A national security nightmare is about to unfold. A look at the dramatic situation, and the ramifications for our country moving forward. The latest Twitter files drop and what it means for our broken FBI.
A national security nightmare is about to unfold. A look at the dramatic situation, and the ramifications for our country moving forward. The latest Twitter files drop and what it means for our broken FBI.
The US government is currently getting ready to establish its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). What this means for citizens is that the government will have access to all financial transactions, as well as the ability to freeze bank accounts. This leads to the question about what this push for CBDC is really about? The answer is control. #government #CDBC #digitalcurrency
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Following programs to close farms in the Netherlands, a follow-up program aims to build a model for future smart cities. This proposes new ç infrastructure, but the benefits come with costs to privacy and some freedoms. Are the benefits of the programs worth the cost? And in other news, a company called EctoLife released a controversial video that proposes new “artificial womb facilities.” This includes rows of vats that would grow human babies. The program is being marketed to families that want children but are unable to conceive, yet raises serious questions about the nature of human life and family. Would this technology benefit people who want to form families, or would it instead undermine the value of human life? In this live Q&A with Crossroads host Joshua Philipp, we’ll discuss these topics and others, and answer questions from the audience. #Netherlands #smart #EctoLife #surveillance
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COVID-19 Is a False Flag to Reset the World. It’s being used as a justification for this movement, but don’t fall for it. The agenda has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with a ‘reset’ designed to control you like a drone via technical surveillance, while the world is run by self-appointed elitists.
By now, you’ve probably heard world leaders speak of “The Great Reset,”1 “the Fourth Industrial Revolution”2 and the call to “Build Back Better”3 — which also is U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to rebuild the middle class slogan.4 It was a concept that former President Bill Clinton talked about in 2005 as special envoy to a United Nations Special Convoy.5
Another example among many is this speech by Matt Hancock, British Minister for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, given during an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2017:6
“One of the roles of Parliament is to cast ahead … and tackle the great challenges of our time … The nature of the technologies is materially different to what has come before. In the past, we’ve thought of consumption as a one-off, and capital investment as additive.
Yet put resources into the networks that now connect half the world, or into AI, and the effects are exponential … I’m delighted to speak alongside so many impressive colleagues who really understand this, and alongside Professor Klaus Schwab who literally ‘wrote the book’ on the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Your work, bringing together as you do all the best minds on the planet, has informed what we are doing … Our Digital Strategy, embedded within the wider Industrial Strategy, sets out the seven pillars on which we can build our success.
And inside that fits our 5G strategy, like a set of Russian Dolls. Our Strategy covers infrastructure, skills, rules and ethics of big data use, cyber security, supporting the tech sector, the digitization of industry, and digitization of government.”
But what do the terms “Great Reset,” “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “Build Back Better” actually mean? What do they refer to? In the October 16, 2020, Corbett Report7 above, journalist James Corbett breaks down the new social contract planned for the world, otherwise known as “the great reset.”
While the current pandemic is being used as a justification for the movement, the agenda has nothing to do with health and everything to do with a long-term plan to monitor and control the world through technical surveillance. In other words, the world will be reset to depend on digital technocracy run by self-appointed elitists.
It’s a power grab of unprecedented magnitude, and involves the restructuring of social classes to dismantle democracy, erase national borders and allow for the governing of communities from a distance by a group of unelected leaders. What was in the past referred to as the “New World Order” is now known as “The Great Reset.”
This Great Reset not only ties you to it through an electronic ID linked to your bank account and health records, but even gives you a “social credit” ID that can run every facet of your life. This isn’t a lofty conspiracy theory — it’s real. It’s happening now. And you need to know how to fight it before it’s too late.
Ultimately, it’s a technocratic agenda that seeks to integrate mankind into a technological surveillance apparatus overseen by powerful artificial intelligence. Ironically, while the real plan is to usher in a tech-driven dystopia free of democratic controls, they speak of this plan as a way to bring us back into harmony with Nature.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “technocracy,” be sure to go back and listen to my interview with Patrick Wood, author of “Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation” and “Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order.” You can also learn more on Wood’s website, Technocracy.news.
In a nutshell, technocracy is an economic system of resource allocation that revolves around technology — in particular artificial intelligence, digital surveillance and Big Data collection — and the digitization of industry (which includes banking) and government, which in turn allows for the automation of social engineering and social rule, thereby doing away with the need for elected government leaders.
According to the World Economic Forum,8 The Great Reset “will address the need for a more fair, sustainable and resilient future, and a new social contract centered on human dignity, social justice and where societal progress does not fall behind economic development.”
And what is the World Economic Forum? It’s an international organization for public-private cooperation that “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”9
The founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum is professor Klaus Schwab, who, as mentioned by Hancock in his 2017 speech, wrote the book on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Schwab announced the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset Initiative in June 2020. In his report, Corbett summarizes the Great Reset thus:
“At base, the Great Reset is nothing more, and nothing less, than a great propaganda, marketing rollout campaign for a new brand that the would-be global elite are trying to shove down the public’s throats … It’s just a fresh coat of lipstick on a very old pig. This is The New World Order, just redefined. It’s just a new label for it.”
And, as explained by Corbett, for those who forgot about what the New World Order was/is all about, it was all about “centralization of control into fewer hands, globalization [and] transformation of society through Orwellian surveillance technologies.”
In other words, it’s technocracy, where we the people know nothing about the ruling elite while every aspect of our lives is surveilled, tracked and manipulated for their gain. Four key take-aways from Corbett’s research into the Great Reset are:
1. The Great Reset has NOTHING to do with a virus, the COVID-19 pandemic or anything else related to public health.
2. The Great Reset is a coordinated agenda that has been years in the making — The pandemic is simply being used as a convenient “cover” for an elitist, globalist agenda that has been planned for decades.
3. The Great Reset is NOT the end of globalization — On the contrary, it is globalization turbocharged. As noted by Schwab in the policy book, “COVID-19: The Great Reset,” co-written with Thierry Malleret and cited in Corbett’s report:
“If no one power can enforce order, our world will suffer from a ‘global order deficit.’ Unless individual nations and international organizations succeed in finding solutions to better collaborate at the global level, we risk entering an ‘age of entropy’ in which retrenchment, fragmentation, anger and parochialism will increasingly define our global landscape, making it less intelligible and more disorderly.”
In other words, there’s no room for the spontaneously arising social order that occurs when people are allowed to freely interact. Instead, there must be “one power” to enforce whatever the desired social-environmental-economic-geopolitical order is.
4. This process is not meant to end — The end of the pandemic will not be the end of this totalitarian, digital enslavement agenda. The plan is not to “reset” the world back to some earlier state that will allow us all to start over with a cleaner environment and more equitable social structures. The plan is to circumvent democracy and shift global governance into the hands of the few. As noted by Schwab in “COVID-19: The Great Reset”:
“When confronted with it, some industry leaders and senior executives may be tempted to equate reset with restart, hoping to go back to the old normal and restore what worked in the past: traditions, tested procedures and familiar ways of doing things — in short, a return to business as usual.
This won’t happen because it can’t happen. For the most part, ‘business as usual’ died from (or at the very least was infected by) COVID-19.”
What might The Great Reset transformation look like? As noted by Corbett, the following illustration, created and released by the World Economic Forum, shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various aspects of life, and how pandemic responses are transforming these areas.
If you go to the original site for the illustration,10 you’ll also find listings of publications, videos and data relating to all of these facets. Around the 25-minute mark, Corbett explains how you can use this map to get a feel for the scope of the transformation being prepared — everything from finance, business and education to health care, human rights and global governance.
Importantly, the pandemic is being used to destroy the local economies around the world, which will then allow the World Economic Forum to come in and “rescue” debt-ridden countries.
However, the price for this salvation is your personal freedom and liberty. The World Economic Forum and the central banks will, through their facilitated financial bailouts, be able to effectively control most countries in the world. And, again, one of the aspects of the technocratic plan is to eliminate nation borders and nationalism in general.
A related term to the Great Reset is “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” This refers to the merging of digital, physical and biological systems. As noted by Schwab, “It will be like a tsunami and actually it’s not just a digital revolution. It’s digital; of course, physical. It is nanotechnology. But it’s also biological.11
What they’re talking about is the creation of a new economic system built around the merger of the human body and mind with machines and artificial intelligence. In other words, technocracy — a resource-based economic system with centralized control by a technocratic elite who have the know-how to program the computer systems will ultimately dictate the lives of everyone.
Of course, it’s sold to us as a means to harness and elevate human potential, when in fact it will do the complete opposite. Ultimately, they’re not just trying to change the definition of what it means to be human — they’re openly conspiring to alter humanity through technological means.
In addition to the sources cited earlier, Corbett also fleshed out the history of technocracy in his December 28, 2015, report,12 “How Big Oil Conquered the World.” In short, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is nothing but a rebranding of technocracy, melded with the transhumanist movement.
You can also learn more about Schwab, the figurehead of modern technocracy, by reading the June 29, 2020, Technocracy.news article13 “The Elite Technocrats Behind the Global ‘Great Reset,'” and the October 12, 2020, Off-Guardian article,14 “Klaus Schwab & His Great Fascist Reset.”
According to Off-Guardian,15 Schwab ensures us that “smart” Big Data technologies will “‘deliver new and innovative ways to service citizens and customers’ and we will have to stop objecting to businesses profiting from harnessing and selling information about every aspect of our personal lives.”
In that article, Schwab is also quoted as saying, “Establishing trust in the data and algorithms used to make decisions will be vital” — which about sums up the technocratic view of “government.”
By October 2020 in some parts of the world, a second wave of COVID-19 was16 emerging, and according to some researchers, the best way to combat it was to implement another round of more stringent lockdown measures — a so-called “circuit breaker” strategy to bring the infection rate under control.
Meanwhile, other reports17 warned that while COVID-19 can be deadly for a small minority of people, so are lockdowns, thanks to the poverty, famine and mental health challenges they bring about.
According to an October 13, 2020, article18 in The Sun, COVID-19 restrictions “could hurl 90 million into ‘extreme poverty,'” with the poorest nations bearing the brunt of the economic collapse. The New York Post also recently reported19 that “COVID-19 lockdowns were a risky experiment” that failed, and have proven deadlier than the virus itself.
“No ethical scientist would conduct such a risky experiment without carefully considering the dangers and monitoring the results, which have turned out to be dismal,” the New York Post writes.20
“While the economic and social harms have been enormous, it isn’t clear that the lockdowns have brought significant health benefits beyond what was achieved by people’s voluntary social distancing and other actions.
In a comparison of 50 countries, a team led by Rabail Chaudhry of the University of Toronto found that COVID-19 was deadlier in places with older populations and higher rates of obesity (like the United States), but the mortality rate was no lower in countries that closed their borders or enforced full lockdowns.
After analyzing 23 countries and 25 U.S. states with widely varying policies, Andrew Atkeson of UCLA and fellow economists found that the mortality trend was similar everywhere once the disease took hold: The number of daily deaths rose rapidly for 20 to 30 days, then fell rapidly …
The cost-benefit rationale becomes even bleaker if you use the standard metric for determining whether a drug or other intervention is worthwhile: How much money will society spend for each year of life being saved?
By that metric, the lockdowns must be the most cost-ineffective intervention in the history of public health, because so many of the intended beneficiaries are near the end of life. In America, nearly 80 percent of COVID-19 victims have been over 65, and more than 40 percent were living in nursing homes, where the median life expectancy after admission is just five months …
No one wants to hasten the demise of the elderly, but they and other vulnerable people can be shielded without shutting down the rest of the society, as Sweden and other countries have demonstrated …
Early in the pandemic, Scott Atlas at the Hoover Institution and researchers at Swansea University independently calculated that the lockdowns would ultimately cost more years of life than COVID-19 in the United States and Britain, and the toll seems certain to be worse in poor countries.
The World Bank estimates that the coronavirus recession could push 60 million people into extreme poverty, which inevitably means more disease and death.”
Also by October 2020, we were seeing reports21 that “unexplained excess deaths at home” were outpacing COVID-19 deaths by nearly 900%, likely due to people with chronic illnesses avoiding medical care. Unfortunately, physicians and scientists continued to butt heads when it came to the sanest path forward.
As noted in an October 6, 2020, article22 in The Conversation, whether or not the coronavirus cure is worse than the disease has become “the most divisive question of 2020,” with dozens of doctors signing on to one side or the other.
A Kaiser Health News story23 also highlighted the impact of “pandemic stress” on public health, as more and more people are reporting problems ranging from insomnia and excruciating headaches to hair loss and cracked teeth:
“Throughout the pandemic, people who never had the coronavirus have been reporting a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms: excruciating headaches, episodes of hair loss, upset stomach for weeks on end, sudden outbreaks of shingles and flare-ups of autoimmune disorders.
The disparate symptoms, often in otherwise healthy individuals, have puzzled doctors and patients alike, sometimes resulting in a series of visits to specialists with few answers. But it turns out there’s a common thread among many of these conditions, one that has been months in the making: chronic stress.
Although people often underestimate the influence of the mind on the body, a growing catalog of research shows that high levels of stress over an extended time can drastically alter physical function and affect nearly every organ system.
Now, at least eight months into the pandemic, alongside a divisive election cycle and racial unrest, those effects are showing up in a variety of symptoms. ‘The mental health component of COVID is starting to come like a tsunami,’ said Dr. Jennifer Love, a California-based psychiatrist.”
As detailed in “Coronavirus Fraud Scandal — The Biggest Fight Has Just Begun,” an international network of legal experts and health professionals are preparing to launch the largest class-action lawsuit in history, against all those responsible for the global lockdowns, from local policy makers to the World Health Organization and everyone in between.
According to the four attorneys who founded the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, which is leading the tort case, the COVID-19 pandemic is “probably the greatest crime against humanity ever committed.” Pandemic measures were intended to sow panic in order to allow for a massive transfer of wealth, and fraudulent testing has been used to keep the ruse going.
In reality, mortality statistics reveal COVID-19 has not led to an excess of deaths above the annual norm, the proposed action says, and there’s no evidence lockdowns and economic shutdowns have produced favorable results.
While the Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee hasn’t specifically addressed the pandemic as a vehicle for a technocratic revolution, it highlights that it has been fraudulently used as a means for wealth transfer and elimination of basic human rights.
As noted in the June 29, 2020, Technocracy.news article,24 “The Elite Technocrats Behind the Global ‘Great Reset”:25
“The UN Agenda 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals is claimed to ‘ensure peace and prosperity for people and the planet.’ The actions are said to tackle poverty and hunger, bring better health and education, reduce inequalities, and save the oceans, forests and the climate. Who can argue against such benevolent goals?
But the promised Utopia comes with a price — it sets shackles on our personal freedom … The leading partners of the United Nations Global Goals project reveal the real technocratic agenda that lies behind the polished feel-good façade — it involves a plan to fully integrate mankind into a technological surveillance apparatus overseen by a powerful AI.
The current pandemic scare has been a perfect trigger to kickstart this nefarious agenda … The current COVID-19 crisis is seen by the World Economic Forum and its chairman Klaus Schwab as the perfect trigger to implement their grandiose technocratic plan. Big Tech will come to ‘rescue’ the world …
This techno-fascist recipe will then, in an utmost non-democratic fashion without any public debate or skeptic inquiry, soon be integrated into the agenda of G20 and the European Union — relabeled as the Great Green Deal …
Unsurprisingly, Klaus Schwab fails to mention his own and his cronies’ role in creating this global economic mess in the first place — as it was ‘foreseen’ with stunning accuracy in World Economic Forum’s and Bill Gate’s Event 201 (October 2019) and in the Rockefeller Foundation report26 Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development (2010).”
As I discuss in “The Global Takeover Is Underway,” technocracy is inherently a technological society run through social engineering, and Big Tech censorship is part and parcel of this. In other words, the medical tyranny and censorship of anti-groupthink that has emerged during this pandemic are an unavoidable element of The Great Reset, and if you think it’s bad now, just wait until the whole system is brought fully online.
The mere idea of dissent will become a thought of the past, because your life — your health, educational and work opportunities, your finances and your very identity — will be so meshed with the automated technological infrastructure that any attempt to break free will result in you being locked out or erased from the system, leaving you with no ability to learn, work, travel or purchase anything.
It sounds far-fetched, I know, but when you follow the technocratic plan to its inevitable end, that’s basically what you end up with. The warning signs are all around us, if we’re willing to see them for what they actually are. The only question now is whether enough people are willing to resist it to make a difference.
“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ~ Czesław Miłosz1
In recent years, a number of brave individuals have alerted us to the fact that we’re all being monitored and manipulated by big data gatherers such as Google and Facebook, and shed light on the depth and breadth of this ongoing surveillance. Among them is social psychologist and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff.
Her book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” is one of the best books I have read in the last few years. It’s an absolute must-read if you have any interest in this topic and want to understand how Google and Facebook have obtained such massive control of your life.
Her book reveals how the biggest tech companies in the world have hijacked our personal data — so-called “behavioral surplus data streams” — without our knowledge or consent and are using it against us to generate profits for themselves. WE have become the product. WE are the real revenue stream in this digital economy.
“The term ‘surveillance capitalism’ is not an arbitrary term,” Zuboff says in the featured VPRO Backlight documentary. “Why ‘surveillance’? Because it must be operations that are engineered as undetectable, indecipherable, cloaked in rhetoric that aims to misdirect, obfuscate and downright bamboozle all of us, all the time.”
In the featured video, Zuboff “reveals a merciless form of capitalism in which no natural resources, but the citizen itself, serves are a raw material.”2 She also explains how this surveillance capitalism came about in the first place.
As most revolutionary inventions, chance played a role. After the 2000 dot.com crisis that burst the internet bubble, a startup company named Google struggled to survive. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin appeared to be looking at the beginning of the end for their company.
By chance, they discovered that “residual data” left behind by users during their internet searchers had tremendous value. They could trade this data; they could sell it. By compiling this residual data, they could predict the behavior of any given internet user and thus guarantee advertisers a more targeted audience. And so, surveillance capitalism was born.
Comments such as “I have nothing to hide, so I don’t care if they track me,” or “I like targeted ads because they make my shopping easier” reveal our ignorance about what’s really going on. We believe we understand what kind of information is being collected about us. For example, you might not care that Google knows you bought a particular kind of shoe, or a particular book.
However, the information we freely hand over is the least important of the personal information actually being gathered about us, Zuboff notes. Tech companies tell us the data collected is being used to improve services, and indeed, some of it is.
But it is also being used to model human behavior by analyzing the patterns of behavior of hundreds of millions of people. Once you have a large enough training model, you can begin to accurately predict how different types of individuals will behave over time.
The data gathered is also being used to predict a whole host of individual attributes about you, such as personality quirks, sexual orientation, political orientation — “a whole range of things we never ever intended to disclose,” Zuboff says.
All sorts of predictive data are handed over with each photo you upload to social media. For example, it’s not just that tech companies can see your photos. Your face is being used without your knowledge or consent to train facial recognition software, and none of us is told how that software is intended to be used.
As just one example, the Chinese government is using facial recognition software to track and monitor minority groups and advocates for democracy, and that could happen elsewhere as well, at any time.
So that photo you uploaded of yourself at a party provides a range of valuable information — from the types of people you’re most likely to spend your time with and where you’re likely to go to have a good time, to information about how the muscles in your face move and alter the shape of your features when you’re in a good mood.
By gathering a staggering amount of data points on each person, minute by minute, Big Data can make very accurate predictions about human behavior, and these predictions are then “sold to business customers who want to maximize our value to their business,” Zuboff says.
Your entire existence — even your shifting moods, deciphered by facial recognition software — has become a source of revenue for many tech corporations. You might think you have free will but, in reality, you’re being cleverly maneuvered and funneled into doing (and typically buying) or thinking something you may not have done, bought or thought otherwise. And, “our ignorance is their bliss,” Zuboff says.
In the documentary, Zuboff highlights Facebook’s massive “contagion experiments,”3,4 in which they used subliminal cues and language manipulation to see if they could make people feel happier or sadder and affect real-world behavior offline. As it turns out, they can. Two key findings from those experiments were:
In the video, Zuboff also explains how the Pokemon Go online game — which was actually created by Google — was engineered to manipulate real-world behavior and activity for profit. She also describes the scheme in her New York Times article, saying:
“Game players did not know that they were pawns in the real game of behavior modification for profit, as the rewards and punishments of hunting imaginary creatures were used to herd people to the McDonald’s, Starbucks and local pizza joints that were paying the company for ‘footfall,’ in exactly the same way that online advertisers pay for ‘click through’ to their websites.”
Zuboff also reviews what we learned from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is a political marketing business that, in 2018, used the Facebook data of 80 million Americans to determine the best strategies for manipulating American voters.
Christopher Wylie, now-former director of research at Cambridge Analytica, blew the whistle on the company’s methods. According to Wylie, they had so much data on people, they knew exactly how to trigger fear, rage and paranoia in any given individual. And, by triggering those emotions, they could manipulate them into looking at a certain website, joining a certain group, and voting for a certain candidate.
So, the reality now is, companies like Facebook, Google and third parties of all kinds, have the power — and are using that power — to target your personal inner demons, to trigger you, and to take advantage of you when you’re at your weakest or most vulnerable to entice you into action that serves them, commercially or politically. It’s certainly something to keep in mind while you surf the web and social media sites.
“It was only a minute ago that we didn’t have many of these tools, and we were fine,” Zuboff says in the film. “We lived rich and full lives. We had close connections with friends and family.
Having said that, I want to recognize that there’s a lot that the digital world brings to our lives, and we deserve to have all of that. But we deserve to have it without paying the price of surveillance capitalism.
Right now, we are in that classic Faustian bargain; 21st century citizens should not have to make the choice of either going analog or living in a world where our self-determination and our privacy are destroyed for the sake of this market logic. That is unacceptable.
Let’s also not be naïve. You get the wrong people involved in our government, at any moment, and they look over their shoulders at the rich control possibilities offered by these new systems.
There will come a time when, even in the West, even in our democratic societies, our government will be tempted to annex these capabilities and use them over us and against us. Let’s not be naïve about that.
When we decide to resist surveillance capitalism — right now when it is in the market dynamic — we are also preserving our democratic future, and the kinds of checks and balances that we will need going forward in an information civilization if we are to preserve freedom and democracy for another generation.”
But the surveillance and data collection doesn’t end with what you do online. Big Data also wants access to your most intimate moments — what you do and how you behave in the privacy of your own home, for example, or in your car. Zuboff recounts how the Google Nest security system was found to have a hidden microphone built into it that isn’t featured in any of the schematics for the device.
“Voices are what everybody are after, just like faces,” Zuboff says. Voice data, and all the information delivered through your daily conversations, is tremendously valuable to Big Data, and add to their ever-expanding predictive modeling capabilities.
She also discusses how these kinds of data-collecting devices force consent from users by holding the functionality of the device “hostage” if you don’t want your data collected and shared.
For example, Google’s Nest thermostats will collect data about your usage and share it with third parties, that share it with third parties and so on ad infinitum — and Google takes no responsibility for what any of these third parties might do with your data.
You can decline this data collection and third party sharing, but if you do, Google will no longer support the functionality of the thermostat; it will no longer update your software and may affect the functionality of other linked devices such as smoke detectors.
Two scholars who analyzed the Google Nest thermostat contract concluded that a consumer who is even a little bit vigilant about how their consumption data is being used would have to review 1,000 privacy contracts before installing a single thermostat in their home.
Modern cars are also being equipped with multiple cameras that feed Big Data. As noted in the film, the average new car has 15 cameras, and if you have access to the data of a mere 1% of all cars, you have “knowledge of everything happening in the world.”
Of course, those cameras are sold to you as being integral to novel safety features, but you’re paying for this added safety with your privacy, and the privacy of everyone around you.
The current coronavirus pandemic is also using “safety” as a means to dismantle personal privacy. As reported by The New York Times, March 23, 2020:5
“In South Korea, government agencies are harnessing surveillance-camera footage, smartphone location data and credit card purchase records to help trace the recent movements of coronavirus patients and establish virus transmission chains.
In Lombardy, Italy, the authorities are analyzing location data transmitted by citizens’ mobile phones to determine how many people are obeying a government lockdown order and the typical distances they move every day. About 40 percent are moving around “too much,” an official recently said.
In Israel, the country’s internal security agency is poised to start using a cache of mobile phone location data — originally intended for counterterrorism operations — to try to pinpoint citizens who may have been exposed to the virus.
As countries around the world race to contain the pandemic, many are deploying digital surveillance tools as a means to exert social control, even turning security agency technologies on their own civilians …
Yet ratcheting up surveillance to combat the pandemic now could permanently open the doors to more invasive forms of snooping later. It is a lesson Americans learned after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, civil liberties experts say.
Nearly two decades later, law enforcement agencies have access to higher-powered surveillance systems, like fine-grained location tracking and facial recognition — technologies that may be repurposed to further political agendas …
‘We could so easily end up in a situation where we empower local, state or federal government to take measures in response to this pandemic that fundamentally change the scope of American civil rights,’ said Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan.”
Zuboff also discusses her work in a January 24, 2020, op-ed in The New York Times.6,7 “You are now remotely controlled. Surveillance capitalists control the science and the scientists, the secrets and the truth,” she writes, continuing:
“We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us.
Our digital century was to have been democracy’s Golden Age. Instead, we enter its third decade marked by a stark new form of social inequality best understood as ‘epistemic inequality’ … extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues to such knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself …
Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself …
Still, the winds appear to have finally shifted. A fragile new awareness is dawning … Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus. They rely on psychic numbing and messages of inevitability to conjure the helplessness, resignation and confusion that paralyze their prey.
Democracy is slow, and that’s a good thing. Its pace reflects the tens of millions of conversations that occur … gradually stirring the sleeping giant of democracy to action.
These conversations are occurring now, and there are many indications that lawmakers are ready to join and to lead. This third decade is likely to decide our fate. Will we make the digital future better, or will it make us worse?”8,9
Epistemic inequality refers to inequality in what you’re able to learn. “It is defined as unequal access to learning imposed by private commercial mechanisms of information capture, production, analysis and sales. It is best exemplified in the fast-growing abyss between what we know and what is known about us,” Zuboff writes in her New York Times op-ed.10
Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have spearheaded the surveillance market transformation, placing themselves at the top tier of the epistemic hierarchy. They know everything about you and you know nothing about them. You don’t even know what they know about you.
“They operated in the shadows to amass huge knowledge monopolies by taking without asking, a maneuver that every child recognizes as theft,” Zuboff writes.
“Surveillance capitalism begins by unilaterally staking a claim to private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Our lives are rendered as data flows.”
These data flows are about you, but not for you. All of it is used against you — to separate you from your money, or to make you act in a way that is in some way profitable for a company or a political agenda. So, ask yourself, where is your freedom in all of this?
If a company can cause you to buy stuff you don’t need by sticking an enticing, personalized ad for something they know will boost your confidence at the exact moment you’re feeling insecure or worthless (a tactic that has been tested and perfected11), are you really acting through free will?
If an artificial intelligence using predictive modeling senses you’re getting hungry (based on a variety of cues such as your location, facial expressions and verbal expressions) and launches an ad from a local restaurant to you in the very moment you’re deciding to get something to eat, are you really making conscious, self-driven, value-based life choices? As noted by Zuboff in her article:12
“Unequal knowledge about us produces unequal power over us, and so epistemic inequality widens to include the distance between what we can do and what can be done to us. Data scientists describe this as the shift from monitoring to actuation, in which a critical mass of knowledge about a machine system enables the remote control of that system.
Now people have become targets for remote control, as surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in behavior to tune, herd and modify action in the direction of commercial objectives.
This third imperative, ‘economies of action,’ has become an arena of intense experimentation. ‘We are learning how to write the music,’ one scientist said, ‘and then we let the music make them dance’ …
The fact is that in the absence of corporate transparency and democratic oversight, epistemic inequality rules. They know. They decide who knows. They decide who decides. The public’s intolerable knowledge disadvantage is deepened by surveillance capitalists’ perfection of mass communications as gaslighting …
On April 30, 2019 Mark Zuckerberg made a dramatic announcement at the company’s annual developer conference, declaring, ‘The future is private.’ A few weeks later, a Facebook litigator appeared before a federal district judge in California to thwart a user lawsuit over privacy invasion, arguing that the very act of using Facebook negates any reasonable expectation of privacy ‘as a matter of law.'”
In the video, Zuboff points out that there are no laws in place to curtail this brand-new type of surveillance capitalism, and the only reason it has been able to flourish over the past 20 years is because there’s been an absence of laws against it, primarily because it has never previously existed.
That’s the problem with epistemic inequality. Google and Facebook were the only ones who knew what they were doing. The surveillance network grew in the shadows, unbeknownst to the public or lawmakers. Had we fought against it for two decades, then we might have had to resign ourselves to defeat, but as it stands, we’ve never even tried to regulate it.
This, Zuboff says, should give us all hope. We can turn this around and take back our privacy, but we need legislation that addresses the actual reality of the entire breadth and depth of the data collection system. It’s not enough to address just the data that we know that we’re giving when we go online. Zuboff writes:13
“These contests of the 21st century demand a framework of epistemic rights enshrined in law and subject to democratic governance. Such rights would interrupt data supply chains by safeguarding the boundaries of human experience before they come under assault from the forces of datafication.
The choice to turn any aspect of one’s life into data must belong to individuals by virtue of their rights in a democratic society. This means, for example, that companies cannot claim the right to your face, or use your face as free raw material for analysis, or own and sell any computational products that derive from your face …
Anything made by humans can be unmade by humans. Surveillance capitalism is young, barely 20 years in the making, but democracy is old, rooted in generations of hope and contest.
Surveillance capitalists are rich and powerful, but they are not invulnerable. They have an Achilles heel: fear. They fear lawmakers who do not fear them. They fear citizens who demand a new road forward as they insist on new answers to old questions: Who will know? Who will decide who knows? Who will decide who decides? Who will write the music, and who will dance?”
While there’s no doubt we need a whole new legislative framework to curtail surveillance capitalism, in the meantime, there are ways you can protect your privacy online and limit the “behavioral surplus data” collected about you.
Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, recommends taking the following steps to protect your privacy:14
Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:
Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.
Do not use Gmail, as every email you write is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.
Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.
Don’t use Google’s Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every webpage you’ve ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.
Brave is also faster than Chrome, and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software infrastructure that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites and bookmarks.
Don’t use Google as your search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.
Alternative search engines suggested by Epstein include SwissCows and Qwant. He recommends avoiding StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.
Don’t use an Android cellphone, for all the reasons discussed earlier. Epstein uses a BlackBerry, which is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. BlackBerry’s upcoming model, the Key3, will be one of the most secure cellphones in the world, he says.
Don’t use Google Home devices in your house or apartment — These devices record everything that occurs in your home, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google’s home thermostat Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa.
Clear your cache and cookies — As Epstein explains in his article:15
Don’t use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.