Report: CDC Spied On Americans To See If They Were Complying With Lockdowns
CDC lauded the data for “hourly monitoring of activity in curfew zones or detailed counts of visits to participating pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.”
A report by Vice News details how the CDC purchased tracking data for millions of Americans’ mobile phones with an intention of monitoring their movements to see if they were complying with lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic.
The reports states that the CDC paid $420,000 for one year of data from a company called SafeGraph, which links up with app developers to harvest location data from people’s phones. When people download the apps to their devices, they are asked to accept terms that include sharing location data.
The company, which is linked to a former head of Saudi intelligence, has since been banned from the Google Play Store for violating its T&Cs on data collection.
The documents obtained by Vice state that the procurement request for the data by the CDC was labelled as an “URGENT COVID-19” request and should be given priority.
The documents outline several “potential CDC use cases for data,” specifically listing “the effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic,” “Examination of COVID-19 vaccination rates, mobility, … at the county or sub-county level (this could also be applies to flu and mask use),” and “examination of the correlation of mobility patterns data and rise in COVID-19 cases”.
A CDC document obtained by Vice admits that the data “has been critical for ongoing response efforts, such as hourly monitoring of activity in curfew zones or detailed counts of visits to participating pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.”
Another section notes that “CDC has interest in continued access to this mobility data as the country opens back up. This data is used by several teams/groups in the response and have been resulting in deeper insights into the pandemic as it pertains to human behavior.”
It is believed that at least 20 million active cellphone users per day in the US had data harvested by the process.
SafeGraph has also been accused of selling location data of visitors to abortion clinics, which the company this week announced it will halt.
As we previously noted, reports revealed that Government spies in the UK were monitoring the movement of British people minute by minute to check if they were complying with government restrictions.
The London Telegraph (Paywall) reported in late 2020 that spies from Britain’s most secretive intelligence and security organisation, Government Communications Headquarters, had embedded a ‘cell’ within Number 10 Downing Street in order to provide Prime Minister Boris Johnson with real time information pertaining to the public’s movements.
The Daily Mail also reported on the development, noting that GCHQ, normally tasked with spying on terrorists and foreign powers, was turned on the British public to gauge whether people were following the COVID ‘rules’ or not.
The report noted that as well as tracking the movement of people, the spies were collecting information on “internet searches for holidays and jobs.”
The spy agency was also being employed to combat ‘anti-vaccination conspiracy theories’ being spread on social media, in relation to the pandemic.
Speaking anonymously to the London Times, a source noted that “GCHQ has been told to take out antivaxers online and on social media. There are ways they have used to monitor and disrupt terrorist propaganda.”
GCHQ has previously been embroiled in controversy where spying on the public is concerned, as it was revealed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the agency was scouring all online and telephone data in the UK via a program code named ‘Tempora’.
In addition, In January 2021, British Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt called for the government to use GPS tracking technology to ensure Brits were complying with COVID quarantine measures.
As we also previously highlighted, a YouGov poll asked Brits if they supported, “The Government in [country name] using the mobile phone data of individuals to ensure they are complying with restrictions on movement outside of the home during a lockdown.”
45% supported the idea compared to 42% who opposed it.
Another idea was to force Brits to take daily selfies that were cross referenced with GPS data and facial recognition software to ensure they didn’t leave home.
The policies were compared to those of the Chinese government, which reportedly forced some citizens to scan a government tracking app before being allowed to re-enter their own homes.
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DHS Sought To Assign Social Credit Style “Risk Scores” To Social Media Users
Newly-obtained documents reveal.
In a sharp spotlight on the interplay between national security and individual privacy, newly disclosed documents have unveiled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entered into a contract with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2018 to develop a project, dubbed “Night Fury,” designed to analyze and assign “risk scores” to social media accounts.
The Brennan Center for Justice procured these documents through a public records request, and Motherboard was the first to report on them. Project Night Fury aimed at utilizing automation to detect and evaluate social media accounts for connections to terrorism, illegal opioid distribution, but also disinformation campaigns.
The DHS document stated, “The Contractor shall develop these attributes to create a methodology for developing a ranking, or ‘Risk Score,’ associated with the identified accounts.”
Project Night Fury had also planned on incorporating involvement from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide “cross-mission operational context,” according to one of the documents.
Experts had warned DHS about the inherent difficulties and biases involved in automated judgment for these matters, citing that characteristics like being “pro-terrorist” have no concrete definition.
Notably, DHS terminated Project Night Fury in 2019. However, it underscores the agency’s continued interest in social media as a resource for analysis. This comes in the wake of earlier reports of CBP utilizing an AI-powered tool, Babel X, for analyzing travelers’ social media at US borders.
While Night Fury’s focus was initially on “counter-terrorism, illegal opioid supply chain, transnational crime, and understanding/characterizing/identifying the spread of disinformation by foreign entities,” the documents indicate that UAB’s work was intended to “scale to other DHS domains” and “build next generation capabilities.”This post was originally published at Reclaim The Net
Like, Totally Orwellian: Nearly A Third Of GenZ Favors ‘Government Surveillance Cameras In Every Household’
Nearly one-third of Generation Z says they’d be just fine with government-installed surveillance cameras in every household under the guise of reducing domestic violence and other illegal activity.
“Would you favor or oppose the government installing surveillance cameras in every household to reduce domestic violence, abuse, and other illegal activity?” asks a new survey from the Cato Institute. Of the responses, 29% of those aged 18-29 said yes.
As the NY Post notes;
In 1791, the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed building a “panopticon” in which people’s behavior could be monitored at all times.
But Bentham’s panopticon was meant to be a prison. A sizable segment of Generation Z would like to call it home.
When it comes to other age brackets, 20% of millennials (between the ages of 30 and 44) also want everyone watched.
Then, wisdom appears to kick in – as just 6% of Americans aged 45 and older were OK with government surveillance in every home.
Broken down by politics, 19% of liberals and 18% of centrists agreed that our daily lives should be monitored by the government for our own safety, while 9 – 11% of those who identify as conservative, very conservative, or very liberal agreed in what appears to be a “horseshoe” issue that unites both ends of the political spectrum.
It’s the middle that has the ethic of old East German secret police — or the KGB.
Maybe that’s not surprising considering the way respectable liberal institutions now run themselves.
From Ivy League campuses to the publishing industry and the digital domains of Facebook, there is an Orwellian sense of perpetual emergency, an irrational fear that misinformation and hate speech will overwhelm society unless every utterance is subject to a censor’s scrutiny.
Even Orwell didn’t imagine Newspeak would require new pronouns. -NY Post
Broken down by race, 33% of black Americans said they’re fine with government in-home surveillance, as did 25% of hispanics, 11% of whites, and 9% of asians respectively.
The question was asked as part of the Cato Institute’s survey on American attitudes on the prospect of a ‘central bank digital currency.’ What’s interesting about that is that 53% of Americans who support a CBDC also support in-home surveillance cameras.
Notably, Americans who support a CBDC stood out in how they think about in‐home government surveillance cameras. A majority (53%) of Americans who support a CBDC support the government installing in‐home surveillance cameras to reduce abuse and other illegal activity. This suggests that some of the psychology behind support for a CBDC springs from an above average comfort level with trading some personal autonomy and privacy for societal order and security. -Cato Institute
What’s more, those who view the Federal Reserve favorably are more likely to support a CBDC (duh).
Sheep gonna sheep?This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
This Isn’t Creepy At All
The permanent sense of emergency.
There’s scope for the UK’s first ever ’emergency alert system’ to be expanded into some very creepy territory.
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