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Significant Importance of Choosing Avatrade App

If you are looking to trade with one of the finest and innovative trading platforms, then choosing Avatrade go app is the finest and best choice. This kind of app might allow for social trading. If you are a trader and looking for the finest app then using Avatrade app is the best choice because it comes with the fantastic features such as,

  • Real-time market listing and price alerts
  • Equity CFDs
  • Trader all in one place
  • Easy signup
  • Monitor market trends in real time

Top-rated reasons to use Avatrade app

Avatrade app is providing the multiple platforms to social copy and algorithmic trading. The main reasons to use this app are that anyone can easily use it because it has user friendly interface. It could be authorized by tier one regulator so you can get a high quality of service when you trade-in online. It is boasting adherence to the regulatory needs of more than 6 regions. If you are searching online like Avatrade app then you can understand the importance and benefits of using this app. 

Actually, Avatrade is the finest and trusted trading platform for cryptocurrency, forex, and CFD traders. It is providing a wide range of services to their clients like retail, and professional accounts, and options. If you are using this trading platform, then you can get a vase number of advantages like a huge range of deposit and withdrawal options. When it comes to the tradable assets, then it includes bonds, crypto, currency, and indices. This app is compatible with all kinds of platforms like desktop, android, and iOS. It comes with the two trading desk types like market maker and dealing desk so you can choose it based on your needs. 

As we know Avatrade is the authorized and licensed trading platform with a huge range of regulatory bodies. It is offering accounts from the two different kinds of legal entities. The main account type includes Avatrade option account and Avatrade standard account. Both kinds of the account entities are providing access to the same trading markets, platform, and negative balance production. They are having different leverage levels as well as regulated by the different entities. According to the study says that Avatrade is offering more than 1250 asserts which is in the form of bonds, commodities, FX options, forex, and cryptocurrency.

Things to know about Avatrade app

 If you are planning for in exchange then Avatrade is offering a huge range of famous currency pairs like Japanese yen, euros, US dollars, great British pounds so you can choose it based on your needs. As we know, creating an account at the Avatrade app is considered as straightforward and simple. You can also take advantage of the free demo account to know about their service in detail. The desktop and web platform is having vast numbers of the features as well as customized options so you can get excellent trading experience and high-quality service.




Saagar Enjeti: Media, Public Health Officials SHOULD APOLOGIZE For Lockdown Hypocrisy After Protests

By Saager Enjeti | The Hill

Saagar Enjeti blasts establishment figures for their back and forth messaging on coronavirus outbreaks after George Floyd protests sweeped the nation.

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




Spiritual Block Party: A Celebration of Life (Virtual Wellness Festival)

Coronavirus! Lockdown! Covid-19! Stay At Home! Let us out!! Put your mask on…

George Floyd… 

This sh*t is tiring! 

Join us on Jun 6th, 2020 for a virtual wellness festival called ‘Spiritual Block Party: A Celebration of Life’. This festival is free for participants, and you can participate from the comfort of your own home or with a group of friends! 

The Spiritual Block Party originated with one intent — creating and sharing experiences. We understand ourselves and our world through our experiences and we can upgrade ourselves through our experiences. Experiences move people to feel differently from their normal which is the space of transformation.

Spiritual Block Party has 7 experiential sessions in two areas of focus — Movement (Laughter Yoga; Tai Chi; Ganja Yoga), and Meditation (Full Chakra Activation; Trypknowledgy Shamanic Sound Voyage; Prana and Breathwork). We end the festival with an Open Mic hosted by Portal To Ascension’s Neil Gaur.

Why 6/6?!? The number 6 represents a “balance between earth and spirit”, a balance between the material and spiritual. It teaches us to focus on our inner journey. We invest most of our time on our goals and aspirations, on our relationships with people, or on watching TV! This is a great reminder in these challenging and distracting times.

The Movement track contains active elements like yoga, workout, dance, tai chi, or movement meditation while the meditation track involves stationary healing work like guided meditations, breathwork, and sound healings. Balance!

When the world was still normal, Spiritual Block Party held it’s first to live experience in South LA on Feb 15th, 2020 where 1500 people attended 12 sessions in 3 tracks – Meditation, Movement, and Nutrition. Past festival supporters include prominent vegan brands like Suja Juice, Follow Your Heart, GT’s Kombucha, Califia Farms, and Vegan Robs. Here’s what I have been missing for the last 3 months: (highlight video of our first Spiritual Block Party)

Did I mention that this festival is FREE and you can access it from ANYWHERE in the world?!? 

TO FIND OUT MORE/RSVP: SpiritualBlockParty.com

IG: instagram.com/spiritualblockparty




Dolly Parton’s New Song: “When Life is Good Again”

By Dolly Parton | Youtube

Most everyone knows the name, Dolly Parton. She is an iconic singer, instrumentalist, and actor, with a career that has spanned 6 decades (and soon to be seven decades). She is a gifted and award-winning singer/songwriter, too, with many classic songs in different genres. She is equally adept at solo material and duets. Most recently, she has brought her immense musical talents to write a song which speaks to the current pandemic. The song (with video below) is inspirational and full of hope, and may just be the balm you need today.

 

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




Actor and Anchorman John Krasinski’s Show ‘Some Good News’ Signing Off … at Least for Now

By Robert O’Leary

John Krasinski has reportedly aired his last (?) episode of Some Good News with John Krasinski. It is sad news for his fans and for fans of good news. A few months ago, Krasinski mentioned that he had been wondering for some time why there are no news sites that bring out good news stories to the public. One could blame this on corporate fears of losing viewers or because the corporate interests, which fund them, make their money and increase their control by keeping people divided and in disagreement with nightly news controversies and crises. Krasinski decided to do something about this.

He had an idea, and the courage, to launch his own show. He did not let the pandemic stop him either.  He decided to do this … from home. So it is that the star who entertained us so much on the TV show, The Office, is doing so again … on Some Good News with John Krasinski. The show began to air on YouTube on March 29, 2020. That first episode has garnered 17 million views. Episodes 2 through 7 have averaged 7.84 million views each.

He had numerous guests on the show, from Oprah Winfrey to members of The Office cast.  His short-lived show has inspired others around the world to do their own versions of the show. Krasinski has left things open to do more episodes in the future, but for now he is signing off. In the meantime, I will be watching the “repeats”, just as my family has been happily binge watching repeat episodes of The Office.

It will be strange not seeing new shows coming out every couple of weeks, especially during these pandemic times. I am a big believer that in the darkest times there must come some light. I am grateful that John Krasinski brought us some light, and comfort to millions.

So, without further ado, please enjoy Episode 8 of Some Good News with John Krasinski …

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




Google — A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Robert Epstein is a Harvard trained psychologist who has exposed how Google is manipulating public opinion through their search engine so they can change the results of elections and many other important areas
  • His research shows how Google is using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history. If this weren’t bad enough, these tools are ephemeral and leave no paper trail of their devious behavior
  • According to Epstein’s calculations, Google can shift 15 million votes leading up to the upcoming U.S. presidential 2020 election
  • Because Google has become an everyday tool that’s used for more than 90% of searches worldwide, the company has likely determined the outcomes of 25% of the national elections in the world
  • Search suggestions — shown in a drop-down menu when you begin to type a search term — is another powerful manipulation tool capable of turning a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split, with no one having the slightest idea that they’ve been manipulated

Robert Epstein, who received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1981 and served as the former editor in chief at Psychology Today, is now a senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, where for the last decade he has helped expose Google’s manipulative and deceptive practices. He explains what got him interested in investigating the internet search monopoly in the first place:

“In 2012, January 1st, I received some emails from Google saying my website contained malware and that they were somehow blocking access. This means I had gotten onto one of Google’s blacklists.

My website did contain some malware. It was pretty easy to get rid of, but it turns out it’s hard to get off of a Google blacklist. That’s a big problem. I started looking at Google just a little bit differently.

I wondered, first of all, why they were notifying me about this rather than some government agency or some nonprofit organization? Why was a private company notifying me?

In other words, who made Google sheriff of the internet? Second, I learned they had no customer service department, which seemed very strange, so if you have a problem with Google, then you have a problem because they don’t help you solve the problem.

I learned also that although you can get onto a blacklist in a split second, it can take weeks to get off a blacklist. There have been businesses that have gotten onto their blacklists and have gone out of business while they’re trying to straighten out the problem.

The thing that really caught my eye — because I’ve been a programmer my whole life — was I couldn’t figure out how they were blocking access to my website, not just through their own products … Google.com, the search engine, or through Chrome, which is their browser, but through Safari, which is an Apple product, through Firefox, which is a browser run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization.

How was Google blocking access through so many different means? The point is I just started to get more curious about the company, and later in 2012, I happened to be looking at a growing literature, which was about the power of search rankings to impact sales.

This was in the marketing field and it just was astonishing. In other words, if you could push yourself up one more notch in their search results, that could make the difference between success or failure for your company; it could mean a lot more income.

It turns out that this initial research was saying that people really trust those higher ranked search results. I simply asked a question. I wondered whether, if people trust those higher rank search results, I could use search results to influence people’s opinions, maybe even their votes.”

What Epstein discovered through his subsequent research, which began in 2013, is that yes, biased search results can indeed be used to influence public opinion and sway undecided voters. What’s more, the strength of that influence was shocking.

He also eventually discovered how Google is able to block website access on browsers other than their own. His findings were published in 2016 in U.S. News & World Report.1

Google’s Powers Pose Serious Threats to Society

Google’s powers pose three specific threats to society:

1. They’re a surveillance agency with significant yet hidden surveillance powers. As noted by Epstein:

“The search engine … Google Wallet, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube, these are surveillance platforms. In other words, from their perspective, the value these tools have is they give them more information about you. Surveillance is what they do.”

2. They’re a censoring agency with the ability to restrict or block access to websites across the internet, thus deciding what people can and cannot see. They even have the ability to block access to entire countries and the internet as a whole.

The most crushing problem with this kind of internet censorship is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If a certain type of information is removed from search, and you don’t know it should exist somewhere, you’ll never go looking for it. And, when searching for information online, how would you know that certain websites or pages have been removed from the search results in the first place? The answer is, you don’t.

For example, Google has been investing in DNA repositories for quite a long time, and are adding DNA information to our profiles. According to Epstein, Google has taken over the national DNA repository, but articles about that — which he has cited in his own writings — have all vanished.

3. They have the power to manipulate public opinion through search rankings and other means.

“To me, that’s the scariest area,” Epstein says, “because Google is shaping the opinions, thinking, beliefs, attitudes, purchases and votes of billions of people around the world without anyone knowing that they’re doing so … and perhaps even more shocking, without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.

They’re using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history and they are for the most part, subliminal … but they don’t produce tiny shifts.

They produce enormous shifts in people’s thinking, very rapidly. Some of the techniques I’ve discovered are among the largest behavioral effects ever discovered in the behavioral sciences.”

While surveillance is Google’s primary business, its revenue — which exceeds $130 billion a year — comes almost exclusively from advertising. All that personal information you’ve provided them through their various products is sold to advertisers looking for a specific target audience.

How Google Can Shift Your Perception Without Your Knowledge

Epstein’s controlled, randomized, double-blind, and counterbalanced experiments have revealed a number of different ways in which Google can shift public perception. The first effect he discovered is called SEME, which stands for search engine manipulation effect. For a full description of the basic experiment used to identify this effect, please listen to the interview.

In summary, the aim of his experiment was to see whether search results biased toward a particular political candidate would be capable of shifting users’ political opinions and leanings.

“I had predicted, when we first did this, that we would get a shift,” Epstein says, “because … people do trust higher ranked search results, and of course we had biased the search results so that, if in that first group, someone was clicking on a high-ranking search result, that would connect them to a webpage which made one candidate look much better than the other …

I predicted we could get a shift in voting preferences of 2% to 3%. I was way off. We got … a shift of 48%, which I thought must be an error because that’s crazy …

I should note that in almost all of our experiments, especially those early ones, we deliberately used undecided voters. That’s the key. You can’t easily push the opinions or voting preferences of people who are partisan, who are strongly committed to one party or another, but people who are undecided, those are the people who are very vulnerable. In our experiments, we always find a way to use undecided voters.

In these early experiments, the way we guaranteed that our voters were undecided was by using people from the U.S. as our participants, but the election we chose was the 2010 election for the prime minister of Australia.

They’re real candidates, a real election, real search results, real webpages, and of course, because our participants were from the U.S. they were not familiar with the candidates.

In fact, that’s why, before they do the search, we get this almost perfect 50/50 split regarding who they’re going to vote for, because they don’t know these candidates. The information they’re getting from the search, that, presumably, is why we get a shift.”

Simple Trick Effectively Masks Search Bias

Another thing Epstein noticed was that very few seemed to realize they were seeing biased search results. In other words, the manipulation went virtually undetected.

In a second experiment, they were able to achieve a 63% shift in voter preference, and by masking the bias — simply by inserting a pro-opponent result here and there — they were able to hide the bias from almost everyone.

“In other words, we could get enormous shifts in opinions and voting preferences with no one being able to detect the bias in the search results we were showing them,” Epstein says. “This is where, again, it starts to get scary. Scarier still is when we moved on to do a national study of more than 2,000 people in all 50 states.”

What this large-scale investigation revealed is that the few who actually notice the bias are not protected from its effects. Curiously, they actually shift even further toward the bias, rather than away from it.

As evidenced by other studies, the pattern of clicks is a key factor that makes search bias so powerful: 50% of all search selections go to the top two items and 95% of all clicks go to the first page of search results.

“In other words, people spend most of their time clicking on and reading content that comes from high-ranking search results. If those high-ranking search results favor one candidate, that’s pretty much all they see and that impacts their opinions and their voting preferences,” Epstein says.

Subsequent experiments revealed that this click pattern is the result of conditioning. Most of the things people search for are simple matters such as local weather or the capital of a country. The most appropriate and correct answer is always at the very top. This conditions them to assume that the best and truest answer is always the most high-ranked listing.

Google May Have Shifted Millions of Votes in 2016 Elections

The ramifications of the search engine manipulation effect can be immense. Of course, having the power to shift public opinion is one thing; actually using that power is another. So, Epstein’s next target was to determine whether Google is using its power of influence or not.

“Early 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system, which allowed me to look over the shoulders of people as they were conducting election-related searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. I had 95 field agents (as we call them), in 24 states.

We kept their identities secret, which took a lot of work. And this is exactly, by the way, what the Nielsen company does to generate ratings for television shows. They have several thousand families. Their identities are secret. They equip the families with special boxes, which allow Nielsen to tabulate what programs they’re watching …

Inspired by the Nielsen model, we recruited our field agents, we equipped them with custom passive software. In other words, no one could detect the fact that they have the software in their computers. But that software allowed us to look over their shoulders as they conducted election related searches …

We ended up preserving 13,207 election-related searches and the nearly 100,000 webpages to which the search results linked … After the election, we rated the webpages for bias, either pro-Clinton or pro-Trump … and then we did an analysis to see whether there was any bias in the search results people were seeing.

The results we got were crystal clear, highly significant statistically … at the 0.001 level. What that says is we can be confident the bias we were seeing was real, and it didn’t occur because of some random factors. We found a pro-Clinton bias in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google search results, but not on Bing or Yahoo.

That’s very important. So, there was a significant pro-Clinton bias on Google. Because of the experiments I had been doing since 2013, I was also able to calculate how many votes could have been shifted with that level of bias… At bare minimum, about 2.6 million [undecided] votes would have shifted to Hillary Clinton.”

On the high end, Google’s biased search results may have shifted as many as 10.4 million undecided voters toward Clinton, which is no small feat — all without anyone realizing they’d been influenced, and without leaving a trace for the authorities to follow.

According to Epstein’s calculations, tech companies, Google being the main one, can shift 15 million votes leading up to the 2020 election, which means they have the potential to select the next president of the United States.

Google Has the Power to Determine 25% of Global Elections

Many who look at Epstein’s work end up focusing on Google’s ability to influence U.S. politics, but the problem is much bigger than that.

“As I explained when I testified before Congress, the reason why I’m speaking out about these issues is because, first of all, I … think it’s important that we preserve democracy and preserve the free and fair election. To me, it’s pretty straight forward.

But the problem is much bigger than elections or democracy or the United States. Because I calculated back in 2015 that … Google’s search engine — because more than 90% of searches worldwide are conducted on Google — was determining the outcomes of upwards of 25% of the national elections in the world.

How can that be? Well, it’s because a lot of elections are very close. And that’s the key to understanding this. In other words, we actually looked at the win margins in national elections around the world, which tend to be very close. In that 2010 Australian election, for example, the win margin was something like 0.2% …

If the results they’re getting on Google are biased toward one candidate, that shifts a lot of votes among undecided people. And it’s very, very simple for them to flip an election or … rig an election … It’s very, very simple for Google to do that.

They can do it deliberately, which is kind of scary. In other words, some top executives at Google could decide who they want to win an election in South Africa or the U.K. or anywhere. It could be just a rogue employee at Google who does it. You may think that’s impossible … [but] it’s incredibly simple …

[A] senior software engineer at Google, Shumeet Baluja, who’s been at Google almost since the very beginning, published a novel that no one’s ever heard of called ‘The Silicon Jungle’ … It’s fictional, but it’s about Google, and the power that individual employees at Google have to make or break any company or any individual.

It’s a fantastic novel. I asked Baluja how Google let him get away with publishing it and he said, ‘Well, they made me promise I would never promote it.’ That’s why no one’s ever heard of this book.”

A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known

Another, and even more frightening possibility, is that Google could allow its biased algorithm to favor one candidate over another without caring about which candidate is being favored.

“That’s the scariest possibility,” Epstein says, “because now you’ve got an algorithm, a computer program, which is an idiot … deciding who rules us. It’s crazy.”

While this sounds like it should be illegal, it’s not, because there are no laws or regulations that restrict or dictate how Google must rank its search results. Courts have actually concluded that Google is simply exercising its right to free speech, even if that means destroying the businesses they demote in their search listings or blacklistings.

The only way to protect ourselves from this kind of hidden influence is by setting up monitoring programs such as Epstein’s all over the world. “As a species, it’s the only way we can protect ourselves from new types of online technologies that can be used to influence us,” he says. “No dictator anywhere has ever had even a tiny fraction of the power that this company has.”

Epstein is also pushing for the government to make the Google search index a public commons, which would allow other companies to create competing for search platforms using Google’s database. While Google’s search engine cannot be broken up, its monopoly would be thwarted by forcing it to hand over its index to other search platform developers.

The Influence of Search Suggestions

In 2016, Epstein also discovered the remarkable influence of search suggestions — the suggested searches shown in a drop-down menu when you begin to type a search term. This effect is now known as the search suggestion effect or SSE. Epstein explains:

“Initially the idea was they were going to save you time. That’s the way they presented this new feature. They were going to anticipate, based on your history, or based on what other people are searching for, what it is you’re looking for so you don’t have to type the whole thing. Just click on one of the suggestions. But then it changed into something else. It changed into a tool for manipulation.

In June 2016, a small news organization … discovered that it was virtually impossible to get negative search suggestions related to Hillary Clinton, but easy to get them for other people including Donald Trump. They were very concerned about this because maybe that could influence people somehow.

So, I tried this myself, and I have a wonderful image that I preserved showing this. I typed in ‘Hillary Clinton is’ on Bing and on Yahoo, and I got those long lists, eight and 10 items, saying, ‘Hillary Clinton is the devil. Hillary Clinton is sick’ … all negative things that people were actually searching for.

How do I know that? Because we checked Google trends. Google trends shows you what people are actually searching for. Sure enough, people were actually searching for all these negative things related to Hillary Clinton. Those [were] the most popular search terms.

So, we tried it on Google and we got, ‘Hillary Clinton is winning, Hillary Clinton is awesome.’ Now you check those phrases on Google trends and you find no one is searching for ‘Hillary Clinton is awesome.’ Nobody. Not one. But that’s what they’re showing you in their search suggestions.

That again got my research gears running. I started doing experiments because I said, ‘Wait a minute, why would they do this? What is the point?’

Here’s what I found in a series of experiments: Just by manipulating search suggestions, I could turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split — with no one having the slightest idea that they’ve been manipulated.”

YouTube’s Up Next Algorithm

YouTube, which is owned by Google, also has an enormous influence on public opinion. According to Epstein, 70% of the videos people view on YouTube are suggested by Google’s top-secret Up Next algorithm, which recommends videos for you to view whenever you’re watching a video.

Just like the search suggestions, this is a phenomenally effective ephemeral manipulation tool. There’s no record of the videos recommended by the algorithm, yet it can take you down the proverbial rabbit hole by feeding you one video after another.

“There are documented cases now in which people have been converted to extreme Islam or to white supremacy, literally because they’d been pulled down a rabbit hole by a sequence of videos on YouTube,” Epstein says.

“Think of that power. Again, it’s not powerful for people who already have strong opinions. It’s powerful for the people who don’t, the people who are vulnerable, the people who are undecided or uncommitted. And that’s a lot of people.”

The Creepy Line

Most people now have Amazon Prime. If you are one of those who do, you can watch the following documentary for free on Prime. It is well worth your time to do so. Epstein and many other experts provide a very compelling overview of the dangers that we discuss in our interview. In my view, this is a must-watch and one to recommend to your friends and family.

A question Epstein raises is, “Who gave this private company, which is not accountable to any of us, the ability to determine what billions of people around the world will see or will not see?”

That is perhaps one of the biggest issues. Epstein and others attempt to answer this question in this documentary, “The Creepy Line,” which is a direct quote from Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

“Traditional media have very serious constraints placed on them, but Google, which is far more penetrating and far more effective at influencing people, has none of these constraints,” Epstein says.

“There are lots of good people in [‘The Creepy Line’], lots of good data, and it explains my research very clearly, which is wonderful. It explains my research better than I explain my research. ‘The Creepy Line’ is available on iTunes and on Amazon. I think it costs $3 or $4 to watch … If you’re an Amazon Prime Member it’s free. It’s an excellent film.”

Google Runs a Total Surveillance State

In his article2 “Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy,” Epstein outlines his recommendations for protecting your privacy while surfing the web, most of which don’t cost anything. You can access the article at MySevenSimpleSteps.com

“My first sentence is ‘I have not received a targeted ad on my computer or mobile phone since 2014.’ Most people are shocked by that because they’re bombarded with targeted ads constantly.

More and more people are telling me that they’re just having a conversation with someone, so they’re not even doing anything online per se, but their phone is nearby — or they’re having a conversation in their home and they have Amazon Alexa or Google Home, these personal assistants — and the next thing they know they start getting targeted ads related to what they were talking about.

This is the surveillance problem … The point is that there are ways to use the internet, tablets and mobile phones, to preserve or protect your privacy, but almost no one does that. So, the fact is that we’re now being surveilled 24/7, generally speaking, with no awareness that we’re even being surveilled.

Maybe some people are aware that when they do searches on Google the search history is preserved forever … But it goes so far beyond that because now we’re being surveilled through personal assistants, so that when we speak, we’re being [surveilled].

It goes even beyond that, because a few years ago Google bought the Nest company, which makes a smart thermostat. After they bought the company, they put microphones into the smart thermostats, and the latest versions of the smart thermostats have microphones and cameras.

Google has been issued patents in recent years, which give them, basically, ownership rights over ways of analyzing sounds that are picked up by microphones in people’s homes.

They can hook you up with dentists, they can hook you up with sex therapists, with mental health services, relationship coaches, et cetera. So, there’s that. Location tracking has also gotten completely out of hand. We’ve learned in recent months that even when you disable location tracking … on your mobile phone, you’re still being tracked.”

This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend that you use a VPN on your cellphone and computer, as this will prevent virtually anyone from tracking and targeting you. There are many out there but I am using the one Epstein recommends, Nord VPN, which is only about $3 per month and you can use it on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy.

How Google Tracks You Even When You’re Offline

You can learn a lot about a person by tracking their movements and whereabouts. Most of us are very naïve about these things. As explained by Epstein, location tracking technology has become incredibly sophisticated and aggressive.

Android cellphones, for example, which is a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you’re not connected to the internet, whether you have geo-tracking enabled or not.

“It just gets creepier and creepier,” Epstein says. “Let’s say you pull out your SIM card. Let’s say you disconnect from your mobile service provider, so you’re absolutely isolated. You’re not connected to the internet. Guess what? Your phone is still tracking everything you do on that phone and it’s still tracking your location.”

As soon as you reconnect to the internet, all that information stored on your phone is sent to Google. So, even though you may think you’ve just spent the day incognito, the moment you reconnect, every step you’ve made is shared (provided you had your phone with you).

In terms of online tracking, it’s also important to realize that Google is tracking your movements online even if you’re not using their products because most websites use Google Analytics, which tracks everything you do on that website. And, you have no way of knowing whether a website uses Google Analytics or not.

Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy

To protect your privacy, Epstein recommends taking the following steps, seven of which are outlined in “Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy.” The last one, Fitbit, is a more recent concern.

Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:

“When you use your mobile phone, laptop or desktop in the usual way, your identity is very easy for Google and other companies to see. They can see it via your IP address, but more and more, there are much more sophisticated ways now that they know it’s you. One is called browser fingerprinting.

This is something that is so disturbing. Basically, the kind of browser you have and the way you use your browser is like a fingerprint. You use your browser in a unique way, and just by the way you type, these companies now can instantly identify you.

Brave has some protection against a browser fingerprinting, but you really need to be using a VPN. What a VPN does is it routes whatever you’re doing through some other computer somewhere else. It can be anywhere in the world, and there are hundreds of companies offering VPN services. The one I like the best right now is called Nord VPN.

You download the software, install it, just like you install any software. It’s incredibly easy to use. You do not have to be a techie to use Nord, and it shows you a map of the world and you basically just click on a country.

The VPN basically makes it appear as though your computer is not your computer. It basically creates a kind of fake identity for you, and that’s a good thing. Now, very often I will go through Nord’s computers in the United States. Sometimes you have to do that, or you can’t get certain things done. PayPal doesn’t like you to be in a foreign country for example.”

Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.

Do not use Gmail, as every email you write is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.

Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.

Don’t use Google’s Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every web page you’ve ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.

Brave is also faster than Chrome and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software infrastructure that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites, and bookmarks.

Don’t use Google as your search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.

Alternative search engines suggested by Epstein include SwissCows and Qwant. He recommends avoiding StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.

Don’t use an Android cellphone, for all the reasons discussed earlier. Epstein uses a Blackberry, which is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. Blackberry’s upcoming model, the Key3, will be one of the most secure cellphones in the world, he says.
Don’t use Google Home devices in your house or apartment. These devices record everything that occurs in your home, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google’s home thermostat Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa.
Clear your cache and cookies. As Epstein explains in his article:3

“Companies and hackers of all sorts are constantly installing invasive computer code on your computers and mobile devices, mainly to keep an eye on you but sometimes for more nefarious purposes.

On a mobile device, you can clear out most of this garbage by going to the settings menu of your browser, selecting the ‘privacy and security’ option and then clicking on the icon that clears your cache and cookies.

With most laptop and desktop browsers, holding down three keys simultaneously — CTRL, SHIFT and DEL — takes you directly to the relevant menu; I use this technique multiple times a day without even thinking about it. You can also configure the Brave and Firefox browsers to erase your cache and cookies automatically every time you close your browser.”

Don’t use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.



With David Icke Banned From YouTube Freedom of Speech Is Dying Will You Step Up and Fight For Your Rights?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdot9l3yi98

Video Source: London Real

Brian Rose of London Real announced that David Icke has been removed from both YouTube and Facebook within a 24 hour period.

Rose: ” if they really do have community policies that they enforce independently then why would they do that within 24 hours?” Could it be that Icke’s messages are too insightful in the way he points out corruption on a massive scale?




Stuck Indoors? Enjoy These Museums, Aquariums, National Parks, Zoos and Symphonies From Home

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) — Let’s face it: things are looking bad in the world, and if we haven’t already felt the heavy impact of the coronavirus outbreak, we soon will.

Across the English-speaking world, public events are being canceled, schools are being closed or placed on an extended vacation, and cultural and art institutions are being shuttered en masse. Professional athletic organizations like the NCAA and MLB are canceling or delaying the start of their seasons, leaving sports fans in the lurch.

Meanwhile, whole municipal zones are instructing to shelter in place, self-quarantine, and otherwise lie low as authorities grasp at ways to keep the novel virus under control.

However, while we may be stuck at home, cultural institutions, national park services, symphonies, and zoos are now offering stunning virtual tours online, allowing us to enjoy some of humankind’s most amazing artistic and musical achievements from our homes.

Here are a few cultural “outings” you can enjoy from your computer, tablet, or phone!

A “Trip” to the Museum

Google’s Arts and Culture pages offer no less than 2,500 world-class museums and galleries, where you can peruse the collections of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Whitney Museum in New York City, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the Tate Modern in London. You can also take a virtual tour of such locales as the Uffizi Galleries. And one cool “feature” of these Google tours is that you can zoom in on the priceless art far closer than you would ever be able to lean into it.

Various museums are also offering virtual tours through their websites. This includes the Louvre, which has a breathtaking exhibit in its Egyptian antiquities department; Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, which offers a virtual tour of its Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 exhibit on virtual view; the Vatican Museums, which offer state-of-the-art 360-degree tours of Raphael’s Rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and other attractions; as well as a self-guided tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Take a Guided (Virtual) Tour of U.S. National Parks

In partnership with the U.S. National Parks Services, Google’s Arts & Culture pages are also offering a program called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” that will bring the great outdoors to your living room or bedroom. The digital tour includes five national parks, including Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska.

Take the Kids to a Virtual Aquarium or Zoo

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California may have been closed since March 12, but that’s not stopping it from allowing online visitors from enjoying the everyday life of its aquatic critters. Visitors can see a range of free live camera streams, ranging from their world-famous kelp forest to the jellyfish exhibit, or you can just watch penguins waddle about adorably. Scheduled feeding times will also be shown.

Meanwhile, at Boston’s New England Aquarium you can also watch feedings, tours, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of operations through scheduled Facebook Live streams.

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is also featuring views of penguins as well as their Philippine Coral Reef exhibit, while the Oakland Zoo is offering live views of their elephants, sun bears, and black bears.

Enjoy a Night Out at the Symphony (Without Dressing Up)!

While nothing can substitute a live performance from a symphony orchestra, many are offering live streams of their performances rather than cancel them entirely. Old shows are also being offered for free online.

The Philharmonie Berlin, which will remain closed until at least April 19, has opened its digital library of performances to the public, allowing unfettered access to over 600 shows. Just use the code BERLINPHIL by March 31 to get a 30-day all-access pass to the orchestra’s amazing work. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is also live-streaming its performances through YouTube, and while those of us in the Western Hemisphere may not prefer to wake up at 7 p.m. AEDT (or 4 a.m. EDT) to catch a symphony performance, we can still watch replays on the orchestra’s YouTube channel. Make sure to check out their outstanding performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s immortal classic, Scheherazade.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com




Will Google’s Social Credit System Determine Your Future?

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • China started rolling out a social credit system in 2018, which awards and subtracts points for certain types of behavior
  • Google is the largest monopoly the world has ever seen, and its data-siphoning tentacles reach deep into our everyday lives, collecting data on every move you make and conversation you have, whether online or in the real world
  • By the end of 2021, approximately 1 billion cameras will be watching public movements across the globe. Cities are also inviting residents and businesses to plug their private surveillance cameras into their police network, which expands the surveillance system even further
  • To make sense of all this footage, video analytic software and artificial intelligence are used. Video analytic capabilities include fight and fall detection, loitering and motion recognition, dog walking, jaywalking, toll fare evasion and lie detection
  • There are now proposals suggesting all of this data, in combination with AI-enabled analytics systems, could be used for “predictive policing” as illustrated in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” where suspected perpetrators are arrested before actually committing the crime

You may have heard about China’s social credit system — a dystopian monitoring scheme focused on the moral dimension of human life and behavior — which was conceived in 2014 and rolled out in earnest in 2018. As reported by Business Insider in October that year:1

“Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples of infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.

China has already started punishing people by restricting their travel. Nine million people with low scores have been blocked from buying tickets for domestic flights …

They can also clamp down on luxury options — three million people are barred from getting business-class train tickets. The eventual system will punish bad passengers specifically. Potential misdeeds include trying to ride with no ticket, loitering in front of boarding gates, or smoking in no-smoking areas.”

Aside from impeding your ability to travel, an individual’s punishment for “bad behavior” per the social credit system can also result in slower internet speed, being banned from attending certain schools or getting a higher education, being barred from certain types of employment, confiscation of pets and, of course, public shaming.2

Google Makes Orwellian Surveillance Easy

In the bitchute video above, Truthstream Media details how this kind of public “trustworthiness” scoring can alter the way people behave — indeed their view of reality itself, and the vast data mining required for the system to work. As noted in the video:

“Social credit scores award or remove points based on behavior. It’s Big Data meets Big Brother. This will be a world with no more personal experiences, only transactions for the social credit system.

This [the system] knows every person, every bike, every car, every bus. That’s because it essentially turns every public interaction into a transaction where points can be earned or lost.”

Google, of course, is a perfect fit for this kind of Orwellian surveillance scheme. It is, by far, the largest monopoly the world has ever seen, and its data-siphoning tentacles reach deep into our everyday lives, collecting data on every move you make and conversation you have, whether online or in the real world.

Google actually tracks your movements online, even when you don’t think you are using their products. Most websites you visit use the ‘free’ Google Analytics program to track everything you do on a website.   Google purchased Urchin Software back in 2005, and by giving it away were able to integrate this important surveillance tool into most of the internet.

Google Analytics integrates with Google’s ad network monopoly, as well as the largest email service Gmail.  These systems are not free, they are a tightly integrated package of surveillance tools – selling your data, selling ads served to you, and manipulating content to direct your behavior.

These tools collect data along with other Google products like the Android ‘smart’ phones, the Nest home security system, and even Google’s Home Assistant.  You can expect these surveillance products to become free over time as the absolute goal is to exploit every bit of data they can collect from you.

A 2015 Wired article3 revealed some of the details of how Google’s online empire is built, noting “One of the company’s cluster switches provides about 40 terabits per second of bandwidth — the equivalent of 40 million home internet connections,” and “Google now sends more information between its data centers than it trades with the internet as a whole.”

As highlighted in a January 27, 2020, article4 by The Intercept, smart camera networks equipped with facial recognition and video analytics software will advance global surveillance even further, and should be banned to prevent an inevitable slide into invisible yet all-encompassing authoritarianism.

“The rise of all-seeing smart camera networks is an alarming development that threatens civil rights and liberties throughout the world.

Law enforcement agencies have a long history of using surveillance against marginalized communities, and studies show surveillance chills freedom of expression — ill effects that could spread as camera networks grow larger and more sophisticated,” The Intercept notes.5

Silicon Valley Is Building America’s Social Credit System

According to Fast Company,6 China’s social credit system is not entirely unique. “A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies,” Fast Company writes.7

For example, life insurance companies can now use content shared in social media posts to determine your premium. “That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you,” Fast Company notes.8

PatronScan is another example. These devices are used by restaurants to identify fake IDs and undesirable customers — people previously removed from an establishment for causing a fight, committing sexual assault, stealing or doing drugs.

The list is shared among PatronScan customers, so getting banned in one bar or restaurant effectively bans you from all bars and restaurants in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. for up to one year. For additional examples, see the original Fast Company article.9

The Expansion of Public Video Surveillance

Many TVs now have a camera and can be used to record your emotions while watching presidential debates or the evening news.  The Intercept article10 cited earlier goes on to detail the rise and expansion of video surveillance, starting with Axis Communications’ internet-enabled surveillance camera, launched in the late ’90s, to more modern video management systems that organize all this visual data into databases.

By the end of 2021, the marketing firm IHS Markit predicts 1 billion cameras will be watching public movements across the globe. As if that’s not enough, cities are also inviting residents and businesses to plug their private surveillance cameras into their police network, which expands the system even further.

According to The Intercept, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City and Atlanta have all deployed these types of “plug-in surveillance networks,” and many others are considering it as well. To actually make sense of all this footage, video analytic software and artificial intelligence (AI) are used.

Video analytic capabilities include “fight detection, motion recognition, fall detection, loitering, dog walking, jaywalking, toll fare evasion and even lie detection,” The Intercept reports.11

Object recognition and “anomalous or unusual behavior detection” are also used to flag particular incidents that are then reviewed by human eyes. The Intercept recounts how this information can be used by law enforcement to identify potential crime situations:

“In Connecticut, police have used video analytics to identify or monitor known or suspected drug dealers.

Sergeant Johnmichael O’Hare, former Director of the Hartford Real-Time Crime Center, recently demonstrated how BriefCam helped Hartford police reveal ‘where people go the most’ in the space of 24 hours by viewing footage condensed and summarized in just nine minutes.

Using a feature called ‘pathways,’ he discovered hundreds of people visiting just two houses on the street and secured a search warrant to verify that they were drug houses.”

Is a ‘Pre-Crime’ Department Next?

Companies are also working on searchable databases that can access and make sense of visual data from a range of different platforms, which will “supercharge the ability to search and surveil public spaces,” The Intercept says.12

What’s more, there are now proposals suggesting all of this data, in combination with AI-enabled analytics systems, could be used for “predictive policing” as illustrated in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” where suspected perpetrators are arrested before actually committing the crime.

Sound too crazy to be true? The Intercept cites a 2018 document13 by the data storage firm Western Digital and the consulting company Accenture, “Value of Data: Seeing What Matters — A New Paradigm for Public Safety Powered by Responsible AI,” which predicts smart surveillance networks may be deployed “across three tiers of maturity.”

The first tier is where we’re at now, where law enforcement uses CCTV networks to investigate crimes after they’ve already occurred.

At the second tier level, predicted to be in place by 2025, municipalities will be transformed into fully connected “smart cities,” where the cameras of businesses and public institutions are all plugged into a government-run AI-enabled analytics system. The third tier, predicted by 2035, will have predictive capabilities. As reported by The Intercept:14

“A ‘public safety ecosystem’ will centralize data ‘pulled from disparate databases such as social media, driver’s licenses, police databases, and dark data.’ An AI-enabled analytics unit will let police assess ‘anomalies in real time and interrupt a crime before it is committed.’ That is to say, to catch pre-crime.”

Google’s Ad Network Monopoly

Google’s monopoly goes well beyond web search. It also has a potentially dangerous monopoly on online advertising. In 2007, Google bought DoubleClick, which already dominated the digital advertising market. As reported by InfoWorld:15

“Here’s the danger: Google already knows a tremendous amount about the traffic it sends to individual Web sites — where it comes from, what people are looking for, even some basic demographics.

With DoubleClick in the fold, they will also know what ads are being served on any given page. That gives Google unprecedented insight into publishers’ business. And remember, those publishers may be partners, but they are also competitors, often trying to woo the same advertisers as Google. 

Web sites live and die based upon ad revenue and on charging advertisers a certain rate based upon the number of pages served and the quality of their readership/user base. I could imagine a not-entirely-paranoid fantasy in which Google can run the numbers, turn around, and offer better rates to advertisers for a similar audience.”

To learn more about Google’s surveillance of you and those you love, please view my comprehensive interview with Robert Epstein below. Epstein, former editor-in-chief at Psychology Today, is now a senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, where for the last decade he has helped expose Google’s manipulative and deceptive practices.

Google Goes After Your Health Data

More recently, it’s also become apparent Google is going after everyone’s health data. Fitbit, which was recently purchased by Google, will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.

As discussed in “How Google Is Stealing Your Personal Health Data,” Google, Amazon, and Microsoft also collect data entered into health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties — and this data is not anonymized, meaning it’s tied specifically to you, without your knowledge or consent.

In other words, DoubleClick, Google’s ad service, will know which prescriptions you’ve searched for on Drugs.com, for example, thus providing you with personalized drug ads. “There is a whole system that will seek to take advantage of you because you’re in a compromised state,” Tim Libert, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University told Financial Times.16

Google and various tech startups have even been investigating the possibility of assessing mental health problems using a combination of electronic medical records and tracking your internet and social media use.

Undisclosed data mining is also occurring in hospitals. A whistleblower recently revealed Google amassed health data from millions of Americans in 21 states through its Project Nightingale, and patients have not been informed of this data mining.17,18 As reported by The Guardian:19

“The secret scheme … involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the U.S. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification …

According to Google and Ascension, the data being shared will be used to build a search tool with machine-learning algorithms that will spit out diagnostic recommendations and suggestions for medications that health professionals can then use to guide them in their treatment.

Google claims only a limited number of individuals will have access to the data, but just how trustworthy is Google these days? Since the data includes full personal details, sooner or later, they’re likely to find a way to use it.

Google and Mastercard Track Your Purchasing Habits

Your credit card data, which at first glance would appear completely separate from Google, is also being used by the internet giant to customize ads. As reported by Bloomberg20 August 31, 2018, four unnamed insiders, three of whom claim to have been directly involved in the negotiations, claim Google and Mastercard brokered a business alliance that gives Google access to Mastercard users’ retail spending.

The two companies never made the agreement public, though. Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) told Bloomberg:21

“People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online. There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”

According to Google, Mastercard users can opt-out of ad tracking using Google’s online Web & App Activity console.22 The question is, how would users know to do that when they were never told such tracking was occurring in the first place?

Google’s Store Sales Measurement service also suggests it’s not just Mastercard users that are being tracked. As noted by Bloomberg, when Google announced the new sales measurement service in 2017, it claimed it had access to about 70% of U.S. credit and debit card sales.

Goodbye Google

To have any chance of protecting your privacy, you simply must avoid Google products, as they account for the greatest personal data leaks in your life. To that end, Mercola.com is now Google-free. We do not use Google Analytics, Google ads or Google search for internal searches. To boycott Google, be sure to ditch or replace:

Gmail, as every email you write, is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.

Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.

Google’s Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every webpage you’ve ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.

Brave is also faster than Chrome and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software code that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites, and bookmarks.

Google search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.

Alternative search engines include SwissCows and Qwant. Avoid StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.

Android cellphones, which run on a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you’re not connected to the internet, whether you have geo-tracking enabled or not. Blackberry is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. Blackberry’s upcoming model, the Key3, maybe one of the most secure cellphones in the world.

Google Home devices, as they record everything that occurs in your home or office, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google’s home thermostat Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa.

Additional Privacy Tips

In my recent interview (above) with Epstein, he also offered the following guidance for those seeking to protect their online privacy:

Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:

“When you use your mobile phone, laptop or desktop in the usual way, your identity is very easy for Google and other companies to see. They can see it via your IP address, but more and more, there are much more sophisticated ways now that they know it’s you. One is called browser fingerprinting.

This is something that is so disturbing. Basically, the kind of browser you have and the way you use your browser is like a fingerprint. You use your browser in a unique way, and just by the way you type, these companies now can instantly identify you.

Brave has some protection against a browser fingerprinting, but you really need to be using a VPN. What a VPN does is it routes whatever you’re doing through some other computer somewhere else. It can be anywhere in the world, and there are hundreds of companies offering VPN services. The one I like the best right now is called Nord VPN.

You download the software, install it, just like you install any software. It’s incredibly easy to use. You do not have to be a techie to use Nord, and it shows you a map of the world and you basically just click on a country.

The VPN basically makes it appear as though your computer is not your computer. It basically creates a kind of fake identity for you, and that’s a good thing. Now, very often I will go through Nord’s computers in the United States. Sometimes you have to do that, or you can’t get certain things done. PayPal doesn’t like you to be in a foreign country for example.”

Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.

Clear your cache and cookies — As Epstein explains in his article:23

“Companies and hackers of all sorts are constantly installing invasive computer code on your computers and mobile devices, mainly to keep an eye on you but sometimes for more nefarious purposes.

On a mobile device, you can clear out most of this garbage by going to the settings menu of your browser, selecting the ‘privacy and security’ option and then clicking on the icon that clears your cache and cookies.

With most laptop and desktop browsers, holding down three keys simultaneously — CTRL, SHIFT and DEL — takes you directly to the relevant menu; I use this technique multiple times a day without even thinking about it. You can also configure the Brave and Firefox browsers to erase your cache and cookies automatically every time you close your browser.”

Don’t use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.

Read more great articles at mercola.com




Google — A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Robert Epstein is a Harvard trained psychologist who has exposed how Google is manipulating public opinion through their search engine so they can change the results of elections and many other important areas
  • His research shows how Google is using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history. If this weren’t bad enough, these tools are ephemeral and leave no paper trail of their devious behavior
  • According to Epstein’s calculations, Google can shift 15 million votes leading up to the upcoming U.S. presidential 2020 election
  • Because Google has become an everyday tool that’s used for more than 90% of searches worldwide, the company has likely determined the outcomes of 25% of the national elections in the world
  • Search suggestions — shown in a drop-down menu when you begin to type a search term — is another powerful manipulation tool capable of turning a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split, with no one having the slightest idea that they’ve been manipulated

Robert Epstein, who received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1981 and served as the former editor in chief at Psychology Today, is now a senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, where for the last decade he has helped expose Google’s manipulative and deceptive practices. He explains what got him interested in investigating the internet search monopoly in the first place:

“In 2012, January 1st, I received some emails from Google saying my website contained malware and that they were somehow blocking access. This means I had gotten onto one of Google’s blacklists.

My website did contain some malware. It was pretty easy to get rid of, but it turns out it’s hard to get off of a Google blacklist. That’s a big problem. I started looking at Google just a little bit differently.

I wondered, first of all, why they were notifying me about this rather than some government agency or some nonprofit organization? Why was a private company notifying me?

In other words, who made Google sheriff of the internet? Second, I learned they had no customer service department, which seemed very strange, so if you have a problem with Google, then you have a problem because they don’t help you solve the problem.

I learned also that although you can get onto a blacklist in a split second, it can take weeks to get off a blacklist. There have been businesses that have gotten onto their blacklists and have gone out of business while they’re trying to straighten out the problem.

The thing that really caught my eye — because I’ve been a programmer my whole life — was I couldn’t figure out how they were blocking access to my website, not just through their own products … Google.com, the search engine, or through Chrome, which is their browser, but through Safari, which is an Apple product, through Firefox, which is a browser run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization.

How was Google blocking access through so many different means? The point is I just started to get more curious about the company, and later in 2012, I happened to be looking at a growing literature, which was about the power of search rankings to impact sales.

This was in the marketing field and it just was astonishing. In other words, if you could push yourself up one more notch in their search results, that could make the difference between success or failure for your company; it could mean a lot more income.

It turns out that this initial research was saying that people really trust those higher ranked search results. I simply asked a question. I wondered whether, if people trust those higher rank search results, I could use search results to influence people’s opinions, maybe even their votes.”

What Epstein discovered through his subsequent research, which began in 2013, is that yes, biased search results can indeed be used to influence public opinion and sway undecided voters. What’s more, the strength of that influence was shocking.

He also eventually discovered how Google is able to block website access on browsers other than their own. His findings were published in 2016 in U.S. News & World Report.

Google’s Powers Pose Serious Threats to Society

Google’s powers pose three specific threats to society:

1. They’re a surveillance agency with significant yet hidden surveillance powers. As noted by Epstein:

“The search engine … Google Wallet, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube, these are surveillance platforms. In other words, from their perspective, the value these tools have is they give them more information about you. Surveillance is what they do.”

2. They’re a censoring agency with the ability to restrict or block access to websites across the internet, thus deciding what people can and cannot see. They even have the ability to block access to entire countries and the internet as a whole.

The most crushing problem with this kind of internet censorship is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If a certain type of information is removed from search, and you don’t know it should exist somewhere, you’ll never go looking for it. And, when searching for information online, how would you know that certain websites or pages have been removed from the search results in the first place? The answer is, you don’t.

For example, Google has been investing in DNA repositories for quite a long time, and are adding DNA information to our profiles. According to Epstein, Google has taken over the national DNA repository, but articles about that — which he has cited in his own writings — have all vanished.

3. They have the power to manipulate public opinion through search rankings and other means.

“To me, that’s the scariest area,” Epstein says, “because Google is shaping the opinions, thinking, beliefs, attitudes, purchases and votes of billions of people around the world without anyone knowing that they’re doing so … and perhaps even more shocking, without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.

They’re using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history and they are for the most part, subliminal … but they don’t produce tiny shifts.

They produce enormous shifts in people’s thinking, very rapidly. Some of the techniques I’ve discovered are among the largest behavioral effects ever discovered in the behavioral sciences.”

While surveillance is Google’s primary business, its revenue — which exceeds $130 billion a year — comes almost exclusively from advertising. All that personal information you’ve provided them through their various products is sold to advertisers looking for a specific target audience.

How Google Can Shift Your Perception Without Your Knowledge

Epstein’s controlled, randomized, double-blind and counterbalanced experiments have revealed a number of different ways in which Google can shift public perception. The first effect he discovered is called SEME, which stands for search engine manipulation effect. For a full description of the basic experiment used to identify this effect, please listen to the interview.

In summary, the aim of his experiment was to see whether search results biased toward a particular political candidate would be capable of shifting users’ political opinions and leanings.

“I had predicted, when we first did this, that we would get a shift,” Epstein says, “because … people do trust higher ranked search results, and of course we had biased the search results so that, if in that first group, someone was clicking on a high-ranking search result, that would connect them to a webpage which made one candidate look much better than the other …

I predicted we could get a shift in voting preferences of 2% to 3%. I was way off. We got … a shift of 48%, which I thought must be an error because that’s crazy …

I should note that in almost all of our experiments, especially those early ones, we deliberately used undecided voters. That’s the key. You can’t easily push the opinions or voting preferences of people who are partisan, who are strongly committed to one party or another, but people who are undecided, those are the people who are very vulnerable. In our experiments, we always find a way to use undecided voters.

In these early experiments, the way we guaranteed that our voters were undecided was by using people from the U.S. as our participants, but the election we chose was the 2010 election for the prime minister of Australia.

They’re real candidates, a real election, real search results, real webpages, and of course, because our participants were from the U.S. they were not familiar with the candidates.

In fact, that’s why, before they do the search, we get this almost perfect 50/50 split regarding who they’re going to vote for, because they don’t know these candidates. The information they’re getting from the search, that, presumably, is why we get a shift.”

Simple Trick Effectively Masks Search Bias

Another thing Epstein noticed was that very few seemed to realize they were seeing biased search results. In other words, the manipulation went virtually undetected.

In a second experiment, they were able to achieve a 63% shift in voter preference, and by masking the bias — simply by inserting a pro-opponent result here and there — they were able to hide the bias from almost everyone.

“In other words, we could get enormous shifts in opinions and voting preferences with no one being able to detect the bias in the search results we were showing them,” Epstein says. “This is where, again, it starts to get scary. Scarier still is when we moved on to do a national study of more than 2,000 people in all 50 states.”

What this large-scale investigation revealed is that the few who actually notice the bias are not protected from its effects. Curiously, they actually shift even further toward the bias, rather than away from it.

As evidenced by other studies, the pattern of clicks is a key factor that makes search bias so powerful: 50% of all search selections go to the top two items and 95% of all clicks go to the first page of search results.

“In other words, people spend most of their time clicking on and reading content that comes from high-ranking search results. If those high-ranking search results favor one candidate, that’s pretty much all they see and that impacts their opinions and their voting preferences,” Epstein says.

Subsequent experiments revealed that this click pattern is the result of conditioning. Most of the things people search for are simple matters such as local weather or the capital of a country. The most appropriate and correct answer is always at the very top. This conditions them to assume that the best and truest answer is always the most high-ranked listing.

Google May Have Shifted Millions of Votes in 2016 Elections

The ramifications of the search engine manipulation effect can be immense. Of course, having the power to shift public opinion is one thing; actually using that power is another. So, Epstein’s next target was to determine whether Google is using its power of influence or not.

“Early 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system, which allowed me to look over the shoulders of people as they were conducting election-related searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. I had 95 field agents (as we call them), in 24 states.

We kept their identities secret, which took a lot of work. And this is exactly, by the way, what the Nielsen company does to generate ratings for television shows. They have several thousand families. Their identities are secret. They equip the families with special boxes, which allow Nielsen to tabulate what programs they’re watching …

Inspired by the Nielsen model, we recruited our field agents, we equipped them with custom passive software. In other words, no one could detect the fact that they have the software in their computers. But that software allowed us to look over their shoulders as they conducted election related searches …

We ended up preserving 13,207 election-related searches and the nearly 100,000 webpages to which the search results linked … After the election, we rated the webpages for bias, either pro-Clinton or pro-Trump … and then we did an analysis to see whether there was any bias in the search results people were seeing.

The results we got were crystal clear, highly significant statistically … at the 0.001 level. What that says is we can be confident the bias we were seeing was real, and it didn’t occur because of some random factors. We found a pro-Clinton bias in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google search results, but not on Bing or Yahoo.

That’s very important. So, there was a significant pro-Clinton bias on Google. Because of the experiments I had been doing since 2013, I was also able to calculate how many votes could have been shifted with that level of bias… At bare minimum, about 2.6 million [undecided] votes would have shifted to Hillary Clinton.”

On the high end, Google’s biased search results may have shifted as many as 10.4 million undecided voters toward Clinton, which is no small feat — all without anyone realizing they’d been influenced, and without leaving a trace for the authorities to follow.

According to Epstein’s calculations, tech companies, Google being the main one, can shift 15 million votes leading up to the 2020 election, which means they have the potential to select the next president of the United States.

Google Has the Power to Determine 25% of Global Elections

Many who look at Epstein’s work end up focusing on Google’s ability to influence U.S. politics, but the problem is much bigger than that.

“As I explained when I testified before Congress, the reason why I’m speaking out about these issues is because, first of all, I … think it’s important that we preserve democracy and preserve the free and fair election. To me, it’s pretty straight forward.

But the problem is much bigger than elections or democracy or the United States. Because I calculated back in 2015 that … Google’s search engine — because more than 90% of searches worldwide are conducted on Google — was determining the outcomes of upwards of 25% of the national elections in the world.

How can that be? Well, it’s because a lot of elections are very close. And that’s the key to understanding this. In other words, we actually looked at the win margins in national elections around the world, which tend to be very close. In that 2010 Australian election, for example, the win margin was something like 0.2% …

If the results they’re getting on Google are biased toward one candidate, that shifts a lot of votes among undecided people. And it’s very, very simple for them to flip an election or … rig an election … It’s very, very simple for Google to do that.

They can do it deliberately, which is kind of scary. In other words, some top executives at Google could decide who they want to win an election in South Africa or the U.K. or anywhere. It could be just a rogue employee at Google who does it. You may think that’s impossible … [but] it’s incredibly simple …

[A] senior software engineer at Google, Shumeet Baluja, who’s been at Google almost since the very beginning, published a novel that no one’s ever heard of called ‘The Silicon Jungle’ … It’s fictional, but it’s about Google, and the power that individual employees at Google have to make or break any company or any individual.

It’s a fantastic novel. I asked Baluja how Google let him get away with publishing it and he said, ‘Well, they made me promise I would never promote it.’ That’s why no one’s ever heard of this book.”

A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known

Another, and even more frightening possibility, is that Google could allow its biased algorithm to favor one candidate over another without caring about which candidate is being favored.

“That’s the scariest possibility,” Epstein says, “because now you’ve got an algorithm, a computer program, which is an idiot … deciding who rules us. It’s crazy.”

While this sounds like it should be illegal, it’s not, because there are no laws or regulations that restrict or dictate how Google must rank its search results. Courts have actually concluded that Google is simply exercising its right to free speech, even if that means destroying the businesses they demote in their search listings or blacklistings.

The only way to protect ourselves from this kind of hidden influence is by setting up monitoring programs such as Epstein’s all over the world. “As a species, it’s the only way we can protect ourselves from new types of online technologies that can be used to influence us,” he says. “No dictator anywhere has ever had even a tiny fraction of the power that this company has.”

Epstein is also pushing for the government to make the Google search index a public commons, which would allow other companies to create competing for search platforms using Google’s database. While Google’s search engine cannot be broken up, its monopoly would be thwarted by forcing it to hand over its index to other search platform developers.

The Influence of Search Suggestions

In 2016, Epstein also discovered the remarkable influence of search suggestions — the suggested searches shown in a drop-down menu when you begin to type a search term. This effect is now known as the search suggestion effect or SSE. Epstein explains:

“Initially the idea was they were going to save you time. That’s the way they presented this new feature. They were going to anticipate, based on your history, or based on what other people are searching for, what it is you’re looking for so you don’t have to type the whole thing. Just click on one of the suggestions. But then it changed into something else. It changed into a tool for manipulation.

In June 2016, a small news organization … discovered that it was virtually impossible to get negative search suggestions related to Hillary Clinton, but easy to get them for other people including Donald Trump. They were very concerned about this because maybe that could influence people somehow.

So, I tried this myself, and I have a wonderful image that I preserved showing this. I typed in ‘Hillary Clinton is’ on Bing and on Yahoo, and I got those long lists, eight and 10 items, saying, ‘Hillary Clinton is the devil. Hillary Clinton is sick’ … all negative things that people were actually searching for.

How do I know that? Because we checked Google trends. Google trends shows you what people are actually searching for. Sure enough, people were actually searching for all these negative things related to Hillary Clinton. Those [were] the most popular search terms.

So, we tried it on Google and we got, ‘Hillary Clinton is winning, Hillary Clinton is awesome.’ Now you check those phrases on Google trends and you find no one is searching for ‘Hillary Clinton is awesome.’ Nobody. Not one. But that’s what they’re showing you in their search suggestions.

That again got my research gears running. I started doing experiments because I said, ‘Wait a minute, why would they do this? What is the point?’

Here’s what I found in a series of experiments: Just by manipulating search suggestions, I could turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split — with no one having the slightest idea that they’ve been manipulated.”

YouTube’s Up Next Algorithm

YouTube, which is owned by Google, also has an enormous influence on public opinion. According to Epstein, 70% of the videos people view on YouTube are suggested by Google’s top-secret Up Next algorithm, which recommends videos for you to view whenever you’re watching a video.

Just like the search suggestions, this is a phenomenally effective ephemeral manipulation tool. There’s no record of the videos recommended by the algorithm, yet it can take you down the proverbial rabbit hole by feeding you one video after another.

“There are documented cases now in which people have been converted to extreme Islam or to white supremacy, literally because they’d been pulled down a rabbit hole by a sequence of videos on YouTube,” Epstein says.

“Think of that power. Again, it’s not powerful for people who already have strong opinions. It’s powerful for the people who don’t, the people who are vulnerable, the people who are undecided or uncommitted. And that’s a lot of people.”

The Creepy Line

Most people now have Amazon Prime. If you are one of those who do, you can watch the following documentary for free on Prime. It is well worth your time to do so. Epstein and many other experts provide a very compelling overview of the dangers that we discuss in our interview. In my view, this is a must-watch and one to recommend to your friends and family.

A question Epstein raises is, “Who gave this private company, which is not accountable to any of us, the ability to determine what billions of people around the world will see or will not see?”

That is perhaps one of the biggest issues. Epstein and others attempt to answer this question in this documentary, “The Creepy Line,” which is a direct quote from Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

“Traditional media have very serious constraints placed on them, but Google, which is far more penetrating and far more effective at influencing people, has none of these constraints,” Epstein says.

“There are lots of good people in [‘The Creepy Line’], lots of good data, and it explains my research very clearly, which is wonderful. It explains my research better than I explain my research. ‘The Creepy Line’ is available on iTunes and on Amazon. I think it costs $3 or $4 to watch … If you’re an Amazon Prime Member it’s free. It’s an excellent film.”

Google Runs a Total Surveillance State

In his article2 “Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy,” Epstein outlines his recommendations for protecting your privacy while surfing the web, most of which don’t cost anything. You can access the article at MySevenSimpleSteps.com

“My first sentence is ‘I have not received a targeted ad on my computer or mobile phone since 2014.’ Most people are shocked by that because they’re bombarded with targeted ads constantly.

More and more people are telling me that they’re just having a conversation with someone, so they’re not even doing anything online per se, but their phone is nearby — or they’re having a conversation in their home and they have Amazon Alexa or Google Home, these personal assistants — and the next thing they know they start getting targeted ads related to what they were talking about.

This is the surveillance problem … The point is that there are ways to use the internet, tablets and mobile phones, to preserve or protect your privacy, but almost no one does that. So, the fact is that we’re now being surveilled 24/7, generally speaking, with no awareness that we’re even being surveilled.

Maybe some people are aware that when they do searches on Google the search history is preserved forever … But it goes so far beyond that because now we’re being surveilled through personal assistants, so that when we speak, we’re being [surveilled].

It goes even beyond that, because a few years ago Google bought the Nest company, which makes a smart thermostat. After they bought the company, they put microphones into the smart thermostats, and the latest versions of the smart thermostats have microphones and cameras.

Google has been issued patents in recent years, which give them, basically, ownership rights over ways of analyzing sounds that are picked up by microphones in people’s homes.

They can hook you up with dentists, they can hook you up with sex therapists, with mental health services, relationship coaches, et cetera. So, there’s that. Location tracking has also gotten completely out of hand. We’ve learned in recent months that even when you disable location tracking … on your mobile phone, you’re still being tracked.”

This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend that you use a VPN on your cellphone and computer, as this will prevent virtually anyone from tracking and targeting you. There are many out there but I am using the one Epstein recommends, Nord VPN, which is only about $3 per month and you can use it on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy.

How Google Tracks You Even When You’re Offline

You can learn a lot about a person by tracking their movements and whereabouts. Most of us are very naïve about these things. As explained by Epstein, location tracking technology has become incredibly sophisticated and aggressive.

Android cellphones, for example, which is a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you’re not connected to the internet, whether you have geo-tracking enabled or not.

“It just gets creepier and creepier,” Epstein says. “Let’s say you pull out your SIM card. Let’s say you disconnect from your mobile service provider, so you’re absolutely isolated. You’re not connected to the internet. Guess what? Your phone is still tracking everything you do on that phone and it’s still tracking your location.”

As soon as you reconnect to the internet, all that information stored on your phone is sent to Google. So, even though you may think you’ve just spent the day incognito, the moment you reconnect, every step you’ve made is shared (provided you had your phone with you).

In terms of online tracking, it’s also important to realize that Google is tracking your movements online even if you’re not using their products because most websites use Google Analytics, which tracks everything you do on that website. And, you have no way of knowing whether a website uses Google Analytics or not.

Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy

To protect your privacy, Epstein recommends taking the following steps, seven of which are outlined in “Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy.” The last one, Fitbit, is a more recent concern.

Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:

“When you use your mobile phone, laptop or desktop in the usual way, your identity is very easy for Google and other companies to see. They can see it via your IP address, but more and more, there are much more sophisticated ways now that they know it’s you. One is called browser fingerprinting.

This is something that is so disturbing. Basically, the kind of browser you have and the way you use your browser is like a fingerprint. You use your browser in a unique way, and just by the way you type, these companies now can instantly identify you.

Brave has some protection against a browser fingerprinting, but you really need to be using a VPN. What a VPN does is it routes whatever you’re doing through some other computer somewhere else. It can be anywhere in the world, and there are hundreds of companies offering VPN services. The one I like the best right now is called Nord VPN.

You download the software, install it, just like you install any software. It’s incredibly easy to use. You do not have to be a techie to use Nord, and it shows you a map of the world and you basically just click on a country.

The VPN basically makes it appear as though your computer is not your computer. It basically creates a kind of fake identity for you, and that’s a good thing. Now, very often I will go through Nord’s computers in the United States. Sometimes you have to do that, or you can’t get certain things done. PayPal doesn’t like you to be in a foreign country for example.”

Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.

Do not use Gmail, as every email you write is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.

Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.

Don’t use Google’s Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every web page you’ve ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.

Brave is also faster than Chrome and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software infrastructure that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites, and bookmarks.

Don’t use Google as your search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.

Alternative search engines suggested by Epstein include SwissCows and Qwant. He recommends avoiding StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.

Don’t use an Android cellphone, for all the reasons discussed earlier. Epstein uses a Blackberry, which is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. Blackberry’s upcoming model, the Key3, will be one of the most secure cellphones in the world, he says.
Don’t use Google Home devices in your house or apartment. These devices record everything that occurs in your home, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google’s home thermostat Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa.
Clear your cache and cookies. As Epstein explains in his article:3

“Companies and hackers of all sorts are constantly installing invasive computer code on your computers and mobile devices, mainly to keep an eye on you but sometimes for more nefarious purposes.

On a mobile device, you can clear out most of this garbage by going to the settings menu of your browser, selecting the ‘privacy and security’ option and then clicking on the icon that clears your cache and cookies.

With most laptop and desktop browsers, holding down three keys simultaneously — CTRL, SHIFT and DEL — takes you directly to the relevant menu; I use this technique multiple times a day without even thinking about it. You can also configure the Brave and Firefox browsers to erase your cache and cookies automatically every time you close your browser.”

Don’t use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.

Read more great articles at mercola.com




How Do You Describe Grace? (Video with Jason Silva)

By Jason Silva | Shots Of Awe

“Grace is what you feel on the other side of the rainbow. Grace is what you feel through the looking glass.” Jason Silva

Jason Silva looks at the quality of grace or what he calls the combined feeling of gratitude, bliss, and faith. How do you express a feeling that delves into the innermost nature of fulfillment of peace? Silva delves into the emotions evoked when one thinks about grace and the nature of man’s transformative cells, nature’s wonderful array and the perception of God.

Watch this entertaining video to get a seeker’s concept of the feeling of grace!




How To Find Your Passion (Video with Jason Silva)

By Jason Silva | Shots of Awe

“Passion exists at the intersection of three or more things you’re really curious about.” Steven Kotler

We’ve all been told that a life of passion is a life that means something. However, how do we translate what we do into a way to be driven and committed about life? Jason Silva tackles this based on being curious about life and finding our passion from the things which intersect in our curiosity. Additionally, this passion must fuel a specific perspective or purpose. Silva ties it all together in this interesting video.




‘A Damning Indictment’: Global Poll Shows 71% Support Regulation of Tech Giants to Protect Data Privacy

In a new poll released by Amnesty International, 71% of respondents expressed fear over how Big Tech is taking and using their personal data. (Photo: Flickr/GostGo/cc)

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

If you’re worried about how big technology companies are storing and using your personal data, you’re far from alone, according to a new poll out Wednesday from Amnesty International.

The survey of 10,000 people in nine countries, conducted by YouGov, revealed that 71% of respondents expressed fear over how Big Tech is taking and using their data. The sentiment was expressed most acutely in Brazil, where 89 percent said they were worried about the use of their personal data by tech companies. India and the United States followed, where the worry was expressed by 71 percent and 70 percent respectively.

Fears of violations of privacy are driving their concerns, said 62 percent of respondents. Fifty-nine percent, meanwhile, said they don’t feel in control over how technology companies share user data with third parties like advertisers.

“The poll results are stark and consistent—a clear majority of people are worried about the power Big Tech has over their lives,” said Amnesty Tech director Tanya O’Carroll.

The findings were released less than two weeks after an Amnesty report said that Facebook and Google have a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ human rights, including the right to privacy, bolstering the rights organization’s call for the era of self-regulation by Big Tech to come to an end.

A strong majority—77%—also said that tech companies creating detailed profiles about users and selling access to those profiles to third-parties including advertisers is a problem.

In the United States, 75% of respondents said that profile selling was a problem, but it was felt even more strongly in France (77%), India (77.8%), South Africa (79.8%), and Brazil (87%).

The overall majority of those who said online profiling was a problem—59%—said that it is an invasion of privacy. And more than half—53%—said profiling could be used to unfairly influence people through ads or political messages. Another concern expressed by 52% was that profiling could be used, without user knowledge, to control the information and media people see.

Seventy-three percent of respondents, which also included people in Denmark, Egypt, Germany, and Norway, said they want their governments to do more to regulate Big Tech. That includes nearly 66% of respondents in the U.S. who want such government action.

Only 16 percent of respondents overall said they did not want their governments to do more to regulate large technology companies.

“People are hankering for governments to do more to regulate these corporate giants,” said O’Carroll.

The poll findings, she continued, offer “a damning indictment of how Big Tech companies harvest and use our personal data. People want to see an end to tech companies trampling over our right to privacy.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




How Google Is Stealing Your Personal Health Data

Video Source: Wall Street Journal

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Google, Amazon, and Microsoft collect data entered into the health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties — and this data is not anonymized, meaning it’s tied specifically to you, without your knowledge or consent
  • Google, Amazon, Apple and the startup Xealth, are also data mining people’s personal electronic medical records to expand their businesses
  • In the wrong hands, your medical information can have real-world consequences, resulting in, for example, higher insurance premiums or denial of employment
  • Google is amassing health data from millions of Americans in 21 states through its Project Nightingale, and patients have not been informed of this data mining
  • The partnership that gives Google access to this medical data is covered by a “business associate agreement.” HIPAA allows hospitals and medical providers to share your information with third parties that support clinical activities, and according to Google’s interpretation of the privacy laws, it’s not in breach of these laws because it’s a “business associate”

Expert Review by Maryam Heinen

Google, by far one of the greatest monopolies that ever existed, and poses a unique threat to anyone concerned about health, supplements, food and your ability to obtain truthful information about these and other issues.

This year, we’ve seen an unprecedented push to implement censorship across all online platforms, making obtaining and sharing crucial information about holistic health increasingly difficult.

As detailed in “Stark Evidence Showing How Google Censors Health News,” Google’s June 2019 update, which took effect June 3, effectively removed Mercola.com and hundreds of other natural health sites from Google search results. Google is also building a specific search tool for medical and health-related searches.1

And, while not the sole threat to privacy, Google is definitely one of the greatest. Over time, Google has positioned itself in such a way that it’s become deeply embedded in your day-to-day life, including your health.

In recent years, the internet and medicine have become increasingly intertwined, giving rise to “virtual medicine” and self-diagnosing — a trend that largely favors drugs and costly, invasive treatments — and Google has its proverbial fingers in multiple slices of this pie.

Health Data Mining Poses Unique Privacy Risks

For example, in 2016, Google partnered with WebMD, launching an app allowing users to ask medical questions.2 The following year, Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, launching a depression self-assessment quiz which turned out to be little more than stealth marketing for antidepressants.3,4

Google and various tech startups have also been investigating the possibility of assessing mental health problems using a combination of electronic medical records and tracking your internet and social media use.

In 2018, Google researchers announced they’d created an artificial intelligence-equipped retinal scanner that can appraise your risk for a heart attack.5

According to a recent Financial Times report,6 Google, Amazon and Microsoft collect data entered into the health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties — and this data is not anonymized, meaning it’s tied to specifically to you, without your knowledge or consent.

What this means is DoubleClick, Google’s ad service will know which prescriptions you’ve searched for on Drugs.com, thus providing you with personalized drug ads. Meanwhile, Facebook receives information about what you’ve searched for in WebMD’s symptom checker.

“There is a whole system that will seek to take advantage of you because you’re in a compromised state,” Tim Lebert, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University told Financial Times.7 “I find that morally repugnant.”

While some find these kinds of technological advancements enticing, others see a future lined with red warning flags. As noted by Wolfie Christl, a technologist, and researcher interviewed by Financial Times:8

“These findings are quite remarkable, and very concerning. From my perspective, this kind of data are clearly sensitive, has special protections

The following graphic, created by Financial Times, illustrates the flow of data from BabyCenter.com, a site that focuses on pregnancy, children’s health and parenting, to third parties, and the types of advertising these third parties then generate.

user data sent to third parties

Tech Companies Are Accessing Your Medical Records

As described in the featured Wall Street Journal video,9 a number of tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, and the startup Xealth, are diving into people’s personal electronic medical records to expand their businesses.

Xealth has developed an application that is embedded in your electronic health records. Doctors who use the Xealth application — which aims to serve most health care sectors and is being rapidly adopted as a preferred “digital formulary”10 — give the company vast access to market products to their patients. The app includes lists of products and services a doctor believes might be beneficial for certain categories of patients.

When seeing a patient, the doctor will select the products and services he or she wants the patient to get, generating an electronic shopping list that is then sent to the patient. The shopping links direct the patient to purchase these items from Xealth’s third-party shopping sites, such as Amazon.

As noted in the video, “Some privacy experts worry that certain Xealth vendors can see when a patient purchased a product through Xealth, and therefore through their electronic health record.” In the video, Jennifer Miller, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine says:

”In theory, it could boost adherence to physician recommendations, which is a huge challenge in the U.S. health care system. On the other side, there are real worries about what type of information Amazon in particular is getting access to.

So, from what I understand, when a patient clicks on that Xealth app and is taken to Amazon, the data are coded as Xealth data, which means Amazon likely knows that you purchased these products through your electronic health records.”

Amazon Is Mining Health Records

Amazon, in turn, has developed software, called Amazon Comprehend Medical, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to mine people’s electronic health records. This software has been sold to hospitals, pharmacies, researchers and various other health care providers.

The software reveals medical and health trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. As one example, given in the video, a researcher can use this software to mine tens of thousands of health records to identify candidates for a specific research study.

While this can certainly be helpful, it can also be quite risky, due to potential inaccuracies. Doctors may enter inaccurate data for a patient, for example, data that, was it accurate, would render that patient a poor test subject.

Apple is also getting in on the action through its health app. It facilitates access to electronic medical records by importing all your records directly from your health care provider. The app is meant to be “helpful” by allowing you to pull up your medical records on your iPhone and present them to any doctor, anywhere in the world.

What Does This Mean for Your Privacy

While tech companies like Amazon and Apple claim your data are encrypted (to protect it from hacking) and that they cannot view your records directly, data breaches have become so common that such “guarantees” are next to worthless.

As noted in the video by Dudley Adams, a data use expert at the University of California, San Francisco, “No encryption is perfect. All it takes is time for that encryption to be broken.” One very real concern about having your medical records hacked into is that your information may be sold to insurance companies and your employer, which they can then use against you, either by raising your rates or denying employment.

After all, sick people cost insurance companies and employers more money, so both have a vested interest in avoiding chronically ill individuals. So, where your medical records to get out, you could potentially become uninsurable or unemployable.

Google Collects Health Data on Millions of Americans

Getting back to Google, a whistleblower recently revealed the company amassed health data from millions of Americans in 21 states through its Project Nightingale,11,12 and patients have not been informed of this data mining. As reported by The Guardian:13

“A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale … has expressed anger to the Guardian that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal.

The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale.

The secret scheme … involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the U.S. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification …

Among the documents are the notes of a private meeting held by Ascension operatives involved in Project Nightingale. In it, they raise serious concerns about the way patients’ personal health information will be used by Google to build new artificial intelligence and other tools.”

The anonymous whistleblower told The Guardian:

“Most Americans would feel uncomfortable if they knew their data was being haphazardly transferred to Google without proper safeguards and security in place. This is a totally new way of doing things. Do you want your most personal information transferred to Google? I think a lot of people would say no.”

On a side note, the video the whistleblower uploaded to Daily Motion has since been taken down, with a note saying the “video has been removed due to a breach of the Terms of Use.”

According to Google and Ascension, the data being shared will be used to build a search tool with machine-learning algorithms that will spit out diagnostic recommendations and suggestions for medications that health professionals can then use to guide them in their treatment.

Google claims only a limited number of individuals will have access to the data, but just how trustworthy is Google these days? Something tells me that since the data includes full personal details, they’ll have no problem figuring out a way to eventually make full use of it.

Google Acquires Fitbit

In November 2019, the company also acquired Fitbit for $2.1 billion, giving Google access to the health data of Fitbit’s 25.4 million active users14 as well. While Google says it won’t sell or use Fitbit data for Google ads, some users have already ditched their devices for fear of privacy breaches.15 As reported by The Atlantic on November 14, 2019:16

“Immediately, users voiced concern about Google combining fitness data with the sizeable cache of information it keeps on its users. Google assured detractors that it would follow all relevant privacy laws, but the regulatory-compliance discussion only distracted from the strange future coming into view.

As Google pushes further into health care, it is amassing a trove of data about our shopping habits, the prescriptions we use, and where we live, and few regulations are governing how it uses these data.”

How HIPAA Laws Actually Allow This Data Mining

The HIPAA Security Rule is supposed to protect your medical records, preventing access by third parties — including spouses — unless you specifically give your permission for records to be shared. So, just how is it that Google and other tech companies can mine them at will?

As it turns out, the Google-Ascension partnership that gives Google access to medical data is covered by a “business associate agreement” or BAA. HIPAA allows hospitals and medical providers to share your information with third parties that support clinical activities, and according to Google’s interpretation of the privacy laws and HIPAA regulations, the company is not in breach of these laws because it’s a “business associate.”

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into the legality of this arrangement.17 As reported by The Atlantic:18

“If HHS determines that Google and its handling of private information make it something more akin to a health care provider itself (because of its access to sensitive information from multiple sources who aren’t prompted for consent), it may find Google and Ascension in violation of the law and refer the matter to the Department of Justice for potential criminal prosecution.

But whether or not the deal goes through, its very existence points to a larger limitation of health-privacy laws, which were drafted long before tech giants started pouring billions into revolutionizing health care.”

Patients Bear the Risk While Third-Parties Benefit

BAA agreements only allow for the disclosure of protected health information to entities that help the medical institution to perform its health care functions. The third party is not permitted to use the data for its own purposes or in any independent way.

I personally find it hard to believe that Google would not find a way to profit from this personal health data, considering its web-like business structure that ties into countless other for-profit parties. Even if they don’t, there does not appear to be any distinct advantages to patients whose records are being shared. As reported by STAT News:19

“Jennifer Miller, a Yale medical school professor who studies patient privacy issues, said the way health information is being shared, whether legal or not, is far from ideal. Patients — whose data are shared without their knowledge or specific consent — end up with all the risks, she said, while the benefits, financial or otherwise, go to Google, Ascension, and potentially future patients.”

As reported by Health IT Security20 in March 2019, Democratic senator of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, has also introduced a data privacy bill “that would require companies not covered by HIPAA to obtain explicit consent from patients before sharing health and genetic data.”

“The bill covers the collecting and storing of sensitive data, such as biometrics, genetics, or location data,” Health IT Security writes.21 “The consent form must outline how that data will be used.

And the bill will also let consumers request, dispute the accuracy of their records, and transfer or delete their data “without retribution” around price or services offered.

Further, organizations would need to apply three standards to all data collection, processing, storage, and disclosure. First, collection must be for a legitimate business or operation purpose, without subjecting individuals to unreasonable risks to their privacy.

Further, the data may not be used to discriminate against individuals for protected characteristics, such as religious beliefs. Lastly, companies may not engage in deceptive data practices.”

Google Partnership Spurs Class-Action Lawsuit

The fact that patients don’t want Google to access their medical records is evidenced by a class-action lawsuit filed in the summer of 2019 against the University of Chicago Medical Center which, like Ascension, allowed Google access to identifiable patient data through a partnership with the University of Chicago. As reported by WTTW News June 28, 2019:22

“All three institutions are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed … by Matt Dinerstein, who received treatment at the medical center during two hospital stays in 2015.

The collaboration between Google and the University of Chicago was launched in 2017 to study electronic health records and develop new machine-learning techniques to create predictive models that could prevent unplanned hospital readmissions, avoid costly complications and save lives …

The tech giant has similar partnerships with Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco. But that partnership violated federal law protecting patient privacy, according to the lawsuit, by allowing Google to access electronic health records of ‘nearly every patient’ at the medical center from 2009 to 2016.

The suit also claims Google will use the patient data to develop commercial health care technologies … The lawsuit claims the university breached its contracts with patients by ‘failing to keep their medical information private and confidential.’ It also alleges UChicago violated an Illinois law that prohibits companies from engaging in deceptive practices with clients.”

Like Ascension, the University of Chicago claims no confidentiality breaches have been made since Google is a business associate. However, the lawsuit claims HIPAA was still violated because medical records were shared that “included sufficient information for Google to re-identify patients.”

The lawsuit also points out that Google does indeed have a commercial interest in all of this information, and can use it by combining it with its AI and advanced machine learning.

According to the plaintiffs, Google’s acquisition of DeepMind “has allowed Google to find connections between electronic health records and Google users’ data.” The news report also points out that:23

“In 2015, Google and DeepMind obtained patient information from the Royal Free NHS Trust Foundation to conduct a study, which a data protection watchdog organization said ‘failed to comply with data protection law.’”

Health-Tracking Shoes and Other Privacy Abominations

Google is also investing in other wearable technologies aimed at tracking users’ health data, including:24

  • Shoes designed to monitor your weight, movement, and falls
  • “Smart” contact lenses for people with age-related farsightedness and those who have undergone cataract surgery25 (a glucose-sensing contact lens for diabetics was canceled in 2018 after four years of development26)
  • A smartwatch to provide information for clinical research27
  • An all-in-one insulin patch pump for Type 2 diabetics that are prefilled and connected to the internet28

Google also has big plans for expanding the use of AI in health care. According to CB Insights,29 “The company is applying AI to disease detection, new data infrastructure, and potentially insurance.”

As mentioned earlier, insurance companies can jack up premiums based on your health. So, what could possibly go wrong by having Google’s AI wired into the insurance market?

Google has also partnered with drugmaker Sanofi, which “will leverage Google’s cloud and AI technologies and integrate them into its biological innovations and scientific data which in turn will accelerate the medicine discovery process,” according to a Yahoo! Finance report.30

According to Yahoo! Finance, “the collaboration will aid in the identification of the various types of treatments suitable for patients. Additionally, Google’s AI tools are likely to be utilized by Sanofi in improving marketing and supply efforts and in forecasting sales.”

In plain English, this partnership will help Sanofi sell more drugs, which can hardly be said to be for the patients’ best interest, but rather that of Sanofi and Google. As mentioned earlier, Verily, Google’s health care division is also collaborating with Sanofi, Novartis, Otsuka, and Pfizer to help them identify suitable patients for clinical drug trials.31

To boost drug sales even further, Verily is working with Walgreens to deploy a “medication adherence” project, in which patients are equipped with devices to ensure they’re taking their medication as prescribed.32

Amazon also plays a part in the drug adherence scheme with its recent buyout of Pillpack, an online pharmacy that offers prepackaged pillboxes with all the different medications you’re taking.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Amazon is also planning to develop at-home medical testing devices and is rolling out the option to make medical-related purchases from Amazon using your health savings account. All of these things generate health-related data points that can then be used for other purposes, be it personalized marketing or insurance premium decisions.

Have You Had Enough of Google’s Privacy Intrusions Yet?

Add to all of this data mining the fact that Google is actively manipulating search results and making decisions about what you’re allowed to see and what you’re not based on its own and third-party interests — a topic detailed in a November 15, 2019, Wall Street Journal investigation.33 The dangers ahead should be self-evident.

Now more than ever we must work together to share health information with others by word-of-mouth, by text and email. We have built-in simple sharing tools at the top of each article so you can easily email or text interesting articles to your friends and family.

My information is here because all of your support and share it, and we can do this without Big Tech’s support. It’s time to boycott and share! Here are a few other suggestions:

Become a subscriber to my newsletter and encourage your friends and family to do the same. This is the easiest and safest way to make sure you’ll stay up to date on important health and environmental issues.
If you have any friends or relatives that are seriously interested in their health, please share important articles with them and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter.
Consider dumping any Android phone the next time you get a phone. Android is a Google operating system and will seek to gather as much data as they can about you for their benefit. iPhone, while not perfect, appears to have better privacy protections.
Use the internal Mercola.com search engine when searching for articles on my site.
Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:

  • Stop using Google search engines and recognize that even engines that honor privacy like Start Page, still use Google as their back end and provide censored results. Alternatives include DuckDuckGo34 and Qwant35
  • Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave or Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.36 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN service (a virtual private network) to further preserve your privacy
  • If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service such as ProtonMail,37 an encrypted email service based in Switzerland
  • Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives38
  • If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts
Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition created by Citizens Against Monopoly

Read more great articles at mercola.com




Contract for the Web: Internet Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Global Plan to Battle ‘Digital Dystopia’

“The Web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. It has changed the world for good and improved the lives of billions. Yet, many people are still unable to access its benefits and, for others, the Web comes with too many unacceptable costs.” (Image: Contract for the Web)

By Jon Queally | Common Dreams

Along with allies from across the globe, Sir Tim Berners-Lee—the computer engineer credited with inventing the world wide web—has unveiled a new global plan designed to restore and enshrine some of the key principles of the revolutionary technology that he and his colleagues believe have been subsumed by government censorship and surveillance as well as a rapacious corporate appetite for endless data, monetization, and profit.

“Only through real commitment and concrete action from all members of the internet community—especially governments and companies—will we make the necessary reforms to put people and rights back at the center of the internet.”
—Brett Solomon, Access Now
Called the ‘Contract for the Web,’ the project sets out a bold set of principles designed to save the web from the forces that have stolen its potential and in many cases turned the technology’s powers against the very people and institutions it was intended to serve.

“The Web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. It has changed the world for good and improved the lives of billions,” reads a statement on the project’s homepage. “Yet, many people are still unable to access its benefits and, for others, the Web comes with too many unacceptable costs.”

A vision put forth by 80 organizations, representing governments, companies and civil society from around the world,  explained Berners-Lee in a New York Times op-ed that the Contract for the Web is “a global plan of action created over the past year by activists, academics, companies, governments and citizens from across the world to make sure our online world is safe, empowering and genuinely for everyone.”

In the Times, he wrote:

I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web.

However, the reality is much more complex. Communities are being ripped apart as prejudice, hate and disinformation are peddled online. Scammers use the web to steal identities, stalkers use it to harass and intimidate their victims, and bad actors subvert democracy using clever digital tactics. The use of targeted political ads in the United States’ 2020 presidential campaign and in elections elsewhere threatens once again to undermine voters’ understanding and choices.

If it is to be saved, he warned, the web “needs radical intervention from all those who have power over its future.”

“We’re at a tipping point,” he continued. “How we respond to this abuse will determine whether the web lives up to its potential as a global force for good or leads us into a digital dystopia.”

In a statement announcing the project’s launch, Berners-Lee said: “The power of the web to transform people’s lives, enrich society and reduce inequality is one of the defining opportunities of our time. But if we don’t act now—and act together—to prevent the web from being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering that potential.”

The Contract itself is based on 9 core principles—3 aimed at governments; 3 at companies; and 3 at citizens—which are:

Governments

1. Ensure everyone can connect to the internet
2. Keep all of the internet available, all of the time
3. Respect and protect peoples fundamental online privacy and data rights

Companies

4. Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone
5. Respect and protect people’s privacy and personal data to build online trust
6. Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst

Citizens

7. Be creators and collaborators on the Web
8. Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity
9. Fight for the Web

“Only through real commitment and concrete action from all members of the internet community—especially governments and companies—will we make the necessary reforms to put people and rights back at the center of the internet,” said Brett Solomon, executive director of the international digital rights group Access Now, which participated in the project.

While the website allows both individuals and organizations to endorse the set of principles, the Contract for the Web—led by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation—confirmed that the project launched with the backing of over 160 organizations and companies from around the world, including Microsoft, Google, Electronic Frontier Foundation, DuckDuckGo, CIPESA, Access Now, Reddit, Facebook, Reporters Without Borders and Ranking Digital Rights. In addition, thousands of individuals, hundreds of organizations and the governments of Germany, France, and Ghana all signed up to endorse its founding principles.

“The contract is already being used to inform policy decisions, as a best-practice guide for government and company officials, and as a tool to help civil society advocate change, measure progress and hold governments and companies accountable,” wrote Berners-Lee in his Times op-ed.

While a positive sign, he added, simply endorsing the principles will not be enough.

“Our World Wide Web Foundation, together with its global partners, will work to mobilize people around the world,” he said. “As the elections approach, raise these issues with your political representatives and candidates. The best way to change the priorities and actions of those in power is to speak up.”

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Read more great articles at Common Dreams.