A FICO score, but for every aspect of your life… Can these algorithms spot potential terrorists?… Today’s China is tomorrow’s America… In the mailbag: “Do you believe in freedom, or do you not?”…
We do that by plugging you into the latest ideas from Bill Bonner, Doug Casey, and the rest of the team at Legacy Research.
We also keep an eye on trends shaping society.
There’s no point in having wealth if you don’t live in the kind of society where you can spend it freely.
As Bill Bonner Letter co-author Dan Denning puts it, “There is no financial freedom without personal freedom.” The two can’t be separated.
And as you’ll learn in today’s essay, there are some clear and present threats to all your freedoms right now.
As we’ve been warning you, the Chinese government is assembling the most powerful digital surveillance state the world has ever seen.
Don’t worry if you’re not caught up. Here’s what you need to know…
In an official roadmap released in 2014, Party bosses outlined a plan to create a “Social Credit System” to punish and reward citizens using a hybrid of new technologies.
Like in George Orwell’s novel 1984 (banned in China for obvious reasons) Chinese citizens are to be under constant surveillance by the state.
Part of a society-wide digital panopticon, they are to be always watched and monitored by hundreds of millions of CCTV cameras. These cameras are powered by machine-learning algorithms that use facial recognition software to identify any individuals the state wants to track.
If the algorithm catches you breaking Party rules – say, jaywalking or smoking where it’s not allowed – it automatically punishes you by docking your “personal trustworthiness” points.
End up with too few points, and the Party blacklists you. It bans you from getting on planes and trains… denies you access to good universities and state jobs… even demotes your profile on online dating apps.
Think of it as a FICO credit score. But instead of being tied just to your finances… it’s tied to your whole life.
Facial recognition is part of everyday life in the “Land of the Free,” too.
Most people don’t spend a single moment of their time thinking about it. But in 2018, most American adults – including you and the members of your family – are now in an official facial recognition database.
Whether you post a picture of yourself to Facebook… unlock your iPhone X with Apple’s Face ID technology… get a passport or driver’s license photo taken… or get snapped at the airport or a sports game… a photo of your face is out there.
It’s sitting in multiple databases along with your name, your age, your sex, your marital status, and other intimate details about you.
And many of these photos are deployed throughout the country to help computers ID you.
For instance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – one of the most Orwellian of America’s federal agencies – has set up its first facial recognition system in the Orlando International Airport.
It’s part of the DHS’s “Biometric Exit” program.
The goal is to track everyone leaving the country by requiring a facial recognition scan before you board a plane. And the DHS aims to have it in every airport in America for entry as well as exit.
Meanwhile, police forces in Florida and Oregon are piloting schemes to use Amazon’s facial recognition software, Rekognition, to track offenders on CCTV cameras.
If you’ve walked into a big-box retailer or mall lately, facial recognition kits powered by algorithms have analyzed your face and matched it against a database of criminals and “known shoplifters.”
Retailers are also matching scans of your face with databases of “high-value” customers. They’re using this tech to track your age and sex, too.
More than a dozen elementary schools in the U.S. are also deploying facial recognition systems. For instance, they’re using them to identify callers to the school and prevent unauthorized people from entering school grounds.
Faception is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.
It claims to be able to train its “face categorization” algorithm to identify potential terrorists based on just their facial features.
Unlike traditional facial recognition systems, Faception isn’t matching photos against a database of known terrorists. Instead, it says it’s able to identify potential offenders with 80% accuracy by observing their facial expressions and their bone structure.
It may sound like sci-fi. Remember, Faception is talking about potential terrorists. But The Wall Street Journal ran its own tests and said it couldn’t quibble with Faception’s results.
In the case of China, clearly not.
As Legacy Research co-founder Bill Bonner has been telling his readers, he has experienced, up close and personal, what can happen in China when you get on the wrong side of the feds. As Bill told Bill Bonner Letter readers earlier this month…
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.”
And Bill is under no illusions that the U.S. is immune from the incursion of Big Data into every aspect of our lives…
Government is partnering with Big Data companies to develop cheaper and more effective ways of monitoring, manipulating, and controlling your behavior.
When people become desperate, they are willing to accept almost anything if they think it brings stability. It is not at all hard to imagine – in a panic – the U.S. feds putting in place a system of population control, much like the Chinese are already doing.
With Big Data, they can make it impossible for you to travel (simply cancel your credit cards)… or to participate in any electronic media… or to get a mortgage… or to even join a dating service. This is already happening in China. It could be coming to America soon, too.
Perhaps we are being just a little paranoid. But as Bill says, “Bad stuff happens whether you see it coming or not.” So we’ll continue to look for it here at The Daily Cut.
We’ll also continue to urge you to protect yourself by “going dark” – that is, cut down on the amount of personal data you’re spewing out online on a daily basis.
Find out more about how to do that in our special guide to going dark here.
If you enjoy keeping up with the latest from Bill and Doug, make sure to RSVP to their web broadcast tomorrow, November 28, at 8 p.m. ET.
Along with Palm Beach Research Group co-founder Mark Ford, they’ll be talking candidly about their history in the newsletter business, investing, the economy, and what they’re doing with their own money now.
There’ll also be an opportunity for you to “partner” with Bill, Doug, and Mark in a brand-new venture we’ve never revealed before. It’s something we think you’re going to love if you find value in The Daily Cut. So look out for that also…
And the best thing about it is that, as a Daily Cut reader, you’ll get full access to this special event at no cost when you RSVP here.
Your fellow readers have been thinking about what freedom should look like… including what it means for pot legalization – the hottest topic in the mailbag over the past few weeks…
Let’s look at the freedom that Canada is giving to its people by legalizing marijuana, while at the same time creating rules which attach responsibility to its use. Very sound reasoning and judgment is exemplified here – a government that cares about its people and creates rules that protect them without limiting their freedom of choice.
Marijuana and alcohol consumption abide by the same rules there. Use them responsibly and you are not subject to any restrictive rules. Basically, when you use these substances, refrain from driving altogether or use a designated driver. By driving irresponsibly, you break one of the rules set to protect lives, therefore, you must pay the price of losing your license and pay super hefty fees. Checks and balances that protect our freedoms and our lives. That’s what a democracy is.
– Maralissa T.
I’ve been studying “the problems of humanity” my whole life and can come to only one conclusion. Man has drifted so far away from his natural state that he has become his own enemy. We are born (genetically) to be free, self-assured, strong, healthy, and happy. Therefore, we want freedom, self-domination, to choose our own actions. But the problem is that our culture has made us insecure, irresponsible, sick beings.
I see only one way out: restore our natural health and happiness so our natural impulses do not get messed up. With that comes our natural self-responsibility and then we can be anarchistic because we are adult enough to use our freedom to make the right choices.
– Hubert N.
The choice is simple: Do you believe in freedom, or do you not? Freedom means that one is free. Free from doing (within Libertarian reason) what someone else tells or wants you to do. The reverse follows that is also true: Freedom of the other person means that they don’t have to do what you tell them or want them to do. It works both ways.
Seems to me that too many people in this world are way too busy telling anyone else within earshot what THEY ought to be doing or not be doing. That person doesn’t seem to be paying enough attention to telling THEMSELVES what they ought or ought not be doing and leaving others to their own lives.
– Dave G.
Should we use the government to boss other people around? Are you okay with the level of surveillance in U.S. society these days?
Don’t sit on the fence. Send your thoughts and ideas to [email protected]. We want The Daily Cut to be a two-way conversation.
November 27, 2018
P.S. Before we go, a last reminder that you can claim your spot for tomorrow’s exclusive broadcast by RSVPing here.
At 8 p.m. ET, Bill and Doug will take the stage with Mark Ford for a one-of-a-kind conversation. They’ll let you in on how they made their fortunes… and what they’re doing with their money now.
Plus, as a Daily Cut reader, you’ll find out how to partner with Bill, Doug, and Mark in what could be their greatest venture yet. This may be your only chance to hear these self-made millionaires tell it all, so go right here to RSVP.