Category Archives: Technology

Mercedes Caught Spying On Drivers With Tracking Devices, Sending Info To Bailiffs, by Tyler Durden

Yet another way the corporate-government surveillance state is tracking your every move. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Mercedes has admitted to spying on drivers with covert tracking devices. 

The company says are only activated in “extreme circumstances,” such as when finance customers have defaulted on payments – however the car company has also admitted to sharing data with third-party bailiffs and recovery firms for the purposes of repossession, according to The Sun. It is unclear whether Mercedes only drops the dime on their European customers or if it’s a worldwide phenomenon.

Former UK Cabinet minister David Davis has called for an investigation, saying “This is not the first time big business has behaved like Big Brother — but it’s rare to be quite as deceitful as this.”

I have to question whether it is even legal to pass on information to other people such as bailiffs,” he said, adding “I would think the relevant minister ought to look very closely at the legality of this procedure.”

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If “Emissions” Actually Mattered . . . by Eric Peters

Hybrid electric-gas cars make some economic and environmental cars sense. Pure electric cars do not. Guess which ones are being phased out? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The only electric cars that make sense are being phased out in favor of those that don’t.

Hybrids are electric cars without the electric car’s gimps – or costs. They can run without burning gas – but when you run out of electricity, you don’t have to wait for a charge to get going again  . . . because hybrids carry around their own chargers.

They do have batteries – but they’re smaller and so cost less.

And because they’re used less – hybrids alternate between gas and electric power for propulsion – they last longer. And even if an aging hybrid’s batteries do wear out and won’t hold any charge, you’ll still have more range than a new electric car with a new battery pack.

They also emit less – more on that below.

Naturally, they’ve got to go.

Well, some of them.

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Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field Ends War On Yemen, by Moon of Alabama

The Saudi war on Yemen is only over if somebody in the Saudi leadership, notably Mohammad bin Salman, has half a brain. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

Today Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis economic lifelines. This today was the decisive attack:

Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia’s sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a “limited fire” in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.

The Saudi acknowledgement of the attack came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their “biggest-ever” operation. He threatened more attacks would be coming.

New drones and missiles displayed in July 2019 by Yemen’s Houthi-allied armed forces
Today’s attack is a check mate move against the Saudis. Shaybah is some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory. There are many more important economic targets within that range:

The field’s distance from rebel-held territory in Yemen demonstrates the range of the Houthis’ drones. U.N. investigators say the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). That puts Saudi oil fields, an under-construction Emirati nuclear power plant and Dubai’s busy international airport within their range.Unlike sophisticated drones that use satellites to allow pilots to remotely fly them, analysts believe Houthi drones are likely programmed to strike a specific latitude and longitude and cannot be controlled once out of radio range. The Houthis have used drones, which can be difficult to track by radar, to attack Saudi Patriot missile batteries, as well as enemy troops.

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Amazon is developing high-tech surveillance tools for an eager customer: America’s police, by Jon Schuppe

Amazon and your local police are taking out a few more of the last remaining vestiges of personal privacy. From John Schuppe at nbcnews.com:

Dozens of law enforcement agencies have used Amazon-powered technology to modernize crime fighting — but critics raise fears of privacy abuses.

On July 12, a few hours before dawn, a man in Chandler, Arizona, was jolted awake by an alert on his phone. It was coming from his Ring security camera, which had detected movement outside his home.

The live feed showed a group of young men breaking into cars. The man hollered at them through his front door, then called the police.

As an officer arrived, the men sped off in a car, leaving behind cellphones, tools and other things they’d taken during their interrupted burglary spree. They abandoned the getaway vehicle in a housing complex and turned themselves in later that morning.

By then, the homeowner had showed police his camera footage and posted it to Neighbors, an app run by Ring, which is owned by Amazon. Ring doesn’t just make the wireless security cameras — it also accesses police data to alert residents of potential crimes, encourages users to share their recordings of suspicious behavior, and connects them with law enforcement.

“Thank goodness for the Ring!!!” the man wrote on Neighbors.

“Thanks for posting,” a Chandler police officer responded.

The exchange was typical of the way police are using Ring, helping it spread its business while using it to detect and investigate crime. The arrangement in Chandler is among dozens of such partnerships around the country, and part of a much broader effort by Amazon to deepen its reach into law enforcement — which critics say is expanding the government’s surveillance of Americans.

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Killing Free Speech in France, Germany and on the Internet, by Judith Bergman

France and Germany are even farther along killing free speech than the US. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In early July, France’s National Assembly adopted a draft bill designed to curtail online hate speech. The draft bill gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove “hateful content” or risk fines of up to 4% percent of their global revenue. The bill has gone to the French Senate and could become law after parliament’s summer recess. If it does, France will be the second country in Europe after Germany to pass a law that directly makes a social media company censor its users on behalf of the state.
  • Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone’s desire to speak freely.
  • If Facebook’s agreement with France is replicated by other European countries, whatever is left of free speech in Europe, especially on the internet, is likely to dry up fast.
  • While Facebook eagerly claims to be fighting hate speech online, including claiming to have removed millions of pieces of terrorist content from its platform, according to a recent report from the Daily Beast, 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda’s most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.
  • When will Facebook — and YouTube — make it a priority to remove material featuring the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, whose incitement has inspired actual terrorists to kill people?

In May, France called for increasing government oversight over Facebook. Now Facebook has agreed to hand over to French judges the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform, according to France’s Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O.

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How Google Threatens Your Children, by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Google is trying to turn children into Google-drones for life. From Dr. Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

Google is without a doubt the largest and clearest monopoly on the planet. It dominates online searches and advertising,1,2 which in and of itself leads to automatic bias. As noted by Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page in their 1998 paper,3 “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” “… [W]e expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of consumers.”

Google has also infiltrated many other areas of our day-to-day lives, having acquired dozens of other companies4 you might not realize belong to Google or its parent company, Alphabet.

Among the most well-known are YouTube, the largest video platform on the web, and Android, one of the most popular operating systems worldwide.5,6 Google also has significant influence over urban development,7 health care8,9 and childhood education.

Google has become ubiquitous in American classrooms

Google’s influence over young children has been a concern for years. As noted in a 2014 article10 in the International Business Times, “How Google Took Over the American Classroom and Is Creating a Gmail generation”:

“Google apps, services and increasingly, Chromebooks, have become ubiquitous in the American classroom and it’s not hard to understand why: they require no expensive hardware, they never need to be updated, and they’re free, an important consideration for cash-strapped districts …

South Carolina’s Richland School District 2 boasts 22,000 Chromebooks, which covers a student populace nearing 27,000, who also use Google Apps.

That makes for a sizeable student population that will become accustomed to utilizing Google services … ‘Education is at the core of Google’s mission — to remove the four walls of the classroom and make the world’s information accessible to all students,’ a Google spokeswoman said.”

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Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons across the US, by Mark Harris

Good news, the government is going to spy on us even more! From Mark Harris at theguardian.com:

Exclusive: the high-altitude balloons promise a cheap monitoring platform that could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods

The new balloons could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods.
The new balloons could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods. Photograph: Ron Chapple/Alamy

The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons,
documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal.
Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.

Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000ft, the balloons are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats”, according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defence company.

The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.

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