Posts tagged privacy
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
Time to call our Senators and Congresspeople again. How come the only thing members of Congress can come together on is controlling the web habits and information sharing of everyday citizens? What are they afraid of?
We beat them before. Now we have to do it again. And probably again after this.
Here’s a list of important contacts.
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.
The True Story Behind Edward Snowden’s Email Service Provider Lavabit
A month ago, the tech world was abuzz with news that Ladar Levison decided to shutter his encrypted email service Lavabit, rather than betray the trust of his clients by selling out their privacy to the U.S. government. The writing was on the wall, and shortly thereafter another encrypted email service, Silent Circle, made a similar decision to shutdown.
Well two months later we finally have some more information about what went down behind the scenes, all of which demonstrate the true American hero that Mr. Levison really is. He can now talk about the events leading up to the shut down of Lavabit and redacted versions of the court pleadings are available online. Yesterday, Wired published an article detailing some of what we have learned. Kevin Poulsen writes:
U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan immediately ordered Lavabit to comply, threatening Levison with criminal contempt — which could have potentially put him in jail.
By July 9, Lavabit still hadn’t defeated its security for the government, and prosecutors asked for a summons to be served for Lavabit, and founder Ladar Levison, to be held in contempt “for its disobedience and resistance to these lawful orders.”
The judge also rejected Lavabit’s motion to unseal the record. “This is an ongoing criminal investigation, and there’s no leeway to disclose any information about it.”
In an interesting work-around, Levison complied the next day by turning over the private SSL keys as an 11 page printout in 4-point type. The government, not unreasonably, called the printout “illegible.”
“To make use of these keys, the FBI would have to manually input all 2,560 characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the FBI collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data,” prosecutors wrote.
The court ordered Levison to provide a more useful electronic copy. By August 5, Lavabit was still resisting the order, and the judge ordered that Levison would be fined $5,000 a day beginning August 6 until he handed over electronic copies of the keys.
On August 8, Levison shuttered Lavabit, making any attempt at surveillance moot. Still under a gag order, he posted an oblique message saying he’d been left with little choice in the matter.
“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit,” Levison wrote at the time. “After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.”
To help Ladar in his legal struggles, which he is fighting on behalf of the entire planet, go here.
In addition, Luke Rudkowski just released a timely, informative interview with Ladar this morning.
Thank you for all you have done Mr. Levison, you are a true American patriot.
Follow Mike on Twitter!
Video capture added to original post.
Common Core: The Battle For Our Children & Our Country
At St. Tammany Parish, during a meeting of school board members, the topic of heated debate was the over-whelming desire to defeat the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their local public schools.
Board members lashed out at “accusations that they haven’t done enough to fight the new education standards or inform the public about them.”
Parents were recently informed by administration officials for the St. Tammany School Board (STSB) that” they are in the middle of developing that curriculum to align with the standards.”
They responded by stating that CCSS is “not tried, it’s not tested. It’s developmentally inappropriate.”
One mother suggested that parents must unite and prepare for a long fight, “but we’re fighting for our children.”
Those parents who attended the meeting pointed out that:
- Their children are not comprehending the new version of mathematics being taught
- Inappropriate books are being read aloud in class
- CCSS is proving to be less effective than previous curriculums
Marion Brady, a veteran teacher who participated in curriculum design, explains that: “Standards shouldn’t be attached to school subjects, but to the qualities of mind it’s hoped the study of school subjects promotes. Subjects are mere tools, just as scalpels, acetylene torches, and transits are tools. Surgeons, welders, surveyors — and teachers — should be held accountable for the quality of what they produce, not how they produce it.”
Brady points out that CCSS assumes that “what kids need to know is covered by one or another of the traditional core subjects. In fact, the unexplored intellectual terrain lying between and beyond those familiar fields of study is vast, expands by the hour, and will go in directions no one can predict.”
The FreedomProject Education (FPE) released a video entitled, “Common Core: Dangers and Threats to American Liberty and Education” that reveals the purpose of CCSS as a way to gain full governmental control over schooling in the US.
Mary Black, student development director at FPE explains that CCSS is designed to ensure that every student in every school across the nation is learning the same thing, reading from the same book, on the same page at the same time.
Black asserts that the curriculum is tailored to teach children “what to think and how to think.”
Earlier this month, Paul LaPage, governor of Maine, signed an executive order (EO) reiterating that public schools in Maine are locally controlled that student’s personal information will not be shared with corporations and federal agencies.
The EO states that “the Department of Education shall not adopt any educational standards, curricula or instructional approaches that may be mandated by the federal government. That the Department of Education shall not apply for any federal grant that requires, as a condition of application, the adoption of any federally-developed standards, curricula or instructional approaches.”
Because of this new educational standard, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows that students in K – 12 have stagnated and are not expected to improve.
Career – ready children are the clear focus of CCSS.
College Measures (CM) released a report finding that degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are more promising as far as employment after graduation than English majors.
This study was a joint venture between CM, the American Institutes for research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group (MKG).
Funding for the report was provided by the Lumia Foundation (LF).
This group is comprised of such special interest groups such as:
• Former president of Sallie Mae
• Representatives of community colleges
• Representative of online schools
This report was conducted for the sake of convincing students, parents and lawmakers (including policymakers) that there is little value in higher learning and investments in technical schools will boost enrollment.
Schneider stated: “Until the data about potential earnings among graduates across the nation is unearthed and put to full use, many students will make poor decisions about schools and programs — decisions that will leave them saddled with debt and clamoring for a government bailout.”
The CM report claims:
- Short term degrees yield higher salaries
- Higher tuition does not guarantee higher wages
- Degrees in the scientific field prove more financially rewarding
Since “technical-oriented associate’s degree programs are helping many students successfully enter the labor market by equipping them with skills that are in demand” the encouragement toward a 4 year university seems inappropriate.
Current acceptable skills obtained by lower-level education are:
• Registered nurse
• Police officer
• Dental hygienist
• Diagnostic medical sonographer
Each degree necessitates a fair amount of education; however they are reflective of the lack of actual labor that goes into more respectable positions.
While their pay rate is rising, these are grunt laborers of their respective trades and are not idealized for their social status.
Recently, President Obama spoke to students at State University of New York at Buffalo; a school where most of the student body are made up of children from middle-class families.
The purpose of this speech was to entice residents of lower-profile cities to a new scheme for affordable college.
As part of this scheme, there will be a new ratings system (NRS) implemented to evaluate schools based on the needs of the students; while bring curriculum to those standards as well.
This would connect financial assistance to the value of the student. Those educational institutions that meet governmental standards would be rewarded with more financial aid.
Image credit: http://www.occupycorporatism.com
About the author:
Posted by Judy Morris
Reuters: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
(Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records.
Read the rest at Reuters, here.
Fed Czars go to War – Chuck Morse
Published by NextNewsNetwork
For what may be the first time in the 100-year history of the Federal Reserve System, two candidates are publicly contending to replace the Fed’s outgoing chairman, Ben Bernanke.
Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman of the Fed’s Board of Governors, is said to be locked in a dead heat with Larry Summers, former President of Harvard and a former high-ranking economic adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama.
As is the case in electoral politics, the contest between Yellen and Summers has included dirty campaigning — with supporters of Yellen accusing Summers of sexist behavior as Harvard President. They also point out that Mr. Obama would make history by appointing Yellen to be the Fed’s first female chairman.
In substantive terms, there’s not much difference between Yellen and Summers. Both of them support the Keynesian model of economics in which debt-driven government spending is seen as the key to expanding the economy.
During the 1990s, Summers played a key role in creating the real estate and mortgage bubble and the huge derivatives market that grew out of it — all of which led to the financial panic of 2008 and the ongoing recession.
Yellen, for her part, believes that Bernanke’s energetic expansion of money and credit has been inadequate. If she is appointed as Fed chairman, Yellen might well inaugurate an era of hyperinflation.
The Fed Chairman has more power over the U.S. economy — indeed, the world economy — than either the president or the Congress. Why is this so? Why does the Federal Reserve exist, and are we stuck with it? We’ll discuss this today with radio host and economic analyst Chuck Morse.
In addition to hosting the nationally syndicated “Chuck Morse Speaks” program on the IRN/USA Radio Network, Chuck has written two books — The Art and Science of American Money, and The Socialist Bible. He is also a columnist whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, and numerous other publications.
“I don’t mind spying on terrorists, I just don’t like spying on all Americans.” – Rand Paul
By 2016 we will have had 16 years of cluelessness. We’ve used up our margin. We don’t have the luxury of having a guy as president who doesn’t understand where the country is going. We need an adult in the White House, and the neocon nonsense has got to stop. Otherwise, I don’t even want to say.
Paul said the issue resonates particularly with young people, a key demographic Republicans need to attract in order to succeed in national elections.
“If you talk about some privacy issues like that, I think you will find youth coming to you,” said Paul, who said his own decision on whether to run for president won’t come until next year.
Read more from http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/
Who voted in Congress yesterday to defund the NSA domestic spying program, and who didn’t. (List and graph)0
Who voted in Congress yesterday to defund the NSA domestic spying program, and who didn’t.
It was a very interesting vote with a majority of Republicans joining the Obama Administration and many Dems in support of the continued funding of the NSA spying program which dragnets the data of American citizens without a warrant.
But a large minority of the GOP voted to limit funding. In fact, the Amash Amendment nearly passed with help from a good number on the other side of the aisle.
Whether your congressperson voted to continue funding or not is probably a good determiner of whether your “small government” congressperson is actually for small government. I am sad to say that only 1 member from my home state (more properly the Commonwealth) of Virginia voted for the amendment.
One aside. On the way into Washington DC this morning I was entertained by the ranting of one Republican in the House (on the radio) complaining that too many members of the GOP were acting like “libertarians” in voting to defund the NSA domestic spying program.
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.
Using fake names on Facebook, Surveillance State, androids
File this one in the ever-burgeoning category of: how insane can legislators get?
Congress is now debating an update to the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Turns out it’s already a misdemeanor to “exceed authorized use” of a computer, but the DOJ wants to make it a felony.
Of course, what does “exceeds authorized use” mean? Well, it means, for instance, an employee sending emails to pals while he’s at the office—because his employer has a rule against that.
In other words, the feds want to back up employers’ rules and turn them into felonies. Splendid.
“Yeah, you remember Jack, don’t you? Used to work here? One day he made an online reservation at the Wynn in Vegas, and now he’s in jail. Life is tough, keep your eyes straight ahead and don’t mess with the boss.”
“And Betty? She ordered three lipsticks on a slow Thursday and she’s now upstate. I hear the shrinks got hold of her. Dosing her with an anti-psychotic. Hope she has three live brain cells to rub together when she gets out.”
Then there’s the Facebook issue. The company, originally bankrolled by a CIA front, has a rule against users setting up accounts with fake names. Does the DOJ want to go after Facebook users who break the rules?
The Surveillance State, aided by Facebook, wants to know who you are at all times. They want you to be your name and no other name.
It’s a technical issue, see? It’s a lot easier to spy on you if you’re Mary Jones all the time when you’re online. As opposed to Mary Jones and Dragon Lady and HiHat and Ben Franklin and The Beast From 40 Fathoms…
The joke is, most people lead lives that are fictional already. The NSA and its allied partners spy on those lives.
Here’s the same thing from another angle. John Smith, citizen, follows the straight and narrow. He, like every other John Smith, is a target of the Surveillance State. He hasn’t committed any crimes. He isn’t a threat. But that doesn’t matter. He’s there. He’s a unit. Therefore, he’s on the radar.
But John Smith is a fiction. He’s a convenient, solid, average, normal persona/role in the stage play called Society cooked up by the Real John Smith, who is hiding. Inside himself. You rarely see him. Once in a blue moon, he pokes his head out and says something off-key. Then he retreats behind his facade.
There are millions and John Smiths, and the NSA is spying on all of them. The fake ones. The fictions.
What if every John Smith invented six or seven new personae?
“Sir, are you pretending to be somebody else?”
“Yes, and the pretending is now more intense. It’s ongoing.”
“But you see, sir, that introduces confusion, when we spy on you.”
“I used to believe I was a John Smith android forever. Wow, was I kidding myself. I used to go to one church service on Sunday. Now I go to three different churches. And I’m also an atheist.”
“I campaigned for Democrats only. Now I campaign for Democrats, Republican, Libertarians, Communists, and Anarchists. Of course I don’t vote for anyone. I’m exploring monarchy as well. I think the divine right of kings could make a comeback.”
“But who do you actually worship?”
“The NSA, of course. And the CIA and DIA, Interpol, MI-5, the old GRU, and the Chinese Secret Service.”
“Sir, we have you on the record talking to about eight different wives.”
“Only eight? I must have misplaced a couple.”
Some people will assume I mean they should actually marry a dozen women. Those people are the literalists. They always go for the lowest-common-denominator reading. They think if they have a little fun, do a little acting, a little pretending, it might infect their minds. It might take them over. They’re the John Smiths. They live inside walls of fear.
Reality is one fiction among a limitless number of possible realities.
The basic problem with Reality is that’s it’s only one.