What’s In Your DNA?

  • Scientists have a new computational method that expands the way commercial and public gene databases can be used by law enforcement to catch criminals
  • While police still need a warrant to access data on sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com, the new findings make it easier for them to track down criminals
  • The development raises privacy concerns, as criminals can be tracked down through family members who submitted their DNA through commercial sites 

Scientists are expanding the methods by which law enforcement can use DNA information gathered through sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe to solve crimes – and they’re raising ethical questions along the way.

California detectives have already used DNA obtained through public databases to track down and arrest Joseph James DeAngelo, suspected of being the Golden State Killer, who police say committed at least 13 murders, more than 50 rapes, and more than 100 burglaries in California from 1974 to 1986.

But now, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Cell, researchers say they have developed a new computational method that expands the way commercial and public gene databases can be cross-referenced with those used by law enforcement.

The result: More crimes solved and countless ethical concerns raised, as many people could be linked to crimes simply because a relative submitted DNA to find out more about their family’s ancestry. Warrants are required to obtain such information from private companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.

‘We think when we upload DNA that it’s our information, but it’s not. It’s the information of everyone who is biologically related to us,’ said Julia Creet, a Toronto-based researcher focused on the family history industry, in an interview with DailyMail.com.

Researchers at Stanford University have found a new computational method that expands teh way commercial and public gene databases can be cross-referenced with those used by law enforcement to solve crimes (file photo)

The goal of using public and commercial databases to solve crimes is more technically challenging than it may seem, as they tend to rely on completely different genetic markers than those used by law enforcement to identify potential criminals.

‘There’s a legacy problem in that so many DNA profiles have been collected with this older genetic marker system that’s been used by law enforcement since the 1990s,’ said senior author Noah Rosenberg, of Stanford University. ‘The system is not designed for the more challenging queries that are currently of interest, such as identifying people represented in a DNA mixture or identifying relatives of the contributor of a DNA sample.’

 This is a kind of Wild West of privacy protection and we’re dealing with the most personal type of information.                             – Julia Creet, director of Data Mining the Deceased

Researchers set out to see if they could use the newer, more modern system of genetic markers used in commercial methods and test those against the older law enforcement system to obtain matches and find relatives.

The FBI and police departments across the U.S. use a DNA database known as the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. It relies on 20 DNA markers, which are different from those used in common ancestry databases – which scan across hundreds of thousands of sites in the genome.

Rosenberg and his team previously found that software could match people found in both databases even when there were no overlapping, or shared, markers between the two sets of data.

In their new research, the team found that the same approach could be applied to track down close family members – roughly 31 percent of the time in cases of parent-offspring pairs and 36 percent were linked among sibling pairs.

‘We wanted to examine to what extent these different types of databases can communicate with each other,’ Rosenberg said. ‘It’s important for the public to be aware that information between these two types of genetic data can be connected, often in unexpected ways.’

This means that law enforcement can more easily track down criminals even when the actual perpetrator has not submitted any DNA, as was the case in the Golden State Killer investigation.

In that instance, detectives submitted DNA collected from a crime scene for the traditional law enforcement genotyping, then used an open-source ancestry database called GEDmatch to link that profile to people who had voluntarily submitted their information into the database.

Many people who obtain their genetic data through commercial sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe later upload that information into GEDmatch in an effort to connect with other family members around the globe.

Police found relatives who had overlapping DNA markers and through a process of elimination tracked down DeAngelo.

 These are decisions that society can make. We need to have a robust conversation.                           – Dr. Ellen Clayton, Vanderbilt University

Police were able to access the information on GEDmatch because it was a public database, but law enforcement has successfully used warrants to obtain similar data directly from sites like Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com has 10 million customers, while 23andMe has more than 5 million.

A spokesman for 23andMe said the company uses strong security and privacy protocols to protect customer data – and that it warns customers that those guarantees don’t extend to any third-party sites where they choose to share their personal information.

A spokesman for Ancestry.com said the company prioritizes customer privacy and gives people a chance to opt out of sharing their information with other users. He added that the company will fight any efforts by law enforcement to obtain its data.

For those who have sought to learn more about their own background, the news could raise serious privacy concerns, said Creet, who directed and produced Data Mining the Deceased, a documentary about the industry of DNA and geneology.

‘Once your results have been uploaded into a collective database there is no way to extract them because other people have picked up on them,’ she said.

Joseph James DeAngelo. Police say DeAngelo is a suspected California serial killer known as the Golden State Killer who committed at least 13 homicides and 45 rapes throughout the state in the 1970s and '80s.

Joseph James DeAngelo. Police say DeAngelo is a suspected California serial killer known as the Golden State Killer who committed at least 13 homicides and 45 rapes throughout the state in the 1970s and ’80s.

Creet said anytime a person submits their DNA to a company to learn more about their heritage, it’s worth considering that they are also submitting 50 percent of their parents’ and children’s DNA, and 25 percent of their grandparents’ or grandchildren’s DNA.

‘Your results aren’t just about you,’ Creet added. ‘They’re about everyone you’re related to, which is how the police can use your results to track down a criminal who is distantly related to you. We’re not just talking about personal privacy; we’re talking about relational privacy.’

Experts are also concerned about how private companies are using genetic information they obtain. Ancestry.com is partnered with Calico, which is a Google spinoff, in an effort to analyze anonymized data from more than 1 million genetic samples.

Creet said that – given data breaches at other types of tech companies – there is significant cause for concern that even anonymized data could fall into the wrong hands and be re-identified.

Other issues could arise if health insurance companies were ever able to obtain genetic data on their customers and use that to discriminate against those with predispositions for certain diseases, she added.

‘This is a kind of Wild West of privacy protection and we’re dealing with the most personal type of information,’ Creet said.

Key Ethical Questions When Using DNA in Law Enforcement

DNA isn’t just personal: Do I want to share my sister’s DNA? Anyone who submits their own DNA for testing is also providing genetic info about any of their family members, which could later be accessed by law enforcement or for other unforeseen purposes.

Who owns the data: Who will get access to my DNA? A Google-spinoff company is partnering with Ancestry.com to analyze anonymized genetic data, which many users did not know at the time they submitted their DNA samples. Hacking is also a concern.

Regulation: How should lawmakers limit the usage of genetic data in solving crimes? Should health insurers have access to the information and be allowed to use it to charge more for people with predispositions to expensive health problems? Very little regulation currently exists defining how this data can be used.

Ultimately, society will have to decide if it’s worth losing a great deal of genetic privacy to solve violent crimes, said Dr. Ellen Clayton, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.

‘The question is: How do you control the downstream users?’ Clayton told DailyMail.com. ‘Do you want to say that law enforcement should only use these kinds of data to find people who you suspect are perpetrators of very heinous violent crimes: rape, murder, etc.?’

Society can reach an answer to that question through legislation that prohibits the use of genetic data for other purposes, such as immigration enforcement, employment discrimination, or to solve minor, nonviolent crimes, she said.

‘These are decisions that society can make. We need to have a robust conversation about that,’ she said.

Clayton also noted that the vast majority of DNA data in law enforcement’s CODIS is disproportionately representative of racial and ethnic minorities. At the same time, the people using private companies to find out their genetic identities tend to be white and of Northern European descent.

‘One reason that really matters is that they couldn’t find the Golden State Killer in CODIS because he was a police man. He was a white police man,’ Clayton said.

from:    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6266115/New-technology-enables-police-use-DNA-sites-like-Ancestry-com-track-criminals.html

You Have a Right to Know – The X ((10) Factor

Actually, You Can Fight City Hall—Even On Surveillance Issues

By Michael Maharrey

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “You can’t fight city hall!” Well, I did. And I won.

Last October, the city of Lexington, Kentucky, sued me in an attempt to keep its “mobile surveillance cameras” secret. Last week, in a major victory for government transparency, Fayette Circuit Judge John Reynolds issued an order granting my appeal for summary judgment. In simple terms, the judge rejected the city’s arguments for keeping its surveillance cameras secret and ordered the Lexington Police Department to release all relevant records.

An Initial Victory

My legal saga started last summer. After surveillance cameras appeared in a local skateboard park, I submitted an open records request to the LPD in an effort to determine what other surveillance programs it operates in Lexington. The police department admitted to using 29 mobile surveillance cameras “available for a variety of video surveillance operations.”

“Cameras are deployed as needed in support of active investigations in accordance with SOP BOI 93-46A, Criteria for Surveillance Conducted by Special Investigations Section,” they said.

While the police department acknowledged the existence of these cameras, it refused to provide any additional information other than redacted documents disclosing costs. The police claimed information about the types of cameras used and the policies surrounding their use were exempt under the state’s open records laws. The LPD cited a statute that exempts certain documents relating to homeland security, along with a second statute exempting certain “investigative reports.”

On appeal, the attorney general’s office rejected both exemptions claimed by the LPD and ordered the city to release the documents.

The City Retaliates—and Fails

On Oct. 2, 2017, a constable served me with a summons. The lawsuit was clearly intended to intimidate me into going away. The initial complaint even asked the judge to award the city court costs. Think about that for a moment. I simply asked for information relating to government activity. In response, the city sued me–a taxpayer–and demanded I foot the legal bill. So much for transparent government that serves “we the people.”

It was a shrewd strategy on the city’s part. City officials likely assumed I wouldn’t have the resources to pursue a court case, and I would just drop the matter. They were correct about the first assumption, but fortunately, the ACLU of Kentucky agreed to represent me in this case.

In court, the police basically argued that disclosing information about their cameras would render them ineffective and potentially jeopardize officer safety. It remains unclear how knowing what kind of “hidden” cameras the police own would make them ineffective. They also asserted that providing information about their surveillance activities would create an “undue burden.” In a nutshell, the city claimed that the investigation of crimes facilitated by the cameras constitutes “an important government interest” that warrants denial of the information.

While these may sound like compelling arguments on the surface, the city of Lexington failed to provide any basis for their assertions. On June 19, Judge Reynolds ruled that the city did not meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence required by the statute.

“In sum, this Court finds that the plaintiff, LFUCG, has failed to assert an applicable provision of the KRS or other binding precedent which would allow the denial of the information requested by Maharrey,” he wrote. “Therefore, LFUCG has failed to meet its burden of proof, and pursuant to ORA [Open Records Act] the requested information should be released for review by Maharrey.”

The city has 30 days to appeal or ask the circuit court for reconsideration. Otherwise, it must release the requested documents.

“We are the government”—or are we?

I’m not particularly comfortable casting myself as a little guy fighting the system. As the national communications director here at the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC), I had some firepower of my own and some resources at my disposal. Still, I could not have won this battle without the help of the ACLU of Kentucky and attorneys Clay Barkley and Heather Gatnarek. If I had been an average Lexingtonian, the city probably would have gotten its wish. I would have dropped the matter and gone away.

Make no mistake—this is a huge win for the people of Lexington. Those of us who live in this city have a right to know what our government does in our name. We have a right to weigh in and decide whether or not the benefit of surveillance technology outweighs the potential for abuse and violation of our basic privacy rights. We have a right to insist government agencies operate potentially invasive technology with oversight and transparency in a manner that respects our civil liberties.

Government secrecy steals power from the people. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best antiseptic. The city’s default position was to maintain secrecy, to keep the blinds closed, to slam the door in our face. Don’t let the fundamental nature of what happened to me escape you. When you boil it all down, the city sued me because I asked questions it didn’t want to answer. It kind of makes you wonder about the old adage, “We are the government,” doesn’t it?

Now, hopefully, we will get the kind of transparency we deserve. Whenever I talk about surveillance, people always ask me, ‘What do you have to hide?’ Well, I’ve been asking the city that question for nearly a year. I don’t think a little transparency and oversight is too much to ask for.

Building the Momentum of Accountability

I started a local group called We See You Watching Lexington to establish oversight and transparency of surveillance programs in this city. People shouldn’t have to get sued in order to find out what kind of surveillance programs the city operates. Furthermore, the city should not operate this kind of potentially invasive technology without firm policies in place directing how, when, and where it is used and establishing how information is stored and shared.

This is actually part of a broader movement of privacy localism that is taking on the surveillance state. The TAC has been involved in the Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS)initiative from the beginning and helped draft model legislation for a local surveillance ordinance that creates some level of transparency and oversight over local surveillance programs.

This is more than just a victory for me or even the people of Lexington. This is a win for all of us who care about liberty because it proves an important point. We can fight the government and win. Our efforts aren’t in vain. If I can do this, anybody can.

Here’s my challenge to you. Take what I’ve done and build on it. Get involved in your local community. Fight. If you don’t know how, we’ve got some resources to help. I put together a series of short podcasts called Activism 101. They offer simple step-by-step advice for starting activism in your own town. You can check out that series HERE.

Michael Maharrey is the national communications director at the Tenth Amendment Center. This article was sourced from FEE.org.

from:    https://www.activistpost.com/2018/07/actually-you-can-fight-city-hall-even-on-surveillance-issues.html

NOTE: In a nutshell, “The Tenth Amendment, or Amendment X of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that basically says that any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states.” (https://kids.laws.com/tenth-amendment)

What. DOES Facebook Know About you?

The 18 things you may not realise Facebook knows about you: Firm reveals the extent of its spying in a 454-page document to Congress

  • Facebook knows your exact mouse movements and battery status
  • It can tell if your browser window is ‘foregrounded or backgrounded’
  • In some cases, it monitors devices around its users or on the same network 
  • The details were revealed in document of answers to Congress following Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in April over the Cambridge Analytica scandal

WHAT ARE THE 18 METHODS USED BY FACEBOOK TO TRACK USERS REVEALED IN LETTERS TO CONGRESS?

1. ‘Device information’ from ‘computers, phones, connected TVs, and other web-connected devices,’ as well as your ‘internet service provider or mobile operator’

2. ‘Mouse movements’, which can help distinguish humans from bots

3. ‘App and file names’, including the types of files on your devices

4. ‘Device operations’ such as whether a window running Facebook is ‘foregrounded or backgrounded’

5. ‘Device signals’, including ‘nearby Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and cell towers’ and ‘signal strength’ as well as Bluetooth signals

6. ‘Other devices that are nearby or on their network’

7. ‘Battery level’

8. ‘Available storage space’

9. ‘Plugins’ installed

10. ‘Connection speed’

11. ‘Purchases’ Facebook users make on third-party websites

12. Contact information ‘such as an address book’ and ‘call log or SMS log history’ for Android users with these settings synced

13. Information ‘about how users use features like our camera’

14. The ‘location of a photo or the date a file was created’ through the file’s metadata

15. ‘GPS location, camera, or photo’ information found through your device’s settings

16. Purchases from third-party data providers as well as other information about your ‘online and offline actions’

17. ‘Device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts users use’

18. ‘When others share or comment on a photo of them, send a message to them, or upload, sync or import their contact information’ text

The creepy ways Facebook spies on its users have been detailed in a bumper document presented to Congress.

They include tracking mouse movements, logging battery levels and monitoring devices close to a user that are on the same network.

The 454-page report was created in response to questions Mark Zuckerberg was asked during his appearance before Congress in April.

Lawmakers gave Zuckerberg a public grilling over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but he failed to answer many of their queries.

The new report is Facebook’s attempt to address their questions, although it sheds little new light on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

However, it does contain multiple disclosures about the way Facebook collects data.

Some are unsurprising, such as the time people spend on Facebook, while others may come as a shock to the majority of users.

Device information

Facebook tracks what device you are using to access the network.

To do this, it will log the hardware manufacturer of your smartphone, connected television, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected devices.

Facebook also tracks the operating system, software versions and web browser.

If you’re using a smartphone, it will keep a record of the mobile carrier, while internet service providers (ISPs) will be stored for users using a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to access Facebook.

In some cases, it will monitor devices that are using the same network as you.

‘Facebook’s services inherently operate on a cross-device basis: understanding when people use our services across multiple devices helps us provide the same personalized experience wherever people use Facebook,’ the firm wrote in the lengthy document.

According to Facebook, this is done, for example, ‘to ensure that a person’s News Feed or profile contains the same content whether they access our services on their mobile phone or in a desktop computer’s web browser.’

Facebook also says this information is used to curate more personalized ads.

 

to find out more, go to:    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5834371/The-18-things-not-realise-Facebook-knows-YOU.html

Where Has Your Privacy Gone?

The US Government Just Destroyed Our Privacy While Nobody Was Paying Attention

(ANTIMEDIA) — While the nation remained fixated on gun control and Facebook’s violative practices last week, the U.S. government quietly codified the CLOUD Act, its own intrusive policies on citizens’ data.

While the massive, $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill passed Friday received widespread media attention, the CLOUD Act — which lawmakers snuck into the end of the 2,300-page bill — was hardly addressed.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD) “updates the rules for criminal investigators who want to see emails, documents and other communications stored on the internet,”CNETreported. “Now law enforcement won’t be blocked from accessing someone’s Outlook account, for example, just because Microsoft happens to store the user’s email on servers in Ireland.

The CLOUD Act will also allow the U.S. to enter into agreements that allow the transfer of private data from domestic servers to investigators in other countries on a case-by-case basis, further globalizing the ever-encroaching surveillance state. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has strongly opposed the legislation, listed several consequences of the bill, which it called “far-reaching” and “privacy-upending”:

  • Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.
  • Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.
  • Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.
  • Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it.
  • Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored.

The bill is an update to the current MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty), the current framework for sharing internet user data between countries, which both legislators and tech companies have criticized as inefficient.

Some tech companies, like Microsoft, have endorsed the new CLOUD policy. Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, called it  “a strong statute and a good compromise,” that “gives tech companies like Microsoft the ability to stand up for the privacy rights of our customers around the world.”

They echoed the sentiment of lawmakers like Orrin Hatch (R-UT). In February, he said of the bill:

“The CLOUD Act bridges the divide that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the tech sector by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to access data throughout the world while at the same time creating a commonsense framework to encourage international cooperation to resolve conflicts of law.”

But one of the biggest complaints from privacy advocates, however, it that the new legislation places too much unmitigated power in the hands of governments with abysmal human rights records while also giving too much discretion to the U.S. government’s executive branch. Noting that the executive branch will decide which countries are human rights compliant and that those countries will then be able to engage in data collection and wiretaps without any further restrictions or oversight, the ACLU warned:

Flip through Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch’s recent annual reports, and you can find a dizzying array of countries that have ratified major human rights treaties and reflect those obligations in their domestic laws but, in fact, have arrested, tortured and killed people in retaliation for their activism or due to their identity.”

The organization pointed out that no human rights organizations have endorsed the CLOUD Act, adding that “in the case of countries certified by the executive branch, the CLOUD Act would not require the U.S. government to scrutinize data requests by the foreign governments — indeed, the bill would not even require notifying the U.S. government or a user regarding a request.”

Further, the ACLU says, if a foreign government’s human rights record deteriorates, there is no mechanism to revoke its access to data. Considering the U.S.’ existing record on supporting regimes that severely restrict basic rights like freedom of expression, the expanded access the CLOUD Act provides is undoubtedly worrisome.

Also predictable is the government’s stale justification for expanding its power. As the CLOUD Act claims, it is purportedly to “protect public safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism” — even if it further empowers governments that support and commit said terrorism.

In an age where the government already engages in mass surveillance and is eager to disable the people’s efforts to protect their privacy through encryption technology, it is unsurprising, albeit dangerous, that Congress continues to encroach on what little is left of safeguards against unwarranted intrusions.

from:    http://theantimedia.com/us-government-privacy-cloud-act/

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Protecting Privacy

The Imperative of Anonymity

Posted by: ,

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, was sentenced last week to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  His crime was creating a piece of software that allowed completely anonymous market transactions between individuals or groups of individuals.

Anonymous market transactions have existed since the beginning of human commerce.  In nearly every instance in which a major corporation chooses a parcel of land on which it intends to build a manufacturing or distribution facility, it uses a dummy corporate entity as the purchasing agency.  It does this for sound competitive reasons.  If a competitor knew, in advance, the plans of a competing organization it could anticipate and react in ways to stifle the new development.  Likewise, a company that plans to get into the computer market place would usually contract and buy components anonymously for the first build.  This way the company can surprise its potential competitors and hopefully gain a market edge.  There are thousands or other examples where anonymity is necessary for a healthy competitive business environment.  Even individuals benefit from anonymous commerce.  Many individuals prefer anonymous purchases to prevent sellers from aggregating information about them, which generally results in unwanted and annoying solicitations.  Millions of people buy stocks and other commodities in the names of trusts or blind corporate structures for sound business and personal reasons.  Even charity frequently requires anonymity.  The Benefactor may not want publicity, or, for a personal reason does not want to be associated with the entity they are benefitting.  Or they simply are modest, or they don’t want to publicize their wealth for obvious reasons.  Secrecy and anonymity are essential for a smoothly running financial universe.  This has been the way of the world of commerce for thousands of years.

This necessity for anonymity, however, has attracted criminal elements for as long as anonymity has existed.   A benefactor making a large contribution can create an offshore corporation using proxies to hide his identity.  So can the Sinaloa Cartel when they want to hide a substantial monetary transaction.  So can anyone engaged in illegal activities.  This is the nature of the beast we call society.  Society has always had criminal elements. It always will.  But we somehow live with it and survive.  How did we arrive at a place where a bar owner is not arrested when his patrons make shady deals in his booths while having dinner, but we sentence a man to life imprisonment because he creates the same environment on the internet?  Am I the only one here who sees the insanity of this?

The tradition of anonymous speech has existed for millennia.  The founding fathers of America published numerous papers using pseudonyms, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the rights to anonymity.   Even the right to anonymous political campaigning was established in the U.S. Supreme court in their decision in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections commission (1995), with the majority opinion writing: “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority”.

Law does not only protect anonymity, it, in many cases requires and enforces it, for example: in laws regarding voting in free elections.

Society cannot function without the option of anonymity.  Anonymity is necessary for the existence of privacy and freedom.  Personal anonymity provides irreplaceable benefits for the individual:

Oppressive political regimes have existed since government was first invented, even within democratic countries.  Dissidents within these countries cannot speak openly about political abuses, such as racial, religious or cultural oppression, without serious risk to themselves, their families and their friends.  Without the possibility of anonymously distributed information, the world at large would never perceive the reality of the regime in power, and repression would continue or increase unnoticed by the world.

In anonymous discussions, issues of race, gender, social status and other factors, which are generally judged, disappear.  What people perceive is a person’s intelligence, humor, eloquence etc.  People therefore feel, and are treated, more equal.

Anonymity allows a person to open up and reveal important or delicate issues about themselves that they could not, because of shame, shyness, etc., otherwise disclose.  This opens the door for help and assistance in some cases.

Whistle blowers that reveal dangerous, illegal or unjust situations within corporations and other agencies require anonymity to prevent being punished for revealing the problem

Witnesses to crimes are overwhelmingly afraid of retribution.  Without the guarantee of anonymity, many crimes would go unsolved.

Anonymity frequently fosters honesty.  Many studies have shown that people speak more openly and honestly if they know they will remain anonymous.

These and uncountable other benefits of anonymity are guaranteed by law. The right of individuals to engage in anonymous communication was established in 1999 by the U.S. District court of Northern California.  The court’s opinion was: “People are permitted to interact pseudonymously and anonymously with each other so long as those acts are not in violation of the law. In addition, the law guarantees publishers the right not to disclose the names of the readers or users of a publication.  In 1953, the Supreme Court of the U.S. stated:

Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publication, the free press as we know it disappears.  Then the spectre of a government agent will look over the shoulder of everyone who reads.

Does this “spectre” sound familiar to anyone?

The Internet was not designed with the concept of anonymity in mind.  Each and every communication has an IP address attached to it, which uniquely identifies the specific computer, smart phone or mobile device that sent the communication.  At the inception of the Internet, no one dreamed that it would virtually replace every other means of communication and would become the platform upon which society would restructure itself.  It is a major flaw that has never been sufficiently resolved.  Attempts to correct this massive flaw have met with disaster.  Napster was sued and had to shut down. Kim Dotcom was invaded by the U.S and fighting extradition. Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison (just to name a few)

Is this what we have come to?  A fearful government, panicked about the criminal elements of society using what they have always used, only now on a more massive scale, choosing to oppress the general law abiding population by removing yet one more freedom that has been guaranteed to us by law?

john mcafee

 

Well, I am not standing for it.  I am speaking my mind, which, if you look into yourselves deeply enough, I believe you will agree with me.

Why is no one else speaking out?

from:    http://www.whoismcafee.com/ross-ulbricht/

Pokemon Gotcha!

Pokémon Go, the CIA, “Totalitarianism” and the Future of Surveillance

pokemon ciaBy Steven MacMillan

If anyone doubted that a percentage of the global population are akin to zombies, the incidents following the release of Pokémon Go have surely convinced you. Despite the game only being released in early July, we have already seen a man driving into a tree and a women getting locked in a graveyard whilst chasing these furry little creatures.

Pokémon describes the game on their website in the following way:

Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon… In Pokémon GO, the real world will be the setting!

Pokémon Go, Google, the State Department, the CIA and the DoD

The company behind Pokémon Go is a San Francisco software developer called Niantic, Inc, which was formed in 2010 as an internal startup at Google. The founder and current CEO of Niantic is John Hanke, a man who has connections both to the State Department and the CIA.

Before moving to San Francisco to study at the University of California, Hanke previously worked for the US State Department in Myanmar. Hanke also founded Keyhole, Inc in 2001, a company which specialized in geospatial data visualization applications. Google acquired the company in 2004, with many of the applications developed by Keyhole being instrumental in Google Maps and Earth. In 2003, the CIA’s venture-capitalist firm, In-Q-Tel, invested in Keyhole, with the CIA’s own website proudly detailing this investment:

The CIA-assisted technology probably most familiar to you is one many of us use on a regular basis: Google Earth. In February 2003, the CIA-funded venture-capitalist firm In-Q-Tel made a strategic investment in Keyhole, Inc., a pioneer of interactive 3-D earth visualization and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping EarthViewer 3D system. CIA worked closely with other Intelligence Community organizations to tailor Keyhole’s systems to meet their needs. The finished product transformed the way intelligence officers interacted with geographic information and earth imagery.

One of the other intelligence organizations the CIA worked alongside was the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is partly under the control of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

So we have a somewhat enigmatic former State Department employee with connections to the CIA and the DoD, being the CEO of a company that created what seems to be a silly, harmless game. What’s going on?

Selling and Sharing Your Data

Like so many new technologies in our digital age, Pokémon Go is constantly gathering information on the user and then openly admitting that they will share this data with anyone who wants it.

As James Corbett pointed out in his article titled: “The CIA’s ‘Pokémon Go’ App is Doing What the Patriot Act Can’t,” the privacy policy of the app states that Niantic will share all the information they gather (which is a lot) with the state and private organizations:

We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate.

Corbett also details how the game requires the user to give excessive access to Niantic/CIA/NGA/DoD (including access to the users’ Google account and camera).

Oliver Stone on PG: “Totalitarianism” and a “New Level of Invasion”

Speaking at this year’s Comic-Con, Oliver Stone – the award winning filmmaker and director of the new film on Edward Snowden – had some very insightful views on the new craze and the growing business of data-mining. As Vulture magazine reported in a recent article, Stone denounced the game as a “new level of invasion” and a new form of “totalitarianism:”

I’m hearing about it too; it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google – ever! It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is; which is data-mining.

Stone continues:

They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior. Pokémon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people call surveillance capitalism; it’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.

Predicting Human Behavior

It is interesting that Stone doesn’t just warn about the commercial aspect of data-mining, but the fact that the more data governments and private corporations collect on the citizens of the world, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior. It is not just Stone that is warning about this reality, however. At the start of last year, the UK governments own surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, revealed how data obtained from CCTV cameras can be used to “predict behavior.”

As we progress through the 21st century and more advanced algorithmic systems are developed to process the tsunami of data, intelligence agencies and governments will increasingly be able to predict (and manipulate) the behavior of their populations and the populations of foreign countries. We are already far along this path, will the trajectory for the future heading straight towards levels of surveillance far beyond even what George Orwell envisaged; with the fight for digital privacy being a major battleground in this century for those who value freedom.

Pokémon Go looks more like a Trojan horse of the CIA and the wider intelligence-security-data-mining-Big-Brother complex, than just a silly, innocent game. With all these connections to the State Department, the CIA and the DoD, no wonder some countries are reportedly considering banning the game.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

from:    http://www.activistpost.com/2016/07/pokemon-go-cia-totalitarianism-future-surveillance.html

What Google Knows

Google voice search records and keeps conversations people have around their phones – but the files can be deleted

Just talking is enough to activate the recordings – but thankfully there’s an easy way of hearing and deleting them

  • Andrew Griffin
  • @google1.jpg Some of your most intimate conversations might be sitting in a Google data centre somewhere Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google could have a record of everything you have said around it for years, and you can listen to it yourself.

The company quietly records many of the conversations that people have around its products.

The feature works as a way of letting people search with their voice, and storing those recordings presumably lets Google improve its language recognition tools as well as the results that it gives to people.

But it also comes with an easy way of listening to and deleting all of the information that it collects. That’s done through a special page that brings together the information that Google has on you.

It’s found by heading to Google’s history page and looking at the long list of recordings. The company has a specific audio page and another for activity on the web, which will show you everywhere Google has a record of you being on the internet.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/google-voice-search-records-stores-conversation-people-have-around-their-phones-but-files-can-be-a7059376.html

Snowden Device

Edward Snowden designs phone case to show when data is being monitored

Snowden and co-designer Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang’s ‘introspection engine’ knows when a cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection is being used to share data

Edward Snowden
American whistleblower Edward Snowden delivers a speech during the Roskilde Festival in Denmark last month. Photograph: Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

Edward Snowden has helped design a mobile phone case called the “introspection engine” that, he claims, will show when a smartphone is transmitting information that could be monitored.

Presenting via video link to event at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Snowden and co-designer Andrew “Bunnie” Huang showed how the device connects to a phone’s different radio transmitters, showing its owner knows when a cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection is being used to share or receive data.

Initial mockups of the introspection engine show a small, monochromatic display built into its casing shows whether the phone is “dark”, or whether it is transmitting, and it also can supply an iPhone with extra battery power and cover the rear-facing camera.

It could be developed to act as a sort of “kill switch” that would disconnect a phone’s power supply when it detects that a radio is transmitting data after its owner has attempted to turn it off.

The device is an academic project and nowhere near ready for the mass market, but could still influence how consumers view the “tracking devices” – otherwise known as smartphones that they rely on every day.

“If you have a phone in your pocket that’s turned on, a long-lived record of your movements has been created,” Snowden said. “As a result of the way the cell network functions your device is constantly shouting into the air by means of radio signals a unique identity that validates you to the phone company. And this unique identity is not only saved by that phone company, but it can also be observed as it travels over the air by independent, even more dangerous third parties.”

Most smartphones disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular transmission when in airplane mode, but Snowden and Huang say that can’t be trusted.

“Malware packages, peddled by hackers at a price accessible by private individuals, can activate radios without any indication from the user interface,” they write in their paper on the device. “Trusting a phone that has been hacked to go into airplane mode is like trusting a drunk person to judge if they are sober enough to drive.”

The project is an extension of Snowden’s work to inform the public about the surveillance capabilities available to governments around the world. In June 2013 he revealed information about mass surveillance programs from the National Security Agency, where he was a contractor, and he has since become the closest thing digital security has to Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye: a recognizable name that can explain these issues in a way the average person can understand.

In addition to educating people about security risks, he now wants to help citizens defend themselves – if the introspection engine ever becomes a reality.

Snowden and Huang say there’s no guarantee the device will ever be more than a mockup. “Over the coming year, we hope to prototype and verify the introspection engine’s abilities,” they write. “As the project is run largely through volunteer efforts on a shoestring budget, it will proceed at a pace reflecting the practical limitations of donated time.” If they do receive the proper funding, they could release the device in partnership with the Freedom of the Press Foundation media advocacy group.

Snowden said the introspection engine was designed to help protect journalists. “One good journalist in the right place at the right time can change history. One good journalist can move the needle in the context of an election. One well-placed journalist can influence the outcome of a war,” he said.

“This makes them a target, and increasingly the tools of their trade [are] being used against them. Our technology is beginning to betray us not just as individuals but as classes of workers, particularly those who are putting a lot on the line in the public interest.”

Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin was reportedly killed in Syria after government forces were able to trace her position, according to a new lawsuit.

Snowden and Huang are concentrating on working with Apple’s iPhone, but also said the device could be modified to work on other smartphones. It’s not immediately clear how Apple will respond to the introspection engine; while it has worked to give consumers security features meant to thwart even sophisticated attackers, the company might not be fond of a device that can separate an iPhone from all networks. Apple has not responded to a request for comment.

Still, the connection to Snowden and the rush of attention following MIT Media Lab’s event might inspire others to work on devices similar to the introspection engine. Even if the tool never becomes more than an interesting subject discussed at an academic conference, it could lead to consumers having more control over what exactly their iPhone is sharing from their pockets.

from:    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/21/phone-case-privacy-data-monitor-bluetooth-wifi-snowden-introspection-engine?CMP=share_btn_tw

Check Out Your Thinking

Several Signs That You Are A Slave To The Matrix

Filed in Matrix Articles by on July 18, 2016

matrix-big2From bibliotecapleyades.net

Today’s world is a strange place.

 We are inundated with signals from early on in life, encouraging each of us to walk a particular path, establishing blinders on us along the way to discourage us from looking for alternatives to what the herd is doing or thinking.

 Life is so complex that overtime, if we are paying attention, we realize that there are an infinite number of possibilities to what the human experience could be, and we come see that the world is on fire because individuals all too infrequently question why things are the way they are, failing to notice that their mindset or behavior needs adjustment in favor of more intelligent, common sensical, or sustainable patterns of existence.

 Not meant to be overtly critical of anyone’s lifestyle choices or personal situation, the following signs that you’re a slave to the Matrix are meant purely as an observational approach to helping you identify the areas of your life where you may be missing an opportunity to liberate yourself from someone else’s self-destructive design for your life.

  1. You pay taxes to people you’d like to see locked up in jail

    This is perhaps the biggest indicator that we are slaves to the Matrix. The traditional notion of slavery conjures up images of people in shackles forced to work on plantations to support rich plantation owners.

    The modern day version of this is forced taxation, where our incomes are automatically docked before we ever see the money, regardless of whether or not we approve of how the money is spent.

  2. You go to the doctor, but you’re still sick

    Modern medical care, for all of it’s scientific progress, has sadly become sick care, where we are rarely advised to eat well and tend to our mental and physical health, but instead are routinely advised to consume expensive medications and procedures that are pushed by the for-profit healthcare Matrix.

  3. You’ve picked Team Democrat or Team Republican and argue with your friends, family and co-workers about politics

    This is what the control strategy of divide and conquer looks like in our society.

     Both of the major parties are corrupt through and through, and independent candidates are not even allowed to participate in public debates.

     By believing in one of these parties and burning your personal energy on arguing with other ordinary people you are turning over your soul the Matrix, and doing your share in making sure that ‘we the people’ will never be united against corruption.

  4. You work hard doing something you hate to earn fiat dollars

    Work is important and money does pay the bills, however, so many people lose the best years of their lives doing things they hate, just for money.

     The truth about money today is that we do not have money, but instead, inflationary fiat currency that is privately owned and manipulated. Since it is still necessary to get by in this world, it is best that you get more value for your time by doing something you enjoy or by working with people you do not despise.

    It is easier than you may think to live on less money than we believe we need, we just have to be willing to go against the grain realize this.

  5. You’re willing to accrue personal debt to fund the acquisition of a consumer oriented lifestyle

    Each time a credit card is swiped it creates digits on the balance sheets of the banks that are most involved with the financial looting of the world today.

     These digits are then multiplied electronically by the fractional reserve system, which exponentially increases the power of these institutions.

     To participate in this, and by agreeing to pay this fake money back with interest, in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, is a strong indication that you are bound by one of the main tenets of the Matrix – consumerism.

  6. You converse with real people about the ongoing happenings of TV shows

    TV is the most potent tool used for mind control, and the ‘programming’ that is available, while certainly cool, fun, or entertaining is geared to reinforce certain behaviors amongst the masses.

     Dramatizing the ego’s importance, over sexualizing everything, glorifying violence, and teaching submissiveness to phony authority are the main features of modern TV.

     By taking what is happening onscreen and making it a part of your real life, you are doing your job of supporting the matrix’s desire to confuse us about the nature of reality, proving that something doesn’t have to actually happen in order for it to feel real to people.

  7. You don’t have anything to hide from total surveillance

    If it does not bother you that someone, somewhere, working for somebody is watching you, listening to your conversations, and monitoring your movements, then, you are a good slave to the Matrix.

     Invisible surveillance is an insidious form of thought control, and by using the logic of, ‘I have nothing to hide, therefore, it will do me no harm to be surveilled,’ then you are mindlessly admitting that you have an earthly master and are not of sovereign mind and body.

  8. You think the world would be safer if only governments had guns

    This is a violent world, and criminals engage in criminality against honest people at every level of society, including from within the government.

     Sure, in a perfect world, weapons wouldn’t be necessary for anyone but, sadly, our world is anything but perfect, and firearms are indeed a very effective form of protection against common criminals and abusive governments alike.

     The willingness to forego your right to self-defense is a sign that you’ve relegated personal responsibility to someone else. Having the masses abdicate personal responsibility is one of the most important aspects of controlling them.

     Welcome to the Matrix.

  9. You knowingly drink fluoridated water

    Of all the health debates taking place today, the topic of fluoridated water is the easiest to understand, for it is a toxic by-product of an industrial process… poison.

     Water is supposedly fluoridated to aid in dental health, which is debatable in itself, but if this were so, then the involuntary fluoridation of public water is a medication without your consent… a form of slavery. Knowing this and continuing to drink fluoridated water is a sign that you’re content with your slavery to the Matrix.

     Here are scientifically validated reasons to end public water fluoridation.

  10. You knowingly consume toxic poisons like MSG and Aspartame

    These two chemicals are widely known to be toxic to the human body.

     Knowing this and continuing to poison yourself with tasty, but chemical-laden processed foods is a sign that the Matrix has programmed you to place less value on your health and future than on your immediate gratification.

  11. You depend on the pharmaceutical industrial complex for the management of your own mental health

    The use of psychotropic medicines is rising rapidly in our society because people have been convinced that mental and emotional states can be classified as diseases, while the truth about natural mental health has been obfuscated by corporate media and a for-profit medical establishment.

     If you’re taking psychotropic medications, then you are under one of the most potent forms of mind control available. Part of this control is to convince you that you have no authority over your own mind.

     This is perhaps the matrix’s most terrible lie, and by willingly taking these psychotropic medications you are conforming to the worst kind of slavery, and inhibiting your natural mental and emotional responses to the life stressors that are signaling to you that you need to change your behavior and habits.

  12. You haven’t yet stopped watching your local and national news programming

    The mainstream news media is a tool of control and manipulation, and by continuing to support their ideas and world views by giving them your attention you are volunteering to be a slave to this not-so-subtle form of mental programming.

     Even the local news is scripted at the national level by agents of the handful of corporations tasked with shaping our opinions of events.

  13. You’re more concerned with televised sports or other mindless distractions than you are with the quality of your natural environment

    The Deepwater HorizonAlberta Tar Sands, the rise of Fracking, the sacrifice of the Amazon, and Fukushima are all life-changing events that will severely impact our future on planet earth.

     To be unconcerned with all of this while tuning into a never-ending stream of sports trivia and distraction-based living is a sign that your sense of self-preservation has been stolen and replaced with an impulsive tendency for triviality and escapism.

  14. You’re skeptical of any area of life that hasn’t been ‘proven’ or validated by modern science

    The very essence of science is the inquiry into the unknown, implying that until science can grasp something, it is unexplainable.

     By discrediting or ridiculing experiences that other people have, which yet evade scientific understanding, like near-death experiences, acupuncture, or the life changing effects of Ayahuasca, then you are slavishly reducing your understanding of the world to a narrow range of possibilities.

     The Matrix is made possible by the efforts of volunteer gatekeepers who are unwilling to think outside of the box.

  15. You’ve never questioned the popularized version of ancient history and the origins of our civilization

    There are many unanswered questions about the origins of the human race that point to a different version of human history than what is taught in school.

     Read ‘20 History Questions They Refuse to Answer in School‘ to discover some of the many ways in which our history has been hijacked.

     By never questioning what we’ve been told about our origin we are acquiescing to many of the imposed belief systems and narrow-banded views of human potential that the Matrix promotes.

  16. You haven’t yet realized that you are a spiritual being living a human experience

If you can relate to any of the items on this list, then the Matrix has you, and it is now your duty to engage more deeply in your liberation.

from:    http://howtoexitthematrix.com/2016/07/18/several-signs-that-you-are-a-slave-to-the-matrix/

Fewer Civil Liberties! Why?

As always, do your research:

Meet the Senators who recently voted to destroy your civil liberties

There were a few handful of Republicans who voted against it, and they should be commended

Yesterday, I published a post warning about an amendment to be put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate that would severely harm the civil liberties of American citizens. I was very disappointed to see an unusually low amount of reads on that particular post, which came in well below average despite being such an important issue.

Well it turns out John McCain’s amendment 4787 came up for a vote earlier today, and it was stopped by one vote. Yes, by one vote.

So what’s at stake? Let’s review an excerpt from yesterday’s post, Republican Senators Use Orlando Shooting to Push for Increased Government Spying Powers:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.

The amendment would broaden the FBI’s authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails’ senders and recipients.

NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user.

Sounds pretty important, but no one seemed to care yesterday. Fortunately, the vote (barely) went the right way, but Mitch McConnell switched his vote to NO at the end just so that he could regroup and push for another vote.

As US News reported:

Privacy-minded senators on Wednesday blocked an amendment that would give the FBI power to take internet records, including browser histories and email metadata, without a court order. But the victory may be fleeting.

Just one vote kept the measure from clearing a 60-vote procedural hurdle, and political arm-twisting may soon result in a second vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., switched his vote to “no” to allow reconsideration in the near future. That made the final tally 58-38, with four senators not voting.

As such, it’s very important that everyone understand where their Senators stand on this issue. Notably, Mr. fake “libertarian” Ted Cruz, who always pretends to care about civil liberties, voted in favor of giving the FBI more unconstitutional powers. There were a few handful of Republicans who voted against it, and they should be commended. They are:

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Cory Gardner (Colorado)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Steve Daines (Montana)
Dean Heller (Nevada)
Mike Lee (Utah)

To find out how your Senator voted, click here, and let them know how you feel.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

from:     https://www.intellihub.com/meet-the-senators-who-recently-voted-to-destroy-your-civil-liberties/