Zephyr and the development of high-altitude military surveillance drones

14 August 2019 — Drone Wars

By Joanna Frew

The Zephyr ‘High Altitude Pseudo Satellite’ drone

The Guardian reported recently that the Pentagon’s Southern Command are testing stratospheric balloons over the US, to combat drug trafficking and support homeland security. The news has caused concern among US civil liberties advocates angry that American citizens will be being monitored in these tests. However, these balloons are just one of a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle / drone called High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS).  This post takes a brief look at this type of drone, which is on the horizon for a number of armed forces, and examines the UK’s development of a HAPS drone called Zephyr.
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Did Bill Barr Call His Shot? Unanswered Questions about FBI’s Foreknowledge of the El Paso Shooting

7 August 2019 — Mint Press

William Barr’s warning that a “major incident” could occur “at any time” and “galvanize public opinion” around the unpopular encryption back-door policy he has been seeking seems to have come true in the weeks since the attorney general made those statements.

by Whitney Webb

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Facebook vs Citizens by Meg Sherman

21 July 2019 — Dissident Voice

Facebook as an Unnecessary Evil

A wonderfully written recent article on the ethics of Facebook Inc provoked me to think about my own position. It’s oft said in defence of the software that Facebook is a forum for progressive public debate, an ideal and desirable stimulus for democracy. So I was pleased the article stimulated a lively exchange of ideas on a contentious issue, the ethics of Facebook itself.

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Police drop Experian profiling tool following Big Brother Watch exposé

17 July 2019 — True Publica

A year on from BigBrotherWatch’s investigation into Durham Police’s use of Experian’s ‘Mosaic’ big data profiling tool for AI custody decisions, BigBrotherWatch discovered through a long Freedom of Information battle that Durham Police heeded calls to drop the discriminatory tool less than three weeks after their exposé.

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Massive photo databases secretly gathered in US and Europe to develop facial recognition By Kevin Reed

17 July 2019 — WSWS

A report in the New York Times on Sunday revealed that millions of facial photos have been scraped from online sources and taken by hidden surveillance cameras and then shared in databases for artificial intelligence (AI) research and development purposes for more than a decade. Created in secret by universities and tech companies, the photo data sets have been mined for the R&D of facial recognition and biometric technologies that are now used ubiquitously by police and state intelligence agencies around the world.

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Amazon NHS partnership – more questions over backdoor privatisation

16 July 2019 — True Publica

Amazon NHS partnership - more backdoor privatisation?

By TruePublica: There is a lot going wrong in the world today and big tech is driving much of it in its indomitable thirst for ever greater global influence and markets to profit from. In the meantime, the British government is already making many moves to ‘Americanise’ society and continues towards its unpopular privatisation model in healthcare. These are not the musings of TruePublica’s editor. Professionals at the heart of the artificial intelligence community, privacy, civil liberty and healthcare are alarmed the NHS has teamed up with certain tech firms with scant care for patient outcomes especially with the latest announcement of American behemoth Amazon giving health advice.

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“Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?” by Charles Hugh Smith

12 July 2019 — Washington’s Blog

When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car–or something like that–and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You’ll be able to lower the temperature of your home office while you’re stuck in a traffic jam, while your fridge orders another jar of pickles delivered to your door.

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The Death of Privacy: Government Fearmongers to Read Your Mail By Philip Giraldi

11 July 2019 — Strategic Culture Foundation

It is discouraging to note just how the United States has been taking on the attributes of a police state since 9/11. Stories of police raids on people’s homes gone wrong are frequently in the news. In one recent incident, a heavily armed SWAT team was sent to a St. Louis county home. The armed officers entered the building without knocking, shot the family dog and forced the family members to kneel on the floor where they were able to watch their pet struggle and then die. The policemen then informed the family that they were there over failure to pay the gas bill. Animal rights groups report that the shooting of pets by police has become routine in many jurisdictions because the officers claim that they feel threatened.

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