By Vicki Batts | Natural News | November 11, 2018

As smart meters make their way across the United States, a growing number of people are vocalizing concerns about the devices and consumer privacy rights. The Fourth Amendment was designed to protect Americans from government surveillance and other forms of government overreach. Now, a federal court in Illinois has ruled that right is negotiable — provided it is in the government’s best interest.

Even after officials ruled that smart meters are a form of government search and seizure, federal courts say that the information gathered by smart meters (and consequently, city-run utilities companies) is “reasonable,” and therefore not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

As the Fourth Amendment declares:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Smart meters and the right to privacy

Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (NSMA) has been fighting against the forced implementation of smart meters in their city for one simple cause: There is no reason for the government to be collecting information from its citizens every 15 minutes.

Even if that “information” is simple electric usage, data collection at 15-minute intervals is unnecessary for the purpose of billing customers. As NSMA explains, citizens of Naperville have no choice when it comes to smart meters: The only way to opt-out is by opting out of public electricity entirely.

NSMA stated in their appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit:

The ever-accelerating pace of technological development carries serious privacy implications. Smart meters are no exception. Their data, even when collected at fifteen-minute intervals, reveals details about the home that would be otherwise unavailable to government officials…. .  Naperville therefore ‘searches’ its residents’ homes when it collects this data.

The group contended further:

Naperville argues that its citizens sacrifice their expectation of privacy in smart-meter data by entering into a ‘voluntary relationship’ to purchase electricity from the city. This argument is unpersuasive.  … a choice to share data imposed by fiat is no choice at all. …  a home occupant does not assume the risk of near constant monitoring by choosing to have electricity in her home.

NSMA has been fighting against the City of Naperville and their intrusions since 2011. In 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of the City, prompting NSMA to file their appeal.

In 2018, the Court of Appeals again ruled in favor of the city. Even though the court concluded that smart meters are a form of search and seizure due to data collection, officials ultimately ruled that this data collection was “reasonable.”

The court reportedly states that “the government’s interest in smart meters is significant. Smart meters allow utilities to reduce costs, provide cheaper power to consumers, encourage energy efficiency, and increase grid stability. We hold that these interests render the city’s search reasonable, where the search is unrelated to law enforcement, is minimally invasive, and presents little risk of corollary criminal consequences.”

Funnily enough, studies show smart meters are wildly inaccurate and end up costing users more money. And as K.T. Weaver contends, this decision has essentially named smart meter data collection and privacy invasion as an “official government search.” Moreover, it appears that these officials have given preference to corporate interests over the rights of citizens. And again, it is entirely possible to achieve a modernized power grid without infringing on the people’s right to privacy.

Learn more about smart meters and all their shortcomings at SmartMeters.news.


Originally published by Vicki Batts of NaturalNews.com






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By Mac Slavo | SHTFplan | October 25, 2018

Twitter is able to track and collect your online activity data even if you have chosen to log out and delete their app. This is all thanks to an obscure and hidden setting that can only be disabled by accessing a particular page on Twitter’s website.

According to Breitbart, Twitter is likely still collecting your data if you have at any time, downloaded their app to your phone. This story was verified by Breitbart by testing Twitter’s data collection on an Apple iPhone, following a tip from banned conservative Twitter users @TheALX. Not only is Twitter neck deep in a censorship campaign, but once they’ve silenced a voice, they will continue to violate that former user’s privacy rights as well.

Even when Twitter’s app was deleted from the iPhone, and no Twitter account was logged in, when navigating to Twitter’s “Personalization and Data Settings” page via a browser, Breitbart discovered that data collection on the device was still enabled.

According to Twitter’s personalization page, all it takes is one login on a device to activate data collection across all devices until users discover the setting and switch it off. As the page explains, unless you switch off the setting, “Twitter will always personalize across the devices you’ve used to log in.” Not only that, Twitter’s personalization page goes on to explain that “Twitter mayt also link your Twitter account to other devices — ones you’ve never used to log on to Twitter — to help measure and improve your experience.” (emphasis Breitbart)

Twitter then responded to Breitbart’s request for comment on the issue of data collection.

Via a Twitter spokeswoman:

Data is only collected from people without Twitter accounts if and where there has been interaction with third-party sites that have Twitter content active on them (i.e., embedded Tweets, widgets, cookies, etc.). Individuals are provided with logged out privacy tools (per your screenshot) to help them determine which information is shared or not shared. -Twitter, via Breitbart

The personalization settings one must access to disable data collection are inaccessible via Twitter’s mobile app. To switch off data collection, you will still have to navigate to Twitter’s website via a browser and find the specific page before they can disable the data collection.

Twitter also collects your browsing data if you’ve never had an account if you’ve done so much as read an article with a tweet embedded. As Breitbart puts it:

In other words, as long as you’ve browsed websites that have embedded Tweets, Twitter cookies, or Twitter’s sharing widget, Twitter has your browsing data from that site. Considering that the vast majority of the top 50 U.S. websites (including pornography, payment processing, and banking websites) have some form of Twitter integration, this means that Twitter likely has a detailed profile one you even if you’ve never signed up for an account or used its platform.

Click here if you would like to disable all of Twitter’s sneaky data collections and privacy-violating scams.


Contributed by Mac Slavo of SHTFplan.com, where this article was originally published.





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By Vicki Batts | Natural News | Sept. 22, 2018

If you value privacy and freedom, it may be time to ditch your iPhone (if you haven’t already). Thanks to some clever fine print, Apple is now granting itself the right to monitor users’ phone calls and emails. What is the massive left-wing tech company doing with this information? Generating “trust ratings” for Apple product users — a similar endeavor is currently underway in communist China. Overseas, the Chinese government is issuing “social credit scores” to its citizens, and now Big Tech is taking on a similar mission here on U.S. soil.

As Aldous Huxley once said, “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” And we surely are moving backwards: Under the regressive Left, technology today is now being used to quash freedom and silence dissenting thoughts and opinions, rather than to share information (as was once intended).

Apple now spying on users, giving out “trust ratings”

Apple has gone full-blown authoritarian with its latest initiative to crack-down on freedom. The corporate behemoth says that the “trust ratings,” which were added quietly in the latest iOS update, are benevolent in nature; supposedly these ratings will “help” with fraud prevention. Despite Apple’s insistence that the company is “fully committed to transparency,” and that the scores are “privacy-preserving,” how monitoring people’s phone calls and emails will prevent fraud (or preserve privacy) is never explained.

In fact, Apple hasn’t even provided a single scenario in which the trust score would prevent fraud.

Users can’t even see their own “trust scores,” unless they contact Apple directly and ask for their data.

This is where things go from authoritarian to Orwellian: Apple is now telling its users that by spying on them, the company is “protecting” them and preserving their “privacy.” This is what Orwell would have called “doublethink.” Big Tech and their followers see no quandaries with the idea of spying as a way to obtain privacy — and seemingly fail to notice these two ideas are at odds, probably because they’ve been indoctrinated into believing “Big Brother” knows best.

By now, anyone who partakes in the world of tech has accepted that they are being spied on to some degree — and that’s what they’re banking on. Tech companies like Apple are quietly inching towards the goal of total domination, slowly but surely. Some have already called Apple’s new trust scores “dangerous,” and it’s easy to see why.




Big Tech is on a slippery slope

The tech industry has come under fire for censoring “dissenting” thought, whether it be promoters of natural medicine, critics of the vaccine and pharma industries, or proponents of conservative politics. The freedom to think for yourself is being attacked by the regressive Left and silenced by the tech industry in one way or another. While leftists whinge about the need for more tolerance when it comes to diversity in appearance, they are increasingly intolerant of diverse thoughts.

Now, Big Tech is taking yet another page from Communist China by instituting trust scores — which are all too reminiscent of China’s social credit score system. The one which prohibits “untrustworthy” people from being able to fly, purchase property or send their kids to good schools.

Earlier this year, a Chinese journalist revealed that he was  unable to buy a home because of a bad social credit score. Liu Hu stated further that he was “banned” from flying because he was deemed “untrustworthy” by the government, and that he couldn’t send his child to private school. Liu had been ordered by Chinese courts to apologize for a series of tweets he’d written, but authorities said it was “insincere.”

If Apple’s new trust rating is any indication, we are headed in the wrong direction. See more coverage of stories about assaults on your freedom at PrivacyWatch.news.


Contributed by Vicki Batts of NaturalNews.com


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By Paul Craig Roberts | Sept. 22, 2018

My Generation is the last one to have known privacy and to have lived out most of our lives in freedom.

I remember when driving licenses did not have photos and most certainly not fingerprints. A driving license was issued on proof of birth date alone.

Prior to the appearance of automobiles IDs did not exist in democratic nations. You were who you said you were.

The intrusive questions that accost us every day, even when doing something simple as reporting a telephone or Internet connection being out or inquiring about a credit card charge, were impermissible. I remember when you could telephone a utility company, for example, have the telephone answered no later than the third ring with a real person on the line who could clear up the problem in a few minutes without having to know your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name. Today, after half an hour with robot voices asking intrusive questions you might finally get a real person somewhere in Asia who is controlled by such a tight system of rules that the person is, in effect, a robot. The person is not permitted to use any judgment or discretion and you listen to advertisements for another half hour while you wait for a supervisor who promises to have the matter looked into.

The minute you go online, you are subject to collection of information about yourself. You don’t even know it is being collected.

According to reports, soon our stoves, refrigerators, and microwave ovens will be reporting on us. The new cars already do.

When privacy disappears, there are no private persons. So what do people become? They become Big Brother’s subjects.

We are at that point now.

This interview witth Julian Assange is worth the 53 minutes: https://www.rt.com/news/438968-assange-last-interview-blackout/




This generation being born now… is the last free generation. You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.

Think about Assange for a minute. He has done nothing wrong. There are no charges against him. All charges have been dismissed. But he cannot walk out of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London without being seized by the British police and handed over to Washington whose prosecutorial apparatus intends to prosecute Assange for treason although he is not a US citizen but an Australian and Ecuadoran citizen.

What did Assange do? Nothing but practice journalism. His problem, his only problem, is that his journalism embarrassed Washington, and Washington intends revenge.

Law is nowhere in the picture. The UK is breaking all known laws including its own by the forced detention of Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy.

The US in its determination to get Assange has no law whatsoever on which to stand. It only has raw unbridled power that can operate without law.

In other words, the Anglo-American world is totally lawless. Yet the Russian government holds firmly to its delusion that the US and Britain are countries with which agreementts can be made.

The digital world makes Big Brother’s Memory Hole possible. No need to burn books. Just push a button and information disappears.

As I write Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and so forth are all making non-approved information disappear.

In a digital world, not only can our identities be stolen—indeed, it can be stolen multiple times so that there are many of you at the same time—but we can also be erased. Poof—push a button and there you go. This makes murder easy. You never existed.

As I said before and will say again, the digital world and artificial intelligence are a far worse disaster for mankind than ever was the Black Plague. All the smart people busy at work creating the new world are destroying the human race.


Contributed by Paul Craig Roberts of paulcraigroberts.org

Paul Craig Roberts has had careers in scholarship and academia, journalism, public service, and business. He is chairman of The Institute for Political Economy.


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By Isabelle Z | Natural News | Sept. 17, 2018

Google has become so unethical that even some of its own employees want nothing to do with it anymore. In the latest example of the company driving away valued workers, senior research scientist Jack Poulson has quit his job in protest of the company’s plans to launch a censored version of the Google search engine in China.

Last month, news emerged that Google was secretly working on a Chinese search app code-named Dragonfly for devices running Android. It removes any content that the Chinese government doesn’t want its people to see, such as that pertaining to free speech, human rights, democracy, and political dissidents. It will also see queries that have been deemed “sensitive” blacklisted entirely, meaning that no results whatsoever will turn up if people type in certain terms or phrases.

As part of the company’s research and machine intelligence department, Poulson was tasked with improving their search systems’ accuracy. He raised his concerns with his managers but ultimately decided that he couldn’t work for them any more in good conscience. He resigned at the end of last month, and he told The Intercept that at least four others have done the same.

He said that the plan was a violation of Google’s principles stating they will not design technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”

Not only was the censorship itself concerning, but he also had reservations about the fact that customer data would be hosted on the Chinese mainland, where the country’s security agencies would have access to it. Given what we know about what the Chinese government does to journalists and political activists it wants to silence, he’s right to be concerned about it.




Poulson told his bosses in his resignation letter: “I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe. There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands.”

More than 1,000 employees concerned about company’s ethics

Poulson is hardly alone in his concerns. When the news of Dragonfly made its way throughout Google, there was a lot of protest within the company, with more than 1,400 employees signing a letter demanding the appointment of an ombudsman to assess the censorship plan’s “urgent moral and ethical issues.” They say they have a right to know what they’re working on. In other words, if Google is going to be carrying out unethical acts, they want no part of it.

Some of those who led the letter effort were also behind protests of the firm’s work with the American military to build AI systems that could identify objects like vehicles in drone footage. Those protests ultimately resulted in Google letting its military contract expire.

Google’s response to the Dragonfly letter? They cut off employees’ access to documents about the Chinese search engine and tightened rules so that employees working remotely can no longer livestream meetings on personal computers after a leak last month.

Earlier this month, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, refused to show up for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing during which he would have faced questions about the Chinese censorship. In addition, Google has ignored countless journalists’ questions about the plan.

Of course, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise from a company that has been a bit China-like itself, exerting its power to censor search results and YouTube videos when the topic at hand doesn’t serve its political agenda. As this behavior continues and employees grow increasingly wary of where the line will be drawn, there could well end up being a mass exodus.


Contributed by Isabelle Z. of NaturalNews.com


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