EPIC, Coalition Urge End to DC-Area Facial Recognition System

facial recognition surveillance

EPIC, Coalition Urge End to DC-Area Facial Recognition System

In a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, an EPIC-led coalition of privacy, civil liberties, and good government groups urged the Council to end the National Capital Region Facial Recognition System (NCR-FRILS) project and disclose all documents associated with it. In a Washington Post article covering the coalition letter, EPIC Senior Counsel, Jeramie Scott, argued that “facial recognition is a particularly invasive surveillance technology that undermines democracy and First Amendment rights.” NCR-FRILS is a facial recognition system used by police departments and government agencies in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. The system runs comparisons against a database of 1.4 million local mug shots. The project was never publicly announced and was only revealed during the prosecution of a Black Lives Matter protester last fall. EPIC previously submitted a series of open government requests to police departments in the DC-area seeking more information on the system.

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EPIC v. Drone Advisory Committee: Divided Appeals Court Endorses Secrecy of Key Working Groups

drone privacy

EPIC v. Drone Advisory Committee: Divided Appeals Court Endorses Secrecy of Key Working Groups

A divided panel of the D.C. Circuit, ruling today in EPIC’s case against the FAA Drone Advisory Committee, held that the committee can keep the records of its controversial working groups secret. EPIC filed suit in 2018 against the industry-dominated body, which ignored the privacy risks posed by the deployment of drones even after identifying privacy as a top public concern. As a result of EPIC’s lawsuit, the committee was forced to disclose hundreds of pages of records under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. But a lower court ruled in 2019 that the records from the committee’s working groups could be withheld from the public—a decision that the D.C. Circuit affirmed today. Judge Robert L. Wilkins, writing in dissent, accused the majority of “doing violence to the text” of the FACA and argued that the decision “undermines FACA’s purpose and greenlights an easily abusable system[.]” Noting the “obvious privacy concerns that drones present” and the fact that the DAC was “stacked with industry representatives,” Wilkins warned that “[w]e should look with suspicion upon agency efforts to circumvent FACA by using subgroups.” The case is EPIC v. Drone Advisory Committee, No. 19-5238 (D.C. Cir.).

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Massachusetts AG Presses Pharmacies About Collection and Use of Vaccine Patient Data

COVID-19 medical record privacy

Massachusetts AG Presses Pharmacies About Collection and Use of Vaccine Patient Data

The Massachusetts Attorney General, following up on a letter from EPIC and a coalition of civil society groups, wrote to major pharmacies today seeking details about their collection and use of personal data from COVID-19 vaccine recipients. The federal government is coordinating with retail pharmacies to facilitate vaccine distribution. But as EPIC and coalition partners warned last month, some pharmacies “are requiring patients seeking access to the vaccine to register through their existing customer portals, which in turn exposes patients to broad personal data collection and marketing.” The Massachusetts AG letter calls on pharmacies to explain what personal data they collect from vaccine patients, what disclosures they make, whether the pharmacies will use the data for commercial purposes, and whether the data is being stored separately from general customer information. “[A]ccess to life-saving vaccines should not be conditioned on a consumer’s consent to provide personal data not necessary for the vaccination administration,” the AG’s letter explains. “Nor can consent to such data collection or marketing be presumed based on a consumer’s desire to obtain a vaccination.” The CDC recently issued a directive prohibiting health providers “from using any data gathered in the course of their participation in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, including any Protected Health Information or other Personally Identifiable Information, for commercial marketing purposes.” EPIC and coalition partners also asked officials in California, Illinois, New York, and the District of Columbia to investigate and prevent pharmacies from putting vaccine patient data to commercial use.

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EPIC, Coalition Urge Spotify to Abandon Speech-Recognition Technology

EPIC, Coalition Urge Spotify to Abandon Speech-Recognition Technology

In a letter to Spotify, EPIC and a coalition of over 100 recording artists, 69 non-profit organizations, and 10 prominent individuals urged the streaming service to publicly commit not to explore a newly-patented voice-recognition feature. Spotify’s new patent would allow the company to identify individuals’ “emotional state, gender, age, or accent” to recommend music. The coalition letter identified major concerns with the potential technology including emotional manipulation, discrimination, massive privacy violations, and increased inequality within the music industry. Spotify recently stated that the company has not implemented the technology, and claims to have “no plans” to do so. EPIC leads a campaign to Ban Face Surveillance and through the Public Voice Coalition gathered support from over 100 organizations and experts from more than 30 countries.

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Controlling All Money Is Necessary in Order for the Ruling Class to Dominate the World

By: Gary D. Barnett

“The Federal Reserve System is not Federal; it has no reserves; and it is not a system at all, but rather, a criminal syndicate.”

~ Eustace Mullins

Money has been said to be the root of all evil, but that is not exactly correct. The root of all evil lies in the hearts of men, and those that control the money and monetary systems are able to control humanity, and in the process create and perpetuate evil. Money itself is like any other useful tool or commodity in that it allows for trade, commerce, and wealth to prosper. Money is normally only used for evil and immoral purposes when rulers and governments, state criminals in other words, gain a monopoly on the issuance, taxation, and control of it, and use it to control others. This cannot happen in a truly free society, but then, free societies no longer exist.

When men succumb to criminal behavior in order to gain illegal wealth, whether in the private or ‘public’ sector, it is a felonious act, but when the most powerful seek to gain control over the entire monetary system, it is for the purpose of gaining total control over entire populations. This is what is happening now in this fake Covid fraud, which is leading to a reset and complete restructuring of all monetary systems. Make no mistake about it; this is about power and control, and it should be understood that without control over the money, control over the people is not possible. That is why this effort to digitize every transaction, eliminate cash, manipulate and possibly seize precious metals, and to control and regulate all crypto currencies, is so vital to the powerful criminal syndicate called the ruling class, and so devastating to the rest of society.

This all began with the Federal Reserve System, which has been a criminal organization since its inception, but has grown into something much worse. This private operation, its central banking partners, and the fractional reserve system, have caused all of the recessions, depressions, ups and downs, and extreme volatility in this country and beyond since the early part of the 20th century. This is a world banking system, and has become the head of the snake of world monetary policy. The U.S. government and governments around the world are now controlled by what has become a global banking cartel with the goal of global domination. In addition, governments that are controlled, the large fascist corporate sectors, including technology, medical and pharmaceutical, and world health organizations, all work together as partners in crime.

It is no secret that this crime syndicate called the central banking system, is actively pursuing a grand agenda of monetary consolidation never before seen in history, and with every part of government and its large corporate allies participating in this takeover, this is obviously a major attempt to finalize this coup in order to reshape the world so that all control will be held by the few…

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1868: U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson

On this day in 1868, the U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson and acquits him of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In February 1868, the House of Representatives charged Johnson with 11 articles of impeachment for vague “high crimes and misdemeanors”. (For comparison, in 1998, President Bill Clinton was charged with two articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice during an investigation into his inappropriate sexual behavior in the White House Oval Office. In 1974, Nixon faced three charges for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.) The main issue in Johnson’s trial was his staunch resistance to implementing Congress’ Civil War Reconstruction policies. The War Department was the federal agency responsible for carrying out Reconstruction programs in the war-ravaged southern states, and when Johnson fired the agency’s head, Edwin Stanton, Congress retaliated with calls for his impeachment. In more recent years the Democrat leadership of the U.S. Senate has used impeachment for political grandstanding, forcing votes even when they have no chance of a successful conviction.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 94 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. The photovoltaic power specialists at Quantum Harvest LLC  are providing a store-wide 10% off coupon. Depending on the model chosen, this could be worth more than $2000.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three-day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (a $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, that have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
  4. An Israeli…

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State AGs Push Back against Facebook’s Plan to Launch Instagram for Children

children COPPA facebook

State AGs Push Back against Facebook’s Plan to Launch Instagram for Children

More than 40 state attorneys general have sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg pressuring Facebook to drop its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children younger than 13. The Attorneys General, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, expressed bipartisan support to protect children’s privacy and their physical and mental health. The AGs raised concerns about Facebook’s history of privacy incidents, stating “Facebook has a record of failing to protect the safety and privacy of children on its platform, despite claims that its products have strict privacy controls[.]” The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood commented “If Facebook insists on plowing ahead, it’s the clearest sign yet that the company views itself as accountable to no one, even when it comes to the well-being of children, and must be regulated much more rigorously,” and lawmakers have similarly expressed concerns about children’s privacy issues with social media. EPIC signed on to a coalition letter by the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood that urged Zuckerberg to cancel plans to launch a version of Instagram for Children under 13.

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Irish High Court Orders DPC Move Forward in Facebook Investigation

FISA Facebook GDPR PRISM Schrems

Irish High Court Orders DPC Move Forward in Facebook Investigation

The Irish High Court today issued an order in a follow-on case to Irish Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook and Schrems (“Schrems II”) and, as a result, the investigation into Facebook’s U.S.-EU data transfers will move forward. The case arises from a complaint filed with the DPC in Ireland against Facebook by privacy activist Max Schrems in 2013 alleging that the company violated EU law when it transferred personal data to the U.S. (where the company is obliged to provide access to the government). The case has since been referred two separate times to the highest court in Europe (the CJEU), and has led to the invalidation of both the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Agreement and the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield Agreement. The CJEU in the Schrems II decision last year remanded the case to the Irish DPC to determine whether Facebook violated the law and whether it was necessary to block Facebook’s U.S.-EU data transfers. The DPC later issued a Preliminary Draft Decision to Facebook and laid out procedures for the inquiry. Both Facebook and Schrems challenged the DPC procedures. The DPC agreed in a settlement with Schrems that it would complete the investigation into his original complaint. The Irish High Court today rejected Facebook’s challenge to the DPC inquiry, and both the Schrems complaint and this new DPC inquiry against Facebook will move forward. EPIC participated as an amicus curiae in Schrems II, arguing that U.S. Surveillance law does not provide adequate privacy protections or remedies for non-U.S. persons abroad.

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EPIC Urges DHS Data Privacy Committee to Ensure Meaningful Oversight of Information Sharing Agreements

open government

EPIC Urges DHS Data Privacy Committee to Ensure Meaningful Oversight of Information Sharing Agreements

In comments to the DHS’s Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee (DPIAC), EPIC urged a comprehensive review of DHS’s Information Sharing Access Agreements (ISAAs) prioritizing the most sensitive types of data, information from marginalized groups, and agreements disclosing information to unreliable partners. EPIC’s comments respond to DPIAC’s tasking to provide guidance to the DHS Privacy Office after an OIG audit revealed that thousands of ISAAs had never been reviewed for compliance with privacy laws and regulations. EPIC previously urged DPIAC to undertake a comprehensive investigation of fusion centers for chronic privacy and civil liberties abuses.

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May 18th, 1825: birthday of Daniel Baird Wesson (of Smith and Wesson ).

May 18th, 1825 was the birthday of Daniel Baird Wesson (of Smith and Wesson fame).

On May 18th, 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted, causing a massive avalanche and killing 57 people. Ash from the volcanic eruption fell as far away as Minnesota.

Seismic activity at Mount St. Helens, which is 96 miles south of Seattle, began on March 16. A 4.2-magnitude tremor was recorded four days later and then, on March 23-24, there were 174 different recorded tremors. The first eruption occurred on March 27, when a 250-foot wide vent opened up on top of the mountain. Ash was blasted 10,000 feet in the air, some of which came down nearly 300 miles away in Spokane. The ash caused static electricity and lightning bolts.

Throughout April, scientists watched a bulge on the north side of Mount St. Helens grow larger and larger. Finally, on May 18 at 8:32 a.m., a sudden 5.1-magnitude earthquake and eruption rocked the mountain. The north side of the peak rippled and blasted out ash at 650 miles per hour. A cloud of ash, rocks, gas, and glacial ice roared down the side of the mountain at 100 mph. Fourteen miles of the Toutle River were buried up to 150 feet deep in the debris. Magma, at 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, flowed for miles. The 24-megaton blast demolished a 230-square-mile area around the mountain.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 94 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. The photovoltaic power specialists at Quantum Harvest LLC  are providing a store-wide 10% off coupon. Depending on the model chosen, this could be worth more than $2000.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three-day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (a $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes….

Source