A popular dictate says that sometimes words are not necessary to explain what is clearly stated, but Vodafone’s decision to publish details about how governments indeed have back doors to spy on internet and telephone users cannot be taken as proof that the company operates in good faith. It does help however, to reinforce the fact that both governments and technology companies collaborated and continue to collaborate in the most invasive surveillance program to ‘collect it all, sniff it all; know it all and exploit it all’.
In its press release, Vodafone says that the report attempts to explain the “nature and extent of government powers to order our assistance”, which “go together with information about agency and authority demands in countries where statistical data can lawfully be disclosed.” In other words, Vodafone published a mea culpa that not only admits that governments force technology companies to secure and transmit private information, but also that they indeed collaborated in the illegal spying of millions of telephone and internet users, including heads of state, politicians, and private citizens.
Although many news media have warned that there must be a debate about the illegal surveillance practices carried out by the NSA and GHCQ, among other spying agencies, the truth is that there is nothing to debate. Constitutional and Human Rights are not debatable, especially when the desire to have such debate is based on false premises, i.e. the threat of terrorism. Because even if terrorism — as painted by terrorist governments that use it as a justification for doing anything they want — was actually a threat, it would not justify surrendering privacy, sovereignty and freedom.
The Vodafone example is one that requires few words to explain. This company along with Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech conglomerates have consistently violated the privacy of their customers and in doing so violated their own privacy agreements. While corporate giants demanded that users respected and complied with all terms and conditions, they knowingly kept back doors open or helped open new doors to government spying agencies. While users were threatened with legal action, governments and tech companies exempted themselves from any liability in the name of security.
“Our customers have a right to privacy which is enshrined in international human rights law and standards and enacted through national laws,” says the PR statement issued by Vodafone. However, those rights to privacy and human rights standards were not enough for the company to deny governments access to their customers’ data. “Respecting that right is one of our highest priorities: it is integral to the Vodafone Code of Conduct which everyone who works for us has to follow at all times.” Yet Vodafone personnel did not hold their Code of Conduct high enough by challenging illegal actions from government officials. Laws, Rights and Standards are useless if they are not held strongly when the challenges to those Rights Laws and Standards come from any direction.
The premise established by Vodafone that the company must comply with ” the laws of those countries” which required to “disclose information about our customers to law enforcement agencies or other government authorities” is a failed attempt to justify their weakness to defend the rights of customers because it assumes that a law that mandates the disclosure of such data is indeed legal. No government can make laws that violate or that are directly opposed to the rights of free citizens, therefore any directive that demands the illegal disclosure of metadata or hard data is automatically illegal and no company or individual should abide by it or cite it as a reason to break privacy agreements.
“Those laws are designed to protect national security and public safety or to prevent or investigate crime and terrorism, and the agencies and authorities that invoke those laws insist that the information demanded from communications operators such as Vodafone is essential to their work,” decries Vodafone’s statement, as it attempts to blame illegal laws and the governments that wrote them for the breach in privacy. But the truth is that Vodafone set its thirst for profit over the rights of its customers, whose right to privacy was superseded by the company’s interests. This is clear in the statement published on its website as Vodafone explains that “If we do not comply with a lawful demand for assistance, governments can remove our license to operate, preventing us from providing services to our customers.”
Had Vodafone held its compromise to privacy higher than its thirst for profit it could have challenged governments to terminate its license as a service provider and in doing so, it would have unmasked the governments’ true intentions to violate privacy and the presumption of innocence of its customers. No matter what Vodafone, Google or Yahoo say, privacy is not complex, controversial or constantly changing matter. In fact, it is quite simple and it is enshrined in the constitutions of almost every western nation.
Neither service providers not governments should be able to sweep the net for private information for any purpose whatsoever. Service providers such as Vodafone should keep customer information collection to a minimum and such information must be guarded as the most valuable treasure. If there is a threat to privacy today is because the people in charge of protecting it have failed to do so, either purposely or inadvertently and because those charged with upholding privacy rights have been busy working on ways to end privacy, not protecting it. From Parliaments to Courts, citizens who were made responsible — by vote or by appointment — for protecting us from spying have been aiding those who use unknown limitless technical capabilities to learn everything they can from everyone.
Warrants to put a bug on people’s phones or to sniff their traces on the internet are irrelevant when technologies are designed to enable unwarranted surveillance. That is the case with IBM servers, mobile phone chips and Intel microchips that are used worldwide along with other spying systems such as Microsoft’s OS and Apple OS. With those tools as spooks have openly admitted, spies can turn microphones and cameras on and off without notice. Others such as video game consoles — Xbox 360 — are enabled with thermal devices to acquire heat fingerprints of players.
We are building a Global Brain, and the Internet is its Nervous System
How can a government or a company say that people’s privacy is of paramount importance when everything they do is designed to end privacy? More importantly, why are governments — on behalf of secretive conglomerates — collecting it all, sniffing it all; knowing it all and exploiting it all? After the latest round of whistleblowers came out of the spook closet, it is easier to see that governments and tech companies are increasingly interested in learning everything they can from individuals, no matter who they are, where they live or what they do. Google recently announced its plan to use satellites to bring the power of the internet to those who still do not have access to it. But very few people see Google’s move as a well-intentioned one.
Last May, Dr. Katherine Albrecht, gave a timely explanation about the end goal of the current mass gathering of information. Interestingly, she made her point from two different perspectives: the technological and factual, which is the one most people will understand, and the religious one, which will serve others who are not technically savvy and that prefer to guide themselves by religious faith. The highlight of her explanation is that whether you see it from a technical or a religious angle, the endgame is the same: We All Lose.
The basis for the current vacuum-style sweep of information being carried out worldwide is FEAR. As it happened before, governments and the people who control them — I do not mean politicians — have an inherent interest in keeping people in fear, because people who are afraid are more likely to obey. What has changed over decades is the way in which governments inflict fear on the people and the tools they use. The latest of these tools is the fear of being spied on. Previous to that, governments used the fear of terrorism to advance policies that would allow them to put in place the control grid they now use to bring about more fear.
According to Dr. Albrecht, Google knows more about people than the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies combined. How could that be possible you may ask? In reality Albrecht says, Google is not a search engine, but a market research company. The most successful ever perhaps. Ms. Albrecht explains that its success relies on the fact that Google the market research company does not send out people to ask consumers what they want. Instead, it allows consumers to tell it all by themselves. Every time someone types anything on Google’s search box in the hopes of obtaining an answer, especially if it is in a question form, it physically tells Google what the consumers are interested in. In doing this, Google’s creators and controllers overcame the problem of having to ask people for information they would not ordinarily give out to a stranger.
“Google figured out that if you want people to answer questions you have to not let them know you’re watching… and what you can do is answer their questions, and then you can learn everything about them based on the questions they ask,” says Albrecht. She adds that Google is not really out there to give you answers to your questions. The answers are the bait to have millions of people ask about what they are interested in, which consequently reveals everything about them, their families and lives. “You will give them the questions, and the questions is what they use to populate their database,” Albrecht warns.
As things stand today, Google is not a technology company that enables people to get answers to their questions, but a corporate information vacuum that gathers every single thought in the minds of anyone who uses its so-called search engine to ask just about anything they want to learn. So governments do not need to have an official information gathering operation because technology companies like Google or Facebook, which incidentally are the product of government projects themselves, do that work for them. The NSA and GHCQ, for example are the receivers of all information collected through Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel microchips, Apple phones, Yahoo email and many other data mining operations.
As Dr. Albrecht calls it, Google is part of an invisible global brain to which every person voluntarily feeds thoughts, feelings, ideas, vacation photos, medical history, family dentist and just about anything else you can imagine. But the brain is not working alone. In fact, what would a brain do without a central nervous system that directed personal inquiries to it? How can a global brain be omnipresent so that it is able to collect it all, sniff it all; know it all and exploit it all? Let’s talk about some of the components of this central nervous system.
“We are basically creating a global brain and a planetary nervous system that will communicate everything that happens on the planet to this global brain,” says Albrecht. This planetary nervous system is what will give the brain its capacity to be omnipresent. If you are a religious person you’ll be familiar with the idea that only God is understood as being omnipresent and omniscient, and that no other force, spiritual or otherwise has the ability to know it all. At least not yet. But there are many people working hard to create a system on planet earth that may come close to omnipresence.
The question is what would such a global brain be needed for or what will it be used for? To protect us from terrorism? That is not likely. It is more probable that it will be used as an unlimited tool for global control of the human race. Religious people like Dr. Albrecht immediately relate this with the appearance of a terrestrial master, which according to her faith is tied to the advent of Satan. Whether that is true or not, the real issue is that the global control infrastructure is being built for such control. It really does not matter whether it is for physical or spiritual control. In both cases it is bad news.
To make matters worse, there are important components that are widely available to people which are accelerating the creation of the global brain and its central nervous system. Among them we can recognize: cell phones, smart television sets, video game consoles, wireless internet access points and smart meters, among many others. “We are in the process, unknowingly and unwillingly of building a powerful infrastructure of total omnipotence and omniscience over this planet. And once it is built — the bible makes it very clear — it will be inhabited by Satan himself.”
If you are not a religious or spiritual person, let me give you the technological explanation, which is also made by Katherine Albrecht. For a global brain to work, to be fed all the information it needs to reach omnipotence and omniscience, it is necessary to have a global transmitting infrastructure, and that infrastructure is what we know today as the smart meter system. “Every physical object on Earth will be made part of what is being called the Internet of Things. Electronics, humans, animals and plants will be connected together through a global radio frequency grid that will be able to detect it all, collect it all, sniff it all, know it all and exploit it all.
Today we already have electronic appliances equipped with radio frequency chips. These chips have the ability to communicate with smart meters to transmit the information imbedded in the tracking labels contained in the product people buy. Countries where smart meters have been adopted are the most likely places where people are already using smart appliances that are communicating all kinds of information to the smart meters, which in turn send it to the global brain. It wouldn’t be surprising if they were already using radio frequency signals to scan mobile phone users’ brains to obtain information about what they are thinking in real time. What role do the atmospheric chemical spraying and High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program play in all this?
I think you are now capable of following what people like Dr. Katherine Albrecht and other technology savvy people have been trying to say for many years. Forget about losing your music and video in the cloud. There is much more than data at stake.