Category Archives: Privacy

If ‘Facebook Is Private’, Why are They Feeding Users’ Private Messages Directly To The FBI? From Matt Agorist

If you’re conducting surveillance for the government on your own customers, are you still a private company? From Matt Agorist at thefreethoughtproject.com:

Despite decrying censorship when it was happening to them last year, when Donald Trump was banned from Twitter and Facebook earlier this month, the left praised the move by big tech. “Facebook is a private company and can do what they want,” the pro-censorship hypocritical crowd chanted ad nauseum through the digital ether after bad orange man was silenced. But as we have said time and again, Facebook being private is simply not true.

Now, however, Facebook has made an unscrupulous Faustian bargain with the federal government which should eliminate all doubt once and for all. They are now willfully handing over private messages of Trump supporters who talked about the events at the capitol on January 6.

Google, Apple, and Amazon all moved to wipe the pro-Trump social media network Parler from the internet earlier this month because of what users on the platform discussed. It was alleged that the handful of dolts who stormed the capitol on January 6 had solely used Parler to plan their laughable, unarmed, silly, unsuccessful, and pitiful attempt to keep Trump in the White House.

Despite the ragtag group of Trumpians posing for selfies, photo-ops, and hanging from banisters, the only thing they accomplished was having D.C. turned into a scene akin to North Korea for Biden’s inauguration. Most honest experts in the media have acknowledged that though a few members of the mob thought they were part of some historic coup to keep their leader in power, the idea that they had any real chance at an insurrection was misleading at best and sheer propaganda used to further the domestic police and surveillance state at worst.

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Rights Advocates Alarmed by US Spy Agency’s Purchase of Warrantless Phone Location Data, by Brett Wilkins

Edward Snowden was the first to alert us that this type of thing was going on. Too bad Trump didn’t pardon him. From Brett Wilkins at commondreams.org:

“Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington,DC on May 5, 2020. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says he will introduce legislation—the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act—which would prohibit government agencies from buying personal information from data brokers. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Digital rights advocates reacted with alarm to a report published Friday detailing how Defense Intelligence Agency analysts in recent years bought databases of U.S. smartphone location data without first obtaining warrants.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is part of the Department of Defense and is tasked with informing military and civilian policymakers about the activities and intentions of foreign governments and nonstate actors.

The new revelation, first reported by the New York Times, initially came in the form of DIA responses to questions from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) regarding the agency’s warrantless purchase of commercial location data generated by phones both inside and outside of the United States.

Wyden asked the DIA to clarify its interpretation of Carpenter v. United States, a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision barring law enforcement agencies from requesting personal location information from a cellphone company without first obtaining a search warrant from a judge.

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2020: The Year the Tree of Liberty Was Torched, by John W. Whitehead

2020 has been the worst year in American history, by far, for liberty. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”—John Lennon

No doubt about it: 2020—a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for freedom—was the culmination of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decade for freedom.

Government corruption, tyranny, and abuse coupled with a Big Brother-knows-best mindset and the COVID-19 pandemic propelled us at warp speed towards a full-blown police state in which nationwide lockdowns, egregious surveillance, roadside strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, censorship, retaliatory arrests, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, indefinite detentions, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, police brutality, profit-driven prisons, and pay-to-play politicians were accepted as the norm.

Here’s just a small sampling of the laundry list of abuses—cruel, brutal, immoral, unconstitutional and unacceptable—that have been heaped upon us by the government over the past two decades and in the past year, in particular.

The government failed to protect our lives, liberty and happiness. The predators of the police state wreaked havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives. The government didn’t listen to the citizenry, refused to abide by the Constitution, and treated the citizenry as a source of funding and little else. Police officers shot unarmed citizens and their household pets. Government agents—including local police—were armed to the teeth and encouraged to act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies were allowed to fleece taxpayers. Government technicians spied on our emails and phone calls. And government contractors made a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

The American President became more imperial. Although the Constitution invests the President with very specific, limited powers, in recent years, American presidents (Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc.) claimed the power to completely and almost unilaterally alter the landscape of this country for good or for ill. The powers that have been amassed by each successive president through the negligence of Congress and the courts—powers which add up to a toolbox of terror for an imperial ruler—empower whoever occupies the Oval Office to act as a dictator, above the law and beyond any real accountability. The presidency itself has become an imperial one with permanent powers.

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2020: The Year we Sold Our Liberties For a Medical Tyranny, by Rob Slane

We didn’t sell what remained of our liberties, they were summarily taken from us. From Rob Slane at https://www.theblogmire.com/2020-the-year-we-sold-our-liberties-for-a-medical-tyranny/:

This is the third of five end-of-year articles looking at various aspects of our new Covidian State in 2020 (Parts 1 and 2 here and here). These pieces are also due to be published on the excellent Conservative Woman website from 27-31 December.


This year has seen what looks like the birth of a new religion. Let us call it Covidianity. It has its Prophets (eg. Neil Ferguson); its Priesthood of experts (eg. Whitty and Vallance); its own Soteriology (eg. The Vaccine of Salvation); its evangelists (eg. Piers Morgan); its own eschatology (eg. The New Normal); and of course its heretics (anyone questioning the data or the narrative).

Not everyone who has adopted the bizarre practices of Covidianity is a Covidian. Many have been cowed into it somewhat unwillingly; many have been bamboozled into it somewhat unwittingly; and many others just do not seem to have thought through what is being done to them, much less whether it is right, necessary and proportionate. But there are definitely true Covidians, and you can recognise them by their insistence that all bow down to their cult, and that those who refuse should be shamed.

In one sense, this religion has come upon us at warp speed. There we all were, going about our business at the start of the year, not particularly suspecting that there would be anything particularly out of the ordinary in 2020, and suddenly, wham! Yet in another sense, many of the ingredients were already in place long before this year, and they were simply brought together in one large melting pot to produce a toxic brew of fear, hysteria and irrationality on a truly epic scale.

Those ingredients include: A society that had abandoned belief in the Triune God and hadn’t quite managed to find a replacement to fill the void; a society obsessed with Safetyism, and the general sterilisation of life; a society glued to the Propaganda Box in the corner of the room with millions hanging on the every word that proceeds from it as if it were the very Oracle of God; and a society that had, by and large, utterly forgotten what freedom actually means.

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Covid and The Rise of Cage Keeper Democracy, by James Bovard

Oh good, we get to vote for our jailers. From James Bovard at aier.org:

The Covid pandemic this year has profoundly transformed the relationship of government to American citizens. Constitutional leashes have been obliterated as state and local politicians and officials have issued endless decrees that were vastly more effective at destroying freedom than at curbing a virus. And the Biden administration may soon take further leaps towards making our political system into a Cage Keeper Democracy where citizens’ ballots merely designate who will place them under house arrest.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito aptly declared last month, “The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.” But the sheer extent of this rollback has been missed by many activists who seem to have little or no concern about what has happened to average Americans. Pop singer Fiona Apple recently called for a mass release of jail inmates and urged people to sympathize with those behind bars: “Anybody out there could find 1 or 2 instances in their lives when they felt a little bit alone, afraid, disbelieved, forgotten about. Magnify that by an unimaginable amount. And ask why you’re not doing something.”

Stalin reputedly said that one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic. The same is apparently true when politicians destroy millions of people’s freedom – it is a mere statistic that progressive minds dismiss.

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Hero or Traitor? by John Stossel

John Stossel was able to interview Edward Snowden recently via a Zoom call. As always, Snowden had things to say to which attention should be paid. From Stossel at theburningplatform.com:

Hero or Traitor?

President Donald Trump should pardon Edward Snowden.

Who?

I know, it’s embarrassing — Assange, Manning, Snowden… Who did what?

I got them confused before I researched this topic. National security isn’t my beat. I finally educated myself this month because I got a chance to interview Snowden, the CIA/NSA employee who told the world that our government spied on us but lied to Congress about it.

Now Snowden hides from American authorities.

We talked via Zoom.

Fourteen years ago, when Snowden worked for the CIA, and then the NSA, he signed agreements saying he would not talk about what he did. I confronted him about breaking his promise.

“What changed me,” he answers, “was the realization that what our government actually does was very different than the public representation of it.”

The NSA’s mass surveillance program was meant to find foreign terrorists. When congressmen asked NSA officials if, without warrants, they collected data on Americans, they lied and said, “No.”

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Big Brother in Disguise: The Rise of a New, Technological World Order, by John W. Whitehead

Technology gives government and their corporate allies the ability to monitor and control the populace like never before. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984

It had the potential for disaster.

Early in the morning of Monday, December 15, 2020, Google suffered a major worldwide outage in which all of its internet-connected services crashed, including Nest, Google Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, Maps, Meet and YouTube.

The outage only lasted an hour, but it was a chilling reminder of how reliant the world has become on internet-connected technologies to do everything from unlocking doors and turning up the heat to accessing work files, sending emails and making phone calls.

A year earlier, a Google outage resulted in Nest users being unable to access their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras. As Fast Company reports, “This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outage, people were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.”

Welcome to the Matrix.

Twenty-some years after the Wachowskis’ iconic 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 blue pill or a red 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 human beings and eventually dominating every aspect of our lives.

Science fiction has become fact.

In The Matrix, computer 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 an artificial dream world.

Neo is given a choice: to take the red pill, wake up and join the resistance, or take the blue pill, remain asleep and serve as fodder for the powers-that-be.

Most people opt for the blue pill.

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A New Technology That Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying on Citizens, by Jack Rasmus

New software can access your smartphone and then further access any nearby wireless or bluetooth device. From Jack Rasmus at counterpunch.org:

If you’re worried about the capability of government to conduct surveillance of citizens engaged in political assembly and protest, or even just personal activity, then you should be aware the technological capability of government surveillance is about to expand exponentially.

The US Air Force’s Research Lab (yes, it has its own lab) has recently signed a contract to test new software of a company called SignalFrame, a Washington DC wireless tech company. The company’s new software is able to access smartphones, and from your phone jump off to access any other wireless or bluetooth device in the near vicinity. To quote from the article today in the Wall St. Journal, the smartphone is used “as a window onto usage of hundreds of millions of computers,s routers, fitness trackers, modern automobiles and other networked devices, known collectively as the ‘Internet of Things’.”

Your smartphone in effect becomes a government listening device that detects and accesses all nearby wireless or bluetooth devices, or anything that has a MAC address for that matter. How ‘near’ is nearby is not revealed by the company, or the Air Force, both of which refused to comment on the Wall St. Journal story. But with the expansion of 5G wireless, it should be assumed it’s more than just a couple steps from your smartphone.

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Warp Speed Ahead: COVID-19 Vaccines Pave the Way for a New Frontier in Surveillance, by John W. Whitehead

The Covid-19 response has always been about control, power, and coming soon, surveillance. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

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 populace, making 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.

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European Union Moves To Outlaw Encrypted Apps, by Eric Striker

Outlaw encryption and you’ve handed the keys to government for all communications. From Eric Striker at national-justice.com:

The European Union is moving to ban end-to-end encrypted communication.

An EU council of ministers resolution spearheaded by French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the conservative Austrian People’s Party would mandate that apps such as Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp provide European intelligence services with backdoor access in order to allow them to better monitor the conversations of their citizens.

Encryption is an important tool used by dissidents, journalists and privacy conscious citizens around the world in an age of mass surveillance and strict social media censorship. Millions have started embracing the technology in the West as the rulers of the Anglosphere and Europe continue to lose public confidence and become more repressive.

The excuse being given for this effort is a spate of recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria committed by Islamic extremists. Rather than contend with the complex cultural, ethnic and immigration issues that lead to such violence, Macron, Kurz and the interests they represent see an opportunity to expand their eavesdropping power over their increasingly frightened population.

In recent years, laws passed by liberal governments under the guise of combating foreign Islamic terrorism have been utilized against citizens espousing nationalist, populist and dissident ideas, as well as adversarial political factions.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded after 9/11 to combat Al Qaeda operations domestically, but its unconstitutional powers today are largely focused on going after right-wing white men. The FBI’s CIA-like power granted to them in the name of counter-terrorism lowered the bar for surveillance via the secret FISA court and was used by permanent bureaucrats to entrap and spy on members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

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