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91

      

By B.N. Frank


5G opposition is increasing in the U.S. and around the world for a variety of valid reasons – one  being that it could greatly reduce the accuracy of weather forecasting.


From SmartCitiesDive.com:



The human toll and property damage as the result of an inaccurate prediction could be devastating. The Congressional Budget Office predicts economic losses due to natural disasters at about $54 billion annually in the U.S.


The question now centers on if the FCC is able to walk back on or restructure deals with mobile companies which have purchased 5G rights and are proceeding with building out the technology — or if they’re willing to consider that at all.



         



      

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to protect the public by regulating the Telecom Industry.  They have been doing a lousy job of this for many years now and have been identified as a “captured agency.”  They are being sued for continuing to promote and force 5G installation throughout the U.S.  They are also allowing more devices to blast WiFi at us from the sky and from space despite warnings from many credible sources.


Activist Post has been extensively covering 5G opposition and the many reasons behind it.  Visit our archives for more details.


For more information, visit the following websites:



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

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Image credit: Pixabay


   
92

      

By Aaron Kesel


The Customs And Border Protection (CBP) has hilariously claimed that its facial recognition in airports across the U.S. isn’t a surveillance program, Nextgov reported. Meanwhile, a government watchdog organization has made the horrifying claim that the FBI has 640 million photographs it can rummage through by utilizing facial recognition technology.


It’s been two years since Customs and Border Protection began deploying facial recognition systems at U.S. airports; and despite the recent backlash against the software, the agency is showing no signs of slowing down. But if you ask Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner, the agency’s use of facial recognition falls far short of the dystopian panopticon feared by many of the tech’s critics.


“This is not a surveillance program,” Wagner, who heads CBP’s biometric entry and exit initiative, said in a conversation with Nextgov. “We are not just hanging a camera in an airport and randomly identifying people … as they’re walking through.”


         



      

Currently, the facial recognition tech is deployed in some capacity at 16 airports across the U.S, and by 2021, CBP expects to scale up the program to cover more than 97 percent of passengers flying outside of the U.S, according to Nextgov.


Activist Post previously reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wanted to develop advanced facial recognition technology that scans the faces of travelers as they enter and leave the U.S. border checkpoints. Last year we saw those efforts have expanded to airports with numerous tests throughout the U.S.


Activist Post then followed up on that report showing 346 pages of documents obtained by the nonprofit research organization Electronic Privacy Information Center which showed efforts are expanding even more with plans of implementing the technology in as many as 20 different top airports by 2021. It is a part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Biometric exit” agenda, which was originally signed into law under the Obama administration, BuzzFeed News reported.


Customs and Border Protection began testing facial recognition systems at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded tests to New York’s JFK Airport and airports in Atlanta.


This, of course, is following a hidden directive within an executive mandate signed by U.S. president Donald Trump in his immigration order on January 27th of 2017 — best known for suspending visitors to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries — also bundled in this directive, however, was an article expediting the biometric exit program.


The order further stated that there will be three progress reports to be made over the next year on the program. Trump’s executive order in March built on that by specifically limiting biometric scans at the border to “in-scope travelers” or those who aren’t U.S. or Canadian citizens. However, that doesn’t account for the surveillance being used in airports across the U.S.




According to the EFF documents, the CBP’s stated goal here is to “identify any non-U.S. citizens subject to the exit requirements who may fraudulently present” travel documents. The agency said it had “no plans to biometrically record the departure of U.S. citizens.” But the CBP also said it “does not believe there is enough time to separate U.S. citizens from non-U.S. citizen visitors prior to boarding” … “therefore, facial images will be collected for U.S. citizens as part of this test so that CBP can verify the identity of a U.S. citizen boarding the air carrier.” CBP said that once a traveler is identified and confirmed as a U.S. citizen, their images are deleted.


However, a key problem when it comes to using the technology inside airports is the lack of restrictions on how airlines, airport operators, and other commercial third parties can use or disclose data collected under a government mandate. Also, we must ask how long this data will be retained and how do we know the government will follow its commitment to delete the data?


Another key problem is not only the collection of data but the collection of American citizens’ own data.


1996, Congress authorized automated tracking of foreign citizens as they enter and exit the U.S. In 2004, DHS began biometric screening of foreign citizens upon arrival.


This is all sure to just enrage privacy advocates everywhere even more and spur protest against the new suggested Orwellian system. Privacy advocates have long opposed biometric screening of immigrants.


Already privacy advocates have sounded the alarm and argued that the implementation of the biometric scanners in airports and elsewhere would be a huge step towards a surveillance state, and they’re absolutely right.


“Homeland Security has never consulted the American public about whether Americans should be subject to face recognition,” said Harrison Rudolph, a law fellow at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, in a blog post.


“What’s even worse is there is good reason to think Homeland Security’s face recognition systems will be expanded,” including to TSA checkpoints before a flight, he said.


Privacy advocate groups, attorneys, and even recently Microsoft, which also markets its own facial recognition system, have all raised concerns over the technology, pointing to issues of consent, racial profiling, and the potential to use images gathered through facial recognition cameras as evidence of criminal guilt by law enforcement.


“We don’t want to live in a world where government bureaucrats can enter in your name into a database and get a record of where you’ve been and what your financial, political, sexual, and medical associations and activities are,” Jay Stanley, an attorney with ACLU, told BuzzFeed News about the use of facial recognition cameras in retail stores. “And we don’t want a world in which people are being stopped and hassled by authorities because they bear resemblance to some scary character.”


Congress has agreed several times in the past to extend face scans on foreign nationals leaving the US, but critics say that lawmakers never intended for Americans to also become subject to the new measure.


“Congress has passed Biometric Exit bills at least nine times,” said Rudolph. “In each, it has been clear: This is a program meant for foreign nationals.”


Congress under the House Oversight Committee recently held a bipartisan discussion on the issue of regulating the use of facial recognition technology and biometric cameras.


House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said, “there are virtually no controls …. Whatever walk of life you come from, you may be a part of this [surveillance] process.”


The committee’s top Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) also expressed “It’s time for a time out” on government use of the surveillance technology.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection considers its jurisdiction to be anything within 100 miles of the border, so naturally one of the privacy questions for Americans is whether this tech would be deployed inside the United States.


In 2017, Homeland Security clarified their position on domestic spying stating Americans who don’t want faces scanned leaving the country “shouldn’t travel.”


“The only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling,” the DHS wrote in a document.




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Also happening in the same year, Activist Post reported on the DHS seeking to develop advanced facial recognition technology when the agency called on technology companies to submit proposals for the system.


At the time, the agency noted it was looking for a company to produce technology that could accurately scan the faces of travelers as they enter and leave the U.S. border on highways. However, as is shown in this article, that technology was already being tested at public airports for years prior in a limited manner at least back to 2015.


Last year during test programs at Boston, Houston, New York, and Atlanta, travelers were photographed as they prepared to board planes. The cameras then used facial recognition technology to match up the passengers’ faces with data collected by the federal government on each foreign national who entered the country. It’s interesting to note that there was a 15% margin for error in the tests giving an 85% accuracy rating in the study of the facial recognition technology, Activist Post reported.


The CBP isn’t the only government agency utilizing facial recognition technology, the FBI is also using technology called the Interstate Photo System to identify potential suspects and a watchdog organization the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has claimed that the agency has access to 640 million photographs which includes drivers’ licenses, passports, and mugshots.


The GAO made the shocking claim under Gretta Goodwin, during the bipartisan Congressional hearing on facial recognition technology, Associated Press reported.


“Lawmakers must put the brakes on law enforcement use of this technology until Congress decides what, if any, use cases are permissible,” said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) echoed the organization’s stance.


The same government watchdog previously stated that the FBI was failing to moderate its use of facial recognition software and its system was inaccurate, as Activist Post reported.


This comes as the Bureau increases its use of the technology, currently trialing Amazon’s Facial Rekognition software, which has had its accuracy questioned in the past numerous times. One of those times included testing by the ACLU which discovered that Amazon’s software falsely identified 28 black members of Congress as criminals.


In 2018 it was reported that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were using this same Amazon Facial Rekognition technology to sift through surveillance data.


The FBI isn’t the only agency having trouble with facial recognition software; an audit report last year detailed the TSA received a “biometric confirmation” rate of 85% for testing purposes at airports. While it’s reported that another agency ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is considering implementing Amazon’s controversial software.


Amazon employees who are against the company selling facial recognition technology to the government have protested the company’s decision.


Over 20 groups of shareholders have sent several letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging him to stop selling the company’s face recognition software to law enforcement.


One letter was sent in June of last year signed by 20 groups of Amazon shareholders sent to Bezos, urging him to stop selling the company’s face recognition software to law enforcement.


“We are concerned the technology would be used to unfairly and disproportionately target and surveil people of color, immigrants, and civil society organizations,” the shareholders, which reportedly include Social Equity Group and Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, wrote. “We are concerned sales may be expanded to foreign governments, including authoritarian regimes.”




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Another letter was sent in January 2019, organized by Open Mic, a nonprofit organization focused on corporate accountability, and was filed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood both letters warned the technology poses “potential civil and human rights risks.”


Numerous civil rights organizations have also co-signed a letter demanding Amazon stop assisting government surveillance; and several members of Congress have expressed concerns about the partnerships.


Meanwhile, facial recognition technology is being pushed as a new means for an A.I. police state without human involvement — a frightening thought to say the least. Defense One reports that “AI-Enabled Cameras That Detect Crime Before it Occurs Will Soon Invade the Physical World” are in the works and on display at ISC West, a recent security technology conference in Las Vegas.


Activist Post has previously reported in its own way that the rise of facial recognition technology is inevitable and, as a result, the death of one’s privacy is sure to come with it.


This writer has focused on facial recognition technology. From Amazon helping law enforcement with its Facial Rekogntion software, DHS wanting to use it for border control, to the Olympics wanting to use the tech for security.


Even retail is pushing for the technology as an anti-theft mechanism to be introduced in a number of stores using biometric facial recognition software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters, as Activist Post reported.


We can see how far this Orwellian technology has come; it’s about to be mass adopted by U.S. airports nationwide. No one can deny it, we have undoubtedly entered a mix between Strange Days and The Minority Report; Hollywood wasn’t a script to create a dystopian future. With our future seeded in a surveillance blanket we should all be asking who has control of our biometric data and for what purpose?


Consent to be identified by the government whenever and wherever we go is approval to have the government decide whether, when, and where we are allowed to travel. Put bluntly:  it is very dangerous.


As previously written, “we are entering the Minority Report; there is no going back after this technology is public and citizens are indoctrinated that it’s ‘for their safety.’”


At this point, we are officially trading liberty and privacy for security. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


The scary part is that intelligence agencies would be able to use their surveillance dragnet interlinked into CCTV cameras and companies like Facebook that utilize the technology to track someone’s location in real-time. We are walking into a draconian Orwellian nightmare and things don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. But at least there is bipartisan support so far within Congress to put a halt to the development of these technologies before further study. However, its extremely telling that the head of the  CBP’s biometric entry and exit initiative John Wagner is claiming that its program deployed in airports across the U.S. “isn’t a surveillance program.”


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


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93

      

By John Vibes


Julian Assange is seriously ill as he awaits extradition for charges that could land him in jail for the rest of his life. According to reports from the Swedish and Danish speaking press last week, Assange is currently being held in the hospital ward of “Belmarsh,” the UK’s most notorious prison. Belmarsh has been called “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay,” since prisoners accused of terrorism are typically sent there.


Amid speculation about the embattled journalist’s health, independent journalist Gordon Dimmack received a letter that was attributed to Assange. Dimmack was one of many people to write Assange since his arrest, but he was nervous about revealing the response to the public because he was unsure if it was authentic.


         



      

However, in recent weeks, other supporters who have written to Assange have also received responses, all written in handwriting that bears an extremely close resemblance to that of the WikiLeaks founder, according to The Canary.


In the letter to Dimmack, Assange said:



I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself: no laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library, so far, but even if I get access it will be just for half an hour, with everyone else, once a week. Just two visits a month and it takes weeks to get someone on the call list and a Catch-22 in getting their details to be security screened. Then all calls except lawyers, are recorded and calls are max 10 minutes and in a limited 30-min window each day in which all prisoners compete for the phone. And credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in.


The other side? A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case. I am defenseless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.


I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but the days when I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.


The US government, or rather, those regrettable elements in it that hate truth liberty and justice, want to cheat their way into my extradition and death, rather than letting the public hear the truth, for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated 7 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Truth, ultimately, is all we have.



Below are images showing the handwritten letters:




On May 2nd, 2019, the first hearing regarding Assange’s extradition to the United States was held in London.


When the judge asked Assange if he consented to the extradition, Assange replied, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people”.






On May 23rd, Assange was indicted on 17 new charges under the Espionage Act, which together carry a potential prison sentence of 175 years.


Last week, the official WikiLeaks Twitter account posted a statement saying that his health has “significantly deteriorated.”






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This week, photos were leaked to the press that showed Assange when he first arrived at the prison. The photos were taken by another prisoner and then somehow smuggled out of the jail.


In the photos, Assange can be seen looking sick, tired and malnourished, but in good spirits as he talked and joked with the other prisoners. However, according to the Gateway Pundit, who published the photographs, they were taken before Assange was admitted to the hospital ward.



The prisoner who leaked the photos to the press says that Assange is well liked among the other prisoners at the facility.


“Everyone’s got a million questions for him. He exposed the biggest scandals in the world. Whose side do you think someone in prison would be on? The government who have us locked up in here or a fellow prisoner who actually doesn’t deserve to be here?” he said.


John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast. Read More stories by John Vibes


This article was sourced from Truth Theory.


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94

      

By Dave Kranzler


“Shanghai Gold will change the current gold market with its ‘consumed in the East but priced in the West’ arrangement. When China has the right to speak in the international gold market, the true price of gold will be revealed.” – Xu Luode, Chairman, Shanghai Gold Exchange, 15 May 2014


The quote above is for the benefit of anyone who refuses to acknowledge or accept that the price of gold is manipulated by Western central banks, led by the BIS, using the paper gold derivatives traded on the LBMA and the Comex as well as using “structured notes” in the OTC derivatives market. Those who assert that the precious metals market is not manipulated do so from a position of either complicity or ignorance.


The price of gold began spiking higher on Thursday, May 30th. Over that time period the front-month futures contract (August) has run from $1280 to $1340. I believe this is being driven primarily by the market’s perception – in response the steeply inverted Treasury and Eurodollar futures curves – that a significant problem or problems is/are occurring in the global financial system.


         



      


The idea for this chart came from a  chart I saw posted by @StockBoardAsset (he had it labeled “Gold/Silver”). The chart shows the XAU index since inception to the present on a monthly basis. I also edited the labels and added the British pound crisis label.


I like it because it shows why it’s highly probable that the precious metals and mining stocks – especially the mining stocks – are near the bottom of a long-term trading pattern that goes back 35 years. The low end happens to correlate with a period in which the stock market was at or near a top followed by a significant sell-off in stocks.


If I spent the time to create a chart showing the SPX to XAU ratio, it would look somewhat like the inverse of the chart above. I’m encouraged by the move in gold and silver over the last week. At some point there will be a pullback/ consolidation of the sharp price-rise. But if you study the chart above, it would appear that the mining stocks have the potential to make a big move in the 2nd half of 2019 and that move may be starting.


One of the “tells” which indicate the fundamental underpinnings are in place for a big move in the sector is the escalation in the frequency and intensity of price manipulation on the Comex.  The banks have been significantly enlarging their net short position in gold contracts plus the volume of PNT and EFP transactions (Privately Negotiated Trades and Exchange For Physicals) has increased substantially over the last couple of weeks. There’s a high correlation between the volume of PNT/EFP transactions and the price-capping efforts exuded by the Comex price-action.




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Note: PNT/EFPs are a way for the banks to “deliver” under the terms of the Comex contract without producing and delivering an actual physical Comex bar, recording the serial number on the bar under the receiving parties name and moving the bar into an allocated account. It’s an extension of the fractional bullion system that is used to manipulate the gold price. It allows the banks to deliver phantom gold in lieu of delivering real bars.


This article was sourced from Investment Research Dynamics.


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95

      

By B.N. Frank


If smartphones operated via magic this would be a really cute story.  Unfortunately they don’t.  All wireless devices and infrastructure emits harmful Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) which is also sometimes referred to as Electrosmog.  Cell phone and WiFi radiation are sources of Electrosmog too.


Experts continue to warn about exposure causing all kinds of health issues – not just increased cancer risk.  We’re all vulnerable; however, research has proven that children are particularly vulnerable.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has been issuing warnings for many years.  These devices weren’t originally designed for kids and there is still no “safe” level of wireless radiation that has been scientifically determined for them or pregnant women.


         



      

Of course, senior citizens using smartphones probably isn’t great for their health either for a variety of reasons including how blue light from screens can cause macular degeneration and blindness.  Plus screen addiction affects all ages, robo calls are annoying, and smartphones can be hacked and private information can be stolen. Smartphones also have been known to catch fire and explode.  Does any of this seem like a good thing for grandma and grandpa?


From CNN:



This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted “TechBridge,” their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.


“Some had specific questions, but a lot of people came and just wanted to learn,” Maura Sammis, a Girl Scout Cadette who helped some attendees with Apple Pay, said. “I set that up for a couple people and they were really excited about that.”


Fellow troop member Sarah Middleton said the clinic helped 10 people with “a very broad spectrum” of tech support and training topics.


[…]It has to be something that helps your community,” Cadette Tara Udani explained. “And so for us, that was teaching elderly in our community how to use their technology better.”



It’s not a bad idea to own a cellphone. They can be life savers especially in emergency situations.  Other than that, there are too many valid reasons for all of us to limit our use and exposure to smartphones and all other sources of Electrosmog including wireless hearing aids.


Can you hear me now?  Good.





For more information, visit the following websites.



Wireless Information Network
Americans for Responsible Technology
Center For Safer Wireless
Clear Light Ventures
EMF Safety Network
Environmental Health Trust
Generation Zapped
National Association for Children and Safe Technology
Parents for Safe Technology
Physicians for Safe Technology
SafeTechForSchools
SaferEMR

Image credit: Pixabay


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96

      

By Jennifer Lynch


This week the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an update to its 2016 report on the FBI’s use of face recognition. The takeaway, which they also shared during a Congressional House Oversight Committee hearing: the FBI now has access to 641 million photos—including driver’s license and ID photos—but it still refuses to assess the accuracy of its systems.


According to the latest GAO Report, FBI’s Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation (FACE) Services unit not only has access to FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) face recognition database of nearly 30 million civil and criminal mug shot photos, it also has access to the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the driver’s license databases of at least 21 states. Totaling 641 million images—an increase of 230 million images since GAO’s 2016 report—this is an unprecedented number of photographs, most of which are of Americans and foreigners who have committed no crimes.


         



      


The FBI Still Hasn’t Properly Tested the Accuracy of Its Internal or External Searches


Although GAO criticized FBI in 2016 for failing to conduct accuracy assessments of either its internal NGI database or the searches it conducts on its state and federal partners’ databases, the FBI has done little in the last three years to make sure that its search results are accurate, according to the new report. As of 2016, the FBI had conducted only very limited testing to assess the accuracy of NGI’s face recognition capabilities. These tests only assessed the ability of the system to detect a match—not whether that detection was accurate, and as GAO notes, “reporting a detection rate of 86 percent without reporting the accompanying false positive rate presents an incomplete view of the system’s accuracy.”


As we know from previous research, face recognition is notoriously inaccurate across the board and may also misidentify African Americans and ethnic minorities, young people, and women at higher rates than whites, older people, and men, respectively. By failing to assess the accuracy of its internal systems, GAO writes—and we agree—that the FBI is also failing to ensure it is “sufficiently protecting the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens enrolled in the database.” This is especially concerning given that, according to the FBI, they’ve run a massive 152,500 searches between fiscal year 2017 and April 2019—since the original report came out.


The FBI also has not taken any steps to determine whether the face recognition systems of its external partners—states and other federal agencies—are sufficiently accurate to prevent innocent people from being identified as criminal suspects. These databases, which are accessible to the FACE services unit, are mostly made up of images taken for identification, certification, or other non-criminal purposes. Extending their use to FBI investigations exacerbates concerns of accuracy, not least of which because, as GAO notes, the “FBI’s accuracy requirements for criminal investigative purposes may be different than a state’s accuracy requirements for preventing driver’s license fraud.” The FBI claims that it has no authority to set or enforce accuracy standards outside the agency. GAO disagrees: because the FBI is using these outside databases as a component of its routine operations, it is responsible for ensuring the systems are accurate, and given the lack of testing, it is unclear “whether photos of innocent people are unnecessarily included as investigative leads.”



Many of the 641 million face images to which the FBI has access are through 21 states’ driver’s license databases. 10 more states are in negotiations to provide similar access.


As the report points out, most of the 641 million face images to which the FBI has access—like driver’s license and passport and visa photos—were never collected for criminal or national security purposes. And yet, under agreements and “Memorandums of Understanding” we’ve never seen between the FBI and its state and federal partners, the FBI may search these civil photos whenever it’s trying to find a suspect in a crime. As the map above shows, 10 more states are in negotiations with the FBI to provide similar access to their driver’s license databases.



Images from the states’ databases aren’t only available through external searches. The states have also been very involved in the development of the FBI’s own NGI database, which includes nearly 30 million of the 641 million face images accessible to the Bureau (we’ve written extensively about NGI in the past). As of 2016, NGI included more than 20 million civil and criminal images received directly from at least six states, including California, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Virginia. And it’s not a way one-way street: it appears that five additional states—Florida, Maryland, Maine, New Mexico, and Arkansas—could send their own search requests directly to the NGI database. As of December 2015, the FBI was working with eight more states to grant them access to NGI, and an additional 24 states were also interested.



New Report, Same Criticisms


The original GAO report heavily criticized the FBI for rolling out these massive face recognition capabilities without ever explaining the privacy implications of its actions to the public, and the current report reiterates those criticisms. Federal law and Department of Justice policies require the FBI to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) of all programs that collect data on Americans, both at the beginning of development and any time there’s a significant change to the program. While the FBI produced a PIA in 2008, when it first started planning out the face recognition component of NGI, it didn’t update that PIA until late 2015—seven years later and well after it began making the changes. It also failed to produce a PIA for the FACE Services unit until May 2015—three years after FACE began supporting FBI with face recognition searches.


Federal law and regulations also require agencies to publish a “System of Records Notice” (SORN) in the Federal Register, which announces any new federal system designed to collect and use information on Americans. SORNs are important to inform the public of the existence of systems of records; the kinds of information maintained; the kinds of individuals on whom information is maintained; the purposes for which they are used; and how individuals can exercise their rights under the Privacy Act. Although agencies are required to do this before they start operating their systems, FBI failed to issue one until May 2016—five years after it started collecting personal information on Americans. As GAO noted, the whole point of PIAs and SORNs is to give the public notice of the privacy implications of data collection programs and to ensure that privacy protections are built into systems from the start. The FBI failed at this.




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This latest GAO report couldn’t come at a more important time. There is a growing mountain of evidence that face recognition used by law enforcement is dangerously inaccurate, from our white paper, “Face Off,” to two Georgetown studies released just last month which show that law enforcement agencies in some cities are implementing real-time face recognition systems and others are using the systems on flawed data.


Two years ago, EFF testified before The Congressional House Oversight Committee on the subject, pointing out the FBI’s efforts to build up and link together these massive facial recognition databases that may be used to track innocent people as they go about their daily lives. The Congressional House Oversight Committee held two more hearings in the last month on the subject which saw bipartisan agreement over the need to rein in law enforcement’s use of this technology, and during which GAO pointed out many of the issues raised by this report. At least one more hearing is planned. As the Congressional House Oversight Committee continues to assess law enforcement use of face recognition databases, and as more and more cities are working to incorporate flawed and untested face recognition technology into their police and government-maintained cameras, we need all the information we can get on how law enforcement like the FBI are currently using face recognition and how they plan to use it in the future. Armed with that knowledge, we can push cities, states, and possibly even the federal government to pass moratoria or bans on the use of face recognition.






As Surveillance Litigation Director, Jennifer Lynch leads EFF’s legal work challenging government abuse of search and seizure technologies through the courts by filing lawsuits and amicus briefs in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, on important issues at the intersection of technology and privacy. Jennifer founded EFF’s Street Level Surveillance Project, which informs advocates, defense attorneys, and decisionmakers about new police tools, and in 2017, the First Amendment Coalition awarded her its Free Speech and Open Government Award for her work opening up public access to police surveillance records. Jennifer has written influential white papers on biometric data collection in immigrant communities and law enforcement use of face recognition. She speaks frequently at legal and technical conferences as well as to the general public on technologies like location tracking, biometrics, algorithmic decisionmaking, and AI, and has testified on facial recognition before committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. She is regularly consulted as an expert on these subjects and others by major and technical news media.





This article was sourced from EFF.org


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97

      


By Jason Bermas


Following YouTube’s recent purge of controversial content, Amazon removes factual documentaries like VaxxedOMG GMO about genetically altered food, and Minds of Men about government’s secret mind control programs.


The truth will not be streamed from these platforms.


Independent news commentator Jason Bermas covers the details in the video below.



Subscribe to Jason Bermas on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter. And support his work here.



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98

      

By Kai Weiss


Freedom of the press is attacked all around the world. The recently released 2019 edition of the Press Freedom Index shows once more a decline in press freedom—a trend that has been holding on for many years. As Reporters Without Borders, which compiles the index every year, writes, “hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence” at this point, “contributing to an increase in fear.” In the meantime, “authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.”



The attacks on freedom of the press are undoubtedly shocking. Most of the Western world considers—or at least considered—it a fundamental principle of any free society. And yet, especially in the West, the principle has been losing value recently. Journalists are frequently murdered for their reporting—mostly for criticizing governments, from the brutal rape and murder of Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria and the murder of Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak last year to a Maltese reporter in 2017 killed by a car bomb and the recent death of a Northern Irish journalist, who was shot on the open street during riots.


         



      

The way governments like those in Hungary, Russia, or Turkey have handled opposition voices in the press has been well-documented, with crackdowns on free media outlets that are often expropriated, arrests against those unwilling to comply, and other policies trying to constrain journalists from doing their jobs. Less known are increasing demands from politicians in supposedly still free countries to do away with unconstrained press freedom.


For instance, EU politicians have proposed regulations on the press, and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “press freedom also has its limits.” Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader in the UK, argued that “change is coming” to the British press whenever he becomes prime minister. There is no need to further comment on the attitude of the White House.


With press freedom on the decline around the globe—and now also in the Western world—it seems natural to look for solutions, to try to safeguard one of the most important building blocks of any liberal society.


As George Mason, one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. said, “the freedom of the press is one of the bulwarks of liberty,” and Samuel Adams thought “there is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so terrible to tyrants … as a free press.”



It does jump out when looking at the new ranking from the Reporters Without Borders that in general, the more economically free a country is, the freer the press is, too. Comparing the country scores in the Press Freedom Index with the scores in the Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation shows a clear relationship between one and the other.



The “coincidences” continue when looking at which countries are doing particularly well and which ones are not. Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark represent the five countries worldwide with the freest press, closely followed by Switzerland and New Zealand—all functioning market economies with a considerable amount of freedom in both economic as well as social affairs (despite what the likes of Bernie Sanders or Bill Maher say).



Meanwhile, worst are countries that can be considered anything but economically free, from Turkmenistan and North Korea to China and Eritrea. Venezuela, a country that has been suffering complete chaos for several years thanks to socialism and has reached new levels of authoritarian tendencies in recent months, fell in the rankings and is now at number 148 in press freedom around the world (with 180 ranked).


All of this is not overly surprising. As Ludwig von Mises wrote in The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, “a free press can exist only where there is private control on the means of production,”  i.e. in a system based on secure private property rights. Indeed, noted Friedrich Hayek, “there can be no freedom of press if the instruments of printing are under government control.”


The moment the media is predominantly in the hands of the government, the government can control what is printed—and, unfortunately, if this situation is reached, governments have historically not been shy about using control over the press for their own purposes.


A free press can only exist in an environment that is free. This once more proves that one kind of freedom—like press freedom—cannot be had without other types of freedom—such as economic freedom. Or, to put it differently: For a flourishing media landscape that is independent and where journalists are free to do their job, we need a free society with a private media. Within the saddening news of declining press freedom found in the new Press Freedom Index, this crucial lesson can be found, as well.





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Kai Weiss is a Research Fellow at the Austrian Economics Center and a board member of the Hayek Institute.


This article is reprinted with permission from the Austrian Economics Center. 


Image by Neven Divkovic from Pixabay


This article was sourced from FEE.org


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99

      

By Emma Fiala


Wednesday morning, news began circulating warning that YouTube was about to delete thousands of accounts in the platform’s latest wave of censorship. This time, the massive video sharing platform claimed to be targeting hateful content, “supremacists,” conspiracy theorists and anything that promotes discrimination or segregation based on sexual orientation, religion, race, gender, age and more.


Upon hearing the news, regular consumers of independent media knew exactly what to expect: Censorship. Corporate platforms use these vague terms that sound nice in theory to cast a wide net that also de-platforms independent, anti-war, and rational voices. Whether this is done on purpose or is a consequence of using artificial intelligence and algorithms to monitor content remains to be seen.


         



      


YouTube claims to have made the decision following a review of its own rules on hateful content. In a blog post, the platform wrote:


Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.


The announcement continued:


We will begin enforcing this updated policy today; however, it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up and we’ll be gradually expanding coverage over the next several months.


YouTube’s blog post continued:



The openness of YouTube’s platform has helped creativity and access to information thrive. It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.


We are committed to taking the steps needed to live up to this responsibility today, tomorrow and in the years to come.



According to YouTube, users should anticipate changes that will alter what content is populated in the “up next” sidebar and the ability for users to earn ad revenue by promoting harmful content. The platform also hinted that it will attempt to work with affected users who make content that is useful to researchers.


Shortly after news spread that a YouTube crackdown was on the horizon and the policy began taking effect, YouTube content creators swept up in the crackdown began receiving emails from YouTube and immediately sharing their frustrations—and their screenshots—on social media.


James Allsup, a history teacher from the British School of Bucharest, was banned for “hate speech.” According to a tweet, the teacher’s “channel featured around 120 historical clips I collated for teachers and students, covering various aspects of world history over the past 1000 years. The Nazi material made up around 10% of all videos.”




Deep Fat Fried Podcast, which calls itself “an educational show made by and for the uneducated,” was demonetized for “hate speech.”




According to Dan Dicks, Press for Truth was demonetized as well.



According to Buzzfeed, demonetized users included “James Allsup, Austrian Identitarian Martin Sellner, Swedish white nationalists Red Ice TV, and Swedish white nationalist bodybuilder Marcus Follin” as well as Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative minister who created videos of Rep. Ilhan Omar and more.


Others had videos deleted, including “far-right personality Gavin McInnes and unsuccessful European parliamentary candidate Mark Meechan.” And still others, including neo-Nazi channels Thulean Perspective and The Great Order as well as history teacher Scott Allsop, had their accounts completely removed.


Also swept up in the chaos was a channel dedicated to documenting—without opinion or bias—some of the most important events currently happening in the United States. Immediately after being informed via email that his channel was demonetized and his livelihood ruined, News2Share’s editor-in-chief Ford Fischer took to Twitter to vent his frustrations.




Not long after—and on his day off to boot—News2Share producer Alejandro Alvarez got wind of the situation.




As a documentary journalist, Fischer did what he does best and began documenting the extensive history of News2Share along with evidence that the purpose of his channel is merely to document current events for the purpose of understanding those events and provide critical analysis.




While YouTube’s email to Fischer informing him of News2Share’s demonetization claims “our team of policy specialists carefully looked over the videos you’ve uploaded to your channel News2Share. We found that a significant portion of your channel is not in line with our YouTube Partner Program policies,” their other emails seemed to say otherwise.


The platform removed only two of News2Share’s many thousands of videos. According to Fischer, the first video was that of Jason Charter and Antifa activists confronting a Holocaust denier. The Holocaust denier, not unexpectedly, says things in denial of the Holocaust. At no time during the filming did Fischer agree with or promote those statements—instead he captured raw video of the interaction.




The second video flagged by YouTube was, once again, raw footage of an actual event with no additional commentary from Fischer that News2Share approved of or otherwise promoted what was being said. Fischer filed Mike Peinovich speaking at the event, footage that was eventually used in a PBS documentary that Fischer associate produced.




And what’s more, Fischer’s footage from that very same event was used in the Emmy-winning film White Right: Meeting the Enemy.


Fischer went on to list the many outlets, films and others that have licensed his work that they found, more often than not, on YouTube. In addition to News2Share’s footage and still images being used by local and national news outlets, the outlet’s footage has been used in the New York Time‘s documentary How an Alt-Right Leader Lied to Climb the Ranks, the Document Hate series on PBS, Breaking Hate, and many more.


A quick glance at Fischer’s IMDB profile puts to rest any question of whether or not the work of News2Share is valid and necessary.




The Mind Unleashed had a chance to speak with Fischer about Wednesday’s events, the precedent it sets, and his next steps.


So you’ve been demonetized—how do you feel?


Bad. It’s totally unacceptable, and misguided. I honestly feel that YouTube may have taken a misguided and ill-informed step here. People on all sides of the political spectrum have been speaking out about the absurdity of the whole thing. Even those who want to see extremist content removed seem not to want it executed in a way that removes content that covers extremism.


Did YouTube give you any warning?


No, I was completely not expecting it. In fact, I believe YouTube actually told a lot of the mainstream media about this, with an embargo, because I saw a story published that said something to the effect of “many YouTube channels are about to go down.” And I saw it pretty much immediately when someone published it, and I actually posted it, not having any idea that I would be one such channel. And I captioned it something like “YouTube is about to do another purge. What do you think?” Again, I had no idea that it would be me.


So literally minutes later, after I refreshed my email I see that I have three emails from YouTube—Two emails declaring specific videos inappropriate and that they are deleted—unapealably, by the way. And a third one saying that you’re entire channel is no longer eligible for monetization.


I was not expecting that at all.


Have you been affected in the past by demonetization or censorship on YouTube?


Yes, my channel has already faced demonetization, mostly based on algorithm, where individual videos would be demonetized based on keywords. I recently covered March to Impeach, it was some progressive, Democrat type activists that are saying, “We should impeach Donald Trump” and they’re got a list of reasons why they think we should do that, and I’m just out there filming. Whether I think Trump should be impeached is irrelevant.


But then some MAGA people came out and started counter demonstrating. Since there was so much content, I actually made two videos about the event—one was about the people protesting to impeach Trump, the other was “MAGA Activists Confront March to Impeach Trump.”


Interestingly, and I’m not necessarily accusing them here, YouTube automatically demonetized the MAGA one and allowed the monetization of the other one. Little did I know, it wouldn’t matter anymore because everything is demonetized now.


Does any of this come as a surprise to you?


I always believed that YouTube was going to tighten its grip and widen its algorithm to make more and more content demonetized, but I didn’t think I was going to have an outright monetization ban, where all of my content, even a video of Nancy Pelosi saying something like “let’s have more gun control”—the most uncontroversial, mainstream event… that every single video regardless of content would be demonetized. I didn’t anticipate that happening.






You’re documenting real life events, YouTube is clearly wrong here. Is there an appeal process and, if so, do you plan to appeal their decision?


There isn’t. They’re giving me a month to “review” my content, see if I can figure out what the problem is, and reapply for monetization in a month as if I’m a new application. So it’s not appealing their decision, their decision is not appealable.


But if I figure out what they don’t like, just by guessing, and then delete it… if I can self-censor adequately by that time, then they would allow me to be remonetized. But there are no specifics.


Self-censorship… That’s interesting, because that’s what we’ve all been dealing with on other platforms. We’re not getting any information or feedback about what has been done wrong—you just know that you get some sort of strike against your page and then you start self-censoring so it doesn’t happen again, even though you have virtually no information to work with. No one wants to self-censor, but we want to stay on these platforms, so you inevitably start self-censoring. It’s really frustrating and crazy that a company like YouTube cannot give you any more information.


Are you going to attempt to reapply for monetization?


Yes, I suppose that I will probably attempt to, but frankly, they haven’t offered any sort of guidance. They took down two videos but their email to me says that “a sizeable” portion of my YouTube channel is ineligible. So I don’t know what exactly they consider unworthy. Are pro-Trump activists inappropriate? Are my videos, literally raw footage of President Trump speaking, are those inappropriate?


Are you hopeful in the re-application process?


I will probably do whatever they offer, but unless they change something, unless the public outcry over this subject helps me in a significant way where YouTube actually does something, I’m not incredibly confident that I’ll be able to fix this.


That is a problem across all platforms—I’ve seen it commented on some of your posts today—that algorithms, that AI, is deciding what is right or wrong and there is no human part of the process.


Obviously there are controversial things in your videos—you are documenting real life. You don’t have a show where you’re sharing your opinion, you’re just documenting. It’s extra maddening that it happened to you. You do a really great job of getting both sides of very issue while not giving your own opinion. And honestly that can sometimes be frustrating to your fans who do have a strong opinion on where you should be spending your time.


Something I want to emphasize is, even if the right-wing has sort of adopted big tech censorship as their issue, I do not consider myself to be right-wing politically. And also this is something that a lot of very very lefist and quite liberal journalists are kind of coming out in support of.


And, in fact, even the two people who were feuding with each other and actually caused YouTube to do all of this, Stephen Crowder and Carlos Maza, both of them tweeted saying I got caught in the crossfire. So these two people, who literally hate each other so much that they ruined the Internet, both agree that I am not the person who should have been punished for whatever was going on.




It’s maddening that companies as big as YouTube and Facebook can’t spend a few minutes to tell you what you’ve done wrong, or even warn you before going so far as to delete, demonetize, or shadowban. Back in October when pages and journalists were purged from Facebook, there was an appeal process but few people actually heard anything back. This is your livelihood, the fact that you cannot respond and don’t have an appeal process with YouTube is absurd.


It’s infuriating, especially because when Carlos Maza said that he wasn’t happy with what YouTube had done, YouTube replied to him! YouTube replied to his tweet saying “This is what Stephen Crowder specifically needs to do in order to get his monetization back.” But they’ve offered me no such human contact.


With only two videos flagged, how do you think News2Share got so caught up in this to have all videos demonetized?


Well, they haven’t taken my whole channel down. They don’t believe that it’s an extremist propaganda channel, or else they’d get rid of it. I think they basically had an oversight or a mistake.


Your work has been featured in everything from professional documentaries to the nightly news. Do they find your work on YouTube?


Yes, they usually find me on YouTube. This is my business—it’s not just about demonetization. This is a step toward the outright loss of the channel. If they can do this very arbitrarily, what’s to say they wouldn’t go ahead and take down the whole thing? YouTube is critical to the licensing of my footage.


How big of a part of your regular income was from YouTube ad revenue?


As an independent news producer, I don’t have any salary whatsoever. I live in DC and travel the country covering activism because I think it’s important—especially in this political moment—to have raw documentation of everything that goes on. Licensing happens sometimes, but ad revenue is consistent—I’ve never had a day where somebody wasn’t watching a video of mine. Ad revenue has been the most consistent form of income I’ve had. And it’s gone.


Where can our readers find your content, besides on YouTube?


I post regularly on the main mainstream social media outlets because I believe in diversifying. If I put it in more places, more people have the opportunity to see it. So I do have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—the mainstream ones. But the place that I’m relying on, from now on, that I’m going to basically putting all of my content on, is Minds, which is an anti-censorship sort of equivalent to the functionality of Facebook and YouTube and, to some extent, Twitter.


How can our readers support you?


They can support me at Patreon.com/FordFischer or at Paypal via [email protected].




It remains to be seen if YouTube will offer any additional information or a pathway to re-monetization for News2Share or other channels wrongly affected. But regardless of what happens next, it quickly became clear on Wednesday that both Ford Fischer and News2Share have supporters around the world who aren’t going to sit idly by as YouTube erases one of the best efforts that exists today when it comes to documenting the current state of the United States.




100

      

By Chris Menahan


Google is now screwing over even normie-tier right-wing news sites in their quest to purge all content from the internet which counters leftist narratives in advance of the 2020 election.


From Fast Company:



A few days ago, Google warned publishers that change was on the horizon. The search giant was tweaking its algorithm, and it wanted to let publishers know that they may notice a shift. The company said the change (dubbed the June 2019 core update) wasn’t huge–but any algorithm change will likely affect the websites that rely on accruing search results.


The new algorithm was launched this past Monday, and some publishers are already taking a big hit. Most notable among them is the Daily Mail, which reportedly complained about losing up to 50% of its daily search traffic as a result of this update. The SEO director of the website even seems to have taken to Google’s help forums to report the huge drop, as spotted by the blog Search Engine Roundtable. He added that they saw their “Discover traffic drop by 90%” and it “has not improved.”


External numbers confirm that some sites have seen big drops over the past few days. A new report from Search Engine Land cites data from the SEO tool provider Sistrix, which indicated that many sites saw big drops in search visibility once the algorithm change went into effect. The Daily Mail was indeed listed on Systrix’s list of losers, along with NFL.com and Vimeo.



         



      

They also purged Mercola.com, which I’ve always found to be a solid health site:



Propaganda sites like HuffPost and the Mirror got a huge boost:



Yours truly was purged quite some time ago. You can search the title of any one of my articles and odds are it won’t even show up, whereas reposts of my articles on other sites — even just RSS feeds without any content — will.


I saw the other day searching for “Information Liberation” and “InformationLiberation” started bringing up as the number one search result the around 1-year-old, comically stupid, for-profit, fake fact-checking site “MediaBiasFactCheck,” with ~15-year-old InfoLib being number two. (Right now it seems to be back to number one.)


The Gateway Pundit pointed out recently how they were pushed down to number 5 if you search “Gateway Pundit.”



Google’s censorship is hitting comical levels.


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This article was sourced from Information Liberation.


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