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FBI Wants to Remove Privacy Protections From Its Massive Biometrics Database

The FBI is giving you only 21 business days to object to such exemptions. (Image: Pixabay) EFF and 44 Other Organizations Call for...

The FBI’s secret biometrics database they don’t want you to see

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants to prevent information about its creepy biometric database, which...

The Extinction of Privacy and Personal Security Via Biometrics and the Cashless Society

In a survey of 1,000 UK shoppers by the retail personalisation company RichRelevance, respondents were asked to rate a suite of in-store shopping technologies...
video

Video: Biometrics: Key to Mastering the Human Domain

As German tanks re-enter Poland, we understand that military exercises throughout the world have a dual purpose: to train where & how they expect...

Biometrics system for foreign students

A parliamentary committee has echoed universities' concerns over the robustness of the biometrics system that will be used for visa applications by students. The Home...

IBM biometrics ID cards contract to last 7 years

IBM's contract to supply technology for ID cards will last seven years, despite the possibility that a change in government could scupper the scheme. The...

Presidential Directive Demands Widespread Sharing of Biometrics

By Matthew Rothschild | Big Brother wants your irises. George Bush just issued a directive to expand the acquisition of biometric information, and to...

Firms’ biometrics records ‘can be hacked’

The growing use of biometrics to identify individuals is "insecure and in need of immediate attention," according to an IT systems company. Fujitsu Siemens said...

Are Biometrics the Future of Credit Cards?

Credit and debit cards have taken the place of cash for most modern transactions. What’s next? According to research from Emme Kozloff, a Sanford...

FBI to build $1Bn biometrics database

The FBI is expected to announce this week the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to develop the largest and most comprehensive government...

Biometrics trial at Gatwick

Checking of visas from Sierra Leone will continue until April By Computing A government trial of fingerprint systems is underway at London's Gatwick airport as part...

‘Undocumented Immigrants Are Constantly Used as a Bargaining Chip’

Janine Jackson interviewed Tina Vasquez about DACA for the September 8, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

What Country is This?

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair “The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been...

Neo-America

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty...

Eye spy: Facial recognition tech gets govt cash boost despite claims it’s illegal

Britain’s Home Office is ready to invest more in facial recognition technology for police forces...

Iraq Is Off the Travel Ban List, But Iraqis Most in Need Not Helped...

In its revised executive order, the Trump administration dropped Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries for whom travel to the United States is...

Algerian underworld helping traffickers smuggle potential terrorists into UK – Greek investigators

People traffickers were able to smuggle hundreds of illegal immigrants into Britain, including potential terrorists,...

Paris attacks: Counter-terrorism chief wants fingerprinting & iris scans for all at UK borders

Every person entering the United Kingdom should be forced to undergo “fool-proof” fingerprinting and iris...

One out of two Americans in facial recognition databases

Shelley Connor Over 117 million Americans—half of the adult population—are in facial recognition databases used by law enforcement, according to a report released by Georgetown...

NYT Reveals Think Tank It’s Cited for Years to Be Corrupt Arms Booster

The New York Times (8/7/16) reveals the corporate influence behind some of its most-used sources. A recent New York Times article (8/7/16) detailed, in often...

411mn photos on FBI’s facial recognition database – govt watchdog report

The FBI’s facial recognition database contains 411 million photos, both criminal and civilian, but the program hasn’t been tested for accuracy and the agency...

800 DNA & fingerprint records of suspected terrorists ‘accidently deleted’ by police

Police have accidentally deleted the DNA and fingerprint evidence of up to 800 terror suspects...

US Senate launches inquiry over Facebook’s alleged political bias in Trending news list

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is facing a US Senate inquiry over claims that the social network has been filtering conservative news. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has...

Facebook sued over facial recognition, judge refuses to throw case out

Facebook’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over its facial recognition software was denied on Friday, meaning that the three users who claim the social...

Biometric data illegally retained by police hackers – watchdog

Cops have been hacking into the Police National Computer (PNC) in order to illegally retain...

Africa is the Western world’s testing ground for microchip implants, weaponized viruses and experimental...

The African continent continues to be used by Western powers as a testing ground for some pretty heinous things, the latest of which appears...

Citing Bin Laden raid, US Special Forces testing DNA scanners for ‘juicy missions’

(RT) - Officials at US Special Operations Command said they were testing rapid DNA scanners for use in sensitive overseas missions, citing DNA identification...

How DNA Is Turning Us Into a Nation of Suspects

Reprinted with permission of Washington's Blog By John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute. “The year is 2025. The population...

The FBI’s plan to collect everyone’s DNA just got a huge boost from congress

In 2011, 1 in 25 Americans was arrested. In a few years, if the FBI has its way, the federal government will possess the...

FBI’s facial recognition system will combine faces of criminals and ordinary citizens

THE FBI has launched its “next generation” facial recognition system – and the implications are terrifying. It not only draws on a database of criminal...

FBI’s facial recognition program hits ‘full operational capability’

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Next Generation Identification System, a biometric database reliant on tens of millions of facial-recognition records, is now fully operational,...

32 Organizations Call for Privacy Assessment of FBI’s Biometric Database

The FBI plans to roll out the face recognition component of its massive Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database this summer–but the Bureau has six years...

German foreign intelligence service plans real-time surveillance of social networks

Sven Heymann The German foreign intelligence service (BND) is planning the surveillance of social network sites in real-time, according to documents obtained by theSüddeutsche Zeitung....

Elections, Superbugs, Operation Choke Point — New World Next Week

Welcome to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week: Story #1: India’s Election Is Biggest Voting Even...

Interview 874 — New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato

This week on New World Next Week: the largest puppet election in the world proceeds in India; WHO warns of antibiotic resistant superbugs; and the DOJ pressures banks to close porn stars\' bank accounts in Operation Choke Point.

Facial recognition – coming soon to a shopping mall near you

John Hawes  Technology giant NEC's Hong Kong branch is promoting a small, "easy to install" appliance which will enable businesses to monitor their customers based on facial...

What Will You Do When You Can No Longer Buy Or Sell Without Submitting...

In some areas of the world, payment systems that require palm scanning or face scanning are already being tested.  We have entered an era where biometric security is being hailed as the “solution” to the antiquated security methods of the past.  We are being promised that the constant problems that hackers are causing with [...]

Wearable Tech: The Surveillance Grid Of The Future

Daniel Taylor “Smartphones are fading. Wearables are next” — CNN Money Edward Snowden’s now infamous NSA leaks have sparked intense debate across the world. The leaks confirmed...

IBM Head: Stop Fighting And “Embrace” Total Biometric Surveillance Because It Cannot Be Stopped

Steve Watson A leading IBM official has urged the world to “embrace” ubiquitous surveillance of the public through biometrics, because, he argues, it is too...

On Edward Snowden: ‘Not Orwell, But Kafka’

NSA whistleblower's legal counsel talks about the future of our dragnet state Michael Winship and Ben Wizner On Monday, via teleconference, whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed a crowd at...

Resisting the surveillance state of mind

Norman Solomon RINF Alternative News We must not let the NSA's snooping define a new era in which privacy is a relic  Eight months after whistle-blower Edward...

No Place to Hide: We’re All Suspects in Barack Obama’s America

Robert Scheer  RINF Alternative News Barack Obama’s speech Friday on surveillance was his worst performance, not as a matter of theatrical skill, though he clearly did...

High-Tech Tyranny in the Gulf: Biometric Technology to Become Mandatory for All Citizens in...

Timothy Alexander Guzman RINF Alternative News As war continues to ravage many parts of the Middle East, Orwellian technology continues to make its presence more apparent....

High-Tech Tyranny in the Gulf: Biometric Technology Mandatory for All Citizens in the UAE

As war continues to ravage many parts of the Middle East, Orwellian technology continues to make its presence more apparent. Israel uses biometric technology...

Rise of the TSA Robots At Airports

Jack Nicas Next to have their jobs automated: airport-security screeners? Aviation and government authorities are starting to use machines in lieu of people...

Obamacare Website Could Force Applicants To Break The Law

By Susan Duclos



Americans have until Dec. 23, 2013, pushed back until December 31 now, to purchase insurance that kicks in Jan. 1, 2014, but the website itself that the administration had three years to create, will be responsible for applicants not being insured by the date they are legally required to be or they face a fine (Page #25-26 of the Obamacare Navigator SOP Manual), due to the overwhelming amount of "glitches" to date that have had to be addressed and the continued technical issues.


From the moment Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act was first proposed it seemed like it was cursed and the curse continues to this very day. From the polling before it was passed to the most recent 50,000 - 60,000 paper applications that have not been processed, the stipulations written into the ACA law have not been met by the administration and due to the incompetence of the admin's rollout, applicants may not be able to meet the laws requirements either.


Quick Recap


Democrats, who at the time controlled both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, along with Barack Obama, passed and signed it into law against the majority opposition of the American public, shown consistently in poll after poll, before it was passed and signed into law, during the battle over it, and after it's passage. (Link to Real Clear Politics collection of polls on the healthcare law)




Then came the portions of the law that were deemed unsustainable, portions that some Democratic lawmakers admitted outright they never bothered to read before passing it, such as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, (Class Act) which was deemed unsustainable before it's passage, but took until October 2011 for the Obama administration to pull the plug on it and admit in a letter to Congress written by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time."


Then the federal insurance exchange program which assumed that all states would jump on board and provided money within the bill to help states set up the exchanges but never addressed nor set aside the funds for the federally run backup when only 17 states opted in and Obama administration officials were left scurrying to scrape together the money to fund them in the other 33 states. Officials called it an "oversight."


Both the employer mandate and the small business exchange were both arbitrarily postponed by the administration, despite the law having a legal start date.


The 1099 requirement was one aspect that supposedly made Obamacare "affordable" yet it was one of the first parts to be repealed, with total bipartisan support.


More problems plagued the law, even before the disasterous rollout, including the Child Only Plans, the PCIP, the Basic Health Plan and the Obamacare for Congressional staff, just to name a few others.


Then came the two big lies.... one voted the lie of the year, "if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it" and the other that the Individual Mandate was not a tax, which in the video below you will see Barack Obama vehemently assert..... before the Supreme Court said the only way it could survive the constitutional challenge was AS a tax.



Watch the video above before reading the Supreme Court ruling saying the Individual Mandate is a tax, HERE.


The Present:


Jump forward to the problems, the curse, that still plagues the Obamacare law, the rollout of the health care signup website, which the Obama administration had three years to create, test and perfect, yet crashed in the first week, with even media outlets like MSNBC, that were supportive of the law, major proponents, giving up on trying to show the public and actual signup, shown in the video below.





Then the Obama administration vowed to fix it and to investigate the "botched"  rollout.


Another major setback was undercover cameras were brought in to catch the Obamacare navigators encouraging applicants to lie about income and other things in the signup process, money from bank accounts 'accidentally" taken from people who could not afford it causing overdrafts of their accounts, the finding that even convicted felons could become navigators, which have access to confidential sensitive information of applicants, including back account numbers, Social Security numbers, biometrics, tax information, Date of Birth, etc...


The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report found, among other things:


Navigators from the Urban League of Dallas were captured on video encouraging applicants to lie on their health insurance application so the applicants could qualify for tax subsidies. 
Navigators were also recorded advising an applicant to lie about her smoking habits to obtain a lower monthly premium. It was later discovered that two of the so-called Navigators involved in the incident were assisting consumers with their applications even though they had not completed their training and certification requirements. 
One self-identified Navigator gave a television interview in which she told viewers blatantly incorrect information—that applicants’ credit scores could impact their eligibility for certain plans. It later came to light that the woman was not a certified Navigator but rather a volunteer with a Navigator organization. 
Mountain Project, Inc., a Navigator organization in North Carolina, has been collecting and mailing paper applications on behalf of applicants, in violation of Navigator rules and procedures.

Finally, we now see there is a backlog now being reported with 50,000 - 60,000 paper Obamacare applications sitting around unprocessed.




The question now is will the Obama administration actually fine the applicants that are not signed up by the date required by law when it was the incompetent rollout that was responsible?


More Airports Set to Install TSA ‘Detention Pods’

Devices that critics liken to cattle grids have biometric capabilities Paul Joseph WatsonInfowars.comDecember 6, 2013 A new Transportation Security Administration directive that mandates airports provide...

32 Privacy Destroying Technologies That Are Systematically Transforming America Into A Giant Prison

If you live in the United States, you live in a high tech surveillance grid that is becoming more oppressive with each passing day.  In America today, the control freaks that run things are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do.  If we continue on the path that [...]

TSA ‘Detention Pods’ Have Biometric, Object Detection Capabilities

Promo video shows user scanning fingerprint to leave containment area Paul Joseph Watson TSA ‘detention pods' currently being rolled out at major airports across the U.S....

World’s First Bitcoin ATM Processes $100k in Transactions in its First 8 Days

libertyblitzkrieg.comNovember 8, 2013 The logo of the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin. A little over a week ago, the world's first Bitcoin ATM was launched to much...

RINFORMATION

USA Topics 9/11 Agenda 21 Assassinations Banks Bush, George Jr Boston Bombings Bohemian Grove CIA Cointelpro Corruption DARPA Democrats Disinformation Congress Drones Eugenics FBI Federal Reserve Guantanamo HAARP ...

The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So -- to ensure total fulfillment...

EXPOSED: The iPhone and The Government Biometric Database

RINF Alternative News A recent video released by hacktivist group Anonymous presents compelling evidence which claims that Apple’s TouchID technology is linked to the FBI...

NSA deserves permanent shutdown

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So -- to ensure total fulfillment...

Disconnect the NSA

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So — to ensure total fulfillment...

Homeland Security Tests Facial Recognition “Machine”

On September 21, the Department of Homeland Security tested a new facial recognition system at the 6,000 seat Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington, during...

Letter to an Unknown Whistle-Blower

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/letter_to_an_unknown_whistleblower_20130919/ Posted on Sep 19, 2013 ...

Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower, How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create...

Dear Whistleblower, I don't know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere...

Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower, How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create...

Dear Whistleblower, I don't know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

The latest iPhone is an ode to biometrics, spying, and the Big Brother control grid. Anthony...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

The latest iPhone is an ode to biometrics, spying, and the Big Brother control grid. Anthony...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

The latest iPhone is an ode to biometrics, spying, and the Big Brother control grid. Anthony...

“Incompetent” Politicians to Blame for Deletion of DNA Evidence

Labour claims that thousands of DNA profiles from suspected rapists have been deleted due to the Home office’s inability to act.

Why I Choose to be Fat

July 25, 2013  | ...

Student Fighting RFID Chip Achieves Victory After Program Gets Nixed

Julie Wilson Infowars.com July 16, 2013 Andrea Hernandez, a student who refused to wear a Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) chip that...

Surveillance Blowback

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/surveillance_blowback_20130716/ Posted on Jul 16, 2013 By Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch...

New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The “StingRay” Cell Phone Spying Device

Blocked by a Supreme Court decision from using GPS tracking devices without a warrant, federal investigators and other law enforcement agencies are turning to...

Oklahoma Woman's Fight Against Real ID Moves Forward

Oklahoma woman Kaye Beach refused to renew her driver’s license several years ago as a means to protest forced biometric enrollment, a decision that...

The Coming National DNA Database

A national DNA database is coming. Barack Obama has already said that he wants one. A major Supreme Court decision last month paved the...

FBI sued over secretive facial recognition program

Soon the FBI will be done building a database containing the photographs, fingerprints and other biometric data for millions of Americans, but the agency...

Don’t Worry About Surveillance: In Britain, Everything’s Okay!

Global Research and Countercurrents 12/6/2013 and The 4th Media 21/6/2013

In the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’, a ‘war on terror’, fighting for ‘democratic freedoms’ or whatever the script happens to be this week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague can be relied on to sell US-British militarism to a public fed up with constant wars and (increasingly less) ignorant of their underlying reasons (1).    

In Syria, Hague has worked to try to replace Assad with a regime that could be controlled by the US and Israel. He has also campaigned for the EU to lift its arms embargo from the anti-Assad militants. Hague is a staunch supporter of Israel. His attitude towards Israel has been well documented: his dislike of the Syrian regime is backed up by a tangible strategy of aggression and destabilization, while mere lip service is paid to the protecting Palestinians or their treatment and plight (2). This is the same William Hague who declared that the intention was not regime change in Libya, but to protect civilians. The US and its allies, including Britain, helped instigate and fuel the war in Libya (3), and NATO bombs and western supported regime change have subsequently left over 100,000 Libyans dead, thousands more injured and much civilian infrastructure destroyed. 


During the Libyan conflict, 200 prominent African figures accused western nations of “subverting international law” in Libya. The UN had been misused to militarise policy, legalise military action and effect regime change, according to University of Johannesburg professor Chris Landsberg. He stated that it was unprecedented for the UN to have outsourced military action to NATO in this way and challenged the International Criminal Court to investigate NATO for “violating international law.” 


Rather than being held to account for the death and destruction in Libya, Hague has carried on where he left off with strong rhetoric directed towards Iran and a call for sanctions (4) and a concerted commitment to topple the Syrian government by force (5) (6) (7). For public consumption, this is all spuriously carried out under the banner of humanitarianism or in the name of global security.


As a client state of the US (mainstream British media often portray this as a ‘special relationship), Britain can be relied on to do Washington’s bidding. When Hague beats the drum over LibyaAfghanistanSyria or Iran, the drum is provided courtesy of Washington and Tel Aviv. Foreign Secretary Hague beats it on cue. 


It all begs the question, how much trust can we place in someone like Hague, especially when they try to reassure the British public that British intelligence services do not illegally snoop on the British population?  


Documents leaked by former US intelligence worker Edward Snowden suggest GCHQ, the British Government’s ‘listening post’ in CheltenhamEngland (equivalent to the US National Security Agency), may have had access to the US spy programme PRISM since at least June 2010.


Hague has told the British parliament that British spies have not used US surveillance programmes to get around laws restricting their ability to eavesdrop on the public in Britain. He has said that there is no indiscriminate trawling for information through the contents of people's communications and GCHQ operates within a strict legal framework.


Hague has stated: "It has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom… I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."

Every time GCHQ wants to intercept an individual's communications, Hague asserts that the agency must seek a warrant signed by him, the interior minister or another secretary of state. He asserts that every decision is based on extensive legal and policy advice and warrants are legally required to be necessary, proportionate and carefully targeted.


The UK's 2001 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) permits international agreements that allow "mutual assistance in connection with, or in the form of, interception of communication," providing the foreign secretary has given his authority. It also allows for the interception of the content of both domestic communications and communications between the UK and elsewhere, provided a warrant has been signed, usually by a minister.


The 1994 Intelligence Services Act gives senior ministers the power to "disapply" UK law when granting written permission. This legislation ensures that no UK intelligence agency or officer is likely to be sued or prosecuted in Britain as a result of any mass surveillance operation.


In the US, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gives US intelligence agencies wide-ranging powers to conduct surveillance of data that is held by or passes through the US: it provides for the gathering of information that may not only protect the US against hostile acts but which "is necessary to … the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.”


The US government can therefore basically do what it deems necessary to maintain its global hegemony. It has access to huge amounts of global data thanks to the numerous sophisticated ‘listening posts’ the US has on foreign soil. The NSA's largest eavesdropping centre outside the US is based in North Yorkshire. It is a satellite receiving station that monitors foreign military traffic, but can also access Britain's telecommunications network. The US military refer to the ‘golf ball’ encased satellite systems there as helping to secure full spectrum dominance of land, sea, air, space and information. Writer Garbrielle Pickard believes its presence entails the US having full spectrum control over the UK (8).


Given that the US thus has access to so much data beyond its national borders, it is easy to see just why the issue of the British government circumventing British law to access information held by the US on British citizens is of vital concern to the public. Even more so given Hague argues that the growing and diffuse nature of threats from terrorists, criminals or espionage has only increased the importance of Britain’s intelligence relationship with the United States.


In a more general sense, the underlying message being put forward by officialdom is that ‘no one has anything to fear as long as you are not terrorists or some other threat to national interest.’ In an age of perceived terror threats and subsequent clampdowns on civil liberties as a result of the illegal wars and covert and overt interventions abroad that politicians like Hague attempt to justify on fallacious grounds, just who does that rule out? The ‘terror threat’ and vague notions of the ‘national interest’ are highly convenient reasons for including anyone or everyone in the surveillance net.


What about Muslims, dissidents, civil-liberties types, ‘trouble-makers’, environmental campaigners, 'occupy' individuals, ‘lefties’, trade unionists, human rights activists or particular writers, bloggers and journalists? Surveillance and the infiltration of groups deemed ‘subversive’ (but working well within the law and an integral part of plural democracy) have been carried out by the intelligence services for many decades (9). In pointing out some of these types of activities, Annie Machon in The Guardian notes that real democracies don’t infiltrate legitimate protest groups. But, as she notes, in Britain they do (10).


A key element here is that of trust. Do we trust what politicians like Hague say or do? Do we trust our governments? Should we trust Google, Facebook and any other company that stores our personal details (11)?


NSA whitleblower Edward Snowden apparently thinks we should not. He wanted to expose the “omniscient state powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.” Dennis Mitchell, a senior GCHQ officer, who retired in 1984 in protest at the Thatcher government's ban on trade unions there, referred to "actions which I believe would be considered unacceptable by the general public were it aware of them". He described GCHQ as a powerful, unaccountable arm of government. According to him, the only real watchdog at that time was the workforce, not the law.



Perhaps Snowden or Mitchell might agree to some extent with Michael Foucault’s premise that society now resembles a bright modern prison. Foucault warned that the bright visibility is a trap (12). Increasing visibility (on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc) leads to power being located on an individualised level throughout a person's entire life. Foucault suggested that a ‘carceral continuum’ runs through modern society, from the maximum security prison, through secure accommodation, probation, social workers, police and teachers, to our everyday working and domestic lives. In this digital age, now more than ever before.


Under the guise of fighting the so-called ‘war on terror’, combating weapons proliferation and gathering economic intelligence, institutions such as GCHQ and the NSA are, in reality, operating a highly intrusive Big Brother Police State Surveillance Empire that is being used to specifically monitor the activities of genuine political opposition and dissent, as well as undermine the privacy, freedom and constitutional civil liberties of targeted peoples and nations throughout the world… Identification technologies such as video surveillance, biometrics and national ID cards will undoubtedly find their way into the sprawling informational GCHQ/NSA vortex, eventually rendering all personal, communal, commercial, economic, and political control to the State - a system of absolute tyranny that can only be labeled as ‘global slavery’.” Steve Jones (13).


Notes





Anglo-American Militarism: Don’t Worry About Surveillence, In Britain, Everything’s Okay

In the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’, a ‘war on terror’, fighting for ‘democratic freedoms’ or whatever the script happens to be this week, British...

Anglo-American Militarism: Don’t Worry About Surveillence, In Britain, Everything’s Okay

In the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’, a ‘war on terror’, fighting for ‘democratic freedoms’ or whatever the script happens to be this week, British...

The Inauguration of Police State USA. Towards a Democratic Dictatorship?

Author’s Note The following article first published in January of 2012 focuses on an important piece of legislation (National Defense Authorization Act “NDAA (HR 1540)....

A Password So Secret, You Don’t Consciously Know It

Rachel MetzTechnology ReviewJune 6, 2013 Some efforts to replace traditional letter-and-number passwords rely on gestures, wearable...

The “Cloudy” Skies Corporations Want to Sell You

It’s the nature of the shallow, consumer-driven, dream-drunken culture our society tries to impose on us that we popularly adopt terms without knowing what...

Smartphones To Collect Biometric Data

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $3 million research contract to technology firm AOptix to turn smartphones into devices that collect biometric data.

“Smart Cards” in a Surveillance Society: The Implanted Radio-Frequency Identification Chip

The Implanted Radio-Frequency Identification Chip: "Smart Cards" in a Surveillance Society

If incorporating personal details into an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip implanted into a passport or driver’s license may sound like a “smart” alternative to endless lines at the airport and intrusive questioning by securocrats, think again.

Since the late 1990s, corporate grifters have touted the “benefits” of the devilish transmitters as a “convenient” and “cheap” way to tag individual commodities, one that would “revolutionize” inventory management and theft prevention. Indeed, everything from paper towels to shoes, pets to underwear have been “tagged” with the chips. “Savings” would be “passed on” to the consumer. Call it the Wal-Martization of everyday life.

RFID tags are small computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be fixed to or implanted within physical objects, including human beings. The RFID chip itself contains an Electronic Product Code that can be “read” when a RFID reader emits a radio signal. The chips are divided into two categories, passive or active. A “passive” tag doesn’t contain a battery and its “read” range is variable, from less than an inch to twenty or thirty feet. An “active” tag on the other hand, is self-powered and has a much longer range. The data from an “active” tag can be sent directly to a computer system involved in inventory control–or surveillance.

But as Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) state in a joint position paper, “RFID has the potential to jeopardize consumer privacy, reduce or eliminate purchasing anonymity, and threaten civil liberties.” As these organizations noted:

While there are beneficial uses of RFID, some attributes of the technology could be deployed in ways that threaten privacy and civil liberties:

* Hidden placement of tags. RFID tags can be embedded into/onto objects and documents without the knowledge of the individual who obtains those items. As radio waves travel easily and silently through fabric, plastic, and other materials, it is possible to read RFID tags sewn into clothing or affixed to objects contained in purses, shopping bags, suitcases, and more.

* Unique identifiers for all objects worldwide. The Electronic Product Code potentially enables every object on earth to have its own unique ID. The use of unique ID numbers could lead to the creation of a global item registration system in which every physical object is identified and linked to its purchaser or owner at the point of sale or transfer.

* Massive data aggregation. RFID deployment requires the creation of massive databases containing unique tag data. These records could be linked with personal identifying data, especially as computer memory and processing capacities expand.

* Hidden readers. Tags can be read from a distance, not restricted to line of sight, by readers that can be incorporated invisibly into nearly any environment where human beings or items congregate. RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded into floor tiles, woven into carpeting and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into retail shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for a consumer to know when or if he or she was being “scanned.”

* Individual tracking and profiling. If personal identity were linked with unique RFID tag numbers, individuals could be profiled and tracked without their knowledge or consent. For example, a tag embedded in a shoe could serve as a de facto identifier for the person wearing it. Even if item-level information remains generic, identifying items people wear or carry could associate them with, for example, particular events like political rallies. (“Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products,” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, November 14, 2003)

RFID under the skin

As the corporatist police state unfurls its murderous tentacles here in the United States, it should come as no surprise that securocrats breathlessly tout the “benefits” of RFID in the area of “homeland security.” When linked to massive commercial databases as well as those compiled by the 16 separate agencies of the “intelligence community,” such as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) that feeds the federal government’s surveillance Leviathan with the names of suspected “terrorists,” it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that the architecture for a vast totalitarian enterprise is off the drawing board and onto the streets.

As last week’s mass repression of peaceful protest at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul amply demonstrated, the Bush regime’s “preemptive war” strategy has been rolled out in the heimat. As the World Socialist Web Site reports,

On Wednesday eight members of the anarchist protest group the Republican National Convention Welcoming Committee (RNCWC) were charged under provisions of the Minnesota state version of the Patriot Act with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism.”

The eight charged are all young, and could face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison under a provision that allows the enhancement of charges related to terrorism by 50 percent. …

Among other things, the youth, who were arrested last weekend even prior to the start of the convention, are charged with plotting to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers and attack airports. Almost all of the charges listed are based upon the testimony of police infiltrators, one an officer, the other a paid informant. (Tom Eley, “RNC in Twin Cities: Eight protesters charged with terrorism under Patriot Act,” World Socialist Web Site, 6 September 2008)

As the ACLU pointed out, “These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the defendants on trial,” said Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience,” he said.

An affidavit filed by the cops in order to allow the preemptive police raid and subsequent arrests declared that the RNCWC is a “criminal enterprise” strongly implying that the group of anarchist youth were members of a “terrorist organization.”

Which, as we have learned over these last seven and a half years of darkness, is precisely the point: keep ‘em scared and passive. And when they’re neither scared nor passive, resort to police state tactics of mass repression. While the cops beat and arrested demonstrators and journalists outside the Xcel Energy Center, neanderthal-like Republican mobs chanted “USA! USA!” while the execrable theocratic fascist, Sarah Palin, basked in the limelight. But I digress…

Likened to barcodes that scan items at the grocery store check-out line, what industry flacks such as the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) fail to mention in their propaganda about RFID is that the information stored on a passport or driver’s license is readily stolen by anyone with a reader device–marketers, security agents, criminals or stalkers–without the card holder even being remotely aware that they are being tracked and their allegedly “secure” information plundered. According to a blurb on the AIM website,

Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) technologies are a diverse family of technologies that share the common purpose of identifying, tracking, recording, storing and communicating essential business, personal, or product data. In most cases, AIM technologies serve as the front end of enterprise software systems, providing fast and accurate collection and entry of data. (“Technologies,” Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility, no date)

Among the “diverse family of technologies” touted by AIM, many are rife with “dual-use” potential, that is, the same technology that can keep track of a pallet of soft drinks can also keep track of human beings.

Indeed, the Association touts biometric identification as “an automated method of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic.” This is especially important since “the need” for biometrics “can be found in federal, state and local governments, in the military, and in commercial applications.” When used as a stand-alone or in conjunction with RFID-chipped “smart cards” biometrics, according to the industry “are set to pervade nearly all aspects of the economy and our daily lives.”

Some “revolution.”

The industry received a powerful incentive from the state when the Government Services Administration (GSA), a Bushist satrapy, issued a 2004 memo that urged the heads of all federal agencies “to consider action that can be taken to advance the [RFID] industry.”

An example of capitalist “ingenuity” or another insidious invasion of our right to privacy? In 2006, IBM obtained a patent that will be used for tracking and profiling consumers as they move around a store, even if access to commercial databases are strictly limited.

And when it comes tracking and profiling human beings, say for mass extermination at the behest of crazed Nazi ideologues, IBM stands alone. In his groundbreaking 2001 exploration of the enabling technologies for the mass murder of Jews, communists, Roma and gays and lesbians, investigative journalist Edwin Black described in IBM and the Holocaust how, beginning in 1933, IBM and their subsidiaries created technological “solutions” that streamlined the identification of “undesirables” for quick and efficient asset confiscation, deportation, slave labor and eventual annihilation.

In an eerie echo of polices being enacted today against Muslims and left-wing “extremists” by the corrupt Bush regime in their quixotic quest to “keep America safe” in furtherance of capitalist and imperialist goals of global domination, Black writes:

In the upside-down world of the Holocaust, dignified professionals were Hitler’s advance troops. Police officials disregarded their duty in favor of protecting villains and persecuting victims. Lawyers perverted concepts of justice to create anti-Jewish laws. Doctors defiled the art of medicine to perpetrate ghastly experiments and even choose who was healthy enough to be worked to death–and who could be cost-effectively sent to the gas chamber. Scientists and engineers debased their higher calling to devise the instruments and rationales of destruction. And statisticians used their little known but powerful discipline to identify the victims, project and rationalize the benefits of their destruction, organize their persecution, and even audit the efficiency of genocide. Enter IBM and its overseas subsidiaries. (IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, New York: Crown Publishers, 2001, pp. 7-8)

As security and privacy analyst Katherine Albrecht writes describing IBM’s patented “Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-Tagged Items in Store Environments,”

…chillingly details RFID’s potential for surveillance in a world where networked RFID readers called “person tracking units” would be incorporated virtually everywhere people go–in “shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, [and] museums”–to closely monitor people’s movements. (“How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People,” Scientific American, August 21, 2008)

According to the patent cited by Albrecht, as an individual moves around a store, or a city center, an “RFID tag scanner located [in the desired tracking location]… scans the RFID tags on [a] person…. As that person moves around the store, different RFID tag scanners located throughout the store can pick up radio signals from the RFID tags carried on that person and the movement of that person is tracked based on these detections…. The person tracking unit may keep records of different locations where the person has visited, as well as the visitation times.”

Even if no personal data are stored in the RFID tag, this doesn’t present a problem IBM explains, because “the personal information will be obtained when the person uses his or her credit card, bank card, shopper card or the like.” As Albrecht avers, the link between the unique RFID number and a person’s identity “needs to be made only once for the card to serve as a proxy for the person thereafter.” With the wholesale introduction of RFID chipped passports and driver’s licenses, the capitalist panoptic state is quickly–and quietly–falling into place.

If America’s main trading partner and sometime geopolitical rival in the looting of world resources, China, is any indication of the direction near future surveillance technologies are being driven by the “miracle of the market,” the curtain on privacy and individual rights is rapidly drawing to a close. Albrecht writes,

China’s national ID cards, for instance, are encoded with what most people would consider a shocking amount of personal information, including health and reproductive history, employment status, religion, ethnicity and even the name and phone number of each cardholder’s landlord. More ominous still, the cards are part of a larger project to blanket Chinese cities with state-of-the-art surveillance technologies. Michael Lin, a vice president for China Public Security Technology, a private company providing the RFID cards for the program, unflinchingly described them to the New York Times as “a way for the government to control the population in the future.” And even if other governments do not take advantage of the surveillance potential inherent in the new ID cards, ample evidence suggests that data-hungry corporations will.

I would disagree with Albrecht on one salient point: governments, particularly the crazed, corporate-controlled grifters holding down the fort in Washington, most certainly will take advantage of RFID’s surveillance potential.

In 2005 for example, the Senate Republican High Tech Task force praised RFID applications as “exciting new technologies” with “tremendous promise for our economy.” In this spirit, they vowed to “protect” RFID from regulation and legislation. Needless to say, the track record of timid Democrats is hardly any better when it comes to defending privacy rights or something as “quaint” as the Constitution.

Under conditions of a looming economic meltdown, rising unemployment, staggering debt, the collapse of financial markets and continuing wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism, in order to shore up its crumbling empire, will continue to import totalitarian methods of rule employed in its “global war on terror” onto the home front.

The introduction of RFID-chipped passports and driver’s licenses for the mass surveillance and political repression of the American people arises within this context.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

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