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Commentary face surveillance free speech Intelwars Law Enforcement Access

Face Surveillance and the Capitol Attack

After last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the attempted insurrection. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But we object to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically and legally, to justify its use. 

Government use of facial recognition crosses a bright red line, and we should not normalize its use, even during a national tragedy.

EFF Opposes Government Use of Face Recognition

Make no mistake: the attack on the Capitol can and should be investigated by law enforcement. The attackers’ use of public social media to both prepare and document their actions will make the job easier than it otherwise might be.  

But a ban on all government use of face recognition, including its use by law enforcement, remains a necessary precaution to protect us from this dangerous and easily misused technology. This includes a ban on government’s use of information obtained by other government actors and by third-party services through face recognition.

One such service is Clearview AI, which allows law enforcement officers to upload a photo of an unidentified person and, allegedly, get back publicly-posted photos of that person. Clearview has reportedly seen a huge increase in usage since the attack. Yet the faceprints in Clearview’s database were collected, without consent, from millions of unsuspecting users across the web, from places like Facebook, YouTube, and Venmo, along with links to where those photos were posted on the Internet. This means that police are comparing images of the rioters to those of many millions of individuals who were never involved—probably including yours. 

EFF opposes law enforcement use of Clearview, and has filed an amicus brief against it in a suit brought by the ACLU. The suit correctly alleges the company’s faceprinting without consent violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). 

Separately, police tracking down the Capitol attackers are likely using government-controlled databases, such as those maintained by state DMVs, for face recognition purposes. We also oppose this use of face recognition technology, which matches images collected during nearly universal practices like applying for a driver’s license. Most individuals require government-issued identification or a license but have no ability to opt out of such face surveillance. 

Face Recognition Impacts Everyone, Not Only Those Charged With Crimes 

The number of people affected by government use of face recognition is staggering: from DMV databases alone, roughly two-thirds of the population of the U.S. is at risk of image surveillance and misidentification, with no choice to opt out. Further, Clearview has extracted faceprints from over 3 billion people. This is not a question of “what happens if face recognition is used against you?” It is a question of how many times law enforcement has already done so. 

For many of the same reasons, EFF also opposes government identification of those at the Capitol by means of dragnet searches of cell phone records of everyone present. Such searches have many problems, from the fact that users are often not actually where records indicate they are, to this tactic’s history of falsely implicating innocent people. The Fourth Amendment was written specifically to prevent these kinds of overbroad searches.

Government Use of Facial Recognition Would Chill Protected Protest Activity

Facial surveillance technology allows police to track people not only after the fact but also in real time, including at lawful political protests. Police repeatedly used this same technology to arrest people who participated in last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. Its normalization and widespread use by the government would fundamentally change the society in which we live. It will, for example, chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment-protected rights to speak, peacefully assemble, and associate with others. 

Countless studies have shown that when people think the government is watching them, they alter their behavior to try to avoid scrutiny. And this burden historically falls disproportionately on communities of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and other marginalized groups.

Face surveillance technology is also prone to error and has already implicated multiple people for crimes they did not commit

Government use of facial recognition crosses a bright red line, and we should not normalize its use, even during a national tragedy. In responding to this unprecedented event, we must thoughtfully consider not just the unexpected ramifications that any new legislation could have, but the hazards posed by surveillance techniques like facial recognition. This technology poses a profound threat to personal privacy, racial justice, political and religious expression, and the fundamental freedom to go about our lives without having our movements and associations covertly monitored and analyzed.

 

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christian Commentary End Times Intelwars Jesus Last Days Politics The End Times The Last Days

The Only Solution To America’s Problems Is Jesus

I have never seen as much anger in the United States as I am seeing right now, and that greatly saddens me.  No matter what happens, we should always love one another.  Unfortunately, most Americans on both sides of the political spectrum are seething with hate right now.  Leading up to the election in November, the left and the right were primarily attacking each other with angry words, but now the level of physical violence that we are witnessing is extremely alarming.  The violence at the U.S. Capitol was just another example of the violence that stretched all throughout 2020 and that has continued in various parts of the nation this weekend.  Most of the time, the left only wants to condemn the violence that the right has committed, and the right only wants to condemn the violence that the left has committed.

But anyone that wants to be intellectually consistent has got to speak out against all of it.

You can’t just be against rioting, looting, arson and attacks on federal buildings when people that you do not like do it.

Emotions are running so high right now, and I understand that people are frustrated.  But no matter who we send to Washington, nothing ever seems to change very much.  The truth is that the way that our government has operated has remained remarkably consistent throughout the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump years.

And no matter who is president for the next four years, our government is going to keep going in the same direction.

Ultimately, people are fighting over personalities.  Many are absolutely convinced that the nation will be “saved” if their team wins, but that is a delusion.

I am sorry, but Joe Biden is not your personal Lord and Savior.  I have heard from some people that are so proud that they voted for Joe Biden, but I simply don’t understand how anyone can be proud of voting for a political party that is responsible for the deaths of more than 60 million unborn Americans since 1973.  For that alone, our nation deserves a fate that is worse than I can put into words.  I think that what Franklin Graham said about the current state of our nation the other day is very appropriate

“We are in trouble,” he said. “I believe God’s judgment is coming, for the sins of our nation are great and they are a stench in the nostrils of our Creator.”

On the other side, it is very important for Republicans to understand that Donald Trump is not the Messiah either.  He is just a man.  When he does what is right he should be commended, but when he does what is wrong he should be criticized.  We like to say that our politicians are “public servants”, and we should start treating them as such.  It should sicken us whenever we see anyone put our politicians up on pedestals and worship them.

We are not to worship any man.

Rather, we are supposed to worship God.

For years, I have been watching so many Americans put so much passion and so much energy into politics.

But politics is not going to solve America’s problems.

The only thing that is going to solve America’s problems is Jesus.

The reason why the United States became a great nation in the first place is because we were a Christian nation, and the only way we would ever have a chance of being a great nation again would be if we were to turn back to God with all of our hearts.

Anyone that comes to you with a plan to turn America around that does not include Jesus is just being delusional.

At this moment, deception is absolutely rampant on both sides of the political spectrum.  Some of the most ridiculous rumors imaginable are flying all over the place, but multitudes of people are falling for them hook, line and sinker.  Shadowy figures that don’t even want to reveal their real identities share “inside information” that ends up being proven wrong time after time, and yet some people continue to hang on every word.  False prophets have convinced vast hordes of sheeple that their “prophecies” about political events would come to pass, but once again this election has shown that they are complete frauds.

One of the good things that will come out of this period of time is that people will start to see the frauds for who they really are.

So many of the “pillow prophets” have been promising peace and prosperity, but the truth is that we are in the end times described in the Bible.  We are heading into one of the most difficult times in all of human history, but it will also be one of the greatest times in all of human history because God is going to be at work in amazing ways.

And God has a plan for you too.

God specifically placed you at this point in human history, and He has a purpose for doing that.

But if you keep running away from Him, you will never discover that purpose.

The plans that God has for you are greater than anything that you could ever come up with on your own, but He also has given you free will.

You can choose to keep going your own way, and you can choose to reject Him forever if you want.

But why would you want to do that?

God created you, and He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins.  This is what John 3:16 says…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

You can have everlasting life if you are willing to enter into a relationship with God.

The Bible compares it to a marriage relationship, and it truly is a very serious commitment to make.  If you will repent of your sins and surrender everything to God, you will literally become a member of God’s family.  Every one of your sins will be washed away, you will be “born again”, and you will belong to God forever.

If you would like to give your life to God and make that commitment right now, all you have to do is to tell Him.  The following is a prayer that many have found helpful…

“Lord Jesus, I want to become a Christian.  I know that I am a sinner, and I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.  I believe that you are the Son of God and that you rose from the dead.  I repent of my sins and I open the door of my life and ask You to be my Savior and Lord.  I commit my life to You.  Thank You for forgiving all of my sins and giving me eternal life.  Take control of my life and make me the kind of person that You want me to be.  I will live my life for You.  Amen.”

Of course praying that prayer and being “born again” is just the first step on a very long journey.  Developing your relationship with God is a process that lasts a lifetime, and you will need encouragement and assistance along the way.

It will be important to reach out to other believers so that they can help and guide you.

If you have read this entire article and you have decided that you don’t want to give your life to Jesus, I would very strongly encourage you to reconsider.

Ultimately, I don’t know how anyone is going to make it through what is ahead without God.

2020 was bad, but the times that are coming will be even worse.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and Jesus is coming back.

So quit putting all of your passion and energy into politics, and start focusing on what really matters.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post The Only Solution To America’s Problems Is Jesus first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary Intelwars privacy

Police Robots Are Not a Selfie Opportunity, They’re a Privacy Disaster Waiting to Happen

The arrival of government-operated autonomous police robots does not look like predictions in science fiction movies. An army of robots with gun arms is not kicking down your door to arrest you. Instead, a robot snitch that looks like a rolling trash can is programmed to decide whether a person looks suspicious—and then call the human police on them. Police robots may not be able to hurt people like armed predator drones used in combat—yet—but as history shows, calling the police on someone can prove equally deadly. 

Long before the 1987 movie Robocop, even before Karel ?apek invented the word robot in 1920, police have been trying to find ways to be everywhere at once. Widespread security cameras are one solution—but even a blanket of CCTV cameras couldn’t follow a suspect into every nook of public space. Thus, the vision of a police robot continued as a dream, until now. Whether they look like Boston Dynamics’ robodogs or Knightscope’s rolling pickles, robots are coming to a street, shopping mall, or grocery store near you. 

The Orwellian menace of snitch robots might not be immediately apparent. Robots are fun. They dance. You can take selfies with them. This is by design. Both police departments and the companies that sell these robots know that their greatest contributions aren’t just surveillance, but also goodwill. In one brochure Knightscope sent to University of California-Hastings, a law school in the center of San Francisco, the company advertises their robot’s activity in a Los Angeles shopping district called The Bloc. It’s unclear if the robot stopped any robberies, but it did garner over 100,000 social media impressions and 426 comments. Knightscope claims the robot’s 193 million overall media impressions was worth over $5.8 million. The Bloc held a naming contest for the robot, and said it has a “cool factor” missing from traditional beat cops and security guards.

The Bloc/Knighscope promotional material released via public records request by UC-Hastings

As of February 2020, Knighscope had around 100 robots deployed 24/7 throughout the United States. In how many of these communities did neighbors or community members get a say as to whether or not they approved of the deployment of these robots?

But in this era of long-overdue conversations about the role of policing in our society—and in which city after city is reclaiming privacy by restricting police surveillance technologies—these robots are just a more playful way to normalize the panopticon of our lives.

Police Robots Are Surveillance

Knightscope’s robots need cameras to navigate and traverse the terrain, but that’s not all their sensors are doing. According to the proposal that the police department of Huntington Park, California, sent to the mayor and city council, these robots are equipped with many infrared cameras capable of reading license plates. They also have wireless technology “capable of identifying smartphones within its range down to the MAC and IP addresses.” 

The next time you’re at a protest and are relieved to see a robot rather than a baton-wielding officer, know that that robot may be using the IP address of your phone to identify your participation. This makes protesters vulnerable to reprisal from police and thus chills future exercise of constitutional rights. “When a device emitting a Wi-Fi signal passes within a nearly 500 foot radius of a robot,” the company explains on its blog, “actionable intelligence is captured from that device including information such as: where, when, distance between the robot and device, the duration the device was in the area and how many other times it was detected on site recently.”

In Spring 2019, the company also announced it was developing face recognition so that robots would be able to “detect, analyze and compare faces.” EFF has long proposed a complete ban on police use of face recognition technology. 

Who Gets Reprimanded When a Police Robot Makes a Bad Decision? 

Knightscope’s marketing materials and media reporting suggest the technology can effectively recognize “suspicious” packages, vehicles, and people. 

But when a robot is scanning a crowd for someone or something suspicious, what is it actually looking for? It’s unclear what the company means. The decision to characterize certain actions and attributes as “suspicious” has to be made by someone. If robots are designed to think people wearing hoods are suspicious, they may target youth of color. If robots are programmed to zero in on people moving quickly, they may harass a jogger, or a pedestrian on a rainy day. If the machine has purportedly been taught to identify criminals by looking at pictures of mugshots, then you have an even bigger problem. Racism in the criminal justice system has all but assured that any machine learning program taught to see “criminals” based on crime data will inevitably see people of color as suspicious

A robot’s machine learning and so-called suspicious behavior detection will lead to racial profiling and other unfounded harrassement. This begs the question: Who gets reprimanded if a robot improperly harrasses an innocent person, or calls the police on them? Does the robot? The people who train or maintain the robot? When state violence is unleashed on a person because a robot falsely flagged them as suspicious, “changing the programming” of the robot and then sending it back onto the street will be little solace for a victim hoping that it won’t happen again. And when programming errors cause harm, who will review changes to make sure they can address the real problem?”

These are all important questions to ask yourselves, and your police and elected officials, before taking a selfie with a rolling surveillance robot. 

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2021 Commentary Intelwars political Politics questions

Questions About The Chaos At The Capitol That Desperately Need To Be Answered

Like most Americans, I was absolutely horrified by the violence that I watched at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.  But I had a difficult time trying to understand what I was witnessing.  Trump supporters are almost always extremely peaceful, but many of those that were storming the Capitol were being very violent.  That didn’t make sense to me.  And how in the world did protesters get into the U.S. Capitol in the first place?

Well, it turns out that police actually opened up the barricades that were surrounding the U.S. Capitol and purposely allowed protesters to storm the building.  You can see this on video right here

I have never seen anything like that in my entire life.

And once they were inside the building, they were herded toward particular areas.  For example, you can watch one “guard” actually lead protesters up several flights of stairs right here

Either the U.S. Congress has the worst security personnel that any of us have ever seen, or this was allowed to happen on purpose.

And there are multiple reports that Antifa activists were brought in by bus.  In fact, one patriot actually recorded video of the Antifa buses that were brought into the heart of Washington D.C. with an escort…

So who arranged for those Antifa buses to have that sort of an escort?

It is almost as if someone was extremely determined to get those Antifa activists to their location so that they could do their job.

Once they got inside the Capitol, the Antifa activists could have done a much better job of disguising themselves.

In fact, one has already been positively identified as a member of Philly Antifa…

If he wanted to pass as a “Trump supporter”, he probably should have covered up the hammer and sickle that are tattooed on the back of his hand…

Perhaps the most famous “protester” from the chaos on Wednesday is “the guy with the Viking horns”.

Well, it turns out that he was photographed at a BLM rally in Arizona wearing the exact same outfit back in June

And he was also photographed at a “climate activism” event in 2019

Apparently his name is Jake Angeli and he is a “shamanic practitioner”.  But on Wednesday he was posing as a hardcore Trump supporter.

So why can’t the mainstream media put any of these pieces together?

It shouldn’t take too much detective work to identify a lot of these people.

So why won’t they do it?

And did you notice that the police let the vast majority of the “protesters” go without arresting them once it was all over?

The mainstream media is insisting that “they will be arrested later”, but a lot of people aren’t buying that.

All of this just seems very odd to me.

Just as a debate about the evidence of election irregularities was about to begin in the halls of Congress, these riots conveniently broke out.

Members of Congress were quickly evacuated, and the millions of Americans that were watching never got to see an honest debate about the 2020 election.

When proceedings finally resumed, the entire atmosphere had completely changed, and all of a sudden hardly anyone was interested in debating whether the election results were legitimate or not.

So who actually benefitted from the riots?

Also, it is important to note that these riots have dealt a severe blow to any political future that President Trump hoped to have.

So with one stone, activists have neutered the debate over the legitimacy of the election and they have devastated the Trump movement as well.

It appears that someone really was playing “3D chess”, and it wasn’t Trump and his supporters.

And this is just the beginning.  As I keep warning, the radical left will never be satisfied until they accomplish all of their goals.

Electing Joe Biden was just a way to get rid of Trump.  The radical left actually doesn’t like Biden either, and they will fight him bitterly if Biden does not go along with their full agenda.

In the end, what they want is a full-blown “revolution” in this country.  And as we witnessed on Wednesday, they will go to extreme lengths in order to get what they want.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Questions About The Chaos At The Capitol That Desperately Need To Be Answered first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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2021 Commentary democrat Georgia Intelwars political Politics republican

They Are Doing It Again, And We Have Seen It Happen Way Too Many Times Before…

It appears to be happening again.  As I write this article, 92 percent of the vote has been counted in Georgia, and both Republicans are leading.  Kelly Loeffler has a lead of 2 percent over Ralph Warnock, and David Perdue has a lead of 2.8 percent over Jon Ossoff.  In the old days, leads of that size this late in the vote count would be enough to call both races.  But this is 2020, and we are being told that huge waves of votes from key Democratic strongholds could swing both races in favor of the Democrats.  Just like we saw in November, it appears that votes that will be counted in the middle of the night while most of the nation is sleeping will make all the difference.

Back in November, time after time President Trump was leading Joe Biden in key swing states after 90 percent of the vote had been counted, and time after time he lost.

This time around, some are anticipating that the Democrats will win before they have even taken the lead in the vote count.  In fact, Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has already called the race between Warnock and Loeffler…

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman has seen enough.

The data expert called the Georgia runoff election for Democrat Raphael Warnock, who he says will defeat Republican Kelly Loeffler. The call came early, as Georgia’s senate runoff elections are tight and have yet to be called by major outlets.

Seriously?

At this hour, we are being told that most of the “uncounted votes” are in the Democratic strongholds in the Atlanta area

Much of the uncounted votes are in metro Atlanta counties favoring Democrats as well as absentee ballots that also favor Democrats. Still, Sterling said there are also lots of uncounted likely Republican votes spread over smaller conservative counties in the state.

Isn’t it odd how they never seem to be able to count votes as quickly as everyone else?

In particular, CNN is reporting that the largest number of outstanding votes are in DeKalb County…

The biggest chunk of outstanding votes is the early in-person voting numbers from DeKalb County, said Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, in a news conference this evening.

The county is heavily Democratic and played a key role in handing President-elect Joe Biden a victory in the state in the presidential election.

In November, the biggest cities in many of the most important swing states were extremely slow in reporting their results, and when those results finally came in they pushed Biden into the lead in those states.

And guess what?

Just a few moments ago, a huge vote dump from DeKalb County has vaulted Warnock into the lead, and Ossoff is now almost tied with Perdue.

96 percent of the vote is now in, and it is anticipated that the remaining 4 percent of the vote will help the Democrats even more.

Incredibly, President Trump seemed to be anticipating this exact scenario

Looks like they are setting up a big “voter dump” against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?

States are going to have to start changing their election laws after this.  From now on, all counties should be required to report their vote totals at the exact same time so that nobody gets an unfair “advantage”.

Nobody should be able to delay their “counting” until they can see how all of the other counties have voted.  That just opens up way too much of an opportunity for malfeasance.

And of course we need to get rid of the voting machines entirely.

Speaking of that, there were all sorts of problems with voting machines in Republican strongholds in Georgia on Tuesday.  Here are just some of the reports that we were getting…

Georgia radio host John Fredricks:”Dominion machines in… 3 of the largest Republican precincts…are down…They are told they can’t scan their ballots because the machines don’t work…The pole workers are saying ‘When it’s fixed we’ll scan it for you’…There’s all kinds of red flags”

Columbia County, Georgia: “Columbia county…It’s a Republican-majority county. People forced to vote with provisional ballots and told to check online later to see if the vote was counted.”

Spaulding County, Georgia: Spoke with a woman who went to vote at 7am this morning. She & other voters were told the #dominion machines were down. They were not given emergency paper ballots & were told to come later. Some voters unable to come back due to work.

It is funny – I didn’t hear of a single problem with the machines in Democratic strongholds.

Maybe there were problems and I just didn’t hear about them.  That is entirely possible.

But it truly is strange how all of these election “anomalies” always seem to hurt Republicans and help Democrats.

Now 98 percent of the vote is in, and Ralph Warnock has a 0.8 percent lead on Kelly Loeffler.  The other race is almost completely tied.

But I have a feeling that some more votes will suddenly be “found” for Ossoff before it is all said and done.

The past couple of months have greatly shaken faith in our political system, and it has become exceedingly clear that America is in huge trouble.

Now that this has happened to them personally, I anticipate that Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will both take much stronger stands on election security in the future.

It is still possible that Perdue may end up winning, but his lead just suddenly shrank to less than 2,000 votes.

The votes that Ossoff needs seem to be coming in, and it appears that he could be about to take the lead.

It is kind of strange writing an article as I watch the results come in.  I had a feeling that we were going to see this sort of a scenario play out, and now it is actually happening.

And right on cue, the Democratic stronghold of Gwinnett County has announced that they are not going to count any more votes until tomorrow morning

Gwinnett County, a suburb of Atlanta, has finished counting for the day, leaving just under 4,800 absentee and a small number of military ballots and cured absentee ballots to be counted, county officials said.

If Ossoff ends up needing some additional votes to push him over the top, that is where he can get them.

Sadly, it appears quite likely that the Democrats will end up taking control of the Senate, and that means that America is never going to be the same again after this.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post They Are Doing It Again, And We Have Seen It Happen Way Too Many Times Before… first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary covid COVID Pandemic Health Intelwars Mutant COVID New Mutant COVID In South Africa preppers super COVID World

This Is Why The New Mutant COVID Strain That Is Ravaging South Africa Has Scientists Extremely Worried…

Over the past couple of weeks, the new coronavirus strain known as “Super COVID” has been racing through the UK and making headlines all over the globe, but scientists insist that the new mutant COVID strain in South Africa is potentially much more dangerous.  Just like “Super COVID” in the UK, there is evidence that the South African strain spreads faster, and South Africa’s health minister has warned that there is “anecdotal evidence” of a “larger proportion of younger patients with no co-morbidities presenting with critical illness”.  But the biggest reason why health authorities are so concerned about this particular strain is because it has mutated so dramatically that the current vaccines that have been developed may not work against it.  The following comes from a Reuters article entitled “UK scientists worry vaccines may not protect against S.African coronavirus variant”

UK scientists expressed concern on Monday that COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in Britain may not be able to protect against a new variant of the coronavirus that emerged in South Africa and has spread internationally.

Both Britain and South Africa have detected new, more transmissible variants of the COVID-19-causing virus in recent weeks that have driven a surge in cases. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday he was now very worried about the variant identified in South Africa.

Even though the UK is the epicenter of the “Super COVID” outbreak, the British are so alarmed by the South African strain that they have banned all flights from South Africa.  In an interview with the BBC, Hancock admitted that he is “incredibly worried” about what is happening in South Africa right now…

“I’m incredibly worried about the South African variant, and that’s why we took the action that we did to restrict all flights from South Africa,” he told the BBC’s “Today” program.

“This is a very, very significant problem … and it’s even more of a problem than the U.K. new variant.”

As the Daily Mail recently explained, the vaccines that have already been developed are designed to get the body to identify COVID’s “spike protein”, and if this does not happen they will not work properly…

Covid vaccines – including the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca jabs currently being rolled out across Britain – work by training the body to spot the virus’s spike protein.

If the spike mutates so much that it becomes unrecognizable then it could render vaccines useless or make them less potent.

Scientists are telling us that the new mutant strain in South Africa has a total of eight changes to the spike protein, and Dr. John Bell of Oxford University is calling them “pretty substantial changes”

Dr. John Bell of Oxford University said Sunday the variant identified in South Africa was worrisome in this regard, however.

“They both have multiple, different mutations in them, so they’re not a single mutation,” he told Times Radio. “And the mutations associated with the South African form are really pretty substantial changes in the structure of the (virus’ spike) protein.”

At this moment, we do not know if the current vaccines will be rendered useless by this new mutant strain or not.

But it is being reported that early tests have shown that at least one of the mutations appears to have made the virus more resistant to antibodies

One, called E484K, is particularly alarming, Dr Richard Lessells, an infectious-disease specialist at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, told the Wall Street Journal.

When he and his team tested antibodies from donated plasma or lab made ones against that mutated bit of the virus variant, the immune cells were less effective.

Of course much more testing needs to be done, and those tests are being conducted right now.

According to a top official in the UK, scientists may be able to come to some sort of a conclusion in a couple of weeks

Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said in response to a question from POLITICO on December 30 that this work can take 12 to 14 days, and that it may be a couple of weeks before scientists can give “a solid steer” on whether the vaccines will be effective on new variants.

So it may be a while before we know for sure if the current vaccines will be effective against this frightening new mutant strain in South Africa or not.

But what we do know is that this new strain is rapidly becoming dominant in large portions of South Africa

The variant, 501.V2, is more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus and has rapidly become dominant in South Africa’s coastal areas. It is expected that the variant will quickly become dominant inland in Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, and the surrounding Gauteng province, he said.

If it is becoming dominant there, there is a good chance that it will become dominant as it spreads elsewhere as well.

In recent days, two cases of the South African strain have been confirmed in the UK, and there have also been cases detected in Finland, Switzerland and Australia.

Then on Monday, a case popped up in Austria

On Monday, Austria announced that it had discovered one case of the South African mutation in a 30-year-old woman who returned from a trip on Dec. 6.

And officials in Japan just announced that a case has been identified in their country

Japan on Monday detected a coronavirus variant found in South Africa, the government said, the first such discovery in a nation that has already identified more than a dozen cases of another variant that is spreading rapidly in Britain.

So it appears that the cat is already out of the bag.

A whole host of nations have already put travel restrictions in place to try to keep this deadly new strain from spreading more widely.

But so far the U.S. is not among them.  In fact, testing is not even required for people traveling to the U.S. from South Africa.

Just like we have seen with “Super COVID”, it is probably just a matter of time before the South African strain spreads all over the planet.

And if the current vaccines will not work against it, that will put scientists back to square one in fighting this pandemic.

Of course there are tens of millions of people in the United States that will never take any COVID vaccine under any circumstances.  Many are deeply concerned about the potential long-term effects of these experimental mRNA vaccines, and there is still so much that we do not know about them.

These are such troubled times, and the “perfect storm” that started in 2020 is only going to get worse in 2021.

Scientists thought that the new vaccines would give them the upper hand in dealing with this pandemic, but that may not be the case after all.

And as COVID continues to mutate, it is inevitable that there will be even more surprises for our health authorities in the months ahead…

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post This Is Why The New Mutant COVID Strain That Is Ravaging South Africa Has Scientists Extremely Worried… first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary Creativity & Innovation Fair Use Intelwars

A Smorgasbord of Bad Takedowns: 2020 Year in Review

Here at EFF, we take particular notice of the way that intellectual property law leads to expression being removed from the Internet. We document the worst examples in our Takedown Hall of Shame. Some, we use to explain more complex ideas. And in other cases, we offer our help.

In terms of takedowns, 2020 prefaced the year to come with a January story from New York University School of Law. The law school posted a video of a panel titled “Proving Similarity,” where experts explained how song similarity is analyzed in copyright cases. Unsurprisingly, that involved playing parts of songs during the panel. And so, the video meant to explain how copyright infringement is determined was flagged by Content ID, YouTube’s automated copyright filter.

While the legal experts at, let’s check our notes, NYU Law were confident this was fair use, they were less confident that they understood how YouTube’s private appeals system worked. And, more specifically, whether challenging Content ID would lead to NYU losing its YouTube channel. They reached out privately to ask questions about the system, but got no answers. Instead, YouTube just quietly restored the video.

And with that, a year of takedowns was off. There was Dr. Drew Pinsky’s incorrect assessment that copyright law let him remove a video showing him downplaying COVID-19. A self-described Twitter troll using the DMCA to remove from Twitter an interview he did about his tactics and then using the DMCA to remove a photo of his previous takedown. And, when San Diego Comic Con went virtual, CBS ended up taking down its own Star Trek panel.

On our end, we helped Internet users push back on attempts to use IP claims as a tool to silence critics. In one case, EFF helped a Redditor win a fight to stay anonymous when Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, a group that publishes doctrines for Jehovah’s Witnesses, tried to learn their identity using copyright infringement allegations.

We also called out some truly ridiculous copyright takedowns. One culprit, the ironically named No Evil Foods, went after journalists and podcasters who reported on accusations of union-busting, claiming copyright in a union organizer’s recordings of anti-union presentations by management. We sent a letter telling them to knock it off: if the recorded speeches were even copyrightable, which is doubtful, this was an obvious fair use, and they were setting themselves up for a lawsuit under DMCA section 512(f), the provision that provides penalties for bad-faith takedowns. The takedowns stopped after that.

Another case saw a university jumping on the DMCA abuse train. Nebraska’s Doane University used a DMCA notice to take down a faculty-built website created to protest deep academic program cuts, claiming copyright in a photo of the university. One problem: that photo was actually taken by an opponent of the cuts, specifically for the website. The professor who made the website submitted a counternotice, but the university’s board was scheduled to vote on the cuts before the DMCA’s putback waiting period would expire. EFF stepped in and demanded that Doane withdraw its claim, and it worked—the website was back up before the board vote.

Copyright takedowns aren’t the only legal tool we see weaponized against online speech—brands are just as happy to use trademarks this way. Sometimes that can take the form of a DMCA-like takedown request, like the NFL used to shut down sales of “Same Old Jets” parody merchandise for long-suffering New York Jets fans. In other cases, a company might use a tool called the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) to take over an entire website. The UDRP lets a trademark holder take control of a domain name if it can convince a private arbitrator that Internet users would think it belonged to the brand and that the website owner registered the name in “bad faith,” without a legitimate interest in using it.

This year, we helped the owner of instacartshoppersunited.com stand up to a UDRP action and hold on to her domain name. Daryl Bentillo was frustrated by her experience as an Instacart shopper and registered that domain name intending to build a site that would help organize shoppers to advocate for better pay practices. But before she even had a chance to get started, Ms. Bentillo got an email saying that Instacart was trying to take her domain name away using this process she’d never heard of. That didn’t sit right with us, so we offered our help. We talked to Instacart’s attorneys about how Ms. Bentillo had every right to use the company’s name this way to refer to it (called a nominative fair use in trademark-speak)—and about how it sure looked like they were just using the UDRP process to shut down organizing efforts. Instacart was ultimately persuaded to withdraw its complaint.

Back in copyright land, we also dissected the problem of the RIAA’s takedown of youtube-dl, a popular tool for downloading videos from Internet platforms. Youtube-dl didn’t infringe on RIAA’s copyright, but the RIAA made the takedown claiming that because DMCA 1201 says that it’s illegal to bypass a digital lock in order to access or modify a copyrighted work and that youtube-dl could be used to download RIAA-member music, it should be removed.

RIAA and other copyright holders have argued that it’s a violation of DMCA 1201 to bypass DRM even if you’re doing it for completely lawful purposes; for example, if you’re downloading a video on YouTube for the purpose of using it in a way that’s protected by fair use.

Trying to use the notice-and-takedown process against a tool that does not infringe on any music label’s copyright and has lawful uses was an egregious abuse of the system, and we said so.

And to bring us full circle: we end with a case where discussing copyright infringement brought a takedown. Lindsay Ellis, a video creator, author, and critic, created a video called “Into the Omegaverse: How a Fanfic Trope Landed in Federal Court,” dissecting a story where one author, Addison Cain, has sent numerous takedowns to platforms with dubious copyright claims. Eventually, one of the targets sued and the question of who owns what in a genre that developed entirely online ended up in court. It did not take long for Cain to send a series of takedowns against this video about her history of takedowns.

That’s when EFF stepped in. The video is a classic fair use. It uses a relatively small amount of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and parody in an hour-long video that consists overwhelmingly of Ellis’ original content. In short, the copyright claims (and the other, non-copyright claims) were deficient. We were happy to explain this to Cain and her lawyer.

It’s been an interesting year for takedowns. Some of these takedowns involved automated filters, a problem we dived deep into with our whitepaper Unfiltered: How YouTube’s Content ID
Discourages Fair Use and Dictates What We See Online. Filters like Content ID not only remove lots of lawful expression; they also sharply restrict what we do see. Remember: if you encounter problems with bogus legal threats, DMCA takedowns, or filters, you can contact EFF at info@eff.org.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.

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christian Commentary CORRUPTION Crime Depression Economic Crisis Intelwars Life Has Value Moral Crisis New York New York City Politics The Importance Of Teaching Values To Our Children

When We Teach Our Kids That Life Has No Value, This Is How They Act…

The endless chaos in our streets is directly related to how we have been raising our children for the past couple of decades.  Bad beliefs lead to bad actions, and we have been teaching our kids values that are fundamentally flawed.  In particular, our children are endlessly taught that life has no value in a multitude of ways.  They view thousands of murders on television and in the movies as they grow up, the news glorifies politicians that tell them that it is a good thing to slaughter the unborn, and western nations are increasingly embracing the idea that older people should be willing to ask for the “plug to be pulled” once their “usefulness” is over.  Throughout their lives, our kids are trained to believe that they evolved from animals and that there is nothingness after they die, and the logical conclusion of such a worldview is that the period of time between birth and death is rather meaningless.

If life has no value and our existence is essentially meaningless, you might as well do whatever you feel like doing because tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.

Sadly, millions upon millions of our young people have adopted such an outlook at this point, and so we shouldn’t be surprised that many of them are completely out of control.

Yesterday, I wrote about how murder rates are absolutely skyrocketing all over the nation.  You might think that this is a bad thing, but if life has no value, what is the big deal?

Today, many Americans were absolutely shocked when dozens of wild youths stopped a BMW on Fifth Avenue in New York City and began brutally attacking it

Max Torgovnick, 36, was driving in the BMW with his mom when they encountered the large group of youngsters biking up Fifth Avenue near 21st Street.

The pair had just dropped off a holiday donation to a local charity when their vehicle was viciously set upon.

According to eyewitnesses, the teens began blocking traffic and started to attack the luxury car.

Shocking video shows several teens punching the BMW’s windows and stomping on its hood.

That account really doesn’t capture the true horror of the assault.

To really appreciate what happened, you really need to watch video footage of the incident.

If those young people valued the lives of the two people inside that BMW, they would have not attacked them like that.

But they don’t, and the reason they don’t is because the system raised them to not have any respect for life.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen everywhere on the planet.

For example, in Belarus young people are dressing up in formal attire and are attending extremely elaborate balls instead of torching buildings and terrorizing their fellow citizens.

So who is more civilized, them or us?

Of course we have been trying to undermine the government of Belarus for years, and our stated goal is to replace it with a form of government that is more similar to our own because we want them to be more like us.

But maybe our goal should be to become more like them.

And the chaos in our streets is only going to intensify as our economy continues to deteriorate.  According to one recent report, we just witnessed the largest one year increase in poverty in this country that has ever been recorded

Due to the coronavirus pandemic’s decimation of the labor market and the months-long expiration of benefits from the government relief package keeping families afloat, the poverty rate in the United States surged from 9.3% in June to 11.7% in November, according to a report released Wednesday by analysts at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, creating the biggest increase in a single year since the government began tracking poverty in 1960.

Sadly, as our system continues to melt down it is going to fuel even more civil unrest.  The more desperate people become, the worse the violence in the streets is going to get.

Honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere around the hordes of young people that have been rioting, looting and burning buildings almost all year long.

If our founders could see us today, they would wonder how things could have possibly gone so wrong.

Of course there are still people out there that have solid values and that are trying to do the right thing.  For instance, I was greatly encouraged when I came across a news story about a homeless man that ran into a burning animal shelter to save the cats and dogs that were trapped inside

A homeless man is being hailed as a hero after he risked his life to rescue several dogs and cats from a fire at an animal shelter.

The man, Keith Walker, rushed inside the W-Underdogs shelter after a fire broke out Dec. 18, the facility said in a Facebook post.

“Tonight we thank our guardian angels. The homeless man that ran into our burning house and rescued our animals,” it said. “Our animals are safe and thanks to the incredible response from the community, everyone is settled and safe warm and secure.”

I wish that our society would produce more people like Keith Walker, but it doesn’t because the way that we raise kids these days is completely and totally messed up.

Instead, we are producing lots of self-centered idiots like this well-known divorce lawyer

Cindy Liquori, 55, was dog-sitting at her mother’s home in Windsor Locks on Friday when her husband, 59-year-old John Liquori, gunned her down in her sleep, police sources told the Hartford Courant.

John Liquori then lay next to his wife and shot himself to death, according to the source.

John Liquori probably believed that suicide would be an easy way out because he was taught from a very young age to believe that there is nothing after death.

But instead, he quickly found out that he had a date with the big divorce court in the sky.

What we teach our kids when they are young really matters, because it will heavily influence the decisions that they make for the rest of their lives.

As a nation, we have been failing our children for a very long time, and now there is chaos in our streets as a result.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post When We Teach Our Kids That Life Has No Value, This Is How They Act… first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary competition Intelwars

Competitive Compatibility: Year in Review

2020 saw governments on three continents take action against the dominance of the biggest tech platforms, with a flurry of pro-competition rules, investigations and lawsuits. As exciting as this is, it’s just the beginning. Antitrust enforcement is often a matter of years or even decades, and if history is any judge, dominant companies will seek to avert precedent-setting judgments (which might lead to breakups) and instead try to settle their lawsuits, negotiating concessions rather than taking their chances before a judge.

As an organization that yearns for the days when the Internet wasn’t a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four, we are excited to see this kind of enforcement underway, but that excitement is tempered by the fear that hasty, reflexive settlements and regulations might actually make the situation worse. For example, deputizing companies to perform the duties of the state by identifying and blocking unlawful speech makes it harder for new, better companies to enter the marketplace, because they can’t afford the vast army of moderators that monopolists can pay for with the change they find down the back of the sofa in their campus mini-kitchens.

Interoperability Mandates

Thankfully, 2020 saw some very thoughtful approaches to competition that explicitly sought out ways to promote competition and give users more power over how their tech works, rather than blindly “punishing” companies with regulations that also raise barriers for would-be challengers. Both the U.S. Access Act and the EU Digital Services Act propose interoperability mandates—a requirement that the biggest tech companies provide managed access to their systems for startups, co-ops, and other potential competitors.

When it comes to undoing 40 years of indifferent antitrust enforcement, interoperability mandates are a great start, but they are only part of the solution. What happens if the mandatory system is sidelined by changing market conditions or deliberate subversion by monopolistic companies? And what about new technologies just a-borning: what can we do to prevent them from growing into monopolies, and starting the cycle over again?

The Good Kind of Tech Exceptionalism

There are lots of ways in which tech monopolies are unexceptional: just like many other concentrated industries, their growth was fueled by access to lots of capital, which allowed them to gobble up small companies before they could grow to be competitors; they engaged in mergers between notional competitors, making it harder for suppliers, customers, and workers to shop around for better deals; and they created vertical monopolies that cornered multiple markets.

But tech is exceptional, because it is based on universal machines (computers) and a universal network (the Internet), and that opens up the possibility of a different kind of interoperability—not the kind that is designed in from the start through standards, nor the kind imposed by a lawmaker.

Rather, this is adversarial interoperability, when you plug something in against the wishes of the person who made it, to make life better for the people who use it.

We have a name for this: Competitive Compatibility (ComCom for short).

ComCom

ComCom is deeply embedded in the history of tech. Every one of today’s tech giants has a ComCom story in its history, like Apple’s elegant solution to Microsoft’s unreliable Office for Mac products.

But as scrappy firms become powerful incumbents, their relationship to ComCom changes: when they were using ComCom to outmaneuver the lumbering dinosaurs of a previous era, that was just “progress.” When some upstart comes along to do the same to them, that’s a dangerous and illegitimate challenge to the natural order of things.

When it comes to getting their own way, monopolies have two major advantages: first, they have the extra profits that come from monopolization (“monopoly rents” in economics jargon); and second, the more concentrated an industry is, the easier it is for all the major companies in it to collude to spend those monopoly rents to buy policies that safeguard their profits.

For decades, the pirates of yore have declared themselves to be admirals and have set about ensuring that no one does unto them what they have done unto so many others. To that end, we’ve seen the steady expansion of cybersecurity law, copyright and para-copyright law, and patent law (as well as frightening new theories of copyright that make it much harder to use ComCom to help users escape walled gardens, lock-ins, and other anti-competitive tricks that help monopolists do monopoly.)

Telling the Tale

We spent much of 2019 and 2020 gathering and publishing the largely forgotten histories of ComCom in tech development, from the early cable TV systems all the way to the birth of fintech.

Now it’s time to mobilize. As 2021’s crackdowns on monopoly proceed, lawmakers, courts, and regulators will be looking for solutions. We think ComCom should be in their toolkits: we imagine courts correcting monopoly abuses by prohibiting big companies from using legal tools to fight ComCom, and governments insisting on guarantees that ComCom will be tolerated by anyone selling products to the public sector. We’d also like to see legislatures adopt rules to promote ComCom, including reforms to copyright, cybersecurity, patent, and other laws that safeguard those who make new things that connect the old.

It’s nearly 2021, and long past time for a revival of the trustbusting spirit. But it’s also been 130 years since America’s seminal antitrust laws were passed, and so it’s also long past time to adopt some new tactics to fight the eternal problem of monopoly abuse.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.

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B.1.1.7 Commentary covid COVID Pandemic Health Intelwars Mutant COVID preppers super COVID World

“Super COVID” Is Spreading In The United States – Should We Be Scared?

This pandemic just entered an alarming new phase.  The new mutant strain of the virus commonly known as “Super COVID” has been creating a tremendous amount of panic in the UK, and cases have also been confirmed in Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Singapore, India, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.  But until Tuesday there were no known cases in the United States, and many were urging for travel restrictions to be instituted in order to keep it from gaining a foothold here.  Unfortunately, it appears that it is now too late for that, because a case of “Super COVID” has now been identified in Colorado

Colorado has announced it has detected the first US case of the super-COVID strain that was first found in the UK.

Governor Jared Polis revealed the worrying news in a tweet, writing: ‘Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.’

If this individual had traveled out of the country recently, it would have been easy to assume that he caught it while abroad, but we are being told that he “has no travel history”

The patient is a man in his 20s who is recovering in isolationin Elbert County, outside Denver. He has no travel history and no close contacts. Public health officials were conducting an investigation.

So that means that he caught “Super COVID” from someone else here in the United States.

And that means that we have probably already lost any chance of containing it.

But that doesn’t mean that we should be scared of this new mutant strain.

Scientists in the UK insist that this strain is “70 percent more infectious”, and that might explain why the case numbers in the UK are exploding right now.

However, on the CDC website we are being told that “there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death”.

So that is good news.

Moving forward, health authorities will be watching carefully to see if “Super COVID” ends up becoming the dominant strain here in the United States.  Unfortunately, that appears to be precisely what is taking place in the UK

It was first spotted in September in southeastern England. The new variant accounted for a quarter of cases in London by November. By the week of Dec. 9, it was responsible for 60% of cases in the city. London and large areas of southern England are under lockdown measures, and dozens of nations have banned travel from the U.K.

Many are concerned that the new vaccines may not work against this new mutant strain.

At this point, scientists continue to say that they “believe” that the vaccines will work against it, and tests are being conducted.

But so far there have been no big public announcements indicating that any of the tests have been successful.

You can take that any way that you want.  Perhaps more time is still needed, but even if preliminary results were promising I think that we would have heard something by now.

And if the existing vaccines do not work against “Super COVID”, that means that authorities will have to go all the way back to square one.

Of course there are a lot of questions about how effective these vaccines will actually be against the current dominant strain.  This week, we learned that a doctor in New York was diagnosed with COVID four days after being vaccinated

A New York doctor was diagnosed with the coronavirus four days after he received the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, Ynet reported.

The case occurred at Montefiore Hospital in New York.

On the west coast, a nurse in San Diego was diagnosed with COVID eight days after getting a vaccine

A San Diego, California ER nurse has tested positive for COVID-19, just eight days after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

After taking the vaccine on December 18th, nurse Matthew W. felt fine.

Six days later he came down with the chills, muscle aches and fatigue after working a shift in a COVID-19 unit.

Two days later and still under the weather, Matthew took a COVID-19 test that came back positive.

Needless to say, neither of them had gotten a second shot yet, and we are being told that a second shot is required in order to have “full protection”.

But most of the major side effects happened after the second shot during the trials.

So that is a huge concern.

And a lot of people are having major side effects after getting the first shot.  Here is just one example

Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh, of Boston Medical Center, received the vaccine on Thursday, and at first believed he was experiencing anxiety related to the shot, he told NBC 10 Boston. When his tongue started tingling and then turned numb, he realized his was dealing with a reaction.

“My blood pressure was really down, so this is the time that I knew that this was anaphylactic shock,” he told the news outlet. “My heart rate is up, I’m sweating so my blood pressure is really down. I’ve had this before so I had my EpiPen and I administered myself.”

There has been so many reports of adverse reactions in the news, and a video testimony from a nurse in Tennessee is spreading like wildfire on social media right now.

Ironically, these people may be going through all of this for nothing if “Super COVID” becomes the dominant strain and the new vaccines end up being totally ineffective against it.

As I have warned so many times, we have entered an era of global pestilences, and I believe that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.

Yes, we should take “Super COVID” seriously, but don’t be afraid of it.

Even the World Health Organization is saying that this is “not necessarily the big one”.

There have been absolutely massive killer pandemics all throughout human history, and there will be more in our future.

So if COVID is throwing our society into a state of complete and utter chaos, what will things look like when a truly deadly pandemic finally arrives?

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post “Super COVID” Is Spreading In The United States – Should We Be Scared? first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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AT&T Commentary Conspiracy CORRUPTION Crime Environment Florida Intelwars Moral Crisis nashville New Jersey North Carolina

The Best Of Humanity, And The Worst Of Humanity…

There are moments that restore our faith in humanity, and there are also moments that destroy it.  We were created to love and to be loved, and in this article I will share a couple examples of incredible acts of love.  But there are many others that have become so twisted that they will engage in unspeakable acts of evil without even thinking twice about it.  Of course on Christmas Day we witnessed an unspeakable act of evil when Anthony Quinn Warner blew himself up in front of the AT&T building in downtown Nashville.  But even in the midst of such a great tragedy, incredible things happened that are making headlines all over the globe.  Light and darkness often coexist side by side, but sometimes things get so dark that we forget that the light is still there.

One story that encouraged me lately was the story of a 7-year-old boy named Eli that rushed into a burning home to save his 22-month-old sister

It was a typical night at the Davidson household in New Tazewell, Tennessee, on December 8. Chris and Nicole Davidson fed their three children dinner, tucked them into bed and were asleep by 8:30 p.m.

Hours later, Nicole Davidson woke up to the smell of smoke. Within minutes, the family’s home was up in flames — and 22-month-old Erin Davidson was trapped in her room.

Sometimes being really small is a huge advantage, and Eli was able to use his small size to squeeze through a window and grab little Erin from her crib before it was too late

“The smoke and fire was so thick there was no way I could get to her,” Chris Davidson told CNN. “We went outside to get to her from the window, but there was nothing for me to stand on to reach up there. So I picked up Eli, who went through the window and was able to grab her from her crib.”

Acts of great self-sacrifice are representative of the best of humanity, but we are also reminded of the worst of humanity on a daily basis.

For example, yesterday I came across a story about three men in Florida that I wish I could get out of my mind

Three men, including the rapper Splash Zanotti, allegedly demanded $20,000 and sexually assaulted a woman after breaking into a South Florida home, police said.

Splash Zanotti, whose real name is Kejuan Campbell, along with Dionte Alexander-Wilcox and Antonio James allegedly broke into the Miramar, Florida home in October by pointing a gun at one of the homeowners, according to a federal affidavit. The men, all armed with firearms, proceeded to force both homeowners on the ground and assaulted them.

The specific details of what they did to the woman are too sickening for this article.

Men like this have no place in our society, and it is actually a tremendous indictment of our society that we keep producing incredibly sick and twisted people like this.

But not everyone turns out this way.  In New Jersey, a couple named Rebecca and Robert Kolas have brought six orphaned siblings into their home so that they would not be separated.

Needless to say, this has not been easy on their finances, and Rebecca says that they have mortgaged their home “as much as possible” in order to pay for it…

Rebecca, who is managing attorney of the Community Health Law Project which advocates for those with disabilities, and Robert, who works for the Tom River Public Works Department, have asked New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency for help in making more space for the kids.

“My home is mortgaged as much as possible to pay for it,” Rebecca explained.

Why can’t our society produce more good hearts like that?

And why can’t we send people like Rebecca and Robert to Washington to represent us?

Instead, our system of government seems to greatly attract power-hungry control freaks that love to make life miserable for all the rest of us.

Things have gotten particularly oppressive during this pandemic.  The rules that our politicians have imposed upon all of us have resulted in some very crazy outcomes, and we are seeing things that I never thought we would see in this country.

For instance, just recently the manager of an AMC Theater in Jacksonville, North Carolina banned a disabled child from entering because she wasn’t wearing a mask

Family members were masked up. However, the child, who was in a baby stroller and is non-verbal, was not wearing a mask.

She reportedly has a condition that precludes her from wearing either a mask or a face shield.

How cold-hearted do you have to be in order to do something like that?

When the family indicated that they didn’t want to leave, the manager of the movie theater actually summoned the police

Police were summoned to the theater and escorted the outraged family outside.

Yes, this is actually happening in America in 2020.

Sadly, the people with the most money and the most power are often the most psychotic of them all.

By now, you have probably heard that in the name of “science” Bill Gates would actually like to partially block sunlight from reaching our planet

A bizarre-sounding plan to save Earth funded by tech guru Bill Gates is “quietly” moving forward.

The plan — to dim the sun’s rays and their impact on the earth — is reportedly all in the name of helping to revitalize the environment and thus save the human race.

This is one of the most foolish plans that I have ever heard, but Bill Gates is very serious about this.

Without the light of the sun, life on Earth could not exist.  We can barely feed everyone on the planet right now during the best of years, and partially cutting off sunlight would make it much more difficult to grow food.

Why in the world would anyone want to do such a thing?

We live at a time when evil is out of control all over the planet, and it is only going to get worse in the years to come.

But whenever the wickedness seems too overwhelming, it will be important for us to remember that love is still changing hearts all over the globe.

All throughout human history we have witnessed a battle of good vs. evil, and that will definitely be true during this chapter of human history as well.

And even though hatred is rising all around us, we want to make sure that our hearts are always filled with love, because love will win in the end.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post The Best Of Humanity, And The Worst Of Humanity… first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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What Comes Next for the Santa Clara Principles: 2020 in Review

For many years, we have urged platforms to operate with more transparency—both to the public and to their users—and to ensure that the people who use their services have the ability to appeal wrongful content moderation decisions. As such, in conjunction with several other organizations and academic experts, we launched the Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation in February 2018 on the sidelines of an event on content moderation at Santa Clara University to make our demands clear to companies. 

Later that same year, we worked with a group of more than one hundred organizations from dozens of countries to send a strong message to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, reminding him that much of the world’s ability to speak freely is in his hands, and urging him to ensure that Facebook offer appeals in every circumstance. That campaign was a success: Not only did Facebook respond to our letter, but they broadened the right to appeal to most cases, with a handful of exceptions.

From that action, we also began developing a loose coalition of other experts—NGOs, academics, and journalists—engaged broadly in the topic of platform governance, and have continued (with the help of our allies) to grow that group and broaden collaboration in the field.

In 2019, we succeeded in getting a dozen companies to endorse the Principles, with several companies furthering their compliance. One company, Reddit, went all the way in implementing the Principles into their platform.

In the meantime, we heard from our allies across the world that there was much more we could be doing, and so we collaborated with a number of our friends in the field to embark on an ambitious process of reviewing the Principles, which included an open call for submissions. We received more than forty sets of recommendations from more than ten countries, and have been reviewing them along with a small subset of our allies: Global Partners Digital, Open Technology Initiative, Article 19, Center for Democracy and Technology, Ranking Digital Rights, ACLU of Northern California, Witness, Brennan Center for Justice, Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, and AccessNow.

We’re excited for what comes next: In the next few months, we will be working with those groups to finish reviewing the submissions, considering the recommendations, and publishing a report. And we look forward to sharing what we’ve heard—after all, it is the users around the world whose voices must be taken into account by platforms.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.

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Anthony quinn warner Commentary HOPE Hopelessness Intelwars nashville Suicide

Nashville Suicide Bomber Anthony Quinn Warner Is A Perfect Example Of The Hopelessness That Pervades Our Society

What a sad, sad man Anthony Quinn Warner was.  He was unmarried, he didn’t appear to have any close friends, he had been involved in a legal conflict with own mother over real estate, and his death was completely and utterly meaningless.  I think that he was trying to draw attention to himself by blowing up his RV in front of the AT&T building in downtown Nashville, and millions of Americans now know who he is, but nobody will remember him fondly.  Instead, they will remember him as the man that blew out the windows in at least 41 buildings and devastated a significant portion of the downtown area of one of America’s most iconic cities.

Warner’s remains were found at the scene of the blast, and authorities were able to confirm his identity using DNA evidence.

If this had been a terror attack of some sort, there would have been an effort to kill as many people as possible.  But instead, Warner planned his suicide very early on Christmas morning when hardly anyone would be downtown, and he broadcast warnings from the RV over and over again before he finally blew himself up.

We are being told that Warner had worked in the IT field for a very long time, and that he had been “embroiled in legal battles over real estate with family members in recent years”

Warner was a longtime area resident who held several IT jobs, including one as an independent computer technician with Fridrich & Clark, and public records show he had extensive experience with electronics and alarm systems. Warner had been embroiled in legal battles over real estate with family members in recent years.

One of those legal battles was with his own mother.  Could that have been one of the reasons why he decided to take his own life?

The mainstream media is trying to convince us that the AT&T building may have been specifically targeted because Warner supposedly “harbored deep paranoia about 5G technology”, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.

Instead, I think that it is much more likely that the AT&T building was targeted because that is where his father once worked

Newsweek confirmed Saturday evening that the suspect’s late father worked for BellSouth, a telecommunications company that merged with AT&T in 2006, before his death. A senior law enforcement official said that investigators would pursue the lead to determine whether “there is any nexus between this bombing and his employment.”

Of course that narrative would not serve any of the agendas that the mainstream news is trying to push, and so expect them to continue to focus on the 5G anti-conspiracy angle.

Another very interesting element of this story is the fact that Warner had recently given two houses to a 29-year-old mother in Los Angeles

A 29-year-old mother who was given two homes worth $409,000 for free by the man identified as a person of interest in the Nashville Christmas Day bombing has said she had no knowledge of the property exchange, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.

Michelle Swing, who lives in Los Angeles, claims she was unaware Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, had signed the $160,000 Bakertown Road property raided on Saturday away to her last month via a quitclaim deed.

In addition to the $160,000 Bakertown Road property, Warner had earlier given her a $249,000 home

However, Warner also transfered another home on Bakertown Road to Swing via a quitclaim deed last year.

The $249,000 house had previously belonged a member of his family and Warner had only been in possession of it for five months before again giving it to Swing for free. She later also used a quitclaim to give the house to another person.

So why would an unmarried 63-year-old man give a 29-year-old Los Angeles woman two houses for free?

We don’t know, and Michelle Swing is not telling the press how she knows Warner.

I have a feeling that Warner probably encountered her on the Internet at some point, and there is probably a really good chance that he developed some sort of romantic feelings for her.

Obviously an attractive 29-year-old woman living in Los Angeles would almost certainly not be interested in a creepy 63-year-old man like Warner, and at some point Warner may have realized that he never had any shot of being with her.

Could that also have motivated his desire to take his own life?

We will probably find out more in the coming days, but the truth is that there are countless others out there that are just like Anthony Quinn Warner.

For those that are considering suicide, our society offers them absolutely nothing to live for.

Instead, all our society has to offer is more shiny new products to buy, more mindless entertainment to consume, and more years of enslavement to the corporate machine that dominates our entire system.

As children, we are taught that we came from nothing and that we will return to nothing when we die.

In between, we are told to try to enjoy the endless hamster wheels that the elite have created for us as much as we can.

That isn’t living.

At best, that is existing.

What people really need during times such as these is something to live for, and that is something that our society simply cannot provide.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any hope.

The truth is that we were made for a purpose, and even in the midst of this horrific tragedy in Nashville we received yet another reminder of who is really in control.  Metro Nashville police officer James Wells could have easily perished in the blast, but at the last moment someone stepped in and intervened

“This might not be politically correct, but this is my truth,” Wells said as he fought back the tears. “I literally heard God tell me to turn around and go check on Topping, who was by herself down on Broadway.”

As he was walking away from the RV around 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, the bomb detonated in the vehicle — causing him to lose his footing and suffer temporary hearing loss from the massive blast.

“I just tell myself to stay on your feet, stay alive,” Wells said as he got emotional while reliving the terrifying situation. “And I just take off in a full-out sprint. And I’m running toward Topping and make sure she’s okay. And we kind of meet in the middle and we just grab each other.”

If there is any story worth remembering from this great tragedy, it is that one.

Even in our darkest moments, good things happen, and we will all need to remember that during the very dark days that are approaching.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Nashville Suicide Bomber Anthony Quinn Warner Is A Perfect Example Of The Hopelessness That Pervades Our Society first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary competition Corporate Speech Controls Digital Services Act EU Policy free speech Intelwars

EU and the Digital Services Act: Year in Review

While 2019 saw the EU ramming through a disastrous Internet copyright rule that continues to reverberate through legal and policy circles, 2020 was a very different story, as the EU introduced the Digital Services Act the most significant reform of Europe’s platform legislation the EU has undertaken in twenty years. It is an unparalleled opportunity to formulate a bold, evidence-based vision to address today’s most pressing challenges.

One area we’re especially excited by is the EU’s cautious enthusiasm for interoperability, an anti-monopoly remedy that is highly specific to tech and deeply embedded in the history of technology. Early rumblings about future enforcement hint at interop’s centrality to the EU’s coming strategy, with some specific interoperability mandates under discussion.

In our policy advocacy surrounding the DSA, we will focus on four key areas: platform liability, interoperability mandates, procedural justice and user control. As we have been introducing the principles that will guide our policy work, our message to the EU has been clear: Preserve what works. Fix what is broken. And put users back in control.

Limited Liability and No Monitoring: Preserve What Works

The DSA is an important chance to update the legal responsibilities of platforms and enshrine users’ rights vis-à-vis the powerful gatekeeper platforms that control much of our online environment. But there is also a risk that the Digital Services Act will follow the footsteps of the recent regulatory developments in Germany, France, and Austria. The German NetzDG, the French Avia bill (which we helped bring down in court), and the Austrian law against hate speech (we advised the Commission to push it back) show a worrying trend in the EU to force platforms to police users’ content without considering what matters most: giving a voice to users affected by content takedowns.

In our detailed feedback to the EU on this question, we stress fair and just notice and action procedures (strong safeguards to protect user rights when their content is taken down or made inaccessible).

  1. Reporting Mechanisms: Intermediaries should not be held liable for choosing not to remove content simply because they received a private notification by a user. Save for exceptions, the EU should adopt the principle that actual knowledge of illegality is only obtained by intermediaries if they are presented with a court order.
  2. A Standard for Transparency and Justice in Notice and Action: Platforms should provide a user-friendly, visible, and swift appeals process to allow for the meaningful resolution of content moderation disputes. Appeals mechanisms must also be accessible, easy to use, follow a clearly communicated timeline, and must include human review.
  3. Open the Black Box that is Automated Decision Making: In the light of automated content moderation’s fundamental flaws, platforms should provide as much transparency as possible about how they use algorithmic tools.
  4. Reinstatement of Wrongfully Removed Content: Because erroneous content moderation decisions are so common and have such negative effects, it is crucial that platforms reinstate users’ content when the removal decision cannot be justified by a sensible interpretation of the platforms’ rules or the removal was simply in error
  5. Coordinated and Effective Regulatory Oversight: Coordination between independent national authorities should be strengthened to enable EU-wide enforcement, and platforms should be incentivized to follow their due diligence duties through, for example, meaningful sanctions harmonized across the European Union.

Facing the most significant reform project of Internet law undertaken in two decades, the EU should choose to protect the Internet rather coerce online platforms to police their users. EFF intends to fight for users’ rights, transparency, anonymity, and limited liability for online platforms every step of the way.

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Commentary Conspiracy Intelwars santa claus Santa Claus Exposed Santa Claus Is A Lie Santa Claus Is Not Real The Truth About Santa Claus

Santa Claus Does Not Exist – And Children Deserve To Know The Truth

Once a child figures out that you have been lying about Santa Claus for years, how can you expect that child to believe you about anything else?  Many regard the tradition of pretending that Santa Claus is real to be relatively harmless, but the reality of the matter is that millions upon millions of Americans have deep psychological scars from being deceived throughout childhood only to find out later in life that everything that they believed about Santa was completely fake.  Perhaps it is fun for many parents to play with the minds of their children, but those children do not benefit from investing a tremendous amount of emotional energy into a completely fraudulent narrative that will be cruelly ripped away from them at some point in the future.  Our children deserve to know the truth, and the truth is that Santa Claus does not exist.

Sadly, instead of urging parents to tell their children the facts about Santa from the beginning, many mental health professionals continue to give out advice about when it is the “right time to tell kids that there’s no Santa Claus”.  For example, the following comes from WebMD

“There’s really no one right time to tell kids that there’s no Santa Claus,” says Glen Elliott, Ph.D. Elliott is an associate professor and the Director of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. “The important thing is to take your cues from the child, and not try to prolong the fantasy for your own enjoyment when they may be ready to give it up.”

In other words, try to break it to your kids gently that you have been blatantly lying to them for their entire lives.

And once a child realizes that you have been lying about Santa for so many years, they will naturally wonder what else you have been lying about.

In particular, many kids may begin to have doubts about God once they realize that everything they learned about Santa was entirely untrue.

We tell our children that Santa knows everything and that he keeps track of the good things people do and the bad things people do.

Well, so does God.

We tell our children that Santa never changes and that he will always be there for them year after year.

The same is true for God.

We tell our children that Santa gives gifts and that we should bring our requests to him.

The same is true for God.

We tell our children that even though it is literally impossible for a person to visit every home on the entire planet in one night, Santa can do it because Santa is “everywhere”.

The same is true for God.

We tell our children that Santa is only good and that he would never do anything bad.

The same is true for God.

Every December we teach our children to sing songs about a jolly old man with a long white beard that we can’t see, and we tell them to have faith that he will provide all that we need.

Of course God is often portrayed as having a long white beard, and we are also told to trust Him with our needs.

I could go on and on, but I think that you get the point.

If you lie to your children about Santa Claus, why should they believe anything that you have to tell them about God?

Others have pointed out that the Santa myth actually has a lot of similarities to another prominent figure in the Bible as well.  Here is one example

Consider the evidence: Santa wears red; the Devil is red. Santa is known, alternatively, as St. Nick; one of the Devil’s jocular pseudonyms, in England, is Old Nick. Both are associated with the element of fire (by way of the chimney, in Santa’s case; a little closer to home, in Satan’s case); both live in the far antipodes. (Incidentally, in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the ninth and lowermost circle of hell where Lucifer is imprisoned for eternity isn’t the Mother of All Barbecue Pits, as in the pop imagination, but an icy wasteland—just like the arctic Santa calls home. Oh, and Dante’s Devil is seriously furry, calling to mind the Santa of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” who is “dressed all in fur from his head to his foot.”)

Over the years, many have noted that “Santa” and “Satan” both use the exact same letters.

Are you sure that is just a coincidence?

From a historical standpoint, our modern Santa Claus comes from drawings by a cartoonist named Thomas Nast in the mid-1800s, and those drawings were based on the way Santa Claus was described in an 1823 poem entitled “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clarence Clement Moore.

Prior to that, depictions of “Santa Claus” were much, much different.  Those older depictions were primarily inspired by a mishmash of traditions which came over from Europe, and that included very old pagan stories about the Norse god Odin.

For example, did you know that Odin would supposedly fly through the air delivering toys and candy to kids during the time of the Winter Solstice?

Back in the day of the Vikings, Yule was the time around the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21. Gods and ghosts went soaring above the rooftops on the Wild Ride, the dreaded Oskoreia. One of Odin’s many names was Jólnir (master of Yule). Astride Sleipnir, he led the flying Wild Hunt, accompanied by his sword-maiden Valkyries and a few other gods and assorted ghosts.

The motley gang would fly over the villages and countryside, terrifying any who happened to be out and about at night. But Odin would also deliver toys and candy. Children would fill their boots with straw for Sleipnir, and set them by the hearth. Odin would slip down chimneys and fire holes, leaving his gifts behind.

Does that sound familiar to you at all?

It should, because this is where we got the idea of Santa doing the same thing at Christmas.

And did you know that Odin had “a crew of industrious elves” that worked very hard to make gifts for Odin to deliver?…

Everyone knows that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, where his workshop is headquartered. All year long, his crew of elves work hard to produce the gifts that Santa brings to all the children who made it to his “nice” list. Well, according to Norse mythology, Odin also had a crew of industrious elves known as “Odin’s men” who made small gifts for Odin to deliver. The manufacturing did not take place at the North Pole, but many parts of Scandinavia are situated above the Arctic Circle. Odin himself was said to live in a frozen world to the north called Asgard, where he often clashed with icy giants.

I know that it may be painful to learn the truth, but there is more

Thanks to “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas,” we know that Santa flies through the sky in a magical sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer. Similarly, Odin flies across the sky on an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. In most stories, Odin sat on the back of the horse, but in many other Norse myths, common animals with the uncommon ability to fly pulled sleighs or chariots for the gods and goddesses. Even the names of Santa’s reindeer, as given by Moore, evoke Odin. “Donner” and “Blitzen” are similar to the Germanic words for “thunder” and “lightning,” both of which were commanded by Odin.

Yes, the story has evolved over time, but it is the same story.

By the way, according to Wikipedia during ancient times people would actually offer “human as well as other sacrificial victims” to Odin.

So the pagan Winter Solstice traditions were not as warm and fuzzy back then as they are today.

If you are a parent, I would encourage you to tell your children the truth from the very beginning.

Santa Claus does not exist, and believing in him is not going to do anyone any good.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Santa Claus Does Not Exist – And Children Deserve To Know The Truth first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary Creativity & Innovation free speech ICANN Intelwars International

How We Saved .ORG: 2020 in Review

If you come at the nonprofit sector, you’d best not miss.

Nonprofits and NGOs around the world were stunned last November when the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that it had agreed to sell the Public Interest Registry—the organization that manages the .ORG top-level domain (TLD)—to private equity firm Ethos Capital. EFF and other leaders in the NGO community sprung to action, writing a letter to ISOC urging it to stop the sale. What follows was possibly the most dramatic show of solidarity from the nonprofit sector of all time. And we won.

Oversight by a nonprofit was always part of the plan for .ORG.

Prior to the announcement, EFF had spent six months voicing our concerns to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) about the 2019 .ORG Registry Agreement, which gave the owner of .ORG new powers to censor nonprofits’ websites (the agreement also lifted a longstanding price cap on .ORG registrations and renewals).

The Registry Agreement gave the owner of .ORG the power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on accusations of “activity contrary to applicable law.” It effectively created a new pressure point that repressive governments, corporations, and other bad actors can use to silence their critics without going through a court. That should alarm any nonprofit or NGO, especially those that work under repressive regimes or frequently criticize powerful corporations.

Throughout that six-month process of navigating ICANN’s labyrinthine decision-making structure, none of us knew that ISOC would soon be selling PIR. With .ORG in the hands of a private equity firm, those fears of censorship and price gouging became a lot more tangible for nonprofits and NGOs. The power to take advantage of .ORG users was being handed to a for-profit company whose primary obligation was to make money for its investors.

Oversight by a nonprofit was always part of the plan for .ORG. When ISOC competed in 2002 for the contract to manage the TLD, it used its nonprofit status as a major selling point. As ISOC’s then president Lynn St. Amour put it, PIR would “draw upon the resources of ISOC’s extended global network to drive policy and management.”

More NGOs began to take notice of the .ORG sale and the danger it posed to nonprofits’ freedom of expression online. Over 500 organizations and 18,000 individuals had signed our letter by the end of 2019, including big-name organizations like Greenpeace, Consumer Reports, Oxfam, and the YMCA of the USA. At the same time, questions began to emerge (PDF) about whether Ethos Capital could possibly make a profit without some drastic changes in policy for .ORG.

By the beginning of 2020, the financial picture had become a lot clearer: Ethos Capital was paying $1.135 billion for .ORG, nearly a third of which was financed by a loan. No matter how well-meaning Ethos was, the pressure to sell “censorship as a service” would align with Ethos’ obligation to produce returns for its investors. The sector’s concerns were well-founded: the registry Donuts entered a private deal with the Motion Picture Association in 2016 to fast-track suspensions of domains that MPA claims infringe on its members’ copyrights. It’s fair to ask whether PIR would engage in similar practices under the leadership of Donuts co-founder Jonathon Nevett. Six members of Congress wrote a letter to ICANN in January urging it to scrutinize the sale more carefully.

A few days later, EFF, nonprofit advocacy group NTEN, and digital rights groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress participated in a rally outside of the ICANN headquarters in Los Angeles. Our message was simple: stop the sale and create protections for nonprofits. Before the protest, ICANN staff reached out to the organizers offering to meet with us in person, but on the day of the protest, ICANN canceled on us. That same week, Amnesty International, Access Now, the Sierra Club, and other global NGOs held a press conference at the World Economic Forum to tell world leaders that selling .ORG threatens civil society. All of the noise caught the attention of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who wrote to ICANN (PDF) asking it for key information about its review of the sale.

COVID-19 demonstrated that the NGO community doesn’t need fancy “products and services” from a domain registry: it needs simple, reliable, boring service.

Recognizing that the heat was on, Ethos Capital and PIR hastily tried to build bridges with the nonprofit sector. Ethos attempted to convene a secret meeting with NGO sector leaders in February, and then abruptly canceled it. Ethos then announced that it would voluntarily limit price increases on .ORG registrations and renewals and establish a “stewardship council.” Like many details of the .ORG sale, what level of influence the stewardship council would have over PIR’s decisions was unclear. EFF executive director Cindy Cohn and NTEN CEO Amy Sample Ward responded in the Nonprofit Times:

The proposed “Stewardship Council” would fail to protect the interests of the NGO community. First, the council is not independent. The Public Interest Registry (PIR) board’s ability to veto nominated members would ensure that the council will not include members willing to challenge Ethos’ decisions. PIR’s handpicked members are likely to retain their seats indefinitely. The NGO community must have a real say in the direction of the .ORG registry, not a nominal rubber stamp exercised by people who owe their position to PIR.

Even Ethos’ promise to limit fee increases was rather hollow: if Ethos raised fees as allowed by the proposed rules, the price of .ORG registrations would more than double over eight years. After those eight years, there would be no limits on free increases whatsoever.

All the while, Ethos and PIR kept touting that with the new ownership would come new “products and services” for .ORG users, but it failed to give any information about what those offerings might entail. Cohn and Ward responded:

The product NGOs need from our registry operator is domain registration at a fair price that doesn’t increase arbitrarily. The service that operator must provide is to stand up to governments and other powerful actors when they demand that it silence us. It is more clear than ever that you cannot offer us either.

It’s almost poetic that the debate over .ORG reached a climax just as COVID-19 was becoming a worldwide crisis. Emergencies like this one are when the world most relies on nonprofits and NGOs; therefore, they’re also pressure tests for the sector. The crisis demonstrated that the NGO community doesn’t need fancy “products and services” from a domain registry: it needs simple, reliable, boring service. Those same members of Congress who’d scrutinized the .ORG sale wrote a more pointed letter to ICANN in March (PDF), plainly noting that there was no way that Ethos Capital could make a profit on its investment without making major changes at the expense of .ORG users.

Finally, in April, the ICANN board rejected the transfer of ownership of .ORG. “ICANN entrusted to PIR the responsibility to serve the public interest in its operation of the .ORG registry,” they wrote, “and now ICANN is being asked to transfer that trust to a new entity without a public interest mandate.”

While .ORG is safe for now, the bigger trend of registries becoming chokepoints for free speech online is as big a problem as ever. That’s why EFF is urging ICANN to reconsider its policies regarding public interest commitments—or as the Internet governance community has recently started calling them, registry voluntary commitments. Those are the additional rules that ICANN allows registries to set for specific top-level domains, like the new provisions in the .ORG Registry Agreement that allow the owner of .ORG to set policies to fast-track censoring speech online.

The story of the attempted .ORG sale is really the story of the power and resilience of the nonprofit sector. Every time Ethos and PIR tried to quell the backlash with empty promises, the sector responded even more loudly, gaining the voices of government officials, members of Congress, two UN Special Rapporteurs, and U.S. state charities regulators. As I said to that crowd of activists in front of ICANN’s offices, I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for most of my adult life, and I’ve never seen the sector respond this unanimously to anything.

Thank you to everyone who stood up for .ORG, especially NTEN for its partnership on this campaign as a trusted leader in the nonprofit sector. If you were one of the 27,183 people who signed our open letter, or if you work for or support one of the 871 organizations that participated, then you were a part of this victory.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.

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Coders' Rights Project Commentary Intelwars International

The Slow-Motion Tragedy of Ola Bini’s Trial

EFF has been tracking the arrest, detention, and subsequent investigation of Ola Bini since its beginnings over 18 months ago. Bini, a Swedish-born open-source developer, was arrested in Ecuador’s Quito Airport in a flurry of media attention in April 2019. He was held without trial for ten weeks while prosecutors seized and pored over his technology, his business, and his private communications, looking for evidence attaching him to an alleged conspiracy to destabilize the Ecuadorean government.

Now, after months of delay, an Ecuadorean pre-trial judge has failed to dismiss the case – despite Bini’s defense documenting over hundred procedural and civil liberty violations made in the course of the investigation. EFF was one of the many human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, who were refused permission by the judge to act as observers at Wednesday’s hearing.

Bini, a Swedish-born open-source developer, was seized by police at Quito Airport shortly after Ecuador’s Interior Minister, Maria Paula Romo, held a press conference warning the country of an imminent cyber-attack. Romo spoke hours after the government had ejected Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London Embassy, and claimed that a group of Russians and Wikileaks-connected hackers were in the country, planning an attack in retaliation for the eviction. No further details of this sabotage plot were ever revealed, nor has it been explained how the Minister knew of the gangs’ plans in advance. Instead, only Bini was detained, imprisoned, and held in detention for 71 days without charge until a provincial court, facing a habeas corpus order, declared his imprisonment unlawful and released him to his friends and family. (Romo was dismissed as minister last month for ordering the use of tear gas against anti-government protestors.)

EFF visited Ecuador to investigate complaints of injustice in the case in August 2019. We concluded that the Bini affair had the sadly familiar hallmark of a politicized “hacker panic” where media depictions of hacking super-criminals and overbroad cyber-crime laws together encourage unjust prosecutions when the political and social atmosphere demands it. (EFF’s founding in 1990 was in part due to a notorious, and similar, case pursued in the United States by the Secret Service, documented in Bruce Sterling’s Hacker Crackdown.)

While the Ecuadorian government continues to portray him to journalists as a Wikileaks-employed malicious cybercriminal, his reputation outside the prosecution is very different. An advocate for a secure and open Internet and computer language expert, Bini is primarily known for his non-profit work on the secure communication protocol, OTP, and contributions to the Java implementation of the Ruby programming language. He has also contributed to EFF’s Certbot project, which provides easy-to-use security for millions of websites. He moved to Ecuador during his employment at the global consultancy ThoughtWorks, which has an office in the country’s capital.

After several months of poring over his devices, prosecutors have been able to provide only one piece of supposedly incriminating data: a copy of a screenshot, taken by Bini himself and sent to a colleague, that shows the telnet login screen of a router. From the context, it’s clear that Bini was expressing surprise that the telco router was not firewalled, and was seeking to draw attention to this potential security issue. Bini did not go further than the login prompt in his investigation of the open machine.

Defense and prosecution will now make arguments on the admissibility of this and other non-technical evidence, and the judge will determine if and when Bini’s case will progress to a full trial in the New Year.

We, once again, urge Ecuador’s judiciary to impartially consider the shaky grounds for this case, and divorce their deliberations from the politicized framing that has surrounded this prosecution from the start.

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Commentary Conspiracy Intelwars Politics Russia Russians SolarWinds Tech Technology War World

“The Russians Hacked Us!”: They Are Pushing A Narrative That We Are Heading For A Conflict With Russia

Not this again.  In the aftermath of the 2016 election, Democrats squarely blamed “Russian interference” for Trump’s election victory, and they spent the next several years going down the rabbit hole of that conspiracy theory.  So here we are in the aftermath of the 2020 election, and once again they are pushing another “blame Russia” narrative.  In recent days the mainstream media has been breathlessly telling us about “a massive cyberattack” that was “the largest espionage attack in history”, and even though they are not giving us any evidence that would point to the Russians, they are insisting that Russia must have been behind the attack.

Of course it is theoretically possible that the Russians could have done it, but the Chinese, the North Koreans and the Iranians also have extremely sophisticated cyberattack capabilities.

Why couldn’t it have been one of them?

And it is entirely possible that we could have simply attacked ourselves so that we could blame it on the Russians later.

We probably will never know the actual truth in this matter.  The U.S. intelligence community has been lying to the American people for so long that most of us wouldn’t believe them even if everything that they were saying was 100 percent true.  And whoever did actually conduct this cyberattack is almost certainly never going to admit it.

But what we do know is that this provides a convenient anti-Russia narrative for the deep state at a moment when it looks like a new administration might be entering the White House.

Needless to say, the mainstream media has fallen for the “blame Russia” angle hook, line and sinker.  For example, just check out the sort of stuff that is being said about this attack on CNN

Richard Clarke worked under three administrations and served as special advisor to President George W. Bush. Appearing on The Lead with Jake Tapper Thursday, he offered terrifying insight into reports of a massive cyber-attack carried out on the U.S. government.

“This is the largest espionage attack in history,” Clarke flatly opened to host Jake Tapper. “This is as though the Russians got a passkey, a skeleton key for about half the locks in the country. Think about it that way. It’s 18,000 companies and government institutions scattered around the U.S. And the world. This is an espionage attack.”

Needless to say, you can find similar coverage of this story on all of the other major news networks as well.

But jumping to conclusions is extremely dangerous.  Many of the experts that are blaming “the Russians” for “the largest espionage attack in history” also seem to be implying that the United States needs to respond in some manner.

So exactly what would such a U.S. “response” look like?

And how would the Russians respond once we start hitting back at them?

I think that those are very important questions.

We are being told that a whole host of U.S. agencies were affected by this cyberattack, and that includes the agency “which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile”

The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, have evidence that hackers accessed their networks as part of an extensive espionage operation that has affected at least half a dozen federal agencies, officials directly familiar with the matter said.

On Thursday, DOE and NNSA officials began coordinating notifications about the breach to their congressional oversight bodies after being briefed by Rocky Campione, the chief information officer at DOE.

And we are also being told that “the Russians” have had access to the networks of those agencies “for six to nine months”

Tom Bossert, a former homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, said the “magnitude of this ongoing attack is hard to overstate.”

“The Russians have had access to a considerable number of important and sensitive networks for six to nine months,” Bossert said in column published in the New York Times, adding that Russian intelligence officials have likely gained “administrative control over the networks it considered priority targets.”

You have got to be kidding me.

Hackers have been prancing around in highly sensitive U.S. government computer systems for six to nine months and we are just finding out about it now?

Apparently hackers were able to gain access to those systems through a piece of software created by a company called SolarWinds

The attackers penetrated federal computer systems through a popular piece of server software offered through a company called SolarWinds.

According to USA Today, the SolarWinds Orion Platform “is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations globally, including most Fortune 500 companies and multiple U.S. federal agencies”.

All of those entities could have been compromised, and all of them will now need to work to secure their networks.

It also turns out that Dominion Voting Systems also uses software that was created by SolarWinds, but we are being told not to worry because they don’t use the Orion Platform that was the specific target of these particular attacks.

Uh, okay.

No matter who was actually behind these recent cyberattacks, the deep state and the mainstream media will almost certainly continue to pin the blame on the Russians, and that means that our relationship with Russia will continue to rapidly deteriorate.

Meanwhile, the Chinese military has been training for an invasion of Taiwan

Footage aired by China’s state broadcaster CCTV last week included rare images of the Type 96A main battle tank during a war game in Hangzhou, in east China.

The Chinese army units of 72nd Group Army took part in the street battle exercise which attempted to simulate conditions China’s invading forces could encounter if they invade Taiwan.

If the Chinese actually pull the trigger on such an invasion, that would likely result in military conflict between the U.S. and China.

But if there is a weak president such as Joe Biden in the White House, the Chinese may be emboldened to try such a move.

We live at a time of wars and rumors of wars, and once Trump is out of the White House I believe that we would inevitably move much closer to war with both Russia and China.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t spend much time thinking about foreign policy these days.

In fact, most Americans don’t spend much time thinking for themselves at all.

Instead, they allow others to do most of their thinking for them, and that is extremely unfortunate.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post “The Russians Hacked Us!”: They Are Pushing A Narrative That We Are Heading For A Conflict With Russia first appeared on End Of The American Dream.

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Commentary COVID-19 and Digital Rights Intelwars medical privacy Security Surveillance and Human Rights Technical Analysis

Vaccine Passports: A Stamp of Inequity

A COVID vaccine has been approved and vaccinations have begun. With them have come proposals of ways to prove you have been vaccinated, based on the presumption that vaccination renders a person immune and unable to spread the virus. This is unclear. It also raises digital rights concerns, particularly if you look at the history of healthcare access, and consider how it maps onto current proposals to digitize and streamline “vaccination passports” for travel.

We must make sure that, in our scramble to reopen the economy, we do not overlook inequity of access to the vaccine; how personal health data in newly minted digital systems operate as gatekeepers to workplaces, schools, and other spaces; and the potential that today’s vaccine passport will act as a catalyst toward tomorrow’s system of national digital identification that can be used to systematically collect and store our personal information.

We have already witnessed problems with COVID-19 testing and its intersection with digital rights. Some individuals weren’t able to access testing simply because they did not have access to a vehicle. The digital divide emerged in places like San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, where many weren’t able to access testing because they did not have a smartphone. The danger of further social inequity is just one reason why we opposed a since-vetoed bill in California that proposed to create a blockchain-based system of verifiable credentials for medical test results, including COVID-19 antibody tests. We must draw on the lessons from the recent past and earlier vaccination efforts as we go forward.

Current Proposals

EFF is focused on proposals to distribute these vaccination credentials digitally. While paper-based credentials are possible, too, most proposed plans involve digital implementations. In fact, some companies already have digital passport systems. CLEAR is rolling out a HealthPass that logs testing or vaccination status. This company provides pre-flight screening in major airports around the country. Ticketmaster has considered partnering with CLEAR for another “Health Pass.” Such partnerships could lead to another intertwined network of unprecedented sharing of personal information, similar to issues we have currently with data brokers and advertising information.

Some have suggested using  W3C’s (The Worldwide Web Consortium) Verified Credentials and Digital Identifier specifications as a potential way to standardize vaccination passports. However, this standard does not tend to solve the equity issues of unequal access to vaccination and digital technologies. They are also not exempt from attacks that can potentially leak data.

Advocates of digital systems have suggested they would address the fraud and forgery concerns raised by paper-based credentials. Proposals like CommonPasswhich notifies users of local travel rules and attempts to verify that airline passengers are complying with those rules—are designed to face this issue head on. Informing users of local information is a great feature. However, these systems do little to address the more prevalent fraud targeting individuals during this pandemic. Until these vaccinations become accessible to all, concerns over fabrication should not overshadow concerns to access to the vaccine in the first place. 

Blockchain Is Not a Silver Bullet

Many proposals for vaccination passports reference blockchain technology, a distributed public ledger, as a means to share vaccine credentials. But there are qualities of blockchain that contradict privacy concerns. One is immutability, meaning the fact that personal health information can’t be changed. Immutability may have anti-forgery benefits, but that does more for the credential verifier than the credential holder. Permanence eliminates the ability to delete or correct sensitive personal information from the system.

Interoperability of data with the private sector does not equate to decentralization of data

Also, many healthcare systems have centralized authorities. One of blockchain’s main selling points is peer-to-peer decentralization—an attribute that’s diametrically opposed to the implementation of a health mandate. Interoperability of data with the private sector does not equate to decentralization of data.

Privacy is much more than just preventing a data breach or forgery. Limiting a definition of “privacy” to just these measures would short-change our need to control our personal information. Framing our policy goals should not be left to private companies seeking to sell products they say will help mitigate a pandemic. And, as researcher Harry Haplin notes in a recent paper,

“temporary measures meant for a purpose as seemingly harmless as reviving tourism could become normalized as the blockchain-based identity databases are by design permanent and are difficult to disassemble once the crisis has passed.”

For these reasons, layering blockchain to improve security or privacy for health documentation doesn’t make sense in this context, and has the potential to do far more harm than good.

Lessons Learned Should Be Lessons Applied

A digitized system based on proof of immunization will amplify the lack of access

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes, but there are lessons we can learn from the past. In 2009, the H1N1 (“swine flu”) vaccination rollout was plagued with inequitable access. With supply potentially limited for COVID-19 vaccinations for the next 6 months, more of the same can occur. A digitized system based on proof of immunization will amplify the lack of access. Resources, especially tax dollars, should be focused on giving people more information about and access to vaccinations, rather than creating a digital fence against those who haven’t been vaccinated yet—and subjecting people who have been vaccinated to new privacy risks.

Trust is critical to public health. Today, many people are already wary of the COVID vaccination. Sweeping in smartphone-based products and new privacy concerns would only harm public health efforts to ease the public’s mind. Immunizations and providing proof of immunizations are not new. However, there’s a big difference between utilizing existing systems to adapt to a public health crisis and vendor-driven efforts to deploy new, potentially dangerous technology under the guise of helping us all move past this pandemic.

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Commentary covid Covid test COVID-19 Covid-19 test Health Intelwars Politics Seriously Ill Sick Virus

Is Joe Biden seriously ill?

A Joe Biden coughing fit has caused a firestorm of speculation to erupt on social media.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can watch Joe Biden repeatedly cough and clear his throat during his most recent press conference right here.  It is being reported that Biden either coughed or cleared his throat 17 times during his 14 minute speech, and his voice was very hoarse the entire time.  As you will see below, Biden is admitting that he has “a cold”, and perhaps that is all that it is.  But there is a long tradition in Washington of politicians from both parties covering up major health problems, and many are wondering whether Biden is covering up something now.  So could it be possible that Joe Biden is seriously ill?  We may not get an immediate answer to that question, but without a doubt many of his supporters have become extremely alarmed.

For example, one Twitter user that watched the press conference said that Biden is “scaring us” by coughing so much, and another openly wondered whether Biden is in “need of a COVID test”

Social media users took to Twitter to voice their worry and crack jokes with one user saying ‘Drink some water, Joe. You’re scaring us.’

One Twitter user asked ‘Does Biden need a COVID test?’ and another chimed in ‘Someone get Biden some Robitussin stat!!!’

And even a Biden apologist like NPR’s Scott Detrow has been forced to admit that this is “the most sustained coughing” that he has ever heard from Biden…

“To the main theme of the Twitterverse right now: Biden regularly clears his throat and coughs in speeches – especially at the beginning of remarks,” wrote NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow. “That’s the most sustained coughing I’ve heard though.”

There is no way that Biden could possibly claim to be at full health, and at this point he is telling the public that he has “a bit of a cold”

“Thank you, I have a little bit of a cold, I’m sorry, but look, you know, you did it, you did it, not a joke,” Biden said during the live stream. “This campaign for president was more like the first time I ran as a 29-year-old for the Senate. I believed that ordinary folks and extraordinary folks would get together and make this work. You didn’t let us down. You didn’t let the country down. I really mean it, think about it.”

Of course in this environment if anyone starts repeatedly coughing those around them immediately begin wondering if that individual has COVID-19.

So has Joe Biden been tested within the past 24 hours?

I have not been able to find any news source that says that he has been.

Hopefully he will get tested very soon, because the American people deserve to know the truth.

And at 78 years of age, Biden is definitely in a very high risk group.  Due to their advanced ages, I was deeply concerned about how President Trump and Joe Biden would hold up physically during this election season.  Running for president takes a huge toll physically, mentally, emotionally and physically, and that makes candidates especially vulnerable to various diseases.

As speculation about Biden’s health heats up, a “new variant” of COVID-19 has been identified on the other side of the Atlantic…

A “new variant” of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in the United Kingdom and linked to a faster spread of the disease, Britain’s health secretary has said. The World Health Organization has been notified.

Matt Hancock announced that London and a number of other areas in the south of England will be placed under new harsher restrictions following “very sharp rises” in COVID cases.

So far, we are being told that approximately 1,000 people have tested positive for this new variant of the virus.

The big question that people are asking about this new strain is whether or not the recently developed vaccines will work against it.

As I have discussed previously, mutations can cause major problems for vaccine developers.  For example, every 12 months scientists try to come up with a flu vaccine that they think will work against the strain or strains of the flu that they believe will be dominant that particular year.  Sometimes the match is pretty good, and sometimes the match is not good at all.  And when the match is not good, getting a flu vaccine is pretty much useless.

So could a similar thing happen with COVID-19?  If a new mutation becomes dominant and the newly developed vaccines will not work against it, we could be back to square one very rapidly.

Of course there are millions upon millions of people that do not intend to take any COVID vaccine under any circumstances.  Safety concerns keep being raised, and this week we learned that the FDA “recommends monitoring people” who get a vaccine to see if they develop Bell’s palsy…

U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff recommends monitoring people who get Pfizer or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine shots for possible cases of Bell’s palsy, saying it’s not necessarily a side effect but worth watching out for after a handful of trial participants got the condition, which causes half of your face to droop.

If you are not familiar with Bell’s palsy, the following is a definition that comes from the Mayo Clinic

Bell’s palsy, also known as acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause, can occur at any age. The exact cause is unknown. It’s believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of your face. Or it might be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.

For most people, Bell’s palsy is temporary. Symptoms usually start to improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery in about six months. A small number of people continue to have some Bell’s palsy symptoms for life. Rarely, Bell’s palsy can recur.

Sadly, this is just one of the many “side effects” that we know about so far.

I believe that we have entered an era when multiple pandemics will be raging all over the globe, and so we should expect endless debates about vaccines, masks and lockdowns for the foreseeable future.

For decades, Americans could go about their daily lives without ever having to think about what viruses might be floating around out there, but now everything has changed.

The global elite would like to use the COVID-19 pandemic to “reset” the world in their own image, and we must not allow them to do that.

No matter how bad things get, we must stand up for our basic constitutional rights, because once they are gone it will be exceedingly difficult to ever get them back.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

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Commentary Financial Censorship Intelwars

Visa and Mastercard are Trying to Dictate What You Can Watch on Pornhub

Pornhub is removing millions of user-uploaded videos. This action comes after a New York Times column accused the website of hosting sexual videos of underage and nonconsenting women. In response to the Times’ article, Visa and Mastercard cut ties with Pornhub, making it impossible for Pornhub to process payments other than through cryptocurrencies. 

This isn’t a debate over whether Pornhub is predatory. This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors. 

Sexual exploitation is a scourge on society that needs resources, education, victim support, and, when necessary, prosecution by responsible authorities to address. Visa and Mastercard are the wrong entities for addressing these problems. Visa and Mastercard do not have the skills, expertise, or position to determine complex issues of digital speech. Nuanced challenges to what content should exist online, and whether moderation policies will inadvertently punish otherwise marginalized voices, are issues that legal experts, human rights experts, lawmakers, and courts in the United States and abroad have been deeply considering for years. The truth is, navigating speech policies in a way that won’t shut down huge swaths of legitimate and worthy speech is hard. And it’s wrong that Visa and Mastercard have the power to—however clumsily—police speech online.

More importantly, as a society, we haven’t given Visa and Mastercard the authority to decide online speech cases. Those companies haven’t been elected or chosen by any electorate in any country. They are here enforcing speech rules that we haven’t adopted in the United Statesand, frankly, which would likely violate the U.S. Constitution if they were adopted. And sadly this is not the first time these companies’ decisions have jeopardized speech online.

Visa and Mastercard, acting together, are currently a chokepoint for online payments. This means that every arbitrary policy of these two companies can translate into rules that all websites who want to process payments must follow. Until and unless we create a diverse and robust market of online payment services not reliant on Visa and Mastercard, we have to deal with the fact that these two companies can dictate what you can read onlineor, in this case, what porn you’re allowed to watch. 

This isn’t a debate over whether Pornhub is predatory. This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors. Ironically, until now some of the most powerful critics of Pornhub’s policies have been the sex-workers who also struggle daily with the credit-card companies’ rejection of their sites. These companies’ power may be seen as a way to keep Pornhub to account today: but every other day, they are used to remove the financial freedom of independent sex workers, Pornhub’s competitors and potential alternatives to their near-monopoly power.

It’s a well-worn idea that pornography is one of the first reasons for the adoption of many new technologies. It’s also the domain where censors in the West often choose to flex their powers. Censorship, financial or not, of sex sites gets little push-back, and a great deal of public praise. It justifies the continuing concentration of free speech chokepoints; chokepoints that have always been used against LGBTQ speech, and women’s and minority rights—whenever a moral crusade needs an undemocratic hand. Any website or individual can find itself running afoul of Visa and Mastercard’s moral sensibilities and shut off from receiving online payments. We saw it with WikiLeaks. We saw it with the kinky social network Fetlife. We saw it with the independent book publisher Smashwords. And we’ve seen it with countless sex workers.

Those praising Mastercard and Visa’s actions now should recognize that these censorship powers are more often used against those without power. That should scare all of us. We hope those praising the actions against Pornhub will work together to reduce these payment processors’ power over online life, rather than give justifications as to why they should keep it.

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Electoral College Vote On Dec. 14 Is EXACTLY Halfway Between The “Great American Eclipses” Of 2017 And 2024

Are we about to witness one of the most bizarre coincidences in U.S. history?  On December 14th, the Electoral College will vote to elect Joe Biden the president of the United States, but many Republicans are extremely angry because they believe that the election was clearly stolen.  Our nation has literally been ripped apart politically, and the Supreme Court decided on Friday that it did not want to get involved.  Many are speculating that this election could be the beginning of the end for our system of government and potentially even for the United States as a whole, and the mainstream media is insisting that when the Electoral College votes it will seal Biden’s victory for good.

Amazingly, December 14th is also precisely halfway between the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017 and the “Great American Eclipse” of 2024.

In 2017, people all over the country flocked to see the “Great American Eclipse” that occurred on August 21st of that year.  It was the first solar eclipse to be visible from the east coast to the west coast since 1918, and together with the “Great American Eclipse” of 2024 it will form an enormous “X” across the United States.  The following is from an article that I posted back in 2017

On August 21st, 2017, something is going to happen in the United States that has not happened since 1918.  On that date, a total solar eclipse will be visible all the way from the east coast to the west coast.  Incredibly, another rare solar eclipse of this nature will move across the country just seven years later in 2024.  If you plot the projected courses of these two solar eclipses on a map, you will find that they form a giant “X” across the continental United States.  In the Scriptures, Jesus told us that “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” just prior to His return, and many are speculating about what this giant “X” might mean.

Obviously, if a giant “X” is marked across something, that is normally not a good sign.

But it won’t be until the “Great American Eclipse” in 2024 that the giant “X” will be completed

On April 8, 2024 the Moon’s shadow will move across Mexico, the US and Canada, bringing a maximum of 4 minutes 28 seconds totality to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Personally, I had no idea that December 14th of this year was the exact midpoint between those two eclipses until I came across a recent Forbes article

Now comes the weird part. The halfway point between August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024 is … December 14, 2020. The same day of another total solar eclipse, albeit not visible in North America.

As that Forbes article points out, the Geminid meteor shower will also peak very early on the morning of December 14th.  The following info about the Geminid meteor shower comes from Space.com

The Geminid meteor shower of 2020 will peak overnight tonight and you can watch it live online if bad weather spoils your view.

Billed as the best meteor display of the year, the Geminid meteor shower will be at its most active late tonight and early Monday (Dec. 13-14). The Geminids occur each year in December when the Earth passes through a dust trail from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

In addition, Comet Erasmus will also be visible from our planet on December 14th

Comet Erasmus will shine at magnitude 4 or 5 on December 14, which is right on the limit of visibility in a dark sky, and since the Moon’s shadow is quite narrow the sky will probably not be dark enough. It may be picked-up by photographers, but probably not by onlookers.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the only solar eclipse of 2020 will occur on December 14th

The only total solar eclipse of the year arrives this week. On Monday, December 14, lucky skywatchers will have the chance to spot the spectacular celestial event, when the new moon fully blocks the sun, creating temporary darkness during what NASA calls “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.”

Could it be possible that all of these “signs in the sky” are meant to tell us something?

For the past several weeks, the mainstream media has been using the term “president-elect” to refer to Joe Biden, but the truth is that nobody is a “president-elect” until the presidential election actually happens.

And according to the U.S. Constitution, it is the Electoral College that elects the president, and this year that election takes place on December 14th.

So without a doubt, that is a very important date politically.

Of course many on the right will continue to fight long after December 14th to prove that the election was stolen from President Trump, and hopefully those investigations will reveal what actually happened on November 3rd and the days following.

I truly wish that the Supreme Court had been willing to hear this matter, and I really thought that they would.

But at this point it has become exceedingly clear that our court system is completely and utterly dominated by the left from the very top to the very bottom.

During his time in the White House, President Trump nominated three Supreme Court justices, and all three of them just let him down in a major way.

Those that have been following my work for years know that I have been adamant that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were horrendous choices, and more recently I said that I was “uncomfortable” with Amy Coney Barrett.

I received some criticism for speaking out against them, but now I have been completely vindicated.

Our entire legal system has pretty much abandoned the Constitution, and about half the country has lost faith in our courts, our elections and our system of government for the foreseeable future.

If December 14th is officially the day that seals a stolen presidential election, then I think that it is quite appropriate that there are so many signs in the heavens to mark that event.

And I also think that it is quite appropriate that this comes precisely halfway between the two great eclipses which will combine to form a giant “X” over the continental United States.

We are headed into a very dark future, and nothing will ever be the same again after this.

Ultimately, I don’t know what the combination of these two “Great American Eclipses” means for our nation, but I don’t think that it is good.

We have been running away from the values this nation was founded upon for a very long time, and our transgressions are now starting to catch up with us in a major way.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

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VOTE NOW: Which is your favorite BlazeTV Parody video of 2020?

BlazeTV staff members combed through social media pages and channels for the most popular content produced throughout the year. Over the next 12 days, you decide 2020’s standout videos.

Our first category: Best Parody!

Kung Flu Fighting (Parody of ‘Kung Fu Fighting’)

AOC Tells People: Don’t Go Back To Work…Um, WHAT?

An Honest Ad From Your Democratic Party Spokesperson

OBEY: The Woke Party Demands Your Compliance (‘1984’ Parody)

Vote for your favorite parody now!

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To enjoy more straight talk from BlazeTV’s all-star lineup, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

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Defending Your Rights in Every Reality: Year in Review 2020

Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies (VR/AR) are rapidly maturing and becoming more prevalent to a wider audience, especially as the pandemic drives more people to virtual activities. This technology provides the promise to entertain and educate, to connect and enhance our lives, and even to help advocate for our rights. But it also raises the risk of eroding them online. The headsets and devices can gather deeply personal information about you and the world around you, and the VR/AR services often store this data within their servers. And by introducing artificial intelligence to VR/AR, the privacy and security hazards are augmented, too, as the devices and services gather and analyze data at an unprecedented level. 

VR/AR devices let us enter a virtual world or see the real world with overlayed digital content, but at a price.

2020 confirmed that VR/AR users care about their privacy. Millions of users reacted furiously against Facebook when it announced it would force Oculus users to log into their headset with a Facebook.com account within two years or potentially brick their device. (All Oculus Quest 2 users can only sign up using a Facebook account.) In If Privacy Dies in VR, It Dies in Real Life, we explained why Oculus users might not want to use their real names. Without anonymity, Oculus leaves vulnerable users out to dry, such as VR activists in Hong Kong and LGBTQ+ users who cannot safely reveal their identity. 

VR/AR devices let us enter a virtual world or see the real world with digital overlay content, but at a price. VR/AR devices track our environment and intimate details about our life. A Stanford Research Study explained that Virtual Reality needs the system to measure body movements because the content responds accordingly: 

For example, in VR, people turn their physical head around to make eye contact with other virtual reality users, use their legs to walk in the physical room to get across a virtual room, and move their physical arms to grasp virtual objects. These tracking data can be recorded and stored for later examination (…) With VR, in addition to recording personal data regarding people’s location, social ties, verbal communication, search queries, and product preferences, technology companies will also collect nonverbal behavior—for example, users’ posture, eye gaze, gestures, facial expressions, and interpersonal distance.

Linking various Facebook services under a “unified login account” also raised serious concerns about the consolidation of Facebook data collection practices across Facebook products. Facebook already has a vast collection of data gathered from across the web and from your devices. Combining this with sensitive body-data and biometric identifiers detected by the headsets (including our interactions and reactions to objects and people) can further cement Facebook’s monopolistic power in the online advertising ecosystem. In the European Union, forcing a user to sign up with a Facebook account may also run afoul of the “coupling prohibition” under the European Data Protection Regulation, which states that making a service dependent upon consent to something that has nothing to do with the service means consent is not, actually, voluntary.

As the use of augmented reality has grown, so have the promises and dangers it poses.

Earlier this year, we called upon antitrust enforcers to address yet another Facebook broken promise about privacy. And they did. Recently Germany’s competition regulator started examining the linkage between Oculus hardware and the rest of the Facebook platform. (In 2019, the same regulator prohibited Facebook from extensively collecting and merging user data from different sources.) 

VR/AR devices, which include cameras, microphones, and sensors, help us interact with the real world (and ensure you do not crash into your table). That means information about your environment, such as your home, office, or even your community, can also be collected and shared to target advertisements to you. And once collected, all this information is potentially available to the government. Even if you never use this equipment, sharing a space with someone who uses it may even put your privacy at risk.

VR/AR devices in your home can also collect all-encompassing audio and video, along with telemetry about your movements, depth data, and images. This data can be used to build a highly accurate geometrical representation of your home. In Come Back with a Warrant for my Virtual House, we explained why the government must not get warrantless access to this sensitive information, even when a third-party AR/VR provider holds that information. Our analysis builds on the landmark Supreme Court case Carpenter v. United States, which held that accessing historical records containing the cellphones’ physical locations requires a search warrant, even though they were held by a third-party. We also are protected by the longstanding rule in Kyllo v. United States: when new technologies that can “explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a ‘search’ and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.” 

As the use of augmented reality has grown, so have the promises and dangers it poses. Glasses that augment reality may also mean a wearer could be recording your conversations while mapping the environment around you in precise detail and real-time. As we explained in Augmented Reality Must Have Augmented Privacy, if these technologies are massively adopted, AR recording’s scope and scale could give rise to a global panopticon of constant surveillance in public or semi-public spaces. 

Recognizing that people have historically enjoyed effective anonymity and privacy when in these spaces, we explained how the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law require the government to obtain a warrant to access the records generated by augmented reality, and require tech companies to respect and protect their users’ right to data privacy. Specifically:

Companies must, therefore, collect, use, and share their users’ AR data only as minimally necessary to provide the specific service their users asked for. Companies should also limit the amount of data transited to the cloud, and the period it is retained, while investing in robust security and strong encryption, with user-held keys, to give users control over information collected. Moreover, we need strong transparency policies, explicitly stating the purposes for and means of data processing, and allowing users to securely access and port their data.

Augmented reality may pose unprecedented dangers of a dystopian future. But with strong policies, robust transparency, wise courts, modernized statutes, and privacy-by-design engineering, we can hold back that dystopia and reap the rewards of this technology.

Looking forward, we plan to delve into the privacy and data protection risks associated with the broad amount of information collected about our biometrics and body data, our fitness levels (and our vitals), and our “biometric inferred data.” This technology has the potential to monitor the tone of our voice, our facial and gaze expressions, our heartbeats, and body temperature. It can track our unconscious responses that our body makes, like when we blink, where we look, and our attention span. With machine learning, providers can use the data to infer attitudes, emotions, personality traits, preferences, mental health, cognitive processes, skills, and advertisements’ effectiveness. Fitness and health apps already ask users to input their feelings, and some are embarking on a tone of voice analysis. Police have leveraged Fitbit’s heart rate data in a criminal investigation. Law enforcement is incorporating AI into a vast range of criminal investigative contexts, with troubling implications. As with every new technology, police should not abuse this technology before we enact (and enforce) necessary privacy laws. 

Companies’ continued efforts to quantify our public, social, and inner lives will profoundly impact our daily lives in the years ahead. By combining VR/AR with machine learning and continually expanding their scope beyond our behavior on devices and into the physical environment, VR/AR can shape a world where humans can be more vulnerable to these companies’ influence—and governments’ pressure. But with proper safeguards and legal restrictions, a different, and better, reality is possible.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.

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