Airbnb is Watching

Airbnb Patrons Are Finding More and More Cameras In Their Rooms — Here’s How To Check For Cameras

By Aaron Kesel

Airbnb is having more and more of its hosts hiding security cameras in rooms, and it doesn’t seem to be worried about the practice if innkeepers are disclosing the cameras and they aren’t in the bathrooms or bedrooms, according to a report by Fast Company.

“If you find a truly hidden camera in your bedroom or bathroom, AirBnB will support you. If you find an undisclosed camera in the private living room, AirBnB will not support you,” Jeffrey Bigham, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University told Fast Company.

Bigham blogged about his recent experience at an Airbnb where he found cameras in his “private living room,” writing in a blog post, “A Camera is Watching You in Your AirBnB: And, you consented to it.”

“I just assume that there will be camera constantly recording when I stay in airbnb, or anywhere really. They way I never have to worry about whether it exist or not. As recording technology becoming more and more advance, it’s less and less reasonable to expect privacy. I rather adapt my life to fit this new culture,” Bigham wites.

Airbnb argued that since one single camera was visible in pictures advertising the rooms, the owner of the Airbnb rooms for rent disclosed the security cameras.

Airbnb has since apologized and has given Bigham a refund, according to CNET. A spokesperson provided the publication with the following statement:

Our community’s privacy and safety is our priority, and our original handling of this incident did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves. We have apologized to Mr. Bigham and fully refunded him for his stay. We require hosts to clearly disclose any security cameras in writing on their listings and we have strict standards governing surveillance devices in listings.  This host has been removed from our community.

However, Bigham is far from the only Airbnb customer to find cameras in a room they rented; and while Bigham found his in a “private living quarters,” others have found them in more private places like the bathroom and bedrooms.

Another case happened last September in Toronto, Canada, where a couple — Dougie Hamilton and his girlfriend — rented an Airbnb flat and discovered hidden cameras in their bedroom, News.com.au reported.

Hamilton told the Daily Record:

We were only in the place for 20 minutes when I noticed the clock. We’d had a busy day around the city and finally were able to get to the Airbnb and relax.

I just happened to be facing this clock and was staring at it for about 10 minutes. There was just something in my head that made me feel a bit uneasy.

It was connected to a wire like a phone charger which wasn’t quite right. The weirdest thing was, I’d seen a video on Facebook about cameras and how they could be hidden and they had a clock with one in it, too.

Last fall, a couple on a Florida vacation found a camera hidden in a smoke detector in the bedroom of their Longboat Key condo.

Another less recent case was posted on Reddit four years ago claiming a couple found a camera from a Dropcam, a connected home security system by Google’s Nest. The couple found the camera hidden in a mesh basket before unplugging it, according to the post.

According to Airbnb’s rules, the company states:

Our Standards & Expectations require that all members of the Airbnb community respect each other’s privacy. More specifically, we require hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and we prohibit any surveillance devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.

So how does one determine if there are potentially hidden cameras in a room? While there is no foolproof method for discovering hidden cameras in a room, there are ways that you can try to find them. Start off by shining a flashlight from your phone in the dark. Look for a light that bounces off a camera lens. According to Digital Trends, this will help you spot lenses that are otherwise hidden to the human eye in the shadows or built into objects such as clocks, walls, bureaus, and other furniture.

Other places that cameras can be hidden include:

  • Motion sensors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Alarm clocks
  • Wall clocks
  • Plug in air fresheners (especially if they don’t give off any scent)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Books on a shelf (where a camera is embedded in the spine of a fake book)
  • Cooking canisters and spice racks

The next way to find hidden surveillance devices has to deal with scanning for WiFi-enabled cameras on the local network. Motherboard has provided a relatively easy shell script to not only find the cameras but to disable them.

However, Julian Oliver explains that it may be illegal to run the script due to changes made by the FCC.

If you do find cameras, Airbnb adds that you can cancel your reservation for a full refund if the cameras aren’t disclosed or are found in an unreasonable area such as the bathroom or bedrooms. This is troubling and it’s not only affecting Airbnb but other services like it, such as VRBO and HomeAway. Both companies also have similar policies; VRBO says cameras are never to be placed in an area where guests “can reasonably expect privacy.” However, the problem is that some owners don’t follow those rules, so you must only trust yourself.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

Image credit: Pixabay

from:    https://www.activistpost.com/2019/01/airbnb-patrons-are-finding-more-and-more-cameras-in-their-rooms-heres-how-to-check-for-cameras.html

What Does Your License Plate Say About You?

Big Brother Digital License Plates Coming To A State Near You

By MassPrivateI

Michigan became the second state in the country to roll out the world’s first digital license plate.

According to an article in The Car Connection, the state of Michigan just approved Reviver Auto’sdigital license plates called the “Rplate.”

Reviver Auto boasts that a total of five states have already approved their digital license plates.

Our innovative, multi-functional digital license plate, the Rplate Pro, will be on the road in California, Florida, Arizona and Texas in 2018. (Source)

George Orwell could never have dreamed of a world where license plates became a tool for more government surveillance.

Digital license plates are a privacy nightmare for motorists.

No longer will law enforcement have to run your license plate to see if you paid your taxes and insurance, because now your license plate will display a big “X” notifying everyone that you are a violator.

Digital license plates are the epitome of Big Brother surveillance

According to an article in WIRED, Rplates will turn vehicles into rolling Big Brother billboards that display Amber Alerts and much more.

It lets you update the registration stickers on your car through an app instead of dealing with the DMV. It can display Amber Alerts. It can be used as a miniature, knee-level billboard. If someone steals the car, it can read $NDHLP! or the more serious Stolen Vehicle. It can double as your E-Z Pass, FasTrak, or whatever RFID-based device you use to pay tolls. It can track your car’s location, so you can keep tabs on your teenager.

According to Reviver Auto, motorists have to pay a $99 annual subscription fee and a monthly $8.00 LTE fee for the privilege of being surveilled.

Who does not want to pay for the privilege of having a license plate that tracks your every movement and displays government approved messages?

But that is not all digital license plates can do.

The true purpose of using digital license plates that track your whereabouts is corporate greed.

The Car Connection article warns that corporations will use digital license plates to send “targeted messaging” to other drivers.

Another feature that may raise eyebrows is targeted messaging, which is a way to display advertisements on the license plate. The plate’s numbers can be minimized to leave more room for an ad when the car is parked. It’s not clear if Michigan would allow vehicle owners to opt into or out of ads, however.

How is that for creepy?  License plates that send targeted advertising based on your location?

Make no mistake, digital license plates are nothing more than Big Brother/corporate surveillance devices.

from:    https://www.activistpost.com/2019/01/big-brother-digital-license-plates-coming-to-a-state-near-you.html

Time To Protect Your IN-PHONE-FO

Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements

Your phone tracks your movements all the time. grapestock/Shutterstock.com

Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy.

Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance.

The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent.

How consumers are made to agree

Most companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program.

But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree.

Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Marta Design/Shutterstock.com

Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them.

Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it.

U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way.

Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry.

Data sold to third parties

There are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection.

For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties.

App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.”

But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies.

And many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships.

Why people don’t opt out

Websites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults.

When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose.

Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it.

Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance.

They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it.

Overcoming the power of defaults

Monitor your phone’s default settings. Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock.com

Privacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations.

The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation.

Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions:

  • Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device.
  • Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map.
  • Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead.

Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want.

from:    Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements January 14, 2019 6.41am EST Your phone tracks your movements all the time. grapestock/Shutterstock.com Author Jen King Director of Consumer Privacy, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford University Disclosure statement The Center for Internet and Society receives funding from multiple organizations; information is available here: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about-us Partners View all partners Republish this article Republish Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons license. Email Twitter103 Facebook421 LinkedIn Print Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy. Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance. The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent. How consumers are made to agree Most companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program. But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree. Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Marta Design/Shutterstock.com Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them. Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it. U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way. Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry. Data sold to third parties There are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection. For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties. App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.” But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies. And many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships. Why people don’t opt out Websites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults. When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose. Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it. Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance. They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it. Overcoming the power of defaults Monitor your phone’s default settings. Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock.com Privacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations. The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation. Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions: Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device. Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map. Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead. Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want.

from:https://theconversation.com/change-your-phone-settings-so-apple-google-cant-track-your-movements-109059

Taking Back Your Internet Data

ALTERNATIVE NEWS

WWW Inventor’s New Internet OS Would Allow Users To Control Their Personal Data

By.  

IN BRIEF
  • The Facts:Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the ‘World Wide Web,’ has created a new startup company named Inrupt which is poised to ‘interrupt’ the data domination and invasion of privacy of big internet companies like Facebook and Google.
  • Reflect On:Can you envision an internet in which each one of us is the gatekeeper of our own data and we can all operate on the internet in an equitable way?

Facebook, Google, and the rest of the censorship and data mining cabal–you have now officially been put on notice.

Something that I hinted at in a previous article ‘Anti-Defamation League, Facebook, Google & Youtube Appoint Themselves As Official Internet Censor‘ has taken on new significance. When I said that I’m not sure the “censorship cabal” led by Facebook should really be messing with an Awakening Community, it turns out we have some pretty powerful people in the Awakening Community.

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the ‘World Wide Web’ and one of Time magazine’s ‘100 most important people of the 20th century,’ had the noblest intentions when he turned the keys of the internet over to the world for free in 1989. This awakened genius saw the potential for increased openness, connectivity, and productivity on the platform which was fundamentally designed as a medium for positive change and human empowerment.

The Emergence Of  A Frankenstein

Instead, Berners-Lee has seen his creation turn into some kind of Frankenstein, as noted in this Zero Hedge article:

“For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair last month. “I was devastated,” he said, while going through a litany of harmful and dangerous developments of the past three decades of the web. He lamented that his creation has been abused by powerful entities for everything from mass surveillance to fake news to psychological manipulation to corporations commodifying individuals’ information.

Berners-Lee has worked in recent years in and out of different companies and advocacy groups trying to preserve the sanctity of the internet and retain its initial purpose and vision, but despite his efforts, he has seen its gradual takeover by powerful entities who have been able to centralize much of the internet’s activities, and along with this have been able to horde much of its valuable information.

Dreams Of Freedom And Openness

In the face of this, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have long been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over. “We have to do it now. It’s a historical moment,” he has said. Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people’s data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world.

And so, Berners-Lee has launched a start-up that intends to end the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, while in the process letting individuals take back control of their own data.

Solid and Inrupt

This began with ‘Solid,’ which is a decentralized web platform that Berners-Lee designed and built with a small team at MIT over several years. It can be considered as a kind of operating system for the internet that will serve as the foundation for applications which support the decentralization of information.

On Solid, all of one’s information is under the user’s control. Every bit of data he or she creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid ‘pod’–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.

He then created Inrupt, Berners-Lee’s new online platform and companythat serves as a user interface to these pods, where everything from messages, music, contacts or other personal data will be stored in one place overseen by the user instead of an array of platforms and apps run by corporations seeking to profit off personal information. The project seeks “personal empowerment through data” and aims to “take back” the web, according to company statements.

Inrupt Will Just Be One Of Many

Once again, as per the Zerohedge article,

Unlike Facebook or Twitter where all user information ultimately resides in centralized data centers and servers under control of the companies, applications on Inrupt will compete for users based on the services they can offer, and only the users can grant these apps “views” into their data, making personal data instantly portable between similar applications.

“The main enhancement is that the web becomes a collaborative read-write space, passing control from owners of a server, to the users of that system. The Solid specification provides this functionality,” the Solid website says.

If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid. In this way, creative developers will be able to compete with their latest and greatest interfaces to internet information, but unlike the opportunity seized by the likes of Facebook and Google, these new interfaces will never be able to ‘own’ or ‘house’ people’s personal data, and therefore the corrupt and fraudulent abuse of that data by big corporations will disappear from the internet. This failsafe is now built into the architecture of the Solid operating system.

The Takeaway

Many of us in the Awakening Community have been upset by the assault on our privacy and our freedom by the large internet corporations, but we can take solace in the fact that sometimes these very acts of injustice are what triggers consciousness to move us forward, and enables awakened humans to fulfill their dreams of creating the next great thing that will truly empower humanity.

from:    https://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/10/06/tim-berners-lee-internet-os-control-personal-data/

What is the UN’s Agenda 2030?

Agenda 2030 Translator: How to Read the UN’s New Sustainable Development Goals

2030By Aaron and Melissa Dykes

It’s that time again: the United Nations is officially releasing the all new Agenda 2030 sustainable development plan, or what some have hailed as “the new Agenda 21 on steroids,” at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit kicking off today in New York City.

Since these supposedly non-binding international agreements can sometimes be a bit tricky to decode, what with all the weaponized buzz terms and semantics games, we’ve prepared a handy dandy translator on the 17 new Agenda 2030 goals below.

  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Translation: Centralized banks, IMF, World Bank, Fed to control all finances
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Translation: GMO
  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Translation: Mass vaccination, Codex Alimentarius
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Translation: UN propaganda, brainwashing through compulsory education from cradle to grave
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Translation: Population control through forced “Family Planning”
  • Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Translation: Privatize all water sources, don’t forget to add fluoride
  • Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Translation: Smart grid with smart meters on everything, peak pricing
  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Translation: TPP, free trade zones that favor megacorporate interests
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Translation: Toll roads, push public transit, remove free travel, environmental restrictions
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Translation: Even more regional government bureaucracy
  • Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Translation: Big brother big data surveillance state
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Translation: Forced austerity
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
  • Translation: Cap and Trade, carbon taxes/credits, footprint taxes (aka Al Gore’s wet dream)

  • Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Translation: Environmental restrictions, control all oceans including mineral rights from ocean floors
  • Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Translation: More environmental restrictions, more controlling resources and mineral rights
  • Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Translation: More UN “peacekeeping” missions (ex 1, ex 2), remove 2nd Amendment in USA
  • Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
  • Translation: Remove national sovereignty worldwide

This article Agenda 2030 Translator: How to Read the UN’s New Sustainable Development Goals by Aaron and Melissa Dykes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, meaning this article may be republished as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact. Thanks!

Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton Dykes created TruthstreamMedia.com as an outlet to examine the news, uncover the deceptions, pierce through the fabric of illusions, know the real enemy, unshackle from the system, and begin to imagine the path towards taking back our lives, one step at a time, so that one day we might truly be free…

from:    https://www.activistpost.com/2015/09/agenda-2030-translator.html

DisQUIETing Skies

Image: Passengers stand in line outside a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint

A surveillance program that monitors Americans on domestic flights, even if they are not suspected of a crime or having ties to terrorism, is being questioned by civil liberties advocates.

“The whole thing is just absurd on so many levels,” said Hugh Handeyside, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

The program — dubbed “Quiet Skies” by the Transportation Security Administration — has been in existence since 2010 but was disclosed for the first time this past weekend by The Boston Globe.

The Globe said “Quiet Skies” tracks U.S. citizens who have been flagged to the TSA based on their affiliations or travel histories. One businesswoman who had recently traveled to Turkey, for example, was tracked.

If a passenger is selected for such secret tracking, a federal air marshal monitors him or her during the flight. The air marshal notes in a “behavior checklist” whether the individual slept, shaved or changed clothes mid-flight, or boarded last, among other criteria. The air marshal also takes note of whether the passenger has a “cold penetrating stare” or is fidgeting, the Globe reported.

The data is then sent to the TSA, although it’s not clear what happens to the information afterwards.

In a statement to NBC News, the TSA described “Quiet Skies” as a “practical method of keeping another act of terrorism from occurring at 30,000 feet.” It compared it to other common practices in law enforcement, like stationing a police officer in an area vulnerable to crime.

“They haven’t demonstrated any need for it or whether it’s effective.”

But legal experts slammed the program.

“They haven’t demonstrated any need for it or whether it’s effective,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, noting that the TSA has yet to reveal whether “Quiet Skies” has stopped any security threats. “We certainly need to have more information, but I think the concerns that they are profiling are pretty high.”

Patel said every aspect of the program poses concerns: how the TSA chooses which passengers to track; what data the TSA is collecting; and then what becomes of the data. Keeping such information may be a violation of the Privacy Act, a federal law that governs how personal identifiers are collected and used.

“As far as I know, this data collection hasn’t been specifically authorized by Congress, and even if it was, they would have to publish a notice that they’re collecting this information and keeping it in a database — which we haven’t seen at all,” she said.

“Quiet Skies” also raises questions of whether the TSA has continued to use passenger-screening methods that were discredited more than a year ago.

Last February, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized another behavior detection program that the TSA had been using to flag certain travelers for additional inspection, finding it to be unscientific and rife with racial and religious profiling.

Some American travelers tracked in ‘Quiet Skies’ government surveillance program

JUL.29.201801:46

“A lot of those behaviors reflect what may be consistent with stress or anxiety, and if they’re looking for stress or anxiety in an airport, they’ll find it,” he said.

The surveillance has also received criticism from within the TSA, according to the Globe, which reported that multiple unnamed air marshals felt the work was time-consuming, costly and a distraction from more important law enforcement work.

John Casaretti, president of the Air Marshal Association, the federal air marshals’ union, echoed that.

“The American public would be better served if these [marshals] were instead assigned to airport screening and check-in areas so that active shooter events can be swiftly ended,” he said in a statement.

from:    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-s-quiet-skies-program-raises-legal-civil-liberty-questions-n895806

Collective Consciousness vs. AI

ALTERNATIVE NEWS

Elon Musk And Over 2400 AI Scientists Sign Pledge Against Killer Robots

IN BRIEF

  • The Facts:More than 2,400 AI scientists and researchers have signed a pledge which intends to deter military firms and nations from building lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS).
  • Reflect On:Are we as individuals, working together on shared concerns for all humans on the planet, starting to see the power we have to effect positive change?

It is not an uncommon story in the history of science and technology: the most brilliant and innovative minds of their time discover, create, and invent technologies that can have hugely positive benefits for mankind as a whole. Inevitably, the largest and wealthiest ‘consumer’ of such technologies is the Military-Industrial Complex, and the main ways these technologies are produced in our world are as tools of control, warfare, and human suffering.

In earlier times scientists and inventors didn’t have much say in how their work was used, and could often be persuaded that their use in military applications was actually for the benefit of humankind. Today, those naive days are gone, and the landscape is different. Some of the most prominent minds that are creating advanced technologies are starting to speak out more and more about how their work is being used in the world.

More Than 2400 Signatories

Elon Musk of SpaceX and Demis Hassabis at Google DeepMind are among more than 2,400 signatories to the pledge which intends to deter military firms and nations from building lethal autonomous weapon systems, also known as LAWS. The signatories are scientists who specialize in artificial intelligence, (AI) and have declared that they will not participate in the development or manufacture of robots that can identify and attack people without human oversight. The pledge was created by the Future of Life Institute:

LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS PLEDGE

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems. There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI.

In this light, we the undersigned agree that the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine. There is a moral component to this position, that we should not allow machines to make life-taking decisions for which others – or nobody – will be culpable. There is also a powerful pragmatic argument: lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual. Thousands of AI researchers agree that by removing the risk, attributability, and difficulty of taking human lives, lethal autonomous weapons could become powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems. Moreover, lethal autonomous weapons have characteristics quite different from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the unilateral actions of a single group could too easily spark an arms race that the international community lacks the technical tools and global governance systems to manage. Stigmatizing and preventing such an arms race should be a high priority for national and global security.

We, the undersigned, call upon governments and government leaders to create a future with strong international norms, regulations and laws against lethal autonomous weapons. These currently being absent, we opt to hold ourselves to a high standard: we will neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons. We ask that technology companies and organizations, as well as leaders, policymakers, and other individuals, join us in this pledge.

The Power Of Public Shaming

The pledge hopes to amount to more than just words. In calling on countries to legislate laws, technology companies to not accept contracts, and individuals to voice their support against lethal autonomous weapons, they hope to sway public opinion overwhelmingly against LAWS, and in doing so shame any person or group who would go ahead with its development. There is some precedent for this approach working, according to Yoshua Bengio, an AI pioneer at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms:

This approach actually worked for land mines, thanks to international treaties and public shaming, even though major countries like the US did not sign the treaty banning landmines. American companies have stopped building landmines

The timing of this pledge is crucial. The military is one of the largest funders and adopters of AI technology. With advanced computer systems, robots can fly missions over hostile terrain, navigate on the ground, and patrol under seas. More sophisticated weapon systems are in the pipeline. Toby Walsh, a professor of AI at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who signed the pledge, had this to say about it:

We need to make it the international norm that autonomous weapons are not acceptable. A human must always be in the loop.

We cannot stop a determined person from building autonomous weapons, just as we cannot stop a determined person from building a chemical weapon. But if we don’t want rogue states or terrorists to have easy access to autonomous weapons, we must ensure they are not sold openly by arms companies.

Collective Consciousness Rising

This pledge is but one example of how people are implicating themselves in the future of the planet. No longer are we waiting on the sidelines and leaving decisions up to corporations, the military, or our political leaders. When we identify ourselves not as a race, culture or nation but as a planet, where all of humankind is considered part of the family, then we get to have greater access to the power of our collective consciousness. Once we harness that power, no initiative that is for the benefit of humanity is beyond our abilities.

from:    https://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/07/22/elon-musk-and-over-2400-ai-scientists-sign-pledge-against-killer-robots/

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)

Edward Snowden On The Big Screen

Big screen whistleblower: Edward Snowden to appear in Oliver Stone film about himself

American whistleblower Edward Snowden © Andrew Kelly
Being stranded in Moscow seems to come with certain opportunities – just ask Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower will appear in the upcoming film “Snowden,” which was partly filmed in the Russian capital, according to the movie’s executive producer.

Although actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Snowden in the upcoming film, the NSA whistleblower will be making an appearance on the silver screen, executive producer Igor Lopatenok told RIA Novosti.

“Edward will appear in the film; he had one day of shooting in Moscow. We shot mostly in Munich, as well as in Hawaii, Hong Kong, and in Washington, where he could not come…,” Lopatenok said.

The executive producer went on to say that Snowden took part in around ten meetings in Moscow for the Oliver Stone film, and that Gordon-Levitt also met with the whistleblower. In fact, one particular scene in the movie will show the real-life Snowden in the same frame as the actor portraying him.

“…We have a moment when they were both in the frame… and I think Joseph was able to convey the character of Edward, he did it,” Lopatenok said.

The film is set to be released in Russia on September 15, and in the US one day later, but Russian viewers will be treated to an extra four minutes of the film, which US viewers won’t see.

“…The Russian audience is lucky to see a little more,” Lopatenok said, adding that some scenes were cut from the US version.

However, regardless of which country the movie is viewed in, it will make film-goers re-evaluate their views on internet privacy and social media, Lopatonok told Sputnik.

“For us, it is not the box office that matters, but the audience’s reaction. Looking at Stone’s previous films, they work for a long time; people keep revisiting them. In this case, we have a big Oliver Stone film, made in his style,” Lopatenok said.

Snowden has approved the film and its story, Lopatenok said, while praising Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of the whistleblower.

‘The topic of Snowden is very controlled’

The entire topic of Snowden is “controlled,” according to Lopatenok. By way of example, he described a situation involving BMW, which used to sponsor almost all the films shot in Germany produced by Moritz Borman, a famous producer credited for Alexander and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, who is involved in the Snowden film production as well.
However, when BMW learned that Borman was producing a film about Snowden this time, it asked him to return the cars, Lopatenok claims.

“We were shooting in Munich, [BMW] gave us cars, and then we got a call from their representatives who asked us to return the cars because their American shareholders were against the story. The subject of Snowden is very controlled,” he said.

The producers feared that American special services might try to hack into the computers being used in the film production process, but Lopatenok believes that they took all possible precautions.

“We were able to take all the precautions [against hacking], however, we haven’t noticed direct intervention of [US] security services. Either we haven’t seen them, or they worked really great,” he joked.

Lopatenok added that the team learned how to use encrypted messenger applications, non-traceable browsers protected by cloud storage, and even how to cover their cameras.

“After this film, people will perceive security of their e-mails and social networks differently,” he concluded.

In 2013, Snowden – a former contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA) – revealed that the personal communications of dozens of world leaders had been monitored by US intelligence agencies. He has been living in Russia ever since, after being granted asylum on the grounds that he would face espionage charges in the US.

 

from:    https://www.rt.com/news/358785-snowden-film-oliver-stone/

What’s A Crime Now?

You’re Likely Committing a Crime Right Now in “The Land of the Free”

crime

By Mark Nestmann, The Nestmann Group

Do you own a dog? You could face six months in federal prison if you walk it on federal lands and your leash is longer than six feet.

Do you have a bank account? If you deposit or withdraw more than $10,000 in cash over multiple transactions, you could be imprisoned for up to five years. Plus, they could take every penny in the account, under the theory it “facilitated” your crime.

Do you have foreign investments? Neglect to tell Uncle Sam about them, and the penalties will be brutal. Forget to file just one form? You could face a $10,000 penalty per account per year.

There’s no requirement that you know any of these crimes exist for you to be found guilty of violating them. After all, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Given this, you might think Uncle Sam would make it easy to understand exactly what’s legal and what’s not. Think again.

In 1790, the first set of federal criminal laws contained a grand total of 20 crimes. Since then, the number of federal crimes listed has bloated beyond recognition. No one knows how many federal crimes exist, although a 1998 study from the American Bar Association concluded the total was likely “much higher” than 3,000.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Federal agencies have the power to “make” laws called “Administrative Laws” out of thin air. Violate one of these, you will end up in a cell. Indeed, the number of federal regulations carrying criminal penalties may be as high as 300,000.

And don’t forget about state and local laws. In Arizona, you face 25 years imprisonment for cutting down a cactus. In Mississippi, it is illegal for a male to be sexually aroused in a public place. In Pennsylvania, a woman was arrested for swearing at a clogged toilet.

It’s no wonder the US has the world’s largest prison population. More people rot in local, county, state, and federal prisons in the US than in all other developed countries combined. Over 2.2 million Americans currently live in some type of jail.Given these facts, you could be forgiven for thinking that Congress might put the brakes on penning new federal criminal law. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. Indeed, the pace of federal “criminalization” is accelerating. A 2008 study concluded that since the start of 2000, Congress created at least 452 new crimes. That’s more than one a week.

Since then, there has been no indication this trend will slow down, in fact the opposite is the case. For instance, last year, I learned US persons with certain international investments are now required to report them to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Until 2014, you needed to file this form only if the BEA “invited” you to do so. But in November 2014, the BEA issued final regulations making it mandatory to file this form – and imposing civil and criminal penalties if you don’t.

When was the last time you received an official notification from the BEA inviting you to file this form? I’ve never received one – I only learned about this requirement when my accountant warned me about it.

Anyone can inadvertently run afoul of America’s far-reaching network of criminal laws. Depositing or withdrawing lawfully-earned funds from your own bank account is hardly what most people would consider a criminal offense. Neither is walking a dog with a six-and-a-half-foot leash.

Fortunately, America is nearly unique in criminalizing so many offenses. The world prison population rate, based on United Nations estimates, is 144 per 100,000. By comparison, it’s 698 per 100,000 in the US – nearly five times as high. A statistic like this must make us all ask, why? And beyond that, why do we stick around? A second passport, or even expatriation will provide some relief from the American cancer of criminalization.

If you have any interest in setting up a second home overseas, don’t wait until some inadvertent slipup results in an arrest and possible felony conviction. Once you have a criminal record, you’ll find it much more difficult to acquire legal residence anywhere else.

There couldn’t be a better time than now to begin, while the coast is clear.

from:   http://www.activistpost.com/2016/08/youre-likely-committing-crime-right-now.html