A United States military whistleblower filed a series of complaints alleging the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is engaged in the warrantless purchase and use of Americans’ internet browsing data, which it obtained from a broker. “According to the whistleblower, NCIS is purchasing access to data, which includes netflow records and some communications content from Team Cymru,” Senator Ron Wyden shared in a letter to the offices of the inspector general for the Pentagon, Justice Department, and Homeland Security Department. The warrantless purchase of Americans’ data is not limited to the NCIS. Wyden’s office examined public contracting records and found Team Cymru was awarded data brokering contracts with US Cyber Command, the US Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Secret Service.
Four centuries after the East India Company set the trend for corporate resource extraction, most of the world is now in the grip of unbridled corporate power. But corporate power is on the cusp of achieving “quantum supremacy” and social movements in the digital age need to understand this in order to shift gears in their struggles. The quantum shift here comes from “network-data” power; the ingredients that make up capitalism’s digital age recipe.
University of Alberta librarian Katie Cuyler says industry experts and academics have requested she begin ‘guerrilla archiving’ critical information they fear could disappear under a new United Conservative government. The election of the United Conservative Party government in Alberta has kept one Edmonton-based librarian very busy. In what has come to be known as “guerrilla archiving,” Katie Cuyler, a public services and government information librarian at the University of Alberta, has gone about saving all data and information hosted on the Government of Alberta web pages before it is turned over from the NDP to the UCP.
World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Monday slammed the increasing commodification of personal information and appealed for internet users to strive to maintain "complete control" of their data. Berners-Lee, credited with creating the web in 1989, is on a mission to save his invention from a range of problems increasingly dominating online life, including misinformation and a lack of data protection. "You should have complete control of your data. It's not oil. It's not a commodity," he told a small group of journalists gathered at Europe's physics lab CERN, where he first came up with the idea for the web 30 years ago.
Federal prosecutors are probing Facebook's illicit data-sharing partnerships, reportedly subpoenaing data from smartphone manufacturers as the regulatory walls appear to close in on the beleaguered social media firm. A New York grand jury has subpoenaed two device-makers' records as part of a criminal investigation into some of the 150+ dubiously legal data partnerships Facebook forged with technology companies and other large corporations, according to sources familiar with the requests who spoke to the New York Times.
Shifting From Tasers To AI, Axon Wants To Use Terabytes Of Data To Automate Police Records And Redactions
Axon, one of the most prominent suppliers of tech tools to law enforcement, is shifting from selling its signature Tasers to embedding artificial intelligence in police departments around the country. The company changed its name from Taser in 2017, part of a plan outlined by CEO Rick Smith to de-emphasize the electrical stun guns in favor of body cameras, data storage and management products. Axon claims as customers a majority of the largest police departments, with access to a self-reported 40 petabytes of law enforcement data. Now it is using AI to develop ways of capitalizing on that trove, offering systems to help law enforcement combine data from camera footage, records, and weapons.
To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling. A handful of companies pitching “lifestyle” data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like “social determinants of health.” But dig deeper and the implications of what they’re selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance. With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth.
The government's energy regulator is facing allegations of cherry-picking data to approve pipeline projects that would disproportionately harm communities of color. According to academics, attorneys, and non-governmental organizations, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission used unreliable statistical methods in its analysis of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, masking its high cost to African-American and Native-American communities. While the Commission concluded that the pipeline poses no environmental justice concerns, these minority groups say that their environment, health, and culture will be disproportionately imperiled if the development goes ahead as planned. FERC faced similar accusations over the Sabal Trail pipeline in 2016, indicating a pattern in how the federal government manages to force unwelcome energy infrastructure through vulnerable communities.
Recent cases of personal information collecting for corporate interests highlight the urgency of revisiting the topic of higher education in its connection with the corporate sector and the government. We ought to reconsider at least some aspects of the complex web of the contemporary “education industry” and its social implications. Understanding how contemporary (Western) education works (or doesn’t work) can contribute to raising the awareness of the general population as to the scale of the problem, and making a change, no matter how small.
During the last few years, a lot of debate has been had over the promise and perils of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Many education advocates argued we must embrace ESSA because it promised to reduce the federal chokehold of high stakes standardized testing that was wielded, starting with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and ramped up further under Race to the Top. The promise of ESSA seemed too good to be true. Why would the same people who devoted decades to dismantling public schools, creating avenues for de facto segregation, and privatizing a public system suddenly want to turn around and “do the right thing?”
Liberals this week want to drum us into outrageous fury over the fact that Facebook, with almost 2 billion accounts worldwide, handed over user data of millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, a firm retained by the Trump campaign. Cambridge Analytica, or CA for short is part of the Robert Mercer empire, which funds an entire zoo of nonprofits from Citizens United to the Cato and Heritage Foundations, and which sponsored Steve Bannon’s career and Breitbart News after the death of its founder Andrew Breitbart. CA’s claim to fame was the supposed identification of 5,000 data points on millions of people by which they could supposedly distinguish firm supporters from wavering ones, identify potential contributors and much more. Of course the millions whose data is being sold to marketers have nothing to say in the matter.
By Charles Ornstein for Pro Publica - The government had planned to share data with researchers on patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage health plans. Then, suddenly, it didn’t. In the past few years, many seniors and disabled people have eschewed traditional Medicare coverage to enroll in privately run health plans paid for by Medicare, which often come with lower out-of-pocket costs and some enhanced benefits. These so-called Medicare Advantage plans now enroll more than a third of the 58 million beneficiaries in the Medicare program, a share that grows by the month. But little is known about the care delivered to these people, from how many services they get to which doctors treat them to whether taxpayer money is being well-spent or misused. The government has collected data on patients’ diagnoses and the services they receive since 2012 and began using it last year to help calculate payments to private insurers, which run the Medicare Advantage plans. But it has never made that data public. Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been validating the accuracy of the data and, in recent months, were preparing to release it to researchers. Medicare already shares data on the 38 million patients in the traditional Medicare program, which the government runs.
By Staff for Popular Resistance. On April 22, 2017, Earth Day, the March for Science too place across the United States and around the world. The organizers proclaimed "The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments." The mission for the March for Science is: The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest. The March for Science is a celebration of science. It's not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world.
By Klint Finley for Wired - LITTLE SEEMS TO be standing in the way of Comcast, Verizon, and other internet service providers selling your personal information without your permission after the Federal Communications Commission took a first step toward delaying its own rules protecting consumer privacy and security. Last October the agency passed a set of rules that would have required internet providers to take new steps to protect your private data from hackers. That same regulatory package would have required ISPs to notify you if someone hacked your data and to get your active permission before selling your data.
By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet - Law enforcement is compelling Apple and Facebook to hand over the personal information of users who were mass arrested at protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., AlterNet has confirmed. The tech giants appear to be complying with the data-mining requests, amid mounting concerns over the heavy-handed crackdown against the more than 200 people detained on January 20, among them journalists, legal observers and medics. “This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control,” Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet. “This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now."