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Total Surveillance Regime: Big Uncle is Watching You

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism. As Joseph Goebbels professed:
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

Version 2.0, Oct 17, 2017

News National Security State Recommended Links Edward Snowden as Symbol of resistance to National Security State Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Vault 7 scandal NSA revelations fallout William Binney
Assange and Wikileaks Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? NSA Surveillance Industrial Espionage Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Cyberstalking
Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Search engines privacy Google Toolbar Is Google evil? Keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Facebook as Giant Database about Users The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies  
Damage to the US tech companies "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Email security How to analyze your own Web activity Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Steganography Building Snort-based IDS Infrastructure
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few   Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Cyberwarfare History of the USA total surveillance efforts Prizm-related humor Etc
 

Introduction

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

- Goethe

1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual

The troubling aspect about these disclosures is not so much their significance today, but what surveillance on the nation bodes for the future. Given human nature I am not optimistic.

Bill N. Cambridge MA, NYT.

NSA staff and private contractors have unfettered access to this information. I have a hard time believing that not one of them has used that access to information for personal or political gain. This system makes insider trading, industrial espionage, blackmail, and extortion an almost inevitable outcome. -- The Guardian (from comments).

A new round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exerts over the US civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

In other words expansionism  and mission creep are immanent qualities, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force. In the absence of countervailing forces they tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful three-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it calls itself a democracy. And that fact was already known to everybody in 1975 (Church Committee).  Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible for civil authorities to control them. Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee  just prove this. 

In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.  Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee (which is tasked with the oversight of the agency) just prove this simple fact (CIA apologizes for spying on Senate committee - CNNPolitics July 31, 2014 ). As NYT reported (Inquiry by C.I.A. Affirms It Spied on Senate Panel,  

A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to Ms. Feinstein and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by a former Democratic senator, Evan Bayh of Indiana, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.”

But anger among lawmakers grew throughout the day. Leaving a nearly three-hour briefing about the report in a Senate conference room, members of both parties called for the C.I.A. officers to be held accountable, and some said they had lost confidence in Mr. Brennan’s leadership. “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations,” said Mr. Chambliss, generally a staunch ally of the intelligence community. He called for the C.I.A. employees to be “dealt with very harshly.”

Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado and another member of the Intelligence Committee, demanded Mr. Brennan’s resignation. “The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said in a written statement. “This grave misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.

You can't get a more solid proof of total surveillance...  Please note that Brennan continued his tenure as the head of CIA; attempts to depose him after the incident by some Senators failed. That suggest who was the winner in this skirmish.

That also means that contrary to common perception intelligence agencies are political players and as such are quite capable to defend their staffing and resource consumption levels, despite inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies. In other words they are no longer technocratic, but tend to emerge as political bodies, the core of the "deep state" (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). The story of John Brennan the former head of CIA in Obama administration tell volumes about such tendencies. During and after 2016 Presidential elections he emerged as a powerful political broker, later aligning with Hillary Clinton in efforts to form a political coalition capable of deposing President Trump.

We can admire the immortal foresight and moral courage of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the US of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed.

In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in "Internet society" it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can and one factor that played into the hands of defenders of personal privacy is the you can't drink from a fire hose: as soon as you connect too much information it devalues itself. Also methods of "injecting" false metadata into your profile are reality available. for example for Internet browsing anybody with programmable keyboard can do that. That means that you the set of sites you visited no longer can be considered authentic in "Post-Snowden" world. That dooms effort to assign you a level of "loyalty" based on your browsing history, which is very temping for three letter agencies to do.  Recent failed attempt to create a site that claffies some sites are "Russian propaganda" sites belong to this category (Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group.) But such attempts were just shifted to another domain -- "leak prevention" training:

Part of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” training includes watching a Fox News clip on the crackdown on leaks and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement announcing an increase in criminal leak investigations. A student guide from the Insider Threat Awareness training includes the McCarthyesque request that employees report on each other for “general suspicious behaviors,” including “Questionable national loyalty” such as “Displaying questionable loyalty to US government or company” or “Making anti-U.S. comments.” Never mind that the only oath government employees take is to the US Constitution, not to any government official or the US government itself and certainly not to a private company.

This also opens people to browsing blackmail.  In this sense post-snowmen world is inherently more difficult for three-letter agencies to navigate.

Computer technology and digital communication as new frontiers for intelligence  agencies

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet and cloud based technologies.  In a way Internet begets surveillance. And you can do nothing about it.  As former Sun CEO Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954)  said  "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." (see also Privacy is Dead – Get Over It).  

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far back as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history organized network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Recording of all email envelopes started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII for all regular mail entering or leaving the country.  It just got a new name now -- collection of metadata and the technology that allow correlation of multiple sets of metadata exposing hidden "networks".  Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was first polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.  As intelligence agencies were one of the first to deploy computers after WWII it would be naive to assume that IBM/360 mainframes were not used to analyze collection of metadata of international calls as early as in 1960th.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States". So those radicals served a guinea pigs for polishing methods of collection of communications using electronic means of surveillance.

So it would be a mistake to assume that such activities started with 9/11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready at least 15 years before 9/11 (explosive growth of internet in the USA started in 1996) and new methods of collection of information that are technically available are always adopted and used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being, in a pervert way,  classic "early adopters" of any communication or computer technology. And this happens not only in the USA,  although the USA as the  technological leader was probably most profoundly affected.

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich who were brought to the country after the WWII. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. and Allen Dulles at the CIA. aggressively recruited former Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the CIA pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

We don't know when it was extended on domestic calls, but from purely technical perspective this was a trivial extension of already existing and polished capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. 

But what is true is that after 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden, whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume), did the right thing, when he with the risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations, you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state and devalue many methods which were extremely effective before the revelations), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border as well as intercept communication of the US adversaries (which is a very flexible category those days ;-), we need to understand that the abuse of this function is inevitable. That actually the nature of the beast -- like any bureaucratic organizations they tend to expand their sphere of activities and escape form control -- and in this sense existence of powerful state intelligence agencies is incompatible with the democracy.  In this sense the appointment of Allan Dulles (who paradoxically was appointed the director under Eisenhower administration in 1952; Eisenhower warnings about the danger of military-industrial complex notwithstanding)  was really unfortunate.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

The immanent tendency of intelligence agencies to escape civil control
and in turn to establish indirect control of the government

There is deep analogy between financial services and intelligence services. Both try to escape from the control of democratic society. Both try to control the society instead of serve it. As they operate with large and uncontrolled amount of money soon after their creation inevitably the "the tail wagging the dog" (Merriam-Webster):

the tail wagging the dog used to describe a situation in which an important or powerful person, organization, etc., is being controlled by someone or something that is much less important or powerful

At some point the permanent unelected bureaucracy, became the shadow government instead of facilitating the decisions of elected officials. This process proceeds quicker if a sociopath manage to slip to the role of the head of such an organization. That's what the term "deep state" is about. Some authors such as  Douglas Horne view JFK assassination as a political coup d'état launched from the highest levels of US leadership (JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment Why Kennedy Was Assassinated). Here is a quote from the foreword by Jacob G. Hornberger:

By the end of November 1961, profoundly dissatisfied with his own national security advisory apparatus, President Kennedy had firmly pushed back against the national security establishment (in this case the NSC, the State Department, and the CIA) by purging and/or reshuffling many of the civilian hawks in his own administration into other positions, and by placing officials more in line with his own views into key positions. [A change in the top leadership at the Pentagon was to come later, in 1962.] Throughout 1961, the new President had painfully but quickly learned to be quite skeptical of the advice he was receiving, pertaining to matters of war and peace, from his hawkish advisors; and as 1961 progressed, John F. Kennedy repeatedly demonstrated what the hawks in government (the majority) no doubt considered a disturbingly independent (and increasingly all-too-predictable) frame of mind in regard to the national security recommendations he was receiving from the “sacred cows” and “wise men” in Washington, D.C. As I shall demonstrate in these essays, by the end of 1962, the national security establishment in Washington D.C., which had quickly come to know JFK as a skeptic during 1961, had come to view him as a heretic; and by November of 1963, the month he was assassinated, they no doubt considered him an apostate, for he no longer supported most of the so-called “orthodox” views of the Cold War priesthood. Increasingly alone in his foreign policy judgments as 1963 progressed, JFK was nevertheless proceeding boldly to end our “Holy War” against Communism, instead of trying to win it. In retrospect it is clear that the national security establishment wanted to win our own particular “jihad” of the post-WW II era by turning the Cold War against the USSR into a “hot war,” so that we could inflict punishing and fatal blows upon our Communist adversaries (and any other forces we equated with them) on the battlefield. It was this desire for “hot war” by so many within the establishment — their belief that conventional “proxy wars” with the Soviet Bloc were an urgent necessity, and that nuclear war with the USSR was probably inevitable — to which President Kennedy was so adamantly opposed. And it was JFK’s profound determination to avoid nuclear war by miscalculation, and to eschew combat with conventional arms unless it was truly necessary, that separated him from almost everyone else in his administration from 1961 throughout 1963, as events have shown us.

 

Against whom total surveillance is directed

Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about the control of the society by unelected elite. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany: "Let them be afraid". It's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous Stasi). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in the terminology of neoliberal "color revolutions" prevent  "regime change", unless it is initiated by more powerful foreign three letter agencies and significantly higher level of financial resources (that's why three letter agencies of newly minted xUSSR state in several cases were unable to prevent color revolutions of their territories).  

In other words surveillance and intelligence agencies are part and parcel of the totalitarian state. And Sheldon Volin actually created a term for such "pseudo-democratic" regime --  inverted totalitarism.  Unlike  classic totalitarism it generally tend to avoid using violence  to crush the dissidents and opposition to the current elite. More "soft" subversive methods are enough. In this sense the  story of crushing "of "Occupy Wall Street" movement is a testament of their efficiency. 

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack.  Any "custom" encrypted communication is far more difficult for intercepting party to decode, then "standard" encryption methods.  Some encryption methods virtually guarantee that it is impossible without stealing the key. Even detecting the fact of communication for such parties nowadays is very difficult as it can be hidden in  some "carrier" transmission (steganography) or split into multiple channels.   Those who have access to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits are well armed to resist attempt to intercept their communication. That includes most powerful foreign states. 

That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden from state actors.  Modern encryption systems such One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee that you get the "insider information" of the pad used (typically from a mole) they are impenetrable. Even regular encryption methods can be enhanced by additional step of compressing the files transmitted (which by and large eliminates redundancy if done properly and do not leave "tell" sign  of the method encryption used) . Decoding is easier when standard algorithms with possible backdoors are used but  even in this case I have doubts (Triple DEC).  That's why attempts to compensate this deficiency are being developed and one obvious path is intercepting regular citizen communication  of foreign countries which are considered to be unfriendly or adversarial to current the US foreign policy goals (which is the expansion and maintenance of global the Us-led neoliberal empire).

But the situation with  "open" traffic is completely different. Million of people outside the USA use Facebook, Amazon, Gmail and similar platforms. Which makes them a low hanging fruit and here NSA is the king of the hill.  Government officials also sometimes use regular  email and social sites (see Hillary Clinton email scandal). So intelligence agencies were provided with an important opening (and it might well be that the dramatic growth  of Webmail has something to do with their interests)

At the same time the abundance of information, as Biney mentioned, creates another problem --  the problem of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they tend to collect too much information and are swamped with the volume.  Of cause correlation of open traffic of "suspicious persons" can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking, because by definition (unless this is Hillary Clinton ;-) those persons are aware that they are watched, typically are trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly.  for example General Petraeus used an interesting method to communicate with his biographer and mistress (The Washington Post) :

They wrote their "intimate messages" as draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account, according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers' messages while leaving a much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the two seemed to be seeking to avoid. 

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Rather than transmitting emails to the other's inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic "dropbox," the official said. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier to trace.

With the power of modern computers, decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obscure the traffic. 

The real questions about NSA activities


Concern about the NSA assault on our privacy is no paranoid fantasy. In the words of an agency PowerPoint slide released by Snowden, the goal is to "collect it all", "process it all" and "know it all". The massive surveillance program is a clear violation of the Forth amendment prohibiting "unreasonable searches" of "persons, houses, papers, and effects" without "probable cause."

- Gene Epstein. "In defence of Snowden",
review of "No Place to Hide" Barrons, Jan 5, 2015, p 17

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Now every Internet or smartphone users probably understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24 by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Was placed under the [surveillance] dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves are:

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism (or may be even neofascism -- as it is, essentially, the merger of corporate and state interests) in the US after 9/11. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of STASI in all those activities. And some countries got into similar trap before, so nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted:

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships such as STASI and KGB. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Militarization of cyberspace makes Internet a very dangerous medium

We should view Snowden revelations in a larger context. Much of what he revealed about militarization of cyberspace was already known at the time when Flame and Stuxnet worms were discovered in 2011. He just dot the i's and cross the t's , so speak. As a result of his revelations, as The National Interest noted:

An increasing number of adversaries and even allies are coming to believe that the United States is militarizing cyberspace — and that impression of hubris and irresponsibility is beginning to have a real-world impact.

...The Snowden leaks have brought Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli program allegedly used to attack Iranian computer systems, back into public debate — and reminded us that the real damage of the Snowden revelations will be international.

...the perception that the United States has become a danger to the global internet is a cause for concern. In their understandable anger at the considerable damage Snowden has done (in the near term at the very least) to the operations of NSA and their allies, U.S. security officials should not lose sight of this fact.

Snowden’s claims build on the Stuxnet revelations. In doing so, they reinforce an impression of overbearing U.S. cyberpower (military and commercial) being used irresponsibly. That is strikingly at odds with the U.S. self-image as a standard bearer of internet freedom and “borderless” exchange, but it is a view that resonates around the world.

In fact the USA policies are stimulating economic and political rivals around the globe to organize and present unified front against this new and dangerous form of total surveillance. As well as implement similar domestic systems. In other words a new arm race started.

As methods and infrastructure of those activities are now revealed, the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back -- the US now should expect the same or worse treatment from other nations. Which can be no less inventive, or even more inventive the USA specialists in this area. And in this new arm race economically weaker nations actually has some leverage. Blowback, a CIA term for unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies, can be similar to the blowback of politically organizing Islamic radicals to fight Soviets in Afghanistan in the past.

Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, probably already waits patiently for her meeting with the NSA brass.

Blowback can irreparably damage the ability of the United States to obtain crucial information in foreign environments that are poorly understood in Washington. The cultural divide that exists when operating away from home means that CIA and NSA frequently work overseas through a network of liaison contacts. This in theory limits their activity, but it broadens their ability to collect information that can only be plausibly obtained by a local organization with local capabilities. Though nearly everyone also operates clandestinely outside the parameters of the established relationships insofar as it is possible or expedient to do so, there is an awareness that being caught can cause grave damage to the liaison relationship. Because being exposed is nearly always very painful, such operations are normally limited to collection of critical information that the liaison partner would be unwilling to reveal.

So while it might be comforting to claim that “everyone does it” at least some of the time, and it may even be true that local spy agencies sometimes collaborated with NSA, the United States has a great deal to lose by spying on its friends. This is particularly true as Washington, uniquely, spies on everyone, all the time, even when there is no good reason for doing so.

NSA Blowback The American Conservative

Centralization of user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email account mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. The most significant is that it created a way too easy opportunity both for those organizations as well as government agencies and large corporations to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and Russia, who have Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts). The history of "total surveillance" suggests that it tends to be abused. It is also huge, irreparable breach on trust in relation to allies. Closely resembles the situation in family when wife or husband learn that the other hired detective to snoop on you.

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the Soviet term for total surveillance was "to be under the 'dome' ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. At the same time there is an important difference: while such regime does mean indirect (and pretty effective) intimidation of dissidents, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent, which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice. The latter aggressively pursued those who got in their net trying either to convert them into informers or charge them with the some suitable article of Criminal Code. In some cases that practice lead to suicides. So here we can talk more properly talk about total surveillance an instrument of Inverted Totalitarism, or totalitarism in velvet gloves.

We are talking about "passive total surveillance" and temporary (which might be several years or your lifetime) storage of all intercepted data. But in a way, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and communist infiltration, he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

Every Breath You Take

Ich bin ein Berliner
J. F. Kennedy

The famous The Police hit Every Breath You Take should probably be the theme song for the NSA. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous speech:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Snowden revelations are not something new. The only real revelation was how much of it was going on domestically and gory details of such activities. Before 9/11 the NSA was basically prohibited from operating domestically. Of course it violates those prohibitions, but there were no systematic internal, all encompassing technical surveillance infrastructure in place. Now it is build and is deployed nation-wide. And that's a big change, big difference. Due to "novel" interpretation of a few provisions in the Patriot Act they created domestic dragnet which encompass most types of Internet communications. In addition to intercepting more then 70% of Internet traffic they also enjoy direct access to major cloud providers.

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression. And like in the USSR, it does change people behavior on the Web. People start thinking about consequences and this page is one of attempts to collect information that might help you to see "bigger picture".

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

For example, no one in sound mind can now trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. So attractiveness of Gmail, Hotmail and such are now different, then it was before. And separation of mail accounts between "junk mail" account and important mail account is something to think about. With the latter never in the cloud. In a way excessive using cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. There is no real justification of providing all your emails and address book to strangers who can abuse this information without your knowledge.

At the same time it is stupid to dramatize the situation. Still, what is really striking is the grotesque disproportionally of all this NSA surveillance "superdome" to the task of keeping the country safe from foreign enemies (NSA statute is about watching foreign communications), begging obvious questions of institutional sanity and competence. They turned all their super powerful collection mechanisms inside the country and now they drink from a firehouse. That means that the results and possibilities of abuse are pretty much predictable. Too many false positives create real danger of not to picking up weak signal. So the other question is "Who the hell made these decisions?" That's a lot of taxpayers money and I am not sure that they are well spend.

As for breach of privacy anyone with connected to Internet PC,  the first thing to understand that if somebody stores data in the cloud they should not expect any privacy, unless they encrypt them. Expecting that your unencrypted data are private is a sign of personal stupidity, no more no less. If somebody, who is keeping his address book in Google assumes that it remains private, that his own illusion. That has nothing to do with the reality.

And it not that only NSA threatens our privacy. After all there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which turns them into zombies, externally controlled monitoring devices. And such software BTW can pick up and offload, or encrypt for ransom all your data. I do not see much protest over this situation iether. Microsoft greed and stupidity is one reason for this dismal situation, but essentially any OS is vulnerable if enough money is invested in finding exploits.  And NSA actually created a market for such exploits. Now there are multiple "security firms" that do nothing then find "zero day" exploits and sell them to the highest bidder (which is of course government agencies).  Does not this reminds you 'war on drugs"?

In a way, any networked computer is an unsecure computer and should be treated as such. See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone that is outside some metal box. That's two basic "laws of security" in the current environment.

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but its interaction with self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity that simply means Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

Now we know what would a perfect prototype of Bid Brother ;-). The song (Every Breath You Take ) should probably be the theme song for the NSA. And not only NSA, but its counterparts in other parts of the globe; I think, other things equal, citizens of some other countries would greatly prefer NSA to their domestic counterparts.

Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA and other similar agencies to build a dossier, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with him/her. And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge. The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. They lie. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they need access to the whole haystack. But one interesting side effect is that now they are drinking from the fire hose, so to speak.

The power of meta data collection

Another interesting side-effect of the Snowden disclosures that the term ‘metadata’ became a common word in English language. With the growing understanding that metadata includes enough personal information to built a detailed profile of a person without even listening into content of communications. This technology was invented in Iraq war for fighting insurgents (were phone companies were controlled by US) and now is applied at home. In fact, by just using electronic communications, you are sharing a lot more personal information than you think. It's a reflection of a fact that it is very cheap to collect and analyses information about your electronic communications. The digital revolution which led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use, also led to an explosion of snooping after you by the governments.

We need to distinguish "total collection" of data from "total analysis" (or creation of dossiers on everybody as was practiced by STASI and friends). Raw data contain both "signal" and "noise". Analysis or data mining of those raw data is the process of extraction of useful signal from the noise. Of course we should be so naive that to assume that "signal" is related to purely terrorist activities. As recently published documents had shown, the NSA interests are much wider ;-). In bald terms, it sets out its mission:

“Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”

Along with major fiber-optic cables in the US, the NSA has access to data gathered by close intelligence partners such as Britain’s GCHQ.

Sometimes it appear to me that like Uncle Sam got "red disease" and now is trying to imitate "total surveillance" mantra of KGB, STASI and similar agencies on a new technological level. And the key lesson from Soviet experience is fully applicable to the current situation in the USA: when government consider everybody as a potential enemy you better watch your back. And having a cyberstooge following your every step more closely that it was possible for STASI spooks and informers is something you need to react to. Reading your address book, mail, list of books that you bought or borrowed from the library, analyzing your circuit of friends is what STASI was really good at. And it might well be that some unemployed specialists have found a new territory to apply their substantial talents.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with major US telecom and internet companies. That means that if you are customer of those major telecom and Internet companies you are like a bug under the microscope.

It is important to understand that metadata of your communications will always be exposed (it other words you are always walking "naked" on the Internet) because those new surveillance capabilities are immanent properties of Internet protocols, as we known it. There is no way to encrypt connection metadata: this is technically impossible unless you owns a vast private VPN network (some large corporations do), but even in this case I have doubts. Even snail-mail metadata are collected (and from 50th to 80th letters were opened and selectively copied by CIA). Diplomatic mail might still be secure, but that's about it.

Technological blowback

Like with any new development there are countervailing trends that after Snowden revelation went in overdrive and can seriously affect NSA capabilities.

One is switching to encrypting communication with most websites such as YouTube. That prevent simple harvesting of video that you watched from HTTP logs (but does not prevent harvesting -- it can be done using other methods)

The second is usage of software like Tor, although I think all connection to Tor sites are closely monitored by NSA.

The third is usage of your own cashing DNS proxy to limit number of DNS requests you make.  

I also think that all those development might give steganography a huge boost.

The other areas of technology that might get huge boost due to Snowden revelations is "Browsing imitating internet robots" technology which permit to drown NSA collection devices in spam -- fake accesses to web sites that is very difficult to distinguish from real browsing, but that make all statistical metrics applied to your Web traffic useless.  For example top visited pages became completely bogus. 

Currently this requires some level of technical sophistication and available mostly to programmers and system administrators interested in "beating NSA back". Programs that have those capabilities are often marketed as proxy logs replayers,  or Apache logs replayers or debugging tools. See for example  Load Testing with JMeter Part 3 - Replaying Apache Logs and Charles Web Debugging Proxy  ( and http - Replaying a Charles proxy session and recording the results - Stack Overflow ). Actually good old Expect can do wonders here if logs are converted into expect scripts. Especially in combination with Javascript (Scalable, Flexible Performance Testing Replaying web server log)

Another danger to society: Lord Acton warning as applied to NSA

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Lord Acton(1834–1902)

As Lord Acton(1834–1902) noted long before NSA started collecting all Internet communications "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state". 

The first grave consequence of total surveillance is that it tends to be abused. The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state".  

And the ability to intercept electronic communications gives those who are in charge of such collection  tremendous political power. Please remember that J. Edgar Hoover was director of FBI very long time partially because he dug a lot of dirt on politicians of his time including both Kennedys. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Essentially for half of the century he and his organization were out of control "state within the state" and nobody could do anything about it. Only after his death some measures were taken.

It's not that expanding bureaucracy per se is a problem. I doubt that those in the bureaucracy of those agencies do not think about larger consequences for societies of their attempts to expand their sphere of influence. It is much worse: they definitely knew about possible consequences, but go "full forward' anyway preferring job promotions and expansion of their influence. Like bureaucrats often do, they betrayed their nations like nomenklatura betrayed the people of the USSR (with a similar fig leaf of nice slogans about freedom as a smoke screen for pretty nefarious activities).

Elimination of possibility of opposition to the current regime

In case of NSA, this data on you, or particular political or social movement (for example "Occupy Wall Street") can be mined at any time, and what is even worse can be used to destroy any new political movement. And please remember that NSA is a just part of military-industrial complex, an entity that has some interesting political characteristics related to the term "the acquisition of unwarranted influence" . As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous farewell speech (which introduced the term "military-industrial complex"):

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

People seldom understand that all three letter agencies are not just part of military industrial complex, but are the key parts. While ability of weapon manufactures to buy or just simply control Congress members matters, three-letter agencies is where "unwarranted influence" fully materialize. By definition they are out of control and as any bureaucracy they want to grow. That was clear to Senator Frank Church who stated on August 17, 1975 NBC's Meet the Press:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

We can applaud his personal courage, but at this point it does not matter. The horse has left the barn. As sgtdoom commented The Guardian article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

...let us be realistic and not fall for the usual story of this being a discrete event (all the latest surveillance, that is).

This dates back to the founding of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex during and in the aftermath of World War II, by the Wall Streeters for their super-rich bosses, the Rockefellers, Morgans, du Ponts, Mellons, Harrimans (now Mortimers), etc.

The most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the total surveillance make organized opposition to the regime impossible. So welcome to nicer, gentler, but no less totalitarian world of 1984 (aka "Back in USSR"). The key equation is very simple:

total surveillance = total control

That simple fact was well understood by various dictators and totalitarian regimes long ago, but none of them has had even a tiny fraction of technical capabilities NSA has now. I think one of the reason that Occupy movement completely dissipated so fast was that they were like a bug under microscope of the government. And government want them to stop harassing Wall Street sharks for their 2008 crisis misdeeds.

Instilling fear

Another important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

An important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

In other words understanding that you are watched on 24 x 7 basis modifies behavior and makes self-censorship your second nature exactly the same way as in any totalitarian state, but without any physical coercion. Here is one telling comment from Secret to Prism program Even bigger data seizure

wtpayne

Indeed: The intentions and motivations of the agencies in question; the degree of oversight and so on; is almost irrelevant. To a certain extent, I am content to believe that the intentions of the perpetrators is good; and that the oversight and abuse prevention systems that they have in place are strong.

However, none of that matters if people self-censor; if people worry, not about what the government of today will find objectionable, but what the government of tomorrow will not like. In effect, we end up censoring ourselves from a hypothetical worst-case future government.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

We will concentrate on technical side of the this operation, trying to understand how much information can be stored about a regular "Joe Doer" based on technical capabilities that are available. Let's assume that we deal with mostly "passive surveillance": collection and storage of vast amount of Internet traffic on special computers using either mirrored ports on the key routers or special access to key providers of cloud services.

We can probably assume that several layers of storage of those data exist:

Technology development creates new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation on individual citizens are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners, and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. This is a huge saving of computational efforts ;-).

It means two things:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. Some point out that using basic phone slightly preferable to smartphone (both in a sense of absence of geodata and the possibility to install spyware on it -- there is simply no RAM to do anything sophisticated). But I do not think you can do much here

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression and it changes people behavior on the Web. In this sense, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and "KGB infiltration", he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

The centralization of searches on Google (and to a lesser extent on Bing -- the latter is standard with new Windows installation) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit.  But limited your time behind the computer is probably more efficient. Generally here I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. If you are conserved with you "search" profile, you can replay some searches to distort it. In any case,  search engines are now an integral part of our civilization, whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes.  Which is clearly within the current capabilities of storage technology. For comparison

Films to Understand the Phenomenon

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the term was "to be under the "kolpak" (dome) ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. And psychological effects of anticipating that you are under total surveillance are well depicted in the final of the film The Conversation (1974) directed by famous Francis Ford Coppola

At the same time there is an important difference: while both regimes creates implicit intimidation and squash dissent, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent. Which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice, which aggressively pursued those dissidents who got in their net, trying either to convert them into informers, or prosecute them using the existing articles of Criminal Code. In some cases that led to suicides. So here we can talk more about Inverted Totalitarism, a velvet gloves mode of suppressing of dissent.

Your email in toxic cloud

Still it is now dramatically more clear then before that centralization of email accounts and user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email accounts mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is far from being a positive development. Along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. Essentially it turns users into spies on themselves in a way that would be a dream by Stasi. The most significant is that it created an easy opportunities to data mine email databases both for those organizations as well as various government agencies and, possibly (in a limited way for special payment) by large corporations.

Those tendencies probably should be at least resisted, but we do not have means to reverse them.

Attempts to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and xUSSR area, who often use Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts) means that the country became a National Security State. With all relevant consequences of such a transformation.

And interest in content of your "cloud based" email is not limited to the government:

A sweeping Wall Street Journal investigation in 2010 found that the biggest U.S. websites have technologies tracking people who visit their pages, sometimes upwards of 100 tools per site. One intrusive string of code even recorded users’ keystrokes and transmitted them to a data-gathering firm for analysis.

“A digital dossier over time is built up about you by that site or third-party service or data brokers,” says Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program at George Mason University. “They collect these data profiles and utilize them to sell you or market you better services or goods.”

This is what powers the free Internet we know and love; users pay nothing or next to nothing for services — and give up pieces of personal information for advertisers in exchange. If you search for a Mini Cooper on one website, you’re likely to see ads elsewhere for lightweight, fuel-efficient cars. Companies robotically categorize users with descriptions such as “urban upscale” to “rural NASCAR” to tailor the advertising experience, says Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute. “They’ll use ZIP codes and census data to figure out what their lifestyle profile is.”

Tracking your Web access

Most of the site you visit those days was found via search engine, often Google. But Google is interested in more then search terms you use and sometimes plays with you a nasty trick: "Google may choose to exhibit its search results in the form of a 'URL redirector,'" reads Google's main privacy policy. That means that any time it wishes Google can spy on your Web activity:

"When Google uses a URL redirector, if you click on a URL from a search result, information about the click is sent to Google."

Few people check the URL before clicking on Google search results, so in a way this is perfect spying tool.

But there is another powerful spying tool in Google arsenal -- Google toolbar, and I am not sure that all those trick were not reused in Google browser. Google Toolbar sends all user clicks to Google, if advanced mode is enabled (and many people do enable it because they want to have spelling correction available which, conveniently for Google, belongs to the set of advanced features). This way you voluntarily subscribe to a 24x7 monitoring of your web activity using spyware that is installed on your computer with your consent. For the same reason recent smartphones fashion looks greatly misguided. It is better to use regular phone, then smartphone, and the last thing you probably want on your smartphone is Android OS or iOS, or windows 8 OS. In some deep way unlocked Nokia 1280 looks now much more attractive (and is way cheaper ;-).

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

Effects on behavior

As soon as they realize that they are watched, people start thinking about consequences and this article is a pretty telling (albeit slightly paranoid ;-) illustration of the effect. The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people preemptively change their behavior, if they know or suspect that they got "under the dome" of government surveillance, that all their emails are intercepted, all web site visits recorded, anything they buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control.

The angle under which will we try to cover the story is: the situation is such and such, now what? What are the most appropriate actions and strategy of behavior of people who are concerned about their privacy and no longer trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc ( and those who trust those providers should probably stop reading at this point). It is impossible to close all those accounts. But some can and should be closed; for example POP3 mail can replace web mail for all "important" mail; this way you avoid "cloud storage" of all your important correspondence. It is impossible not to use search engines, but you can chose which search language to use. It is impractical not to use smartphone and for Android phone you can't avoid registration -- that's the only way to get updates from Google, but you can root the phone, remove some snooping components and use Firefox instead of Chrome. But not it is clear that if mobile web browsing and checking email on your phone is not your thing you are better off with a very simple phone such as Nokia 1280.

The first and the most obvious "change we can believe in" is that we need to change our attitude toward cloud services and especially cloud services from large providers. Now the most reasonable assumption is that most national cloud providers including major retailers are in bed with the government three letter agencies. So you need to be careful what you browse for on Amazon, similarly to what you write from Gmail and Hotmail.

In a way, excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity. It is important to understand that for anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail or Hotmail can offer, regular small ISP account with Cpanel can offer with less risk for your privacy for, say, $5 a month or less. And your privacy definitely cost more then $60 a year.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. For anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail can offer, regular ISP account with Cpanel can offer too with less risk for your privacy.

At the same time it is also stupid to over-dramatize the situation and isolate yourself by abandoning Internet communications and restricting usage of cell-phone. The reasonable hypothesis is that today’s surveillance is a side effect of new technological developments and it is a new fact of life. It is just a new level of information gathering, which has been going on since the Byzantine Empire. And it is still limited by technological capabilities of sifting through mass of communications. But at the same time, quantity does at one point turns into quality, so the danger is real and as such could providers are suspect by definition. In no way they are new level of technological development. In sense they are one step forward, two sets back.

Also being engages in foreign wars has an interesting side effect that technologies invented come home and used against citizens (naked capitalism). That's actually the origin of indiscriminant collection of metadata used now.

But at the same time we need to understand that there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which can make your computer a zombie. And world did not perished due to that.

Still the key lesson is unmistakable: from now on, any networked computer is an unsecure computer that can't be trusted really confidential information, unless it is isolated by firewall and proxy. And if we assume that it is unsecured computer, them it should be treated it as such. The first step is that all confidential data should be deleted and moved to removable storage. In case you need to work with it as much as possible should be done on non-networked computers, limiting the exposure of your data to bare minimum. And the less powerful computer you use for processing you confidential data, the best; the less powerful OS you use, the best (what about using Windows 98 or DOS for those who can still remember it ? ;-). From now on "retro-computing" movement now is inherently linked with the issues of security and privacy and might get a new life.

This retro-computing idea might create a new life for abandoned computers that are in excess in almost every family ;-) See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone, which should be as simple as possible. Not all people really benefit from browsing the Web from their smartphones. If you are really paranoid you can think storing you cell phone at home in a metal box ;-).

In other words there are two new "laws of computer security":

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but voluntarily self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are way too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity you put yourselves voluntarily under surveillance. So not only Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

BTW just after Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. If you never have a chance to read it, please do it now. and again, if you think that this revelation of Prism program is a big news, you probably are mistaken. Many people understood that as soon new technical capabilities of surveillance are available they are instantly put to use. As John H. Summers noted in his review (The Deciders - New York Times) of John Mill "Power elite":

...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.

"For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency' without a foreseeable end,"

Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago.

"Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed a paranoid reality all their own."

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA instead of or in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it " Empire of Peace" ) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program: quantity turned into quality.

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view is a large government bureaucracy that expanded to the extent that quantity turned into quality.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power, no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps they will do it. Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that something it looks like a shadow government. And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. Now it is an Intelligence Church and like any religious organization they do not need fact to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is an infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, some with and some without factual awareness of the rest. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime". While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope of all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks

... ... ...

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" as it currently used. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they are collecting more information than anyone can comprehend ("drinking from a firehose" or "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

First of all there is a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut) in any large scale data collection and presence of noise in the channel makes signal much more difficult to detect.

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

The enormity of the database exacerbate the problem. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and processing required is much less then for emails intercepted from the wire data. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic (pictures) and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is mess, probably like is typical for any large organization with a lot of incompetents or, worse, careerists and psychopaths  at the helm (see Toxic Managers). Which is typical for government agencies and large corporations.

Still the level of logs collection and internal monitoring in NSA proved to be surprisingly weak, as there are indirect signs that the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. In any case we, unless this is a very clever inside operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never good in making huge and complex software projects work. And large software projects are a very difficult undertaking in any case. Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). It is given that such project will be over budget. Possibly several times over...

But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly"). Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government projects. Now when this activity come under fire some adjustments might be especially badly thought out and potentially cripple the existing functionality.

As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job". Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint" warriors. They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross apt recollection of his service as naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer. Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas. And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors that can chase mostly "big fish". Although one open question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Errors in algorithms and bugs in those programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc. In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way government is pushed in this area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making some correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. One typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Conclusions

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: "We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever."

New Internet technology developments has huge "Externality":
Profiling is now really easy and almost automatic, especially with your own help

Technology development create new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is huge saving of computational efforts.

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Total Surveillance Bulletin, 2014 Total Surveillance Bulletin, 2013

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[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.

[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 30, 2019] Barak and CIA

Jun 30, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says: "Shit Happens." Some people are just lucky, I suppose, and odd coincidences mark their lives.

When he was just out of Columbia College and working for a reputed CIA front company, Business International Corporation, Barack Obama had a chance encounter with a young woman, Genevieve Cook, with whom he had a 1-2 year relationship.

Like Obama and at about the same time, Cook just happened to have lived in Indonesia with her father, Michael Cook, who just happened to become Australia's top spook, the director-general of the Office of National Assessments, and also the Ambassador to Washington.

Of course, Obama's mother, as is well-known, just happened to be living in Indonesia with Barack and Obama's step-father, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian military officer, who had been called back to Indonesia by the CIA supported General Suharto three months before the CIA coup against President Sukarno. Suharto subsequently slaughtered over a million Indonesian Communists and Indonesian-Chinese.

As is also well-known, it just so happened that Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, trained in the Russian language, after teaching English in the US Embassy in Jakarta that housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia, did her "anthropological" work in Indonesia and Southeast Asia financed by the well-known CIA conduits, USAID and the Ford Foundation.

Then there is Cook's stepfather, Philip C. Jessup, who just happened to be in Indonesia at the same time, doing nickel-mining deals with the genocidal Suharto government.

Anyway, "shit happens." You never know whom you might meet along the way of life.

[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 20, 2019] Trump Says DOJ Investigating Whether Obama Tapped His Phone

Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Why won't Obama live in Chicago?

JD Rock , 2 hours ago link

too much diversity...

[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 17, 2019] America's Legacy of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer

Notable quotes:
"... For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history. ..."
"... It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

Covert Regime Change: America's Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O'Rourke (Cornell University Press, 2018); 330 pages.

For most of history, seizing another country or territory was a straightforward proposition. You assembled an army and ordered it to invade. Combat determined the victor. The toll in death and suffering was usually horrific, but it was all done in the open. That is how Alexander overran Persia and how countless conquerors since have bent weaker nations to their will. Invasion is the old-fashioned way.

When the United States joined the race for empire at the end of the 19th century, that was the tactic it used. It sent a large expeditionary force to the Philippines to crush an independence movement, ultimately killing some 200,000 Filipinos. At the other end of the carnage spectrum, it seized Guam without the loss of a single life and Puerto Rico with few casualties. Every time, though, U.S. victory was the result of superior military power. In the few cases when the United States failed, as in its attempt to defend a client regime by suppressing Augusto Cesar Sandino's nationalist rebellion in Nicaragua during the 1920s and 30s, the failure was also the product of military confrontation. For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history.

After that war, however, something important changed. The United States no longer felt free to land troops on every foreign shore that was ruled by a government it disliked or considered threatening. Suddenly there was a new constraint: the Red Army. If American troops invaded a country and overthrew its government, the Soviets might respond in kind. Combat between American and Soviet forces could easily escalate into nuclear holocaust, so it had to be avoided at all costs. Yet during the Cold War, the United States remained determined to shape the world according to its liking -- perhaps more determined than ever. The United States needed a new weapon. The search led to covert action.

A news agency

During World War II the United States used a covert agency, the Office of Strategic Services, to carry out clandestine actions across Europe and Asia. As soon as the war ended, to the shock of many OSS agents, Harry Truman abolished it. He believed there was no need for such an agency during peacetime. In 1947 he changed his mind and signed the National Security Act, under which the Central Intelligence Agency was established. That marked the beginning of a new era. Covert action replaced overt action as the principal means of projecting American power around the world.

Truman later insisted that he had intended the CIA to serve as a kind of private global news service. "It was not intended as a 'Cloak & Dagger Outfit!'" he wrote. "It was intended merely as a center for keeping the President informed on what was going on in the world [not] to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." Nonetheless he did not hesitate to use the new CIA for covert action. Its first major campaign, aimed at influencing the 1948 Italian election to ensure that pro-American Christian Democrats would defeat their Communist rivals, was vast in scale and ultimately successful -- setting the pattern for CIA intervention in every Italian election for the next two decades. Yet Truman drew the line at covert action to overthrow governments.

The CIA's covert-action chief, Allen Dulles, twice proposed such projects. In both cases, the target he chose was a government that had inflicted harm on corporations that he and his brother, John Foster Dulles, had represented during their years as partners at the globally powerful Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. In 1952 he proposed that the CIA overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, whose government was carrying out land reform that affected the interests of United Fruit. By one account, State Department officials "hit the roof" when they heard his proposal, and the diplomat David Bruce told him that the Department "disapproves of the entire deal." Then Dulles proposed an operation to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, who had nationalized his country's oil industry. Secretary of State Dean Acheson flatly rejected it.

White House resistance to covert regime-change operations dissolved when Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Truman at the beginning of 1953. Part of the new administration's enthusiasm came from Allen Dulles, Washington's most relentless advocate of such operations, whom Eisenhower named to head the CIA. The fact that he named Dulles's brother as secretary of State ensured that covert operations would have all the necessary diplomatic cover from the State Department. During the Dulles brothers' long careers at Sullivan & Cromwell, they had not only learned the techniques of covert regime change but practiced them. They were masters at marshaling hidden power in the service of their corporate clients overseas. Now they could do the same with all the worldwide resources of the CIA.

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. He would, however, have had at least two reasons.

Since Eisenhower had commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II, he was aware of the role that covert operations such as breaking Nazi codes had played in the war victory -- something few other people knew at the time. That would have given him an appreciation for how important and effective such operations could be. His second reason was even more powerful. In Europe he had had the grim responsibility of sending thousands of young men out to die. That must have weighed on him. He saw covert action as a kind of peace project. After all, if the CIA could overthrow a government with the loss of just a few lives, wasn't that preferable to war? Like most Americans, Eisenhower saw a world of threats. He also understood that the threat of nuclear war made overt invasions all but unthinkable. Covert action was his answer. Within a year and a half of his inauguration, the CIA had deposed the governments of both Guatemala and Iran. It went on to other regime-change operations from Albania to Cuba to Indonesia. Successive presidents followed his lead.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was once again free to launch direct military invasions. When it found a leader it didn't like -- such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi -- it deposed him not through covert action, but by returning to the approach it had used before World War II: the force of arms. Covert efforts to overthrow governments have hardly ceased, as any Iranian or Venezuelan could attest. The era when covert action was America's principal weapon in world affairs, however, is over. That makes this a good time to look back.

Metrics for covert action

Books about the Cold War heyday of covert action era are a mini-genre. Lindsey A. O'Rourke's contribution is especially valuable. Unlike many other books built around accounts of CIA plots, Covert Regime Change takes a scholarly and quantitative approach. It provides charts, graphs, and data sets. Meticulous analysis makes this not the quickest read of any book on the subject, but certainly one of the best informed. Chapters on the disastrous effort to overthrow communist rule in Eastern Europe, which cost the lives of hundreds of deceived partisans, and on the covert-action aspects of America's doomed campaign in Vietnam are especially trenchant.

O'Rourke identifies three kinds of covert operations that are aimed at securing perceived friends in power and keeping perceived enemies out: offensive operations to overthrow governments, preventive operations aimed at preserving the status quo, and hegemonic operations aimed at keeping a foreign nation subservient. From 1947 to 1989, by her count, the United States launched 64 covert regime-change operations, while using the overt tool -- war -- just six times. She traces the motivations behind these operations, the means by which they were carried out, and their effects. Her text is based on meticulous analysis of individual operations. Some other books about covert action are rip-roaring yarns. This one injects a dose of
rigorous analysis into a debate that is often based on emotion. That rigor lends credence to her conclusions:

Although these conclusions are not new, they have rarely if ever been presented as the result of such persuasive statistical evidence. Yet even this evidence seems unlikely to force a reassessment of covert action as a way to influence or depose governments. It is an American "addiction." The reasons are many and varied, but one of the simplest is that covert action seems so easy. Changing an unfriendly country's behavior through diplomacy is a long, complex, multi-faceted project. It takes careful thought and planning. Often it requires compromise. Sending the CIA to overthrow a "bad guy" is far more tempting. It's the cheap and easy way out. History shows that it often produces terrible results for both the target country and the United States. To a military and security elite as contemptuous of history as America's, however, that is no obstacle.

Although covert regime-change operations remain a major part of American foreign policy, they are not as effective as they once were. The first victims of CIA overthrows, Prime Minister Mossadegh and President Arbenz, did not understand the tools the CIA had at its disposal and so were easy targets. They were also democratic, meaning that they allowed open societies in which the press, political parties, and civic groups functioned freely -- making them easy for the CIA to penetrate. Later generations of leaders learned from their ignorance. They paid closer attention to their own security, and imposed tightly controlled regimes in which there were few independent power centers that the CIA could manipulate.

If Eisenhower could come back to life, he would see the havoc that his regime-change operations wreaked. After his overthrow of Mossadegh, Iran fell under royal dictatorship that lasted a quarter-century and was followed by decades of rule by repressive mullahs who have worked relentlessly to undermine American interests around the world. The operation he ordered in Guatemala led to a civil war that killed 200,000 people, turning a promising young democracy into a charnel house and inflicting a blow on Central America from which it has never recovered. His campaign against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, which included the fabrication of a poison kit in a CIA laboratory, helped turn that country into one of the most violent places on Earth.

How would Eisenhower respond to the long-term disasters that followed his covert action victories? He might well have come up with a highly convincing way to excuse himself. It's now clear, he could argue, that covert action to overthrow governments usually has terrible long-term results -- but that was not clear in the 1950s. Eisenhower had no way of knowing that even covert regime-change operations that seem successful at the time could have devastating results decades later.

We today, however, do know that. The careful analysis that is at the center of Covert Regime Change makes clearer than ever that when America sets out to change the world covertly, it usually does more harm than good -- to itself as well as others. O'Rourke contributes to the growing body of literature that clearly explains this sad fact of geopolitics. The intellectual leadership for a national movement against regime-change operations -- overt or covert -- is coalescing. The next step is to take this growing body of knowledge into the political arena. Washington remains the province of those who believe not only that the United States should try to reconfigure the world into an immense American sphere of influence, but that that is an achievable goal. In the Beltway morass of pro-intervention think tanks, members of Congress, and op-ed columnists, America's role in the world is usually not up for debate. Now, as a presidential campaign unfolds and intriguing new currents surge through the American body politic, is an ideal moment for that debate to re-emerge. If it does, we may be surprised to see how many voters are ready to abandon the dogma of regime change and wonder, with George Washington, "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?"

This article was originally published in the June 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .


This post was written by: Stephen Kinzer Stephen Kinzer is an author and newspaper reporter. He is a veteran New York Times correspondent who has reported from more than 50 countries on five continents. His books include "Overthrow" and "All the Shah's Men".

[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 14, 2019] Total control of narrative means total control of population

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses. ..."
"... As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay." ..."
"... Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom. ..."
"... The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so. ..."
"... The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter. ..."
"... These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

AnneR , June 14, 2019 at 09:35

Thank you Caitlin for this piece. Depressing but not unexpectedly so. And if my late husband's FB friends (as I've mentioned on here before) are anything to go by, the overwhelmingly bourgeois crowd will continue to be *willingly* propagandized with the Russophobic, Sinophobic and Iranophobic lies of commission and omission that regale them via MSDNC, NPR, PBS, BBC and the so-called "progressive" press (e.g. The guardian, Jacobin, the NYT).

These friends post pro-Demrat, pro-Russiagate, consider the choice to be between Warren and Klobuchar (?), and concentrate their minds on *progressive* ideations: sexual preference/"gender" identity/racial/ethnic identity and now and then a little on climate change (especially via the "green ND" – saving capitalism being all consuming or ignored). Never a word about income inequality, about the ongoing slaughter in Yemen, of the ongoing, never-ending nightmare of Palestinian life, of what we have done to Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan or are doing to Syria. Not a word about the immorality, illegality of our economic sanctions against NK, VZ, Iran nooo. Nary a peep about what we (US-UK-AU) are doing to Assange .

These really existing realities as lived by "others" whether the poor within these borders or the darker hued folks far from these shores do *not* matter one iota, certainly not by comparison with being able to vacation in this or that place, buy a bigger house, more clothes, demonstrate one's *Progressiveness.*

Lee Anderson , June 14, 2019 at 09:30

I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses.

For example, we are now being inundated with the NARRATIVE that Iran is attacking Japanese oil tankers. Pure nonsense, but the media is an adjunct of the bankster/military/oil industrial complex.

Politicians are merely puppets doing the bidding of their pay masters.

Sam F , June 14, 2019 at 05:46

Yes, money control of mass media is the problem. Such articles may help some with doubts to formulate an awareness that leads to admission of the problem. The major factor in admissions is the rare direct experience, which may include a story close to home, a personal loss due to narrative control. Of course the majority seek the mass media narrative because it directs them to safety and profit in their social and economic dependent relationships. Our unregulated market economy encourages the selfishness that enslaves the people to money power. As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay."

I hope to set up a college of policy debate CPD constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment. The CPD would bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately needs reform.

The debates will require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on both right and left, ensure that all points of view are heard, and require all challenges to be answered. This would have much reduced the group-think that led to our mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians will be easier to expose, and media commentators will have a starting point and a standard for investigation and analysis.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:14

Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom.

Donald Duck , June 14, 2019 at 03:18

"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." I have forgotten who actually said this but it seems appropriate for our age. I think the mass of people are very well aware of what is going on. The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so.

The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter.

If note is taken of the David Icke phenomenon it is possible to identify a growing awareness of the of ordinary people to the crimes of the rich and powerful.

These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:21

"Quiet desperation" is ftom Thoreau. The colossus with the feet of clay is the Biblical book of Daniel, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

Neither Reptilans nor Zionists make us Americans commit the crimes and follies we do. We oirselves are responsible.

T.J , June 14, 2019 at 02:43

Caitlin Johnstone has concisely and precisely, in this article, provided a compendium of ideas and sources to explain how the powerful through it's control of propaganda corrupts democracy to the core. Laziness, ignorance and acceptance of the status quo prevents the vast majority from acknowledging this to be the case. As Caitlin states it takes courage to reject the "narrative control matrix " of the powerful and that can only be achieved by changing our relationship with that narrative. This, of course, takes time and effort but is liberating nonetheless.

[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.

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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 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

𝐆­𝐨­𝐨­𝐠­𝐥­𝐞 𝐢­𝐬 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝟗­𝟕­$ 𝐩­𝐞­𝐫 𝐡­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫,𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐥­𝐲 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐭­𝐬.𝐘­𝐨­𝐮 𝐜­𝐚­𝐧 𝐚­𝐥­𝐬­𝐨 𝐚­𝐯­𝐚­𝐢­𝐥 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬.𝐎­𝐧 𝐭­𝐮­𝐞­𝐬­𝐝­𝐚­𝐲 𝐈 𝐠­𝐨­𝐭 𝐚 𝐛­𝐫­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐧­𝐞­𝐰 𝐋­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐑­𝐚­𝐧­𝐠­𝐞 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐟­𝐫­𝐨­𝐦 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝐞­𝐚­𝐫­𝐧­𝐞­𝐝 $­𝟏­𝟏­𝟕­𝟓­𝟐 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬 𝐥­𝐚­𝐬­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐬..𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡-𝐨­𝐮­𝐭 𝐚­𝐧­𝐲 𝐝­𝐨­𝐮­𝐛­𝐭 𝐢­𝐭'𝐬 𝐭­𝐡­𝐞 𝐦­𝐨­𝐬­𝐭-𝐜𝐨­𝐦­𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐭­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐣­𝐨­𝐛 𝐈 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐞 𝐞­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧­𝐞 .. 𝐈­𝐭 𝐒­𝐨­𝐮­𝐧­𝐝­𝐬 𝐮­𝐧­𝐛­𝐞­𝐥­𝐢­𝐞­𝐯­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐛­𝐮­𝐭 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐰­𝐨­𝐧­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐠­𝐢­𝐯­𝐞 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫­𝐬­𝐞­𝐥­𝐟 𝐢­𝐟 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧'𝐭 𝐜­𝐡­𝐞­𝐜­𝐤 𝐢­𝐭.

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.

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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

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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.

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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 ?????

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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 29, 2019] Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied

May 29, 2019 | news.sky.com

GCHQ has dismissed fresh allegations that it spied on Donald Trump's presidential campaign - describing the claims as "utterly ridiculous".

Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst, has accused the British intelligence agency of helping Barack Obama by spying on the billionaire businessman during the 2016 race.

The US president tweeted about the rumours on Wednesday after they were highlighted in a report on the right-wing One America News Network.

Mr Trump wrote: "'Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.' @OANN WOW!

"It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!"

[May 23, 2019] Guccifer 2.0 Was Not a Russian Creation by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... The Word documents published in June 2016 by Guccifer 2 also show a "last saved as" user id written in Cyrillic. The Anglicized name is " Felix Edmundovich ", aka "Iron Felix" (the infamous director of an early Soviet spy agency). If you are a Russian cyber spy trying to conduct a covert operation, why do you sign your document with the name of one of the most infamous leaders of Russian intelligence? Robert Mueller wants you to believe that this was just Russian audacity. ..."
"... The phrase "personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians" catches something important. Whether it was the Russians or somebody else that did this, whoever did it was pretty sloppy. What this report describes is almost as pathetic when considered a false flag operation as it is as a sabotage operation. So any theory of who stole and published the documents has to explain a capability to access the data combined with blissful obliviousness about handling them. I know of no reason to think the Russian, US, Israeli, or other intelligence communities incapable of such a combination. All of them have brilliant dedicated people but also seemingly endless supplies of mediocre time-servers. ..."
"... Scenario? Shutdown, closing of words with documents being automatically saved? Ok, otherwise there is apparently no precise saving time stamp on Winwords latest version. How much changed since 2016? ..."
"... The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals. ..."
May 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Russia did not hack the DNC. This is not an opinion. It is a conclusion that flows from one very specific claim made by the Special Counsel -- i.e., Guccifer 2.0 was a fictional identity created by Russian Military Intelligence, the GRU. If Guccifer was in fact a creation or creature of the GRU, then the forensic evidence should show that this entity was operating from Russia or under the direct control of the GRU. The forensic evidence shows something quite different -- the meta data in the Guccifer 2.0 documents were manipulated deliberately to plant Russian fignerprints. This was not an accident nor an oversight due to carelessness.

What is meta data? This is the information recorded when a document is created. This data includes things such as the date and time the document was created or modified. It tells you who created the document. It is like the Wizard of Oz, it is the information behind the curtain.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's is correct in stating that Guccifer 2.0 was a "fictious online persona. " He is wrong in attributing that action to Russian Military Intelligence. While Guccifer 2.0 was a "fictious" entity, the information recorded about when, how and who created the document show that deliberate choices were made to present the info as if it was created by someone Russian.

Let us first stipulate and agree that Russia and the United States engage in cyber espionage and covert action against each other. This has been the case since computers and the internet came into existence. Within the U.S. Intelligence Community these activities generally are labeled with the acronym, CNO -- Computer Network Operations. The Russians and the United States have cadres of cyber "warriors" who sit at computer terminals and engage in operations commonly known as hacking. Other countries, such as China, Iran and Ukraine do this as well.

CNOs are classified at the highest level in the United States and normally are handled within special restricted categories commonly known as SAPs (i.e, Special Access Programs). A critical element of these kinds of operations is to avoid leaving any fingerprints or clues that would enable the activity to be traced back to the United States. But this is not unique to the United States. All professional intelligence services around the world understand and practice this principle -- leave no evidence behind that proves you were there.

The case implicating Russia in the hack of the DNC and Clinton emails, including those of her campaign Manager, John Podesta, rests on suspect forensic computer evidence -- is present in the meta data in the documents posted on line by Guccifer 2.0. According to Disobedient Media , "the files that Guccifer 2.0 initially pushed to reporters contain Russian metadata, a Russian stylesheet entry and in some cases embedded Russian error messages."

Why would the Russians make such a mistake, especially in such a high stake operation (targeting a national election with covert action most certainly is a high stake operation). Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community want you to believe that the Russians are just sloppy and careless buffoons. Those ideologically opposed to the Russians readily embrace this nonsenses. But for those who actually have dealt with Russian civilian and military intelligence operatives and operations, the Russians are sophisticated and cautious.

But we do not have to rely on our personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians. We simply need to look at the forensic evidence contained in the documents posted by Guccifer 2.0. We will take Robert Mueller and his investigators at their word:

An examination of those documents tells a very different story. While it does not reveal who or what was Guccifer 2.0, it does undermine Mueller's claim that it was the Russians who did these dastardly deeds.

One independent forensic computer investigator, who uses the name, "The Forensicator," examined the meta data in some of the documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered the following :

Guccifer 2.0 published a file on 13 September 2016 that was originally copied on 5 July 2016 at approximately 6:45 PM Eastern time. It was copied and appeared as the "NGP VAN" 7zip file.

The estimated speed of transfer was 23 MB/s. This means that this initial data transfer could have been done remotely over the Internet. Instead, it was likely done from a computer system that had direct access to the data. "By "direct access" we mean that the individual who was collecting the data either had physical access to the computer where the data was stored, or the data was copied over a local high-speed network (LAN)."

This initial copying activity was done on a system that used Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) settings and was likely initially copied to a computer running Linux, because the file last modified times all reflect the apparent time of the copy, which is a characteristic of the Linux 'cp' command (using default options).

On September 1, 2016, a subset of the initial large collection of DNC related content (the so-called NGP/VAN data), was transferred to working directories on a system running Windows. The .rar files included in the final 7zip file were built from those working directories.

The alleged Russian fingerprints appeared in the first document "leaked" by Guccifer 2.0-- 1.doc -- which was a report on Donald Trump . A forensic examination of the documents shows thatgiven the word processor program used to create the Donald Trump Document released by Guccifer 2.0, the author consciously and purposefully used formats that deliberately inserted "Russian fingerprints" into the document. In other words, the meta-data was purposely altered, and documents were pasted into a 'Russianified' word document with Russian language settings and style headings.

Here are the key facts:

The meta data shows that Slate_-_Domestic_-_USDA_-_2008-12-20.doc was the template for creating 1.doc , 2.doc and 3.doc . This template injected "Warren Flood" as the author value and "GSA" as the company value in those first three Word documents. This template also injected the title , the watermark and header/footer fields found in the final documents (with slight modifications).

The Word documents published in June 2016 by Guccifer 2 also show a "last saved as" user id written in Cyrillic. The Anglicized name is " Felix Edmundovich ", aka "Iron Felix" (the infamous director of an early Soviet spy agency). If you are a Russian cyber spy trying to conduct a covert operation, why do you sign your document with the name of one of the most infamous leaders of Russian intelligence? Robert Mueller wants you to believe that this was just Russian audacity.

But the meta data tells a different story. When we examine The Revision Session Identifiers aka 'RSID's, in the Guccifer document, we see the same Russian style-headings in 1.doc, 2.doc and 3.doc. The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Given that MS word assigns a new random 'RSID' with each save when an element is added or edited (this function allows one to track changes made to a Word document), the only way to obtain identical creation timestamps means that someone either directly edited the source document or that there was one empty document open and that individual documents were copy-pasted and saved-as (1.doc), then contents deleted and new doc pasted and saved-as (2.doc), etc. This process also explains identical style-sheet RSIDs .


joanna , 22 May 2019 at 08:54 AM

The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Curious, no doubt. But who of us did not consider Guccifer 2 curious. Put another way, what experts considered him solid proof for Russian involvement?

Are you suggesting Winword templates were used for the metadata?

As IT nitwit, how can I save three *doc files or their 2016 word equivalent at the same time? Any way to do that? Windows doesn't seem to have a solution to that.

Again: This is a nitwit user asking a question.

*******
I admittedly am not overly motivated to read the Mueller report. I'll read your contribution again to figure out what you may suggest in or between the lines.

fredw , 22 May 2019 at 09:26 AM
The phrase "personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians" catches something important. Whether it was the Russians or somebody else that did this, whoever did it was pretty sloppy. What this report describes is almost as pathetic when considered a false flag operation as it is as a sabotage operation. So any theory of who stole and published the documents has to explain a capability to access the data combined with blissful obliviousness about handling them. I know of no reason to think the Russian, US, Israeli, or other intelligence communities incapable of such a combination. All of them have brilliant dedicated people but also seemingly endless supplies of mediocre time-servers.

Equally interesting is the fact that this analysis has come from such a private source. Surely all the major intelligence agencies have the skill to find the same indicators. And all have comparatively endless resources to apply to the analysis. But they all seem to not want to talk about it. For me the most suspicious thing about the handling of the theft was the FBI's near complete lack of interest in examining the server. I have always assumed that such indifference reflected that they already had all they needed in order to understand what happened. Maybe even watched the theft in real time. But this report demonstrates that you didn't need any special access to blow up the official story. (Note that the official story may be "true". It is just not proven by the cited evidence.)

Yet, whatever actually happened, nobody seems interested in challenging the narrative that Russians stole data and routed it through useful idiots to influence the 2016 elections. This report indicates that a persuasive challenge would not have been hard to produce.

Perhaps the false flag was intentionally clumsy, intended to be detected. Bait for a trap that no one wants to fall into. But I don't see where that thought leads.

joanna , 22 May 2019 at 09:58 AM
https://archive.fo/2dMfC#selection-683.213-687.434

This can be discovered by looking at things called 'rsid's or Revision Session Identifiers in Guccifer's document. In order to track changes, MS word assigns a new random 'rsid' with each save upon each element added or edited. The rsids for the Russian style-headings in 1.doc, 2.doc and 3.doc are all the same (styrsid11758497 in the raw source).

Moreover, the document creation timestamps on 1,2, and 3.docs are all identical too. This might imply there was one empty document open, with individual documents being copy-pasted and saved-as (1.doc), then contents deleted and new doc pasted and saved-as (2.doc), etc. This is the only way to go about obtaining identical creation timestamps short of direct editing of the source, and would also explain identical style-sheet RSIDs.

Scenario? Shutdown, closing of words with documents being automatically saved? Ok, otherwise there is apparently no precise saving time stamp on Winwords latest version. How much changed since 2016?

Empty doc open? What would that change?

But good to see that Winword now integrated some type of automatic saving option, didn't have it when I gave it up and shifted to Open Office. On the other hand, can I trust it to not confront me with an earlier revision version? I admittedly asked myself lately. In a 200 page file, mind you.

Karen Eliot , 22 May 2019 at 10:34 AM
As someone with a little bit of experience in that area I can assure you that language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution. You would mention it in a report, but from it you can only conclude that
  • either the creator was an amateur and used his own language environment
  • or actually selected this particular language environment, either by running a - in this case - Russian copy of Office, or by changing the metadata manually.
  • or he used his own language environment because he doesn't care, and because he knows that this information is worthless for any forensics expert.

The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals.

Attribution is really hard and usually amounts to a lot of guessing who might be interested in the target of an attack, correlating information from other campaigns, and is only rarely based on hard evidence. Big state actors probably can do a little bit better when they have access to enough network taps. But in the end one bit looks like any other, and properties of static documents can always be forged and made to look real. Or simply buy a copy of MS Office in .

joanna said in reply to Karen Eliot... , 23 May 2019 at 09:51 AM
The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Ok doc creation times. Could one create a WinWord Macro? That does exactly that. ok, why would one do this? True. Minor detail, I know. But I see we have experts around now.

*******
More generally. Guccifer 2.0 was a bit of an odd occurrence, not least due to US intelligence considering Guccifer one or zero, if you like.

Fred , 23 May 2019 at 11:24 AM
fredw,

"..nobody seems interested in challenging the narrative that Russians..."

That's precisely what Larry has been doing for some time.

"Equally interesting is the fact that this analysis has come from such a private source."

How dare a private citizen challenge the narrative!

"Perhaps the false flag was intentionally clumsy..."

False flag, let's discuss that idea, brought up solely by you, and not discuss Larry's analysis.

[May 23, 2019] The language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution

May 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Karen Eliot , 22 May 2019 at 10:34 AM

As someone with a little bit of experience in that area I can assure you that language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution. You would mention it in a report, but from it you can only conclude that
  • either the creator was an amateur and used his own language environment
  • or actually selected this particular language environment, either by running a - in this case - Russian copy of Office, or by changing the metadata manually.
  • or he used his own language environment because he doesn't care, and because he knows that this information is worthless for any forensics expert.

The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals.

Attribution is really hard and usually amounts to a lot of guessing who might be interested in the target of an attack, correlating information from other campaigns, and is only rarely based on hard evidence.

Big state actors probably can do a little bit better when they have access to enough network taps. But in the end one bit looks like any other, and properties of static documents can always be forged and made to look real. Or simply buy a copy of MS Office.

[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 search engine. "Search engine" is starting to look like a utility, something we all need to share to make more profit elsewhere.
Connecticut Farmer , says: May 13, 2019 at 8:52 am
While I totally agree that FB has evolved into what amounts to a public utility and needs to be treated as such, beware of the following caveat: FB, Google etc. will no longer be "free." The likelihood will be that once the dust settles their services (as well as those of any rival companies that will result from this process) will come with a price tag. FB, Google etc. will become like electricity–if you want it, you have to pay for it.
TheSnark , says: May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

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.

On the advertising and data side, there are many competing data brokers who have every incentive to abuse your personal data. What we need there is not just a law, but a constitutional amendment defining a citizen's right to privacy, that we own our own data, and we must approve of any use of it. That simply was not an issue when the Bill of Rights was written, but it is now.

North Peninsulan , says: May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

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] 1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

Notable quotes:
"... In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance. ..."
"... Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media. ..."
"... Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense." ..."
"... "Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells." ..."
"... Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. ..."
"... "We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by John Vibes via ActivistPost.com,

This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever. Orwell's predictions were so spot on that it almost seems like it was used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be tyrants.

In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance.

Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media.

Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense."

There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on. Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new. However, Orwell had an incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.

The technological predictions made in the book were truly uncanny, as they give a fairly accurate description of our modern world. Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device. This type of technology was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras built into the devices.

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "big brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control. Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with police brutality and government corruption.

Many of the ideas about power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are timeless and as old as recorded history ; but his analysis of how technology would amplify the destructive nature of power was incredibly unique, especially for his time.


wonder warthog , 2 minutes ago link

Not to stray too far, I always liked the part in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes":

"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells."

The laugh shouter is one of those government or corporate chuckle-heads that goes along, gets along, and usually spends less than an hour a day actually doing his job. You see them on TV and in every office. Everything out of their mouths has to be punctuated with a chuckle.

sacredfire , 2 minutes ago link

Coincidentially, I am reading it now and when I first started reading it three weeks ago I was stunned at it's accurate depiction of todays America!

Teja , 6 minutes ago link

Regarding the way the world is dis-informed and manipulated by social media comments, try "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, written in 1985.

Reaper , 7 minutes ago link

The Exceptionals find virtue in trusting their "protectors," aka police/FBI/military/CIA./courts.

wonder warthog , 12 minutes ago link

The thing I remember from the novel was the "versificator" which was a typewriter-like device that allowed historical events to be changed as needed . . . very much like the networked computer.

TahoeBilly2012 , 11 minutes ago link

Facebook recently made me an UnPerson, not joking. I had deleted my acct some years ago, re-registered to man a business page and...haha they rejected me, recent photo and all.

Deep Snorkeler , 21 minutes ago link

Donald Trump's World

He watches TV. That's his primary experience with reality.

He communes with nature solely through manicured golf courses.

A man of empty sensationalism, devoid of real experience,

uneducated, insulated and deeply shallow.

WileyCoyote , 22 minutes ago link

A group of 'servants' possessing a monopoly of force and using it to rule over others has never worked out well for the 'citizens' in the long run.

hedgeless_horseman , 28 minutes ago link

...and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Barbarossa296 , 19 minutes ago link

A great classic by Edward Gibbons. History does indeed repeat itself.

Alananda , 28 minutes ago link

There are a few other books and booklets and letters that also seem eerily prescient. Following modern-day protocols, however, it's best not to mention them in polite company. ;-)

chumbawamba , 22 minutes ago link

To which Protocols do you refer?

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 32 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state.

Exactly...

"We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/voting-big-brother-you-might-be-low-information-voter

chumbawamba , 28 minutes ago link

"1984", otherwise known as "Plantation Theory 101" to the bloodline elites.

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 20 minutes ago link

I plan on voting in the local elections, especially for Sheriff and the bond issues. Also, I still think that voting for the quality Libertarian candidates is a better option than not voting, but I do understand your point. But when all else fails, you better be prepared to vote from the rooftops...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-18/political-power-grows-out-barrel-gun-mao-tse-tung

[May 13, 2019] Although NSA discovered irregularities in the Spring, they didn't get aired until October? Maybe because he reports to the President?

May 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , May 11, 2019 5:21:12 PM | link

< Full Spectrum Domino @49>

Good info. Very interesting. I was aware of Mike Rogers role but I discounted it because:

1) It came too late (October 2016) and got little real media attention before the election.

2) Although NSA discovered irregularities in the Spring, they didn't get aired until October? Maybe because he reports to the President?

3) It is said that Rogers informed Trump. Yet Trump didn't little if anything as a result.


In the end, "Russiagate" continued despite Rogers info. Almost as though the Deep State consensus was to initiate a new McCarthyism - which has been my operating theory for months.

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Will anyone be prosecuted for "Russiagate"? I doubt it. Everyone involve will say they were doing their jobs. Their "intent" based on patriotic duty.