Where Technocrats Play: U.S. Department Of Energy

Ex-Governor of Texas Rick Perry was appointed Secretary of Energy by President Donald Trump on March 2, 2017.

Even though President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord on global warming, apparently Secretary Perry has not gotten word, for the Department of Energy’s web page on Climate Change is still present on the Energy.gov website, which prominently states, 

Addressing the effects of climate change is a top priority of the Energy Department. As global temperatures rise, wildfires, drought, and high electricity demand put stress on the nation’s energy infrastructure. And severe weather — the leading cause of power outages and fuel supply disruption in the United States — is projected to worsen, with eight of the 10 most destructive hurricanes of all time having happened in the last 10 years.

To fight climate change, the Energy Department supports research and innovation that makes fossil energy technologies cleaner and less harmful to the people and the environment. We’re taking responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, develop domestic renewable energy production and win the global race for clean energy innovation. We’re also working to dramatically increase the efficiency of  applianceshomes, businesses and vehicles.

The Climate Change page presents a map of “How Climate Change Threatens America’s Energy Infrastructure in Every Region.” Then it displays a globe with the heading, “Energy Exascale Earth System Model” (E3SM) and explains that, 

E3SM is a modeling, simulation, and prediction project that optimizes the use of DoE laboratory resources to meet the science needs of the nation.

Even in light of this, it is still puzzling to some why the world’s most powerful supercomputer is being created by the DoE to realize the “full potential of AI.”  According to an article in The Next Web,

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced it’s setting aside $600 million to build the world’s fastest supercomputer called Frontier. It will be jointly developed by AMD and Seattle-based supercomputer specialist Cray.

The Frontier supercomputer will be capable of completing more than 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, and will join Aurora to become the second of the two exascale systems planned by US DoE for 2021.

This must somehow be reconciled to the DoE’s very simple Mission Statement also displayed on its website: 

The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

Certainly the Frontier project is “transformative”, but why on earth does the DoE need the fastest AI computer in the world? And, what does it intend to do with it?

Enter Smart Grid. We know from the above that the DoE is “working to dramatically increase the efficiency of applianceshomes, businesses and vehicles.” The continuous and personal data stream collected from the nation’s grid is the perfect input for such an AI super-computer to control the whole system from a single location. When President Obama (a Democrat) unleashed the Smart Grid program in 2009, the goal of micro-managing the country’s energy usage was in plain view, and it soon may be finally realized in practice, with Secretary Rick Perry (a Republican ) taking the credit.

The origin of the entire Smart Grid concept is found in the DoE’s Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), created in 1937 and located in Pacific Northwest. Historically, the BPA was saturated with early Technocrats because of its deep involvement with hydroelectric power. In the early 1990s, the BPA took credit for having coined the term, “Energy Web”, which later became “Smart Grid”.

The 1934 Technocracy Study Course, principally authored by Technocracy, Inc. co-founder M. King Hubbert, clearly specified control over energy in its seven-point requirements list: 

  • Register on a continuous 24 hour-per-day basis the total net conversion of energy
  • By means of the registration of energy converted and consumed, make possible a balanced load.

The Trans-Texas Corridor Fiasco

Another globalist project that Rick Perry took credit for dates back to his tenure as Governor of Texas, when he tried to force the so-called Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) into existence between 2001 and 2010 as part of the North American Union (NAU) initiative engineered by President George Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Premier Paul Martin. 

The NAU was a springboard from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to create a continental area comparable in design to the European Union. The TTC was to be a super-corridor 1,200 feet wide that carried tollways, rail and utility lines, stretching from the Mexican border to Oklahoma and ultimately to Kansas City. 

The TTC was envisioned as an extensive network of Public-Private Partnerships that would have allowed global corporations to charge tolls for transit of not only freight delivered up by rail from Mexico, but also for services such as water, electricity, natural gas and fiber optic lines. It would have been one of the largest eminent domain land-grabs ever conducted, with the ultimate seizure of 584,000 acres of land held privately, mostly by ranchers and farmers.

After the plan was exposed to the American public, the uproar and protest was so great that the entire TTC project was ultimately terminated along with the NAU. Much of the credit went to Oklahoma as its legislature refused to let the super-corridor pass into its territory from Texas.

Although Governor Perry tried to dodge the political bullet for the whole episode, Texas Department of  Transportation documents released in 2002 stated that,

Governor Rick Perry wrote Transportation Commission Chairman John W. Johnson on January 30, 2002 to outline his vision for the Trans Texas Corridor. The governor asked the three-member commission to assemble the Texas Department of Transportation’s top talent to create and deliver a Trans Texas Corridor implementation plan in 90 days.

This is the same Rick Perry who today, as Secretary of Energy, is attempting to build the world’s fastest super-computer to realize the “full potential of AI.” Although Frontier will undoubtedly be shared with other government agencies, NGOs and private researchers, Technocrats within the DoE will have the ultimate tool to assert total control over all energy converted and consumed in the United States. 

 

 




Feds Seek Permanent Renewal Of NSA Phone Surveillance Law

Even though the NSA itself has scrapped a large part of its phone spying/data collection operation because of abysmal usefulness, the Trump Admin is seeking to make its authority to collect the data permanent. ⁃ TN Editor

The Trump administration has signaled in recent weeks that it may seek the permanent renewal of a surveillance law that has, among other things, enabled the National Security Agency to gather and analyze Americans’ phone records as part of terrorism investigations, according to five U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The White House, these officials said, was prepared to issue a public statement calling on Congress to reauthorize in full Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which in the past has been the focus of heated debate over the acceptable bounds of government surveillance. The plan to issue a statement was put on hold, officials said, but it illustrates nonetheless where the administration stands on the contested issue of national security authority.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an issue that remains deeply sensitive.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment or explain why the statement was not issued, saying only that the matter is still under deliberation.

Section 215 was last revised in 2015 as part of the USA Freedom Act after a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, exposed how the government was collecting vast quantities of Americans’ phone logs to be able to scan them for clues to terrorist plots. This “metadata” denoted the calls’ time, date and duration, and who called whom, but did not include the conversations’ content. The ensuing uproar led Congress to impose restraints, and last year, the NSA reportedly suspended the program because of technical issues that put Americans’ privacy at risk.

The statute expires in mid-December, and the reported suspension of the phone records program had raised questions about whether the Trump administration would seek to renew it. National security officials widely expect the administration to call for Congress to reauthorize the law without changes.

But the statute, which dates to 1998, empowers more than just the phone logs program. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress expanded the law to enable agencies investigating suspected espionage and terrorism to request court permission to gather data not just from a narrow set of businesses – such as hotels, warehouses and car rental agencies – but also from any third party. And they could seek data related not just to “agents of a foreign power” but also to anyone whose information would be “relevant” to an ongoing investigation.

Allowing the law to lapse would “reset the clock back to 1998 and gut much more than the phone data aspect,” said Robert Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “It would set the general document collection power back to a highly narrow authority limited to a handful of industries.”

Moreover, analysts note, the NSA might want to restart the phone logs program in the future if it can figure out how to make such data collection viable without violating citizens’ privacy rights. Preserving the full authority would permit that.

It remains a polarizing issue, however. Last May, the NSA purged hundreds of millions of call and text records after officials noted “technical irregularities” in data received from phone companies. Some was material it was “not authorized to receive,” the NSA reported. The program’s utility also is in question as terrorists have largely moved to secure communications that don’t always leave metadata, analysts said.

“While I have doubts about reauthorizing the [phone data] program, I’m certainly open to hearing from the intelligence community about all the authorities set to expire near the end of 2019,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat. He wrote in March to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and NSA Director Paul Nakasone, asking them to “make the case for keeping Section 215,” but has not received a reply, he said. “I imagine it’s going to be a tough case for the administration to make when they cannot seem to get their act together to even ask for an extension.”

Nakasone said at a conference recently that the NSA was in discussions with other agencies and the White House about the path forward on Section 215. It would likely be “a little bit of time” before a decision is made, he said.

Section 215 “remains a relatively useful authority and is probably not objectionable given the reforms made to it in 2015,” said one congressional aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record. But, the aide said, the administration should expect lawmakers from both parties to object to its permanent renewal. And civil liberties advocates likely will seek to strengthen the law’s privacy protections.

In 2017, NSA collected more than 500 million records from phone companies for just 40 terrorism suspects, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That’s a staggering number, considering they were gathered under the ‘reform’ version of the program that was supposed to protect Americans’ privacy rights,” said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. Last year, the number was 434 million for 11 targets, according to a report ODNI issued Tuesday. That was despite the program reportedly having been suspended for part of the year.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has called for Congress to strip from Section 215 the authority to collect phone logs. “It is increasingly clear to me that the NSA’s implementation of reforms to the phone records dragnet has been fundamentally flawed,” he said in a statement.

Read full story here…




The FBI Has Gone Rogue With Its Facial Recognition Systems

Technocrats at the FBI are driven to collect unending streams of data on any and all citizens. Any oversight or attempts to regulate are ignored or passively resisted. Other Intel agencies have followed the same pattern.  In the meantime, Americans are being corralled into a Total Surveillance Society scenario similar to China.

[Go Rogue: “To cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction. To pursue one’s own interests.” (Urban Dictionary)] ⁃ TN Editor

The FBI still has not assessed whether its facial recognition systems meet privacy and accuracy standards nearly three years after a congressional watchdog—the Government Accountability Office—raised multiple concerns about the bureau’s use of the tech.

Since 2015, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have used the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System, which uses facial recognition software to link potential suspects to crimes, pulling from a database of more than 30 million mugshots and other photos.

In May 2016, the Government Accountability Office recommended the FBI establish checks to ensure the software adhered to the Justice Department’s privacy and accuracy standards, but according to a report published Wednesday, the bureau has yet to implement any of the six proposed policy changes.

GAO added every measure to the Justice Department’s list of “priority open recommendations,” though DOJ officials previously disputed whether four of the six policies are necessary.

“By addressing these issues, DOJ would have reasonable assurance that their [facial recognition] technology provides accurate information that helps enhance, rather than hinder, criminal investigations,” Gretta Goodwin, GAO’s director of justice and law enforcement issues, told Nextgov. “Even more, DOJ would help ensure that it is sufficiently protecting the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens.”

Auditors recommended the bureau test the accuracy and effectiveness of the NGI-IPS system at least once a year and make improvements as necessary, but FBI officials said such reviews were unnecessary because “no users have expressed concerns” with the system. However, annual operational assessments are mandatory under FBI, Justice Department and Office of Management and Budget policy, regardless of user feedback, auditors said.

GAO also urged the bureau to test the system’s false positive rate—how often it incorrectly identifies someone as a potential suspect—but officials have yet to do so. The FBI also relies on a handful of facial recognition systems developed by other state and federal law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations, but GAO found the bureau still isn’t measuring whether those tools meet its accuracy standards either.

“Until FBI officials can assure themselves that the data they receive from external partners are reasonably accurate and reliable, it is unclear whether such agreements are beneficial to the FBI, whether the investment of public resources is justified, and whether photos of innocent people are unnecessarily included as investigative leads,” auditors wrote.

The bureau also failed to implement a pair of GAO recommendations for improving the transparency of its facial recognition operations and determining whether its practices respect individuals’ privacy rights.

Read full story here…




NYMTA Denies Facial Recognition, But 4,500 Cameras Watch NY Subway

The NYMTA says it wants to catch fare evaders so it installs monitors with traveller pictures dynamically framed with yellow boxes, with a bold “recording in progress” message at the top of the screen; but they adamantly deny the use of facial recognition software. ⁃ TN Editor

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has denied suggestions that it’s putting facial recognition cameras in the subway, saying that a trick designed to scare fare-dodgers was misinterpreted. “There is no capability to recognize or identify individuals and absolutely no plan” to do so with NYC subway cameras, says MTA spokesperson Maxwell Young.

Young was responding to a photo taken in the Times Square subway station by New York Times analyst Alice Fung, which shows a prominently placed monitor with the words “RECORDING IN PROGRESS” and “Please Pay Your Fare” superimposed on a video feed. “Hey @MTA, who are you sharing the recordings with?” Fung asked.

The monitor featured the name Wisenet, a security company that prominently advertises facial recognition capabilities, and the video feed traced squares around subjects’ faces. (Wisenet’s parent company, Hanwha Techwin, did not respond to an email requesting comment.) “While privacy advocates and tech giants are debating how face surveillance should be regulated, [MTA and Port Authority Bus Terminal] just put up a real-time face recognition screen in the Times Sq subway,” tweeted Natasha Singer, another Times staff member.

Young says that the recordings aren’t being monitored to identify individuals in the footage, though. “There is absolutely no facial recognition component to these cameras, no facial recognition software, or anything else that could be used to automatically identify people in any way, and we have no plans to add facial recognition software to these cameras in the future,” he tells The Verge. “These cameras are purely for the purpose of deterring fare evasion — if you see yourself on a monitor, you’re less likely to evade the fare.”

The cameras can supposedly detect motion and recognize that a human is on-screen, which is a feature that’s common in security cameras as well as general purpose photography and video equipment. “But again, there is no capability to recognize or identify individuals and absolutely no plan to,” says Young. New York’s subway system is already heavily surveilled; the MTA contracted with Lockheed Martin and others to install 1,000 cameras and 3,000 motion sensors across the system in 2005, and in 2015, the MTA said there were 4,500 cameras watching the subways. Police also conduct random bag checks in subway stations.

Read full story here…




Alternative Energy Sources Cause Huge Increases In Utility Prices

Are American consumers and businesses willing to pay 200-300 percent more for wind and solar power-generated energy? Since all economic activity is directly enabled by energy, what will shock prices do to the economy? ⁃ TN Editor

Renewable energy has certainly been in the news of late, with a number of states announcing efforts to ramp up wind and solar power. Minnesota is now joining this green movement, thanks to legislation introduced by Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, and Rep. Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis. The two are hoping to raise Minnesota’s renewable-energy standard to at least 80 percent by 2035, with a full shift to 100 percent by 2050.

Essentially, Frentz and Long are aiming Minnesota toward a future built mostly on wind and solar power within the next 30 years. Is this practical? And what might it cost?

Right now, Minnesota generates almost 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And the state’s nuclear power units account for another 23 percent of net generation. Unlike many states, Minnesota doesn’t use a lot of natural gas-fired power. But its wind farms generated almost 11 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2017 — about as much as its nuclear output. Minnesota ranks eighth in the nation for net wind generation.

The proposed shift away from this balanced mix of resources, along with the security and reliability currently provided by the state’s coal fleet, should give pause. The potential costs of such a transition could be significant.

Residential electricity in Minnesota currently costs 12.47 cents per kilowatt hour, roughly the national average, the Energy Information Administration reports. Germany offers a helpful comparison, since it has been incorporating a similar renewable-energy effort for more than a decade. While Germany has embraced wind and solar power, its electricity costs have skyrocketed to 30 cents per kilowatt hour, the highest in Europe, according to Energy Transition. Even with massive subsidies, Germany’s wind turbines and solar panels still provide only 29 percent of the country’s total electricity generation.

It’s not just rising surcharges pushing up Germany’s electricity prices. There’s also a fundamental inefficiency. Wind and solar perennially require back-up systems for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. According to the Department of Energy, the most advanced wind turbines reach their full capacity only 42.5 percent of the time. The highest-performing solar panels — ones in the southwestern U.S. that feature sun-tracking motors — reach their full capacity at an even lower 30 percent of the time. Such intermittency issues explain why Germany still relies on coal plants to generate additional power when needed, as Forbes has reported.

Extended weather disturbances can also drastically reduce the output of renewables. During this winter’s polar vortex, utilities were forced to shut down wind turbines in the face of bitter cold that can freeze gears and shatter turbine blades. Bloomberg News reported that many utilities were forced to meet escalating power demands by ramping up existing coal and natural-gas plants. Minnesota is acutely familiar with such conditions, since the northern part of the state can experience freezing temperatures practically year-round.

Many wind and solar advocates are now looking to battery storage as an all-purpose solution to fill the gaps when wind and solar aren’t available. But the best market-ready grid-scale battery technologies can only provide hours of backup. And that’s simply not enough to compensate during days — and even weeks — of low wind and solar output.

Read full story here…




Demographic Doom: Children Per Household Is Collapsing

For over 20 years, demographers and sociologists have known about and documented the world’s population collapse, and yet the world persists in hysteria over population blowout. This has paralleled global warming hysteria as a reason to implement Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy.

For a thorough and documented analysis, Technocracy News highly recommends viewing Demographic Winter and Demographic Bomb which are available in DVD and streaming video on Amazon. ⁃ TN Editor

Forget debt and deflation: the biggest threat to the global economy and the future of modern civilization as we know it, may be demographics, according to a recent Euromonitor study.

Whereas over the past decade policymakers have been mostly focused on how to reverse the global infatuation with debt and how to reverse what appears to be a structural decline in inflation (assuming the economist-accepted definition of CPI which conveniently “hedonicaly adjusts” such surging costs as shelter, healthcare, education and in many cases food), an even more troubling trend has been observed in recent years: due to a culmination of factors including falling fertility rates, rising divorce rates and expensive real estate, family sizes across the world are shrinking.

And unlike in the past where this phenomenon was largely contained to Japan and a handful of developed nations, RBC notes that almost all countries are set to experience a decline in the number of children per household in the 2000 – 2030 period. More specifically, looking from 2015 out to 2030, Euromonitor expects developed markets to have a ~20% decline in the number of children per household and developing markets a ~15% decline. In fact, as the Canadian bank points out, it was as recently as 2012 when the number of couples without children globally surpassed the number of those with children.

While this trend is troubling, it is only set to deteriorate, and RBC’s Nike Modi writes that he expects the US and other developed markets to take after Japan. Japan’s population is older, more tech focused, more urban and according to Euromonitor is a market where couples with children are expected to decline 5% from 2018 – 2030.

This demographic decline has widespread consequences across all aspects of the global economy: as family sizes decline, it will ultimately impact living space. In developed markets, large cities will likely see increased pressure on real estate and rent prices for apartments adaptable to childless couples and smaller families. This, RBC predicts, will likely in turn lead to demand for smaller household goods, smaller pack sizes overall and less space for small appliances, among other types of more discretionary items.

Another notable consequence of this global “Japanification” is that fewer kids will result in a world with more “indulegence”, adversely affecting commoditized providers of goods and services. With no or fewer children, RBC’s proposes that “premiumization” will emerge as a likely outcome. What this means is that for couples who have children, they will concentrate their spending on the one child they have, driving increased demand for premium diapers and natural and organic foods and beverages, among other categories. And since the couples have few children or no children at all, they are also more likely to indulge themselves – driving premiumization across categories, particularly in beverage alcohol and beauty where we have noticed this trend for some time and would only expect it to continue.

In short, a (shrinking) world of growing extreme polarization – across wealth, income, ideology and political views – will also soon lead to a growing schism between the brand leaders and all the aspirational providers of goods and services who fail to become category leaders. This will ultimately accelerate the world’s shift to monopolization as those companies that dominate market share will further flex their ability to redirect discretionary cash flow toward carving out even more defined “premium” niches, resulting in an increasingly challenging world for those who hope to attract the consumer’s dollar with a race to the bottom in pricing terms. Whether this subtle shift to further entrench aspiring category monopolies will result in an sudden upward inflection point in prices remains to be seen, however if the bigger, and far more troubling trend of global “demographic doom” is left unreversed, it will have profound consequences on all aspects of modern life.

Read full story here…




‘Geofence’: Google Has Become A Dragnet For The Police

If  you are close to a crime being committed, the chances are good that you could be wrapped up in the police investigation and you can only hope that they interpret the data correctly, otherwise you could be arrested based on data alone… ⁃ TN Editor

When detectives in a Phoenix suburb arrested a warehouse worker in a murder investigation last December, they credited a new technique with breaking open the case after other leads went cold.

The police told the suspect, Jorge Molina, they had data tracking his phone to the site where a man was shot nine months earlier. They had made the discovery after obtaining a search warrant that required Google to provide information on all devices it recorded near the killing, potentially capturing the whereabouts of anyone in the area.

Investigators also had other circumstantial evidence, including security video of someone firing a gun from a white Honda Civic, the same model that Mr. Molina owned, though they could not see the license plate or attacker.

But after he spent nearly a week in jail, the case against Mr. Molina fell apart as investigators learned new information and released him. Last month, the police arrested another man: his mother’s ex-boyfriend, who had sometimes used Mr. Molina’s car.

Jorge Molina in Goodyear, Ariz. Detectives arrested him last year in a murder investigation after requesting Google location data. When new information emerged, they released him and did not pursue charges. Alex Welsh for The New York Times

The warrants, which draw on an enormous Google database employees call Sensorvault, turn the business of tracking cellphone users’ locations into a digital dragnet for law enforcement. In an era of ubiquitous data gathering by tech companies, it is just the latest example of how personal information — where you go, who your friends are, what you read, eat and watch, and when you do it — is being used for purposes many people never expected. As privacy concerns have mounted among consumers, policymakers and regulators, tech companies have come under intensifying scrutiny over their data collection practices.

The Arizona case demonstrates the promise and perils of the new investigative technique, whose use has risen sharply in the past six months, according to Google employees familiar with the requests. It can help solve crimes. But it can also snare innocent people.

Technology companies have for years responded to court orders for specific users’ information. The new warrants go further, suggesting possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues. Often, Google employees said, the company responds to a single warrant with location information on dozens or hundreds of devices.

Law enforcement officials described the method as exciting, but cautioned that it was just one tool.

“It doesn’t pop out the answer like a ticker tape, saying this guy’s guilty,” said Gary Ernsdorff, a senior prosecutor in Washington State who has worked on several cases involving these warrants. Potential suspects must still be fully investigated, he added. “We’re not going to charge anybody just because Google said they were there.”

It is unclear how often these search requests have led to arrests or convictions, because many of the investigations are still open and judges frequently seal the warrants. The practice was first used by federal agents in 2016, according to Google employees, and first publicly reported last year in North Carolina. It has since spread to local departments across the country, including in California, FloridaMinnesota and Washington. This year, one Google employee said, the company received as many as 180 requests in one week. Google declined to confirm precise numbers.

The technique illustrates a phenomenon privacy advocates have long referred to as the “if you build it, they will come” principle — anytime a technology company creates a system that could be used in surveillance, law enforcement inevitably comes knocking. Sensorvault, according to Google employees, includes detailed location records involving at least hundreds of millions of devices worldwide and dating back nearly a decade.

Read full story here…




Big Tech Lobbyists Fighting States Over Citizen Privacy Protection

Technocrats within Big Tech are pouring money into lobby groups to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into state laws that hope to protect citizens’ privacy over their own data. Congressional legislation and Federal rule-making is totally dominated by these same industry lobbyists. ⁃ TN Editor

After years of ignoring the issue, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are suddenly engaged in a furious fight over enacting national legislation to establish basic online privacy rights for consumers. As with the crafting of much legislation dealing with complicated issues, legislators are relying on experts to help codify the consumer protections.

In a twist that is all too familiar in Washington, D.C., however, many of the groups that have positioned themselves as expert voices on consumer privacy are pushing for a bill that hews closely to tech industry interests. Lawmakers who are famously ignorant on technology issues are hearing largely from an army of industry lobbyists and experts funded by social media companies, online platforms, data brokers, advertisers, and telecommunication giants — the very same corporate interests that profit from the collection and sale of internet data.

Take the Center for Democracy and Technology, one of the most prominent privacy-centered Beltway think tanks. The group is considered to be well-respected among congressional staffers, routinely testifies before committees on privacy legislation, and is a prime mover in the national online privacy bill discussion.

Late last year, the organization circulated draft federal privacy legislation that would nullify major state-level regulations. In March, when the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the session on how to formulate a federal consumer privacy standard, the center’s Privacy and Data Project Director Michelle Richardson testified.

The Center for Democracy and Technology is also awash in corporate money from the tech sector. Amazon, Verizon, and Google are among the corporate donors that each provide over $200,000 to the group. AT&T, Verizon, Uber, and Twitter are also major donors.

Last Wednesday, the group hosted its annual gala, known as “Tech Prom,” which brought together lobbyists and government affairs officials from leading Silicon Valley and telecom firms. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft purchased tables at the event and served as sponsors, a privilege that came in exchange for a $35,000 donation to the center.

These industry-funded think tanks are pushing legislation in a direction that would have weak enforcement mechanisms, give consumers limited means for recourse, and perhaps most importantly for the industry, roll back state-level privacy standards being enacted by state legislatures.

The stakes of the online privacy fight could have ramifications the world over. American standards on data collection could shape political and business decisions across the world, said Jeff Chester, president of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy think tank that opposes overturning of state-level privacy laws.

“This is much bigger than Cambridge Analytica,” Chester said. Cambridge Analytica was involved in a scandal when, while working on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the data analytics firm illicitly scraped consumer data from Facebook in order to build advanced voter-targeting methods. The events stoked outrage over Facebook’s security around its users’ private data.

Chester said the money lavished by the tech industry on privacy think tanks was tantamount to funding lobbyists. “These groups should not take a dime of corporate money. This is basically lobbying dollars,” Chester said. “I think every one of these groups working on privacy that takes corporate money should return it.”

Meanwhile, actual tech industry lobby groups are pushing federal legislation along the same lines as that proposed by the tech-funded think tanks. One of the largest lobbying groups for Silicon Valley, NetChoice, has rallied behind Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., privacy bill. His bill would roll back state regulation and place enforcement authority largely under the Federal Trade Commission, a notoriously toothless federal agency with no rule-making power, instead of letting consumers directly sue tech companies under the law.

Read full story here…




Blacklisted In China: Lifelong Sentence Is Worse Than Prison

China’s Social Scoring System is Scientific Dictatorship, aka Technocracy, in action. Blacklisted citizens are shamed and shunned by friends, employers, banks and social services, and their ‘sentence’ is permanent. ⁃ TN Editor

David Kong was feeling crumpled after a recent business trip to Chongqing, which took more than 30 hours on a hard sleeper known locally in China as the “green-skin train” for its distinctive dark olive hue. The same journey would have taken just three hours by air, or about 12 hours by high speed train, but Kong could not take either as he was a “deadbeat”.

As one of 13 million officially designated “discredited individuals”, or laolai in Chinese, on a public database maintained by China’s Supreme Court, 47-year-old Kong is banned from spending on “luxuries”, whose definition includes air travel and fast trains.

For this class of people, who earned the label mostly for shirking their debts, daily life is a series of inflicted indignities – some big, some small – from not being able to rent a place to stay in their own name to being shunned by relatives and business associates. In some places, the telecommunication companies apply a special ringtone to the phone numbers of laolai as a warning.

“It’s even worse than doing time because at least there’s a limit to a prison sentence,” Kong said in a phone interview. “Being on the list means that as long as you can’t clear your debts in full, your name will always be there.”

Case in point, his business associates had found out about his status not from the database but from picking him up at the railway station. In China, only those who cannot afford the high-speed train take the slow train.

In order for him to clear his debts, Kong argues, he needs to be able to succeed at his new business, but that is hard to do if prospective partners and customers shun him because of his official status as a “deadbeat”. Kong said he survives on as little as 500 yuan (US$74) a month, living on the outskirts of Beijing.




Greenpeace Co-Founder: Global Warming ‘Is A Complete Hoax And Scam’

Members of the original green movement know that it was hijacked by charlatans who had another agenda than truly helping the environment: Technocracy dominated by the global elite. ⁃ TN Editor

Greenpeace co-founder and former president of Greenpeace Canada Patrick Moore described the cynical and corrupt machinations fueling the narrative of anthropocentric global warming and “climate change” in a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Moore explained how fear and guilt are leveraged by proponents of climate change:

Fear has been used all through history to gain control of people’s minds and wallets and all else, and the climate catastrophe is strictly a fear campaign — well, fear and guilt — you’re afraid you’re killing your children because you’re driving them in your SUV and emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and you feel guilty for doing that. There’s no stronger motivation than those two.

Scientists are co-opted and corrupted by politicians and bureaucracies invested in advancing the narrative of “climate change” in order to further centralize political power and control, explained Moore.

Moore noted how “green” companies parasitize taxpayers via favorable regulations and subsidies ostensibly justified by the aforementioned narrative’s claimed threats, all while enjoying propagandistic protection across news media”

And so you’ve got the green movement creating stories that instill fear in the public. You’ve got the media echo chamber — fake news — repeating it over and over and over again to everybody that they’re killing their children. And then you’ve got the green politicians who are buying scientists with government money to produce fear for them in the form of scientific-looking materials. And then you’ve got the green businesses, the rent-seekers, and the crony capitalists who are taking advantage of massive subsidies, huge tax write-offs, and government mandates requiring their technologies to make a fortune on this. And then, of course, you’ve got the scientists who are willingly, they’re basically hooked on government grants.

When they talk about the 99 percent consensus [among scientists] on climate change, that’s a completely ridiculous and false number. But most of the scientists — put it in quotes, scientists — who are pushing this catastrophic theory are getting paid by public money, they are not being paid by General Electric or Dupont or 3M to do this research, where private companies expect to get something useful from their research that might produce a better product and make them a profit in the end because people want it — build a better mousetrap type of idea. But most of what these so-called scientists are doing is simply producing more fear so that politicians can use it to control people’s minds and get their votes because some of the people are convinced, ‘Oh, this politician can save my kid from certain doom.’

It is the biggest lie since people thought the Earth was at the center of the universe. This is Galileo-type stuff. If you remember, Galileo discovered that the sun was at the center of the solar system and the Earth revolved around it. He was sentenced to death by the Catholic Church, and only because he recanted was he allowed to live in house arrest for the rest of his life.

So this was around the beginning of what we call the Enlightenment, when science became the way in which we gained knowledge instead of using superstition and instead of using invisible demons and whatever else, we started to understand that you have to have observation of actual events and then you have to repeat those observations over and over again, and that is basically the scientific method.

Read full story here…