New York’s Police State Total Surveillance System

RUSSIA TODAY | JULY 31, 2012

The New York Police Department already has thousands of cameras aimed all over the island of Manhattan, but this literal surveillance state is about to be brought up a notch. The NYPD is teaming up with Microsoft to track action across the city.

Later this week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to come forth with more details about a new surveillance project the head of the NYPD hinted at last week. In conjunction with engineers at Microsoft, the NYPD will unleash an advanced “domestic awareness system” that will combine its already extensive city-wide surveillance system with law enforcement’s established databases in order to track the moves of suspected terrorists.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly first commented on the program over the weekend at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, but those close to the project have failed to extrapolate much further other than on the basics. So far little is known about the Domain Awareness System, but an unearthed Public Security Privacy Guidelines memo dated back to 2009 details some of what is to be expected.

According to the memorandum, the Domain Awareness System is designed to implement “technology deployed in public spaces as part of the counterterrorism program” of the NYPD, and will work in tandem with the closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) already used by the force, as well as license plate readers “and other domain awareness devices, as appropriate.”

Currently there are reported no fewer than 3,000 CCTVs operated by the NYPD on just lower Manhattan

In the 2009 memo, the statement of purpose that outlines the need for the NYPD’s latest initiative says that the domain awareness system is designed to facilitate the observation of terrorist activity, aid in the detection and deterring of terrorist attacks, reduce incident response time and “create a common technological infrastructure to support the integration of new security technology.”

The statement continues to confirm that the system will be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will not target persons “solely because of actual or perceived race, color, religion or creed,” which the memo insists is operating procedure for all NYPD activities. A recent scandal uncovered by the Associated Press has already revealed that the NYPD has been engaged in surveillance missions outside of their jurisdiction, however, going as far as New Orleans, New Jersey and abroad to stake out American Muslims, including college students. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have defended this practice.

First Smart Prison City to be Built in South Korea

By GRANT J. KIDNEY | AWWE | JULY 29, 2012

The world’s first ‘smart city’ is being built in Asia- and it promises to serve as an experiment for the high-tech tyranny that is surely to come about as a response to the collapse of this present era of human industrial civilization.

Dubbed ‘Songdo’, the city will rest upon a wholly man made island in the Yellow sea and will incorporate just about every aspect of an Orwellian ‘super state’ imaginable.

Millions of wireless sensors and microchips will be embedded throughout the sprawling city-scape. ‘Smart appliances’ such as refrigerators that let you know when you’re running low on certain foods and bathroom mirrors that inform you of your physical health will be evident in every home.

Songdo will also prominently feature ‘telepresence’ technology which translates to giant video screens everywhere. Telepresence is a ‘Skype’ like innovation developed by Cisco that allows folks to make convenient video calls to any one else with the same set up in their home or office.

Boasting other such innovations like street lights that automatically adjust to the number of people out on the street as well as an advanced ‘central hub’ that monitors almost every aspect of the city in real-time, Songdo is surely the first city of its kind with others like it such as the PlanIT Valley in Portugal just over the horizon.

The technology is neutral, the current value system is not: why Songdo will fail

The problem with Songdo is not so much with its innovation and high tech systems approach to properly maintaining a city of the twenty first century- but rather, it provides for those who are at present in control of the Earth and its resources an effective way to contain- and dare I say, ‘enslave’- the whole of the human population.

Grass roots, sustainability organizations such as the Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project propose similar designs for advanced city systems as a means to ‘update’ our current inefficient model of the urban environment. What separates the aims of these two organizations in particular from the rise of Songdo-like city systems however is the fact that both groups advocate an adjustment of our human value systems first before migrating into an efficient new living-scape. Without having made these critical changes to the global, human social order, any new ‘smart city’ will only morph into a high-tech prison-grid controlled by extreme sociopaths.

Science fiction warns of high tech control grids

Orwellian cities of the future are certainly not a new concept in the realm of science fiction. In every example of a functional (or is it ‘non-functional’) dystopic model, citizens are treated like cattle as their every move is both tracked and recorded. In a world wherein our value systems have been radically adjusted to the extents proposed by the Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project, there is no real merit in any one person or group controlling others with high technology. However, in places such as Songdo, it is mathematically certain- given the make up of our present warped psychology as a species- that a gross form of corruption will overtake the city and subject its millions of inhabitants beneath what will ultimately prove but a more advanced form of what was once Hitler’s Third Reich.

Songdo is scheduled to be completed by 2015. If proven a successful model for control, there is little doubt that the elites of many different cities will push to integrate the same technologies into their command-grid so as to gain a much firmer grip on their ‘unruly’ populaces.

Sources for this article:
The Machine and the Ghost
The Zeitgeist Movement
The Venus Project 

Google’s Unlimited Secrecy and Unaccountability Grow Unchecked

Fascism occurs when a society loses control of Government and Corporations are not accountable for their actions.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MAY 24, 2012

Someone once said there would come a time when people would be made to enjoy a state of affairs they would not normally enjoy, a time when people would beg for it and then a time when they would kneel down and beg for more, even if that state of affairs meant the start of a painful experience, because the pain wouldn’t be felt; pain would be diluted by incentives to continue feeling it until people found enjoyment in pain.

The current state of affairs, where government shows no intention of curbing corporate greed and corporations do as they please without finding much opposition is exactly that state of affairs spoken of before. Banks loot their customers’ accounts, as it happened with MF Global, Pharmaceutical companies such as Merck explicitly intend to turn patients into lab rats who will consume their products for life and Biotechnology corporations like Monsanto use people as guinea pigs in worldwide open air experiments with its genetically modified organisms.

But even Monsanto and Merck felt the anger of the people once or twice, losing lawsuits here and there. They were embarrassed most of the time as consumers found out and denounced their schemes. In some cases, these corporations even paid fines. In the case of Google, however, it’s been a completely different story. Google has managed to deny all requests for access to its secretive operational model, even to authorities who directly requested to be shown how the company used the information it collected, legally or otherwise. In response to such negative, the only thing regulators do is recognize that the technology giant simply operates outside the law when it comes to information collection and management. They even admit it publicly, saying that this is just the way it is. “The industry has gotten more powerful, the technology has gotten more pervasive and it’s getting to the point where we can’t do too much about it,” says Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner.

Technology experts such as Christian Sandvig, a researcher in communications technology says that “We don’t have much choice but to trust Google.” Is his statement an example of learned helplessness? I would say so. A common follow-up to the apparent legal impotence government regulators have is the talking point that the legal framework has not kept up with Google’s ‘evolution’. This is a convenient although not useful excuse to give since the company has been around for a long time. Perhaps the regulation that protect privacy, the stickiest aspect of Google’s continuous infringements around the world were left to decay. But even if one buys that premise. it is amazing that in an era where technology companies pop out on every corner, industry regulators and watch men did not envision the need for clear rules for this new era. What were they doing? Sleeping while driving?

The most unreasonable of Google’s sins that continues to go unchallenged is its Street View program, through which the company collected uncountable amounts of private information from wireless networks. The company attributed this behavior to human error saying that an engineer who works for Google Street View had accidentally included software that just happened to collect information from those networks. Google also said the information collected was of no use to the company. The technology company has committed the same error in several countries, where those whose privacy was violated have seen little or no action taken by authorities to hold Google accountable for their recurring error.

In Germany data protection regulators got the door shut in their faces after attempting to force Google to show the in side of the Street View program. “It was one of the biggest violations of data protection laws that we had ever seen,” said Johannes Caspar, a data protection official. Most of the legal actions taken by regulators have so far been limited to warnings and ultimatums Google simply brushes off. In Australia, a recent attempt to try holding Google accountable after the company’s latest breach of privacy resulted in the same: nothing. Australian Communication Minister, Stephen Conroy described Google’s violation of privacy as “probably the single greatest breach in the history of privacy.”

A fact that seems to be the most abhorrent about Google’s successful avoidance to comply with minimum standards of privacy in many countries is that its customers and users are the biggest supporters of such violations. “People willingly, at times eagerly, surrender this information. But there is a price: the loss of control, or even knowledge, of where that personal information is going and how it is being reshaped into an online identity that may resemble the real you or may not,” says Peter Streitfeld in his article Google Privacy Inquiries Get Little Cooperation. Remember that scenario where people don’t mind the pain anymore? This situation is not limited to Google of course. It happens with other data mining giants like Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and every single communications company out there that knowingly or not serves corporate plans to learn everything about everyone everywhere.

Under everybody’s eyes, Google has become extremely successful at what it does, collecting information while keeping its records off the eyes and hands of regulators and the public in part by offering rather unimportant Privacy Policy that no one reads and that is not reflective of the company’s long reaching operations. Despite continuous unwarranted access to people’s personal information, which is a direct violation of their right to privacy, in the United States the FCC found in one case that Google had not infringed any American law and the result of its investigation was a mere $25,000 fine for what the agency labeled as an obstruction of its inquiry.  In Europe, regulators have been a bit more emphatic about Google’s violations, condemning programs like Street View for their resemblance with the Nazi massive collection of information which later served as the main tool to round-up Jews and other people deemed as undesirable by the government.

If Nazi Germany had the capacity — with IBM’s help — to effectively gather citizens’ information and use it against them to kill 6 million Jews and millions of others it found repugnant, what could be the result of a company having the power to outdo the Nazi government’s work on a global scale while remaining unaccountable to established governments? Suddenly the cries about the existence of a Shadow Government don’t seem far-fetched at all. Google is today exponentially more powerful than the Nazis ever were when it comes to collecting, keeping and disseminating information. The company in fact explains its wrong doing by saying their Street View cars gather information with the purpose of improving location-based services, which is why they illegally spy on people through wireless internet technology without their consent.

For Google there seems to be no problem with spying. Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counselor, said the company failed to tell anyone about Street View’s information mining because they didn’t think it was necessary. It is now well-known that Google collected not only technical information about the wireless networks themselves, but also the content of e-mails, names of users, addresses, and so on. During a review process in Germany, Google accepted that revealing their information collection program could compromise the company due to its violation of telecommunication laws. The company, however, shows no remorse or accepts any wrongdoing when representatives respond to questions about illegal practices.

As of today, most cases against Google have been dismissed. The only hopeful effort to curb the tech giant is an investigation to be completed and acted upon come summer in Europe. It is an anti-trust case against Google which some experts believe could be the beginning of tough times for the company. As for most people worried about their privacy, it is unlikely Google will be held back in its attempt to gather massive amounts of information. The suspicion arises from the fact that the meetings to be held in Brussels will  occur behind closed doors, which will prevent the people from learning about the real details of the anti-trust case.

Presenting the Mind Controlled Robot, Prosthetics…

The same technology used to carry out experiments such as the infiltration of semiconductor materials — see paragraph 9 — into the human body is now being announced as “new” discovery to help paraplegics walk.

IAFRICA | APRIL 25, 2012

A professor at a Swiss university on Tuesday unveiled a robot that can be controlled by the brainwaves of a paraplegic person wearing an electrode-fitted cap, news agency ATS reported.

A paralysed man at a hospital in the town of Sion demonstrated the device, sending a mental command to a computer in his room, which transmitted it to another computer that moved a small robot 60 kilometres away in Lausanne.

The system was developed by Jose Millan, a professor at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne who specialises in non-invasive interfaces between machines and the brain.

The same technology can be used to drive a wheelchair, Millan said.

“Once the movement has begun, the brain can relax, otherwise the person would soon be exhausted,” he said.

But the technology has its limits, he added. The brain signals can be scrambled if too many people are gathered around a wheelchair, for example.

Besides making paraplegics mobile, neuroprosthetics could be used to help patients recover lost senses, researchers said.

Professor Stephanie Lacour and her team are working on an “electric skin” for amputees, a glove fitted with tiny sensors that would send information directly to the user’s nervous system.

Eventually, researchers say they hope to create mechanised prosthetics that are as mobile and sensitive as a natural hand, Lacour said.

Other researchers at Lausanne are working on enabling paraplegics to walk again with electrodes implanted in their spinal cords.

“The goal is that after a year of training with a robotic aide, the patient will be able to walk without a robot. The electrodes would stay implanted for life,” said Professor Gregoire Courtine.

He said he is currently setting up clinical trials and hopes to run tests at Zurich’s university hospital within a year.

Loving your Servitude: Microsoft’s Kinect Console Paves the Way for In-Home Spying

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 5, 2012

Tyranny isn’t awful only because of the mayhem it achieves, but also because of the way it spreads its tentacles before it tightens the noose around unsuspecting populations. Tyranny will come in a uniform, says a proverb. But most of the time the uniform is just the last step in the process of achieving total control in a society. Hitler, perhaps the best example of what tyrants can accomplish, did not come into power with his brown shirt goon army stomping into people’s homes. It was an incremental process that intelligently carried out a series of actions through a series of steps which ended with Germans begging for tyrannical measures in the name of common good.

The remaining time of the twentieth century after Hitler was deposed and what has passed of the twenty-first century, has seen the rise of tyranny to levels that only H.G. Wells had been able to envision. This is a sign that puppet tyrants are not the bedrock of tyranny; they are just temporary mules that make it portable throughout the decades. Although twenty-first century tyranny seems to be rooted on the same principle that originated it back in the previous two centuries — security –, this principle can only be turned into a reason for tyranny if there is a necessity for it. But it isn’t even security as a principle the main driver of tyrannical regimes. For a temporary or permanent oppressive government to take control, it uses other tools that sort of complement the loss of freedom and the advancement of an out-of-control security grid. This complement is of course technology.

It would take much longer to achieve a complete state of tyranny if the tyrants intended to impose this state of affairs through force alone. That is why the men and women behind oppressive regimes use two of their best allies to achieve their goal: time and technological advances. Incremental changes through long periods of time in a way that conditions are engineered to promote a certain scenario are better accepted by populations who are worried 24 hours a day about their security. This is the reason why a heightened environment of insecurity together with the implementation of policies that reduce freedom and deviate attention from the loss of freedom are a perfect combination to bring about the best version of tyranny in the twenty-first century. In the case of our modern society, technological dependence has taken on the role that food scarcity and conflict, for example, played in previous eras.

One of the best ways to carry out tyrannical policies is to keep a population distracted while policies are created, accepted and put in place. In an era where self-security and economic imbalances are easily distracting people from opening their eyes and seeing what is really going on, technology is now more than ever playing a monumental role in advancing the tyrannical agenda thought out a long time ago. Not only have countries, companies and individuals embraced technology as part of their daily lives, but they’ve also become dependent to a degree that is no longer a choice to simply ‘get disconnected’ from it. Financial transactions, commerce, resource management and education are just a few of the areas in which technology has become a necessary evil. The problem is that technology users for the most part only have a myopic view of what technological advancements offer. This is a problem because technology is undoubtedly a double edge sword.

When it comes to technology and its applications, the two edges of the sword are usually defined as (1) the convenience it provides to our daily lives, and (2) the type of applications it can have. One-dimensional thinking always focuses on the benefits and the convenience. In fact, these are the terms in which technology is always presented. The other side, the not so positive consequences or misuse of technology is what is always hidden from the unsuspecting public, who only understand technological advances as entertainment; the opium of a population that hurts economically, mentally and that lacks the capacity — by design — to see beyond their leisure needs. Two-dimensional or three-dimensional thinking renders new and different ways of understanding. The three-dimensional way of thinking that also sees the sharper edge of the sword, the one that easily cuts through ignorance and that allows oppressive regimes to bring about their tyranny, is always acknowledged by the tyrants, but not by technology users.

Is it convenient to have a search engine that knows what you want to search, even before you type it in? Sure it is. But one needs to ask how does the company behind the search engine achieves this and what other applications would this technology have and whether or not they’d be as beneficial as the search results, or if they are beneficial at all. Google, has publicly announced that it will use every camera and microphone embedded in computers to spy on people in order to create profiles for commercial purposes. Although that way of spying is already alarming, one must wonder what else are they going to do. Is it comfortable to have newer, more efficient appliances at home? Sure. However, it is within our purview to investigate whether the comfort these devices bring are worth loosing privacy. For example, recently, the head of the CIA, David Petraeus publicly said that that organization along with the National Security Agency (NSA) would be using technological advances to spy on people through their appliances. This by the way is not limited to the United States. In fact, as we speak, the United States is building a seven football-stadium-sized facility that will house the largest spying apparatus in the planet. The NSA is well-known for their Echelon program and their work with Fusion Centers nationwide in the United States. Both Echelon and the Fusion Centers make up the largest spying force with the capacity to operate around the world.

Is it convenient to have a communication device that allows us to talk to anyone, anywhere, as long as there is an electromagnetic signal available? Absolutely. But again, we should also know that, leaving health issues aside, cell phones are basically portable spying devices for a group of corporations whose real owners cannot sleep at night thinking of ways to learn about everything we do. Recently, both Apple and Google devices were in the news for their ability to record users’ movements and deliberately sending such information to an Artificial Intelligence-controlled hard drive or server somewhere. This information was collected without the users being aware of it, without their permission or consent. What did Eric Schmidt, Apple’s CEO had to say about it? “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Why isn’t the public able to realize that iPhones, Microsoft phones and Android Google phones can be used to do many more things besides calling someone? Because technology has become — again not by accident — the opium of the people. They have been indoctrinated and programmed by the educational systems to lose their ability to think critically and to be innovators. Historically, humans have been transformed into users instead of creators. For at least a century — in modern society — the creators are the tyrants who figured out that technology could be used to enslave while it functioned as a distraction for the decadent masses.

Just as the Romans had their gladiator fights, we have football games, TV shows and of course our iPhones, Laptops and Game Consoles. Have you heard about Kinect? If not, this Microsoft gaming platform is the mother of all spying tools for in-home usage. If you like Happy Meals or Jack-in-a-Box, you’ll love Kinect. That’s right. While we were all sleeping, the tyrants figured out a way to make us like our servitude, and they’ve done a superb job. Not only will people be distracted playing games that will either make them psychos or dummies, but they’ll also be victims of direct spying by the military industrial complex. The reach of technologies like Kinect, which are only advertised as trendy, fun devices, goes beyond what most of its users even begin to fathom. With military contractors already working on ways to ‘better’ use the technology embedded in the game console, as well as publicly saying they intend to spy on people through it to steal their information, what exactly is there inside Kinect? As explained by multiple media outlets, Microsoft’s latest Xbox 360 has:

* Four microphones — a first, according to CEO Kyle Wiens. “We’ve taken apart binaural devices before, but this is our first quadaural sensor setup!”

* Two cameras (pictured).

* An IR transmitting diode.

* One fan. Wiens says that for a 12-watt device, Microsoft seems very paranoid about heat dissipation and blames this paranoia on the infamous red-ring-of-death problems that have plagued the 360. “This is a good thing for consumers, but we can’t help but wonder if they’ve gone overboard in the cooling department,” Kyle said.

* 64 MB of Hynix DDR2 SDRAM.

* A “tiny, diminutive, even” motor (pictured).

* A three-axis accelerometer.

* A Prime Sense PS1080-A2. “Kinect is based on Prime Sense’s motion detection technology,” explains Kyle. “This chip is the Kinect’s brains —– all the sensors are wired into here for processing before transmitting a refined depth map and color image to the Xbox.”

If you are technologically challenged or simply are not interested in technical details at all, because all you care about is having fun with Kinect, you are in trouble. The Quadaural sensor enables Kinect to listen to and identify up to five different voices. The two cameras are capable of taking pictures and recording video. The Infrared (IR) transmitting diode can create and record a thermal image of people in the room, which then becomes a powerful identification tool. The 64 MB hard drive makes sure that all the information collected is comfortably stored for easy access by outside users — military spies and hackers — and the Prime Sense sensor, the brain, closes the gift list that any control freak would dream about. The chip simply detects any movement that takes place in the room where Kinect is. Sadly, this kind of technology is not limited to Kinect. Other game consoles like Nintendo Wii and Playstation already use similar components which are sold as the best way to enhance gaming experience. How thoughtful of the creators! Much like the makers of the latest television sets, satellite boxes and fridges, Kinect is simply Big Bother in a box.

Any recommendations to stave off Big Brother from coming into our houses? According to a ‘freedom fighter’, it is a good idea to “make sure you disconnect Kinect whenever you are not using it”. Really? How about not buying a Kinect? How cattle-like have people become! Have your Soda pop, but make sure you drink it only one sip at the time so that the aspartame in it kills you slowly. Buy a cell phone, but use it less often, that way the cancer will take a decade or two to appear. We have indeed become comfortable slaves who not only enjoy but actually love our servitude.

I guess H.G. Wells fell way short of what a New World Order would look like.

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Luis Miranda is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. For more of his stories, subscribe to our article feed. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Email article ideas and insights through the Contact page.