Google Unveils Orwellian Location Tracking Data for Wuhan Virus Lockdown

By Jose Nino – Apr 4, 2020

According to a report from CBS News, Google will be using its massive compilation of data to track the movements of people around the world.

From there, it will provide this data to policymakers and researchers in order to combat the Wuhan Virus.

The Big Tech titan published the so-called Community Mobility Reports for 131 countries. These reports feature localized data on how to travel to places like stores and parks and has been changed during the last month. In the United States’ case, Google’s data is divided on a county by county basis, which shows a massive reduction in people’s movement in urban and suburban communities —in some cases there are drops of 80 percent — with modest declines in rural areas in comparison.

Take for example, New York. According to Google’s mobility tracking data for New York witnessed a 62% decline for retail and recreation venues, 68% decline for public transit hubs like subways, buses, and train stations, 46% decline for workplaces, and 32% decline for grocery stores and pharmacies as of March 29.

In New York County, the reduction is even more dramatic. Movement dropped 86% for retail and recreation, 78% for transit, 57% for workplaces, and 51% for groceries and pharmacies.

The reports “aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19,” the company stated on the website where the reports are published. “The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.”

The company plans on updating its figures regularly. It claims that the data is designed in a manner that protects people’s anonymity.

Damian Collins, a British Parliament member who has spearheaded efforts to investigate Google’s data practices, revealed in an email to CBS News that the reports indicate social distancing’s potential to limit the Wuhan Virus’ impact. However, he advised that people be cautious about in letting Google have the power to track people’s daily lives.

“This certainly shows the impact that the social restrictions are having on daily life, and helps policy makers determine the effectiveness of these strategies,” stated Collins. “It also illustrates the level of background surveillance that has become commonplace, without people really being aware of it.”

Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next, a trade group that represents digital publishers, agreed with Collins and is skeptical of Google’s underlying motives.

“While it’s a noble effort and the anonymous presentation is interesting, it’s asking a lot to trust a company who’s entire business model is about surveillance and monetization of as much personal data across our lives as they can collect,” Kint stated.

Collins believes that Google’s tracking data may be useful for policymakers, there are still questions about potential privacy violations and future mass surveillance abuses.

“In a crisis people may consent to this, but there has never really been a public debate about whether we agree to it in principle. The aftermath of this crisis may start such a debate,” Collins remarked.

Big Tech’s influence has been the source of public discussion since Trump got elected.

It has been instrumental in suppressing dissident voices and will now likely be greatly empowered by this new crisis.Conservatives would be wise to be skeptical of both corporations and government.

Constant surveillance: How big tech’s household devices are SPYING on you

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The expansion of home tech products to make life increasingly convenient requires consumer privacy sacrifices, the full extent of which won’t be revealed for years to come, but have been hinted at through a slew of missteps.

This past week Amazon hit headlines after its virtual assistant Alexa was caught passively recording couples arguing, having intimate family discussions and even having sex (apparently sex noises can trigger Alexa-activated Echo speakers).

Data is the new dominant commodity of the 21st century and the trade-off of convenience for privacy and security has been highlighted in a plethora of cases involving consumer ‘smart products’ in recent years.

Amazon Echo as murder witness?

Take the November 2015 case of James Bates, who was suspected of the murder of his friend Victor Collins at a house party in his home. Police issued multiple search warrants to Amazon in the landmark case, in an attempt to gain access to the records of Bates’ Echo device.

“I have a problem that a Christmas gift that is supposed to better your life can be used against you,” Bates’s attorney, Kimberly Weber, said at the time. Eventually, Bates himself decided to turn over the data, foregoing his right to privacy in the interest of proving his innocence and clearing his name.

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Amazon admits it keeps some Alexa recordings even when users delete them

Siri’s sensitive recordings

Much like Amazon, Apple has been found surreptitiously recording users’ sexual encounters, drug deals and medical appointments, though more worryingly, these audio recordings were sent to human ‘graders’ for evaluation, according to recent, explosive revelations from a whistleblower.

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Siri ‘regularly’ records sex encounters, sends ‘countless’ private moments to Apple contractors

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri stores users’ identifiable utterances for up to six months, before removing the unique user ID information and storing the clips elsewhere for up to two years – in the interest of improved customer experience, of course.

Google Mini & passive spying

Google’s domestic virtual assistant Google Mini has also been caught passively spying on consumers in their own homes. Worryingly, however, Google employs hundreds of so-called “language experts” to parse snippets of audio, some of which contain embarrassing or sensitive information, to better understand the nuances of human language.

In 2017, writer Artem Russakovskii went to the product’s unveiling at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco. After a couple of days he checked his voice activity log to find thousands of inadvertent entries that should never have been logged; the device had been spying on him 24/7 due to an apparent ‘hardware flaw’, as the company claimed at the time.

Hacking tech teddies

The idea for a teddy bear that allowed parents and children to share affection when long distances apart was good in theory, but ultimately proved terrifying in practice.

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‘Smart’ Teddy bears hacked, 2mn private recordings leaked, children at risk

Through Cloudpets (and various other interpretations of the idea), children could record short messages for loved ones far away that would be transmitted via bluetooth to a nearby smartphone and beamed across the country or, indeed, the world.

Alas, it didn’t take long before data belonging to some 800,000 customers, totalling roughly two million messages between children and adults, which were stored in an online database, was hacked and held for ransom.

There was no encryption or authentication between the bluetooth devices in the stuffed animals and the smartphone app, meaning unscrupulous actors could invade people’s most heartfelt moments with their children.

Backdoor Barbie

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Mattel’s ‘Hello Barbie’ was billed as the world’s first “interactive doll” complete with a microphone that records children and sends the messages to third parties for processing before a response is generated.

However, security researchers quickly discovered that the wifi-connected doll was vulnerable to hacking, and those with the relevant knowhow could access the doll’s system information, account information, stored data including audio files, and the doll’s built-in microphone.

Researcher Matt Jakubowski claimed that it was just a matter of time until we are able to replace their servers with ours and have her say anything we want.”

But the ghoulish details didn’t stop there; hackers could theoretically take over a home’s wifi network via the doll and gain access to other connected devices such as laptops and phones, allowing them to pilfer a wealth of personal and financial information.

High-tech takeover

White hat hacking work by a team of researchers at China’s Zhejiang University showed how inaudible “commands” could be used to remotely trigger a potential victim’s smart device. The team used various clever strategies, including playing frequencies above 20kHz as the victim was recording, rendering the inaudible frequency as a trigger to access the device.

The researchers managed to hack the voice interfaces of Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung devices and command them to, for example, visit specific malicious websites or even send emails and text messages all while dimming the screen and lowering the device volume to conceal the attack, leaving the victim completely unaware.

The team even managed to remotely place phone and video calls to listen in and observe the victim’s surroundings. They infamously also managed to hack the navigation system of an Audi SUV.

Sanders Mega-Donor Advocated for Southern Secession to Rid Country of ‘Dumb’ People

Jane O'Meara Sanders, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center left, stands with actor Danny Glover during the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention in San Francisco, Sunday, June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By Haris Alic

A major donor who introduced 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at his first 2020 “grassroots fund-raiser” previously advocated for the South to secede so it could stop “dumbing down national politics.”

On Saturday, Sanders’s presidential campaign hosted a star-studded event in San Francisco, which it billed as “grassroots fundraiser and friendraiser.” Tickets for attendance started at $27 and went up to $2,800, the maximum contribution allowed by the Federal Election Commission.

Although the event drew attention with its high-profile speakers, including actor Danny Glover and activist Cornel West, the man who introduced Sanders, Guy Saperstein, received little notice. In its coverage of the fundraiser, The New York Times described Saperstein as a “retired civil rights lawyer” and wealthy “political contributor,” who was out of place given Sanders’ broadsides against big money in politics.

What the Times failed to mention is that Saperstein, a former president of the Sierra Club, has a long and somewhat controversial history in Democratic politics.

As previously reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Saperstein in 2014 was a member of a private Google group consisting of “progressive organizers, reporters, and campaign apparatchiks.” As a member of that group, Saperstein openly discussed his support for Southern secession.

“For more than 100 years, the South has been dumbing down national politics, tilting the country in a conservative direction, supporting militarism, all while demanding huge financial subsidies from blue states,” Guy Saperstein wrote in emails to other members. “It would be 100% fine with me if the South was a separate nation, pursuing its own priorities and destiny.”

When the emails were leaked to Media Trackers, a now defunct Wisconsin conservative news outlet, Saperstein doubled down on his stance.

“Secession would be a gradual process, giving any blacks who felt threatened time to relocate,” he told Media Trackers at the time.

It is unclear if Sanders knew about Saperstein’s prior remarks. The senator’s campaign did not return requests for comment.

The issue, however, underscores a potential vulnerability for the self-described Democratic socialist from Vermont. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders failed to gain traction in the South. Sanders lost every single state in the region to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the eventual nominee. In some states like South Carolina, where African-American voters make up a large portion of the Democratic electorate, Sanders was defeated by landslide margins.

Saperstein is also a former member of the Democracy Alliance, the secretive group of liberal billionaires—which also includes Tom Steyer and George Soros—that funds Democratic campaigns and causes across the country.

Twitter Suspends Researcher Who Exposed Antifa-Journalist Connections

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By Allum Bokhari

Twitter has suspended the account of Eoin Lenihan, a researcher who mapped out connections between mainstream journalists and the violent far-left Antifa movement on Twitter, following a mass-reporting campaign by left-wing activists.

Lenihan published the results of his research at Quillette, where he explained the twofold objective of his project — first, to discover the journalists who were most closely linked to Antifa via social media. Second, to discover if those journalists covered the extremist movement favorably or negatively.

via Quillette:

In October 2018, my research partner and I decided to investigate the truth of this impression by using a mix of network mapping and linguistic analysis to see which prominent journalists who covered Antifa also were closely connected to leading Antifa figures on social media. We then inspected the Antifa-related stories these journalists had written.

We created a data set of 58,254 Antifa or Antifa-associated Twitter accounts based on the follows of 16 verified Antifa seed accounts. Using a software tool that analyzed the number and nature of connections associated with each individual account, we winnowed the 58,254 Antifa or Antifa-associated Twitter accounts down to 962 accounts. This represents a core group of Twitter users who are connected in overlapping ways to the most influential and widely followed Antifa figures. Of these 962 accounts, 22 were found to be verified—of which 15 were journalists who work regularly with national-level news outlets.

The journalists included contributors to The Guardian, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, and the Huffington Post.

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Unsurprisingly, Lenihan’s analysis of the journalists who mingle with Antifa on Twitter found that none of them covered the movement critically:

That correlation turned out to be quite pronounced: Of all 15 verified national-level journalists in our subset, we couldn’t find a single article, by any of them, that was markedly critical of Antifa in any way. In all cases, their work in this area consisted primarily of downplaying Antifa violence while advancing Antifa talking points, and in some cases quoting Antifa extremists as if they were impartial experts.

Since he published his findings, Lenihan has had his account mass-reported on Twitter. Mass-reporting is when an account is swarmed by trolls who abuse the “report” button with the hopes of tricking a tech platform’s algorithms into automatically suspending them. Of course, with much of Silicon Valley now categorizing ordinary conservative speech as violations of their terms of service, this is an increasingly easy task. Lenihan’s account has now been suspended by Twitter for more than two days.

See the source image

Breitbart News has previously covered the mainstream media’s sympathy for Antifa (see CNN: Antifa’s Violence Against ‘Bigots’ is ‘Right’ and New York Times Glorifies Antifa With Style Guide, Tactical Advice) as well as the violent movement’s allies in Silicon Valley (see Wikipedia Editors Seek To Downplay Antifa Violence and Far-left Ideology and Damore Lawsuit Highlights Google’s Links to ‘Antifa’ Domestic Terrorists).

Breitbart News has reached out to Twitter for comment.

Rep. Cummings’ Wife is Breaking the Law by Refusing to Hand Over Requested Documents on Her Nonprofit, Expert Says

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By Cristina Laila

Congressman Elijah Cummings’ wife is breaking the law by refusing to hand over documents on her nonprofit, a lawyer said.

Cummings’ wife Maya Rockeymoore is breaking the law by not handing over requested records on her nonprofit, a legal expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 

Last week it was first reported by the Washington Examiner that a charity run by Maya Rockeymoore, the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings, received millions from special interest groups and corporations that had business before her husband’s committee.

Democrat Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee was in very poor financial condition and heavily in debt due to unpaid child support to three women he had children with — until the last 10 years or so after he married his young, politically connected wife, Maya Rockeymoore.

At least three different groups have requested records from Maya Rockeymoore and she is refusing to hand over the documents, even though the law requires it, via the Daily Caller:

“Wow. That’s illegal,” Sally Wagenmaker, a Chicago attorney who specializes in nonprofit tax law, told TheDCNF. “It’s interesting and sad. You have the right to get them. The organization absolutely is required to provide the information, so to not do so would appear to be flaunting the law.”

“As a family member of an elected official, we’d expect high-road, integrity and compliance. If anyone should be responding promptly, it should be her. He should be above approach.”

“One of the policy reasons for disclosure is to be able to to illuminate conflict of interest, and the media’s role is to help illuminate that: is she trying to hide information, is she being secretive, does she think she’s above the law? And one of the ways that happens is through the required disclosure of 990s,” Wagenmaker said.

Tom Anderson, an investigator with the conservative leaning NPLC told the Daily Caller that his group called Maya Rockeymoore and she refused to engage, repeatedly asking, “And how can I help you?”

“We called the phone number for the nonprofit and she answered it like her personal cell. Then every time we asked a question, she just kept repeating ‘And how can I help you?’ And then finally hung up. It was so creepy.

“We pointed out that it was required by law, and her response was ‘And how can I help you?’ It was so weird.”

“It’s against the law. You have to hand those over. We’re a 501(c)(3) and if George Soros or a 10-year old kid requested our 990, we’d have to hand it over on the spot. The idea that she thinks she doesn’t have to is outrageous.”

The backstory, via The Washington Examiner:

Rockeymoore runs two entities, a nonprofit group called the Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting firm called Global Policy Solutions, LLC, whose operations appear to have overlapped, according to the IRS complaint filed by watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center on Monday. The complaint states that the arrangement may have been used to derive “illegal private benefit.”

Global Policy Solutions received more than $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016, according to tax records. Several of the nonprofit group’s financial backers — which included Google, J.P Morgan and Prudential — have business interests before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Cummings has served as Democratic chairman of the committee since January and previously served as ranking member.

Cummings blasted a complaint to the IRS against his wife as “baseless,” and a “political hit job” in a statement to Fox News.

“These baseless claims come from a group funded by right-wing mega-donors known for their political hit jobs,” Cummings said in a statement to Fox News. “I am confident that they will be exposed for what they really are – a fabricated distraction from the important work being done on behalf of Americans, such as lowering the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”

Last week, Rep. Cummings’ wife also blasted the Washington Examiner’s complaint to the IRS as a “hit piece.”

“It appears a conservative front group and a news outlet . . . are pushing a hit piece filled with faulty research, lies and innuendo in an attempt to tarnish my personal reputation, professional work and public service as well as that of my spouse,” Rockeymoore Cummings said in a statement to The Washington Post, calling the effort a “distasteful attempt to intimidate my family into silence at such a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.”

Speaking of a “political hit job,” Congressman Cummings’ committee has launched multiple baseless investigations into President Trump’s finances and security clearance process.

Biden: ‘Not a Single Bit of Evidence’ Son Asked Me to Help Him in Ukraine

CAP

By Charlie Spiering

Former Vice President Joe Biden denied Monday that his son Hunter Biden asked him for a favor in Ukraine while serving on the energy board of a Ukrainian energy company.

“We never once discussed it when he was there,” Biden told the Associated Press. “There’s not a single bit of evidence that’s been shown in any reporting that’s been done that he ever talked about it with me or asked any government official for a favor.”

When he was vice president, Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine if officials did not fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was pursuing a corruption investigation of an energy company while his son Hunter was serving on the board.

The connection was revealed in author Peter Schweizer’s best-selling book Secret Empires,and the reporting was confirmed in the New York Times.

Hunter Biden was paid as much as $50,000 per month while serving on the board, as his father led the Obama administration’s policy with Ukraine.

Biden’s “not a single bit of evidence” defense echoes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s repeated assertion that there was no evidence of improper paybacks after she approved the Uranium One deal — despite receiving $145 million in pledges and donations for the Clinton Foundation.

Biden’s Ukraine connection made recent headlines after President Donald Trump’s personal attorney suggested he would travel to Ukraine to investigate the issue before ultimately deciding against it.

Biden criticized Giuliani for even considering the idea.

“I can’t remember any lawyer representing the president, conferring with the president, deciding to go overseas, where a government relies on U.S. largesse to try to get them to do something that everybody knows never happened,” Biden said during an interview with WMUR.

In the same interview, he also pointed to the reporting surrounding the conflict of interest.

“All the reports indicated that not a single, solitary thing was inappropriate about what my son did. He never talked to me. He never talked to anybody in the administration,” Biden said.

In his interview with the Associated Press, Biden defended his son’s role on the board.

“I have great confidence in my son,” he said. “He’s a man of great integrity.”

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