Commenting upon the fairly unregulated growth of global surveillance industries , Amnesty international noted: “The Pegasus Project offered a wake-up call that action was urgently needed to regulate an industry that is out of control. Shamefully, governments worldwide are yet to step up and fully deal with this digital surveillance crisis,”
Currently, there are open investigations against NSO Group in France, India, Mexico, Poland and Spain. Nonetheless, most states have failed to mount a robust response to unlawful surveillance, Amnesty International noted.
“One year after the Pegasus spyware revelations shocked the world, it is alarming that surveillance companies are still profiting from human rights violations on a global scale… We continue to call for a global moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of spyware until human rights regulatory safeguards that govern its use are in place,” –
Under international law, states are not only obliged to uphold human rights, but also to protect them from abuse by third parties, including private companies. unlawful surveillance infringes on the right to privacy as well as the rights to freedom of expression, belief, association, and peaceful assembly.
About 18% of Americans now own a video doorbell. That means a significant and growing slice of American neighborhoods are under a form of intermittent surveillance. If the surveillance video and associated data were the exclusive property of individual homeowners, it might not be of much concern.
However, that’s not the case. For example, Ring, the company behind the top-selling brand, maintains a vast database on its users and their cameras. Ring is an Amazon subsidiary, thanks to the tech giant’s 2018 purchase of the company for over $1 billion.
Ring keeps plenty of info that you’d expect them to have. According to Wired magazine:
“Ring gets your name, phone number, email and postal address, and any other information you provide to it—such as payment information or your social media handles if you link your Ring account to Facebook, for instance. The company also gets information about your Wi-Fi network and its signal strength, and it knows what you ‘ve named your camera “
Maybe you’ve opted against buying a Ring doorbell out of privacy concerns. That’s fine, but don’t forget that your neighbor’s Ring camera may be watching you — or even listening to you. Tests have found Ring cameras can record audio from 20 feet away.
If you’re strolling by a Ring-equipped house and talking to someone, you and your conversation could be in Ring’s database. The same is true if you’re on your own property and you’re close enough to a neighbor’s camera and microphone.
This isn’t just a question of whether you trust Amazon and Ring not to misuse your video, audio and associated data. There’s always the chance that your info could be hacked by common criminals — or the ones who work for the government.
The Central Intelligence Agency has been collecting American’s private data without any oversight or even the minimal legal safeguards that apply to the NSA and FBI, an unconstitutional affront to our civil liberties.
According to a declassified report released by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), the CIA’s surveillance program is reminiscent of the mass surveillance programs conducted by the NSA, though the details released thus far paint a disturbing picture of potential wide-scale violations of people’s privacy.
The CIA program has apparently been conducted outside the statutory reforms and oversight of the intelligence community instituted after revelations by Edward Snowden in 2013. The newly declassified CIA data collection program is carried out in conjunction with Executive Order 12333 and is therefore subject to even less oversight than the woefully under-supervised NSA surveillance programs subject to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The agency said the programs involved “counterterrorism intelligence-related activities” that operated under Executive Order 12333. It also announced that portions of reports on the programs were being declassified.
As per senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico,members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The agency has conducted its own “bulk program” and “has done so outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection.”
The report which was heavily redacted, did not indicate how long, exactly, the surveillance had unfolded, how widespread it had been, or what sort of information was collected and from whom.
From that letter and a PCLOB “Staff Recommendations” document, we know that the CIA collects a vast amount of data, often on U.S. persons, without any clear guidelines about data retention and without substantial oversight of analysts querying information about U.S. citizens. The program seems to exist outside the jurisdiction of either courts or Congress–given that even the Senate Intelligence Committee was left in the dark about this program.
In their letter, Wyden and Heinrich inquire as to the nature of the CIA’s relationship to its “sources,” perhaps a reference to whether the CIA might be getting some of its data from the same place as the NSA—through secretive agreements with private companies. In 2013, it was reported that the CIA paid $10 million a year in order to gain access to AT&T’s call data.
While the CIA is largely prohibited by law from “engaging in domestic spying,” which makes the revelations troubling. As the Wall Street Journalreports, at times intelligence agencies have found ways to circumvent these prohibitions, noting that “some U.S. intelligence programs collect broad streams of internet or telephone data in a way that can scoop up information on Americans.
The nature of the surveillance isn’t fully clear. Yet the language in the redacted letter suggests the program involves nontraditional surveillance, noting data collection is done in “bulk” and uses “backdoor searches of Americans. This implies the spy agency may be “vacuuming up” vast amounts of information “to spy on Americans” and storing it indefinitely.
An Australian primary school predicted “microchips in student’s brains” within 10 years before subsequently deleting the newsletter that contained the creepy prophecy.
In a recent newsletter, Preston West, a primary school in Australia, mentioned that they imagine children having microchips in their brains in the next ten years.
In the Principal’s Note, Cheryl Bondeson, head of the school wrote:
In 10 years we imagine education Preston West Primary will: • Have more buildings and development. • Technological advances for teachers and students. Far more learning will be on a screen. • Microchips in students brains to promote intelligence and memory. • More mental health awareness and different styles for learning
Subsequently all the newsletters have been deleted from the school’s website. proof it was originally posted can be seen via the Google search cache below.
The amendment has been proposed to be added to the already odious ‘Online Safety Bill’, which would censor “legal but harmful” content, and was introduced by Conservative Party lawmaker John Penrose.
Like something out of dystopian fiction, Penrose, has proposed that the government forces online platforms to maintain a score of how truthful a person is, determined by their past statements.
The proposal says that every user that produces online content, including “comments and reviews” and who receives a certain number of online views, which is to be determined by the UK communications regulator, should have their content indexed and assigned a truth score. The person’s speech is then to be “displayed in a way which allows any user easily to reach an informed view of the likely factual accuracy of the content at the same time as they encounter it.”
In other words, the new law would empower far-left social media platforms, under threat of government fines, to apply ‘misinformation’ scores to the profiles of right-leaning users, with the potential that such negative labels would then impact algorithmic performance.
This would basically represent a dramatic expansion of ‘misinformation’ labels and partisan ‘fact checks’ that are already applied to individual posts, extending them to people. Over the last couple of years, the speed at which the idea of tackling “misinformation”has been used as a tool to censor and suppress speech has been alarming, and the idea of regulators suppressing the speech of citizens has become normalized.
India Mulls New Laws To Fight “Misinformation”
India is considering a new IT Act to replace the current one that was passed over 20 years ago. The new legislation, dubbed the Digital India Act, will tackle “deliberate” misinformation and doxxing, and is expected to have provisions to ensure social media platforms’ algorithmic accountability, data privacy, and net neutrality.
Speaking to India Express, a government official said that the new legislation would focus on offenses in the online world that have significantly “diversified” since the last amendment to the IT Act in 2008.
“For instance, currently under Indian laws, online misinformation is not illegal,” the official said.
The new legislation is also expected to hold social media platforms accountable for their algorithms, which some feel amplify misinformation campaigns.
The official also confirmed the new legislation will address doxxing, which refers to the publishing of another person’s personal information on social media and other platforms with malicious intent. “From the common trend of trolling on social media, we are now seeing increasing instances of people getting doxxed and the new Act will cover it,” the official said.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been buying location data of millions of cellphone users from third party players. According to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on July 18, the DHS is buying this data without any warrants to track movements of civilians.
“The released records shine a light on the millions of taxpayer dollars DHS used to buy access to cell phone location information being aggregated and sold by two shadowy data brokers, Venntel and Babel Street,” the report read.
The documents show that this vast amount of location data of people are being purchased by various DHS agencies, including the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without any judicial oversight, to track people’s movements and use it for “unreasonable government searches and seizures.” Further The data, purchased by the DHS, allowed law enforcement to identify devices & locations at “places of interest,” and to obtain information about frequent visitors, discover patterns of life and collect other important details, as well as track specific individuals or everyone in a particular area.
The records, running into thousands of pages – 6,168 to be precise — contain more than 336,000 location points across North America that had been obtained from people’s smartphones.
The documents obtained by ACLU over the past year reveals that the bulk of the data came from two companies – Venntel, a location intelligence company headquartered in Washington, DC, and Babel Street, a Virgina-based AI company.
The documents also reveal in detail that not only were the federal agencies aware of what they were doing but also made efforts to rationalize those actions, or even hide them. For instance, the records claimed that the data was “opt-in” and “voluntarily shared ” by users, and that it is collected with consent of the app user and “permission of the individual.”
“By searching through this massive trove of location information at their whim, government investigators can identify and track specific individuals or everyone in a particular area, learning details of our private activities and associations,” noted the ACLU.
We have not even begun to register the fallout from the tsunami bearing down upon us in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) surveillance, and yet it is already re-orienting our world into one in which freedom is almost unrecognizable.
Everything that was once private is now up for grabs to the right buyer.
Governments and corporations alike have heedlessly adopted AI surveillance technologies without any care or concern for their long-term impact on the rights of the citizenry.
As a special report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warns, “A growing number of states are deploying advanced AI surveillance tools to monitor, track, and surveil citizens to accomplish a range of policy objectives—some lawful, others that violate human rights, and many of which fall into a murky middle ground.”
Indeed, with every new AI surveillance technology that is adopted and deployed without any regard for privacy, Fourth Amendment rights and due process, the rights of the citizenry are being marginalized, undermined and eviscerated.
Cue the rise of digital authoritarianism. Digital authoritarianism, as the Center for Strategic and International Studies cautions, involves the use of information technology to surveil, repress, and manipulate the populace, endangering human rights and civil liberties, and co-opting and corrupting the foundational principles of democratic and open societies, “including freedom of movement, the right to speak freely and express political dissent, and the right to personal privacy, online and off.”
The seeds of digital authoritarianism were planted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, with the passage of the USA Patriot Act. A massive 342-page wish list of expanded powers for the FBI and CIA, the Patriot Act justified broader domestic surveillance, the logic being that if government agents knew more about each American, they could distinguish the terrorists from law-abiding citizens.
It sounded the death knell for the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights, especially the Fourth Amendment, and normalized the government’s mass surveillance powers.
In the decades following 9/11, a massive security-industrial complex arose that was fixated on militarization, surveillance, and repression. Surveillance is the key.
We’re being watched everywhere we go. Speed cameras. Red light cameras. Police body cameras. Cameras on public transportation. Cameras in stores. Cameras on public utility poles. Cameras in cars. Cameras in hospitals and schools. Cameras in airports.
On any given day, the average American going about his daily business is monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears.
Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing.
We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, microbiomes, scent, gait, heartbeat, breathing, behaviors—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.
For all intents and purposes, we now have a fourth branch of government: the surveillance state.
This fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.
Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) has reintroduced the “Improving Digital Identity Act,” (H.R. 4258 ) a bipartisan bill that would increase the federal government’s involvement in the digital identity ecosystem. The bill is set to be approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The bill seeks to require the federal government to use its authority to help citizens “prove who they are online” through the provision of optional ID validation services, which “augment private sector digital identity and authentication solutions.”
The bill would also require the creation of a task force on digital identity and a grant program at the DHS to support the development of interoperable identity verification systems at the local and state levels. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).
In a press release, Senator Lummis (WY)said that “it doesn’t make sense that Americans have to constantly overshare sensitive identity information with government agencies and businesses, which are honeypots all too often targeted by hackers and identity thieves.”
The bill in the Senate has a few differences from the original one introduced in the House. The one in the Senate insists that access to digital ID verification should be equitable.
Digital ID Will be locking down your freedom of movement based upon “Biosafety” and cementing the CBDC social Credit system
“When they are finally established, U.S. digital IDs will likely be based on smartphones and biometrics,” U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, the author said in an ID2020 webinar.
Foster discussed the need for secure digital identity to back a wide range of services, including any digital immunity certificates that might be established.
“Central bank digital assets and digital currencies will significantly drive digital identity efforts in the coming years”,Foster said noting that the most secure blockchain in the world has no value for this type of application if people are operating on it with fraudulent identities.
The “underbanked population” within the U.S. has also gained attention due to the challenges posed distributing pandemic stimulus payments, and Foster suggests the U.S. is more sensitive to the need for digital identity to help address anti money-laundering (AML) and corruption concerns than it has been in the past. (Establishing Direct control of how and when you get allotted money, and how and when you can access it)
“Biometrics are going to play a huge role in all of this,” Foster notes.The combination of each individual’s smartphone and biometrics will provide defense against identity fraud, and the impressive technology continues to improve, Foster said.
Although it’s supposed to be restricted by surveillance rules at local, state and federal levels, Immigration and Customs Enforcement () has built up a mass surveillance system that includes details on almost all US residents, according to a report from a major think tank.
ICE “now operates as a domestic surveillance agency” and it is able to bypass regulations in part by purchasing databases from private companies.
“Since its founding in 2003, ICE has not only been building its own capacity to use surveillance to carry out deportations but has also played a key role in the federal government’s larger push to amass as much information as possible about all of our lives,” the report’s authors state.
“By reaching into the digital records of state and local governments and buying databases with billions of data points from private companies, ICE has created a surveillance infrastructure that enables it to pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time.”
The researchers spent two years looking into ICE to put together the extensive report, which is called They obtained information by filing hundreds of freedom of information requests and scouring more than 100,000 contracts and procurement records.
Over the years, privacy law experts and civil rights activists and attorneys have accused ICE of overreach in its surveillance tactics directed at immigrants and Americans alike, but the Georgetown report paints a picture of an agency that has gone well beyond its immigration enforcement mandate, instead evolving into something of a broader domestic surveillance agency.
The agency is said to be using data from the Department of Motor Vehicles and utility companies, along with the likes of call records, child welfare records, , healthcare records and social media posts. ICE is now said to hold driver’s license data for 74 percent of adults and can in cities that are home to 70 percent of the adult population in the US.
ICE spent an estimated $2.8 billion between 2008 and 2021 on surveillance, data collection and data-sharing initiatives, according to the Georgetown report. The scale of ICE surveillance came as a shock to the report’s authors.
The authors wrote that ICE is able to carry out these actions in secret and without warrants. Along with the data it acquired from other government departments, utilities, private companies and third-party data brokers, “the power of algorithmic tools for sorting, matching, searching and analysis has dramatically expanded the scope and regularity of ICE surveillance,” . ICE has been able to sidestep congressional oversight and bypass attempts at state level to curtain its surveillance capabilities
“ICE has been able to build massive surveillance capabilities without needing authorization and without congressional oversight,” said Allison McDonald, a research fellow and co-author of the report. “That they have been able to build such an expansive infrastructure in relative secrecy is setting an alarming example for how federal agencies can evade scrutiny.”
Inside San Diego’s metropolitan area, California’s second largest city, home to some 275,000 residents, has made the history books. Their mark on history will be a dark one as they become the first city in America to be completely monitored by spy drones.
“On a per capita basis, they’re probably the most or one of the most surveilled cities in the country,” said Brian Hofer, executive director of the Oakland-based privacy advocacy group Secure Justice. “Pretty much the minute you walk outside your front door and move about your daily life, you’re going to be tagged and tracked by some law enforcement agency, even though you’ve likely never been suspected of any wrongdoing.”
Chula Vista’s drone program didn’t come to fruition over night. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies coordinated with with Chinese drone manufacturers and unscrupulous actors in Big Tech and have implemented the program over the course of several years.
In 2020, as fearful citizens begged the government for safety that never came, they willingly accepted this egregious invasion of privacy.
“The(Police) department is considering one strategy to use drone-mounted speakers to communicate and reach vulnerable populations in inaccessible areas of the city, like large urban canyons with homeless encampments,” the Chula Vista Police Department said in a press release when they began to spy on citizens 24/7. “Unsheltered persons are particularly vulnerable to the current pandemic, and their safety and welfare is important to stopping the spread of the disease.”
The company who manufactures the drones had no problem admitting the “Orwellian” nature of such a program. “What we saw in China, and what we’re probably going to see around the world, is using drones with cameras and loudspeakers to fly around to see if people are gathering where they shouldn’t be, and telling them to go home,” Spencer Gore, chief executive of U.S.-based drone company Impossible Aerospace, said. “It seems a little Orwellian, but this could save lives.”
“People don’t realize the depths of Chinese espionage and the fact that they use any opportunity,”said Jim Lewis, a researcher at the DC-based, bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We face the biggest espionage battle we’ve ever had with China. The way people engage in espionage has changed. It’s moved largely to technology and digital devices.”
As we’ve seen with other Orwellian moves like license plate scanners and surveillance cameras, this drone program will not remain solely in Chula Vista and other states have already begun similar programs.