Gov’t surveillance Greater Threat than Terrorism

….[In] George Orwell’s dystopian fiction classic, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Winston Smith was breaking the law by seeking privacy outside the range of the “telescreen” in his apartment.

In an irony that would no doubt give Orwell grim satisfaction in his own prescience, Britons today are being pursued and prosecuted under an Act of Parliament designed to curb terrorism… for failing to pay a license fee for the televisions in their own homes.

Big Brother is watching you!

Orwell wrote soon after the invention of the television, which he envisaged as having evolved into an all-seeing two-way surveillance and propaganda device: the telescreen. It subjected viewers to constant hectoring demands for obedience and reported their every move to Big Brother, the avatar of the all-seeing surveillance state.

The fact that the novel is set in a future (and fictional) Britain only heightens the irony of recent revelations in the U.K. The government of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has been using surveillance powers designed for the “War on Terrorism” to ferret out Britons who have not paid their hated “TV License,” a £145.50 ($220) annual tax imposed on every home containing a set in the country.

Her Majesty’s government clearly takes this odious little tax very seriously, so much so that the BBC is using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) — designed to catch terrorists and Internet criminals — to track down people who dodge the license fee.

About 200,000 people were prosecuted for failing to buy a TV license between 2012 and 2013. More than 50 of those were sent to prison, and many others received penalties of up to £1,000 and a criminal record….

Orwell wrote with extraordinary perception and clarity, taking as his central theme the ways in which government’s attempts to serve its citizens are inevitably turned against us. Any policy, program or technique developed to “protect our freedoms” will be used to achieve the opposite.

Orwell would recognize the absurd irony of the situation in Western countries following the recent atrocities in Paris targeting the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. In response to these terror attacks, David Cameron has effectively launched a war against encryption, deeming private communication too great a threat to afford to keep as it prevents government from tracking and monitoring potential terrorists.

After loud protestations for “freedom of speech” following a terrorist attack on a magazine, our leaders barely pause for breath before demanding even greater surveillance powers than they already have — powers that, as Winston Smith knew, turn us all into self-censoring drones, fearful of saying or doing something that might offend Big Brother.

….If otherwise law-abiding Britons can go to jail over a petty tax, courtesy of surveillance powers grabbed in the name of fighting terrorism, imagine what can and will happen if the government decides to turn its attention to you.

This is why, now more than ever, you need to take concrete steps to secure your privacy — not just from crooks, but from the greatest enemy of freedom there is: the government.

By using techniques of encryption (while it’s available), secure end-to-end communication and identity masking, you can become a free and sovereign man or woman, because you control the knowledge available about you.

But you’ve got to start now… before it’s too late.

By Ted Baumann – Personal Liberty –

Welcome To The Matrix: Enslaved By Technology & The Internet

If ever Americans sell their birthright, it will be for the promise of expediency and comfort 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.

Likewise, if ever we find ourselves in bondage, we will have only ourselves to blame for having forged the chains through our own lassitude, laziness, and abject reliance on internet-connected gadgets and gizmos that render us wholly irrelevant.

Indeed, while most of us are consumed with our selfies and trying to keep up with what our so-called friends are posting on Facebook, the megacorporation Google has been busily partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, and other governmental agencies to develop a new “human” species, so to speak.

In other words, Google—a neural network that approximates a global brain—is fusing with the human mind in a phenomenon that is called “singularity”; and they’ve hired transhumanist scientist Ray Kurzweil to do just that. Google will know the answer to your question before you have asked it, Kurzweil said. “It will have read every email you will ever have 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.”

But here’s the catch: the NSA and all other government agencies will also know you better than yourself. 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.”

Science fiction, thus, has become fact.

We’re fast approaching Philip K. Dick’s vision of the future as depicted in the film Minority Report. There, police agencies apprehend criminals before they can commit a crime; driverless cars populate the highways; and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance.

Cue the dawning of the Age of the Internet of Things, in which internet-connected “things” will monitor your home, your health, and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated, and your life under control and relatively worry-free.

The key word here, however, is control.

In the not-too-distant future, “just about every device you have — and even products like chairs, that you don’t normally expect to see technology in — will be connected and talking to each other.”

By 2018, it is estimated there will be 112 million wearable devices such as smart watches, keeping users connected in real time to their phones, emails, text messages, and the Internet. By 2020, there will be 152 million cars connected to the Internet and 100 million Internet-connected bulbs and lamps. By 2022, there will be 1.1 billion smart meters installed in homes, reporting real-time usage to utility companies and other interested parties.

….I’m not suggesting we all become Luddites. However, we need to be aware of how quickly a helpful device that makes our lives easier can become a harmful weapon that enslaves us.

This was the underlying lesson of The Matrix, the Wachowski siblings’ futuristic thriller about human beings enslaved by autonomous technological beings that call the shots. As Morpheus, one of the characters in The Matrix, explains:

“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

“What truth?” asks Neo.

Morpheus leans in closer to Neo: “That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.”

By John W. Whitehead – Western Journalism –

Examples of Police State Technology Making Our Rights Obsolete as we Head into 2015

Things are not looking pretty for the land of the free.

The year 2014 has made it very clear that privacy is under threat, and the situation is not likely to improve. Mass surveillance – which became a national issue via theEdward Snowden leaks – is not subsiding or under reform; instead, it is becoming more bold and complex with each passing day.

It would take several books to catalog the myriad ways in which the rights of The People have been casually infringed upon by various levels of government just in years since 9/11 and the introduction of the PATRIOT Act.

And it’s not only federal agencies like the NSA, Homeland Security and the FBI that are taking liberties with our … umm … liberties; it is local police, too. The rise of technology is rapidly fueling these agencies with data and “intelligence” with very little oversight and even less pause for reflection to use these powerful abilities wisely and, yes, judiciously.

Here are just a few major areas where privacy has lost badly to surveillance technology in 2014. Not that anyone is paying attention, but they are worth reflecting upon soon – hopefully before it is too late to turn things back around:

1. Militarized Police and Weapons of War on American Streets:

True, this technology has been in use for several years now and has been demonstrated at protests such as the those held outside of the G20 in Pittsburgh, Toronto and other locales.

But the events in Ferguson really allowed this brand of crowd control to come of age. This and other key protests have seemingly justified a massive police response for just about anything now …but… you know, the first amendment is still respected and all.

The Daily Sheeple reported:

Ferguson police have stocked up on less-lethal ammunition in the last few months including “hornets nest” CS sting grenades, which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation, tear gas, riot gear, plastic handcuffs and the like in the lead up to the decision which is expected to come any time now. St Louis County police have spent $172,669 on this stuff just since August.

The Pentagon’s 1033 surplus program, which hands out everything from MRAP armored vehicles, to bulletproof vests, assault rifles, and other military weapons to domestic law enforcement agencies, is one of the major reasons that ordinary police departments, including those in small towns, are gearing up as for battle … and that includes Ferguson:

The Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program) is authorized under federal law and managed through the Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety. The Missouri Department of Public Safety is the sponsoring state agency responsible for administration of the 1033 Program in Missouri.

2. Biometrics Comes of Age:
Fingerprints and iris scans are becoming normalized as identifiers on mobile phones, including the iPhone 5, computers and other platforms.

Increasingly, technology – including devices used by police – areutilizing other bodily features (in addition to fingerprints and eyes) to identify you, including ears, noses, heart rate (via electrocardiogram), blood vein matching, your scent or smell and even “butt biometrics” – no joke – which will allow smart car seats to identify the sitter based on their unique posture.

While these are surely being integrated into law enforcement devices, they are also becoming the mainstays of “wearables,” the new trendy technology that is collecting data on all of those using it to track health progress, etc.

Surveillance cameras have already been used to identify you by your walk for several years now, but advances have allowed technology to even identify the person wearing a camera, such as a police officer with a mounted body cam, by just 4 seconds of footage, revealing a ‘biometric fingerprint’of the individual.

Of course, roadside blood draws have already entered the picture in law enforcement work, including numerous locales that have implemented mandatory policies during stops. This is sure to pick up. In Seattle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted a paid, voluntary survey of drivers who received up to $60 to give blood and breath samples at a roadside stopin an effort to study how many people drive impaired.

3. Smart Phone Apps Know Everything About You:

Vocative published a long and unsettling list of apps for smart phones and other similar devices that all collect untold amounts of information about you every day.

Whether you realize it or not, permissions for apps routinely allow the collection and sharing of such information as your contact and address book, your text message, audio recorded from your device’s microphone, your call log and much more.

Yes, this is really happening, so beware if you are using mobile apps including:

By Mac Slavo – Activist Post –

BIS UNDERMINES NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY

“Big Brother” is the term used by George Orwell in his classic novel 1984 for the totalitarian state that would lock into place in the year of his title. Why he chose that particular year is unclear, but one theory is that he was echoing Jack London’s The Iron Heel, which chronicled the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States. In London’s book, the oligarchy’s fictional wonder-city, fueled by oppressed workers, was to be completed by 1984. Orwell also echoed London’s imagery when he described the future under Big Brother as “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” In Secret Records Revealed: The Men, the Money, and the Methods Behind the New World Order (1999), Dr. Dennis Cuddy asked:

“Could the ‘boot’ be the new eighteen-story Bank for International Settlements (BIS) which was completed in Basel, Switzerland, in 1977 in the shape of a boot, and became known as the‘Tower of Basel’?”

The boot-like shape of the building is strange enough to be thought-provoking (see photo), but more disturbing is the description by Dr. Carroll Quigley of the pivotal role assigned to the BIS in consolidating financial power into a few private hands. Professor Quigley, who was Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown University, claimed to be an insider and evidently knew his subject. He wrote in Tragedy and Hope (1966):

“[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”

That helps explain the alarm bells that went off among BIS-watchers when the Bank was linked to the new Financial Stability Board (FSB) President Obama signed onto in April. When the G20 leaders met in London on April 2, 2009, they agreed to expand the powers of the old Financial Stability Forum (FSF) into this new Board. The FSF was set up in 1999 to serve in a merely advisory capacity by the G7 (a group of finance ministers formed from the seven major industrialized nations). The chair of the FSF was the General Manager of the BIS. The new FSB has been expanded to include all G20 members (19 nations plus the EU). The G20, formally called the “Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors,” was, like the G7, originally set up as a forum merely for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. But its new Financial Stability Board has real teeth, imposing “obligations” and “commitments” on its members.

By Ellen Brown – Web Of Debt –