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A black box in your car? Some see a source of tax revenue

October 27, 2013 1 comment

“As America’s road planners struggle to find the cash to mend a crumbling highway system, many are beginning to see a solution in a little black box that fits neatly by the dashboard of your car.

The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America’s major roads.

The usually dull arena of highway planning has suddenly spawned intense debate and colorful alliances. Libertarians have joined environmental groups in lobbying to allow government to use the little boxes to keep track of the miles you drive, and possibly where you drive them — then use the information to draw up a tax bill.”

Via LA Times

ObamaCare Navigators Won’t Have to Pass Background Checks Before Collecting Your Formerly Private Information for Federal Data Hub

September 26, 2013 1 comment

“One of ObamaCare’s many alarming aspects is the collection of your financial, medical, and other personal data for the Federal Data Hub. This will render the concept of private information obsolete as part of America’s promised “fundamental transformation.” Data for the Federal Data Hub will be collected by drones now being hired by the increasingly malevolent Department of Health and Human Services. They will be paid as much as $48 per hour with money expropriated from you. That is good pay in Obama’s moribund economy, especially considering that these drones (or “navigators”) don’t even need to have a high school education — or pass background checks.”

Via Moon Battery

CFPB’s data-mining on consumer credit cards challenged in heated House hearing

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials are seeking to monitor four out of every five U.S. consumer credit card transactions this year — up to 42 billion transactions – through a controversial data-mining program, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

A CFPB strategic planning document for fiscal years 2013-17 describes the “markets monitoring” program through which officials aim to monitor 80 percent of all credit card transactions in 2013.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1.16 billion consumer credit cards were in use in 2012 for an estimated 52.6 billion transactions. If CFPB officials reach their stated “performance goal,” they would collect data on 42 billion transactions made with 933 million credit cards used by American consumers.

In addition, CFPB officials hope to monitor up to 95 percent of all mortgage transactions, according to the planning document.

“This is one step closer to a Big Brother form of government where they know everything about us,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.”

Via Washington Examiner

E-ZPasses Get Read All Over New York (Not Just At Toll Booths)

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

“After spotting a police car with two huge boxes on its trunk — that turned out to be license-plate-reading cameras — a man in New Jersey became obsessed with the loss of privacy for vehicles on American roads. (He’s not the only one.) The man, who goes by the Internet handle “Puking Monkey,” did an analysis of the many ways his car could be tracked and stumbled upon something rather interesting: his E-ZPass, which he obtained for the purpose of paying tolls, was being used to track his car in unexpected places, far away from any toll booths.

Puking Monkey is an electronics tinkerer, so he hacked his RFID-enabled E-ZPass to set off a light and a “moo cow” every time it was being read. Then he drove around New York. His tag got milked multiple times on the short drive from Times Square to Madison Square Garden in mid-town Manhattan…”

Via Forbes

obama defends NSA’s surveillance

“President Obama on Wednesday defended the National Security Agency’s surveillance at home, responding to a question from a reporter in Sweden, where the public has voiced concerns about the program.

“I can give assurances to the publics in Europe and around the world that we’re not going around snooping at people’s e-mails or listening to their phone calls,” he said at a press conference in Stockholm. “What we try to do is target very specifically areas of concern.”

Constant scrutiny of surveillance programs is a key piece of making them work, he said. “There are a lot of checks and balances in place to avoid a surveillance state.” Moving forward, though, there may be a need

Moving forward, there may be a need for tighter restrictions in U.S. law, Obama said. “As technology advances and capabilities grow, it may be that the laws that are in place are not sufficient.””

Via Politico

DHS developing facial-scanning technology for police

“The Department of Homeland Security is testing surveillance technology that could someday allow law enforcement to scan crowds with video cameras and ID people by their faces — in another advancement that could raise major privacy concerns.

The department acknowledged Wednesday that testing is still in the works, and claimed it is “not ready for deployment,” following a report in The New York Times about progress being made in the facial-scanning push.

The department for years has faced challenges to its screening procedures at U.S. airports, which have been criticized as invasive. Intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency are separately trying to assure the public that their surveillance of Internet activity and phone calls respects privacy rights as well. The prospect of numerous law enforcement agencies having access to a facial-screening system is raising a new set of privacy questions.

But a DHS official told Fox News that any emerging technologies “sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections.” “

Via Fox News

Kucinich: Do Away with the NSA!

August 21, 2013 1 comment

How The NSA Scours 75% Of The Nation’s Internet Traffic – In One Chart

“The NSA – which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens – has, according to the Wall Street Journal, built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic. The NSA’s filtering, carried out with telecom companies, is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But the WSJ reports that officials say the system’s broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones. Details of these surveillance programs were gathered from interviews with current and former intelligence and government officials and people from companies that help build or operate the systems, or provide data. Most have direct knowledge of the work. Here is how the system operates…”

Via Zero Hedge

They Are Systematically Destroying Our Independence And Making Us All Serfs Of The State

“The percentage of Americans that are economically independent has dropped to a stunningly low level. In order to be economically independent, you have got to be able to take care of yourself without any assistance from anyone else. Unless you are independently wealthy, that means that you either have your own business or you have a full-time job. Unfortunately, as you will see below, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at an all-time record low and the percentage of Americans with a full-time job has declined to a level not seen in about 30 years. As a result, more Americans than ever find themselves forced to turn to the government for assistance. When you add it all up, about half of all Americans get money from the government each month these days. And yes, there will always be poor people that cannot take care of themselves that need help, but when you have more than half of the population dependent on the government that is a major problem. You see, the truth is that our independence is systematically being taken away from us and we are steadily being made serfs of the state. And once you become a serf of the state, it is very hard to resist anything the government is doing in a meaningful way. After all, the money that you are getting from the government is enabling you to survive. In essence, your allegiance has been at least partially purchased and you may not even realize it.”

Via The Economic Collapse Blog

Proposed new federal rule could put ‘big brother’ in your driver’s seat

August 13, 2013 1 comment

“A proposed federal rule that would require black boxes or event data recorders (EDRs) in every U.S. automobile may mean “Big Brother” could be in your passenger seat for every drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rule requires all light passenger vehicles be equipped with an EDR by Sep.1, 2014. Ninety-six percent of new cars already have them — measuring such inputs as speed, lateral acceleration, pedal effort, seat belt use, wheel spin, steering wheel turn and direction.

They only record information in the brief period before and after a crash. But black box data retrieved from U.S. car accidents in a single day would provide more information than a year’s worth of crash testing, says Tom Kowalick, who heads the design team that is standardizing the devices for automakers worldwide.

But he also said he fears that for all their potential good, the EDRs present a massive privacy dilemma, and an opportunity for fraudsters.”

Via Fox News

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