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40 Privacy Groups Warn That Facial Recognition is Threatening Democracy

40 Privacy Groups Warn That Facial Recognition is Threatening Democracy

We must take action and guard what little privacy remains before it’s too late. 

(TMU) — On Monday, forty organizations signed a letter calling on an independent government watchdog to recommend a ban on U.S. government use of facial recognition technology.

The letter was drafted by the digital privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and signed by organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color of Change, Fight for the Future, Popular Resistance, and the Consumer Federation of America. The letter calls on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to “recommend to the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security the suspension of facial recognition systems, pending further review.

The PCLOB was originally created in 2004, as an independent agency that advises the administration on privacy issues. “The Congress specifically found that new surveillance powers ‘calls for an enhanced system of checks and balances to protect the precious liberties that are vital to our way of life and to ensure that the Government uses its powers for the purposes for which the powers were given’,” the letter states.

The organizations challenge the PCLOB to “examine the more significant public concerns about the use of facial recognition in public spaces.” They also call on the board to address concerns that facial recognition software can be used by “authoritarian governments to control minority populations and limit dissent could spread quickly to democratic societies.

The letter from EPIC mentions a recent New York Times investigation of a facial recognition service used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies across the country.  As the Mind Unleashed recently reported, Manhattan-based Clearview AI is collecting data from unsuspecting social media users and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is using the controversial facial recognition tool to pinpoint the identity of unknown suspects.

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

How Much Have Americans Been Spied On By The Gov’t Since 2001? Sharyl Attkisson Provides The Ugly Truth

How Much Have Americans Been Spied On By The Gov’t Since 2001? Sharyl Attkisson Provides The Ugly Truth

We’ve all heard about at least some of this before.  Thanks to Full Measure for producing this new segment reminding us about why this should tick us off. Independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson also provides an update about her own computer intrusion by the U.S. government in this video.

We begin with an examination of one of the worst abuses of government power that could happen in our society. Illegal spying on U.S. citizens. Amid findings about egregious violations by our intelligence community, there’s a criminal investigation. And the court that approves surveillance on U.S. citizens has instructed the FBI to implement new safeguards as of this week. As our intelligence agencies face what may be their biggest scrutiny in decades, we examine how we got here.

Our examination of government surveillance controversies begins in 2001. Under FBI Director Robert Mueller, new rules were imposed to address FBI abuses.

FBI Agents had repeatedly gotten caught submitting false information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify wiretapping or spying on U.S. citizens.

Unfortunately, increasing surveillance on non-consenting Americans by a variety of entities seems to be the new norm thanks to new and unsafe technology being forcibly installed throughout our communities (see 1234567) and even on our homes.  Activist Post reports about this regularly.  For more information, visit our archives.

America Is The 4th Worst Abuser Of Biometric Privacy Rights In The World

America Is The 4th Worst Abuser Of Biometric Privacy Rights In The World

credit: Comparitech

Does anyone really believe America is still the land of the free? 
Since 9/11, DHS, the FBI, the CIA, and countless other alphabet soup agencies have turned the United States into a public surveillance monstrosity.
In 19 years, one terrorist attack has done what no one else could have dreamed of: turn America’s freedoms into a distant memory.
Abusing citizen’s rights and privacy used to be the hallmark of dictatorships and police states like the CCCP or North Korea.
A recent study conducted by Comparitech, rated 50 countries from best to worst at protecting citizen’s biometric data.
The study found that America is one of the world’s worst abusers of citizen’s biometric privacy.

“While China topping the list perhaps doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, residents of (and travelers to) other countries may be surprised and concerned at the extent of biometric information that is being collected on them and what is happening to it afterward.”

This really should not come as a surprise, because last year Comparitech revealed that American and Chinese cities lead the world in spying on their citizens. Last week, I wrote an article explaining how 2019 would go down as the year that facial recognition and corporate surveillance became commonplace in America.

Comparitech’s recent study on biometric privacy compared how 50 countries collect and use data to identify innocent people:

  • Many countries collect travelers’ biometric data, often through visas or biometric checks at airports
  • Every country we studied is using biometrics for bank accounts, e.g. fingerprints to access online app data and/or to confirm identities within the banks themselves
  • Despite many countries recognizing biometric data as sensitive, increased biometric use is widely accepted
  • Facial recognition CCTV is being implemented in a large number of countries, or at least being tested

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

How to Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession

How to Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession 

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the United States will not be going back to “business as usual” after Donald Trump leaves office, and it is easy to imagine that the anti-Trump parties will use their return to power as an opportunity to settle scores against the hated rubes and “deplorables” who dared attempt to oppose their betters in Washington, DC, California, and New York.

This ongoing conflict may manifest itself in the culture war through further attacks on people who take religious faith seriously, and on those who hold any social views unpopular among degreed people from major urban centers. The First Amendment will be imperiled like never before with both religious freedom and freedom of speech regarded as vehicles of “hate.” Certainly, the Second Amendment will hang by a thread.

But even more dangerous will be the deep state’s return to a vaunted position of enjoying a near-total absence of opposition from elected officials in the civilian government. The FBI and CIA will go to even greater lengths to ensure the voters are never again “allowed” to elect anyone who doesn’t receive the explicit imprimatur of the American intelligence “community.” The Fourth Amendment will be banished so that the NSA and its friends can spy on every American with impunity. The FBI and CIA will more freely combine the use of surveillance and media leaks to destroy adversaries.

Anyone who objects to the deep state’s wars on either Americans or on foreigners will be denounced as stooges of foreign powers.

These scenarios may seem overly dramatic, but the extremity of the situation is suggested by the fact that Trump — who is only a very mild opponent of the status quo — has received such hysterical opposition. After all, Trump has not dismantled the welfare state. He has not slashed — or even failed to increase — the military budget.

How Surveillance and Propaganda Work in ‘the Free World’

How Surveillance and Propaganda Work in ‘the Free World’ 

A Bloomberg report of October 22 was concise and uncompromising in declaring Russia to be a surveillance state. Harking back to the good old days of the Cold War, as is increasingly the practice in much of the Western media, Bloomberg recounted that “The fourth of 10 basic rules Western spies followed when trying to infiltrate Russia’s capital during the Cold War — don’t look back because you’re never alone — is more apt than ever. Only these days it’s not just foreigners who are being tracked, but all 12.6 million Muscovites, too. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years methodically assembling one of the most comprehensive video-surveillance operations in the world. The public-private network of as many as 200,000 cameras records 1.5 billion hours of footage a year that can be accessed by 16,000 government employees, intelligence officers and law-enforcement personnel.”

Terrifying, one might think. Straight out of Orwell’s 1984, that dystopian prediction of what the world could become, as noted in one description of how the face of the state’s symbolic leader, Big Brother, “gazes at you silently out of posters and billboards. His imposing presence establishes the sense of an all-seeing eye. The idea that he is always watching from the shadows imposes a kind of social order. You know not to speak out against The Party — because big brother is watching… The face always appears with the phrase Big Brother is watching you. As if you could forget.” Such is the terrifying Bloomberg picture of Moscow where there are supposedly 200,000 video cameras. You can’t blow your nose without it being seen. And wait for the next phase, in which Big Brother will hear you laugh.

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

Sidewalk Labs’ Smart Cities Will Create A For-Profit Social Credit System That Controls Judges And Police

Sidewalk Labs’ Smart Cities Will Create A For-Profit Social Credit System That Controls Judges And Police

Smart city surveillance, is much worse than anyone could have imagined.

Two years ago, I revealed how a CIA “signature school” was installing thousands of CCTV cameras and microphones in smart cities, but Sidewalk Labs wants to take public surveillance to a whole new level.

The Globe And Mailrevealed that Sidewalk Labs “Yellow Book,” a guidebook designed to help Google employees build a smart city from the ground up, would give their employees control of public services.

Yellow Book describes how Google plans to turn at least four major cities in North America into Sidewalk Labs smart cities.   

“The book proposed a community that could house 100,000 people on a site of up to 1,000 acres, and contains case studies for three potential sites in the United States: Detroit, Denver, and Alameda, Calif. It also includes a map with dots detailing many other potential sites for Sidewalk’s first project, including a dot placed on the shores of Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan.”

The fourth area, Toronto’s waterfront, has received lots of criticism from privacy experts. With some going so far as to call it “surveillance capitalism.” 

“The smart city project on the Toronto waterfront is the most highly evolved version to date of … surveillance capitalism” US venture capitalist Roger McNamee wrote to the city council, suggesting Google will use “algorithms to nudge human behavior” in ways to “favor its business.” (To join the campaign against Sidewalk Toronto click here.)  

The Yellow Book allegedly reveals how Google wants to control city services like Disney World does in Florida.

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

Edward Snowden on the Joe Rogan Podcast–Says US Government Could Have Prevented 9/11

EDWARD SNOWDEN ON THE JOE ROGAN PODCAST – SAYS US GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE PREVENTED 9/11

Edward Snowden on the Joe Rogan Podcast – Says US Government Could Have Prevented 9/11

Since 2013 the real government whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has been in political asylum in Russia, where he continues to write books and tell his story of how as an employee of the NSA he discovered that the government was breaking the law in constructing a massive surveillance state. Today, the surveillance is such a ubiquitous par of our lives, that people have come to see it as a normal part of everyday life, and hardly any politician bothers to work against it. It’s here to stay, sadly.

Recently, Snowden published a book entitled Permanent Record, which was immediately attacked by the US government, prompting them to sue Snowden for all of the profits related to the book. The government does not want you to hear his message. Ironically, though, Permanent Record became an instant bestseller, and Snowden’s popularity has only increased in recent years.

In a newly released podcast by Joe Rogan, Snowden calls in from Russia, talking about his understanding of how corruption from within has led the permanent establishment of the massive and highly profitable surveillance state which has filled the coffers of defense contractors and corrupt politicians. Snowden discusses the fact that all three branches of the U.S government are corrupt and that for admirable government employees who witness government agencies breaking the law have no available channels to blow the whistle and get the truth out to the American people.

Interestingly, in the podcast Snowden also talks about his experience on 9/11 when he was working for a small business out of a house on Fort Meade near the DC metro area. He describes how the base, which is home to a vast portion of the U.S. Military’s intelligence apparatus, was immediately dispatched and the base cleared as soon as the events of the day began to unfold.

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

“It’s Not A Game When It’s Real-Life” – China’s Social Credit System

“It’s Not A Game When It’s Real-Life” – China’s Social Credit System

In an attempt to imbue trust, China has announced a plan to implement a national ranking system for its citizens and companies. Currently in pilot mode, the new system will be rolled out in 2020, and go through numerous iterations before becoming official.

While the system may be a useful tool for China to manage its growing 1.4 billion population, Visual Capitalist’s Katie Jones notes that it has triggered global concerns around the ethics of big data, and whether the system is a breach of fundamental human rights.

Today’s infographic looks at how China’s proposed social credit system could work, and what the implications might be.

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

FBI Use Of Foreign-Surveillance Tool Violated Privacy Rights: FISA Court

FBI Use Of Foreign-Surveillance Tool Violated Privacy Rights: FISA Court

The FBI’s use of electronic surveillance tools violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans whose communications were swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. 

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching through a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal

The ruling, made last year, was disclosed on Tuesday. 

The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. –WSJ

According to the FISA court, tens of thousands of improper searches were conducted by the Bureau in 2017 and 2018. They were deemed improper in part due to the involvement of data relating to tens of thousands of emails or phone numbers. Moreover, the FBI was potentially using the intelligence information to vet personnel and cooperating sources. Per federal law, the database can only be searched by the FBI while seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.  

In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed.

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

“This Is A Major Risk”: France Rolls Out New Facial Recognition Technology

“This Is A Major Risk”: France Rolls Out New Facial Recognition Technology 

Is this how French President Emmanuel Macron is choosing to celebrate 70 years of Communist rule?

In a plan that sounds eerily similar to China’s ‘social credit score’ system, Macron and the French Interior Ministry are pushing ahead plans to launch a national facial-recognition program, arguing that it “will make the state more efficient.”

According to Bloomberg, the ID program, known as “Alicem”, is set to be rolled out in November, after the launch was moved forward from an end-of-year timeline.

Despite objections from the rest of the European community, Macron appears dead-set on adopting the new system, ensuring that all French citizens will be incorporated into the project, whether they support it or not.

Even within the French government, there’s opposition to the new plan. France’s data regulator argued that the program breaches the European rule of consent, and a French privacy group is challenging the plan in France’s highest administrative court.

There’s also the question of security: It took a hacker just over an hour to break into a “secure” government messaging app earlier this year. Should a hacker break into this database, the repercussions would be much more serious.

But the government simply won’t be swayed…which isn’t all that surprising. Macron has shown strong Statist tendencies since shortly after he was sworn in.

“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net that filed the lawsuit against the state. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. (There’s) little interest in the importance of consent and choice.” The case, filed in July, won’t suspend Alicem.

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

The Tech Giants Are a Conduit for Fascism

The Tech Giants Are a Conduit for Fascism

A second former Amazon employee would spark more controversy. Deap Ubhi, a former AWS employee who worked for Lynch, was tasked with gathering marketing information to make the case for a single cloud inside the DOD. Around the same time that he started working on JEDI, Ubhi began talking with AWS about rejoining the company. As his work on JEDI deepened, so did his job negotiations. Six days after he received a formal offer from Amazon, Ubhi recused himself from JEDI, fabricating a story that Amazon had expressed an interest in buying a startup company he owned. A contracting officer who investigated found enough evidence that Ubhi’s conduct violated conflict of interest rules to refer the matter to the inspector general, but concluded that his conduct did not corrupt the process. (Ubhi, who now works in AWS’ commercial division, declined comment through a company spokesperson.)

Ubhi worsened the impression by making ill-advised public statements while still employed by the DOD. In a tweet, he described himself as “once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian.”

– From the must read ProPublica expose: How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon

That U.S. tech giants are willing participants in facilitating mass government surveillance has been widely known for a while, particularly since whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to tell us about it six years ago. We also know what happens to executives who don’t play ball.

Perhaps the most high profile example relates to Joseph Nacchio, CEO of telecom company Quest in the aftermath of 9/11. Courageously, he was the only executive who pushed back against government attempts to violate the civil liberties of his customers. A few years later, he was thrown in jail for insider trading and stayed locked up for four years. He claimed his incarceration was retaliation for not bending the knee to government, which seems likely.

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

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…

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