Hey, this wasn’t in that The Social Media movie…
Facebook partners with Atlantic Council to improve election security
ALI BRELAND – 05/17/18
Facebook announced on Thursday that it is launching a partnership with the Atlantic Council to boost its global election security efforts.
Experts from the international think tank’s Digital Forensic Research Lab will help provide Facebook “real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world.”
Facebook said it will also use the Atlantic Council’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions during elections and other “highly sensitive moments,” according to a post written by Facebook’s global politics and government outreach director, Katie Harbath.
The social media company will also consult with the Atlantic Council to address other political security issues that could arise on its platform.
The partnership comes as a part of Facebook’s efforts to beef up election security on its platforms following some groups attempting to use it as a tool to interfere in other countries’ elections.
The company has fielded heavy criticism from politicians over how Russian trolls spread misinformation and attempted to sow discord during the 2016 presidential race. Foreign groups attempted similar operations in other countries’ elections as well.
Though the most firey criticism directed at Facebook over the issue of election security has come from the U.S., the company said that it is focused on making sure its platform can’t be manipulated by nefarious groups abroad as well.
People are like, “But I saw The Social Network movie, and it didn’t mention that DARPA and the CIA were involved.”
I’m like, “You don’t really understand how propaganda works, do you?”
Then, everyone who is on the left is like Breitbart!!! They’re lying!!!
Breitbart is very tied to the right side of the right/left paradigm, but if you don’t follow the links and read it, how would you know if Breitbart is really lying, or if they’re another source that’s called racist and “fake news” just because they’re reporting against billionaire’s globalist / collectivist agenda.
Facebook Has DOZENS Of Former Obama And Hillary Staffers In Senior Positions
If you’ve ever wondered if the censorship of conservatives and libertarians will ever end, here’s more evidence that it could be just the beginning. Investigative journalists uncovered the ugly truth that Facebook employees, at senior levels, dozens of former Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton staffers.
Mark Zuckerberg notably failed to mention the recent revelations about the Obama 2012 campaign’s exploitation of the platform’s weak pre-2014 data protections toharvest masses of data from non-consenting users. But when looking deeper at the number of former Obama staffers and former Hillary staffers in senior positions at the social media giant, it becomes a lot easier to see the “why” behind the obvious and glaring question.
It isn’t a secret that Facebook has been censoring anyone with a non-left political ideology. Even Diamond and Silk have had a run-in with censorship.
And adding to the free speech violations, the establishment media narrative on the Facebook data scandal hit a decent sized snag last month. The talking heads had hoped that the story would be restricted to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that they linked to the Cruz and Trump campaigns, and their alleged misuse of user data. But a bigger story soon emerged, linked to a longtime media favorite: Barack Obama. But this story was widely dismissed by the propaganda puppets.
By the admission of Barack Obama’s former media analytics director, Carol Davidsen, the former president hoovered up far more data without users’ consent in 2012, when Facebook’s data policies were (as Facebook now concedes) far more vulnerable to exploitation than they were in 2016.
Mark Zuckerberg admits that, prior to its strengthening of user protections in 2014, Facebook made a critical error in allowing third-party apps to harvest data not just from users who gave them consent, but from their non-consenting friends. What he didn’t mention was the digital campaigning tools developed by Obama for America were among the apps that took advantage of this loophole. –Breitbart
They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.
— Carol Davidsen (@cld276) March 19, 2018
Davidsen also clearly admitted on Twitter that representatives from Facebook visited Obama’s campaign team. Facebook told them they were allowed to get away with it because “they were on their side.”
In total, Breitbart was able to find 45 employees who had previously worked or volunteered with the Hillary campaigns, the Obama campaigns, or the Obama White House and are now employed by Facebook, Facebook-owned companies, or the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. This does not include Facebook employees who do not have Linkedin accounts or neglected to mention past experience on their profiles.
By comparison, Breitbart’s search for former Romney staffers or campaign volunteers who currently work at Facebook returned just seven profiles. A search for McCain staffers returned one profile, who also appeared on the Romney list. A search for staffers from the George W. Bush administration or presidential campaigns returned three profiles while a search for former Trump staffers returned zero profiles.
Facebook has also denied Carol Davidsen’s claim that the company gave the Obama campaign any special favors in 2012. A Facebook spokeswoman said, “both the Obama and Romney campaigns had access to the same tools, and no campaign received any special treatment from Facebook.”
Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 1,800 people
Date: April 11th, 2018
The agreement is there every time we sign up for another service. You don’t own your data on these platforms.
Well, These New Zuckerberg IMs Won’t Help Facebook’s Privacy Problems
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy.
An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won’t help put these concerns to rest.
According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Could Mark have been completely joking? Sure. But the exchange does reveal that Facebook’s aggressive attitude toward privacy may have begun early on.
Facebook Says ‘Insignificant’ Overlap Between Russia Ads, Trump
Facebook Inc. told a Senate panel that it has detected “only what appears to be insignificant overlap” between targeting of ads and content promoted by a pro-Kremlin Russia group and by the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
The social-media company said it “does not believe it is in a position to substantiate or disprove allegations of possible collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign, as part of a written response to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee released Thursday evening by the panel. Facebook didn’t go into further detail, saying it was willing to schedule a meeting with Senate staff to discuss the matter.
The remarks go beyond what the company told Congress during public hearings on Nov. 1 as part of probes into Russian election meddling. At that time, Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said, “We have not seen overlap in the targeting — that was relatively rudimentary — used in the advertising that was disclosed, and any other advertiser on the site, including the Trump campaign.”
Facebook said it has no evidence that the Russian Internet Research Agency, which disseminated fake news and ads, targeted its efforts based on U.S. voter registration data.
Their targeting was “relatively rudimentary, targeting broad locations and interests,” the company said. Any revenue that Facebook made from ads run by the IRA was “immaterial,” it added, noting that it was contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Defending Digital Democracy Project.
Facebook also said that the IRA organized 129 real-world events, viewed by approximately 338,300 people, with 62,500 people saying they were planning to attend. Facebook said that in some cases, its algorithm did automatically recommend that people view, follow or join Russian-linked pages, because the company wasn’t aware that they were not legitimate.
Twitter and Google didn’t address the possibility of overlap between the Russian-backed IRA and the Trump campaign in their latest answers.
But Twitter did say it wasn’t aware of “any specific state-sponsored attempts to interfere in any American elections in 2017, including the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections.”
Twitter Busts ‘Russians-Did-It’ Narrative: Finds No Evidence Of Meddling In UK Brexit Vote
Just days after Twitter took it upon themselves to remind the public that the Russians were responsible for President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory, a statement provided by Twitter’s head of public policy to the UK Parliament appears to be saying the exact opposite about suspected Russian interference in the Brexit vote.
Rather than insinuating that pro-leave twitter users were duped by Russian agents, the company’s head of public policy told Parliamentary investigators that it was unable to confirm links to Russian sources for thousands of “bots” that are part of the parliamentary investigation. Overall, Twitter examined 13,000 Brexit bots and found that only 1% could be conclusively linked to Russia, and that most of these bots have already been suspended.
Couple of new things on UK parliament's investigation into fake news/Russia/Brexit:
– Google, Facebook and Twitter to give live evidence in US on Feb 8.
– New letter from Twitter on 13,000 Bexit bots. 1% were Russian; most suspended now but no number for still existing pic.twitter.com/MXDcXfUYjd
— Matt Burgess (@mattburgess1) January 25, 2018
In its statement, Twitter said its findings echoed the results of a study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute. Researchers from the institute concluded that there was little evidence linking Russia to the Brexit vote.
Finally, it appears the company has conclusively determined: The UK’s disruptive decision to leave the European Union was not the work of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Read the full OII report:
Just days after GreatGameIndia exposed how American and Japanese companies could be hacking Indian elections, a recent Bloomberg report has revealed how a secret unit of Facebook has helped create troll armies for governments around the world including India for digital propaganda to influence elections. Under fire for Facebook Inc.’s role as a platform for political propaganda, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has punched back, saying his mission is above partisanship.
But Facebook, it turns out, is no bystander in global politics. What he hasn’t said is that his company actively works with political parties and leaders including those who use the platform to stifle opposition—sometimes with the aid of “troll armies” that spread misinformation and extremist ideologies.
The initiative is run by a little-known Facebook global government and politics team led from Washington by Katie Harbath, a former Republican digital strategist who worked on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign as well as 2014 Indian elections.
Since Facebook hired Harbath to run their secret global goverment and politics unit three years later, her team has traveled the globe (including India helping political clients use the company’s powerful digital tools to create troll armies for digital propaganda.
In India (many other countries as well) the unit’s employees have become de facto campaign workers. And once a candidate is elected, the company in some instances goes on to train government employees or provide technical assistance for live streams at official state events.
In the U.S., the unit embedded employees in Trump’s campaign. In India, the company helped develop the online presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who now has more Facebook followers than any other world leader.
At meetings with political campaigns, members of Harbath’s team sit alongside Facebook advertising sales staff who help monetize the often viral attention stirred up by elections and politics. They train politicians and leaders how to set up a campaign page and get it authenticated with a blue verification check mark, how to best use video to engage viewers and how to target ads to critical voting blocs. Once those candidates are elected, their relationship with Facebook can help extend the company’s reach into government in meaningful ways, such as being well positioned to push against regulations.
That problem is exacerbated when Facebook’s engine of democracy is deployed in an undemocratic fashion. A November report by Freedom House, a U.S.-based nonprofit that advocates for political and human rights, found that a growing number of countries are “manipulating social media to undermine democracy.” One aspect of that involves “patriotic trolling,” or the use of government-backed harassment and propaganda meant to control the narrative, silence dissidents and consolidate power.
In 2007, Facebook opened its first office in Washington. The presidential election the following year saw the rise of the world’s first “Facebook President” in Barack Obama, who with the platform’s help was able to reach millions of voters in the weeks before the election. The number of Facebook users surged around the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East around 2010 and 2011, demonstrating the broad power of the platform to influence democracy.
I am writing a letter soon to PM detailing how compulsory Aadhar is a threat to our national security. SC will I am sure strike it down.
How CIA Spies Access India’s Biometric Aadhaar Database | GGI News
Read UIDAI and Cross Match’s reply to this story and our response to them here Foreign Firms Given Access To Your Unencrypted Aadhaar Data. Our international readers can read this story in French…
Facebook has embedded itself in some of the globe’s most controversial political movements while resisting transparency. Since 2011, it has asked the U.S. Federal Election Commission for blanket exemptions from political advertising disclosure rules that could have helped it avoid the current crisis over Russian ad spending ahead of the 2016 election.
The company’s relationship with governments remains complicated. Facebook has come under fire in the European Union, including for the spread of Islamic extremism on its network. The company just issued its annual transparency report explaining that it will only provide user data to governments if that request is legally sufficient, and will push back in court if it’s not.
Facebook Troll Armies In India
India is arguably Facebook’s most important market recently edging out the U.S. as the company’s biggest. The number of users here is growing twice as fast as in the U.S. And that doesn’t even count the 200 million people who use the company’s WhatsApp messaging service in India, more than anywhere else on the globe.
By the time of India’s 2014 elections, Facebook had for months been working with several campaigns. Modi relied heavily on Facebook and WhatsApp to recruit volunteers who in turn spread his message on social media. Since his election, Modi’s Facebook followers have risen to 43 million, almost twice Trump’s count.
Within weeks of Modi’s election, Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg both visited India as it was rolling out a critical free internet service that was later curbed due to massive protests. Harbath and her team have also traveled here, offering a series of workshops and sessions that have trained more than 6,000 government officials.
As Modi’s social media reach grew, his followers increasingly turned to Facebook and WhatsApp to target harassment campaigns against his political rivals. India has become a hotbed for fake news, with one hoax story this year that circulated on WhatsApp leading to mob beatings resulting in several deaths. The nation has also become an increasingly dangerous place for opposition parties and reporters.
Shouldn’t SPG have tightened PM’s security when #seaplane he flew in came from Pakistan whose ownership details are mysteriously tied to Bank Trust involved in registering aircrafts for anonymous clients via shell companies one of whom is Russian oligarch? http://gginews.in/seaplane-shared-sovereignty/ …
Seaplane Of Shared Sovereignty | GGI News
इस लेख को हिंदी में पढ़ें – जलविमान में “सहभाजीत संप्रभुता” की सवारी Unrolled thread from @GreatGameIndia #seaplane #HomiBhabha #NewNormal #ParadisePapers
What is interesting is that Mark Zukerberg himself wants to be the President of US and has already employed in succession David Plouffe (campaign adviser to Barack Obama in 2008) and then Ken Mehlman (George Bush Jr.’s campaign adviser in 2004). He is currently employing Amy Dudley (Senator Tim Kaine’s former advisor), Ben LaBolt (Barack Obama’s former press adviser) and Joel Benenson (Hillary Clinton’s former campaign adviser in 2016).
Facebook’s Emotion Manipulation
A 2014 study titled “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” manipulated the balance of positive and negative messages seen by 689,000 Facebook users. The paper details the experiment running from January 11 to 18, 2012, in an attempt to identify emotional contagion effects by altering the amount of emotional content in the targeted users’ news feed. The researchers concluded that they had found “some of the first experimental evidence to support the controversial claims that emotions can spread throughout a network, [though] the effect sizes from the manipulations are small”.
The study was criticized for both its ethics and methods/claims. As controversy about the study grew, Adam Kramer, a lead author of both studies and member of the Facebook data team, defended the work in a Facebook update. A few days later, Sheryl Sandburg, Facebook’s COO, made a statement while travelling to India. While at an Indian Chambers of Commerce event in New Delhi she stated that: “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was. It was poorly communicated and for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you.”
So what was this new revolutionary product for which Facebook was conducting psychological experiments on emotion manipulation of its users? These revolutionary products are called digital propaganda Troll Armies that spread Fake News like wildfire assisting its clients during elections.
Shortly thereafter, on July 3, 2014, USA Today reported that the privacy watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) had filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade claiming that Facebook had broken the law when it conducted the study on the emotions of its users without their knowledge or consent. In its complaint the EPIC alleged that Facebook had deceived it users by secretly conducting a psychological experiment on their emotions: “At the time of the experiment, Facebook did not state in the Data Use Policy that user data would be used for research purposes. Facebook also failed to inform users that their personal information would be shared with researchers.” Most of the guinea pigs for these emotion manipulation experiments were Indians.
Most of us don’t give much thought to what we post on social media, and a lot of what we see on social media is pretty innocuous. However, it only seems that way at first glance. The truth is that what we post online has a frightening potential. According to recent research from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington, the things we post on social media could be utilized by software to predict future events – maybe even the next Prime Minister of India.
In a paper that’s just been published on Arxiv, the team of researchers found that social media can be used to “detect and predict offline events”. Twitter analysis can accurately predict civil unrest, for instance, because people use certain hashtags to discuss issues online before their anger bubbles over into the real world.
The most famous example of this came during the Arab Spring, when clear signs of the impending protests and unrest were found on social networks days before people took to the streets.
The reverse of this is also true. Meaning that anger can also be manufactured on social media & once it reaches an optimum level be targeted on to real life events on the streets as we have been witnessing since atleast a couple of years in India with cases of mob lynchings and such.
How India’s Fake News Ecosystem Work
In India a massive fake news industry has sprung up exercising influence over traditional discourse of politics and has a potential in becoming a security challenge like the Arab Spring if not kept in check. As the debate over mob lynching in India is raging it should be understood that such incidents would not have had such a rapid and massive effect if the youth had not had access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media that allowed the fake news industry to organise and share made-up videos and information. The mob lynching since the past years are a direct result of the fake news industry spilling over from social media to the real world.
This takes a totally new dimension now that it has been revealed that Facebook & WhatsApp itself colluded with the establishment in creating such “troll arimes” for digital propaganda, resulting directly into violence on Indian soil. This is a clear textbook case of terrorism. Terrorism is defined as ‘the systematic use of terror or violence by any individual or group to achieve political goals’. In this case this terrorism is perpetrated by a foreign company Facebook on Indian soil using digital information warfare. What more are we waiting for to respond to such an act?
Fake News was used very effectively during US Presidential elections. It was part of the official campaign itself run in collaboration with tech companies and it is also being alleged that even the Russians also ran their own network. The same method was used to shape the Brexit debate as well. As we write this the fake news industry is spreading its tentacles in India as well. Many of India’s leading sportsmen, celebrities, economists, politicians have already fallen victim to this by disseminating such fake content. This is a dangerous trend and should be kept in check by our intelligence agencies to avert future disaster.
The way it works in short is like this. Numerous websites and portals of varying degree of legitimacy and funding are floated. Specific news contents are generated for different groups based on their region, ideology, age, religion etc. which is mixed with a heavy dose of soft porn to slowly blend in with their objective. These fake contents are than peddled in social media and specific groups targeted via analytics tools developed by tech companies. As a lot of such fake content is generated slowly it starts getting a momentum of itself and somewhere down the line it is picked up by any unsuspected person of influence – celebrities, politicians and even journalists themselves. What happens after this point is sheer madness.
Whether by choice or by ignorance even the mainstream media starts peddling this nonsense, dedicating their entire primetime news shows in analyzing the fake news, who said what and why and blah blah… instead of identifying where the fake content was generated in the first place and getting it shut. Due to the nature and sensationalism of the generated content and also because its echoed by persons of influence with time this fake worldview has the potential to spill over in the real world with physical casualties, as we have seen in so many lynching cases. If not kept in check it could capture and take over the entire national discourse. We will reach a point where it will be very difficult to keep track of what is fact or fiction and the entire society would be radicalized into different opposing camps all based on lies.
Facebook & Indian Elections
Around the time of the Indian election in May 2014 a serious-headlined story began spreading which asked “Did Google affect the outcome of the Indian election?” Beneath the headline was an iceberg – If Facebook can tweak our emotions and make us vote, what else can it do?
Surprisingly, the Election Commission of India itself has partnered with Facebook for voter registration during election process. Dr.Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, said “I am pleased to announce that the Election Commission of India is going to launch a ‘Special Drive to enrol left out electors, with a particular focus on first time electors. This is a step towards fulfilment of the motto of ECI that ‘NO VOTER TO BE LEFT BEHIND’. As part of this campaign, Facebook will run a voter registration reminder in multiple Indian languages to all the Facebook users in India. I urge all eligible citizens to enrol and VOTE i.e. Recognize your Right and Perform your Duty. I am sure Facebook will strengthen Election Commission of India’s enrolment campaign and encourage future voters to participate in the Electoral Process and become responsible Citizens of India.”
Why did EC shared secret #EVMs code with foreign manufacturers Microchip & Renesas to have it fused onto microprocessors. BEL & ECIL could have done it in their own premises in a secure manner. Why did they do this in a foreign country USA/Japan? Threadhttp://gginews.in/hack-indian-evms-electronic-voting-machines-dummies/ …
Are Indian Elections Hacked By Foreign Companies?
Just days after we reported this story on how American and Japanese companies could be hacking Indian elections, it has been revealed how a secret unit of Facebook has helped create troll armies for…
Committees after committees are being setup, senate hearings are being convened to reach to the bottom of this and new Units are being created to effectively counter this threat to their society. While Facebook is being investigated for meddling in US Presidential elections not much focus has been given to how Facebook’s secret unit has influenced elections in India. In light of these revelations Facebook’s interference in India’s elections should be thoroughly investigated. Ofcourse in order to do so first the Govt should have to acknowledge the existence of this fake news industry in order to take action against it.
Along with Facebook, American Microchip Inc and Japanese Renesas contracted by Election Commission for fusing secret EVM code should also be investigated for interfering in India’s elections and all those who colluded with them. It will be a grave mistake to take this threat of foreign companies interfering in India’s elections lightly.
Just in time for Christmas, the Deep State wants to give America the gift that keeps on giving: never-ending mass surveillance.
I’m not referring to the kind of surveillance carried out by that all-knowing and all-seeing Jolly Old St. Nick and his informant the Elf on the Shelf (although, to be fair, they have helped to acclimate us to a world in which we’re always being watched and judged by higher authorities).
No, this particular bit of Yuletide gift-giving comes courtesy of the Deep State (a.k.a. the Surveillance State, Police State, Shadow Government and black-ops spy agencies).
If this power-hungry cabal gets its way, the government’s power to spy on its citizens will soon be all-encompassing and permanent.
As it now stands, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—the legal basis for two of the National Security Agency’s largest mass surveillance programs, “PRISM” and “Upstream”—is set to expire at the end of 2017.
“PRISM” lets the NSA access emails, video chats, instant messages, and other content sent via Facebook, Google, Apple and others. “Upstream” lets the NSA worm its way into the internet backbone—the cables and switches owned by private corporations like AT&T that make the internet into a global network—and scan traffic for the communications of tens of thousands of individuals labeled “targets.”
Section 702 has been used as an end-run around the Constitution to allow the government to collect the actual content of Americans’ emails, phone calls, text messages and other electronic communication without a warrant.
Under Section 702, the government collects and analyzes over 250 million internet communications every year. There are estimates that at least half of these contain information about U.S. residents, many of whom have done nothing wrong. This information is then shared with law enforcement and “routinely used for purposes unrelated to national security.”
Mind you, Section 702 gives the government access to the very content of your conversations (phone calls, text messages, video chats), your photographs, your emails.
So beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.
For all intents and purposes, we now have a fourth branch of government.
This fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.
The government’s “technotyranny” surveillance apparatus has become so entrenched and entangled with its police state apparatus that it’s hard to know anymore where law enforcement ends and surveillance begins.
The short answer: they have become one and the same entity.
The police state has passed the baton to the surveillance state.
This hasn’t fazed President Trump who, much like his predecessors, has thus far marched in lockstep with the dictates of the police state.
For months, the Trump Administration has been actively lobbying Congress to reauthorize Section 702 in its entirety. Now, according to The Intercept, Trump is actively considering a proposal to establish his own global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies and answer directly to the White House.
If approved, this would be yet another secret government agency carrying out secret surveillance and counterintelligence, funded by a secret black ops budget that by its very nature does away with transparency, bypasses accountability and completely eludes any form of constitutionality.
As if we weren’t being spied on enough already.
On any given day, the average American is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears.
Every second of every day, the American people are being spied on by the U.S. government’s vast network of digital Peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops.
Talk about a system rife for abuse.
Ask the government why it’s carrying out this warrantless surveillance on American citizens, and you’ll get the same Orwellian answer the government has been trotting out since 9/11 to justify its assaults on our civil liberties: to keep America safe.
Yet warrantless mass surveillance by the government and its corporate cohorts hasn’t made America any safer. And it certainly isn’t helping to preserve our freedoms. Frankly, America will never be safe as long as the U.S. government is allowed to shred the Constitution.
Now the government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying program because they’re only looking to get the “bad” guys who are overseas.
Don’t believe it.
Warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens is wrong, un-American, and unconstitutional.
Clearly, the outlook for reforming the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs does not look good.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, whenever the rights of the American people are pitted against the interests of the military/corporate/security complex, “we the people” lose. Unless Congress develops a conscience—or suddenly remembers that they owe their allegiance to the citizenry and not the corporate state—we’re about to lose big.
It’s time to let Section 702 expire or reform the law to ensure that millions and millions of Americans are not being victimized by a government that no longer respects its constitutional limits.
Mark my words: if Congress votes to make the NSA’s vast spying powers permanent, it will be yet another brick in the wall imprisoning us within an electronic concentration camp from which there is no escape.
DECEMBER 16, 2017 / TOM LUONGO
Net Neutrality is gone. Good riddance.
Lost in all of the theoretical debate about how evil ISPs will create a have/have-not divide in Internet access, is the reality that it already exists along with massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth pigs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and the porn industry.
Under Net Neutrality these platforms flourished along with the rise of the mobile internet, which is now arguably more important than the ‘desktop’ one in your home and office. Google and Apple control the on-ramps to the mobile web in a way that Net Neutrality proponents can only dream the bandwidth providers like Comcast and AT&T could.
Because, in truth, they can’t. Consumers are ultimately the ones who decide how much bandwidth costs, not the ISPs. We decide how much we can afford these creature comforts like streaming Netflix while riding the bus or doing self-indulgent Instagram videos of our standing in line at the movies (if that’s even a thing anymore).
Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers. It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.
By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care. Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.
And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low. And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.
They grew uncontrollably. In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.
That difference was never passed onto the ISP who could then, in turn, pass it on to the consumer.
All thanks to Net Neutrality.
With the rise of the mobile web bandwidth should have been getting cheaper and easier to acquire at a much faster rate than it has. But, it couldn’t because of Net Neutrality. It kept rates of return on new bandwidth projects and new technology suppressed.
Money the ISP’s should have been spending laying more fiber, putting up more cell towers, building better radios went to Google to fritter away on endless projects that never see the light of day.
The ISP’s actually suffered under Net Neutrality and so did the consumers.
And therefore, Net Neutrality guaranteed that the infrastructure for new high-speed bandwidth would grow at the slowest possible rate, still governed by the maximum the consumer was willing to pay for bandwidth, rather than what the consumer actually demanded.
And, once obtained that power was then used to punish anyone who held different opinions from the leadership in Silicon Valley.
Think it through, Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by the bad guys.
Getting rid of Net Neutrality will put the costs of delivering all of this worthless content back onto the people serving it. YouTube will become more expensive for Google and all of the other content delivery networks. Facebook video will eat into its bottom line.
The ISP’s can and should throttle them until they ‘pay their fair share,’ which they plainly have not been.
The Net effect of Net Neutrality is that your ISP may charge you more in the short run for Netflix or Hulu. Or, more appropriately, Netflix and Hulu will have to charge you more and we’ll find out what the real cost of delivering 4k streaming content to your iPhone actually costs.
But, those costs will then go to the ISP’s such that they can respond to demand for more bandwidth. Will they try and overcharge us? Of course. AT&T is just as bad as Google and/or Facebook.
But, we have the right to say no. To stop using the services the way Net Neutrality encouraged us to through mispricing of service. If the ISP’s want more customers then they’ll have to bring wire out to the hinterlands.
Inflated Costs, Poor Service
Net Neutrality proponents kept telling us this was the way to help keep the internet available to the poor and the rural. Nonsense. It kept the internet from expanding properly into the hinterlands.
I live just over the county line in rural North Florida. To the south is a town with cable and DSL. Between cable franchise monopolies retarding expansion across county lines and Net Neutrality keeping margins thin, my home was 10 years behind everyone else getting decent bandwidth to keep up with the needs of the modern Internet.
Bandwidth needs artificially inflated, I might add, by the misaligned cost structure engendered by Net Neutrality in the first place.
It took forever for my phone provider to upgrade the bandwidth across the county line. I begged them for a second line for internet service, they wouldn’t even talk to me. Why? The return on that new line wasn’t high enough for them.
If Google was passing some of the profits from Adwords onto the ISPs I’d have multiple choices for high-speed internet versus just one DSL provider.
As always, whenever the political left tries to protect the poor they wind up making things worse for them.
The Ways Forward
The news is good for a variety of reasons. With Net Neutrality gone a major barrier to entry for content delivery networks is gone.
Blockchain companies are building systems which cut the middle man out completely, allowing content creators to be directly tipped for their work versus being supported by advertising no one watches, wants or is swayed by.
Services like Steemit and the distributed application already built and to be built on it point the way to social media cost models which are sustainable and align the incentives properly between producers of content and consumers.
Steem internalizes the bandwidth costs of using the network and pays itself a part of its token reward pool to cover those costs. So, all that’s left is content producer and their fans. Advertisers are simply not needed to maintain the network.
Net Neutrality was a trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the golden age of print and TV advertising. It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.
Look no further than the main proponents of it. George Soros and the Ford Foundation are two of the biggest lobbyists for Net Neutrality. Only the political left and its Marxian fantasies of evil middle men creating monopolies fell for the lies, as they were supposed to.
The rest of us were like, “Really? This is not a problem.” And it wasn’t until you looked under the hood and realized all they stood to gain by it.
Now, with Net Neutrality gone the underlying problem can be addressed; franchise monopolies of cable and phone companies in geographic areas. These laws are still in effect. They still hang like a spectre over the entire industry. Like Net Neutrality, these laws concentrate capital into the hands of the few providers big enough to keep out the competition.
So, instead of championing the end of franchise monopolies, which county governments love because they get a sizable cut of the revenue to fund non-essential programs, the Left made things worse by championing Net Neutrality.
That also needs to end. Even if you believe that franchise monopolies were, at one point, necessary. They are not now. IP-based communication is now fundamentally different than copper wire for discrete services like phone and cable. Let people run all the copper and fiber they want. There’s plenty of room in the conduit running under our sidewalks and streets.
Let a thousand flowers bloom, as the great Lew Rockwell once told me.
Then and only then will the Internet be free.