Article 43

 

Broadband Privacy

Friday, May 07, 2021

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 39 - The Day The Internet Died Redux

image: i support net neutrality

Net Neutrality keeps the internet free and open enabling anyone to share and access information of their choosing without interference.

But on Dec. 14, 2017, the FCC voted along party lines to pass Chairman Pais plan to dismantle the Net Neutrality rules.

Without these rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to block or slow down any online content including political speech they disagree with. This will disproportionately harm people of color and other marginalized communities who use the internet to fight systemic discrimination and share their stories.

Net Neutrality is essential to education, economic opportunity, innovation, social movements and dissent. Without Net Neutrality thereҒs no way to organize for justice or power the resistance.
- Save The Internet, December 14,2017

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Attorney General James Issues Report Detailing Millions of Fake Comments, Revealing Secret Campaign to Influence FCCs 2017 Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

Multi-Year Investigation Into 2017 Net Neutrality Rulemaking Finds 18 MillionFake Comments Filed with FCC, Half a Million Fake Letters Sent to Congress

Broadband Industry Funded Six Companies That Engaged in Illegal Activity and Impersonated Millions of Americans

AG James Announces Three Agreements Ending Fraudulent Practices by Perpetrators of Fake Comments

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NEW YORK New York Attorney General Letitia James today released a REPORT detailing the results of her office’s wide-ranging investigation into fake, public comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality rules. Net neutrality prohibits broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging companies to prioritize certain content on the internet. Attorney General James investigation uncovered widespread fraud, as well as abusive practices used to sway government policy - using masses of comments and messages to create the false impression of popular support. Additionally, Attorney General James today resolved investigations into three companies that contributed to the millions of fake comments submitted in the 2017 net neutrality proceeding.

“Americans voices are being drowned out by masses of fake comments and messages being submitted to the government to sway decision-making,” said Attorney General James. Instead of actually looking for real responses from the American people, marketing companies are luring vulnerable individuals to their websites with freebies, co-opting their identities, and fabricating responses that giant corporations are then using to influence the polices and laws that govern our lives. But, today, we are taking action to root out this fraud and the impersonation that has been corrupting the process for far too long. From net neutrality rules to laws affecting criminal justice reform, health care, and more, these fake comments have simply been generated to influence too many government policies, which is why we are cracking down on this illegal and deceptive behavior. My office will continue to shine a spotlight on abuses and disinformation and ensure those who break the law are held accountable.”

Through its investigation, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that, in 2017, the nations largest broadband companies funded a secret campaign to generate millions of comments to the FCC. Many of these comments provided “cover” for the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules. This practice disguising an orchestrated, paid campaign as a grassroots effort, to create a false appearance of genuine, unpaid public support - is often referred to as astroturfing. To help generate these comments, the broadband industry engaged commercial lead generators that used prizes like gift cards and sweepstakes entries - to lure consumers to their websites and join the campaign. However, nearly every lead generator that was hired to enroll consumers in the campaign, instead, simply fabricated consumers responses. As a result, more than 8.5 million fake comments that impersonated real people were submitted to the FCC, and more than half a million fake letters were sent to Congress.

The OAG also found that the FCC received another 9.3 million fake comments supporting net neutrality that used fictitious identities. Most of these comments were submitted by a single person җ a 19-year old college student using automated software. In all, the OAG confirmed that nearly 18 million of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received in its 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality rules were fake.

Additionally, the OAG’s investigation revealed that the fraud perpetrated by the various lead generators infected other government proceedings as well. Three of the lead generation firms involved in the broadband industry’s net neutrality comment campaigns had also worked on more than 100 other, unrelated campaigns to influence regulatory agencies and public officials. In nearly all of these advocacy campaigns, the lead generation firms engaged in fraud. As a result, more than 1 million fake comments were generated for other rulemaking proceedings, and more than 3.5 million fake digital signatures for letters and petitions were generated for federal and state legislators and government officials across the nation.

Attorney General James report recommends several reforms to root out the deception and fraud that have infected public policymaking by agencies and legislatures, including encouraging:

Advocacy groups to take steps to ensure they have obtained valid consent from an individual before submitting a comment or message to the government on their behalf,

Agencies and legislatures that manage electronic systems that receive comments and messages to hold advocacy groups and their vendors more accountable for the comments they submit on behalf of individuals,

Lawmakers to strengthen laws to deter the submission of deceptive and unauthorized comments to the government, and

Agencies to adopt technical safeguards to protect against unauthorized bulk submissions using automation.

Attorney General James also, today, announced agreements with three of the lead generators that were responsible for millions of the fake comments submitted in the net neutrality proceeding: FLUENT, INC, responsible for approximately 4.8 million fraudulent comments; OPT-INTELLIGENCE, INC, responsible for more than 250,000 fraudulent comments; and REACT2MEDIA, INC, responsible for approximately 329,000 comments in the net neutrality proceeding (all or nearly all of which were fraudulent). Fluent and React2Media were also responsible, collectively, for millions of fake comments and messages submitted in dozens of other advocacy campaigns. The agreements with the OAG require the companies to adopt comprehensive reforms in future advocacy campaigns and pay more than $4.4 million in penalties and disgorgement.

The OAG wishes to thank the offices of the attorneys general of Colorado, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, as well as the San Diego district attorney’s office for their assistance in this matter.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Noah Stein and Special Enforcement Counsel Jordan Adler, with assistance from Assistant Attorneys General Ezra Sternstein and Hanna Baek, Internet Technology Analyst Joe Graham, and Legal Assistants Richard Borgia and Shirly Huang all of the Bureau of Internet and Technology, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Clark Russell and Bureau Chief Kim Berger; as well as Data Scientist Kenneth Morales, under the supervision of Deputy Director Megan Thorsfeldt and Director Jonathan Werberg of the Research and Analytics Department. The Bureau of Internet and Technology is a part of the Division for Economic Justice, which is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris DגAngelo and First Deputy Jennifer Levy.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/07/21 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Monday, February 08, 2021

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 37 - Facebook Censoring

image: hunts point strike

Click on the image above and see if the follow up is still on FACEBOOK

Whether it is or not - NET NEUTRALITY and CENSORSHIP from GOOGLE to INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS isn’t the only thing we lost in the free expression of speech over the internet.

Now it looks like a distingusished professor/economist’s posts are being blocked by ONE OF THE BIGGEST SOCIAL NETWORKS around.

image: facebook censors wolff

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Facebook Blocks Sharing of the Indypendent’s Coverage of Hunts Point Produce Market Strike

By Indypendent Staff
February 5, 2021

In a troubling sign of where Facebook’s crackdown on political extremism may be headed, the social media giant recently blocked acclaimed Marxist economist Richard Wolff from sharing an article by the Indypendent about the striking workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market.

Big, giant Facebook is getting into it.

.

For years, Facebook happily served as a breeding ground for violent far-right extremist groups and conspiracy theories including Q-Anon. Its algorithms steered “Q-curious” viewers in that direction because it was great for business. More reader engagement, more clicks, more eyeballs delivered to advertisers. MORE PROFITS - $32.7 billion in 2020 pre-tax earnings, a 36% increase over 2019.

The social media giant has come under intense scrutiny since the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection and has vowed to root out these same extremist groups. But in a troubling sign of where Facebook’s crackdown on political extremism may be headed, on Wednesday night it blocked a post by RICHARD D. WOLFF, one of America’s foremost Marxist economists, from being read or shared by his 56,000 Facebook followers.

Wolff’s post highlighted an Indypendent STORY on the recent strike by workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market and in his caption he approvingly noted, “US political winds are shifting left. Key example is Hunts Point food market for New York City. First labor union strike since 1986: strong, solid, supported by socialists and much public opinion. Victorious and widely celebrated.”

The story by the Indy’s Amba Guerguerian featured five of the 1,400 striking workers speaking in their own words about how disrespected they felt by their bosses and how essential they felt it was to be unionized.

“All workers should be unionized,” explained Francisco Flores who has worked in the Bronx market for 27 years. “Take care of the working man. We are the ones that make this country move. So just throw us a little crumb. You guys are still gonna be rich.”

When Wolff’s Facebook followers went to click on the article, they were redirected.

image: redirected social media post

When they went to share it, they received this notice

image: redirected social media post

Some of Wolff’s readers cried foul in the comment thread.

“I can’t share this specific post,” Jennifer Watson wrote. “I was able to post a NPR post right after getting this pop-up. I have shared other posts from Wolf today tho. Its this specific topic.”

“I tried to share this, and found another shadow-ban on my account,” Richard Beresford added. “FB may be over as a place to share any idea outside of the mainstream before too long/snip of my ban/first i have heard?”

When contacted by the Indypendent, Wolff responded via Twitter message.

After many years of Facebook posts, a typical posting of ours is suddenly censored. “Private property” on a “social media” platform is a contradiction now exposed glaringly every day. Our comment on a well-known, publicly reported labor-management dispute gets silenced by some anonymous Facebook employee. Wow. Will such obstacles to freedom of expression continue?

The Indypendent left a message with the Facebook “help desk” demanding the company reverse its block on Wolff sharing of our article and that it provide an explanation for why this incident occurred. We have not received a response.

“Facebook arbitrarily denied Professor Wolff and his readers the opportunity to share their views on an important labor battle. It also denied the workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market the chance for their words to be heard,” said the Indypendents Editor-in-Chief John Tarleton. “We must be vigilant to ensure that Facebook and other Big Tech companies don’t use their monopoly power to marginalize independent media voices reporting on labor struggles and other vitally important issues in our communities.”

The story that Facebook censored is titled WHAT I WANT FOR ME, I WANT FOR YOU” - HUNTS POINT PRODUCE MARKET WORKERS TALK ABOUT WHY THEY WENT ON STRIKE. In that same spirit of solidarity, we are asking for our readers to stand up for free speech and share this article and/or the original story about the Hunts Point workers on Facebook, Twitter, etc. When we fight back, we win!

For more about the Indypendent and how it became “diary of the New York Left” over the past two decades, CLICK HERE.

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Posted by Elvis on 02/08/21 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Toyota’s Connected Car

image: toyota phone home

New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour
Connected car vision has been in first gear for years, cloudy scale could jump-start plans

By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor
The Register
August 18, 2020

Toyota has expanded its collaboration with Amazon Web Services in ways that will see many of its models upload performance data into the Amazonian cloud to expand the services the auto-maker offers to drivers and fleet owners.

Toyota already operates a “Mobility Services Platform” that it says helps it to” develop, deploy, and manage the next generation of data-driven mobility services for driver and passenger safety, security, comfort, and convenience.”

That data comes from a device called the “Data Communication Module” (DCM) that Toyota fits into many models in Japan, the USA and China.

Toyota reckons “the data could turn into new contextual services such as car share, rideshare, full-service lease, and new corporate and consumer services such as proactive vehicle maintenance notifications and driving behavior-based insurance.”

The company has touted that vision since at least the year 2016, but precious little evidence of it turning into products is available.

Which may be why Toyota has signed with AWS for not just cloud tech but also professional services.

The two companies say their joint efforts “will help build a foundation for streamlined and secure data sharing throughout the company and accelerate its move toward CASE (Connected, Autonomous/Automated, Shared and Electric) mobility technologies.”

Neither party has specified just which bits of the AWS cloud Toyota will take for a spin but it seems sensible to suggest the auto-maker is going to need lots of storage and analytics capabilities, making AWS S3 and Kinesis likely candidates for a test drive.

Whatever Toyota uses, prepare for privacy ponderings because while cheaper car insurance sounds lovely, having an insurer source driving data from a manufacturer has plenty of potential pitfalls.

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Posted by Elvis on 08/20/20 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Shadow Gate

image: shadowgate

INFOWARS reporter MILLIE WEAVER was just ARRESTED moments before releasing her new documentary on Shadowgate/Obamagate… AFTER Millie was arrested, one of the other whistleblowers involved, TORE, released it anyways.
- NOX and Friends, August 15, 2020

Back in 2006 we found out AT&T PUT ALL ITS INTERNET TRAFFIC INTO A SPLITTER AND SENT ONE OF THOSE FEEDS TO THE NSA:

AT&T provided National Security Agency eavesdroppers with full access to its customers phone calls, and shunted its customers’ internet traffic to DATA-MINING EQUIPMENT installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according to a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundations lawsuit against the company

The next year AT&T LET US KNOW IT CAN SHARE OUR PHONE RECORDS WITH WHOEVER THEY PLEASE:

The new privacy policy basically lets AT&T do anything it wants with your information. (Remember, according to the company, its its information.) The specific claim is that AT&T can do whatever it wants with your/its data “to protect [the companys] legitimate business interests.”

To back it up, government started SHREDDING PEOPLES’ PRIVACY RIGHTS:

The new law gives the attorney general or the director of national intelligence the authority to APPROVE SURVEILLANCE of suspected terrorists overseas.

Over the years things have gotten much worse regarding privacy and rights.

Take PRISM FOR EXAMPLE:

This program, code-named PRISM, allowed the NSA and FBI to tap directly into the servers of major U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL.

Then came Assange and WIKILEAKS, followed by SNOWDEN and all the stuff his whistle blowing revealed:

Some people take Snowden at face value. Others simply cannot believe a 29 year old could have stolen so many documents from the most advanced spying agency on Earth without getting caught or being secretly sanctioned to do so.

The theory is that it was a NWO (New World Order) tactic to intimidate the public by letting them know they are surveilled slaves and that there’s nothing they can do about it. Then, after the initial shock and explosion, this became a drip-drip-drip disclosure of just how egregiously your privacy and rights are being violated, with the subliminal message that youd better be afraid, because you’re being monitored 24/7.

Who owns The Intercept? First Look Media, owned by Pierre Omidyar, a rich oligarch who founded eBay. So now, the entire trove of leaked NSA documents are in the hands of a private billionaire, probably never to see the light of day again. Was this the plan from the start?

It looks like we don’t just have a internet feed going to the NSA. We got another going to CORPORATE AMERICA.

IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT this new documentary “Shadow Gate” [ ONLINE | DOWNLOAD ] picks up where SNOWDEN LEFT OFF:

Weaver also claimed these contractors were responsible for creating the fake news in mainstream media. She alleged that the “shadow government” was responsible for spurring the recent nationwide protests and promoting the defund the police movement.

Weaver goes on to accuse Republicans and Democrats of working together in a plot to bring down President Trump. Both parties are equally guilty of covering up what should turn out to be an even bigger scandal.

Shadow Gate: the tactical and operational role the shadow government played behind the scenes carrying out the coup against President Trump. We’re going to be looking behind the puppets at who the real puppet master, string-pullers are.

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Shadow Gate documentary released after “Millennial Millie” Weaver gets arrested
There are a lot of questions surrounding what’s going on, but one thing is certain: THE DOCUMENTARY is a must watch.

By Scott Boyd
NOQ Report
August 15, 2020

Independent journalist ”MILLENIAL MILLIE” Weaver and her husband were arrested at their home yesterday just prior to the release of their documentary. TORE SAYS, one of the main sources in the documentary, released the video on her YouTube channel, seen above.

Very little has been reported about the arrests, but her name trended on Twitter and HER GOFUNDME PAGE collected well more than the goal for her emergency legal fund. Here’s the VIDEO OF HER ARREST.

According to MEAWW:

In a shocking piece of news, investigative reporter Millie Weaver and her husband were arrested at their home. The arrest comes in the wake of her documentary release on the topic of the US “shadow government” which was all set to be screened on YouTube as she had teased in her last tweet. While there seems to be no confirmation as to why she was taken by the officers, a string of speculative theories seem to have popped up on social media.

Born on February 6, 1991, in San Bernardino, California, United States, Weaver was an aspiring actress and singer who went on to be a political activist and reporter. She is a mother to a four-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter, as per a report from YHStars.com. Not just that, the same report says that the 29-year-old was named as one Newsmax’s “30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30.”

On August 11, 2020, she posted the trailer with the caption: The ObamaGate scandal only scratches the surface. This may the biggest whistleblowing event to date. Official Trailer - Shadow Gate. After the shocking news, the tweet went viral with over 7,000 retweets and 8,000 likes in a few hours. The narration in the trailer says, “Both parties are equally guilty in what should turn out to be an even bigger scandal.” Shadow Gate the tactical and operational role the shadow government played behind the scenes carrying out the coup against President Trump. The trailer also detailed that the documentary would detail who the real puppetmasters and string-pullers are.

This video is a must-watch. Millie Weaver takes us all down the rabbit hole of Deep State corruption that is far worse than weve seen in the past. The timing of her arrest cant be a coincidence.

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Posted by Elvis on 08/16/20 •
Section Revelations • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy • Section Dying America
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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Splinternet

image: splinternet

One of the unifying themes I seek to emphasize here is the importance of the Internet and the many media that feed into it as the most influential shaper of current events. When are we being played by experts in psyops and deception and when are we dealing with spontaneous developments that could not have been planned or spun to advance predetermined political agendas? What is the role of the Internet?
- Battle for the Internet, June 8, 2020, American Herald Tribune

Is the US about to split the internet?

By James Clayton - North America technology reporter
BBC
August 7, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he wants a “clean” internet.

What he means by that is he wants to remove Chinese influence, and Chinese companies, from the internet in the US.

But critics believe this will bolster a worrying movement towards the breaking up of the global internet.

The so called “splinternet” is generally used when talking about China, and more recently Russia.

The idea is that there’s nothing inherent or pre-ordained about the internet being global.

For governments that want to control what people see on the internet, it makes sense to take ownership of it.

The GREAT FIREWALL OF CHINA is the best example of a nation putting up the internet equivalent of a wall around itself. You won’t find a Google search engine or Facebook in China.

What people didn’t expect was that the US might follow China’s lead.

Yet critics believe that is the corollary of Mr Pompeo’s statement on Thursday.

Mr Pompeo said he wanted to remove “untrusted” applications from US mobile app stores.

“People’s Republic of China apps threaten our privacy, proliferate viruses, and spread propaganda and disinformation,” he said.

The first question that sprang to mind was: what are the Chinese apps that Mr Pompeo does trust? The assumption is very much that he’s talking about ALL Chinese apps.

“It’s shocking,” says Alan Woodward, a security expert based at the University of Surrey. “This is the Balkanisation of the internet happening in front of our eyes.

“The US government has for a long time criticised other countries for controlling access to the internet and now we see the Americans doing the same thing.”

That might be a slight exaggeration. Mr Pompeo’s reasons for “cleaning” the US network of Chinese companies is very different to authoritarian government’s desire to control what is said online.

But it’s true that if Mr Pompeo were to go down this road, it would be reversing decades of US cyber-policy.

If there is one country that has championed a free internet, based on the constitutional tenets of free speech, it is America.

President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a different approach though, in part because of the legitimate security concerns that some Chinese companies operating in the US raise.

WeChat warning

Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook, told me that much-mentioned TikTok was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Chinese apps to worry about.

“TikTok isn’t even in my top 10,” he told me.

The app Mr Stamos suggests the US should be more wary of is Tencent’s WeChat.

“WeChat is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world - people run companies on We Chat, they have incredibly sensitive information.”

Mr Pompeo has also namechecked WeChat as a potential future target.

It’s hard not to view this through the prism of the US elections in November. Mr Trump’s anti-China rhetoric isn’t limited to tech.

Policy or posture?

So is this a policy position - or simply posture?

Mr Trump may also of course lose in November. The Democrats would probably take a more moderate position on Chinese tech.

But, as it stands, Mr Trump’s vision of the US internet - an internet in the main free of China - makes it a far more divided place.

The great irony is that the internet would then look a lot more like China’s vision.

Just look at TikTok itself. If Microsoft does buy the US arm there will be three TikToks.

A TikTok in China (called Douyin). A rest of the world TikTok. And a TikTok in the US.

Could that be a model for the future of the internet?

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Posted by Elvis on 08/08/20 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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