Whitehead: “We Are Building Our Own Electronic Concentration Camps”

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are using a digital dragnet to locate participants of the January 6 incident at the Capitol. As it sweeps, it also  sucks up data on thousands of innocent citizens. For those, you start off guilty and then have to prove your innocence. ⁃ TN Editor

“Americans deserve the freedom to choose a life without surveillance and the government regulation that would make that possible. While we continue to believe the sentiment, we fear it may soon be obsolete or irrelevant. We deserve that freedom, but the window to achieve it narrows a little more each day. If we don’t act now, with great urgency, it may very well close for good.”—Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times

Databit by databit, we are building our own electronic concentration camps.

With every new smart piece of smart technology we acquire, every new app we download, every new photo or post we share online, we are making it that much easier for the government and its corporate partners to identify, track and eventually round us up.

Saint or sinner, it doesn’t matter because we’re all being swept up into a massive digital data dragnet that does not distinguish between those who are innocent of wrongdoing, suspects, or criminals.

This is what it means to live in a suspect society.

The government’s efforts to round up those who took part in the Capitol riots shows exactly how vulnerable we all are to the menace of a surveillance state that aspires to a God-like awareness of our lives.

Relying on selfies, social media posts, location data, geotagged photos, facial recognition, surveillance cameras and crowdsourcing, government agents are compiling a massive data trove on anyone and everyone who may have been anywhere in the vicinity of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The amount of digital information is staggering: 15,000 hours of surveillance and body-worn camera footage; 1,600 electronic devices; 270,000 digital media tips; at least 140,000 photos and videos; and about 100,000 location pings for thousands of smartphones.

And that’s just what we know.

More than 300 individuals from 40 states have already been charged and another 280 arrested in connection with the events of January 6. As many as 500 others are still being hunted by government agents.

Also included in this data roundup are individuals who may have had nothing to do with the riots but whose cell phone location data identified them as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Forget about being innocent until proven guilty.

In a suspect society such as ours, the burden of proof has been flipped: now, you start off guilty and have to prove your innocence.

For instance, you didn’t even have to be involved in the Capitol riots to qualify for a visit from the FBI: investigators have reportedly been tracking—and questioning—anyone whose cell phones connected to wi-fi or pinged cell phone towers near the Capitol. One man, who had gone out for a walk with his daughters only to end up stranded near the Capitol crowds, actually had FBI agents show up at his door days later. Using Google Maps, agents were able to pinpoint exactly where they were standing and for how long.

All of the many creepy, calculating, invasive investigative and surveillance tools the government has acquired over the years are on full display right now in the FBI’s ongoing efforts to bring the rioters to “justice.”

FBI agents are matching photos with drivers’ license pictures; tracking movements by way of license plate toll readers; and zooming in on physical identifying marks such as moles, scars and tattoos, as well as brands, logos and symbols on clothing and backpacks. They’re poring over hours of security and body camera footage; scouring social media posts; triangulating data from cellphone towers and WiFi signals; layering facial recognition software on top of that; and then cross-referencing footage with public social media posts.

It’s not just the FBI on the hunt, however.

They’ve enlisted the help of volunteer posses of private citizens, such as Deep State Dogs, to collaborate on the grunt work. As Dinah Voyles Pulver reports, once Deep State Dogs locates a person and confirms their identity, they put a package together with the person’s name, address, phone number and several images and send it to the FBI.

According to the FBI is relying on the American public and volunteer cybersleuths to help bolster its cases.

This takes See Something, Say Something snitching programs to a whole new level.

The lesson to be learned: Big Brother, Big Sister and all of their friends are watching you.

They see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet.

Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line.

Simply liking or sharing this article on Facebook, retweeting it on Twitter, or merely reading it or any other articles related to government wrongdoing, surveillance, police misconduct or civil liberties might be enough to get you categorized as a particular kind of person with particular kinds of interests that reflect a particular kind of mindset that might just lead you to engage in a particular kinds of activities and, therefore, puts you in the crosshairs of a government investigation as a potential troublemaker a.k.a. domestic extremist.

Chances are, as the Washington Post reports, you have already been assigned a color-coded threat score—green, yellow or red—so police are forewarned about your potential inclination to be a troublemaker depending on whether you’ve had a career in the military, posted a comment perceived as threatening on Facebook, suffer from a particular medical condition, or know someone who knows someone who might have committed a crime.

In other words, you might already be flagged as potentially anti-government in a government database somewhere—Main Core, for example—that identifies and tracks individuals who aren’t inclined to march in lockstep to the police state’s dictates.

The government has the know-how.

It took days, if not hours or minutes, for the FBI to begin the process of identifying, tracking and rounding up those suspected of being part of the Capitol riots.

Imagine how quickly government agents could target and round up any segment of society they wanted to based on the digital trails and digital footprints we leave behind.

Of course, the government has been hard at work for years acquiring these totalitarian powers.

Long before the January 6 riots, the FBI was busily amassing the surveillance tools necessary to monitor social media posts, track and identify individuals using cell phone signals and facial recognition technology, and round up “suspects” who may be of interest to the government for one reason or another.

As The Intercept reported, the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies have increasingly invested in corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.

All it needs is the data, which more than 90% of young adults and 65% of American adults are happy to provide.

When the government sees all and knows all and has an abundance of laws to render even the most seemingly upstanding citizen a criminal and lawbreaker, then the old adage that you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’ve got nothing to hide no longer applies.

As for the Fourth Amendment and its prohibitions on warrantless searches and invasions of privacy without probable cause, those safeguards have been rendered all but useless by legislative end-runs, judicial justifications, and corporate collusions.

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, social media posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

For example, police have been using Stingray devices mounted on their cruisers to intercept cell phone calls and text messages without court-issued search warrants. Doppler radar devices, which can detect human breathing and movement within a home, are already being employed by the police to deliver arrest warrants.

License plate readers, yet another law enforcement spying device made possible through funding by the Department of Homeland Security, can record up to 1800 license plates per minute. Moreover, these surveillance cameras can also photograph those inside a moving car. Reports indicate that the Drug Enforcement Administration has been using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.

Sidewalk and “public space” cameras, sold to gullible communities as a sure-fire means of fighting crime, is yet another DHS program that is blanketing small and large towns alike with government-funded and monitored surveillance cameras. It’s all part of a public-private partnership that gives government officials access to all manner of surveillance cameras, on sidewalks, on buildings, on buses, even those installed on private property.

Couple these surveillance cameras with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology and you have the makings of “pre-crime” cameras, which scan your mannerisms, compare you to pre-set parameters for “normal” behavior, and alert the police if you trigger any computerized alarms as being “suspicious.”

State and federal law enforcement agencies are pushing to expand their biometric and DNA databases by requiring that anyone accused of a misdemeanor have their DNA collected and catalogued. However, technology is already available that allows the government to collect biometrics such as fingerprints from a distance, without a person’s cooperation or knowledge. One system can actually scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.

Developers are hard at work on a radar gun that can actually show if you or someone in your car is texting. Another technology being developed, dubbed a “textalyzer” device, would allow police to determine whether someone was driving while distracted. Refusing to submit one’s phone to testing could result in a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

It’s a sure bet that anything the government welcomes (and funds) too enthusiastically is bound to be a Trojan horse full of nasty, invasive surprises.

Case in point: police body cameras. Hailed as the easy fix solution to police abuses, these body cameras—made possible by funding from the Department of Justice—turn police officers into roving surveillance cameras. Of course, if you try to request access to that footage, you’ll find yourself being led a merry and costly chase through miles of red tape, bureaucratic footmen and unhelpful courts.

The “internet of things” refers to the growing number of “smart” appliances and electronic devices now connected to the internet and capable of interacting with each other and being controlled remotely. These range from thermostats and coffee makers to cars and TVs. Of course, there’s a price to pay for such easy control and access. That price amounts to relinquishing ultimate control of and access to your home to the government and its corporate partners. For example, while Samsung’s Smart TVs are capable of “listening” to what you say, thereby allowing users to control the TV using voice commands, it also records everything you say and relays it to a third party, e.g., the government.

Then again, the government doesn’t really need to spy on you using your smart TV when the FBI can remotely activate the microphone on your cellphone and record your conversations. The FBI can also do the same thing to laptop computers without the owner knowing any better.

Drones, which are taking to the skies en masse, are the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. In fact, drones can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

All of these technologies add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence, especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home.

These digital trails are everywhere.

As investigative journalists Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson explain, “This data—collected by smartphone apps and then fed into a dizzyingly complex digital advertising ecosystem … provided an intimate record of people whether they were visiting drug treatment centers, strip clubs, casinos, abortion clinics or places of worship.

In such a surveillance ecosystem, we’re all suspects and databits to be tracked, catalogued and targeted.

As Warzel and Thompson warn:

“To think that the information will be used against individuals only if they’ve broken the law is naïve; such data is collected and remains vulnerable to use and abuse whether people gather in support of an insurrection or they justly protest police violence… This collection will only grow more sophisticated… It gets easier by the day… it does not discriminate. It harvests from the phones of MAGA rioters, police officers, lawmakers and passers-by. There is no evidence, from the past or current day, that the power this data collection offers will be used only to good ends. There is no evidence that if we allow it to continue to happen, the country will be safer or fairer.”

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, probation officer, Big Brother and Father Knows Best all rolled into one.

There is no gray area any longer.

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Self-Driving Cars Will Stop For Police, Roll Windows Down, Unlock Doors

Control-minded Technocrats envision a backdoor mechanism on autonomous vehicles that lets police stop a car, roll the windows down and unlock the car. If such a device is operational, you can be sure that criminals will learn how to hack it. ⁃ TN Editor

The National Institute of Justice, the RAND Corporation and the Police Executive Research Forum want to give law enforcement real-time access to autonomous vehicles.
Last month, this so-called expert panel identified 17 high-priority law enforcement needs for autonomous vehicles. And as you can imagine some of them are very disturbing.

Cybersecurity and Vehicle Communication Needs:

  • Research on systems to enable law enforcement to identify a vehicle’s authorization to run in automated mode.
  • Research on technology that enables law enforcement to communicate with vehicles in automated mode.
Allowing law enforcement access to a vehicle’s authorization is just a fancy way of saying they want backdoor access to an owners personal information.
If you thought license plate readers were invasive before, just wait until a year or two from now, when they send officers all kinds of personal information related to the vehicle’s owner[s].

Stakeholder Communication Needs:

  • Surveys to identify the most useful data the autonomous vehicle industry can make available to law enforcement for investigations of crashes and other incidents.
Police working with auto manufacturers to help them identify which embedded telematic surveillance devices they should have access to is not about public safety: it’s about money.
As the Medium explained, the real reason police want to be able to pull driverless vehicles over is so they can cite the owner[s] for any number of infractions.
“Operators could face fines to the extent the car is not being operated in fully autonomous mode. For instance, the operator of a SAI L4/L5 car could be to blame if the systems had been inappropriately overridden (speeding due to fabricated medical emergency).”
Back to law enforcement’s 17 high-priority needs.
Standardization Needs:
  • Model training and guidelines for interacting with autonomous vehicles running in automated mode.
  • Development of descriptions of standard behaviors (such as pulling off the road in a safe spot) that law enforcement will expect autonomous vehicles to perform across the United States.
To reinforce the need to ticket autonomous vehicle owners, these so-called experts want to collaborate with vehicle manufacturers to establish backdoor access to the vehicle’s data.
“The panelists stressed the need for proactive problem solving with law enforcement, autonomous vehicle manufacturers and operators, and communities all working together. Law enforcement would benefit from having a better understanding of autonomous vehicle capabilities, and manufacturers would benefit from insights on the law enforcement implications of autonomous vehicles operating in communities, they said.”

Police view autonomous vehicles as “evidence sources”

Law enforcement’s desire to have backdoor access to autonomous vehicle’s data could not be any clearer.

“Participants also saw opportunities to use data generated by autonomous vehicles — for example, videos from an autonomous vehicle passing an active crime scene — to support public safety and crime investigations.”

As the “Panel Purpose and Process” section explains, law enforcement looks at autonomous vehicles as “evidence sources.”

“Tangential interactions (such as use of autonomous vehicles as evidence sources in investigations or exclusion of autonomous vehicles from zones where traffic is prohibited)”

As the expert panel so eloquently stated, police need to have the ability to securely communicate in real-time with these “evidence sources.”

To law enforcement, autonomous vehicles means lost revenues and that is why they want access to a cars’ windows, cameras and microphones.

“Waymo’s cars are designed to pullover if they detect a police or emergency vehicle flashing from up to 100 feet away. After stopping, the car is unlocked and the windows roll down automatically, allowing Waymo’s support team to interact with law enforcement representatives via an intercom system.”

Giving law enforcement the ability to roll down a motorist’s windows, unlock their car doors and speak to the occupants via an intercom system gives privacy-minded people like myself nightmares.

Read full story here…




Airlines Claim Successful Trial For Travel Pass On International Flights

“Your papers please…” While the woke global elite preach “equality” their actions are just the opposite. Travel passports will stratify civilization into bitter and opposite camps. Health passports will be required for everyone except illegal immigrants. ⁃ TN Editor

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) successfully trialed a new health passport app (called Travel Pass) to manage COVID-19 tests and vaccine certifications for international flights. Travelers at London’s Heathrow Airport were the first to test the IATA Travel Pass app to manage their health credentials.

“The successful implementation of IATA Travel Pass in this trial with Singapore Airlines passengers demonstrates that technology can securely, conveniently, and efficiently help travelers and governments to manage travel health credentials. The significance of this to restarting international aviation cannot be overstated,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

IATA is the premier global trade organization for airlines, with 290 members. Their push for the Travel Pass app, or as we’ve called it “COVID passport” and or “immunity passports,” comes as a bid to reopen borders and restart air travel.

Last month, we noted this dystopic future could be the ‘new normal‘ in a matter of weeks. And we were right, as the rollout of the Travel Pass appears to be underway. IATA’s new app will likely be rolled out with more airlines in a matter of weeks. Here’s the list of airlines so far:

Passengers on Singapore Airlines flights from Singapore to London used the IATA Travel Pass to secure their passport information, flight details, and health data to meet all travel requirements.

“Digital health credentials will be essential as borders reopen and travel restrictions get progressively lifted worldwide. The successful implementation of the IATA Travel Pass reflects Singapore Airlines’ goal of using secure digital solutions to verify health credentials, and support a safe and seamless travel experience for our customers,” said JoAnn Tan, Acting Senior Vice President, Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines.

Since the early days of the pandemic (read: here & here & here), we’ve discussed how health passports were imminent. And here we are, early 2021, more than one year since the virus pandemic struck, the beginning chapter of a new global standard where airlines worldwide will require travelers to provide health passports before they can fly is here.

There will be some thorny legal issues raised because health passports can exacerbate inequality within society, as those who refuse vaccination could be barred from air travel.

Last week, China launched a digital “health certificate” for its 1.3 billion citizens, which will record their vaccination status and COVID test status.

There is no doubt that health passports will be widely implemented to reopen borders and restart aviation.

Read full story here…




Delingpole: UK Rapidly Moving Toward Police State Tyranny

It is ironic that Britain, the nation that was almost conquered by Nazi Germany in WWII and has long held principles of  personal liberty, is headed in the same direction as a police state.  This is catalyzed by the fact that Britain is awash in the policies of Technocracy, aka Sustainable Development. ⁃ TN Editor

Britain will take a step closer to police state tyranny this week when parliament passes a bill that will effectively end the cherished, longstanding tradition of ‘the right to protest.’

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 has been described by one MP as ‘a major step on the road to authoritarianism and suppression of dissent’ and by a leading criminal barrister as ‘absolutely crazy’ and ‘really scary.’

I wake up this morning full of foreboding for our country.
Today’s Policing Bill isn’t about the traditional idea of law based on consent.
It’s about a major step on the road to authoritarianism and suppression of dissent.

— Jon Trickett MP (@jon_trickett) March 15, 2021

Soon you will not be allowed to protest about the removal of your right to protest.

— Chris Daw QC (@crimlawuk) March 15, 2021

The new legislation is the brainchild of Home Secretary Priti Patel and is being sold to the Conservative base as a way of avoiding repeats of the various Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion demos which caused damage to property, massive disruption and a huge bill to the taxpayer for extra policing costs.

There is lots of red meat in it for traditional Conservatives: an eye-catching initiative in which people who damage memorials — like the woke mob which chucked a statue of slave owner Edward Colston into the river in Bristol — could face up to ten years in prison; tougher rules in dealing with travellers who make the lives of rural villagers misery; and so on. This will undoubtedly appeal to the socially conservative Red Wall voters in the Midlands and North, whom Boris Johnson’s government is desperate to keep onboard.

Perhaps this is why so few Conservative MPs are opposing this illiberal measure. Their determination to push the bill through — only the House of Lords can stop it now — is likely to have been strengthened by the thought that most of those most fiercely opposing it are Labour MPs. And if Labour are against, they may well delude themselves, then it must be a jolly good thing.

What few Conservative MPs appear to have realised is that this unprecedented increase in the powers of both the Home Secretary and the police to clamp down on protests of any kind may eventually be used to bite their own supporters, or to suppress freedom generally.

At the moment, sure, attention is being focused on last weekend’s vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard. Heavy-handed policing gave hard left infiltrators just the excuse it needed for a noisy demo in Parliament Square — of the kind that may soon be banned under the new legislation — in which the mob (including Black Lives Matter) chanted angry slogans like ‘kill the bill’.

They can hardly have been unaware, of course, that ‘the Bill’ happens to be a traditional nickname for the police.

But the people most likely to bear the brunt of this new legislation are anti-lockdown protesters. Throughout the last year, these are the people whose protests have been put down most brutally and aggressively by the police. So really, this is legislation that ought to terrify freedom lovers at least as much as the authoritarian, Big State lovers of the far left.

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License Plate Scans Are Growing Exponentially

Police departments are running amok with automated surveillance tools, and one the is underreported is license place scanning. Data is collected indiscriminately without the driver’s knowledge and then stored for long periods of time. ⁃ TN Editor

License-plate readers are feeding immense databases with details on Americans’ driving habits, helping solve crimes despite little public awareness about the breadth of the data collected or how it is used.

The vast network of automated license-plate scanners, which has been growing for decades, makes it nearly impossible to drive anywhere in the U.S. without being observed. The scanners first appeared on telephone poles and police cars, then on toll plazas and bridges, and in parking lots. Today, scanners are routinely placed on tow trucks and municipal garbage trucks, gathering images of plates on cars they pass while making their rounds.

The scanner data has become a key tool for law enforcement from local police to the Justice Department, requiring no warrant to access. Plate scans were crucial, for example, in the arrests of a number of suspected rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including Dominick Madden, a New York City Sanitation Department employee who called in sick a day before the deadly attack.

In New Jersey, license-plate scanners captured Mr. Madden’s car as it crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge, according to court documents. His vehicle was spotted in Maryland on I-95 and I-895 and was seen two days later returning to New York by the same route, the charging documents said.

That data bolstered charges of forced entry into a restricted building, impeding government business and disorderly conduct. Mr. Madden pleaded not guilty in a January federal-court appearance. A lawyer for Mr. Madden didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The scanners, which automatically grab images of any plates they identify, are an often-overlooked layer of the surveillance that blankets Americans, along with social media, online searches, mobile-phone apps and credit-card purchases. Private companies feed snapshots of plate numbers—including time, date and location—then share that information with police departments, which are largely free to access it at their discretion.

The scope of these data pools is difficult to measure. But Vigilant Solutions, a division of Motorola Solutions Inc. and one of the largest private vendors of data and scanners, boasted a decade ago that it had 450 million plate scans in its commercial database, with 35 million new plates added each month.

Today, the company’s marketing materials say its database contains more than nine billion scans of American citizens’ license plates. That means Vigilant—one of dozens of companies in its industry—has more than 30 license-plate scans for every registered vehicle on the nation’s roads today.

“We wouldn’t be working with technology that we didn’t think the benefits to society didn’t far outweigh the downsides,” said Paul Steinberg, senior vice president of technology for Motorola, which owns Vigilant.

Some see the privacy downsides as considerable.

“License-plate readers are mass surveillance technology,” said Dave Maass, director of investigations at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for better privacy protections. “They are collecting data on everyone regardless of whether there is a connection to a crime,” said Mr. Maass, “and they are storing that data for long periods of time.”

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Local Police Departments To Receive Drones With ‘Most Advanced AI Ever’

In anticipation of wide acceptance by local law enforcement, Skydio has already achieved a $1 billion valuation with venture capital injections. This drone-based surveillance will be ubiquitous, autonomous and unflinching and will promote police state mentality. ⁃ TN Editor

Founded by Google veterans and backed by $340 million from major VCs, Skydio is creating drones that seem straight out of science fiction—and they could end up in your neighborhood soon.

Three years ago, Customs and Border Protection placed an order for self-flying aircraft that could launch on their own, rendezvous, locate and monitor multiple targets on the ground without any human intervention. In its reasoning for the order, CBP said the level of monitoring required to secure America’s long land borders from the sky was too cumbersome for people alone. To research and build the drones, CBP handed $500,000 to Mitre Corporation, a trusted non-profit skunkworks that was already furnishing border police with prototype rapid DNA testing and smartwatch hacking technology.

Mitre’s unmanned aerial vehicles didn’t take off. They were “tested but not fielded operationally” as “the gap from simulation to reality turned out to be much larger than the research team originally envisioned,” a CBP spokesperson says.

But the setback didn’t end CBP’s sci-fi dreams. This year, America’s border police will test automated drones from Skydio, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup which on Monday announced it had raised an additional $170 million in venture funding at a valuation of $1 billion. That brings the total raised for Skydio to $340 million. Investors include blue chip VC shops like Andreessen Horowitz, AI-chip maker Nvidia and even Kevin Durant, the NBA star. It’s not clear just how well its drones are selling; Skydio refuses to discuss revenue figures, claiming an estimate of sub-$5 million per year was “significantly off base.” But the Army and Air Force have spent a collective $10 million and the DEA $225,000 on Skydios in the last two years. By Forbes’ calculation, based on documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Skydio’s public announcements, more than 20 police agencies across the U.S. now have Skydios as part of their drone fleets, including major cities like Austin and Boston.

The company was founded in 2014 by ex-MIT and Google unmanned flight specialists with ambitions that go far beyond policing the borders. Gawky, dark-haired and stubbled, with the manner of a Star Trek ensign, 34-year-old Skydio cofounder and CEO Adam Bry believes his company will lead the world to a place where drones don’t need a pilot, whether they’re helping police, inspecting bridges or delivering goods. “We’re solving a lot of the core problems that are needed to make drones trustworthy and be able to fly themselves,” he says from his home, two blocks from Skydio headquarters just outside of San Francisco. “Autonomy – that core capability of giving a drone the skills of an expert pilot built in, in the software and the hardware – that’s really what we’re all about as a company.”

It claims to be shipping the most advanced AI-powered drone ever built: a quadcopter that costs as little as $1,000, which can latch onto targets and follow them, dodging all sorts of obstacles and capturing everything on high-quality video. Skydio’s claims its software can even predict a target’s next move, whether that target is a pedestrian or a car.

The technology is futuristic, but not exactly brand new. DJI, which claims yearly revenues above $2 billion, has been making drones with similar autonomous flying features since at least 2016. Some police who’ve used Skydio claim its drones are better at flying in tight, tactical situations – like inside buildings or through a forest – but DJI, which is valued north of $15 billion, has a significant market advantage. Analysts put its U.S. market share at between 70% and 80%, with no other manufacturer above 10% (worldwide numbers are similar).

Skydio’s real advantage might simply be that it is not Chinese. The company bills itself as an all-American alternative to DJI (even if it admits some of its plastics and metals are made in China). Just before Christmas, the Trump administration banned American companies exporting to DJI, citing its alleged work supporting oppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act may ban any federal agencies buying drones made in China, amidst fears DJI could be forced to send sensitive U.S. government or citizens’ data back to Beijing. Local police agencies are also concerned about the threat of Chinese spying – or at least the optics of buying Chinese surveillance drones.

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FBI, DOJ Perilously Close To Criminalizing Free Speech

If this prosecution moves forward, it will mark the watershed of criminalized free speech in America. The government decides what is harmful speech, not based on breaking actual laws, and the FBI shows up at your door to arrest you. This madness must stop. ⁃ TN Editor

We have all shared this unsettling premonition that the attack on free speech is not just coming from Big Tech with the threat of censorship, but from the government backed by criminal prosecution. We are watching the government arrest hundreds of people not just for violence but for trespassing and negligible crimes at the Capitol when many of them were let into the building by the police. We are seeing the billboards and technology being used to hunt people down, as the most violent Antifa rioters are never arrested. No, this crackdown is not being driven by a concern for security and a sense of justice.

Well, now it’s confirmed that the government itself is rapidly headed toward criminalizing the speech of Trump supporters. The government is treating Antifa’s violence like speech and our speech like violence. What starts with bad behavior by Trump supporters (while ignoring what the other side does) will not end there.

Yesterday, a bizarre headline from the Justice Department’s Office of Public affairs caught my attention and raised the ire of many conservatives. “Social Media Influencer Charged with Election Interference Stemming from Voter Disinformation Campaign,” read the headline of a press release from the DOJ’s Eastern District of New York. That seemed odd to me because I’ve never seen such a vague and intangible charge after years of sifting through daily press releases from U.S. attorneys about espionage, trade theft, and gang activity. As I read further, my worst suspicions were confirmed.

“A Florida man was arrested this morning on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to use various social media platforms to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.”

Wow, that sounds interesting. So the DOJ is finally going after election fraud? Did this guy throw out ballots or engage in mail-in fraud like endless witnesses said in sworn affidavits and in testimony before legislatures? No, the DOJ is not interested in tangible fraud that involves an action; in fact, it is investigating any DOJ official who might have sought to investigate such fraud. It only prosecutes speech.

Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach was taken into custody and charged with having “exploited a social media platform to infringe one the of most basic and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to vote,” according to Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Again, I was confused how someone can use their own speech to infringe upon the right of a voter and actually succeed in stealing a vote.

After several paragraphs of DOJ officials bloviating about constitutional rights to vote, they finally announced his crime.

As alleged in the complaint, between September 2016 and November 2016, in the lead up to the Nov. 8, 2016, U.S. Presidential Election, Mackey conspired with others to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates (the “Candidate”) to “vote” via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting.

Boy, is that a mouthful! This standard would basically rope in half the country. The other half of the country always believes everything the other side is putting out is false information that is extremely dangerous. We’d all be in jail.

How exactly did the person engage in fraud?

For example, on Nov. 1, 2016, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for [the Candidate]” sign. The image included the following text: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history.” The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: “Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016.”

The tweet included the typed hashtags “#Go [Candidate]” and another slogan frequently used by the Candidate. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted “[Candidate’s first name]” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators.

Folks, this is very scary. No, not the alleged crime, but that the feds are going after such behavior while ignoring sworn allegations of mass fraud. While what is alleged appears to be mean and spiteful, at the end of the day, there is no way to actually steal a vote with this subterfuge. Not unless someone thought that, based on a random internet tweet, they could vote via text, and without verifying anything thereafter, would have sent their text and then stayed home. By this standard, every governor who violated election law and actually facilitated the casting of ballots not pursuant to law should be in jail.

There are some really distasteful ways people use their freedom of speech – sometimes in a serious way or sometimes in a joking way – but the First Amendment was not written to protect benign speech. To arrest only one side of the divide for social media memes at a time when officials are letting cities burn is very concerning. And it opens a very slippery slope for the government to prosecute people for saying anything that the government believes is harmful.

Is it that hard to envision an FBI agent knocking on your door and saying, “You just wrote information telling people masks don’t work and to stop wearing them. You are engaging in fraud and are an accessory to murder!”

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Greenwald Warns: A New Domestic War On Terror Is Coming

The focus on the 9/11 war on terror was radical Islamic militants. The 1/6 war on terror pivots internally to declare conservative Americans as domestic terrorists. Will the current Administration refocus the Intelligence and military communities against American citizens? There are already a chorus of calls to do just that. ⁃ TN Editor

The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting “terrorism” that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This trend shows no sign of receding as we move farther from the January 6 Capitol riot. The opposite is true: it is intensifying.

We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens. This is all driven by a radical expansion of the meaning of “incitement to violence.” It is accompanied by viral-on-social-media pleas that one work with the FBI to turn in one’s fellow citizens (See Something, Say Something!) and demands for a new system of domestic surveillance.

Underlying all of this are immediate insinuations that anyone questioning any of this must, by virtue of these doubts, harbor sympathy for the Terrorists and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology. Liberals have spent so many years now in a tight alliance with neocons and the CIA that they are making the 2002 version of John Ashcroft look like the President of the (old-school) ACLU.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security website, touting a trademarked phrase licensed to it in 2010 by the City of New York, urging citizens to report “suspicious activity” to the FBI and other security state agencies

The more honest proponents of this new domestic War on Terror are explicitly admitting that they want to model it on the first one. A New York Times reporter noted on Monday that a “former intelligence official on PBS NewsHour” said “that the US should think about a ‘9/11 Commission’ for domestic extremism and consider applying some of the lessons from the fight against Al Qaeda here at home.” More amazingly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal — for years head of Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and the commander of the war in Afghanistan — explicitly compared that war to this new one, speaking to Yahoo News:

I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence. This is now happening in America….I think we’re much further along in this radicalization process, and facing a much deeper problem as a country, than most Americans realize.”

Anyone who, despite all this, still harbors lingering doubts that the Capitol riot is and will be the neoliberal 9/11, and that a new War on Terror is being implemented in its name, need only watch the two short video clips below, which will clear their doubts for good. It is like being catapulted by an unholy time machine back to Paul Wolfowitz’s 2002 messaging lab.

The first video, flagged by Tom Elliott, is from Monday morning’s Morning Joe program on MSNBC (the show that arguably did more to help Donald Trump become the GOP nominee than any other). It features Jeremy Bash — one of the seemingly countless employees of TV news networks who previously worked in Obama’s CIA and Pentagon — demanding that, in response to the Capitol riot, “we reset our entire intelligence approach,” including “look[ing] at greater surveillance of them,” adding: “the FBI is going to have to run confidential sources.” See if you detect any differences between what CIA operatives and neocons were saying in 2002 when demanding the Patriot Act and greater FBI and NSA surveillance and what this CIA-official-turned-NBC-News-analyst is saying here:

The second video features the amazing declaration from former Facebook security official Alex Stamos, talking to the very concerned CNN host Brian Stelter, about the need for social media companies to use the same tactics against U.S. citizens that they used to remove ISIS from the internet — “in collaboration with law enforcement” — and that those tactics should be directly aimed at what he calls extremist “conservative influencers.”

“Press freedoms are being abused by these actors,” the former Facebook executive proclaimed. Stamos noted how generous he and his comrades have been up until now: “We have given a lot of leeway — both in the traditional media and in social media — to people with a very broad range of views.” But no more. Now is the time to “get us all back in the same consensual reality.”

In a moment of unintended candor, Stamos noted the real problem: “there are people on YouTube, for example, that have a larger audience than people on daytime CNN” — and it’s time for CNN and other mainstream outlets to seize the monopoly on information dissemination to which they are divinely entitled by taking away the platforms of those whom people actually want to watch and listen to:

(If still not convinced, and if you can endure it, you can also watch MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski literally screaming that one needed remedy to the Capitol riot is that the Biden administration must “shutdown” Facebook. Shutdown Facebook).

Calls for a War on Terror sequel — a domestic version complete with surveillance and censorship — are not confined to ratings-deprived cable hosts and ghouls from the security state. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.”

Meanwhile, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) — not just one of the most dishonest members of Congress but also one of the most militaristic and authoritarian — has had a bill proposed since 2019 to simply amend the existing foreign anti-terrorism bill to allow the U.S. Government to invoke exactly the same powers at home against “domestic terrorists.”

Why would such new terrorism laws be needed in a country that already imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world as the result of a very aggressive set of criminal laws? What acts should be criminalized by new “domestic terrorism” laws that are not already deemed criminal? They never say, almost certainly because — just as was true of the first set of new War on Terror laws — their real aim is to criminalize that which should not be criminalized: speech, association, protests, opposition to the new ruling coalition.

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Germany Sets Up “Refugee Camps” To Hold COVID Rule Breakers

When power turns to madness, governments have no restraint in creating isolation camps for detractors, as in Germany. The Technocrat destruction of liberty, freedom and the world’s economic system is tumbling to conclusion, but will the citizens of the world mount an effective resistance? ⁃ TN Editor

Germany’s worst Covid rule breakers will be held in detention centres under new proposals being drawn up by a number of state governments.

The move forms part of the country’s efforts to stop the spread of the more contagious mutant strain of the virus detected in the UK last month.

In the eastern state of Saxony, people who ignore lockdown measures will be held in a cordoned-off part of a refugee camp being built next week.

State authorities have said the centre will only be used for those who repeatedly breach self-isolation requirements.

A similar scheme will be used in neighbouring Brandenburg, while in northerly Schleswig-Holstein rule breakers will be held in a part of a juvenile detention centre.

The southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg will reportedly use rooms in hospitals.

The country’s regional governments have powers to hold people who flout lockdown requirements under the Disease Protection Act, first passed by the federal parliament in March, Die Welt repots.

Germany won praise for its early handling of the pandemic, though has seen cases rise in recent months.

It is now seeing around 18,000 people test positive a day, and has so far recorded 47,440 deaths.

The government is also keen to avoid the spread of a mutant strain of the virus first detected in Britain in December.

The strain is thought to be up to 70 per cent more contagious than the original, and to be a contributing factor to a recent surge in cases in the UK.

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UK Police Commissioner Calls For Warrantless Home Invasions To Catch Lockdown Offenders

The mere talk of forcibly entering a citizen’s home without warrant or cause, is the hatch door to an outright tyrannical police state and England is leading the way. Technocrats demand obedience to the “science” that they and they alone claim to understand. Citizens are deemed ignorant and thus, must be forcibly corralled.  ⁃ TN Editor

A top police commissioner in England has called for the power for police to enter private homes without a warrant for suspected of breaches of the country’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

David Jamieson, the Labour Party police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands Police — the second-largest police force in the country behind London — said that officers should have the right to forcibly enter the homes of private citizens.

“For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool,” Jamieson told The Guardian.

“I have raised this issue with the policing minister previously and clarity on the power of entry would help police officers enforce the new Covid regulations more easily,” he added.

While PCC Jamieson has come out in favour of a vast expansion of police powers to enter people’s homes for holding so-called illegal gatherings, the former Labour Party MP has opposed greater stop and search powers for police to combat the scourge of knife crime.

Presently, the police do not have the right to enter into people’s homes without a warrant or the occupant’s permission, except for emergency circumstances, such as situations in which police hear cries for help or to investigate a disturbance.

Police have been calling on the government to increase their ability to carry out invasive searches since the start of the lockdown regime, with the Police Federation of England and Wales first calling for the ability to enter homes without warrants in April.

Responding to the call from the police commissioner, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said: “Before Covid, an Englishman’s home was his castle. Not any longer! Our liberties are being destroyed.”

As England officially enters another national lockdown on Wednesday, police in London have also warned that people in the British capital are more likely to face fines for breaching the lockdown restrictions.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said that officers have been told to “issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, willful and serious breaches”.

The police force said that anyone who attends “parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings” will be subject to fines from the police, rather than just those who organise the events, as was previously the case.

“Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined — not reasoned with,” the statement added.

The MPS continued to warn that with the reduction of “reasonable excuses” for people to leave their homes, Londoners should expect officers to “be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about”.

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