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France Developing Surveillance App Called “StopCovid” To Mitigate Virus Spread

France Developing Surveillance App Called “StopCovid” To Mitigate Virus Spread

The world is sleepwalking into a surveillance state. The march towards an Orwellian society is closer than ever, as governments have used COVID-19 as a perfect cover to implement totalitarian measures to track citizens that amount to human rights violations to “flatten the pandemic curve.”

The latest example is coming from France’s health minister Olivier Véran and digital minister Cédric O, who announced in an interview with Le Monde that the French government is developing a smartphone app that will track citizens, by warning them if they come into contact with a COVID-19 carrier.

“In the fight against Covid-19, technology can help,” O told the French newspaper. “Nothing will be decided without broad debate.”

France’s digital minister said the app project is called “StopCovid” – and will be voluntarily downloaded on smartphones — will utilize the phone’s Bluetooth capabilities to notify users if they come into proximity to a carrier. The app only works if virus carriers and others have the software operating on the phone.

“The application would simply inform you that you have been in contact in the previous days with someone who tested positive,” O said, adding that developers have been working on the app for several days.

French law currently prohibits smartphone tracking, unlike China and South Korea, that monitor their citizens to make sure COVID-19 carriers are quarantining at home.

Several lawmakers in France have told President Emmanuel Macron’s parliament that they would be opposed to geo-tracking civilians.

O told the French paper that the app uses Bluetooth and not geolocation and reaffirmed that the government would not track people.

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

Fooled.

Fooled.

How Gullible Politicians Promoted the Destruction of the Global Economy and Threw Us into the Abyss of Serfdom

https://www.vox.com/2014/11/10/7157997/everyone-is-selfish-when-it-comes-to-politics

Anyone with some basic knowledge in mathematical modeling who had taken a look at the structure of the “Imperial College”-model would have noted the faults of this approach and its exaggerations. The model’s prognosis that the United Kingdom would have to count with more than half a million deaths and a complete overload of its health system reversedthe British government’s earlier decision to use prudential surveillance and specifically targeted intervention and to shift to the full-control strategy, which required massive intervention into the public and private life of the nation. The leaders of other countries that were somewhat still in doubt jumped on the bandwagon and the march into a tyrannical State was programmed.

It was too late when the authors of the model finally revised their original estimate from 500 thousand to 20 thousand and later on lowered this number even more. The governments had already set into motion their emergency plans.

After declaring the coronavirus a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), agendas that had been prepared years ago were set into motion and the state agencies followed the procedures that were prescribed by the International Health Regulations (IHR) as the international legal instrument that is binding on 196 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of WHO.

Even now, months after the outbreak of the virus, the true size of the threat remains unclear. The quantitative basis is still too small to make a reliable projection.

If the modelers and the responsible government bodies had looked at the basic numbers instead of elaborating an apparently sophisticated model, they would have noticed that there has been no noticeable rise of the death rate.

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

Police App Encourages People To Report Neighbors Who Violate Stay At Home Orders (UPDATED)

Police App Encourages People To Report Neighbors Who Violate Stay At Home Orders (UPDATED)

How do you encourage people to turn against each other during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The answer is not that complicated, especially if you live in the City of Bellevue, Washington.

Four years ago, when the city created the MyBellvue app, it was touted as being a quick and easy way to report things like downed street signs, potholes, street light issues and noise complaints. Fast forward to 2020 and public fears of COVID-19 have encouraged law enforcement to turn neighbors into government snitches.

Geekwirerevealed how the Bellevue Police Department has turned a public service app into a report on your neighbors app.  You can report these incidents through the MyBellevue app on your electronic device or the MyBellevue portal.

“Police in Bellevue, Wash., are asking residents to report violations of the state’s “stay home” order online in an effort to clear up 911 lines for emergencies.”

A recent Associated Pressarticle revealed that people are all to happy to report on their neighbors.

“Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They’re phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.”

Updated 4/3:

LA Mayor Offers Snitches Rewards For Reporting On Neighbors
According to a CBS LA4article Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city would reward snitches.

Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney’s office for misdemeanor filings.

“You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards,” Garcetti said. “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe.”

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

The Biometric Threat

The Biometric Threat

As with so many other convenient technologies, the world is underestimating the risks associated with biometric identification systems. India has learned about those risks the hard way – and should serve as a cautionary tale to the governments and corporations seeking to expand the use of these technologies.

NEW DELHI – Around the world, governments are succumbing to the allure of biometric identification systems. To some extent, this may be inevitable, given the burden of demands and expectations placed on modern states. But no one should underestimate the risks these technologies pose.

Biometric identification systems use individuals’ unique intrinsic physical characteristics – fingerprints or handprints, facial patterns, voices, irises, vein maps, or even brain waves – to verify their identity. Governments have applied the technology to verify passports and visas, identify and track security threats, and, more recently, to ensure that public benefits are correctly distributed.

Private companies, too, have embraced biometric identification systems. Smartphones use fingerprints and facial recognition to determine when to “unlock.” Rather than entering different passwords for different services – including financial services – users simply place their finger on a button on their phone or gaze into its camera lens.

It is certainly convenient. And, at first glance, it might seem more secure: someone might be able to find out your password, but how could they replicate your essential biological features?

But, as with so many other convenient technologies, we tend to underestimate the risks associated with biometric identification systems. India has learned about them the hard way, as it has expanded its scheme to issue residents a “unique identification number,” or Aadhaar, linked to their biometrics.

Originally, the Aadhaar program’s primary goal was to manage government benefits and eliminate “ghost beneficiaries” of public subsidies.

…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…

Canada’s Political Parties Won’t Say What They Know about You

Canada’s Political Parties Won’t Say What They Know about You

Legally, some argue, they don’t have to. Others won’t be fully transparent. One expert says that’s wrong: ‘It’s not their data.’

PhoneOnKeyboard.jpg
Despite several political privacy scandals in recent years, there’s no Canadian federal law allowing individuals to find out what political parties know about them, and how. Photo via Shutterstock.

Despite recent scandals that raised public awareness about how political parties collect and use personal information from individuals, none of Canada’s main federal parties are willing to be fully transparent about what they know about you.

“I think the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised these issues to public prominence, [as well as] the whole issue about how personal data is used in elections, how it’s profiled, how it’s used to target ads,” said Colin Bennett, a University of Victoria political science professor who is an expert on privacy protection.

“Political parties the world over have to do a lot to restore trust, and they need to be more transparent about what data they’re collecting, how they’re using it, and part of that is allowing citizens to have access to it if they wish it,” he said.

There is, however, no federal law allowing individuals to find out what political parties know about them. 

And when The Tyee tried to find out using British Columbia’s provincial privacy law, which does include such a provision, none of the parties fully filled the request, and two asserted they aren’t covered by the B.C. law at all.

British Columbia’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is aware of the jurisdiction issue. A spokesperson confirmed an inquiry is underway into whether the provincial law applies to the activities of federal parties in the province but declined to provide details while the process is ongoing or say when it was likely to be completed.

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

Google’s Chrome Web Browser “Has Become Spy Software”

Google’s Chrome Web Browser “Has Become Spy Software”

Google’s Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it “looks a lot like surveillance software.” 

Fowler has since switched to Mozilla’s Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine. 

My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages.

And that’s not the half of it.

Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you’re logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads. Don’t recall signing in? I didn’t, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. –Washington Post

When you use Chrome, signing into Gmail automatically logs in the browser to your Google account. When “sync” is also on, Google receives your browsing history. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Chrome is even worse when it comes to mobile devices – reporting the precise location of Android users unless location sharing is turned off, in which case it will send out your rough coordinates. 

Cookie monsters

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

Technotyranny: The Iron-Fisted Authoritarianism of the Surveillance State

Technotyranny: The Iron-Fisted Authoritarianism of the Surveillance State

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me.’” ― Philip K. Dick

Red pill or blue pill? You decide.

Twenty years after the Wachowskis’ iconic 1999 film, The Matrix, introduced us to a futuristic world in which humans exist in a computer-simulated non-reality powered by authoritarian machines—a world where the choice between existing in a denial-ridden virtual dream-state or facing up to the harsh, difficult realities of life comes down to a red pill or a blue pill—we stand at the precipice of a technologically-dominated matrix of our own making.

We are living the prequel to The Matrix with each passing day, falling further under the spell of technologically-driven virtual communities, virtual realities and virtual conveniences managed by artificially intelligent machines that are on a fast track to replacing us and eventually dominating every aspect of our lives.

Science fiction has become fact.

In The Matrixcomputer programmer Thomas Anderson a.k.a. hacker Neo is wakened from a virtual slumber by Morpheus, a freedom fighter seeking to liberate humanity from a lifelong hibernation state imposed by hyper-advanced artificial intelligence machines that rely on humans as an organic power source. With their minds plugged into a perfectly crafted virtual reality, few humans ever realize they are living in a dream world.

Neo is given a choice: to wake up and join the resistance, or remain asleep and serve as fodder for the powers-that-be. “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix. “You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Most people opt for the red pill.

Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

New details have emerged about the recently revealed dossier(s) Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled to sway public opinion on herbicides. The dossier(s) included people from 7 European states and potentially beyond, according to a new report by RT

Monsanto files reportedly listed prominent public figures who were opinionated on either side of the herbicide debate. The list included “stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as regarding stakeholders related to EU institutions.” 

Bayer says it has hired a law firm for the purpose of trying to determine whether similar lists exist in other states. 

Recall, about one week ago we reported that Bayer, which is being investigated by French prosecutors for compiling files of influential people such as journalists in France, likely did the same across Europe, suggesting a potentially wider problem.

French prosecutors said several weeks ago that they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto – acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year – had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing positions on pesticides. The list was said to be prepared by PR firm FleishmanHillard on behalf of Monsanto. 

“[We have] decided with the agency to end the collaboration in the areas of communication and public affairs for the time being,”  Bayer said, referring to PR firm FleishmanHillard.

Bayer acknowledged the existence of the files and said it does not believe any laws were broken.

It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists … I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told journalists about a week ago.

 …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…

Thousands Of Amazon Alexa Eavesdroppers Can Also Access Users’ Home Addresses

Thousands Of Amazon Alexa Eavesdroppers Can Also Access Users’ Home Addresses

Bloomberg has it in for Amazon these days.

Two weeks after we finally got confirmation what everyone had known for so long, namely that an internal Amazon team numbering in the thousands was secretly listening in to Alexa users’ commands without their prior knowledge, Bloomberg reported that the same team also has access to location data and can easily find a customer’s home address.

Citing five (supposedly former) employees familiar with the program, Bloomberg writes that the covert “Alexa team”, which is spread across three continents, and transcribes, annotates and analyzes a portion of the voice recordings picked up by Alexa, “to help Amazon’s digital voice assistant get better at understanding and responding to commands”, also has access to Alexa users’ geographic coordinates and can easily type them into third-party mapping software and find home residences, according to the employees (who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program, which apparently did not prevent them from speaking off the record with Bloomberg).

And while there has yet to be any evidence that Amazon employees have attempted to track down individual users, two members of the Alexa team who seem to have grown a coscience, expressed concern that Amazon which is fast becoming the world’s biggest monopoly across virtually every industry, was granting unnecessarily broad access to customer data that would make it easy to identify a device’s owner.

“Anytime someone is collecting where you are, that means it could go to someone else who could find you when you don’t want to be found,” said Lindsey Barrett, a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Communications and Technology Clinic, who noted that location data is more sensitive than many other categories of user information. Widespread access to location data associated with Alexa user recordings “would set up a big red flag for me.”

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

Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate

Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

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

Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark

Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark

According to CNN Business, “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter struggle to deal with New Zealand shooting video.”

“Deal with” is code for “censor on demand by governments and activist organizations who oppose public access to information that hasn’t first been thoroughly vetted for conformity to their preferred narrative.”

Do you really need to see first-person video footage of an attacker murdering 49 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand?

Maybe not. Chances are pretty good you didn’t even want to. I suspect that many of us who did (I viewed what appeared to be a partial copy before YouTube deleted it) would rather we could un-see it.

But whether or not we watch it should be up to us, not those governments and activists. Social media companies should enable our choices, not suppress our choices at the censors’ every whim.

If Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube had been primary news sources in 1915, would they have permitted us to view footage  (rare, as film was in its early days)  of New Zealanders’ desperate fight at Gallipoli?

How about the attack on Pearl Harbor?

The assassination of president John F. Kennedy?

The second plane hitting the World Trade Center.

Lucinda Creighton of the Counter Extremism Project complains to CNN that the big social media firms aren’t really “cooperating and acting in the best interest of citizens to remove this content.”

The CEP claims that it “counter[s] the narrative of extremists” and  works to “reveal the extremist threat.”  How does demanding that something be kept hidden “counter” or “reveal” it? How is it in “the best of interest of citizens” to only let those citizens see what Lucinda Creighton thinks they should be allowed to see?

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

The Rise Of Totalitarian Technology

The Rise Of Totalitarian Technology

Neil Howe

Is technological progress bad for human autonomy? That’s the question posed by Shoshana Zuboff in “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” a book that recounts the ways in which corporations and governments are using technology to influence our behavior. Zuboff is just the latest to chime in on “totalitarian technology” (or “total tech”), a term that describes devices and algorithms by which individuals forfeit their privacy and autonomy for the benefit of either themselves or some third party.

In the United States, total tech can be sorted into three different categories, or “spheres” of life: consumer services, the workplace, and government and politics.

Is there such a thing as too much technology?ISTOCK

Total tech is pervasive in the increasingly data-driven world of retail. Many shopping apps tap into your phone’s GPS to access your location, allowing retailers to send you advertisements the moment you’re walking past their storefront. Personalized pricing enables retailers to charge you the exact maximum that you would be willing to pay for a given product. Your personal data isn’t safe at home, either: Digital assistants like Amazon Alexa store your query history, meaning they know everything from your unique shopping history to your travel patterns to your music preferences.

Employers are also using total tech to track and monitor their workers. A growing number of companies use biometric time cards that scan an employee’s fingerprint, hand shape, retina, or iris. UPS outfits its trucks with sensors that track the opening and closing of doors, the engine of the vehicle, and the clicking of seat belts. Amazon is patenting an electronic wristband that would be used to track hand movements—making sure, for instance, that a warehouse worker stays busy moving boxes. Global freelancing platform Upwork runs a digital “Work Diary” program that counts keystrokes and takes screenshots of workers’ monitors.

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

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