjoyment totally ruined by discord-sowing alternative journalists like Aaron Maté or satirists like myself.

"Fake news" will not appear on this screen. All the news will be "authentic." DARPA and its partners will see to that. You won't have to worry about being "influenced" by Russians, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, socialists, populists, extremists, or whomever. Such Persons of Malicious Intent will still be able to post their content (because of "freedom of speech" and all that stuff), but they will do so down in the sewers of the Internet where normal consumers won't have to see it. Anyone who ventures down there looking for it (i.e., such "divisive" and "polarizing" content) will be immediately placed on an official DARPA watchlist for "potential extremists," or "potential white supremacists," or "potential Russians."

Once that happens, their lives will be over (i.e., the lives of the potentially extremist fools who have logged onto whatever dark web platform will still be posting essays like this, not the lives of the Persons of Malicious Intent, who never had any lives to begin with, and who by that time will probably be operating out of some heavily armed, off-the-grid compound in Idaho). Their schools, employers, and landlords will be notified. Their photos and addresses will be published online. Anyone who ever said two words to them (or, God help them, appears in a photograph with them) will have 24 hours to publicly denounce them, or be placed on DARPA’s watchlist themselves.

The Alarmist , says: September 4, 2019 at 9:02 am GMT

@El Dato Dude, you watch RT? You may as well go turn yourself in at the local Federal Building.
The Alarmist , says: September 4, 2019 at 9:03 am GMT
I’d laugh, if this was actually satire and not the reality unfolding before our very eyes.

[Aug 30, 2019] The Ministry of Minority-Worship Gay Rights and Goals of Globohomo by Tobias Langdon

Aug 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

Totalitarian ideologies live by lies and contradiction. For example, the slave-state of North Korea , ruled by a hereditary dictatorship, proclaims itself a Democratic People's Republic when it is neither democratic, popular, nor a republic. In Nineteen Eighty-Four , Orwell wrote of how "the names of the four Ministries by which [the oppressed population is] governed exhibit a sort of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink ."

Defending the death-machine

You could, then, call GCHQ and the NSA part of the Ministry of Morality. While breaking laws against surveillance and trying to destroy freedom of expression and enquiry, they pretend that they're caring, ethical organizations who defend the oppressed and want to build a better world. In fact, of course, GCHQ and the NSA are defending the death-machine of the military-industrial complex , which has been wrecking nations and slaughtering civilians in the Middle East (and elsewhere ) for decades. They're also defending the traitorous Western governments that first import millions of Third-Worlders , then use the resultant crime, terrorism and racial conflict to justify mass surveillance and harsh laws against free speech .


OzzyBonHalen , says: August 29, 2019 at 6:54 am GMT

Quote: Orwell didn't foresee the celebration of homosexuality by totalitarians, but he did explain it.

If you read Anthony Burgess' The Wanting Seed he writes about the roles of gays in dystopia. He also talks about race, two things that Orwell and Huxley didn't. The Wanting Seed is just as important in the world of dystopia as Brave New World or 1984.

Reg Cæsar , says: August 29, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT

one way George Orwell got the future completely wrong

That assumes he was writing about the future. He was mocking the Soviet "justice" system in the recent past. The man was a satirist, after all. How did Stalin's men treat sexual deviation?

... ... ...

Walter , says: August 29, 2019 at 9:40 am GMT
NSA needs to revist their grammar studies. They may benefit from attention to the correct use of commas.

"At NSA, talented individuals of all backgrounds, contribute to something bigger than themselves: national security. #PrideMonth."

The globol-sodomy is one thing, but the torture of grammar! Ye gods!

MarkU , says: August 29, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
A few points.

1) The iniquities of the members of one skyfairy cult are not evidence for the virtues of another such organisation and never will be.

2) It seems likely to me that homosexuality is a feature of overpopulation and may be a natural population control mechanism. Experiments have shown that rats kept in overcrowded conditions exhibit homosexual tendencies and also become more violent towards other rats. I doubt that it is purely a coincidence that homosexuality first became notable round about the time that humans started living in cities. Other species have means of controlling their populations, rabbits for example can reabsorb their embryos if the population count is too high, seals can freeze the development of their foetuses etc. I see no rational purpose in demonising homosexuals and I am certainly not going to let the purveyors of ancient superstitious claptrap do my thinking for me. Cue howls of outrage from both skyfairy cultists and from queers (if they are happy to use the word I don't see why I shouldn't)

3) It seems to me that the Zionist bankers have essentially bankrupted the western world in an attempt to bring the rest of the world under their control, they have failed. They are now attempting to mobilise any and all sections of the population that identify as minorities as allies against the majorities in those countries, importing as many more as they can get away with. What sense does it make to reinforce their narrative that it is heterosexual whites v everyone else? because that is exactly what some people are doing. The Zionists are making their following as broad as possible while attempting to narrow ours, why play into their hands? Opposition to immigration for example does not have to be presented as a racial issue, many people here in the UK were opposed to mass immigration from eastern Europe on purely economic grounds, Poles and Lithuanians are not a different race and hardly even a different culture. Do you really think that Blacks and Latinos that have been in the US for generations are uniformly delighted about a new influx of cheap labour? Do you really believe that Muslims are the natural allies of Jews or of homosexuals? If you actually put some thought into the struggle rather than relying on superstitious claptrap and bigotry you might be able to start pushing back.

Liza , says: August 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

So, Western civilization is going to collapse because of a few fairies & fag hags?

Yes, it looks as if it will collapse. Not because the fairies and fag hags are all-powerful, but because we have had it so good & easy for so long that we've gotten weaker than any determined, focused fairy or hag.

Astonished , says: August 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@MarkU I agree.

Leftism in general, which I characterize as a mass adoption of a "mental map" (the gross oversimplification of infinite reality people use to navigate their lives) highly estranged from underlying reality, is Nature's "suicide switch" for an organism that has grossly overgrown its ecological niche.

Today people believe palpably unreal things, in incredibly large numbers, with incredibly deep fervor. The poster-child is the belief in the efficacy of magical incantations (statute legislation) to change Actual Reality. If "we" want to end racism (however we define it in the Newspeak Dictionary) then we just pass a law and "pow!" it's gone. (When that doesn't work, we pass another law, and another and another and another, always expecting a different result.)

Ditto the banking (and monetary) system. Money used to be basically a "receipt" for actually having something IN HAND to take to the market and engage in trade. This was the essence of Say's Law, "in order to consume (buy something) you must first produce."

Some clever Machiavellians figured out that if you could "complexify" and obscure the monetary system enough, you could obtain the legal right to create from thin air the ability to enter that market and buy something, which stripped to its essence is the crime of fraud.

Banking has been an open fraud for a very long time, certainly since the era of naked fiat money was introduced in the 1960's. But as long as everyone went along with the gag, and especially once Credit Bubble Funny Money started fueling a debt orgy and rationalizing an asset price mania, everyone thought "we could all get rich."

Today we have vast claims on real wealth (real wealth is productive land, productive plant & equipment and capital you can hold in your hands, so to speak.) But we have uncountable claims on each unit of real capital. The Machiavellians think that they will end up holding title to it all, when the day comes to actually make an honest accounting. I suspect that they lack the political power to pull that off, but only time will tell.

When this long, insane boom is reconciled, a lot of productive capital will turn out to be nothing but vaporware and rusting steel. Entire industries arose to cater to credit-bubble-demand, and when the bubble eventually ceases to inflate, demand in (and the capital applied to) those industries will collapse. How many hospitals do you need when no one has the money to pay for their services, and the tax base has burned to the ground?

Nature's suicide switch.

gwynedd1 , says: August 29, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
Simple formula. Liberalism was the defense of the individual against the group.

All one needs to do is a simple substitution. Minorities , environment , animals etc are a means by witch one can make individuals into the institutionalized oppressor. Even better is the so called intersectional mini oppressions which make nearly all victims which in turns makes all guilty. State intervention must increase .Guilty people , as all religions of the world understand, are easily dominated and controlled.

The power the individual is destroyed by its own momentum.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: August 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat The Bolsheviks first pushed "free love" – easy divorce, abortion and homosexuality. There even was serious discussion about whether or not to abolish marriage. They reversed themselves and by the time WWII broke out, the official culture of the Soviet Union was more socially conservative than that of the US. Even in the 1980s, the Commies were tough on gays, lesbians and druggies.

[Aug 24, 2019] BigBrotherWatch Facial Recognition Epidemic in the UK Eroding freedom of association

Notable quotes:
"... Facial recognition surveillance risks making privacy in Britain extinct. ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

TruePublica

At TruePublica we have written endlessly about the continued slow strangulation of civil liberties and human rights in Britain. We have warned about the rise of a techno-Stasi-state where technology is harnessed and used against civilians without any debate or indeed any real legal framework. We have alerted the public on the illegal mass data collections by the government and subsequent loss of much it by MI5 who should not have had it all in the first place. We warned against ' digital strip searches ' – an activity of the police of the victims in rape cases, and the fact that Britain is becoming a database state . At TruePublica we have tried to press home the story that surveillance by the state on such a scale, described as the most intrusive in the Western world – is not just illegal, it's immoral and dangerous. (see our surveillance database HERE ).

Here is more evidence of just how dangerous and out of hand this creeping surveillance architecture is becoming. An investigation by Big Brother Watch has uncovered a facial recognition 'epidemic' across privately owned sites in the UK. The civil liberties campaign group has found major property developers, shopping centres, museums, conference centres and casinos using the technology in the UK.

Millions of shoppers scanned

Their investigation uncovered the use of live facial recognition in Sheffield's Meadowhall , one of the biggest shopping centres in the North of England, in secret police trials that took place last year. The trial could have scanned the faces of over 2 million visitors.

The shopping centre is owned by British Land, which owns large areas within London including parts of Paddington, Broadgate, Canada Water and Ealing Broadway. Each site's privacy policy says facial recognition may be in use, although British Land insists only Meadowhall has used the surveillance so far.

Last week, the Financial Times revealed that the privately owned Kings Cross estate in London was using facial recognition, whilst Canary Wharf is considering following suit. The expose prompted widespread concerns and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to write to the estate to express his concerns. The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has launched an investigation.

Last year, the Trafford Centre in Manchester was pressured to stop using live facial recognition surveillance following an intervention by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. It was estimated that up to 15 million people were scanned during the operation.

" Dark irony" of China exhibition visitors scanned

Big Brother Watch's investigation has also revealed that Liverpool's World Museum scanned visitors with facial recognition surveillance during its exhibition, "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors" in 2018. Director of Big Brother Watch Silkie Carlo described it as "dark irony" noting that "this authoritarian surveillance tool is rarely seen outside of China" and warning that "many of those scanned will have been school children".

The museum is part of the National Museums Liverpool group, which also includes the International Slavery Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and other museums and art galleries. The museum group said it is "currently testing the feasibility of using similar technology in the future".

" Eroding freedom of association"

Big Brother Watch's investigation also found that the Millennium Point conference centre in Birmingham uses facial recognition surveillance "at the request of law enforcement", according to its privacy policy. In recent years, the area surrounding the conference centre has been used for demonstrations by trade unionists, football fans and anti-racism campaigners. The centre refused to give further information about its past or present uses of facial recognition surveillance. Millennium Point is soon to host a 'hackathon'.

A number of casinos and betting shops also have policies that refer to their use of facial recognition technology including Ladbrokes, Coral and Hippodrome Casino London.

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

There is an epidemic of facial recognition in the UK.

The collusion between police and private companies in building these surveillance nets around popular spaces is deeply disturbing. Facial recognition is the perfect tool of oppression and the widespread use we've found indicates we're facing a privacy emergency.

We now know that many millions of innocent people will have had their faces scanned with this surveillance without knowing about it, whether by police or by private companies.

The idea of a British museum secretly scanning the faces of children visiting an exhibition on the first emperor of China is chilling. There is a dark irony that this authoritarian surveillance tool is rarely seen outside of China.

Facial recognition surveillance risks making privacy in Britain extinct.

Parliament must follow in the footsteps of legislators in the US and urgently ban this authoritarian surveillance from public spaces.

truepublica.org.uk

[Aug 24, 2019] 2084 Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it might be argued, Americans have been plunged into our own bizarre version of 1984 . In our world, Donald Trump has, in some sense, absorbed into his own person more or less everything dystopian in the vicinity. ..."
"... In some strange fashion, he and his administration already seem like a combination of the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of eternal lies ), the memory hole (down which the past, especially the Obama legacy and the president's own discarded statements , disappear daily), the two-minutes-hate sessions and hate week that are the essence of any of his rallies ("lock her up!," " send her back! "), and recently the "hate" slaughter of Mexicans and Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, by a gunman with a Trumpian "Hispanic invasion of Texas" engraved in his brain. And don't forget Big Brother. ..."
"... In some sense, President Trump might be thought of as Big Brother flipped. In The Donald's version of Orwell's novel, he isn't watching us every moment of the day and night, it's we who are watching him in an historically unprecedented way. ..."
"... In his book, he created a nightmare vision of something like the Communist Party of the Stalin-era Soviet Union perpetuating itself into eternity by constantly regenerating and reinforcing a present-moment of ultimate power. For him, dystopia was an accentuated version of just such a forever, a "huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time," as a document in the book puts it, to "arrest the course of history" for "thousands of years." ..."
"... In other words, with the American president lending a significant hand, we may make it to 2084 far sooner than anyone expected. With that in mind, let's return for a moment to 1984 . As no one who has read Orwell's book is likely to forget, its mildly dissident anti-hero, Winston Smith, is finally brought into the Ministry of Love by the Thought Police to have his consciousness retuned to the needs of the Party. In the process, he's brutally tortured until he can truly agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Only when he thinks he's readjusted his mind to fit the Party's version of the world does he discover that his travails are anything but over. ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Tom ENGELHARDT

I, Winston Smith I mean, Tom Engelhardt have not just been reading a dystopian novel, but, it seems, living one -- and I suspect I've been living one all my life.

Yes, I recently reread George Orwell's classic 1949 novel, 1984 . In it, Winston Smith, a secret opponent of the totalitarian world of Oceania, one of three great imperial superpowers left on planet Earth, goes down for the count at the hands of Big Brother. It was perhaps my third time reading it in my 75 years on this planet.

Since I was a kid, I've always had a certain fascination for dystopian fiction. It started, I think, with War of the Worlds , that ur-alien-invasion-from-outer-space novel in which Martians land in southern England and begin tearing London apart. Its author, H.G. Wells, wrote it at the end of the nineteenth century, evidently to give his English readers a sense of what it might have felt like to be living in Tasmania, the island off the coast of Australia, and have the equivalent of Martians -- the British, as it happened -- appear in your world and begin to destroy it (and your culture with it).

I can remember, at perhaps age 13, reading that book under the covers by flashlight when I was supposed to be asleep; I can remember, that is, being all alone, chilled (and thrilled) to the bone by Wells' grim vision of civilizational destruction. To put this in context: in 1957, I would already have known that I was living in a world of potential civilizational destruction and that the Martians were here. They were then called the Russians, the Ruskies, the Commies, the Reds. I would only later grasp that we (or we, too) were Martians on this planet.

The world I inhabited was, of course, a post- Hiroshima , post- Nagasaki one. I was born on July 20, 1944, just a year and a few days before my country dropped atomic bombs on those two Japanese cities, devastating them in blasts of a kind never before experienced and killing more than 200,000 people. Thirteen years later, I had already become inured to scenarios of the most dystopian kinds of global destruction -- of a sort that would have turned those Martians into pikers -- as the U.S. and the Soviet Union (in a distant second place) built up their nuclear arsenals at a staggering pace.

Nuclear obliteration had, by then, become part of our everyday way of life. After all, what American of a certain age who lived in a major city can't remember, on some otherwise perfectly normal day, air-raid sirens suddenly beginning to howl outside your classroom window as the streets emptied? They instantly called up a vision of a world in ashes. Of course, we children had only a vague idea of what had happened under those mushroom clouds that rose over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we huddled under our desks, hands over heads, " ducking and covering " like Bert the Turtle while a radio on the teacher's desk blared Conelrad warnings , we knew enough, however, to realize that those desks and hands were unlikely to save us from the world's most powerful weaponry. The message being delivered wasn't one of safety but of ultimate vulnerability to Russian nukes. After such tests, as historian Stephen Weart recalled in his book Nuclear Fear , "The press reported with ghoulish precision how many millions of Americans 'died' in each mock attack."

If those drills didn't add up to living an everyday vision of the apocalypse as a child, what would? I grew up, in other words, with a new reality: for the first time in history, humanity had in its hands Armageddon-like possibilities of a sort previously left to the gods. Consider , for instance, the U.S. military's Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) of 1960 for a massive nuclear strike on the Communist world. It was, we now know, meant to deliver more than 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets, including at least 130 cities. Official, if then secret, estimates of casualties ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured (and probably underestimated the longer term effects of radiation).

In the early 1960s, a commonplace on the streets of New York where I lived was the symbol for "fallout shelters" (as they were then called), the places you would head for during just such an impending global conflagration. I still remember how visions of nuclear destruction populated my dreams (or rather nightmares) and those of my friends, as some would later admit to me. To this day, I can recall the feeling of sudden heat on one side of my body as a nuclear bomb went off on the distant horizon of one of those dreams. Similarly, I recall sneaking into a Broadway movie theater to see On the Beach with two friends -- kids of our age weren't allowed into such films without parents -- and so getting a glimpse, popcorn in hand, of what a devastated, nuclearized San Francisco might look like. That afternoon at that film, I also lived through a post-nuclear-holocaust world's end in Australia with no less than Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire for company.

An All-American Hate Week

So my life -- and undoubtedly yours, too -- has been lived, at least in part, as if in a dystopian novel. And certainly since November 2016 -- since, that is, the election of Donald Trump -- the feeling (for me, at least) of being in just such a world, has only grown stronger. Worse yet, there's nothing under the covers by flashlight about The Donald or his invasive vision of our American future. And this time around, as a non-member of his "base," it's been anything but thrilling to the bone.

It was with such a feeling growing in me that, all these years later, I once again picked up Orwell's classic novel and soon began wondering whether Donald Trump wasn't our very own idiosyncratic version of Big Brother. If you remember, when Orwell finished the book in 1948 (he seems to have flipped that year for the title), he imagined an England, which was part of Oceania, one of the three superpowers left on the planet. The other two were Eurasia (essentially the old Soviet Union) and Eastasia (think: a much-expanded China). In the book, the three of them are constantly at war with each other on their borderlands (mostly in South Asia and Africa), a war that is never meant to be either decisive or to end.

In Oceania's Airstrip One (the former England), where Winston Smith is a minor functionary in the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of lies, of course), the Party rules eternally in a world in which -- a classic Orwellian formulation -- "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH." It's a world of "inner" Party members (with great privilege), an outer circle like Smith who get by, and below them a vast population of impoverished "proles."

It's also a world in which the present is always both the future and the past, while every document, every newspaper, every bit of history is constantly being rewritten -- Smith's job -- to make it so. At the same time, documentation of the actual past is tossed down "the memory hole" and incinerated. It's a world in which a "telescreen" is in every room, invariably announcing splendid news (that might have been terrible news in another time). That screen can also spy on you at just about any moment of your life. In that, Orwell, who lived at a time when TV was just arriving, caught something essential about the future worlds of surveillance and social media.

In his dystopian world, English itself is being reformulated into something called Newspeak, so that, in a distant future, it will be impossible for anyone to express a non-Party-approved thought. Meanwhile, whichever of those other two superpowers Oceania is at war with at a given moment, as well as a possibly mythical local opposition to the Party, are regularly subjected to a mass daily "two minutes hate" session and periodic "hate weeks." Above all, it's a world in which, on those telescreens and posters everywhere, the mustachioed face of Big Brother, the official leader of the Party -- "Big Brother is watching you!" -- hovers over everything, backed up by a Ministry of Love (of, that is, imprisonment, reeducation, torture, pain, and death).

That was Orwell's image of a kind of Stalinist Soviet Union perfected for a future of everlasting horror. Today, it might be argued, Americans have been plunged into our own bizarre version of 1984 . In our world, Donald Trump has, in some sense, absorbed into his own person more or less everything dystopian in the vicinity.

In some strange fashion, he and his administration already seem like a combination of the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of eternal lies ), the memory hole (down which the past, especially the Obama legacy and the president's own discarded statements , disappear daily), the two-minutes-hate sessions and hate week that are the essence of any of his rallies ("lock her up!," " send her back! "), and recently the "hate" slaughter of Mexicans and Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, by a gunman with a Trumpian "Hispanic invasion of Texas" engraved in his brain. And don't forget Big Brother.

In some sense, President Trump might be thought of as Big Brother flipped. In The Donald's version of Orwell's novel, he isn't watching us every moment of the day and night, it's we who are watching him in an historically unprecedented way. In what I've called the White Ford Bronco presidency , nothing faintly like the media's 24/7 focus on him has ever been matched. No human being has ever been attended to, watched, or discussed this way -- his every gesture, tweet, passing comment, half-verbalized thought, slogan, plan, angry outburst, you name it. In the past, such coverage only went with, say, a presidential assassination, not everyday life in the White House (or at Bedminster , Mar-a-Lago, his rallies, on Air Force One, wherever).

Room 101 (in 2019)

Think of Donald Trump's America as, in some sense, a satirical version of 1984 in crazed formation. Not surprisingly, however, Orwell, remarkable as he was, fell short, as we all do, in imagining the future. What he didn't see as he rushed to finish that novel before his own life ended makes the Trumpian present far more potentially dystopian than even he might have imagined. In his book, he created a nightmare vision of something like the Communist Party of the Stalin-era Soviet Union perpetuating itself into eternity by constantly regenerating and reinforcing a present-moment of ultimate power. For him, dystopia was an accentuated version of just such a forever, a "huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time," as a document in the book puts it, to "arrest the course of history" for "thousands of years."

Yes, in 1948, Orwell obviously knew about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the weaponry that went with them. (In 1984 , he even mentions the use of such weaponry in the then-future 1950s.) What he didn't imagine in his book was a dystopian world not of the grimmest kind of ongoingness but of endings, of ultimate destruction. He didn't conjure up a nuclear apocalypse set off by one of his three superpowers and, of course, he had no way of imagining another kind of potential apocalypse that has become increasingly familiar to us all: climate change.

Unfortunately, on both counts Donald Trump is proving dystopian indeed. He is, after all, the president who threatened to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea (before falling in love with its dictator). He only recently claimed he could achieve victory in the almost 18-year-old Afghan War "in a week" by wiping that country "off the face of the Earth" and killing "10 million people." For the first time, his generals used the "Mother of all Bombs," the most powerful weapon in the U.S. conventional arsenal (with a mushroom cloud that, in a test at least, could be seen for 20 miles), in that same country, clearly to impress him.

More recently, beginning with its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, his administration has started trashing the Cold War-era nuclear architecture of restraint that kept the great-power arsenals under some control. In the process, it's clearly helping to launch a wildly expensive new nuclear arms race on Planet Earth. And keep in mind that this is happening at a time when we know that a relatively localized nuclear war between regional powers like India and Pakistan (whose politicians are once again at each other's throats over Kashmir ) could create a global nuclear winter and starve to death up to a billion people.

... ... ...

And keep in mind as well that our own twisted version of Big Brother, that guy with the orange hair instead of the mustache, could be around to be watched for significantly longer, should he win the election of 2020. (His polling numbers have, on the whole, been slowly rising , not falling in these years.)

In other words, with the American president lending a significant hand, we may make it to 2084 far sooner than anyone expected. With that in mind, let's return for a moment to 1984 . As no one who has read Orwell's book is likely to forget, its mildly dissident anti-hero, Winston Smith, is finally brought into the Ministry of Love by the Thought Police to have his consciousness retuned to the needs of the Party. In the process, he's brutally tortured until he can truly agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Only when he thinks he's readjusted his mind to fit the Party's version of the world does he discover that his travails are anything but over.

He still has to visit Room 101. As his interrogator tells him, "You asked me once what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." And that "worst thing" is always adjusted to the specific terrors of the specific prisoner.

So here's one way to think of where we are at this moment on Planet Earth: Americans -- all of humanity, in fact -- may already be in Room 101, whether we know it or not, and the truth is, by this steaming summer, that most of us should know it.

It's obviously time to act on a global scale. Tell that to Big Brother.

tomdispatch.com The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Big Brother Orwell

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Aug 05, 2019] US federal court exposes Democratic Party conspiracy against Assange and WikiLeaks by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage. ..."
"... The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies. ..."
"... The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card. ..."
"... The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!! ..."
"... No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish! ..."
"... That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss ..."
"... For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations ..."
"... Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match ..."
"... It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign. ..."
"... beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom ..."
"... ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over ..."
"... The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand. ..."
"... "The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate. ..."
"... Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.” ..."
"... They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class ..."
Jul 31, 2019 | www.wsws.org

In a ruling published late Tuesday, Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a devastating blow to the US-led conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In his ruling, Judge Koeltl, a Bill Clinton nominee and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, dismissed "with prejudice" a civil lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alleging WikiLeaks was civilly liable for conspiring with the Russian government to steal DNC emails and data and leak them to the public.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading lawyer for Assange, and other WikiLeaks attorneys welcomed the ruling as "an important win for free speech."

The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street. Judge Koeltl stated:

If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC's political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them 'secret' and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.

The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage.

The plaintiff in the civil case -- the Democratic Party -- has also served as Assange's chief prosecutor within the state apparatus for over a decade. During the Obama administration, Democratic Party Justice Department officials, as well as career Democratic holdovers under the Trump administration, prepared the criminal case against him.

The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies.

The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States , the landmark 'Pentagon Papers' case, the Supreme Court upheld the press's right to publish information of public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party."

As a legal matter, by granting WikiLeaks' motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the DNC had not put forward a "factually plausible" claim. At the motion to dismiss stage, a judge is required to accept all the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true. Here, the judge ruled that even if all the facts alleged by the DNC were true, no fact-finder could "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."

Going a step further, the judge called the DNC's arguments "threadbare," adding: "At no point does the DNC allege any facts" showing that Assange or WikiLeaks "participated in the theft of the DNC's information."

Judge Koeltl said the DNC's argument that Assange and WikiLeaks "conspired with the Russian Federation to steal and disseminate the DNC's materials" is "entirely divorced from the facts." The judge further ruled that the court "is not required to accept conclusory allegations asserted as facts."

The judge further dismantled the DNC's argument that WikiLeaks is guilty-by-association with Russia, calling the alleged connection between Assange and the Russian government "irrelevant," because "a person is entitled to publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft."

Judge Koeltl also rejected the DNC's claim "that WikiLeaks can be held liable for the theft as an after-the-fact coconspirator of the stolen documents." Calling this argument "unpersuasive," the judge wrote that it would "eviscerate" constitutional protections: "Such a rule would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a coconspirator in the theft."

In its April 2018 complaint, the DNC put forward a series of claims that have now been exposed as brazen lies, including that Assange, Trump and Russia "undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate."

The complaint also alleged: "Russian intelligence services then disseminated the stolen, confidential materials through GRU Operative #1, as well as WikiLeaks and Assange, who were actively supported by the Trump Campaign and Trump Associates as they released and disclosed the information to the American public at a time and in a manner that served their common goals."

At the time the DNC filed its complaint, the New York Times wrote that the document relies on "publicly-known facts" as well as "information that has been disclosed in news reports and subsequent court proceedings." The lawsuit "comes amid a swirl of intensifying scrutiny of Mr. Trump, his associates and their interactions with Russia," the Times wrote.

It is deeply ironic that Judge Koeltl cited the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times Co. v. United States , in his ruling.

The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times eight times as "proof" of Assange and WikiLeaks' ties to Russia, including articles by Times reporters Andrew Kramer, Michael Gordon, Niraj Chokshi, Sharon LaFraniere, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Eric Lichtblau, Noah Weiland, Alicia Parlapiano and Ashley Parker, as well as a July 26, 2016 article by Charlie Savage titled "Assange, avowed foe of Clinton, timed email release for Democratic Convention."

The first of these articles was published just weeks after the New York Times hired James Bennet as its editorial page editor in March 2016. James Bennet's brother, Michael Bennet, is a presidential candidate, a senator from Colorado and former chair of the DNC's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 2018, Bennet signed a letter to Vice President Mike Pence noting he was "extremely concerned" that Ecuador had not canceled asylum for Assange, who was then trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"It is imperative," the letter read, "that you raise US concerns with [Ecuadorian] President [Lenin] Moreno about Ecuador's continued support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally."

In April 2019, after the Trump administration announced charges against Assange, the New York Times editorial board, under James Bennet's direction, wrote: "The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime." Two weeks later, Michael Bennet announced his presidential run and has since enjoyed favorable coverage in the Times editorial page.

Additionally, the father of James and Michael Bennet, Douglas Bennet, headed the CIA-linked United States Agency for International Development in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25 under the headline, "DNC lawsuit against election is dismissed." In its online edition, the Times prominently featured a link to its special page for the Mueller Report, which is based on the same DNC-instigated threadbare lies that Judge Koeltl kicked out of federal court

LC • 9 hours ago

Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card.

Liberalism Has Failed • 2 days ago

The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!!

LC > Liberalism Has Failed • 9 hours ago

No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish!

That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss


Tradairn > SFWhite • a day ago

Then why does the US keep interfering in other countries' political processes? You've become the schoolyard bully of the world.

SFWhite > Tradairn • 18 hours ago

Quoting from JFK's speech archived in the JFK Library:
THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESS: ADDRESS BEFORE THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, APRIL 27, 1961
https://www.jfklibrary.org/...

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper.

***For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.***

michiganderforfreedom • 2 days ago

It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign.

Had the actual Content of what had been stolen was simply meeting schedules, work shift assignments, lawn sign purchase orders and speech notes, NONE of this scandal would have happened!!

But, the CONTENT of what was stolen revealed the upper echelon of Democrat Party leadership to be nothing but lying, conniving, cheating, law-breaking dirty politicians who are hell-bent on bringing down the American Federation at any cost.

If the actual Content had been cookie recipes and wedding plans, we would not have been put though this traumatic national wringer!!

beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom • 7 hours ago

This was the reason Hillary's campaign came up with the idea to blame it on Russia. This kept people from focusing on their content and it worked. To this day Hillary's supporters think that her rigging the primary is a conspiracy theory. And it's why they believe that Russia interfered with the election. How sad to see people who saw through the Saddam had WMDs have fallen for the new WMDs scam.

Charlotte Ruse • 4 days ago

"The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street."

One should never forget that the corrupt political duopoly is controlled by the military/security/surveillance/corporate state. Assange, published documents revealing to millions that the US committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, murdered innocent civilians, and slaughtered two Reuter Reporters.

Revealing atrocities is BAD MARKETING for the military industry which for decades has been robbing the US Treasury blind. Assange's documents threatens the "official narrative" spread by the state-run mainstream news convincing the public to passively accept the plundering of the US Treasury to enhance the wealth of a small cabal of war profiteer gangsters.

In other words, Assange is being attacked by the US Government because he revealed that a big CON GAME is being perpetuated against the American public by the security state.

Dennis Stein > Charlotte Ruse • 3 days ago

“We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False”

—CIA Director William Casey at an early February 1981 meeting of newly elected President Reagan.

Adrian • 4 days ago

Great news on Assange... but ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over

Ed Bergonzi • 5 days ago

This is good news. But now the advantage is with Trump. What will the Democrats do if Trump presses for extradition claiming "national security" concerns, i.e., Assange's exposure of US war crimes. I think their present silence regarding Judge Koeltl's decision speaks volumes.

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"Going a step further, the judge called the DNC’s arguments “threadbare,” adding: “At no point does the DNC allege any facts” showing that Assange or WikiLeaks “participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”

The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand.

"On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25..."

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate.

Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.”

They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class. They practically come out and say it: "There was no attempt by other reporters to pursue the matter, and Conway then began to rant about Trump's reasons for targeting the four congresswomen, saying, “He's tired, a lot of us are sick and tired of this country—of America coming last, to people who swore an oath of office.”

[Jul 30, 2019] 'Never-Googlers' Take Extreme Measures To Avoid Data Tracking

Jul 30, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(startribune.com) 248

To buy his favorite oatmeal, Gregory Kelly drives to a city 40 miles away rather than sharing his data with an online retailer, or purchasing it from the company's web site, "which he says is riddled with tracking software from Google," according to the Washington Post:

"I'm just not sure why Google needs to know what breakfast cereal I eat," the 51-year-old said. Kelly is one of a hearty few who are taking the ultimate step to keep their files and online life safe from prying eyes : turning off Google entirely. That means eschewing some of the most popular services on the Web, including Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, the Chrome browser, Android mobile operating software and even YouTube. Such never-Googlers are pushing friends and family to give up the search and advertising titan, while others are taking to social media to get the word out. Online guides have sprouted up to help consumers untangle themselves from Google.

These intrepid Web users say they'd rather deal with daily inconveniences than give up more of their data. That means setting up permanent vacation responders on Gmail and telling friends to resend files or video links that don't require Google software. More than that, it takes a lot of discipline.

While there's no data on how many people are avoiding Google, the article points out that DuckDuckGo is now averaging 42.4 million searches every day -- up from 23.5 million a year ago.

But at least one Berkeley tech consultant acknowledged that "the improvement is mostly in the category of self-righteousness." Seeking an office software with better privacy protections, he's now paying $100 a year for a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

[Jul 27, 2019] Luongo Gabbard Going After Google Is Double Plus Good

Notable quotes:
"... Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters. ..."
"... This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law. ..."
"... On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed. ..."
"... Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire. ..."
"... You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Google . It's about time someone did. It's one thing to for conservatives and libertarians to be outraged by their treatment by the tech giant, it's another for them to go after a female Democrat.

Since Trump's election the campaign to curtail free speech has went into overdrive and we are now far beyond Orwell's dystopian vision in 1984 in terms of technological infrastructure.

Google makes Big Brother look like George Carlin's the Hippy Dippy Weather Man with the "hippy dippy weather, man." The drive to stamp out all forms of political division has only one thing animating it, protecting the drive of the elites I call The Davos Crowd to erect a transnational superstate to herd humanity to their vision of sustainability.

Gabbard is the only person running for the Democratic nomination worth any amount of my time. Her fundamental criticisms of the U.S. warfare state are spot on. She's sincere about this. It's costing her stature within her own party.

She's a committed anti-imperialist. She's also young, inexperienced and a little bit naive. But that, to me, is part of her charm. It means she is still malleable. She's smart enough to be outraged about where we are headed and young enough to be flexible about what the solutions are to stop it from happening.

So, as such, she's the perfect champion for the defenders of free speech and critics of the U.S. empire. A young, attractive, intelligent woman of mixed-race heritage with a service record who stands athwart the mainstream on the most important issue in politics today: the U.S. empire.

The entire time I was growing up the prevailing wisdom was Social Security was the third rail of U.S. politics. That, like so many other pearls of wisdom, was nonsense.

The true third rail of U.S. politics is empire.

Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters.

For that crime Google acted to blunt interest in her campaign in the critical hours after the first democratic debate. So, Gabbard, rightly, sued them.

The two main points of her lawsuit are:

1) suspending her Google Ad account for six hours while search traffic for her was spiking and

2) Gmail disproportionately junked her campaign emails.

This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law.

Whether this lawsuit goes anywhere or not is beside the point. Google will ignore it until they can't and then settle with her before discovery. Gabbard doing this is good PR for her as it sets her on the right side of an incredibly important issue, censorship and technological bias/de-platforming of political outsiders.

It's also good because if she does pursue this principally, it will lead to potential discovery of Google's internal practices, lending the DoJ a hand in pursuing all the big tech firms for electioneering.

On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed.

Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire.

As libertarians and conservatives it is irrelevant if she is conventional in other areas. It doesn't matter that she's been to a CFR meeting or two or that she's anti-gun. She's not going to be president.

This is not about our virtue-signaling about the purity of essence of our political figures. They are tools to our ends. And on now two incredibly important issues leading up to the 2020 election Tulsi Gabbard is on the right side of them.

She is someone we can and should reach out to and support while she makes these issues the centerpiece of her campaign. Her timing is even more excellent than what I've already stated.

Filing this lawsuit is a pre-emptive strike at Google now that she's qualified for the next two Democratic debates. And it may assist her in breaking out of the bottom tier of the Democratic field, Ron Paul style if she gets her opportunity.

Shedding light on Google's anti-free speech practices is a fundamental good, one we should celebrate. Dare I say, it's double plus good.

* * *

Join my Patreon and install Brave if you both hate big tech censorship and the empire in equal measure.


Thordoom , 8 minutes ago link

You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire.

If you won't kill this problem you can virtue signal about your left and right opinions about your perfect candidate as much as you want without getting anything done ( Trump). Purism won't help you. It only gets you distracted and controlled by the elites.

otschelnik , 11 minutes ago link

The point of this article is that Gabbard is taking on GOOGLE, for screwing with her account. See Google demonitizes, deboosts, deplatforms people without them even knowing it, and diddles their search algorythms NOT ONLY against conservatives, but for independent democrats like Gabbard. THAT'S THE POINT, not who or what Gabbard stands for. The dem party did the same to Gabbard during the 2016 election, cut her off from financing, because she supported Bernie Sanders.

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3609

This is the sort of **** things dim's do, and progressive companies like Fakebook, Twatter and Goolag. Now Gabbard may not have views that we can support, but if she is taking on GOOLAG, than we should stand like a wall behind her. This is a big threat to 1st amendment rights.

chunga , 1 hour ago link

I hope this girl switches to an Independant. A lot of people are sick to death of the blues and the reds.

GoldHermit , 52 minutes ago link

Blues and reds is a sham used by the poliicians to divide the populace.

espirit , 48 minutes ago link

Throw in some greens and purples...

LetThemEatRand , 1 hour ago link

Good point, chunga. She is already being given the Ron Paul treatment by MSM (they either slam her as basically a naive fool, or just ignore her), so no way does she rise to the top of the **** pile of Blue Team candidates. Would make a good run as an independent, and maybe wake some people up.

[Jul 27, 2019] Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Both came true ion 2019

Notable quotes:
"... I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

LJ , July 25, 2019 at 10:38

Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. It was noticed by some folks even here at CN that tendencies had come ito play that were reminiscent of Orwell's dystopian yet fictional accounts in the novel 1984. This entire Russiagate episode could just as easily have come from 1984's Ministry of Information as our own Intelligence Services and might have been just as boring if it had . Meanwhile us , prols, just go with the flow and don't really care. Are things that much different than they have ever been? I rem,ember the Waterdate hearings and the Iran-Contra Hearings, Ken Starr's Investigation. I'm a little to young to remember the Warren Commission or Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare but I do remember the 9/11 Commission and WMGs in Iraq.. I remember wrote a paper on Propaganda films in WW II. Is this episode really all that different?

Paul Merrell , July 26, 2019 at 19:11

@ "Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. "

You address a topic I've pondered long and hard. Although I can cite scant evidence, I can't help but wonder: Are we instead only noticing -- because of the far wider availability of information via the Internet -- a disinformation phenomenon that is perhaps centuries old if not still older?

Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Dickens' Bleakhouse was serialized in 1852-53. All can be fairly said to deal with a perception that those who control government are dishonest and corrupt, based on then-current norms. E.g., Dickens noted in the preface of his first edition that his fictional Jarndyce and Jarndyce largely paralleled the sadly real Thellusson v Woodford. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thellusson_v_Woodford

Such precedents argue against the "disinformational mode" being of recent origin.

I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example.

[Jul 25, 2019] When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council.

Notable quotes:
"... I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

GramSci , , , July 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council. Those two billion-odd fake accounts may be a fraud perpetrated on the advertisers, but they are invaluable to US "law" enforcement and to US propaganda, where the ability to open a fake account on Facebook gives the illusion of privacy.

With all due respect to Mr. Greenspan and his Lowell House creds, I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset.

Summer , , July 23, 2019 at 11:55 am

+1
NSA and other law enforcement asset.
Remember stories about stupid criminals on the run who took the time to update their Facebook page?

The Rev Kev , July 23, 2019 at 10:38 am

This is a fascinating article and it certainly put a smile on my dial. As an asset for use by governments around the world, Facebook may be too invaluable to just let sink. One guy reported that he was in a meeting with Facebook’s top brass including the Zuck when a head honcho of the FBI came into the meeting and sang Zuck’s praises for all the help that Facebook gave the FBI. So the question remains. Just how many “real” Facebook accounts does Facebook have? Ones that people check on daily. Now that is the killer question.

[Jul 24, 2019] Fraud of Facebook user numbers

Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

bruce , July 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm

I have three Facebook accounts. The two I never ever look at are the one for my cat and the one for my feminine alter ego. My own account is used for only one thing, watching "People You May Know" to see how far they've penetrated my graph; occasionally disturbing, occasionally hilarious. I've never looked at my "wall", issued or accepted a friend request, posted anything, messaged anyone but they have my email, and wow do I hate this company!

May 2018, a woman I loved and was ultimately going to get to move in died (age 70, natural causes). Twice a week on average I get emails from Facebook inviting me to read her most recent messages. You can imagine how I feel about that. SHE DED!

Facebook has boasted on the order of 2-3 billion users, a significant percentage of the world's population, and I don't believe a word of it. One may assume that the early adopters were people with more tech savvy, affluence and most important, leisure time to screw around on the internet, and the proles don't have a lot of leisure time. Moreover, the value to the advertiser of a set of eyeball impressions is directly related to the amount of disposable income those eyeballs have, and sure, India has about one and a half billion people, but a lot of them have zero disposable income and zero leisure time.

Die Facebook die!

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

From the cited lawsuit:

"Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, among 18-34 years-olds in Chicago, for example, Facebook asserted its Potential Reach was approximately 4 times (400%) higher than the number of real 18-34 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Chicago. Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook's asserted Potential Reach in Kansas City was approximately 200% higher than the number of actual 18-54 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Kansas City. This inflation is apparent in other age categories as well."

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:40 pm

"These foundational representations are false. Based on publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook overstates the Potential Reach of its advertisements. For example, based on publicly available data, Facebook's purported Potential Reach among the key 18-34 year-
22 old demographic in every state exceeds the actual population of 18-34 year-olds ."

[Jul 24, 2019] If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts. ..."
"... The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Unsympathetic , , July 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

What if the fake ads were only "viewed" by fake accounts?

Larry , , July 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

Bingo. But it's a great story for political elites to paper over their complete failure to maintain their control.

Michael Fiorillo , , July 23, 2019 at 9:42 am

Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts.

The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative.

Someday the McResistance TM and unhinged liberals possessed by magical thinking must grapple with the fact that Trump was elected in America, by Americans, and that there is no Santa Claus.

Then again, maybe not.

[Jul 24, 2019] Is Facebook a user inflation racket?

Notable quotes:
"... Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

john BOUGEAREL , July 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

The world is a racket.

  • From an investor point of view, revs are growing very nicely albeit at a slowing rate and forward earning valuations are not atrocious. 47% rev growth in 2017. 37% rev growth in 2018.
  • 24% rev growth forecast for 2019. 21% rev growth forecast in 2020. Those rev growth rates are over the moon compared to the SP500.
  • Who gives a rat's ass about fake accounts as long as the revs are growing.

And Singer, poor fella, he was crying in his beer back in August because he probably lost money when the stock price went down following an announcement that rev growth rates would predictably slow. If the cry-baby didn't sell, the market has made him pretty much whole again.

If and when rev growth falls off a cliff instead of a natural rate of deceleration, then the fake accounts may become material. Even if revs fall off a cliff, there is little to no likelihood you will find a Madoff of Ponzi lurking around the corner.

Tsk, tsk.

False Solace , July 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm

It sounds like revenue is only growing because advertisers aren't aware of the fake accounts and related puffery.

That will only remain true for so long. Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down.

Fortunately, elites never go after each other so Z and friends will be fine. No worries there.

vlade , July 23, 2019 at 8:33 am

FB fake accounts were an issue for a very long time. It pops up now and then, and then is ignored. Unfortunately.

Google, TBH, has a not dissimilar problem, although it's more obvious to the buyers. That is, it can't tell how many clicks (don't even mention "impressions") are bots. And it has no incentive to put anything strong there, to the contrary, it has incentive to show some captures, but as few as possible.

After all, advertisers pay for clicks and impressions, and you don't want to drop those numbers that your revenue depends on, do you?

If you business model is "user is the product", then of course you have an incentive to fake the users..

pnongrata , July 23, 2019 at 8:57 am

FB and Google have always said that if you can't turn those clicks into customers, it's your own damn fault for not targeting properly.

Successful campaign stories serve to fuel their evil business, like all 'good' Ponzi Schemes. Shameful.

Larry , July 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

I haven't heard much about the advertiser backlash that supposedly had Blue Chip clients like P&G pulling back spend on the platform.

https://www.campaignlive.com/article/marketers-pull-back-spend-facebook-google-due-false-metrics/1463313

I still see skepticism by marketers, but it would seem that they can't quite pull themselves off the platform gravy train.

Larry , July 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

I haven't heard much about the advertiser backlash that supposedly had Blue Chip clients like P&G pulling back spend on the platform.

https://www.campaignlive.com/article/marketers-pull-back-spend-facebook-google-due-false-metrics/1463313

I still see skepticism by marketers, but it would seem that they can't quite pull themselves off the platform gravy train.

[Jul 20, 2019] Orwell, Inc. How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

There are a lot of exaggerations here.
While email and web activity of employees is definitely monitored, all other monitoring usually is pretty fragmentary. Often on a corporate smartphone there are two zones -- secure zone where you access corporate network and email and private zone where you have access to the internet via you provider and traffic is not monitored other then for the volume.
Keeping track of all those details (and some of them will be wrong) is just too expensive and few corporation outside FIRE sector so that.
In short anything that opens company to a lawsuit will be monitored, but outside of that companies actually are not interested in the information collection as it opens them to additional liability in save of suicides and such.
Mining data from social media is a different complex topic and requires a separate article.
Notable quotes:
"... From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks. ..."
"... Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked. ..."
"... Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software. ..."
Jul 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Orwell, Inc.: How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

An increasing number of large companies are using data from employees' electronic devices to track such personal details like when you they wake up, where they go for coffee in the morning, their whereabouts throughout the entire day, and what time they go to bed according to a new Wall Street Journal article. What's the company explanation for this type of spying?

"An increasing number of companies are keeping track of such information to flag potentially suspicious activity and measure work-life balance," the article claims.

The article walks through the day in the life of a fictional worker, Chet. It starts by noting that his employer logs the time and his location when he first wakes up to check his e-mail in the morning.

From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

Then, a Bluetooth device and his ID badge mark what time he arrives at the office while tracking his movement around the building. These technologies are supposedly used to see what teams collaborate frequently and to make sure that employees aren't accessing unauthorized areas.

Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked.

Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software.

At the end of the day, if Chet goes to the gym or for a run, the company will know that too and just how many calories he has burned: his fitness tracker logs how many steps he takes and what exercise, if any, he is doing. Companies then use that information to determine how frequently employees are exercising and whether or not they should be paying for health and fitness services.

You can view the WSJ's full animated panel here .


Xena fobe , 4 minutes ago link

They retain firms that track us on our social media accounts. Supposedly to defend against workplace violence threats. And then there are the cameras. We never really know. Just do my job and keep personal use of company resources to a minimum.

misgivings , 10 minutes ago link

Just NO. This is pretty much slavery. There should be a right to privacy, human rights. the insidious nature of ever more control must be reversed.

misgivings , 13 minutes ago link

we really ARE just cattle.

Ms No , 15 minutes ago link

Shortly Im going to start leaving my phone at home and just carrying a book with me. Screw these Bolshevik bitches.

Kefeer , 47 minutes ago link

The operation known as "LifeLog" was replaced the very day that Face Book came into being?

Life Log : The objective of the LifeLog concept was "to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships", and it has the ability to "take in all of a subject's experience, from phone numbers dialed and e-mail messages viewed to every breath taken, step made and place gone". [1]

" CIA Can Selectively Disclose Information, Court Affirms " Bookmark this website Anons

My takeaway from all this is that many, perhaps most, human institutions are corrupt and that there is no basis from which most people are able to discern truth from lies or right from wrong. This explains the ability of the Power Elite to easily divide people against each other. For example, you cannot debate a Liberal because they have their basis for truth on their personal feeling or emotions. Many conservatives do as well, but they are closer in their thingking to the foundation from which truth sits upon.

PKKA , 48 minutes ago link

How to avoid electronic surveillance

Edward Snowden, former NSA employee. Snowden is an absolute supporter of encryption of all stored and transmitted content. Now there are many applications that have encryption features. And among them there are common and well-known messengers, such as, for example, WhatsApp, Telegram and others.

The former NSA agent also advises to secure his computer, in particular, the hard drive. On the Internet you can find instructions on how to do this. Usually used special software. For example, for Windows, there is a program preinstalled in advanced versions of the OS -- BitLocker, for Mac -- FileVault. Thus, if the computer is stolen, the attacker will not be able to read your data.

Password Managers A useful thing that most people do not even think about. Such programs allow you to keep your passwords in order - to create unique keys and store them. According to Snowden, one of the most common problems with online privacy is leaks.

Tor. The former NSA official calls the anonymous Tor network "the most important technological project to ensure the confidentiality of those currently used." He stated that he uses it on a daily basis. Tor allows you to "cover up traces" on the Internet, that is, it provides anonymity, making it difficult to determine the person's IP address and location.

Also, Snowden told how to avoid total surveillance. For example, special services that can remotely turn on a microphone or camera on a smartphone and start listening. The answer is simple - pull out the microphone and camera modules from the device. Instead, it is proposed to use an external accessory and disconnect from the selfie and never use it.

Kefeer , 33 minutes ago link

The only safe way is to abstain as much as possible, which is now next to impossible. Security is only as protected as the weakest link. Consider a person who uses their smart phone giving Google or Apple the permissions needed to use their OS's and apps; we do not even know exactly how much info we agreed to give away. Consider all the contact info that your friends, relatives, work or other organizations you associate with have on their devices and how vulnerable they make it; they are not as cautious as you and some people using these things do not even think about security; it never occurs to them.. .. just some musing on my part.

Cardinal Fang , 50 minutes ago link

Jeez, I used to sign a quarterly affirmation that I complied with all of the companies electronic communication monitoring policies...and they made us sign that we understood that they had climbed up our *** and pitched a tent.

One of the reasons they had to find a replacement for me when I quit.

Quia Possum , 57 minutes ago link

If you're using your employer's devices, facilities, or networks, you should assume they are tracking what you're doing, and they have every right to do so. When I buy your company's products or services, I don't want to have to pay for your time spent messing around at work.

I can't read the article since it's behind a paywall, but I don't see how your waking and sleeping time and "work life balance" could be tracked unless you are using your employer's devices or networks outside of work. Which is friggin stupid if you do it.

fezline , 56 minutes ago link

Actually it doesnt work like that... Chet isn't informed of this happening. The fact that the company does this is buried in vague language in the 500 page employee handbook that Chet has to sign when he is hired. Chet is just like anyone else with a company provided electronic device. All companies monitor and track everything they can with the electronic devices they provide. If you have one and th think your company doesnt do it... you are naive.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 12 minutes ago link

Chet has the ability to determine when and where he uses the work-provided devices. And why does work have access to his fitness tracker? Supplied by his employer too? Really, Chet had options

fezline , 1 hour ago link

Not with me... I have a personal phone and when I am not at work I keep my work phone at home turned off. My emails are forwarded to my personal device and any voicemail I get also gets forwarded to my personal device. I never place personal calls with my work phone and I turn it off the second I leave work to go home.

Steele Hammorhands , 1 hour ago link

What a waste of resources. If you want to see what I do, just ask. I'll show you how I accomplish my work-related duties. How I manage my time at work. Where I go to cry and regret my life choices.

[Jul 17, 2019] The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty

The amount of data collected by various companies is just staggering. Any person in the USA is really like a bug under the microscope. The question arise why we still have organized crime unless this is a branch of CIA.
Notable quotes:
"... Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket. ..."
"... Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions. ..."
"... The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Kent 11 hours ago

The government actually has little influence in our lives. But it doesn't need to. Life's necessities are all controlled by private corporations. The key to the control is the removal of liberty. If housing costs so much that I have to obtain a mortgage to buy basic shelter, then my credit score determines my ability to obtain adequate shelter. The same works with rent. And I can't pay for either of those things without a wage based job. And I can't be hired into one of those without the proper credentials being bestowed upon me by some school, and I cannot have any felony arrests in my background. And transportation to my job generally requires a car and another loan with the associated credit score.

Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket.

Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions.

The government actually doesn't have to control you. They've turned over the destruction of your liberty to private corporations who are all working hard to nudge you to accept their rules through various subtle systems.

And unless you have enough money to own your own house and cars, and not actually have to work, you have no choice but to be obedient.

The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty. They understand from birth that they must be obedient.

The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty.

They have had no choice in the matter.

[Jul 05, 2019] Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

UncommonGround says: July 5, 2019 at 11:02 am GMT 400 Words

It is also rigged to silence real journalists like Julian Assange who are trying to overturn the access journalism prized by the corporate media – with its reliance on official sources and insiders for stories – to divulge the secrets of the national security states we live in.

His case is really Kafaesque. Sweden wanted his extradition to Sweden and issued an European arrest warrant for him to be arrested and taken to Sweden. He sought asyl in the embassy of Ecuador. People kept saying for years that he was a criminal evading justice because of that. The British police kept the embassy under surveillance for seven years without interruptions in order to arrest him and send him to Sweden.

Finally after seven years he was forced to leave the embassy. He should have been sent immediately to Sweden. After all, this was the reason why the British had initially arrested him, had limited his movements, had sought to arrest him after he went to the embassy. Everything happened because of an allegued crime in Sweden. But when he was arrested Sweden didn't care to demand that he be taken to Sweden. They had issued an European arrest warrant and this means that they should have a case against him that would justify him being arrested in England. The material against him should be ready and they should send it again to England. But they haven't done that until now.

I'm not sure of the details but I think that the first time that they issued an arrest warrant, this was done by the Swedish prosecuting attorney and not by a judge. Many people complained that this was not legal, but it was said that the French version of European agreements would allow this to happen. Now, the Swedish prosecuting attorney would like to reopen the case against Assange, but this time apparently the case has to be assessed by a judge and some months after Assange was arrested the Swedes haven't yet demanded that he be taken to Sweden. Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

[Jun 30, 2019] Orwell s 1984 No Longer Reads Like Fiction It s The Reality Of Our Times by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
1984, Brave New World, and Idiocracy look more and more like Documentaries now.
Notable quotes:
"... Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today. ..."
"... At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then. ..."
"... In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. ..."
"... Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. ..."
"... Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. ..."
"... 'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost. ..."
"... Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via RT.com,

70 years ago, the British writer George Orwell captured the essence of technology in its ability to shape our destinies in his seminal work, 1984. The tragedy of our times is that we have failed to heed his warning.

No matter how many times I read 1984, the feeling of total helplessness and despair that weaves itself throughout Orwell's masterpiece never fails to take me by surprise. Although usually referred to as a 'dystopian futuristic novel', it is actually a horror story on a scale far greater than anything that has emerged from the minds of prolific writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. The reason is simple. The nightmare world that the protagonist Winston Smith inhabits, a place called Oceania, is all too easily imaginable. Man, as opposed to some imaginary clown or demon, is the evil monster.

In the very first pages of the book, Orwell demonstrates an uncanny ability to foresee future trends in technology. Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today.

Orwell describes the ubiquitous device as an "oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror" affixed to the wall that "could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely." Sound familiar?

It is through this gadget that the rulers of Oceania are able to monitor the actions of its citizens every minute of every day.

At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then.

In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. This latest invasion of privacy has been casually dismissed as an "error" after an unnamed telecommunications firm handed over call records the NSA allegedly "hadn't requested" and "weren't approved" by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2013, former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA's intrusive surveillance operations, yet somehow the government agency is able to continue – with the help of the corporate sector – vacuuming up the private information of regular citizens.

Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. For example, the term 'joycamp', a truncated term every bit as euphemistic as the 'PATRIOT Act', was used to describe a forced labor camp, whereas a 'doubleplusgood duckspeaker' was used to praise an orator who 'quacked' correctly with regards to the political situation.

Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. What social media users need is an Orwellian lesson in 'crimestop', which Orwell defined as "the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought." Those so-called unacceptable 'dangerous thoughts' were determined not by the will of the people, of course, but by their rulers.

And yes, it gets worse. Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg's 'private company' agreed to give French authorities the "identification data" of Facebook users suspected of spreading 'hate speech' on the platform, in what would be an unprecedented move on the part of Silicon Valley.

'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost.

Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it.

For anyone who entertains expectations for a happy ending in 1984, be prepared for serious disappointment (spoiler alert, for the few who have somehow not read this book). Although Winston Smith manages to finally experience love, the brief romance – like a delicate flower that was able to take root amid a field of asphalt – is crushed by the authorities with shocking brutality. Not satisfied with merely destroying the relationship, however, Smith is forced to betray his 'Julia' after undergoing the worst imaginable torture at the 'Ministry of Love'.

The book ends with the words, "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Will we too declare, like Winston Smith, our love for 'Big Brother' above all else, or will we emerge victorious against the forces of a technological tyranny that appears to be just over the horizon? Or is Orwell's 1984 just really good fiction and not the instruction manual for tyrants many have come to fear it is?

An awful lot is riding on our answers to those questions, and time is running out.

[Jun 29, 2019] Everyone's Got A Surveillance Score And It Can Cost You Big Money

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Companies are using Secret Surveillance Scores to evaluate you.

The opening paragraphs of the 38-page complaint are chilling:

Major American corporations, including online and retail businesses, employers and landlords are using Secret Surveillance Scores to charge some people higher prices for the same product than others, to provide some people with better customer services than others, to deny some consumers the right to purchase services or buy or return products while allowing others to do so and even to deny people housing and jobs.

The Secret Surveillance Scores are generated by a shadowy group of privacy-busting firms that operate in dark recesses of the American marketplace. They collect thousands or even tens of thousands of intimate details of each person's life – enough information, it is thought, to literally predetermine a person's behavior – either directly or through data brokers. Then, in what is euphemistically referred to as "data analytics," the firms' engineers write software algorithms that instruct computers to parse a person's data trail and develop a digital "mug shot." Eventually, that individual profile is reduced to a number – the score – and transmitted to corporate clients looking for ways to take advantage of, or even avoid, the consumer. The scoring system is automatic and instantaneous. None of this is disclosed to the consumer: the existence of the algorithm, the application of the Surveillance Score or even that they have become the victim of a technological scheme that just a few years ago would appear only in a dystopian science fiction novel. ( source )

These scores are used to discriminate based on income.

Written by lawyers Laura Antonini, the policy director of the Consumer Education Foundation, and Harvey Rosenfield, who leads the foundation, the complaint highlights four areas in which companies are using surveillance scoring: pricing, customer service, fraud prevention, and housing and employment.

"This is a way for companies to discriminate against users based on income and wealth," Antonini told The Hill .

"It can range from monetary harm or basic necessities of life that you're not getting."

Antonini and Rosenfield argue that the practices outlined in the complaint are illegal – and that consumers are largely unaware that they're being secretly evaluated in ways that can influence how much they pay online.

"The ability of corporations to target, manipulate and discriminate against Americans is unprecedented and inconsistent with the principles of competition and free markets," the complaint reads . "Surveillance scoring promotes inequality by empowering companies to decide which consumers they want to do business with and on what terms, weeding out the people who they deem less valuable. Such discrimination is as much a threat to democracy as it is to a free market."

Stores are using this scoring system to charge you higher prices.

Here's more detail, from The Hill :

The filing points to a 2014 Northeastern University study exploring the ways that companies like Home Depot and Walmart use consumer data to customize prices for different customers. Rosenfield and Antonini replicated the study using an online tool that compares prices that they're charged on their own computers with their own data profiles versus the prices charged to a user browsing sites through an anonymized computer server with no data history.

What they found was that Walmart and Home Depot were offering lower prices on a number of products to the anonymous computer. In the search results for "white paint" on Home Depot's website, Rosenfield and Antonini were seeing higher prices for six of the first 24 items that popped up.

In one example, a five-gallon tub of Glidden premium exterior paint would have cost them $119 compared with $101 for the anonymous computer.

A similar pattern emerged on Walmart's website. The two lawyers found the site was charging them more on a variety of items compared with the anonymous web tool, including paper towels, highlighters, pens and paint.

One paper towel holder cost $10 less for the blank web user. ( source )

To see screenshots of different "personalized" prices shown for items from Home Depot and Walmart, please see pages 12-16 of the complaint. The examples presented demonstrate just how much these inflated prices for common household goods can really add up.

The travel industry is particularly sneaky.

A few days ago, we reported on hidden fees that could be costing you big bucks . The travel industry is a particularly large offender when it comes to sneaky fees, and they are also implicated in this scheme:

Travelocity. Software developer Christian Bennefeld, founder of etracker.com and eBlocker.com, did a sample search for hotel rooms in Paris on Travelocity in 2017 using his eBlocker device, which "allows him to act as if he were searching from two different" computers. Bennefeld found that when he performed the two searches at the same time, there was a $23 difference in Travelocity's prices for the Hotel Le Six in Paris.

CheapTickets. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that the online bargain travel site CheapTickets offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who are logged into an account with CheapTickets, compared to those who proceed as "guests." We performed our own search of airfares on CheapTickets without being logged in. We searched for flights from LAX to Las Vegas for April 5 through April 8, 2019. Our searches produced identical flight results in the same order, but Mr. Rosenfield's prices were all quoted at three dollars higher than Ms. Antonini's.

Other travel websites. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that Orbitz also offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who were logged into an account (Orbitz has been accused of quoting higher prices to Mac users versus PC users because Mac users have a higher household income); Expedia and Hotels.com steer a subset of users toward more expensive hotels; and Priceline acknowledges it "personalizes search results based on a user's history of clicks and purchases. ( source )

There is an industry that exists to evaluate you and sell your data to companies.

The complaint also describes an industry that offers retailers evaluations of their customers' "trustworthiness" to determine whether they are a potential risk for fraudulent returns. One such firm – called Sift – offers these evaluations to major companies like Starbucks and Airbnb. Sift boasts on its website that it can tailor "user experiences based on 16,000+ real-time signals – putting good customers in the express lane and stopping bad customers from reaching the checkout."

The Hill contacted Sift for comment, and the company was not able to respond. But, back in April, a Sift spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that it rates customers on a scale of 0 to 100, likening it to a credit score for trustworthiness.

While credit scores can wreak havoc on a person's ability to make big purchases (and sometimes, gain employment), they at least are transparent. Surveillance scoring is not. There is NO transparency for consumers, and Rosenfield and Antonini argue that companies are using them to engage in illegal discrimination while users have little recourse to correct false information about them or challenge their ratings.

We are being spied on and scored on a wide variety of factors.

"In the World Privacy Forum's landmark study "The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Future," authors Pam Dixon and Bob Gellman identified approximately 44 scores currently used to predict the actions of consumers," the complaint explains:

These include:

The Medication Adherence Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to follow a medication regimen;

The Health Risk Score, which predicts how much a specific patient will cost an insurance company;

The Consumer Profitability Score, which predicts which households may be profitable for a company and hence desirable customers;

The Job Security score, which predicts a person's future income and ability to pay for things;

The Churn Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to move her business to another company;

The Discretionary Spending Index, which scores how much extra cash a particular consumer might be able to spend on non-necessities;

The Invitation to Apply Score, which predicts how likely a consumer is to respond to a sales offer;

The Charitable Donor Score, which predicts how likely a household is to make significant charitable donations;

The Pregnancy Predictor Score, which predicts the likelihood of someone getting pregnant. ( source )

The government isn't doing anything to stop these practices.

Back in 2014, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop on a practice they call "predictive scoring" but the agency has done little since to reign in the practice. Antonini said that their complaint is pushing the agency to reexamine the industry and investigate whether it violates laws against unfair and deceptive business practices, according to The Hill :

"It's far, far worse than when they looked at it in 2014," she said. "There's an exponentially larger amount of data that's being collected about the American public that's in the hands of data brokers and companies. Their ability to process that data and write algorithms have also improved exponentially. " ( source )

We seem to be past the point of expecting our data to remain private, The Introduction to the complaint begins with a passage that sums up reality for us now:

This Petition does not ask the Commission to investigate the collection of Americans' personal information. The battle over whether Americans' personal data can be collected is over, and, as of this moment at least, consumers have lost. Consumers are now victims of an unavoidable corporate surveillance capitalism.

Rather, this Petition highlights a disturbing evolution in how consumers' data is deployed against them. ( source )

We can't go anywhere without being surveilled now.

It is now impossible to shop in any large chain stores without being spied on. Stores are starting to use "smart coolers", which are refrigerators equipped with cameras that scan shoppers' faces and make inferences on their age and gender. And, a recent article from Futurism describes how security cameras are no longer being used solely to reduce theft:

"Instead of just keeping track of who's in a store, surveillance systems could use facial recognition to determine peoples' identities and gathering even more information about them. That data would then be out there, with no opportunity to opt out. ( source )

A new ACLU report titled "The Dawn of Robot Surveillance" describes how emerging AI technology enables security companies to constantly monitor and collect data about people.

"Growth in the use and effectiveness of artificial intelligence techniques has been so rapid that people haven't had time to assimilate a new understanding of what is being done, and what the consequences of data collection and privacy invasions can be," the report concludes.

[Jun 24, 2019] Google's Chrome Web Browser Has Become Spy Software

Notable quotes:
"... Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave. ..."
"... No browser is secure. ..."
"... People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance. ..."
"... If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. ..."
"... These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest. ..."
"... HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc ..."
"... Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother? ..."
"... Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months. ..."
"... Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail. ..."
"... One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. ..."
"... There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Google's Chrome Web Browser "Has Become Spy Software"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/24/2019 - 04:15 3 SHARES

Google's Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it "looks a lot like surveillance software."

Fowler has since switched to Mozilla's Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine.

My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions . In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker "cookies" that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private . I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service's log-in pages.

And that's not the half of it.

Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you're logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads . Don't recall signing in? I didn't, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. - Washington Post

When you use Chrome, signing into Gmail automatically logs in the browser to your Google account. When "sync" is also on, Google receives your browsing history. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Chrome is even worse when it comes to mobile devices - reporting the precise location of Android users unless location sharing is turned off, in which case it will send out your rough coordinates.

Cookie monsters

According to one study, tracking cookies from third-parties are on 92% of websites . The Washington Post , for example, uses around 40 - which the company said is "average for a news site," and says they are designed to deliver better-targeted ads and track ad performance.

But cookies can also be found on websites with no advertising.

Both Aetna and the FSA service said the cookies on their sites help measure their own external marketing campaigns.

The blame for this mess belongs to the entire advertising, publishing and tech industries. But what responsibility does a browser have in protecting us from code that isn't doing much more than spying? - Washington Post

Mozilla to the rescue ?

For the past four years or so, Firefox browser has had a built-in anti-tracking feature for the past four or so years in its "private" browsing mode. Earlier this month, Mozilla activated this feature for normal browsing mode . While ads will still appear, Firefox is now separating cookies in real time to determine which ones are required for a website to function correctly, and which ones are simply spies.

Apple began to block cookies on their Safari mobile browser starting in 2017, using an algorithm the company calls "intelligent tracking protection."

Chrome, meanwhile, continues to welcome cookies onto your computer and phone with open arms. That said, the company announced last month that it would require third-party cookies to better identify themselves, which will supposedly allow them to apply better controls. That said, the company did not offer The Post a timeline or say whether it would employ default tracking blockers.

I'm not holding my breath. G oogle itself, through its Doubleclick and other ad businesses, is the No. 1 cookie maker -- the Mrs. Fields of the Web . It's hard to imagine Chrome ever cutting off Google's moneymaker. - Washington Post

"Cookies play a role in user privacy, but a narrow focus on cookies obscures the broader privacy discussion because it's just one way in which users can be tracked across sites," according to Chrome's director of product management, Ben Galbraith. " This is a complex problem, and simple, blunt cookie blocking solutions force tracking into more opaque practices ."

Giving up on Google

In his decision to kick Chrome to the curb, Fowler cites a blog post by Johns Hopkins associate professor Matthew Green, who said last year he was "done" with the browser.

Like Green, I've chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple's Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.

What does switching to Firefox cost you? It's free, and downloading a different browser is much simpler than changing phones.

In 2017, Mozilla launched a new version of Firefox called Quantum that made it considerably faster. In my tests, it has felt almost as fast as Chrome, though benchmark tests have found it can be slower in some contexts. Firefox says it's better about managing memory if you use lots and lots of tabs.

Switching means you'll have to move your bookmarks, and Firefox offers tools to help. Shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager . And most browser add-ons are available, though it's possible you won't find your favorite. - Washington Post

Perhaps Fowler can reach out to some of his Washington Post colleagues to see what their many sources in the US intelligence community think of Chrome vs. Firefox...


zeezrom2point0 , 23 seconds ago link

Uninstall Chrome. Firefox is still spyware. Use Brave...until it's compromised.

hoytmonger , 4 minutes ago link

Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave.

Brave automatically blocks ads, trackers, scripts and upgrades HTTP to HTTPS. They also don't seem to mind that I still use all the add-ons that Firefox disabled.

mrjinx007 , 4 minutes ago link

Maybe god got tired of watching everything we do and hired Google to do the job. Maybe if we donate some money to Google, they can make some of our past actions from the web deleted.

BGO , 21 minutes ago link

If you like Chrome's interface but don't want to share every last detail of your online life with the Googlebergs, SRWare's Iron browser is a good alternative.

Smilygladhands , 24 minutes ago link

No browser is secure. Firefox jumped the shark when their board made that gentleman resign several years ago because he supported traditional marriage.

This article doesn't mention browser add-ons that block cookies and trackers.

  • Ghostery
  • Adblock
  • Adblock plus
  • Adblock for YouTube

There are many more. Just search Google extensions for Adblockers and pick which ones floats your buoy

The Herdsman , 11 minutes ago link

Just use Brave and its all automatically blocked. No add-ons needed.

hoytmonger , 2 minutes ago link
  • uMatrix
  • uBlock Origin
  • NoScript
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • Privacy Badger
  • Cookie Autodelete
Lizzy Boardroom , 27 minutes ago link

Trust no one, tell your secrets to nobody, and no one will ever betray you.

PanApollo , 34 minutes ago link

Google is CIA...

Justin Case , 37 minutes ago link

If privacy and anonymity are your goals, and you don't mind some impact on the way you usually use the Internet, then Tor is the solution you seek. Tor (The Onion Router) is actually a system more than just a browser.

The Tor browser connects to the Tor network and uses technology originally developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory to provide secure communications for intelligence assets (spies, diplomats, etc.).

oday, millions of people around the world who need serious privacy protection use Tor. We're talking about those intelligence assets, along with activists, whistleblowers, police, citizen journalists, and anyone else who is willing to trade some convenience and speed for greater privacy and anonymity.

The Tor browser is based on Firefox. While it is designed for browsing the public Internet (the Clearnet) just like Firefox is, Tor doesn't connect directly to a resource in the Clearnet. All communications between your Tor browser and a Clearnet resource pass through the Tor network of volunteer-run routers.

Messages between the Tor network and the Clearnet resource are not encrypted. However, thanks to the design of the Tor network, the resource cannot see your IP Address. It can only see the IP Address of the Tor server that it is connected to. This makes you anonymous in that there is no way, short of hacking the Tor network (or you doing something stupid), of connecting your messages to your address.

Link

HushHushSweet , 54 minutes ago link

People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance.

You know I'm right about this.

If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. The article is not keeping it real.

Abaco , 45 minutes ago link

These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest.

fackbankz , 34 minutes ago link

As a law abiding citizen, I'm not worried about "the authorities" knowing that I post on ZeroHedge. The invasive nature of private companies selling my data without compensating me offends me, and I'm not comfortable with the idea that some kid (or an AI) at Facebook or Google can activate my camera and read my emotions as I look at a meme or read an article.

Everyone should strive to stay offline as much as possible, but we should also take all legal measures to protect our privacy. Of course the government can track you; that doesn't mean you should make your life an open book to the data pimps.

Everyone has things that they would prefer to keep private. That's why the Fourth Amendment exists.

mikkybkk , 55 minutes ago link

Brave browser is a much better option than firefox. Strips away all crap and even pays you to watch ads if you enable it and its available in your area. Completely changes the model for how ads and revenue to content creators are set up.

Thom Paine , 55 minutes ago link

HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc

HushHushSweet , 48 minutes ago link

Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother?

Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months.

Otherwise, you're a known and categorized entity.

Tactical Joke , 34 minutes ago link

Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail.

detached.amusement , 43 minutes ago link

One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. They don't just own that hardware, they legally own all that data on the drives.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

Then again if you use Windows then any security measures you take are a waste of time.

CAPT DRAKE , 1 hour ago link

There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

VPN usage can be hidden by using an Obfuscated VPN if you really do no want your ISP to know you are using a VPN. But even with a naked VPN your data is encrypted. Or you can use a double VPN if you are concerned. Or TOR if data speed is not an issue.

If you test your VPN security and privacy on the various tests sites you will find that your IP address is gone and replaced. You ought to secure your browser with privacy extensions to ensure nothing else leaks.

We connect to Chinese and other streaming TV that is blocked in our country. They are smart enough to know to block a VPN, but don't recognize a double VPN for some reason, or XOR. And streams at TV quality download to our TV.

Abaco , 14 minutes ago link

Don't believe this BS. VPN providers have known IP addresses. You don't need any special tricks to know that if you are connecting to a VPN provider's IP you are using a VPN.

There is a lot of horseshit passed around as knowledge by people pimping VPN's. VPN's provide a brick in the wall of security but aren't the magic pill people pimp them as.

Obfuscation requires compatible software on both ends. It doesn't matter if your VPN claims to use it. That will only work from your router to the VPN provider - whose IP's are known.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Putting Google software onto your device means that they now have all your passwords, all your private files, all of everything, so does Microsoft.

SeanInNYC , 1 hour ago link

The push for Firefox is because Firefox is ideologically compliant in blocking websites that question the globalist degeneration of the free world. Mozilla joined up with George Soros to block websites that publish "fake news" or spread "hate" as defined by groups like the ADL, SPLSC, etc. Look up Mozilla's MITI program.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Put Firefox on your device and you have Soros on your device, reading everything, not just web data.

D. G. Neree , 1 hour ago link

I only use Chrome for the pr0n sites (different nick). Firefox is for my D.G.Neree stuff (main nick). Opera is for my real name stuff (I won't tell you). Now I have installed Brave too and it will be for my political commentaries (still searching for a nick)

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

You installed Google software on your device. You now have no privacy, even if Google appears to not be running, it will have a monitoring program running, recording everything you do.

D. G. Neree , 56 minutes ago link

I just found out Opera is Chinese now. I will ditch it and use Brave for my personal stuff

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I use Vivaldi, which was developed by one of the Opera co-founders. I believe it has Chrome behind it, but I have both Ad-block and Ghostery. I also have gone deep into the settings, customizing it exactly the way I want it. Constantly delete all history, cookies, etc. So I see no ads on ZH whatsoever. I also use a VPN.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Stop being stupid. You installed someone else's software on your device, it can now read everything - it can even send screen grabs to Google - your privacy is no more.

VTHOR , 1 hour ago link

BETTER LISTEN. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDs9iQ0Jm4

DavidC , 1 hour ago link

I won't touch Google Chrome, I use Firefox and Opera, like Opera. Anyone any feedback on it?

DavidC

Sweet Daddy D , 1 hour ago link

I have a feeling Firefox is slowly getting dodgy too, I hope I'm wrong

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I used to like Opera, but the Chinese bought the company. That ended my use of Opera. See my post above on Vivaldi. I used to really like Firefox, but they bug you to log in now. I don't want a Firefox account and won't ever sign up for one!

JamcaicanMeAfraid , 48 minutes ago link

Google recently were in the process of rewriting the Chromium engine that Opera and Vivaldi among others use as a basis of their browsers. Microsoft is also following suit rewriting Edge with the Chromium engine. Back to the new Chromium release, Google had written the new engine to remove all Ad Blocking hooks, that would mean if you were using say Brave along with an ad blocker, your ad blocker would be disabled. The browser publishers threw a fit such that Google said they were rethinking that decision, most publishers said they would not use the new engine as well. I haven't seen any recent developments since Google made that statement. As a note Firefox does not use the Chromium engine.

Here is what Google has noted about disabling ad blockers in the latest version: Google Chrome

shadow54 , 1 hour ago link

Add adblock plus to both browsers and make the settings block social media trackers. Adblock plus is blocking 30 trackers on this zerohedge page.

Joe Potato , 19 minutes ago link

Adblock was great when it first came out, but it sold out to the advertisers a long time ago. Since adblock plus actually allows ads and trackers now, i'm not sure what benefit there is in using it. Ublock Origin blocks ads.

[Jun 20, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State by John W. Whitehead

Jun 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

-- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!"

-- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it."

― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

-- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."

―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull."

― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

-- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People .

[Jun 19, 2019] How to stop Google and Facebook from strangling journalism

Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

he last two decades have been perhaps the worst in American history for journalism. After years of decline , newsroom employment fell a further 23 percent from 2008-2017 -- a trend which shows no sign of stopping .

There are three big reasons why. First, the rise of the internet, which undermined traditional newspaper revenue models, especially classified ads. Second, the Great Recession, which tanked employment of all kinds. Third and most importantly, the rise of online monopolies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

It raises a question: How can we stop these corporate behemoths from strangling the life out of American journalism? A good place to start would be breaking up the tech giants, and regulating the online advertising market to ensure fair competition.

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Spending on digital advertising is projected to surpass the traditional sort in 2019 for the first time, and you will not be surprised to learn where that money is going. Last year, Google alone was estimated to make more than $40 billion in online advertising with $4.7 billion of that coming from news content , according to a new report from the News Media Alliance. That is nearly as much as the $5.1 billion the entire American news industry earned in online ads. What's more, Google "only" accounts for 37 percent of the online ad market. Facebook makes up another 22 percent -- an effective duopoly that has only been partially disrupted by (who else?) Amazon, which has moved aggressively into the market over the last few years and now takes up 9 percent.

That is why journalism has continued to flounder even as the broader economy has improved a lot, and why even digital native companies like Buzzfeed and Vox are struggling to keep their heads above water. For instance, as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo explains , Google runs the major ad market (DoubleClick), is the largest purchaser on that market (through Adexchange), and has privileged access to all the valuable data thus obtained. Its "monopoly control is almost comically great," he writes -- and that's just one company. Just as online ad revenue got to the point where it might replace print ads, internet behemoths have sucked up a huge majority of it, leaving news companies to fight over scraps, or desperately pivot to alternative revenue models like video content or subscriptions.

Remarkably, there appears to be some bipartisan support for regulatory action to give news companies a leg up. Hearings are scheduled on Tuesday for a bill which would grant news companies an exemption to antitrust law, reports CNN , "allowing them to band together in negotiations with online platforms."

This would probably be worth trying, but it's likely not nearly aggressive enough. The journalism industry is fragmented, damaged, and cash-poor, and would surely struggle to compete with Google and Facebook even if it could coordinate properly. It's telling that only Amazon -- another gargantuan, hugely profitable tech colossus -- has managed to compete even a little.

A better approach would be to simply break up and regulate these companies. Following American antitrust law, force Alphabet (Google's parent company) to break all its major parts into separate companies -- Google for search, YouTube for video, DoubleClick for ads, Analytics for audience analysis, and so on. Do the same for Facebook, forcing it to split off Instagram and Whatsapp.

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Then regulate the online ad market. It is outrageous for one company to both run the major ad market and have first bite at sales on that market, because it puts other sellers and buyers at an unfair disadvantage -- as Marshall notes, "the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is textbook anti-competitive practice." Breaking DoubleClick out into a different company would solve that particular instance of abuse of market power, but it probably wouldn't be the end of it. An online ad sales platform (like many internet businesses) has high fixed costs but very low marginal costs -- meaning it costs a great deal to set up all the servers and networks, but almost nothing to serve one additional ad. Once a company has achieved massive scale, like Google has with DoubleClick, it has an ever-increasing advantage over any would-be competitors. That's the classic definition of a natural monopoly, which if left to its own devices will certainly abuse its market power just like Gilded Age railroads .

Therefore, abuse of market power should be banned outright with common carrier regulations mandating equal prices for equal services across the whole online ad business -- either that, or DoubleClick should be nationalized outright and run as a public utility.

For many years, Big Tech had a glossy reputation, portraying itself as the vanguard of a new high-tech future where fancy gadgets and websites would solve all our problems. It turns out it is just another grubby corporate sector, ruthlessly seeking profit no matter who or what gets trodden underfoot in the process. It's long since time we brought these companies to heel. Cracking them up and regulating their markets is a good place to start.

[Jun 19, 2019] The fantasy of online privacy

Notable quotes:
"... The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance. ..."
"... It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way. ..."
"... We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs. ..."
"... The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying. ..."
"... I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

Nothing in our conversations about the pros and cons of the modern internet seems to me more naïve than our complaints about privacy.

... ... ...

The problem is that Facebook is not really a bookstore in this analogy -- at least not in any straightforward sense. To understand what they do you have to imagine a chain for whom selling books is not really the point; the books, which are rather enticingly free, are only there to give the store's owners a sense of what you might be interested in, information that they then sell to other companies that will in turn try to hawk everything from clothing to medicine to political candidates. If you think the neat blue website pays engineers hundreds of millions of dollars to let you share dog scrapbooks and spy on your old high-school classmates out of the goodness of its founders' hearts, you're delusional.

But the issues go well beyond any single platform or website. The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance.

It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way.

This doesn't necessarily mean that we have to live with the status quo. It is possible to imagine a future in which the moral hazard of putting all the information available from search engines and email use into the hands of private corporations disappeared. Instead of Google and Gmail we could have a massive Library of Congress search engine and a free -- with paid upgrades available for those who need additional storage -- Postal Service email platform. I for one would not mind entrusting Uncle Sam with the knowledge that the phrase beginning with "M" I am most likely to search for information about is "Michigan football recruiting."

The sad truth, though, is that these things have already been tried . Very few people remember now that the post office once attempted to get into the email business and made various attempts to keep digital commerce within the purview of the government rather than in the hands of private corporations. These efforts failed time and again, often due to Silicon Valley lobbying efforts. (Internal incompetence was also an issue: imagine paying $1.70 per email in 2002.)

This problem might be solved easily enough if those corporations had no say in the matter, like the coal companies under the post-war Labour government in Britain. But even if forcibly nationalizing search, email, and other basic internet services now seems like the ideal solution, it would involve the most radical use of government power since the New Deal. I doubt there is a single member of Congress who would even entertain the idea. What does that leave with us? A box of Band-Aids for some gaping wounds. We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs.

I don't mean to sound unduly cynical. The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying.

I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad.

In the future we should be more mindful of the power of technology to destroy things we value. But how many of those things are still left?

[Jun 16, 2019] Court Transcript Exposes Facebook's View User Privacy Is Legally Non-Existent

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A new report by The Intercept has unearthed some stunning quotes from Facebook's lawyers as the controversial social media giant recently battled litigation in California courts related to the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal. The report notes that statements from Facebook's counsel "reveal one of the most stunning examples of corporate doublespeak certainly in Facebook's history" concerning privacy and individual users' rights.

Contrary to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's last testimony before Congress which included the vague promise, "We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," the latest courtroom statements expose in shockingly unambiguous terms that Facebook actually sees privacy as legally "nonexistent" -- to use The Intercept's apt description of what's in the courtroom transcript -- up until now largely ignored in media commentary. The courtroom debate was first reported by Law360 , and captures the transcribed back and forth between Facebook lawyer Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and US District Judge Vince Chhabria.

The Intercept cites multiple key sections of the transcript from the May 29, 2019 court proceedings showing Snyder arguing essentially something the complete opposite of Zuckerberg's public statements on data privacy , specifically, on the idea that users have any reasonable expectation of privacy at all.

Facebook's lawyer argued :

There is no privacy interest , because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy .

As The Intercept commented of the blunt remarks , "So not only is it Facebook's legal position that you're not entitled to any expectation of privacy, but it's your fault that the expectation went poof the moment you started using the site (or at least once you connected with 100 Facebook "friends")."

Scipio Africanuz , 7 hours ago link

Privacy invasion, is similar to rape - one is an invasion of the body, the other, of the soul..

However, if you don't want your privacy invaded, stop using Facebook, WhatsApp, and all the other privacy invading apps they offer, and find platforms that respect your rights to your privacy..

On the other hand, stop sharing extremely intimate details if you'd rather have them be off limits - do mano a mano sharing, so you can know who leaked what, and when..

Still, monetizing the souls of folks, without their consent, is egregious, and yet, you get what you pay for..if it's free, you're the product, or more accurately, the cow, or better yet, the gold laying geese, or most egregiously, the snitch, snitching on yourself..

Zuckerberg, is NOT anyone's definition of a honest person..his contraption began with a theft, is based on a deception, and operates via blackmail, for the purpose of control..how you describe such a person, is your prerogative, cheers...

numapepi , 10 hours ago link

The argument...

"Let me give you a hypothetical of my own. I go into a classroom and invite a hundred friends. This courtroom. I invite a hundred friends, I rent out the courtroom, and I have a party. And I disclose — And I disclose something private about myself to a hundred people, friends and colleagues. Those friends then rent out a 100,000-person arena, and they rebroadcast those to 100,000 people. I have no cause of action because by going to a hundred people and saying my private truths, I have negated any reasonable expectation of privacy , because the case law is clear."

...is spurious because, in his example, it is the friends who are disseminating the information, but Facebook is more like the person who he rented the hall from... disseminating the information. It would be like 101 bankers setting up a meeting in a Marriott, and discussing business plans and tactics, as the Marriott records and sells that information to credit unions. Claiming the Bankers gave up any right to privacy... because there were over 100 of them in that banquet room.

In the case of the Marriott recording and selling information that is passed in their banquet rooms... would the Facebook attorney agree that is acceptable? To be consistent he must.

[Jun 15, 2019] Facebook and ebola virus

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

East Indian , 21 hours ago link

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," - Facebook

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good health care" - ebola virus

[Jun 14, 2019] How NeoCon Billionaire Paul Singer Is Driving the Outsourcing of US Tech Jobs to Israel

Notable quotes:
"... With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump. ..."
"... In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers. ..."
"... Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search. ..."
"... Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies. ..."
"... This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Several U.S. tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump.

To make matters worse, many of these top tech companies shifting investment and jobs to Israel at record rates continue to collect sizable U.S. government subsidies for their operations while they move critical aspects of their business abroad, continue to layoff thousands of American workers, and struggle to house their growing company branches in Israel. This is particularly troubling in light of the importance of the tech sector to the overall U.S. economy, as it accounts for 7.1 percent of total GDP and 11.6 percent of total private-sector payroll.

Furthermore, many of these companies are hiring members of controversial Israeli companies -- known to have spied on Americans, American companies, and U.S. federal agencies -- as well as numerous members of Israeli military intelligence as top managers and executives.

This massive transfer of the American tech industry has largely been the work of one leading Republican donor -- billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also funds the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Islamophobic and hawkish think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and also funded the now-defunct Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).

Singer's project to bolster Israel's tech economy at the U.S.' expense is known as Start-Up Nation Central, which he founded in response to the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use nonviolent means to pressure Israel to comply with international law in relation to its treatment of Palestinians.

This project is directly linked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in recent years has publicly mentioned that it has been his "deliberate policy" to have former members of Israel's "military and intelligence units merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners" in order to make it all but impossible for major corporations and foreign governments to boycott Israel.

In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Singer's nonprofit organization has acted as the vehicle through which Netanyahu's policy has been realized, via the group's close connections to the Israeli PM and Singer's long-time support for Netanyahu and the Likud Party. With deep ties to Netanyahu, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and controversial tech companies -- like Amdocs -- that spied on the American government, this Singer-funded organization has formed a nexus of connections between the public and private sectors of both the American and Israeli economies with the single goal of making Israel the new technology superpower, largely at the expense of the American economy and government, which currently gives $3.2 billion in aid to Israel annually.

Researched and developed in Israel

In recent years, the top U.S. tech companies have been shifting many of their most critical operations, particularly research and development, to one country: Israel. A 2016 report in Business Insider noted that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple had all opened up research and development (R&D) centers in recent years, with some of them having as many as three such centers in Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey. Other major tech companies that have also opened key operation and research centers in Israel include Sandisk, Nvidia, PayPal, Palantir and Dell. Forbes noted last year that the world's top 10 tech companies were now "doing mission-critical work in Israel that's core to their businesses back at HQ."

Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

For example, Intel Corporation, which is the world's second largest manufacturer of semiconductor computer chips and is headquartered in California, has long been a major employer in Israel, with over 10,000 employees in the Jewish state. However, earlier this year, Intel announced that it would be investing $11 billion in a new factory in Israel and would receive around $1 billion in an Israeli government grant for that investment. Just a matter of months after Intel announced its major new investment in Israel, it announced a new round of layoffs in the United States.

Yet this is just one recent example of what has become a trend for Intel. In 2018, Intel made public its plan to invest $5 billion in one of its Israeli factories and had invested an additional $15 billion in Israeli-created autonomous driving technology a year prior, creating thousands of Intel jobs in Israel. Notably, over that same time frame, Intel has cut nearly 12,000 jobs in the United States. While this great transfer of investment and jobs was undermining the U.S. economy and hurting American workers, particularly in the tech sector, Intel received over $25 million dollars in subsidies from the U.S. federal government.

A similar phenomenon has been occurring at another U.S.-based tech giant, Microsoft. Beginning in 2014 and continuing into 2018, Microsoft has laid off well over 20,000 employees , most of them Americans, in several different rounds of staff cuts. Over that same time period, Microsoft has been on a hiring spree in Israel, building new campuses and investing billions of dollars annually in its Israel-based research and development center and in other Israeli start-up companies , creating thousands of jobs abroad. In addition, Microsoft has been pumping millions of dollars into technology programs at Israeli universities and institutes, such as the Technion Institute . Over this same time frame, Microsoft has received nearly $197 million in subsidies from the state governments of Washington, Iowa and Virginia.

Though Israeli politicians and tech company executives have praised this dramatic shift as the result of Israel's tech prowess and growing reputation as a technological innovation hub, much of this dramatic shift has been the work of the Netanyahu-tied Singer's effort to counter a global movement aimed at boycotting Israel and to make Israel a global "cyber power."

Start-Up Nation Central and the Neocons

In 2009, a book titled Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle , written by American neoconservative Dan Senor and Jerusalem Post journalist Saul Singer (unrelated to Paul), quickly rose to the New York Times bestseller list for its depiction of Israel as the tech start-up capital of the world. The book -- published by the Council on Foreign Relations, where Senor was then serving as Adjunct Senior Fellow -- asserts that Israel's success in producing so many start-up companies resulted from the combination of its liberal immigration laws and its "leverage of the business talents of young people with military experience."

"The West needs innovation; Israel's got it," wrote Senor and Singer. In a post-publication interview with the blog Freakonomics , Senor asserted that service in the Israeli military was crucial to Israel's tech sector success, stating that:

"Certain units have become technology boot camps, where 18- to 22-year-olds get thrown projects and missions that would make the heads spin of their counterparts in universities or the private sector anywhere else in the world. The Israelis come out of the military not just with hands-on exposure to next-gen technology, but with training in teamwork, mission orientation, leadership, and a desire to continue serving their country by contributing to its tech sector -- a source of pride for just about every Israeli."

The book, in addition to the many accolades it received from the mainstream press, left a lasting impact on top Republican donor Paul Singer, known for funding the most influential neoconservative think tanks in America, as noted above. Paul Singer was so inspired by Senor and Singer's book that he decided to spend $20 million to fund and create an organization with a similar name. He created the Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC) just three years after the book's release in 2012 .

To achieve his vision, Singer – who is also a top donor to the Republican Party and Trump – tapped Israeli economist Eugene Kandel, who served as Netanyahu's national economic adviser and chaired the Israeli National Economic Council from 2009 to 2015.

Senor was likely directly involved in the creation of SUNC, as he was then employed by Paul Singer and, with neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, co-founded the FPI, which Singer had long funded before it closed in 2017. In addition, Dan Senor's sister, Wendy Singer (unrelated to either Paul or Saul), long-time director of Israel's AIPAC office, became the organization's executive director.

SUNC's management team, in addition to Eugene Kandel and Wendy Singer, includes Guy Hilton as the organization's general manager. Hilton is a long-time marketing executive at Israeli telecommunications company Amdocs, where he "transformed" the company's marketing organization. Amdocs was once highly controversial in the United States after it was revealed by a 2001 Fox News investigation that numerous federal agencies had investigated the company, which then had contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the country, for its alleged role in an aggressive espionage operation that targeted the U.S. government. Hilton worked at Microsoft prior to joining Amdocs.

Beyond the management team, SUNC's board of directors includes Paul Singer, Dan Senor and Terry Kassel -- who work for Singer at his hedge fund, Elliott Management -- and Rapheal Ouzan. Ouzan was an officer in the elite foreign military intelligence unit of Israel, Unit 8200, who co-founded BillGuard the day after he left that unit, which is often compared to the U.S.' National Security Agency (NSA). Within five months of its founding, BillGuard was backed by funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Ouzan is also connected to U.S. tech companies that have greatly expanded their Israeli branches since SUNC's founding -- such as Microsoft, Google, PayPal and Intel, all of which support Ouzan's non-profit Israel Tech Challenge.

According to reports from the time published in Haaretz and Bloomberg , SUNC was explicitly founded to serve as " a foreign ministry for Israel's tech industry " and " to strength Israel's economy " while also aiming to counter the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use a nonviolent boycott to end the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Israeli apartheid, as well as the growth of illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Since its founding, SUNC has sought to transfer tech jobs from foreign companies to Israel by developing connections and influence with foreign governments and companies so that they "deepen their relationship with Israel's tech industry." Though SUNC has since expanded to include other sectors of the Israeli "start-up" economy, its focus has long remained on Israel's tech, specifically its cybersecurity industry. Foreign investment in this single Israeli industry has grown from $227 million in 2014 to $815 million in 2018.

In addition to its own activities, SUNC appears to be closely linked to a similar organization, sponsored by Coca Cola and Daimler Mercedes Benz, called The Bridge , which also seeks to connect Israeli start-up companies with large international corporations. Indeed, SUNC, according to its website , was actually responsible for Daimler Mercedes Benz's decision to join The Bridge, thanks to a delegation from the company that SUNC hosted in Israel and the connections made during that visit.

Teaming up with Israel's Unit 8200

Members of Israel's signals intelligence Unit 8200 work under a Saudi flag. Photo | Moti Milrod

Notably, SUNC has deep ties to Israel's military intelligence unit known as Unit 8200 and, true to Start Up Nation' s praise of IDF service as key to Israel's success, has been instrumental in connecting Unit 8200 alumni with key roles in foreign companies, particularly American tech companies. For instance, Maty Zwaig , a former lieutenant colonel in Unit 8200, is SUNC's current director of human capital programs, and SUNC's current manager of strategic programs, Tamar Weiss , is also a former member of the unit.

One particularly glaring connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 can be seen in Inbal Arieli , who served as SUNC's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships from 2014 to 2017 and continues to serve as a senior adviser to the organization. Arieli, a former lieutenant in Unit 8200, is the founder and head of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program (EISP), which was the first start-up accelerator in Israel aimed at harnessing "the vast network and entrepreneurial DNA of [Unit] 8200 alumni" and is currently one of the top company accelerators in Israel. Arieli was the top executive at 8200 EISP while working at SUNC.

Another key connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 is SUNC's promotion of Team8, a company-creation platform whose CEO and co-founder is Nadav Zafrir, former commander of Unit 8200. In addition to prominently featuring Team8 and Zafrir on the cybersecurity section of its website, SUNC also sponsored a talk by Zafrir and an Israeli government economist at the World Economic Forum, often referred to as "Davos," that was attended personally by Paul Singer.

Team8's investors include Google's Eric Schmidt, Microsoft , and Walmart -- and it recently hired former head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, retired Admiral Mike Rogers. Team8 described the decision to hire Rogers as being "instrumental in helping strategize" Team8's expansion in the United States. However, Jake Williams, a veteran of NSA's Tailored Access Operations hacking unit, told CyberScoop :

"Rogers is not being brought into this role because of his technical experience. It's purely because of his knowledge of classified operations and his ability to influence many in the U.S. government and private-sector contractors."

In addition to connections to Unit 8200-linked groups like Team8 and 8200 EISP, SUNC also directly collaborates with the IDF in an initiative aimed at preparing young Israeli women to serve in Unit 8200. That initiative, called the CyberGirlz Club , is jointly funded by Israel's Defense Ministry, SUNC and the Rashi Foundation, the philanthropic organization set up by the Leven family of Perrier-brand water, which has close ties to the Israeli government and IDF.

"Our aim is to bring the girls to this process already skilled, with the knowledge needed to pass the exams for Unit 8200 and serve in the military as programmers," Zwaig told Israel National News .

Seeding American tech

The connections between SUNC and Unit 8200 are troubling for more than a few reasons, one of which being that Unit 8200, often likened to the U.S.' NSA, closely coordinates with Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, and is responsible for 90 percent of the intelligence material obtained by the Israeli government, according to its former commander Yair Cohen. Cohen told Forbes in 2016, that "there isn't a major operation, from the Mossad or any intelligence security agency, that 8200 is not involved in." For obvious reasons, the fact that an organization founded by an American billionaire is actively promoting the presence of former military intelligence officers in foreign companies, specifically American companies, while also promoting the transfer of jobs and investment to that same country, is very troubling indeed.

Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

At Microsoft, managers for at least 15 of the company's products and programs -- including Microsoft's lead managers for engineering, product strategy, threat analytics and cloud business intelligence -- publicly listed their affiliation with Unit 8200 on their LinkedIn accounts. In addition, the general manager of Microsoft's Israeli Research and Development Center is also a former member of Unit 8200. In total, of the 200 accounts analyzed, 50 of them currently worked for Microsoft.

Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search.

Facebook also has several Unit 8200 members in prominent positions, though fewer than Google and Microsoft. MintPress identified at least 13 Unit 8200 alumni working for Facebook, including its director of engineering, lead manager for express wi-fi, and technical program manager. Notably, Facebook has spent the last several years collaborating with Israel's government to censor Israel's critics.

Of course, there is likely much more influence of Unit 8200 on these companies than this non-exhaustive analysis revealed, given that many of these companies acquired several Israeli start-ups run by and staffed by many Unit 8200 alumni who subsequently went on to found new companies and start-ups a few years or shortly after acquisition. Furthermore, due to the limitations of LinkedIn's set-up, MintPress was not able to access the complete list of Unit 8200 alumni at these three tech companies, meaning that the eye-opening numbers found were generated by a relatively small sample.

This jump in Unit 8200 members in top positions in tech companies of global importance is actually a policy long promoted by Netanyahu, whose long-time economic adviser is the chief executive at SUNC. During an interview with Fox News last year, Netanyahu was asked by Fox News host Mark Levin if the large growth seen in recent years in Israel's technology sector was part of Netanyahu's plan. Netanyahu responded, "That's very much my plan It's a very deliberate policy." He later added that "Israel had technology because the military, especially military intelligence, produced a lot of capabilities. These incredibly gifted young men and women who come out of the military or the Mossad, they want to start their start-ups."

Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies.

Notably, just as SUNC was founded to counter the BDS movement, Netanyahu has asserted that this policy of ensuring Israel's role as a "cyber power" is aimed at increasing its diplomatic power and specifically undermining BDS as well as the United Nations, which has repeatedly condemned Israel's government for war crimes and violations of international law in relation to the Palestinians.

Building the bi-national surveillance state

Top U.S. tech companies have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and moved strategic and critical operations to Israel, boosting Israel's economy at the expense of America's, and SUNC's role in this marked shift merits scrutiny.

A powerful American billionaire has built an influential organization with deep connections to the U.S.-Israel lobby (AIPAC), an Israeli company that has been repeatedly investigated for spying on the U.S. government (Amdocs), and the elite Israeli military intelligence unit (Unit 8200) that has used its influential connections to the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector to dramatically shift the operations and make-up of major companies in a critical sector of the U.S. economy.

Further consider that U.S. government documents leaked by Edward Snowden have flagged Israel as "leading threat" to the infrastructure of U.S. financial and banking institutions, which use much of the software produced by these top tech companies, and have also flagged Israel as a top espionage threat. One U.S. government document cited Israel as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the U.S. behind Russia and China. Thus, Paul Singer's pet project in Start-Up Nation Central has undermined not only the U.S. economy but arguably U.S. national security as well.

This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election.

mintpressnews.com

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520

Every hour taxpayers in the United States are paying $32,077,626 for Total Cost of Wars Since 2001.

$4,827,476,776,986

See more counters at https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/ national debt Older Articles Favorite Websites

BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[Jun 10, 2019] The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures by Eric Zuesse

Looks like PP damage the USA will sustain from prosecuting Assange will be comparable if not greater that initial damage from WikiLeaks. This also might stimulate "revenge disclosures"
Notable quotes:
"... CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered. ..."
"... this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Right now, the U.S. regime is raising to a fever-pitch and twisting beyond recognition not only U.S. laws but the U.S. Constitution, so as to impose its will against him. President Trump is supported in this effort by the corrupt U.S. Congress, to either end Assange's life, or else lock him up for the rest of his heroic life in a dungeon having no communication with the world outside, until he does finally die, in isolation, punishment for his heroic last-ditch fight for the public's freedom and for democracy -- his fight, actually, against our 1984 regime.

What Jesus of Nazareth was locally for the Roman regime in his region, Assange is for the U.S. regime throughout the world: an example to terrify anyone else who might come forth effectively to challenge the Emperor's authority.

A key country in this operation is Ecuador, which is ruled by the dictator Lenin Moreno, who stole office by lying to the public and pretending to be a progressive who backed his democratically elected predecessor, Rafael Correa, but then as soon as he won power, he reversed Correa's progressive initiatives, including, above all, his protection of Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

On 11 April 2019, RT headlined "Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?" and reported that: Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return. He effectively purged many of Correa's appointments to key positions in Ecuador's judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing. Following Assange's arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the "greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history" saying he was guilty of a "crime that humanity will never forget."

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno's brother.

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno's phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

On 14 April 2019, Denis Rogatyuk at The Gray Zone headlined: "Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's Lenin to Give Up Assange Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country's independence" , and he described some of the documentation for the accusations that Moreno is corrupt. On 12 April 2019, Zero Hedge headlined "Facebook Removes Page Of Ecuador's Former President On Same Day As Assange's Arrest" , and opened: "Facebook has unpublished the page of Ecuador's former president, Rafael Correa, the social media giant confirmed on Thursday, claiming that the popular leftist leader violated the company's security policies."

On 16 April 2019, Jonathan Turley bannered "'He Is Our Property': The D.C. Establishment Awaits Assange With A Glee And Grudge" , and opened: They will punish Assange for their sins The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures. That means to keep him from discussing how the U.S. government concealed alleged war crimes and huge civilian losses, the type of disclosures that were made in the famous Pentagon Papers case.

He cannot discuss how Democratic and Republican members either were complicit or incompetent in their oversight. He cannot discuss how the public was lied to about the program. A glimpse of that artificial scope was seen within minutes of the arrest. CNN brought on its national security analyst, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered. Clapper was asked directly before Congress, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper responded, "No, sir. Not wittingly." Later, Clapper said his testimony was "the least untruthful" statement he could make.

That would still make it a lie, of course, but this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable. In the view of the establishment, Assange is the problem.

On 11 April 2019, the YouGov polling organization headlined "53% of Americans say Julian Assange should be extradited to America" . On 13 April 2019, I headlined "What Public Opinion on Assange Tells Us About the US Government Direction", and reported the only international poll that had ever been done of opinions about Assange, and its findings demonstrated that, out of the 23 nations which were surveyed, U.S. was the only one where the public are anti-Assange, and that the difference between the U.S. and all of the others was enormous and stark.

The report opened: The only extensive poll of public opinion regarding Julian Assange or Wikileaks was Reuters/Ipsos on 26 April 2011, "WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is not a criminal: global poll" , and it sampled around a thousand individuals in each of 23 countries -- a total of 18,829 respondents. The Reuters news-report was vague, and not linked to any detailed presentation of the poll-findings, but it did say that "US respondents had a far more critical view" against Wikileaks than in any other country, and that the view by Americans was 69% "believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks' mission."

Buried elsewhere on the Web was this detailed presentation of Ipsos's findings in that poll : Oppose Wikileaks: 61% US 38% UK 33% Canada 32% Poland 32% Belgium 31% Saudi Arabia 30% Japan 30% France 27% Indonesia 26% Italy 25% Germany 24% Sweden 24% Australia 22% Hungary 22% Brazil 21% Turkey 21% S. Korea 16% Mexico 16% Argentina 15% Spain 15% Russia 15% India 12% S. Africa

Is the US a democracy if the regime is so effective in gripping the minds of its public as to make them hostile to the strongest fighter for their freedom and democracy?

On 13 April 2019, washingtonsblog headlined "4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED" , and here was one of them: Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the US 14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes:

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia -- the so-called "Espionage Court." That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District is also known as the "rocket docket" for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven't received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court. I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge.

[Jun 05, 2019] Amazon, Uber and predatory pricing

Jun 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

cnchal , June 5, 2019 at 4:34 pm

> Transportation: "A new analysis suggests Uber Freight's growing role in shipping is coming at a heavy cost to the business . Morgan Stanley writes in a note initiating coverage of Uber Technologies Inc. that the Freight unit turns back some 99% of its revenue to trucking companies . an analysis suggesting Uber is undercutting its brokerage competitors as it gains market share"

This is how Uber is like Amazon. A short excerpt from a long read .

In particular, current law underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets incentivize the pursuit of growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded .

Under these conditions predatory pricing becomes highly rational -- even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational.

Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend.

This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors .

Transportation executives should be crapping their pants upon the realization that the nearly unlimited funds backing Uber won't run out before they get taken out.

[Jun 05, 2019] Amazon changed retail in the USA

Notable quotes:
"... India has tightened the noose on E-retailers and America should too. ..."
"... By far the worst abuser of the current e-commerce system here in America is Amazon which has developed strong ties with the government. Amazon has even incorporated a complacent United States Postal Service in expanding their advantage over businesses by delivering Amazon packages at a discount and even on Sunday. ..."
"... Amazon effectively put a halt on the big box store sprawl that was happening all across America from the late 1980's to the early 2010's. I'll take Amazon and a healthy competitor (Coke needs Pepsi) over a Walmart every 4.5 miles in every direction. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Let it Go , 2 hours ago link

India has tightened the noose on E-retailers and America should too. Understanding the value of brick and mortar stores to local communities India has placed several restrictions on E-retailers in order to level the playing field and make things fair.

By far the worst abuser of the current e-commerce system here in America is Amazon which has developed strong ties with the government. Amazon has even incorporated a complacent United States Postal Service in expanding their advantage over businesses by delivering Amazon packages at a discount and even on Sunday.

To make matters worse state and local governments have put special packages together with incentives aimed at luring Amazon to build in their areas oblivious to the damage it will cause in coming years. More about what India is doing and what we can do in the article below.

https://India Tightens Noose On E-retailers And We Should Too! html

Paralentor , 2 hours ago link

Amazon effectively put a halt on the big box store sprawl that was happening all across America from the late 1980's to the early 2010's. I'll take Amazon and a healthy competitor (Coke needs Pepsi) over a Walmart every 4.5 miles in every direction.

Teja , 1 hour ago link

Well, that replaced one evil with another. Both mean death of the Main Street, loss of jobs. But there is no simple solution, sure.

Paralentor

The malls killed mainstreet back in the 1980's. Walmart/Target killed the malls .

[Jun 05, 2019] 'Unlimited reach, no safeguards' Snowden warns of greatest social control scheme in history

Jun 05, 2019 | www.rt.com

The US government has a tendency to hijack and weaponize revolutionary innovations, Edward Snowden said, noting that the natural human desire to communicate with others is now being exploited on an unprecedented scale. "Our utopian vision for the future is never guaranteed to be realized," Snowden told the audience in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada via live stream from Moscow this week, stressing that the US government "corrupted our knowledge... towards a military purpose."

They took our nuclear capability and transformed it into the most horrible weapon that the world had ever witnessed. And we're seeing an atomic moment of computer science... Its reach is unlimited... but its safeguards are not!

Also on rt.com You've been warned: Widespread US face surveillance is 'imminent reality', says tech privacy report

The whistleblower, who in 2013 leaked a trove of highly classified information about global spying operations by the National Security Agency, argued that, armed with modern technology and with the help of social media and tech giants, governments are becoming "all-powerful" in their ability to monitor, analyze, and influence behavior.

It's through the use of new platforms and algorithms that are built on and around these capabilities that they are able to shift our behavior. In some cases, they are able to predict our decisions and also nudge them to different outcomes.

Also on rt.com Privacy? What's that? Facebook lawyer argues users have none

The natural human need for "belonging" is being exploited and users voluntarily consent to surrender virtually all of their data by signing carefully drafted user agreements that no one bothers to read. "Everything has hundreds and hundreds of pages of legal jargon that we're not qualified to read and assess and yet they are considered binding upon us," Snowden said.

And now these institutions, which are both commercial and governmental... have structuralized and entrenched it to where it has become now the most effective means of social control in the history of our species.

WATCH Edward Snowden's full speech:

[Jun 04, 2019] Google Parses Your Gmail For Financial Transactions by Mark Jeftovic

This is a clear sign that Google is evil...
Notable quotes:
"... Submitted by Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS ..."
Jun 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS

Recently I came across this story by Todd Haselton that describes how the author located an obscure "purchases" page in his Google account settings and there found a methodical list of his online purchasing history, from third-party outside vendors, going back to 2o12.

The upshot of the story was that:

  • Google saves years of information on purchases you've made, even outside Google, and pulls this information from Gmail.
  • It's complicated to delete this private information, and options to turn it off are hidden in privacy settings.
  • Google says it doesn't use this information to sell you ads.

Naturally, I flagged this story for the next edition of our #AxisOfEasy newsletter . Haselton reports that it isn't easy to locate and delete this information, nor is there a straight-forward path to find it in your privacy settings to disable this behaviour.

This can't be true (can it?)

The more I thought about this the more I thought "this can't be true". I apologize for doubting Haselton, but I thought he had to have it wrong, that maybe he had a stored credit card in his browser that he had forgotten or something, because the ramifications if true, are dire.

First, it means that in order to isolate and parse purchases, Google must then be scanning every email , otherwise, how would they know what's a purchase and what isn't?

Further, if they were scanning every email for purchases, what else where they scanning for? Either now, or in the future? The important mechanism, the infrastructure and methodology to scan and parse every inbound email is clearly in place and operational now, adding additional criterion is just a matter of tweaking the parameters.

Then, there is the matter that Google is doing this without informing their users. We can probably wager that there is buried down the rabbit hole of the ToS some clause that alludes to the possibility that Google reserves the right from time to time (including all the time) to do something or another with your email that may or may not involve machine reading it and dissecting it for your behavioural patterns; none of us have ever read it.

More importantly, it didn't require an explicit opt-in to fire it up.

[ As a belated aside – everybody in tech already knew that the point of Gmail was it was free, and they would scan the contents to target ads. At some point I think they may have announced that they stopped doing that, I can't remember. But the vast majority of normies (defined as people who don't dream in XML), don't realize this, or haven't given it much thought. However this, parsing out financial transaction data specifically, takes it to a new level.]

I've personally verified this is happening

As I said, I initially thought that Haselton had perhaps stored credit cards in his Chrome browser and his purchase history was being populated from that. I still couldn't believe that Google was in essence reading your email and cataloging your purchases on it's own.

My Google purchases page existed, but was empty. To test it, I configured my gmail account (which I barely use, for anything other than Google news alerts) to receive any email from my Amazon account. None of my web browsers have any credit cards stored. Then I went and picked up a new audiobook.

Sure enough within seconds , my heretofore empty purchases page, suddenly had an entry:

Hovering over the "info" icon anticipates the question, how did this get here?

And so we click to find out

We get it from Google's mouth:

"This purchase was found in your Gmail" (emphasis added, because properly rendered it should read " We found this financial transaction sifting through your email").

Why this is problematic

Before this revelation, I was already habitually remarking how it simply astounded me whenever I came across a law firm, or an investment fund, or medical professional, or financial services firm, or any outfit that routinely carries out propriety or confidential communications (you know them by the typical disclaimer they append to every single email they send):

"This email and any accompanying attachments contain confidential information intended only for the individual or entity named above. Any dissemination or action taken in reliance on this email or attachments by anyone other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited."

and find they're using Gmail? Yikes. Those disclaimers should be modified to read:

This firm's email and all accompanying attachments and any of your replies to us will be scanned, parsed and analyzed by our email provider. Hope you're cool with that.".

Because that's what's actually happening. Here's the shortlist of problems with this:

  1. We don't know what else they are scanning for, what else they are parsing out, where they are storing it and what they are doing with it.
  2. Google says they are not using this info to target ads, as if that settles matters. Then what are they doing with it or why else would they even bother? Further, Google says a lot of things, some of them turn out to be disingenuous. Google once testified before the US Congress that they don't manually intervene in search results, it was later revealed that they manually intervene in search results.
  3. Whatever data mining and collation and cataloging systems and resources are in place could be abused by Google staff. There are ample cases of tech giant employees abusing their positions and their visibility into user data.
  4. These same systems could be abused or exploited by partners, as has been reported in #AxisOfEasy in previous instances.
  5. These systems could be used (or are being used) under a larger umbrella of State surveillance, which we all know is happening – thanks to the likes of Edward Snowden (see his recent talk to Dalhousie University here ). Google's startup financing came in part from the US intelligence apparatus and, as is frequently observed here and elsewhere, now a major contractor to world governments and the US military.
  6. [ Added – later] As pointed out by a reader, it may also violate data privacy laws of various locales, regardless of what's actually in the ToS.

Objections and Rationalizations

There will no doubt be people who read this and object to this being a problem on three grounds:

  1. "Everybody does it" , in the sense that any email provider who is running virus or spam filters at their edge are in essence scanning every inbound email. This is true, but only in the sense that they are actively seeking to separate noise, which costs everybody, including the recipient, from signal – stuff the recipient wants to receive. They are not parsing non-infected, purportedly non-spam email. Let's call it "real email". They aren't parsing, and cataloging your real email based on its contents .
  2. It's free so shut up . For most gmail users, this is true. But they should also realize that if they don't want to shut up about this, then the correct response is to move one's email away from Gmail and pay a provider you trust not to inspect and datamine your private and business correspondence.Remember the old adage: "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product".
  3. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Often quipped by people who have never read a history book. There isn't much to say about these unfortunates other than, go read a few.
    I frequently recommend the biography of Joseph Fouché , the man who ran Napoleon's secret police, who also cast the deciding vote to behead King Louis XVI. He is credited therein with having invented the modern police state as we know it. If you want to see a long trail of people who had nothing to hide become separated from their wealth, their liberty and their heads start there.

What to do about it

Maybe you know all this and you really don't care, and that's fine. As long as your cultural choices and your political beliefs and your lifestyle match the accepted norms of a rapidly shrinking Overton Window of what constitutes "acceptable", then you shouldn't have to worry about anything. Really.

If you're an easyDNS client and you use Gmail, you should probably be made aware that many of the domain packages here come with email hosting included . If you have lots of historical email at Gmail (or anyplace else) you can use our IMAP migration tool to painlessly copy everything over from Google, except, alas, your purchase history.


BGO , 8 minutes ago link

Anyone stupid enough to still be using Gmail deserves to have their **** parsed, probed, spied upon, and otherwise electronically violated.

Pvt Joker , 17 minutes ago link

another reason why I don't use G mail

mikee2481 , 17 minutes ago link

Arrest someone. Charge them with a crime. Make their life miserable. Cyrus Vance can send Manaford to Rikers island just to be a tough guy big ***. Our government prosecutes a picks on those that they choose to. Stop writing these articles. It is a waste of time unless you demand something be done. Google is bad. Close them down. Until someone is acturally put in jail, these people will continue to do worse and worse things.

Incorporated by inference , 19 minutes ago link

One morning I found a note under the windshield wiper of my car. It said "you sick sob what the f is wrong with you!" I could only assume some agency was monitoring my internet traffic.

Ms No , 21 minutes ago link

I use fastmail and just pay for it. Its not that much. If you arent paying for service or ap, you are the product.

Flibbertigibbet , 22 minutes ago link

Gmail is for all the trivial junk one wouldn't deign to sully one's "proper" email addresses with... wot.

eitheror , 31 minutes ago link

Google is in your home:

Nest thermostat and cameras

Just about every new TV has Google software. Do not plug your new TV into the internet

Google is evil.

Ethan Allen Hawley , 35 minutes ago link

Guck foogle

Cabreado , 35 minutes ago link

Mostly, wondering why anyone thinks they need Google, and still partakes in any involvement there...

BustainMovealota , 43 minutes ago link

Let me guess, the privacy terms and agreement that you accepted when you signed up was TL;DR.

GoldmanSax , 46 minutes ago link

Surveillance Capitalism is immoral and unconstitutional. We the people need to band together to destroy this industry. Roll this stuff all the way back, Ludite style.

Bigly , 59 minutes ago link

ffs, do not use gmail except for your spam account.

I like protonmail.com and have bank info go there.

If you don't pay, you are the product.

Tachyon5321 , 52 minutes ago link

I hope Trump breaks these criminals up

GoldmanSax , 44 minutes ago link

It doesnt go far enough. Standard Oil was happy for their break up and so will Google. We need this practiced banned. No one should be able to do this let alone make money doing so.

smacker , 4 minutes ago link

Right on. Serious privacy laws are required which prohibits this sh1t.

High Vigilante , 1 hour ago link

"

  • Google says it doesn't use this information to sell you ads"

That's bad, because then it uses the info for something much more sinister.

GoldmanSax , 44 minutes ago link

Consider this 1000 upvotes.

Cthonic , 1 hour ago link

"don't be evil" was such a strange motto ~ it never meant "be good".

scaleindependent , 36 minutes ago link

Classic "projection" of their guilt into a slogan.

Ms No , 9 minutes ago link

Psychopaths know and find it wonderful that people listen to what they say and take them at their word. They never would. They literally live on that.

Its more of a form of virtue signalling and selling than projection. They believe that normal people are such fools that they will believe anything with a pretty label or fraudulwnt story behind it, usually they are right.

Normal people project and these people arent normal. Its similar but not the same.

Ms No , 15 minutes ago link

They literally invert everything. This also has the effect of gaslighting those who know.

NoMoreLibs , 1 hour ago link

Thanks for telling us where to find it and turn it off.... oh wait, he didn't. Dip.

smacker , 1 hour ago link

This blatant uninvited scanning of private e-mails by Gmail and storing private info from them is outrageous and unacceptable to me and I'm sure millions of others.

I am already in the process of migrating my e-mail services away from Gmail and it will then join the Goolag search engine in the trashcan which I dumped 3-4 years ago🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮😠

PoopFilled , 1 hour ago link

many years ago i pointed out the license plate readers located at every freeway on/off ramp

still think they are for "traffic"?

legalize , 2 hours ago link

Anyone surprised by this wasn't paying attention.

2banana , 27 minutes ago link

Stop using anything Google

Stop using anything Facebook

How many warnings do the citizens need?

bolognasandwich , 2 hours ago link

FYI for anyone who wants their transaction history deleted - the only way is to permanently delete the actual emails. Now, if you're using IMAP from your phone you probably don't want to do that, but if you have a desktop client (configured for POP3) you can store them and delete them off google's server so that you can retain your copies.

roy565658 , 2 hours ago link

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click this link════►►► http://www.worktoday33.com

cbxer55 , 2 hours ago link

Flagged as an ASSHAT SPAMMER!!

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

now now--be nice. No mean name calling.....

Lumberjack , 2 hours ago link

Whippersnappers!

cbxer55 , 2 hours ago link

I've been using that term for a long time now. You just noticed? Slow on the uptake there Zippy! ;-)

I was under the impression that ASSHAT was the "polite", politically correct way of telling some asshat he's an *******! The lowest form of life on this planet. Well, save those who advertise, they're the lowest, lower than pond scum. ;-)

Mona Lisa , 1 hour ago link

Criminal scammer spammer Alert ! Identity theft Alert ! Malware infected site.

Never give away your personal data to shady and criminal websites as this one.

It is an incredible audacity and impertinence to misuse the company name "google" to pretend credibility for a criminal organization.

Buy a Tesla instead of the same old boring Landy Rovy Rangy Rovy banger all of your gang are buying.

Mona Lisa , 1 hour ago link

ASSHAT SPAMMER - CRIMINAL ASSHAT SCAMMER

cbxer55 is more than right.

E5 , 2 hours ago link

Author says he thought "this can't be true"

Author completely discredits himself

...by thinking Google doesn't parse everything,

Google, an Alphabet owned company,

early invested by the CIA ...another famous "alphabet" company,

who likes to call themselves an "alphabet company"...

and then names the holding company "Alphabet"...

seriously folks, they are laughing at you.

How many people here didn't know that?

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

I still think it belongs to or was financed with NSA "black" monies.

emmanuelthoreau , 23 minutes ago link

People don't want to face the Black Iron Prison we're in. Can we blame them? This is dark **** to grapple with.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

Just another reason not to use it. I don't know why anyone likes Android either.

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

The alternative is a badge for homosexuals.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

nonsense. It's far better and at least Apple refused the FBI's demand to help them break into their phones.

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

Apple products are a poorly performing badge for homosexuals with a backdoor for NSA built in.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

whatever. Meanwhile, the property values in my area are up another 15% so far this year.....

greetings_starfighter , 2 hours ago link

Yeah, well I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

StheNine , 1 hour ago link

lol you can't actually believe this!

Oh you sad child...

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

Mountain View, CA Housing Prices Crater 13% YOY As Silicon Valley Foreclosures And Defaults Surge

https://www.zillow.com/mountain-view-ca/home-values/

PoopFilled , 1 hour ago link

and how is my good friend the Big Fat Bastard doing this fine afternoon?

Legioona , 2 hours ago link

Haha, you can delete individual purchases from the list - but here is the catch: in order to delete the purchase, you need to delete the email that contains the purchase : )

Yes, would claim it parses the emails.

iSage , 2 hours ago link

Gaagle - your data are belong to us.

BT , 2 hours ago link

Google must be working Huawei...

Dickweed Wang , 2 hours ago link

And this one of the reasons why I don't have a '.gmail' email account.

Don't feed the beast.

iSage , 2 hours ago link

We FANGED some people.

A Nanny Moose , 1 hour ago link

That bites.

candyman , 2 hours ago link

What happened to the last half of the article?

[Jun 03, 2019] China's Cyber-Authoritarianism is on the March -

Jun 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kirt Higdon May 29, 2019 at 7:39 am

This is another of those areas where the US should get the log out of its own eye first before looking for splinters in the rest of the world. The US imprisons more people than China with only a quarter of the Chinese population. Social credit in China is imposed by the government but in the US you apparently have 36% of the population willing to be PC snitches to ruin the lives of their neighbors. While I don't know for sure, I suspect that what is socially creditable in China is better than what is politically correct in the US. I doubt if the Chinese give social credit points for promoting sodomy, pornography, and sexual mutilations.

Mr. Groovy , says: May 29, 2019 at 9:11 am

The true genius of China's social credit system is that it grants the government the power to punish you without having to expend additional resources to do so. Beyond the cost of creating, staffing and maintaining the system, screwing with the lives of millions of people is pretty much free; no need to hire more police, build jails, etc. And it comes with the added bonus of inflicting social pain by the way in which individuals are identified and stigmatized, i.e. the deadbeat ringtone that is involuntarily installed on a low-credit person's phone.

On the other hand, Xi has discovered that the system–particularly the social discomfort side–works less well in non-Han cultures, like among the Uyghurs. The detention/reeducation camps are transitioning to labor camps, but at some point the whole enterprise will become too costly to continue to expand. At that point the extermination will begin.

In the West, the manipulation and punishment has already begun, but at the hands of corporations. At some point they will realize that they really do wield more power than the government in most people's lives. Then governments, being essentially self-important and eternally petty and vindictive, will try to catch up in the power and punishment game.

Ugly times lie ahead.

Collin , says: May 29, 2019 at 9:48 am

I believe both the US and China are headed towards a corporatecracy but in opposite directions. Meaning Chinese communist government softly enforces large companies to grow corporate power while in the US it is capitalism large companies are out-competing to create this society. (This is not all bad here IMO.)

Kouros , says: May 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm

It seems no comment so far shows much panic and I'll go along trying to be a bit of a devil's advocate myself.

While discredited for putting his foot in his mouth for "The End of History", Francis Fukuyama, has done better with other work, like: "Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity". In his analysis of trust across time and societies, China comes very low. And as FF also said in "the Origins of political order", China, absent religion and ultimately the supremacy of Law, with origins from above, has also additional weakness.

Educating people to stay in line or not spit on the street or relieve themselves at bus stops or in stores takes a village. But they have to train the village first, given the fabric of the society.

Abuse? Scores. Anyone thinks our "Democracies" are blameless? Our institutions where hierarchy trumps everything are not abusing their power and overreach, given that there are plenty of incentives to do so and few and weak ones not to are on Par with China.

Political power followed by political decay is upon us

GunnarT , says: May 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm

The issue is there is power available like no one has ever seen. This is the power to know more about everyone (practically a complete set of info about humanity), but also surveillance. You connect tagging devices to people and you have full blown Book of Revelation.

Fran Macadam , says: May 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

You mention Assange as a prophet. As under all empires, his fate is persecution, imprisonment and death for revealing the truth, under our own.

It should be no surprise that Wall Street's Rules mandated alliance with Chinese totalitarians.

[Jun 02, 2019] Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley- DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe -

Notable quotes:
"... Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others. ..."
"... the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon. ..."
"... FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases. ..."
"... Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. ..."
"... Our best model for tech antitrust is the Department of Justice's anti-bundling case against Microsoft in the '90s, which argued that Microsoft was using its control over the PC market to force out competing operating systems and browsers. If you're looking for a contemporary equivalent, Google is probably the closest fit. ..."
"... Google also has clear and committed enemies, with Microsoft, Oracle, Yelp, and even the Motion Picture Association of America calling for restrictions on the company's power. ..."
"... That might sound tame compared to Europe's billion-dollar fines, but it cuts to the core of how Google is organized. The company has acquired more than 200 startups since it was founded, including central products like YouTube, Android, and DoubleClick. ..."
"... Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would place an outright ban on acquisitions by any company with a market cap higher than $100 billion. (As of press time, Google is worth roughly $840 billion.) ..."
"... As far as we can tell, one of the leading roles will likely be played by Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, a previously obscure Trump Administration official who is now in charge of one of the most consequential investigations in recent memory. ..."
"... Setting aside what it might mean for Silicon Valley, the investigation will also have major ramifications for markets, since shares of the big tech companies have been at the vanguard of the torrid post-crisis bull market. Though the influence of FANG stocks on overall market performance has waned this year, they remain hugely influential. ..."
"... News of the investigation could adversely impact shares of the big tech companies, which will in turn create a serious drag for the major indexes. ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Once shielded by the logic of Silicon Valley's relentless churn of innovation - which dictated that no reigning tech empire could rule for long before going the way of Yahoo and AOL - tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google have been subjected to intensifying anti-trust pressure - Elizabeth Warren's "Break up Big Tech"s billboard is only the latest example. Indeed, big tech trust-busting has become one of the few issues in contemporary Washington that garners genuine bipartisan support.

Since the Trump administration swept into power two years ago in spite of thinly veiled opposition from Silicon Valley - as it was later revealed, big tech effectively conspired with the Clinton campaign to hurt Trump's chances - the drumbeat of unprecedented anti-trust scrutiny has grown steadily louder, facilitated by the president's own publicly-voiced suspicions.

And on Friday, the levee finally broke.

Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others.

For months now, the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon.

But as it turns out, the Trump administration's first salvo against big tech didn't come from the FTC; instead, this responsibility has been delegated to the DoJ, which has reportedly been tasked with supervising the investigation into Google.

That's not super surprising, since the FTC already had its chance to nail Google with an anti-monopoly probe back in 2013. But the agency came up short. From what we can tell, it appears the administration will divvy up responsibility for any future anti-trust investigations between the two agencies, which means the FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases.

Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. The bloc's anti-trust authority, which has been far more eager to take on American tech giants than its American counterpart (for reasons that should be obvious to all), has fined Google over its practice of bundling software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine rankings favor its own product listings, and ways it has harmed competition in the digital advertising market.

During the height of the controversy over big tech's abuses of sensitive user data last year, the Verge published a story speculating about how the monopolistic tendencies of each of the dominant Silicon Valley tech giants could be remedied. For Google, the Verge argued, the best remedy would be a ban on acquisitions - a strategy that has been bandied about in Congress.

Our best model for tech antitrust is the Department of Justice's anti-bundling case against Microsoft in the '90s, which argued that Microsoft was using its control over the PC market to force out competing operating systems and browsers. If you're looking for a contemporary equivalent, Google is probably the closest fit. On a good day, Google (or Alphabet, if you prefer) is the most valuable company in the world by market cap, with dozens of different products supported by an all-encompassing ad network.

Google also has clear and committed enemies, with Microsoft, Oracle, Yelp, and even the Motion Picture Association of America calling for restrictions on the company's power.

But according to Open Markets' Matthew Stoller, the best long-term remedy for Google's dominance has more to do with Google's acquisitions. "If you're looking for a silver bullet, probably the best thing to do would be to block Google from being able to buy any companies," says Stoller. "Suddenly, you have to compete with Google, you can't just be bought out by Google."

That might sound tame compared to Europe's billion-dollar fines, but it cuts to the core of how Google is organized. The company has acquired more than 200 startups since it was founded, including central products like YouTube, Android, and DoubleClick. The company's modular structure is arguably a direct result of that buying spree, and it's hard to imagine what Google would look like without it. More recent buys like Nest have fallen under the broader Alphabet umbrella, but the core strategy hasn't changed.

Would Google still be an AI giant if it hadn't bought DeepMind? Probably, but everyone involved would have had to work a lot harder.

Even better, anti-monopoly activists would have a bunch of different ways to block those acquisitions. The Department of Justice's antitrust division hasn't contested Google's acquisitions so far, but it could always change its approach. The strongest fix would come from Congress, where Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would place an outright ban on acquisitions by any company with a market cap higher than $100 billion. (As of press time, Google is worth roughly $840 billion.)

We feel it's no exaggeration to say that this is only the beginning of what could become an epoch-defining story arch. And like every good story, this one will have main characters and bit players. As far as we can tell, one of the leading roles will likely be played by Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, a previously obscure Trump Administration official who is now in charge of one of the most consequential investigations in recent memory.

Setting aside what it might mean for Silicon Valley, the investigation will also have major ramifications for markets, since shares of the big tech companies have been at the vanguard of the torrid post-crisis bull market. Though the influence of FANG stocks on overall market performance has waned this year, they remain hugely influential.

Tech giants are far and away the biggest contributors to SPX sales growth... ...and they have generated nearly all SPX after-tax adjusted profit margin since the crisis.

Given that big tech valuations are often based, at least partly, on the notion that these companies will achieve an unassailable market position, an anti-trust campaign could be extremely harmful not just for publicly traded tech giants, but for the entire Silicon Valley pipeline, as @SuperMugatu explains.

MUGATU @SuperMugatu

If the DOJ going after $ GOOG is (1) real and (2) indicative of anti trust being back and DC going after SF, SAAS is fucked. These names are all trading on bets that they get to some scale where they're intrenched and then get bought out.

302 10:09 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Everyone in the business, myself included, will spend the weekend trying to figure out (1) and (2), but it's curious that $ GOOG is the name and not $ FB or others. An argument could be made that it's more ominous, as any progress against $ GOOG would likely be easy to carry over.

44 10:10 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Regarding SAAS, the ownership concentration in high sales multiple names across sectors is fairly extreme. Damage to IPO pipeline, bullshit like $ BYND or $ TLRY (Basically, Cowen's 2019 banking business) could be severe.

32 10:12 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

So many portfolios in hedge funds and retail are so insanely overweight 1-3 factors here, this could cause some very serious cascading unwinds. Not saying it will, but the market structure set up is *nasty*, and could become self fulfilling.

57 10:14 PM - May 31, 2019
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Serious thought needs to be given to:
1) what if big tech is out?
2) what's priced in?
3) who owns what? Correlation?
4) loss tolerance of those pools?
5) if that stuff unwinds, what becomes unfundable? What does it do to demand for IPOs, etc of the large Private VC/growth books?

47 10:16 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

A lesson I've learned the hard way before: when the growth guys are forced out, it's a long way down until the value guys step in. But this is across not just A sector, but "the sector of the future." A senior guy at Blackrock told me there was no reason to look anything but SAAS

123 10:17 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Also, IMHO Trumo's DOJ doing this (if true) the day after engaging in a second trade war sort of takes the probability of him being a complete fucking idiot to 90+% and completely eliminated any "he's actually got a plan" permutations. Or he's legit a world champ Jenga player.

114 10:21 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Also would note active managers vol tolerance is at all time lows and many / most face existential firm risk after the last few years. They're not going to gut our major uncertainty here. Especially with a decent start to 2019 and macro + cycle ?????

42 10:34 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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As a counterpoint, it's worth remembering that the presence of two new business-friendly conservative judges on the Supreme Court will make the DoJ's job that much harder, and could ultimately tip the scales in favor of Big Tech winning this battle.

News of the investigation could adversely impact shares of the big tech companies, which will in turn create a serious drag for the major indexes. For investors, it will be one more threat to a bull market which is already teetering thanks to President Trump's trade war with China (and now Mexico).

We imagine we'll be hearing more about the probe through both official and unofficial channels in the coming weeks.

[Jun 02, 2019] As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form

Jun 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form. Living will depend upon absolute obedience to a strict set of arrangements, which it will no longer be possible to transgress. The air traveler is not free. In the future, life's passengers will be even less so: they will travel through their lives fastened to their (corporate) seats."

- Jean Baudrillard, 1990

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."

-Noah Webster

[Jun 02, 2019] Snowden Most Effective Means Of Social Control In The History Of Our Species Now In Place

He didn't mention Obama's "Hammer" database
Notable quotes:
"... Institutions can "monitor and record private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough that we can say it's close to all-powerful," said Snowden. They do this through "new platforms and algorithms," through which "they're able to shift our behavior. In some cases they're able to predict our decisions -- and also nudge them -- to different outcomes. And they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging ." ..."
"... "We don't sign up for this," he added, dismissing the notion that people know exactly what they are getting into with social media platforms like Facebook. ..."
"... That means that a company, community or country that uses Huawei technology is protecting itself from the US-led international system of surveillance and possible control. And the threats and demands that they stop using Huawei products is more about keeping US control, not so much about blocking Chinese control ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said Thursday that people in systems of power have exploited the human desire to connect in order to create systems of mass surveillance .

Snowden appeared at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia via livestream from Moscow to give a keynote address for the Canadian university's Open Dialogue Series.

Right now, he said, humanity is in a sort of "atomic moment" in the field of computer science. "We're in the midst of the greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution, and this is happening because technology has provided a new capability," Snowden said.

"It's related to influence that reaches everyone in every place," he said. "It has no regard for borders. Its reach is unlimited, if you will, but its safeguards are not." Without such defenses, technology is able to affect human behavior.

Institutions can "monitor and record private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough that we can say it's close to all-powerful," said Snowden. They do this through "new platforms and algorithms," through which "they're able to shift our behavior. In some cases they're able to predict our decisions -- and also nudge them -- to different outcomes. And they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging ."

"We don't sign up for this," he added, dismissing the notion that people know exactly what they are getting into with social media platforms like Facebook.

... ... ...


mrliberty , 2 hours ago link

Snowden focuses on the common-knowledge stuff to keep our attention away from mass Signals Interference (spoofing and blocking messages, calls, and emails) and other shady programs.

cynicalskeptic , 6 hours ago link

Huxley's 'Ultimate Revolution' - a scientific dictatorship where the masses willingly submit to their own enslavement - is here.

His 1962 UC Berkeley speech sums it all up. Orwell's 1984 depended on terror and force to maintain control. Much easier with A Brave New World where the control is psychological and people 'know their place' in the world and willingly accept it.

NoBigDeal , 6 hours ago link

Mass surveillance is useless if you can't organise such a huge data set into meaningful information, and what's meaningful is always a matter of opinion. Those who paid the bazillions to build this thing must be starting to scratch their heads.

The real threat of a system like this is when some low level user with access exploits it for their personal advantage. Some neighbor or co-worker who doesn't like you.

AI has a long way to go and in this case it just sounds like a poor excuse to keep feeding the big white elephant.

Craven Moorehead , 7 hours ago link

10 to 15 yrs from now, security services and police will intercept any person walking in a public place without some form of smart device to identify who they are, and it is all being implemented by stealth, right before our eyes

Smart identification devices will become mandatory, everything in your life will be tracked, your travel, your spending, your political affiliations, people will willingly give up their freedoms to the illusory safety of the security state, call it slavery

Harry Lightning , 8 hours ago link

I don't know but at least as it pertains to me, I think all the scare tactics aboput Artificial Inteligence is way overblown.

I don't even read the ads on the internet, and if I do happen to spend more than a nanosecond viewing them, its usually only to getg the name of the company so I make sure NOTG to buy anything from them for invading my space.

SoI reallhydon't \care if some algorithm says I am likely to buy a certain kind of product, because they can bombard me with ads all day and all night and it won't make a rat's *** bit of difference in whagt I decide to do. Same with politics...there's nothing they can pipe intop my computer that will make me more or less likely to vote for a candidate. I have voted all over the ballot in any election I ever voted in, and my selections were based on reading what the candidates said at debates or in campaign speeches. Political advertising is a waste of money when itg comes to my voting.

In terms of spying, yes, I can understand how and why tech companies and the government engage in that kind of activity. I surely don't like it, but it really doesn't bother me because I would never portray anything I do to an internet full of anonymous people who may be collecting information. Most people are law abiding and the things they do that come close to criminal occur so infrequently and are for such a relatively small amount of money compared to a criminal enterprise that the government probably doesn't have time to bother with them. If you have nothing to hide than you have nothing to fear, and for the most part, most people have nothing to hide.

In terms of drones surveilling everyone, I think they are great target practice. How often do you get the chance to fire atga moving target outside of skeet shooting ? So if the government or some ahole company wants to spy on you with drones, have fun shooting them out of the air. If enough people take this route, the practice will end because the cost of all those shot up drones will be too expensive for the Peeping Toms to afford. And the government does not have the resources to prosecute a hundred million people all shooting at drones.

Another point : when it comes to election time, go to the local Meet The Candidate forums where you live and ask the candidates who has the balls to state they will vote against any government spying without warrants based on unimpeachable reasonable causes ? Only vote for the politicians who make such pledges, and if they break their promises vote them out of office the next time they try to get elected. Democracy works when the people are willing to use it. So use it.

brokebackbuck , 7 hours ago link

i disagree, democracy does not work because most people are too dumb to choose correctly. This negatively impacts the most intelligent

Karl Marxist , 7 hours ago link

Then get off your dead *** and work to save what power the people have left. Are you that lazy physically and intellectually? TV people own you enough to cave into deep apathy? The I hope you get FEMA camped in one form or another because that's where this **** is headed unless you take to heart the previous poster.

fackbankz , 5 hours ago link

I would have agreed with you 20 years ago. We're way past the point where voting matters. All politicians on both sides are the worst pieces of **** you can imagine. They all support mass surveillance, slavery through fake Fed money, war, GMOs, vaccines and any other evil **** their masters are trying to force on us.

I hope the voting rate in America goes under 10 percent so that 90 percent of us can say, "**** you! I didn't vote for that" and have it be true. Because when it comes to all the important stuff, you did vote for that if you voted for one of these vile wastes of protoplasm in DC.

reader2010 , 8 hours ago link

"As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form. Living will depend upon absolute obedience to a strict set of arrangements, which it will no longer be possible to transgress. The air traveler is not free. In the future, life's passengers will be even less so: they will travel through their lives fastened to their (corporate) seats."

- Jean Baudrillard, 1990

smacker , 8 hours ago link

I agree with Snowden's assessment of the human need to socially connect with others which is being exploited and morphed into mass surveillance.

But .gov cannot be trusted to take any effective action against the likes of Faceache or Goolag because these outfits are in bed with government (see recent ZH article on this very subject). Thus, government is a prime beneficiary of the mass surveillance data being collected.

Anonymous IX , 3 hours ago link

I actually disagree with Snowden. I think social media, from what people describe and what I observe, strokes people's egos and self-esteem. The tragedy here is that social connection becomes redefined rather narrowly within the confines of ego and self-esteem. I note, e.g., the strident and self-righteous tones in some of the posts throughout ZH here today. Along with the hyper-massaging of ego/self-esteem comes hyper-emotionalism. Everything is cataclysmic. You're the "good guy," and everybody and anybody who opposes you are the "bad guys." Stark, vivid black and white thinking propelled by emotions on steroids. Combine ego massage with steroidal emotions, and you get people wearing the equivalent of horse blinders. People who are easily duped.

WhyWait , 9 hours ago link

I was struck by Snowden's remarks about Huawei technology. He makes the claim that in the past 6 years our best minds with unlimited resources had been unable to find Huawei back doors or kill switches, because otherwise we would know, they would have announced it to the world

On the other hand we can assume that American servers and the software they use do have back doors and maybe kill switches

That means that a company, community or country that uses Huawei technology is protecting itself from the US-led international system of surveillance and possible control. And the threats and demands that they stop using Huawei products is more about keeping US control, not so much about blocking Chinese control

This reminds me of the urgency with which the US demands that countries buy Patriot missile systems, not S400's.

my new username , 9 hours ago link

STASI was privatized - now, people volunteer their information, and the CIA-funded ABC and FaceBook aggregate and sell the data back to Big Government.

Groundround , 9 hours ago link

He is right. When myspace, then facebook came out I thought, Cool, I can keep in touch with all these people. Then, when I became obvious that is was being used to spy on everyone and sell their info, I was pissed at myself for being so naive to think that an honest company could exist without stabbing everyone in the back and becoming a tool for for the same intelligence groups that have been standing on our necks for a couple hundred years now. Today it is too much to ask for an honest company and a government that does not victimize its citizens in about every way it can imagine. We can have a better world. It won't come by voting. They locked that **** down. It is time for the rope.

NiggaPleeze , 9 hours ago link

I get the surveillance part, but the social control part is still in the wings. China's social credit system and US' "terrorism" databases are all but inklings of what is to come: constant and ubiquitous 24/7 monitoring with AI drone "enforcement". So far the powers that be feel constrained in using all the data they collect in criminal court - in part because there are not enough prisons, and in part because they don't want a revolt. But: once AI, data collection and drone automation reach the tipping point (not far off), those constraints will be gone: there will be no ability to revolt as the drones will wipe out the "seditionists", and prison won't be a problem because they will use other means (no food, no transportation, or corporal punishment, all administered by integrated sales, transportation and drone systems).

Mr. Kwikky , 10 hours ago link

Watch the testimonies of high level former NSA employee William Binney on yt

https://youtu.be/KQpTofvZJWU

[Jun 02, 2019] Somer highlights of Snowden spreach at Dalhousie University

Highly recommended!
An interesting method of monitoring access to the particular WEB site or page by intercepting pages at the router and inserting reference to the "snooping" site for example one pixel image) which collects IPs of devices which accessed particular page. Does not require breaking into the particular Web site 00 just the control of provider router is is enough. That makes it more understandable the attack on Huawei.
Notable quotes:
"... Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding. ..."
"... said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit. ..."
"... Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government ..."
"... Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance. ..."
"... Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Jun 2, 2019 3:41:49 PM | 8

https://www.rt.com/news/460854-snowden-surveillance-social-control/ <=Snowden at Dalhousie University..
Robert Thibault, Att, HK Canada, (I think) Snowden's lawyer explained the law protecting whistle blowers.

Describes the incredible pressure governments are applying on anyone who steps forward to help a whistle blower.

Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding.

Explained the constitution of Equador was the most complex constitution on planet its due process rights solid due process safeguard, has a very high threshold but. Morales decision was arbitrary to strip Mr. Assange of his asylum. Said HK angry at Germany over two whistle blowers

Snowden then speaks .. excellent talk..

1st point.. progress in science has been unprecedented, especially nuclear science, but the nation states are using that new knowledge to make nuclear weapons.. called the progress an "Atomic Moment" in Science evolution. .

said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit.

2nd point Platforms and Algorithms are being used by those in power to "shift our behaviors" accomplished covertly by user contracts people are required to sign when joining something on line (<=he said no one reads these things, but they are dangerous

Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government

Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance.

said the legal means to spy on the populations existed long before 9/11, but it could not find daylight to be adopted until 9/11. Basically the government and massive in size corporations have all of the data on every single person on the earth because they gather it everywhere all of the time. discussed warrant_less wire tap, explained why whistle blower fair trial in he USA not likely, Said everything single call or electronic communication made by citizens is captured suggested monitoring calls was a felony many corporations committed before the FISA Act was enacted to protect the listener.

Mentioned Signal by Open Whisper <= for encryption??

Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition.

But the big thing I got out of it, was how website contract agreements are not innocent. Such agreements prey on human desire to [interact, connect, share and cooperate] these desires have been modelled into a platform that allows government or private commercial enterprises to manipulate, exploit and prey-on any human "interacting with a such websites.

Questions and answers.

[May 31, 2019] Threats to the neoliberal world order to be discussed at Bilderberg meeting

That means implicit acknowledgement from Bilderberg group that neoliberalism is under threat... Essentially trade war with China is destroying neoliberalism as we speak because "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism without globalization is just a flavor of neofascism, not a new social system.
May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Anne Jaclard , May 30, 2019 7:33:37 PM | 31

Bilderberg 2019 Meeting Information Revealed

Stacey Abrams, Eric Schmidt, Mike Pompeo, and Mattel Renzi, among others, will be attending the top-secret Bilderberh meetings from today through the weekend.

Topics to be discussed include the weaponisation of social media, the future of capitalism, Brexit, China, and threats to the neoliberal world order.

Held since 1954, Bilderberg has acted as a meeting point for high-level establishment politicians and corporate elites to promote the interests of Atlanticism and global corporations.

Many attendees of Bilderberg have gone on to play major roles in their countries' politics, including Angela Merkel and Barack Obama.

The presence of Abrams at the event is another sign that she may act as a vice-presidential candidate for Joe Biden, who himself has attended corporate-linked summits including Davos and the Munich Security Conference this year and who has seen his narratives bolstered by think tanks such as More in Common and the Trilateral Commission.

Abrams is herself a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has pursued a neoliberal agenda while in office.

https://bilderbergmeetings.org/meetings/meeting-2019/press-release-2019

[May 23, 2019] Your smartphone is leaking your information Bram Bonn TEDxGhent - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location. ..."
"... Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets. ..."
"... If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections ..."
"... I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Nutmeg Technologies , 2 years ago

You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location.

Saber Tig , 6 months ago

Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets.

Malseph , 2 years ago

Its so funny how easy it is today to completely hijack someones life due to their careless use of technology. Basically anything you use that doesn't require a wire is a huge risk. Even wired is if you dont know what you are doing. Not to mention... Clouds. Cloud systems are great for spying on stupid people. Did you just take a nude photo of yourself to send to your girlfriend? Well, if you use any apple device i'm not the only one that knows you did. Oh modern society...

Aviatorul Dinfilm , 3 years ago

Smartphone = CIA and FBI

RockJumper , 4 years ago

If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections

Dolly Doodles , 1 year ago

This is a perfect video to explain why to turn off roaming and Wi-fi when you leave the house

S1gm@_Wolf , 6 months ago

Ive been off all social media for 3 months now and feel amazing. I be cancelling my phone service next month. Minimalism is the way back to life guys.

GizmoGirl , 10 months ago

I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol

Aerox ⁣ , 1 week ago

I'm seriously considering switching to an old 80's phone, buying an old camera, get rid of my computer and start using cash instead of my creditcard. There's no other way to stay safe in todays society! Heck I can't even trust my refridgerator anymore...

[May 23, 2019] How to Avoid Surveillance...With Your Phone Christopher Soghoian TED Talks

Switched off phone is more or less secure pone ;-)
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

HipHopBeatSource , 2 months ago

Without watching this video simply

(1)turn phone off

(2) Remove battery if you can.

(3)Throw directly into toilet.

(4)Walk away.

Ryan Quintana , 3 months ago

This is a lie and disinformation. Look at project prism for proof that apple has been involved with the Nsa since 2012

Summer Love , 1 month ago

People In The Sixties: The Government Will Wiretap Your Home

People Now: Hey Wire Tap, show me pictures of cats.

Soheb khan , 3 years ago

Apple and Facebook are securing our talks - Don't make me laugh.

HotNitrogen , 3 years ago

whatsapp encrypted and private? Not much point since Facebook pretty much hands over data to governments.

Truthshock 5000 , 3 weeks ago

This Shlomo is a PR shill for tech companies.

[May 23, 2019] William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands

Important point is that NSA interesting in unlimited growth and money like any large bureaucracy. and this is like cancer for society.
Those data constitute perfect blackmail material for any politician. So that mean that intelligence agencies control the congress and the government.
An interesting question is: why with this massive data collection organized crime still exists.
Aug 08, 2017 | youtube.com

Agent76 , says: May 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm GMT

Aug 8, 2017 How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney)

William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands.

How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney) [improved audio] - YouTube

William Schutter 1 year ago

This design of bulk data management demonstrates that they are interested in acquiring leverage over politicians and everyone else rather than analysis to block terrorist acts. Could not be clearer.

Rick Geise 11 months ago

Our government is out of control, not only are they apparently collecting everything on each of us, "Most of these terror attacks are done by government guided terrorists, so the NSA is purposely choosing not to see the terror links until after the attack." -Joel Skousen, 2-09-2018 'World Affairs Brief'.

Soul Survivor 1 year ago

It is designed to be a blackmail tool, a LOOKBACK after they have something else on you. It is so massive to keep the employees busy doing nothing in a timely manner. It isn't meant to me a human run predictive tool, they want "machine learning" to be able to work it out. Bill Binney is brilliant.

Naseem Khan 1 year ago

Who better to expose them than Bill Binney, the man who designed the system and he is doing the right thing by exposing them. I used to think that Pentagon was the largest building but three times the size and collecting bulk that they cannot even use is foolish. I cannot accredit them for anything good out of this because there is nothing good except waste of taxpayers money. There was a time when anything this size would be outdated. They should strictly be asked to provide accountability but because they don't, there is no ceiling on their spending.

PAUL ROBINSON 1 year ago

I write what I write knowing they monitor things praying one day they get a clue. I hide nothing!! Before God as they say all seeing and all knowing we can hide nothing in dark or in the light!! Weather they think they are God or not!! They think before all this admission you can't see hear or feel there tactics!! I notice every thing that tries to interfere with my devices! Phone computers electronics ect. Let them play the game, let us use same technology against them and see how it plays out!! Lol sad that don't need to one lil old me vs how many of them with all technology at their fingertips!!! Wow impressive!! Difference between me and them is they wanna manipulate and rip people off n control them and I only wish to help others and not make slaves out of them. If I had the endless funds I would more than pay people what they are worth and help the less fortunate. I could show how everyone could live better, happier and healthier lives. They don't want this they fear it cause they want all power and control!!! Very very pathetic!! Read more Show less Reply 21 22 Loading... View all 10 replies View all 10 replies Hide replies

Remote Viewer 1 11 months ago

If Binney is accurate, then they are bright enough to use Artificial Intelligence to turn the data pile into real intel. Duh. So I think Mr. Binney is allowed to share disinformation. They are operating a fullt operational battlestar.

Doublevanoz 3 months ago

I worked in the same building about a year before Snowden was there. The facility in the movie(Hawaii) looked Hi-Tech in the movie... The place was a fuckin' dump! I laughed when I saw the movie.. you could of walked in there with 1OO thumbdrives in a bag..no metal detector or scanners Read more Show less Reply 1 2

Reclusus 5 months ago (edited)

If the US is doing this, than 100% sure the Chinese and Russians and Iranians even South Africans and Arab Nations do just the same. So having an NSA as a stasi is nothing new nor different from what other nations do. Sure it is illegal...but knowing and safely assuming more nation collect our data...I don't really worry less or more when owning a hard copy at NSA. And a back up hard copy on what they own of us all...can be handy...So sure file your law suit...but I would advise the judges to say that you are right, but that there is higher reasons for doing so thank you sir...but I am not convinced living with closed eyes against open eyes...is a weak position to stand on. So either they are all brought down...or we need a version of our own. I don't think...there is a choice sir.

And sure defame leading people in this field and stating they are as bad as Darth Vader...well...I think sir...you have a fast opinion with a limit on reaching to the true facts of what is happening in internet-land. I think I don't really need your opinion when it is based and outed as simple jokes on people that try and protect our Western World. And sure crime is using NSA information too and sure people are targetted. We can do something about that...but if it is wise to stall the NSA in protecting us in overall sense is not really smart. I think we just want more control over people using this information. So maybe we need this control, but just make sure it is used for good instead of evil. Well that isn't making our days different from before this new stasi rised.

Than comment you have on Iran...smuggling dope through various internation companies...lol...my dear sir they probably got the idea from the Americans using drug money profits to fund groups in the South Americas trying to bring down foreign governments. They are not any different from what the US agencies do. So kindof hypocritic hearing that from an American. Of course they would want a lid on collected data spread, and of course also the NSA holds infiltrants and people that would misuse power. So sure they keep it as much hidden and unknown. I think that is negatively explain-able as well as positivly.

An objective conclusion is to be made. So sure..file your law suit. I think you are just saying what freightened people wish to hear,..and gaining in on profits on it? And you think that is a nice commercial expertise? Or is this all done for free...I doubt that a seat there is free of charge sir. What are you funding with it?

Chaparral7040 1 year ago

NSA Whistleblower William Binney and CIA Whistleblower Ray McGovern at Manhattan Town Hall DNC/Podesta emails were not hacked by the Russians but were an 87 second download to a thumb drive by Seth Rich, who had issues because the DNC and Hillary had stolen the Nomination from Bernie Sanders. The DNC then had to have Seth Rich murdered to sell their "the Russians did it" diversion to keep everyone from looking at the content of the DNC and Podesta emails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=4nPCBeMJpKQ simflyr1957 4 months ago George Orwell in 1984 was a prophesy for today

W N 4 months ago

Americans and permanent residents, must realize that we live in a country that the government supposedly elected, created, funded, to serve and protect the rights of the citizens and civilians within our border, has become self-supporting and prioritized their own agendas of self promotion and self preservation. The government no longer represents us. Nor serve us. We now live under a modern fascist state.

Those at the top are no even elected or can held accountable by the people. Imminent Domain, Civil forfeiture, unconstitutional spying, suspicion and persecution, blackmail, threats, and even murder. All state sponsored, and complete immunity from lawful prosecution, and retribution. And unless we accept that we're partially to blame for letting them get away with this, we will never effectively bring about justice and change.

It will be status quo, and can only get worse for our posterity. Remember, if every person in this country were in solidarity in mass focused protest.....boycotting products, refusing to sustain their economy, didn't go to work and all called in sick, didn't file our taxes, refused to vote for anyone, flood their spying databases with keywords, and photos, and phrases, Took a hiatus simultaneously from being a part of their 'machine'....it would send a shockwave like a tsunami disrupting all their infrastructure, and if in unified cooperation across the world....that disruption would be global. Recall what India was able to do in nonviolent civil unrest. It drove the invading British empire out of their country.

Chris Turnblom 5 months ago

William Binney is an absolute hero! It's only through the courageous actions of people like him, that we will end the subversion of justice and the overwhelming corruption that has plagued this nation and the world for far too long. Even if all you are capable of is to engage people in conversations over the internet, it is still a very useful tool. Ridiculing people as "keyboard worriers" is a humiliation tactic. They know it works so they are trying many approaches to manage those who would change the world through logic and reason. I encourage everyone to do everything they can to contribute to the ongoing effort and accomplishing the enormous task of ending the era of rule by psychopaths. Donate money to organizations you think would be helpful, vote, attend public meetings and protests, boycott those companies that contribute to the corruption, there's many ways to get this done. Just use your head, every little bit helps. If the "q" thing is to be believed, we have them on the run now so it's time for everyone to pitch in and end this terrible chapter in our history.

Sarge 7000 5 months ago

How is he able to display Top Secret/OBCON/NOFORM/etc? Like he stares, all this material items are in effect today! Don’t worry about the courts-that why the have those Federal Judges, in every major city, that set behind the closed and sealed doors to stop all these suits against the Fed’s. One of the reasons that no one has taken in actions, on the companies involved in these illegal companies are the political problems in the Senate and the house. If a GI dies, so what, the political system looks to the military as founder, most could care less-unless there a camera near by. This the type of man is exactly the type we need to run these type of organization, vis the polices appointee’s!! This was a great lecture, we could use a few more in several federal level. Thank God for Americans like this. Read more Show less Reply 1

Benoit Vanhees 6 months ago (edited)

NSA tracks them, CIA wacks them :0) Maybe someone should start programs to delta overload their storage capacity so much, they'll need 25 Fort Meades and at least 800 000 employees. Read more Show less Reply 1

checkmate 1 year ago

That's great information, but a salmon couldn't swim up the stream you're fighting. Remember what happened to Frank Olson? He knew too much and "jumped" out of a window. The game is rigged, and you can't beat Them. The only way to survive is to not make waves, stay out of trouble, and under the radar, so to speak. Most of us are just small fish, who They wouldn't be very interested in. There are plenty of big fish to keep Them busy. I'm getting too old to waste my time fighting a battle fueled by an endless amount of money... money always wins. If you aren't a big-time drug dealer or a terrorist, they haven't got time to waste on you. It's fucked up... I know that, but it simply is what it is.

frank brown 5 months ago

Quote:- "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will use it".......that needs modifying to "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will ABUSE it". And therein lies the solution. We must be far more careful to whom we give power. Ask the prospective candidates for council seats in your area or for national governmental positions just what they are prepared to do FOR the people, and if you don't like the answer, don't vote them into power.

TEHCONIP .A 1 year ago

The Gestapo reference is spot on.. and I'm sure there's plenty of "It's for your protection" people to keep this thing chuggin along..

MR WHO CARES , 5 months ago

This man knows sooooooo much more, like to sit down off camera and man to man talk and I'll bet it would blow our minds the stuff our sneaky governments do without warrants or anything

They just take what they want and track your moves, listen in on your calls, watching your texts and FB ECT,,, all without our knowledge or consent, this is not constitutional and it's invading our rights along with our privacy rights my private life what and where and how I do everything

it's downright unconstitutional and should be taken to the highest court in the land and terminated

Case Dismissed Guaranteed, 4 months ago

Why didn't he point out that Israel spy's on Americans and America spy for them. No direct spying because THAT's "illegal."

big Cahuna3 months ago (edited)

Laws and jail are only for the poor and ""unconnected"". How else could the crime families, bankers, church, etc. keep their wealth and power ? The commoners and serfs must be divided, controlled , conquered, brainwashed, taxed, intimidated, imprisoned, overworked , and killed when beneficial to the kings, queens, bankers, Popes, and billionaires.

[May 23, 2019] Connections to CIA from major tech companies

May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sean McBride says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm GMT 100 Words @ababush Who wields more power in the contemporary world: big tech billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Larry Page, or spy agency heads like John Brennan, James Clapper and Robert Ashley?

Billionaires in general can easily purchase the services of armies of current and former spooks.

Did you notice the deferential attitude adopted by the US Congress towards Mark Zuckerberg?

How much power does John Brennan now command compared to Jeff Bezos? Read More Replies: @ababush Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc.

Sean McBride , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT

Where is real power most intensely concentrated in the contemporary world?

Take a close look at the leading AI experts at

-Alibaba
-Amazon
-Apple
-Baidu
-CIA
-DARPA
-DIA
-Facebook
-GCHQ
-Google
-Microsoft
-MIT
-MSS
-NSA
-Stanford
-Tencent
-Unit 8200

They are developing the tools to radically upend and control *everything* .

You might also want to the analyze the distribution of ethnic backgrounds among that set of minds.

Where do their loyalties lie? What are their long-term objectives?

Do our traditional models for framing the world adequately capture what is going on?

ababush , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Sean McBride Senators (and presidents) are not the real power. The big tech companies potential power is the datas they collect, as well as some propaganda means. Those companies were established worldwide with the help and under the supervision of the deep state (CIA, NSA etc). It is clear for me that the deep state has access to the datas collected by those companies, and also has personal files on their managers that could be used should they suddenly feel powerful and independant.

[May 22, 2019] Israel hacking the world

May 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Republic , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Sean McBride

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5VGpWl56ZF0?feature=oembed

Israel hacking the world

[May 20, 2019] Technology, Convenience.....and Death

What is the value of smartphone if you are afraid to call your friends using it because you know that the call will be recorded and the data stored for your lifetime? And you understand that you whereabouts are recorded with amazing precision all the time while you are wearing your smartphone.
Notable quotes:
"... In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want . ..."
"... Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?" ..."
"... I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. ..."
"... We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost. ..."
"... An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Reader Petter S sent along a recent article The Myth of Convenience , by L.M. Sacasas, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology. The piece covers a lot of ground in a relatively short space, so I encourage you to read it in full, along with his earlier post, Privacy Is Not Dying, We're Killing It .

The point of departure for Sacasas' post on convenience was an essay by Colin Horgan, The Tyranny of Convenience. As you'll see soon enough, Sacasas starts with familiar material and takes it in some unexpected but important directions.

Hogan, who provided the grist for the Sacasaa post, with well-warranted ire at the notion that JetBlue was using facial recognition, as described here:

He continues with other examples of "Are we sure we are really net positive from technology?"

In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want .

Convenience is signing up to a social media platform to keep in touch with friends and family and keep abreast of current events, and then discovering that the personal information you've been required to upload to enable your account has been used to micro-target you with disinformation.

Convenience is buying a digital assistant for your home to make hands-free information searches easier, and later finding out that employees of the company that makes it are able to listen to the commands you've been giving it  --  or that its recordings of the ambient sounds of your home have been mailed to someone you don't know ,

Convenience is downloading a weather app to check whether you need to pack an umbrella, only to later realize that the app's code makes it easy for someone to track your movements with such specificity that no amount of anonymization of the data would hide that it was you entering a Planned Parenthood, or riding along with the mayor of New York City

Convenience is driving a car for a ride-hail company because it promises flexible hours, only to find yourself making less than minimum wage and subject to phantom price surge promises, the absolutism of personal star ratings, and constant surveillance, including messages that prompt you to get back to driving like a notification that your phone is unmounted.

Putting the Uber/Lyft driver case aside, which is more a case of misleading marketing, I find it hard to understand the appeal of these supposed conveniences. But some people who may not find the use cases all that useful if they thought about it are also swept along by social and institutional pressure. A lot of schools use Facebook to organize extracurricular activities, like sports teams. I wonder how many people got the Amazon Echo just to show their friends they were cool when it was still novel to have one.

And I don't mean to sound critical of MacKenzie Fegan, but if she was that bothered by having to stare into a camera, why didn't she say something then? Unless she was the very first in line (unlikely; pre-boarding types go first), she would have seen other people getting their mugs shot. You can opt out of the body-scanning machines. It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her. 1

But let us return to the bigger theme, that of the supposed convenience advantage of technology. Overwhelmingly, the recent debate over technology is over the loss of privacy, as in giving up our data is the price of getting things that make our lives more "convenient". But even that premise isn't questioned that often, when the "convenience" benefit too often fails to materialize.

Technology allow advertisers to hound you with ads on flat screens in ride share vehicles and taxis. It's made voting less secure and at least from what I can tell in NYC, no faster (plus those old fashioned voting machine with the toggles were fun). Lambert describes how in one supposedly very tech savvy Asian city, they've installed pay by phone for their metro system .and it's way slower than using coins.

But despite the existence of counterexamples and tradeoffs .what exactly is this convenience supposed to be buying for us? Sacasas defines it as saving time. But how are we using that supposedly freed up time? Where does that minute someone saves by not printing out and retrieving a paper boarding pass, or say the ten minutes a day regained by being able to process e-mail while on hold with ahealth insurer go? I must have missed it, but I don't see a lot of stories about how someone was able to write a great novel, or even have more time to hang out with friends, walk in a park, or meditate, as a result of time freed by technology. Engagement with Internet=based technology seems to lead many, maybe most people to reinvest that liberated time back in the Internet. This may not just be the result of all of the dopamine-inducing tricks apps designer rely upon. There's also an element of intertia. You are sitting at a computer or staring at your mobile screen. The path of least resistance is to do more of the same. 2

And a pernicious side of technology is the way it hasn't freed up workers but almost entirely used to whip them harder. Employees do tasks that were once handled by a secretary, on top of job duties that have become more time compressed. Technology at work has served much more to increase output requirements than liberate workers, with Amazon-warehouse-worker monitoring a visible example. But even as of the early 2000s, senior managers, meaning a level or two below the C-suite in big companies, were being asked to do what was recently a job and a half or two job. And that's before you get to the rise of "on call" expectations for a lot of salaried white collar work.

Sacasas looks at different issues coming from convenience as time-saving:

Horgan's piece recalled to mind Thomas Tierney's The Value of Convenience: A Genealogy of Technical Culture ..

Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?"

... ... ...

Rafael , May 20, 2019 at 5:20 am

I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. I just find it hard to believe that we reached the tipping point of the technology/convenience ratio exactly now, in my generation. Isn't it something a lot of people already thought before? Also when I consider some of the technological amenities I use (e.g. it wouldn't be so inconvenient to switch back to withdrawing cash instead of using a debit card given the privacy issues a debit card imposes), they could be (and are) considered not beneficial by many people from other generations.

I guess my point is: just like there's no end for the need of new technologies, there's no absolute of what's "enough" technology. This will always be a generational issue, whici of course doesn't mean we should not be critical of new technologies.

PlutoniumKun , May 20, 2019 at 5:31 am

What often surprises me is the shoulder shrug so many people give when you talk about this topic – and I include people I know who are very computer literate and know in detail how this works. And I'm guilty of this sometimes myself.

In some ways its like climate change – people know full well what is happening at some level, but day to day pressures and no doubt a sense of helplessness stop people demanding the changes needed.

vlade , May 20, 2019 at 6:42 am

The problem is, it's now so widespread, that in some cases it's like asking for cart and horse.

I don't do FB, but I do LI – it's hard not to professionaly, when people ask you about it. There were some minor HW things I could source only from Amazon or Alibaba. Take your poison pill.

Pre-schools, schools and most free-time activities do FB/Instagram etc. as a way to coordinate, share pictures.

In late 90s, early 20s I tried to stay away from a mobile. I think I managed to avoid having a mobile until about 2003 (getting a work mobile for the very specified times I was on call), but could not really do it post that. And from then on, it was one big slide towards email on phone etc.. And now, honestly, I don't see how I could ever try managing our house renovation w/o being able to call and hassle the builder every time of the day (since he's only responding to people who hassle him, in order of how much grief he gets. We tried to be nice, it cost us about a year of our lives and a lot of money. Talk about positive feedback loop.. ).

Steven B Kurtz , May 20, 2019 at 6:17 am

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Progress

Modern technology depends upon exosomatic energy inputs, and there is always heat output from action. Finite resources are inputs. Pollution output. Finite planet. Plague phase of homo superstitious is here having quadrupled in the lifespan of living members like my 94 year old mother. Hubris keeps techno-optimists confident that anthropogenic systems can replace those we destroy. Bad bet. What we don't know about whole-system interactions dwarfs what we think we do know. Our progeny will not see nature the way we did, as megafauna are being eaten and traded for trinkets and superstitious myths. Sad, but real.

a different chris , May 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her.1

Well not everyone is the imitable Yves. :)

But actually this is a lot more complex than that. The whole feeling is "I want my privacy" which seems at first to inform you to not have your picture taken, but if you refuse then you paradoxically find yourself really standing out from the crowd.

Ugh. I think the issue is that you feel "cowed" when you think about either choice. And when you have fear, that's when you go with the group. And it's sad because USians are the most cattleish people on the planet at this point, so we know what the group is going to do.

Brooklin Bridge , May 20, 2019 at 8:11 am

We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost.

We will not come out the other side of this the same if we come out at all. The trick in in all this (including instantaneous teleportation) is to destroy the original. Then it doesn't matter that what comes out at the other end is a copy or not. It's all we've got. And talking to friends and acquaintances and pretty much anyone about issues of privacy vs. convenience and what we might be giving up; the horrible conclusion I can't avoid is that destruction of the original is going gang busters.

DJG , May 20, 2019 at 9:30 am

"While the Greeks thought that the satisfaction of bodily demands required careful attention and planning throughout the household, modernity treats the body instead as the source of limits and barriers imposed upon persons. What these limits require is not planning and attention, but the consumption of various technological devices that allow people to avoid or overcome such limits."

This is an excellent observation, and I note that the word "economy" comes from the Greek word for household (which would have been larger than a modern household and likely would have included a farm and weaving workshop making its own supplies). The horror of the body is deeply embedded in monotheism, which manifests as the idea and practice of mortification (killing) the body. We continue to see a kind of horror of sexuality and gender, which are manifestations of the body–various over-complicated schools of psychology and academic treatises, notwithstanding. The abortion debate seems to center on the inconvenience of pregnancy and who gets to bear the burden–with the added horror of being "inconvenienced" to bear the child of one's rapist.

No wonder there are fantasies like the Singularity and Jesus as My Personal Savior–both of which jettison the body, disdain the material world, and are quite happy to leave a mess behind.

Wukchumni , May 20, 2019 at 9:44 am

In the links thread Luddite piece, i've found i'm one of them, but really only in the way of doing things that computers can't. I've never seen one nurturing a hilly orchard, or taking a walk, or writing anything i'd opt to read, humor not being their long suit. I linked this yesterday, and it deserves another go. These young women from our town have no time for a smartphone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdnJMhVAGnA&t=198s

Keith Newman , May 20, 2019 at 10:06 am

An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. And tomorrow? Will you be passed over for a job, come under extreme surveillance, be barred from entering some countries, come under criticism if you seek public office? And what if you watch online porn, etc?

[May 18, 2019] It's time to question the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, that we already have for a couple of decades

May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Really? , May 17, 2019 8:12:32 PM | link

" Not that there aren't legitimate concerns to have, but such concerns should also apply, and should've applied in the last 2 decades, to all previous mobile phone communication systems' effects on global health; cherry-picking just that one time when it's China that's in the lead, and not the West anymore, is quite a blatant admission of the real goal of those who pull the strings."

Can't agree with this. The red flags and warnings have been very prominent regarding cell phone use, microwaves, excessive exposure to any kind of screen, smart phones carried too close to either brains or balls, etc. etc. If you haven't noticed this, you have not been looking. I am very concerned about the health effects of 5G technologyo and it has nothing to do with china. If the China flag is what finally gets this topic into the mainstream, I am, actually, fine with that. It is not only human brains that 5G threatens to scramble: the functioning of all living things, especially all animals, will likely or could strongly be affected. WE DO NOT KNOW. No testing of this technology has taken place. I do not doubt that for many the Chinese element is the only reason to attack 5G at this time. But many, many others are questioning its introduction for the right reasons, as they have questioned the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, and what have you for decades. And then there is BlueTooth.
https://www.radiationhealthrisks.com/bluetooth-technology-radiation/

[May 18, 2019] 'US already spying on public, Huawei threat unproven' Swann

Trump is a bully and he does not have any methods of diplomacy other then bulling.
May 16, 2019 | www.youtube.com

US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over Huawei, which he has deemed a national security threat. His new executive order makes it more difficult for US companies to do business with the Chinese tech giant. RT America's Manila Chan chats with investigative journalist Ben Swann, who says no evidence exists for the Trump administration's claim. #RTAmerica #InQuestionRT #QuestionMore


US Of Zion , 2 days ago

What US bans I will buy. Huawei has profited from Trump's tweets. 😂😂😂

riva2003 , 2 days ago

National emergency against one single company? What a promotion for HUAWEI! They must have paid US government a looooot of money! LOOOOOL

E Walker , 2 days ago (edited)

U.S. cannot spy via Chinese made technology products. That is the problem. When did competition against American technology get to be a national security threat? It is about creating a monopoly of only certain products in America. I hope American companies fight back. Prices in American stores have already started to rise. Monopolies mean high prices.

BTV-Channel , 2 days ago div

In the age of technology...any country who doesn't SPY on other countries or their own citizens is LYING thru their teeth! USA is NO DIFFERENT than CHINA.....they both are rogue nations, competing for the same thing, TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP! The problem is....HUAWEI just got the upper hand in 5G technology before the US can compete...so as such, the US threatens other countries with scare tactics until the US can develop and deploy 5G technology to compete with CHINA. It's all about MONEY and BUSINESS.

OGASI , 2 days ago

USA has dishonestly gathered more data on it's own civilians than it can access or understand in several lifetimes, they have the gaul to attack others without proof? UNREAL

[May 14, 2019] Facebook and Google Must Be Regulated Now The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... The database keeps out extremism, but it is also an overly broad censorship tool. Users have been banned under this system without even knowing why they were banned. And there is nobody that they can appeal to to reverse their ban. ..."
"... Their surveillance of users is a feature, not a bug. ..."
"... The issue of privacy is one that the United States will need to regulate. Facebook and Google are merely the tip of the iceberg. ..."
"... Many data brokers are far more intrusive, and Google and Facebook buy data from them , as well as from payments companies like Mastercard. Acxiom is a data broker that collects 1,500 data points per person on more than 700 million consumers and sells analysis of such information. ..."
"... Not even the Stasi had as much information on the East Germans as Google, Facebook, and its data brokers have on American citizens. ..."
"... It is bad when the data is accurate, but it is almost worse when it is not. They store data indefinitely, even when people have had their criminal or misdemeanor records expunged by courts, and it has cost people jobs . ..."
"... Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on the FTC to create a " data-broker clearinghouse ." All data brokers would have to register and allow users to see what data is held on them and allow users to see what data of theirs has been tracked and sold. It would also allow them to delete it. This is a good first step. Another important step is to require user consent before a merchant passes on data to a third party. This currently takes place with no user content. ..."
"... The most contentious issue for reform is treating Facebook and Google like the monopolies they are. In a way, it makes sense. For years, Zuckerberg routinely described Facebook as a " social utility ." Indeed, it was originally part of the company's slogan. ..."
"... In 2017, Steve Bannon said tech companies like Facebook and Google have become essential elements of 21st-century life and should be regulated as utilities. ..."
"... In short, they cannot be both "media companies" and monopolies because monopoly control of media is the end of democracy. They are monopolies, therefore they cannot be allowed the editorial freedom of media companies. ..."
"... The services provided by Facebook, Google, etc have become an integral part of our daily lives. They are also natural monopolies. In that sense they are like the electric and gas companies, which are regulated utilities. So they, too should be regulated utilities. ..."
"... My ancestors didn't fight two world wars and a Cold War to secure a privacy violating mass surveillance society for their posterity. In some ways, we're turning into the very things that Americans fought tooth and nail to destroy, and that real Americans loathe to their marrow. It's sickening. ..."
"... I doubt "regulation" is enough. They operate like giant, unaccountable monopolies and should probably be broken up or shut down. Do it. Harsh criminal penalties and huge civil fines for violators of individual rights and privacy. ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

At the recent F8 conference for Facebook developers, Mark Zuckerberg stood on stage laughing and trying to crack jokes.

"I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on ptrivacy right now, to put it lightly," he said. The audience was speechless. It would be like BP laughing about oil spills or Union Carbide laughing about the Bhopal disaster. Nobody laughed, not even Facebook employees.

That same week, Facebook disclosed that it will be setting aside $5 billion to pay for potential fines from the Federal Trade Commission relating to violations of user privacy. The fine is significant -- if only symbolically -- because when it comes to the tech giants, the Department of Justice and FTC have been toothless enforcers and regulators. The biggest fine they've imposed thus far was for $22.5 million to Google in 2012 for misleading consumers about its online tracking tools, a penalty so inconsequential that it amounts to less than a rounding error.

While banks are too big to fail, tech giants are too big to manage. Facebook has accumulated over 2 billion users on its main platform, and also owns Instagram and Whatsapp. It is far too large to operate with any sensible degree of competent oversight.

The company has been accused of selling advertisements based on anti-Semitic keywords like " Jew haters ," selling ads that discriminate based on age for job advertisements, targeting people by race to exclude minorities , and live-streaming murders and suicides. It has helped fuel the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar, according to the United Nations. It has exposed hundreds of millions of passwords stored internally without encryption. It has saved user videos that it promised were deleted . It has repeatedly misled advertisers about its advertising metrics.

... ... ...

Efforts by Facebook, Google, and Twitter to self-regulate have encountered little success and present a host of problems. For example, the tech giants collaborate in the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. It shares a database of objectionable content that can be used to ban files and users. The problem with this database is that there is no transparency, accountability or even a right to appeal. The database keeps out extremism, but it is also an overly broad censorship tool. Users have been banned under this system without even knowing why they were banned. And there is nobody that they can appeal to to reverse their ban.

When it comes to privacy in the United States, the tech giants have no interest in harming their ad-driven business models, and there is very little self-regulation. Their surveillance of users is a feature, not a bug. Europe has the General Data Protection Regulation, a regulatory framework to protect individuals, but the tech giants have fought privacy regulations at every step in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

The issue of privacy is one that the United States will need to regulate. Facebook and Google are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Many data brokers are far more intrusive, and Google and Facebook buy data from them , as well as from payments companies like Mastercard. Acxiom is a data broker that collects 1,500 data points per person on more than 700 million consumers and sells analysis of such information. The kind of information it collects is vast: identifying and contact information, court and public record information, financial "indicators", health "interests" including web searches for "diabetes, arthritis, homeopathic, organic and senior needs," demographic information such as home value, home characteristics, marital status, presence of children in the household, number of members in the household, education, occupation, and political party, "lifestyle and interest indicators."

Not even the Stasi had as much information on the East Germans as Google, Facebook, and its data brokers have on American citizens.

It is bad when the data is accurate, but it is almost worse when it is not. They store data indefinitely, even when people have had their criminal or misdemeanor records expunged by courts, and it has cost people jobs .

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on the FTC to create a " data-broker clearinghouse ." All data brokers would have to register and allow users to see what data is held on them and allow users to see what data of theirs has been tracked and sold. It would also allow them to delete it. This is a good first step. Another important step is to require user consent before a merchant passes on data to a third party. This currently takes place with no user content.

Most importantly, the tech giants should be regulated as media companies. Executives from Google and Facebook go to great lengths to deny that they run media companies, even though they behave exactly like media companies.

They aggregate, curate, and distribute content, but bear none of the burdens that come with that designation. Facebook's news feed has become what the front page of the newspaper was for older generations of people; at least 66 percent of the social network's 2 billion users use it as a news source, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Thee are de facto editors of news content. Facebook and YouTube -- a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet -- have intentionally designed their algorithms to customize user experience to increase engagement. They accomplish this by suggesting stories that user will be most likely to respond to. An algorithm may not be an old-fashioned editor, but it is making editorial choices all the same.

They are also creators of content. Facebook and Google may say they aren't media companies, but they have been investing in originally produced entertainment videos and shows.

If Facebook and Google were held responsible for the content they promote, the Federal Communications Commission would not let them off lightly for their many failings. If Facebook and Google were treated as media companies, they would be held accountable for the content that appears on their platforms. Today, under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act , tech giants are broadly immune from liability over content posted by others.

The most contentious issue for reform is treating Facebook and Google like the monopolies they are. In a way, it makes sense. For years, Zuckerberg routinely described Facebook as a " social utility ." Indeed, it was originally part of the company's slogan.

Facebook and Google have become essential fixtures of 21st-century life. If you want to be on a network with all of your friends, there is really only one network to be on, and it is on Facebook. Likewise for search where Google has almost a 90 percent market share globally with very strong feedback loops from its platform and advertisers. These business models have become a natural monopoly, much like a phone company or water system except that they remain completely unregulated.

Figures from the Left and Right have called for them to be regulated like public utilities. In 2017, Steve Bannon said tech companies like Facebook and Google have become essential elements of 21st-century life and should be regulated as utilities. The Economist has mooted the idea that the tech giants could be regulated based on a regulated return on assets. They can stay private and enjoy utility-like status, but the returns they can harvest from being natural monopolies are capped at utility like rates based on the return on their assets.

Reform is not impossible. More than two decades ago in 1998, Congress recognized that the internet was revolutionizing media and commerce and passed two laws to address copyright and free speech concerns. Two decades is an awfully long time in Silicon Valley and technology. Times have changed, and updating the laws is long overdue.

Jonathan Tepper is a senior fellow at , founder of Variant Perception , a macroeconomic research company, and co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition . This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.


Emil Shitalkovic, says: May 13, 2019 at 12:27 am

Section 230, the "media companies" thing, is not enough. These companies have more power than the government did at the time the First Amendment was ratified, especially when they act in concert as they have been doing recently to ban political speech.

The 1934 Universal Service Act is the right approach. Natural monopolies cannot be allowed to curate. They need to stop using demonetizing, Youtube Jail, condescending Twitter "time outs", weaponized spam false positives they claim are "mistakes" when caught, and outright bans to retaliate against legal speech they don't like, whether it is flat earth conspiracies, anti-vaxers, Republicans, "Nazis," whatever. Even "Nazis" are allowed to buy food, have telephones, and print newspapers in this country. It is extreme, but we decided to draw the line where we did for a reason, and have not agreed to move it since the Revolutionary War. It is not their right to unilaterally move that line for us. They are so powerful all legal speech must be allowed, and the people will have to sort out what's true. Achieving social harmony, or bettering humanity by arbitrating truth, are not their responsibilities. They are not media companies.

In short, they cannot be both "media companies" and monopolies because monopoly control of media is the end of democracy. They are monopolies, therefore they cannot be allowed the editorial freedom of media companies.

polistra , says: May 13, 2019 at 1:36 am
We know what will happen. Dodd-Frank. A "regulation" that makes it even easier for FB and Google to evade taxes and censor opponents and kill competitors.

Bear in mind that the hearings in both Congress and Parliament were NOT bashing FB for invading privacy and censoring opinion. Both were bashing FB for INADEQUATE censorship and invasion. They expected MORE EVIL, and Zuck was happy to give them more evil.

Gene Smolko , says: May 13, 2019 at 2:59 am
So the free market isn't fixing this?
Kent , says: May 13, 2019 at 6:49 am
The issue is very simple. Let capitalism work by simply passing a law that states that information about an individual is the property of that individual. And just like you can't sell the land I own without a contract to do so, you can't sell the information (about me) that I own without a contract to do so.

In the agricultural age, property (land) rights became recognized. In the Industrial Age, capital, debt and share ownership rights became codified. We are in the Information Age, and it's time to recognize the proper ownership of information.

SomeKindOfDruidDude , says: May 13, 2019 at 8:00 am
Gene Smolko: It doesn't look like it. There used to be a bunch of search engines. Now it looks like there will never be another sea