Before his links to the world was cut by his Ecuadorian hosts, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview on how technological advances are changing humankind. He said global surveillance will soon be totally unavoidable.
The interview was provided to RT by organizers of the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona. Assange, who is currently stranded in the Ecuadorean embassy in London with no outside communication except with his legal team, has a pretty grim outlook on where humanity is going. He says it will soon be impossible for any human being to not be included into global databases collected by governments and state-like entities.
This generation being born now… is the last free generation. You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.
“A small child now in some sense has to negotiate its relationship with all the major world powers… It puts us in a very different position. Very few technically capable people are able to live apart, to choose to live apart, to choose to go their own way,” he added. “It smells a bit like totalitarianism – in some way.”
The capacity to collect and process information about people has been growing exponentially and will continue to grow fast, he stated. With advancements in applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to big data, the next logical step is coming.
“Look at what Google and Baidu and Tencent and Amazon and Facebook are doing. They are basically open-cut harvesting the knowledge of humankind as we express it, when we communicate with each other… This classical model, which people in academia call ‘surveillance capitalism’… has changed now.
It’s a really very important and severe economic change. Which is to take the surveillance capitalism model and transform it instead into a model that does not yet have a name, an ‘AI model’. Which is to use this vast reservoir to train Artificial Intelligences of different kinds. This would replace not only intermediary sectors –most things you do on the internet is in a sense more efficient intermediation– but to take over the transport sector, or create whole new sectors.
Assange also predicted that the scale of hostile activities through cyberspace will see a breakout point as soon as AI is trained to sufficiently automate hacking attacks.
“There is no border [online]. It’s 220 milliseconds from New York to Nairobi. Why would there ever be peace in such a scenario?” he said. “[Entities online] are creating their own borders using cryptography. But the size of the attack surface for any decent-sized organization, the number of people, different types of software and hardware it has to pull inside itself means that it is very hard to establish.
I don’t think it’s really possible to come up with borders that are predictable enough and stable enough to eliminate conflict. Therefore, there will be more conflict.
Leader of France’s far-right National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment as it probes her posting of graphic images of Islamic State executions on social media. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)
“ISIS is THIS,” Le Pen wrote in an outraged response to the accusation, attaching pictures of a man being burned alive, another being run over by a tank, and the headless corpse of American journalist James Foley.
Marine Le Pen delivers her comeback speech in Frejus, France, on Sunday. She said today that she would skip the psychological tests ordered by a French court. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)French law prohibits the dissemination of “violent messages that incite terrorism or … seriously harm human dignity.”
Le Pen, a former member of the European Parliament, was only put under formal investigation in March after that body voted to strip her of immunity as part of an unrelated fraud investigation. If convicted, she faces up to three years in jail and a fine of €75,000 ($113,000 Cdn).
Today, Le Pen reacted angrily to the court’s assessment order, posting a photo of the legal papers on her Twitter account and calling the decision “crazy.”
Later, speaking to reporters, she suggested that the evaluation is part of a wider attempt to silence her and the party, and said that she will skip the tests.
“I’d like to see how the judge would try and force me do it,” Le Pen said.
Legal experts were quick to point out that such an assessment is in fact required under the law to establish whether she suffers from any mental illness that might have diminished her capacity to understand what she was doing when she posted the images. The psychiatrist will also determine whether she poses a risk to herself or the public.
Other European populists were quick to leap to her defense.
“A court orders a psychiatric assessment for Marine Le Pen. Words fail me! Solidarity with her and with the French who love freedom!” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister and leader of the far-right League party, in a statement.
The campaign posters of French presidential election candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are seen in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, in April 2017. Macron resoundingly defeated Le Pen in the run-off election for France’s presidency. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)French banks, which had denied her requests for campaign loans, closed her personal and party accounts last fall. Le Pen denounced the moves as political “persecution.”
Le Pen and former U.S. President Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon give a joint press conference during the National Rally’s annual congress on March 10 in Lille, north of France. (Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)The strategy may be working.
Just about every website owner I know is feeling personally victimized by the recent social media purge that has been going on. But here’s an interesting fact: it isn’t, as is widely perceived, just conservative voices that are being silenced. It is dissenting voices.
It’s the voices of critical thinkers whose ideas run the gamut of philosophies who find that they no longer have much in the way of reach.
This social media purge affects everyone, even people who are not on social media. It does so in several ways:
Dissenting information is silenced which stifles discussion
Young people who are avid consumers of social media are being literally brainwashed because they only see one side of the story – any story
The social media purge harms websites that post non-establishment information because it stamps out their ability to reach readers who would be interested in their content.
The unfairly biased search results show people who are trying to learn more about a topic only one side of the information.
You don’t have to be on a Twitter feed to see how this is an overwhelmingly anti-American problem. Like it or not, social media is a monumental source of information these days, and when it’s censored to only show one point of view, the future of our republic is in peril. We are well on our way to peak censorship and this has been carefully orchestrated.
Non-establishment websites are in trouble.
Their website traffic is plummeting because they no longer show up anywhere near the top of search results. Their posts on social media are not presented to the public – or even the people who deliberately opted to “follow” them. Here’s an example from my own page. I have more than 30K people who chose to follow my page, as you can see in the top image. But in the bottom image, you can see how many of those people were actually shown my post. And this was actually a more successful one than many.
And the same thing goes for social media like Twitter, too. I have an email list and if I didn’t, I’d hardly reach anyone. (If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can do so right here.) And I really have to wonder – will our “offensive” websites one day just disappear, scrubbed from the Internet permanently? It’s only a matter of time until the web hosting companies are being pressured to get in on the censorship game.
For the record, I consider myself neither conservative nor liberal. I try to veer away from any form of extremism and I make an effort to think a situation through before automatically aligning myself with a “side.” If anything, I’m a small l libertarian. My core beliefs are personal autonomy and freedom of association are to be sought in all cases that are not harmful to others. And yet, somehow, that is threatening to some people.
The most notable purge recently has been Alex Jones and Infowars.
Love Alex Jones, hate him, or feel utterly ambivalent aside from an occasional eye-roll, he has been the most notable victim to have been thoroughly erased from the public eye as far as the large social media outlets are concerned. He lost his voice on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Google. Even his email service provider dumped him.
I’m not personally a huge fan of Jones, but I do believe what happened to him was collusion between social media giants. Big Tech got together and now Alex Jones has to find new ways to reach his very large audience. No one is going to stumble across him accidentally in a Google Search anymore. No one is going to see his videos embedded in another website anymore. Like him or not, he has the right to exist publicly.
Jones has a lot of money so this may not be the end of him, but for most website owners, this would be the absolute end of our ability to do business. And to be able to bring the information we bring, we do have to run our websites as businesses. It’s far more expensive than most people realize to run a site. I know that my own operating costs every month are more than $2000. A site as big as Jones’s would be many times that amount. When all your avenues of monetization are cut off, it wouldn’t be hard for a site – and the dissent and information they share – to cease to exist.
If it’s been a while, I’ll recap the pertinent parts of the plot from Spark Notes.
Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, even his own home, the Party watches him through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party’s seemingly omniscient leader, a figure known only as Big Brother. The Party controls everything in Oceania, even the people’s history and language. Currently, the Party is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Such thoughtcrime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes…
…As the novel opens, Winston feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality. Winston dislikes the party and has illegally purchased a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts…
…Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the needs of the Party. (source)
The Ministry of Truth is control of all the things from which people could garner their opinions. They provide their own twist on history, current events, entertainment, education, and the arts. The people of Oceana believe them because there isn’t enough information to believe anything else. And questioning the Ministry is a thoughtcrime, punishable by horrible torture or worse. Part of Winston’s job is to turn anyone who doesn’t follow the Ministry line into an unperson and erase them from history as though they never even existed.
So who is behind this mass purge of dissenting voices?
There’s always a money trail to follow. Any time you wonder why or how something has occurred, look for the money. In this video by Ben Swann, an independent journalist who was mysteriously silenced for quite some time, he provides some important insight.
This is happening RIGHT NOW. We are living it. We are living in the world of 1984.
Rest assured, the way things are going, it isn’t long before we will see only what “they” – the people with the power and money to make it happen – want us to see.
Social pressure is also limiting free thought.
And not only do we have organizations limiting our views of things that would broaden our minds, there’s also the rampant social pressure that we’ve seen since the last election.
When we were recently looking at rental homes, a potential landlady asked me for whom I voted in the last election. I didn’t even bother looking at the place because that is not a standard question one asks of a new tenant. It certainly has nothing to do with my ability to pay the rent. It has nothing to do with my potential for keeping things clean and in good shape. I just left because no house is worth dealing with a person who clearly let me know she was not someone with whom I wanted to do business.
And that is only my personal example. Employers check the social media accounts of prospective employees to see if they approve of how the person thinks. People who disagree publicly with powerful groups get doxxed. Dozens of stories have circulated about social pressure, lost friendships, disagreements, and mistreatment in the workplace that originated from differences in political beliefs.
How can people be expected to form accurate opinions without all the information? How can they do so when they’re under pressure for their livelihood or their ability to rent a home or when they fear for their privacy?
It’s pretty clear that there are those who don’t want people to form accurate opinions. They want to gently, quietly, insidiously get everyone on board by limiting our access to the variety of philosophies and theories that make the world go round.
By making free thought something that is frowned upon and erased, they silence us all.
Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Facebook will begin fact-checking photographs and videos posted on its platform that are misleading or controversial, WSJ reported.
The company stated Thursday it will begin using technology and human reviewers to stop the spread of “misinformation in these new visual formats.” Previously, the company’s efforts have been focused on rooting out false articles and links.
“The same false claim can appear as an article headline, as text over a photo or as audio in the background of a video,” Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons said in the statement. “In order to fight misinformation, we have to be able to fact-check it across all of these different content types.”
This is all in an effort to stop the spread of propaganda amid elections happening in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Robert Mueller alleges during the 2016 presidential election, a Russian group called the internet Research Agency helped its workers create graphics and videos that could spread misinformation via social media networks, according to the indictment of three Russian companies and 13 citizens.
Last month, Facebook, Google, and other tech leaders met to discuss what they can do to combat online manipulation of voters ahead of the election. The same companies met earlier in June with intelligence officials to discuss the use of propaganda on social media, the NY Timesreported.
Earlier this year, Facebook began to implement a system that will rank news organizations based on trustworthiness while suppressing content that doesn’t fit in that metric.
Last year, Facebook ran a test in 6 countries that would force news publishers to pay to show their posts from their Facebook Pages in the timeline of Facebook users in an effort disguised to fight “fake news.” What it actually does is bury posts from news outlets and businesses.
A former Facebook employee once confessed to the abhorrent censorship of conservative news at the company.
The nail in the coffin was actually placed in 2015 when Facebook admitted that they were censoring posts and comments about political corruption in foreign countries. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) responded accusing Facebook of being “complicit in political censorship.”
Facebook is not new to censorship, and this will likely continue.
“As governments grow aware of the fact that stifling speech is as easy as submitting an order to a corporation, the number of those orders will drastically increase,” the EFF wrote.
Independent news organizations like Activist Post receive significant traffic from the communities they have built at Facebook. Along with Google’s search engine (SEO), Facebook’s algorithms can have a detrimental impact, and in recent months we all have noticed the downward spiral of traffic in our reach as the Chicago Tribune reported in a Medium post.
Now the company is seeking to fight “fake news” by fact-checking images and videos to protect the integrity of elections. However, everyone can see where this is heading, an Orwellian society where information can be suppressed as easy as stating it’s “fake news.”
The problem is an admin or reviewer’s own political bias, whether they lean left, right or center, which was shown in 2015 when Facebook censored posts and comments about political corruption in foreign countries.
Now we are supposed to expect that they will be unbiased in their “fact checking” Who is doing the fact checking is it the same mostly liberal fact checkers checking news? I rest my case.
The only acceptable way to fight fake news is as Edward Snowden said to better inform yourself about the issues and research yourself. Fun fact, the military once used a fake news story on Snowden’s death to direct a phishing email attack on its own computers in 2013.
A prototype of Google’s censored search engine for China links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, “thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries,” reports The Intercept.
The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, revolves around the Android platform and is designed to remove content deemed by government officials to be sensitive or offensive – such as information about protests, free speech, political dissidents, democracy and human rights violations.
Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.
the search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing. The Chinese government has a record of manipulating details about pollution in the country’s cities. One Google source said the company had built a system, integrated as part of Dragonfly, that was “essentially hardcoded to force their [Chinese-provided] data.” –The Intercept
“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” says Human Rights Watch senior internet research Cynthia Wong. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”
Human rights groups have slammed Dragonfly, insisting that it could result in Google “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.”
Google engineers agree – and they’ve been resigning over the ethical concerns with the project
Approximately 1,400 Google employees have signed a letter circulating within the company, asking executives to explain exactly what the hell is going on.
“As a company and as individuals we have a responsibility to use this power to better the world, not to support social control, violence, and oppression,” the letter reads. “What is clear is that Ethical Principles on paper are not enough to ensure ethical decision making. We need transparency, oversight, and accountability mechanisms sufficient to allow informed ethical choice and deliberation across the company.”
And as The Intercept noted on Thursday, senior Google research scientist Jack Poulson quit over the project, saying that the project violates the company’s artificial intelligence principles, which state that Google won’t create technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”
In early August, Poulson raised concerns with his managers at Google after The Intercept revealed that the internet giant was secretly developing a Chinese search app for Android devices. The search system, code-named Dragonfly, was designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.
After entering into discussions with his bosses, Poulson decided in mid-August that he could no longer work for Google. He tendered his resignation and his last day at the company was August 31. –The Intercept
“I’m offended that no weight has been given to the human rights community having a consensus,” said Poulson. “If you have coalition letter from 14 human rights organizations, and that can’t even make it into the discussions on the ethics behind a decision, I’d rather stand with the human rights organizations in this dispute.”
And Poulson isn’t the only one… six other employees have reportedly quit over Dragonfly, as reported by BuzzFeed News.
While current employees declined to provide the list itself or to specify most of the names on it, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed the existence of the list, which is made up largely of software engineers whose experience at Google ranges between one and 11 years. Google declined to comment on the list.
The revelation of Dragonfly provoked an immediate backlash within the company’s rank and file, who have high expectations for transparency from executives because of Google’s stated corporate values. One employee who’d been asked to work on the project decided to quit, another transferred teams, and internal forums were flooded with thousands of posts, comments, and emails debating the ethics of the project. –BuzzFeed
Interestingly, sometime between late April and early May, Google dropped their “Don’t be evil” motto of 17 years. Maybe Turkish television has it right?
The European Parliment has passed a controversial copyright directive that contains provisions which force tech giants to install content filters and sets in place a potential tax on hyperlinking.
The bill was passed in a final vote of 438 – 226 and will need to be implemented by individual EU member states.
Critics of the directive have been laser-focused on two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13, which they have dubbed the “link tax” and “upload filter.”
The most important parts of this are Articles 11 and 13. Article 11 is intended to give publishers and papers a way to make money when companies like Google link to their stories, allowing them to demand paid licenses. Article 13 requires certain platforms like YouTube and Facebook stop users sharing unlicensed copyrighted material.
Critics of the Copyright Directive say these provisions are disastrous. In the case of Article 11, they note that attempts to “tax” platforms like Google News for sharing articles have repeatedly failed, and that the system would be ripe to abuse by copyright trolls.
Article 13, they say, is even worse. The legislation requires that platforms proactively work with rightsholders to stop users uploading copyrighted content. The only way to do so would be to scan all data being uploaded to sites like YouTube and Facebook. This would create an incredible burden for small platforms, and could be used as a mechanism for widespread censorship. This is why figures like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee came out so strongly against the directive. – The Verge
Member of the European Parliament, Axel Voss, who played a lead roll in pushing for both articles 11 and 13, thanked his fellow MEPs “for the job we have done together” in the wake of the vote.
“This is a good sign for the creative industries in Europe,” Voss said.
Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake was not nearly as excited as Voss after the vote. In a statement, the Dutchman said: “The Parliament squandered the opportunity to get the copyright reform on the right track. This is a disastrous result for the protection of our fundamental rights, ordinary internet users and Europe´s future in the field of artificial intelligence. We have set a step backwards instead of creating a true copyright reform that is fit for the 21st century.”
Opponents of the directive have been using the hashtag #SaveYourInternet on social media.
“Informational Crime”: Saudi Arabia Threatens 5 Years…
The Saudi government this week it is further criminalizing dissent, satire that “disturbs the public order” a crime…
Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party lawmaker, reacted to the result of the vote by saying it was “catastrophic” for sports fans.
A summary of the directive describes the internet as the main marketplace for distribution and access to copyright-protected content. Those who support further EU intervention in copyright law say that the difficulty for content creators to enforce their rights to the work they post online “could put at risk the development of European creativity and production of creative content.”
According to a letter signed by world-renowned computer scientist Tim Berners, and internet pioneer Vint Cerf, articles 11 and 13 will not only affect the professional content creator but also the average internet user:
In particular, far from only affecting large American Internet platforms (who can well afford the costs of compliance), the burden of Article 13 will fall most heavily on their competitors, including European startups and SMEs. The cost of putting in place the necessary automatic filtering technologies will be expensive and burdensome, and yet those technologies have still not developed to a point where their reliability can be guaranteed. Indeed, if Article 13 had been in place when Internet’s core protocols and applications were developed, it is unlikely that it would exist today as we know it.
The impact of Article 13 would also fall heavily on ordinary users of Internet platforms—not only those who upload music or video (frequently in reliance upon copyright limitations and exceptions, that Article 13 ignores), but even those who contribute photos, text, or computer code to open collaboration platforms such as Wikipedia and GitHub.
While it will be interesting to see how EU member states take to the copyright overhaul, this latest piece of legislation isn’t the only move by the superstar which should have those suspicious of censorship worried
And just as a side note, it appears Twitter doesn’t want its users to know about Article 13.
As PFW reported on September 5, the European Union is in the final stages of crafting legislation that will force big tech and internet companies to censor “extremist” content and cooperate with law enforcement
The bill is expected to be released by the end of the month and will absolutely require companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to swiftly remove any content considered terroristic from their platforms.
In March, the European Commission told such companies that they had three months to show they were removing “extremist” content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.
EU recommendations were sent out at the time regarding the speedy removal of all content including terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products, and copyright infringement.
According to European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, that an existing code of conduct to counter hate speech could remain voluntary.
“(But on) terrorist content, we came to the conclusion that it is too serious a threat and risk for European people that we should have absolute certainty that all the platforms and all the IT providers will delete the terrorist content and will cooperate with law enforcement bodies,” Jourova said on Wednesday.
“Yes, this is in the final stage,” she added, addressing the new bill.
EU security commissioner Julian King also had mentioned last month that the bill will “likely” turn the agreed upon “code of conduct” into mandatory law, placing the prediction by Jourova that it will remain voluntary on shakey grounds.
The big tech – EU code of conduct establishes “public commitments” for tech companies, including the requirement to review the “majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech” in less than 24 hours. It was also crafted to make it easier for law enforcement to notify firms directly of any unwanted content.
Within the code is a narrow explanation of “hate speech,” being defined as “all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.”
The nature of enforcing censorship based on a narrow and subjective term such as “hate speech” is likely to keep suspicions high that these types of decision aren’t about creating a safer world, but rather a world in which superstates like the EU control the content people see online for political purposes.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone