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Surveillance and Misinformation!

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#71 status - Ghost Rider

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:00 PM


How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone
For the last six years, the NSO Group’s main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones — including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems — without leaving a trace.
Among the Pegasus system’s capabilities, NSO Group contracts assert, are the abilities to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations. One capability that the NSO Group calls “room tap” can gather sounds in and around the room, using the phone’s own microphone.
Pegasus can use the camera to take snapshots or screen grabs. It can deny the phone access to certain websites and applications, and it can grab search histories or anything viewed with the phone’s web browser. And all of the data can be sent back to the agency’s server in real time.
What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is “unlimited access to a target’s mobile devices.” In short, the company says: You can “remotely and covertly collect information about your target’s relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities — whenever and wherever they are.”





Yuri Bezmenov (alias Tomas Schuman), a Soviet KGB defector, explains in detail his scheme for the KGB process of subversion and takeover of target societies at a lecture in Los Angeles, 1983.
Yuri Bezmenov was a former KGB propagandist who was assigned to New Dehli, India - and defected to the West in 1970.
Bezmenov explains his background, some of his training, and exactly how Soviet propaganda is spread in other countries in order to subvert their teachers, politicians, and other policy makers to a mindset receptive to the Soviet ideology.
He also explains in detail the goal of Soviet propaganda as total subversion of another country and the four-step formula for achieving this goal. 




Laws take time to process. Technology speeds by like a thief in the night. The question is who owns the tech? The entities involved get to regulate how it's used. The guidelines and codes of conduct are written behind closed doors within the private sector. These entities live in a different world of law that most common men and women are not aware of. They enjoy more rights and privileges associated with an upper tier of social existence. Quantified by data collection, its storage, and who gets ultimate access beyond the meta zone.




"Gentlemen do not read each others' mail." 
Henry Stimson






The Soviets weren't the only ones to use these techniques against a society. These are tried and true methods to gain ascendancy in any form of government. Ask Machiavelli. 




There is so much to consider. What is the 'real' reality? This thread provides all kinds of information regarding the massive privacy issues facing our country today. This massive techno machine has the potential to keep tabs on everyone in so many ways. 


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#72 status - Under the Dome

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:24 PM

FISA and net neutrality go hand in hand.

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#73 status - Shepherd Pie

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 11:07 AM

Google as a Fortune Teller : The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism
Governmental control is nothing compared to what Google is up to. The company is creating a wholly new genus of capitalism, a systemic coherent new logic of accumulation we should call surveillance capitalism. Is there nothing we can do?
Surveillance capitalism
“Most Americans realize that there are two groups of people who are monitored regularly as they move about the country.  The first group is monitored involuntarily by a court order requiring that a tracking device be attached to their ankle. The second group includes everyone else…”
Some will think that this statement is certainly true. Others will worry that it could become true. Perhaps some think it’s ridiculous.  It’s not a quote from a dystopian novel, a Silicon Valley executive, or even an NSA official. These are the words of an auto insurance industry consultant intended as a defense of  “automotive telematics” and the astonishingly intrusive surveillance capabilities of the allegedly benign systems that are already in use or under development. It’s an industry that has been notoriously exploitative toward customers and has had obvious cause to be anxious about the implications of self-driving cars for its business model. Now, data about where we are, where we’re going, how we’re feeling, what we’re saying, the details of our driving, and the conditions of our vehicle are turning into beacons of revenue that illuminate a new commercial prospect. According to the industry literature, these data can be used for dynamic real-time driver behavior modification triggering punishments  (real-time rate hikes, financial penalties, curfews, engine lock-downs) or rewards (rate discounts, coupons, gold stars to redeem for future benefits).
Who are these “various people” and what is this “long-term game”?  The game is no longer about sending you a mail order catalogue or even about targeting online advertising. The game is selling access to the real-time flow of your daily life –your reality—in order to directly influence and modify your behavior for profit. This is the gateway to a new universe of monetization opportunities: restaurants who want to be your destination. Service vendors who want to fix your brake pads. Shops who will lure you like the fabled Sirens. The “various people” are anyone, and everyone who wants a piece of your behavior for profit. Small wonder, then, that Google recently announced that its maps will not only provide the route you search but will also suggest a destination.
The goal: to change people’s actual behavior at scale
The assault on behavioral data
We’ve entered virgin territory here. The assault on behavioral data is so sweeping that it can no longer be circumscribed by the concept of privacy and its contests.  This is a different kind of challenge now, one that threatens the existential and political canon of the modern liberal order defined by principles of self-determination that have been centuries, even millennia, in the making. I am thinking of matters that include, but are not limited to, the sanctity of the individual and the ideals of social equality; the development of identity, autonomy, and moral reasoning; the integrity of contract, the freedom that accrues to the making and fulfilling of promises; norms and rules of collective agreement; the functions of market democracy; the political integrity of societies; and the future of democratic sovereignty. 
It is an unprecedented market form that roots and flourishes in lawless space.  It was first discovered and consolidated at Google, then adopted by Facebook, and quickly diffused across the Internet. Cyberspace was its birthplace because, as Google/Alphabet Chairperson Eric Schmidt and his coauthor, Jared Cohen, celebrate on the very first page of their book about the digital age, “the online world is not truly bound by terrestrial laws…it’s the world’s largest ungoverned space.”
This is the Scylla and Charybdis of our plight. It is nearly impossible to imagine effective social participation ––from employment, to education, to healthcare–– without Internet access and know-how, even as these once flourishing networked spaces fall to a new and even more exploitative capitalist regime. It’s happened quickly and without our understanding or agreement. This is because the regime’s most poignant harms, now and later, have been difficult to grasp or theorize, blurred by extreme velocity and camouflaged by expensive and illegible machine operations, secretive corporate practices, masterful rhetorical misdirection, and purposeful cultural misappropriation.
Fortune telling and selling
New economic logics and their commercial models are discovered by people in a time and place and then perfected through trial and error. Ford discovered and systematized mass production. General Motors institutionalized mass production as a new phase of capitalist development with the discovery and perfection of large-scale administration and professional management. In our time, Google is to surveillance capitalism what Ford and General Motors were to mass-production and managerial capitalism a century ago: discoverer, inventor, pioneer, role model, lead practitioner, and diffusion hub.
Most people credit Google’s success to its advertising model. But the discoveries that led to Google’s rapid rise in revenue and market capitalization are only incidentally related to advertising.  Google’s success derives from its ability to predict the future – specifically the future of behavior. 
Now the data would also be used to match ads with keywords, exploiting subtleties that only its access to behavioral data, combined with its analytical capabilities, could reveal.
It’s now clear that this shift in the use of behavioral data was an historic turning point. Behavioral data that were  once discarded or ignored were rediscovered as what I call behavioral surplus. Google’s dramatic success in “matching” ads to pages revealed the transformational value of this behavioral surplus as a means of generating revenue and ultimately turning investment into capital. Behavioral surplus was the game-changing zero-cost asset that could be diverted from service improvement toward a genuine market exchange. Key to this formula, however, is the fact that this new market exchange was not an exchange with users but rather with other companies who understood how to make money from bets on users’ future behavior. In this new context, users were no longer an end-in-themselves.  Instead they became a means to profits in  a new kind of marketplace in which users are neither buyers nor sellers nor products.  Users are the source of free raw material that feeds a new kind of manufacturing process.
We need to reimagine how to intervene in the specific mechanisms that produce surveillance profits and in so doing reassert the primacy of the liberal order in the twenty-first century capitalist project. In undertaking this challenge we must be mindful that contesting Google, or any other surveillance capitalist, on the grounds of monopoly is a 20th century solution to a 20th century problem that, while still vitally important, does not necessarily disrupt surveillance capitalism’s commercial equation.  We need new interventions that interrupt, outlaw, or regulate 1) the initial capture of behavioral surplus, 2) the use of behavioral surplus as free raw material, 3) excessive and exclusive concentrations of the new means of production, 4) the manufacture of prediction products, 5) the sale of prediction products, 6) the use of prediction products for third-order operations of modification, influence, and control, and 5) the monetization of the results of these operations. This is necessary for society, for people, for the future, and it is also necessary to restore the healthy evolution of capitalism itself.
Profoundly anti-democratic power
In result, surveillance capitalism conjures a profoundly anti-democratic power that qualifies as a coup from above: not a coup d’état, but rather a coup des gens, an overthrow of the people’s sovereignty.  It challenges principles and practices of self-determination ––in psychic life and social relations, politics and governance –– for which humanity has suffered long and sacrificed much. For this reason alone, such principles should not be forfeit to the unilateral pursuit of a disfigured capitalism. Worse still would be their forfeit to our own ignorance, learned helplessness, inattention, inconvenience, habituation, or drift.  This, I believe, is the ground on which our contests for the future will be fought.

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 06:25 PM

Silicon Valley’s surveillance capitalism has resulted in Big Tech killing off human privacy
by Steve Hilton - Fox News
Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive responsible for growing the social network’s user base, recently argued that Silicon Valley had “created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
His comments are in line with another huge figure in tech, early Facebook investor Sean Parker, who blasted the addictive properties of Silicon Valley’s technology: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Parker argued that Facebook “literally changes your relationship with society” and “probably interferes with productivity in weird ways.”
Parker said that because the whole point of Facebook is to keep people using it. He said “the thought process … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” That’s why the inventors of tech services like Facebook give their users “a little dopamine hit every once in a while,” for example through ‘likes’ and comments: “It’s a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
Parker went on to say that the men who designed and built these social media platforms, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, “understood consciously” what they were doing. “And we did it anyway.”
Who owns all this data and what will happen to it? Quite apart from the sheer creepiness of tech companies wanting to invade your brain, we know from recent experience that literally everything can be hacked – whether by criminals or foreign governments like China that hacked our own government and stole millions of Americans’ most personal data.
Silicon Valley’s surveillance capitalism has killed off human privacy. Did anyone ask them to do that? They say people want the convenience of data-enabled services – but for most people, there’s no alternative. If everyone else is on Facebook you have to be there too, and you can only do that if you tick the box that signs away your privacy forever.
Artificial intelligence, of course, is not just about invading your privacy: it’s assaulting our economy too. Studies predict that huge swaths of jobs will be destroyed by Big Tech as it advances into new areas of economic activity and automates jobs from truck driving to accounting.
Silicon Valley’s only response to the economic devastation it’s about to unleash on American workers is to push forward the idea of a “Universal Basic Income” – a government wage regardless of whether you work.

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:09 PM

Tucker Carlson reacts to Sean Parker's comments about the negative consequences of Facebook and social media addiction. 
It's not like this technology will ever be taken down. It's too big and the Zuckericebergs are not really the ones who get to control the whole machine. They're just in on it. Besides, control of information at this magnitude is weapon unto itself. And the world wide industrial complex would not allow any deviation from its own plans of social conformity.  

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:49 PM


Remember the Panopticon?
Academics of a certain age will remember when you couldn’t take a seminar without hearing about Foucault and the Panopticon. The panopticon was Jeremy Bentham’s design, intended for a prison. 
Although Foucault liked to discuss what he called the “capillaries of power,” the panopticon was still an easily located, centralized thing. It was a tool of a single central authority. The jail would deploy surveillance to control the inmates. You knew who was in charge of the tower, even if you didn’t know if it was being used at any given time
In the age of camera phones, though, you don’t know who’s doing the watching. Lenses are everywhere, rather than in the middle, and control has been, well, decentered. In the age of social media, someone in the back row can isolate a single statement -- heard correctly or incorrectly -- and loose it upon a world with multiple and conflicting agendas.
But awareness of the possibility of that kind of surveillance also rewards a certain blandness, grounded in a warranted paranoia. If you don’t know when you’re being watched, you start to watch yourself. Error avoidance can easily become risk avoidance.  From there, it’s a short step to stagnation and decline. Innovation is messy. We need some tolerance for messiness if we want it to thrive. Candor is sometimes awkward and halting; subjecting it to too much scrutiny at an early stage can kill it.  If every decision is premised on “how would this look if…,” we’ll die of caution. That’s not an inspiring way to go.




Remember the Panopticon?




Extend that framework to a community or a city based level and George Orwell is made real.



I see a similar design here...






Defensive architecture is an option. It can be weaponized as well. Imagine a school shaped like this: 
Only the 'cell' space would be classroom size.
A large open space contains this form:
Expand the idea further and take a look at a community:
Would you feel safe having your children learn in this environment?

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:24 PM


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Posted 15 February 2018 - 06:08 PM

The School As A Panopticon? 
One of the angles being fore fronted appears to make it a case of private schools. Parents are complaining that private schools fleece money and don’t provide adequate safety and services. While this could be true or false, none of these schools forced the parents to get their children admitted there. They could have opted for nearby government school but they don’t. Why? Because ‘educational standard’ of these government schools are not good, they may say. But how did they know that? Parents in general have scanty idea of what constitutes ‘educational standards’ beyond board results. Schools are simply status symbol for the middle class. They opt for such ‘high class’ schools not because they have any clear evidence of the quality of education or other services they provide. They get their child admitted by any means just going by the name, fame, building and the ‘status’ of school. In such a case, complaining about them is like a drunkard diagnosed with liver cirrhosis blaming the nearby wine shop.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is India’s largest education board, has issued an advisory about safety and security in schools on September 12. The circular has asked schools to carry out a security audit and report back on its website within two months. Interestingly, a similar circular was issued on 23rd February, 2017 focusing on ‘Safety of school children in the school bus’. The February circular fixed the responsibility on the school management in following CBSE guidelines, adhering to by-laws and other circulars issued by them from time to time. The February circular also exhorts parents and says, ‘parents are equally responsible for the safety of their children during school journeys’. One wonders if the responsibilities of a body like CBSE ends by issuing such circulars and advisories and fix responsibilities for others? Don’t regulatory bodies have mechanisms of regular checking or inspections to ensure that those who don’t comply with such norms may be punished? Or else it is like police pasting the IPC regulation for theft or other crimes in each mohalla telling them about the provision of punishment and fixing everyone to be responsible for their own safety and rest in peace!
The CBSE directive had asked the schools to install CCTV cameras at all vulnerable points within the school premises and ensure that the cameras are functional. It is important to note that the bathroom where the child was killed had the CCTV installed, albeit it was not working. But who will look into all the CCTV camera feed all the time? What will happen to the huge amount of data generated every day? Who will decide which are vulnerable areas? Is a classroom vulnerable? Some say each of the classes too will have CCTV cameras. This will transform the school into a space of indiscriminate surveillance and tracking where everyone is seen as a potential criminal. It will no longer remain a school but a dragnet. Christopher Slobogin, a Vanderbilt University law professor, argues that surveillance dragnets are inherently unfair. By definition, they capture the innocent and the guilty indiscriminately. In doing so, they create a culture of fear. Schools, thus, will become a prototype of ‘Panopticon’, a prison design proposed by Jeremy Bentham in 1787 and popularized by Michel Foucault where inmates would be living under ‘ever anxious awareness of being observed’. Is that what we want our schools to be?

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 06:20 PM

FBI Has Been Paying Geek Squad To Spy On Customers For Over A Decade
For over a decade, the FBI had been paying employees of Best Buy's Geek Squad to pass on information about illegal materials on customer devices sent in for repair, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information lawsuit filed last year. 
Records posted Tuesday by the Electronic Frontier Foundation reveal that federal agents from the FBI's Louisville division had been paying Geek Squad informants for information that might kick off investigations related to their "Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime" program, according to the documents. 
The documents released to EFF show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years. For example, an FBI memo from September 2008 details how Best Buy hosted a meeting of the agency’s “Cyber Working Group” at the company’s Kentucky repair facility.
After several years of coordinating efforts, the FBI developed a process for following up on Geek Squad leads. After an employee had identified material thought to be illegal, the FBI would show up, review the suspected content, seize the computer or hard drive, and send it to another FBI field office close to where the owner of the device lived. From that point, field agents would then investigate further, and in some cases, attempt to obtain a warrant to search the device (after the device had been searched). 
Some of these reports indicate that the FBI treated Geek Squad employees as informants, identifying them as “CHS,” which is shorthand for confidential human sources. In other cases, the FBI identifies the initial calls as coming from Best Buy employees, raising questions as to whether certain employees had different relationships with the FBI.
In the case of the investigation into Rettenmaier’s computers, the documents released to EFF do not appear to have been made public in that prosecution. These raise additional questions about the level of cooperation between the company and law enforcement. -EFF

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 02:39 PM

An interesting graphic mapping the movements inside a home:



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