Article 43

 

Privacy And Rights

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Book: Down and Out in the New Economy

image: Down And Out in the New Economy

Homeless and Unemployed in an Economy We’re Supposed to Think Is Liberating
In Ilana Gershon’s new book ”DOWN AND OUT IN THE NEW ECONOMY,” the employer power dynamic is called into question.

By Ilana Gershon
University of Chicago Press
April 27, 2017

The following is an adapted excerpt from the new book Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Dont Find) Work Today by Ilana Gershon (University of Chicago Press, April 2017):

Chris, an independent contractor in his midfifties, knows a lot about what it means to deal with an unstable job market, especially during those moments when you are between gigs and don’t know when you are going to get the next one. There was a period in 2012 where he hadn’t had a contracting job for a while, and he had no idea how he was going to pay his rent. He realized he might be able to make his rent for another month, but if he didn’t get a job soon, he might be homeless. He decided that he needed to get his body ready for this very likely possibility. I started to sleep on the floor a few hours each night, as long as I could take it, so I could get used to sleeping on a sidewalk or on the dirt. That’s how bad it looked. It just seemed hopeless, Chris said. Out of the blue, a staffing agency based in India contacted him and offered him a contract in the Midwest, giving him enough money to make it through this bad patch. But this stark moment, in which he saw homelessness around the corner, is part and parcel of the downside of careers made up of temporary jobs. Chris responded to this possibility in the way that you are supposed to if you are constantly enhancing yourself. He began to train his body for living on the streets, realizing that he needed to learn how to sleep without a bed. He was determined to be flexible and to adapt to potential new circumstances. Seeing the self as a bundle of skills, in practice, means that for some people enhancing your skills involves training yourself to survive being homeless. This too is a logical outcome of our contemporary employment model.

I have studied how people are responding to this new way of thinking about work and what it means to be a worker. In the United States, people are moving away from thinking that when they enter into an employment contract, they are metaphorically renting their capacities to an employer for a bounded period of time. Many people are no longer using a notion of the self-as-rented-property as an underlying metaphor and are starting to think of themselves as though they are a business, although not everyone likes this new metaphor or accepts all its implications. When you switch to thinking about the employment contract as a business-to-business relationship, much changes - how you present yourself as a desirable employee, what it means to be a good employer, what your relationships with your coworkers should be like, the relationship between a job and a career, and how you prepare yourself for the future.

The self-as-business metaphor makes a virtue of flexibility as well as the practical ways people might respond in their daily lives to conditions of instability and insecurity. As Gina Neff points out in Venture Labor, the model encourages people to embrace risk as a positive, even sought-out, element of how they individually should craft a career. Each time you switch jobs, you risk. You don’t know the amount of time you will have at a job before having to find a new one, and you risk how lucky you will be at getting that job and the next job. And with every job transition, you risk the salary that you might make. If there is a gap between jobs, then some people will find that they no longer experience a reliable, steady, upward trajectory in their salaries as they navigate the contemporary job market. Yet this is what you are now supposed to embrace as liberating.

Chris’s experiences cycling between employment and increasing periods of unemployment was a familiar story for me. I interviewed so many people in their late forties to early sixties who had a few permanent jobs early in their careers. But as companies increasingly focused on having a more transient workforce, these white-collar workers found their career trajectories veering from what they first thought their working life would look like. They thought that they might climb the organizational ladder in one or maybe even three companies over the course of their lifetime. Instead, they found that at some point in their mid to late forties, they started having shorter and shorter stints at different companies. The jobs, some would say, would last as long as a project. And as they grew older, the gaps between permanent jobs could start growing longer and longer. They struggled to make do, often using up their savings or selling their homes as they hoped to get the next job. Some started to find consulting jobs in order to make ends meet before landing the hoped-for permanent job, and then found themselves trapped on the consulting trackliving only in the gig economy. True, not everyone felt like contracting was plan B, the option they had to take because of bad luck. In their book about contractors, Steve Barley and Gideon Kunda talk about the people they interviewed who actively chose this life. I met these people too, but they weren’t the majority of the job seekers I interviewed. Because I was studying people looking for a wide range of types of jobs, instead of studying people who already had good relationships with staffing agencies that provided consultants, I tended to meet people who felt their bad luck had backed them into becoming permanent freelancers. These were people who encountered the self-as-business metaphor as a relatively new model, one they felt they actively had to learn in order to survive in today’s workplace, as opposed to the younger people I interviewed, many of whom had grown up with the self-as-business model as their primary way to understand employment.

When you think of the employment contract in a new way, you often have to revisit what counts as moral behavior, since older frameworks offer substantively different answers to questions of moral business practice. People have to decide what it means for a company to behave well under this new framework. Consider the self-as-business model. What does a good company do to help its workers enhance themselves as allied businesses? What are the limits in what a company should do? What counts as exploitation under this new model? Can businesses do things that count as exploitation or bad practices now that might not have been considered problems earlier, or not considered problems for the same reasons (and thus are regulated or resolved differently)? Businesses are certainly deeply concerned that workersҒ actions both at work and outside of work could threaten the companys brand, a new worry - but this is the tip of the iceberg. And the moral behavior of companies isnt the only issue. Can workers exploit the companies they align with now or behave badly toward them in new ways?

Yet while these two metaphors - the self-as-property and the self-as-business - encourage people to think about employment in different ways, there are still similarities in how the metaphors ask people to think about getting hired. In both cases, the metaphors are focusing on market choices and asking people to operate by a market logic. Deciding whether to rent your capacities is a slightly different question than deciding whether to enter into a business alliance with someone, but in both instances you are expected to make a decision based on the costs and benefits involved in the decision. In addition, both metaphorical contracts presume that people enter into these contracts as equals, and yet this equality doesn’t last in practice once you are hired. In most jobs, the moment you are hired, you are in a hierarchical relationship; you are taking orders from a boss. Some aspects of working have changed because of this shift in frameworks, but many aspects have stayed the same.

Avoiding Corporate Nostalgia

I talked to people who were thoughtfully ambivalent about this transition in the metaphors underlying employment. They didn’t like their current insecurity, but they pointed out that earlier workplaces weren’t ideal either. Before, people often felt trapped in jobs they disliked and confronted with office politics that were alienating and demoralizing. Like many people today, they dealt with companies in which they were constantly encountering sexism and racism. Not everyone had equal opportunities to move into the jobs they wanted or to be promoted or acknowledged for the work that they did well.

However, as anthropologist Karen Ho points out, when you have a corporate ladder that excludes certain groups of people, you also have a structure that you can potentially reform so that these groups will in the future have equal opportunities. When you have no corporate ladder, when all you have is the uncertainty of moving between companies or between freelance jobs - you no longer have a clear structure to target if you want to make a workplace a fairer environment. If there is more gender equality in the US workplace these days than there was thirty years ago, it is in part because corporate structures were stable enough and reformers stayed at companies long enough that specific business practices could be effectively targeted and reformed. Part of what has changed about workplaces today is that there has been a transformation in the kinds of solutions available to solve workplace problems.

I see what people said to me about their preference for the kinds of guarantees and rights people used to have at work as a form of critique, not a form of nostalgia. People didn’t necessarily want to return to the way things used to be. When people talked to me nostalgically about how workplaces used to function, it was often because they valued the protections they used to be able to rely on and a system they knew well enough to be able to imagine how to change it for the better.

Many people I spoke to were very unhappy with the contemporary workplace’s increasing instability. They worried a great deal about making it financially through the longer and longer dry spells of unemployment between jobs. I talked to a man who was doing reasonably well that year as a consultant, and he began reflecting on what the future would hold for his children. He didn’t want them to follow in his footsteps and become a computer programmer, because too many people like him were contingent workers. He wanted them to have their own families and reasoned: “If everybody thinks they can be laid-off in two weeks, how would they feel confident enough to be a parent and know that they’e got twenty-one years of consistent investment?”

It is not that the people I spoke to necessarily wanted older forms of work. What many wanted was stability. No matter how many times people are told to embrace being flexible, to embrace risk, in practice many of the people I spoke to did not actually want to live with the downsides of this riskier life. The United States does not have enough safety nets in place to protect you during the moments when life doesnt work out. Because you are supposed to be looking for a new job regularly over the course of a lifetime, the opportunities when you might become dramatically downwardly mobile increase. There are more possible moments in which you have to enhance your skills at surviving on much less money or even living rough.

Changing Notions of What Counts as a Good Employment Relationship

When people are thought of as businesses, significant aspects of the employment relationship change. The genre repertoire you use to get a job alters to reflect this understanding as you use resumes, interview answers, and other genres to represent yourself as a bundle of business solutions that can address the hiring company’s market-specific temporary needs. Networking has changed what it means to manage your social relationships so that you can stay employed has shifted. Some people I met are now arguing that you treat the companies you are considering joining in the same way you would treat any other business investment: in terms of the financial and career risk involved in being allied with this company.

It is not just that you evaluate jobs differently when you know that your job is temporary - deciding you can put up with some kinds of inconveniences but not others. Instead, you see the job as a short-term investment of time and labor, and the job had better pay off - perhaps by providing you with new skills, new networks, or a new way of framing your work experiences that makes you potentially more desirable for the next job. What if this new framework allows workers to have new expectations of their employers, or can safeguard workers’ interests in new ways? If you have this perspective, what are the new kinds of demands that employees could potentially make of employers?

For Tom, this new vision of self-as-business was definitely guiding how he was judging the ways companies treated him and what was appropriate behavior. I first contacted Tom because I heard through the grapevine that he refused to use LinkedIn. I was curious, as I had been doing research for seven months by that point and only came across one other person who was not using LinkedIn (and has since rejoined). We talked about his refusal, and he explained to me that LinkedIn didn’t seem to offer enough in return for his data. He clearly saw himself in an exchange relationship with LinkedIn, providing data for it to use and in return having access to the platform. Fair enough, I thought: as far as I can tell, the data scientists at LinkedIn and Facebook whom I have met see the exchange relationship in similar ways. Yet Tom decided that what LinkedIn offered wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t worth providing the company with his personal data. So I asked him about various other sites that he might use in which the exchange might be more equitable, and he lit up talking about these other sites. For Tom, because he saw himself as a business, and viewed his data as part of his assets, he was ready to see LinkedIn as offering a bad business arrangement, one he didn’t want to accept. The self-as-business framework allowed him to see the use of certain platforms as instances of participating in business alliances. Some alliances he was willing to enter into, but not all.

This wasn’t his only encounter with a potentially exploitative business arrangement. He typically worked as an independent contractor, and a company asked him to come in for a job interview. When he got there, his interviewer explained that the position was a sweat equity job - Tom wouldn’t get a salary, but rather he would get equity in the company in exchange for his labor. “Okay” he replied. “So what is your business model?” His interviewer was surprised and discomforted to be asked this. He refused to answer; employees don’t need to know the details of the company’s business model, he said. Tom felt that this was wrong; because he was being asked to be an investor in the company - admittedly with his labor instead of with money, he felt should be given the same financial details that any other investor in a company would expect before signing on. It sounded to me like Tomגs interviewer was caught between two models: wanting the possible labor arrangements now available but unwilling to adjust whom he told what. The interviewer was not willing to follow through on the implications of this new model of employment, and as a result, Tom wasnt willing to take the job. This is one way in which the self-as-business model offers a new way to talk about what counts as exploitation and as inappropriate behavior - behavior that might not have been an issue decades ago, or would have been a problem for different reasons (perhaps because a couple of decades ago, few people found sweat equity an acceptable arrangement).

But this new model also opens up the possibility that companies can have obligations to their employees that they did not have in the same way before. Since companies often dont offer stable employment, they now provide a temporary venue for people to express their passion and to enhance themselves. Can this look like an obligation that businesses have to their workers? Perhaps - businesses could take seriously what it means to provide workers with the opportunities to enhance themselves. Michael Feher argues that if people are now supposed to see themselves as human capital, there should be a renewed focus on what good investment in people looks like - regardless of whether workers stay at a single company.

SHOULD COMPANIES now help provide TRAINING for an employee’s next job? Throughout the twentieth century, companies understood that they had to provide their workers training in order for them to do their job at the company to their best of their ability. Internal training made sense both for the company’s immediate interests and for the company’s ability to retain a supply of properly trained workers over the life of the company. Now that jobs are so temporary, who is responsible for training workers is a bit more up in the air. Yet some companies are beginning to offer support for workers to train, not for the benefit of the company, but so that workers can pursue their passion, should they discover that working at that company is not their passion. Amazon, for example, in 2012 began to provide training for employees who potentially want radically different jobs. Jeff Bezo’s explained in his 2014 letter to shareholders: We pre-pay 95% of tuition for our employees to take courses for in-demand fields, such as airplane mechanic or nursing, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. The goal is to enable “choice.” It makes sense for a company to support its workers learning skills for a completely different career only under the contemporary perspective that people are businesses following their passions in temporary alliances with companies.

This model of self-as-business might give workers some new language to protest business practices that keep them from enhancing themselves or entering into as many business alliances as they would like. For example, just-in-time scheduling in practice is currently preventing retail workers from getting enough hours so that they can earn as much as they would like to in a week. This type of scheduling means that workers only find out that week how many hours they are working and when. They cant expect to have certain hours reliably free, and they need to be available whenever their employer would like them to work. Marc Doussard has found that good workers are rewarded with more hours at work. While white-collar workers might get better pay in end-of-the-year bonuses for seeming passionate, retail workers get more hours in the week. If workers make special requests to have certain hours, Doussard discovered, their managers will often punish them in response, by either giving them fewer hours to work or only assigning them to shifts they find undesirable. In practice, this means that workers have trouble holding two jobs or taking classes to improve themselves, as unpredictable shifts will inevitably conflict with each other or class times. Predictable work hours, in short, are essential for being able to plan for the future - either to make sure you are working enough hours in the week to support yourself or to educate yourself for other types of jobs. Since companies are now insisting that people imagine themselves as businesses, what would happen if workers protested when companies dont allow them to “invest in themselves” or when they are thwarted from having as many business partnerships (that is, jobs) as possible? Perhaps employees should now be able to criticize and change employers’ practices when they are prevented from being the best businesses they can be because of their employers workplace strategies.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/04/17 •
Section Bad Moon Rising • Section Revelations • Section American Solidarity • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy • Section Microsoft And Windows • Section Job Hunt • Section News • Section Telecom Underclass • Section Dying America
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Internet Privacy Bites The Dust

Advertisers look forward to buying your Web browsing history from ISPs

Ad groups thank Republican lawmakers for move to kill ISP privacy rules.

By Jon Brodkin
ARS Technica
Mar 14, 2017

FCC and lawmakers seek end of privacy rules

The FCC’s new Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, opposes the rules and has already halted the implementation of a data security component that required ISPs to take “reasonable” steps to protect customers’ information from theft and data breaches. The more well-known portion of the rules, which requires ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing information with third parties, is scheduled to take effect no earlier than December 4, 2017.

The entire set of privacy rules could be undone by either the FCC or Congress. “Without prompt action in Congress or at the FCC, the FCC’s regulations would break with well-accepted and functioning industry practices, chilling innovation and hurting the consumers the regulation was supposed to protect,” the ad industry groups said.

It’s “one of the worst rules that has been put forward in some time,” Association of National Advertisers Executive VP Dan Jaffe said, according to a MediaPost article. “One way or another, it needs to be stopped.” Jaffe said that the ad groups “plan to lobby on the Hill in support of the resolution proposed by Flake and Blackburn,” MediaPost wrote.

Republicans say the Federal Trade Commission, not the FCC, should have authority over the privacy practices of ISPs. But overturning the existing privacy rules would not by itself return authority to the FTC, and the FTC could be more lenient with ISPs than the FCC.

If no agency enforces privacy rules, “consumers will have no ability to stop Internet service providers from invading their privacy and selling sensitive information about their health, finances, and children to advertisers, insurers, data brokers or others who can profit off of this personal information, all without their affirmative consent,” Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said last week.

Acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen said last year that the FTC recommends getting opt-in consent for “unexpected collection or use of consumers sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, financial information, and information about children,” and an opt-out system for other data, she wrote. Under that scenario, ISPs apparently would not need opt-in consent from customers before sharing Web browsing history.

SOURCE

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It’s official: your internet provider can share your web history
Trump signs resolution killing FCC privacy rules

By Jacob Kastrenakes
The Verge
April 4, 2017

In a major blow to consumer privacy, President Trump signed a resolution today reversing an Obama-era rule that restricted what internet providers could do with their customers data.

Most notably, the privacy rule would have prevented internet providers from using, sharing, or selling a subscriber’s web browsing history without first getting their explicit permission. The rule also required internet providers to take “reasonable” steps to secure data from hackers and to notify customers in the event of a breach.

But Republicans argued that the rules were confusing to consumers and unfair to internet providers. They said that it didnt make sense for the rules to not also cover web companies like Facebook and Google.

The argument isnҒt particular sound: internet providers deliver data, while Facebook and Google run businesses on the web two distinctly different tasks. But that didnגt stop Republicans from passing a resolution to reverse the privacy order in both the House and Senate.

Speaking to the press last Thursday, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said “killing the rules will allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on an equal playing field.”

But theres not really a positive takeaway here for consumers. While the nightmare scenario of individually identifiable browser histories getting sold is unlikely to come to pass, spiking these regulations very much gives internet providers more leeway when using your data to target ads.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/15/17 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Still Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From Windows? Part 21

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Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

Windows 10 spies on you by default

By Shannon Stapleton
Reuters
July 31, 2015

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system is immensely popular, with 14 million downloads in just two days. The price of the free upgrade may just be your privacy, though, as changing Windows 10’s intrusive default settings is difficult.

Technology journalists and bloggers are singing Windows 10s praises, often using the words such as “amazing,” “glorious” and “fantastic.” The operating system has been described as faster, smoother and more user-friendly than any previous version of Windows. According to Wired magazine, more than 14 million people have DOWNLOADED their upgrade since the system was released on Wednesday.

While the upgrade is currently free of charge to owners of licensed copies of Windows 8 and Windows 7, it does come at a price. Several tech bloggers have warned that the privacy settings in the operating system are invasive by default, and that changing them involves over a dozen different screens and an external website.

According to Zach Epstein of BGR News, all of Windows 10s features that could be considered invasions of privacy are enabled by default. Signing in with your Microsoft email account means Windows is reading your emails, contacts and calendar data. The new Edge browser serves you personalized ads. Solitaire now comes with ads. Using Cortana - the voice-driven assistant that represents Redmond’s answer to Apple’s Siri - reportedly “plays fast and loose with your data.”

“I am pretty surprised by the far-reaching data collection that Microsoft seems to want,” web developer Jonathan Porta wrote on his blog. “I am even more surprised by the fact that the settings all default to incredibly intrusive. I am certain that most individuals will just accept the defaults and have no idea how much information they are giving away.”

As examples, Porta cited Microsoft having access to contacts, calendar details, and"other associated input data” such as “typing” and “inking” by default. The operating system also wants access to user locations and location history, both of which could be provided not just to Microsoft, but to its “trusted partners.”

“Who are the trusted partners? By whom are they trusted? I am certainly not the one doing any trusting right now,” Porta wrote, describing the default privacy options as “vague and bordering on scary.”

Alec Meer of the “Rock, Paper, Shotgun” blog POINTED OUT this passage in Microsoft’s 12,000-word, 45-page terms of use agreement:

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to.”

While most people are used to ads as the price of accessing free content, writes Meer, Microsoft is not making it clear enough that they are gathering and storing vast amounts of data on your computing habits,ԓ not just browser data.

Opting out of all these default settings requires navigating 13 different screens and a separate website, the bloggers have found. 

Meer was underwhelmed with Microsoft executives claims of transparency and easily understandable terms of use. ԒThere is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes real transparency,ӑ he wrote.

Tracking and harvesting user data has been a business model for many tech giants. Privacy advocates have raised concerns over GoogleҔs combing of emails, Apples Siri, and FacebookҒs tracking cookies that keep monitoring peoples browser activity in order to personalize advertising and content.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/02/15 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Propaganda American Style

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“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
- Malcolm X

How the NDAA Allows US Gov to Use Propaganda Against Americans

By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
July 22, 2013

The US government has unbound the legal regulations against using propaganda against foreign audiences and American citizens. The intention is to sway public opinion by using TELEVISION, radio, newspapers, and social media targeting the American and foreign people in controlled psy-ops.

The newest version of the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA) has an amendment added that negates the SMITH-MUNDT ACT OF 1948 (SMA) and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987.

These laws made propaganda used to influence foreigners and US citizens illegal. Without these laws, disinformation could run rampant throughout our information junkets.

This amendment added to the NDAA has passed into implementation as of this month.

SMA defines the prohibition of domestic access to influence information through a variety of means, from broadcast to publishing of books, media, and online sources by restricting the State Department.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors was created from SMA. This agency claims to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They omit that their specialty is making sure propaganda is added to the informational flow we all depend on.

The amendment sanctions the US government, without restriction, the use of any mode of message to control how we perceive our world.

As of now, the level of propaganda in the MAINSTREAM MEDIA (MSM) is quite high, with all of our television, printed media and internet sites associated with MSM OWNED BY ONLY 5 corporations.

Without these laws, the lies purveyed as truth to foreigners would find their way to our doorsteps as a purposeful operation enacted by our government. And in the name of national security, the US government could, and probably would, disseminate misinformation to gain public support for otherwise decidedly deplorable actions.

Amendment 114 of the NDAA was approved by the House in May of 2012.

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act (2012) reads:

Sec. 501. (a) The Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are authorized to use funds appropriated or otherwise made available for public diplomacy information programs to provide for the preparation, dissemination, and use of information intended for foreign audiences abroad about the United States, its people, and its policies, through press, publications, radio, motion pictures, the Internet, and other information media, including social media, and through information centers, instructors, and other direct or indirect means of communication.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may, upon request and reimbursement of the reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling such a request, make available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad.

According to Michael Hastings : The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. ӓIt removes the protection for Americans, says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. ԓIt removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.

Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) in the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act (2012) (H.R. 5736), advocate that it is time to liberate the authority of the US government to broadcast American produced foreign propaganda in the U.S.

The amendment, which was hidden within the NDAA, has remained relatively unnoticed. However, it empowers the State Department and Pentagon to utilize all forms of media against the American public for the sake of coercing US citizens to believe whatever version of the truth the US government wants them to believe.

All oversight is removed with AMENDMENT 114. Regardless of whether the information disseminated is truthful, partially truthful or completely false bears no weight.

Thornberry believes that with the use of the internet by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, the federal government needs to have the freedom to circulate their own propaganda to combat terrorism effectively.

“I just dont want to see something this significant whatever the pros and cons go through without anyone noticing,” says one source on the Hill, who is disturbed by the law. According to this source, the law would allow U.S. propaganda intended to influence foreign audiences to be used on the domestic population.֓

Four billion dollars per year is spent by the Pentagon on propaganda aimed at the American public; as well as $202 million spent by the Department of Defense on misinformation operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011.

Currently, the Pentagon is using SOCK PUPPET (fake handles) on social media sites to purvey false information, harass users and enact psy-ops to influence Americans.

A California corporation is working with the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in spreading propaganda overseas. They provide online persona “management service” that allows active duty military to set up an estimated 10 different false identities that are used worldwide.

Each fake persona comes complete with a background history and safeties to prevent “sophisticated adversaries” from discovering the lie.

CENTCOM spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable CENTCOM to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”

Sophisticated software allows military to engage in online conversations with coordinated answers, blog comments and instant messaging remarks that are solely meant to spread pro-American propaganda.

US Army whistleblower, Lieutenant Col. Daniel Davis believes there is a definitive aspiration within the US government to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to “protect a key friendly center of gravity,” to wit US national will.

Edward Bernays would be proud.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/01/15 •
Section Revelations • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Dying America
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 31 - Net Neutrality Dies

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Internet Censorship 2013

Nine years ago Al Gore made a couple of GOOD POINTS about an open internet:

We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web.

...in order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum and create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future.

Since then, CISPA and SOPA tried to take away net neutrality.  Those initiatives have had LIMITED SUCCESS, until yesterday.  More on that below.

Al’s other point about open forums deserves equal attention.

Today, I write at a lot of places, and increasingly after opening dialogues about the poor, unemployed, unchecked corporatism, or direction this country is going in - posts are met with indifference, invalidation, and downright hostility.

But the worst and scariest thing over 2013 has been how posts I made on political forums of members of the US Government - have been deleted, and me banned from their sites.

ITS ONE THING that people would rather distance themselves from things they DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH, but when the Facebook page of a US Congressman contains no other posts but his one-sided rhetoric, and praises from his followers, because everything else was censored out - we passed ANOTHER MILESTONE in the squelching of free expression and open communication.

The internet has become as bad as TV - a one sided pulpit for politicians to spew their propaganda - not an open forum.

Can it get worse?

Yes.

Internet Censorship 2014

Save the Intenet REPORTS:

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commissions Open Internet Order. In other words, Net Neutrality is dead (for now).

Wired TELLS US:

“Without high-level rules of the road, or other replacement high-level rules, the broadband carriers are free to discriminate and block content from consumers,” Chris Lewis, a vice president at digital rights group Public Knowledge, said in a telephone interview.

And the Huffington Post URGES US:

Now, just as Verizon promised it would in court, the biggest broadband providers will race to turn the open and vibrant Web into something that looks like cable TV—where they pick and choose the channels for you. They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.

We need strong protections and sensible policies to ensure the Internet continues to thrive and prosper. But to make that happen the millions of people who have fought for Net Neutrality—and the millions more who have rallied against Web-censorship bills like SOPA/PIPA and outrages like the NSA’s unchecked spying and surveillance—rise up like never before.

Together we can fight back against these greedy Internet service providers. We can save the Internet we love. But we have to act now.

I’m talking about the United States, NOT THE USSR or GREAT FIREWALL of CHINA.

Posted by Elvis on 01/15/14 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy • Section Dying America
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