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91

      

By Tyler Durden


Amazon employs thousands of people to listen in on what people around the world are saying to their Alexa digital assistant, according to what is sure to be a Congressional hearing-inspiring report by Bloomberg, which cites seven people who have worked on the program.


While their job is to “help improve” NSAlexa – which powers the company’s line of Echo speakers – the team “listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices,” which are then transcribed, annotated and fed back into the software in order to try and improve Alexa’s understanding of human speech for more successful interactions. In other words, humans are effectively helping to train Amazon’s algorithm.


In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching. –Bloomberg


         



      

The listening team is comprised of part-time contractors and full-time Amazon employees based all over the world; including India, Romania, Boston and Costa Rica.


Listeners work nine-hour shifts, with each reviewing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift according to two employees from Amazon’s Bucharest office – located in the top three floors of the Romanian capital’s Globalworth building. The location “stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure” of the Pipera district and “bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.”


While much of the work is boring (one worker said his job was to mine for accumulated voice data for specific phrases such as “Taylor Swift” – letting the system know that the searcher was looking for the artist), reviewers are also listening on people’s most personal moments.


Occasionally the listeners pick up things Echo owners likely would rather stay private: a woman singing badly off key in the shower, say, or a child screaming for help. The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word—or come across an amusing recording. –Bloomberg


Occasionally Amazon listeners come across upsetting or possibly criminal recordings – such as two workers who say they listened in on what sounded like a sexual assault. 


According to the report, when things like this happen the workers will mention it in the internal chat room to “relieve stress.”


And while Amazon says that it has procedures to follow when workers hear distressing things, two of the Romania-based employees say they were told “it wasn’t Amazon’s job to interfere” when they requested guidance for such instances.






“We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously,” said an Amazon spokesman in a statement provided to Bloomberg.


“We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone,” the statement continues. “We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero tolerance policy for the abuse of our system. Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption and audits of our control environment to protect it.”


That said, Amazon does not mention the fact that humans are listening to recordings of some of the conversations picked up by Alexa. Instead, they have a generic disclaimer in their FAQ that says “We use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems.”


What Amazon Records


According to Amazon’s Alexa terms of use, the company collects and stores most of what you say to Alexa – including the geolocation of the product along with your voice instructions, reported CNBC’s Todd Haselton last November.


Your messages, communication requests (e.g., “Alexa, call Mom”), and related instructions are “Alexa interactions,” as described in the Alexa Terms of Use. Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions and related information in the cloud in order to respond to your requests (e.g., “Send a message to Mom”), to provide additional functionality (e.g., speech to text transcription and vice versa), and to improve our services. -Amazon Terms of Use


Last May, an Amazon Echo recorded a conversation between a husband and wife, then sent it to one of the husband’s phone contacts. Amazon claims that during the conversation someone used a word that sounded like “Alexa,” which caused the device to begin recording.




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“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa,’” said Amazon in a statement. “Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”


The wife, Danielle, however said that the Echo never requested her permission to send the audio. “At first, my husband was like, ‘No, you didn’t,’” Danielle told KIRO7. “And he’s like, ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘Oh gosh, you really did!’”


Can You Disable?


Alexa does allow people to stop sharing their voice recordings for the development of new features, while a screenshot reviewed by Bloomberg reveals that the recordings provided to Alexa’s listeners do not provide the full name or address of a user. It does, however, link the recording to an account number, the user’s first name, and the device’s serial number.


“You don’t necessarily think of another human listening to what you’re telling your smart speaker in the intimacy of your home,” said UMich professor Florian Schaub, who has researched privacy issues related to smart speakers. “I think we’ve been conditioned to the [assumption] that these machines are just doing magic machine learning. But the fact is there is still manual processing involved.


“Whether that’s a privacy concern or not depends on how cautious Amazon and other companies are in what type of information they have manually annotated, and how they present that information to someone,” added Schaub.



By Tyler Durden / Republished with permission / Zero Hedge


   
            


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92

      

By B.N. Frank


According to ArsTechnica.com, this operation was carefully designed and included multiple stages.  Audio, contacts, location, and more was stolen for years.  The article reads like an intricate suspense-thriller plot.  Smartphone owners may feel a little creeped out – even if they haven’t been arrested.


Unfortunately, even non-smartphone users are being subjected to involuntary surveillance through 5G, The Internet of Things (IoT), and utility “Smart” Meters (See 1, 2, 3). In fact, utility “Smart” Meter data was already granted to law enforcement officials for a criminal investigation.  Does that seem like violation of privacy to you?


Even worse – utility “Smart” Meter data collection has been proven to be inaccurate much of the time.  In fact, these meters have so many problems –including fires and explosions – that a documentary was produced about them called Take Back Your Power.


         



      

The Internet of Things (IoT) has a 74% failure rate so accuracy isn’t a guarantee with it either.


Even though some people may not mind giving up their privacy to use new technology, obviously this isn’t its only issue.







Image credit: Pixabay


   
93

      


By Arjun


April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and the first weekend in April is Alcohol Free Weekend. This is a campaign to inform and change social norms about drinking.


Every day hundreds of Americans die because of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and thousands more are admitted into hospitals, psychiatric facilities, or jails and prison. Alcohol places thousands more at risk for divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, and physical and emotional problems such as depression. Because it affects so many people, alcoholism is considered the number one public health problem in America – even surpassing cancer and heart disease, and is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.


Alcohol Awareness Month


Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM) is a national grassroots effort that was started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, and it quickly spread throughout the country. AAM highlights the need to support education, prevention and treatment for alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. It is an opportunity for families and communities, together, to educate themselves about the critical issues of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and reach out and educate their children on the reasons to stay alcohol free.


Alcoholism is a disease that affects children, families and communities across the nation. In fact, most people know someone who has been affected by this disease as over half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol problems. In this regard, alcoholism does not just affect the alcoholic but others around, and therefore it is also called a family disease.


Alcohol is a toxic and addictive drug. Each year there are well over 88,000 deaths because of alcohol, and according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there may be as many as 15.1 million individuals with an alcohol problem or alcoholism in the United States. Alcoholism was, is, and remains one of the most pervasive and tragic diseases affecting society.


Alcohol Free Weekend


Alcohol Free Weekend is a special opportunity for parents to teach about alcohol in their homes. For at least one weekend each year people are saying that America does not need to rely on alcohol for pleasure or pastime. This also gives parents opportunity to further reflect upon the dangers and consequences of drinking with their children.


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Although it is among the nation’s most deadly diseases, alcoholism is preventable. Each year AAM offers an opportunity to work in a unified effort to raise awareness about the negative consequences of drinking and to do something about it. It also asks families to look at the level of emotional pain that alcohol has caused in their lives and encourages adults to talk about alcoholism with spouses, children, and friends.


The best prevention is to help send the message to youth that one does not need to drink in order to enjoy leisure activities and have a fulfilling and healthy life. In fact, at least 34 percent of Americans do not drink at all.


Referral Information


AAM also encourages individuals with an alcohol problem to seek treatment. Help is only a telephone call away. If a person believes that he or she or a family member may have an alcohol problem or if one is hurting or in emotional pain because of alcohol, it is best to contact a local treatment agency or call the national referral helpline operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP.




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Sources:


https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics


https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/alcohol-use-facts-resources-fact-sheet.pdf


Arjun is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and a consciousness activist. He writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze.


   
            


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94

      

By Tony Cartalucci


Libya is back in the news, as fighting escalates around the capital, Tripoli.


Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar – a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi – turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention – turned “opposition” again against the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) seated in Tripoli – have most recently reached Tripoli’s airport.


The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change “success” include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.


And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine – the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued.


         



      

Battlefield Libya


In 2011, the North African nation of Libya was transformed from a prosperous, developing nation, into a divided, perpetual battlefield where local warlords backed by a milieu of opposing foreign sponsors and interests have vied for power since.


Libya’s current status as a failed, warring state is owed entirely to the US-led NATO intervention in 2011.


Predicated on lies promoted by Western-funded “human rights” organizations and fought under the pretext of R2P (responsibility to protect) – the US and its NATO allies dismembered Libya leading to predictable and perpetual chaos that has affected not only Libya itself, but North Africa, Southern Europe, and even the Middle East.


The war immediately triggered not only a wave of refugees fleeing the war itself, but the redirection of refugees from across Africa seeking shelter and work in Libya, across the Mediterranean and into Europe instead.


Militants fighting as proxies for the US-led war in 2011 would be armed and redeployed to Turkey where they entered Syria and played a key role in taking the cities of Idlib and Aleppo during the early stages of that US-led proxy war.


Currently, Libya is divided between the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar, and a mix of other forces operating across the country, holding various degrees of control over Libya’s other major cities, and equally varying degrees of loyalty to the UN-backed government, Haftar’s forces, or other factions.


Fighting around Tripoli has even allegedly prompted US military forces stationed in Libya to temporarily evacuate. CNBC in its article, “US pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital,” would report:



The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” a top military official said Sunday as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.


A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.



The presence of US forces in Libya might be news to some – and was certainly only a dream within the Pentagon until after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention finally toppled the Libyan government.


America’s foreign policy of arsonist-fireman has endowed it with a large and still growing military footprint in Africa – one it uses to project power and affect geopolitics well beyond the continent.


America’s Growing Footprint in Africa


The ongoing Libyan conflict – flush with weapons pouring in from foreign sponsors – has also fueled regional terrorism impacting neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, and Chad, as far west as Mali and Nigeria, and southeast as far as Kenya. The war has been a boon for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has used the resulting chaos as a pretext to expand Washington’s military footprint on the continent.






In a 2018 Intercept article titled, “U.S. Military Says it has a “Light Footprint” in Africa. These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases,” it was reported that:


According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years.


The article notes that much of AFRICOM’s expansion in Africa has occurred over the past decade.


While the pretext for US military expansion in Africa has been “counter-terrorism,” it is clear US military forces are there to protect US interests and project US power with “terrorism” a manufactured pretext to justify Washington’s militarization of the continent.


Much of the terrorism the US claims it is fighting was only possible in the first place through the flood of weapons, equipment, and support provided to militants by the US and its partners amid regime change operations targeting nations like Libya.


The US-led NATO war in Libya is a perfect example of the US deliberately arming terrorist organizations – including those listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department itself – overthrowing a nation, predictably destabilizing the entire region, and using the resulting instability as a pretext to massively expand America’s military footprint there.


The wider agenda at play is Washington’s desire to displace current Russian and Chinese interests on the continent, granting the US free reign.


Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change


As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would claim:





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Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace.


This “peace” includes 8 years of heavy fighting in Libya following NATO’s intervention there.


NATO’s Secretary General proclaims NATO’s mission as one to “prevent conflict and preserve peace,” yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day – but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.


Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in – yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.


The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.


As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the “fruits” of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.


What is most alarming of all is considering that the US-led intervention in Libya may not necessarily be a failure. It is only a failure if one believed the US truly sought a better future for the nation. However, if the fruits of perpetual chaos and an equally perpetual pretext for the US militarization of Africa were intentionally set out for from the beginning – then in many ways – Libya was a resounding success.


Depending on how the current fighting around Tripoli unfolds, whether or not a unified Libya emerges, and whose foreign military presence and economic interests are allowed to persist on Libyan soil thereafter – will help determine just how successful Washington’s true agenda in Libya – and in Africa – has been.


Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.


   
            


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95

      

By Catherine J. Frompovich


Oh my!  How the legal tables seemingly have turned.


According to the prestigious online publication “The Hill,” Attorney General William Barr delivered some rather unnerving news to Congress in the form of one sentence.


         



      

“The single-sentence Russia bombshell that Attorney General Barr delivered to Congress”https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/438136-the-single-sentence-russia-bombshell-that-attorney-general-barr-delivered


Though it didn’t happen on his watch, Barr told Congress he will investigate how the FBI came to conduct a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, starting in the summer of 2016.


Unfortunately, I could not embed within this article the video in the above Hill link.  Please access the link to view the video.


Oh my; has the “worm turned”?



Image credit: ZeroHedge


Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.


Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.


Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.


Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)


Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities ©2016 Catherine J Frompovich is now available


   
96

      

By Derrick Broze


Civil liberties organizations and activists are pushing back against new laws which criminalize protests and free speech related to pipeline projects.


In late March, a coalition of Native activists, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of South Dakota filed suit against the State of South Dakota in an effort to repeal recently passed state laws aimed at curbing “rioters” during the upcoming construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. South Dakota Senate Bill 189 and SB 190 have created controversy due to the potential to prevent peaceful and legal protest of environmental projects.


Senate Bill 189, also known as the Riot Boosting Act, grants the state the authority to sue any individual or organization for what they call “riot-boosting,” or encouraging and/or participating in acts of force or violence. SB 190 sets up funding to pay for state, county, and local police to combat potential pipeline protesters. This means that any individual who is attending a protest or rally against the Keystone Pipeline (or other future pipeline) could become subject to civil or criminal penalties, whether they engage in violence or not. The plaintiffs in the suit argue that the language of the bill is vague and does not clearly define what type of conduct or speech is considered “riot-boosting” or encouraging a riot.




         



      

The Washington Times reports that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has stated that the legislation will help shut down protests of the Keystone XL Pipeline and prevent a battle between protesters and police as was seen during the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota in 2016. The Times notes that Noem believes protesters were funded by “out-of-state liberal donors, such as George Soros.” South Dakota State Sen. John Wiik said the introduction of the new laws “stems from what happened up at Cannonball, North Dakota.”


Plaintiffs on the lawsuit include the NDN Collective, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, Dakota Rural Action, Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of the NDN Collective.




Gov. Kristi Noem’s legislation is yet another way to promote Big Oil interests and prevent dissent by making protesters subject to legal action,” says Kim Pate, Vice President of NDN Collective.


The NDN Collective recently wrote that the broad language in SB 189 means that “anyone that contributes to a protest, whether through monetary donations, donations of supplies, or even through organizing a page on social media, can be held liable, and have civil and criminal penalties for supporting a protest that the state deems ‘violent‘.” Further, the law states that individuals or organizations can be held liable even if they are not on the ground in South Dakota. The NDN Collective also states that the law would allow TransCanada to redirect money seized from protesters and organization towards pipeline construction.


The ACLU of South Dakota has also condemned the new laws, stating, “We’re prepared to stand on the front lines and defend your right to peacefully protest and express your opinions freely.”



97

      

By Nathan Sheard


The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is about to make a bad privacy situation worse, and it’s urgent that Los Angeles residents contact their city council representatives today to demand they put the brakes on LADOT’s irresponsible data collection. The agency plans to scoop up trip data on every single e-bike and scooter ride taken within the city and, left unchecked, it will do so in the absence of responsible and transparent policies to mitigate the privacy risks to Los Angeles riders.


Take Action


Tell The City Council To Put The Brakes on LADOT’s Rider Surveillance Program 


         



      

Location data is among the most sensitive forms of information related to a person’s privacy. Collected over time, people’s movements from place to place reveal a good deal about them: where they work, where they play, where they worship, their political leanings, and even personal and familial relationships. While the U.S. Supreme Court and California’s State Legislature are in agreement on the sensitivity of location data, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation appears to be much less convinced.


EFF and OTI have called on LADOT to start taking the privacy of Los Angeles residents seriously and cease moving forward with its invasive data collection plans until it has real policies in place to protect the data. Make your voice heard, too.


A Tale of Two API’s


In September, after the streets of Los Angeles were overwhelmed with dockless e-bikes and scooters, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance calling for the creation of a Shared Mobility Device Pilot Program. In part, the ordinance called on LADOT to issue permits and set guidelines aimed at reducing sidewalk interference and regulating vehicle speed.


LADOT’s Mobility Data Specification (MDS), part of which went into effect shortly after the ordinance passed in September, gives the agency the ability to request massive amounts of information about Los Angeles riders and their day-to-day travels. Specifically, the MDS requires dockless mobility permit holders like LimeBike and Bird to provide LADOT access to a provider-side application processing interface (API), allowing the agency to demand granular trip data for dockless bicycle and scooter rides. This trip data includes extremely precise, time-stamped, location data from the beginning to the end of each trip.


The problem? LADOT has not grappled with the serious privacy and civil liberties issues implicated by such a massive data collection campaign. Months later, despite requests from EFF and the Open Technology Institute; and the Center for Democracy and Technology, LADOT still fails to acknowledge the raw trip data it collects through its MDS is personal data pertaining to real movements of real individuals. More importantly, it has failed to set out basic privacy protections for the sensitive location data it collects every time Los Angeles residents take a dockless scooter or e-bike ride through their city.


Now, despite their lack of a clearly articulated plan to protect Los Angeles residents from the potential harms that could result from the exposure of this data, LADOT plans to make a bad situation worse. Beginning on April 15, LADOT will require dockless mobility operators to push trip data for each and every e-bike and scooter ride taken within the City directly to LADOT, and its for-profit partner Remix, through a new agency-side API as well.


Responsible Data Collection Requires Responsible Data Policy






In our letter to the Los Angeles City Council, EFF and OTI have called on the Council to put the brakes on these additional data sharing requirements before the April 15 deadline. LADOT should by no means be moving forward with increased data demands when it has yet to address the privacy and civil liberties concerns raised by earlier stages of the MDS.


So far, LADOT has issued only high-level “Data Protection Principles,” which amount to a list of aspirations and buzz words you would want to see in a strong policy: ‘de-identification,’ ‘data minimization,’ ‘aggregation.’ But they provide no meaningful, enforceable restrictions to protect the privacy of Los Angeles residents. These “principles” are a far cry from the transparent, actionable, and enforceable data privacy policies we would expect of any city agency demanding this level of sensitive information about Los Angeles residents.


Furthermore, LADOT’s failure to limit law enforcement access to raw trip data through anything less than a warrant signed by a judge is in seeming opposition to the Supreme Court’s holding in Carpenter v. United States, which held that “the Government must generally obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before acquiring” location records. In its ruling, The Court recognized that time-stamped location data “provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” The Supreme Court’s analysis of the sensitivity of location data was echoed by the California State Legislature when it passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—explicitly listing geolocation information as personal information and affirming that “any information that can be reasonably linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer should be considered “personal information.”


Part of the problem is LADOT’s failure to acknowledge the sensitive nature of trip information, claiming that the MDS requires “no personally identifiable information about users directly.” (emphasis added). But even with names stripped out, location information is notoriously easy to re-identify—particularly for habitual trips.




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To demonstrate the process through which this information could be re-identified, EFF Staff Technologists—in a cursory analysis of publicly available data from New York City’s rideshare program, CitiBike—identified what is likely a single rider regularly leaving home between 7:30 am and 8 am each morning and returning home just after 6 pm each evening.


Unlike New York’s public rideshare program, which requires riders to pick-up and return bikes at docking stations dispersed throughout the city, LADOT’s program applies to dockless bikes and scooters, so the location data acquired through Los Angeles’ dockless mobility program is even more unique to each rider. Yet, even with the data available through CitiBike, one need only wait for our rider’s regular routine to begin one morning in order to confirm his identity. This may seem innocuous, but what if our rider was a domestic violence survivor at risk of being stalked by their assaulter? Or, instead of a regular commute to and from work or school, the data showed our rider taking regular trips to attend Jummah prayer at a local mosque or meetings of a local political organization? The potential threat to their safety as well as religious and political freedom makes it easy to see how critical it is that LADOT and the City Council act to protect this sensitive personal information.


Act Now


LADOT’s GitHub Repository and June 2018 press release announcing “A New Digital Playbook for Mobility” make it clear the department has no intention of stopping at dockless e-bikes and scooters. At the same time, LADOT’s General Manager Seleta Reynolds, in her capacity as an official within the National Association of City Transportation Officials, also seems intent on spreading this methodology to other cities across the U.S.


The people of Los Angeles and cities across the country deserve safe streets. They also deserve the freedom to move about those streets without undue risks to their privacy and physical well-being through unchecked vehicle surveillance. With the April 15 compliance deadline for the next phase in Los Angeles dockless mobility program quickly approaching, it’s urgent that Los Angeles residents contact their City Council representative today, and demand that they put the brakes on LADOT’s irresponsible data collection.



As EFF’s Grassroots Advocacy Organizer, “nash” works directly with community members and organizations to take advantage of the full range of tools provided by access to tech, while engaging in empowering action toward the maintenance of digital privacy and information security.


Having witnessed the results of aggressive and militarized policing in the United States, Honduras, and Palestine; and as a target of racial profiling, biased broken windows policing, and police brutality in his own life; nash has worked extensively to help activists and communities mitigate the damage of harmful interaction with law enforcement. nash co-founded the Black Movement Law Project and is a founding member of Just Info, a 24-hour hot-line providing no-cost legal information in New York City. As a member of Mutant Legal, nash organized training’s in Ferguson, New York, and other cities on how to document police conduct, exercise legal rights, counteract state repression and actively participate in one’s legal defense.


   
            


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98

      

By B.N. Frank


The Telecom Industry has admitted there are no studies that show 5G wireless technology is safe.  Since 2017 200+ doctors and scientists have demanded a moratorium on installation due to research that has already proven it’s harmful.


Regardless, 5G promotion and installation has continued (See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) except for where there has been enough opposition to stop it.


Last week, Brussels adopted a 5G moratorium.  Now Vaud, Switzerland is doing the same.  Thanks to TakeBackYourPower for covering this in detail.


         



      



For more information on what you can do to stop harmful 4G and 5G small cell infrastructure from being installed throughout your community, visit the following websites:



Wireless Information Network
Americans for Responsible Technology
5G Information
Environmental Health Trust
In Power Movement
Last Tree Laws
My Street, My Choice
Our Town Our Choice
Physicians for Safe Technology
Scientists for Wired Tech
TelecomPowerGrab.com
Whatis5G.Info
Zero5G

Image credit: Pixabay


   
99

      

By Daisy Luther


A new gun control bill introduced in the Oregon State Legislature added 45 pages of draconian amendments the night before the vote. SB978 passed the Judiciary Committee yesterday and now heads to the Oregon Senate.


It’s a good thing that some parts of this state have vowed to be 2A sanctuaries because Oregonians are going to need them. If the gun owners – and even pepper spray owners – in other parts of the state hope to defend themselves, they could be facing a vast new array of felony charges.


The battle for the right to bear arms is rapidly spreading across the country. In February, the House of Representatives passed two sweeping national bills.  New Mexico has passed 6 outrageous new laws that sheriffs are refusing to enforce, and sheriffs in Washington state are also rebelling. On the other stand, two states have introduced invasive laws requiring would-be gun owners to hand over access to years of personal social media.


What’s in the unconstitutional bill, you ask?


Well, let’s get started.


         



      

Raising the minimum age


They want to raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 in certain cases.


The following may establish a minimum age of 18,19, 20 or 21 years for the purchase of firearms, firearm accessories, firearm components, ammunition or ammunition components, or for the repair or service of a firearm:
“(a) A person transferring a firearm, a firearm accessory, a firearm
component, ammunition or an ammunition component at a gun show;
“(b) A gun dealer; or
“(c) A business engaged in repairing or servicing a firearm


Keeping your gun locked up


Residents will be required to keep their guns locked up at all times that they are not being carried. These rules will render guns all but useless in the event a person needs to access them to protect themselves and their family.



A person who owns or possesses a firearm shall, at all times that the firearm is not carried by or under the control of
the person or an authorized person, secure the firearm:


“(A) With an engaged trigger lock or cable lock that meets or exceeds the minimum specifications established by the Oregon Health Authority under section 10 of this 2019 Act;
“(B) In a locked container, equipped with a tamper-resistant lock, that meets or exceeds the minimum specifications established by the Oregon Health Authority under section 10 of this 2019 Act; or
“(C) In a gun room.
“(b) For purposes of paragraph (a) of this subsection, a firearm is not secured if a key, combination or other means of opening a lock or container is readily available to a person the owner or possessor has not authorized to carry or control the firearm.



Failure to follow these rules is a Class C Felony. Also, don’t get excited about the phrase “gun room” because your bedroom doesn’t count.


‘Gun room’ means an area within a building enclosed by walls, a floor and a ceiling, including a closet, that has all entrances secured by a tamper-resistant lock, that is kept locked at all times when unoccupied and that is used for:
“(a) The storage of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms or ammunition, or equipment for firearm-related activities including but not limited to reloading ammunition, gunsmithing and firearm cleaning and maintenance; or
“(b) Conducting firearm-related activities, including but not limited to reloading ammunition, gunsmithing and firearm cleaning and maintenance.


I know that the time I had to protect my daughter with a gun, if my firearm locked up, had on a trigger lock, and had to be loaded, it would have delayed my potential to do so to a horrific degree.


Gun owners are liable for the acts of gun thieves


If your gun/guns are stolen, you must report it. Failure to do so is a Class B felony per weapon. And if the thief hurts or kills someone with the stolen firearm, the owner is liable for two years.


If you have kids, look out.


Any adult who transfers a firearm to a minor is responsible for any actions taken by that minor with the firearm. And if you want to take your kids shooting or hunting, they must be “directly supervised.”  And if a young person gets a hold of a parent’s gun, the parent is liable for the young person’s action. If the gun isn’t secured as per the rules above, then the adult is charged with even more crimes.


“(b) Unlawful storage of a firearm is a Class A violation if the minor who obtains possession of the firearm intentionally, by word or conduct, attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
“(c) Unlawful storage of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor if the minor who obtains possession of the firearm injures or kills a person by means of the firearm.


Oregon wants to crack down on unregistered guns.


The next section deals with “ghost guns.” Pages 11-19 offer a lengthy list of rules, restrictions, requirements, and record-keeping for the transfer of antique guns, gun parts, and much more. If you have them, you’ll be a felon upon the passage of this bill.




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And as everyone knows, registration is only one step away from confiscation. Here’s an article by Selco, explaining how gun confiscation could go down.


The next section makes it more complicated to transport a gun.


If this passes, gun owners who are not concealed-carry permit holders will have to jump through all sorts of hoops to transport a firearm in a vehicle, including locking it in a box in a “secure” area of the vehicle.


Concealed carry permit fees will go up.


The next section deals with CC permits and the related fees, increasing them in another effort to put an undue burden on law-abiding citizens.


And then there’s the stuff about “public buildings.”


In this bill can find a massive list of restrictions regarding having a gun on the premises of or “near” public buildings. To me, this is the scariest part because it’s so incredibly arbitrary.


In section 25, Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Public Buildings,” airports, ports, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities probate courts, city halls, homes of officials, and other “public buildings” – and even their grounds – can restrict not only guns but also the following:



“(10) ‘Weapon’ means:


“(a) A firearm;
“(b) Any dirk, dagger, ice pick, slingshot, metal knuckles or any similar instrument or a knife, other than an ordinary pocketknife with a blade less than four inches in length, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property;
“(c) Mace, tear gas, pepper mace or any similar deleterious agent as defined in ORS 163.211;
“(d) An electrical stun gun or any similar instrument;
“(e) A tear gas weapon as defined in ORS 163.211;
“(f) A club, bat, baton, billy club, bludgeon, knobkerrie, nunchaku,
nightstick, truncheon or any similar instrument, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property; or
“(g) A dangerous or deadly weapon as those terms are defined in ORS
161.015.



Public places as defined in the bill need only to “post a sign, visible to the public, identifying all locations where
the affirmative defense described in ORS 166.370 (3)(g) is limited or precluded.”




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And if you ignore the sign and get caught?


You’re guilty of a Class C felony. Even if your gun is unloaded.


Any person who intentionally possesses a loaded or unloaded firearm or any other instrument used as a dangerous weapon, while in or on a public building, shall upon conviction be guilty of a Class C felony.


Go here to read the insanity in detail.


Gun grabbers are overjoyed


Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s anti-gun foundation was delighted with the bill even before the super-secret amendments were added. In a statement, spokeswoman Robin Lloyd said:



“Gun violence hurts hundreds of Oregon families each year. The proposed provisions in the bills heard today are the critical next steps that Oregon should take to save lives. For example, homemade, untraceable ghost guns pose serious threats to law enforcement and communities impacted by gun violence. A commitment from lawmakers to stem the flow of these firearms will ensure criminals aren’t able to easily get their hands on an undetectable weapon. Today’s hearings highlight a serious commitment by the legislature to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in Oregon. I applaud Attorney General Rosemblum [sic] and the Oregon legislature for prioritizing these lifesaving measures.”


SB 978-1 includes commonsense efforts to reduce gun violence like requiring safe storage of firearms, holding gun owners accountable to make sure kids don’t get their hands on a gun, requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, and providing increased regulation of 3D-printed guns and unfinished frames or receivers, parts used to produce ghost guns. (source)



If it passes, it will spread.


Gun control laws are like a virus – if they pass in one place they’ll spread to other places. And there’s little reason to believe that in this era of anti-gun hysteria, the legislature will strike down this unconstitutional bill. Thankfully, 13 of 36 Oregon sheriffs have already vowed to make their counties Second Amendment sanctuaries.


But heaven forbid an Oregonian gets caught driving out of their 2A sanctuary county with a usable firearm.


Hat tip: Kris

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


   
            


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100

      

By Jake Johnson


(CD) – Public Citizen sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday for allegedly blocking access to the consumer group’s website on her department’s guest Wi-Fi and internal networks.


“This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman wrote in an email to supporters. “Users attempting to access Public Citizen’s website though the department’s guest wireless networks receive a message that access is ‘in violation of your internet usage policy.’ We requested the department’s policy for blocking access to internet sites, but it hasn’t responded to our request.”


“What we do know,” Weissman continued, “is that our website contains lots of information critical of DeVos and the department.”


         



      

Public Citizen filed its complaint (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of David Halperin, a Public Citizen board member who frequently attends meetings at the Department of Education and uses its Wi-Fi network.


The organization’s filing alleges that the Department of Education is violating both the First Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act by blocking access to its website.


“The department and DeVos have no legitimate justification for blocking access to Public Citizen’s website,” the group said in a press release. “Public Citizen’s website includes material on a wide range of issues, including information critical of the department and DeVos… Public Citizen also uses its website to inform the public about litigation, including litigation involving DeVos and the department.”


Public Citizen is seeking “a court order declaring the department’s and DeVos’s action unlawful and enjoining them from blocking access” to its site.


“No way are we going to let them get away with suppressing our views,” Weissman said.


By Jake Johnson / Creative Commons / Common Dreams / Report a typo


   
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