Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War

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Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War

Postby American Dream » Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:31 am

http://datacide.c8.com/politicalnews_d13/

Political News: Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War; Surveillance, Control and Repression


Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs
From 2007-09, John Towery, a criminal intelligence army analyst in the Force Protection Service fusion center at the Fort Lewis military base spied on anarchists and peace activists in Tacoma and Olympia, WA who were part of SDS and the Port Militarization Resistance, which protested international war shipments. Under the name ‘John Jacob’, Towery became close friends with the activists, surveilled them, and shared data with local, state, federal and military agencies. A public records request uncovered the surveillance operation of Towery against the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, IWW, Iraq Veterans Against the War, an anarchist bookshop, amongst others. The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled in December 2012 that the subsequent lawsuit against Towery can proceed in the narrow terms of intentionally enabling arrest without probable cause in order to repress free speech, but apparently not on the Posse Comitatus law that bars the use of armed forces for law enforcement activities inside the US.

The Earth Island Journal published documents obtained through FOIA requests that show how the Bryan County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s department was spying on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and other direct action groups against the proposed tar sands pipeline to run from Canada to Texas. Some activists were arrested earlier, the action camp infiltrated and a protest preempted. The targets are described as eco-activists; Native American resisters; Occupy members; Anarchists; and locals from the community. Documents also show how the corporation TransCanada who will build the pipeline works closely with the multi-government agency Fusion Center in Oklahoma advising on policy, changing laws, sharing intel, ensnaring activists, and generally protecting their own interests and facilitating the increase of their profits.

The agent provocateur “Anna” performed extensive FBI surveillance and entrapment of three other activists (see the Life During Wartime book review) used to convict Eric McDavid for 19 years and 7 months, the second longest sentence for recent environmental prisoners. During McDavid’s trial, his lawyer attempted to argue government misconduct because of “Anna’s” intimate relationship with him, however this was dismissed in light of the 1991 9th Circuit ruling in US v Simpson that the government can exploit intimate and sexual relations between the infiltrator and anyone under a surveillance investigation.

Back in January 2011, The Guardian newspaper journalists Paul Lewis and Rob Evans broke the huge story of how Mark Kennedy, a London Metropolitan Police officer, infiltrated numerous European left and direct action networks under the name “Mark Stone” and “Flash”. 22 countries including Germany used Kennedy as an agent provocateur in order to ensnare activists in illegal activities, gather information, maps networks, etc. (The website “Mark Kennedy: A chronology of his activities” gives more details and corrections to the initial news reports, although not on his Berlin spying.) Various British police and government agencies cut Kennedy loose, avoided responsibility, attempted to stop or curtail “reform” of undercover agents’ behavior, and denied their support of his spying, especially concerning how Kennedy had sexual relations with numerous women over the years in order to gather intel and ensnare them. 8 of those women have sued Scotland Yard for sexual misconduct by five agent provocateurs Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling, Mark Cassidy and Mark Kennedy. The reporters have in 2013 published a book on the wider use of infiltration and surveillance called Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police.

The Associated Press reporters Matt Abuzzo and Adam Goldmann, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for their series of investigations of the NYPD’s surveillance operations against Muslim Americans (in and outside NYC and the state), have published a new book Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Spying Unit that gives much greater detail through meticulous research on these operations. NYPD’s Demographics Unit spent six years using a huge network of informants to surveil every aspect of life, actions which did not lead to a single arrest, criminal cases or thwarting of so-called ‘terrorism’ plots. (Ray Kelly, the NYPD Commissioner, has been floated to be nominated to run the Department of Homeland Security.) Various lawsuits brought against the NYPD by Muslim Americans affect by the spying are pending in court.

Vision Tech
The UK Home Office has funded the development of the Discriminating Irritant Projectile (DIP), something like a gun that fires CS gas, pepper spray or other substance as far as 131 feet away from the intended targets. They have also tested a new Taser gun, the X2, that can taser multiple people at once. Both are slated to be deployed in large protests and arrest situations.

A declassified 1998 Pentagon report “The Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons” shows that there is a possibility to weaponize the use of microwave hearing technology to make a subject hear voices or words in their head without audible sound, which is predicted to have devastating psychological effects. The report also discusses the idea of using electromagnetic pulses to disrupt the brain’s functioning. However, the report doesn’t indicate any ongoing programs for the development of these weapon ideas.

Ohio instituted, with no oversight or public comment, a new facial recognition program that matches any image from videos, pictures, mug shots, etc. to an storage state issued ID card (drivers’ license) image, as well as contact info, bank accounts and flight departure/arrival plans. Various federal agencies and 28 states already have similar programs with Florida running a program containing 120 million identified faces. Similar database programs store biometric data such as iris scans (also used in Fallujah, Iraq), skin textures, vein patterns, palm and finger prints, and personal physical demarcations such as a gait while walking.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 in a split decision that arrestees can be forced prior to arraignment to give up DNA samples to the police, who do not need a warrant, and there is no distinction concerning minor and serious offenses, thus all arrestees could be targeted. The case Maryland v King concerns the defendant who was arrested for a gun related assault charges, whose DNA was taken against his will, and then matched in a database to an unsolved rape case. The court ruled that DNA sampling is legitimate police booking method like fingerprinting, and 28 states run such programs. This ruling may further support the establishment of a national DNA database.

Endless War
In February 2013, a 16 page legal ‘white paper’, prepared by the Obama DOJ was released by the press, articulated the supposed ‘lawfulness’ of assassinating Americans (named on the kill list, see datacide 12 news) for allegedly being al-Qaida or associated forces member. This document isn’t the OLC memo the ACLU and other organizations are still trying to get released. Assassinations are justified by the government’s accusations or implied associations between two plus targets, not through any legal mechanism to assess guilt. Targeting killing continue to expand the George W. Bush doctrine of the ‘world is a battlefield’, and such murder can be instituted without an ‘imminent’ threat to the US or its allies. Assassination targets are also foreigners, whose targeted killing mostly by drones is facilitated between the NSA/CIA/etc and British GCHQ. On 19 July 2013, the ACLU and CCR argued in federal court that the assassinations of 3 US citizens (2 on the kill list) is unconstitutional, and the case is covered extensively in the new book and documentary film Dirty Wars by journalist Jeremy Scahill. Documents compiled by various human rights organizations and media outlets convincingly demonstrate that the vast majority of people killed by drones are civilians (although the Obama administration argues that any man of military age near a strike zone is considered a ‘combatant’ or ‘militant’, and can be ‘lawfully’ killed without due process, and are not considered ‘civilian’, unless they are later proven innocent.) The website Naming the Dead by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism attempts to record accurately the names, and as much other information as possible, about people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan.

The Rendition Project has created a detailed mapping, database, and informational website that provides new and extensive research on the extraordinary rendition program set up by the CIA after 9/11. It documents how governments around the world actively participated in the illegal rendition program and facilitated torture.

In July, a federal 2nd circuit appeals court overturned the court order injunction against the implementation of Section 1021 of the NDAA, which authorizes the president to indefinitely detain “a person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces” (this includes American citizens detained in the US) (see datacide 12 news).

The federal lawsuit brought in court by four Iraqi victims tortured at Abu Ghraib prison called Al Shimari v CACI attempts to prove the private military contractor’s participation and conspiracy in war crimes, torture, and other offenses. On June 26, 2013, the judge dismissed the whole case based on a recent Supreme Court decision that Alien Tort Statue claims made by international victims could not be applied to violations by Americans or American companies outside the US, thus the case didn’t actually resolve at all the question of the contractor’s culpability. In a further blow, the court ordered the Iraqi victims to pay the expensive legal fees run up by CACI in this case.

Surveillance, Control and Repression
On June 5, 2013, Glenn Greenwald, journalist at The Guardian, and Laura Poitras, independent filmmaker, broke the first story about NSA spying on domestic and international all phone, internet and electronic communications, based on leaked documents provided by former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Connected stories document the collection and spying on all other personal data including banking, tax and medical records, all domestic and international mail in the US, etc.) Since then, several hundred articles have been published on innumerable aspects of secret NSA spying programs, the methods, what US officials knew, how this was kept secret, ‘legal’ justifications and ‘oversight’, various funding issues, Congress members attempts to ‘reform’ the programs, corporations and manufacturers involvement and facilitation, as well as numerous international stories concerning foreign governments participation in data sharing and dual programs, as well as lots of international fallout, so its impossible to even describe an overview here of the revelations and ramifications. The most recent story published on October 4 reveals how the NSA has attempted through various methods to uncover the anonymity of Tor, an open-source public software project that keeps users’ internet traffic anonymous and protected from censorship tools.

On September 25, Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svarthom appealed the previous conviction that he was found guilt of hacking a Swedish IT company and not guilty of hacking a local bank. He had his sentence in the case reduced to one year, in part based on testimony from Jacob Appelbaum demonstrating that the prosecution couldn’t disprove that Svarthom’s computer could have been taken over and abused remotely. All the Pirate Bay founders continue to have legal problems, jail time and must pay huge fines, while Svarthom will be extradited to Denmark to face new charges.

Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) was convicted in military court to 35 years in prison for 20 charges related to the leaking over 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks, which comprised the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, the Collateral Murder Video, and Cable Gate, amongst others. Manning was found not guilt of the most nefarious offense “aiding the enemy”. Manning is seeking a presidential pardon.

Journalist James Risen lost his appeal in July to avoid the subpoena issued against him to testify in the case of US v Sterling, thus his option is to go to prison for contempt of court, or be forced to reveal his sources during the trial. The court found that journalists have no special privileges to avoid self-incrimination or to refuse to give court testimony. Sterling was indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act, for allegedly passing to an unauthorized person (Risen) national defense information about the Clinton administration’s plan to pass faulty nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran. Sterling is only the fifth person in US history to be tried under this act, and is part of the Obama administration’s aggressive campaign against whistleblowers and leakers.


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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby Grizzly » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:02 am

Speaking of FOIA:
It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform
https://news.vice.com/article/it-took-a ... oia-reform
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:17 pm

Capital Behaviors: The Subtle Art of Tyranny

Posted by S.C. Hickman in New Trends In Philosophy

Image

John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney in Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age offer us a view onto the world of monopoly capitalism. The rise of neoliberal Western economies that began after WWII came about according to them through the consolidation of surveillance technologies in three domains: (1) militarism/imperialism/security; (2) corporate-based marketing and the media systems; and (3) the world of financialization.

It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who first observed the dark horizon of the socio-technological convergence of the Military Industrial Complex after the war, realizing that an enormous expansion of the national security system, bringing civilian scientists, industry, and contractors within its expanding and secretive arms of government and corporate affairs had come about due to the needs of defense and securitization of Economy and State after the war. Bringing together the academy, sciences, and industry a nexus was formed that could be aligned to both military and peacetime agendas, institutionalized and controlled by both military and governmental agencies in cooperation to assure a mutual plan for effective research, development, and implementation in times of peace and war. It would be during this era that the rise of Think Tanks, NGO’s, and many other well funded agencies both governmental and corporate would take on a wider bureaucratic presence as Empire became a global agenda under the guise of spreading democracy.

Next the Council of Economic Advisors and the National Security Council were to construct the foundation of the U.S. warfare state. Truman formed the ultra-shadowy National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952 as an arm of the military charged with conducting clandestine electronic monitoring of potential foreign (and domestic) subversive activities. Following Keynesian “guns and butter” principles they began a huge rearmament program which included a Cold War strategy at its core with the beginnings of a propaganda program to ensure that the populace would foot the bill. They quote Harry Magdoff who ironically noted at the end of his Age of Imperialism in 1969: “Just as the fight against Communism helps the search for profits, so the search for profits helps the fight against Communism. What more perfect harmony of interests could be imagined?”

In their classic work Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy’s, Monopoly Capital, published in 1966, saw militarism and imperialism as motivated first and foremost by the needs of the U.S. empire, and secondly by its role (along with the sales effort) as one of the two main absorbers—beyond capitalist consumption and investment—of the rising economic surplus generated by the economy.

During the Viet Nam era with massive protests against the draft and war both within the military and civilian population strategists within the military-industrial complex realized they’d need to discover better methods of command and control if they were to implement their economic and global push toward Empire. As Foster and McChesney relate it any attempts to police a world empire were two requirements: First, a widespread propaganda campaign to make empire appear benevolent, necessary, essentially democratic, inherently “American,” and therefore unquestionable in legitimate debate. For an empire, the flip side of propaganda is popular ignorance. Second, there is the stick to go with the propaganda carrot—a heavy reliance on covert intervention in the periphery and domestic surveillance and oppression.

I could spend a full essay on just the history of propaganda, the rise of public relations, marketing and consumer preemptive strategies, sales and behavioral economics, etc. But for the moment it became apparent in the 1950’s that the populace would need to be shaped and converted to this new consumer culture. So that as they say marketing evolved quickly into a highly organized system of customer surveillance, targeting propaganda, and psychological manipulation of populations. After the invention of the TV it would become central to the new consumer economy as the mediatainment device par excellence for ad campaigns introducing and enticing customers to buy new products, services, travel, life-styles, etc. As they’ll tell us “the government readily handed over the airwaves for free to corporations, while maintaining only the most minimal regulatory structure aimed primarily at protecting rather than restraining commercial privileges”.

The essay on the Monthly Review site is worth a read, and I’m not going to go over every detail of its historical account. They speak of the rise of the Internet out of ARPANET and how Eisenhower saw within this early version of the internet the corruption of government at the hands of private capital, arguing that government should “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military industrial complex,” and to warn that society could become “captive of a scientific technological elite” under circumstances where “the power of money is ever present.”

Foster and McChesney will the explore the rise of surveillance society and domestic forms in particular that came about during the Viet Nam war era with the various internal strife and anti-war protest movements. How the first computers and data systems were brought online to gather intel on domestic targets by the NSA and other organizations. How both Johnson and then Nixon developed Project MINARET, in which the NSA tapped the electronic communications of leading U.S. critics of the war, including over 1,600 U.S. citizens who were put on the NSA watch list. How Project ECHELON, conducted jointly with Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (collectively known as the Five Eyes), aimed at the interception of civilian telecommunications conveyed by means of communication satellites. Along with the abuse of the NSA and other agencies: Aside from collecting national security information, the NSA has been involved in commercial espionage on behalf of corporations, including stealing technology. In 1994 the NSA and the CIA turned over data that caused the European Airbus Industries to lose lucrative international contracts to their U.S. counterparts.

Foster and McChesney also provide a short history of the financialization of the American Economy and the rise of Globalization. With the convergence of the internet, economy, and destruction of regulatory controls over the financial sphere they describe this Behemoth superstructure’s domination as the result of a seemingly permanent financial-bubble prone economy. Such an economy was unstable and parasitic to the extreme, with constant fears of financial meltdown, and hence a growing role of central bankers as lenders of last resort, intervening periodically to prop up an increasingly fragile financial system.

As the internet became a fixture in the global arena for the new surveillance society initiatives by global capitalists Foster and McChesney will tell us “surveillance capitalism went far deeper, like advertising and national security, it had an insatiable need for data. Its profitable expansion relied heavily on the securitization of household mortgages; a vast extension of credit-card usage; and the growth of health insurance and pension funds, student loans, and other elements of personal finance. Every aspect of household income, spending, and credit was incorporated into massive data banks and evaluated in terms of markets and risk.”

In fact it has become so pervasive that the largest data broker in the United States today, the marketing giant Acxiom has 23,000 computer servers processing in excess of 50 trillion data transactions annually. It keeps on average some 1,500 data points on more than 200 million Americans, in the form of “digital dossiers” on each individual, attaching to each person a thirteen-digit code that allows them to be followed wherever they go, combining online and offline data on individuals. (Foster and McChesney )

Financialization—or the long-term growth of speculation on financial assets relative to GDP—meant the intrusion of finance into all aspects of life, requiring new extensions of surveillance and information control as forms of financial risk management. As the economy became more financialized, it became increasingly vulnerable to financial meltdowns, increasing risk perceptions on the part of investors and the perceived need for risk management, encryption of data, and security. (Foster and McChesney )

The digitalization of surveillance has radically changed the nature of advertising. The old system of advertisers purchasing ad space or time in media with the hope of getting the media user to notice the advertisement while she sought out news or entertainment is becoming passé. Advertisers no longer need to subsidize journalism or media content production to reach their target audiences. Instead, they can pinpoint their desired audience to a person and locate them wherever they are online (and often where they are in physical space) due to ubiquitous surveillance. The premise of the system is that there is no effective privacy. (Foster and McChesney )

These monopolistic corporate entities readily cooperate with the repressive arm of the state in the form of its military, intelligence, and police functions. The result is to enhance enormously the secret national security state, relative to the government as a whole. (Foster and McChesney )

In 2014 Google announced that it was buying Titan Aerospace, a U.S.-based start-up company for building drones which cruise at the very edge of the atmosphere. Facebook meanwhile bought the UK corporation, Ascenta, which specializes in making high-altitude solar drones. Such drones would allow the spread of the Internet to new areas. The goal was to capitalize on a new military technology and create larger global Internet monopolies, while expanding the military-digital complex. (Foster and McChesney )

The crossover between military and industrial-digital and other old school corporations has brought a convergence of telematics and tyrannical monopolies. As they tell it a “kind of linguistic convergence mirrored the centralized structure of monopoly-finance capital in the age of digital surveillance with “securitization” increasingly standing simultaneously for a world dominated by: (1) financial derivatives trading, (2) a network of public and private surveillance, (3) the militarization of security-control systems, and (4) the removal of judicial processes from effective civilian control.” (Foster and McChesney )

For Foster and McChesney there are signs of decay and threat within the Empire. With the rise of weak AI, Cyberwar, Hacking, malware, breakdown in circuits and nodes of the infrastructure the Empire is vulnerable. As they’ll tell it from a left diagnosis: “Its very economic exploitation of the world population, as well as its own, has left the U.S. imperial system open to attack, producing ever greater attempts at control. These are signs of a dying empire.”

Yet, I wonder if they underestimate the beast? As Shoshana Zuboff in The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism will suggest Big Data is taking over not going under, and data can be used for dynamic real-time driver behavior modification triggering punishments (real-time rate hikes, financial penalties, curfews, engine lock-downs) or rewards (rate discounts, coupons, gold stars to redeem for future benefits).

The notion of Behavioral Economics has been around for a while now, but combining it with the internet to change behavior, or implementing it in sensors, appliances, or what we now term the “Internet of things” is become a part of the new global strategy to capture consumer desires and direct their behaviors. As the CEO of Allstate Insurance wants to be like Google. He says, “There are lots of people who are monetizing data today. You get on Google, and it seems like it’s free. It’s not free. You’re giving them information; they sell your information. Could we, should we, sell this information we get from people driving around to various people and capture some additional profit source…? It’s a long-term game.” (see Zuboff)

As Zuboff will remark the “game is no longer about sending you a mail order catalogue or even about targeting online advertising. The game is selling access to the real-time flow of your daily life –your reality—in order to directly influence and modify your behavior for profit. This is the gateway to a new universe of monetization opportunities: restaurants who want to be your destination. Service vendors who want to fix your brake pads. Shops who will lure you like the fabled Sirens. The “various people” are anyone, and everyone who wants a piece of your behavior for profit. Small wonder, then, that Google recently announced that its maps will not only provide the route you search but will also suggest a destination.”

She’ll argue that we’ve entered virgin territory here. The assault on behavioral data is so sweeping that it can no longer be circumscribed by the concept of privacy and its contests. This is a different kind of challenge now, one that threatens the existential and political canon of the modern liberal order defined by principles of self-determination that have been centuries, even millennia, in the making. I am thinking of matters that include, but are not limited to, the sanctity of the individual and the ideals of social equality; the development of identity, autonomy, and moral reasoning; the integrity of contract, the freedom that accrues to the making and fulfilling of promises; norms and rules of collective agreement; the functions of market democracy; the political integrity of societies; and the future of democratic sovereignty. (see Zuboff)

For people like Google’s Ray Kurzweil we’re entering a period when we will merge with machines, through biotech, nanotech and other technologies we will begin to see the body and mind as software/hardware in which failing organs, cells, etc. can bee reprogrammed like bits of information in a computer. The true promise of nanotechnology, says Ray Kurzweil, is that “we’ll be able to create just about anything we need in the physical world from information files with very inexpensive input materials.” 3-D and 4-D Printers will be able to print organs, design special components, etc. all from attached emails easily downloaded from our computers into personal printers that will in the coming decades become cheaper and cheaper. For Kurzweil medical breakthroughs will solve aging issues, along with VR technology that will become part of our brains software through upgrades of nanotech, all producing a society wherein people are connected 24/7 to a wireless automated system of extended information and intelligence by way of Cloud Computing that will become the Global Brain. This techno-capitalist vision is part of the new consumer propaganda system to absorb the population into the advanced surveillance society of the coming decades, by way of incentives, enticements, like longevity, health and medical plans, etc. all bound to agreements and business contracts for work, education, travel, security.


Continues at: https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2 ... f-tyranny/
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:48 am

The New Genesis or Eugenics: Reengineering the Human Animal for Happiness?
Posted by S.C. Hickman

Image


If the human species is re-engineered it will not be the result of humanity assuming godlike control of its destiny. It will be another twist in man’s fate.
…….– John Gray, The Straw Dogs


Last night I was watching one of Kurzweil’s YouTube.com video talks – Immortality by 2045, on longevity, nanotech, 3-D printers, cloning, biotech etc. where a young girl whose esophagus was collapsing, and they developed a method of computer designing an esophagus from internal photos of her throat, then transferring this to a 3-D printer, producing a copy that was used much like bronze casting in which it served as a mold upon which stem-cells were allowed to grow and produce a synthetic and biologically DNA duplicate of her esophagus which was transplanted and now she is whole and has lived for two years without incident… he speaks of growing other organs too. With his notion of the law of accelerating returns, much like Moore’s law he believes will be able to program our body with nano-computers within 30 years or less… the notion of treating the body as a software platform, and the bio-machines as programs that go bad and need reprogramming, etc.

Of course Kurzweil isn’t alone in such thinking, it seems these days that hundreds of billions of dollars are being invested into various projects surrounding transhumanism, Human 2.0, and human enhancement, along with various ventures in pharmaceutical companies among others. Cryonics is big business and Alcor is its mainstay. “It’s an insurance policy,” American Idol and The X Factor kingpin Simon Cowell told GQ in 2011. “If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. If it does work, I’ll be happy. If it’s possible, and I think it will be, why not have a second crack? I have a feeling that if I don’t do it now,” he said of the procedure, “I could regret this in 300 years’ time.”

Others like Aubrey de Grey who is one of the world’s loudest advocates for “defeating aging,” as he likes to call it believe we can beat death. A 50-year-old Brit whose appearance is positively Methuselan — he has a horse’s tail of graying hair and a matching beard that he could easily tuck into his pants — de Grey likes to say that the world is in a “pro-aging” trance and that, once science finally wakes up to the reality that aging can be thought of as a curable disease, we can focus some of our global brainpower into creating life-spans that run for hundreds if not thousands of years. “Why cure aging?” he asked, at the beginning of a TED talk. “Because it kills people!”

Neuroscientist Ken Hayworth is a specialist in the emerging field of connectomics, esteemed for his work in extremely high-resolution microscopy of the human brain. Work that could, one day, provide the first-ever map of the brain at the neuron level — a map that many cryonicists think is the critical link in being able to “see” our personality, to locate the software and access it, to maybe, possibly, one-day upload our consciousness and truly live forever. MIT’s Sebastian Seung (a computational neuroscientist and author of last year’s Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are) believes connectomics research is a first step toward uploading minds into machines or AI systems. “I embrace the idea that human mind is a machine and our mind is the software.”

Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at BT believes we’re on tract as well. ‘If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it’s not a major career problem,’ Pearson told The Observer. ‘If you’re rich enough then by 2050 it’s feasible. If you’re poor you’ll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it’s routine. We are very serious about it. That’s how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.’

Pearson identifies the next phase of progress as ‘ambient intelligence’: chips with everything. He explained: ‘For example, if you have a pollen count sensor in your car you take some antihistamine before you get out. Chips will come small enough that you can start impregnating them into the skin. We’re talking about video tattoos as very, very thin sheets of polymer that you just literally stick on to the skin and they stay there for several days. You could even build in cellphones and connect it to the network, use it as a video phone and download videos or receive emails.’

Pearson’s third age is ‘virtual worlds’ in around 2020. ‘We will spend a lot of time in virtual space, using high quality, 3D, immersive, computer generated environments to socialise and do business in. When technology gives you a life-size 3D image and the links to your nervous system allow you to shake hands, it’s like being in the other person’s office. It’s impossible to believe that won’t be the normal way of communicating.

Someone asked what Bill Gates thinks about immortality research, like what’s being done at Calico, Google’s new company that’s trying to extend life and cure death. Here’s Gates’ response:

It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer. It would be nice to live longer though I admit.


John Gray reminds us that such notions of attaining immortality here on earthy were not just part of the West, but East too:

Commissar of Enlightenment in the new Soviet regime, and Leonid Krasin, a disciple of the Russian mystic Nikolai Federov, who believed the dead could be technologically resurrected. Krasin, who became Soviet minister of trade, was a key figure in the decisions that were made about preserving Lenin’s remains by what came to be known as the Immortalization Commission.


Continues at: https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2 ... happiness/




Capital Behaviors: The Subtle Art of Tyranny

For people like Google’s Ray Kurzweil we’re entering a period when we will merge with machines, through biotech, nanotech and other technologies we will begin to see the body and mind as software/hardware in which failing organs, cells, etc. can bee reprogrammed like bits of information in a computer. The true promise of nanotechnology, says Ray Kurzweil, is that “we’ll be able to create just about anything we need in the physical world from information files with very inexpensive input materials.” 3-D and 4-D Printers will be able to print organs, design special components, etc. all from attached emails easily downloaded from our computers into personal printers that will in the coming decades become cheaper and cheaper. For Kurzweil medical breakthroughs will solve aging issues, along with VR technology that will become part of our brains software through upgrades of nanotech, all producing a society wherein people are connected 24/7 to a wireless automated system of extended information and intelligence by way of Cloud Computing that will become the Global Brain. This techno-capitalist vision is part of the new consumer propaganda system to absorb the population into the advanced surveillance society of the coming decades, by way of incentives, enticements, like longevity, health and medical plans, etc. all bound to agreements and business contracts for work, education, travel, security.

https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2 ... f-tyranny/
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:54 pm

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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:52 am

The Data That Turned the World Upside Down

Psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their Facebook activity. Did a similar tool help propel Donald Trump to victory? Two reporters from Zurich-based Das Magazin went data-gathering.​


On November 9 at around 8.30 AM., Michal Kosinski woke up in the Hotel Sunnehus in Zurich. The 34-year-old researcher had come to give a lecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) about the dangers of Big Data and the digital revolution. Kosinski gives regular lectures on this topic all over the world. He is a leading expert in psychometrics, a data-driven sub-branch of psychology. When he turned on the TV that morning, he saw that the bombshell had exploded: contrary to forecasts by all leading statisticians, Donald J. Trump had been elected president of the United States.

For a long time, Kosinski watched the Trump victory celebrations and the results coming in from each state. He had a hunch that the outcome of the election might have something to do with his research. Finally, he took a deep breath and turned off the TV.

On the same day, a then little-known British company based in London sent out a press release: "We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump's extraordinary win," Alexander James Ashburner Nix was quoted as saying. Nix is British, 41 years old, and CEO of Cambridge Analytica. He is always immaculately turned out in tailor-made suits and designer glasses, with his wavy blonde hair combed back from his forehead. His company wasn't just integral to Trump's online campaign, but to the UK's Brexit campaign as well.

Of these three players—reflective Kosinski, carefully groomed Nix and grinning Trump—one of them enabled the digital revolution, one of them executed it and one of them benefited from it.


Continues at: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... -trump-win
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:31 am

the fbi is building a national watchlist that gives companies real time updates on employees

Image

“Rap Back has been advertised by the FBI as an effort to target individuals in “positions of trust,” such as those who work with children, the elderly, and the disabled. According to a Rap Back spokesperson, however, there are no formal limits as to “which populations of individuals can be enrolled in the Rap Back Service.” Civil liberties advocates fear that under Trump’s administration the program will grow with serious consequences for employee privacy, accuracy of records, and fair employment practices.”

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/04/the ... employees/
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:02 pm

https://warriorpublications.wordpress.c ... rotesters/

D.C. police demand Facebook hand over data on Trump protesters

Image
Black bloc participants smash corporate property in Washington, DC,
during Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan 20, 2017.


By Colin Daileda, Mashable, Feb 7, 2017

The D.C. police department subpoenaed Facebook for information regarding several protesters arrested while demonstrating against the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20. A document obtained on Monday by CityLab shows the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia issued a subpoena to Facebook on Jan. 27, which was signed by an officer at the police department. The document appears to show D.C. police are looking for the social data of several protesters.

Police arrested more than 200 people during the inauguration protests, including journalists. Defense attorney Benjamin Carraway almost immediately filed a class-action lawsuit against D.C. and park police, alleging officers had corralled peaceful demonstrators and used chemicals in attempts to control them.

D.C. police said no one at the department could comment on the subpoena given the lawsuit. A Facebook representative said the company doesn’t “comment on individual requests,” though the company’s law enforcement guidelines might offer a glimpse of what’s ahead.
“A valid subpoena issued in connection with an official criminal investigation is required to compel the disclosure of basic subscriber records,” the guideline reads. Those records “may include: name, length of service, credit card information, email address(es), and a recent login/logout IP address(es), if available.”

Issuing a subpoena is a more direct way for police to try to get the social data of people they have their eye on, but law enforcement departments are often trying to obtain social data from protesters in one way or another. Officers ask Facebook to tap into messages sent on the social network as well as messages sent on WhatsApp, which Facebook owns. They have also used social media monitoring services such as Geofeedia, Media Sonar, Digital Stakeout and others to track the social accounts of protesters in real time.

This time, though, police swept up protesters in mass arrests and kept their phones. Many arrestees were charged with felony rioting, and police have reportedly mined their phones for whatever evidence they might obtain. What they can’t get with a phone in their hand, they’ll try to get from Facebook.

http://mashable.com/2017/02/06/dc-polic ... -protests/
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby Luther Blissett » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:38 pm

Via Jerky (the solution for implication #3, way down at the bottom, is of course in-person organizing. For those introverts out there, organize only with those who do believable in-person community organizing):

The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine
There’s a new automated propaganda machine driving global politics. How it works and what it will mean for the future of democracy.
By Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath
This piece was originally published at Scout.ai.

“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright.

Albright, an assistant professor and data scientist at Elon University, started digging into fake news sites after Donald Trump was elected president. Through extensive research and interviews with Albright and other key experts in the field, including Samuel Woolley, Head of Research at Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project, and Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at Kings College, it became clear to Scout that this phenomenon was about much more than just a few fake news stories. It was a piece of a much bigger and darker puzzle — a Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine being used to manipulate our opinions and behavior to advance specific political agendas.

By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign surge, shepherding him from the back of the GOP primary pack to the front.

The company is owned and controlled by conservative and alt-right interests that are also deeply entwined in the Trump administration. The Mercer family is both a major owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trump’s biggest donors. Steve Bannon, in addition to acting as Trump’s Chief Strategist and a member of the White House Security Council, is a Cambridge Analytica board member. Until recently, Analytica’s CTO was the acting CTO at the Republican National Convention.

Presumably because of its alliances, Analytica has declined to work on any democratic campaigns — at least in the U.S. It is, however, in final talks to help Trump manage public opinion around his presidential policies and to expand sales for the Trump Organization. Cambridge Analytica is now expanding aggressively into U.S. commercial markets and is also meeting with right-wing parties and governments in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Cambridge Analytica isn’t the only company that could pull this off — but it is the most powerful right now. Understanding Cambridge Analytica and the bigger AI Propaganda Machine is essential for anyone who wants to understand modern political power, build a movement, or keep from being manipulated. The Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine it represents has become the new prerequisite for political success in a world of polarization, isolation, trolls, and dark posts.

There’s been a wave of reporting on Cambridge Analytica itself and solid coverage of individual aspects of the machine — bots, fake news, microtargeting — but none so far (that we have seen) that portrays the intense collective power of these technologies or the frightening level of influence they’re likely to have on future elections.

In the past, political messaging and propaganda battles were arms races to weaponize narrative through new mediums — waged in print, on the radio, and on TV. This new wave has brought the world something exponentially more insidious — personalized, adaptive, and ultimately addictive propaganda. Silicon Valley spent the last ten years building platforms whose natural end state is digital addiction. In 2016, Trump and his allies hijacked them.

We have entered a new political age. At Scout, we believe that the future of constructive, civic dialogue and free and open elections depends on our ability to understand and anticipate it.

Welcome to the age of Weaponized AI Propaganda.
Part 1: Big Data Surveillance Meets Computational Psychology

Any company can aggregate and purchase big data, but Cambridge Analytica has developed a model to translate that data into a personality profile used to predict, then ultimately change your behavior. That model itself was developed by paying a Cambridge psychology professor to copy the groundbreaking original research of his colleague through questionable methods that violated Amazon’s Terms of Service. Based on its origins, Cambridge Analytica appears ready to capture and buy whatever data it needs to accomplish its ends.

In 2013, Dr. Michal Kosinski, then a PhD. candidate at the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center, released a groundbreaking study announcing a new model he and his colleagues had spent years developing. By correlating subjects’ Facebook Likes with their OCEAN scores — a standard-bearing personality questionnaire used by psychologists — the team was able to identify an individual’s gender, sexuality, political beliefs, and personality traits based only on what they had liked on Facebook.

According to Zurich’s Das Magazine, which profiled Kosinski in late 2016, “with a mere ten ‘likes’ as input his model could appraise a person’s character better than an average coworker. With seventy, it could ‘know’ a subject better than a friend; with 150 likes, better than their parents. With 300 likes, Kosinski’s machine could predict a subject’s behavior better than their partner. With even more likes it could exceed what a person thinks they know about themselves.”

Not long afterward, Kosinski was approached by Aleksandr Kogan, a fellow Cambridge professor in the psychology department, about licensing his model to SCL Elections, a company that claimed its specialty lay in manipulating elections. The offer would have meant a significant payout for Kosinki’s lab. Still, he declined, worried about the firm’s intentions and the downstream effects it could have.
It had taken Kosinski and his colleagues years to develop that model, but with his methods and findings now out in the world, there was little to stop SCL Elections from replicating them. It would seem they did just that.

According to a Guardian investigation, in early 2014, just a few months after Kosinski declined their offer, SCL partnered with Kogan instead. As a part of their relationship, Kogan paid Amazon Mechanical Turk workers $1 each to take the OCEAN quiz. There was just one catch: To take the quiz, users were required to provide access to all of their Facebook data. They were told the data would be used for research. The job was reported to Amazon for violating the platform’s Terms of Service. What many of the Turks likely didn’t realize: According to documents reviewed by The Guardian, “Kogan also captured the same data for each person’s unwitting friends.”

The data gathered from Kogan’s study went on to birth Cambridge Analytica, which spun out of SCL Elections soon after. The name, metaphorically at least, was a nod to Kogan’s work — and a dig at Kosinski.

But that early trove of user data was just the beginning — just the seed Analytica needed to build its own model for analyzing users personalities without having to rely on the lengthy OCEAN test.

After a successful proof of concept and backed by wealthy conservative investors, Analytica went on a data shopping spree for the ages, snapping up data about your shopping habits, land ownership, where you attend church, what stores you visit, what magazines you subscribe to — all of which is for sale from a range of data brokers and third party organizations selling information about you. Analytica aggregated this data with voter roles, publicly available online data — including Facebook likes — and put it all into its predictive personality model.

Nix likes to boast that Analytica’s personality model has allowed it to create a personality profile for every adult in the U.S. — 220 million of them, each with up to 5,000 data points. And those profiles are being continually updated and improved the more data you spew out online.

Albright also believes that your Facebook and Twitter posts are being collected and integrated back into Cambridge Analytica’s personality profiles. “Twitter and also Facebook are being used to collect a lot of responsive data because people are impassioned, they reply, they retweet, but they also include basically their entire argument and their entire background on this topic,” he explains.

Part 2: Automated Engagement Scripts that Prey on Your Emotions
Collecting massive quantities of data about voters’ personalities might seem unsettling, but it’s actually not what sets Cambridge Analytica apart. For Analytica and other companies like them, it’s what they do with that data that really matters.

“Your behavior is driven by your personality and actually the more you can understand about people’s personality as psychological drivers, the more you can actually start to really tap in to why and how they make their decisions,” Nix explained to Bloomberg’s Sasha Issenburg. “We call this behavioral microtargeting and this is really our secret sauce, if you like. This is what we’re bringing to America.”

Using those dossiers, or psychographic profiles as Analytica calls them, Cambridge Analytica not only identifies which voters are most likely to swing for their causes or candidates; they use that information to predict and then change their future behavior.

As Vice reported recently, Kosinski and a colleague are now working on a new set of research, yet to be published, that addresses the effectiveness of these methods. Their early findings: Using personality targeting, Facebook posts can attract up to 63 percent more clicks and 1,400 more conversions.

Scout reached out to Cambridge Analytica with a detailed list of questions about their communications tactics, but the company declined to answer any questions or to comment on any of their tactics.

But researchers across the technology and media ecosystem who have been following Cambridge Analytica’s political messaging activities have unearthed an expansive, adaptive online network that automates the manipulation of voters at a scale never before seen in political messaging.

“They [the Trump campaign] were using 40–50,000 different variants of ad every day that were continuously measuring responses and then adapting and evolving based on that response,” Martin Moore, director of Kings College’s Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, told The Guardian in early December. “It’s all done completely opaquely and they can spend as much money as they like on particular locations because you can focus on a five-mile radius.”

Where traditional pollsters might ask a person outright how they plan to vote, Analytica relies not on what they say but what they do, tracking their online movements and interests and serving up multivariate ads designed to change a person’s behavior by preying on individual personality traits.

“For example,” Nix wrote in an op-ed last year about Analytica’s work on the Cruz campaign, ”our issues model identified that there was a small pocket of voters in Iowa who felt strongly that citizens should be required by law to show photo ID at polling stations.”

“Leveraging our other data models, we were able to advise the campaign on how to approach this issue with specific individuals based on their unique profiles in order to use this relatively niche issue as a political pressure point to motivate them to go out and vote for Cruz. For people in the ‘Temperamental’ personality group, who tend to dislike commitment, messaging on the issue should take the line that showing your ID to vote is ‘as easy as buying a case of beer’. Whereas the right message for people in the ‘Stoic Traditionalist’ group, who have strongly held conventional views, is that showing your ID in order to vote is simply part of the privilege of living in a democracy.”

For Analytica, the feedback is instant and the response automated: Did this specific swing voter in Pennsylvania click on the ad attacking Clinton’s negligence over her email server? Yes? Serve her more content that emphasizes failures of personal responsibility. No? The automated script will try a different headline, perhaps one that plays on a different personality trait — say the voter’s tendency to be agreeable toward authority figures. Perhaps: “Top Intelligence Officials Agree: Clinton’s Emails Jeopardized National Security.”

Much of this is done through Facebook dark posts, which are only visible to those being targeted.

Based on users’ response to these posts, Cambridge Analytica was able to identify which of Trump’s messages were resonating and where. That information was also used to shape Trump’s campaign travel schedule. If 73 percent of targeted voters in Kent County, Mich. clicked on one of three articles about bringing back jobs? Schedule a Trump rally in Grand Rapids that focuses on economic recovery.

Political analysts in the Clinton campaign, who were basing their tactics on traditional polling methods, laughed when Trump scheduled campaign events in the so-called blue wall — a group of states that includes Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and has traditionally fallen to Democrats. But Cambridge Analytica saw they had an opening based on measured engagement with their Facebook posts. It was the small margins in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that won Trump the election.

Dark posts were also used to depress voter turnout among key groups of democratic voters. “In this election, dark posts were used to try to suppress the African-American vote,” wrote journalist and Open Society fellow McKenzie Funk in a New York Times editorial. “According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign sent ads reminding certain selected black voters of Hillary Clinton’s infamous ‘super predator’ line. It targeted Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood with messages about the Clinton Foundation’s troubles in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.’”

Because dark posts are only visible to the targeted users, there’s no way for anyone outside of Analytica or the Trump campaign to track the content of these ads. In this case, there was no SEC oversight, no public scrutiny of Trump’s attack ads. Just the rapid-eye-movement of millions of individual users scanning their Facebook feeds.

In the weeks leading up to a final vote, a campaign could launch a $10–100 million dark post campaign targeting just a few million voters in swing districts and no one would know. This may be where future ‘black-swan’ election upsets are born.

“These companies,” Moore says, “have found a way of transgressing 150 years of legislation that we’ve developed to make elections fair and open.”

Part 3: A Propaganda Network to Accelerate Ideas in Minutes
Meanwhile, surprised by the results of the 2016 presidential race, Albright started looking into the ‘fake news problem’. As a part of his research, Albright scraped 306 fake news sites to determine how exactly they were all connected to each other and the mainstream news ecosystem. What he found was unprecedented — a network of 23,000 pages and 1.3 million hyperlinks.

“The sites in the fake news and hyper-biased #MCM network,” Albright writes, “have a very small ‘node’ size — this means they are linking out heavily to mainstream media, social networks, and informational resources (most of which are in the ‘center’ of the network), but not many sites in their peer group are sending links back.”

These sites aren’t owned or operated by any one individual entity, he says, but together they have been able to game Search Engine Optimization, increasing the visibility of fake and biased news anytime someone Googles an election-related term online — Trump, Clinton, Jews, Muslims, abortion, Obamacare.

“This network,” Albright wrote in a post exploring his findings, “is triggered on-demand to spread false, hyper-biased, and politically-loaded information.”

Even more shocking to him though was that this network of fake news creates a powerful infrastructure for companies like Cambridge Analytica to track voters and refine their personality targeting models

“I scraped the trackers on these sites and I was absolutely dumbfounded. Every time someone likes one of these posts on Facebook or visits one of these websites, the scripts are then following you around the web. And this enables data-mining and influencing companies like Cambridge Analytica to precisely target individuals, to follow them around the web, and to send them highly personalised political messages.”

The web of fake and biased news that Albright uncovered created a propaganda wave that Cambridge Analytica could ride and then amplify. The more fake news that users engage with, the more addictive Analytica’s personality engagement algorithms can become.

Voter 35423 clicked on a fake story about Hillary’s sex-trafficking ring? Let’s get her to engage with more stories about Hillary’s supposed history of murder and sex trafficking.

The synergy between fake-content networks, automated message testing, and personality profiling will rapidly spread to other digital mediums. Albright’s most-recent research focuses on an artificial intelligence that automatically creates YouTube videos about news and current events. The AI, which reacts to trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, pairs images and subtitles with a computer generated voiceover. It spooled out nearly 80,000 videos through 19 different channels in just a few days.

Given its rapid development, the technology community needs to anticipate how AI propaganda will soon be used for emotional manipulation in mobile messaging, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Part 4: A Bot Gestapo to Police Public Debate
If fake news created the scaffolding for this new automated political propaganda machine, bots, or fake social media profiles, have become its foot soldiers — an army of political robots used to control conversations on social media and silence and intimidate journalists and others who might undermine their messaging.

Samuel Woolley, Director of Research at the University of Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project and a fellow at Google’s Jigsaw project, has dedicated his career to studying the role of bots in online political organizing — who creates them, how they’re used, and to what end.

Research by Woolley and his Oxford-based team in the lead-up to the 2016 election found that pro-Trump political messaging relied heavily on bots to spread fake news and discredit Hillary Clinton. By election day, Trump’s bots outnumbered hers, 5:1.

“The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election, most clearly with pro-Trump campaigners and programmers who carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day,” the study by Woolley’s team reported.

Woolley believes it’s likely that Cambridge Analytica was responsible for subcontracting the creation of those Trump bots, though he says he doesn’t have direct proof.

Still, if anyone outside of the Trump campaign is qualified to speculate about who created those bots, it would be Woolley. Led by Dr. Philip Howard, the team’s Principal Investigator, Woolley and his colleagues have been tracking the use of bots in political organizing since 2010. That’s when Howard, buried deep in research about the role Twitter played in the Arab Spring, first noticed thousands of bots coopting hashtags used by protesters.

Curious, he and his team began reaching out to hackers, botmakers, and political campaigns, getting to know them and trying to understand their work and motivations. Eventually, those creators would come to make up an informal network of nearly 100 informants that have kept Howard and his colleagues in the know about these bots over the last few years.

Before long, Howard and his team were getting the heads up about bot propaganda campaigns from the creators themselves. As more and more major international political figures began using botnets as just another tool in their campaigns, Howard, Woolley and the rest of their team studied the action unfolding.

The world these informants revealed is an international network of governments, consultancies (often with owners or top management just one degree away from official government actors), and individuals who build and maintain massive networks of bots to amplify the messages of political actors, spread messages counter to those of their opponents, and silence those whose views or ideas might threaten those same political actors.

“The Chinese, Iranian, and Russian, governments employ their own social-media experts and pay small amounts of money to large numbers of people to generate pro-government messages,” Howard and his coauthors wrote in a 2015 research paper about the use of bots in the Venezuelan election.

Depending on which of those three categories bot creators fall into — government, consultancy or individual — they’re just as likely to be motivated by political beliefs as they are the opportunity to auction off their networks of digital influence to the highest bidder.

Not all bots are created equal. The average, run-of-the-mill Twitter bot is literally a robot — often programmed to retweet specific accounts to help popularize specific ideas or viewpoints. They also frequently respond automatically to Twitter users who use certain keywords or hashtags — often with pre-written slurs, insults or threats.

High-end bots on the other hand are more analog, operated by real people. They assume fake identities with distinct personalities and their responses to other users online are specific, intended to change their opinions or those of their followers by attacking their viewpoints. They have online friends and followers. They’re also far less likely to be discovered — and their accounts deactivated — by Facebook or Twitter.

Working on their own, Woolley estimates, an individual could build and maintain up to 400 of these boutique Twitter bots; on Facebook, which he says is more effective at identifying and shutting down fake accounts, an individual could manage 10–20.

As a result, these high-quality botnets are often used for multiple political campaigns. During the Brexit referendum, the Oxford team watched as one network of bots, previously used to influence the conversation around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, was reactivated to fight for the Leave campaign. Individual profiles were updated to reflect the new debate, their personal taglines changed to ally with their new allegiances — and away they went.

Russia’s bot army has been the subject of particular scrutiny since a CIA special report revealed that Russia had been working to influence the election in Trump’s favor. Recently, reporter/comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Moscow to interview two paid Russian troll operators.

Clad in black ski masks to obscure their identities, the two talked with Bee about how and why they were using their accounts during the U.S. election. They told Bee that they pose as Americans online and target sites like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Washington Post, Facebook and Twitter. Their goal, they said, is to “piss off” other social media users, change their opinions, and silence their opponents.

Or, to put it in the words of Russian Troll #1, “when your opponent just … shut up.”

The Future of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine
The 2016 U.S. election is over, but the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine is just warming up. And while each of its components would be worrying on its own, together, they represent the arrival of a new era in political messaging — a steel wall between campaign winners and losers that can only be mounted by gathering more data, creating better personality analyses, rapid development of engagement AI, and hiring more trolls.

At the moment, Trump and Cambridge Analytica are lapping their opponents. The more data they gather about individuals, the more Analytica and, by extension, Trump’s presidency will benefit from the network effects of their work — and the harder it will become to counter or fight back against their messaging in the court of public opinion.

Each Tweet that echoes forth from the @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS accounts, announcing and defending the administration’s moves, is met with a chorus of protest and argument. But even that negative engagement becomes a valuable asset for the Trump administration because every impulsive tweet can be treated like a psychographic experiment.

Trump’s first few weeks in office may have seemed bumbling, but they represent a clear signal of what lies ahead for Trump’s presidency — an executive order designed to enrage and distract his opponents as he and Bannon move to strip power from the judicial branch, install Bannon himself on the National Security Council, and issues a series of unconstitutional gag orders to federal agencies.

Cambridge Analytica may be slated to secure more federal contracts and is likely about to begin managing White House digital communications for the rest of the Trump Administration. What new predictive-personality targeting becomes possible with potential access to data on U.S. voters from the IRS, Department of Homeland Security, or the NSA?

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Bannon said in 2013. We know that Steve Bannon subscribes to a theory of history where a messianic ‘Grey Warrior’ consolidates power and remakes the global order. Bolstered by the success of Brexit and the Trump victory, Breitbart (of which Bannon was Executive Chair until Trump’s election) and Cambridge Analytica (which Bannon sits on the board of) are now bringing fake news and automated propaganda to support far-right parties in at least Germany, France, Hungary, and India as well as parts of South America.

Never has such a radical, international political movement had the precision and power of this kind of propaganda technology. Whether or not leaders, engineers, designers, and investors in the technology community respond to this threat will shape major aspects of global politics for the foreseeable future.

The future of politics will not be a war of candidates or even cash on hand. And it’s not even about big data, as some have argued. Everyone will have access to big data — as Hillary did in the 2016 election.

From now on, the distinguishing factor between those who win elections and those who lose them will be how a candidate uses that data to refine their machine learning algorithms and automated engagement tactics. Elections in 2018 and 2020 won’t be a contest of ideas, but a battle of automated behavior change.

The fight for the future will be a proxy war of machine learning. It will be waged online, in secret, and with the unwitting help of all of you.
Anyone who wants to effect change needs to understand this new reality. It’s only by understanding this — and by building better automated engagement systems that amplify genuine human passion rather than manipulate it — that other candidates and causes around the globe will be able to compete.

Scout.ai is currently scenario planning the future of weaponized AI propaganda with our community of scientists, authors, and technologists. Here are some implications that preview that conversation. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, head to Scout.ai.

Implication #1: Public Sentiment Turns Into High-Frequency Trading

Thanks to stock-trading algorithms, large portions of public stock and commodity markets no longer resemble a human system and, some would argue, no longer serve their purpose as a signal of value. Instead they’re a battleground for high-frequency trading algorithms attempting to influence price or find nano-leverage in price position.

In the near future, we may see a similar process unfold in our public debates. Instead of battling press conferences and opinion articles, public opinion about companies and politicians may turn into multi-billion dollar battles between competing algorithms, each deployed to sway public sentiment. Stock trading algorithms already exist that analyze millions of Tweets and online posts in real-time and make trades in a matter of milliseconds based on changes in public sentiment. Algorithmic trading and ‘algorithmic public opinion’ are already connected. It’s likely they will continue to converge.

Implication #2: Personalized, Automated Propaganda That Adapts to Your Weaknesses
What if President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign didn’t just have the best political messaging, but 250 million algorithmic versions of their political message all updating in real-time, personalized to precisely fit the worldview and attack the insecurities of their targets? Instead of having to deal with misleading politicians, we may soon witness a Cambrian explosion of pathologically-lying political and corporate bots that constantly improve at manipulating us.

Implication #3: Not Just a Bubble, But Trapped in Your Own Ideological Matrix
Imagine that in 2020 you found out that your favorite politics page or group on Facebook didn’t actually have any other human members, but was filled with dozens or hundreds of bots that made you feel at home and your opinions validated? Is it possible that you might never find out?
The Rich and the Corporate remain in their hundred-year fever visions of Bolsheviks taking their stuff - JackRiddler
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby Jerky » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:33 am

Heya Luther! Thanks for the shout-out, bud!

yer old pal Jerky
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:50 pm

That article has since been cross-posted on at least two other threads here, but I think it was missed on this one.
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby dada » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:37 am

The fight for the future will be a proxy war of machine learning. It will be waged online, in secret, and with the unwitting help of all of you.
Anyone who wants to effect change needs to understand this new reality. It’s only by understanding this — and by building better automated engagement systems that amplify genuine human passion rather than manipulate it — that other candidates and causes around the globe will be able to compete.


"Better automated engagement systems that amplify genuine human passion." So like an artificial intelligentsia. Go, robot vanguard, educate the lumpen-consumertariat!

Sure, go ahead, you have every right. After all, this is your technocracy.

It's a numbers game you're playing. You want to manipulate -oh, sorry, unmanipulate, right - more key consumers than the other team. Beat them at their own game. Head-to-head competitive Lemmings. Personally, it sounds to me like a recipe for mutually assured destruction. Maybe play a different game, instead.

No, wait, I see now. I just wasn't understanding this new reality. I apologize. I'll help. I'll even share the secret weapon. Write this down, it's important.

You ready? You can tell everything you need to know about a consumer's personality by how they eat an oreo cookie. You're welcome.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:43 pm

AMERIKKKA'S CONTEMPORARY GLOBAL EXPORT: ONLINE TROLLING

Image

Election season is nearing between two continents and corporate surveillance firms actively operating on Facebook on behalf of clients such as the Mercer networks (of Cambridge Analytica fame and similar) have once again unleashed their troll armies of far-right attack dogs all over the place. Just note that these trolls are not independent operators. They are hirelings connected to an industry which mainly operates out of the US east coast: an industry specializing in online harassment which Facebook corporation actively facilitates and profits from. Around this time last year, Rowan Farrow blew the lid off of the existence of this industry on the pages of the New Yorker in relation to the Harvey Weinstein scandal https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-des ... y-of-spies. Since then a lot more information has come to light about how this industry works and who is involved. But this outfit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Cube; and its assorted subsidiaries are right in the middle of it.

Now, this industry would not even exist were it not for the toxic culture that props it all up. This toxic culture is not Russian nor African nor of MENA nor Asian nor South American. This toxic culture of online trolling is a thoroughly Anglo-American phenomenon (the emphasis being on 'American'). The very existence of this North American online troll and bullying industry -- an industry which takes all of its cues from the far-right, and in many ways is as American as mom and apple pie -- in itself underscores the decaying rot and out of control white supremacy at the heart of this Anglo-American society that is daily grinding this planet more and more into the ground due to the collective psychoses (or, rather, collective demonic possession) which this troll industry is merely one of many malevolent symptoms of.

Be that as it may, one of the interesting elements of this industry is the variety of corporate actors involved who hire such firms. Not all clients are overtly political organizations or actors. There are countless organizations involved who one would usually not suspect of being connected to an industry primarily responsible for pushing the far-right agenda. So Goldman Sachs, Lockhead-Martin, Raytheon or GM are not its only clients, let alone the networks of Aleksandr Dugin, David Duke, Alex Jones and similar. There are also many smaller companies who hire such private surveillance firms to bully their competition or otherwise obtain information about them. Most of the bigger alt-media groups (like Breitbart) are known to hire these entities for their own purposes. But there are also quite a few cashed up non-profits involved as well (like the Haifan Baha'i organization, for example) who also employ the services of such dubious entities.

So this is where we are at, a society where public harassment has been made into a lucrative for profit multi-million dollar industry. This industry didn't begin with Trump nor will it probably end with him. Apparently, this North American trolling and harassment industry has been thriving since the late 1990s of the last century. Nevertheless this is what Neoliberalism has mutated into and why, among infinite other reasons, it must be stopped and why its parasitic actors, great and small, must be brought to book.


http://wahidazal.blogspot.com/2018/09/a ... xport.html
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Re: Infiltration & Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless

Postby American Dream » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:17 am

POV

The Feeling of Being Watched
Season 32 Episode 13 | 1h 23m 4s

In the Chicago suburb where journalist Assia Boundaoui grew up, most residents in her Muslim immigrant neighborhood believe they are under surveillance. Assia investigates and uncovers FBI documents about "Operation Vulgar Betrayal," one of the largest pre-9/11 counterterrorism probes conducted on domestic soil, right in Assia's hometown.



View: https://www.pbs.org/video/the-feeling-o ... ed-uwzr1f/
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