Bodies in Seats, The Secret Lives of Facebook Contractors
By Casey Newton
Posted May 10, 2021
Three former moderators for Facebook in North America agreed to break their nondisclosure agreements.
In February, I wrote about the secret lives of Facebook contractors in America. Since 2016, when the company came under heavy criticism for failing to prevent various abuses of its platform, Facebook has expanded its workforce of people working on safety and security around the world to 30,000. About half of those are content moderators, and the vast majority are contractors hired through a handful of large professional services firms. In 2017, Facebook began opening content moderation sites in American cities including Phoenix, Austin, and Tampa. The goal was to improve the accuracy of moderation decisions by entrusting them to people more familiar with American culture and slang.
Cognizant received a two-year, $200 million contract from Facebook to do the work, according to a former employee familiar with the matter. But in return for policing the boundaries of free expression on one of the internet’s largest platforms, individual contractors in North America make as little as $28,800 a year. They receive two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch each day, along with nine minutes per day of “wellness” time that they can use when they feel overwhelmed by the emotional toll of the job. After regular exposure to graphic violence and child exploitation, many workers are subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions. More…
[Social] [Political] [Community]
Rite Aid’s Secret Facial Recognition System Is the Tip of the Iceberg
by Dave Gershgorn
Posted May 9, 2021
A stunning report on the company’s secret facial recognition program shows that banning government use of the technology isn’t enough. Rite Aid stores have been using facial recognition software on customers in 200 stores, according to a Reuters investigation published this week.
The Reuters story paints a dark picture of an intrusive and flawed technology being developed, tested, and implemented in relative secrecy, and then quietly foisted onto customers in hundreds of locations across the country.
And private facial recognition in the United States doesn’t end with Rite Aid. Walmart uses facial recognition in more than 1,000 stores, 7-Eleven Australia uses facial recognition in 700 stores, and KFC and McDonald’s have tested the technology in China and Japan. There are likely many more examples of facial recognition being used in businesses across the United States, including algorithms used to track people in real time. More…
[Media] [Social] [Political]
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, 14 Eyes – Explained
by Sven Taylor
Posted May 8, 2021
As awareness of global surveillance grows, more people are looking for information about the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance alliances. This guide is regularly updated with new information and gives you everything you need to know.
The terms “Five Eyes“, “Nine Eyes“, and “14 Eyes” often appear in the privacy community, especially when discussing VPNs and other privacy tools.
In short, these are just international surveillance alliances representing various countries around the world. These surveillance alliances work together to collect and share mass surveillance data with each other. This network has been spying on people for decades, with established policies going back to World War II, as we’ll discuss below.
The state agencies behind these efforts often work with internet service providers and other large tech companies to tap key infrastructure for data surveillance. This turns your internet provider, for example, into a local adversary that is spying on you for state agencies. And no, this is not a theory. These practices are well-documented in the PRISM surveillance documents and also the infamous Room 641a example with AT&T and the NSA. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions to keep your data safe that we’ll cover below. More…
[Social] [Political] [Media]
The Rights of the Naturally Immune
by Thomas Harrington
Posted May 7, 2021
There is an important issue that, in the midst of all the talk of vaccines, has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves: the civil rights of those who have already developed natural immunity to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is said to cause Covid.
Yesterday, I got the results of the test I took to detect whether I had developed a T-Cell response to the virus. Like the antibody test I took almost 2 months ago, it was positive.
These two things would appear to demonstrate that for all intents and purposes my body knew exactly what to do with this virus and that it probably has the equipment to dispose of it again were it, or one of its cousins, to revisit me in the near-to-medium term.
In a halfway rational world, what to do going forward in regard to getting a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus would be something I’d discuss with my doctor in the discreet quarters of the examination room. Were it to be offered, I would politely refuse it. And he, seeing the test evidence in my file, would raise no objection. More…
Inside New York City’s Partnership With Israeli iPhone Hacking Company Cellebrite
by Michael Hayes
Posted May 6, 2021
In June 2019, the secretive Israeli digital forensics firm Cellebrite, which works with law enforcement to unlock cell phones, announced a significant product development: For the first time, government agencies would be able to break into phones in-house using licensed Cellebrite software.
The announcement made waves in the phone-cracking world. But documents obtained by OneZero reveal that Cellebrite had been selling this new product to law enforcement for over a year prior to making that announcement, and that New York City has been a customer since 2018.
A contract obtained by OneZero shows that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office — one of the largest and most influential prosecution offices in the country — has had UFED Premium in-house since January 2018. According to the contract, the DA’s office agreed to pay Cellebrite about $200,000 over three years for UFED Premium. More…
[Justice] [Political] [Social]
The Government’s War on Free Speech: Protest Laws Undermine the First Amendment
By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead
Posted May 5, 2021
Remember, the USA Patriot Act didn’t make us safer. It simply turned American citizens into suspects and, in the process, gave rise to an entire industry—private and governmental—whose profit depends on its ability to undermine our Fourth Amendment rights.
In much the same way that the Patriot Act was used as a front to advance the surveillance state, allowing the government to establish a far-reaching domestic spying program that turned every American citizen into a criminal suspect, the government’s anti-extremism program criminalizes otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities such as peaceful protesting.
Ask yourself: if there are already laws on the books in all of the states that address criminal or illegal behavior such as blocking public roadways, trespassing on private property or vandalizing property—because such laws are already on the books—then why does the government need to pass laws criminalizing activities that are already outlawed?
What’s really going on here? No matter what the politicians might say, the government doesn’t care about our rights, our welfare or our safety. More…
In 2018, Diplomats Warned of Risky Coronavirus Experiments in a Wuhan Lab
By Josh Rogin
Posted May 4, 2021
The exact origin of the new coronavirus remains a mystery to this day, but the search for answers is not just about assigning blame. Unless the source is located, the true path of the virus can’t be traced, and scientists can’t properly study the best ways to prevent future outbreaks.
The original Chinese government story, that the pandemic spread from a seafood market in Wuhan, was the first and therefore most widely accepted theory. But cracks in that theory slowly emerged throughout the late winter and spring of 2020. The first known case of Covid-19 in Wuhan, it was revealed in February, had no connection to the market. The Chinese government closed the market in January and sanitized it before proper samples could be taken. It wouldn’t be until May that the Chinese Centers for Disease Control disavowed the market theory, admitting it had no idea how the outbreak began, but by then it had become the story of record, in China and internationally.
In the spring of 2020, inside the U.S. government, some officials began to see and collect evidence of a different, perhaps more troubling theory—that the outbreak had a connection to one of the laboratories in Wuhan, among them the WIV, a world leading center of research on bat coronaviruses. More…
The New Normal (Phase 2)
by CJ Hopkins
Posted May 3, 2021
So, we’re almost a year into the “New Normal” (a/k/a “pathologized totalitarianism”) and things are still looking … well, pretty totalitarian.
the campaign to “vaccinate” the entirety of humanity against a virus that causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms or, more commonly, no symptoms at all, in over 95% of those infected, and that over 99% of the infected survive (and that has no real effect on age-adjusted death rates, and the mortality profile of which is more or less identical to the normal mortality profile) is being waged with literally religious fervor.
“Vaccine passports” (which are definitely creepy, but which bear no resemblance to Aryan Ancestry Certificates, or any other fascistic apartheid-type documents, so don’t even think about making such a comparison!) are in the pipeline in a number of countries. They have already been rolled out in Israel.
In other words, as predicted by us “conspiracy theorists,” the “temporary emergency public health measures” implemented by GloboCap in March of 2020 are still very much in effect, and then some. More…
[Politics] [Social] [Media]
by Robert Gore
Posted May 2, 2021
If it seems like the world has turned upside down it’s because it has. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Truth is lies and lies are truth. Knowledge is ignorance and ignorance is knowledge. Success is failure and failure is success. Reality is illusion and illusion is reality.
It would be comforting to say that this inversion is a plot by nefarious others. Comforting, but not true, in the pre-inversion meaning of the word true. Rather it stems from answers to questions that confront everyone. To think for yourself or believe with the group? To stand alone or cower with the crowd? It’s the conflict between the individual and the collective, and between what’s true and what’s believed.
We live in an age of fear. It’s not fear of germs, war, poverty or any other tangible threat that most besets humanity. It’s the fear of being disliked and ostracized by the group. More…
How the Economy is Designed to Keep You Poor and Powerless
by Umair Haque
Posted May 1, 2021
Our economies are now divided into two classes, effectively. One, owners of capital — true owners. People who own their own homes, have no debt, and so on. And everyone else — a massive underclass of people who are neoserfs, perpetually in debt to the first class of owners. That first class of owners isn’t the mythical 10%, really — it’s a tiny, tiny class. It’s Bezos and Zuck and maybe their top lieutenants, people with truly vast wealth. They own so much that they could buy entire cities, if not countries, outright. Meanwhile, the average person effectively owns nothing across a lifetime, which is what “I’m going to die before I pay off all these debts” really means.
Now, that’s infuriating — and it’s also stupid. Economists and pundits love to lionise our modern economies as “the greatest wealth creation engines ever.” But the truth is that while people may have more creature comforts, in hard sociopolitical terms, they are still what they have always been: a dispossessed class of proles. Precisely because capital will not raise their incomes even to the point that they can comfortably afford a place of their own to live.
When you think about it that way, something is very very wrong with our economies. It shouldn’t be the case that you have to work a lifetime to pay off the debt of having the basics, from a home to utilities to education to healthcare. That’s as crazy as it sounds — not much of a life at all. More…