Congress Votes to Free Up Big Business To Spy on You and Sell Your Most Private Data To Anyone Without Your Consent

by Scott Creighton

The “internet of everything” is big business. It’s big business, big opportunity and big control. It’s Big Brother. Today’s news exposes something awful. Not only are our congress-critters allowing for Big Business to turn everything you consider private into a commodity, but the fact is… THEY ALREADY DO IT.

Organizations like EFF are busy sending out mailers asking for donations so they can fight “the dismantling of broadband privacy” rules created back during the last moments of the Obama administration. Seems like a noble fight, doesn’t it? Accept, you never had those protections in the first place. Not during the Obama administration anyway.

The FCC’s rule titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services,” 81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (PDF), was put in place after a long fight on Dec. 2nd, 2016. It was set to go into effect on Dec. 4, 2017… long after the Trumpster was elected and his corrupt gaggle of neoliberal destroyers he calls his “administration” had plenty of time to undo the rule. A year in fact.

“The FCC rules were put in place in 2016 to prevent consumers’ private and sensitive information automatically getting into the hands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon…. That rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 4, 2017.” RT

That RT evaluation of the rule is a bit misleading. It prevented these companies from monitizing your very personal information, not from collecting it. And it only prevented them from selling your most personal information IF YOU TOLD THEM THEY COULDN’T.

They have been collecting it since the USA Freedom Act and CISA went into effect. This rule was ONLY set to make sure customers had a choice to opt-out of the monitization part, essentially keeping Big Telecom from turning more of a profit on the data (more meaning, they are already paid by the government to collect and store said information for the purposes of “national security”)

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The Glorious Free Market to TRUMP Net Neutrality: Trump Picks Ajit Pai to Head FCC

(Oh. Did they fail to mention Pai was appointed to the board in 2012 by the fake progressive president, Barack Obama? Pai wrote a letter when Trump was elected stating he hoped that they could revisit Net Neutrality as soon as possible. Pai “voted against orders lowering the cost of cable boxes, advancing municipal broadband, lowering rates for prison phone calls, restricting data collection by ISPs, and so on.”)

“Pai vehemently objected to the FCC’s landmark Open Internet Order from February last year; his epic 67-page dissent statement takes issue with practically every aspect of it..” Tech Crunch

from LA Times

President Trump on Monday  designated Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission and an outspoken opponent of new net neutrality rules (and former Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc), to be the agency’s new chairman.

Pai, 44, would take over for Tom Wheeler, a Democrat who stepped down on Friday. Wheeler’s term had not expired but Trump gets to designate a new chairman as Republicans gain the FCC majority.

“I look forward to working with the new administration, my colleagues at the commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans,” Pai said.

A telecommunications lawyer who has served on the FCC since May 2012, Pai is a free-market advocate who has been sharply critical of new regulations adopted by Democrats in recent years.

[read more here]

Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide

by Rick Falkvinge

Today December 1, the United States FBI is granted new powers to intrude into any computer anywhere on the globe, instantly changing the FBI from a random law enforcement agency to a global adversary. Law enforcement agencies are expected to be met with open arms and treated as good guys. There’s not going to be any good guy treatment of the FBI here, and for good reason.

The U.S. FBI has been sort of a random law enforcement agency somewhere on the planet doing physical law enforcement work, kind of like the Bundespolizei in Germany would appear to an American, or the way the Policía Federal Argentina would appear to a European. Today, the FBI becomes a global adversary and enemy to every security-conscious computer user and to every IT security professional, similar to how the mass surveillance agencies are treated. The FBI has requested, and been granted, the lawful power (in the US) to intrude into any computer in the entire world. In 95% of the world, this makes the FBI no different from a Russian or Chinese criminal intruder, and it will be treated in the same way by people defending their systems; defending their homes.

This has happened under the boring legislative name of “changes to Rule 41”, and is (as always!) presented as nothing of particular interest. This is an old trick: when you want sweeping broad new powers without accountability, don’t call it “sweeping broad new power without accountability”, but cloud it in a name so boring it will interest absolutely nobody. (This lawmaker trick was skillfully observed by John Oliver, who said we shouldn’t call the peer-to-peerness of the Internet a boring term like “net neutrality”, but the more to-the-point “preventing cable company fuckery”.)

These “changes to Rule 41” put a lot of people in the FBI’s crosshairs. As usual, most people think new powers for law enforcement can only target criminals – as in actual, violent criminals. This would be the reasonable course of action, but not so in this case, not so at all. Techdirt points out that anybody using encryption, or anybody trying to hide their identity or location, can be presumed to be engaged in crime (having a “guilty mind”, or mens rea in Legalese Latin) and therefore be a valid target.

[read more here]

Aaron Swartz Rolls Over in his Grave as We Ignore the Rise of the Privatized Surveillance State (and even pay for it)

by Scott Creighton

What was everyone concerned about back then? That the NSA would track our every move, record all of our calls and spy on us even in the sanctity of our own homes, right?Remember those days?

While that fight was going on, that was the biggest thing in the world. Our constitutional right to be secure in our persons and property was under siege from the big bad GUBMINT and we just had to do something.

That particular “crisis” was created by a CIA employee by the fake name of “Edward Snowden” and his PR team headed up by Glenn Greenwald. It’s what I called the ‘Manufactured Hero” story.

The whole thing was a scam from the very beginning and a few of us out here called it out for what it was immediately. We were called the “Snowden Truthers” and soundly attacked from all sides.

The truth of the matter was, Big Business was licking it’s chops at the prospect of getting CISPA passed through congress in the years before the “Snowden” psyop but they were thwarted by a concerted effort from a lot of online activists who understood that the overall plan was to privatize the surveillance state so they could profit from that aspect of the info they collected and also profit from the selling of that data they harvested.

Aaron Swartz almost single-handedly stopped CISPA the first time around, so they made sure he wasn’t around for their final effort. They “found” him hanging in his closet in New York exactly three months prior to Greenwald’s “Snowden” revelation and just two months prior to a number of Big Business representatives going to congress and demanding they pass CISPA in the new congress.

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Facebook using people’s phones to listen in on what they’re saying, suggests professor

(Oh yeah, it’s a good thing the 12 guys at the NSA don’t have access to your personal communications. Now it’s only Facebook, Google, Progressive, Samsung, General Motors, X-Box, Microsoft, any security system provider you have at your home or Arnold Schwarzenegger and his cell phone app can listen in to your conversations whenever they want. And that’s much better, right? So thank you “Edward Snowden” and Glen Greenwald for all that wonderful work you did.)

from the Independent

Facebook could be listening in on people’s conversations all of the time, an expert has claimed.

The app might be using people’s phones to gather data on what they are talking about, it has been claimed.

Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it. 

The feature has been available for a couple of years, but recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, have drawn attention to it.

Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.

[read more here]

FCC Defends Their Super Secret Process on Open Internet Order – Can’t Release Document Yet B/C They’re Still Writing It

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: A White House-backed bill would give the corporate elite control over how our data is collected and used.

According to the FCC, public agencies in service to the people in democratic systems like ours work best in total secrecy. That from an agency run by Thomas Wheeler, a former cable and telecom lobbyist who now claims to be fighting for our internet freedoms.

Over a week ago, the FCC voted for their “open internet order” after a rough draft of the plan was handed down from the White House. Yes, that’s the same White House that is looking for fast-track authority to push through the TPP and the TTIP. The same White House that had insurance and healthcare companies write the Affordable Care Act.

For three weeks prior to the vote, not one of the five FCC commissioners bothered to leak the 317 page document so the people who would be most directly effected by the plan could read it and understand what was actually in it.

The FCC opened up their website in order to allow comments from the public on the subject of the order, but of course, having never seen the order, none of the 4 million or so comments could have possibly addressed the plan accurately.

Freedom of Information Act requests have apparently been filed by various citizens, all of which have been rejected from my understanding of what the FCC’s website says. They apparently believe it is not in the public’s interest to have access to the closed door discussions between the commissioners regarding this “open internet order”

The confidentiality of the Commissioners’ internal deliberations is a critical part of the process, long recognized by the law. So, for example, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – an additional congressional command – contains a statutory exemption protecting the internal deliberative processes of an agency

… In other words, allowing the Commission to engage in frank, non-public discussions improves the decision-making process, just as receiving public comments boosts the Commission’s expertise. FCC website

Let’s unpack that one a bit.

Keeping secret the discussion about rules they are making to our internet which will effect our lives and how we understand the world around us, is in our best interest and “improves their decision making abilities” while opening up their website for uninformed comments from the rabble “boosts the Commission’s expertise”?

Is anyone else even slightly concerned about the ridiculous nature of those statements? If not, hang on. It gets worse.

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Key Provisions and Rules of the FCC’s Open Internet Order

UPDATE: see updates at end of excerpt

——

(the following excepts come from the FCC’s website. I am still trying to find the 317 page document)

New Rules to Protect an Open Internet While the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules had limited applicability to mobile broadband, the new rules— in their entirety—would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, recognizing advances in technology and the growing significance of wireless broadband access in recent years (while recognizing the importance of reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed Wi- Fi networks). The Order protects consumers no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop computer or a mobile device.

Bright Line Rules: The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet:

  1. No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  2. No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  3. No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.

The bright-line rules against blocking and throttling will prohibit harmful practices that target specific applications or classes of applications. And the ban on paid prioritization ensures that there will be no fast lanes.

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