sexta-feira, 27 de outubro de 2017

The New Age of Surveillance

Escrito por Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

«The Orwellian cities of the future being designed and imposed right this instant all over the world — so-called “Smart Cities” — will be watching you. In fact, they already are watching you. And unless humanity takes action soon to rein in its would-be omniscient rulers, the technological dystopia being erected all around you will ensure that governments and dictators know virtually everything about everyone — perhaps more than individuals know even about themselves. The plot to create the total surveillance state under the guise of making cities “smart” will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, too. But the price tag in terms of lost privacy and liberty will be far higher.

As the concept of “smart” cities continues to evolve with technology, countless definitions and terms to describe the scheming have been proposed. Discussing a planned “smart” city in South Korea, Frederic Ojardias, Ph.D., at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of International Studies said the concept is simple. “The city is filled with sensors and cameras at every corner (monitoring temperature, traffic, electricity) that are all interconnected and linked to a central ‘brain’ that computes all this information in real time in order to optimize the management of the city, minute by minute,” he said to describe the vision.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “smart cities” bring together technology, government, and society to enable a smart economy, smart environment, smart living, smart governance, and more. There are also a number of technologies associated with smart cities. Among them: “Intelligent lighting; Smart building controls; Wireless charging for automobiles; Facial recognition; Wind turbines; Intelligent Buildings; A connected self-aware environment;” and much more.

And that is just the beginning, with tech giants coming up with new technology every day that could be used to improve lives — or destroy liberty and privacy. Already, the former head of the NSA and CIA has been boasting that “we kill people based on metadata.” With “smart” cities providing unfathomable amounts of data to authorities, Americans can expect the lawlessness to continue accelerating if nothing changes.

Of course, “smart” technology is already ubiquitous, from so-called “smart” phones that double as portable espionage devices to “smart” meters used (when they are not exploding at least) to spy on people’s water and electricity use. Smart TVs now spy on their users, too. Schools are doing it as well. According to news reports, in London, data gathered from cameras is cross-referenced with government lists of people who have paid their driving fees, allowing violators to be identified and punished. Authorities in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, and other cities are also openly and purposely trying to become “smart.” In South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, fully “smart” cities are being designed and built from the ground up.     

With facial-recognition software now extremely advanced, and billions of people around the world posting their data and pictures online through social-networking services, hand-held “smart” technology has already created potentially totalitarian tools far beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined in his worst nightmares. Even years ago, U.S. cities were exposed rolling out so-called “Intellistreets” streetlights that double as Big Brother espionage tools to listen in on conversations. Entire smart cities are the next logical step, and the establishment is going all out to promote them as it works to abolish cash and shift everything online at the same time.

During a recent visit to India, for example, Obama pledged some $4 billion in U.S. taxpayer “investments and loans” to help Indian authorities build infrastructure, including $2 billion for the government there to create “smart cities.” Speaking to a large crowd, Obama said America was committed to the “smart cities” concept, linked to United Nations “sustainability” programs such as Agenda 21, and would help the Indian government pay to build them. To start with, 100 Indian cities are going to be made “smart.”

“We are ready to join you in building new infrastructure … roads and airports, the ports and bullet trains to propel India into the future,” Obama told Indians, without offering any hints on where the debt-riddled federal government would get the funds to propel India into the future or why U.S. taxpayers should fund it. “We are ready to help design smart cities.” Critics lambasted the scheme from all angles, pointing out that the U.S. government is already drowning in debt and that the whole “sustainability” theme behind the radical “smart cities” agenda represents a major threat to liberty, markets, and more.  

Around the same time, arch sustainability profiteer (and self-styled inventor of the Internet) Al Gore joined with former Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the World Economic Forum to demand that all cities worldwide be made “smart.” For a mere $90 trillion (as a starting point), the two globalist crusaders against carbon dioxide explained, every city in the world could be made much denser — a so-called “smart city” in which citizens would be packed in like sardines, and hence, easier to control.

Under the Gore-Calderón vision, personal transportation such as cars would be phased out as the “smart cities” of the future force everyone to either walk or rely on government-run transportation to get around. Ironically, perhaps, more than 1,700 private jets descended on Davos for the confab so its occupants could plot new ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of the unwashed masses as they are corralled into their "smart" cities (often at gunpoint). Of course, the plan to pack humans into tiny cities is not new, and has been advancing under UN “Agenda 21” and other schemes for more than two decades. And the UN has been promoting “smart” cities since at least 2009, when UN chief Ban Ki Moon called for “better, more equitable urban planning” and “new ideas from smart cities around the world” to guide “sustainable urbanization.”

Alleged benefits of the interconnected ecosystem of data-gathering technology, such as better traffic management, catching criminals, and a smaller “carbon footprint” for city residents, are being shouted from the rooftops by those seeking to push the agenda — governments, profiteers, futurists, and others. Businesses, too, will be able to harness the gargantuan amounts of data being produced to target individual consumers. The darker side of the shift toward intelligence-gathering everything, everywhere, however, has been largely buried from public discourse — not to mention the dangers of combining all of the information with emerging “artificial intelligence” technologies.

In a recent puff piece promoting the potential benefits of “smart cities” in the Wall Street Journal, CEO Mike Weston with the “data-science” consulting firm Profusion offered some terrifying insight into the awesome powers that will be available to the rulers of these future Orwellian cities. “In a fully ‘smart’ city, every movement an individual makes can be tracked,” Weston observed, noting that governments and municipalities from Boston to Beijing were pledging billions of tax dollars to the plot. “The data will reveal where she works, how she commutes, her shopping habits, places she visits and her proximity to other people.”

While Weston focuses largely on the profit opportunities surrounding all of that data for marketers, and ethical concerns for businesses, the same data will also enable authorities to compile unimaginably detailed profiles of every single individual. “By analyzing this information using data-science techniques, a company could learn not only the day-to-day routine of an individual but also his preferences, behavior and emotional state,” the CEO explained. “Private companies could know more about people than they know about themselves.” And, of course, so could governments, hacker spies working for the regime in Beijing, and even private-sector criminals with access to the surveillance data.

Weston claims that a smart city “doesn’t have to be as Orwellian as it sounds.” That is true. But considering governments’ track records on snooping — think NSA, KGB, Stasi, and so on — the likelihood of smart cities not ending up as Orwellian as they sound is probably slim to none. With the added “smartness” of emerging technologies, and with some two thirds of humanity expected to live in cities within a few decades, the possibilities for controlling and oppressing mankind in previously unimaginable ways are almost endless. Rulers will soon, if they do not already, be able to know more about the individuals they rule than those individuals know themselves.   

Of course, technology, in and of itself, is not the problem or the threat. Instead, the threat comes from totalitarian-minded governments, globalists, politicians, dictators, and bureaucrats anxious to further oppress the public and further empower themselves. From the UN and the World Bank to the Obama administration and the European Union super-state, the establishment is planning to bring “smartness” to a city near you in the near future. Based on their track record so far, however, it should be beyond clear that the “smart” cities are a dumb and dangerous idea — especially if you value liberty and privacy».

Alex Newman («“Smart Cities” to Spy on You in Ways Orwell Never Imagined», in The New American, 23 July 2015).

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«In the "Internet of Things" in which people now live, there are a variety of devices that use the Internet connectivity to improve functionality. Refrigerators can remind their owners via text or e-mail when to buy milk or eggs. Homeowners can adjust their thermostats and arm their home security systems with mobile apps. People can access Internet programing and change channels and volume levels on Smart TVs using voice and gestures. But how secure is the "Internet of Things" for those who are concerned about privacy?

A recent development in Smart TVs has caused a stir among privacy advocates. Samsung's newest models have been called into question over the last few months for security issues related to the combination of WiFi connectivity, a built-in camera, and a built-in microphone. Cybersecurity experts are concerned about the "always on" feature of these components and the risks inherent in consumers having a device in their homes that is watching, listening, and reporting to a third party via the Internet.

Samsung spells out some of these risks in their SmartTV Supplement to their Global Privacy Policy in language that is fairly clear. Unfortunately they do it in a way that focuses on convenience instead of privacy. They sell the problems as features.

For instance, they make it very clear that the voice recognition feature, if activated, is always listening and transmitting to a "third party" that handles the voice to text translation, "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition." So, don't say anything in front of your Smart TV that you wouldn't want strangers to hear, because they will hear it.

Samsung also addresses the functionality and risks associated with the use of the built-in camera. "To provide you with the ability to control your SmartTV through gestures, the camera mounted on the top of your SmartTV can recognise your movements. This enables you, for example, to move between panels and zoom in or zoom out. We record information about when and how users use gesture controls so that we can evaluate the performance of these controls and improve them," the privacy policy states. It goes on to say, "You can use facial recognition instead of, or as a supplementary security measure in addition to, manually inputting your password." While the images users record are not transmitted via the Internet, "Your image will be stored locally, Samsung may take note of the fact that you have set up the feature and collect information about when and how the feature is used so that we can evaluate the performance of this feature and improve it."

The Smart TV also monitors the content consumers view so as to make "recommendations" of other relevant content that they may find interesting. This is a buzz-phrase for advertisement-based programming. As it is explained in the policy, "In addition, if you enable the collection of information about video streams viewed on your SmartTV, we may collect that information and additional information about the network, channels, and programs that you view through the SmartTV. We will use such information to improve the recommendations that we deliver to you on the SmartTV."

If a consumer chooses to use the "fitness features" of their SmartTV, they must provide "certain basic information about [themselves], including [their] height, weight and date of birth." Along with the login credentials and facial photos many consumers will store on their Smart TV's, this information is an identity thief's mother lode.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing parts of the privacy policy supplement are the portions about how this information is shared with third parties. To view content from "third parties," the Smart TV must make certain information available to the "third party." According to the policy, "Samsung is not responsible for these providers' privacy or security practices. You should exercise caution and review the privacy statements applicable to the third-party websites and services you use." So, how is that different from what happens when you watch a movie on Netflix on your PC? Well, for one thing, your PC is not listening and watching when it's turned off.

The chain of privacy/security is only as strong as its weakest link, and there are a lot of links in the Smart TV chain. If a hacker, or overreaching government agency, or irresponsible employee of one of those "third parties" gained access through any point in that chain, the consumer would have essentially provided the best device for spying that could probably be imagined. Hackers, government agencies, and irresponsible corporations have shown themselves to be more than willing to spy on individuals for any of a number of reasons, none of which matters to the individuals who are being spied on. Is it really smart for people to put Smart TVs in their homes and make it that much easier?

Samsung's policy spells out ways to eliminate many of the risks associated with Smart TVs. As to the microphone, "You may disable Voice Recognition data collection at any time by visiting the "settings" menu. However, this may prevent you from using all of the Voice Recognition features, but "Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it." So, it's not listening, but it's still listening.

The solution for the camera is really no better. According to the privacy statement, "The camera can be covered and disabled at any time, but be aware that these advanced services will not be available if the camera is disabled." It sounds like Samsung is saying the only way to be sure the camera is disabled is to cover it. So, consumers have a choice between duct tape or these specially designed stickers to cover a camera that should just have a hardware switch that is not dependent on software that can be hacked.

As for the advertisement-based content that is derived from having consumers' Smart TVs monitoring their viewing habits, the solution follows the usual trend. "If you disable personalised recommendations, then the information and content displayed on your SmartTV may not be as relevant to you. Samsung may still collect information about your usage of the SmartTV for the purposes described in this Samsung Privacy Policy." So consumers can disable the benefits of the monitoring, but not the monitoring itself.

It seems the only real option is to disable the Internet connection and keep the information that the Smart TV collects from ever leaving the Smart TV. Even then, it would still be storing that information and if ever stolen, could provide the thieves the ability to do much greater harm. Having your identity stolen is enough to make you miss the good old days when you just had your TV stolen.

So, consumers who are concerned about privacy can buy a Smart TV and disable the voice recognition, camera, recommendations, and WiFi connection and have a Smart TV that is only slightly more risky than a regular old TV — but wouldn't that sort of defeat the point of buying it in the first place?

(SmartTV is a trademark of Samsung. This article uses the term Smart TV to refer to all TVs that connect to the Internet and uses SmartTV only when refering specifically to the product made by Samsung.)».

C. Mitchell Shaw («Your Smart TV Is Spying on You», in The New American, 18 February 2015).

«Imagine a world where supercomputers programmed by totalitarian technocrats make virtually every important decision for you, in addition to manipulating you at every turn. Such a dystopian future for the world may not be that far off — at least if humanity continues on its current course. And the technocrats behind the plan barely even bother to conceal their agenda at this point.

The United Nations is now openly plotting with Big Business and Big Government to exploit Artificial Intelligence (AI) to further its agenda, especially the totalitarian ideology it calls “sustainable development.” Multiple UN bureaucracies have convened summits this year for that purpose, bringing together leading experts in the field from around the world. The goal: To harness AI and Big Data for what the UN considers to be “the global good.”

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Now, the UN is even seeking to hire an “Artificial Intelligence Advisor” to help weaponize emerging technologies and AI to advance its totalitarian UN “Agenda 2030” and the so-called “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) at the center of it. At the same time, the potential threat posed by AI is being cited as a pretext to further empower the UN to create global “laws” and regulations. And unsurprisingly, when the dangers of AI were mentioned, it was almost always in the context of empowering transnational institutions to “deal” with them by further empowering government and globalists.

A recent UN summit reiterated again that the world is quickly moving toward what experts refer to as “technocracy,” though that word is rarely used by its proponents or their useful idiots today. As the agenda becomes clearer, warnings are growing that freedom and self-government may not survive, at least if humanity does not restrain the forces seeking to use AI and technology to undermine them. But the battle is only just getting started.

A UN “Artificial Intelligence” confab last month, dubbed the “AI for Good Global Summit,” offered a great deal of insight into the twin dangers facing humanity from the dictators club and AI. Consider, for one, that the summit was hosted by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The controversial agency, which is at the forefront of UN efforts to censor and tax the Internet, is run by Chinese Communist Houlin Zhao, who in 2014 expressed publicly his belief that censorship was in the eye of the beholder. Other UN agencies run by known communist agents were listed as partners, too, and other Chinese Communist agents in the UN and beyond were deeply involved.

The agenda was bold. “AI innovation will also be central to the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will help solving humanity's grand challenges by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data now being generated on sentiment behavior, human health, commerce, communications, migration and more,” said an official UN statement about the summit. “The Summit aimed to accelerate and advance the development and democratization of AI solutions that can address specific global challenges related to poverty, hunger, health, education, the environment, and others.”

Some 500 delegates attended the summit, according to the ITU. Speakers included policymakers, top UN bureaucrats, communist operatives, as well as employees of increasingly anti-liberty technology mega-companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and more. UN ITU Secretary-General Zhao, the Chinese Communist, explained that the event was aimed at helping determine “how the UN, ITU and other UN agencies can work together with industry and the academic community to promote AI innovation and create a good environment for the development of artificial intelligence.”

The summit, he said, would help produce a common understanding of how emerging technologies — and AI in particular — can be used to advance Agenda 2030. The radical “masterplan for humanity” or “Declaration of Interdependence,” as UN leaders have called the UN plan, involves national and international wealth redistribution, full-blown global governance, government control of production and resources, a surrender of liberty and national sovereignty, global indoctrination of children, and much more. Unsurprisingly, the mass-murdering regime ruling Communist China boasted openly of its “crucial role” in developing the extreme UN Agenda.

“Today, we've gathered here to discuss how far AI can go, how much it will improve our lives, and how we can all work together to make it a force for good,” Zhao said. Anybody who believes an agent of the most murderous dictatorship in human history wants technology to be a “force for good” does not understand communism, or much of anything. Indeed, Zhao's murderous masters in Beijing are pouring money into AI in a bid to more effectively maintain their brutal tyranny over the Chinese people. But as if to further substantiate the danger, the official ITU blog offered more insight into just how the UN hoped to exploit AI for its dangerous agenda in a piece headlined "Accelerating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through AI." 

On “poverty,” for example, the ITU said AI would “provide real-time resource allocation through satellite mapping and data analysis of poverty.” So now, instead of central planners allocating resources, computers programmed by central planners will do so — almost certainly with similar results. AI and “Big Data analysis” can also be used for “targeted interventions” in the lives of children via “education,” which Agenda 2030 promises to use as a tool for indoctrinating children into becoming “critical agents of change” supporting the UN's agenda. The schemes will also be used for “identifying and correcting for gender bias,” tracking fishermen and hunters, reducing “discrimination,” and more.

And that is just the start. “The AI of Everything, the digital AI mesh, fed by the ubiquitous IoT [Internet of Things], smart devices, and wearables, is already impacting smart cities and helping to create sustainable communities,” the UN ITU blog continued. “AI is yielding optimal consumption and production levels with vertical green farms, eliminating waste, and vastly improving yields and resource efficiency.” Again, if that sounds like technologically enhanced Marxism and central planning, good — because that is, essentially, what it is.

The secretary-general of the UN, former Socialist International boss Antonio Guterres, also emphasized the significance of the UN's scheming. “Artificial Intelligence is advancing dramatically. It is already transforming our world socially, economically, and politically,” he noted in his welcome speech for the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva. “We face a new frontier, with advances moving at warp speed.” Among other applications, he said AI could help make predictions and even “prevent crimes.”

But there are also “serious challenges” and “ethical issues” at stake, he said, pointing to the dictators club he runs as the “universal platform for discussion” to help manage the transition to the brave new world. “Together, let us make sure we use Artificial Intelligence to enhance human dignity and serve the global good,” he added. Of course, as a longtime Socialist leader — including a stint running a global alliance of socialist and communist parties, many with the blood of countless innocents on their hands — Guterres' vision of the “global good” is likely very different than the view of Christians, Americans, conservatives, free-market supporters, advocates of liberty, and countless others.

Another, smaller UN confab on AI was held earlier this year. As reported by UN supporter Peter Bendor-Samuel in early May, the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which implements UN schemes, hosted a summit examining the security implications of AI. “The meeting was hosted by UNOPS with a view to consider how AI can be better deployed to support the UN mission,” he wrote, noting that attendees included “leaders for companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM Watson, Intel and IPSoft, along with government entities and distinguished academics and journalists.” In short, the summit appears to have been aimed at the eventual development of global “rules” on AI that would serve the UN agenda.

The UN is also seeking to hire experts to help it harness AI in order to advance the totalitarian UN Agenda 2030. According to a recent job listing, the “Artificial Intelligence Advisor” will “utilize the latest techniques in artificial intelligence, machine learning (including e.g. deep learning and probabilistic inference), computer vision and natural language processing to develop projects harnessing Big Data in various forms (for example, telecoms data, satellite imagery and social media data) to support the monitoring and achievement of the Global Goals.” The officials will also help tap into “Big Data for real world, large-scale problems related to monitoring and achievement of the Global Goals,” among other duties. Perhaps most troubling, the expert will help the UN work on “predictive modeling.”

But critics are sounding the alarm. Patrick Wood, author of Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation, warned of the tremendous dangers that such technology would pose in evil hands. “It has now been amply demonstrated that AI is as capable of deceiving, lying and committing criminal acts as any human,” he told The New American in an e-mail. “This is intuitive to anyone who considers that AI is made by humans with all their preexisting biases. Why would anyone expect AI to behave differently than its creators? If anything, AI can only increase the speed of execution of those biases and result in more widespread underhanded acts.”

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Even establishment-minded experts and publications have warned that the emergence of Artificial Intelligence could threaten the viability of self-government if people are not careful. In a German article republished by Scientific American, for example, a collection of writers warned of a potential nightmare. “One thing is clear: the way in which we organize the economy and society will change fundamentally,” they wrote. “If such widespread technologies are not compatible with our society's core values, sooner or later they will cause extensive damage. They could lead to an automated society with totalitarian features. In the worst case, a centralized artificial intelligence would control what we know, what we think and how we act.”

When combined with other troubling developments and trends around the world — the establishment push for a cashless society, the Communist Chinese regime's Orwellian “Sesame Credit” scheme to rank all of its victims based on their slavishness, the emergence of “smart cities,” the exploitation of Big Data by governments for tyranny, constant warrantless surveillance, extreme data-gathering and -mining deployed against children, and more — it is clear that humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. If the totalitarian-minded globalist establishment behind the UN wins, humanity will be condemned to a future of high-tech worldwide oppression that would make George Orwell and Aldous Huxley blush. But if humanity wins, the technology could certainly be used for good. 

Freedom-loving, God-fearing Americans must get involved in the fight to preserve the Constitution and American independence — before it is too late. The alternative is a totalitarian global system of technocracy run by the UN and its globalist, Islamist, socialist, communist, and corrupt member regimes, with unfathomably dangerous technology at its disposal. And that should be considered unacceptable by all sensible people. The simplest way to prevent such an Orwellian nightmare is for the U.S. government to withdraw from the UN using the American Sovereignty Restoration Act (H.R. 193). All that is needed now is enough public pressure on Congress».

Alex Newman («UN Wants Artificial Intelligence to Advance Agenda 2030», in The New American, 27 July 2017).

«“And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” 

 — Revelations 13:16-17 

So begins an article by writer Mac Slavo about how human-implanted microchips won’t just be popular in the future.

They’ll be mandatory.

Moreover, if his vision of tomorrow is correct, hardly anyone will have to be dragged kicking and screaming by jack-booted storm troopers (or robots?) into that Brave New World; rather, most people will willingly be chipped as we slouch toward Oceania.

In fact, the movement is already in progress. As NewsMax’s James Hirsen recently wrote:

In various places all over the world, there are individuals who open doors, start cars, and control their computers with a mere gesture of their hands or arms.

They are among the first wave of people who have voluntarily allowed a miniature computer chip to be placed inside of their bodies. Most are part of a group that advocates biohacking, a concept in which activists seek to enhance the human body through the use of technology.

Many biohackers also identify with a broader movement known as transhumanism. Transhumanists believe that people will ultimately be able to transform themselves through the use of technology into superior beings that possess expanded capabilities. Adherents of the movement categorize such individuals as “posthuman.”

In inching toward a newly defined humanity, a small radio frequency identification chip (RFID) is being injected into an individual’s hand, wrist, or arm through use of a hypodermic needle in the same manner as a routine vaccine. The implanted microchip broadcasts an identifying number or code, which can be used for a myriad of purposes.

The benefits of this technology are seductive: No more having to carry — and worry about losing — numerous credit cards and other forms of identification. No more fumbling for them when performing transactions; a wave of the hand will suffice. No more showing passports when you travel or your driver’s license to a cop. And since microchipping would facilitate a cashless society, there’d be no more worries about cash loss or theft, and it could put an end to black-market drug and other illegal transactions; identity theft could be eliminated, too (though any technology could conceivably be circumvented). And as Lain Gillespie wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, “The implants send a unique ID number that can be used to activate devices such as phones and locks, and can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records.”

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Gillespie also mentioned cybernetics scientist Dr. Mark Gasson of the UK’s University of Reading (UR), who made history recently: After implanting a chip in himself in 2009 to control his office’s electronic gadgets, he became the world’s first human infected with a computer virus. “The virus was replicated on the swipecards of staff accessing his building and infected the university's database,” writes Gillespie.

Yet Gasson remains enthusiastic about what he characterizes as an inevitable and imminent new technological normal. He says, “It has the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human.” He believes that microchips’ acceptance will mirror that of mobile phones and that a situation will develop wherein it “will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”

But it gets even stranger. As Gillespie also wrote:

Last year [2013] the line between man and machine became even more blurred, when Stanford University announced its scientists had created the first purely biological transistor that was made entirely of genetic material.

Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, Dr Drew Endy, described the breakthrough as the final component needed for a biological computer that can operate within living cells and reprogram living systems.

And to some degree the future is now, with biometric technology already being used in certain wide-scale applications. As writer Michael Snyder informs us, a hand-scanning payment method is being tested in southern Sweden, biometric scanners/RFID tracking devices are already used in college dining halls and some amusement parks, and the technology is even “being used in Africa to keep track of who is being vaccinated,” he writes.

But how will this transition from new and novel idea to mandatory mark of the beast? There is precedent for acceptance of such intrusion; after all, your cellphone has an RFID chip and can be used to track your every movement, and its camera can be remotely activated by authorities. And we all have Social Security numbers. But the move toward mandatory status will begin like this, writes Mac Slavo: 

First, the technologies will need to be generally accepted by society. It’ll start with real-time consumer based products like Google Glass. The older generations may reject it, but in a couple of years you can bet that tens of millions of kids, teens and younger adults will be roaming the streets while sporting cool shades, interactive web surfing and the capability to record everything around them and upload it to the internet instantly.

Remember that young people especially like the feeling of being “with it,” on the cutting edge, and don’t want to have outdated technology any more than out-of-style clothes; they will leap to be chipped just as they snatch up the latest smart phone. And not only will the technology be convenient, but it will lend an illusion of power. With just a wave of your hand doors will open for you — literally and figuratively.

“Eventually, once the concept is generally accepted by the majority, it will become our new ‘social security number,’” writes Slavo.

You’ll thus need a chip to avail yourself of government services and, sooner or later, to make a purchase (again, society would no doubt become cashless).

At that point circumstances may compel a person to accept an implant even if the government doesn’t. And the implications of this are grave, say many critics. For instance, University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael warns, reports Gillespie:

“RFID microchips are essentially a unique ID embedded in your body, and, as we know, numbers can be stolen and data can be hacked.... They point to an uber-surveillance society that is big brother on the inside looking out. Governments or large corporations would have the ability to track people's actions and movements ... and ultimately even control them.”

Also note that with the government developing the capacity to predict an individual’s behavior with computer algorithms and with science starting to create technology that can decode thoughts and intentions (mind-reading), the future looks, well, quite revelatory.

So will a day come where we dare think only doubleplusgood thoughts? Will 1984 and Brave New World transition from fiction to news? Whatever the case, we can without hesitation now say something about the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”:

We certainly do».

Selwyn Duke («Will Microship Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?», in The New American, 03 May 2014).

«In an effort to bring every last person into the “system,” so to speak, governments, globalist forces, and the United Nations want to make sure that every human being on the planet has a government-issued identification card, complete with biometric data. Indeed, the recently approved UN “Sustainable Development Goals,” also known as “Agenda 2030,” explicitly calls for providing “legal identity” and “birth registration” for “all.” A parallel effort led by the same forces pushing global IDs, meanwhile, hopes to abolish cash and move toward a “cashless” global society in which every transaction can be tracked. And with funding from U.S. taxpayers and various tax-exempt foundations controlled by the establishment, both of those visions could become a reality in the not-too-distant future, at least if humanity does not push back.

The UN's deeply controversial Agenda 2030, marketed as an effort at “transforming our world,” is essentially a recipe for global socialism, as this magazine has documented. Everything from national and international wealth redistribution to targeting children as “agents of change” is explicitly demanded in the scheme, formally adopted by every national government and dictatorship on Earth in September. Buried deep within the massive text, which outlines 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” and 169 specific “targets,” is another key piece of the globalist puzzle. “By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration,” reads target 16.9. In other words, the UN and its member regimes are practically putting a bulls-eye on the back of every human being who still exists outside of the globalized economic and political system, such as the hundreds of millions of people who do not have government IDs, bank accounts, government "benefits," permits to exist/build/farm/hunt/procreate/emit CO2, and more.

Goal 16 of Agenda 2030, which includes about a dozen individual targets, also offers some other important hints as to the real agenda behind the UN's latest 15-year plan for mankind. The goal itself is listed as: "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive instituions at all levels." That might sound nice to the untrained observer — UN documents almost always use innocent-sounding language developed by PR experts and marketing gurus to conceal the real agenda. However, within "Goal 16" — not to mention the equally dangerous 16 other "goals" for humanity — are contained multiple troubling provisions.

Among them: “Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels.” Who exactly would be making this “law” at the “international level” is not explained, though UN chief Ban Ki-moon offered a clue when he claimed the UN, which is widely ridiculed as the “dictators club,” was actually the “Parliament of humanity.” Goal 16 also includes a target to “broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.” When the UN says “developing countries,” it means the mostly autocratic regimes ruling over poor countries. And when it says “global governance,” it really means global government, as countless globalists have explained. So, put simply, Goal 16 is a call for a more powerful system of global governance with more power for Third World dictators.

Also part of Goal 16 is a target to “significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows.” To reduce the “illicit” flow of money and arms, of course, money and weapons — along with those responsible for the financial flows (buyers and sellers) and gun owners — must also be tracked. And since cash and unregistered weapons are impossible to track, it follows that something needs to change. No wonder, then, that the UN wants to provide “legal identity for all, including birth registration,” to every person on the planet. After all, without such a tool for tracking every person, it would be impossible to track all money, arms, opinions, and ultimately, dissent.

Various international mechanisms dealing with gun control and financial control have proliferated in recent years. On the gun-control front is the UN Arms Trade Treaty, essentially a plan for a planetary gun grab. On financial flows, the IMF, the Bank for International Settlements, the UN, the World Bank, and other outfits have been hard at work developing a global regulatory and monetary regime. But this is only the start, as the UN has made clear. The self-styled global “law enforcement” agency Interpol is already boasting that when police stop someone, “they will be consulting global databases to determine who they are stopping.” And if the UN gets its way, that is exactly where this is all going.

In a widely republished analysis of the UN's ID agenda, The Beginning of the End, author Michael Snyder, who publishes the popular Economic Collapse Blog, argues that the UN is plotting to implement universal biometric identification for all of humanity by 2030. “This new agenda truly is a template for a 'New World Order,' and if you dig into the sub-points for these new Global Goals, you find some very alarming things,” he wrote, citing SDG 16.9 on global identification and registration as an example. Citing the UN's partnership with technology firm Accenture to implement a biometric ID regime that reports refugee information to a central database in Geneva, Snyder also noted that the UN is already hard at work in making its goal a reality.

Snyder points to a news report on the UN “High Commissioner for Refugees” and its use of “biometric technology to identify and track refugees.” Working with Accenture, the UN agency behind the ongoing influx of refugees into the West is using what is known as the “Biometric Identity Management System” (BIMS) to collect “facial, iris, and fingerprint biometric data” and to provide refugees with official identification papers. All of that information is then reportedly collected in a database housed in Switzerland. Another media report cited by Snyder, which deals with World Bank efforts to foist biometric IDs on the planet under the guise of a program dubbed “Identification for Development (ID4D),” makes clear that the Accenture identification system will ultimately reach far beyond refugee camps.

“What the elite want to do is to make sure that everyone is 'in the system,” Snyder continued. “It is a system that they control and that they manipulate for their own purposes. That is one of the reasons why they are slowly but surely discouraging the use of cash all over the world.... Every time the elite propose something for our 'good,' it somehow always results in them having more power and more control. I hope that people will wake up and see what is happening. Major moves toward a one world system are taking place right in front of our eyes, and yet I hear very, very few people talking about any of this.”

Indeed, the push for a global cashless society and the global effort to impose biometric ID systems on every human being are inseparable from each other. Consider, for example, the “Better Than Cash Alliance” launched in September of 2012 by the controversial Ford Foundation. “The Better Than Cash Alliance partners with governments, the development community and the private sector to empower people by shifting from cash to electronic payments,” reads the description of the scheme on the alliance's website. Other organizations involved in the plan are the taxpayer-funded U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Development Initiative, bailed-out mega-bank Citi, credit card giant Visa, Coca-Cola, the communist regime ruling Nepal, the Islamist regime in Pakistan, and more.

The United Nations is also at the heart of the plan, with the UN Capital Development Fund serving as the alliance’s “secretariat.” Other UN outfits involved in the scheme include the World Food Programme and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and even the UN Secretariat. Numerous Third World governments and official agencies are listed on the alliance’s website, too, including authorities in Malawi, Colombia, Kenya, India, Moldova, Ghana, the “People's Republic” of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Peru, and the Philippines. Some nominally private aid agencies are also involved.

On its website, the UN Capital Development Fund boasted of its ongoing schemes to attack cash. “Bringing about the shift to electronic payments on a global scale and ensuring that these benefits are maximized can be accelerated by an organization dedicated exclusively to providing global advocacy, knowledge sharing, collaboration and guidance on effective practices,” it says. The goal of the plan, the UN added, is to “encourage governments, development organizations and the private sector to commit to the digital transition, and facilitates [sic] the translation of these commitments into action.”

Of course, the U.S. government has also been a key player supporting the efforts — both in the “Homeland” and worldwide via USAID and other bureaucracies. In March, The New American reported that GOP lawmakers in Congress were pushing an Obama-backed scheme that would force every American to have a national ID card containing sensitive biometric data. The plan, which would have made working illegal for anyone who refused to submit, was embedded in an “immigration” bill. Under the “REAL ID” Act, meanwhile, despite widespread state-level nullification, the federal government is still seeking to impose a national ID on Americans, with the digital photos for those identity documents used to gather biometric data on Americans by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

This summer, Congress, apparently not content to force an unconstitutional ID on only Americans, decided all of humanity needed a national ID card, and that American taxpayers (or creditors of the U.S. government) should finance it. To that end, Congress passed and Obama signed the deceptively named “Girls Count Act,” introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). According to the summary of the legislation, the law makes it U.S. government policy to “encourage countries” (read: governments) to provide “birth certifications and other official documentation,” enhance and support “ capacity-building” in “developing countries” to design and implement birth registries, and more. The law also purports to authorize programs by U.S. bureaucrats overseas on “improved civil registration,” collection of “vital statistics,” and more.

According to the late Hollywood director Aaron Russo, who made the hit film America: Freedom to Fascism, there is an end goal to all of the controversial ID and anti-cash scheming. That end goal was explained to him by Nick Rockefeller of the infamous Rockefeller dynasty, Russo said publicly. “The end goal is to get everybody chipped, to control the whole society, to have the bankers and the elite people control the world,” Russo paraphrased Rockefeller as telling him. And indeed, as The New American has reported on multiple occasions, the push to have humans implanted with microchips has been underway for years.

For liberty and prosperity to survive into the future, it is imperative that humanity resist the accelerating push to impose universal biometric identification, abolish cash, and curtail the unalienable rights of individuals. Americans, as the people best positioned to stop the agenda and as the people whose government is playing a lead role in the radical plot, have a special duty to stop it. And with education and organized action, stopping the dangerous agenda in its tracks is still possible».

Alex Newman («Globalists and UN Push Mandatory Biometric ID for All», in The New American, 09 November 2015).

The New Age of Surveillance

In an interview in June with a German television station, German President Joachim Gauck said the surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) was not comparable to that conducted by the Stasi — the infamous East German Ministry for State Security — because “it is not like it was with the Stasi and the KGB — that there exist big filing cabinets in which all the content of our conversations are written down and nicely filed. This is not the case.”

Gauck is right. The NSA is nothing like the Stasi because the East German secret police relied on such things as typewriters, carbon copies, handwritten transcriptions of phone conversations, agents listening through doors and rudimentary bugging devices, and the aforementioned filing cabinets. The NSA, on the other hand, can apparently monitor electronically — in real time — every word of every phone call, every text message, every social media post, every website visited, and every form of electronic communication.

How much data is being collected by the NSA? William Binney, a former NSA technical director turned whistleblower, estimates that the newly completed NSA Utah Data Center “will be able to handle and process five zettabytes of data.” In a story quoting Binney’s claim, National Public Radio reports that a zettabyte is equal to “the amount of data that would fill 250 billion DVDs.”

Back to those bulging Stasi filing cabinets. Imagine that a typical filing cabinet with 60 files of 30 pages per file takes up about 4.3 square feet of space. Each 30-page file would equal roughly 120 MB of data. Given the amount of storage available to the NSA in its Utah location, if all the data stored there were printed and stored in traditional filing cabinets, those cabinets would occupy nearly 6.6 million square miles!

Nothing like the Stasi, indeed.

Secret Police Minus the Police Powers 

Is there any clearer lens through which to view the future than the past? Is not the United States of 2013 eerily and tragically traveling along a similar trajectory to that followed by the formerly free Germans and the communist Stasi that ultimately deprived them of their liberties?

In describing the growth and survival of the East German surveillance state and the Stasi’s activities that undergirded it, Scott Horton wrote that East Germany was a country “in which the power and authority of the intelligence services to spy on their own citizens rested on an elaborate network of laws that empowered surveillance and eroded the rights of citizens specified in the country’s constitution.”

Again, the Stasi and the Cold War communist East German regime had nothing on the NSA and 21st-century America.

From the enactment of the Patriot Act to the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments, Congress after Congress and consecutive presidents have usurped powers the scope of which are unknown in the written record of government.

Before launching into a report on the myriad methods being used by our own federal government to keep us under the constant vigilance of its never-blinking eye, the reader needs to have in the front of his mind the standard to which the federal government must be held.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution mandates:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Recent events demonstrate that for over a decade, our elected representatives (and the courts, for that matter) have disregarded the Constitution and built a domestic spy apparatus that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the blueprint provided by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution.

Throwing a Wrench Into the Works 

On August 1, former low-level networking subcontractor Edward Snowden entered Russian territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin permitted Snowden to take up temporary residence in Russia. At home, President Obama charged the young man with espionage, a curious charge given that even the president admits there is no evidence that Snowden transferred any sensitive information to a foreign government, an essential element of the crime he is accused of committing. No matter. President Obama is not known for hewing to the Constitution or the law.

The cache of documents Snowden holds was leaked to the Washington Post and to The Guardian (U.K.) and contains compelling evidence of the NSA’s wholesale violation of the Fourth Amendment through the dragnet surveillance of phone records and monitoring of Internet traffic.

With the assistance of Glen Greenwald of The Guardian, Snowden has leaked one constitutional violation after another committed by the NSA. All of which, it must be understood, was done with the cooperation of the president, the Congress, and the courts. The strength of the evidence of collusion among the three branches of the federal government in the de facto repeal of the Fourth Amendment is overwhelming.

Tyranny Erected in Cyberspace 

Among the most disturbing disclosures found within the reams of Edward Snowden’s revelations was the surrender by major telecommunications companies of the otherwise private phone records of millions of Americans — none of whom was, as required by the Constitution, suspected of committing any sort of crime.

According to a court order labeled “TOP SECRET,” federal judge Roger Vinson ordered Verizon to turn over the phone records of millions of its U.S. customers to the NSA.

The order, issued in April by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and leaked on the Internet by The Guardian, compels Verizon to provide these records on an “ongoing daily basis” and to hand over to the domestic spy agency “an electronic copy” of “all call detail records created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

This information includes the phone numbers involved, the electronic identity of the device, the calling card numbers (if any) used in making the calls, and the time and duration of the call.

In other words, millions of innocent Americans have had their call records shared with a federal spy agency in open and hostile defiance of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of the right of the people to be free from such unreasonable searches and seizures.

What is reasonable? Legally speaking, “the term reasonable is a generic and relative one and applies to that which is appropriate for a particular situation.”

Even if the reasonableness threshold is crossed, though, there must be a warrant and suspicion of commission of or intent to commit a crime. Neither the NSA nor Verizon has asserted that even one of the millions whose phone records were seized fits that description.

When contacted by The New American, a spokesman for Verizon declined to comment on his company’s compliance with the order.

Such a demur is expected in light of the provision of the order that prohibits Verizon, the FBI, or the NSA from revealing to the public — including the Verizon customers whose phone records now belong to the Obama administration — that the data is being given to the government.

Glen Greenwald of The Guardian details the data being seized by the NSA:

The information is classed as “metadata,” or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such “metadata” is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data — the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to — was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.

While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively.

Sede da NSA

Perhaps the most disturbing take-away from the leak of this secret court document ordering Verizon to hand over customer call logs and other data to a federal surveillance agency is the fact that the government considers the protections of the Fourth Amendment to be nothing more than a “parchment barrier” that is easily torn through. The Obama administration regards the Constitution — as did the Bush administration before it — as advisory at best.

Of course, being a subcontractor in the construction of the surveillance state pays handsomely. As reported by The New American, on August 16, Verizon announced that it was awarded a 10-year, $10-billion contract “to provide cloud and hosting services” to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Apparently, crimes against the Constitution pay, and they pay very well. 

Social Media Surveillance 

Have you updated your Facebook or Twitter accounts lately? If so, the government likely knows what you posted, when you posted it, and who read what you wrote.

According to a statement posted on Facebook’s website June 14, government agencies — including federal, state, and local authorities — requested user data on between 18,000 and 19,000 account holders.

The remarkable disclosure of government requests for users’ private information follows successful negotiations between Facebook and other tech giants and the federal government.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Google, and other technology companies who were implicated in the revelations of the covert NSA surveillance program known as PRISM have petitioned the feds to allow them to disclose their level of participation in surveillance requests received from government entities.

Under PRISM, the NSA and the FBI are “tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time,” as reported by the Washington Post.

One document in the Snowden revelations indicated that PRISM was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.” Snowden claimed that the program was so invasive that the NSA and the FBI “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.”

Most of these requests by the government are made under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Not surprisingly, when the government asks the special surveillance court to approve their snooping, judges give them the go-ahead.

In fact, in April, the Department of Justice revealed to Congress the number of applications for eavesdropping received and rejected by the FISA court: In 2012, of the 1,789 requests made by the government to monitor the electronic communications of citizens, not a single one was rejected.

Following the negotiations that opened the way for Facebook to report its cooperation with requests to hand over user information, Microsoft made a similar surveillance disclosure. A blog post on the Redmond, Washington-based company’s website declared:

For the six months ended December 31, 2012, Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal).

According to the information Snowden released, both companies that disclosed government surveillance requests — Facebook and Microsoft — were giving the government access to the private information of millions of users.

They were not alone, however. Yahoo, Google, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple all allowed the agents of the federal surveillance state to secretly snoop on their users.

Every Keystroke Recorded 

On July 31 Glen Greenwald published another drip in the ocean of Snowden leaks. Under a program known as “XKeyscore,” the NSA monitors and records every e-mail written by every American, again without a warrant and without probable cause, in direct defiance of the Fourth Amendment.

Greenwald, after examining a PowerPoint presentation included in the information he received from Snowden, explained the scope of XKeyscore: “One presentation claims the [XKeyscore] program covers ‘nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,’ including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.” “Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing ‘real-time’ interception of an individual’s internet activity,” he added.

How does it work? Greenwald explained that, too: “An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages. Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.”

It is important to note that XKeyscore doesn’t record phone conversations. There is evidence, however, that the NSA records every one of those, as well, and stores the content in one of its many data warehouses, such as the one in Utah that goes online within weeks.

Of course, there is no doubt that mobile phone conversations are being recorded.

The federal government is remotely activating the microphones and cameras in Android smartphones and Windows laptops, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal on August 3.

Citing a “former US official,” the Journal says court documents reveal that the FBI is using a variety of “hacking” tools to ramp up the scope of the surveillance of millions of Americans, keeping many unwittingly under the watchful eye of Washington.

One of the Journal’s anonymous sources described a part of the FBI called the “Remote Operations Unit.” Agents in this specialized unit prefer, if possible, to install the remote control software by uploading to the target’s computer using a USB flash drive. When the g-men-come-hackers can’t get access to the target’s computer, they install the surveillance software over the Internet “using a document or link that loads software when the person clicks or views it.”

It is not only possible for the federal government to listen to your conversations using the microphone in your Android smartphone and watch you while you sit in your own home on your own computer, but they do so regularly and can do so very easily.

Purportedly, the FBI has been using these methods of surveillance “for over a decade,” but their use has come to light only recently by way of “court documents and interviews” with people familiar with the programs.

Is the NSA Policing Itself? 

In what likely amounts to another middling misdirection, on August 15 the Washington Post reported that an internal audit of the NSA revealed that the agency violated its own privacy protection rules 2,776 times.

NSA Compliance Director John DeLong tried putting a positive spin on the report. During a press conference on August 16, DeLong assured the media that the NSA is not involved in “willful violations” of the law.

“People need to understand there’s no willful violations here,” he said. “We really do look for them, detect them and correct them.” “No one at NSA, not me or anyone else, thinks they are okay,” he added.

He additionally claimed that the number of incidental violations of privacy laws is “minuscule … a couple over the past decade.”

Minuscule or not, why is such a disclosure irrelevant? Consider the following analysis published by Ron Paul on his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity website:

Though it made for sensational headlines last week, the 2,776 NSA violations of its own intercept guidelines over the course of one year are irrelevant. The millions and millions of “authorized” intercepts of our communications are all illegal — except for the very few carried out in pursuit of a validly-issued search warrant in accordance with the Fourth Amendment. That is the real story. Drawing our attention to the violations unfortunately sends the message that the “authorized” spying on us is nothing to be concerned about.

E-mail and Snail Mail 

The U.S. government is not content to monitor your phone calls and your Internet activity; it’s now reading your snail mail, too.

A story in the New York Times published Wednesday, July 3, tells the story of Buffalo, New York, resident Leslie James Pickering. Pickering reports that last September he noticed “something odd in his mail”: a “handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home,” the Times story claims.

The card — a picture of which appears in the Times story — appears to read: “Show all mail to supv [supervisor] for copying prior to going out on the street.” Pickering’s name was written on the card, as well as the word “Confidential,” written in green ink. Apparently, Pickering was the unwitting target of a “longtime surveillance system” the Times calls “mail covers.”

It doesn’t stop there, however. While snail mail surveillance has been a tool of law enforcement for over a century, the program that targeted Pickering is called Mail Isolation Control and Tracking. As part of this surveillance tactic, the “Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.”

When combined, the NSA and the U.S. Postal Service can keep every form of communication — electronic and conventional — under constant surveillance, without probable cause.

All Movements Are Monitored 

Beyond the government’s ability to watch and record every activity carried on in cyberspace, its capacity for keeping an eye on the real world comings and goings of citizens is immensely more jarring and less publicized.

The U.S. government exercises control over a massive and technologically advanced camera-based surveillance system that has the capacity to keep the urban population of this country under the watchful eye of government 24 hours a day.

TrapWire is the name of this network of cameras and other surveillance tools. Unlike other elements of the central government’s cybersurveillance program, word about TrapWire was not leaked by Obama administration insiders. The details of this nearly unbelievable surveillance scheme were made public by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group founded by Julian Assange.

Exactly what is TrapWire? According to one description of the program, from the online Russia Today:

Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence.

As with so many of the federal government’s unconstitutional efforts at placing each and every citizen of the United States under the never-blinking eye of those who consider themselves our caretakers, TrapWire is sold as being a necessary weapon in the War on Terror.

Taxes as a Political Tool 

Other departments in the executive branch have done as much to keep an eye on potential enemies of the state as the NSA, albeit in their own distinct manner.

Earlier this summer, it was reported by many outlets (including The New American) that the IRS was persecuting Tea Party and other conservative groups by conducting intrusive and illegal investigations of these groups’ applications for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.

Although according to the White House the discrimination ended in May 2012, on August 9, 2013, the Washington Examiner reported that an unnamed IRS official testified in a closed-door hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee that “the agency is still targeting Tea Party groups.”

The implications of this abuse are incalculable. In a statement to The New American, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “The power to audit has become a political weapon. Nobody wants a government where the taxing authority is used politically.”

The use of taxing authority as a political weapon was not confined to conflicts with non-profit petitions.

In January, Christine O’Donnell, former candidate for Joe Biden’s former Senate seat in Delaware, was informed that Delaware state officials had on several occasions accessed her federal tax records to obtain potentially embarrassing information on a tax lien that was first reported in a newspaper article.

The lien, it was discovered, was erroneously filed, and the snooping was discovered.

During congressional hearings on the matter and on IRS corruption in general, a spokesman for the IRS told Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that a Delaware state investigator was given permission to open O’Donnell’s IRS records.

Based on nothing more than a newspaper story, O’Donnell’s political foes were able to gain access to her very private tax information. Most Americans, it would seem, would prefer that the information contained in their IRS file would remain private. The fact is, however, if an agent of the government (state or federal) wants to rifle through that file, the IRS requires very little in the way of probable cause of wrongdoing. Being a member of a group whose politics don’t jibe with the establishment is apparently sufficient grounds for this very invasive, illegal, and unconstitutional surveillance.

Despite the government’s intrusions into Americans’ private business, many Americans dismiss its activities, saying, “I’ve done nothing wrong. Why should I worry?” This is the question often put to opponents of the federal government’s surveillance activity. Furthermore, many Americans accept the surveillance state with rationalizations such as: “The government is protecting us from terrorism, so I think it’s fine that they keep an eye out for extremists. If they happen to listen to my phone calls or read my e-mail, that’s just the price we pay for safety.”

In light of the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment, these mentalities look at the surveillance from the wrong angle.

Americans are endowed by their Creator with the right to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures. When the government takes away these rights, then there is no liberty, regardless of pretexts and purposes put forth by the federal ­government. While it’s true that most Americans have “done nothing wrong” criminally speaking, it is equally true that most of us have done many embarrassing things that we would prefer not to have put in a file for future use by political enemies — inside or outside the government.

What are these possible peccadilloes? Think bad credit, poor scholastic performance, Web surfing habits, sensitive medical diagnoses, etc.

It is most important to remember that there is no evidence that the government’s massive surveillance and deprivations of rights has made us any safer. What, then, is the true purpose of the surveillance? It isn’t security. Demanding freedom in exchange for safety is the economy of tyrants. When the federal government — or any government — robs citizens of their basic civil rights, then that government has become despotic by definition.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” President Obama, on the other hand, told Americans that we cannot have a nation that is 100 percent safe and 100 percent private. To be safe, he says, we have to make hard choices.

He’s right: We must choose whether to allow our constitutional rights to be subjected to daily diminution or to stand up and demand that the totalitarianism end and liberty be restored. The question is: How?

Federalism Protects Fundamental Freedom

One unwarranted wiretap, one unwarranted seizure of a phone record, one search of records of an individual’s digital communications is too many. If we are a Republic of laws, then the supreme constitutional law of the land must be adhered to. The standard is not whether or not the spies or their bosses think the dep­rivations are “okay.” The standard is the Constitution — for every issue, on every occasion, with no exceptions. Anything less than that is a step toward tyranny.

Taken together, the roster of snooping programs in use by the federal government places every American under the threat of constant surveillance. The courts, Congress, and the president have formed an unholy alliance bent on obliterating the Constitution and establishing a country where every citizen is a suspect and is perpetually under the never-blinking eye of the government.

The establishment will likely continue construction of the surveillance until the entire country is being watched around the clock and every monitored activity is recorded and made retrievable by agents who will have a dossier on every American.

The fight can yet be won, though. Americans can attack the sprawling surveillance state on several fronts. First, we must elect men and women to federal office who will honor their oaths of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Then, once in office, each of them must be held immediately accountable for each and every violation of that oath.

Next, we must fill our state legislatures with men and women who will refuse to enforce any act of the federal government that exceeds the boundaries of its constitutionally granted powers. These lawmakers must force the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage and never accept even a degree of deviation from the blueprint drawn in Philadelphia in 1787.

Though the hour is late, there is still hope. Beginning today, Americans can refuse to re-elect any lawmaker who has voted to fund the NSA or any other federal agency whose existence is not specifically permitted by the Constitution. We can unite, as our forefathers, in the ennobling cause of the end of tyranny and the promotion of those unalienable rights granted to us — and revocable only — by our Creator (in The New American, 26 September 2013).

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