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Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

Inside Biden’s new “domestic terrorism” strategy – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on July 3, 2021

Translation: DHS is working with social media monopolies to censor certain people, and paying them to pass citizens’ private information to the government and/or intelligence agencies.

https://off-guardian.org/2021/07/01/inside-bidens-new-domestic-terrorism-strategy/

Kit Knightly

Following the (completely contrived) Capitol Hill “riot” on January 6th, Joe Biden made it clear – or rather, the people that control Joe Biden made it clear – “domestic terrorism” was going to be a defining issue of his presidency.

Indeed, in an act of startling prescience, the incoming administration had been talking about a new “Domestic Terrorism Bill” for well over three months before the “riot” happened. The media had been calling for one for at least six. Major universities were writing papers about it.

It’s funny how often that happens, isn’t it?

I wrote at the time that the Capitol Hill “riot” could prove to be America’s Reichstag Fire – a fake attack, blamed on an invisible enemy and used to rush through restrictive legislation and emergency powers. A 9/11 sequel, extending the Patriot Act franchise.

Now, just a few short months later, the Biden White House has released their National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Let’s take a look inside it, shall we?

So, what is “domestic terrorism”?

The first thing to say about the “strategy”…is that it’s not really a strategy. It’s more of a mission statement or even a press release. It hits talking points, but not real policies. Its watchword is “vague” – in both definition of the problem and proposed solutions (with a couple of noteworthy exceptions, but we’ll get to that.)

For starters – who or what IS a “domestic terrorist”?

Well, their answer to that is, essentially, potentially anybody. They’re not identifying any particular ideology or cause or group – but rather EVERY ideology cause or group. I wrote, back in January, that any definition would be kept intentionally loose, and the strategy does not disappoint.

The cause of “domestic terrorism” can be racism, religious intolerance, environmental protest, anti-government feeling, animal rights, anti-abortion campaigners, “perceived government overeach”, “incel ideology”, “anti-corporate globalization feeling” or a mixture of any of the above.

“Domestic terrorists” may espouse violence or they may not espouse violence. They may work in groups, or be loners, or be loose associations with no organizational structure. They can be left wing or right wing, religious or secular.

They can be anybody who thinks anything.

There is a lot of entirely intentional vagueness here. Again and again, we are told that “the domestic terrorism threat is complex, multifaceted, and evolving”. They are keeping their options open.

Don’t expect ANY specifics on who is a “domestic terrorist” until AFTER any legislation is passed. That way, the great American public can insert their own personal bugbear into the ellipsis (and then be taken completely by surprise when it turns out the new laws apply to everyone).

That said, there have been some clues as to the kind of person that might be the target of any new anti-terror legislation.

In the Washington Post, in February this year, California State Senator Richard Pam wrote:

Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism

He wasn’t alone, on this side of the Atlantic the head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit “called for action against coronavirus anti-vaxxers”.

Even this document makes insinuations on that front.

In a startling contradiction, after spending five or six pages talking up the “complex” and “unpredictable” nature of “domestic terrorism”, they then make an incredibly specific prediction about a future “domestic terrorist attack”:

Taken from the “Assessment of the Domestic Violent Extremism Threat” (p. 10):

Newer sociopolitical developments–such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID–19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence–will almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year.

Apparently, the official position of the FBI, CIA, NSA and DHS is that domestic terrorism is a vast cloud of mystery, swirling with unknown and conflicting motivations….but they definitely know when the next attack will happen, and why it will take place..

So what’s to blame?

See the rest here

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The Overlapping Infrastructure of Urban Surveillance, and How to Fix It – Activist Post

Posted by M. C. on June 26, 2021

How do we stop the United States government from tapping into the internet’s main arteries? Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows for the collection and use of digital communications of people abroad, but often scoops up communications of U.S. persons when they talk to friends or family in other countries. EFF continues to fight Section 702 in the court in hopes of securing communications that travel through these essential cables.

https://www.activistpost.com/2021/06/the-overlapping-infrastructure-of-urban-surveillance-and-how-to-fix-it.html

By Matthew Guariglia

Between the increasing capabilities of local and state police, the creep of federal law enforcement into domestic policing, the use of aerial surveillance such as spy planes and drones, and mounting cooperation between private technology companies and the government, it can be hard to understand and visualize what all this overlapping surveillance can mean for your daily life. We often think of these problems as siloed issues. Local police deploy automated license plate readers or acoustic gunshot detection. Federal authorities monitor you when you travel internationally.

But if you could take a cross-section of the average city block, you would see the ways that the built environment of surveillance—its physical presence in, over, and under our cities—makes this an entwined problem that must be combated through entwined solutions.

Thus, we decided to create a graphic to show how—from overhead to underground—these technologies and legal authorities overlap, how they disproportionately impact the lives of marginalized communities, and the tools we have at our disposal to halt or mitigate their harms.

A cityscape showing 13 types of common surveillance

Going from Top to Bottom:

1. Satellite Surveillance:

Satellite photography has been a reality since the 1950s, and at any given moment there are over 5,000 satellites in orbit over the Earth—some of which have advanced photographic capabilities. While many are intended for scientific purposes, some satellites are used for reconnaissance by intelligence agencies and militaries. There are certainly some satellites that may identify a building or a car from its roof, but it’s unlikely that we could ever reach the point where pictures taken from a satellite would be clear enough or could even be the correct angle to run through face recognition technology or through an automated license plate reader.

Satellites can also enable surveillance by allowing governments to intercept or listen in on data transmitted internationally.

2. Internet Traffic Surveillance

Government surveillance of internet traffic can happen in many ways. Through programs like PRISM and XKEYSCORE, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) can monitor emails as they move across the internet, browser and search history, and even keystrokes as they happen in real time. Much of this information can come directly from the internet and telecommunications companies that consumers use, through agreements between these companies and government agencies (like the one the NSA shares with AT&T) or through warrants or orders granted by a judge, including those that preside over the Foriegn Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Internet surveillance isn’t just the domain of the NSA and international intelligence organizations; local law enforcement are just as likely to approach big companies in an attempt to get information about how some people use the internet. In one 2020 case, police sent a search warrant to Google to see who had searched the address of an arson victim to try to identify a suspect. Using the IP addresses Google furnished of users who conducted that search, police identified a suspect and arrested him for the arson.

See the rest here

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Security Experts “Raise Red Flags” On Dubai Airport’s New Iris Scan Technology | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on March 13, 2021

Do we have the same but just haven’t been told?

https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/security-experts-raise-red-flags-dubai-airports-new-iris-scan-technology

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Travelers at Dubai International Airport are now greeted by iris-scanners that are connected with the country’s facial recognition database, according to the Associated Press (AP). 

Under the guise of the virus pandemic, United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched the contactless technology that helps stem the virus spread. Even though the new system allows quick trips through security checkpoints, there are mounting concerns about mass surveillance in the federation of seven sheikhdoms. 

According to the AP, UAE ranks the highest globally on a per capita basis of surveillance camera concentration. Many of the cameras are tethered to artificial intelligence systems that make it possible for the government to track anyone, anywhere. 

On Sunday, the first travelers used the new iris scanner after checking in – it allowed them to “breeze through passport control within seconds,” said AP. 

Dubai airport is promising to have passengers pass through immigration in less than 10 seconds, by using facial recognition technology pic.twitter.com/YeaFgd2cwv — Reuters (@Reuters) March 8, 2021

“The future is coming,” said Major Gen. Obaid Mehayer Bin Suroor, deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. “Now, all the procedures have become ‘smart,’ around five to six seconds.”

Bin Suroor said Dubai’s immigration office “completely protects” the private data so that “no third party can see it.” But with limited information on the new biometric technology, there’s no telling who could misuse the data. 

“Any surveillance technology raises red flags, regardless of what kind of country it’s in,” said Jonathan Frankle, a doctoral student in artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” But in a democratic country, if the surveillance technology is used transparently, at least there’s an opportunity to have a public conversation about it.”

Along with facial recognition, airports such as Dubai’s could soon request COVID passports from travelers. 

COVID passports were widely discussed for near-term rollouts by the International Air Transport Association. 

UAE appears to be implementing a system, sort of like China’s, to track its entire population in real-time. 

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Surveillance Kills Freedom – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 4, 2021

I offer this brief constitutional history so as to address the abuse of the Fourth Amendment, and the consequences of that abuse. Two weeks ago, the Defense Intelligence Agency — an arm of the Pentagon and one of 16 federal entities that spies on Americans — acknowledged publicly that it uses commercial software to monitor the movements and conversations of those on whom it has chosen to spy. And because it does so without warrants, it spies on whomever it wishes.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/02/andrew-p-napolitano/surveillance-kills-freedom/

By Andrew P. Napolitano

“The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men.”
— Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)

When Justice Louis D. Brandeis referred to the right to privacy as “the right to be let alone,” it was 1928. He was dissenting in a Supreme Court opinion called Olmstead v. United States, in which federal agents tapped the telephone lines of Roy Olmstead and others and recorded their conversations about importing alcohol into the U.S. during Prohibition. They did so without search warrants. On the basis of the tapped conversations, Olmstead and his colleagues were convicted of conspiracy to violate federal law. The Supreme Court upheld their convictions.

The issue in the case was whether the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of searches and seizures without a warrant issued by a judge based on probable cause of crime includes surveillance. When Brandeis dissented in Olmstead, telephones were novel and not in widespread personal use. It would be 39 years before the Supreme Court accepted Brandeis’ dissent as properly encapsulating the understanding of the framers when it characterized surveillance as a search.

Stated differently, the language in the Fourth Amendment, which unambiguously prohibits the government from engaging in warrantless searches and seizures, was not interpreted so as to characterize government surveillance as a search until 1967, when the Supreme Court accepted Brandeis’ rationale. Since then, it is commonplace that the government needs a warrant to engage in surveillance. The warrant is a constitutional bulwark against fishing expeditions, and it requires the courts to defer to privacy.

I offer this brief constitutional history so as to address the abuse of the Fourth Amendment, and the consequences of that abuse. Two weeks ago, the Defense Intelligence Agency — an arm of the Pentagon and one of 16 federal entities that spies on Americans — acknowledged publicly that it uses commercial software to monitor the movements and conversations of those on whom it has chosen to spy. And because it does so without warrants, it spies on whomever it wishes.

It claims that the language of the Fourth Amendment — which protects the right of all people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects — only restrains law enforcement and does not restrain the balance of the government.

Yet, the whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to recognize that personal liberty stems from our humanity. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he referred to our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable from our human nature, and as gifts of the Creator.

The Bill of Rights, too, articulates that our rights are natural. The Ninth Amendment expressly commands that the enumeration of certain rights — such as the freedoms of religion, speech and press — shall not be construed by any government to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.

Among the rights retained by the people — never given away to the states or the federal government — and thus protected by the Ninth Amendment, and since 1967 by the Fourth, is the right to privacy. The Olmstead decision focused narrowly on whether listening to someone’s telephone conversations without a warrant is as unconstitutional as rummaging through the person’s papers and effects without a warrant.

Brandeis understood that true happiness can only come from the exercise of personal liberty, and James Madison understood this when he wrote the Fourth Amendment. This understanding, as recognized by the courts today, is that the right to privacy protects intellectual activities, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, sensations, and private communications about them.

Who could be happy under a state of surveillance? Privacy is natural — there are things we all do that are none of the government’s business. Surveillance is totalitarian. It is the manifestation of the tyrant’s wish to know all about a potential opponent.

The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to keep the government at bay — off the people’s backs, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote — thereby protecting our natural state of freedom so that we can pursue happiness.

The Declaration of Independence underscores, and the Bill of Rights protects, the right to pursue happiness for individuals, not for governments.

Who can be happy while being observed by the government? A watched person changes behavior and loses liberty on account of being watched. The liberty to make unfettered choices, the right to shake a metaphorical fist in the tyrant’s face, the personal power to ignore what the government expects are all dissipated.

A watched person hesitates to exercise freedom. The more the government gets away with surveillance without warrants, the more people will accept the servitude it brings.

Personal freedom is the unfettered power to exercise natural rights without the approval of the government or the consent of any other person. It is the means to happiness. Yet, because we live in a society in which we need the government’s permission to do nearly anything, is it any wonder that the government wants to know everything about us?

The government that spies continuously has large ears and insatiable eyes. And on its face there is no smile.

The Best of Andrew P. Napolitano Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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

Posted by M. C. on December 3, 2020


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

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/december/03/warp-speed-ahead-covid-19-vaccines-pave-the-way-for-a-new-frontier-in-surveillance/?fbclid=IwAR0jG3L_0wC8cEp3xzeCWDjxLidvRy1gjz_dcliieg9U-vkZzWBo6BfM2nY

Written by John W. Whitehead

Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men.” —C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic with its veiled threat of forced vaccinations, contact tracing, and genetically encoded vaccines is propelling humanity at warp speed into a whole new frontier—a surveillance matrix—the likes of which we’ve only previously encountered in science fiction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is every reason to tread cautiously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the rest here

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5 Things I Learned Debating the Harvard Prof Who Called for a ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2020

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/5-things-i-learned-debating-the-harvard-prof-who-called-for-a-presumptive-ban-on-homeschooling/

by | Jun 21, 2020

 

It’s not just about homeschooling.

On Monday, I debated the Harvard professor who proposes a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling. Thousands of viewers tuned in to watch the live, online discussion hosted by the Cato Institute. With 1,000 submitted audience questions, the 90-minute webinar only scratched the surface of the issue about who is presumed to know what is best for children: parents or the state. Here is the replay link in case you missed it.

Last week, I outlined much of my argument against Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet that I incorporated into our debate, but here are five takeaways from Monday’s discussion:

While this event was framed as a discussion about homeschooling, including whether and how to regulate the practice, it is clear that homeschooling is just a strawman. The real issue focuses on the role of government in people’s lives, and in particular in the lives of families and children. In her 80-page Arizona Law Review article that sparked this controversy, Professor Bartholet makes it clear that she is seeking a reinterpretation of the US Constitution, which she calls “outdated and inadequate,” to move from its existing focus on negative rights, or individuals being free from state intervention, to positive rights where the state takes a much more active role in citizens’ lives.

During Monday’s discussion, Professor Bartholet explained that “some parents can’t be trusted to not abuse and neglect their children,” and that is why “kids are going to be way better off if both parent and state are involved.” She said her argument focuses on “the state having the right to assert the rights of the child to both education and protection.” Finally, Professor Bartholet said that it’s important to “have the state have some say in protecting children and in trying to raise them so that the children have a decent chance at a future and also are likely to participate in some positive, meaningful ways in the larger society.”

It’s true that the state has a role in protecting children from harm, but does it really have a role in “trying to raise them”? And if the state does have a role in raising children to be competent adults, then the fact that two-thirds of US schoolchildren are not reading proficiently, and more than three-quarters are not proficient in civics, should cause us to be skeptical about the state’s ability to ensure competence.

I made the point on Monday that we already have an established government system to protect children from abuse and neglect. The mission of Child Protective Services (CPS) is to investigate suspected child abuse and punish perpetrators. CPS is plagued with problems and must be dramatically reformed, but the key is to improve the current government system meant to protect children rather than singling out homeschoolers for additional regulation and government oversight. This is particularly true when there is no compelling evidence that homeschooling parents are more likely to abuse their children than non-homeschooling parents, and some research to suggest that homeschooling parents are actually less likely to abuse their children.

Additionally, and perhaps most disturbingly, this argument for more state involvement in the lives of homeschoolers ignores the fact that children are routinely abused in government schools by government educators, as well as by school peers. If the government can’t even protect children enrolled in its own heavily regulated and surveilled schools, then how can it possibly argue for the right to regulate and monitor those families who opt out?

Of all the recommendations included in the Harvard professor’s proposed presumptive ban on homeschooling, the one that caused the most uproar among both homeschoolers and libertarians was the call for regular home visits of homeschooling families, with no evidence of wrongdoing.

In my remarks during Monday’s debate, I included a quote from a Hispanic homeschooling mother in Connecticut who was particularly angry and concerned about imposing home visits on homeschooling families. (According to federal data, Hispanics make up about one-quarter of the overall US homeschooling population, mirroring their representation in the general US K-12 school-age population.) She made the important point that minority families are increasingly choosing homeschooling to escape discrimination and an inadequate academic environment in local schools. She also pointed out that, tragically, it is often minorities who are most seriously impacted by these seemingly well-meaning government regulations. Writing to me about Professor Bartholet’s recommendation, she said:

“To state that they want to have surveillance into our homes by having government officials visit, and have parents show proof of their qualified experience to be a parent to their own child is yet another way for local and federal government to do what they have done to native Americans, blacks, the Japanese, Hispanics, etc in the past. Her proposal would once again interfere and hinder a certain population from progressing forward.”

Anyone who cares about liberty and a restrained government should be deeply troubled by the idea of periodic home visits by government agents on law-abiding citizens.

Despite the landmark 1925 US Supreme Court decision that ruled it unconstitutional to ban private schools, there remains lingering support for limiting or abolishing private education and forcing all children to attend government schools. Homeschooling is just one form of private education.

In her law review article, Professor Bartholet recommends “private school reform,” suggesting that private schools may have similar issues to homeschooling but saying that this topic is “beyond the scope” of her article. Still, she concludes her article by stating that “to the degree public schools are seriously deficient, our society should work on improving them, rather than simply allowing some parents to escape.”

The government should work to improve its own schools, where academic deficiencies and abuse are pervasive. But it should have no role in deciding whether or not parents are allowed to escape.

Some advocates of homeschooling regulation suggest that requiring regular standardized testing of homeschoolers would be a reasonable compromise. In her law review article, Professor Bartholet recommends: “Testing of homeschoolers on a regular basis, at least annually, to assess educational progress, with tests selected and administered by public school authorities; permission to continue homeschooling conditioned on adequate performance, with low scores triggering an order to enroll in school.”

During Monday’s debate, I asked the question: By whose standard are we judging homeschoolers’ academic performance? Is it by the standard of the government schools, where so many children are failing to meet the very academic standards the government has created? I pointed out that many parents choose homeschooling because they disapprove of the standards set by government schools. For example, in recent years schools have pushed literacy expectations to younger and younger children, with kindergarteners now being required to read. If they fail to meet this arbitrary standard, many children are labeled with a reading deficiency when it could just be that they are not yet developmentally ready to read.

Indeed, as The New York Times reported in 2015: “Once mainly concentrated among religious families as well as parents who wanted to release their children from the strictures of traditional classrooms, home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that have come along with the Common Core, new academic standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states.”

A key benefit of homeschooling is avoiding standardization in learning and allowing for a much more individualized education. And it seems to be working. Most of the research on homeschooling families conducted over the past several decades, including a recent literature review by Dr. Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, finds positive academic outcomes of homeschooling children.

There are very few movements today that bring together such a diverse group of people as homeschooling does. Families of all political persuasions, from all corners of the country, reflecting many different races, ethnicities, classes, cultures, values, and ideologies, and representing a multitude of different learning philosophies and approaches choose homeschooling for the educational freedom and flexibility it provides. Homeschoolers may not agree on much, but preserving the freedom to raise and educate their children as they choose is a unifying priority. In times of division, homeschoolers offer hope and optimism that liberty will prevail.

Reprinted from FEE.

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Brave New Normal – Part 2 – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on May 22, 2020

https://off-guardian.org/2020/05/21/brave-new-normal-part-2/

CJ Hopkins

My columns haven’t been very funny recently. This one isn’t going to be any funnier. Sorry. Fascism makes me cranky.

I don’t mean the kind of fascism the corporate media and the fake Resistance have been desperately hyping for the last four years. God help me, but I’m not terribly worried about a few hundred white-supremacist morons marching around with tiki torches hollering Nazi slogans at each other, or Jewish-Mexican-American law clerks flashing “OK” signs on TV, or smirking schoolkids in MAGA hats.

I’m talking about actual, bona fide fascism, or totalitarianism, if you want to get technical. The kind where governments declare a global “state of emergency” on account of a virus with a 0.2% to 0.6% lethality (and that causes mild, flu-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, in over 97% of those infected), locks everyone down inside their homes, suspends their constitutional rights, terrorizes them with propaganda, and unleashes uniformed goon squads on anyone who doesn’t comply with their despotic decrees.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the police track you down with your smartphone data and then come to your house to personally harass you for attending a political protest, or attack you for challenging their illegitimate authority, and then charge you with “assault” for fighting back, and then get the media to publish a story accusing you of having “set up” the cops.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the secret police are given carte blanche to monitor everyone’s Internet activity, and to scan you with their “surveillance helmets,” and dictate how close you can sit to your friends, and menace you with drones and robot dogs, and violently pry your kids out of your arms and arrest you if you dare to protest.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism that psychologically tortures children with authoritarian loyalty rituals designed to condition them to live in fear, and respond to absurd Pavlovian stimuli, and that encourages the masses to turn off their brains and mechanically repeat propaganda slogans, like “wear a mask” and “flatten the curve,” and to report their neighbors to the police for having an “illegal” private party … and to otherwise reify the manufactured mass hysteria the authorities need to “justify” their totalitarianism.

Yeah, that kind of stuff makes me cranky.

And you know what makes me really cranky? I’ll tell you what makes me really cranky.

It is people who publicly project themselves as “anti-authoritarians” and “anti-fascists,” or who have established their “anti-establishment” brands and “dissident” personas on social media, or even in the corporate media, either zealously cheerleading this totalitarianism or looking away and saying nothing as it is rolled out by the very authorities and media propagandists they pretend to oppose.

I don’t know exactly why, but that stuff makes me particularly cranky.

I’ll provide you with a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »

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Coronavirus is Just the Latest Excuse to Expand the Surveillance State | | Tenth Amendment Center

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2020

In practice, “geofence” warrants authorize police to search Google’s massive location tracking database for all of the phones within a given geographical area during a specific timeframe. According to the New York Times, federal agents first utilized the practice in 2016.

Is your GPS always on?

https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2020/05/13/coronavirus-is-just-the-latest-excuse-to-expand-the-surveillance-state/

By:

Federal, state and local agencies have teamed up to operate a warrantless cellphone tracking program to monitor compliance with COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the program provides information on people’s movements in over 500 U.S. cities. According to the report, the CDC spearheads the program known as the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network with assistance from state and local governments. Tech companies and data providers have reportedly been cooperating with the effort.

This information has been fed to law enforcement agencies. For instance, according to a report from the Daily Mail, “one source shared that researchers learned that a huge number of New Yorkers had been visiting Brooklyn’s Prospect Part and handed the information over to authorities.”

Emergencies create the perfect excuse for government power to expand.

The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. The spread of coronavirus and the fear generated has opened the door to all kinds of government actions that would be intolerable in normal times. Once established, these government powers never go away. In fact, the 9/11 emergency allowed the federal government to create the foundation for the surveillance state that exists today with the passage of the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 “authorities.”

Since then, the federal government has been constructing an integrated national surveillance state with the cooperation of state and local agencies. The COVID-19 “emergency” provides an excuse to put that system to “good use.” it also sets the stage for further expansion and abuse of the system in the future.

Some have pushed back against further expansion of the surveillance state during the pandemic, recognizing the inherent danger of letting that particular cat out of the bag. The New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) released a statement opposing the expanded use of location data to track coronavirus.

“Even as we battle this unprecedented public health threat, we still have to uphold the Constitution. Warrantless cellphone location tracking has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and this surveillance program poses dire consequences for Americans’ privacy. We are deeply concerned that this data was not only collected in secret, but that it’s apparently being shared with no protections against being used by police or even ICE. While it’s unclear if this sort of surveillance state helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s quite clear that it undermines our most fundamental rights and risks driving countless Americans into the shadows.”

The COVID-19 tracking program reportedly strips records shared with government agencies of identifying information. But as a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) points out, it’s virtually impossible to truly anonymize location data.

Practically speaking, there is no way to deidentify individual location data. Information about where a person is and has been itself is usually enough to reidentify them. Someone who travels frequently between a given office building and a single-family home is probably unique in those habits and therefore identifiable from other readily identifiable sources. One widely cited study from 2013 even found that researchers could uniquely characterize 50 percent of people using only two randomly chosen time and location data points.

It is possible to aggregate data in a way that protects individual identities, but once the pandora’s box is open, how do you keep everything inside? By its nature, government pushes the boundaries. It’s only a matter of time before police agencies are using this information to identify individuals.

Other countries have already used location data to identify specific people. China was particularly aggressive in using mass surveillance of phones to classify individuals based on their health status and to then restrict their movements. Those who claim “that can’t happen here” are naive. In fact, police have already used mass location tracking to hunt down fugitives.

Judges across the U.S. are issuing search warrants that effectively authorize police to search broad geographical areas to determine who was near a given place at a given time. In practice, these warrants give police permission to use Google location data to engage in massive fishing expeditions and subject hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people to police location tracking.

In practice, “geofence” warrants authorize police to search Google’s massive location tracking database for all of the phones within a given geographical area during a specific timeframe. According to the New York Times, federal agents first utilized the practice in 2016.

According to the Times, these broadly construed warrants help police pinpoint possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues. Google employees said the company often responds to a single warrant with location information on dozens or hundreds of devices.

North Carolina produced the first public reports of this investigative tactic last year after detectives obtained warrants to obtain location data for all the phones that were in the area of two shootings. According to WRAL, “On a satellite image, they drew shapes around the crime scenes, marking the coordinates on the map. Then they convinced a Wake County judge they had enough probable cause to order Google to hand over account identifiers on every single cell phone that crossed the digital cordon during certain times.”

Geofencing could also be accomplished in real-time using celt site simulators, commonly known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower. This allows law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.

Some argue that this kind of mass surveillance is necessary to catch “bad guys.” But what happens when the government defines a person stopping at the gun store or attending a church a “bad guy?”

Government powers never shrink. They only expand. Each expansion begets new expansions. It is imperative to place absolute limits on surveillance. We can’t trust government agents to limit themselves. As Patrick Henry warned, “Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed in the sole chance of their rulers being good men without a consequent loss of liberty.”

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Edward Snowden Says Governments Are Using COVID-19 To “Monitor Us Like Never Before”

Posted by M. C. on April 17, 2020

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/04/15/edward-snowden-says-governments-are-using-covid-19-to-monitor-us-like-never-before/

In Brief

  • The Facts:In the second episode of The Intercept’s new weekly show, host Glenn Greenwald explores the under-discussed consequences of the coronavirus pandemic with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and how it’s being used to take away more human rights.
  • Reflect On:Should the government use force on their citizenry to comply, or should they simply recommend safety measures and explain why they do?

Special Note To Our Readers: We are concerned that our Facebook Page will be deleted, so we are encouraging all those who want to continue to receive and be able to find our content to sign up for our email list.

9/11 was a major event in human history, and although it was very traumatic and devastating, it served the collective in multiple ways. For example, the event raised questions and made people distrust their government. It also highlighted the massive amounts of corruption that exists within governments. Since 9/11, the masses have become aware of ‘false flag terrorism,’ which refers to the ‘powers that be’ creating, funding and even staging terrorist events in order to heighten the national security state and justify the invasion and infiltration of other countries  under the guise of good will and restoring democracy. In reality, this type of infiltration is usually used for ulterior motives like resource extraction, mass surveillance and installing a puppet government that is willing to work with governments and intelligence agencies who have a tremendous amount of power.

After 9/11 we saw various leaks from whistleblowers, organizations like Wikileaks, and numerous other proofs that governments were actually funding Terrorist organizations, and again, in some cases contributing to the ‘staging’ of terrorist attacks. The chemical weapons attacks in Syria a few years ago were a great example, and it eventually got to the point where congresspeople were introducing bills to stop their own government (The United States) from funding terrorist organizations like ISIS. Just like Tulsi Gabbard did with the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act.”

Terrorism is and always has been a classic case of powerful people creating the problem, so the exact same people can  propose the solution. Are we seeing the same thing with the coronavirus?

Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and William Binney (one of the highest placed intelligence officials to ever blow the whistle), among others, have been exposing the National Security Agency (NSA) and the US Government with regards to the extent of their surveillance programs for quite a while. They’ve both leaked documents and ‘blown the whistle’ on just how far these agencies go to monitor not only their own citizens, but the citizes in other countries as well. They’ve also been quite outspoken that these programs are not put in place for our own protection, and that the ‘problems’ are simply a cover that are used to justify the implementation of these programs. According to Binney, these surveillance measures are not for our protection, but for “total population control.” (source)

What Snowden Has To Say About The Coronavirus

According to Edward Snowden, “Governments around the world are are exploiting the pandemic to monitor us like never before.” He and many others have been pointing out how society is moving fast towards an authoritarian type of existence, and how it’s already here. The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom has been here for quite a while, and it’s done in a very clever way. Many of us are concerned about having a good job, a house, a family and many of us believe we have freedom without being aware that in many ways, we really don’t. And all of the measures that take away our freedom are done so by manufacturing our consent to these measures, or by governments simply implementing these measures without the knowledge or approval of the people.  As Snowden mentions in his interview below, fear, panic and hysteria are usually the tools used to implement and justify these measures and manufacture our consent.

As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? -Edward Snowden (source)

Snowden points out that just like 9/11, the coronavirus will be used to heighten even more surveillance and security measures that won’t go away. I am sure many measures that are being put in place, just as they were put into place after 9/11, will remain classified and completely hidden from the citizenry. That’s why people like Edward Snowden are so important.

We are also seeing an authoritarian type of dictator policing the internet as well. Dr. Ron Paul had a piece that was recently flagged as ‘false news’ for simply sharing his opinion. He shares the same thoughts as Snowden to an extent:

Governments love crises because when the people are fearful they are more willing to give up freedoms for promises that the government will take care of them. After 9/11, for example, Americans accepted the near-total destruction of their civil liberties in the PATRIOT Act’s hollow promises of security.

People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.

That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the “threat” is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back. – Paul (source)

Below is a very interesting interview that Snowden recently gave with Glenn Greenwald, where they explore the “under-discussed consequences of the coronavirus pandemic” and “the risk of acquiescing to more surveillance during times of peril.” In it he goes into greater detail.

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Exclusive – Adm. Brett Giroir Details Public Health Infrastructure to Reopen America: ‘Surveillance, Testing, Contact Tracing’

Posted by M. C. on April 14, 2020

The only thing missing in the article is where the implant will be made.

The top of the head seems like the best spot. Best for satellite and drone reception.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/04/14/exclusive-adm-brett-giroir-details-public-health-infrastructure-to-reopen-america-surveillance-testing-contact-tracing/

by Matthew Boyle

Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health (ASH), told Breitbart News exclusively on Tuesday that the federal government is developing a broad-based effort consisting of wide-scale testing, surveillance, and contact tracing to be able to control the spread of coronavirus once the president makes the decision to reopen America…

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Auschwitz: Metal stamps used by the SS to tattoo prisoners ...

 

 

 

 

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