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Surveillance Capitalism: Monetizing the Smartphone User

Surveillance Capitalism: Monetizing the Smartphone User

Commentary

This article is part of a series on corporate surveillance highlighting civil liberty, privacy, cyber security, safety, and tech-product user exploitation threats associated with connected products that are supported by the Android (Google) OS, Apple iOS, and Microsoft Windows OS.

Today, people, businesses, government officials, and law makers are unaware of the business model that supports their favorite technology such as smartphones and connected products that are supported by the Android, Apple, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The connected-product business model comprises surveillance and data mining business practices rooted in “surveillance capitalism.” These are terms that the public is unaware of because all parties concerned are not transparent about their business practices.

Addictive, Intrusive, and Exploitative

Companies that have adopted a surveillance capitalism business model are in the business to exploit their paying customers or product users for financial gain at the expense of the user’s civil liberties, privacy, cybersecurity, and safety, whether the product user is an adult or a child.

Don’t take my word for this claim: Former Alphabet Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, and former Google designer Tristan Harris admit that Google and Facebook develop addictive, intrusive, and even potentially harmful technology in order to exploit the product user for financial gain.

“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. … They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next,” Schmidt toldThe Wall Street Journal in 2010.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Forget New Zealand – You Must Give Your Password & Pin to your Phone So Customs Can Search it When you Land

Ever since the Socialists took over New Zealand, it demonstrates how they presume everyone is guilty and they might be hiding money that they can confiscate all because rich bastards are not entitled to what they earn – it belongs to them always. If you refuse, the fine is $5,000. New Zealand has become the first country to fine passengers who refuse to hand over their phone passwords at the border. Obviously, forget New Zealand. The New Zealand Customs and Excise Act 2018, which went into effect this week, allows customs officials to demand passwords, PINs and encryption keys to unlock devices for “digital strip searches” of anyone traveling to New Zealand.

Unfortunately, some other countries are watching closely. They will let you in if you pay the $5,000 find and you cannot refuse and get on the next plane without paying the $5,000 fine. This is what lies in store when socialists grab control. Freedom of the individual NO LONGER exists!!!! The state comes before God, family, or human rights.

When you travel, you should get a burner phone. You cannot have anything private on your person. Welcome to 1984 – it was just a little late!

Government Surveillance: Those Signs Showing Your Speed May Be SPYING On You

Government Surveillance: Those Signs Showing Your Speed May Be SPYING On You

Those signs that show you how fast you are traveling may be a part of a United States government surveillance program. That sign might not only be there to remind you what the speed limit is but a part of a dystopian “Big Brother” spy network.

“There used to be an old police saying, ‘If you robbed a bank, please drive carefully,’” former NYPD Detective Sergeant and Bronx Cold Case Squad commander Joseph Giacalone told Quartz. Giacalone that if a getaway driver didn’t do anything to attract the attention of police and get pulled over, they usually had a half-decent chance of fleeing. “But that’s no longer in effect because you can drive slow, you can stop at every red light, but these license plate readers and surveillance cameras track your every movement.”

According to recently released US federal contracting data, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms.” The DEA is buying them from RU2 Systems Inc., a private Mesa, Arizona company.  But that’s not all.  Two other related contracts have been found, as reported by Quartz.

The two contracts show that the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs. An RU2 representative said the company providing the LPR devices themselves is a Canadian firm called Genetec. The DEA’s most recent budget describes the program as “a federation of independent federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement license plate readers linked into a cooperative system, designed to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to interdict drug traffickers, money launderers or other criminal activities on high drug and money trafficking corridors and other public roadways throughout the U.S.” .

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New FCC Ruling Gives Federal Government Control of 5G Rollout

As the push towards 5G-powered “Smart” surveillance cities begins across the United States the Federal Communications Commission has approved a new rule limiting the power of local authorities.

On Monday October 1st, Sacramento, Houston, Indianapolis and Los Angeles became the first cities to gain access to Verizon’s 5G Wireless service. The City of Sacramento has become a focus of Verizon’s nationwide expansion of 5G, or 5th Generation Cellular technology. “We were able to make Sacramento one of our first 5G cities because Mayor Darrell Steinberg and city leaders embraced innovation and developed a strategic vision for how 5G could be a platform for the larger Sacramento technology ecosystem,” said Jonathan LeCompte, Pacific Market president for Verizon.

The rollout of 5G is expected to herald the beginning of Smart Cities, where driverless cars, pollution sensors, cell phones, traffic lights, and thousands of other devices interact in what is known as “The Internet of Things”. The move towards the smart grid was hastened last week when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a rule that will limit the role of local authorities regarding the build of 5G networks, specifically the amount city officials can charge telecommunication companies (“Big Tech”).

The Hill reported on the new rule:

“All four commissioners offered support for the rule, with Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel dissenting over only part of the proposal. When the new rules take effect, local officials will have 60 to 90 days to review installation requests.

Republicans on the commission say that limiting what they see as exorbitant fees in major cities will free up capital for companies like Verizon and AT&T to invest in building out their networks in underserved rural areas. The commission estimated that the rule will save wireless providers $2 billion.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Empire of Lies: Are ‘We the People’ Useful Idiots in the Digital Age?

“Back in the heyday of the old Soviet Union, a phrase evolved to describe gullible western intellectuals who came to visit Russia and failed to notice the human and other costs of building a communist utopia. The phrase was “useful idiots” and it applied to a good many people who should have known better. I now propose a new, analogous term more appropriate for the age in which we live: useful hypocrites. That’s you and me, folks, and it’s how the masters of the digital universe see us. And they have pretty good reasons for seeing us that way. They hear us whingeing about privacy, security, surveillance, etc., but notice that despite our complaints and suspicions, we appear to do nothing about it. In other words, we say one thing and do another, which is as good a working definition of hypocrisy as one could hope for.”—John Naughton, The Guardian

“Who needs direct repression,” asked philosopher Slavoj Zizek, “when one can convince the chicken to walk freely into the slaughterhouse?”

In an Orwellian age where war equals peace, surveillance equals safety, and tolerance equals intolerance of uncomfortable truths and politically incorrect ideas, “we the people” have gotten very good at walking freely into the slaughterhouse, all the while convincing ourselves that the prison walls enclosing us within the American police state are there for our protection.

Call it doublespeak, call it hypocrisy, call it delusion, call it whatever you like, but the fact remains that while we claim to value freedom, privacy, individuality, equality, diversity, accountability, and government transparency, our actions and those of our government rulers contradict these much-vaunted principles at every turn.

For instance, we claim to disdain the jaded mindset of the Washington elite, and yet we continue to re-elect politicians who lie, cheat and steal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

This Is The “Last Free Generation” Says Julian Assange In Last Pre-Blackout Intervi

Prior to being cut off from the internet, phone and most visitors, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview on the future of surveillance and how technological advances are changing humankind.

Provided to RT by officials with the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona, Assange’s outlook on where humanity is headed is – to put it lightly, dystopian. He says that it will soon be impossible for any human being not to be included in global government databases collected by federal officials and state-like entities alike.

This generation being born now… is the last free generation.You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.

A small child now in some sense has to negotiate its relationship with all the major world powers… It puts us in a very different position. Very few technically capable people are able to live apart, to choose to live apart, to choose to go their own way,” he added. “It smells a bit like totalitarianism – in some way. -Julian Assange

Assange also predicts that AI will be able to automate hacking activities, dramatically increasing the scale of hostile activities through cyberspace.

There is no border [online]. It’s 220 milliseconds from New York to Nairobi. Why would there ever be peace in such a scenario?” he said. “[Entities online] are creating their own borders using cryptography. But the size of the attack surface for any decent-sized organization, the number of people, different types of software and hardware it has to pull inside itself means that it is very hard to establish.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Freedom Where Did You Go?

Freedom Where Did You Go?

My Generation is the last one to have known privacy and to have lived out most of our lives in freedom.

I remember when driving licenses did not have photos and most certainly not fingerprints. A driving license was issued on proof of birth date alone.

Prior to the appearance of automobiles IDs did not exist in democratic nations. You were who you said you were.

The intrusive questions that accost us every day, even when doing something simple as reporting a telephone or Internet connection being out or inquiring about a credit card charge, were impermissible. I remember when you could telephone a utility company, for example, have the telephone answered no later than the third ring with a real person on the line who could clear up the problem in a few minutes without having to know your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name. Today, after half an hour with robot voices asking intrusive questions you might finally get a real person somewhere in Asia who is controlled by such a tight system of rules that the person is, in effect, a robot. The person is not permitted to use any judgment or discretion and you listen to advertisements for another half hour while you wait for a supervisor who promises to have the matter looked into.

The minute you go online, you are subject to collection of information about yourself. You don’t even know it is being collected.

According to reports, soon our stoves, refrigerators, and microwave ovens will be reporting on us. The new cars already do.

When privacy disappears, there are no private persons. So what do people become? They become Big Brother’s subjects.

We are at that point now.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Google Suppresses Memo Revealing Plans to Closely Track Search Users in China

Illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

GOOGLE SUPPRESSES MEMO REVEALING PLANS TO CLOSELY TRACK SEARCH USERS IN CHINA

GOOGLE BOSSES HAVE forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned.

The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained “pixel trackers” that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

The Dragonfly memo reveals that a prototype of the censored search engine was being developed as an app for both Android and iOS devices, and would force users to sign in so they could use the service. The memo confirms, as The Intercept first reported last week, that users’ searches would be associated with their personal phone number.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Apple’s Mysterious New ‘Trust Score’ For iPhone Users Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

Like Facebook (and the Chinese Communist Party) before it, Apple is now assigning users of its products a “trust” score that is based on users’ call and email habits, the Sun reports. The new ratings were added as part of the latest iOS 12 update, as VentureBeatexplains.

Apple’s promise of transparency regarding user data means that any new privacy policy update might reveal that it’s doing something new and weird with your data.

[…]

Alongside yesterday’s releases of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5, Apple quietly updated some of its iTunes Store terms and privacy disclosures, including one standout provision: It’s now using an abstracted summary of your phone calls or emails as an anti-fraud measure.

The provision appears in the iTunes store and privacy windows of iOS and tvOS devices. An Apple spokesperson clarified that the score is meant to stop unauthorized iTunes purchases, but as VentureBeat explains, the trust score is unusual for several reasons – not least of which being that users can’t make phone calls or send emails on Apple TVs. Indeed, the only thing Apple customers can say for sure is that the company’s disclosure leaves many unanswered questions.

Trust

Aside from the obvious inconsistencies surrounding the Apple TV, it’s also unclear how recording and tracking the number of calls or emails made from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will help Apple verify a user’s identity. One would think, as Venturebeat points out, that Apple could simply rely on serial numbers or SIM cards. Perhaps the company feels that verifying the device isn’t enough, and that it needs to go further to make sure the person using the device is the same. Still, exactly how the company will go about accomplishing this is suspiciously unclear.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Leaked Memo Reveals Details Of Google’s “Censored Search Engine” For Communist China

It’s now confirmed that Google’s long suspected assistance to the Communist government of China to censor and monitor its citizens’ online activity runs deeper and is more proactive that initially thought.

The Intercept published a bombshell report based on internal Google whistle-blower testimony which shows the internet giant plans to launch a search engine for China with censorship capabilities built into it, which provides a backdoor monitoring platform allowing government authorities to track users’ entire search history and even their location.

The search system is code-named “Dragonfly,” according to a confidential memo outlining the project that circulated inside the company the contents of which have been leaked to The Intercept by an engineer who worked on the search engine. The Google engineer said that employees were forced by Google bosses to delete the memo as it was authored and circulated among a group voicing concern and dissent over the planned search engine.

The Intercept summarizes the confidential memo’s contents as follows:

The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, code-named Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.

By requiring users to log-in to perform a simple search, system administrators can immediately identify the person behind the search and their profile; and a Chinese partner would then have the capability to “selectively edit search result pages” with few limitations, according to the memo.

The “Chinese partner”  thought to be a private company working in tandem with the Chinese government — will store user information in a database on servers in Taiwan.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Declassified Documents Expose DOJ Rules for Spying on Journalists with Secret Court

Declassified Documents Expose DOJ Rules for Spying on Journalists with Secret Court

Newly released documents detail never before seen Department of Justice rules relating to conducting surveillance on journalists suspected of being an agent of a foreign government.

journalists

On Monday the Freedom of the Press Foundation released Department of Justice documents detailing the procedure for monitoring journalists using the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents were recently obtained via Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

The documents reveal that the DOJ is not required to satisfy “a multi-part test” designed to prove they have exhausted all options before targeting a journalist with surveillance, as is the case for obtaining traditional subpoenas, court orders, and warrants against journalists. Instead, Trevor Trimm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation notes, the DOJ only must follow less strict court orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court. FISA court orders are also inherently secret, and targets are almost never informed that they exist,” Trimm writes in a press release regarding the documents.

The secret courts were originally created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) in response to reports produced by the Church Committee in 1975. The Senate committee was tasked with investigating the foreign and domestic surveillance operations by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during the 1970s. The Church Committee also released detailed reports on the governments Counter Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) that were used against activists and influential voices of opposition during the 1950s and ’60s.

“While civil liberties advocates have long suspected secret FISA court orders may be used (and abused) to conduct surveillance on journalists, the government—to our knowledge—has never acknowledged they have ever even contemplated doing so before the release of these documents today,” writes Trimm.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Apple Is Now Giving People “Trust Scores” Based on Their Calls and Emails

Apple Is Now Giving People “Trust Scores” Based on Their Calls and Emails

This information will likely not be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Big Tech’s increasing propensity to violate the privacy of users and use their data for questionable reasons, but here we are.

Two days ago, the tech website Venture Beat noticed an eyebrow-raising bit in the latest update to Apple’s privacy policy:

Apple’s promise of transparency regarding user data means that any new privacy policy update might reveal that it’s doing something new and weird with your data. Alongside yesterday’s releases of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5, Apple quietly updated some of its iTunes Store terms and privacy disclosures, including one standout provision: It’s now using an abstracted summary of your phone calls or emails as an anti-fraud measure.

The provision, which appears in the iTunes Store & Privacy windows of iOS and tvOS devices, says:

To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase. The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.

Venture Beat points out that this provision is unusual, in part because it includes Apple TVs, which do not have the capability to make calls or send emails.

It is unclear how Apple is going to collect the data, and

It’s equally unclear how recording and tracking the number of calls or emails traversing a user’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch would better enable Apple to verify a device’s identity than just checking its unique device identifier. Every one of these devices has both hardcoded serial numbers and advertising identifiers, while iPhones and cellular iPads also have SIM cards with other device-specific codes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Communist China Moves To Control Billions Through ‘Social Credit’

Communist China Moves To Control Billions Through ‘Social Credit’

In a chilling but unsurprising move, Communist China seeks ultimate control over the population by introducing a scorecard which will supposedly keep the public in check. The big brother system will monitor all citizens 24/7 and keep a “score” of their activities.

The Communist Party’s plan in China is for every one of its 1.4 billion citizens to be at the whim of a dystopian social credit system, and it’s on track to be fully operational by the year 2020. According to News.com.au, an active pilot program has already seen millions of people each assigned a score out of 800. Those people will either reap the benefits of having a high score or suffer the consequences of a low social score. Depending on which end of the scale they sit, their behavior could see them punished.

The data is combined with information collected from individuals’ government records, which include medical and educational, along with their financial and internet browsing histories. Overall scores can go up and down in “real time” dependant on the person’s behavior but they can also be affected by people they associate with. “If your best friend or your dad says something negative about the government, you’ll lose points too,” the ABC reports.  The Chinese will be assumed guilty by association and no longer able to speak out about their own oppression.

Participation in the “social credit” system was first announced in 2014 and is mandatory. The government is attempting to control the actions of the public in a bid to reinforce the notion that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful,” according to a government document.

“If people keep their promises they can go anywhere in the world,” said Tianjin general manager Jie Cong. For Jie, it’s black and white with no grey area. “If people break their promises they won’t be able to move an inch!”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

European Court Rules NSA Surveillance Practices Violate Human Rights

(ANTIMEDIA) — Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the U.K.’s GCHQ spy agency is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights with its mass surveillance programs. The court ultimately found that these activities violate the family and privacy rights of British and European citizens, and this assertion ultimately includes a rejection of the United States’ activities considering GCHQ has obtained much of its data from the NSA.

The suit was brought by Amnesty International, Big Brother Watch, the ACLU, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and other civil liberties groups. It addresses provisions of the U.K.’s 2000 Investigatory Powers Act, and though a new version of the law was passed in 2016 and is yet to be enacted, many of the issues the court identified remain in the 2016 bill.

Though the court stopped short of saying intelligence sharing between agencies like GCHQ, NSA, and members of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance violate the human rights convention, it said “using such intelligence sharing to bypass restrictions on surveillance of a member state’s own citizens would be a violation of the charter,” Ars Technica summarized. (In a 2015 ruling, a U.K. court ruled intelligence sharing did, in fact, violate European law).

The Guardian clarified the ruling, which found some activities are in violation of the charter but maintained others are not:

By a majority of five to two votes, the Strasbourg judges found that GCHQ’s bulk interception regime violated article 8 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees privacy, because there were said to be insufficient safeguards, and rules governing the selection of ‘related communications data’ were deemed to be inadequate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?”

spy eye

Press freedom advocates have obtained and released federal government documents detailing an invasive process officials can use to spy on journalists. (Photo: ACLU)

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents—obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November—confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders.


New documents – obtained by and – appear to confirm longstanding suspicion that government has relied on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor journalist communications.

1:25 PM – 17 Sep 2018

The two 2015 memos from former Attorney General Eric Holder to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lay out procedures to ensure that the attorney general or deputy attorney general signs off on any FISA applications “targeting known media entities or known members of the media.”

These secret rules, as Cora Currier reported for The Intercept, “apply to media entities or journalists who are thought to be agents of a foreign government, or, in some cases, are of interest under the broader standard that they possess foreign intelligence information.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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