MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

What’s the Big Problem With Facial Recognition? | | Tenth Amendment Center Blog

Posted by M. C. on October 4, 2019

https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2019/10/whats-the-big-problem-with-facial-recognition/

By:

The Oakland City Council recently gave final approval to an ordinance banning facial recognition in that city. This is part of a broader movement at the state and local level to ban outright or at least limit this invasive surveillance technology.

So, what’s the big problem with facial recognition?

Plenty.

In the first place, it’s just not very accurate, especially when reading African American and other minority facial features. It gets it wrong a lot of the time.

This isn’t just theoretical musing. During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

But as ACLU attorney Matt Cagle said, this isn’t a problem that can be fixed by tweaking an algorithm. There are more fundamental issues with facial recognition. Government use of facial recognition technology for identifying and tracking people en masse flies in the face of both the Fourth Amendment and constitutional provisions protecting privacy in every state constitution.

Berkeley, California, City Councilmember Kate Harrison is pushing for a facial recognition ban in her city. In her recommendation of the ordinance, she pointed out the inherent constitutional problem with facial recognition.

It eliminates the human and judicial element behind the existing warrant system by which governments must prove that planned surveillance is both constitutional and sufficiently narrow to protect targets’ and bystanders’ fundamental rights to privacy while also simultaneously providing the government with the ability to exercise its duties.

Facial recognition technology automates the search, seizure and analysis process that was heretofore pursued on a narrow basis through stringent constitutionally-established and human-centered oversight in the judiciary branch. Due to the inherent dragnet nature of facial recognition technology, governments cannot reasonably support by oath or affirmation the particular persons or things to be seized. The programmatic automation of surveillance fundamentally undermines the community’s liberty.

Facial recognition puts every person who crosses its path into a perpetual lineup without any probable cause. It tramples restrictions on government power intended to protect our right to privacy. It feeds into the broader federal surveillance state. And at its core, it does indeed fundamentally undermine liberty.

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More Spying and Lying – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/08/andrew-p-napolitano/more-spying-and-lying/

By

While most of us have been thinking about the end of summer and while the political class frets over the Democratic presidential debates and the aborted visit of two members of Congress to Israel, the Trump administration has quietly moved to extend and make permanent the government’s authority to spy on all persons in America.

The president, never at a loss for words, must have been asked by the intelligence community he once reviled not to address these matters in public.

These matters include the very means and the very secret court about which he complained loud and long during the Mueller investigation. Now, he wants to be able to unleash permanently on all of us the evils he claims were visited upon him by the Obama-era FBI and by his own FBI. What’s going on?

Here is the backstory.

After the lawlessness of Watergate had been exposed — a president spying on his political adversaries without warrants in the name of national security — Congress enacted in 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It prescribed a means for surveillance other than that which the Constitution requires.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution — written in the aftermath of British soldiers and agents using general warrants obtained from a secret court in London to spy on whomever in the colonies they wished and to seize whatever they found — was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights to limit the government’s ability to intrude upon the privacy of all persons, thereby prohibiting those procedures used by the British.

Thus, we have the constitutional requirements that no searches and seizures can occur without a warrant issued by a judge based on a showing, under oath, of probable cause of crime. The courts have uniformly characterized electronic surveillance as a search.

I am not addressing eyesight surveillance on a public street. I am addressing electronic surveillance wherever one is when one sends or receives digital communications. FISA is an unconstitutional congressional effort to lower the standards required by the Fourth Amendment from probable cause of crime to probable cause of foreign agency.

Can Congress do that? Can it change a provision of the Constitution? Of course not. If it could, we wouldn’t have a Constitution.

It gets worse.

The court established by FISA — that’s the same court that President Donald Trump asserts authorized spying on him in 2015 and 2016 — has morphed the requirement of probable cause of being a foreign agent to probable cause of communicating with a foreign person as the standard for authorizing surveillance.

What was initially aimed at foreign agents physically present in the United States has secretly become a means to spy on innocent Americans. In Trump’s case, the FISA court used the foreign and irrelevant communications of two part-time campaign workers to justify surveillance on the campaign…

The late Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland once wrote that we cannot pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to follow and which to ignore. If we could, the Constitution would be meaningless.

Did he foresee our present woes when he wrote, “If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned”?

Is that where we are headed?

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d0b4d-iu

 

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Of Two Minds – “Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?”

Posted by M. C. on July 13, 2019

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly19/iot-orwell7-19.html

Charles Hugh Smith

Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power.

When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car–or something like that–and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You’ll be able to lower the temperature of your home office while you’re stuck in a traffic jam, while your fridge orders another jar of pickles delivered to your door.

It’s all in service of convenience, the god all Americans are brainwashed to worship. Imagine the convenience of turning on the light while seated on your sofa! Mind-boggling convenience at your fingertips–and since you’re already clutching your smart phone 24/7, convenience is indeed at your fingertips.

It’s also about control, and as we lose control of everything that’s actually important in our lives, the illusion of agency/control is a compelling pitch. Imagine being able to program your fridge to order a quart of milk delivered when it gets low but not order another jar of pickles when that gets low! Wow! That’s control, yowzah.

The Internet of Things is indeed about control–not your control, but control over you— control of what’s marketed to you, and control of your behaviors via control of the incentives, distractions and micro-decisions that shape behavior.

I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked. (via Mark J.)

The control enabled by the Internet of Things starts with persuasion and quickly slides into coercion. Since corporations and government agencies will have a complete map of your movements, purchases, consumption, communications, etc., then behavior flagged as “non-beneficial” will be flagged for “nudging nags”, while “unsanctioned” behavior will be directed to the proper authorities.

Say you’re visiting a fast-food outlet for the fourth time in a week. Your health insurance corporation has set three visits a week as a maximum, lest your poor lifestyle choices start costing them money for treatments, so you get a friendly “reminder” to lay off the fast food or make “healthier” choices off the fast food menu.

Failure to heed the “nudges” will result in higher premiums or cancelled coverage. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your “freedom” doesn’t extend to costing us money.

Domestic corporate versions of China’s social credit score will proliferate. Here is evidence that such scores already exist:

Everyone’s Got A “Surveillance Score” And It Can Cost You Big Money (Zero Hedge)

Then there’s the surveillance. The Internet of Things isn’t just monitoring energy use and the quantity of milk in a fridge; it’s monitoring you–not just in your house, car and wherever you take your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smart phone, but everywhere you go.

If you are a lookie-loo shopper–you browse the inventory but rarely buy anything–expect to be put in Category Three–zero customer service, and heightened surveillance in case your intent is to boost some goodies (shoplift).

Heaven help you if you start spending time reading shadow-banned websites like Of Two Minds: your social credit standing moves into the red zone, and your biometric scans at airports, concerts, retail centers etc., will attract higher scrutiny. You just can’t be too sure about people who stray off the reservation of “approved” corporate media.

Your impulses are easy to exploit: since every purchase is tracked, your vulnerabilities to impulse buys will be visible with a bit of routine Big Data analysis, and so the price of the treats you succumb to will go up compared to the indifferent consumer next to you. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your vulnerabilities, insecurities and weaknesses are profit centers. We’d be foolish not to exploit them to maximize profits, because that is the sole mission of global corporations.

Governments access the trove of surveillance for their own purposes. Monitoring phone calls, texts and emails is only the first step; privacy as a concept and a right has effectively ceased to exist other than as a legal abstraction and useful fiction. The Dawn Of Robot Surveillance: AI, Video Analytics, and Privacy….

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Danger, danger! 10 alarming examples of AI gone wild ...

 

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The Iron-Fisted Authoritarianism of the Surveillance State

Posted by M. C. on June 11, 2019

The Tenth Amendment Center

Another freedom watchdog and nullification advocate

https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2019/06/04/the-iron-fisted-authoritarianism-of-the-surveillance-state/

By:

Red pill or blue pill? You decide.

Twenty years after the Wachowskis’ iconic 1999 film, The Matrix, introduced us to a futuristic world in which humans exist in a computer-simulated non-reality powered by authoritarian machines—a world where the choice between existing in a denial-ridden virtual dream-state or facing up to the harsh, difficult realities of life comes down to a red pill or a blue pill—we stand at the precipice of a technologically-dominated matrix of our own making.

We are living the prequel to The Matrix with each passing day, falling further under the spell of technologically-driven virtual communities, virtual realities and virtual conveniences managed by artificially intelligent machines that are on a fast track to replacing us and eventually dominating every aspect of our lives.

Science fiction has become fact.

In The Matrixcomputer programmer Thomas Anderson a.k.a. hacker Neo is wakened from a virtual slumber by Morpheus, a freedom fighter seeking to liberate humanity from a lifelong hibernation state imposed by hyper-advanced artificial intelligence machines that rely on humans as an organic power source. With their minds plugged into a perfectly crafted virtual reality, few humans ever realize they are living in a dream world.

Neo is given a choice: to wake up and join the resistance, or remain asleep and serve as fodder for the powers-that-be. “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix. “You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Most people opt for the red pill.

In our case, the red pill—a one-way ticket to a life sentence in an electronic concentration camp—has been honey-coated to hide the bitter aftertaste, sold to us in the name of expediency and delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet, cell phone signals that never drop a call, thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger, and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets and cell phones.

Yet we are not merely in thrall with these technologies that were intended to make our lives easier. We have become enslaved by them.

Look around you. Everywhere you turn, people are so addicted to their internet-connected screen devices—smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions—that they can go for hours at a time submerged in a virtual world where human interaction is filtered through the medium of technology.

This is not freedom.

This is not even progress.

This is technological tyranny and iron-fisted control delivered by way of the surveillance state, corporate giants such as Google and Facebook, and government spy agencies such as the National Security Agency.

We are living in a virtual world carefully crafted to resemble a representative government, while in reality we are little more than slaves in thrall to an authoritarian regime, with its constant surveillance, manufactured media spectacles, secret courts, inverted justice, and violent repression of dissent.

So consumed are we with availing ourselves of all the latest technologies that we have spared barely a thought for the ramifications of our heedless, headlong stumble towards a world in which our abject reliance on internet-connected gadgets and gizmos is grooming us for a future in which freedom is an illusion.

It’s not just freedom that hangs in the balance. Humanity itself is on the line.

Indeed, while most people are busily taking selfies, Google has been busily partnering with the NSA, the Pentagon, and other governmental agencies to develop a new “human” species.

Essentially, Google—a neural network that approximates a global brain—is fusing with the human mind in a phenomenon that is called “singularity.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The Rutherford Institute :: You’re Under Arrest: How the Police State Muzzles Our Right to Speak Truth to Power | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2019

It’s your choice: Comply, or die.

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

By John W. Whitehead

“History shows that governments sometimes seek to regulate our lives finely, acutely, thoroughly, and exhaustively. In our own time and place, criminal laws have grown so exuberantly and come to cover so much previously innocent conduct that almost anyone can be arrested for something. If the state could use these laws not for their intended purposes but to silence those who voice unpopular ideas, little would be left of our First Amendment liberties, and little would separate us from the tyrannies of the past or the malignant fiefdoms of our own age. The freedom to speak without risking arrest is ‘one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation.’”—Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissenting, Nieves v. Bartlett (2019)

What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.

What the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line.

For those who refuse to meekly accept the heavy-handed tyranny of the police state, the danger is all too real.

We live in an age in which “we the people” are at the mercy of militarized, weaponized, immunized cops who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

As such, those who seek to exercise their First Amendment rights during encounters with the police are increasingly finding that there is no such thing as freedom of speech.

This is the painful lesson being imparted with every incident in which someone gets arrested and charged with any of the growing number of contempt charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen voices discontent with the government or challenges or even questions the authority of the powers-that-be.

Merely daring to question, challenge or hesitate when a cop issues an order can get you charged with resisting arrest or disorderly conduct, free speech be damned.

In fact, getting charged or arrested is now the best case scenario for encounters with police officers who are allowed to operate under the assumption that their word is law and that there is no room for any form of disagreement or even question.

The worst case scenario involves getting probed, beaten, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, shot, or killed by police.

This mindset that anyone who wears a government uniform (soldier, police officer, prison guard) must be obeyed without question is a telltale sign of authoritarianism goose-stepping its way towards totalitarianism.

The rationale goes like this:

Do exactly what I say, and we’ll get along fine. Do not question me or talk back in any way. You do not have the right to object to anything I may say or ask you to do, or ask for clarification if my demands are unclear or contradictory. You must obey me under all circumstances without hesitation, no matter how arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or blatantly racist my commands may be. Anything other than immediate perfect servile compliance will be labeled as resisting arrest, and expose you to the possibility of a violent reaction from me. That reaction could cause you severe injury or even death. And I will suffer no consequences. It’s your choice: Comply, or die.

Indeed, as Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department advises:

If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.

This is not the attitude of someone who understands, let alone respects, free speech.

Then again, there can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.

What is this language of force?

Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality. Contempt of cop charges.

This is not the language of freedom. This is not even the language of law and order.

Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to speak freely…

Be seeing you

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Banksy

 

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The US Government Will Be Scanning Your Face At 20 Top Airports, Documents Show

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2019

In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition. Courts have not ruled on whether it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. There are no checks, no balances. Yet government agencies are working quickly to roll it out in every major airport in the country.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/daveyalba/these-documents-reveal-the-governments-detailed-plan-for

In March 2017, President Trump issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing US borders. That mandate stipulates facial recognition identification for “100 percent of all international passengers,” including American citizens, in the top 20 US airports by 2021. Now, the United States Department of Homeland Security is rushing to get those systems up and running at airports across the country. But it’s doing so in the absence of proper vetting, regulatory safeguards, and what some privacy advocates argue is in defiance of the law.

According to 346 pages of documents obtained by the nonprofit research organization Electronic Privacy Information Center — shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News and made public on Monday as part of Sunshine Week — US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement this “biometric entry-exit system,” with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week — or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States — in as little as two years, to meet Trump’s accelerated timeline for a biometric system that had initially been signed into law by the Obama administration. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails.

These same documents state — explicitly — that there were no limits on how partnering airlines can use this facial recognition data. CBP did not answer specific questions about whether there are any guidelines for how other technology companies involved in processing the data can potentially also use it… Read the rest of this entry »

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Intelligent Machines This company embeds microchips in its employees, and they love it

Posted by M. C. on August 21, 2018

“You get used to it; it’s easy,” McMullan says. As far as he knows, just two Three Square Market employees have had their chips removed—and that was when they left the company.

Should have named his company Oceania.

These people are beyond words, beyond Sheeple. Purposely advancing their own, and OUR, destruction.

CIA MIT seems OK with it.

sheeple

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611884/this-company-embeds-microchips-in-its-employees-and-they-love-it/

When Patrick McMullan wants a Diet Dr Pepper while he’s at work, he pays for it with a wave of his hand. McMullan has a microchip implanted between his thumb and forefinger, and the vending machine immediately deducts money from his account. At his office, he’s one of dozens of employees who have been doing likewise for a year now.

McMullan is the president of Three Square Market, a technology company that provides self-service mini-markets to hospitals, hotels, and company break rooms. Last August, he became one of roughly 50 employees at its headquarters in River Falls, Wisconsin, who volunteered to have a chip injected into their hand. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Write About Foreign Policy? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 12, 2018

“War is the health of the State” said the great liberal Randolph Bourne: what’s telling is that his statement is totally unintelligible to today’s “liberals,” who glory in the health of the State. That’s how far we have come down the road to serfdom.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/04/11/why-write-about-foreign-policy/

by 

After all, why write about foreign policy at all? Why is it so important? And what does it have to do with libertarianism, the philosophy of limited government, free markets, and individual freedom?

The answer is fairly simple: we can’t have an empire and a republic at the same time. It is one or the other. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spy Court Finds Surveillance Operating Outside The Law – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2018

Whether the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee will use the facts to bring the police state under control or wimp out on “national security” concerns, as Republicans tend to do, remains to be seen

What is your guess?

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/01/22/spy-court-finds-survelliance-operating-outside-law/

The NSA, CIA, and FBI are criminal organizations that should be abolished and their leaderships imprisoned. Here is proof from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that security agencies have been operating outside the law:https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/icotr/51117/2016_Cert_FISC_Memo_Opin_Order_Apr_2017.pdf Read the rest of this entry »

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Macy’s Parade Security Used to Promote Surveillance and Police State | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on November 28, 2017

What the article does not mention is that all this government efficiency was present at the Boston Marathon a few years ago.

Actually training for the disaster they were trying to prevent…or accommodate depending on your point of view.

http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/macys-parade-security-used-to-promote-surveillance-and-police-state/

There are plenty of bad laws that these hidden officers and surveillance might enforce. But apart from that, this is just getting people used to the idea of being watched. We don’t know what kind of crazy laws the government might make down the road. And at that point, it will be too late to do anything about the police state. The cameras will see the crime, no matter how trivial. The police will enforce the laws however oppressive. Read the rest of this entry »

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