Posts tagged information
Imagine every citizen being able to hold politicians accountable down to the penny
There is great hope that tech will bring local bureaucrats and crony capitalists if not to heal, at least more into the light in a big way, soon. We are at the beginning of a transformation. (Let’s hope.) As data becomes more and more available, and search engine tools become better and more intuitive, citizens are going to increasingly audit the books of their home towns.
For most government is a black box. Tax dollars go in, something comes out, roads, libraries, sweetheart pension deals for city managers. Now it is becoming increasingly easy to take apart government budgets and examine them. As Bill Frezza explains below.
The only reason one couldn’t fight City Hall in the past (not always true by the way) was because City Hall controlled the information. Now this is less the case, and that is a very good thing for citizens.
Imagine no more. A Silicon Valley startup named OpenGov.com is putting city finances online, along with a suite of analytic tools that make it easy for both city managers and any citizen to dig into the details of their city’s finances, past and present. Since its launch in 2011, OpenGov.com has helped city governments as large as Anaheim, CA and as small as Rockport, Texas, (population 8,766) become more transparent to the citizens they serve and more easily manageable by the elected officials and civil servants who run them. What was once an opaque morass is now a publicly accessible resource.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Wishing all a very Happy New Year! Let us hope we have learned from the past to make better informed decisions that will lead to a more peaceful, prosperous, healthy and fulfilling 2014. I wanted to take this moment to say a heartfelt thank you to those that have visited, offered feedback, commented by adding additional insight, opposing views and sometimes a bit of humor, and to those that shared any links throughout the past year. Also, thanks to those people sharing links visitors arrived to this site from 157 countries last year! That reflects your work and networking, much more than I could accomplish alone.
Much appreciation to the numerous sites that are referring time and again and to those who are truly doing the needed research and crunching the data to create the information shared here. Be sure to follow the links and visit their fine sites as well to show support and encourage their future efforts.
Finally, a thank you and mention to the 5 most active commenters to the site in 2013.
- Leslie Green
- Doug Nusbaum
Remember, the sole purpose of this site is to pass along information that may inform, educate, entertain and stir curiosity to research any of the subject matter on your own to gain a better understanding of the times we find ourselves in. If you find a post or topic of interest the odds are your friends may be interested as well.
Below are some of the most popular posts based on your views from 2013.
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Terrorism, Activism & the Rise of Independent Journalism
Control over the free flow of information is coming to a head with the Senate Bill 987, entitled, “Free Flow of Information Act of 2013” (FFIA) which is awaiting approval by the House and the Senate.
Supporters of this bill include:
• Senator Lindsey Graham
• Senator Barbara Boxer
• Senator Maria Cantwell
• Senator Patrick Leahy
The text of the FFIA explains how a “covered person” would not have to disclose their sources for news unless “a Federal court in the jurisdiction where the subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process has been or would be issued determines, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard.”
Indeed, this legislation provides protection to the mainstream media with regard to anonymous sources never having to be revealed which also maintains that this conglomerate of media outlets would not have to divulge where any information they report on came from.
This is anti-ethical to a transparent press that provides source links or footnotes in articles to provide the audience with further information on the subject, as well as the exact source where the information originated.
This includes information provided by “record, document, or item obtained as the result of the eyewitness observations of, or obtained during the course of, alleged criminal conduct by the covered person, including any physical evidence or visual or audio recording of the conduct.”
However, in Section 5, the legislation outlines a catch-all allowance by any entity to obtain information about anonymous sources in the event that this indulgence would “prevent terrorist activity or harm to national security.”
The loophole is created with the ambiguous phrase: “Other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.”
A covered person is defined as “a person who, with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest, regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports or publishes on such matters by”:
- Conducts interviews
- Makes direct observations of events
- “Collecting, reviewing, or analyzing original writings, statements, communications, reports, memoranda, records, transcripts, documents, photographs, recordings, tapes, materials, data, or other information whether in paper, electronic, or other form”
- Gathers information with the intent of disseminating the news
Forms of dissemination that are acceptable to the US government include:
- Print “(including newspapers, books, wire services, news agencies, or magazines)”
- Broadcasting “(including dissemination through networks, cable, satellite carriers, broadcast stations, or a channel or programming service for any such media)”
- Other means
Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) meeting in September to explain her view of who can be a journalist and who cannot.
Feinstein made note of how certain language in the bill would extend to persons who “really aren’t qualified at all” to call themselves journalists (as meant to be defined by the government).
The US government is attempting to define journalism as we know it today, and may be successful because of the ignorance of current incarnations of the development of news and reporting over time.
Following the tremendous contribution of friend and fellow journalist, James Corbett, this lecture furthers certain details of the study on the transformation of media as it relates to the definition of journalism over the centuries.
The first identified movement toward mass reporting of events can be attributed to the creation of the printing press . This machine made it possible for information to be copied en masse and distributed in a timely manner.
This modern equivalent of the printing press can be found in the creation of the internet . Just as with the printing press (which facilitated news to be distributed across a massive audience), the internet is the apparatus that allows modern alternative media to reach a substantial portion of the world’s population that have access to the World Wide Web.
In fact, the first newspapers were created in Europe by “merchants would distribute newsletters written by hand containing information regarding the weather, economic conditions, wars and human-interest stories.”
Today we find that with the creation of websites, alternative forms of information about current events have once again altered the landscape of what is accepted as disbursement of news and established online journalism .
In the mid-1800s, Paul Julius Reuter and his friend Carl Friedrich Gauss, “who was experimenting with an electric telegraph . . . opened a telegraphic news office ” and later founded Reuters News Agency (RNA).
In 1847, Reuter and Stargardt “distributed radical pamphlets at the beginning of the Revolutions of 1848.”
RNA used carrier pigeons to connect Berlin to Paris, and then used the telegraph to correlate with reporters all over the word who provided information on events to the central hub which then translated those reports to the public.
In our technological age, Twitter serves as a modern-day telegraph which “enables [microbloggers] to send and read ‘tweets’ which are text messages limited to 140 characters.”
With the creation of radio, talk news became another way news was provided to the public for educational purposes.
In the 1920s, “a Detroit station air[ed] what is believed to be the first radio news broadcast.”
Today there are a plethora of alternative talk radio stations that mirror the intent of that first news broadcast; to bring the audience information about politics, health and corporatism that directly affects our world.
Beginning in 1949, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was the first news agency to have a news show on television.
Since creation of YouTube in 2005, what has been called alternative media has been able to report on news independently from what is discussed in the mainstream media.
Just as the development of journalism has changed with the advent of technology, there is no difference between what has historically taken place and what is happening right now.
From the printing press to internet websites, the way in which we disseminate information to the public has changed.
The independent “alternative” media are simply going with the free flow of information, as news agencies of the past have done, to ensure the public is able to make an informed decision.
Only now, with the introduction of SB 987, is this industry being redefined for the express purpose of the government overseeing and granting privilege to certain “covered persons” as pre-approved journalists.
If journalism and news reporting is to survive, its integrity must be maintained. This means that the battle is not in whether or not a “seventeen year old can purchase a $5 website” and offer another perspective on local and international events, but whether or not uncompromised sources of information can remain relevant so the public can be truly informed.
Image credit: http://www.occupycorporatism.com
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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
Reports of Obamacare fraud emerge in Tennessee
NASHVILLE — Scam artists have seemingly found a friend in Obamacare.
Reports are emerging that shysters are using Tennessee residents’ relative lack of knowledge about the new health care law to defraud them.
Scam artists, for example, are making calls claiming they need Social Security numbers to sign people up for a new Obamacare insurance card, according to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
“We’ve been made aware of one scam, in particular,” said TDCI spokeswoman Kate Abernathy.
“One of our navigator agencies let us know that there was an individual calling people saying that he or she could have walked him through the application process for $100 for a navigator certified application counselor service, but that information is completely incorrect. That is a free service that is supposed to remain free.”
The federal government, along with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, began sending out advisories against possible fraud related to Obamacare many months ago, Abernathy said.
“There are scammers out there who are calling around and saying ‘All right we need your Medicare number. We need to update your profile.’ A Medicare beneficiary can hand over that information without thinking about it — and they’ve just given a criminal their Social Security number,” Abernathy said.
As previously reported, TDCI implemented registration requirements and criminal background checks on people who serve as Obamacare navigators or certified Obamacare application counselors in Tennessee.
Such people are responsible for handling the financial or medical information belonging to other individuals.
Strangely, last month, mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post seemed to condemn Tennessee and other states for implementing these policies, saying they were getting in the way of progress.
“There is a very palpable concern . . . that anti-Obamacare state government people will find ways to gum up the works,” the Post quoted Leonardo Cuello, director of health reform for the National Health Law Program, as saying.
Despite the ruling, Abernathy said anyone who handles another person’s personal financial or medical information is still subject to the regulations.
Contact Christopher Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: http://tennessee.watchdog.org
Introducing a Brilliant Parody Website of the NSA
This parody site of the NSA came across my Twitter feed today and I was very impressed with what I saw. At first, I expected it to just present me with a ton of laughs like a mainstream media article or The Onion might, but I quickly realized that much of the information on this site is accurate and may actually represent a great resource. Simply click on the picture of the homepage below to be redirected to the site. Enjoy!
Follow Mike on Twitter!
Another great post by Mike. When clicking on the “About” link to learn more I saw a link to another parody website from the same folks, screen capture below, click to follow.
Are Americans Capable of Retaining Their Freedom? – Dave Champion
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Independent radio host Dave Champion lives by a simple and direct motto: “Whatever the question, the answer is `liberty.’” The tagline to his program is just as forthright: “The Truth — whether you like it or not.”
Mr. Champion, known as America’s Bad Boy of Liberty, believes that Americans are adults who are capable of hearing unpleasant truths and acting on them.
He pulls no punches and cuts no corners in extolling the virtues of individual freedom and personal responsibility — and condemning corrupt, dishonest, and power-hungry officials at every level.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to talk briefly with Dave today about the George Zimmerman acquittal and several other important — and widely misunderstood — recent events.
Submitted by goldenequity
Clare Daly REBUKES Bootlicking Irish PM on Snowden
Clare Daly speaks TRUTH to Cowardice.
Irish Times Snowden asylum request deserves latitude, says Clare Daly
Taoiseach urged to use creativity to allow US whistleblower to access Republic
Washington’s lapdogs are world wide.
We know that over 20 studies, many of which come from prestigious organizations like Harvard and are published in federal government journals, have told us how sodium fluoride is crushing our IQ. We know that a major head at the National Cancer Institute revealed decades ago that fluoride was causing ‘cancer waves’ in the United States.
So, remind me again, why are we still drinking fluoride in our ‘clean’ tap water around the entire world?
As it turns out, it’s because Harvard and federal government journalists must all be wackjob conspiracy theorists! The peer-reviewed research warning that fluoride can cause permanent damage to unborn babies by affecting their neurological development is all a big conspiracy theory to the mainstream media. The sodium fluoride that is literally assaulting the brain in mega-high doses of 5,000 PPM in ‘prescription fluoride’ toothpaste being dished out by dentists who say their childhood patients are ‘deficient’ in the IQ-destroyer is perfectly safe in their eyes.
When analyzing the Harvard research, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a component of the United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, we find quite a few concerning details. The study makes it explicitly clear how damaging sodium fluoride can be, with writers explaining:
“The children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ than those who lived in low fluoride areas.”
The EPA had similar statements, demonstrating how fluoride displays ”evidence of developmental neurotoxicity” and can damage unborn babies. We read:
”Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature.”
Let’s go even further back to the research of Dr. Dean Burke, head scientist at the National Cancer Institute and author of over 250 scientific articles. Back in 1977, the decorated scientist spoke out against fluoride and brought it to the attention of the National Cancer Institute. At that time, Burke found that sodium fluoride was fueling the development of cancer cells and tumor growth — at the average level of 1 PPM. He estimated that around 10,000 had died from the fluoride-induced cancer from that level.
As I detail in the video below, now we see levels as high as 5,000 PPM in toothpaste, 500,000% higher than the water fluoridation levels Burke was examining:
I guess no one told the media that even the United States government called for lower fluoride levels after a mountain of research accumulated regarding these links. They must be conspiracy theorists too.
The fact is that the fluoride debate hits a brick wall thanks to the rhetoric the mainstream media and laughable ‘skeptics’ use by throwing around terms like ‘conspiracy theory’ to discredit any real debate. In fact, it’s actually working against them. Right now we have so many conscious citizens realizing that they don’t want to consume the tainted tap that it’s really considered outlandish in many areas to drink from the tap without at least a fluoride-removing filter of some kind. A lot has changed as more information comes out.
But still, how could we possibly allow this fluoridation to go on for as long as it has? Even if there was only some research indicating an issue, isn’t it enough to begin withdrawing it from the water — or at least enough to conduct more independent research? I think any reasonable person would agree the answer is yes.
It’s time to accelerate this issue from a tired debate of ‘conspiracy’ theory name-calling to a topical issue we can generate a victory for. We’ve done it for GMOs; we’ve done it for high-fructose corn syrup; we’ve done it for BPA. It’s time to blast this information into the stratosphere and demand action.
About Anthony Gucciardi:
Google Plus Profile Anthony is an accomplished investigative journalist whose articles have appeared on top news sites and have been read by millions worldwide. Anthony’s articles have been featured on top health & political websites such as Reuters, Yahoo News, MSNBC, and Bloomberg. Anthony is also a founding member of Natural Attitude, a leading developer of super high quality spagyric formulations.
On occasion one stumbles across a post that rings true to the thoughts one is currently thinking. This post on godfatherpolitics.com rang true to my thoughts entertained this evening.
There was a day, I think back when the dinosaurs were still alive, when journalism schools taught their students about asking hard questions and the importance of being the public’s watchdog against all-too-often-corrupt government.
Woodward and Bernstein were held up as examples, but also people like Edward R. Murrow, Edna Buchanan, Jack Reed and William Marimow, journalists who were smart and tough enough to pin down the politicians and bureaucrats and hammer them until they gave up the information the public needed.
Journalistic role models were typically old guys and gals who had risen through the ranks of crime and government reporters to finally earn that esteemed title of editor, men and women who had devoted their lives to finding the truth, who weren’t afraid to take a phone call from the Secretary of State and demand “what the —- does the president think he’s doing?”
Those journalists, if they ever truly existed as a breed rather than unique individuals, are long gone. What we have now is a cadre of go-along types who mostly regurgitate whatever pablum is doled out by the local government press office.
The old saw about “accuracy, accuracy, accuracy” has been replaced by “lie three times and we’ll say it’s true.”
It’s much easier to just rewrite the press release and file your story. Save the real investigations for the interesting topics, like baby hippo twins born at the zoo.
Case in point, President Obama’s recent million-dollar fantasy golf weekend where he got to play against Tiger Woods. The Washington press corps was incensed at not having access to the president — so much so that they issued a statement of protest saying they would continue to demand “tranparency” from the Administration.
When they finally got a chance to ask the president a question after he’d blown a million taxpayer dollars on yet another vacation, during a time when the government is raising taxes and running huge deficits because it can’t live within a budget, the press members all clamored to know … did the president beat Tiger?
So much for asking tough questions and ensuring transparency. …
Compare the press corps’ outrage over the Tiger blackout to its utter lack of interest in the dearth of information about the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. “Meet the Press” host David Gregory summed up the media’s attitude best: “Cover-up of what?”
“Transparency” on Benghazi doesn’t exist, and the media couldn’t care less so long as they get to cover the president’s round of golf, which mostly entails the press corps hanging around the clubhouse ordering daiquiris on their news outlet’s dime.
The majority of today’s journalists are lazy, sycophantic and dishonest about the job they are doing.
We need to find a real-life Perry White if we’re ever going to hold the government accountable.