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They Are Creating The Biggest Witch Hunt In American History

By Michael Snyder | End of the American Dream | Waking Times

Prior to this pandemic, if you wanted to weed out all of the “troublemakers”, “independent thinkers” and “non-conformists” from our society, how would you have done it?

I suppose that sending everyone a questionnaire asking them what they believe would be one way to do it, but of course a lot of people would give false answers and many others would simply ignore the questionnaire.  Social media profiles contain a wealth of information, but many “non-conformists” are not even on social media and digging through all of that data would take an extraordinary amount of time, money and energy.  Up until just recently, there just hasn’t been an easy and efficient way to identify those that are not eager servants of the system.

But now the COVID vaccines have changed everything.  These injections are the perfect litmus test, because “troublemakers”, “independent thinkers” and “non-conformists” are pretty much the only ones that are refusing the shots at this point.  This makes it exceptionally easy to divide American citizens into two categories, and it also gives authorities a perfect excuse to push all of those “troublemakers”, “independent thinkers” and “non-conformists” to the fringes of society.

As I discussed yesterday, I was literally sick to my stomach as I pondered the implications of Biden’s tyrannical new decrees.  Originally, Biden and other Democratic leaders were against any sort of vaccine mandates, but now I think that they have realized that mandates are a tool that they can use to fundamentally reshape our society.

If you don’t understand where I am going with this, just keep reading, because it will become extremely clear by the end of this article.

Biden’s new decrees cover almost every major institution in our society.  Just think about it.  Any “major institution” is almost certainly going to be employing more than 100 people, and all such organizations are covered by Biden’s mandates.

In addition to businesses of various sizes, we are also talking about colleges, schools, churches, non-profits, political entities, sports teams and charitable organizations.

Millions of Americans that are employed by such institutions could be forced to leave their positions if they refuse to comply with what Biden is demanding.

And the rules that the Biden administration is coming up with will require the institutions to be the enforcers of these draconian new measures.

Your bosses will be forced to make sure that you are submitting to the new rules, because if not they could be hit with massive fines.

In my last article, I used the word “sickening” to describe what Biden is trying to do to all of us, but the truth is that word is not nearly strong enough.

What we are facing is a complete and total national nightmare, and it isn’t going to end any time soon.

Biden’s new mandates are even stricter for employees of the federal government.  Previously, employees of the federal government were at least given the option to undergo regular testing if they didn’t want to be vaccinated, but now that option is being taken away.

So now millions of federal employees will have to choose between their principles and their careers.

And considering the fact that so many of these people are barely providing for their families right now, a lot of really heartbreaking choices are going to have to be made.

Earlier today, I posted a video from a woman that works for the U.S. Treasury Department.  After all these years, she publicly announced on social media that she is going to leave her job because of Biden’s new mandates.

And countless others will follow her out the door.

Biden’s new decrees will also force nearly everyone in the entire healthcare industry to either get vaccinated or give up their careers.

What a horribly cruel thing to do.

Biden is essentially putting a gun to the heads of these people.  So many of them spent an enormous amount of time, energy and money to get their educations, and now Biden is telling them that they have to sacrifice everything that they have worked for if they will not comply with his demands.

As I pointed out yesterday, healthcare workers won’t just be forced out of their current jobs.  Because virtually every health care provider in the entire country accepts Medicaid and Medicare, those that refuse to comply will essentially be banned from the entire industry.

At a time when a shortage of qualified workers is causing chaos throughout our economy, Biden’s tyrannical orders could force millions of Americans to suddenly lose their jobs.  This is an incredibly foolish thing to do, and it could have very serious ramifications in the years ahead.

Sadly, it won’t just be a few people quitting their jobs.  A poll that was just conducted discovered that 72 percent of unvaccinated Americans said that they would quit their current jobs rather than be vaccinated…

Many making this argument have cited a Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend. It showed that just 18 percent unvaccinated people whose employers don’t currently have mandates said they would likely get vaccinated if their employer required it. About 7 in 10 (72 percent) said that, if they couldn’t get a medical or religious exemption, they would probably quit rather than submit to the requirement.

I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, but it is my opinion that Kamala Harris has had a lot of influence in the recent decisions that Biden has been making.

She has always had authoritarian tendencies, and if she ever becomes president that will truly be a catastrophic scenario.

Needless to say, Biden’s new mandates are going to cause great anxiety for millions upon millions of people, and a recent CNN poll found that the mood of the country was already heading in a very negative direction

The new poll finds 69% of Americans say things in the country today are going badly, below the pandemic-era high of 77% reached in January just before President Joe Biden took office but well above the 60% who felt that way in a March CNN poll.

And 62% say that economic conditions in the US are poor, up from 45% in April and nearly as high as the pandemic-era peak of 65% reached in May 2020.

My hope is that Republican governors will fight Biden’s new decrees with everything that they have got.

Because the truth is that this is one of the most critical moments in U.S. history.

Our most basic liberties and freedoms are under full assault, and we really are descending into full-blown tyranny.

If Biden’s new mandates are not overturned by the courts, millions of Americans that love liberty and freedom could be forced from their jobs.

It would truly be a witch hunt of unprecedented size and scope, and it would represent the greatest purge of “troublemakers”, “independent thinkers” and “non-conformists” that any of us have ever witnessed.

About the Author

Michael Snyder is editor of End of the American Dream. His new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Image: Unsplash




Facebook Lied — It’s Reading Your Private WhatsApp Messages

By Peter ElkindJack Gillum and Craig Silverman | ProPublica | The Defender

When Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new “privacy-focused vision” for Facebook in March 2019, he cited the company’s global messaging service, WhatsApp, as a model.

Acknowledging that “we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy-protective services,” the Facebook CEO wrote that “I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about. We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp.”

Zuckerberg’s vision centered on WhatsApp’s signature feature, which he said the company was planning to apply to Instagram and Facebook Messenger: end-to-end encryption, which converts all messages into an unreadable format that is only unlocked when they reach their intended destinations.

WhatsApp messages are so secure, he said, that nobody else — not even the company — can read a word. As Zuckerberg had put it earlier, in testimony to the U.S. Senate in 2018, “We don’t see any of the content in WhatsApp.”

WhatsApp emphasizes this point so consistently that a flag with a similar assurance automatically appears on-screen before users send messages: “No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.”

Those assurances are not true. WhatsApp has more than 1,000 contract workers filling floors of office buildings in Austin, Texas, Dublin, and Singapore, where they examine millions of pieces of users’ content. Seated at computers in pods organized by work assignments, these hourly workers use special Facebook software to sift through streams of private messages, images, and videos that have been reported by WhatsApp users as improper and then screened by the company’s artificial intelligence systems.

These contractors pass judgment on whatever flashes on their screen — claims of everything from fraud or spam to child porn and potential terrorist plotting — typically in less than a minute.

Policing users while assuring them that their privacy is sacrosanct makes for an awkward mission at WhatsApp. A 49-slide internal company marketing presentation from December, obtained by ProPublica, emphasizes the “fierce” promotion of WhatsApp’s “privacy narrative.”

It compares its “brand character” to “the Immigrant Mother” and displays a photo of Malala ​​Yousafzai, who survived a shooting by the Taliban and became a Nobel Peace Prize winner, in a slide titled “Brand tone parameters.” The presentation does not mention the company’s content moderation efforts.

WhatsApp’s director of communications, Carl Woog, acknowledged that teams of contractors in Austin and elsewhere review WhatsApp messages to identify and remove “the worst” abusers. But Woog told ProPublica that the company does not consider this work to be content moderation, saying: “We actually don’t typically use the term for WhatsApp.” The company declined to make executives available for interviews for this article but responded to questions with written comments.

“WhatsApp is a lifeline for millions of people around the world,” the company said. “The decisions we make around how we build our app are focused around the privacy of our users, maintaining a high degree of reliability and preventing abuse.”

WhatsApp’s denial that it moderates content is noticeably different from what Facebook Inc. says about WhatsApp’s corporate siblings, Instagram and Facebook. The company has said that some 15,000 moderators examine content on Facebook and Instagram, neither of which is encrypted. It releases quarterly transparency reports that detail how many accounts Facebook and Instagram have “actioned” for various categories of abusive content. There is no such report for WhatsApp.

Deploying an army of content reviewers is just one of the ways that Facebook Inc. has compromised the privacy of WhatsApp users. Together, the company’s actions have left WhatsApp — the largest messaging app in the world, with two billion users — far less private than its users likely understand or expect.

A ProPublica investigation, drawing on data, documents, and dozens of interviews with current and former employees and contractors, reveals how, since purchasing WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook has quietly undermined its sweeping security assurances in multiple ways. (Two articles this summer noted the existence of WhatsApp’s moderators but focused on their working conditions and pay rather than their effect on users’ privacy. This article is the first to reveal the details and extent of the company’s ability to scrutinize messages and user data — and to examine what the company does with that information.)

Many of the assertions by content moderators working for WhatsApp are echoed by a confidential whistleblower complaint filed last year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaint, which ProPublica obtained, details WhatsApp’s extensive use of outside contractors, artificial intelligence systems, and account information to examine user messages, images, and videos. It alleges that the company’s claims of protecting users’ privacy are false. “We haven’t seen this complaint,” the company spokesperson said. The SEC has taken no public action on it; an agency spokesperson declined to comment.

Facebook Inc. has also downplayed how much data it collects from WhatsApp users, what it does with it and how much it shares with law enforcement authorities. For example, WhatsApp shares metadata, unencrypted records that can reveal a lot about a user’s activity, with law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice.

Some rivals, such as Signal, intentionally gather much less metadata to avoid incursions on its users’ privacy and thus share far less with law enforcement. (“WhatsApp responds to valid legal requests,” the company spokesperson said, “including orders that require us to provide on a real-time going forward basis who a specific person is messaging.”)

WhatsApp user data, ProPublica has learned, helped prosecutors build a high-profile case against a Treasury Department employee who leaked confidential documents to BuzzFeed News that exposed how dirty money flows through U.S. banks.

Like other social media and communications platforms, WhatsApp is caught between users who expect privacy and law enforcement entities that effectively demand the opposite: that WhatsApp turns over information that will help combat crime and online abuse.

WhatsApp has responded to this dilemma by asserting that it’s no dilemma at all. “I think we absolutely can have security and safety for people through end-to-end encryption and work with law enforcement to solve crimes,” said Will Cathcart, whose title is Head of WhatsApp, in a YouTube interview with an Australian think tank in July.

The tension between privacy and disseminating information to law enforcement is exacerbated by a second pressure: Facebook’s need to make money from WhatsApp. Since paying $22 billion to buy WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook has been trying to figure out how to generate profits from a service that doesn’t charge its users a penny.

That conundrum has periodically led to moves that anger users, regulators, or both. The goal of monetizing the app was part of the company’s 2016 decision to start sharing WhatsApp user data with Facebook, something the company had told EU regulators was technologically impossible.

The same impulse spurred a controversial plan, abandoned in late 2019, to sell advertising on WhatsApp. And the profit-seeking mandate was behind another botched initiative in January: the introduction of a new privacy policy for user interactions with businesses on WhatsApp, allowing businesses to use customer data in new ways. That announcement triggered a user exodus to competing apps.

WhatsApp’s increasingly aggressive business plan is focused on charging companies for an array of services — letting users make payments via WhatsApp and managing customer service chats — that offer convenience but fewer privacy protections. The result is a confusing two-tiered privacy system within the same app where the protections of end-to-end encryption are further eroded when WhatsApp users employ the service to communicate with businesses.

The company’s December marketing presentation captures WhatsApp’s diverging imperatives. It states that “privacy will remain important.” But it also conveys what seems to be a more urgent mission: the need to “open the aperture of the brand to encompass our future business objectives.”

I. “Content moderation associates”

In many ways, the experience of being a content moderator for WhatsApp in Austin is identical to being a moderator for Facebook or Instagram, according to interviews with 29 current and former moderators. Mostly in their 20s and 30s, many with past experience as store clerks, grocery checkers and baristas, the moderators are hired and employed by Accenture, a huge corporate contractor that works for Facebook and other Fortune 500 behemoths.

The job listings advertise “Content Review” positions and make no mention of Facebook or WhatsApp. Employment documents list the workers’ initial title as “content moderation associate.” Pay starts at around $16.50 an hour. Moderators are instructed to tell anyone who asks that they work for Accenture, and are required to sign sweeping non-disclosure agreements.

Citing the NDAs, almost all the current and former moderators interviewed by ProPublica insisted on anonymity. (An Accenture spokesperson declined to comment, referring all questions about content moderation to WhatsApp.)

When the WhatsApp team was assembled in Austin in 2019, Facebook moderators already occupied the fourth floor of an office tower on Sixth Street, adjacent to the city’s famous bar-and-music scene. The WhatsApp team was installed on the floor above, with new glass-enclosed work pods and nicer bathrooms that sparked a tinge of envy in a few members of the Facebook team.

Most of the WhatsApp team scattered to work from home during the pandemic. Whether in the office or at home, they spend their days in front of screens, using a Facebook software tool to examine a stream of “tickets,” organized by subject into “reactive” and “proactive” queues.

Collectively, the workers scrutinize millions of pieces of WhatsApp content each week. Each reviewer handles upwards of 600 tickets a day, which gives them less than a minute per ticket. WhatsApp declined to reveal how many contract workers are employed for content review, but a partial staffing list reviewed by ProPublica suggests that, at Accenture alone, it’s more than 1,000. WhatsApp moderators, like their Facebook and Instagram counterparts, are expected to meet performance metrics for speed and accuracy, which are audited by Accenture.

Their jobs differ in other ways. Because WhatsApp’s content is encrypted, artificial intelligence systems can’t automatically scan all chats, images, and videos, as they do on Facebook and Instagram. Instead, WhatsApp reviewers gain access to private content when users hit the “report” button on the app, identifying a message as allegedly violating the platform’s terms of service.

This forwards five messages — the allegedly offending one along with the four previous ones in the exchange, including any images or videos — to WhatsApp in unscrambled form, according to former WhatsApp engineers and moderators. Automated systems then feed these tickets into “reactive” queues for contract workers to assess.

Artificial intelligence initiates the second set of queues — so-called proactive ones — by scanning unencrypted data that WhatsApp collects about its users and comparing it against suspicious account information and messaging patterns (a new account rapidly sending out a high volume of chats is evidence of spam), as well as terms and images that have previously been deemed abusive.

The unencrypted data available for scrutiny is extensive. It includes the names and profiles images of a user’s WhatsApp groups as well as their phone number, profile photo, status message, phone battery level, language and time zone, unique mobile phone ID and IP address, wireless signal strength, and phone operating system, as a list of their electronic devices, any related Facebook and Instagram accounts, the last time they used the app and any previous history of violations.

The WhatsApp reviewers have three choices when presented with a ticket for either type of queue: Do nothing, place the user on “watch” for further scrutiny, or ban the account. (Facebook and Instagram content moderators have more options, including removing individual postings. It’s that distinction — the fact that WhatsApp reviewers can’t delete individual items — that the company cites as its basis for asserting that WhatsApp reviewers are not “content moderators.”)

WhatsApp moderators must make subjective, sensitive, and subtle judgments, interviews, and documents examined by ProPublica show. They examine a wide range of categories, including “Spam Report”, “Civic Bad Actor” (political hate speech and disinformation), “Terrorism Global Credible Threat”, “CEI” (child exploitative imagery), and “CP” (child pornography).

Another set of categories addresses the messaging and conduct of millions of small and large businesses that use WhatsApp to chat with customers and sell their wares. These queues have such titles as “business impersonation prevalence,” “commerce policy probable violators” and “business verification.”

Moderators say the guidance they get from WhatsApp and Accenture relies on standards that can be simultaneously arcane and disturbingly graphic. Decisions about abusive sexual imagery, for example, can rest on an assessment of whether a naked child in an image appears adolescent or prepubescent, based on a comparison of hip bones and pubic hair to a medical index chart.

One reviewer recalled a grainy video in a political-speech queue that depicted a machete-wielding man holding up what appeared to be a severed head: “We had to watch and say, ‘Is this a real dead body or a fake dead body?’”

In late 2020, moderators were informed of a new queue for alleged “sextortion.” It was defined in an explanatory memo as “a form of sexual exploitation where people are blackmailed with a nude image of themselves which have been shared by them or someone else on the Internet.” The memo said workers would review messages reported by users that “include predefined keywords typically used in sextortion/blackmail messages.”

WhatsApp’s review system is hampered by impediments, including buggy language translation. The service has users in 180 countries, with the vast majority located outside the U.S. Even though Accenture hires workers who speak a variety of languages, for messages in some languages there’s often no native speaker on-site to assess abuse complaints.

That means using Facebook’s language-translation tool, which reviewers said could be so inaccurate that it sometimes labeled messages in Arabic as being in Spanish. The tool also offered little guidance on local slang, political context, or sexual innuendo. “In the three years I’ve been there,” one moderator said, “it’s always been horrible.”

The process can be rife with errors and misunderstandings. Companies have been flagged for offering weapons for sale when they’re selling straight shaving razors. Bras can be sold, but if the marketing language registers as “adult,” the seller can be labeled a forbidden “sexually oriented business.” And a flawed translation toolset off an alarm when it detected kids for sale and slaughter, which, upon closer scrutiny, turned out to involve young goats intended to be cooked and eaten in halal meals.

The system is also undercut by the human failings of the people who instigate reports. Complaints are frequently filed to punish, harass or prank someone, according to moderators. In messages from Brazil and Mexico, one moderator explained, “we had a couple of months where AI was banning groups left and right because people were messing with their friends by changing their group names” and then reporting them. “At the worst of it, we were probably getting tens of thousands of those. They figured out some words the algorithm did not like.”

Other reports fail to meet WhatsApp standards for an account ban. “Most of it is not violating,” one of the moderators said. “It’s content that is already on the internet, and it’s just people trying to mess with users.” Still, each case can reveal up to five unencrypted messages, which are then examined by moderators.

The judgment of WhatsApp’s AI is less than perfect, moderators say. “There were a lot of innocent photos on there that were not allowed to be on there,” said Carlos Sauceda, who left Accenture last year after nine months. “It might have been a photo of a child taking a bath, and there was nothing wrong with it.” As another WhatsApp moderator put it, “A lot of the time, the artificial intelligence is not that intelligent.”

Facebook’s written guidance to WhatsApp moderators acknowledges many problems, noting “we have made mistakes and our policies have been weaponized by bad actors to get good actors banned. When users write inquiries pertaining to abusive matters like these, it is up to WhatsApp to respond and act (if necessary) accordingly in a timely and pleasant manner.” Of course, if a user appeals a ban that was prompted by a user report, according to one moderator, it entails having a second moderator examine the user’s content.

II. “Industry leaders” in detecting bad behavior

In public statements and on the company’s websites, Facebook Inc. is noticeably vague about WhatsApp’s monitoring process. The company does not provide a regular accounting of how WhatsApp polices the platform. WhatsApp’s FAQ page and online complaint form note that it will receive “the most recent messages” from a user who has been flagged.

They do not, however, disclose how many unencrypted messages are revealed when a report is filed, or that those messages are examined by outside contractors. (WhatsApp told ProPublica it limits that disclosure to keep violators from “gaming” the system.)

By contrast, both Facebook and Instagram post lengthy “Community Standards” documents detailing the criteria its moderators use to police content, along with articles and videos about “the unrecognized heroes who keep Facebook safe” and announcements on new content-review sites. Facebook’s transparency reports detail how many pieces of content are “actioned” for each type of violation. WhatsApp is not included in this report.

When dealing with legislators, Facebook Inc. officials also offer few details — but are eager to assure them that they don’t let encryption stand in the way of protecting users from images of child sexual abuse and exploitation. For example, when members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Facebook about the impact of encrypting its platforms, the company, in written follow-up questions in January 2020, cited WhatsApp in boasting that it would remain responsive to law enforcement.

“Even within an encrypted system,” one respondent noted, “we will still be able to respond to lawful requests for metadata, including the potentially critical location or account information… We already have an encrypted messaging service, WhatsApp, that — in contrast to some other encrypted services — provides a simple way for people to report abuse or safety concerns.”

Sure enough, WhatsApp reported 400,000 instances of possible child-exploitation imagery to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2020, according to its head, Cathcart. That was ten times as many as in 2019. “We are by far the industry leaders in finding and detecting that behavior in an end-to-end encrypted service,” he said.

During his YouTube interview with the Australian think tank, Cathcart also described WhatsApp’s reliance on user reporting and its AI systems’ ability to examine account information that isn’t subject to encryption. Asked how many staffers WhatsApp employed to investigate abuse complaints from an app with more than two billion users, Cathcart didn’t mention content moderators or their access to encrypted content.

“There’s a lot of people across Facebook who help with WhatsApp,” he explained. “If you look at people who work full time on WhatsApp, it’s above a thousand. I won’t get into the full breakdown of customer service, user reports, engineering, etc. But it’s a lot of that.”

In written responses for this article, the company spokesperson said: “We build WhatsApp in a manner that limits the data we collect while providing us tools to prevent spam, investigate threats, and ban those engaged in abuse, including based on user reports we receive. This work takes extraordinary effort from security experts and a valued trust and safety team that works tirelessly to help provide the world with private communication.”

The spokesperson noted that WhatsApp has released new privacy features, including “more controls about how people’s messages can disappear” or be viewed only once. He added, “Based on the feedback we’ve received from users, we’re confident people understand when they make reports to WhatsApp we receive the content they send us.”

III. “Deceiving users” about personal privacy

Since the moment Facebook announced plans to buy WhatsApp in 2014, observers wondered how the service, known for its fervent commitment to privacy, would fare inside a corporation known for the opposite.

Zuckerberg had become one of the wealthiest people on the planet by using a “surveillance capitalism” approach: collecting and exploiting reams of user data to sell targeted digital ads. Facebook’s relentless pursuit of growth and profits has generated a series of privacy scandals in which it was accused of deceiving customers and regulators.

By contrast, WhatsApp knew little about its users apart from their phone numbers and shared none of that information with third parties. WhatsApp ran no ads, and its co-founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, both former Yahoo engineers, were hostile to them.

“At every company that sells ads,” they wrote in 2012, “a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data, and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packed and shipped out,” adding: “Remember when advertising is involved you the user are the product.” At WhatsApp, they noted, “your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.”

Zuckerberg publicly vowed in a 2014 keynote speech that he would keep WhatsApp “exactly the same.” He declared, “We are absolutely not going to change plans around WhatsApp and the way it uses user data. WhatsApp is going to operate completely autonomously.”

In April 2016, WhatsApp completed its long-planned adoption of end-to-end encryption, which helped establish the app as a prized communications platform in 180 countries, including many where text messages and phone calls are cost-prohibitive. International dissidents, whistleblowers, and journalists also turned to WhatsApp to escape government eavesdropping.

Four months later, however, WhatsApp disclosed it would begin sharing user data with Facebook — precisely what Zuckerberg had said would not happen — a move that cleared the way for an array of future revenue-generating plans.

The new WhatsApp terms of service said the app would share information such as users’ phone numbers, profile photos, status messages, and IP addresses for the purposes of ad targeting, fighting spam and abuse, and gathering metrics. “By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems,” WhatsApp explained, “Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.”

Such actions were increasingly bringing Facebook into the crosshairs of regulators. In May 2017, EU antitrust regulators fined the company 110 million euros (about $122 million) for falsely claiming three years earlier that it would be impossible to link the user information between WhatsApp and the Facebook family of apps. The EU concluded that Facebook had “intentionally or negligently” deceived regulators. Facebook insisted its false statements in 2014 were not intentional but didn’t contest the fine.

By the spring of 2018, the WhatsApp co-founders, now both billionaires, were gone. Acton, in what he later described as an act of “penance” for the “crime” of selling WhatsApp to Facebook, gave $50 million to a foundation backing Signal, a free encrypted messaging app that would emerge as a WhatsApp rival. (Acton’s donor-advised fund has also given money to ProPublica.)

Meanwhile, Facebook was under fire for its security and privacy failures as never before. The pressure culminated in a landmark $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission in July 2019 for violating a previous agreement to protect user privacy. The fine was almost 20 times greater than any previous privacy-related penalty, according to the FTC, and Facebook’s transgressions included “deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information.”

The FTC announced that it was ordering Facebook to take steps to protect privacy going forward, including for WhatsApp users: “As part of Facebook’s order-mandated privacy program, which covers WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook must conduct a privacy review of every new or modified product, service, or practice before it is implemented, and document its decisions about user privacy.” Compliance officers would be required to generate a “quarterly privacy review report” and share it with the company and, upon request, the FTC.

Facebook agreed to the FTC’s fine and order. Indeed, the negotiations for that agreement were the backdrop, just four months before that, for Zuckerberg’s announcement of his new commitment to privacy.

By that point, WhatsApp had begun using Accenture and other outside contractors to hire hundreds of content reviewers. But the company was eager not to step on its larger privacy message — or spook its global user base. It said nothing publicly about its hiring of contractors to review content.

IV. “We kill people based on metadata”

Even as Zuckerberg was touting Facebook Inc.’s new commitment to privacy in 2019, he didn’t mention that his company was apparently sharing more of its WhatsApp users’ metadata than ever with the parent company — and with law enforcement.

To the lay ear, the term “metadata” can sound abstract, a word that evokes the intersection of literary criticism and statistics. To use an old, pre-digital analogy, metadata is the equivalent of what’s written on the outside of an envelope — the names and addresses of the sender and recipient and the postmark reflecting where and when it was mailed — while the “content” is what’s written on the letter sealed inside the envelope. So it is with WhatsApp messages: The content is protected, but the envelope reveals a multitude of telling details (as noted: timestamps, phone numbers, and much more).

Those in the information and intelligence fields understand how crucial this information can be. It was metadata, after all, that the National Security Agency was gathering about millions of Americans not suspected of a crime, prompting a global outcry when it was exposed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life,” former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker once said. “If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” In a symposium at Johns Hopkins University in 2014, Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and NSA, went even further: “We kill people based on metadata.”

U.S. law enforcement has used WhatsApp metadata to help put people in jail. ProPublica found more than a dozen instances in which the Justice Department sought court orders for the platform’s metadata since 2017. These represent a fraction of overall requests, known as pen register orders (a phrase borrowed from the technology used to track numbers dialed by landline telephones), as many more are kept from public view by court order.

U.S. government requests for data on outgoing and incoming messages from all Facebook platforms increased by 276% from the first half of 2017 to the second half of 2020, according to Facebook Inc. statistics (which don’t break out the numbers by platform). The company’s rate of handing over at least some data in response to such requests has risen from 84% to 95% during that period.

It’s not clear exactly what government investigators have been able to gather from WhatsApp, as the results of those orders, too, are often kept from public view. Internally, WhatsApp calls such requests for information about users “prospective message pairs,” or PMPs.

These provide data on a user’s messaging patterns in response to requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as those in at least three other countries — the UK, Brazil, and India — according to a person familiar with the matter who shared this information on the condition of anonymity. Law enforcement requests from other countries might only receive basic subscriber profile information.

WhatsApp metadata was pivotal in the arrest and conviction of Natalie “May” Edwards, a former Treasury Department official with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, for leaking confidential banking reports about suspicious transactions to BuzzFeed News. The FBI’s criminal complaint detailed hundreds of messages between Edwards and a BuzzFeed reporter using an “encrypted application,” which interviews and court records confirmed was WhatsApp.

“On or about August 1, 2018, within approximately six hours of the Edwards pen becoming operative — and the day after the July 2018 Buzzfeed article was published — the Edwards cellphone exchanged approximately 70 messages via the encrypted application with the Reporter-1 cellphone during an approximately 20-minute time span between 12:33 a.m. and 12:54 a.m.,”

FBI Special Agent Emily Eckstut wrote in her October 2018 complaint. Edwards and the reporter used WhatsApp because Edwards believed the platform to be secure, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Edwards was sentenced on June 3 to six months in prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge and reported to prison last week. Edwards’ attorney declined to comment, as did representatives from the FBI and the Justice Department.

WhatsApp has for years downplayed how much-unencrypted information it shares with law enforcement, largely limiting mentions of the practice to boilerplate language buried deep in its terms of service. It does not routinely keep permanent logs of who users are communicating with and how often, but company officials confirmed they do turn on such tracking at their own discretion — even for internal Facebook leak investigations — or in response to law enforcement requests. The company declined to tell ProPublica how frequently it does so.

The privacy page for WhatsApp assures users that they have total control over their own metadata. It says users can “decide if only contacts, everyone, or nobody can see your profile photo” or when they last opened their status updates or when they last opened the app. Regardless of the settings a user chooses, WhatsApp collects and analyzes all of that data — a fact not mentioned anywhere on the page.

V. “Opening the aperture to encompass business objectives”

The conflict between privacy and security on encrypted platforms seems to be only intensifying. Law enforcement and child safety advocates have urged Zuckerberg to abandon his plan to encrypt all of Facebook’s messaging platforms.

In June 2020, three Republican senators introduced the “Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act,” which would require tech companies to assist in providing access to even encrypted content in response to law enforcement warrants. For its part, WhatsApp recently sued the Indian government to block its requirement that encrypted apps provide “traceability” — a method to identify the sender of any message deemed relevant to law enforcement. WhatsApp has fought similar demands in other countries.

Other encrypted platforms take a vastly different approach to monitoring their users than WhatsApp. Signal employs no content moderators, collects far less user and group data, allows no cloud backups, and generally rejects the notion that it should be policing user activities. It submits no child exploitation reports to NCMEC.

Apple has touted its commitment to privacy as a selling point. It has no “report” button on its iMessage system, and the company has made just a few hundred annual reports to NCMEC, all of them originating from scanning outgoing email, which is unencrypted.

But Apple recently took a new tack and appeared to stumble along the way. Amid intensifying pressure from Congress, in August the company announced a complex new system for identifying child-exploitative imagery on users’ iCloud backups.

Apple insisted the new system poses no threat to private content, but privacy advocates accused the company of creating a backdoor that potentially allows authoritarian governments to demand broader content searches, which could result in the targeting of dissidents, journalists, or other critics of the state. On Sept. 3, Apple announced it would delay the implementation of the new system.

Still, it’s Facebook that seems to face the most constant skepticism among major tech platforms. It is using encryption to market itself as privacy-friendly while saying little about the other ways it collects data, according to Lloyd Richardson, the director of IT at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“This whole idea that they’re doing it for personal protection of people is completely ludicrous,” Richardson said. “You’re trusting an app owned and written by Facebook to do exactly what they’re saying. Do you trust that entity to do that?” (On Sept. 2, Irish authorities announced that they are fining WhatsApp 225 million euros, about $267 million, for failing to properly disclose how the company shares user information with other Facebook platforms. WhatsApp is contesting the finding.)

Facebook’s emphasis on promoting WhatsApp as a paragon of privacy is evident in the December marketing document obtained by ProPublica. The “Brand Foundations” presentation says it was the product of a 21-member global team across all of Facebook, involving a half-dozen workshops, quantitative research, “stakeholder interviews” and “endless brainstorms.”

Its aim: to offer “an emotional articulation” of WhatsApp’s benefits, “an inspirational toolkit that helps us tell our story,” and a “brand purpose to champion the deep human connection that leads to progress.” The marketing deck identifies a feeling of “closeness” as WhatsApp’s “ownable emotional territory,” saying the app delivers “the closest thing to an in-person conversation.”

WhatsApp should portray itself as “courageous,” according to another slide because it’s “taking a strong, public stance that is not financially motivated on things we care about,” such as defending encryption and fighting misinformation. But the presentation also speaks of the need to “open the aperture of the brand to encompass our future business objectives. While privacy will remain important, we must accommodate for future innovations.”

WhatsApp is now in the midst of a major drive to make money. It has experienced a rocky start, in part because of broad suspicions of how WhatsApp will balance privacy and profits. An announced plan to begin running ads inside the app didn’t help — it was abandoned in late 2019, just days before it was set to launch.

Early this January, WhatsApp unveiled a change in its privacy policy — accompanied by a one-month deadline to accept the policy or get cut off from the app. The move sparked a revolt, impelling tens of millions of users to flee to rivals such as Signal and Telegram.

The policy change focused on how messages and data would be handled when users communicate with a business in the ever-expanding array of WhatsApp Business offerings. Companies now could store their chats with users and use information about users for marketing purposes, including targeting them with ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Elon Musk tweeted “Use Signal,” and WhatsApp users rebelled. Facebook delayed for three months the requirement for users to approve the policy update. In the meantime, it struggled to convince users that the change would have no effect on the privacy protections for their personal communications, with a slightly modified version of its usual assurance: “WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook.” Just as when the company first bought WhatsApp years before, the message was the same: Trust us.

Originally published by ProPublica.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.




SHOCKING! Australia Brazenly Announces a New World Order! | Luke Rudkowski (We Are Change)

Note: At the bottom of this post, watch the 1-min excerpt from George H.W. Bush’s “New World Order” speech on Sept 11, 1990

Source: WeAreChange

By Luke Rudkowski

Holy smokes. It’s here.

You’ve got to hear what Australian public health official Kerry Chant says at the beginning of the above video: “We will be looking at what contract tracing looks like in the New World Order.”

(CLN Editor Note: She announced the arrival of the New World Order almost exactly 31 years to the day after George H.W. Bush announced the coming on the New World Order on September 11, 1990: “We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a New World Order…When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this New World Order – an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the UN’s founders.”)

Watch how she’s calling for denying people freedom and effectively enslaving them because they didn’t do what the government wanted them to do.

And specifically how contact tracing is a part of the New World Order and how the New World Order will play out.

So in the video above, I get into the background of this being a concept that has been espoused and been talked about for a very long time. And now it’s being promoted by a government that has gone totalitarian like China or North Korea.

Additionally, I delve into Twitter’s reaction and rush to censorship, as well as how the MSM is spinning all of this.

Plus, I give you an update on key economic developments in the US and El Salvador.

And I explain how Prince Andrew is fleeing in order to avoid being served in a case brought by his victims.
@@@@

George H.W. Bush’s New World Order Speech on 9/11/1990 

“We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order – a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order – an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the UN’s founders.” ~ George H.W. Bush, September 11, 1990

See the transcript of the full speech HERE.




Planned Expansion of Facial Recognition by US Agencies Called ‘Disturbing’

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

Digital rights advocates reacted harshly Thursday to a new internal U.S. government report detailing how ten federal agencies have plans to greatly expand their reliance on facial recognition in the years ahead.

The Government Accountability Office surveyed federal agencies and found ten have specific plans to increase their use of the technology by 2023—surveilling people for numerous reasons including identifying criminal suspects, track government employees’ level of alertness, and match faces of people on government property with names on watch lists.

The report (pdf) was released as lawmakers face pressure to pass legislation to limit the use of facial recognition technology by the government and law enforcement agencies.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (D-Ky.) introduced the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act in April to prevent agencies from using “illegitimately obtained” biometric data, such as photos from the software company Clearview AI. The company has scrapped billions of photos from social media platforms without approval and is currently used by hundreds of police departments across the United States.

The bill has not received a vote in either chamber of Congress yet.

The plans described in the GAO report tweeted by law professor Andrew Ferguson, author of “The Rise of Big Data Policing,” are “what happens when Congress fails to act.”

Six agencies including the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services (HHS), Interior, and Treasury plan to expand their use of facial recognition technology to “generate leads in criminal investigations, such as identifying a person of interest, by comparing their image against mugshots,” the GAO reported.
DHS, DOJ, HHS, and the Interior all reported using Clearview AI to compare images with “publicly available images” from social media.
The DOJ, DOD, HHS, Department of Commerce, and Department of Energy said they plan to use the technology to maintain what the report calls “physical security,” by monitoring their facilities to determine if an individual is on a government watchlist is present.
“For example, HHS reported that it used [a facial recognition technology] system (AnyVision) to monitor its facilities by searching live camera feeds in real-time for individuals on watchlists or suspected of criminal activity, which reduces the need for security guards to memorize these individuals’ faces,” the report reads. “This system automatically alerts personnel when an individual on a watchlist is present.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the government’s expanded use of the technology for law enforcement purposes is one of the “most disturbing” aspects of the GAO report.
“Face surveillance is so invasive of privacy, so discriminatory against people of color, and so likely to trigger false arrests, that the government should not be using face surveillance at all,” the organization told MIT Technology Review.
According to the Washington Post, three lawsuits have been filed in the last year by people who say they were wrongly accused of crimes after being mistakenly identified by law enforcement agencies using facial recognition technology. All three of the plaintiffs are Black men.
A federal study in 2019 showed that Asian and Black people were up to 100 times more likely to be misidentified by the technology than white men. Native Americans had the highest false identification rate.
Maine, Virginia, and Massachusetts have banned or sharply curtailed the use of facial recognition systems by government entities, and cities across the country including San Francisco, Portland, and New Orleans have passed strong ordinances blocking their use.
But many of the federal government’s planned uses for the technology, Jake Laperruque of the Project on Government Oversight told the Post, “present a really big surveillance threat that only Congress can solve.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.



Why Coverage On Pandemic Tyranny Is So Important

Op-Ed by Patrick Wood | Activist Post

As editor of Technocracy News & Trends, I am not particularly satisfied in reporting story after story, day after day, on various aspects of the so-called Covid pandemic. Why fight the propaganda machine? Does it really matter? Aren’t other sites covering it anyway?

After replaying these questions every morning in light of Technocracy, I always come to the same conclusion:

IT’S NOT JUST A STORY, IT IS THE ONLY STORY!

This is Technocracy’s coup d’état. It specifically started on January 30, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic, calling for emergency powers, lockdowns, social distancing, masks, vaccines, etc.

I flatly predicted this coup in 2015 in Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation. There was no way at that time to understand the means of the coup, but it was clear to me that it was coming, that it had a timetable and intention:

“When studying the progression of Nazi Germany leading up to Hitler’s assumption of complete power, I have often theorized that there was very likely a specific point in time when he realized that he had all the political, military, organizational and economic power necessary to declare himself dictator. Hitler had declared his intentions in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf, which was mostly ignored at the time because it was written by a trouble-making rabble-rouser who was serving time in jail for what he claimed were political crimes. But, Hitler had a dream and a strategy to get there, and then he embarked on implementing that strategy. In 1933, after he clawed and connived his way into power, he pulled the plug and declared himself dictator; there was nothing anyone could do about it. To oppose him meant certain death or imprisonment. His work and strategy, like moving the pieces on a chessboard, had resulted in a doomsday checkmate. My point is that it didn’t happen by accident or even by a series of random events where one day he just woke up and thought, “I think I will announce my dictatorship after lunch today.” Rather, Hitler was certainly gathering pieces of his empire all along, analyzing and plotting his victory with excruciating detail. As the necessary assets were lined up in a row under his control, Hitler knew exactly what it would take to get to the top, and he knew that he would know when he had arrived. Well, that day arrived, and history was changed forever.

“Based on this thinking, if today’s technocrats are meticulously working toward a scientific dictatorship and applying a specific strategy to get there, wouldn’t you think that they have a specific list of criteria that must be met before “game over” can be called? Wouldn’t you think that they are comparing such a list to the actual progress they are making in the world? Wouldn’t you think that they are monitoring their progress and will recognize when the list has been fulfilled? If you can see my point here, then there are only two questions left: When that day comes, will the Technocrats have the guts to shut the old world order down and simply declare the “system” as a dictator? If so, how long will it take them to act?”

Well, of course, they have the guts to shut down the old world order! They have done it, haven’t they?

They have declared the “system” as a dictator. Isn’t this exactly what Big Tech and Big Pharma are telling us?

So, what about all the other initiatives that Technocracy has been known for?

  • Smart grid – controlling the use and distribution of energy
  • Internet of Everything – What can be connected will be connected
  • 5G – to connect the IoE
  • Surveillance – Everything is monitored and tracked
  • Smart Cities – Using IoE to socially engineer the entire city

Those are all advancing on other fronts, but the main column – medical tyranny – is the “shock and awe” phenomenon that is sucking all the oxygen out of the room. Globally. Nationally. Locally. In the workplace. In the hospitals and clinics. In the corporate world. In churches. In neighborhoods. In families.

As such then, the pandemic and all of its surroundings is the ONLY STORY that counts right now, and that’s why Technocracy News & Trends will continue to report on it.

Source: Technocracy News & Trends

Patrick Wood is a leading and critical expert on Sustainable Development, Green Economy, Agenda 21, 2030 Agenda, and historic Technocracy. He is the author of Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation (2015) and co-author of Trilaterals Over Washington, Volumes I and II (1978-1980) with the late Antony C. Sutton.




Biden Gives “Five Eyes” What It Always Wanted: Access To Everyone’s Social Media

By MassPrivateI | Activist Post

For years, Americans have largely ignored corporate social media surveillance. But that all of that is about to change, thanks to President Biden.

No one has taken the White House’s plan to turn Big Tech into a quasi-Five Eyes censorship program seriously despite repeated warnings from journalists and news websites.

Journalist Caitlin Johnstone warned that the White House is pushing for Facebook and Microsoft to censor any social media stories the Feds don’t like.

“After Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Thursday that the administration has given Facebook a list of accounts to ban for spreading misinformation about the Covid vaccine, she has now doubled down saying that people who circulate such materials online should be banned from not just one but all social media platforms.”credit: GIFCT

The Feds want Big Tech to ban stories and people they do not approve of from social media.

“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki told the press on Friday.

Reuters revealed some of America’s biggest tech companies will let “Five Eyes” and the U.N. decide whose stories the “Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism” should censor.

“Until now, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism’s (GIFCT) database has focused on videos and images from terrorist groups on a United Nations list and so has largely consisted of content from Islamist extremist organizations such as Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

Big Tech’s GIFCT is essentially a Five Eyes censorship program, masquerading as a Big Tech social media forum to stop terrorism and extremism.

“Over the next few months, the group will add attacker manifestos — often shared by sympathizers after white supremacist violence — and other publications and links flagged by U.N. initiative Tech Against Terrorism. It will use lists from intelligence-sharing group Five Eyes, adding URLs and PDFs from more groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and neo-Nazis.”

Twitter and YouTube are also helping help Five Eyes spy on the world’s social media.

“The firms, which include Twitter and YouTube, share “hashes,” unique numerical representations of original pieces of content that have been removed from their services. Other platforms use these to identify the same content on their own sites in order to review or remove it.”

Other companies that have access to the GIFCT database are Reddit, Snapchat, Instagram, Verizon Media, LinkedIn, Dropbox, MailChimp, and Airbnb.

Three years ago the mass media warned us about Five Eyes demanding that tech companies give them backdoors to users’ encrypted data, and now they finally got their wish.

The dangers of Big Tech giving URLs, PDFs and personal information to a global intelligence agency will allow governments to secretly track and ID people and organizations they deem a threat.

Radio New Zealand said if one government has access to this information, then other governments will request it as part of doing business with another country.

New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner also warned that there is nothing stopping governments from abusing their access to people’s social media posts. And that is the real danger of letting Big Tech, Five Eyes, and the U.N. decide who is a terrorist or extremist.

“Even then you don’t solve the technical challenge of allowing access for legitimate purposes while maintaining a secure network, and people in the tech industry tell me this is impossible” Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said.

The GIFCT claims to “bring together the technology industry, government, civil society, and academia to foster collaboration and information-sharing to counter terrorist and violent extremist activity online.” But what it does not tell you is how they decide to brand someone a terrorist or extremist.

GIFCT admits that Big Tech has been secretly compiling a database of “hashes” or unique digital fingerprints of suspected terrorist/extremist social media posts since 2016.

Big Tech also uses their in-house “Content Incident Protocol” (CIP) to justify sharing hashes of an extremist’s video, and other related content with Big Tech companies, Five Eyes, and the U.N.

If the GIFCT’s secret social media database and CIP sound familiar, that’s because it is.

The United States Postal Service and Fusion Centers across the country have been secretly spying on Americans’ social media for years.

Earlier this week, PayPal announced that they are working with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to investigate how extremist and hate movements in the United States take advantage of financial platforms to fund their criminal activities.

PayPal is basically setting up its own version of GIFCT to justify monitoring people’s transactions under the terrorist/extremist umbrella. As the article mentioned, PayPal and the ADL will “uncover and disrupt the financial flows of anti-government and white supremacist organizations” on their own!

“The information collected through the initiatives will be shared with other firms in the financial industry, law enforcement and policymakers, PayPal said.”

It is only a matter of time before GIFCT censorship will be used to monitor and stop protests that corporations and the White House disapprove of.

As Caitlin Johnstone so eloquently put it:

  • They said we need internet censorship because of Russia.
  • They said we need internet censorship because of COVID.
  • They said we need internet censorship because of election security.
  • They said we need internet censorship because of the Capitol riot.
  • They said we need internet censorship because of domestic extremism.
  • Pretty sure they just want internet censorship.

Using the GIFCT to allow corporations and Five Eyes to ban and censor whoever they want, puts everyone’s freedom at risk.

Source: MassPrivateI Blog




Meet the World Economic Forum

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM | Photo: Moritz Hager via Flickr 

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The COVID pandemic is a ruse to usher in a new system of global centralized governance by unelected leaders, the so-called Great Reset
  • The founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Klaus Schwab, has emerged as the frontman of the Great Reset and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has an unmistakable transhumanist component
  • The Great Reset is a rebranding of what in the last decade became known as the New World Order. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the merging of digital, physical, and biological systems, and the reliance on technological surveillance rather than the rule of law to maintain public order
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform not only how we live and interact but who we are as a human species. Man will ultimately be merged with machine. The COVID shots may well be the very first step into this transhumanist mass transformation
  • Members and stakeholders of the WEF include world government leaders, corporate leaders, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, activists, cultural leaders, and artists, all of whom collaborate to push the WEF’s technocratic, transhumanist missions forward

Over the past year and a half, I’ve written many articles detailing the evidence supporting the claim that the COVID pandemic is a ruse to usher in a new system of global centralized governance by unelected leaders, the so-called Great Reset. While the World Economic Forum (WEF) may not necessarily be at the very top of this pyramid of technocratic elitists, it certainly appears to be a central power player.

Its founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, has emerged as the frontman of the Great Reset and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has an unmistakable transhumanist component, or merging of biological or physical technologies in the human body,1 through his speeches and books on these topics, which include “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” (2016), “Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution” (2018) and “COVID-19: The Great Reset”2 (2020).

In the featured Corbett Report, “Meet the World Economic Forum,”3 independent journalists James Corbett takes a deep-dive into the WEF’s history and “the nightmarish future it is seeking to bring about.” Corbett also offers suggestions for how we can use this knowledge to derail this enslavement agenda.

New World Order Rebranded

As noted by Corbett, the Great Reset is nothing but a rebranding of what in the last decade became known as the New World Order. Of course, the creation of a New World Order was considered a conspiracy theory believed only by tinfoil hat-wearing kooks with too much time to surf the internet and too active an imagination.

Today, we can see that the New World Order was in fact real and that the name-calling was simply a way to make sure the cat didn’t leap from the bag too soon. In June 2020, Schwab publicly announced the Great Reset,4 so there’s no way to dismiss it now. It’s happening.

As noted in a July 21, 2020, World Economic Forum article,5 the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns “has the potential to hobble global prosperity for generations to come.” The answer is to come up with stimulus measures, such as infrastructure development, that can allow countries to move forward.

But while at it, countries are urged to make sure the economic system is “built back better.” Make no mistake, this catchy slogan is part and parcel of the Great Reset plan and cannot be separated from it, no matter how altruistic it may sound.

Part of the “building back better” is to shift the financial system over to an all-digital centrally controlled currency system, which in turn is part of the system of social control, as it can easily be used to incentivize desired behaviors and discourage undesired ones.

While Bitcoin is decentralized and a rational strategy to preserve your personal financial freedom and opt-out of the existing central bank controlled system, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be centralized and completely controlled by the central banks and will have smart contracts that allow the banks to surveil and control your life.

You’ll Own Nothing

There’s even talk of programming the currency such that they can control how you spend your money. The money may even have expiration dates, so you lose what you don’t spend within a certain time frame. One of the WEF’s promises is that by 2030, you will own nothing,6 and needless to say, if the central bank can control how and when you spend your money, they can eliminate your ability to save up for large purchases, such as, say, a house or a car.

The idea is that we will have to rent everything. Corbett shows a video clip from a lecture where the presenter explains that the direction we’re going in is “from products to services.” “Every product is a service waiting to happen,” she says.

What she means is that instead of buying something once and owning it for as long as you please, eventually, you won’t have the option to buy anything outright. Your only option will be to lease the product you want, which means paying a fee every month for as long as you keep it.

And who owns all the items that we the public rent? “They” do. But who are “they”? Identifying the actual individuals who are pulling the strings and laying down these long-term plans is extremely difficult.

We can, however, identify organizations that play important roles, based on their ideologies and actions, and from there, specific people within those organizations who seem to wield a great deal of influence. We can also tell that the Great Reset is a technocratic agenda, so it stands to reason that those involved are referred to as technocrats. The WEF is undoubtedly part of this agenda, and Schwab is undoubtedly a technocrat of the highest order.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution — A Technocratic Agenda

Aside from the slogan “Build Back Better,”7 the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”8 is yet another term that goes hand in hand with the Great Reset. This refers to the merging of digital, physical, and biological systems, and the reliance on technological surveillance rather than the rule of law to maintain public order.

Just like the Great Reset is a rebranding of the New World Order, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is nothing but a rebranding of technocracy, melded with the transhumanist movement. While many are still blind to this, the transhumanist agenda is being rolled out worldwide through COVID-19 gene modification injections. Seemingly without much thinking, about half the U.S. population has already signed up to become first-generation transhumans.

As noted by Schwab in a video clip in the featured report, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform not only how we live and interact but who we are as a human species. Man will ultimately be merged with machine. The COVID shots may well be the very first step into this transhumanist mass transformation.

In this paradigm, your body is viewed as a combination of hardware and software, your genes being “the software of life,” which can be updated through a simple injection of mRNA.

Ultimately, everything, including our physical bodies, will be incorporated into an “ecosystem driven by big data,” Schwab explains (which is what 5G and 6G are ultimately for). What he does not mention is how this will eliminate human rights and personal freedoms. That these will be taken from you, however, is clear for anyone with eyes to see.

What Is the World Economic Forum?

Schwab founded the WEF in 1971, and the organization is clearly a family affair and a family legacy. Its regulations state that Schwab, as the founder, is the ex officio member of the board of trustees and only he, or an immediate family member, can designate his successor. In other words, the only people who will always have a seat at the table and cannot be kicked out are Schwab’s heirs.

Members and stakeholders of the WEF include world government leaders, corporate leaders, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, activists, cultural leaders, and artists, all of whom collaborate to push the WEF’s technocratic, transhumanist missions forward. And, as noted by Corbett, there’s hardly a single topic currently being discussed in the media that isn’t pushed and promoted by the WEF or someone with direct ties to the WEF.

Examples of areas the WEF is spearheading and pulling strings on include global cybersecurity problems and solutions, the reengineering of the global food system, the rewriting of a social contract.

This has never existed in the first place and appears to be part and parcel of the plan to control populations through social engineering and a social credit score, the education of our children, the resetting of the global monetary system, reimagining health care using nanotechnology and synthetic biology and much more.

It’s quite clear that the WEF serves as a central hub for the implementation of this new global social order through its public-private partnerships. The fact that people don’t announce their connections to the WEF makes it appear as though the technocratic, transhumanist movement is somehow organic, popping up here, there, and everywhere, more or less organically.

In reality, however, there is nothing organic about it at all. It’s well-coordinated propaganda. Here’s how Corbett explains the WEF’s role in the future governance of world affairs:9

“The World Economic Forum has always sought to be, and is increasingly becoming, that organization that situates itself at the nexus of the public-private cooperation that will be governed by the ESGs [Environmental, Social and Governance.

This is an umbrella term for ‘sustainable investing’’] and other sorts of frameworks that the World Economic Forum is spearheading, by which they are going to tell the world exactly what they can and cannot, should or should not be doing in their individual business efforts to be part of this stakeholder capitalism.

Because you don’t own what you own. No, the society at large owns it and we all have to listen to society’s interests in these things. But you can’t talk to society, so you might as well talk to the World Economic Forum, who will tell you what society thinks.”

International Man of Mystery

So, who is this “international man of mystery,” Klaus Schwab? As noted by Corbett, Schwab’s online history has been thoroughly sanitized to leave few traces and threads to unravel. One of the more revealing investigations into Schwab’s past is Johnny Vedmore’s Unlimited Hangout report, “Schwab Family Values.”10

In it, he reveals Schwab as “the son of a Nazi collaborator who used slave labor and aided Nazi efforts to obtain the first atomic bomb.” The Schwab family was also involved in South Africa’s illegal nuclear program, Vedmore claims, as well as the European eugenics movement. He writes:11

“Especially revealing is the history of Klaus’ father, Eugen Schwab, who led the Nazi-supported German branch of a Swiss engineering firm into the war as a prominent military contractor. That company, Escher-Wyss, would use slave labor to produce machinery critical to the Nazi war effort as well as the Nazi’s effort to produce heavy water for its nuclear program.

Years later, at the same company, a young Klaus Schwab served on the board of directors when the decision was made to furnish the racist apartheid regime of South Africa with the necessary equipment to further its quest to become a nuclear power.

With the World Economic Forum now a prominent advocate for nuclear non-proliferation and “clean” nuclear energy, Klaus Schwab’s past makes him a poor spokesperson for his professed agenda for the present and the future.

Yet, digging even deeper into his activities, it becomes clear that Schwab’s real role has long been to ‘shape global, regional and industry agendas’ of the present in order to ensure the continuity of larger, much older agendas that came into disrepute after World War II, not just nuclear technology, but also eugenics-influenced population control policies.

… through the World Economic Forum, Schwab has helped to rehabilitate eugenics-influenced population control policies during the post-World War II era, a time when the revelations of Nazi atrocities quickly brought the pseudo-science into great disrepute.

Is there any reason to believe that Klaus Schwab, as he exists today, has changed in any way? Or is he still the public face of a decades-long effort to ensure the survival of a very old agenda?”

The Green Agenda Was Invented to Justify Depopulation Agenda

Aside from the WEF, there are many other organizations that work toward technocratic goals. These include the Club of Rome, the Aspen Institute, the Trilateral Commission, the Atlantic Institute, the Brookings Institute, and other think tanks. According to Vedmore, the Club of Rome actually inspired the creation of the WEF and its annual symposium that takes place in Davos, Switzerland.

The Club of Rome is a scientific think tank that, like the WEF, promotes “a global governance model, led by a technocratic elite.” It was founded only three years before the WEF, during a private meeting between Italian industrialist Aurelio Peccei and Scottish chemist Alexander King at a Rockefeller family residence in Italy. Vedmore writes:12

“Among its first accomplishments was a 1972 book entitled ‘The Limits to Growth’ that largely focused on global overpopulation, warning that ‘if the world’s consumption patterns and population growth continued at the same high rates of the time, the earth would strike its limits within a century’ …

[In 1973], the Club of Rome would publish a report detailing an ‘adaptive’ model for global governance that would divide the world into ten, inter-connected economic/political regions. The Club of Rome was long controversial for its obsession with reducing the global population and many of its earlier policies, which critics described as influenced by eugenics …

However, in the Club’s infamous 1991 Book, ‘The First Global Revolution,’ it was argued that such policies could gain popular support if the masses were able to link them with an existential fight against a common enemy.”

The common enemy the Club came up with was mankind itself. An excerpt from “The First Global Revolution” reads, “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill.”13

It may be quite chilling for some to realize that the climate change threat narrative was cooked up in the late 1980s for the sole purpose of being able to implement a global depopulation agenda without stirring up excessive resistance. As noted by Corbett, depopulation, and eugenics are “always at the heart of what they do,” referring to the WEF and any number of other organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

As disturbing as all of this might be, it’s important not to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. It is happening. The COVID pandemic was used to roll out a clear transhumanist, technocratic agenda, and the WEF is driving the rollout.

In closing, the sleuths among you can start tying the threads of this web together by making use of the WEF’s website, www.weforum.org. Corbett provides the following example in his report. Simply look up any company currently in the news, and see if they have any ties to the WEF.

For example, the world’s largest meat supplier, JBS, claimed it was hit by a cyberattack in June 2021, forcing it to shut down its distribution.14 Looking at the WEF’s partner list, you’ll find JBS is in fact one of its partners. As noted by SilView Media, “JBS, a WEF member, coincidentally fulfills Klaus Schwab’s Cyber Polygon 2020 fantasies, ahead of Cyber Polygon 2021.”15

What has Schwab been predicting? Cyberattacks threaten global transportation, distribution systems, and the food supply. What are we seeing more and more of right now? Cyberattacks on transportation, distribution systems, and the food supply. Coincidence? Or predictive programming? You decide.

For all references please use the source link at the top of the article.




World Economic Forum Announces Creation of an Orwellian Organization to Uproot All Opinions From the Internet that It Considers “Harmful”

By Leo HohmannWaking Times

The World Economic Forum announced June 29. It will initiate a new “public-private partnership” with Big Tech and governments worldwide to identify and uproot all opinions from the Internet that it considers “harmful.”

The WEF is one of those elitist organizations that wields enormous influence over the elected leaders of Western nations but which almost nobody in the general population has heard of.

Its members are internationalist corporate honchos and technocrats who meet once a year in Davos with the stated goal of working to “shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

It made a big splash last year with its highly touted “Great Reset,” which promises to use the pandemic as an “opportunity” to crash the world’s dollar-based, capitalist economic system and “build back better” under a more socialist and globally integrated system that mirrors the United Nations Agenda 2030 goals for Sustainable Development.

 

Any politician you hear using the term “build back better” [Biden-Harris-Trudeau-Johnson repeat this mantra daily] you know has drunk the poisonous Kool-Aid of the World Economic Forum and its founder, Klaus Schwab [pictured below].

Schwab’s latest venture is the so-called “Global Coalition for Digital Safety” that consists of execs from Big Tech and government officials to create a “global framework” for regulating speech on the Internet, wiping it of so-called “harmful content.”

[I could not help but think of the Committee of Public Safety that conducted the reign of terror during the French Revolution.]

And who gets to define what’s “harmful”? Why the global coalition set up by the elitist WEF of course!

The harmful” content targeted by this Global Coalition for Digital Safety you can bet will be tailor-made to entrap those who stand for limited government, traditional values, and individual freedom. Those of us who still believe in such things will not be included in the WEF’s definition of “inclusive,” “equality” or “diversity.”

“The Global Coalition for Digital Safety is a public-private platform for global, multi-stakeholder cooperation to develop innovations and advance collaborations that tackle harmful content and conduct online,” states the WEF on its website.

Microsoft immediately announced it was on board with the WEF’s plan to squelch free speech on the Internet.

Chief digital safety officer for Microsoft Courtney Gregoire stated:

“Technology offers tools to learn, play, connect, and contribute to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. But digital safety harms remain a threat to these possibilities. As the World Economic Forum is uniquely positioned to accelerate the public-private collaboration needed to advance digital safety globally, Microsoft is eager to participate and help build whole-of-society solutions to this whole-of-society problem.”

Facebook also seems excited to get started on finding new ways to groom users to start thinking about turning in their friends for committing wrongthink. The social media giant has begun sending cryptic messages to some users that read as follows:

“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?”

See the screenshot below that one user received from Facebook today, July 1, and sent to this reporter.

This program fits perfectly with the rhetoric coming out of Washington since Biden claimed the presidency.

Biden and his attorney general, Merrick Garland, take every opportunity to talk about “extremists” on the right being the “biggest threat to our democracy.” This is a classic propaganda technique used to turn public sentiment against a targeted demographic. The Nazis perfected this, using the media to blame all of Germany’s problems on Jews before they actually started rounding them up and making them disappear.

The next phase in this evil plan is to encourage Americans to turn each other into the online thought police. What happens next, after one has been reported to Facebook, Google, or Microsoft? Will the tech giants turn those accused of thought crimes by their online “friends” and “followers” over to Biden’s politicized FBI? This is exactly how it works in China.

Readers of this blog know that China is the model being touted by those who believe in the Great Reset. Now their plans are right out in the open on the World Economic Forum website with this announcement of their Global Coalition for Digital Safety.

The WEF states:

“With the growing challenge to counter health misinformation, violent extremist and terrorist content, and the exploitation of children online, there is an urgent need for more deliberate global coordination to improve digital safety.

“The Global Coalition for Digital Safety aims to accelerate public-private cooperation to tackle harmful content online and will serve to exchange best practices for new online safety regulation, take coordinated action to reduce the risk of online harms, and drive forward collaboration on programs to enhance digital media literacy.”

In the above quote, notice how sneakily the WEF lumps spreaders of “health misinformation” – that would be anyone who expresses reticence about experimental mass vaccination programs, COVID lockdowns, mandatory mask-wearing, etc. – in with violent extremists, terrorists, and child traffickers. How clever.

The WEF has the audacity to claim its coalition will be “impartial” in policing the Internet. This is the same organization run by Schwab, who openly states that the pandemic should be exploited as a “unique window of opportunity” to fundamentally change the way people live, work, do business and fit into society.

“The Forum is uniquely positioned to leverage its impartial platform and convening power to drive public-private cooperation amongst key stakeholders focused on improving safety online,” the WEF states in its release about the new coalition.

The WEF sets itself up as the global arbiter that defines terms like “harmful content” and “misinformation.” It also laments the fact that encrypted social media channels like Telegram and Signal are able to allow users to communicate free of censorship and spying.

Here are its recommendations for “key focus areas that now require coordinated action” by governments and their Big Tech allies:

1. Share Best Practices on Safety Standards: Exchange knowledge on policies and practices for improving online safety, considering content policies, remedies, transparency reports, use of data, and new technologies

2. Address Balance of Privacy and Safety: Share best practices on addressing the growing tension between privacy and safety as harmful content on encrypted channels risks evading detection

3. Market Competition: Drive better alignment between regulations focused on safety and competition to foster market innovation and enable consumer choice

4. Cross-Jurisdictional Content Cooperation: Enable action on content that spans jurisdictions and requires greater coordination amongst countries (e.g. content created in one county but causing harm in another)

5. Definitional Alignment: Support work on consistent definitions for content categories, such as self-harm and cyber-bullying to enable standardized enforcement, reporting, and measurement across regions.

If COVID taught us anything, it’s that Big Tech social media platforms, in league with global power elites, defined for us what is allowed and not allowed to be said on the Internet.

Posts that challenge the official narrative about the virus and the best way to respond to it were immediately censored, either tagged with warnings meant to discredit the posts or removed altogether.

The most typical reason for such censorship was that these posts “violated community standards,” which consist of mysterious, vaguely worded legalese that nobody reads.

Big Tech corporations are also increasingly working in concert with governments around the world, including in the U.S. and the ruling Chinese Communist Party in China, to regulate what people are allowed to see on the Internet.

But all of this control over the free flow of information is not enough for some of the global power elites.

Now they are ready to take their Gestapo tactics to the next level.

They want to turn us against each other.

Don’t let them do it.

Now is the time for all freedom-loving patriots in nations across the world to wake up, rise up, recognize these tactics as divisive and anti-human, and unite against this pernicious group of global predators.

About the Author

Leo Hohmann is an investigative reporter, covering issues on globalism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and where politics, culture, and religion intersect. Find his work at LeoHohmann.com.




As U.S. Government Report Reveals Facial Recognition Tech Widely Used, WEF-Linked Israeli Facial Recognition Firm Raises $235 Million

By Derrick Broze

In June the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report detailing the widespread use of facial recognition technology, including law enforcement using databases of faceprints from government agencies and private firms. Privacy and civil rights organizations have been warning for the last few years that the use of facial recognition technology was a digital Wild West with little to no regulation determining the limits of the tech.

Now, the GAO’s new report shows that at least twenty of the forty-two U.S. government agencies surveyed have used the technology. These departments include those associated with law enforcement – the FBI, Secret Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Capitol Police, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Drug Enforcement Administration – as well as less obvious departments such as the U.S. Postal Service, the Fish, and Wildlife Service and NASA.

Six U.S. agencies admitted to using facial recognition on people who attended the protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The report states that the agencies claim they only used the tech on people accused of breaking the law.

“Thirteen federal agencies do not have awareness of what non-federal systems with facial recognition technology are used by employees,” the report said. “These agencies have therefore not fully assessed the potential risks of using these systems, such as risks related to privacy and accuracy.”

The GAO calls for increased training for law enforcement, stating that such training could “reduce risks associated with analyst error and decision-making; understand and interpret the results they receive; raise awareness of cognitive bias and improve objectivity; and increase consistency across agencies.” The GAO also calls for agencies to implement controls to better track what systems their employees are using.

While some of the U.S. government agencies have their own databases, the FBI’s database of faceprints is likely the most extensive, with some estimates at over 100 million faceprints. The U.S. government’s top law enforcement agency has been fighting to keep the database a secret since at least 2013.

Agencies have also used facial recognition databases from Amazon Rekognition, BI SmartLink, Giant Oak Social Technology, Clearview AI, and Vigilant Solutions. By far, government agencies used technology from Clearview and Vigilant the most. The report provides further insight:

“Moreover, federal law enforcement can use non-government facial recognition service providers, such as Vigilant Solutions and Clearview AI. For example, law enforcement officers with a Clearview AI account can use a computer or smartphone to upload a photo of an unknown individual to Clearview AI’s facial recognition system. The system can return search results that show potential photos of the unknown individual, as well as links to the site where the photos were obtained (e.g., Facebook). According to Clearview AI, its system is only used to investigate crimes that have already occurred and not for real-time surveillance.”

The US Postal Inspection Service said it has used Clearview AI’s software to help track down people suspected of stealing and opening mail and stealing from Postal Service buildings. Altogether, ten agencies used Clearview AI between April 2018 and March 2020. The U.S. Capitol Police used the company’s tech to investigate suspects from the event at the Capitol on January 6th.

TLAV has previously reported on the dangers associated with facial recognition technology, and specifically, how Clearview AI’s technology was being used to target so-called domestic extremists.

In 2020, the NY Times wrote about Clearview’s efforts to gather, store, and sell faceprint data as “the end of privacy as we know it” and they are not wrong. This company has been capturing billions of faceprints from online photos and now claims to have the world’s largest facial recognition database. This gives Clearview the opportunity to sell customers access to all our faces to secretly target, identify, and track any of us. This could be for marketing and advertising purposes, but it could be for government and law enforcement surveillance of activists, journalists, and organizers who are performing constitutionally protected activity. As the Mind Unleashed reported, Clearview is collecting data from unsuspecting social media users and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is using the controversial facial recognition tool to pinpoint the identity of unknown suspects.

Clearview said in May it would stop selling its technology to private companies and instead provide it for use by law enforcement only – they have thus far made their technology available to some 2,400 law enforcement agencies across the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Clearview, alleging that the company violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a state law that prohibits capturing individuals’ biometric identifiers without notice and consent.

While Vigilant Solutions is less well-known than Clearview, they are an essential part of the growing surveillance apparatus operated by private industry and shared with U.S. government agencies. The company is listed in the GAO report for their role in facial recognition technology, but they are widely known for their database of license plate records. In 2018 it was revealed that Vigilant Solutions signed a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) making the controversial agency the latest of several federal agencies that have access to billions of license plate records that can be used for real-time location tracking.

Vigilant Solutions has more than 2 billion license plate photos in its database due to partnerships with vehicle repossession firms and local law enforcement agencies with vehicles equipped with cameras. Local law enforcement agencies typically use some version of an Automatic License Plate Reader. ALPRs are used to gather license plates, times, dates, and locations that can be used to create a detailed map of what individuals are doing. The devices can be attached to light poles, or toll booths, as well as on top of or inside law enforcement vehicles.

AnyVision, Softbank, and the Push Towards a Technocratic Surveillance Grid

While the GAO report stands as a warning to anyone paying attention, the reality is that facial recognition technology is already ubiquitous. Despite the warnings of privacy organizations, the public has blindly walked into an era of facial recognition for opening your smartphone while purchasing groceries, and for video games. Generally speaking, the public seems downright ignorant of the attacks on privacy taking place every single day.

The GAO report notes that places like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon have banned police from using facial recognition technology, and Amazon currently has a moratorium on selling their Rekognition program to law enforcement. Most recently, Maine has passed what is being called the strongest law against facial recognition in the country. (The law does allow law enforcement to make use of the federal databases mentioned in the GAO report.)

Will these steps be enough to stem the tide of facial recognition cameras intruding into every aspect of your life? Not likely.

In the month since the release of the GAO report, we have seen Israeli facial recognition firm AnyVision raise $235 million in startup funding. AnyVision uses Artificial Intelligence techniques to identify people based on their faces. TechCrunch notes that “AnyVision said the funding will be used to continue developing its SDKs (software development kits), specifically to work in edge computing devices — smart cameras, body cameras, and chips that will be used in other devices — to increase the performance and speed of its systems.”

AnyVision has not been without controversy. A report in 2019 alleged that AnyVision’s technology was being secretly used by the Israeli government to run surveillance on Palestinians in the West Bank. AnyVision denied the claims. Another report published in The Markup examined public records for AnyVision, including a user guidebook from 2019, which showed the company is collecting vast amounts of data. One report involved tracking children in a school district in Texas. AnyVision collected 5,000 student photos in just seven days.

An April report from Reuters detailed how many companies are using AnyVision’s technology today, including hospitals like Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, retailers like Macy’s, and energy giant BP. AnyVision was also the subject of a New York Times report in 2020 which highlighted how the company was partnering with Israel’s Defense Ministry to use its facial recognition technology to “detect COVID-19 cells”.

As further evidence that companies offering facial recognition technology are here to stay – and play a vital role in the Great Reset agenda – we need look no further than the institutions investing in AnyVision. The latest round of fundraising is being co-led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge. Interestingly, AnyVision’s CEO Avi Golan is a former operating partner at SoftBank’s investment arm. Softbank is also a partner organization with the World Economic Forum, the international public-private organizations pushing for The Great Reset.

The reason this small detail matter is because the technocratic agenda being promoted by the fine folks at the WEF will absolutely involve a world of AI and facial recognition. The technology is ostensibly being used to catch criminals for the moment, but it’s also ripe for abuse by law enforcement agencies. Not to mention the larger role the technology will play in implementing future “social credit score” schemes, as seen in China.

The U.S. GAO is right to warn about the widespread use of this dangerous technology, but the fact is that it is already pervasive. It has become extremely difficult to avoid having your faceprint stolen and stored by both governmental agencies and private organizations. If we are to regain any semblance of privacy we must find a way to put an end to this technology before it is too late.

Source: The Last American Vagabond

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George Orwell’s 1984 Has Become a Blueprint for Our Dystopian Reality

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell (Jun. 25, 1903-Jan. 21, 1950) has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.

It’s been more than 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation is the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism, and totalitarianism in 1984.

Who could have predicted that so many years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would come to love Big Brother?

“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, and Philip K. Dick.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.” Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report—we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cyborgs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as secret police that investigates dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the “security/industrial complex”—a marriage of government, military, and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance—has come to dominate the government and our lives.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” ― George Orwell

Even our ability to speak and think freely is being regulated.

In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons.

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted, and controlled.

In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking, and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos, and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence, and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

In my debut novel The Erik Blair Diaries, the dystopian future that George Orwell predicted for 1984 has finally arrived, 100 years late and ten times as brutal. In this post-apocalyptic world where everyone marches to the beat of the same drummer and words like “freedom” are taboo, Erik Blair—Orwell’s descendant and unwitting heir to his legacy—isn’t volunteering to be anyone’s hero. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to plan. To save all that he loves, Orwell will have to travel between his future self and the past.

And in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” Orwell’s Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and make independent, non-government-approved thought is altogether unnecessary.

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts, and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us as enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of the government.

“Big Brother is Watching You.”―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted, and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts, and your activities is now being fed to the government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras, and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites, and Internet surveillance.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” ― George Orwell

Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on the various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police.

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA has been working on an artificial intelligence system designed to anticipate your every move. Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced Question Answering for INTelligence) has been designed to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI, and DHS.

What we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians, and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed, and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won’t be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, but what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words, and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw. Just look at what happened to Julian Assange.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We’re running out of options.

Whether you’re dealing with fact or fiction, as I make clear in Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in my new novel The Erik Blair Diaries, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




Make Way for the Snitch State: The All-Seeing Fourth Branch of Government

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”—Marshall McLuhan, From Cliche To Archetype

We’re being spied on by a domestic army of government snitches, spies, and techno-warriors.

This government of Peeping Toms is watching everything we do, reading everything we write, listening to everything we say, and monitoring everything we spend.

Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it is all being recorded, stored, and cataloged, and will be used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing.

This far-reaching surveillance has paved the way for an omnipresent, militarized fourth branch of government—the Surveillance State—that came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum.

Indeed, long before the National Security Agency (NSA) became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.

Even agencies not traditionally associated with the intelligence community are part of the government’s growing network of snitches and spies.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service, which has been photographing the exterior of every piece of paper mail for the past 20 years, is also spying on Americans’ texts, emails, and social media posts. Headed up by the Postal Service’s law enforcement division, the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is reportedly using facial recognition technology, combined with fake online identities, to ferret out potential troublemakers with “inflammatory” posts. The agency claims the online surveillance, which falls outside its conventional job scope of processing and delivering paper mail, is necessary to help postal workers avoid “potentially volatile situations.”

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave until we have no more data left to mine.

It’s not just what we say, where we go and what we buy that is being tracked.

We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software, and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, even our gait—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.

All of those internet-connected gadgets we just have to have (Forbes refers to them as “(data) pipelines to our intimate bodily processes”)—the smartwatches that can monitor our blood pressure and the smartphones that let us pay for purchases with our fingerprints and iris scans—are setting us up for a brave new world where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

For instance, imagine what the government could do (and is likely already doing) with voiceprint technology, which has been likened to a fingerprint. Described as “the next frontline in the battle against overweening public surveillance,” the collection of voiceprints is a booming industry for governments and businesses alike. As The Guardian reports, “voice biometrics could be used to pinpoint the location of individuals.”

We are now the unwitting victims of an interconnected, tightly woven, technologically evolving web of real-time, warrantless, wall-to-wall mass surveillance that makes the spy programs spawned by the USA Patriot Act look like child’s play.

Fusion centers. See Something, Say Something. Red flag laws. Behavioral threat assessments. Terror watch lists. Facial recognition. Snitch tip lines. Biometric scanners. Pre-crime. DNA databases. Data mining. Precognitive technology. Contact tracing apps.

These are all part and parcel of the widening surveillance dragnet that the government has used and abused in order to extend its reach and its power.

The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in acclimating us even further to being monitored, tracked, and reported for so-called deviant or undesirable behavior.

Consequently, we now live in a society in which a person can be accused of any number of crimes without knowing what exactly he has done. He might be apprehended in the middle of the night by a roving band of SWAT police. He might find himself on a no-fly list, unable to travel for reasons undisclosed. He might have his phones or internet tapped based upon a secret order handed down by a secret court, with no recourse to discover why he was targeted.

This Kafkaesque nightmare has become America’s reality.

Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the government continues to operate its domestic spying programs largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like.

The question of how to deal with government agencies and programs that operate outside of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution forces us to contend with a deeply unsatisfactory and dubious political “solution” to a problem that operates beyond the reach of voters and politicians: how do you hold accountable a government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing?

Certainly, the history and growth of the NSA track with the government’s insatiable hunger for ever-great powers.

Since its official start in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency—nicknamed “No Such Agency”—has operated covertly, unaccountable to Congress all the while using taxpayer dollars to fund its secret operations. It was only when the agency ballooned to 90,000 employees in 1969, making it the largest intelligence agency in the world with a significant footprint outside Washington, DC, that it became more difficult to deny its existence.

In the aftermath of Watergate in 1975, the Senate held meetings under the Church Committee in order to determine exactly what sorts of illicit activities the American intelligence apparatus was engaged in under the direction of President Nixon, and how future violations of the law could be stopped. It was the first time the NSA was exposed to public scrutiny since its creation.

The investigation revealed a sophisticated operation whose surveillance programs paid little heed to such things as the Constitution. For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”

Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA, understood only too well the dangers inherent in allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers “at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such as the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

Noting that the NSA could enable a dictator “to impose total tyranny” upon an utterly defenseless American public, Church declared that he did not “want to see this country ever go across the bridge” of constitutional protection, congressional oversight, and popular demand for privacy. He vowed that “we,” implicating both Congress and its constituency in this duty, “must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The result was the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated. The law requires that the NSA get clearance from the FISA Court, a secret surveillance court before it can carry out surveillance on American citizens. Fast forward to the present day, and the so-called solution to the problem of government entities engaging in unjustified and illegal surveillance—the FISA Court—has unwittingly become the enabler of such activities, rubberstamping almost every warrant request submitted to it.

The 9/11 attacks served as a watershed moment in our nation’s history, ushering in an era in which immoral and/or illegal government activities such as surveillance, torture, strip searches, SWAT team raids are sanctioned as part of the quest to keep us “safe.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails. That wireless wiretap program was reportedly ended in 2007 after the New York Times reported on it, to mass indignation.

Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.

It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.

Even so, nothing really changed.

Since then, presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone, but none of them have done much to put an end to the government’s “techno-tyranny.”

At every turn, we have been handicapped in our quest for transparency, accountability, and representative democracy by an established culture of secrecy: secret agencies, secret experiments, secret military bases, secret surveillance, secret budgets, and secret court rulings, all of which exist beyond our reach, operate outside our knowledge, and do not answer to “we the people.”

Yet the surveillance sector is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under close watch and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for the CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.

Most recently, the Biden Administration indicated it may be open to working with non-governmental firms in order to warrantlessly monitor citizens online.

This would be nothing new, however. Vast quantities of the government’s digital surveillance are already being outsourced to private companies, who are far less restrained in how they harvest and share our personal data.

In this way, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its militarized domestic surveillance efforts.

Cue the dawning of what The Nation refers to as “the rise of a new class in America: the cyberintelligence ruling class. These are the people—often referred to as ‘intelligence professionals’—who do the actual analytical and targeting work of the NSA and other agencies in America’s secret government. Over the last [20] years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their mission is strictly for-profit.”

The snitch culture has further empowered the Surveillance State.

As Ezra Marcus writes for the New York Times, “Throughout the past year, American society responded to political upheaval and biological peril by turning to an age-old tactic for keeping rule breakers in check: tattling.”

This new era of snitch surveillance is the lovechild of the government’s post-9/11 “See Something, Say Something” programs combined with the self-righteousness of a politically correct, technologically-wired age.

Marcus continues:

“Technology, and our abiding love of it, is crucial to our current moment of social surveillance. Snitching isn’t just a byproduct of nosiness or fear; it’s a technological feature built into the digital architecture of the pandemic era — specifically when it comes to software designed for remote work and Covid-tracing… Contact tracing apps … have started to be adapted for other uses, including criminal probes by the Singaporean government. If that seems distinctly worrying, it might be useful to remember that the world’s most powerful technology companies, whose products you are likely using to read this story, already use a business model of mass surveillance, collecting and selling user information to advertisers at an unfathomable scale. Our cellphones track us everywhere, and our locations are bought and sold by data brokers at incredible, intimate detail. Facial recognition software used by law enforcement trawls Instagram selfies. Facebook harvests the biometric data of its users. The whole ecosystem, more or less, runs on snitching.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, what we are dealing with today is not just a beast that has outgrown its chains but a beast that will not be restrained.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




Warp Speed Ahead: COVID-19 Vaccines Pave the Way for a New Frontier in Surveillance

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men.” —C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic with its veiled threat of forced vaccinations, contact tracing, and genetically encoded vaccines is propelling humanity at warp speed into a whole new frontier—a surveillance matrix—the likes of which we’ve only previously encountered in science fiction.

Those who eye these developments with lingering mistrust have good reason to be leery: the government has long had a tendency to unleash untold horrors upon the world in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

Indeed, “we the people” have been treated like lab rats by government agencies for decades now: caged, branded, experimented upon without our knowledge or consent, and then conveniently discarded and left to suffer from the after-effects.

You don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populacemaking healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases, and exposing them to airborne toxins.

Now this same government—which has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests (GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.) and used it against us, to track, control, and trap us—wants us to fall in line as it prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines that owe a great debt to the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for its past work on how to weaponize and defend against infectious diseases.

The Trump Administration by way of the National Institute of Health awarded $22.8 million to seven corporations to develop artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, etc., with smartphone apps, wearable devices, and software “that can identify and trace contacts of infected individuals, keep track of verified COVID-19 test results, and monitor the health status of infected and potentially infected individuals.”

This is all part of Operation Warp Speed, which President Trump has likened to the Manhattan Project, a covert government effort spearheaded by the military to engineer and build the world’s first atomic bomb.

There is every reason to tread cautiously.

There is a sinister world beyond that which we perceive, one in which power players jockey for control over the one commodity that is a necessary ingredient for total domination: you.

By you, I mean you the individual in all your singular humanness.

Remaining singularly human and retaining your individuality and dominion over yourself—mind, body, and soul—in the face of corporate and government technologies that aim to invade, intrude, monitor, manipulate and control us may be one of the greatest challenges before us.

These COVID-19 vaccines, which rely on messenger RNA technology that influences everything from viruses to memory, are merely the tipping point.

The groundwork being laid with these vaccines is a prologue to what will become the police state’s conquest of a new, relatively uncharted, frontier: inner space, specifically, the inner workings (genetic, biological, biometric, mental, emotional) of the human race.

If you were unnerved by the rapid deterioration of privacy under the Surveillance State, prepare to be terrified by the surveillance matrix that will be ushered in on the heels of the government’s rollout of this COVID-19 vaccine.

The term “matrix” was introduced into our cultural lexicon by the 1999 film The Matrix in which Neo, a computer programmer/hacker, awakens to the reality that humans have been enslaved by artificial intelligence and are being harvested for their bio-electrical energy.

Hardwired to a neuro-interactive simulation of reality called the “Matrix,” humans are kept inactive and docile while robotic androids gather the electricity their bodies generate. In order for the machines who run the Matrix to maintain control, they impose what appears to be a perfect world for humans to keep them distracted, content, and submissive.

Here’s the thing: Neo’s Matrix is not so far removed from our own technologically-hardwired worlds in which we’re increasingly beholden to corporate giants such as Google for powering so much of our lives. As journalist Ben Thompson explains:

Google+ is about unifying all of Google’s services under a single log-in which can be tracked across the Internet on every site that serves Google ads, uses Google sign-in, or utilizes Google analytics. Every feature of Google+—or of YouTube, or Maps, or Gmail, or any other service—is a flytrap meant to ensure you are logged in and being logged by Google at all times.

Everything we do is increasingly dependent on and, ultimately, controlled by our internet-connected, electronic devices. For example, in 2007, there were an estimated 10 million sensor devices connecting human utilized electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, etc.) to the Internet. By 2013, it had increased to 3.5 billion. By 2030, it is estimated to reach 100 trillion.

Much, if not all, of our electronic devices, will be connected to Google, a neural network that approximates a massive global brain.

Google’s resources, beyond anything the world has ever seen, includes the huge data sets that result from one billion people using Google every single day and the Google knowledge graph “which consists of 800 million concepts and billions of relationships between them.”

The end goal? The creation of a new “human” species, so to speak, and the NSA, the Pentagon, and the “Matrix” of surveillance agencies are part of the plan. As William Binney, one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA, said, “The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”

Mind you, this isn’t population control in the classic sense. It’s more about controlling the population through the singularity, a marriage of sorts between machine and human beings in which artificial intelligence and the human brain will merge to form a superhuman mind.

“Google will know the answer to your question before you have asked it,” predicts transhumanist scientist Ray Kurzweil. “It will have read every email you’ve ever written, every document, every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself.”

The term “singularity”—that is, computers simulating human life itself—was coined years ago by mathematical geniuses Stanislaw Ulam and John von Neumann. “The ever-accelerating progress of technology,” warned von Neumann, “gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”

The plan is to develop a computer network that will exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of human beings by 2029. And this goal is to have computers that will be “a billion times more powerful than all of the human brains on earth.”

Neuralink, a brain-computer chip interface (BCI), paves the way for AI control of the human brain, at which point the disconnect between humans and AI-controlled computers will become blurred and human minds and computers will essentially become one and the same. “In the most severe scenario, hacking a Neuralink-like device could turn ‘hosts’ into programmable drone armies capable of doing anything their ‘master’ wanted,” writes Jason Lau for Forbes.

Advances in neuroscience indicate that future behavior can be predicted based upon activity in certain portions of the brain, potentially creating a nightmare scenario in which government officials select certain segments of the population for more invasive surveillance or quarantine based solely upon their brain chemistry.

Case in point: researchers at the Mind Research Center scanned the brains of thousands of prison inmates in order to track their brain chemistry and their behavior after release. In one experiment, researchers determined that inmates with lower levels of activity in the area of the brain associated with error processing allegedly had a higher likelihood of committing a crime within four years of being released from prison. While researchers have cautioned against using the results of their research as a method of predicting future crime, it will undoubtedly become a focus of study for government officials.

There’s no limit to what can be accomplished—for good or ill-using brain-computer interfaces.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have created a brain-to-brain interface between lab rats, which allows them to transfer information directly between brains. In one particular experiment, researchers trained a rat to perform a task where it would hit a lever when lit. The trained rat then had its brain connected to an untrained rat’s brain via electrodes. The untrained rat was then able to learn the trained rat’s behavior via electrical stimulation. This even worked over great distances using the Internet, with a lab rat in North Carolina guiding the actions of a lab rat in Brazil.

Clearly, we are rapidly moving into the “posthuman era,” one in which humans will become a new type of being. “Technological devices,” writes journalist Marcelo Gleiser, “will be implanted in our heads and bodies, or used peripherally, like Google Glass, extending our senses and cognitive abilities.”

Transhumanism—the fusing of machines and people—is here to stay and will continue to grow.

In fact, as science and technology continue to advance, the ability to control humans will only increase. In 2014, for example, it was revealed that scientists have discovered how to deactivate that part of our brains that controls whether we are conscious or not. When researchers at George Washington University sent high-frequency electrical signals to the claustrum—that thin sheet of neurons running between the left and right sides of the brain—their patients lost consciousness. Indeed, one patient started speaking more slowly until she became silent and still. When she regained consciousness, she had no memory of the event.

Add to this the fact that increasingly humans will be implanted with microchips for such benign purposes as tracking children or as medical devices to assist with our health. Such devices “point to an uber-surveillance society that is Big Brother on the inside looking out,” warns Dr. Katina Michael. “Governments or large corporations would have the ability to track people’s actions and movements, categorize them into different socio-economic, political, racial, or consumer groups and ultimately even control them.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, control is the issue.

In fact, Facebook and the Department of Defense are working to manipulate our behavior. In a 2012 study, Facebook tracked the emotional states of over 600,000 of its users. The goal of the study was to see if the emotions of users could be manipulated based upon whether they were fed positive or negative information in their news feeds. The conclusion of the study was that “emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.”

All of this indicates a new path forward for large corporations and government entities that want to achieve absolute social control. Instead of relying solely on marauding SWAT teams and full-fledged surveillance apparatuses, they will work to manipulate our emotions to keep us in lockstep with the American police state.

Now add this warp speed-deployed vaccine to that mix, with all of the associated unknown and fearsome possibilities for altering or controlling human epigenetics, and you start to see the perils inherent in blindly adopting emerging technologies without any restrictions in place to guard against technological tyranny and abuse.

It’s one thing for the starship Enterprise to boldly go where no man has gone before, but even Mr. Spock recognized the dangers of a world dominated by AI. “Computers make excellent and efficient servants,” he observed in “The Ultimate Computer” episode of Star Trek, “but I have no wish to serve under them.”

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.




Tech Giants Google, Oracle to Monitor Americans Who Get COVID-19 Vaccine

By Whitney Webb | Children’s Health Defense

Last week, a rare media interview was given by the Trump administration’s “Vaccine Czar” offered a brief glimpse into the inner workings of the extremely secretive Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the Trump administration’s “public-private partnership” for delivering a COVID-19 vaccine to 300 million Americans by next January. What was revealed should deeply unsettle all Americans.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal published last Friday, the “captain” of OWS, career Big Pharma executive Moncef Slaoui, confirmed that the millions of Americans who are set to receive the project’s COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored via “incredibly precise … tracking systems” that will “ensure that patients each get two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects.” Slaoui also noted that tech giants Google and Oracle have been contracted as part of this “tracking system” but did not specify their exact roles beyond helping to “collect and track vaccine data.”

The day before the Wall Street Journal interview was published, the New York Times published a separate interview with Slaoui where he referred to this “tracking system” as a “very active pharmacovigilance surveillance system.” During a previous interview with the journal Science in early September, Slaoui had referred to this system only as “a very active pharmacovigilance system” that would “make sure that when the vaccines are introduced that we’ll absolutely continue to assess their safety.” Slaoui has only recently tacked on the words “tracking” and “surveillance” to his description of this system during his relatively rare media interviews.

While Slaoui himself was short on specifics regarding this “pharmacovigilance surveillance system,” the few official documents from OWS that have been publicly released offer some details about what this system may look like and how long it is expected to “track” the vital signs and whereabouts of Americans who receive a Warp Speed vaccine.

The pharmacovigilantes

Two official OWS documents released in mid-September state that vaccine recipients — expected to include a majority of the U.S. population — would be monitored for twenty-four months after the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is administered and that this would be done by a “pharmacovigilance system.”

In the OWS document entitled “From the Factory to the Frontlines,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) stated that, because Warp Speed vaccine candidates use new unlicensed vaccine production methods that “have limited previous data on safety in humans … the long-term safety of these vaccines will be carefully assessed using pharmacovigilance surveillance and Phase 4 (post-licensure) clinical trials.”

It continues:

The key objective of pharmacovigilance is to determine each vaccine’s performance in real-life scenarios, to study efficacy, and to discover any infrequent and rare side effects not identified in clinical trials. OWS will also use pharmacovigilance analytics, which serves as one of the instruments for the continuous monitoring of pharmacovigilance data. Robust analytical tools will be used to leverage large amounts of data and the benefits of using such data across the value chain, including regulatory obligations.

In addition, Moncef Slaoui and OWS’s vaccine coordinator, Matt Hepburn, formerly a program manager at the Pentagon’s controversial Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, had previously published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that stated that “because some technologies have limited previous data on safety in humans, the long-term safety of these vaccines will be carefully assessed using pharmacovigilance surveillance strategies.”

The use of pharmacovigilance on those who receive the vaccine is also mentioned in the official Warp Speed “infographic,” which states that monitoring will be done in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) and will involve “24-month post-trial monitoring for adverse effects.”

In a separate part of that same document, OWS describes one of its “four key tenets” as “traceability,” which has three goals: to “confirm which of the approved vaccines were administered regardless of location (private/public)”; to send a “reminder to return for the second dose”; and to “administer the correct second dose.”

Regarding a COVID-19 vaccine requiring more than one dose, a CDC document associated with OWS states:

For most COVID-19 vaccine products, two doses of vaccine, separated by 21 or 28 days, will be needed. Because different COVID-19 vaccine products will not be interchangeable, a vaccine recipient’s second dose must be from the same manufacturer as their first dose. Second-dose reminders for vaccine recipients will be critical to ensure compliance with vaccine dosing intervals and achieve optimal vaccine effectiveness.

The CDC document also references a document published in August by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, associated with the Event 201 and Dark Winter simulations, as informing its COVID-19 vaccination strategy. The Johns Hopkins paper, which counts Dark Winter co-organizer Thomas Inglesby as one of its authors, argues that existing “passive reporting” systems managed by the CDC and FDA should be retooled to create “an active safety surveillance system directed by the CDC that monitors all [COVID-19] vaccine recipients — perhaps by short message service or other electronic mechanisms.”

Despite the claims in these documents that the “pharmacovigilance surveillance system” would intimately involve the FDA, top FDA officials stated in September that they were barred from attending OWS meetings and told reporters they could not explain the operation’s organization or when or with what frequency its leadership meets. The FDA officials did state, however, that they “are still allowed to interact with companies developing products for OWS,” STAT reported.

In addition, the FDA has apparently “set up a firewall between the vast majority of staff and the initiative [Operation Warp Speed]” that appears to drastically limit the number of FDA officials with any knowledge of or involvement in Warp Speed. The FDA’s director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Janet Woodcock, is the only FDA official listed as having any direct involvement in OWS and appears to be personally managing this “firewall” at the FDA. Woodcock describes herself as a long-time advocate for the use of “big data” in the evaluation of drug and vaccine safety and has been intimately involved in FDA precursors to the coming Warp Speed “pharmacovigilance surveillance system” known as Sentinel and PRISM, both of which are discussed later in this report.

Woodcock is currently on a temporary leave of absence from her role as the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which allows her to focus her complete attention on overseeing aspects of OWS on behalf of the FDA’s Office of the Commissioner. Her temporary replacement at the FDA, Patrizia Cavazzoni, is “very aligned with Janet and where the agency is going,” according to media reports. Cavazzoni is a former executive at Pfizer, one of the companies producing a vaccine for OWS. That vaccine is set to begin testing in children as young as 12 years old.

The extreme secrecy of OWS has affected not only the FDA but also the CDC, as a CDC expert panel normally involved in developing the government’s vaccine distribution strategies was “stonewalled” by Matt Hepburn, OWS’s vaccine coordinator, who bluntly refused to answer several of the panel’s “pointed questions” about the highly secretive operation.

More secret contracts

While Moncef Slaoui and Warp Speed documents provide few details regarding what this “tracking system” would entail, Slaoui did note in his recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that tech giants Google and Oracle had been contracted to “collect and track vaccine data” as part of this system. Neither Google nor Oracle, however, has announced receipt of a contract related to OWS, and the DOD and HHS, similarly, have yet to announce the awarding of any Warp Speed contract to either Google or Oracle. In addition, searches on the U.S. government’s Federal Register and on the official website for federally awarded contracts came up empty for any contract awarded to Google or Oracle that would apply to any such “pharmacovigilance” system or any other aspect of Operation Warp Speed.

Given my previous reporting on the use of a nongovernment intermediary for awarding OWS contracts to vaccine companies, it seems likely that Warp Speed contracts awarded to Google and Oracle were made using a similar mechanism. In an Oct. 6 report for The Last American Vagabond, I noted that $6 billion in Warp Speed contracts awarded to vaccine companies were made through Advanced Technology International (ATI), a government contractor that works mainly with the military and surveillance technology companies and whose parent company has strong ties to the CIA and the 2001 Dark Winter simulation. HHS, which is supposedly overseeing OWS, claimed to have “no record” of at least one of those contracts. Only one Warp Speed vaccine contract, which did not involve ATI and was awarded directly by HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, was recently obtained by KEI Online. Major parts of the contract, however, including the section on intellectual property rights, were redacted in their entirety.

If the Warp Speed contracts that have been awarded to Google and Oracle are anything like the Warp Speed contracts awarded to most of its participating vaccine companies, then those contracts grant those companies diminished federal oversight and exemptions from federal laws and regulations designed to protect taxpayer interests in the pursuit of the work stipulated in the contract. It also makes them essentially immune to Freedom of Information Act requests. Yet, in contrast to the unacknowledged Google and Oracle contracts, vaccine companies have publicly disclosed that they received OWS contracts, just not the terms or details of those contracts. This suggests that Google and Oracle contracts are even more secretive.

A major conflict of interest worth noting is Google’s ownership of YouTube, which recently banned on its massive multimedia platform all “misinformation” related to concerns about a future COVID-19 vaccine. With Google now formally part of OWS, it seems likely that any concerns about OWS’s extreme secrecy and the conflicts of interest of many of its members (particularly Moncef Slaoui and Matt Hepburn), as well as any concerns about Warp Speed vaccine safety, allocation and/or distribution, may be labeled “COVID-19 vaccine misinformation” and removed from YouTube.

From the NSA to the FDA: the new PRISM

Though the nature of this coming surveillance system for COVID-19 vaccine recipients has yet to be fully detailed by Warp Speed or the tech companies the operation has contracted, OWS documents and existing infrastructure at the FDA offer a clue as to what this system could entail.

For instance, the Warp Speed document “From the Factory to the Frontlines” notes that the pharmacovigilance system will be a new system created exclusively for OWS that will be “buil[t] off of existing IT [information technology] infrastructure” and will fill any “gaps with new IT solutions.” It then notes that “the COVID-19 vaccination program requires significant enhancement of the IT that will support enhancements and data exchange that are critical for a multi-dose candidate to ensure proper administration of a potential second dose.” The document also states that all data related to the OWS vaccine distribution effort “will be reported into a common IT infrastructure that will support analysis and reporting,” adding that this “IT infrastructure will support partners with a broad range of tools for record-keeping, data on who is being vaccinated, and reminders for second doses.”

Though some Warp Speed documents hint as to the existing IT systems that will serve as the foundation for this new tracking system, arguably the most likely candidate is the FDA-managed Sentinel Initiative, which was established in 2009 during the H1N1 Swine flu pandemic. Like OWS itself, Sentinel is a public-private partnership and involves the FDA, private business, and academia.

According to its website, Sentinel’s “main goal is to improve how FDA evaluates the safety and performance of medical products” through big data, with an additional focus on “learning more about potential side effects.” Media reports describe Sentinel as “an electronic surveillance system that aggregates data from electronic medical records, claims, and registries that voluntarily participate and allows the agency to track the safety of marketed drugs, biologics, and medical devices.”

One of Sentinel’s main proponents at the FDA is Janet Woodcock, who has aggressively worked to expand the program as director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, with a focus on Sentinel’s use in “post-market effectiveness studies.” As previously mentioned, Woodcock is the only FDA official listed among the ninety or so “leaders” of OWS, most of whom are part of the U.S. military and lack any health-care or vaccine-production experience.

Woodcock’s temporary replacement at the FDA, Patrizia Cavazzoni, is also very active in efforts to expand Sentinel. STAT reported earlier this year that Cavazzoni previously “served on the sterling committee of I-MEDS, an FDA-industry partnership which allows drug makers to pay for use of the FDA’s real-world data system known as Sentinel to complete certain safety studies more quickly.”

Sentinel has a series of “collaborating partners” that “provide healthcare data and scientific, technical, and organizational expertise” to the initiative. These collaborating partners include intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, tech giant IBM, and major U.S. health insurance companies such as Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, among many others. In addition, Sentinel’s Innovation Center, which it describes as the program’s “testbed to identify, develop, and evaluate innovative methods,” is partnered with Amazon, General Dynamics, and Microsoft. Sentinel also has a Community Building and Outreach Center, which is managed by Deloitte consulting, one of the largest consultancy firms in the world that are known for seeking to fill its ranks with former CIA officials.

The Sentinel system’s specific surveillance program aimed at monitoring vaccine effectiveness is known as the Post-licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring Program, better known as PRISM. Sentinel’s PRISM was “developed to monitor vaccine safety, but [to date] has never been used to assess vaccine effectiveness.” PRISM was initially launched alongside the Sentinel Initiative itself is 2009 “in response to the need to monitor the safety of the H1N1 influenza vaccine” after it was licensed, marketed, and administered. Yet, as previously mentioned, PRISM has yet to be used to assess the effectiveness of any vaccine while quietly expanding for nearly a decade, which implies that the stakeholders in the Sentinel Initiative have a plan to implement this “safety surveillance system” at some point.

The name PRISM may remind readers of the National Security Agency (NSA) program of the same name that became well known throughout the United States following the Edward Snowden revelations. Given this association, it is worth noting that the NSA, as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), are now officially part of Operation Warp Speed and appear to be playing a role in the development of Warp Speed’s “pharmacovigilance surveillance system.” The addition of the NSA and the DHS to the initiative, of course, greatly increases the involvement of U.S. intelligence agencies in the operation, which itself is “dominated” by the military and sorely lacking in civilian public health officials.

CyberScoop first reported in early September that members of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate were involved in OWS, with their role — as well as that of DHS — being framed mainly as offering “cybersecurity advice” to the initiative. However, the NSA and DHS are also offering “guidance” and “services” to both the other federal agencies involved in Warp Speed as well as OWS contractors, which now include Google and Oracle.

Google is well known for its cozy relationship with the NSA, including its PRISM program, and they have also backed NSA-supported legislation that would make it easier to surveil Americans without a warrant. Similarly, Oracle is a longtime NSA contractor and also has ties to the CIA dating back to its earliest days as a company, not unlike Google. Notably, Oracle and Google remain locked in a major legal battle over copyright issues that are set to be heard by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks and is expected to have major ramifications for the tech industry.

The public health panopticon

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. military attempted to institute a surveillance program so invasive that Congress defunded it just months after its creation due to public outrage. Known as Total Information Awareness (TIA), the program sought to develop an all-seeing surveillance apparatus managed by the Pentagon’s DARPA and officially argued that invasive surveillance of the entire U.S. population was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, bioterrorism events, and even naturally occurring disease outbreaks before they could take place.

Before it was disbanded, TIA sought to collect Americans’ medical records; fingerprints; gait, facial, and iris biometric data; drug prescriptions; and even DNA in addition to citizens’ financial, travel, and media-consumption habits. TIA, not unlike OWS, was a “public-private partnership” managed by the DOD and partnered with the NSA, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies as well as the private sector and academia.

Also like Warp Speed, TIA officially justified its invasive surveillance goals by claiming that its initiatives would rescue Americans from the “invisible enemy” of faceless terrorists abroad and ensure citizens’ safety, security, and health. Today, Warp Speed officially takes aim at a new type of “invisible enemy” — a microbe invisible to the naked human eye.

In the years after 9/11, the public pushback against TIA was fierce. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claimed at the time that the surveillance effort would “kill privacy in America” because “every aspect of our lives would be cataloged,” while mainstream media outlets warned that TIA was “fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens.” Despite Congress officially defunding the program, it later emerged that TIA was never actually shut down, with its various programs having been covertly divided among the web of military and intelligence agencies that comprise the U.S. national security state.

Unlike in years past, TIA’s apparent successor, OWS, has received no pushback from mainstream media outlets or advocacy organizations, with many of these same entities now placing blind faith in the secretive initiative and lionizing it as the “only way” to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The national security state has carefully learned from and studied its past failures, while many Americans, in contrast, continue to place their trust in the very agencies and government entities that have lied the country into multiple wars, tortured and maimed countless civilians abroad, produced a series of failed states in order to plunder their resources, and are currently facilitating the pillaging of the American economy by Wall Street and the Federal Reserve under the guise of “relief.”

Allowing these same entities to surveil and track a majority of Americans and to use the country’s population as guinea pigs for unlicensed, understudied, and experimental vaccine technologies is a clear recipe for disaster. At the same time, it would also enable a surveillance panopticon so dystopian and far-reaching that Americans stand to lose not only their few remaining civil liberties but even sovereignty over their own bodies.

The total-surveillance agenda that began with TIA and that has been resurrected through Warp Speed predated COVID-19 by decades. Its architects and proponents have worked to justify these extreme and invasive surveillance programs by marketing this agenda as the “solution” to whatever Americans are most afraid of at any given time. It has very little to do with “public health” and everything to do with total control.

Published with permission by The Last American Vagabond.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.




Is Surveillance Effective?

The technique of surveillance is a frequent matter of discussion nowadays. People often argue about their effectiveness and usefulness. Some people believe that using surveillance as a method of gaining information is something unethical and shouldn’t be allowed but others believe that it’s an important tool for detecting or preventing crimes or investigating the ones that have already taken place.

Surveillance is defined as conducting close observations on an individual or a group and it has a long history. Although now it’s widely considered that surveillance is a product of the 21st century there are lots of examples of surveillance activities throughout history. We can even see its traces in the Bible, in ancient Egypt, or the totalitarian systems of the previous century. Today the strategies of using this technique have changed but it has always meant gathering information and supervising the actions of other people and using this collected information to increase understanding of their actions.

As technologies develop, now there are a lot more delicate strategies to monitor people including cameras and facial recognition that are used to monitor public and private spaces and identify people. The effectiveness of this technology is still a matter of debate, but it’s becoming more and more widely used. As a result, scientists try to gain more insights into how it works and how it affects people’s behavior.

The psychological side of surveillance

Research suggests that surveillance affects the way people behave. The behavioral patterns of humans change when they know that they’re being watched. The reason for this is that when we’re aware that somebody’s watching us out inhibitory control ability changes within an emotional context. This is called the “audience effect”. Usually, changing gaze patterns may be used as warning signals and when we are aware that somebody checks our actions, we behave more prosocially. The reason for increased prosocial behavior is that surveillance makes the pressure to act according to social norms. And social norms suggest conducting prosocial behavior. In fact, according to the above-mentioned study, the increase in prosocial behavior correlates with higher social anxiety traits, because that kind of tension provokes social anxiety.

Psychologists have conducted several experiments to prove this hypothesis. For example,  there was a small test conducted by a specific casino when talks were going on about implementing facial recognition on casino platforms to identify people below the legal gambling age. What they did was they gave people a large choice of RTG casino bonus codes due to how recognizable the brand was. The research participants were divided into two groups. They left the first group alone and let them choose without interference. But with the other group, representatives of the research team remained in the room and watched these people very carefully. As a result, researchers noted that the first group was a lot slower in choosing the bonus as they wanted to choose the best one. However, the second group took much less time. After the experiment, the researchers asked the participants to explain the reasons for their behavior. People in the second group said that they thought there was a deadline or some sort of pressure from people standing there waiting for them to make a choice.

The results indicate that being watched changes the way people act. The main reason for this is the pressure to perform better, to appear more socially desirable people who can achieve their goals. This pressure sometimes even makes people behave irrationally. What we mean is there is that they try to compete with other people around them and appear as the most effective worker, the smartest research participant, or just a person who is the most proficient in his or her work.

The Hawthorne effect

What is the psychology behind being watched? The well-known term in work and organizational psychology describing the tendency to work harder and perform better when they are research participants is called the Hawthorne effect. However, this term suggests that people can change their behavior, not because of any experiment manipulations, but because they are receiving great attention from researchers. This means that surveillance doesn’t only change our behavior but also, it affects our mental state as well.

The phenomenon was first described in the 195os by researcher Henry Landsberger and it’s named after the location where experiments took place. The purpose of this study was to determine how different aspects of the work environment influenced the productivity of workers. They concluded that workers were responding to the attention of supervisors and their productivity increased because of this attention and not because of changes in the work environment.

Effects of surveillance

Nowadays this topic is more relevant than ever because, with the popularity of social media and online gaming, our behavior should be at the forefront of our mind. Today some people even choose to be watched as long as they feel protected but in general, surveillance doesn’t have good effects on society. First of all, it can cause decreased trust in the government. When people think that they are being watched, they feel more afraid and despite the fact, they have something to worry about or not.

Also, they feel increased stress, because privacy is essential for everybody. It plays an important role in the way people manage their lives. When somebody watches them they feel that they can’t fully control their lives which causes stress. But stress is not the only mental health effect of mass surveillance and also, it raises anxiety which can lead to physiological health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, and even cancer.  Besides, mass surveillance has an important effect on our social relationships and when people know that they are being observed while they communicate with others online or offline, they feel more circumspect, which suppresses intimacy.

Finally, what we can say is that although sometimes surveillance is necessary to protect the safety of people, in general, it doesn’t have good effects on our psychological well-being and causes lots of problems regarding our mental state. So, it’s important to use this technique carefully and selectively, only whenever it’s necessary.




Signed As Law: Vermont Bans Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology

facial recognition software
Technology vector created by gstudioimagen – www.freepik.com

By Michael Maharrey | Activist Post

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Oct. 15, 2020) – Last week, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law that bans police from using facial recognition technology. The growing movement to prohibit the use of facial recognition at the state and local levels could hinder the operation of a growing national facial recognition network.

Sen. Jeanette White (D-Putney) introduced Senate Bill 124 (S.124) back in February. The legislation makes a number of reforms relating to law enforcement, including a complete ban on the use of facial recognition technology unless it “is authorized by an enactment of the General Assembly.” The law prohibits the use of facial recognition technology and the use of any information acquired through facial recognition. It does make an exception if the use of facial recognition is allowable under the state law regulating police drones – permissible only with a warrant.

The Senate passed S.124 in June by a 28-0 vote. The House approved the measure with some amendments on Sept. 22. The Senate concurred with the amendments and Gov. Scott signed the bill into law on Oct. 7.

The new law establishes the strongest limits on the police use of facial recognition in the country. ACLU of Vermont Advocacy Director Falko Schilling called it “a historic win for Vermonters’ right to privacy.”

By enacting the broadest outright ban on police use of facial recognition in the country, Vermont has taken the lead in protecting residents’ civil liberties from this invasive and inaccurate technology.

IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS

recent report revealed that the federal government has turned state drivers’ license photos into a giant facial recognition database, putting virtually every driver in America in a perpetual electronic police lineup. The revelations generated widespread outrage, but this story isn’t new. The federal government has been developing a massive, nationwide facial recognition system for years.

The FBI rolled out a nationwide facial-recognition program in the fall of 2014, with the goal of building a giant biometric database with pictures provided by the states and corporate friends.

In 2016, the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law released “The Perpetual Lineup,” a massive report on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology in the U.S. You can read the complete report at perpetuallineup.org. The organization conducted a year-long investigation and collected more than 15,000 pages of documents through more than 100 public records requests. The report paints a disturbing picture of intense cooperation between the federal government, and state and local law enforcement to develop a massive facial recognition database.

“Face recognition is a powerful technology that requires strict oversight. But those controls, by and large, don’t exist today,” report co-author Clare Garvie said. “With only a few exceptions, there are no laws governing police use of the technology, no standards ensuring its accuracy, and no systems checking for bias. It’s a wild west.”

There are many technical and legal problems with facial recognition, including significant concerns about the accuracy of the technology, particularly when reading the facial features of minority populations. During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

With facial recognition technology, police and other government officials have the capability to track individuals in real-time. These systems allow law enforcement agents to use video cameras and continually scan everybody who walks by. According to the report, several major police departments have expressed an interest in this type of real-time tracking. Documents revealed agencies in at least five major cities, including Los Angeles, either claimed to run real-time face recognition off of street cameras, bought technology with the capability, or expressed written interest in buying it.

In all likelihood, the federal government heavily involves itself in helping state and local agencies obtain this technology. The feds provide grant money to local law enforcement agencies for a vast array of surveillance gear, including ALPRs, stingray devices and drones. The federal government essentially encourages and funds a giant nationwide surveillance net and then taps into the information via fusion centers and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).

Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”

Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.

Reports that the Berkeley Police Department in cooperation with a federal fusion center deployed cameras equipped to surveil a “free speech” rally and Antifa counterprotests provided the first solid link between the federal government and local authorities in facial recognition surveillance.

In a nutshell, without state and local cooperation, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. Passage of state laws and local ordinances banning and limiting facial recognition eliminates one avenue for gathering facial recognition data. Simply put, data that doesn’t exist cannot be entered into federal databases.

Source: Tenth Amendment Center

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He is from the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky and currently resides in northern Florida. See his blog archive here and his article archive here.He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE