An Iowa City with a Population of 7,000 Will Receive Armored Military Vehicle
I’ve covered the militarization of the domestic police force on several occasions on this website. For those of you who need a refresher, I suggest reading the following:
Moving along to the subject of today’s absurdity, the tiny city of Washington, Iowa with a population of 7,000 and 11 police officers, will be receiving a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. Yes, they will be employing one of these in the field:
These things normally cost $500,000, but will be given to Washington, Iowa for free under a Defense Department program that gives surplus military equipment to domestic law enforcement.
Matthew Byrd writes in the Daily Iowan that:
Sometimes the news is just so drearily awful that you have to sit back and almost appreciate the pure comedy induced by it.
Take this item from Washington, Iowa, where the local police have recently acquired an MRAP vehicle (short for Mine Resistance Ambush Protected) through a Defense Department program that donates excess vehicles originally produced for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to local police departments across the United States, including other Iowa towns such as Mason City and Storm Lake.
The MRAP weighs an impressive 49,000 pounds, stands 10-feet tall, and possesses a whopping six-wheel drive. Originally designed to resist landmines and IEDs, it sure seems like the MRAP will come in handy for the notorious war zone otherwise known as Washington County, Iowa.
If you’re having a bad day, I highly recommend watching a video produced by the Des Moines Register in which Washington police officials try to justify the possession of a vehicle it clearly has no use for. The excuses range from school shootings (which are an actual concern but an MRAP seems like overkill) to a terrorist attack happening in central Iowa (because if there’s any place that seems ripe for a high-profile terrorist attack it’s Washington, Iowa, population 7,000).
As Radley Balko, the author of the book The Rise of the Warrior Cop, an expose of the police militarization of the last decade, found, in 2006 alone the Pentagon, “distributed vehicles worth $15.4 million, aircraft worth $8.9 million, boats worth $6.7 million, weapons worth $1 million and “other” items worth $110.6 million to local police agencies.”
The effects of cops moving from handguns to assault rifles and being equipped with tanks, bazookas, and Kevlar has been twofold. First, civil liberties have absolutely been eroded, with police-brutality rates skyrocketing in last decade according to the Justice Department. Not only that, but, with the influx of military gear into local police forces, cops begin to view themselves as soldiers whose main job is combat rather than keeping the peace. How else can you explain the rise in police shootings since 9/11?
USA! USA! USA!
Keep chanting like idiots until one of these rolls up to your doorstep.
Full article here.
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Too many ninja-bureaucrats: Why are federal agencies increasingly armed to the teeth?
Even the Federal Reserve and NOAA (that’s right, the weather people) have their own mini-armies of supercops. Why?
It’s been estimated the U.S. has some 25,000 sworn law enforcement officers in departments not traditionally associated with fighting crime. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and in a tabulation compiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, 3,812 criminal investigators are working in areas other than the U.S.departments of Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.
Lynch says it’s hard to tell how much money federal agencies spend on their respective law enforcement divisions.
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Anti-Protest Law Passes in Australia – Punishment Includes Fines and Imprisonment
The Australian state of Victoria has just passed an extremely anti-democractic law criminalizing protest (recall Japan and Spain moved to do the same late last year). For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, Victoria is one of Australia’s five states. It is the second most populous and includes the city of Melbourne (a city of four million), so this isn’t some parched piece of land near Ayers rock with more kangaroos than people.
It is very disturbing that this is happening in 2014 in a Western “democracy.” It demonstrates two interrelated social trends. That the “people” are waking up to elite corruption, and the power structure is terrified that their bullshit propaganda is no longer effective. The friendly mask of government is coming off…
The Victoria state government in Australia passed a law Tuesday that will give unprecedented amounts of power to police to suppress protests. The Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill passed through the Victorian parliament despite heavy opposition within the general population. During the legislative proceedings alone, police arrested four protesters in the legislative chamber’s public viewing chamber for causing disturbances.
“Despite heavy opposition within the general population.” Silly serfs, you think what you want matters?
Under the new law, police can order protesters to disperse if they are blocking the entrance to a building, obstructing people or traffic, or most notably, if the police expect the protesters to turn violent. The penalty for violating orders to move ranges from a $720 fine to arrest and imprisonment. Under the new law, police would also be able to obtain exclusion orders banning protesters from certain public places for a period of 12 months; the violation of which carries a maximum jail sentence of two years.
Take note of the word “expect.” The police can simply “expect” than any protest they don’t want happening will turn violent. What a sad joke.
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Public Schools Are Preparing America’s Children For Life In A Police State
Our children are the future of America, and our public schools are systematically training them to become accustomed to living in a “Big Brother” police state. All across the United States today, public schools have essentially become “prison grids” that are run by control freaks that are absolutely obsessed with micromanaging the lives of their students down to the smallest detail. As you will read about below, students all over the country are now being monitored by RFID microchips, their lunches are being inspected on a daily basis by school administrators, and the social media accounts of students are being constantly monitored even when they are at home. Of course these sorts of things do not happen everywhere just yet, but on the path that we are on it is just a matter of time. At this point, many of our public schools very closely resemble “totalitarian dictatorships”, and so if the United States ever slips into totalitarianism the students of today will actually feel very comfortable under that political system.
I went to public schools all my life, so I have experience in this area. Sadly, things have gone downhill quite a bit since those days. For example, one thing that was unheard of back when I was in high school was “active shooter drills”. They are being held in school districts all over the nation today, and they often involve the firing of blanks and the use of fake blood. The following is from a recent NBC News about these drills…
In a cramped, carpeted amphitheater in the basement of Troy Buchanan High School, 69 students are waiting to die.
“You’ll know when it pops off,” says Robert Bowen, the school’s campus police officer. “If you get engaged with one of the shooters, you’ll know it.”
“When you get shot, you need to close your fingers and keep ‘em in,” adds Tammy Kozinski, the drama teacher. “When the bad guy and the police come through, they’ll step all over you, and who will be saying they’re sorry?”
“Nobody!” the students cry in unison.
This isn’t a bizarre, premeditated mass murder or some twisted sacrifice led by a student cult. These are the 20 minutes preceding an active shooter drill, the 13th one Missouri’s Lincoln County school district has staged in the past year.
Fortunately, the students participating in the active shooter drills in Missouri know in advance what is happening.
In other instances around the country, that is not the case. In fact, sometimes teachers are not even told what is going to happen. Just check out the following example from New Jersey…
About 50 teachers at a New Jersey school experienced a terrifying moment when a shooting rampage turned out to be a drill, but the teachers didn’t know it.
It happened Aug. 28 at the Phillipsburg New Jersey Early Learning Center.
A man burst into the library and started shooting. But the gun didn’t have any bullets, just blanks.
Teachers took cover under child-sized tables, crying and trembling.
“People are crying. The girl next to me is trembling and shaking. You heard people crying. You heard other people praying. It was pretty dramatic,” one teacher said.
Could you imagine your own children being put through something so traumatic?
And of course “active shooter drills” are far from the only way that our public schools are being transformed into prison camps. Just consider the following list…
-Public schools in some parts of the country are beginning to use RFID microchips to track school attendance. (Link)
-Some public schools are now systematically monitoring the social media accounts of their students. (Link)
-Listening devices are being installed in classrooms all over the nation. (Link)
-Bureaucratic control freaks are checking student lunches at many schools to ensure that they are “balanced”. (Link)
-Students are being suspended from school for simply making gun gestures with their hands. (Link)
-Some public schools do not even allow parents to walk their own children to class. (Link)
This next set of examples comes from one of my previous articles…
-A few years ago, a class of 3rd grade students at one Kentucky elementary school were searched by a group of teachers after 5 dollars went missing. During the search the students were actually required to remove their shoes and their socks.
-At one public school in the Chicago area, children have been banned from bringing their lunches from home. Yes, you read that correctly. Students at that particular school are absolutely prohibited from bringing lunches from home. Instead, it is mandatory that they eat the food that the school cafeteria serves.
-The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending huge amounts of money to install surveillance cameras in the cafeterias of public schools so that government control freaks can closely monitor what our children are eating.
-A teenager in suburban Dallas was forced to take on a part-time job after being ticketed for using bad language in one high school classroom. The original ticket was for $340, but additional fees have raised the total bill to $637.
-It is not just high school kids that are being ticketed by police. In Texas the crackdown extends all the way down to elementary school students. In fact, it has been reported that Texas police gave “1,000 tickets” to elementary school kids over a recent six year period.
-A 17 year-old honor student in North Carolina named Ashley Smithwick accidentally took her father’s lunch with her to school. It contained a small paring knife which he would use to slice up apples. So what happened to this standout student when the school discovered this? The school suspended her for the rest of the year and the police charged her with a misdemeanor.
-A 6 year old girl in Florida was handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.
-In early 2010, a 12 year old girl in New York was arrested by police and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly wrote on her desk.
-There are actually some public schools in the United States that are so paranoid that they have actually installed cameras in student bathrooms.
-Down in Florida, students have actually been arrested by police for bringing a plastic butter knife to school, for throwing an eraser, and for drawing a picture of a gun.
-The Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice has announced that it will begin using analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents and will place “potential offenders” in specific prevention and education programs.
-A group of high school students made national headlines a while back when they revealed that they were ordered by a security guard to stop singing the national anthem during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
-In some U.S. schools, armed cops accompanied by police dogs actually conduct surprise raids with their guns drawn. In this video, you can actually see police officers aiming their guns at school children as the students are lined up facing the wall.
-Back in 2009, one 8 year old boy in Massachusetts was sent home from school and was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Our public schools are systematically training our children for life in a police state, and hardly anyone is complaining about it.
We are heading down a very dangerous road, and at the end of that road we would end up like other totalitarian regimes such as North Korea.
If you think that you would like to live in a truly totalitarian regime, just consider what a new UN report that was just released says is going on in North Korea right now…
The commission documents crimes against humanity, including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
So why don’t the people of North Korea rebel?
Well, one prison camp survivor that escaped said that “we became so used to it that we didn’t feel anything”…
One witness, a survivor of a North Korean prison camp, told the commission of seeing a guard beat a nearly starving woman who had recently given birth, then force the woman to drown her baby.
Others told of being imprisoned for watching soap operas, trying to find food for their families, traveling without permission or having family members considered suspect by the government.
“Because we saw so many people die, we became so used to it,” one prison camp survivor told the commission. “I’m sorry to say that we became so used to it that we didn’t feel anything.”
Perhaps you think that such a thing could never happen in America, but the truth is that we are also becoming very accustomed to the emerging Big Brother control grid which is being constructed all around us.
And the youth of today are sadly ignorant of what this nation is supposed to look like. In fact, in the video posted below activist Mark Dice discovers that many students at one college in California cannot even name any of the Bill of Rights when they are asked to do so…
So is there any hope for the next generation of Americans?
This article first appeared here at the The American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
Tennessee Jailers Torture Restrained Inmate
Published by NextNewsNetwork
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tennessee — A newly released video shows detention deputies at Tennessee’s Rutherford County Jail pepper-spraying a detained individual while he was locked into a restraint chair. The victim, who had been detained on a charge of “resisting,” put up no visible struggle. An officer identified as Deputy James Vandermeer can be seen inserting pepper spray into the gap in the “spit shield,” an appliance that covers the victim’s face. After the shield was removed ten minutes later, the inmate can be seen convulsing and crying for help for an hour and fifteen minutes. He never received medical attention. Vandermeer — who had previously been fired for a DUI arrest — claimed in his official report that the inmate had been “combative,” an assertion contradicted by the video evidence.
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The Economics of the Police State | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Published by misesmedia
Published on Jan 22, 2014
Recorded at the Mises Circle Southwest Regional in Houston, 18 January 2014. Includes an introduction by Jeff Deist.
In the modern United States, federal laws are now so numerous and written so broadly and vaguely, that it is nearly impossible to make it through the day without breaking at least one of them. And through it all, an enormous government apparatus of prisons, prosecutors, police, and bureaucrats remains well-funded, powerful, and nearly impossible to oppose in court.
32 Privacy Destroying Technologies That Are Systematically Transforming America Into A Giant Prison
If you live in the United States, you live in a high tech surveillance grid that is becoming more oppressive with each passing day. In America today, the control freaks that run things are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do. If we continue on the path that we are currently on, we will be heading into a future where there will be absolutely no privacy of any kind. In fact, many would argue that we are essentially there already. Many people speak of this as being the “Information Age“, but most Americans don’t really stop and think about what that really means. Most of the information that is considered to be so “valuable” is actually about all of us. Businesses want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can sell us stuff. Government officials want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can make sure that we are not doing anything that they don’t like. There is a constant hunger for even more information, and so the surveillance technologies just continue to become even more advanced and the Big Brother control grid being constructed all around us just continues to become even more pervasive. Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, the truth is that it is surrounding you right now even as you read this. We live in a society where liberty and freedom are literally being strangled to death, but most Americans don’t seem to care.
Do you know who else gets watched, tracked and monitored 24 hours a day?
Surveillance is a form of control, and at this point we are little more than inmates inside a gigantic Big Brother surveillance grid.
Posted below is a list of 32 privacy destroying technologies that are systematically transforming America into a giant prison. Following each item, there is a short excerpt from a news report about that particular technology. If you want to read the entire article where the excerpt came from, just click the link to find the source. Individually, each of these technologies is deeply troubling. But when you step back and take a look at them all collectively, it is absolutely horrifying…
#1 Spying On Us Through Our Televisions: Put simply, our TVs have started spying on us.
Last week, there was a high-profile case in point. An IT consultant called Jason Huntley, who lives in a village near Hull, uncovered evidence that a flat-screen television, which had been sitting in his living room since the summer, was secretly invading his family’s privacy.
He began investigating the £400 LG device after noticing that its home screen appeared to be showing him ‘targeted’ adverts — for cars, and Knorr stock cubes — based on programmes he’d just been watching.
Huntley decided to monitor information that the so-called smart TV — which connects to the internet — was sending and receiving. He did this by using his laptop effectively as a bridge between his television and the internet receiver, so the laptop was able to show all the data being sucked out of his set.
He soon discovered that details of not just every show he watched but every button he pressed on his remote control were being sent back to LG’s corporate headquarters in South Korea.
#2 Next Generation Facial Recognition Technology: In a single second, law enforcement agents can match a suspect against millions upon millions of profiles in vast detailed databases stored on the cloud. It’s all done using facial recognition, and in Southern California it’s already occurring.
Imagine the police taking a picture: any picture of a person, anywhere, and matching it on the spot in less than a second to a personalized profile, scanning millions upon millions of entries from within vast, intricate databases stored on the cloud.
#3 Your Next Password Might Be Your Eye: You can use your phone to figure out your heart rate, track how much you walk, and even measure your sex life. But the powerful sensors inside smartphones can do more than keep you updated on your health: They can also turn your body into a password.
EyeVerify is a small Kansas City–based security company. Its core product is biometric eyescan software for smartphones. Every person has a unique pattern of blood vessels in their eyes. These blood vessels contrast with the whites of the eyes so clearly that they can always be read, even when there’s a lack of light. The best part? Those blood-vessel patterns can be photographed by phones and turned into unique data signatures which can be used to replace or supplement traditional passwords. “We turn a picture of your eye into a key that protects your digital identity,” says EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush.
#4 “Pre-Crime” Surveillance Cameras: Hundreds of pre-crime surveillance cameras are to be installed in San Francisco’s subway system that will analyze “suspicious behavior” and alert guards to potential criminal or terrorist activity – before any crime has been committed.
“Manufacturers BRS Labs said it has installed the cameras at tourist attractions, government buildings and military bases in the U.S. In its latest project BRS Labs is to install its devices on the transport system in San Francisco, which includes buses, trams and subways,” reports the Daily Mail.
The cameras are programmed with a list of behaviors considered “normal”. Anything that deviates from usual activity is classified as suspicious and guards are immediately alerted via text message or a phone call.
Equipped with the ability to track up to 150 suspects at a time, the cameras build up a “memory” of suspicious behavior to determine what constitutes potential criminal activity.
A total of 288 cameras will be installed across 12 transport hubs.
#5 New Software That Will Store And Analyze Millions Of Our Voices: ‘Voice Grid Nation’ is a system that uses advanced algorithms to match identities to voices. Brought to the US by Russia’s Speech Technology Center, it claims to be capable of allowing police, federal agencies and other law enforcement personnel to build up a huge database containing up to several million voices.
When authorities intercept a call they’ve deemed ‘hinky’, the recording is entered into the VoiceGrid program, which (probably) buzzes and whirrs and spits out a match. In five seconds, the program can scan through 10,000 voices, and it only needs 3 seconds for speech analysis. All that, combined with 100 simultaneous searches and the storage capacity of 2 million samples, gives SpeechPro, as the company is known in the US, the right to claim a 90% success rate.
#6 A Device That Captures Your Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away: Gaining access to your gym or office building could soon be as simple as waving a hand at the front door. A Hunsville, Ala.-based company called IDair is developing a system that can scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away. Coupled with other biometrics, it could soon allow security systems to grant or deny access from a distance, without requiring users to stop and scan a fingerprint, swipe an ID card, or otherwise lose a moment dealing with technology.
Currently IDair’s primary customer is the military, but the startup wants to open up commercially to any business or enterprise that wants to put a layer of security between its facilities and the larger world. A gym chain is already beta testing the system (no more using your roommate’s gym ID to get in a free workout), and IDair’s founder says that at some point his technology could enable purchases to be made biometrically, using fingerprints and irises as unique identifiers rather than credit card numbers and data embedded in magnetic strips or RFID chips.
#7 Molecular Scanners That Can Secretly Scan You From 164 Feet Away: Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.
And without you knowing it.
The technology is so incredibly effective that, in November 2011, its inventors were subcontracted by In-Q-Tel to work with the US Department of Homeland Security. In-Q-Tel is a company founded “in February 1999 by a group of private citizens at the request of the Director of the CIA and with the support of the U.S. Congress.” According to In-Q-Tel, they are the bridge between the Agency and new technology companies.
Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States.
#8 Mobile Backscatter Vans: American cops are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering’s Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call “the amazing radioactive genital viewer,” now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly, and you (yes you).
These pornoscannerwagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America’s streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don’t worry, it’s not a violation of privacy. As AS&E’s vice president of marketing Joe Reiss sez, “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be.”
#9 RFID Microchips In Our Schools: Upon arriving in the morning, according to the Associated Press, each student at the CCC-George Miller preschool will don a jersey with a stitched in RFID chip. As the kids go about the business of learning, sensors in the school will record their movements, collecting attendance for both classes and meals. Officials from the school have claimed they’re only recording information they’re required to provide while receiving federal funds for their Headstart program.
#10 Palm Scanning Devices In Our Schools: Puyallup School District says by the end of the year, every lunchroom will have palm scanning devices that will allow students to pay for their lunch with a wave of a hand.
“Efficiency is another reason for implementing this. The accuracy of the scanner reduces human error, reduces fraud, the ability for students to share numbers allows parents to know the money that they’re spending is being spent on their child’s lunch,” said Brian Fox, spokesperson for Puyallup School District.
The district says the devices will be in all 32 schools by the end of the school year.
#11 Iris Scanning Devices In Our Schools: Kids lose their school IDs but they don’t often lose their eyeballs.
That’s one of the reasons why a growing number of schools are replacing traditional identification cards with iris scanners. By the fall, several schools — ranging from elementary schools to colleges — will be rolling out various iris scanning security methods.
#12 Implantable Medical Laboratory-On-A-Chip: French researchers are zeroing in on a tiny, chip-based medical laboratory test device designed to be implanted under the skin. This miniature blood laboratory may revolutionize healthcare by continuously monitoring high-risk, chronically ill patients.
This ground-breaking work is being done by developers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), or Swiss Institute of Technology, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The implantable lab-testing device is linked to the user’s cell phone and can send alerts to doctors before symptoms are evident.
#13 Smart Phone Eye Scanners: A patent application filed by Samsung seems to indicate that next-generation Galaxy smartphones might feature biometric authentication as an alternative to PINs or passwords.
Unlike arch-rival Apple’s Touch ID, however, the South Korean technology giant won’t be scanning users’ fingerprints. Instead, the patent – spotted by blog Patent Bolt – describes a novel iris scanning technique.
According to Samsung, the non-contact nature of eye scanning means handset owners “do not feel uncomfortable” with the technology, while at the same time the iris offers more unique patterns than the fingerprint does.
#14 Cell Phone Tower “Stingrays”: You make a call on your cellphone thinking the only thing standing between you and the recipient of your call is your carrier’s cellphone tower. In fact, that tower your phone is connecting to just might be a boobytrap set up by law enforcement to ensnare your phone signals and maybe even the content of your calls.
So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.
The government maintains that the stingrays don’t violate Fourth Amendment rights, since Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower.
#15 Using Your Cell Phone Microphone As A “Roving Bug”: The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone’s microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
The technique is called a “roving bug,” and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
#16 The Government Is Using Our Cell Phones To Track Our Movements: One of the biggest changes is the ability to track your physical location. I’m sorry I came in at the end of the previous talk. I heard them talk about surveying cell phones with a drone, in a wide area — this is something that is done routinely now. I can tell you that everybody that attended an Occupy Wall Street protest, and didn’t turn their cell phone off, or put it — and sometimes even if they did — the identity of that cell phone has been logged, and everybody who was at that demonstration, whether they were arrested, not arrested, whether their photos were ID’d, whether an informant pointed them out, it’s known they were there anyway. This is routine.
#17 Police Using “Extraction Devices” To Take Our Cell Phone Data: The Michigan State Police have a handful of portable machines called “extraction devices” that have the potential to download personal information from motorists they pull over, and the ACLU would like to know more about them.
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
#18 Automated License Plate Readers: More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
#19 Street Lights That Can Record Private Conversations: Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.
#20 Spying On Us Through Our Video Game Systems: Users of the new Xbox One are complaining that Kinect is monitoring their Skype conversations for swearing and then punishing them with account bans. Microsoft has admitted it is punishing gamers for bad language but denied that it is snooping on private Skype chats.
#21 Data Mining: The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.
#22 A New Technology Called “Coin” Is Being Called “The Future Of Money”: The future of money has arrived, and it’s called Coin.
It looks like a credit card. It’s the size of a credit card. It swipes in credit card machines. But it holds the information of up to eight of your debit, credit, rewards, or gift cards. And you can switch between cards by simply pressing a button.
The new product, launched recently, promises to change the way consumers spend money in a secure and efficient way.
#23 A National Database Of All Financial Transactions: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to create a “Google Earth” of every financial transaction of every American, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) warned today in a Senate speech opposing confirmation of Richard Cordray as CFPB director.
“This bill (creating the CFPB) was supposed to be about regulating Wall Street. Instead, it’s creating a Google Earth on every financial transaction. That’s right: the government will be able to see every detail of your finances. Your permission – not needed,” Sen. Enzi said.
#24 The Coming National DNA Database: A national DNA database is coming. Barack Obama has already said that he wants one. A major Supreme Court decision last month paved the way for one. The DNA of those that commit “serious crimes” is already being routinely collected all over the nation. Some states (such as New Jersey) are now passing laws that will require DNA collection from those charged with committing “low level crimes”. And a law that was passed under George W. Bush allows the federal government to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the United States. So how long will it be before we are all required to give DNA samples to the authorities?
#25 The Systematic Recording Of Talk Radio Programs: Next time you call a talk radio station, beware: The FBI may be listening.
According to WMAL.com, “The FBI has awarded a $524,927 contract to a Virginia company to record as much radio news and talk programming as it can find on the Internet. … The FBI says it is not playing Big Brother by policing the airwaves, but rather seeking access to what airs as potential evidence.”
#26 The FBI’s Next Generation Identification System: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun rolling out its new $1 billion biometric Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. In essence, NGI is a nationwide database of mugshots, iris scans, DNA records, voice samples, and other biometrics, that will help the FBI identify and catch criminals — but it is how this biometric data is captured, through a nationwide network of cameras and photo databases, that is raising the eyebrows of privacy advocates.
Until now, the FBI relied on IAFIS, a national fingerprint database that has long been due an overhaul. Over the last few months, the FBI has been pilot testing a facial recognition system — and soon, detectives will also be able to search the system for other biometrics such as DNA records and iris scans.
#27 Trapwire: “You are being watched. The government has a secret system – a machine – that spies on you every hour of every day.” That is how each episode of “Person of Interest” on CBS begins. Most Americans that have watched the show just assume that such a surveillance network is completely fictional and that the government would never watch us like that. Sadly, most Americans are wrong. Shocking new details have emerged this week which prove that a creepy nationwide network of spy cameras is being rolled out across the United States. Reportedly, these new spy cameras are “more accurate than modern facial recognition technology”, and every few seconds they send back data from cities and major landmarks all over the United States to a centralized processing center where it is analyzed. The authorities believe that the world has become such a dangerous place that the only way to keep us all safe is to watch what everyone does all the time. But the truth is that instead of “saving America”, all of these repressive surveillance technologies are slowly killing our liberties and our freedoms. America is being transformed into an Orwellian prison camp right in front of our eyes, and very few people are even objecting to it.
#28 Spyware That Monitors The Behavior Of Government Workers: When the Food and Drug Administration started spying on a group of agency scientists, it installed monitoring software on their laptop computers to capture their communications.
The software, sold by SpectorSoft of Vero Beach, Fla., could do more than vacuum up the scientists’ e-mails as they complained to lawmakers and others about medical devices they thought were dangerous. It could be programmed to intercept a tweet or Facebook post. It could snap screen shots of their computers. It could even track an employee’s keystrokes, retrieve files from hard drives or search for keywords.
#29 Political Campaign Databases: If you voted this election season, President Obama almost certainly has a file on you. His vast campaign database includes information on voters’ magazine subscriptions, car registrations, housing values and hunting licenses, along with scores estimating how likely they were to cast ballots for his reelection.
#30 Spying On Us Through Our Appliances: Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.
The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.
Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.
The resultant chorus of ‘connected’ gadgets will be able to be read like a book – and even remote-controlled, according to CIA CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a recent report by Wired’s ‘Danger Room’ blog.
#31 Unmanned Aerial Drones: Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is using aerial drones to spy on farmers in Nebraska and Iowa. The surveillance came under scrutiny last week when Nebraska’s congressional delegation sent a joint letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
On Friday, EPA officialdom in “Region 7” responded to the letter.
“Courts, including the Supreme Court, have found similar types of flights to be legal (for example to take aerial photographs of a chemical manufacturing facility) and EPA would use such flights in appropriate instances to protect people and the environment from violations of the Clean Water Act,” the agency said in response to the letter.
#32 NSA Snooping: Speaking to a raucous audience via Skype on Friday, Greenwald said the NSA’s “brand-new technology” gives it the power to “redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phone calls every single day.”
“But what we’re really talking about here is a globalized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency,” Greenwald said. “It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call; it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.”
Greenwald added that the NSA technology is “designed to destroy all privacy. And what’s incredibly menacing about it is that it’s all taking place in the dark with no accountability and virtually no safeguards.”
Every single day, the NSA intercepts and permanently stores close to 2 billion emails and phone calls in addition to a whole host of other data.
So where does all of that data go?
Well, the NSA recently completely construction of the largest data center in the history of the world out in Utah. It will reportedly have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data. That is an amount of data that is almost incomprehensible.
This data center has approximately a million square feet of storage space, it cost nearly 2 billion dollars to build, and it is going to take about 40 million dollars a year just to pay for the energy needed to run it.
Without a doubt, we have become a surveillance society.
And if the American people don’t object now, this will just be the tip of the iceberg.
If we continue down this same path, what is coming will be far more horrifying than anything that George Orwell ever dreamed of.
So what do you think about all of this?
Image credit: http://thetruthwins.com
Man Arrested for Picking Up His Children at School
“Jim Howe, father of two children enrolled in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee, arrived at the school on foot at dismissal time: 2:00 PM. But a new school policy states that students may only leave at 2:00 PM if their parents are picking them up in cars. Walkers must wait until 2:35 PM. Howe maintained that the policy was meant to apply to students walking home by themselves, not students walking home with their parents.”
“Avery Aytes, a sheriff deputy and school resource officer, was on hand to prevent Howes from leaving with his kids.” (emphasis mine) “I’m going to call some help down here and we’re going to take you up to the jail right now,” said Aytes to Howes. “I’m not putting up with this today. You’re being childish and it’s uncalled for.”
“The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The sheriff’s office told an ABC local news channel that it believed Aytes acted responsibly. “The resource officers are there to enforce the law,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess in a statement. Burgess did agree with Howes, however, that the new pickup policy was causing chaos. The line of cars picking up kids is so long that it spills out along the highway, creating safety concerns.”
In addition, here is the video of the incident.
The Battle for Power on the Internet: Bruce Schneier at TEDxCambridge 2013
Published by TEDxTalks
Bruce Schneier gives us a glimpse of the future of the internet, and shares some of the context we should keep in mind, and the insights we need to understand, as we prepare for it. Learn more about Bruce Schneier at https://www.schneier.com and TEDxCambridge at http://www.tedxcambridge.com.
Veterans Arrested at Vietnam Memorial in NYC
The following is a powerful, touching and very well done video that includes veterans of various wars, ranging from World War II to Vietnam as well as some of our recent imperial adventures. It is entirely clear that this is no stunt, but rather a heartfelt and genuine expression of grief and disillusionment from Americans who have seen the pain and suffering of war up close, and who clearly continue to experience much sadness many years later.
As expected, Mayor Bloomberg’s storm-troopers did as told and arrested these folks (many of whom are elderly) shortly after the 10pm curfew.
No Victim. No Crime. This is fucking ridiculous.
Video capture added to original post.