Tag Archives: Smartphones

China Won’t Be Taking Over, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

China’s got a lot of wood to chop before it can take over the world. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

In the New Year, after a close to the old one that was sort of terrible for our zombie markets, do prepare for a whole lot of stories about China (on top of Brexit and Yellow Vests and many more windmills fighting the Donald). And don’t count on too many positive ones that don’t originate in the country itself. Beijing will especially be full of feel-good tales about a month from now, around Chinese New Year 2019, which is February 5.

And we won’t get an easy and coherent true story, it’ll be bits and pieces stitched together. What will remain is that China did the same we did, just on steroids. It took us 100 years to build our manufacturing capacity, they did it in under 20 (and made ours obsolete). It took us 100 years to borrow enough to get a debt-to-GDP ratio of 300%, they did it in 10.

In the process they also accumulated 10 times more non-productive assets than us, idle factories, bridges to nowhere and empty cities, but they thought that would be alright, that demand would catch up with supply. And if you look at how much unproductive stuff we ourselves have gathered around us, who can blame them for thinking that? Perhaps their biggest mistake has been misreading our actual wealth situation; they didn’t see how poorly off we really are.

Xiang Songzuo, “a relatively obscure economics professor at Renmin University in Beijing”, expressed some dire warnings about the Chinese economy in a December 15 speech. He didn’t get much attention, not even in the West. Not overly surprising, since both Beijing and Wall Street have a vested interest in the continuing China growth story.

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Tech gurus don’t let their kids have smartphones. Here’s why, by Jenny McCartney

Tech gurus don’t allow their kids smartphones for the same reason they don’t allow them crack, cigarettes, or vodka: they’re addictive and destructive. From Jenny McCartney at spectator.us:

Students are back in classrooms and parents can finally have a brief respite from worrying about their children’s excessive screen use — or, at least, worrying it is all their fault. This angst peaks each year in the summer holidays, those long, sunny weeks illuminated in large part by the blueish light from children’s smartphones, tablets and laptops. The beep and ping of devices triggers complicated emotions. In many homes, parents simultaneously castigate their offspring’s use of tech and are relieved by it: like some goblin babysitter, it squats in the corner of family life, whispering powerfully, turning children silent and glassy-eyed.

The erratically applied adult phrases ‘That’s enough screen time!’ and ‘Give me that iPad!’ ring hopelessly around family homes, interspersed with squeals of refusal. Cannier parents have worked out that if they cannot contain the addiction they can manipulate it to their advantage: the threat of sudden iPad withdrawal is a behavioural corrective that trumps the useless ‘naughty step’ every time.

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More Police State Surveillance: Courtesy of the Pentagon, by Jeremiah Johnson

The Pentagon has a plan to use biometric verification to track and identify people from their smart phones. From Jeremiah Johnson at shtfplan.com:

There was an article by Joseph Marks of Nextgov published on 5/16/18 that was neither picked up by the larger news networks nor kept in view for long. The article is entitled The Pentagon Has a Big Plan to Solve Identity Verification in Two Years, and here is a portion of it:

The Defense Department is funding a project that officials say could revolutionize the way companies, federal agencies and the military itself verify that people are who they say they are and it could be available in most commercial smartphones within two years. The technology, which will be embedded in smartphones’ hardware, will analyze a variety of identifiers that are unique to an individual, such as the hand pressure and wrist tension when the person holds a smartphone and the person’s peculiar gait while walking, said Steve Wallace, technical director at the Defense Information Systems Agency.  Organizations that use the tool can combine those identifiers to give the phone holder a “risk score,” Wallace said. If the risk score is low enough, the organization can presume the person is who she says she is and grant her access to sensitive files on the phone or on a connected computer or grant her access to a secure facility. If the score’s too high, she’ll be locked out.

Amazing. The Pentagon’s technical director omitted much in his quest to act as if such actions are “government streamlining” and occurring matter-of-factly, in the interests of securing information for the government and its contractors.

The problem: if it’s in the software of all the commercial smartphones (the ones bought in the stores), that biometric data will be transmitted by all the phones, not just the contractors to the federal government.

We also know where this is heading. The government will back-door everyone’s cell phones and make tracking and surveillance even more ubiquitous than it is now, and that’s saying something. Read this portion:

Another identifier that will likely be built into the chips is a GPS tracker that will store encrypted information about a person’s movements, Wallace said. The verification tool would analyze historical information about a person’s locations and major, recent anomalies would raise the person’s risk score.  The tool would be separate from the GPS function used by mapping and exercise apps, he said. The tool does not include biometric information, such as a thumbprint or eye scans at this point, Wallace said, because DISA judged that existing commercial applications of biometric information are too easy to spoof.

To continue reading: More Police State Surveillance: Courtesy of the Pentagon

Your Smartphone, Please, by Eric Peters

The electronic vice-grip on our civil liberties continues to tighten. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Bad enough that we are required by law to present our “papers” – government-issued ID cards, egregiously mislabelled as driver’s licenses – whenever a government bullyboy so demands. Just as in the former East Germany, just as in the former Soviet Union – and in another place whose name it’s hardly necessary to mention.

But in those places – in those times – tyranny was limited somewhat by technology.

In our time, the technology available to tyranny is almost limitless – and the laws which used to at least somewhat protect us have become the means by which technology tyrannizes us.

Corporations, which give a damn about our rights as much as Ted Bundy cared about his victims, provide the technology – and exploit the law – to profit from tyranny.

Government, in a kind of twisted quid pro quo, enacts the laws – and uses the technology created by corporations to intrude ever deeper into our lives.

 Think of the loathsome body scanners we must pass through at airports.

Think of the Mobile Biometric Driver’s License.

You haven’t heard?

It is the brainchild – and hoped-for profit center – of something called the MorphoTrust – which is one of those corporations that doesn’t give a damn about our rights if there’s a buck to be made from eviscerating them. Morpho – as in morphology – wants to use your smartphone and facial recognition technology it developed to convert your cell phone into a mobile, scannable and downloadable version of your “papers.”

In theory – and in technological fact – a cop would not even need to pull you over to examine your “papers.” He could simply access your phone. Without you even necessarily knowing.

And not just your “papers,” either.

Whatever else you’ve got on your phone. Texts, images, emails and Internet searches. It’s the electronic version of a free-for-all rifling of our persons and effects without our persons or effects even being aware it’s happening.

To continue reading; Your Smartphone, Please

More Lonely, Fewer ‘Friends’, Less Sex – Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation? by Tyler Durden

The nice thing about the WordPress platform is that it optimizes for smartphones, so maybe a few of the younger generation will see this post. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis…

The Atlantic’s Jean Twenge asks the most crucial question of our age“have smartphones destroyed a generation?”

Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, [teens today] talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data – some reaching back to the 1930s – I had never seen anything like it.

To continue reading: More Lonely, Fewer ‘Friends’, Less Sex – Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?

New Device Allows Cops to Download All of Your Smartphone Activity in Seconds, from Anti-Media

A new device plugs into your smartphone and allows cops to determine how and when you were using it. From Anti-Media at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) New York  — “Any person who operates a motor vehicle in the state shall be deemed to have given consent to field testing of his or her mobile telephone and/or personal electronic device for the purpose of determining the use thereof while operating a motor vehicle, provided that such testing is conducted by or at the direction of a police officer.”

That’s language from the text of a bill currently working its way through the New York state legislature. The legislation would allow cops to search through drivers’ cell phones following traffic incidents — even minor fender-benders — to determine if the person was using their phone while behind the wheel.

Most states have laws banning the use of mobile devices while driving, though such laws are rarely enforced. This is largely because it’s nearly impossible to catch someone in the act. What person would admit to an officer that they broke the law, the argument goes, particularly when it’s after the fact? After all, cops don’t show up until after the accident occurs.

Now, technology exists that would give police the power to plug drivers’ phones into tablet-like devices — being called “textalyzers” in the media — that tell officers exactly what they were doing on their phone and exactly when they were doing it. And if the readout shows a driver was texting while driving, for instance, the legal system will have an additional way to fine them.

“Recording your every click, tap or swipe, it would even know what apps you were using. Police officers could download the data, right on the spot,” Jeff Rossen of NBC News said in a video report on the technology.

Proponents of the legislation point to the rise in traffic fatalities associated with using mobile devices while driving. But rights activists, such as Rashida Richardson of the New York Civil Liberties Union, says it’s a societal issue and no excuse to violate an individual’s privacy:

“This is a concern because our phones have some of our most personal and private information — so we’re certain that if this law is enforced as it is proposed, it will not only violate people’s privacy rights, but also civil liberties.”

New York state isn’t alone. Currently, similar legislation is being considered in Tennessee and New Jersey.

http://theantimedia.org/textalyzer-cops-download-smartphone-activity/