Category Archives: Privacy

“Keyword Warrants” – Feds Secretly Ordered Google To Identify Anyone Searching Certain Information, by Tyler Durden

Google is not “free” in any sense of the word. You’re the product and Google is under no obligation to hold your information confidential. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

An accidentally unsealed court document reveals that the federal government secretly ordered Google to provide data on people searching specific search words or phrases, otherwise known as “keyword warrants,” according to Forbes.

According to the report, the Justice Department inadvertently unsealed the documents in September (which were promptly re-sealed), which were reviewed by Forbes. In several instances, law enforcement investigators asked Google to identify anyone searching for specific keywords.

The first case was in 2019 when federal investigators were on the hunt for men they believed sex-trafficked a minor. According to a search warrant, the minor went missing but reappeared a year later and claimed to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Investigators asked Google if anyone had searched the minor’s name. The tech giant responded and provided law enforcement agents with Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches.

There have been other rare examples of so-called keyword warrants, such as in 2020 when police asked Google if anyone searched for the address of an arson victim in the government’s racketeering case against singer R Kelly. Then in 2017, a Minnesota judge requested Google to provide information on anyone who searched for a  fraud victim’s name.

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Democrats and Media Do Not Want to Weaken Facebook, Just Commandeer its Power to Censor, by Glenn Greenwald

For the government, censorship by Big Tech proxy avoids a lot of thorny Constitutional issues. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

“Whistleblower” Frances Haugen is a vital media and political asset because she advances their quest for greater control over online political discourse.

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled ‘Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower’ on Capitol Hill October 5, 2021 in Washington, (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Much is revealed by who is bestowed hero status by the corporate media. This week’s anointed avatar of stunning courage is Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager being widely hailed as a “whistleblower” for providing internal corporate documents to the Wall Street Journal relating to the various harms which Facebook and its other platforms (Instagram and WhatsApp) are allegedly causing.

The social media giant hurts America and the world, this narrative maintains, by permitting misinformation to spread (presumably more so than cable outlets and mainstream newspapers do virtually every week); fostering body image neurosis in young girls through Instagram (presumably more so than fashion magazines, Hollywood and the music industry do with their glorification of young and perfectly-sculpted bodies); promoting polarizing political content in order to keep the citizenry enraged, balkanized and resentful and therefore more eager to stay engaged (presumably in contrast to corporate media outlets, which would never do such a thing); and, worst of all, by failing to sufficiently censor political content that contradicts liberal orthodoxies and diverges from decreed liberal Truth. On Tuesday, Haugen’s star turn took her to Washington, where she spent the day testifying before the Senate about Facebook’s dangerous refusal to censor even more content and ban even more users than they already do.

There is no doubt, at least to me, that Facebook and Google are both grave menaces. Through consolidation, mergers and purchases of any potential competitors, their power far exceeds what is compatible with a healthy democracy. A bipartisan consensus has emerged on the House Antitrust Committee that these two corporate giants — along with Amazon and Apple — are all classic monopolies in violation of long-standing but rarely enforced antitrust laws. Their control over multiple huge platforms that they purchased enables them to punish and even destroy competitors, as we saw when Apple, Google and Amazon united to remove Parler from the internet forty-eight hours after leading Democrats demanded that action, right as Parler became the most-downloaded app in the country, or as Google suppresses Rumble videos in its dominant search feature as punishment for competing with Google’s YouTube platform. Facebook and Twitter both suppressed reporting on the authentic documents about Joe Biden’s business activities reported by The New York Post just weeks before the 2020 election. These social media giants also united to effectively remove the sitting elected President of the United States from the internet, prompting grave warnings from leaders across the democratic world about how anti-democratic their consolidated censorship power has become.

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“Programmable Digital Currency”: The next stage of the new normal? by Kit Knightly

Who says governments can’t innovate? They’re always thinking of new ways to rip you off. From Kit Knightly at off-guardian.org:

The war on cash’s endgame is here: money replaced by vouchers subject to complete state control.

Building on the bitcoin model, central banks are planning to produce their own “digital currencies”. Removing any and all remaining privacy, granting total control over every transaction, even limiting what ordinary people are allowed to spend their money on.

From the moment bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies first emerged, sold as an independent and alternative medium of exchange outside the financial status quo, it was only a matter of time before the new alternative would be absorbed, modified and redeployed in service of the state.

Enter “Central Bank Digital Currencies”: the mainstream answer to bitcoin.

For those who have never heard of them, “Central Bank Digital Currencies” (CBDCs) are exactly what they sound like, digitized versions of the pound/dollar/euro etc. issued by central banks.

Like bitcoin (and other crypto), the CBDC would be entirely digital, thus furthering the ongoing war on cash. However, unlike crypto, it would not have any encryption preserving anonymity. In fact, it would be totally the reverse, potentially ending the very idea of financial privacy.

Now, you may not have heard much about the CBDC plans, lost as they are in the tangle of the ongoing “pandemic”, but the campaign is there, chugging along on the back pages for months now. There are stories about it from both Reuters and the Financial Times just today. It’s a long, slow con, but a con nonetheless.

The countries where the idea progressed the furthest are China and the UK. The Chinese Digital Yuan has been in development since 2014, and is subject to ongoing and widespread testing. The UK is nowhere near that stage yet, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak is keenly pushing forward a digital pound that the press are calling “Britcoin”.

Other countries, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia, are not far behind.

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Segregation Revisited, by Eric Peters

In a free society, people can peacefully associate and transact with whomever they please. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Americans used to oppose segregation – the legalized exclusion of a category of people from mainstream society (and commerce) based on the idiotic and evil assertion that every member of the outcast category was a potential danger and for that reason they all had to be kept at arm’s length.

Even contrary to the wishes of people who wanted to extend their hand.

Many Americans now seem to favor a Vaccinated Only society, in which a whole category of people – those who’ve declined to be forced to take the Jab, for sound practical and hugely important principled reasons – are to be forcibly excluded from the general society. This is no less evil (or imbecilic) a measure than remanding blacks to “Colored” water fountains – and so on.

But there is an interesting difference, this time.

In the days of legalized racial segregation – and even today – few object to voluntary segregation. It is certainly not illegal. Well, provided it is practiced by a politically protected category of people.

There are entirely black fraternities, for instance – and even black-only (or mostly) colleges and universities. And there is nothing wrong with this – if the principle is respected that all people have the right to freely associate, on whatever basis.

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Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country, by Michael Tracey

By the time people leave college, they will be so used to being watched they won’t mind at all when the government continues to do so. From Michael Tracey at mtracey.substack.com:

Image by Mark Breck via GettyImages

Having now received a tsunami of messages from people across the US (and a few internationally) about the surveillance regimes being permanently installed at their educational institutions — in contravention of earlier assurances that the current academic year would mark a long-awaited “return to normalcy,” thanks to the onset of mass vaccination — there are a few conclusions to draw.

First: unless and until COVID “cases” are abandoned as a metric by which policy action is presumptively dictated, these institutions are destined to continue flailing from irrational measure to irrational measure for the foreseeable future. Just turn your gaze over to one of America’s most hallowed pedagogical grounds: As of September 17, Columbia University has newly forbidden students from hosting guests, visiting residence halls other than their own, and gathering with more than ten people. The stated rationale for these restrictions? Administrators have extrapolated from the “contact tracing” data they’ve compulsorily seized that a recent increase in viral transmission is attributable to “students socializing unmasked at gatherings in residence halls and at off-campus apartments, bars, and restaurants.” (Socializing at apartments, bars, and restaurants in the middle of Manhattan — gee, I can’t imagine anything more heinous.)

Just like Connecticut College and so many other institutions I’ve been taking flurries of messages about, Columbia has already mandated vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff, and is approaching 100% compliance. But as has now been made abundantly clear, for many people in positions of bureaucratic authority, universal vaccination was never going to be sufficient for a transition away from the “Permanent Emergency” mode of COVID exegetical theology. The perverse incentives are easy to grasp. These administrators have so much invested in the infrastructure of “case” detection they’ve constructed over the past year and a half — not to mention the wider ideological project of “stopping the spread” at all costs — that it’s impossible to imagine conditions under which they’d voluntarily move to dismantle the surveillance systems over which they preside. And not just because the new powers conferred by this infrastructure — the ability to micromanage the private lives of young adults, track and adjudicate the propriety of their movements, etc. — is probably creepily intoxicating on a level these administrators may not be overtly conscious of, and in any event would almost certainly never publicly admit.

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Biden’s Total Financial Surveillance, by Matt Welch

Coming soon: the government will know every noncash cent you receive or spend. From Matt Welch at reason.com:

What if every one of your noncash financial transactions was automatically reported to a beefed-up, audit-hungry IRS?

Imagine living in a world where every one of your noncash financial transactions—a restaurant meal, a Venmo transfer to a friend, maybe some bitcoin bought on the dips—was automatically reported to a beefed-up, audit-hungry IRS.

That dystopia will become a reality if President Joe Biden gets his way. Biden, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and key Capitol Hill allies such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) are pushing a vast, intrusive financial surveillance system in the name of closing the “tax gap.”

But don’t worry: There’s no need to fear if you’ve got nothing to hide.

“For already compliant taxpayers, the only effect of this regime is to provide easy access to summary information on financial accounts and to decrease the likelihood of costly ‘no fault’ examinations,” the Treasury Department said this May in a nakedly authoritarian document called “The American Families Plan Tax Compliance Agenda.” But “for noncompliant taxpayers,” the department continues, “this regime would encourage voluntary compliance as evaders realize that the risk of evasion being detected has risen noticeably.”

The administration’s proposed “comprehensive financial account reporting regime” would dramatically increase the types of financial institutions and transactions exposed to the feds’ prying eyes. “All business and personal accounts from financial institutions, including bank, loan, and investment accounts,” would be forced to “report gross inflows and outflows” to the IRS. And not just bank accounts: The dragnet would now include PayPal, settlement companies, and “crypto asset exchanges,” for starters.

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Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty, by Conor Friedersdorf

You don’t freely trade away any of your liberty, no matter what the other side is promising you for it. Australia is finding out the hard way what happens when you trade away all your liberty, and good luck trying to get it back. This article is going up tonight because while most alternate news readers know the situation in Australia, this article appeared in a mainstream publication, The Atlantic. From Conor Friedersdorf at theatlantic.com:

How long can a democracy maintain emergency restrictions and still call itself a free country?

 
The lower half of a kangaroo's body with an Australian flag hanging out of its front pouch
Getty; The Atlantic

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET on September 3, 2021.

In a bid to keep the coronavirus out of the country, Australia’s federal and state governments imposed draconian restrictions on its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison knows that the burden is too heavy. “This is not a sustainable way to live in this country,” he recently declared. One prominent civil libertarian summed up the rules by lamenting, “We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.”

Up to now one of Earth’s freest societies, Australia has become a hermit continent. How long can a country maintain emergency restrictions on its citizens’ lives while still calling itself a liberal democracy?

Australia has been testing the limits.

Before 2020, the idea of Australia all but forbidding its citizens from leaving the country, a restriction associated with Communist regimes, was unthinkable. Today, it is a widely accepted policy. “Australia’s borders are currently closed and international travel from Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a government website declares. “International travel from Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.” The rule is enforced despite assurances on another government website, dedicated to setting forth Australia’s human-rights-treaty obligations, that the freedom to leave a country “cannot be made dependent on establishing a purpose or reason for leaving.”

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The All-Seeing “i”: Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy, by Edward Snowden

Apple is taking a big step towards become an agent of governments’ totalitarian surveillance. From Edward Snowden at edwardsnowden.substack.com:

By now you’ve probably heard that Apple plans to push a new and uniquely intrusive surveillance system out to many of the more than one billion iPhones it has sold, which all run the behemoth’s proprietary, take-it-or-leave-it software. This new offensive is tentatively slated to begin with the launch of iOS 15⁠—almost certainly in mid-September⁠—with the devices of its US user-base designated as the initial targets. We’re told that other countries will be spared, but not for long.

You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned which problem it is that Apple is purporting to solve. Why? Because it doesn’t matter.

Having read thousands upon thousands of remarks on this growing scandal, it has become clear to me that many understand it doesn’t matter, but few if any have been willing to actually say it. Speaking candidly, if that’s still allowed, that’s the way it always goes when someone of institutional significance launches a campaign to defend an indefensible intrusion into our private spaces. They make a mad dash to the supposed high ground, from which they speak in low, solemn tones about their moral mission before fervently invoking the dread spectre of the Four Horsemen of the Infopocalypse, warning that only a dubious amulet—or suspicious software update—can save us from the most threatening members of our species.

Suddenly, everybody with a principled objection is forced to preface their concern with apologetic throat-clearing and the establishment of bonafides: I lost a friend when the towers came down, however… As a parent, I understand this is a real problem, but

As a parent, I’m here to tell you that sometimes it doesn’t matter why the man in the handsome suit is doing something. What matters are the consequences.

Apple’s new system, regardless of how anyone tries to justify it, will permanently redefine what belongs to you, and what belongs to them.

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T Is for Tyranny: How Freedom Dies from A to Z, by John Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

Here’s a depressing A to Z list of the freedoms we’ve lost and the power the government has arrogated to itself. From John Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.”— French philosopher Etienne de La Boétie

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a convenient, traumatic, devastating distraction.

The American people, the permanent underclass in America, have allowed themselves to be so distracted and divided that they have failed to notice the building blocks of tyranny being laid down right under their noses by the architects of the Deep State.

Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton: they have all been complicit in carrying out the Deep State’s agenda.

Frankly, it really doesn’t matter who occupies the White House, because it is a profit-driven, unelected bureaucracy—call it whatever you will: the Deep State, the Controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the corporate elite, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—that is actually calling the shots

Our losses are mounting with every passing day, part of a calculated siege intended to ensure our defeat at the hands of a totalitarian regime.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, media, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more are casualties in the government’s war on the American people.

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Diaper Report 8/9/21, by Eric Peters

Part of the reason that people didn’t rebel initially against all the coronavirus nonsense was because they didn’t grasp the evil of the people behind it. Now, to a much greater extent, they do. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

You may have read that many of the big corporate retail chain stores – Wal Mart, Home Depot, etc. – have reimposed Face Diaper “mandates” upon their employees. What’s interesting about this is the contrast between the force-Diapered employees at these stores and the lack of Diapering by choice among the people patronizing these stores.

It is a marked difference, this time vs. the last time – when it didn’t take general “mandates” to get half or even two-thirds of the people who didn’t have to wear the shameful rag that affirmed the lie to wear it.

Because, of course, they were scared. Because they believed the lies. Being generally normal people, psychologically, they could not understand the psychopathy of the creatures deliberately fomenting mass hysteria by grossly exaggerating the lethality of a sickness by hysterically but purposefully presenting alarming “data” about “cases,” which they knew were not even synonymous with sickness, let alone death.

It is inconceivable – to the psychologically normal brain – that anyone would deliberately scream fire! in a crowded theater, for the intentional purpose of causing a stampede that would result in people being trampled. They would never do such a despicable thing, so they could not imagine anyone else doing it.

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