Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Privacy

The Internet: Gutenberg Press 2.0

In a remarkable coalescence of time and circumstance, Michael Hart typed the Declaration of Independence into his computer on July 4th, 1971, Independence Day, and launched Project Gutenberg,

http://www.gutenberg.org/    Project Gutenberg

the world’s largest non-profit digital library available on the Internet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/michael-hart-a-pioneer-of-e-books-dies-at-64.html?_r=3&pagewanted=2   the world’s largest digital library

On his way home from a fireworks display, Hart stopped in at a grocery store and was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment. He typed the text into his computer, intending to send it as an email to his friends on Arpanet. A colleague persuaded him that his message would cause the system to crash and so Hart merely posted a note that the full text could be downloaded instead. And thus, according to the obituary noting his passing on September 6th, 2011 in the New York Times, “Project Gutenberg was born.”

http://www.gutenberg.org/   Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg, with more than 38,000 free eBooks available online, represents Hart’s goal to “encourage the creation and distribution of e-books to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” Even in its infancy Hart saw the potential, according to the Times, of “overturning all established power structures.” (emphasis added)

It is doubtful that Hart in 1971 had any idea of how the growth of the Internet would impact the world, just as the son of a cloth merchant in the small German town of Mainz, Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg   Gutenberg

would have any idea of how his invention of the moveable-type printing press in 1436 would impact his world. Not only is the Gutenberg press responsible for the printing revolution that spread across Europe and the world, it had enormous impact in the flowering of the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. It was responsible for the formation of the basis for the modern market economy, the development and spread of the concept of national sovereignty, and the revolution leading to the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the American republic.

Gutenberg’s first project was the printing of 180 copies of the Bible, each of which sold for much less than a handwritten Bible which could take a single scribe more than a year to complete. Within six years there were 1000 copies in print.

http://thedailybell.com/2645/Martin-Luther   there were 1000 copies in print

As his printing press was copied and spread throughout the continent,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_spread_of_the_printing_press   spread    through the continent

by the year 1500 one thousand printing presses were in operation and had already produced more than eight million books. By 1600 that number had grown more than twenty-fold to between 150 and 200 million. And the discovery and development of sea routes West (Christopher Columbus, 1492) and East (Vasco da Gama, 1498) greatly expanded the use of his printing press. By 1620 the impact of the Gutenberg press caused English philosopher Francis Bacon to remark that it “has changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world.” In America, Mark Twain wrote:

What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage…for the bad that this colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.

The press enabled friends of Martin Luther to distribute copies of his “95 Theses” across Germany within two weeks, all across Europe within two months, and within the year into France, England and Italy.

The challenge of the Reformation to the existing establishment led to The Thirty Years’ War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years’_War   Thirty Years’ War

which ended with the signing of a series of peace treaties summarized as the Peace of Westphalia, establishing vital concepts now taken for granted: sovereignty of states, right to self-determination, equality between states and the principle of non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty  vital concepts

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion was propelled by the Gutenberg miracle so that by 1560 the Scottish parliament had repudiated the Pope’s authority and approved in its stead the Protestant Confession of Faith. The Scottish Reformation reached America and influenced the American Revolution. Calvin’s influence was so great that Leopold von Ranke,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_von_Ranke  Leopold von Ranke

one of the profoundest scholars of the times, concluded that “John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.”

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)   Common Sense

rode not only the revolutionary discontent of the colonies but the increasingly common printing press to become, according to historian Gordon S. Wood, “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era.” First published anonymously in January, 1776, the 48-page booklet sold 120,000 copies in its first three months, 500,000 in its first year, and went through twenty-five editions in its first year alone. George Trevelyan, author of History of the American Revolution, said,

It would be difficult to name any human composition which has had an effect at once so instant, so extended and so lasting…It was pirated, parodied and imitated, and translated into the language of every country where the new republic had well-wishers. It worked nothing short of miracles and turned Tories into Whigs.

And so, from the development of movable type in 1436 to the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455, to the explosive duplication of Luther’s 95 Theses beginning in 1518, to the Scottish immigration to America in the 1600s, to the Peace of Westphalia in 1668, to the bursting forth of “Common Sense” in January 1776, to the Declaration of Independence, one can trace the impact that the Gutenberg Press had on political, social and religious institutions in just over three hundred years.

But it took just three years from the start of the commercialization of the internet in 1995 (the year the first sale on Echo Bay – later to become EBay – was completed)

http://sixrevisions.com/resources/the-history-of-the-internet-in-a-nutshell/    first sale on Echo Bay

that the political power of the Internet as the “alternative media” began to be felt. Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff had been investigating the relationship between Monica Lewinsky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewinsky_scandal#Denial_and_subsequent_admission    Monica Lewinsky

and then-President Bill Clinton for nearly a year, and his story was about to be published on Saturday morning, January 17th, 1998. After listening to one of the taped conversations between Lewinsky and a friend, Isikoff’s editors decided to spike the story. Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drudge_Report    The Drudge Report

an online news aggregator, learned of the decision to withhold the story, and ran his exposé with the headline: “Newsweek Kills Story on White House Intern: 23-Year-Old Sex Relationship with President,”

http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2002/01/17/20020117_175502_ml.htm   ran his expose

which instantly, profoundly and permanently transformed the Internet into an alternative to the mainstream media. By Sunday morning, so many individuals were seeking more information from Drudge’s website that it couldn’t handle all the traffic.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/clinton_scandal/50031.stm   couldn’t handle all the traffic.

According to BBC News, “This may be the first time that a story of such consequence developed on the Internet. Love him or hate him, Matt Drudge’s report on the Clinton scandal is the most visible sign to date of the changing nature of journalism.”

The Presidential campaign of 2008 is considered to be the first “Internet election”

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/The-Internet-and-the-2008-Election.aspx   internet election

with candidates using the Internet to promote their positions. PewInternet noted that “a record-breaking 46% of Americans used the Internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views, and mobilize others…[and] 6% of Americans made political contributions online, compared with 2% who did that during the entire 2004 campaign.” One of those enjoying the Internet’s capability to raise campaign funds was Presidential candidate Ron Paul whose “money bomb” raised a record $4.3 million in a single day, followed by another $4.4 million raised just a few days later.

The Internet had a significant role in the retirement of Dan Rather from CBS in 2005. In 1988 Rather interviewed six former servicemen, each of whom had witnessed horrible acts during their time in Vietnam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Rather    interviewed

Two of them said that they had killed civilians and each talked about the impact the war had on their personal lives, including periods of depression, unemployment, drug use, and homelessness. Unfortunately for Rather, authors B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, in doing research for their book Stolen Valor

http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Valor-Vietnam-Generation-History/dp/096670360X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316710624&sr=1-1   Stolen Valor

obtained the service records of all six of those interviewed by Rather and discovered that only one of them had actually been stationed in Vietnam, and that he had only served as an equipment repairer. Bloggers on the Internet had a field day.

http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=421    had a field day

And then in 2004 Rather reported on a series of memos he had obtained about President George W. Bush’s service with the Texas Air National Guard. The memos found their way onto the Internet and were declared by experts to be forgeries. The mainstream media reluctantly printed the story of the forgeries, forcing CBS initially to defend Rather’s report. Two weeks later CBS retracted the story. In 2005 Rather left CBS after being relegated to a corner office with few responsibilities.

The internet’s video-sharing website, YouTube, has more than one billion videos in its online library

http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/computers/4458-the-power-of-the-internet    more than one billion

but none more damaging to the credibility of one of the establishment’s favorite institutions, The Federal Reserve System, than the confrontation between Congressman Alan Grayson and Fed spokesman Elizabeth Coleman. In five minutes and 26 seconds,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXlxBeAvsB8&feature=player_embedded   In five minutes and 26 seconds

on May 5th, 2009, Coleman stuttered and stammered and deflected and finally wilted under Grayson’s barrage of questions about the Fed’s off-book balance sheet activity. Her lack of preparation and inability to answer the simplest of questions has been viewed by more than four million people, doing irreparable damage to the prestige of the Fed. As noted by Anthony Wile

http://thedailybell.com/2024/Is-Anyone-Minding-the-Store-at-the-Federal-Reserve.html   noted by

“It is one of the single most astonishing moments (or minutes) ever manifested or preserved in this already amazing digital era.” Wile wrote:

During the questioning of Coleman, Grayson asks her over and over if there is a formal accounting available for the trillions in off-book balance sheet activity for the Fed. He asks patiently, and he repeats the question many times. Coleman stutters, makes statements that are obviously evasive and finally all but admits that she actually has no authority even to examine the Fed’s off-balance sheet activities. She admits this in a frazzled manner, but only after losing her way so badly that she has to ask Grayson to repeat the question (which he has already asked about ten times).

The whistle-blower website Wikileaks.org has proven the power of exposure as a disinfectant, especially in its leaking of the Kroll Report,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Moi    Kroll Report

an intelligence report commissioned by the Kenyan government in 2004. For political reasons the government sat on the report until Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, published the report on the Internet. Interviewed on TED TV by Chris Anderson, Assange said

http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/computers/4458-the-power-of-the-internet    Interviewed by

This report…became a dead albatross around [the president’s] neck.

Anderson: And…word of the report leaked into Kenya, not from the official media, but indirectly [via the Internet]. And in your opinion, it actually shifted the election?

Assange: Yes. This became front page [news] and was then printed in all the surrounding countries of Kenya, in Tanzania and South Africa…

It ran for 20 nights straight on Kenya TV [and] shifted the vote by 10 percent…which changed the result of the election.

Anderson: So your leak really substantially changed the world?

Assange: Yes.

The Internet revolution is reaching into the highest levels of the education cartel which for years has required students to pay enormous sums for the privilege of attending prestigious schools to obtain a piece of paper that many are finding of questionable value in today’s marketplace. In 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started putting all of its courses’ lecture notes, videos and exams online where students could access them for free. In the ten years that followed nearly 100 million students have taken advantage of the opportunity. Recently, MIT introduced “MITx” which grants, for a small fee, a certificate of accomplishment to students proving their mastery of the subject. This innovation challenges at its very core the paradigm that only a wealthy few should have access to such learning. As Kevin Carey noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education,

http://chronicle.com/article/MIT-Mints-a-Valuable-New-Form/130410/  noted

“It is simply untenable [for traditional universities] to claim global leadership in educating a planet of seven billion people when you hoard your educational offerings for a few thousand fortunates living together on a small patch of land.”

The internet is also allowing citizens to stand up against corrupt politicians and police behaving badly. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) discovered how his attempts to keep people attending his town halls from taping them using cellphones failed miserably and led him to change his policy.

http://teapartyeconomist.com/2012/01/19/bonehead-congressman-who-confiscated-cell-phones-backs-off-too-late/  failed miserably

Said a chastened Chabot, “We will be modifying our policy to allow individual citizens to bring cameras to our town hall events…”

Simon Glik was walking by the Boston Common on October 1st, 2007 when he observed what he perceived to be an excessive use of force by three police officers in subduing a suspected drug offender. He used his cell phone to take pictures of the event and was arrested. He sued and courts ruled in his favor: “We conclude…that Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public place, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause.”

http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/10828-courts-and-dept-of-justice-agree-videotaping-police-is-ok  ruled in his favor

Last September the pro-life film “180” was released with expectations that it could change the abortion debate significantly. Producer Ray Comfort said that “knowledge is very, very powerful and when we have knowledge…it can change our whole perspective.” Comfort expressed the hope that the video would go viral. In the first 24 hours of its release on YouTube, there were 30,000 visits. By October 9th, there were 638,000 visits. As of February 15th, 2012, there have been more than 2,350,000 visits.

Attempts to pre-empt the Internet or to restrict it are failing. When Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, purchased MySpace for $580 million in July 2005, he intended on inserting Fox News political content into the site and thus help to redirect the political conversation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Space#Politics   inserting Fox News studio content

At the time, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the United States, while Facebook, its primary competitor lagged behind. However, by April, 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace based on monthly unique visitors, and Murdoch’s attempt to get political with his acquisition failed. With three-quarters of its workforce laid off, Murdoch sold what was left of the company in June 2011 for $35 million, taking a loss of half a billion dollars.

When it appeared that federal attempts to threaten the internet such as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Internet Privacy Act) were going to be enacted, users rebelled mightily and loudly. Millions of people signed online petitions, overloaded circuits with phone calls, and generally stood in the gap and said NO. As Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group said:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223531/Twitter_Facebook_fuel_SOPA_protests?taxonomyId=70  said

“This is huge. [Social networks] pretty much drove the mass objections and stopped this bill from becoming law. I think we are actually seeing the beginning of a huge change in the political process worldwide that [has] social networks at the core.”

Even before the cratering of those efforts to regulate and emasculate the internet, clever individuals had been hard at work developing “work-arounds,” just in case. A Firefox add-on called, appropriately “de-SOPA” allows searchers to get past any sites that might have been censored by using IP addresses instead of web addresses.

http://lifehacker.com/5869665/desopa-for-firefox-bypasses-sopa-dns-blocking  deSOPA

And if that doesn’t work, there’s Pirate Bay Dancing

http://boingboing.net/2011/11/30/mafiaafire-teams-latest-brow.html Pirate Bay Dancing

that also was developed in anticipation of such attempts at regulation.

Telex is another of many innovations designed to foil attempts to restrict the flow of truth by Internet. The developer’s software turns the Internet itself into an anti-censorship device. Software that is installed on a computer connects with the Internet service provider that has Telex stations attached to the wires carrying the digital traffic. “So,” says the developer, “if you’re in China, and you want access to a banned site like YouTube, you just type YouTube.com into your computer, and the Telex station will see that connection, and disguise it as something innocuous. You might be watching YouTube, but to a censor, it will just seem as if you’re visiting a harmless, non-blocked site.” If governments pursue Internet censorship, they will find that the free-market innovators have gotten there first, in plenty of time to make such efforts not only fruitless but obsolete.

Because of the Internet, false renditions of history are exposed. Half-truths are uncovered. Statist assumptions are questioned. George Orwell’s Memory Hole has been illuminated. History, it is said, is written by the survivors. With more than 300 million websites feeding the Internet and billions of people seeking the truth, when this history is written it will proclaim the free unhindered flow of information via the Internet as the victor. With this new information, the final choice lies, where it always has, in the hands of an informed electorate. Writing to William Charles Jarvis on September 28th, 1820, Thomas Jefferson said:

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

All that the Gutenberg press did then, and all that the Internet is doing now, is informing the peoples’ discretion. The rest is up to them.

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Dangerous Drones, Here Comes Breitbart

It was just a little over a year ago that Andrew Breitbart met an untimely end at the tender age of 43. I’m persuaded that he didn’t die of old age, but that’s a topic for another day. He left behind a thriving news aggregator called Breitbart.com which,

Keep Reading…

Regulators are now going after the Bitcoin

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013:

 

Six federal agencies were invited to a Senate committee hearing on Monday to explain why each should be granted the privilege of regulating the Bitcoin. Four showed up:

Keep Reading…

Utah Nurse Waives Lawsuit, Settles for $500,000 in Patient Privacy Case

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was violently arrested after trying to protect her patient’s Fourth Amendment rights last July, received a $500,000 settlement on Tuesday from Salt Lake City and the University of Utah which owns and operates the hospital. She waived any plans to sue, saying: “We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage [from the officer’s body camera] and that’s what happened in my case. No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people [actually] saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience that I went through.”

She is donating part of the settlement to

Keep Reading…

Pelosi Calls for More Background Checks After Las Vegas Shooting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 11, 2017: 

English: Nancy Pelosi photo portrait as Speake...

California Democrat Senator Nancy Pelosi

Following the ghastly shooting in Las Vegas, a retired Marine captain and gun store owner confronted Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a town hall meeting and asked her what sort of gun control measures could be implemented in the future to keep someone such as Stephen Paddock from murdering innocent civilians in the future. Pelosi said the present NCIS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) is working just fine:

We have come together in a bipartisan way to put together what we thought would save the most lives. And that is to have background checks, gun violence prevention background checks, and to have them be effective.

But of course even a great system such as NCIS can be improved by expanding those background checks to include every private gun transaction between every private citizen, just to make sure the government knows everything. Said Pelosi:

Keep Reading…

Two Fourth Amendment Cases Prove the Constitution Still Works

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 8, 2017:  

A nurse in Utah and a couple in Texas stood up for their rights as guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights. The Utah nurse hasn’t filed suit, but the Texas couple did, and in both cases law-enforcement officials have been exposed and shamed for their illegal conduct. Both cases were aided with the help of videos taken of the incidents.

The first has caught national attention and has stirred national outrage. On July 26 Alex Wubbels was on duty as head nurse of the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit when a truck driver was wheeled in suffering from severe burns. He had been hit by a driver fleeing police and was comatose when he arrived in the ER.

Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne arrived at the hospital with instructions to obtain a blood sample from the comatose driver to test for elicit substances and ran into nurse Wubbels who knew the hospital’s rules: There would be no blood drawn unless

Keep Reading…

3,500 Colorado Voters Cancel Their Registrations in Protest

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 17, 2017:

Von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky

When Colorado voters learned that their state is responding to President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request for voter information, nearly 3,500 of them deregistered. The Hill made it political, claiming that they “have withdrawn their registrations … citing distrust of the [commission].” The news outlet also allowed that many didn’t know just how much of their personal information was already open to the public and, for whatever reason, decided to exercise their right to privacy.

The request from the commission stated simply that each state, and the District of Columbia,

provide all publicly-available voter roll data including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of Social Security number if available, [and] voter history from 2006 onward.

This was enough to trigger pushback and in some cases outrage at the obviously political overtones and implications of the request, in light of President Trump’s claim of voter fraud in the last election, and his selection of Hans von Spakovsky (shown) to the commission. Spakovsky’s initial appointment to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by President George W. Bush back in 2005 was contested by Democrats and his nomination was withdrawn.

Some Democrats are claiming a witch hunt is taking place, and an effort to keep illegals from voting. As Alex Padilla, the Democrat activist who is California’s secretary of state, noted:

They’re clearly reached their conclusions already and have set up a commission to try to justify voter suppression measures being made nationally. It’s pretty shocking, the data request of a lot of personal information. I can’t even begin to entertain responding to this commission….

If you want to do [Russian President] Vladimir Putin a favor, put all of this personal voter information in one place, online, on the Internet.

Another Democrat who is also upset is Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Grimes, also echoed the “voter suppression” scheme of Padilla:

We don’t want to be a part of an attempt to nationalize voter suppression efforts across the state. Americans didn’t want, unanimously, a national gun registry, and they don’t want a national voter registry.

She added that the commission was “formulated on a sham premise” and violates states’ rights to run their own elections.

To hear von Spakovsky tell it, it’s all about the 2012 study done by the Pew Center on the States: “The whole point of this commission is to research and look at all of these issues, the issues the Pew study raised.” That study claimed that America’s voter registration system is “inaccurate, costly, and inefficient.” It also said the system “reflects its 19th century origins [which] has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society.”

Its conclusions included these:

Approximately 24 million — one of every eight — voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate;

More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters; and

Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

Although the author of the study said it didn’t indicate voter fraud, “these findings underscore the need for states to improve accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.”

The study, however, provided too great a temptation for the federal government to get involved — innocently involved, of course. Marc Lotter, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, claimed that the request was innocuous, and von Spakovsky claimed that opposition to the commission’s request was “bizarre” because the request only asks for information that is already publicly available. But Lotter let slip that the information would be “housed through a federally secure system”, adding that “this is nothing unusual.” (Emphasis added.)

This is a variation on the theme: “Trust us; we know what we’re doing. Go back to sleep.”

Instead of having the executive branch of the government get involved with vote-fraud investigating, which is unconstitutional, David Becker, a Pew director, has already organized a joint pilot project involving eight states to try to make their voter lists more accurate. Said Becker: “What this system will do is it will take in data from the states who choose to participate … and it will be matched … [with] national change of address data from the Postal Service.”

Note the words “who choose to participate” as opposed to the innocuous “request” from Trump’s commission that comes with the unspoken threat of force. According to von Spakovsky, federal statutes already give the public the right to inspect publicly available voter registration records, adding that the attorney general can demand copies of records related to federal elections, if it comes to that.

How much better to keep the federales out of the matter altogether, and let Becker’s pilot program accomplish the same thing.

Perhaps Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann from Mississippi has the right idea. In response to the commission’s “request”, he replied:

They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.

Connecticut Bill Would Allow Police to Arm Drones

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 31, 2017: 

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

The Connecticut State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow local police to weaponize drones. The vote by the Judiciary Committee was 34-7 and the bill’s threats to privacy were downplayed by the committee’s co-chair, Republican John Kissel:

Keep Reading…

Trump Aims “Name and Shame” Policy at Sanctuary Cities

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 26, 2017:

In his Executive Order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” issued on Wednesday, President Donald Trump directed his Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, on a weekly basis, to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

At the moment such jurisdictions include nearly 300 so-called sanctuary cities harboring more than 2,000 known criminals residing illegally in the United States. The Washington Times called the move “Name and Shame” while Breitbart News is hopeful that

Keep Reading…

Officers’ Lawsuit Against Marilyn Mosby in Freddie Gray Case Allowed to Proceed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 12, 2017:

Five of the six officers charged as accessories in the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015 filed suit against Baltimore’s state attorney Marilyn Mosby (shown) for malicious prosecution, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy, among other claims. Last Friday U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis, in a 65-page ruling, ruled that their lawsuit against Mosby may move forward.

The next step is discovery during which Mosby and others in her department, as well as the Sheriff’s department, will be required, under oath, to explain

Keep Reading…

The Background Check System is Working Well – at Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Citizens Without Due Process

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 10, 2016:

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

The Brady Campaign promised back in 1993 that a properly installed background check system, run by the ever-dependable and reliable FBI, would deny permission to criminals trying to buy a firearm. The latest report from the Inspector General of the Justice Department confirms that the system is working well: from 2008 to 2014, the NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] denied approval of 556,000 requests for permission to purchase a firearm with an “accuracy rate that ranges from 99.3 percent to 99.8 percent.”

But buried on page four of the report was this:

Keep Reading…

Will Mainers Make the Same Mistake as Coloradans?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, October 6, 2016:  

Question 3 on the November ballot for Mainers, if passed, would require a gun buyer and seller to meet at a licensed gun dealer and go through a background check. That requirement would also apply to a resident of Maine who loans a firearm to a friend.

The similarities to Colorado’s experience are beyond coincidence:

Keep Reading…

Beware the 300-Pound White Penguin Watching You at the Mall

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 5, 2016:  

Cover of "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother’s primary enabler was the telescreen. It could be turned down but never turned off, and it recorded all behaviors and conversations to be analyzed for traitorous intent.

Knightscope has no discoverable link to the telescreen with its big, fat white Penguin called K5, but its capabilities are astonishing. Those capabilities came to light following an incident at an upscale mall in Palo Alto last month when a K5 ran over a 16-month-old toddler by mistake. Company officials expressed “horror” at the incident, apologized, and then invited the family of the toddler to view its upgraded version of K5, which, it promised, would avoid such incidents in the future.

The rollout of K5 (version 2.0, if you will) was no doubt impressive, as K5 has an amazing array of technology designed as “an advanced anomaly detection device” – read: detect, record, analyze, and then inform its handler of suspicious activities taking place nearby. Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing told Digital Trends:

Keep Reading…

Knightscope Robots: Enhanced Safety or More Invasive Surveillance?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 5, 2016:  

NXT Robot

Not a Knightscope robot, but close

Knightscope robots — one for inside work, the other for outdoors — have been under development for three years, and have logged 35,000 hours of testing and 25,000 miles of rolling through malls, parking lots, and manufacturing facilities. And yet, within weeks of the K5 outdoor model being released in the Stanford Shopping Center, an upscale shopping mall in Palo Alto, California, one of them couldn’t avoid hitting a 16-month-old toddler and running over his foot.

It was a poor start to Knightscope’s first major public contract with the mall, and they did the best they could to ameliorate the situation:

Keep Reading…

Use of “Beware” Software by Police Is Raising Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 11, 2016:  

Cover of "George Orwell's 1984 (Max Notes...

For more than a year the Fresno, California, police department has been using “Beware” software for free before deciding to spend the $2,000 monthly fee for it. It is being touted by its maker, Intrado, as a way to inform officers responding to a 911 call about potential risks they might be facing. As Police Chief Jerry Dyer put it: “Our officers are expected to know the unknown and see the unseen. They are making split-second decisions based on limited facts. The more [we] can provide in terms of intelligence … the more safely [we] can respond to calls.”

As software that collects information and intelligence becomes cheaper and more popular (two years ago it was estimated that more than 90 percent of the 14,000 police departments in the country were using at least some of the available software), concerns about errors have grown,

Keep Reading…

China Demands High-level Silicon Valley Attendees at Seattle Conference

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 24, 2015:  

The Chinese invitation extended to senior executives at major Silicon Valley firms was no invitation but a command: Be there, or lose any chance to exploit business opportunities in China.

The annual Seattle conference in the past has been primarily directed to midlevel management at companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. But this year, taking advantage of China’s President Xi Jinping’s planned visit with President Obama, the date of the conference was moved up, and the invitation/command was extended to the senior executive officers. The carrot offered was a presentation by Xi himself.

The threat was reiterated, for anyone who didn’t get the message, in an interview the Wall Street Journal did with Xi:

Keep Reading…

Celebrating Second Amendment Victory May Be Premature

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 3, 2015:  

Last Friday the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA) chortled that “anti-gun doctors may need to get their own blood pressure checked after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit again upheld Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act.”

The ruling was the second one for the court and was decided by a three-judge panel, with one of them writing a lengthy and blistering critique of the majority opinion.

At issue is the law passed overwhelmingly in June 2011 by the state of Florida which, on the surface, seemed tame enough:

Keep Reading…

It Was Bound to Happen: The First Amendment Versus the Second

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 3, 2015:  

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

It’s a proverb: silence is golden. It’s in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:7b: “[There is] a time for silence and a time for speech.”

For Sir Thomas More, however, his refusal to speak about why he refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage cost him his life. For Amber Ullman the consequences weren’t nearly as severe.

Ullman, a 26-year-old mother of 4-month-old Temperance living in Summerfield, Florida, had just taken her child to her pediatrician for a checkup and shots when her doctor asked:

Keep Reading…

Congress, by Voice Vote, Foists International ID Cards on Everyone

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 12, 2015: 

Politicians have a knack for naming their bills with titles that are backwards, intended to deceive. There’s the Patriot Act, instead of the Fourth Amendment Obliteration Act. There’s the Affordable Care Act, which makes healthcare more expensive and less available.

And then there’s the Girls Count Act, a deceptive title designed to lead one to believe that it has something to do with empowering girls worldwide, making certain that they have access to services and are able to exercise all their rights. Even the opening paragraph expands the deceit:

Keep Reading…

January 2016: TSA Will Require REAL ID for Flight Check-in

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 11, 2105: 

Anyone checking in for an airline flight on January 1, 2016 and thereafter will be turned away if his driver’s license isn’t “REAL ID compliant,” according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials.

But, “it’s a choice,” according to Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles Public Information Officer David Fierro: “It’s not mandatory. It’s a choice for secured identification. If you use a passport when you’re travelling you won’t have any problems. If you use your driver’s license for identification, you’ll need to either apply for the REAL ID card, or get a passport.”

To be compliant, driver’s licenses must capture specific identifying details about the person and then associate them with a unique identification number. DMV.org lists those details: 

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann