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Privacy Media Articles

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The US government is deploying robot dogs to the Mexico border. Seriously?
2022-02-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/14/us-government-deploying...

The military, technological, security and political classes in this country appear united in their desire to make robot dogs part of our future, and we should all be worried. On 1 February ... the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release titled “Robot Dogs Take Another Step Towards Deployment at the Border”. DHS dressed up their statement with the kind of adorable language made to warm the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. A picture of the “four-legged ground drone” accompanied the release. These particular robot dogs are made by Ghost Robotics, which claims that its 100lb machine was “bred” to scale “all types of natural terrain including sand, rocks and hills, as well as human-built environments, like stairs”. Each robot dog is outfitted with a bevy of sensors and able to transmit real-time video and information feeds. A testing and evaluation program is under way in El Paso, Texas. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, “people who live along the border are some of the most heavily surveilled people in the United States. A massive amalgamation of federal, state and local law enforcement and national security agencies are flying drones, putting up cameras and just generally attempting to negate civil liberties – capturing the general goings-on of people who live and work in proximity to the border.” Then there’s the question of lethal force. These specific ground drones may not be armed, but Ghost Robotics is already infamous for the combination of robot dog and robot rifle.

Note: Singapore used robot dogs to enforce pandemic distancing measures. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance from reliable major media sources.


C.I.A. Is Collecting in Bulk Certain Data Affecting Americans, Senators Warn
2022-02-10, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/10/us/politics/cia-data-privacy.html

The Central Intelligence Agency has for years been collecting in bulk, without a warrant, some kind of data that can affect Americans’ privacy. At the same time, [the C.I.A.] declared that a report about the same topic, which had prompted the letter, must remain fully classified. That report, called “Deep Dive II,” was part of a set of studies by a watchdog board scrutinizing intelligence community operations under Executive Order 12333. In March 2021, the Senate Intelligence Committee received a copy of the report. Two Democrats on the panel, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, urged Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, and William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, to declassify the activity. The senators suggested that its hidden existence cut against Americans’ understanding that various pieces of legislation enacted in recent years “limit and, in some cases, prohibit the warrantless collection of Americans’ records.” In 2015, Congress banned bulk collection of telecommunications metadata under the Patriot Act and limited other types of bulk collection by the F.B.I. under laws governing domestic activities like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Yet “the C.I.A. has secretly conducted its own bulk program” under Executive Order 12333, the senators wrote. “It has done so entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection, and without any of the judicial, congressional or even executive branch oversight.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


The Battle for the World’s Most Powerful Cyberweapon
2022-01-28, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/magazine/nso-group-israel-spyware.html

NSO Group [is] the world’s most notorious maker of spyware. The F.B.I. had bought a version of Pegasus, NSO’s premier spying tool. It could ... crack the encrypted communications of any iPhone or Android smartphone. Since NSO had introduced Pegasus to the global market in 2011, it had helped Mexican authorities capture Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo. European investigators have quietly used Pegasus to thwart terrorist plots, fight organized crime and, in one case, take down a global child-abuse ring. Mexico deployed the software not just against gangsters but also against journalists and political dissidents. The United Arab Emirates used the software to hack the phone of a civil rights activist. Saudi Arabia used it against women’s rights activists. During a presentation to officials in Washington, the company demonstrated a new system, called Phantom, that could hack any number in the United States that the F.B.I. decided to target. A slick brochure ... says that Phantom allows American law enforcement and spy agencies to get intelligence “by extracting and monitoring crucial data from mobile devices.” It is an “independent solution” that requires no cooperation from AT&T, Verizon, Apple or Google. The system, it says, will “turn your target’s smartphone into an intelligence gold mine.” The Phantom presentation triggered a discussion among government lawyers. Last summer ... the F.B.I. finally decided not to deploy the NSO weapons.

Note: Read more about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Vaccine Passports Are Here to Stay. Why Worry?
2022-01-01, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2022/01/01/covid-vaccine-passports-surveillance/

The digital Covid vaccination certification, or “passport,” is a mobile app that instantaneously affirms the vaccinated status, Covid test results, birth date, gender, and/or other identifiers of its holder. The information is usually mosaicked in a QR code, read by a proprietary scanner, and linked to a government registry. Led by New York, California, and Louisiana, as many as 30 states are rolling them out. The Biden administration announced last spring that it would wrangle them under national standards but so far it hasn’t. Internationally, the EU and a growing number of countries are adopting them, from repressive regimes like Bahrain to democracies like Denmark. Twenty U.S. states have banned the passes, and hashtags like #NoVaccinePassports are proliferating. “Spoiler alert,” tweeted British DJ ... Lange. “They are not planning on removing vax passports once introduced. This is just the first step to get you conditioned to accepting government restrictions in your daily life via your mobile phone. This digital ID is going to expand to all aspects of your life.” New York, for one, is not expecting to mothball the technology when Covid wanes. State bureaucrats are “exploring how the platform could be retrofitted to verify other types of records and credentials.” The surveillance technologies of the War on Contagion are inherited from the War on Terror, and the software is encoded with the same forever-war mentality: Both fight risk rather than actual threat.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Vaccine Passports Are Here to Stay. Why Worry?
2022-01-01, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2022/01/01/covid-vaccine-passports-surveillance/

The digital Covid vaccination certification, or “passport,” is a mobile app that instantaneously affirms the vaccinated status, Covid test results, birth date, gender, and/or other identifiers of its holder. The information is usually mosaicked in a QR code, read by a proprietary scanner, and linked to a government registry. Led by New York, California, and Louisiana, as many as 30 states are rolling them out. The Biden administration announced last spring that it would wrangle them under national standards but so far it hasn’t. Internationally, the EU and a growing number of countries are adopting them, from repressive regimes like Bahrain to democracies like Denmark. Twenty U.S. states have banned the passes, and hashtags like #NoVaccinePassports are proliferating on both sides of the Atlantic. “Spoiler alert,” tweeted British DJ ... Lange. “They are not planning on removing vax passports once introduced. This is just the first step to get you conditioned to accepting government restrictions in your daily life via your mobile phone. This digital ID is going to expand to all aspects of your life.” Evidence supports the detractors’ suspicions. Every government introducing a vaccine certification vows that their use is voluntary and no personal information will be held beyond its necessity. But governments are far from unanimous even on such basics as ... how long and by whom our intimate information will be held, owned, or overseen. New York, for one, is not expecting to mothball the technology when Covid wanes.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


China Is Watching You
2021-10-18, The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/china-america-surveillance-...

Even if you have never set foot in China, Hikvision’s cameras have likely seen you. By 2017, Hikvision had captured 12 percent of the North American market. Its cameras watched over apartment buildings in New York City, public recreation centers in Philadelphia, and hotels in Los Angeles. Police departments used them to monitor streets in Memphis, Tennessee, and in Lawrence, Massachusetts. London and more than half of Britain’s 20 next-largest cities have deployed them. A recent search for the company’s cameras, using Shodan, a tool that locates internet-connected devices, yielded nearly 5 million results, including more than 750,000 devices in the United States. Among the policies that Hikvision’s products have supported is China’s wide-ranging crackdown against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minority groups in the western province of Xinjiang. Far from being appalled by Hikvision’s role in China’s atrocities, however, plenty of foreign leaders are intrigued. They see an opportunity to acquire tools that could reduce crime and spur growth. Of course, the authoritarian-leaning among them also see a chance to monitor their domestic challengers and cement their control. The use of military language ... heightens the sense that these tools can easily become weapons. Cameras can be set to “patrol.” “Intrusion detection” sounds like a method for defending a bank or a military base. Hikvision’s cameras do not check identities. They “capture” faces.

Note: For more, see this Bloomberg article titled “Blacklisted Chinese Tech Found Inside Top Secret UK Lab.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Australia's Two Largest States Trial Facial Recognition Software to Police Pandemic Rules
2021-09-16, U.S. News & World Report/Reuters
https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2021-09-16/australias-two-lar...

Australia's two most populous states are trialling facial recognition software that lets police check people are home during COVID-19 quarantine, expanding trials that have sparked controversy to the vast majority of the country's population. Little-known tech firm Genvis Pty Ltd said on a website for its software that New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, home to Sydney, Melbourne and more than half of Australia's 25 million population, were trialling its facial recognition products. The Perth, Western Australia-based startup developed the software in 2020 with WA state police to help enforce pandemic movement restrictions. South Australia state began trialling a similar, non-Genvis technology last month, sparking warnings from privacy advocates around the world about potential surveillance overreach. The involvement of New South Wales and Victoria, which have not disclosed that they are trialling facial recognition technology, may amplify those concerns. Under the system being trialled, people respond to random check-in requests by taking a 'selfie' at their designated home quarantine address. If the software, which also collects location data, does not verify the image against a "facial signature", police may follow up with a visit to the location to confirm the person's whereabouts. While the recognition technology has been used in countries like China, no other democracy has been reported as considering its use in connection with coronavirus containment procedures.

Note: On Sept. 21st, thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest policies like this in Melbourne alone, as shown in this revealing video. The police are responding almost like they are at war, as show in this video. Yet the major media outside of Australia are largely ignoring all of this, while the Australian press is highly biased against the protesters. Are we moving towards a police state? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


How the N.Y.P.D. Is Using Post-9/11 Tools on Everyday New Yorkers
2021-09-08, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/08/nyregion/nypd-9-11-police-surveillance.html

It was an unusual forearm tattoo that the police said led them to Luis Reyes, a 35-year-old man who was accused of stealing packages from a Manhattan building’s mailroom in 2019. But the truth was more complicated: Mr. Reyes had first been identified by the New York Police Department’s powerful facial recognition software as it analyzed surveillance video of the crime. His guilty plea this year ... was part of the sprawling legacy of one of the city’s darkest days. Since the fall of the World Trade Center, the security apparatus born from the Sept. 11 attack on the city has fundamentally changed the way the country’s largest police department operates, altering its approach to finding and foiling terrorist threats, but also to cracking minor cases like Mr. Reyes’s. New Yorkers simply going about their daily lives routinely encounter post-9/11 digital surveillance tools like facial recognition software, license plate readers or mobile X-ray vans that can see through car doors. Surveillance drones hover above mass demonstrations and protesters say they have been questioned by antiterrorism officers after marches. The department’s Intelligence Division, redesigned in 2002 to confront Al Qaeda operatives, now uses antiterror tactics to fight gang violence and street crime. The department’s budget for intelligence and counterterrorism has more than quadrupled, spending more than $3 billion since 2006, and more through funding streams that are difficult to quantify, including federal grants and the secretive Police Foundation.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


On the list: Ten prime ministers, three presidents and a king
2021-07-20, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/07/20/heads-of-state-pegasus-spyware/

Spies for centuries have trained their sights on those who shape destinies of nations: presidents, prime ministers, kings. And in the 21st century, most of them carry smartphones. Such is the underlying logic for some of the most tantalizing discoveries for an international investigation that in recent months scrutinized a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that included — according to forensic analyses of dozens of iPhones — at least some people targeted by Pegasus spyware licensed to governments worldwide. The list contained the numbers of politicians and government officials by the hundreds. But what of heads of state and governments, arguably the most coveted of targets? Fourteen. Or more specifically: three presidents, 10 prime ministers and a king. Forensic testing that might have revealed infection by NSO’s signature spyware, Pegasus, was not possible. Nor was it possible to determine whether any NSO client attempted to deliver Pegasus to the phones of these country leaders — much less whether any succeeded in turning these highly personal devices into pocket spies capable of tracking a national leader’s nearly every movement, communication and personal relationship. According to NSO marketing materials and security researchers, Pegasus is designed to collect files, photos, call logs, location records, communications and other private data from smartphones, and can activate cameras and microphones as well for real-time surveillance at key moments.

Note: Read how this Pegasus spyware was used to target activists and journalists in Mexico. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Revealed: leak uncovers global abuse of cyber-surveillance weapon
2021-07-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/18/revealed-leak-uncovers-global-a...

Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus. Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones. The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016. The numbers of more than 180 journalists are listed in the data, including reporters, editors and executives at the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, France 24, the Economist, Associated Press and Reuters. The phone number of a freelance Mexican reporter, Cecilio Pineda Birto, was found in the list, apparently of interest to a Mexican client in the weeks leading up to his murder, when his killers were able to locate him at a carwash. He was among at least 25 Mexican journalists apparently selected as candidates for surveillance. The broad array of numbers in the list belonging to people who seemingly have no connection to criminality suggests some NSO clients are breaching their contracts with the company, spying on pro-democracy activists and journalists.

Note: Read more about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Huge data leak shatters the lie that the innocent need not fear surveillance
2021-07-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/18/huge-data-leak-shatters-lie-inno...

Few pause to think that their phones can be transformed into surveillance devices, with someone thousands of miles away silently extracting their messages, photos and location, activating their microphone to record them in real time. Such are the capabilities of Pegasus, the spyware manufactured by NSO Group, the Israeli purveyor of weapons of mass surveillance. The Guardian will be revealing the identities of many innocent people who have been identified as candidates for possible surveillance by NSO clients in a massive leak of data. Without forensics on their devices, we cannot know whether governments successfully targeted these people. But the presence of their names on this list indicates the lengths to which governments may go to spy on critics, rivals and opponents. Journalists across the world were selected as potential targets by these clients prior to a possible hack using NSO surveillance tools. People whose phone numbers appear in the leak ... include lawyers, human rights defenders, religious figures, academics, businesspeople, diplomats, senior government officials and heads of state. One phone that has contained signs of Pegasus activity belonged to our esteemed Mexican colleague Carmen Aristegui, whose number was in the data leak and who was targeted following her expos© of a corruption scandal involving her country's former president Enrique Pe±a Nieto. At least four of her journalist colleagues appear in the leak

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Yes, your phone is taking ‘invisible’ pictures of you
2021-05-15, ABC News (Utah affiliate)
https://www.abc4.com/news/tech-social-media/yes-your-iphone-is-taking-invisib...

A video showing a mobile device snapping infrared images of an iPhone user is circulating around the internet. In the Tik Tok shared by user Brie Thomason, a digital camera using an infrared lens is seen filming an iPhone user observing their home screen. As the iPhone user stares blatantly at the device, Thomason’s digital camera captures the iPhone snapping multiple infrared images every 5-10 seconds. While this discovery may cause some users to panic, Apple claims this is actually just an aspect of the iPhone that allows users to control their face ID and Animoji (the animated emoji function). According to Apple, this feature was first debuted as the iPhone X’s most groundbreaking function; since it is not even discernible at first glance, even though it literally stares you in the face. The company calls this feature: the new TrueDepth IR camera. This camera, housed in the black notch at the top of the display, includes a number of high-tech components such as a “flood illuminator,” infrared (IR) camera, and an infrared emitter. Officials say as an iPhone is used, the latter emits 30,000 infrared dots in a known pattern when a face is detected, enabling the iPhone X to generate a 3D map of a user’s face. According to the team, this TrueDepth IR camera can also do this fast enough to support the creation of 3D motion data as well. So, yes, your iPhone is essentially taking “invisible” photos of you, but not for the reasons you would think.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Court Chides F.B.I., but Re-Approves Warrantless Surveillance Program
2021-04-26, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/26/us/politics/fbi-fisa-surveillance.html

For a second year, the nation’s surveillance court has pointed with concern to “widespread violations” by the F.B.I. of rules intended to protect Americans’ privacy when analysts search emails gathered without a warrant. In a 67-page ruling ... James E. Boasberg, the presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, recounted several episodes uncovered by an F.B.I. audit where the bureau’s analysts improperly searched for Americans’ information in emails that the National Security Agency collected without warrants. Still, Judge Boasberg said he was willing to issue a legally required certification for the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program to operate for another year. [The program] grew out of the once-secret Stellarwind project, which President George W. Bush started after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In 2008, Congress legalized the practice. The surveillance is carried out by the National Security Agency, but three other entities — the C.I.A., the National Counterterrorism Center and the F.B.I. — also receive access to streams of “raw” messages. The F.B.I. receives only a small portion of the messages that the National Security Agency vacuums up: The bureau gets copies of intercepts to and from targets who are deemed relevant to a full and active F.B.I. national security investigation. In 2019, the most recent year for which data is public, the program had more than 200,000 targets.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


F.B.I. Secretly Bought Israeli Spyware and Explored Hacking U.S. Phones
2021-01-28, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/world/middleeast/israel-pegasus-spyware.html

It is widely regarded as the world’s most potent spyware, capable of reliably cracking the encrypted communications of iPhone and Android smartphones. The software, Pegasus, made by an Israeli company, NSO Group, has been able to track terrorists and drug cartels. It has also been used against human rights activists, journalists and dissidents. Now, an investigation published Friday by The New York Times Magazine has found that Israel, which controls the export of the spyware ... has made Pegasus a key component of its national security strategy, using it to advance its interests around the world. The F.B.I. bought and tested NSO software for years with plans to use it for domestic surveillance until the agency finally decided last year not to deploy the tools. The F.B.I., in a deal never previously reported, bought the spyware in 2019. It also spent two years discussing whether to deploy a newer product, called Phantom, inside the United States. The discussions at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. continued until last summer. But Pegasus equipment is still in a New Jersey building used by the F.B.I. And the company also gave the agency a demonstration of Phantom, which could hack American phone numbers. A brochure ... says that Phantom allows American law enforcement and spy agencies to “turn your target’s smartphone into an intelligence gold mine.” In 2018 ... the C.I.A. bought Pegasus to help Djibouti, an American ally, fight terrorism, despite longstanding concerns about human rights abuses there.

Note: Read about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


The Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie
2020-12-08, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2020/12/08/great-reset-conspiracy/

Back in June, the World Economic Forum, best known for its annual Davos summit, kicked off a lunge for organizational relevance. The effort was called ... the Great Reset. And through articles, videos, webinars, podcasts, and a book by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, it provided a coronavirus-themed rebranding of all the things Davos does anyway, now hastily repackaged as a blueprint for reviving the global economy post-pandemic by “seeking a better form of capitalism.” The Great Reset was a place to hawk for-profit technofixes to complex social problems; to hear heads of transnational oil giants opine about the urgent need to tackle climate change; to listen to politicians say the things they say during crises: that this is a tragedy but also an opportunity. In short, the Great Reset encompasses some good stuff that won’t happen and some bad stuff that certainly will and, frankly, nothing out of the ordinary in our era of “green” billionaires readying rockets for Mars. None of this is to say that Schwab’s Reset push is benign and unworthy of scrutiny. All kinds of dangerous ideas are lurking under its wide brim, from a reckless push toward more automation in the midst of a joblessness crisis, to the steady move to normalize mass surveillance and biometric tracking tools, to the very real (though not new) problem of Bill Gates’s singular power over global health policy.

Note: The author of this article is courageous journalist Naomi Klein, who wrote the seminal book “The Shock Doctrine.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


The Captain of Operation Warp Speed
2020-10-19, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-captain-of-operation-warp-speed-11602278486

Previous vaccines have taken a decade or more to develop, and more than half of the past 20 years have failed in clinical trials. However, four [COVID-19] vaccine candidates have entered the final phase of clinical trials prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Operation Warp Speed ... organized government agencies and private companies with the goal of developing, manufacturing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, with starting doses to be available by early 2021. At the head of the operation is Moncef Slaoui, a Moroccan-born Belgian-American scientist. Operation Warp Speed … has invested in six vaccine candidates (Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi / GSK) with the hope that at least one ... will prove safe and effective in clinical trials. Four of the six vaccine candidates have already been shown to be safe and effective in the first two test phases, which test whether the vaccinations produce so-called neutralizing antibodies. Serious health problems regularly arise during vaccination attempts. "We know how to distribute vaccines to any location in the US," says Slaoui. "It happens every year for flu and shingles." Tracking systems need to be "incredibly precise" to ensure that patients are each given two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects. Operation Warp Speed … has selected medical distributor McKesson and cloud operators Google and Oracle to collect and track vaccine data.

Note: The above article is also available here. Don't miss this excellent article which raises many important questions about this operation. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Why The Social Dilemma is the most important documentary of our times
2020-09-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/social-dilemm...

Netflixs brilliant new 90-minute docu-drama, The Social Dilemma ... might be the most important watch of recent years. The film, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January, takes a premise thats unlikely to set the world alight ... ie that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al arent exactly creating a utopia. Its masterstroke is in recruiting the very Silicon Valley insiders that built these platforms to explain their terrifying pitfalls which theyve realised belatedly. You dont get a much clearer statement of social medias dangers than an ex-Facebook executives claim that: In the shortest time horizon Im most worried about civil war. The commonly held belief that social media companies sell users data is quickly cast aside the data is actually used to create a sophisticated psychological profile of you. What theyre selling is their ability to manipulate you, or as one interviewee puts it: Its the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception. Its the only thing for them to make money from: changing what you do, how you think, who you are. Despite it being public knowledge that Vote Leave and Trumps 2016 election campaign harvested voters Facebook data on a gigantic scale, The Social Dilemma still manages to find fresh and vital tales of how these platforms destabilise modern politics. Russias Facebook hack to influence the 2016 US election? The Russians didnt hack Facebook. They used the tools that Facebook made for legitimate advertisers, laments one of the companys ex-investors.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.


U.S. Court: Mass Surveillance Program Exposed by Snowden Was Illegal
2020-09-02, US News & World Report/Reuters
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-09-02/us-court-mass-survei...

Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional. Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces U.S. espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping operation. "I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them," Snowden said. Evidence that the NSA was secretly building a vast database of U.S. telephone records ... was the first and arguably the most explosive of the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian newspaper in 2013. Up until that moment, top intelligence officials publicly insisted the NSA never knowingly collected information on Americans at all. After the program's exposure, U.S. officials fell back on the argument that the spying had played a crucial role in fighting domestic extremism. But the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that those claims were "inconsistent with the contents of the classified record."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


How Cops Can Secretly Track Your Phone
2020-07-31, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2020/07/31/protests-surveillance-stingrays-dirtboxes...

As protesters around the country have marched against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, activists have spotted a recurring presence in the skies: mysterious planes and helicopters hovering overhead, apparently conducting surveillance on protesters. A press release ... revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals Service were asked by the Justice Department to provide unspecified support to law enforcement during protests. A few days later, a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News ... revealed that shortly after protests began in various cities, the DEA had sought special authority from the Justice Department to covertly spy on Black Lives Matter protesters on behalf of law enforcement. Both the DEA and the Marshals possess airplanes outfitted with so-called stingrays or dirtboxes: powerful technologies capable of tracking mobile phones or, depending on how theyre configured, collecting data and communications from mobile phones in bulk. That data can be used to identify people protesters, for example and track their movements during and after demonstrations, as well as to identify others who associate with them. They also can inject spying software onto specific phones. Stingrays are routinely used to target suspects in drug and other criminal investigations, but activists also believe the devices were used during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, and against Black Lives Matter protesters over the last three months.

Note: Read more about invasive "stingray" technology and the secrecy surrounding its use. Learn how Google is siphoning all information about you it can get. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Inside TikTok owners dystopian Chinese censorship machine
2020-07-12, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/07/12/inside-tiktoks-dystopian-ch...

It's a fairly ordinary evening on TikTok, the video-sharing app. Things do not seem so different on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, where a live streaming boom has minted new social media millionaires. Behind the scenes, however, Chinese streamers are subject to an elaborate regime of automated surveillance and censorship. One system can use facial recognition to scan live streamers' broadcasts and guess their age. Another checks whether users' faces match their state ID cards. Another system assigns streamers, who are expected to uphold "public order and good customs", a "safety rating", similar to a "credit score". If the score dips below a certain level, they are punished automatically. Meanwhile, speech and text recognition is used to ferret out sins such as "feudal superstition" [and] defamation of the Communist Party. These methods are laid bare in a little-known document from TikTok and Douyin's parent company, ByteDance, and unearthed by New York City journalist Izzy Niu, which explains how the apps have adapted China's strict internet censorship laws to the unprecedented speed and chaos of live streaming. The document raises difficult questions for TikTok, which faces privacy probes in the US and UK and has already been banned in India. Some of these methods are common in the West, too. Both Facebook and YouTube use AI to police their services, and have massively expanded their censorship during the pandemic.

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