Tag Archives: Big Tech

The Bogus Big Brother-Big Tech Brawl Over Backdoors, by Bill Blunden

Don’t be fooled by Big Tech’s rhetoric about protecting your electronic devices from government snoops. From Bill Blunden at theamericanconservative.com:

The law can already get into your phone anytime. But Apple needs you to think it isn’t helping them.

In the wake of this year’s Munich Security Conference, members of the European Union are pushing back against warnings by the United Statesabout networking gear sold by Chinese telecom giant Huawei. American officials have alleged that Huawei can covertly access its equipment through backdoors designed for law enforcement, and voiced concerns about the risk associated with installing hardware that could give the Chinese government the ability to remotely monitor or even disable other nation’s networks.

The insistence of countries like Britain and Germany on integrating technology from a police state directly into their digital infrastructure is definitely curious. But it’s not like supply chain subversion hasn’t already transpired on an industrial scale. For example, we know now, thanks to a recent Washington Post report, that during the early days of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency succeeded in secretly compromising encryption technology used by over 120 different countries. For years, American spies were tapping lines and pilfering secrets from all over the globe.

Back to 2020. American officials are sounding alarms about Huawei having backdoors, though that hasn’t stopped them from supporting U.S. law enforcement getting their own access to everyone’s data whenever they want. But theirs is a “noble” cause: high ranking members of the political establishment are warning that they won’t be able to protect us against terrorists, drug cartels, and child pornographers unless Silicon Valley allows in American security services.

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Blacklist Valley: How Big Tech reshapes politics by censoring conservative ideas, by Peter Hasson

Big Tech has come to the pitiable state where it ostensibly promotes free speech while stifling speech with which it doesn’t agree. From Peter Hasson at washingtonexaminer.com:

For better or worse, social media is the new public square. Of adults, 68% use Facebook, 73% use YouTube, and a quarter use Twitter. The numbers are much higher for adults under 50. Two-thirds of adults and roughly 4 in 5 under 50 use social media to consume news. Three-quarters of Facebook users are on the site every day, and Twitter users have a disproportionate influence on the media because so many journalists are on the service.

The size and scale of social media companies exploded primarily because they presented themselves as open platforms — blank slates. Google, Facebook, and Twitter all characterized their products as engines for social improvement. “We think of Twitter as the global town hall,” said former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. “We are the free speech wing of the free speech party.”

Costolo was Twitter’s chief executive from 2010 until 2015 and the immediate predecessor of current CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s general manager in the United Kingdom, Andy Yang, likewise described Twitter as the “free speech wing of the free speech party” in March 2012. Google became a multibillion-dollar company by offering a portal for free, unrestricted information to anyone with access to the internet; famously, its original motto was “Don’t be evil.” An internal Facebook memo circulated in June 2016 stated that at Facebook, “we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is de facto good.”

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The Year in Bad Ideas, by Max Gulker

The year almost past saw the ascendence of some uncommonly stupid ideas. From Max Gulker at aier.com:

At first glance 2019 was a rough year for anyone in favor of an economy and society guided from the bottom up by people with the freedom to exchange, cooperate, and think as they choose. The highly visible left flank of the Democratic Party, fully embracing socialism in name and approach, erupted with proposals that would drastically change the country in ways they intend and many more in ways they do not. Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s debt from its Faustian bargain with President Donald Trump began to come due.

What can we learn from bad ideas? Plenty, if we approach them with curiosity rather than assumed intellectual or moral deficiency on the part of those trafficking in them. The truth, that people have a really hard time understanding the benefits of free markets and bottom-up organization, is both difficult and galvanizing. Free-market ideas don’t really have a place in the current incarnation of our two-party system. We’re free agents and that can open a world of new possibilities if we let it.

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Against Silicon Valley. by Ian Miles Cheong

Silicon Valley has become a bastion of left-wing politics and politically correct ideology. From Ian Miles Cheong at humanevents.com:

Big Tech amplified the culture war: now it is putting its thumb on the scale.

The early days of the internet were rife with optimism about the future of the technological society. Techno-utopians naively hoped that a society running on the so-called “Information SuperHighway” would be armed with facts, and civic life would evolve past the tired dialectic of partisan politics.

Of course what they predicted, and what ended up happening, are two very different things. Far from enlightenment, we’re confronting a world of conspiracy theories and alternative narratives produced within echo chambers and widely disseminated through social media—some of which are downright dangerous.

Before we can understand why things are the way they are, it is necessary to recall what happened in the first two decades of the 21st century. That’s likely what motivated Joe Bernstein’s recent retrospective on BuzzFeed. For all the utopianism and hope that defined the end of the 20th century, we still haven’t ended starvation and inequality, accomplished world peace, or established a colony on Mars. Instead, we have the culture war and a myriad of trivialities that threaten to ensconce the human race in low-stakes concerns like preferred pronouns and microaggressions.

Bernstein, who’s very much a “normie,” laments the ways in which the new age of enlightenment, driven by technological progress, failed to deliver. But the utopia he grieves for is very much a product of Big Tech’s monocultural hegemony. Big Tech, which has engineered the current state of political discourse, has been subsumed by leftist beliefs—both from within and without.

Mark Zuckerberg.

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Sin Taxes & Other Orwellian Methods of Compliance That Feed the Government’s Greed, by John Whitehead

We live in a kleptocratic, increasingly totalitarian state. From John Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”—C.S. Lewis

“Taxman,” the only song written by George Harrison to open one of the Beatles’ albums (it featured on the band’s 1966 Revolver album), is a snarling, biting, angry commentary on government greed and how little control “we the taxpayers” have over our lives and our money.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,

If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.

If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,

If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for

If you don’t want to pay some more

‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman.

When the Beatles finally started earning enough money from their music to place them in the top tax bracket, they found the British government only-too-eager to levy a supertax on them of more than 90%.

Here in America, things aren’t much better.

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Is the U.S. Government the Enemy of the People? America’s Lost Liberties, Post-9/11, by John W. Whitehead

The answer to the title question is self-evident. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

These are the times that try men’s souls.” ― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Take heed, America.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

What began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act  has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, police violence and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

The rights embodied in the Constitution, if not already eviscerated, are on life support.

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, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Indeed, since the towers fell on 9/11, the U.S. government has posed a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.

While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations (which too often fall into the hands of terrorists), and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed.

The American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed.

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Is the Tech Bubble Bursting? by Charles Hugh Smith

Has Big Tech peaked? From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

There are two other trends that don’t attract quite the media attention that soaring profits do.

Is the decade-long tech bubble finally popping? Tech bulls are overlooking the fundamental reality that the drivers of Big tech’s phenomenal growth–financialization and expansion into mobile telephony– are both losing momentum.

A third dynamic–Big Tech monetizing privately owned assets such as vehicles and homes– has also reached saturation and is now facing regulatory barriers.

Let’s start with market saturation: of the 5.3 billion adults on earth over 15 years of age, 5 billion now have a mobile phone and 4 billion have a smartphone:The end of mobile (Benedict Evans). As for teens between 10 and 15, only the truly impoverished don’t have a mobile phone of some kind.

As I discuss below, the primary dynamic of the past decade has been the integration of web-based services into mobile telephony. By any measure, that cycle is now complete.

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