British intelligence officials can infiltrate the very cables that transfer information across the internet, as well as monitor users in real time on sites like Facebook without the company’s consent, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
The internal documents reveal that British analysts gave instruction to members of the National Security Agency in 2012, showing them how to spy on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in real time and collect the computer addresses of billions of the sites’ uploaders.
YouTube has disabled Press TV’s new account under pressure from the Israeli-American Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that ordered the video-sharing site to end the Iranian channel’s live broadcast.
“On August 20, YouTube’s parent company Google deactivated Press TV’s new account weeks after disabling the channel’s official page,” said Press TV Newsroom Director Hamid Reza Emadi.
“YouTube broadcasts a variety of obscene images and provides a platform for terrorists to propagate their dangerous ideologies, but it cannot tolerate the broadcast of an alternative media channel from Iran,” he said, adding that YouTube is doing what the ADL is ordering it to do.
There was a time when the shadier online “element” was mostly interested in procuring credit card numbers, usually from Eastern European sources, in order to turn a quick buck. However, over time, interest in credit card fraud declined and according to RSA the going rate for 1000 credit card numbers has now dropped to a mere $6. What has taken the place of monetary online fraud, is artificial “likability” and “popularity.” Reuters reports that with the rise of social networking, instead of obtaining credit card numbers, hackers have used their computer skills to create and sell false endorsements – such as “likes” and “followers” – that purport to come from users of Facebook, its photo-sharing app Instagram, Twitter, Google’s YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular websites. This can be seen in the costs charged by “service” providers: 1,000 Instagram “followers” can be bought for $15, while 1,000 Instagram “likes” cost $30. It is likely that the going rates for fake popularity on other online social networks, FaceBook and Twitter is comparable.
In other words, being “liked” and “followed” online – traditionally an indication of influence, importance and power – has become more important than having instant access to liquidity, and naturally, since there is demand for online popularity shortcuts, there is also supply.
Enter Zeus: a computer virus that was once widely used to steal credit card numbers, has now been modified to create bogus likes that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual.
In short: marketing and self-promotion is now the most impotant gray market commodity on the internet.
These fake “likes” are sold in batches of 1,000 on Internet hacker forums, where cyber criminals also flog credit card numbers and other information stolen from PCs. According to RSA, 1,000 Instagram “followers” can be bought for $15 and 1,000 Instagram “likes” go for $30, whereas 1,000 credit card numbers cost as little as $6.
Newly published top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft
The Washington Post has released four previously unpublished slides from the NSA’s PowerPoint presentation on Prism, the top-secret programme that collects data on foreign surveillance targets from the systems of nine participating internet companies.
The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI “deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA”.
Would you like to know what America’s young people are actually learning while they are away at college? It isn’t pretty. Yes, there are some very highly technical fields where students are being taught some very important skills, but for the most part U.S. college students are learning very little that they will actually use out in the real world when they graduate. Some of the college courses listed below are funny, others are truly bizarre, others are just plain outrageous, but all of them are a waste of money. If we are going to continue to have a system where we insist that our young people invest several years of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars getting a “college education”, they might as well be learning some useful skills in the process. This is especially true considering how much student loan debt many of our young people are piling up. Sadly, the truth is that right now college education in the United States is a total joke. I know – I spent eight years in the system. Most college courses are so easy that they could be passed by the family dog, and many of these courses “study” some of the most absurd things imaginable.
Listed below are 20 completely ridiculous college courses being offered at U.S. universities. The description following each course title either comes directly from the official course description or from a news story about the course… Continue reading »
I’m not talking about censoring specific websites (For example, I was informed today that Reddit’s News category censors all stories from this website. But that’s just an example). I’m talking about censoring entire categories of news media.
United Nations report calls for Internet surveillance, saying lack of “internationally agreed framework for retention of data” is a problem, as are open Wi-Fi networks in airports, cafes, and libraries.
The United Nations is calling for more surveillance of Internet users, saying it would help to investigate and prosecute terrorists.
A 148-page report (PDF) released today titled “The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes” warns that terrorists are using social networks and other sharing sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Dropbox, to spread “propaganda.”
“Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost,” said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Google will soon know far more about who you are and what you do on the Web.
The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine.
Google has already been collecting some of this information. But for the first time, it is combining data across its Web sites to stitch together a fuller portrait of users.
Consumers won’t be able to opt out of the changes, which take effect March 1. And experts say the policy shift will invite greater scrutiny from federal regulators of the company’s privacy and competitive practices.
The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it. In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify “key bloggers” and to monitor “billions of conversations” about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs. This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact. As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a “Request for Proposal” to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a “Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution”. In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are. Obviously, any “positive” feelings about the Fed would not be a problem. What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively. It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign.
You can read this “Request for Proposal” right here. Posted below are some of the key quotes from the document (in bold) with some of my own commentary in between the quotes….
“The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.”
A system like this is not cheap. Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that gathering all of this information is very important. In recent years, criticism of the Federal Reserve has become very intense, and most of this criticism has been coming from the Internet. It has gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it had better listen to what is being said and find out who is saying it.
“Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources. They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria. They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.”
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intends to listen in on “billions of conversations” and to actually determine the “sentiment” of those that are participating in those conversations.
Of course it will be those conversations that are “negative” about the Federal Reserve that will be setting off the alarm bells.
“Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers”
Uh oh. So they plan to “identify” key bloggers and influencers?
What exactly do they plan to do once they “identify” them?
“The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms –Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube.”
Two weeks ago, the media’s heart went aflutter when it learned that the president had borrowed a page right out of ole’ Joe McCarthy’s communist witch hunt book with the launch of Attack Watch. The response by everyone, even fans of Obama, was immediate and brutal. Yet where Obama took about 24 hours to crash and burn, someone else has stepped in with a far stealthier method of ferreting out the traitors amongst us: none other than our old friends, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, which in a Request for Proposals filed to companies that are Fed vendors, is requesting the creation of a “Social Listening Platform” whose function is to “gather data from various social media outlets and news sources.” It will “monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.” The Fed’s desired product should be able to “determine the sentiment [ED:LOL] of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document”… “The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It should also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.” Most importantly, the “Listening Platform” should be able to “Handle crisis situations, Continuously monitor conversations, and Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.“ Said otherwise, the Fed has just entered the counterespionage era and will be monitoring everything written about it anywhere in the world. After all, why ask others to snitch for you and anger everyone as Obama found out the hard way, when you can pay others to create the supreme FIATtack WatchTM using money you yourself can print in unlimited amounts. And once the Internet is completely “transparent”, the Fed will next focus on telephone conversations, and finally will simply bug each and every otherwise “private” location in the world. Because very soon saying that “printing money is treason” will be treason, and such terrorist thoughts must be pre-crimed before they even occur.
All we can say is we welcome our new Chairsatan Voldemort overlord. For it is truly he who must not be named henceforth.
Over the past several years, the Justice Department has increasingly attempted to criminalize what is clearly protected political speech by prosecuting numerous individuals (Muslims, needless to say) for disseminating political views the government dislikes or considers threatening. The latest episode emerged on Friday, when the FBI announced the arrest and indictment of Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, charged with “providing material support” to a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)).
What is the “material support” he allegedly gave? He produced and uploaded a 5-minute video to YouTube featuring photographs of U.S. abuses in Abu Ghraib, video of armored trucks exploding after being hit by IEDs, prayer messages about “jihad” from LeT’s leader, and — according to the FBI’s Affidavit — “a number of terrorist logos.” That, in turn, led the FBI agent who signed the affidavit to assert that ”based on [his] training and experience, it is evident that the video . . . is designed as propaganda to develop support for LeT and to recruit jihadists to LeT.” The FBI also claims Ahmad spoke with the son of an LeT leader about the contents of the video and had attended an LeT camp when he was a teenager in Pakistan. For the act of uploading that single YouTube video (and for denying that he did so when asked by the FBI agents who came to his home to interrogate him), he faces 23 years in prison.
Let’s be very clear about the key point: the Constitution — specifically the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment — prohibits the U.S. Government from punishing someone for the political views they express, even if those views include the advocacy of violence against the U.S. and its leaders. One can dislike this legal fact. One can wish it were different. But it is the clear and unambiguous law, and has been since the Supreme Court’s unanimous 1969 decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio, which overturned the criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who had publicly threatened violence against political officials in a speech.
Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. A few weeks back, we noted that Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn and Christopher Coons had proposed a new bill that was designed to make “streaming” infringing material a felony. At the time, the actual text of the bill wasn’t available, but we assumed, naturally, that it would just extend “public performance” rights to section 506a of the Copyright Act.
Several websites, including YouTube, have been blocked from U.S. military computers in Japan to free bandwidth for recovery efforts.
Washington (CNN) — The U.S. military has blocked access to a range of popular commercial websites in order to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery efforts, according to an e-mail obtained by CNN and confirmed by a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.
The sites — including YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, eBay and MTV — were chosen not because of the content but because their popularity among users of military computers account for significant bandwidth, according to Strategic Command spokesman Rodney Ellison.
The block, instituted Monday, is intended “to make sure bandwidth was available in Japan for military operations” as the United States helps in the aftermath of last week’s deadly earthquake and tsunami, Ellison explained.
U.S. Pacific Command made the request to free up the bandwidth. The sites, 13 in all, are blocked across the Department of Defense’s .mil computer system.
“This is a response to a time of extreme demand for networks,” Ellison said.
Law enforcement agencies are digging deep into the social media accounts of applicants, requesting that candidates sign waivers allowing investigators access to their Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and other personal spaces.
Some agencies are demanding that applicants provide private passwords, Internet pseudonyms, text messages and e-mail logs as part of an expanding vetting process for public safety jobs.
More than a third of police agencies review applicants’ social media activity during background checks, according to the first report on agencies’ social media use by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the largest group of police executives. The report out last month surveyed 728 agencies.
“As more and more people join these networks, their activities on these sites become an intrinsic part of any background check we do,” said Laurel, Md., Police Chief David Crawford.
Privacy advocates say some background investigations, including requests for text message and e-mail logs, may go too far.
“I’m very uneasy about this,” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Where does it all stop?”
YouTube has begun removing al-Qaeda videos from its website after the British Government contacted the White House to complain about the material.
A number of clips by Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to have been the mastermind of the cargo bomb plot, were deleted from the video sharing site last night. However scores more, including incendiary calls to wage war on non-Muslims, remain.
A Google search for one of the most provocative videos – entitled 44 Ways to Support Jihad – on Google brings up more than a hundred results from YouTube. Two of the three top results have now been blocked although the bulk of the rest remain available.
Users clicking on the deleted content were confronted with a message saying “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s terms of service.”
YouTube says its community guidelines “prohibit dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech or incitement to commit specific and serious acts of violence”.
A source at Google, which owns the video sharing site, confirmed that staff had begun to take down al-Awlaki’s videos after being alerted by the Telegraph’s report.
YouTube has already almost completely removed the video ‘Hide The Decline’ (right now there is only one uploaded video left) and ‘Hide the Decline II’ has been removed completely.
Climategate: Hide The Decline – the video
Just in case that this last video will also be removed:
Climategate: Hide The Decline – the video
Climate Experts Square Off Over Video
Dr. Michael Mann
Experts on opposing sides of the global-warming debate are now squaring off against each other over a satirical Internet video.
On one side is Dr. Michael Mann, professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, who has been ensnared in the Climategate scandal. He is threatening to sue Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) after the group produced a satirical video called “Hide the Decline,” which features Mann’s face and makes fun of his scientific findings, and accuses him of covering up evidence of an apparent decline in temperatures over the past decade.
On the other side is Dr. Patrick Michaels, a contributing author and reviewer on the U.N.’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a well-known skeptic of global-warming alarmism. At a National Press Club press conference Tuesday, Michaels criticized Mann for having “very, very, very thin skin.”
The notion that a professor would file a lawsuit over a satirical video “is just quite shocking,” said Dr. Michaels.
Dr. Mann is perhaps most famous for his “hockey stick graph” which showed that mean global temperature changes, which had remained stable for the past millennium, spiked dramatically during the 20th Century. Mann was also involved in controversial e-mails between climate experts, which sat at the center of the Climategate scandal.
“Makin’ up data the old hard way, Fudgin’ the numbers day by day, Ignoring the snow and the cold and a downward line, Hide the decline (hide the decline),” reads the song in the video’s background, critical of Dr. Mann’s alleged manipulation of climate data.
The “Hide the Decline” video garnered more than 500,000 viewers and was featured on the CBS Evening News as well as on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Continue reading »
Not that we already have more than enough censorship!
Google says it will not “voluntarily” comply with the government’s request that it censor YouTube videos in accordance with broad “refused classification” (RC) content rules.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally.
Google warns this would lead to the removal of many politically controversial, but harmless, YouTube clips.
University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, one of Australia’s top communications experts, said that to comply with Conroy’s request Google “would have to install a filter along the lines of what they actually have in China”.
As it prepares to introduce legislation within weeks forcing ISPs to block a blacklist of RC websites, the government says it is in talks with Google over blocking the same type of material from YouTube. Continue reading »
(NaturalNews) The US government has issued a new report that recommends blocking access to popular websites during a pandemic outbreak in order to preserve internet bandwidth for investors, day traders and securities clearing house operations. The concern is that a pandemic would cause too many people to stay at home and download YouTube videos and porn, hogging all the internet bandwidth and blocking throughput for investment activities, thereby causing a stock market meltdown.
This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. It’s all based on a public report issued by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), available from their website at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d108.pdf
In this article, I’m going to explain how a pandemic outbreak could theoretically bring down Wall Street. But to get to that, you’ll first need to find out what the GAO said in its curious report (see below). Parts of this article are presented as satire, but the underlying facts quoted here are all true and verifiable (links are provided to all sources).
This report in question is entitled, “GAO Report to Congressional Requesters, INFLUENZA PANDEMIC” and includes this subtitle: Key Securities Market Participants Are Making Progress, but Agencies Could Do More to Address Potential Internet Congestion and Encourage Readiness.
As the report explains:
In a severe pandemic, governments may close schools, shut down public transportation systems, and ban public gatherings such as concerts or sporting events. In such scenarios, many more people than usual may be at home during the day, and Internet use in residential neighborhoods could increase significantly as a result of people seeking news, entertainment, or social contact from home computers. Concerns have been raised that this additional traffic could lead to congestion on the Internet that would significantly affect businesses in local neighborhoods, such as small doctors’ offices or business employees attempting to telework by connecting to their employers’ enterprise networks.
Popular C-Span Junkie user channel suspended, 6400 videos gone
You Tube has expanded its zealous copyright crusade by suspending the popular C-Span Junkie user channel, and in doing so has pulled hundreds of viral Ron Paul videos, which are now completely dead.
The C-Span Junkie user channel, a non-partisan archive of short clips taken from C-Span broadcasts of events in the Congress and the Senate, has been the home of the vast majority of You Tube videos you have seen of Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson and others being confronted in Congress, as well as Ron Paul’s speeches on the House floor. A total of more than 6400 videos in all have been pulled, hundreds of which featured the Texan Congressman.
Whether or not C-Span itself requested that You Tube pull the channel is not known, but it is clearly in the public interest and constitutes fair use to show a clip less than 10 minutes in length of what the people who are supposedly our Representatives are saying in Congress on our behalf.
As we have highlighted before, You Tube arbitrarily suspends accounts based on flimsy copyright claims that aren’t even properly investigated.
We had our own You Tube account suspended following a copyright complaint from a separate party who didn’t even own the copyright on the original material. In addition, the copyright claim was clearly erroneous as it was based on the fact that Alex Jones held up a printed version of an online newspaper story for a few seconds on camera. The channel was eventually reinstated after You Tube received a flood of complaints.
“I don’t know if you can imagine what it’s like to in a moment see 6400 videos gone,” writes the channel owner on the C Span Junkie website, “Figure 6400 hours (easily) poof GONE! I did this for the common good and now it all gone.”
The channel has now been replaced with a new account but it’s unlikely to survive long if the owner dares to post anything of substance.
Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users’ names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google’s liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.
Viacom filed suit against Google in March 2007, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for allowing users to upload clips of Viacom’s copyright material. Google argues that the law provides a safe harbor for online services so long as they comply with copyright takedown requests.
Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users’ privacy, the judge’s ruling (.pdf) described that argument as “speculative” and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives.
Joe Lieberman, senator and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, wants to censor what you watch on Google and YouTube. Lieberman has sent a letter to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, accusing the corporation of allowing “offensive material” on its site, namely “videos produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups.” Joe wants these taken down immediately and demands Google “prevent them from reappearing.” No word if Schmidt has responded, but a letter sent by a bigwig commissar such as Lieberman is nothing to take lightly. Schmidt and his corporate lawyers have likely confabbed.
“Today, Islamist terrorist organizations rely extensively on the Internet to attract supporters and advance their cause. The framework for much of this Internet campaign is described in a bipartisan staff report released last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which I am privileged to chair, titled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat,” writes Lieberman. “The report explains, in part, how al-Qaeda created and manages a multi-tiered online media operation that produces content intended to enlist followers in countries all over the world, including the United States. Central to this media campaign is the branding of content with an icon or logo to guarantee authenticity that the content was produced by al-Qaeda or allied organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam (a.k.a Ansar al-Sunnah) or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb.”
Or how about an “allied organization” such as the CIA, military intelligence or one of its cutouts? “An expert computer analyst has presented evidence that so-called ‘Al-Qaeda’ tapes are routinely digitally doctored and has also unwittingly exposed an astounding detail that clearly indicates a Pentagon affiliated organization in the U.S. is directly responsible for releasing the videos,”Paul Joseph Watsonwrote last August. Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, examined the image quantization table of a 2006 Ayman al-Zawahiri tape and made a fascinating discovery – al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab logo (supposedly the media arm of al-Qaeda) was placed on the tape at the same time as the IntelCenter logo. As it turns out, IntelCenter, notorious for releasing al-Qaeda videos, is run by Ben Venzke, former director of intelligence at a company called iDefense, a Verisign company. Jim Melnick, a senior military psy-op intelligence officer who worked directly for Donald Rumsfeld, is billed as iDefense’s director of threat intelligence. In short, there is a distinct possibility the al-Qaeda videos mentioned by Lieberman are fake.Continue reading »
There’s no question John McCain is getting a free ride from the mainstream press. But with the power of YouTube and the blogosphere, we can provide an accurate portrayal of the so-called Maverick. We can put the brakes on his free ride!
Since we first released The Real McCain a year ago, our REAL McCain series has garnered close to 2 million views, with over 13,000 comments and tens of thousands more in petition signatures! Clearly, John McCain’s record is something the public wants to discuss, and yet the corporate media is doing NOTHING to present the truth. We feel obliged to continue countering the mainstream media’s love of McCain. And so we thought it was high time for a sequel: The Real McCain 2.