Wednesday 28th of September 2022

he's looking at you, kid…..

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together.

 

BY Peter Krapp

 

Databases can correlate location data from smartphones, the growing number of private cameras, license plate readers on police cruisers and toll roads, and facial recognition technology, so if law enforcement wants to track where you are and where you’ve been, they can. They need a warrant to use cellphone search equipment: Connecting your device to a mobile device forensic tool lets them extract and analyze all your data if they have a warrant.

However, private data brokers also track this kind of data and help surveil citizens – without a warrant. There is a large market for personal data, compiled from information people volunteer, information people unwittingly yield – for example, via mobile apps – and information that is stolen in data breaches. Among the customers for this largely unregulated data are federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

How you are tracked

Whether or not you pass under the gaze of a surveillance camera or license plate reader, you are tracked by your mobile phone. GPS tells weather apps or maps your location, Wi-Fi uses your location, and cell-tower triangulation tracks your phone. Bluetooth can identify and track your smartphone, and not just for COVID-19 contact tracing, Apple’s “Find My” service, or to connect headphones.

People volunteer their locations for ride-sharing or for games like Pokemon Go or Ingress, but apps can also collect and share location without your knowledge. Many late-model cars feature telematics that track locations – for example, OnStar or Bluelink. All this makes opting out impractical.

The same thing is true online. Most websites feature ad trackers and third-party cookies, which are stored in your browser whenever you visit a site. They identify you when you visit other sites so advertisers can follow you around. Some websites also use key logging, which monitors what you type into a page before hitting submit. Similarly, session recording monitors mouse movements, clicks, scrolling and typing, even if you don’t click “submit.”

Ad trackers know when you browsed where, which browser you used, and what your device’s internet address is. Google and Facebook are among the main beneficiaries, but there are many data brokers slicing and dicing such information by religion, ethnicity, political affiliations, social media profiles, income and medical history for profit.

Big Brother in the 21st century

People may implicitly consent to some loss of privacy in the interest of perceived or real security – for example, in stadiums, on the road and at airports, or in return for cheaper online services. But these trade-offs benefit individuals far less than the companies aggregating data. Many Americans are suspicious of government censuses, yet they willingly share their jogging routines on apps like Strava, which has revealed sensitive and secret military data.

In the post-Roe v. Wade legal environment, there are concerns not only about period tracking apps but about correlating data on physical movements with online searches and phone data. Legislation like the recent Texas Senate Bill 8 anti-abortion law invokes “private individual enforcement mechanisms,” raising questions about who gets access to tracking data.

In 2019, the Missouri Department of Health stored data about the periods of patients at the state’s lone Planned Parenthood clinic, correlated with state medical records. Communications metadata can reveal who you are in touch with, when you were where, and who else was there – whether they are in your contacts or not.

Location data from apps on hundreds of millions of phones lets the Department of Homeland Security track people. Health wearables pose similar risks, and medical experts note a lack of awareness about the security of data they collect. Note the resemblance of your Fitbit or smartwatch to ankle bracelets people wear during court-ordered monitoring.

The most pervasive user of tracking in the U.S. is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which amassed a vast amount of information without judicial, legislative or public oversight. Georgetown University Law Center’s Center on Privacy and Technology reported on how ICE searched the driver’s license photographs of 32% of all adults in the U.S., tracked cars in cities home to 70% of adults, and updated address records for 74% of adults when those people activated new utility accounts.

No one is watching the watchers

Nobody expects to be invisible on streets, at borders, or in shopping centers. But who has access to all that surveillance data, and how long it is stored? There is no single U.S. privacy law at the federal level, and states cope with a regulatory patchwork; only five states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia – have privacy laws.

It is possible to limit location tracking on your phone, but not to avoid it completely. Data brokers are supposed to mask your personally identifiable data before selling it. But this “anonymization” is meaningless since individuals are easily identified by cross-referencing additional data sets. This makes it easy for bounty hunters and stalkers to abuse the system.

The biggest risk to most people arises when there is a data breach, which is happening more often – whether it is a leaky app or careless hotel chain, a DMV data sale or a compromised credit bureau, or indeed a data brokering middleman whose cloud storage is hacked.

This illicit flow of data not only puts fuzzy notions of privacy in peril, but may put your addresses and passport numbers, biometric data and social media profiles, credit card numbers and dating profiles, health and insurance information, and more on sale.

on the list…..

 

BY WYATT REED

 

As the surveillance state continues to strengthen, it’s safe to say we’ve all gotten the feeling at some point that we’re being watched. But unlike many of us, Press TV correspondent Johnny Miller now has the receipts to prove it – after he was recently placed on a semi-official Ukrainian hit list.

In an exclusive interview, PressTV correspondent Johnny Miller tells Sputnik News that for those in Western Ukraine, once you’ve been added to the Mirotvorets hit list, “you’re dead.”

“Mirotvorets,” meaning ‘peacemaker’ – ”which of course is a very Orwellian name for a hit list,” notes Miller – “has been around since the Ukrainian revolution/coup in 2014 and it, basically, lists the enemies of the state of Ukraine.”

Miller discovered he had been targeted by the shadowy outfit Thursday after having reached out to Mirotvorets’ operators for comment about a story on their role in doxxing Faina Savenkova, a 13-year-old girl living in Lugansk.

“I contacted them for a statement. They didn't reply. They put me on the list,” Miller notes. “And it's very well researched.”

Miller explains that the operators of the online hit list, the so-called “Mirotvorets Centre,” are “not just some crazy guy, who's just writing names on a website. They've looked at all my reports, they’ve detailed my work, detailed what I say, put pictures up of everything that I’ve done – for other people they put their phone numbers, they put their home addresses, and call them enemies of the state.”

In Miller’s case, his file apparently also included “lies.” Chief among them - that he works with the Russian special services in Donetsk. “I don't, I’m just an independent journalist,” he clarifies.

Doing journalism in Ukraine is a crime now. Putting our brave correspondent,@johnnyjmils, on a kill list for doing his job is abhorrent. The crime committed by Johnny in his reporting for @PressTV is his questioning of one sided narrative of NATO media.https://t.co/0rYNUkoGOi pic.twitter.com/Bbgzz7u5w3

— Ahmad Noroozi (@ANoroozee) July 22, 2022

As numerous observers have pointed out, there’s reason to believe Mirotvorets is connected to Ukrainian intelligence. “The Ukrainian former interior minister praised the site,” says Miller.

“There's links to the [Ukrainian] government,” he says, explaining that “it's not clear how closely related it is to the Ukrainian government, but they clearly use it as well to check on you.”

 

“And it’s unclear where that line between the government and the ultranationisalists/far-right/neo-nazis, whatever you want to call them. It’s unclear where that line is. You know, it’s very shady, where that line is, and we can debate it. But that’s the real danger… the real danger of being on the list is that it shuts down all debate in Ukraine.”

 

For the journalists unlucky enough to cross paths with them, like Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli, the consequences can be lethal. As Miller explains, after Rocchelli was killed amid Ukrainian shelling in 2014, “his photo was there” on the site “with big red letters: ‘LIQUIDATED’ over his photo.”

 

Like Rocchelli, Miller takes pains to emphasize that he doesn’t necessarily take sides in the ongoing hostilities. But that apparently did little to satisfy those in charge of the hit list.

“I think anybody who says absolutely anything” can be targeted, he says. “I mean, I’ve just done my job here, to be honest: report on Ukrainian war crimes, report on the fact that people support the Russians here, and you’re going on that list.”

The correspondent noted with bewilderment the mainstream media’s double standards regarding the regime in Ukraine amid the conflict:

“If I’d said to you, the British or American government, there are websites in those countries which post the home details of journalists and children, anybody [who] questioned the government – what kind of conclusion would you make about the British and American government?” wonders Miller.

 

“That it was a moderate government that believed in human rights, or would you think that it was some kind of terror state? That’s what the Ukrainian government is.”

 

“How you can’t see that a website that is linked to your government that promotes violences against children and journalists and you don’t care, and you promote it,” asks the correspondent. “And you know, this whole idea that extremism in Ukraine is just Russian propaganda? You’ve got a website promoting violence towards children. It’s not a good look.”

“Like, you can’t pretend that this is all just Russian propaganda when it’s right there in front of your eyes. And this is why United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, and I understand some western politicians or people have said, ‘shut it down.’ Because it’s just so blatantly, completely unacceptable.”

“But they carry it on. And my fear is also that NATO, the NATO para-leaders, whether it's [the] United States [or others] – want this site to continue. Why? Because so many Ukrainians want peace. But this site basically stops anybody saying ‘we want peace, we want to negotiate with Russia.’ We just have to carry on with war. And that’s why I don’t think they’ll take it down. Because they need to increase the extremism in Ukraine to keep them fighting against Russia rather than seek peace.”

According to Miller, that’s “the reason it’s not been taken down: It basically shuts down journalism or any kind of criticism in Ukraine.”

 

“So if you’re a Ukrainian journalist, or a politician, or a citizen, and you want to say ‘there’s a problem with ultra-nationalism in Ukraine,’ or even to the extent that if you said, ‘I think we should sue for peace with Russia,’ if you said – and this is the view of many Ukrainians, and I know this because I’ve got contacts in Kiev – ... if you’re a Ukrainian citizen and you say ‘I would be happy to cede territory to Russians to have peace,’ you could go on that list,” adding “it shuts down any thought or any criticism of the government or the ultranationalists.”

For Miller, that’s “part of the reason I think it’s been kept up.”

 

“I also think that’s the reason why NATO allows it be kept up. NATO’s very well aware of this. The United Nations, human rights groups, they’ve all [concluded] – this is a serious website. I would be dead if I was in western Ukraine,” he says.

 

“Everybody on that list is dead, most likely, in western Ukraine. But it’s kept up, I feel – and the reason that NATO countries as well, they have the power to shut it down; NATO has huge power over Ukraine, [the] Ukrainian government has the power to shut it down. But so many Ukrainians would want to negotiate peace with Russia.”

Unfortunately for innocent Ukrainians civilians caught in the crossfire, “it’s the ultranationalists, the nationalists who have an ideological hatred against Russia, that want to carry on the fight,” Miller notes. “And NATO, of course, wants to carry on the fight with Russia. So hence promoting this extremism. Having this website is incredibly important because it essentially shuts down any kind of criticism of the Ukrainian government and the nationalist sentiment in Ukraine. If you’re on that list, you’re dead, and that’s why I think it’s so important.”

 

When asked about the personal ramifications of his inclusion on Mirotvorets, Miller chuckles. “I mean, being put on a kill list is not nice. I say that flippantly but it’s basically a death threat in itself, being put on that list. And it’s a disconcerting feeling… If I was in western Ukraine, I’d most likely be killed, frankly. And I don’t want to speak too much about my private life, but it does increase the chance of you getting attacked or killed anywhere in the world if there’s Ukrainian nationalists there.”

 

“I think that’s part of the site is to shut down dissent, scare people, to terrorize people. And that’s very much the Ukrainian attitude, they terrorize civilians here to try to stop them supporting the so-called ‘separatists’ here. And they try and terrorize people online as well, and journalists, by threatening them with death. And that’s their tactic. And it’s the tactic of far-right extremism.”

 

“I don’t want to say too much… but I was in Kiev for the start of” the conflict, Miller says, “when Russian troops were surrounding Kiev and I left. I was there for a couple days and I left. Because the first couple of live interviews went up… and I realized they weren’t sufficiently pro-Ukrainian.”

“I’m trying to just tell the truth here, but I was also giving the Russian side and there was also some criticism of NATO as well. And I saw those interviews go out live and I looked at them and I suddenly realized I need to leave the country,” he continues. “Because the Ukrainian government had just banned all opposition, all left-wing opposition parties, banned all media except the one government channel… and I knew that if I was stopped at a checkpoint, and they saw this interview, I would be [killed]. Anybody who’s just trying to tell both sides of the story can be put on a list. And that’s why I left, as well.”

 

READ MORE:

https://sputniknews.com/20220724/if-youre-on-that-list-youre-dead-uk-journo-speaks-out-after-being-placed-on-ukrainian-hit-list-1097734875.html

 

 

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RREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

your face, their recognition…..

 

by 

 

With facial recognition becoming increasingly sophisticated, it will soon be possible to monitor an entire population with minimal effort, discouraging people from participating in political protests and social movements, writes Manal al-Sharif.

Last year, 7-Eleven in Australia collected the facial prints of 1.6 million customers without their knowledge or consent. The company was not fined. 

And now the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is investigating Bunnings and Kmart over facial recognition. Privacy advocates say that with lack of governance, there is not much hope for fines. The private sector will continue extracting and abusing freely.

Facial recognition technology violates fundamental human rights such as the right to privacy and self-determination. And if you still don’t care about your privacy, you should care about the collective harm that such practices inflict on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, civil liberties and democracy in general and will do so for generations to come. 

Here are my concerns about the state of facial recognition in Australia, hoping these concerns help inform the public and push to demand protective laws:

It is not regulated: This leaves the door wide open for abuse from government and the private sector. Whatever laws are in the making, they will not be enforced retrospectively. The damage already that is done will not lead to the prosecution of those responsible. So there is a race to collect as many facial prints (and other forms of biometric data) before any bill is passed. Right now we are left on our own to resist the extraction and abuse of our facial prints.

It endangers democracy: Australia stands out as the only democracy that uses facial recognition technology to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. History shows that the expansion of state powers at the time of crisis is dangerous, as those powers are difficult to roll back later. European citizens who lived under the all-knowing state are vocally opposed to the use of facial recognition. Australians, with no recent memory of the same historical oppressions, complied with no question asked. 

 

It is a stealthy attack on your civil liberties: Private biometric data collection companies provide a workaround to law enforcement to access facial prints en masse without a warrant, reasonable grounds, or judicial review. PatronScan, and other private facial recognition technologies used in Australia, have partnerships with law enforcement. The same time they collect customers’ facial prints, they share all with the police. Home Affairs has a database of facial prints that in the making since 2016. This database is not governed by any law. Again, there is no law that governs the collection and processing of facial prints here. 

It is shared with third parties: Second Use of Data means that the data collected is used for different purposes or by third parties. The purported use might sound innocent, such as venues saying they are protecting customers and preventing minors from drinking. But behind closed doors, this data is used for deep facial analytics, combined with other data to create accurate profiles about our habits for further targeting. It is worth mentioning that your data is currently shared with non-Australian companies, including companies in Russia and China.

It threatens the freedoms essential for healthy democracy: With facial recognition becoming increasingly sophisticated, it will soon be possible to monitor an entire population with minimal effort, discouraging people from participating in political protests and social movements. In a chilling example, the Chinese government is using facial recognition empowered by AI to identify and classify any person who steps out in public. Such technology combines the whole history and activities of that person and can predict any political dissent before it happens. China is investing heavily in AI, calling it the future, and exporting this technology to other totalitarian regimes. Soon China will have total control over a nation of a billion people. If you have watched Minority Report, we are not far from making that dystopian future a reality.

It is biased: Current facial recognition technology has a high rate of false positives when identifying people of colour, transgendered people, and women. So with such a faulty technology being used for decision making, the door is wide open for false arrest and discrimination. Facial recognition algorithms are trained with biased data, which means automating those biases and affecting marginalised and vulnerable groups the most.

It is the first step towards authoritarian systems: So when you see how Europeans are vocally against the tech of mass surveillance, that’s just the historical trauma of living under the all-knowing state.

It is a high security risk and makes you open to identity theft and fraud: You can change your password, but you can’t change your face. Once stolen or lost, cyber criminals can use facial print to commit identity theft and associated fraud. 

 

 

READ MORE:

https://michaelwest.com.au/sleepwalkers-wake-australians-must-face-up-to-our-surveillance-state/

 

 

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REE JULIAN ASSANBE NOW..................