We’re losing the war against the snoops… Why most Americans want to be spied on… Amazon’s creepy plan for your doorbell… In the mailbag: “People have the moral right to do whatever they want to their own bodies”…
That’s how many Americans, in a recent survey, said they were concerned about the feds rolling out facial recognition cameras across the country.
That’s an alarmingly small portion of the population.
Despite what you may think about the obliteration of privacy and the growth of the Surveillance Society… most Americans couldn’t give a damn.
This is a disaster for human liberty. And as we’ll show you today, it’s a wake-up call that you need to take action now, before it’s too late, to protect yourself.
But Americans’ indifference to the attack on their privacy by Big Tech and Big Government won’t come as a big surprise to regular readers.
Every day, millions of Americans accept round-the-clock digital surveillance in return for “free” online services from Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other Silicon Valley data harvesters. (Services like email, calendars, search, chat, photo sharing, connecting with friends, sending out resumes… and so on.)
And they barely utter a peep when governments roll out Big Brother-style surveillance systems such as CCTV cameras armed with facial recognition software.
There’s no pushback. No outrage. No plan to keep the snoops at bay.
Just quiet acceptance of ever more invasive digital snooping.
Here’s Bill Bonner Letter co-author Dan Denning, who’s been tracking this growing threat…
Round-the-clock digital surveillance is not just an attack on your right to privacy. It’s an attack on how you think and act. If you have to monitor what you say, by necessity you have to monitor what you think… and what you do. And that’s what governments want.
They want complete compliance with an authoritarian agenda so they can make “better” choices for you than you could possibly make for yourself.
Digital surveillance – whether it’s by Silicon Valley corporations… or by the National Security Agency (NSA) – is not just about keeping tabs on you.
It’s also a powerful weapon governments can use against their citizens for greater control.
As we’ve been showing you, the Chinese government is rolling out a credit score, similar to what you’re familiar with if you live in the U.S.
Except instead of just keeping track of your financial life… its aim is to keep track of everything you do.
The government can then mete out punishments and rewards to citizens based on a “social credit” score.
Jaywalk… or smoke a cigarette where it’s not allowed… and CCTV cameras armed with facial recognition software and artificial intelligence (AI) will spot you… and you’ll lose points.
Search for the “wrong” version of history (say, the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, when government tanks mowed down pro-democracy activists)… and you’ll lose points.
Write a blog post that’s critical of the Party… or publish the wrong book… and it will go down in your file.
And thanks to the government’s mass digital surveillance program… it’s increasingly difficult to evade detection by the authorities.
That’s what happened to Yang Kaili, a 21-year-old Chinese blogger with 44 million followers.
Last October, Shenzhen police detained her for singing the national anthem in a “disrespectful” manner on a Chinese version of YouTube called Huya.
And if you get caught stepping out of line in China… getting detained by the police may be the least of your worries.
As we told you before, the Chinese publisher of Bill Bonner’s book Family Fortunes recently vanished without a trace. As Bill told his subscribers after he learned about the disappearance last year…
Our office in Beijing reported that the billionaire who translated and published our book Family Fortunes in Chinese has disappeared.
“Yes, he is gone. And I don’t mean just arrested or something. We don’t know where he is or what has happened to him, but all traces of him have been scrubbed off the internet.
“He was an important man. Very rich and very well connected. But now, there’s nothing – not a word – about him anywhere. He no longer exists.”
Of course, that’s Communist China. And most folks still believe Americans would never put up with that level of surveillance.
But don’t be so sure.
Take that survey we mentioned at the top of today’s dispatch.
In December, a Washington think tank called the Center for Data Innovation asked more than 3,151 Americans what they thought about the rollout of facial recognition technology by U.S. authorities.
Only one in four respondents said it was a worry.
And 55% of respondents said they didn’t see any need to limit facial recognition as long as it was for “security” proposes.
As Daniel Castro, the director of the Center for Data Innovation, put it:
People are willing to get behind police use of facial recognition technology as long as it is accurate and makes their communities safer.
And Big Tech firms are standing by to capitalize on the trade-off between freedom and security these folks are willing to make.
Last November, a patent filed by the Big Tech retailer became public. It would combine face recognition with Ring, Amazon’s video doorbell product.
In other words, it would add face recognition technology to a camera attached to your doorbell.
The idea is that if someone whose mugshot is on a police database calls at your door… the system would notify the police. Homeowners can also upload their own photos of people they don’t want calling at their door.
That probably sounds like a good deal to a lot of folks. And that’s exactly why there’s so little resistance to the Surveillance Society… even in the “Land of the Free.”
People will readily trade in their liberty to feel safer. Here’s Bill again…
It’s expensive to keep track of slaves… and keep them in line… and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. The beauty of the Information Age is that now using the latest in surveillance technology, AI, and Big Data, the feds can keep track of everybody all the time. The temptation will be irresistible to use these tools to control people in the U.S.
Will that be bad? Well, it depends. I won’t like it. Our readers may not like it. But most people will like it just as they do in China. They’ll say, “Well, it’s so much safer now because we’ve gotten the bad guys off the streets.”
The problem… as we’ve seen in China… is that it doesn’t stop at keeping the “criminals” in check. Maybe one day someone’s doorbell will call the cops on you.
It might be because you posted something online that was critical of the party in power in Washington… or because you have the “wrong” skin color… or simply because the AI software mixed you up with someone else.
That’s why it’s now more important than ever to make sure you follow the steps Dan outlined in our “Guide to Going Dark” issue.
Catch up here on the four steps you can take to maintain your right to privacy – and your freedom – today.
Speaking of the feds and their attacks on our freedoms…
You’ll recall that Doug stuck his head in the meat grinder recently when he said that ALL drugs should be legal. As he put it, if you don’t own your own body, you have no rights at all.
That prompted one of your fellow readers to say “libertarians are all nuts.” But not everyone disagrees with Doug…
I couldn’t agree more with Doug about drug legalization. Libertarians believe in the MORAL imperative that rights and responsibilities cannot be separated.
Unfortunately, our government has separated them for many of the population and those on the receiving end, of course, think it’s great. This can only be a temporary condition, Nature will take its course eventually… and people will be forced to face the consequences of their actions when the system collapses.
Of course people have the moral right to do whatever they want to their own bodies and they also have the moral obligation to take care of the consequences – whether it be damage to themselves or others. It is simply a symptom of our societal sickness that a growing percentage of the population doesn’t understand that.
– Mark W.
I find it very interesting that people are so passionate about telling other people what to do “for their own good.” People should be able to decide what to put in their own bodies. Of course, with freedom comes responsibility – people would have to be held accountable for their actions if they were given the freedom to choose.
As an adult, I am both responsible and accountable for myself and my children while they are minors. It should be up to me to decide what is appropriate for me and for my family, not up to the government or anyone else who believes that they know better than me.
Of course, this would mean that anyone who injured themselves or someone else while under the influence of drugs would have to be accountable and make reparations. Otherwise the cost would have to be borne by taxpayers, which I certainly don’t agree with.
– Karen W.
So far, the main argument people have against drug legalization is, “What if people are doing drugs and driving a car or doing their job?” Just because drugs are “legal” does not mean that everyone is going to be doing drugs and driving or going to work. Alcohol is legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to drink and go to work or drink and drive. Why would you assume drugs would be treated any differently?
– Eric A.
Do you agree with Mark W. that “people have the moral right to do whatever they want to their own bodies”? Or are you more interested in how to protect your privacy online? Write us at [email protected].
January 17, 2019
P.S. As we’ve been writing, today’s China could soon be tomorrow’s America. If you’re not convinced, check out our new video presentation. As Dan shows, the feds are tracking everyday, private activities… like transacting at your bank… visiting a doctor… and buying stuff online.
It’s alarming to know that the feds are watching you, even if you’re not breaking any laws. But it’s already happening in America… And because of a program Dan believes is underway, the consequences for your “infractions” could be severe…