Category Archives: Big Brother

Time to Break Up the Big Four

Back in July, in this space, I warned about the dangers of the emerging tech monopolies, principally the weaponizing of Amazon via its ownership of the Washington Post.

In the background, but very much part of the conversation, is Amazon’s engorgement on the  The Washington Post company, a once-honored (Watergate!) news organization that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos essentially bought for parts — the main part being the still-influential newspaper in the Imperial City of Washington, D.C. This isn’t so much of a financial investment as a form of protection money — although  Bezos had the chutzpah recently to whine about the deleterious effect of Google and Facebook on print’s advertising base, and to make a pitch to the U.S. government for anti-trust protection.

Needless to say, a lot of readers begged to differ, citing the big, big savings and ease of shopping Amazon provides. At the same time, however, Amazon is keeping tabs on you, monitoring your purchases, pushing other products on you and, in the form of the hideous Alexa, listening in on you while you sleep. Throw in the electronic snooping of Facebook, Google and your iPhone, and we’re heading for an Orwellian nightmare the shape of which is just now becoming apparent, even on the Left…

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What’s the problem with French newspapers getting hundreds of millions in state handouts?

French newspapers and magazines continue to be handed hundreds of millions of euros in state subsidies each year, despite being owned by billionaires. This largesse is supposed to boost democracy, but its critics argue that it leads to a submissive media, writes Rory Mulholland.

There are few issues on which France’s far-right Front National agrees with the radical left-wing journalist Edwy Plenel – former editor of Le Monde and current boss of the crusading investigative website Mediapart.

But one is the question of the enormous amount of money – sometimes topping the billion-euro mark – the French state hands out every year to the country’s newspapers and magazines.

Both the Front National and Plenel staunchly oppose these subsidies, and both have campaigned for them to be stopped.

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Minnesota filmmakers to appeals court: Don’t allow govt to control our stories

From CBA Online:

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a pair of Minnesota filmmakers filed their opening brief on appeal in a lawsuit challenging a state law that allows the government to control the stories they tell. The law allows Minnesota to punish Carl and Angel Larsen and the company they own, Telescope Media Group, with fines and jail time if they create wedding films consistent with their faith while declining to create wedding films promoting contrary views.

From Alliance Defending Freedom:

ST. LOUIS – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a pair of Minnesota filmmakers filed their opening brief on appeal Friday in a lawsuit challenging a state law that allows the government to control the stories they tell. The law allows Minnesota to punish the Larsens with fines and jail time if they create wedding films consistent with their faith while declining to create wedding films promoting contrary views.

Carl and Angel Larsen and the company they own, Telescope Media Group, asked a federal district court for an injunction that would suspend enforcement of the law against them while their case proceeds. The court denied that request and instead ruled in favor of the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which means the Larsens have to continue censoring their own speech about marriage to avoid violating the law. The Larsens then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and are asking it to reinstate their lawsuit. More.

Reality check: Christians who vote for progressive government, in the United States or Canada, will certainly get more of it.

See also: News of CBC shaming large families reaches the States Reality check: How can I tell Brandon Morse that Canadians are generally so supine that large families vote Liberal and continue to fund the CBC that promotes shaming them?

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Can you hear me now?: NSA can find & track people with ‘voice-matching technology’

Declassified documents reveal the National Security Agency has been using secret “speaker recognition” technology to identify people by their unique “voiceprint” for more than a decade.

The NSA has been recording and gathering private phone calls for years, but it used to be difficult for the agency to identify unknown speakers. In the past, signals intelligence (SIGINT) transcribers worked on the same targets for years before they became familiar enough with a speaker’s unique voice to be able to verify their identity.

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Appeals court rules against Oregon bakers fined $135K in gay-wedding cake dispute

An appeals court ruled Thursday against the Oregon bakers who were fined $135,000 for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

In its decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld an administrative law judge’s ruling that Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, violated a public accommodations law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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Big Brother is watching? New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not tagged

The world’s largest social network has just rolled out a new feature of its facial recognition technology that will notify users when someone has uploaded a photo of them even if they haven’t been tagged in it on Facebook.

The new feature sprang into action Tuesday. Facebook says it will “help people better manage their identity” on the platform “using face recognition.” Though not all of the network’s over 2 billion users will be able to avail of the new feature as those in the European Union and Canada are excluded due to privacy laws which prohibit Facebook’s use of facial recognition.

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EFF wants information about government tattoo recognition technology

EFF says that this secretive program involves a coalition of government, academia, and private industry working to develop a series of algorithms that would rapidly detect tattoos, identify people via their tattoos, and match people with others who have similar body art—as well as flagging tattoos believed to be connected to religious and ethnic symbols. “This type of surveillance raises profound religious, speech, and privacy concerns,” EFF said. “Moreover, the limited information that EFF has been able to obtain about the program has already revealed a range of potentially unethical behavior, including conducting research on prisoners without approval, adequate oversight, or safeguards.”

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British public would accept three-minute social media delay to tackle extremist content

In an extensive survey on the future of technology, Demos asked their 2,003 respondents how long of a delay – if any -they would be prepared to put up with between pressing “send” and their post appearing online if it meant technology companies such as Twitter and Facebook were able to better police the content uploaded to their sites.

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Vape shops fuming over Ontario’s proposed restrictions

People who sell e-cigarettes in Ontario are trying to dissuade the Liberal government from imposing new restrictions on how vape shops can market their products.

The proposed law would regulate vaping in the province in virtually the same way as smoking, with stiff restrictions on where e-cigarettes can be used and how the products can be displayed and sold.

Get this f*%$ing government out of our lives.

Vape Model demonstrates that vaping is good.

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Germany’s new facial recognition technology reminiscent of Cold War surveillance for some

Commuters battling rush-hour crowds and a busy schedule might easily miss the notification signs as they run for their trains at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station — the ones above the station entrance and on the ground warning that you are about to enter a facial-recognition zone.

In other words: Smile, you’re on candid camera.

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Drudge, Facebook, NYT readers could face libel suits for sharing ‘fake news’

In a broad proposal that adds threatening libel suits to regulatory plans already pushed by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, ex-chair Ann Ravel believes that there is support for expanded regulation in the wake of reports foreign governments spent $100,000 on 2016 political ads on Facebook.

She would include “fake news,” not just paid ads, to be regulated, though it’s never defined other than the Democrat’s description of “disinformation.” And anybody who shares or retweets it could face a libel suit.

h/t Marvin

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