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Privacy News Stories
Excerpts of Key Privacy News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important privacy news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These privacy news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Note: This comprehensive list of privacy news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Here Comes the Full Amazonification of Whole Foods
2022-02-28, New York Times
Posted: 2022-03-14 17:41:27
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/28/technology/whole-foods-amazon-automation.html

"Would you like to sign in with your palm?" That was the question a cheerful Amazon employee posed when greeting me last week at the opening of a Whole Foods Market in Washington's Glover Park neighborhood. For the next 30 minutes, I shopped. Then I simply walked out, no cashier necessary. Whole Foods – or rather Amazon – would bill my account later. More than four years ago, Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13 billion. Now the Amazon-ification of the grocery chain is physically complete. Amazon designed my local grocer to be almost completely run by tracking and robotic tools for the first time. The technology, known as Just Walk Out, consists of hundreds of cameras with a god's-eye view of customers. Sensors are placed under each apple, carton of oatmeal and boule of multigrain bread. Deep-learning software analyzes the shopping activity to detect patterns and increase the accuracy of its charges. The Whole Foods in Glover Park ... has sparked a spirited local debate, with residents sparring on the Nextdoor community app and a neighborhood email list over the store's "dystopian" feeling versus its "impressive technology." Some ... said they had found errors in their bills and complained about the end of produce by the pound. Everything is now offered per item, bundle or box. Some mourned the disappearance of the checkout line, where they perused magazines. Many were suspicious of the tracking tech. "It's like George Orwell's '1984,'" said Allen Hengst, 72, a retired librarian.

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


CIA's Gus Hunt On Big Data: We 'Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever'
2013-03-20, Huffington Post
Posted: 2022-03-14 17:31:04
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cia-gus-hunt-big-data_n_2917842

The CIA's chief technology officer outlined the agency's endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech. Ira "Gus" Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos - and that the agency wants all of it. "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever." Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. "It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't even know they are creating. "You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, noting that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities. "Somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers - even involuntarily - and joked about a "dystopian" future. Hunt's speech barely touched on privacy concerns.

Note: The Internet of Things makes mass surveillance even easier. 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 US government is deploying robot dogs to the Mexico border. Seriously?
2022-02-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-03-06 22:59:06
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.


Everybody Does It: The Messy Truth About Infiltrating Computer Supply Chains
2019-01-24, The Intercept
Posted: 2022-03-06 22:52:16
https://theintercept.com/2019/01/24/computer-supply-chain-attacks/

Bloomberg Businessweek published an alarming story: Operatives working for China's People's Liberation Army had secretly implanted microchips into motherboards made in China and sold by U.S.-based Supermicro. This allegedly gave Chinese spies clandestine access to servers belonging to over 30 American companies, including Apple, Amazon, and various government suppliers, in an operation known as a "supply chain attack," in which malicious hardware or software is inserted into products before they are shipped to surveillance targets. U.S. spy agencies ... assessed that China was adept at corrupting the software bundled closest to a computer's hardware at the factory, threatening some of the U.S. government's most sensitive machines, according to documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents also detail how the U.S. and its allies have themselves systematically targeted and subverted tech supply chains, with the NSA conducting its own such operations, including in China, in partnership with the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The documents also disclose supply chain operations by German and French intelligence. Computer hardware can be altered at various points along the supply chain, from design to manufacturing to storage to shipment. The U.S. is among the small number of countries that could, in theory, compromise devices at many different points in this pipeline, thanks to its resources and geographic reach.

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
Posted: 2022-02-27 19:35:00
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 Battle for the World's Most Powerful Cyberweapon
2022-01-28, New York Times
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:15:59
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
Posted: 2022-01-10 00:40:04
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.


Australia's Two Largest States Trial Facial Recognition Software to Police Pandemic Rules
2021-09-16, U.S. News & World Report/Reuters
Posted: 2021-09-27 01:39:56
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
Posted: 2021-09-13 20:46:54
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.


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)
Posted: 2021-08-08 17:48:03
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 exposÄ‚© of a corruption scandal involving her country's former president Enrique PeÄ‚±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.


On the list: Ten prime ministers, three presidents and a king
2021-07-20, Washington Post
Posted: 2021-08-01 18:05:32
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.


Court Chides F.B.I., but Re-Approves Warrantless Surveillance Program
2021-04-26, New York Times
Posted: 2021-06-21 15:04:06
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.


Yes, your phone is taking 'invisible' pictures of you
2021-05-15, ABC News (Utah affiliate)
Posted: 2021-06-06 21:45:19
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.


Chinese Fund Backed By Hunter Biden Invested in Major Chinese Surveillance Firm
2019-05-03, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-03-23 01:49:30
https://theintercept.com/2019/05/03/biden-son-china-business/

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a troubling report, which it has since walked back, about a phone application made by the Chinese government. The app provides law enforcement with easy, daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang. The app relies heavily on facial recognition software supplied by Face++, a division of the Chinese startup Megvii. The flurry of media reports this week about Face++ ... and the role of the private sector in building China's increasingly sprawling surveillance state, however, left out another prominent investor in the company: Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden's investment company in China, known as Bohai Harvest RST, has pooled money, largely from state-owned venture capital, to buy or invest in a range of industries. In 2017, Bohai Harvest bought into Face++. Bohai Harvest ... has brought Hunter Biden into close proximity to influential Chinese government and business figures. The investment fund has also partnered with a subsidiary of HNA Group. The HNA Group has made unusually extensive efforts to cultivate U.S. officials. The company floated an offer to buy out the hedge fund owned by former White House official Anthony Scaramucci; retained the legal services of Gary Locke, the former U.S. ambassador to China, shortly before his confirmation; and provided financing to a private-equity firm backed by Jeb Bush.

Note: This informative video delves into the shady dealings of Hunter Biden. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world from reliable major media sources.


American and British Spy Agencies Targeted In-Flight Mobile Phone Use
2016-12-07, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-03-14 16:20:48
https://theintercept.com/2016/12/07/american-and-british-spy-agencies-targete...

In the trove of documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a treasure. It begins with a riddle: "What do the President of Pakistan, a cigar smuggler, an arms dealer, a counterterrorism target, and a combatting proliferation target have in common? They all used their everyday GSM phone during a flight." This riddle appeared in 2010 in SIDtoday, the internal newsletter of the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate, or SID, and it was classified "top secret." It announced the emergence of a new field of espionage that had not yet been explored: the interception of data from phone calls made on board civil aircraft. In a separate internal document from a year earlier, the NSA reported that 50,000 people had already used their mobile phones in flight as of December 2008, a figure that rose to 100,000 by February 2009. In a 2012 presentation, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ ... disclosed a program called "Southwinds," which was used to gather all the cellular activity, voice communication, data, metadata, and content of calls on board commercial aircraft. To spy on a telephone, all that was required was that the aircraft be cruising at an altitude above 10,000 feet. Today, approximately 100 companies permit in-flight use of telephones. This will further extend the scope of espionage by providing a pool of potential targets comprising several hundreds of thousands of people. This implies a population that goes far beyond terrorist 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.


U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers
2015-01-26, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2021-03-07 21:42:55
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spies-on-millions-of-cars-1422314779

The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists. The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database's use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects. Officials have publicly said that they track vehicles near the border with Mexico to help fight drug cartels. What hasn't been previously disclosed is that the DEA has spent years working to expand the database "throughout the United States,'' according to one email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations ... putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways. The database raises new questions about privacy and the scope of government surveillance. The existence of the program and its expansion were described in interviews with current and former government officials, and in documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act request. It is unclear if any court oversees or approves the intelligence-gathering.

Note: 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.


Biometric Surveillance Means Someone Is Always Watching
2014-04-17, Newsweek
Posted: 2021-03-07 21:41:19
https://www.newsweek.com/2014/04/25/biometric-surveillance-means-someone-alwa...

From 2008 to 2010, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with the British Government Communications Headquarters to intercept the webcam footage of over 1.8 million Yahoo users. The agencies were analyzing images they downloaded from webcams and scanning them for known terrorists who might be using the service to communicate, matching faces from the footage to suspects with the help of a new technology called face recognition. In attempting to find faces, the Pentagon's Optic Nerve program recorded webcam sex by its unknowing targets–up to 11 percent of the material the program collected was "undesirable nudity" that employees were warned not to access. And that's just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era. The U.S. government is in the process of building the world's largest cache of face recognition data, with the goal of identifying every person in the country. The creation of such a database would mean that anyone could be tracked wherever his or her face appears, whether it's on a city street or in a mall. Today's laws don't protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data. "If cameras connected to databases can do face recognition, it will become impossible to be anonymous in society," [attorney Jennifer] Lynch says. That means every person in the U.S. would be passively tracked at all times.

Note: 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.


The Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie
2020-12-08, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-12-13 20:41:46
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.


Government Aims to Build a 'Data Eye in the Sky'
2011-10-10, New York Times
Posted: 2020-11-09 19:09:41
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/science/11predict.html?pagewanted=all

More than 60 years ago, in his "Foundation" series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science – psychohistory – that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future. Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet – Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones – to do the same thing. The government is showing interest in the idea. This summer a little-known intelligence agency began seeking ideas from academic social scientists and corporations for ways to automatically scan the Internet in 21 Latin American countries for "big data," according to a research proposal. The three-year experiment ... is being financed by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa. The automated data collection system is to focus on patterns of communication, consumption and movement of populations. It will use publicly accessible data, including Web search queries, blog entries, Internet traffic flow, financial market indicators, traffic webcams and changes in Wikipedia entries. It is intended to be an entirely automated system, a "data eye in the sky" without human intervention. Some social scientists and advocates of privacy rights are deeply skeptical of the project, saying it evokes queasy memories of Total Information Awareness, a post-9/11 Pentagon program that proposed hunting for potential attackers by identifying patterns in vast collections of public and private data.

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The Captain of Operation Warp Speed
2020-10-19, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2020-10-27 19:43:31
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.

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