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Posts Tagged ‘pre-crime’

Will Google’s Social Credit System Determine Your Future?

Posted by M. C. on February 13, 2020

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

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.

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/02/12/google-social-credit-system.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

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 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 analytic 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 TV’s 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 use 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 of 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

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Rutherford Institute :: A New Kind of Tyranny: The Global State’s War on Those Who Speak Truth to Power | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on November 6, 2019

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/a_new_kind_of_tyranny_the_global_states_war_on_those_who_speak_truth_to_power

By John W. Whitehead

“What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence. By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.”—John Pilger, investigative journalist

All of us are in danger.

In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.

The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.

Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.

Take Julian Assange, for example.

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks—a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources—was arrested on April 11, 2019, on charges of helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the U.S. government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.

Included among the leaked Manning material were the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), a quarter of a million diplomatic cables (November 2010), and the Guantánamo files (April 2011).

The Collateral Murder leak included gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while air crew laughed at some of the casualties. Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.

This is morally wrong.

It shouldn’t matter which nation is responsible for these atrocities: there is no defense for such evil perpetrated in the name of profit margins and war profiteering.

In true Orwellian fashion, however, the government would have us believe that it is Assange and Manning who are the real criminals for daring to expose the war machine’s seedy underbelly…

Federal judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia also fined Manning $500 for every day she remained in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days, a chilling—and financially crippling—example of the government’s heavy-handed efforts to weaponize fines and jail terms as a means of forcing dissidents to fall in line.

This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its chokehold on power.

Make no mistake: the government is waging war on journalists and whistleblowers for disclosing information relating to government misconduct that is within the public’s right to know…

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has not merely continued the Obama Administration’s attack on whistleblowers. It has injected this war on truth-tellers and truth-seekers with steroids and let it loose on the First Amendment.

In May 2019, Trump’s Justice Department issued a sweeping new “superseding” secret indictment of Assange—hinged on the Espionage Act—that empowers the government to determine what counts as legitimate journalism and criminalize the rest, not to mention giving “the government license to criminally punish journalists it does not like, based on antipathy, vague standards, and subjective judgments.”

Noting that the indictment signaled grave dangers for freedom of the press in general, media lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., warned, “The indictment would criminalize the encouragement of leaks of newsworthy classified information, criminalize the acceptance of such information, and criminalize publication of it.”

Boutrous continues:

[I]t doesn’t matter whether you think Assange is a journalist, or whether WikiLeaks is a news organization. The theory that animates the indictment targets the very essence of journalistic activity: the gathering and dissemination of information that the government wants to keep secret. You don’t have to like Assange or endorse what he and WikiLeaks have done over the years to recognize that this indictment sets an ominous precedent and threatens basic First Amendment values…. With only modest tweaking, the very same theory could be invoked to prosecute journalists for the very same crimes being alleged against Assange, simply for doing their jobs of scrutinizing the government and reporting the news to the American people.

We desperately need greater scrutiny and transparency, not less…

Once again, we find ourselves reliving George Orwell’s 1984, which portrayed in chilling detail how totalitarian governments employ the power of language to manipulate the masses.

In Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

Much like today’s social media censors and pre-crime police departments, Orwell’s Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the other government agencies peddle in economic affairs (rationing and starvation), law and order (torture and brainwashing), and news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda).

Orwell’s Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.

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

This is the final link in the police state chain.

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—our backs are to the walls.

From this point on, we have only two options: go down fighting, or capitulate and betray our loved ones, our friends and ourselves by insisting that, as a brainwashed Winston Smith does at the end of Orwell’s 1984, yes, 2+2 does equal 5.

As George Orwell recognized, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Be seeing you

war-is-peace

 

 

 

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7 Reasons to Oppose Red Flag Guns Laws – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on November 1, 2019

If this sounds far-fetched, consider that the president recently called upon social media companies to collaborate with the Department of Justice to catch “red flags” using algorithmic technology.

The idea that governments can prevent crimes before they occur may sound like sci-fi fantasy (which it is), but the threat such ideas pose to civil liberties is quite real.

https://fee.org/articles/7-reasons-to-oppose-red-flag-guns-laws/

Jon Miltimore

Here are seven reasons red flag laws should be opposed, particularly at the federal level.

1. There’s No Evidence Red Flag Laws Reduce Gun Violence

Most people haven’t heard of red flag laws until recently—if they have at all—but they aren’t new.

Connecticut enacted the nation’s first red flag law in 1999, followed by Indiana (2005). This means social scientists have had decades to analyze the effectiveness of these laws. And what did they find?

“The evidence,” The New York Times recently reported, “for whether extreme risk protection orders work to prevent gun violence is inconclusive, according to a study by the RAND Corporation on the effectiveness of gun safety measures.”

The Washington Post reports that California’s red flag went basically unused for two years after its passage in 2016. Washington, D.C.’s law has gone entirely unused. Other states, such as Florida and Maryland, have gone the other direction, seizing hundreds of firearms from gun-owners. Yet it’s unclear if these actions stopped a shooting.

With additional states passing red flag laws, researchers will soon have much more data to analyze. But before passing expansive federal legislation that infringes on civil liberties, lawmakers should have clear and compelling empirical evidence that red flag laws actually do what they are intended to do.

2. Congress Lacks the Authority

The Founding Fathers clearly enumerated the powers of the federal government in the Constitution. Among the powers granted in Article I, Section 8 are “the power to coin money, to regulate commerce, to declare war, to raise and maintain armed forces, and to establish a Post Office.”

Regulating firearms is not among the powers listed in the Constitution (though this has not always stopped lawmakers from regulating them). In fact, the document expressly forbids the federal government from doing so, stating in the Second Amendment that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

3. We Have Federalism

Unlike the federal government, whose powers, James Madison noted, are “few and defined,” states possess powers that “are numerous and indefinite.”

Indeed, 17 states and the District of Columbia already have red flag laws, and many more states are in the process of adding them. This shows that the people and their representatives are fully capable of passing such laws if they choose. If red flag laws are deemed desirable, this is the appropriate place to pursue such laws, assuming they pass constitutional muster. But do they?

4. Red Flag Laws Violate Due Process

The Constitution mandates that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

Seizing the property of individuals who have been convicted of no crime violates this provision. Gun control advocates claim due process is not violated because people whose firearms are taken can appeal to courts to reclaim their property. However, as economist Raheem Williams has observed, “this backward process would imply that the Second Amendment is a privilege, not a right.”

Depriving individuals of a clearly established, constitutionally-guaranteed right in the absence of criminal charges or trial is an affront to civil liberties.

5. Red Flag Laws Could Lead to More Violence

In 2018, two Maryland police officers shot and killed 61-year-old Gary Willis in his own house after waking him at 5:17 a.m. The officers, who were not harmed during the shooting, had been ordered to remove guns from his home under the state’s red flag law, which had gone into effect one month prior to the shooting.

While red flag laws are designed to reduce violence, it’s possible they could do the opposite by creating confrontations between law enforcement and gun owners like Willis, especially as the enforcement of red flag laws expands.

6. It’s Not Just the “Mentally Ill” and Grave Threats Who Are Flagged

In theory, red flag laws are supposed to target individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. In practice, they can work quite differently.

In a 14-page analysis, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island explained that few people understand just how expansive the state’s red flag law is.

“It is worth emphasizing that while a seeming urgent need for [the law] derives from recent egregious and deadly mass shootings, [the law’s] reach goes far beyond any efforts to address such extraordinary incidents,” the authors said. Individuals who find themselves involved in these proceedings often have no clear constitutional right to counsel.

“As written, a person could be subject to an extreme risk protective order (ERPO) without ever having committed, or even having threatened to commit, an act of violence with a firearm.”

Though comprehensive information is thin, and laws differ from state to state, anecdotal evidence suggests Rhode Island’s law is not unique. A University of Central Florida student, for example, was hauled into proceedings and threatened with a year-long RPO (risk protection order) for saying “stupid” things on Reddit following a mass shooting, even though the student had no criminal history and didn’t own a firearm. (The student also was falsely portrayed as a “ticking time bomb” by police, Jacub Sullum reports.) Another man, Reason reports, was slapped with an RPO for criticizing teenage gun control activists online and sharing a picture of an AR-15 rifle he had built.

Individuals who find themselves involved in these proceedings often have no clear constitutional right to counsel, civil libertarians point out.

7. They’re Basically Pre-Crime

As I’ve previously observed, red flag laws are essentially a form of pre-crime, a theme explored in the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, based on a 1956 Philip K. Dick novel.

I’m not the only writer to make the connection. In an article that appeared in Salon, Travis Dunn linked red flag laws “to the science fiction scenario of The Minority Report, in which precognitive police try to stop crimes before they’re committed.”

That government can prevent crimes before they occur may sound like sci-fi fantasy (which it is), but the threat posed to civil liberties is quite real.

If this sounds far-fetched, consider that the president recently called upon social media companies to collaborate with the Department of Justice to catch “red flags” using algorithmic technology.

The idea that governments can prevent crimes before they occur may sound like sci-fi fantasy (which it is), but the threat such ideas pose to civil liberties is quite real.

Compromising civil liberties and property rights to prevent acts of violence that have yet to occur are policies more suited for dystopian thrillers⁠—and police states⁠—than a free society.

It’s clear that laws of this magnitude should not be passed as an emotional or political response to an event, even a tragic one.

Be seeing you

Amazon.com: Minority Report: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell ...

 

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AG William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2019

And some of us thought Barr was a good guy.

Power, control, the US Department of “Justice”

The DOJ, which includes the FIB, has its own “living” definition of crime.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/william-barr-formally-announces-orwellian-pre-crime-program/262504/

by Whitney Webb
Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public.

Barr also requested that those who received the memorandum send their “best and brightest” to a training conference at FBI headquarters this coming December where the DOJ, FBI and “private sector partners” will prepare for the full implementation of the new policy and will also be able to provide “new ideas” for inclusion in the program.

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the memorandum is Barr’s frank admission that many of the “early engagement” tactics that the new program would utilize were “born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats.” In other words, the foundation for many of the policies utilized following the post-9/11 “war on terror” are also the foundation for the “early engagement” tactics that Barr seeks to use to identify potential criminals as part of this new policy. Though those “war on terror” policies have largely targeted individuals abroad, Barr’s memorandum makes it clear that some of those same controversial tactics will soon be used domestically.

Barr’s memorandum also alludes to current practices by the FBI and DOJ that will shape the new plan. Though more specifics of the new policy will be provided in the forthcoming notice, Barr notes that “newly developed tactics” used by the Joint Terrorist Task Forces “include the use of clinical psychologists, threat assessment professionals, intervention teams and community groups” to detect risk and suggests that the new “early engagement program” will work along similar lines. Barr also alludes to this “community” approach in a separate instance, when he writes that “when the public ‘says something’ to alert us to a potential threat, we must do something.”

However, the memorandum differentiates suspected terrorists from the individuals this new program is set to pursue. Barr states that, unlike many historical terrorism cases, “many of today’s public safety threats appear abruptly and with sometimes only ambiguous indications of intent” and that many of these individuals “exhibit symptoms of mental illness and/or have substance abuse problems.”

Thus, the goal of the program is ostensibly to circumvent these issues by finding new and likely controversial ways to determine intent. As will be shown later in this report, Barr’s recent actions suggest that the way this will be accomplished is through increased mass surveillance of everyday Americans and the use of algorithms to analyze that bulk data for vaguely defined symptoms of “mental illness.”

Barr also suggested the likely courses of action that would follow the identification of a given individual as a “potential mass shooter.” The Attorney General notes that in past cases individuals deemed a violent or terroristic threat before they commit a crime are subject to “detention, court-ordered mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, electronic monitoring”, among other measures. Ostensibly, the new program would then apply these same practices to individuals in the U.S. that federal authorities believe are “mobilizing towards violence,” as Barr put it.

Bill Barr’s been busy

The memorandum, despite heralding a new era of Orwellian surveillance and “pre-crime” on a national level, has been sparsely covered by the mainstream media. One of the few reports that did cover the new Justice Department policy, published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, framed the new Barr-led initiative as largely positive and asserted that the “anti-terror tactics” to which Barr alluded could “help thwart mass shooters.” No mention was made in the piece of the threat such a program is likely to pose to civil liberties.

Furthermore, no mention was made of Barr’s clear push over the past few months to lay the groundwork for this recently announced program. Indeed, since becoming Attorney General under President Trump, Barr has spearheaded numerous efforts to this end, including pushing for a government backdoor into consumer apps or devices that utilize encryption and for a dramatic increase of long-standing yet controversial warrantless electronic surveillance programs.

On July 23rd, Barr gave the keynote address at the 2019 International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) and mainly focused on the need for consumer electronic products and applications that use encryption to offer a “backdoor” for the government, specifically law enforcement, in order to obtain access to encrypted communications as a matter of public safety.

Barr went onto say that “warrant-proof encryption is also seriously impairing our ability to monitor and combat domestic and foreign terrorists.” Barr stated that “smaller terrorist groups and ‘lone wolf’ actors” — such as those involved in the series of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that occurred in the weeks after his speech — “have turned increasingly to encryption.” Barr later noted that he was specifically referencing encryption used by “consumer products and services such as messaging, smartphones, email, and voice and data applications.”

To overcome the resistance by some private companies — who do not want to renege on their right to privacy by giving the government backdoor access to their devices — and American consumers, Barr tellingly anticipated “a major incident may occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues.” Shortly after this speech, several mass shootings, including one at an El Paso Walmart took place, which again brought the issue to the forefront of political discourse.

As MintPress reported at the time, Barr’s uncanny prediction and a litany of other oddities related to the El Paso shooting left many answered questions about the FBI’s foreknowledge of the event. In addition, the tragedy did appear to serve as the very “galvanizing” event that Barr had anticipated, as the solution offered by President Trump in the wake of the shootings was the creation of a government backdoor into encryption as well as calling for the very pre-crime system Barr formally announced just last week.

The pre-crime dragnet takes shape

More recently, Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a data access agreement on October 3rd that allows both countries to demand electronic data on consumers from tech companies based in the other country without legal restrictions. It is the first executive agreement reached as part of the controversial Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act or CLOUD Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year.

The CLOUD Act has come under fire from rights groups who have warned that the legislation gives “unlimited jurisdiction to U.S. law enforcement over any data controlled by a service provider, regardless of where the data is stored and who created it” and that this also “applies to content, metadata, and subscriber information”, including private messages.

Yet, Barr and Patel claimed that the data access agreement will instead “enhance” civil liberties and further asserted that the agreement would be used to go after “pedophiles” and “organized crime”, even though both Barr and his U.K. equivalent have shown minimal interest in pursuing the co-conspirators of child sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, whose sex trafficking network has been linked to both organized crime and the intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Israel. Some have charged that the lack of interest on the part of William Barr is due to the fact that Barr’s father once hired the now deceased pedophile.

Notably, Jeffrey Epstein also had an apparent interest in pre-crime technologies, and was a key funder of the controversial technology company Carbyne911, along with former Israeli Prime Minister and close Epstein associate Ehud Barak. Carbyne911 is one of several Israeli companies that market their software products to the U.S. as a means of reducing mass shootings and improving the response times of emergency service providers. These companies boast numerous and troubling connections to the governments and intelligence communities of both the U.S. and Israel. Epstein, himself linked to the intelligence apparatuses of both nations, invested at least $1 million in Carbyne911 through a “data mining” company he controlled.

As was detailed in a recent MintPress exposé on these companies, Carbyne911 and similar companies extract any and all data from consumer smartphones for merely making emergency calls and then use it to “analyze the past and present behavior of their callers, react accordingly, and in time predict future patterns,” with the ultimate goal of smart devices making emergency calls to the authorities, as opposed to human beings.

Data obtained from these software products, already used by several U.S. counties and slated to be adopted nationwide as part of a new national “next generation” 911 system, will then be shared with the same law enforcement agencies who will soon be implementing Barr’s “national disruption and early engagement program” to target individuals flagged as potentially violent based on vague criteria.

Notably, following the El Paso shooting, President Trump has been mulling the creation of a new federal agency known as HARPA that would work with the Department of Justice to use “breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,” specifically “advanced analytical tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.” The data to be analyzed would be harvested from consumer electronic devices as well as information provided by health-care providers to identify who may be a threat.

It is important to point out that such initiatives, whether HARPA or Barr’s newly announced program, are likely to define “mental illness” to include some political beliefs, given that the FBI recently stated in an internal memo that “conspiracy theories” were motivating some domestic terror threats and a series of questionable academic studies have sought to link “conspiracy theorists” to mental illnesses. Thus, the Department of Justice and “mental health professionals” have essentially already defined those who express disbelief in official government narratives as both a terror threat and mentally ill — and thus worthy of special attention from pre-crime programs.

Sleepwalking into a nightmare

This widely overlooked background is crucial to understanding William Barr’s recent memorandum and the massive and greatly underreported shift in the policy it heralds. Over a period of several months, Barr — aided by “private sector partners” as well as other current and former government officials — has been laying the groundwork for the system he has now formally announced.

Through the software products offered by companies like Carbyne911 and through Barr’s personal crusade to mandate government backdoors into encrypted software and products, Barr’s new pre-crime program already has the tools for the mass extraction and storage of consumer data by means of both private tech companies and public services like emergency call centers.

Through the already drafted plan for HARPA and its proposed solution to identifying “mental illness” via artificial intelligence and machine learning, this newly announced “pre-crime” program will have the means to analyze the mass of data harvested from consumer electronic devices from Carbyne and other means using vague “mental health criteria.”

While many of the specifics of the program remain unknown, the actions of Barr and others in government and private sectors show that this newly announced initiative is the product of years of careful planning and many of the tactics and tools it is poised to use have been in the works for months and even years.

In recent decades, and especially after the September 11 attacks, Americans have quietly traded an increasing number of civil liberties for increased government “counter-terrorism” programs and wars purportedly waged to “keep us safe.” Now, those same policies used to target “terrorists” are set to be used against ordinary Americans, whose electronic lives and communications are now set to be scoured for evidence of “mental illness.” If these untransparent algorithms flag an individual, that could be enough lead to court-ordered “mental health treatment” or even imprisonment regardless of whether or not a crime was committed or even planned.

As a consequence, William Barr’s coming “pre-crime” program is arguably worse than the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels and films as it not only aims to detain Americans who have committed no crime but will expressly target individuals based on their use of electronic consumer products and the contents of their communications with their friends, family, co-workers, and others.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

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Probable Cause: I Should Have No Privacy? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 11, 2019

A society can get rid of all sorts of crimes, misdemeanors, and unwanted behavior. A way of doing this is introducing total surveillance. There may be some issues with capacity and corruption among the watchmen, but in theory it is at least possible. The concept of pre-crime of Minority Report comes to mind. Do we really want such a society?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/jrn-k-baltzersen/probable-cause-i-should-have-no-privacy/

By

Thirteen is an unlucky number, some say. I was making my way for my twelfth visit, also counting one overnight transit, to the United States.

It’s the type of story you always hope never turns out to be about yourself. In July, I was on my way to the twelfth FreedomFest in Las Vegas, and yes, it is by a coincidence also my twelfth visit to the American union; all my visits to the U.S. have not been FreedomFest occasions.

Perhaps 12 is my unlucky number?

What Happened?

I flew in to Detroit Metropolitan Airport with my international flight. I had heard stories about seizures and searches of electronic devices. That was why I had planned not to bring my ordinary laptop, only a reserve/backup device.

I came to the immigration checkpoint. The standard procedure with questioning started. I answered the questions as best I could. I told the officer my purpose was a conference, and upon followup I said it was the FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Apparently, the officer was so interested in the conference she googled it.

I don’t know what the reason for it was. Was it one of my answers that provoked them? Was it the fact that I was a single male traveler? Was it my information about going to a conference? I don’t know. No matter the cause, I was taken to a room for extended interview/interrogation.

There were several subjects of extended checks in this room.

I was ordered early on to get my checked bag.

They turned the pages of my physical papers.

I don’t know what it was that triggered it. Could it have been my misunderstanding of a question, interpreted by the officer as ill intent? Could I have hesitated for a few seconds too long in answering a question, interpreted by the officer as my having something to hide? Was it that I didn’t have any conference, hotel, or return flight documentation on me? Was it that I was claiming to go to a (suspect) freedom conference?

No matter the cause, I was requested/ordered to put my cell phone on and in flight mode and to enter the password.

They were two officers now. I was given an informational form about seizures of electronic devices. I could observe that an officer was scanning my cell phone with another cell phone. When the officer did so, she had opened my text messages. Parts of my text message threads were being scanned.

The officer searching my phone finished her search of my phone by telling the other officer she didn’t find anything.

When I was let go from the intrusive questioning and searching, I asked about the photographing of my phone. I was told it was just translating. When checking my phone later on, several apps I never use had apparently been opened.

Later, when I got home I filed a complaint/inquiry. To be exact, this was on July 31. Specifically, in this inquiry, I asked for the specific reason for my phone search. Normal processing time is stated to be 10-15 working days. While high season may cause processing time to be longer, I still haven’t heard anything, and more than 3-4 times that stated normal processing time has now passed.

One of the the immigration officers nagged about the place I was staying, which I had given exact details of both in my ESTA application and when filling out information via the airline. Apparently, it was a problem that I didn’t remember the street number exactly – or was unsure about the zip code. He had also been nagging about my return flight, which was just a week later. Checking my passport, I had been granted entry for 90 days.

What Can Be Said About It?

Several travelers, also known as entry candidates, were in the same room at the same time. In the case they claim these extended checks are between the officers and the traveler, this is certainly not so…

A society can get rid of all sorts of crimes, misdemeanors, and unwanted behavior. A way of doing this is introducing total surveillance. There may be some issues with capacity and corruption among the watchmen, but in theory it is at least possible. The concept of pre-crime of Minority Report comes to mind. Do we really want such a society?

Be seeing you

TSA

Your Alternative to Facial Recognition

 

 

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The Rutherford Institute :: Red Flag Gun Laws: Yet Another Government Weapon for Compliance and Control |

Posted by M. C. on November 29, 2018

Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there. 

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/red_flag_gun_laws_yet_another_government_weapon_for_compliance_and_control

By John W. Whitehead

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”—George Santayana

We never learn.

In the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

Even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands.

Mark my words: red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats, will only add to the government’s power.

These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another Trojan Horse, a stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

Thirteen states now have red flag laws on their books. That number is growing.

As The Washington Post reports, these laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

In the midst of what feels like an epidemic of mass shootings, these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats. Read the rest of this entry »

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