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London Is Only The 6th Most-Surveilled City In The World

London Is Only The 6th Most-Surveilled City In The World

According to a study by research website Comparitecheight out of the ten most surveilled cities in the world are in China, and as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz notes, the country that has been making headlines for its generous use of surveillance technology is featured heavily throughout the whole ranking that features 120 cities globally.

Central Chinese city Chongqing tops the list with 168 public CCTV cameras per 1,000 inhabitants.

Infographic: The Most Surveilled Cities in the World | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The highest-ranked non-Chinese city is London, also notorious for its strict surveillance of public spaces, but at 68 cameras per 1,000 Londoners, the city is featuring far less CCTV cameras than its Chinese counterparts.

Atlanta is the highest-ranked U.S. city and comes in tenth with 15.6 cameras per 1,000 people.

CCTV technology is controversial in many places around the world, with proponents touting its benefits for fighting crime and opponents cautious about surveillance’s potential to be used as a tool of public control and to violate privacy rights. The makers of the survey said that they found no connection between lower crime rates or a heightened feeling of security and surveillance in the cities surveyed.

2002 Landmarks on the Road to “1984” Orwellian Hell

2002 Landmarks on the Road to “1984” Orwellian Hell

Next month will be the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Politicians
and bureaucrats wasted no time after that carnage to unleash the
Surveillance State on average Americans, treating every person like a
terrorist suspect. Since the government failed to protect the public,
Americans somehow forfeited their constitutional right to privacy.

Despite heroic efforts by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden and a host of activists and freedom fighters, the government continues ravaging American privacy.

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

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

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

Mass Surveillance: NJ Cops Turn Individuals’ Phones Into Spying Devices

MASS SURVEILLANCE: NJ COPS TURN INDIVIDUALS’ PHONES INTO SPYING DEVICES

It’s for their own good, of course! A New Jersey police department has unveiled technology that will allow 911 operators to stream video from callers smartphones.

For the time being, callers have to turn on the live video stream, meaning they are consenting and giving the police permission to see what’s happening as they call. This is the first step to automatic surveillance upon calling people who are assumed to be there to help. According to RT, the technology allows the 911 operators to use the phone’s camera and microphone. This is the first step down a very slippery slope.

Police Drop “Crime Prediction” Software, But Not Because It’s Orwellian

911eye, developed by Capita Secure Solutions and Services in conjunction with West Midlands Fire Service in the UK, represents a step toward a terrifying surveillance infrastructure that can turn any internet-capable device into a remote-activated surveillance tool. West Midlands Police were the first to embrace “pre-crime” technology in the UK, developing the National Data Analytics Solution to sniff out potential offenders and divert them with ostensibly therapeutic “interventions.”

If the fact that it was developed by the people behind the real-life version of ‘Minority Report’ isn’t enough reason to give 911eye a wide berth, take a look at Carbyne911, one of its competitors. Funded by deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein through former Israeli PM Ehud Barak, Carbyne911 markets itself as the solution to mass shootings. The program – founded by current and former Israeli intelligence personnel, which isn’t at all worrisome given that this country spies on the US so extensively it scares Congress – lets emergency dispatchers commandeer the camera and microphone of any internet-capable device within a certain range of the person who made the call. –RT

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

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

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

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

Millions of shoppers scanned

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

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

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

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden

“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech.”

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via video link as he takes part in a round table meeting on March 15, 2019. (Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates raised alarm Thursday after the Trump administration called on Congress to reauthorize an NSA mass surveillance program that was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The New York Times, which obtained the Trump administration’s request to Congress, reported that “the administration urged lawmakers to make permanent the legal authority for the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans’ domestic communications, the USA Freedom Act.”

“It’s long past time that this surveillance program was shuttered once and for all.” 
—Patrick Toomey, ACLU

“The law, enacted after the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, is set to expire in December, but the Trump administration wants it made permanent,” according to the Times.

The administration claimed in its letter to Congress—which was signed by outgoing National Intelligence chief Dan Coats—that the NSA has suspended the spying program, but Free Press Action government relations director Sandra Fulton said in a statement that this “should give little comfort to those whose privacy rights are routinely violated by authorities.”

“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech,” said Fulton. “The NSA program permits the mapping of relationships among members of marginalized communities and distant associates of targeted individuals, even when most individuals in those communities were never suspected of wrongdoing.”

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

U.S. Customs Continues To “Modernize” Its System To Include Biometrics For All Passengers

U.S. Customs Continues To “Modernize” Its System To Include Biometrics For All Passengers

One aspect often lost in the immigration debate is the rollout of government solutions that are set to restrict the freedom of the perfectly innocent.  A key component of this is the increased collection of passenger biometrics.

As I’ve discussed before, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a mandate that’s been 15 years in the making to integrate government databases for ID verification. Private companies have been enlisted to ensure that there is a “quick and easy roll out across U.S. airports,” according to Jim Peters, chief technology officer for SITA, one of the information technology companies working with airlines.

This is predictably moving from isolated and elective collection into mandatory compliance for all inbound and outbound international travelers. This, too, has always been part of the program as shown in this 2017 document from DHS:

As Nextgov reports, this increased data collection will begin before passenger arrival, and is now coupled with transferring everything to centralized cloud storage:

In addition to expanding its biometric capabilities, the agency is also working to migrate all of its traveler processing tech to the cloud, create more self-service tools for the public and let officers use mobile devices to verify people entering the country, officials said in a solicitation published Thursday.

[…]

“The paradigm will evolve from biographic data focused to biometric data centric,” officials said in the solicitation. “A biometric-based approach allows threats to be pushed-out further beyond our borders before travelers arrive to the U.S.”

“Integration of facial recognition technologies is intended throughout all passenger applications,” they added.

[…]

Officials aim to have all of the agency’s traveler processing and vetting applications housed in the cloud by 2024, the solicitation said, and they also want to allow “officers to admit or refer travelers using mobile technology.”

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

Police Used Streetlamps To Spy On The Public More Than 140 Times

Police Used Streetlamps To Spy On The Public More Than 140 Times

credit: San Diego Union Tribune

Gone are the days when cities used streetlamps to simply illuminate sidewalks and streets. Today’s streetlamps are being used to form an inter-connected web of surveillance devices.

A recent San Diego Union-Tribunearticle revealed how San Diego police officers have used streetlamp video surveillance in at least 140 cases and sometimes as frequently as 20 times a month.

Let that sink in for a moment; spying streetlamps are real and police have already requested video footage from more than 140 streetlamps.

Lt. Jeffery Jordon called spying streetlamps “game changing” and that is exactly how they should be viewed. Streetlamps that are designed to spy on the public, really is a game changer.

San Diego’s streetlamps are equipped with ShotSpotter microphones that police claim are not being used to listen to public conversations.

Should we believe them?

Could police use ShotSpotter to listen to public conversations? Nearly a decade ago, the East Bay Timesrevealed how the Oakland Police used ShotSpotter to record public conversations.

It was only three years ago when the NJ Transit secretly used DriveCam’s LTYX cameras equipped with microphones to listen to public conversations.

So just what is law enforcement using these streetlamps for?

No one knows for sure; but a spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that a citywide policy to regulate the use of the microphones and cameras in streetlamps is “under development.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune claims that 100 police officers have direct access to streetlamp surveillance and said that nearly every one of the department’s 1,800 police officers can request access.

Just how concerned is the City Council that law enforcement is using streetlamps as surveillance devices?

Apparently not very much, as City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery admitted, by saying that she’s “open to exploring” oversight of the program.

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

FBI, ICE Using Facial Recognition To Bulk-Scan DMV Photos In “Unprecedented Surveillance Infrastructure”

FBI, ICE Using Facial Recognition To Bulk-Scan DMV Photos In “Unprecedented Surveillance Infrastructure”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using state driver’s license databases to run photos of millions of Americans through facial-recognition systems without their knowledge or consent, according to the Washington Post

Thousands of facial-recognition requests, internal documents and emails over the past five years, obtained through public-records requests by Georgetown Law researchers and provided to The Washington Post, reveal that federal investigators have turned state departments of motor vehicles databases into the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure.

Police have long had access to fingerprints, DNA and other “biometric data” taken from criminal suspects. But the DMV records contain the photos of a vast majority of a state’s residentsmost of whom have never been charged with a crime. –Washington Post

Disturbingly, neither Congress nor state legislatures have authorized this type of systemand none of us agreed to it when we obtained licenses

China No Match for Japan in Southeast Asia Infrastructure Race

“They’ve just given access to that to the FBI,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking GOP member of the House Oversight Committee. “No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses. They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s okay to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen.” 

“Law enforcement’s access of state databases,” and in particular those of the DMV, is “often done in the shadows with no consent,” added House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD). 

And as has been reported for some time, law enforcement has been relying on facial recognition technology as a routine investigative tool for years – and it’s going to get worse

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

NSA Caught Illegally Collecting Americans’ Phone Data…Again

NSA CAUGHT ILLEGALLY COLLECTING AMERICANS’ PHONE DATA…AGAIN

Once again, the National Security Agency has been caught illegally collecting the phone data of Americans. This news comes just months after a similar incident forced them to (supposedly) purge hundreds of millions of records captured without FISA authorization.

According to RT, the government spy agency unlawfully gathered a “larger than expected” volume of call and text records from one United States telecom provider under the metadata-collection program known as Section 215. According to a document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union  (ACLU) as part of its ongoing lawsuit against the agency, the heavily redacted file does not reveal which company was affected, or how many of its “call detail records” were illegally collected between October 3 and 12, 2018.

These documents further confirm that this surveillance program is beyond redemption and a privacy and civil liberties disaster,” ACLU National Security Project staff attorney Patrick Toomey told the Associated Press as reported by RT.“There is no justification for leaving this surveillance power in the NSA’s hands.” The NSA, unsurprisingly, in its own internal documents assessed the blunder’s “impact on national security or international relations” to be “none.” Critics of the program, formerly known as StellarWind, have pointed to its acknowledged failure to stop a single terror event. Terrorism was the agency’s official rationale for eavesdropping on 3 billion phone calls every day.  That’s just one of many reasons the entire agency, not just its programs, should be scrapped.

The agency “will assess the scope of the civil liberties and privacy impact of this incident upon completion of the investigation,” the report promises, though an “initial assessment is that the impact was limited given the quick identification, purge processes, and lack of reporting.” Journalist Ben Swann is not letting the NSA off the hook. “If there is no accountability for those who continue to break the law – because that’s what they’re doing – then why would they ever stop doing that?” Swann pondered.

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

George Orwell’s Dystopian Nightmare in China

George Orwell’s Dystopian Nightmare in China

Beijing’s tyranny over its people is fast becoming more terrifying than anything in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Michael Hogue 

It has become fairly cliché to call China’s surveillance state—its artificial intelligence-driven facial recognition, the new “social credit system,” its cultural policing and re-education camps for Uyghur minorities—“something right out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Orwell’s dystopian vision, first published 70 years ago this June, was informed by the fascist and communist movements that triggered worldwide military conflict and the deaths of millions of people during the mid-20th century. But Orwell’s warning went well beyond the wars we knew. It cautioned, noted Erich Fromm in an afterword in the 1961 edition, against the loss of humanity and free thought, and the new, increasingly centralized “managerial industrialism, in which man builds machines which act like men and develops men who act like machines.” It showed how that could be used as a tool of totalitarian ambitions.

China convulsed in revolution during the 1940s; Mao Zedong established the one-party state of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. But Orwell, according to Fromm, had his gaze on Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is set in fictional Oceania, one of three of the world’s superstates. Oceania is run by one party, Ingsoc (English Socialism), headquartered in what is left of post-war London. “Big Brother” is the god-like, mustachioed visage serving as the party’s fearsome symbol of absolute authority.

As rooted as Nineteen Eighty-Four is in Orwell’s own uncertain world, he could not have imagined how his predictions for humankind would morph and metastasize beyond the terrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution and into the cyber-authoritarianism we are seeing in Xi Jinping’s China today (still run by the Chinese Communist Party). 

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

Just When You Thought Surveillance Tech Couldn’t Get Any More Orwellian…

Just When You Thought Surveillance Tech Couldn’t Get Any More Orwellian…

One of my favorite TV shows was Person of Interest. In that show, a genius programmer was hired by the government to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) computer to tap into and analyze communication feeds and predict activities that may pose a threat. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, things spun out of control; the system that was designed to benefit society was not always beneficial to citizens.

As amusing as it is to watch escapist fiction such as this, it’s not so enjoyable when you realize it’s no longer fiction. China has already developed the infrastructure to envelop their citizens in this protective surveillance net and has begun that slippery slope of using AI to not only catch activities deemed undesired by the government – it’s starting to take action against those observed.

In the city of Shenzhen (and most likely others), when an offender is observed jaywalking via video surveillance, they will publicly humiliate you by showing your face on screens located around the city. Now that’s bad enough but they’re going a step further. Those identified will have their cell phone ‘pinged’ and be sent an immediate fine.

By the way, Intellifusion, the company behind the AI system involved is in talks with WeChat and Seina Weibo (China’s equivalents of Facebook and Twitter).

The surveillance state is expanding, and even children are not exempt.

You may think there must be some kind of check-and-balance system built in to ensure that children would be protected so that they wouldn’t suffer the same consequences as an adult. You’d be wrong.

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

Orwellian Future: Facial Recognition & Mass Surveillance is Coming to U.S. Schools

ORWELLIAN FUTURE: FACIAL RECOGNITION & MASS SURVEILLANCE IS COMING TO U.S. SCHOOLS

We are staring our Orwellian future right in the face.  Beginning in New York, facial recognition is coming to schools in the United States and it’ll be switched on for testing next week.

The dystopian future George Orwell warned about in his accidental historical predictions book, 1984, has arrived. According to an article by Engadget, the Lockport City School District in New York will start testing a facial and object recognitionsystem called “Aegis” on June 3rd. According to BuzzFeed News, that will make it the first in the U.S. to pilot a facial recognition mass surveillance system on its students and faculty.

The district installed cameras and the software suite back in September, using $1.4 million of the $4.2 million funding it received through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act. Funding provided through the Bond Act is supposed to go towards instructional tech devices, such as iPads and laptops, but the district clearly had other plans. –Engadget

BuzzFeed News got its hands on a copy of a letter distributed to the students’ parents, and it describes Aegis as “an early warning system” that can notify officials of threats.  But that’s the propagandized version of what the system is in reality: it’s a mass surveillance tool being sold to the public as “safety” as with any human rights infringement. The system, created by Canadian company SN Technologies, can apparently keep track of certain individuals in school grounds.

Schools have long been indoctrination centers and it doesn’t look like that trend will be reversed anytime soon, in fact, it’s being amplified. The system can identify students and staff who’ve been suspended, but it’s unclear if Lockport will use it to monitor those who’ve been suspended over non-violent offenses.

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

UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on a East London street. The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals. 

One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and took his picture anyway according to the Daily Mail

If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face. Don’t push me over when I’m walking down the street,” said the man after his stop. 

“How would you like it if you walked down the street and someone grabbed your shoulder? You wouldn’t like it, would you?” the man asked an officer, who replied “Calm yourself down or you’re going in handcuffs. It’s up to you. Wind your neck in.” 

“You wind your neck in,” the man replied. 

After being fined, the man told a reporter: ‘The chap told me down the road – he said they’ve got facial recognition. So I walked past like that (covering my face).

‘It’s a cold day as well. As soon as I’ve done that, the police officer’s asked me to come to him. So I’ve got me back up. I said to him ‘f*** off’, basically.  

‘I said ‘I don’t want me face shown on anything. If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face, it’s not for them to tell me not to cover me face. 

‘I’ve got a now £90 fine, here you go, look at that. Thanks lads, £90. Well done.’ –Daily Mail

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

Google Tracks Your Location and Shares It With Police, Even When Your Phone is Off

Google Tracks Your Location and Shares It With Police, Even When Your Phone is Off

Even if you disable GPS, deactivate phone location tracking, and turn off your phone, it’s still possible for Google and the NSA to monitor your every move.

Over the last two decades, cell phone use has become an everyday part of life for the vast majority of people around the planet. Nearly without question, consumers have chosen to carry these increasingly smart devices with them everywhere they go. Despite surveillance revelations from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the average smart phone user continues to carry the devices with little to no security or protection from privacy invasions.

Americans make up one of the largest smartphone markets in the world today, yet they rarely question how intelligence agencies or private corporations might be using their smartphone data. A recent report from the New York Times adds to the growing list of reasons why Americans should be asking these questions. According to the Times, law enforcement have been using a secret technique to figure out the location of Android users. The technique involves gathering detailed location data collected by Google from Android phones, iPhones, and iPads that have Google Maps and other Google apps installed.

The location data is stored inside a Google database known as Sensorvault, which contains detailed location records of hundreds of millions of devices from around the world. The records reportedly contain location data going back to 2009. The data is collected whether or not users are making calls or using apps.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says police are using a single warrant—sometimes known as a “geo-fence” warrant—to access location data from devices that are linked to individuals who have no connection to criminal activity and have not provided any reasonable suspicion of a crime. Jennifer Lynch, EFF’s Surveillance Litigation Director, says these searches are problematic for several reasons.

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

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