Browsing: Big Brother

‘Director of a private refugee detention center in the United Kingdom has resigned after footage emerged showing officers were abusing and bullying refugees and asylum seekers being held there.

Ben Saunders, the director of Brook House in south-east England, which is run by security firm G4S, has stepped down with “immediate effect,” said Jerry Petherick, managing director for G4S custodial and detention services.

Saunders is also resigning from his post at Tinsley House, another detention center, which holds refugees facing deportation from the UK.

He left his job three weeks after BBC Panorama aired footage apparently showing officers abusing detainees and mocking people who were receiving medical treatment after self-harming.

Undercover footage was filmed by a former officer, Callum Tulley, who contacted the BBC and began working undercover on their behalf.’

Read more: Head of UK refugee detention center quits over abuse

‘More than seven million households have been given flawed smart energy meters that fail if you switch suppliers, the Mail can reveal.

Customers have been urged to sign up for smart meters on the basis that they will be able to see in pounds and pence how much power they’re using.

But these meters – which automatically send suppliers meter readings – currently only work with the customer’s existing provider.

If customers want a cheaper deal by switching supplier, the meters stop working and customers have to go back to submitting readings.

The Mail understands that energy suppliers are preparing to launch a major upgrade to correct the fault later this year. However, last night experts warned it could cause billing chaos for millions.

Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline, branded the smart meter roll out ‘a complete shambles’. He said: ‘There is still a huge question mark over how firms will update these meters.’

Read more: Not smart! Energy meters given to seven million households will fail if you switch suppliers

‘Considering the fact that the liberals who reside in Washington D.C. are on a never ending quest for power, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the liberals who run Facebook are power hungry as well. Yet again, the social media giant has implemented new rules and standards as part of their effort to combat the spread of “hate speech,” which more and more each day looks like nothing more than a code for “conservative news.”

This time, however, instead of censoring conservative viewpoints outright, Facebook is tightening the rules and restrictions regarding who can make money from advertising on its network. The social media site has explained that content that includes “family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexualized, or otherwise inappropriate behavior” would be ineligible to make money off of advertising. In addition, Facebook’s guidelines prohibit content that is incendiary, inflammatory, demeaning, or disparaging towards others. If this system is abused — which it no doubt will be — then conservatives who run websites, blogs or businesses are in a lot of trouble. (Related: Facebook censors Natural News from users who want it, but won’t allow you to block Mark Zuckerberg’s feed.)’

Read more: Big brother Facebook releases new ad restrictions and plans to add 3,000 content reviewers to the ‘hate speech’ fight

‘UK banks will be forced to carry out immigration checks on millions of bank accounts as part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants.

According to the Guardian, banks will check 70 million bank accounts on a quarterly basis, with the Home Office expecting to identify up to 6,000 failed asylum seekers, foreign criminals and visa over-stayers facing deportation in the first year alone.

Banks will be forced to freeze or close down accounts of those they identify as illegal immigrants, with officers claiming it will be an incentive for the individuals in question to return voluntarily to their home countries.

They have also been told to adopt a default position whereby customers suspected of being in the UK without leave to remain are told that they should report to the Home Office directly. This would apply regardless of whether customers are able to provide a passport or biometric data.’

Read more: British banks ordered to inform on suspected illegal immigrants amid Tory crackdown

‘Terrorism is being used as a “pretext” by governments and intelligence services to indiscriminately collect people’s personal data without making citizens any safer, according to award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

As home secretary, Theresa May was a strong advocate of bulk data collection. She memorably said at the time: “We have to have a haystack to be able to find the needle that we need to keep the public safe.”

Now that she is Prime Minister, May has implemented the Investigatory Powers Act, dubbed the ‘snooper’s charter’ by its critics, which forces internet companies to retain people’s personal information for up to 12 months.

The Act also protects the ability of Britain’s domestic intelligence agencies, GCHQ and MI5, to bulk-collect communications data and hack into electronic devices.

However, speaking at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in London on Tuesday evening, Greenwald said mass surveillance is actually counter-productive in efforts to pin down terrorists.’

Read more: Greenwald: Terrorism used as ‘pretext’ for mass data collection

‘Google sister company Nest Labs is adding the search giant’s facial recognition technology to a camera-equipped doorbell and rolling out a security system in an attempt to end its history of losses.

The products expand upon the internet-connected thermostats, smoke detectors and stand-alone security cameras that Nest has been selling since its inception six years ago.

The Hello doorbell comes with a built-in video camera and speakers that will make it seem like it can recognize and talk to people.

The doorbell will draw upon Google’s facial recognition technology so it can warn a home’s occupants when a stranger approaches.
However, Nest’s usage of facial recognition hasn’t yet sparked privacy concerns because it doesn’t tap into Google’s vast database of photos to automatically recognize people.’

Read more: Nest reveal ‘Hello’ smart doorbell that can recognize familiar faces using sister firm Google’s software

‘At the recent unveiling of their newest iPhone models, Apple bragged about their use of face-reading artificial intelligence (AI). The phones will use the technology in place of fingerprint readers and numeric passcodes to unlock them, and Apple claims the Face ID system is so smart that it can even identify people when they are wearing masks. However, the approach is drawing a lot of scrutiny from those who feel it infringes too much on their privacy. Some experts are pointing out just how far face-reading AI can go – and it’s a very scary prospect.

Stanford University Data Scientist and Psychologist Dr. Michal Kosinski says that such programs will be capable not only of reading your face for authentication purposes but also of determining your sexual orientation. He also believes that algorithms will soon be able to determine whether people have certain personality traits or are predisposed to criminal behavior based on their faces.’

Read more: Latest face-reading AI will detect your IQ, sexual orientation and political beliefs

‘First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner—a dystopian television series described as “James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka”—confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village.

The Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.’

Read more: Freedom Is a Myth: We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village


‘To qualify as colonial powers, Facebook and Google must effectively limit the choices and power of users, and punish or coerce those who question or resist their power.

I was struck by a phrase from a recent essay on advertising and social media, You Are the Product: As Taplin points out, that remark ‘unwittingly revealed a previously unspoken truth: Facebook and Google are the new colonial powers.’

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the dominance of Facebook and Google in online advertising is now “in the news” for a variety of reasons: the possibility that agents of other governments influenced U.S. elections with media buys on Facebook; anti-trust concerns; the potential for these advert-tech giants to effectively silence legitimate online voices under the guise of limiting “fake news”, and of course, the ongoing issues of click fraud and the underperformance of digital ads.

The phrase that captures this broad narrative is: When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

In other words, if you’re not paying for the service or content, then your information (harvested by Google, Facebook, et al.), your time online (i.e. your attention, a.k.a. eyeballs) and the content you create and post for free (videos of your cute cat, etc.) are the products being sold to advertisers at a premium.’

Read more: Are Facebook And Google The New Colonial Powers?

‘Even though he was once an executive at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, favors investing in Amazon instead, he told CNBC’s “Fast Money: Halftime Report” on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has been a critic of Amazon, tweeting his disdain for coverage from The Washington Post, which is a personal holding of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. But Palihapitiya said he thinks that Facebook and Google face more regulatory risk, given the many retailers that compete with Amazon.

“Amazon is a microscopic portion of global consumption today, so ultimately I think it has more room to grow before it invites regulatory overview,” Palihapitiya said. “On the other hand, Facebook and Google effectively are surveillance states. And they have so much personal, private information about so many citizens of so many countries.”

Google has already had a tussle with regulators in Europe, after the company was slapped with a record fine in one investigation.’

Read more: Former Facebook executive says Google, Facebook are ‘surveillance states’