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Is China Really More “Dystopian” Than The UK?

Is China Really More “Dystopian” Than The UK?

RT reported that the UK’s so-called “National Data Analytics Solution” will see an algorithm process whichever of 30 separate data points have been recorded about a person in local and national police databases in order to predict which members of the population are most likely to commit a crime or be victimized by one, after which the state will dispatch local health and social workers to offer “counseling” to them in an attempt to prevent the computer’s envisioned scenario from transpiring. This program is being likened to the 2002 film “Minority Report” and carries with it a vibe of China’s controversial “social credit” system, albeit without any “rewards” being offered for law-abiding behavior. In fact, one can actually make the claim that instead of the UK copying China to a degree, it was actually China that learned from the UK seeing as how the island nation’s mass surveillance system used to be far ahead of the communist nation’s one.

The problem with “pre-crime” technology, however, is that it straddles the fine line between security and liberty in what is supposed to be a “democracy”, therefore making it uncomfortably out of place in the UK while being much more natural to implement in centrally controlled societies like China’s. While the European country insincerely pretends to be a “democracy” in the Western sense of how this system is commonly assumed to function, the East Asian one makes no such pretenses and is proud of having a different organizational model, which should be doubly disturbing for any British citizen because it means that their “democratically elected government” is actually less forthcoming about its nationwide surveillance strategy than comparatively more centralized China’s is. No value judgement is being made about either country’s governing system, but the purpose of this comparison is to point out the surprising similarities between the two that are usually lost on most observers.

National Data Analytics Solution

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The Police State Takes A Giant Leap Towards Pre-Crime

The Police State Takes A Giant Leap Towards Pre-Crime

If you think we still have privacy rights or a 4th Amendment you are living in the past. Technology has moved past our individual rights and technology is now determining what day and time a crime will be committed in your neighborhood and produce a list of suspects that need to “questioned” prior to a crime being committed. Technological profiling.

Wearing a head cover that’s new to you? Well, it could mean you’re about to commit a crime. Show up in an area for the first time? Well, why are you there and what are you doing? Sounds like criminal activity to me.

You’re guilty for being human and simply living your life according to your beliefs. The police state will not allow you to be, nor it will it allow you to explore new areas, dress differently and if you do, you will categorized, profiled and a note added to your file for future reference.

Technology has been transforming every aspect of society, including revolutionary new capabilities for police departments from tattoo-recognition technology to the growing use of drones. The June edition of Wired magazine explores this topic. Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to discuss the kind of devices officers are using and why they are prompting concerns about racial profiling and privacy. Source – CBS This Morning

I always knew tattoo’s were a bad idea for me and now I know why. My guess is the technology is currently, or will be soon enough, that will be able to determine the ink type, profile of the ink in the tattoo and be able to pin-point where the tattoo was created.

Nicholas Thompson, while not exactly gleeful over the situation, he is not expressing a level of concern this situation warrants. What is being described is straight out of the movie Minority Report and George Orwell’s 1984.

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Censorship in the Digital Age

Censorship in the Digital Age

The grand experiment with western democracy, badly listing thanks to broadsides from profiteering oligarchs, may finally run ashore on the rocks of thought crime. In the uneven Steven Spielberg project Minority Report, starring excitable scientologist Tom Cruise, Cruise plays a futuristic policeman who investigates pre-crimes and stops them before they happen. The police owe their ability to see the criminal plots developing to characters called pre-cognitives, or pre-cogs, kind of autistic prophets who see the future and lie sleeping in sterile pools of water inside the police department. Of course, it turns out that precogs can pre-visualize different futures, a hastily hidden flaw that threatens to jeopardize the profits of the pre-crime project. Here is the crux of the story: thought control is driven by a profit motive at bottom. As it turns out, just like real life.

Now, the British government has decided to prosecute pre-crime but has done away with the clunky plot device of the pre-cogs, opting rather to rely on a hazy sense of higher probability to justify surveilling, nabbing, convicting, and imprisoning British citizens. The crime? Looking at radical content on the Internet. What is considered radical will naturally be defined by the state police who will doubtless be personally incentivized by pre-crime quotas, and institutionally shaped to criminalize trains of thought that threaten to destabilize a criminal status quo. You know, the unregulated monopoly capitalist regime that cuts wages, costs, and all other forms of overhead with psychopathic glee. Even a Grenfell Towers disaster is regarded more as a question of how to remove the story from public consciousness than rectify its wrongs.

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Censorship in the Digital Age

Censorship in the Digital Age

The grand experiment with western democracy, badly listing thanks to broadsides from profiteering oligarchs, may finally run ashore on the rocks of thought crime. In the uneven Steven Spielberg project Minority Report, starring excitable scientologist Tom Cruise, Cruise plays a futuristic policeman who investigates pre-crimes and stops them before they happen. The police owe their ability to see the criminal plots developing to characters called pre-cognitives, or pre-cogs, kind of autistic prophets who see the future and lie sleeping in sterile pools of water inside the police department. Of course, it turns out that precogs can pre-visualize different futures, a hastily hidden flaw that threatens to jeopardize the profits of the pre-crime project. Here is the crux of the story: thought control is driven by a profit motive at bottom. As it turns out, just like real life.

Now, the British government has decided to prosecute pre-crime but has done away with the clunky plot device of the pre-cogs, opting rather to rely on a hazy sense of higher probability to justify surveilling, nabbing, convicting, and imprisoning British citizens. The crime? Looking at radical content on the Internet. What is considered radical will naturally be defined by the state police who will doubtless be personally incentivized by pre-crime quotas, and institutionally shaped to criminalize trains of thought that threaten to destabilize a criminal status quo. You know, the unregulated monopoly capitalist regime that cuts wages, costs, and all other forms of overhead with psychopathic glee. Even a Grenfell Towers disaster is regarded more as a question of how to remove the story from public consciousness than rectify its wrongs.

The Triple Evils

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously, or infamously, depending on whether you are a penthouse mandarin or garden-variety prole, linked the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism.

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China Goes Full “Minority Report”, Creates “Pre-Crime” Program

China Goes Full “Minority Report”, Creates “Pre-Crime” Program

By now, the world is largely familiar with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s fabled “Tigers and Flies” campaign.

Since taking office in 2013, Xi has embarked on an ambitious effort to root out party corruption and ensure that the directives passed down from on high in the Politburo are executed faithfully among the sprawling rank and file. As The Atlantic wrote last year, the discipline “problem” is “made more urgent by a slowing economy,” an economy which desperately needs to be reformed.

“Reform, however, requires the ability to enact policy,” The Atlantic flatly adds. “That in turn necessitates bureaucrats who follow the central government’s orders.”

Publicly there have been more than 1,500 announced cases against party officials. But that’s just “publicly.” Knowing the Party’s reputation for “disappearing” those who “disappoint” or otherwise act in morally objectionable ways, the real number is impossible to know but is likely orders of magnitude higher.

When China’s stock market began to crash last summer as the country’s margin “miracle” finally buckled under the weight of the millions of illiterate daytrading housewives who poured their life savings into everything from umbrella manufacturers to industrial companies-turned P2P outfits, Beijing extended the corruption probe to those “responsible” for the equity meltdown.

Soon, the quest for stock market “manipulators” and those (like journalists) who would otherwise seek to harm the national interest by, well, by reporting the facts became part and parcel of a kind of mini Tigers and Flies campaign focused specifically on China’s financial markets. That campaign eventually ensnared quite a few officials, prominent money managers, and eminent businessmen, including Guo Guangchang, a self-styled “Chinese Warren Buffett.”

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The Pentagon’s secret pre-crime program to know your thoughts, predict your future

The Pentagon’s secret pre-crime program to know your thoughts, predict your future

US military contractors are mining social media to influence your ‘cognitive behavior’ when you get angry at the state

The US Department of Defense (DoD) wants contractors to mine your social media posts to develop new ways for the US government to infer what you’re really thinking and feeling — and to predict what you’ll do next.

Pentagon documents released over the last few months identify ongoing classified research in this area that the federal government plans to expand, by investing millions more dollars.

The unclassified documents, which call on external scientists, institutions and companies to submit proposals for research projects, not only catalogue how far US military capabilities have come, but also reveal the Pentagon’s goals: building the US intelligence community’s capacity to forecast population behavior at home and abroad, especially groups involved in political activism.

They throw light on the extent to which the Pentagon’s classified pre-crime R&D has advanced, and how the US military intends to deploy it in operations around the world.

Could your social media signature reveal your innermost thoughts?

A new Funding Opportunity Announcement document issued by the DoD’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) calls for research proposals on how mining social media can provide insight on people’s real thoughts, emotions and beliefs, and thereby facilitate predictions of behavior.

The research for Fiscal Year 2016 is part of the Pentagon’s Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI), which was initiated over 25 years ago, regularly producing what the DoD describes as “significant scientific breakthroughs with far reaching consequences to the fields of science, economic growth, and revolutionary new military technologies.”

The document calls for new work “to understand latent communication among small groups.”

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France Arrests 24 Climate Activists Using New “State Of Emergency” Laws, As Clashes Break Out In Paris – Live Feed

France Arrests 24 Climate Activists Using New “State Of Emergency” Laws, As Clashes Break Out In Paris – Live Feed

As Intellihub’s Shepard Ambellas writes, one-hundred and fifty heads of government, a.k.a. the elite, are gathering over the course of the next few weeks for a massive climate summit that’s anticipated to attract and indoctrinate over 40,000 visitors from around the globe. The summit, dubbed COP21, is sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and will reportedly focus on combating climate change. However it’s doubtful that geoengineering, which ironically is mostly to blame for current climate patterns, will even be a topic of interest to scheduled speakers. To boot any chance of that information making it out to the general public is limited as 24 activists have already been placed under house arrest.”

He further observes that “emergency powers” declared in the wake of the recent Paris attacks – in the name of terrorism – and adopted virtually overnight, were extended for a period of up to 90-days by the country’s leadership allowing for such activists to be jailed in advance of the summit or at anytime within period.

France 24 confirms the “pre-crime” arrests, writing that twenty-four environmental activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the Paris climate summit, using France’s state of emergency laws. Two of them slammed an attack on civil liberties. The order ends on December 12, the day the Paris climate summit draws to a close.

French security forces have been on edge since Islamist gunmen killed 130 people in a deadly rampage across Paris on November 13, in the country’s worst ever terrorist attacks.

The ensuing state of emergency, declared by President François Hollande and extended by lawmakers for three months, has given police sweeping powers to search homes, handcuff residents and place people under house arrest, without judicial oversight.

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‘Minority Report’ Is 40 Years Ahead of Schedule: The Fictional World Has Become Reality

‘Minority Report’ Is 40 Years Ahead of Schedule: The Fictional World Has Become Reality

“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We are a scant 40 years away from the futuristic world that science fiction author Philip K. Dick envisioned for Minority Report 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 will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American Peoplewe may have already arrived at the year 2054.

Increasingly, the world around us resembles Dick’s dystopian police state in which the police combine widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining and precognitive technology to capture would-be criminals before they can do any damage. In other words, the government’s goal is to prevent crimes before they happen: precrime.

For John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise), Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime in Washington, DC, the technology that he relies on for his predictive policing proves to be fallible, identifying him as the next would-be criminal and targeting him for preemptive measures. Consequently, Anderton finds himself not only attempting to prove his innocence but forced to take drastic measures in order to avoid capture in a surveillance state that uses biometric data and sophisticated computer networks to track its citizens.

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Do We Need to Bring Back Internment Camps?

Do We Need to Bring Back Internment Camps?

Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution. Unfortunately in the current presidential race Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

These statements and others like them most likely reflect the frustration felt in Washington over a 15 year war on terror where there has been no victory and where we actually seem worse off than when we started. The real problem is they will argue and bicker over changing tactics but their interventionist strategy remains the same.

Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told al-Jazeera this week that US drones create more terrorists than they kill. He said: “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Still Washington pursues the same strategy while expecting different results.

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You May No Longer Think Wrong Thoughts, Citizen

You May No Longer Think Wrong Thoughts, Citizen

Shortly after the election victory that probably surprised no-one more than himself, David Cameron launched into explaining to the hoi-polloi what further transmogrification of the State is in store now that he’s got a free hand. He inter alia elated the audience with the following zinger:

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”

In other words, dear citizen, mafia uncle State will no longer leave you alone if you merely “obey the law”. Your “narratives of grievance” henceforth won’t be tolerated anymore!

sun shineAs one reader remarked, all that’s missing now is Frau Bluecher making her entrance …

Cartoon by Steve Bell

As the Guardian reports, this means that now that the Lib Dems will no longer be able to veto Cameron’s more outlandish ideas, he intends to keep us all safe by fighting terrorism by means of an Orwellian thought police.

“A counter-terrorism bill including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalize young people is to be included in the Queen’s speech, David Cameron will tell the national security council on Wednesday.
The orders, the product of an extremism task force set up by the prime minister, were proposed during the last parliament in March, but were largely vetoed by the Liberal Democrats on the grounds of free speech. They were subsequently revived in the Conservative manifesto.

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The World of Philip K. Dick is Almost Here

The World of Philip K. Dick is Almost Here

Holographic Computers and Self-Directing Bullets

Philip K. Dick was long viewed as a mere genre hack, although his fans always knew better of course. He used the medium of science fiction originally because it was the only way for him to make money as an independent author. His non-SF novels and stories (which have been published posthumously) would have been far more difficult to sell. And so he went and packaged his philosophical ideas into science fiction novels, which we can be eternally grateful for.

The man was brimming with ideas of what the future might look like. Hollywood has tried to bring some of them to the big screen in its adaptations of his novels (none of which Dick himself lived to see), such as e.g. the talking ads in “Minority Report”, which recognize every passer-by and address him by name. Modern-day internet advertising has already come close to this vision.

Dick not only described a fantastic future and displayed an uncanny sense of the things that would one day become reality (the “internet of things”? Try the talking doors in UBIK, which ask apartment owners to deposit money before they will open for them!), he often wrote about a dystopian future in which all these fantastic toys would be abused by seemingly nigh omnipotent governments.

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Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat level’

Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat level’.

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods — with potentially serious inequitable effects.

One speaker at a recent national law enforcement conference compared future police work to Minority Report, the Tom Cruise film set in 2054 Washington, where a “PreCrime” unit has been set up to stop murders before they happen.

While PreCrime remains science-fiction, many technology advances are already involved with predictive policing — identifying risks and threats with the help of online information, powerful computers and Big Data.

New World Systems, for example, now offers software that allows dispatchers to enter in a person’s name to see if they’ve had contact with the police before.  Provided crime data, PredPol claims on its website that  its software “forecasts highest risk times and places for future crimes.” These and other technologies are supplanting and enhancing traditional police work.

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