Jake Anderson | AntiMedia | Nov. 27, 2017

It’s been a controversial month for the FDA. They drew the ire of kratom community by seeking to ban imports of the popular, safe pain reliever. During that same week, the agency approved the use of pills with sensors for the first time. The drugs, dubbed “smart pills,” are the first medication to be approved with a “digital ingestion tracking system.” While the ostensible purpose of “smart pills” is improved compliance and enhanced medical data, some critics are viewing the move as an Orwellian overture.

The “digital ingestion tracking system” will first be integrated into the atypical antipsychotic drug Abilify MyCite; it will record whether the drug was actually ingested.

In a press release, the FDA announced:

“The product is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.”

The pill’s internal sensor contains copper, magnesium, and silicon. Upon exposure to stomach acid, it generates an electrical signal that is transmitted to a “wearable patch.” The information is forwarded from the patch to a smartphone app or physicians and caregivers associated with the patient.

In another press release, Mitchell Mathis, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said that “[b]eing able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients.”

Others are not so optimistic. “There’s an irony in it being given to people with mental disorders than can include delusions. It’s like a biomedical Big Brother,”  said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

In a statement to the Anti-Media, Jamie Williams, Press Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), raised concerns over privacy and patient understanding:

“There’s certainly privacy issues with these devices, just like with any devices that collect and transmit data about us, especially when the data is highly sensitive medical information. Information about exactly when you took exactly how much of a drug is not information thatcurrently exists right now. Its highly invasive and personal information about what is happening inside your body, which is what I think is drawing the ‘bio-medical Big Brother’ analogy. Instead of being able to read what’s going on inside your brain/thoughts, it can read what’s going on inside your stomach.

“Anyone who volunteers to swallow one of these pills needs to understand what that means, in terms of what data is collected, how it’s being used, and where it’s being stored? Are there situations in which law enforcement may want to access data about how much of a drug you had in your system at any given time, and what are the restrictions on their access?”

Some have noted the benefits of reining in medical costs, as experts say the healthcare industry spends $100 billion a year on ‘nonadherence or noncompliance.’

“This data is supposedly being collected to help patients and save the system money, but what are the limitations on making sure it’s not used to surveil everything they are putting into their stomach?” Williams asks. “The potential for surveillance and data mining will all depend on the limitations on collection, use, and storage of this data. New technologies are usually misused and abused first against the most powerless groups.”

We likely haven’t heard the end of the issue, and this is probably just the opening salvo of a “smart drugs” debate that could rage on for decades. As anxiety about government and corporate surveillance grows, will a line be drawn or will the public continue to acquiesce to invasive technology?


Originally Published @ Anti-Media


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Michael Snyder | The Economic Collapse | Nov. 21, 2017

If someone secretly installed software on your computer that recorded every single keystroke that you made, would you be alarmed?  Of course you would be, and that is essentially what is taking place on more than 400 of the most popular websites on the entire Internet.  For a long time we have known that nothing that we do on the Internet is private, but this new revelation is deeply, deeply disturbing.  In my novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End”, I attempted to portray the “Big Brother” surveillance grid which is constantly evolving all around us, but even I didn’t know that things were quite this bad.  According to an article that was just published by Ars Technica, when you visit the websites that have installed this secret surveillance code, it is like someday is literally “looking over your shoulder”…

If you have the uncomfortable sense someone is looking over your shoulder as you surf the Web, you’re not being paranoid. A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted.

Go back and read that again.

Do you understand what that means?

Even if you ultimately decide not to post something, these websites already know what you were typing, where you clicked and how you were moving your mouse.

Essentially, it is like someone is literally sitting behind you and watching every single thing that you do on that website.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

In a blog post revealing the findings, Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton, said: ‘Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.

This is fundamentally wrong, and if I am elected to Congress I am going to fight like mad for our privacy rights on the Internet.  Nobody should be allowed to literally monitor our keystrokes, but according to a brand new study that has just been released, 482 of the largest websites in the entire world are doing this

A study published last week reported that 482 of the 50,000 most trafficked websites employ such scripts, usually with no clear disclosure. It’s not always easy to detect sites that employ such scripts. The actual number is almost certainly much higher, particularly among sites outside the top 50,000 that were studied.

“Collection of page content by third-party replay scripts may cause sensitive information, such as medical conditions, credit card details, and other personal information displayed on a page, to leak to the third-party as part of the recording,” Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, wrote. “This may expose users to identity theft, online scams, and other unwanted behavior. The same is true for the collection of user inputs during checkout and registration processes.”

I am calling on every website that is using this sort of code to cease and desist immediately.  This is a gross violation of our privacy, and Congress needs to pass legislation protecting the American people immediately.

And of course it isn’t just the Internet where are privacy rights are being greatly violated.  The CIA has developed software that can remotely turn on the cameras and microphones on our phones whenever they want, and they can also use our phones as GPS locators to track us wherever we go

CIA-created malware can penetrate and then control the operating systems for both Android and iPhone phones, allege the documents. This software would allow the agency to see the user’s location, copy and transmit audio and text from the phone and covertly turn on the phone’s camera and microphone and then send the resulting images or sound files to the agency.

So just like the Internet, nothing that you do on your phone is ever truly private.

And would you be shocked to learn that our televisions can be used to spy on us as well?

Incredibly, they can even be used to monitor us when they appear to be turned off

A program dubbed “Weeping Angel” after an episode of the popular British TV science fiction series “Dr. Who,” can set a Samsung smart TV into a fake “off” mode to fool the consumer into thinking the TV isn’t recording room sounds when it still is. The conversations are then sent out via the user’s server. The program was developed in conjunction with MI5, the British FBI equivalent of a domestic counterintelligence and security agency, according to the WikiLeaks documents.

We are rapidly getting to the point where nothing will ever be truly private in our society ever again.

Virtually everything that we do is constantly being watched, tracked, monitored and recorded, and with each passing day our level of privacy is being eroded just a little bit more.

If you don’t want your children to grow up in a world where “Big Brother” is omnipresent, now is the time to stand up and fight.  We can put limits on technology and start reclaiming our privacy, but that is only going to happen if we all work together.


Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.


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Carey Wedler | AntiMedia | Nov. 10, 2017

The TSA is moving forward with plans to gradually implement facial recognition and other biometric data into screenings at the airport. The agency began testing out the methods, which also include iris scans and fingerprints, on enrollees in their PreCheck program at two airports this summer. On November 1, they announced plans to expand the program.

The Pre-Application program claims to improve “aviation security by permitting TSA to better focus its limited security resources on passengers who are more likely to pose a threat to civil aviation, while also facilitating and improving the commercial aviation travel experience for the public.

Applicants to the program submit biographic information (including their name, address, and date of birth) and biometric data to a TSA contractor, which forwards the information to the agency. According to a TSA document posted on the government’s regulation website on November 1, in June and July of this year, they “launched a proof of concept initiative at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Denver International Airport to determine whether fingerprints from TSA Pre® Application Program applicants,” who volunteered to participate, could be used for identity verification.

Now, they are “seeking a revision to the currently approved request to allow for the collection of additional biometrics, particularly facial images but may include other biometrics such as iris, from TSA Pre® Application Program applicants.

According to the TSA:

“The regular collection of biometrics, such as facial images, will provide TSA with the ability to use those biometrics for identity verification at TSA checkpoints, potentially eliminating the need to show identity documents and improving both security and the customer experience.”

But some privacy advocates disagree with the attempted expansion. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the TSA’s push to expand its use of biometrics is part of a broader push by the Department of Homeland Security to nationalize these tactics.

As the organization wrote this week:

While this latest plan is limited to the more than 5-million Americans who have chosen to apply for PreCheck, it appears to be part of a broader push within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand its collection and use of biometrics throughout its sub-agencies.

They noted that as early as last year, “Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used face recognition to capture pictures of travelers boarding a flight out of the country and walking across a U.S. land border and compared those pictures to previous recorded photos from passports, visas, and “other DHS encounters.”

In 2015, Vice News reported CBP was using the technology at Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. “Here we have a program where individuals are not suspected of wrongdoing and are engaged in routine behavior,” said Jake Laperruque, a fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology, at the time. “And they are being required to submit a piece of biometric data that could identify them later and that’s going to be retained.”

Though CBP previously said it would collect facial recognition data on all travelers, it vowed to delete data associated with US citizens. They have since changed their stance, as EFF summarizes:

Now the agency plans to roll out the program to other border crossings, and it says it will retain photos of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents for two weeks and information about their travel for 15 years. It retains data on “non-immigrant aliens” for 75 years.

These actions would be carried out without congressional authorization.

Though CPB initially said they would limit these practices to international flights, they are now seeking to expand them to domestic flights, as well. The agency “wants to create a ‘biometric’ pathway that would use face recognition to track all travelers—including U.S. citizens—through airports from check-in, through security, into airport lounges, and onto flights,” EFF explains. “And it wants to partner with commercial airlines and airports to do just that.

EFF has also raised concerns about biometric data being placed in the hands of third parties, including but not limited to airlines. DHS sub-agencies are sharing data with the FBI, and the TSA Pre-check program shares it with private companies it uses as contractors. For example, a company called Idemia contracts with the TSA and “now offers expedited entry for PreCheck-approved travelers at concerts and stadiums across the country. Idemia says it will equip stadiums with biometric-based technology, not just for security, but also ‘to assist in fan experience.’

Lawmakers are slated to endorse at least some of these activities, according to EFF:

As we noted in earlier blog posts, the ‘Building America’s Trust’ Act would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect biometric information from all people who exit the U.S., including U.S. and foreign citizens. And the TSA Modernization Act, introduced earlier this fall, includes a provision that would allow the agencies to deploy ‘biometric technology at checkpoints, screening lanes, bag drop and boarding areas, and other areas where such deployment would enhance security and facilitate passenger movement.’”

EFF, which is urging people to email their senators, summarized the threat:

All Americans should be concerned about these proposals because the data collected—your fingerprint, the image of your face, and the scan of your iris—will be stored in FBI and DHS databases and will be searched again and again for immigration, law enforcement, and intelligence checks, including checks against latent prints associated with unsolved crimes.”

That creates a risk that individuals will be implicated for crimes and immigration violations they didn’t commit. These systems are notoriously inaccurate and contain out-of-date information, which poses a risk to all Americans. However, due to the fact that immigrants and people of color are disproportionately represented in criminal and immigration databases, and that face recognition systems are less capable of identifying people of color, women, and young people, the weight of these inaccuracies will fall disproportionately on them.

Further, they pointed out how often information is hacked and leaked, questioning whether any government or private organization is capable of protecting private information.

But losing your social security or credit card numbers to fraud is nothing compared to losing your biometrics,” they warned. “While you can change those numbers, you can’t easily change your face.”


Carey is the editor-in-chief of Anti-Media. Shortly after graduating from UCLA with a degree in History, she got her start making Youtube videos, which led her to Anti-Media. Besides editing, she also covers foreign policy, the war on drugs, and solution-oriented developments. Her work has been published in Newsweek, Ron Paul’s Liberty Report, and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Contact Carey via email: carey.wedler@theantimedia.org. Support her on Patreon: patreon.com/CareyWedler

Originally Published @ Anti-Media


Clarice Palmer | Anti-Media

The debate over Internet privacy and the responsibility social media companies should carry in protecting user privacy never ceases to spark controversy — among both users and tech insiders. But while Facebook, one of the most popular social media networks, struggles with accusations of news suppression and even fraud, a new report on the network’s microphone settings is reigniting past fears of surveillance that were never fully addressed.

According to University of South Florida Professor Kelli Burns, Facebook is a huge part of the lives of smartphone users. Due to this widespread addiction, Burns explains, “Anytime you’re using your phone, any kind of information that you’re putting into your phone, looking at on your phone, Facebook can access that.” But details regarding what you’re doing or what you’re browsing while on Facebook are not the only type of data the Silicon Valley giant can access. The social media’s microphone feature, which can be enabled by the user via Facebook’s settings, is also listening.

A few months back, a Facebook user took their concerns over the microphone settings to Reddit. The post quickly went viral, prompting Facebook to issue a statement on the matter. According to the social media network, the company does not “record your conversations.” Instead, the statement claimed, if the user chooses to turn the microphone feature on, Facebook will “use your microphone to identify the things you’re listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches we’re able to identify. If this feature is turned on, it’s only active when you’re writing a status update.”

But According to ABC’s WFLA, Burns might have been able to prove Facebook isn’t telling the whole story behind this technology.

From the publication:

We tested the theory with Kelli, and even we were surprised by what we found and saw.

“Kelli enabled the microphone feature and talked about her desire to go on safari, right down to her mode of transportation. ‘I’m really interested in going on an African safari. I think it’d be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps,’ she said aloud, phone in hand.

“Less than 60 seconds later, the first post on her Facebook feed was a safari story that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Turns out, it was a story that had been posted three hours earlier. And, after mentioning a jeep, a car ad also appeared on her page.”

This test, the news organization contended, demonstrates how Facebook picks up “buzz words” in order to show that particular user ads and posts matching their interests. The fact the professor made those comments after turning the feature on may serve as an example of how easily Facebook can trick users into giving the company access to their private conversations.

Though Facebook claims it does not store or share user information, the very existence of the technology may give hackers, including government-backed security experts, a reason to explore private data further, putting the privacy — and even safety — of Facebook users in danger. What’s more concerning about this issue is the company’s previous association with the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM program, which gave federal agents access to users’ private data, including, emails, photos, and instant messages, among other things. While Facebook’s more recent claims concerning user privacy regarding the microphone feature might be legitimate, the company’s former cooperation with NSA officials could indicate the feds may seek to explore the microphone feature — whether Facebook agrees with them or not.

Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung have recently been forced to publicly address privacy concerns after news broke the technology was listening to users’ conversations. As the same users learn Android Smart TVs may also present vulnerabilities that give hackers the ability to record what they do, other members of the tech industry, like Facebook, might also face growing obstacles and skepticism from users.

In contrast, though Apple has aligned with the federal government in at least one case, the company was widely praised for standing for privacy rights in a legal standoff involving the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. But unlike Apple, whose hesitation regarding lobbying practices has earned negative attention from Congress in the past, Facebook has a relatively cozy relationship with Washington. Whether this relationship is mutually beneficial to both parties — and whether Facebook will respond like Apple has — remains to be seen.


This article (Little-Known Facebook Feature Causing Users to Think Twice About What They Say) is originally published by Clarice Palmer and theAntiMedia.org.

Apple Allows Uber To Spy On Screen And Data Access With Back Door Entitlement

As being reported by Business Insider, Apple has granted Uber access to sesitive features in Apple systems such as camera, data and screen. 

Business Insider: Uber’s iPhone app has a secret back door to powerful Apple features, allowing the ride-hailing service to potentially record a user’s screen and access other personal information without their knowledge.

This access to special iPhone functions — which are so powerful that Apple almost always keeps them off-limits to outside companies — is not disclosed in any consumer-facing information included with Uber’s app.

Although there is no evidence that Uber used its access to take advantage of the iPhone features, the revelation that the app has access to privileged Apple code raises important questions for a company already under investigation for other controversial business practices.

Uber told Business Insider the code was not being used and was essentially a vestige of an earlier version of its Apple Watch app.
However, it has set off alarm bells among experts.

“Granting such a sensitive entitlement to a third party is unprecedented, as far as I can tell — no other app developers have been able to convince Apple to grant them entitlements they’ve needed to let their apps utilize certain privileged system functionality,” Will Strafach, a security researcher who discovered the situation, told Business Insider.

Read full article at Business Insider