Category Archives: Privacy

Chipped Tires, by Eric Peters

You probably didn’t know that many tires these days have embedded RFID chips that track your car. Read on. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Tires are supposed to leave tracks – not track us.

Someone should tell the tire companies. Who aren’t telling us about the tracking devices they’re embedding in the tires they’re selling to us – and which can be used to keep track of our comings and goings without our even knowing about it, much less having consented to it.

The devices are called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags – chips, really. They are extremely small buggers – about the size of a grain of rice or even smaller than that – and have been in general use since at least the early 2000s for what is blandly styled Automatic Identification and Data Capture. Which means that wherever the chipped item, animal – or person – is or has been or is going can be kept track of automatically and in perpetuity.

The chips are activated by scanners – and so don’t need an internal power source, such as a battery – which would eventually die. The chip can therefore remain active – or rather, capable of activation (and tracking) for years, possibly decades.

Ostensibly, they are used for inventory tracking.

That’s not the objectionable part. A tire manufacturer has every right to keep track of its tires while they are in the warehouse, or on their way from the warehouse to the retailer – and while they are on the retailer’s shelves. Because at this point, the tires are still the property of the tire company, or the retailer.

But once you buy the tires, they become your property – at which point the manufacturer of the tire (and the retailer who sold you the tire) loses all rights to the tire, including the right to track the tire, or use the tire to track you. 

At the moment of purchase – of transfer of ownership – the RFID chip in the tires ought to be rendered automatically inert, so they can no longer be used to keep track of your tires. Or your comings and goings. Unless you specifically agree otherwise.

To continue reading: Chipped Tires

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We’re Living in a Deep State Paradise, by Bill Bonner

They don’t call it the social credit system, but when the IRS starts blocking passports for Americans who are late on their taxes, it bears an eerie resemblance to China’s system. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

NORMANDY, FRANCE – Clowns to the left of us… jokers to the right – what a hoot it is to watch them jump and howl.

Trade barriers… LGBT bathroom policies… the Dow… Elizabeth Warren… Rudolph Giuliani… unemployment… QT [quantitative tightening]… Canadians sneaking across the border to buy our shoes – there’s no shortage of louche entertainment in yesterday’s events.

But what about tomorrow? We learn from the papers that computers can beat us at chess, write better essays, and drive our cars.

So far, so good.

Identified Undesirable

Alas, these same computers can also pick our face out of a crowd… cancel our credit cards… and take away our passports. Using algorithms and Big Data, they can also identify us as “undesirable”… or worse.

That’s when your editor sees the scaffold going up in front of him… and there is the hangman approaching with a noose in his hands.

Last week, a couple of reports added to his soucis.

First, the IRS announced that it would block passports for 362,000 Americans who are late on their taxes.

From where in the Constitution does the tax collector get the right to confine citizens who have never been convicted of a crime? We don’t know.

We believe our own accounts with the IRS are in good order. But the “tax code” had 74,608 pages in 2016; there is plenty of room for disagreement, ambiguity, and interpretation.

Our own tax return is more than two inches thick. It is prepared by professionals.

Could they make a mistake? Of course, they could. Could the IRS make a mistake… or worse, intentionally try to make life difficult for us?

It would never do such a thing, you say.

In 2013, the IRS apologized for targeting conservative groups for extensive auditing. It admitted that it had given especially harsh treatment to groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names and promised it wouldn’t do it again.

Of course, it won’t. And it won’t make mistakes, either.

To continue reading: We’re Living in a Deep State Paradise

NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance, by Jim Naureckas

Perhaps the scariest thing about Chinese surveillance technology is that the US government has even more. From Jim Naureckas at fair.org:

There’s a category of story we call “Them Not Us”—US media reporting on problems abroad, and seemingly not noticing that they have the same problems at home. There’s a great example of that in the New York Times (7/8/18), headlined “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: AI, Shame and Lots of Cameras.”

Reporter Paul Mozur writes:

Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

Is it really so unprecedented, though? The US National Security Agency in 2011 described its “New Collection Posture” toward global electronic communication as “Know It All…Collect It All…Process It All…Exploit It All.” Hard to get much vaster than that, isn’t it?

As for embracing technologies like facial recognition with crucial help from a thriving technology industry, here’s a headline from the Guardian(7/6/18) that came out two days before the Times piece:

Thanks to Amazon, the Government Will Soon Be Able to Track Your Face

Mozur went on to write, “Other systems…track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.” “Even car travel in some places”? It sounds like China is playing catch-up to the US when it comes to surveilling its motorists, as media activist Tracy Rosenberg recently described to CounterSpin (6/29/18):

On license plate readers, these are sort of ubiquitous. In the past decade, they really have been set up in probably the majority of cities and counties in the US. And they take a photograph of the front of a car—they’re usually pole-mounted on traffic lights—as it goes by. And, essentially, if you are one of those people who happens to drive back and forth, every single day, past one of these, it can geolocate you in time and space, based on your license plate, on a fairly regular basis.

NYT depiction of Chinese police wearing smart glasses

The New York Times depicts Chinese police with “AI-powered smart glasses.” Meanwhile, in the US, “Police Departments Have Their Eye on Google Glass” (USA Today, 2/12/14) is a four-year-old story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To continue reading: NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance

A New World Order: Brought to You by the Global-Industrial Deep State, by John W. Whitehead

The hour is late: the globalists and deep state’s plans are well-advanced. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“There are no nations. There are no peoples … There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.”—Network (1976)

There are those who will tell you that any mention of a New World Order government—a power elite conspiring to rule the world—is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

I am not one of those skeptics.

What’s more, I wholeheartedly believe that one should always mistrust those in power, take alarm at the first encroachment on one’s liberties, and establish powerful constitutional checks against government mischief and abuse.

I can also attest to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have studied enough of this country’s history—and world history—to know that governments (the U.S. government being no exception) are at times indistinguishable from the evil they claim to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

And I have lived long enough to see many so-called conspiracy theories turn into cold, hard fact.

Remember, people used to scoff at the notion of a Deep State (a.k.a. Shadow Government), doubt that fascism could ever take hold in America, and sneer at any suggestion that the United States was starting to resemble Nazi Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

We’re beginning to know better, aren’t we?

The Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) is real.

We are already experiencing fascism, American-style.

Not with jackboots and salutes, as Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution notes, “but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac ‘tapping into’ popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.”

To continue reading: A New World Order: Brought to You by the Global-Industrial Deep State

How The United Kingdom Became A Police State, by Neema Parvini

Only recently have people begun to notice the United Kingdom’s descent into a police state, but it’s been going on under the radar for at least 20 years. From Neema Parvini at mises.org:

This article will demonstrate how the United Kingdom has steadily become a police state over the past twenty years, weaponizing its institutions against the people and employing Orwellian techniques to stop the public from seeing the truth. It will demonstrate, contrary to official narratives, that both overall levels of crime and violent crime have been increasing, not decreasing, as the size of the state in the UK has gotten bigger. It will also expose how the Labour government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010, deliberately obscured real crime data with estimated crime rates based on survey data as opposed to the real numbers. I will demonstrate that, contrary to popular opinion perpetuated by progressive myths, life was much safer in Britain during the era of classical laissez-faire from the 1850s to 1911.

In his 10 years in power from 1997 to 2007, Tony Blair passed an astonishing 26,849 laws in total, an average of 2,663 per year or 7.5 a day.1 The Labour Party continued this madness under Gordon Brown who broke the record in 2008 by passing 2,823 new laws, a 6% increase on even his megalomaniac predecessor.2 In 2010, Labour’s last year in power before handing over the reigns to the Blairite social radical, David Cameron, there was a 54% surge in privacy cases brought against public bodies,3 and the Cabinet were refusing freedom of information requests at a rate of 51%.4 The vast number of new laws under Labour does not count the 2,100 new regulations the EU passed in 2006 alone, which apparently is average for them.

Many of these vast changes under Blair and Brown were in the area of criminal law. By 2008, Labour had created more than 3,600 new offences.5 Many of these, naturally, were red-tape regulations. To give you an idea:6

  • Creating a nuclear explosion
  • Selling types of flora and fauna not native to the UK, such as the grey squirrel, ruddy duck or Japanese knotweed
  • To wilfully pretend to be a barrister or a traffic warden
  • Disturbing a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer
  • Obstructing workers from carrying out repairs to the Dockland Light Railway
  • Offering for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day
  • Allowing an unlicensed concert in a church hall or community centre
  • A ship’s captain may end up in court if he or she carries grain without a copy of the International Grain Code on board
  • Scallop fishing without the correct boat
  • Breaking regulation number 10 of the 1998 Apple and Pear Grubbing Up Regulations
  • Selling Polish Potatoes

There are many more. However, there were also some more serious breaches of civil liberty.

To continue reading: How The United Kingdom Became A Police State

Police State in Slo-Mo, by Jeff Thomas

We can look forward to sudden, surprise iterations of the US police state, increasing in frequency. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

For many years, I’ve forecasted that the US will evolve into a police state; that it will begin slowly; then as more and more freedoms are removed, the creation of the police state will accelerate.

We’re now seeing that acceleration, as more and more Americans are detained, questioned, and having their property confiscated than ever before.

As an example, in 2016, some 20,000 travellers in and out of the US were stopped, often at random. Typically, their baggage was searched, their documents photocopied, access codes to their electronic devices demanded and their files copied. In most cases, no explanation was given, but they were advised that if the search was refused, they would be detained indefinitely.

The following year, in 2017, the numbers of people detained rose by 50%, to 30,000.

It’s important to note that the travellers were not threatened with arrest, which suggests that the authorities were working on the basis that the Patriot Act of 2001 allows all of the above activities—without cause being given, without a warrant being obtained, without access to a phone call or legal representation being allowed, and that the individuals in question may be detained, indefinitely.

This, of course, is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that people have the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

However, when people travel, they are particularly vulnerable, so the travellers in question are extremely unlikely to refuse. They understand that, “indefinitely” means, “until a Supreme Court ruling is passed, overturning the Patriot Act as unconstitutional.” If it hasn’t happened yet and isn’t under consideration, it’s safe to say that the level of police state allowed under the Patriot Act is permanent.

Police States have been implemented countless times throughout history. They tend to be most prominent where collectivism has already been instituted.

To continue reading: Police State in Slo-Mo

Faceprinted, by Eric Peters

If you’re thinking of doing anything at all that might piss off the government, you might want to get yourself a good mask. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

A creepy footnote to the shooting in Maryland yesterday. Apparently, the identity of the shooter – who had no ID on him, refused to give his name and had “obscured” his fingerprints – was determined via the use of facial recognition software.

An NBC news story about the incident mentions this fairly casually and without comment:

“Senior law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told NBC News that Ramos had been identified through the use of facial recognition software. The sources said earlier that he had somehow obscured his fingerprints, making identification difficult. (Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief Bill) Krampf would not confirm those details, and said Thursday evening that he had no knowledge of any facial recognition or anything about fingerprints.”

Italics added.

If, in fact, the shooter was identified via his “faceprint” – so to speak – it shows just how powerful this “tool” is.

It is also implies pretty strongly that our faceprints are also in the system and the implication of that is troubling. We are probably not only being watched but individually recorded – our comings and goings – whenever we’re out and about. The cameras which are ubiquitous in most areas probably work like those Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) which can scan and “process” the license plates of every vehicle that passes within range of the reader.

Some people may not object, of course. If you have nothing to hide . . .  .

In which case, why object to random spot checks of our homes by government goons? If you’ve got nothing to hide . . .  .

Is it exaggerating things to suggest that all of this keeping track of us is like being made to wear an ankle bracelet which we can’t see or feel but which serves the same purpose? And without the conviction?

You don’t have to wear an ankle bracelet unless you’ve been found guilty of some criminal act first. Then – as an alternative to being placed in a government cage, they let you go home and use your home as the cage, with some limited free roaming occasionally permitted.

To continue reading: Faceprinted