Tag Archives: surveillance

WebMD and Healthline Exposed Violating Your Privacy

Joseph Mercola
Expert Review by Maryam Henein
Mercola.com

As reported in a November 12, 2019, Financial Times article,1 dozens of popular health websites are tracking, storing and sharing your personal data, including WebMD (the leading health website) and Healthline (currently the third most popular health site2). 

These two websites also, as of this year, dominate Google health searches, which virtually guarantees their continued growth and influence. “Establishment, big corporate pharma websites like WebMD are monopolizing the first page of results,” Google Whistleblower Zach Vorhies confirmed in an interview with The Epoch Times.3

I wrote about how these two websites use and share your data in my November 8, 2019, article “Shocking Proof How Google Censors Health News.” I’ve also covered this issue in other articles, so the Financial Times’ report came as no surprise to me. 

What some might not know is that this kind of information sharing is illegal in Europe. As reported by Financial Times:4

“Using open-source tools to analyse 100 health websites, which include WebMD, Healthline, Babycentre and Bupa, an FT investigation found that 79 per cent of the sites dropped ‘cookies’ — little bits of code that, when embedded in your browser, allow third-party companies to track individuals around the internet. This was done without the consent that is a legal requirement in the UK.”

Seventy-eight percent of the sites shared user data with DoubleClick, Google’s advertising arm, while 48% shared data with Amazon. Facebook, Microsoft and AppNexus, another advertising firm, also received user data. 

What this means is DoubleClick, Google’s ad service, will know which prescriptions you’ve searched for on these websites, thus providing you with personalized drug ads, and Facebook will know what you’ve searched for in WebMD’s symptom checker, as well as any diagnoses you received.

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Colleges Are Tracking Applicants’ Browser History, According to New Report

AJ Dellinger
Mic

(October 15, 2019)

If you’re in the process of applying for college, be warned that it isn’t just your grades and extracurricular activities that are being reviewed by schools. According to a report from the Washington Post, at least 44 public and private universities across the United States have started to work with third-party companies to collect and track data on prospective students, including web browsing activity and financial history. These practices could lead to schools favoring students based on financial incentives for the school, placing students from low-income backgrounds at a disadvantage.

According to the Post, the tracking process begins as soon as a student first directs their browser to a school’s website. Many schools have started to implement tracking software on their sites that are able to identify a person based on other online activity. This type of software, often called a cookie, is typically associated with online advertising. When you visit a site searching for boots, for instance, and all of a sudden start seeing advertisements for boots on other sites, it’s because of tracking cookies. In the case of these schools, those cookies are used to gauge a person’s interest in the university. It tracks their activity, on site and off, and can use data about the person’s location and interests to determine who the student is. That information is given to the admissions office to pair with existing data about the student, including their name, contact information, and additional details about their life like when they are graduating and what areas of the school they showed interest in based on activity on the site, and where the student lives.

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US School Districts Now Monitoring Students’ Free Speech / Social Media Activity

Via MassPrivateI
October 1, 2019

Today, I give you a frightening story about free speech censorship and watchlists just in time for the countdown to Halloween.

A recent article in The Tennessean reveals how the Williamson County School District (WCS) is monitoring students free speech and social media posts.

The WCS recently implemented a “threat surveillance program” called Gaggle, that is so invasive and frightening one would be hard pressed not to call it a “gag” program that limits students free speech.

When the WCS was asked to reveal specific details about what Gaggle and authorities are monitoring students speech for, they claimed they could not reveal any details “due to federal family protection laws.”


Public & private schools are joining the ranks of alphabet soup surveillance agencies like DHS, the FBI and the NSA claiming they cannot reveal surveillance details.

The Tennessean was able toshed some light on what Gaggle monitors by saying it, “operates using a mathematical algorithm to identify high risk words and phrases when students are logged into the district’s server.”

Gaggle’s video was a little more revealing, claiming that they monitor students social media posts 24/7 for things like:

  • profanity
  • insulting language
  • hate speech
  • provocative images
  • pornography 
  • drug use
  • alcohol use and much more

When school districts and private corporations start monitoring students for things like profanity and insulting language, we should all be worried because it will not end there.

Soon social media providers will monitor everyone.

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Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House

Daniel Lippman
Politico

(September 12, 2019)

The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cellphone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cellphone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cellphone hardened against intrusion.)

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Amazon’s Ring Is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats

Matthew Guariglia
Electronic Frontier Foundation

(August 21, 2019)

Doors across the United States are now fitted with Amazon’s Ring, a combination doorbell-security camera that records and transmits video straight to users’ phones, to Amazon’s cloud—and often to the local police department. By sending photos and alerts every time the camera detects motion or someone rings the doorbell, the app can create an illusion of a household under siege. It turns what seems like a perfectly safe neighborhood into a source of anxiety and fear. This raises the question: do you really need Ring, or have Amazon and the police misled you into thinking that you do?

Recent reports show that Ring has partnered with police departments across the country to hawk this new surveillance system—going so far as to draft press statements and social media posts for police to promote Ring cameras. This creates a vicious cycle in which police promote the adoption of Ring, Ring terrifies people into thinking their homes are in danger, and then Amazon sells more cameras.

Map of Ring partnerships with police compiled by Shreyas GandlurSee full screen

How Ring Surveils and Frightens Residents

Even though government statistics show that crime in the United States has been steadily decreasing for decades, people’s perception of crime and danger in their communities often conflict with the data. Vendors prey on these fears by creating products that inflame our greatest anxieties about crime.

Ring works by sending notifications to a person’s phone every time the doorbell rings or motion near the door is detected. With every update, Ring turns the delivery person or census-taker innocently standing on at the door into a potential criminal.

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An FBI Field Report on the Radical “Resistance”

American Left Linked to Islamic State

Editor’s Note: This Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Report was produced in 2017 and originally appeared in the appendices of Edward Klein’s All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump (Regnery Publishing, 2017).

CONFIDENTIAL
Report to the Office of Director FBI And Field Offices

Confidential

Office of Director and Field Offices Informational Report
Delivered July 11, 2017

Summary

Task force covered G-20 meeting in Hamburg studied intel from local authorities, Interpol and other assets, determined that as assumed U.S. based anarchist/radical groups had traveled to Germany and took part in the violence. There is also evidence of meetings between these individuals and associates of ISIS. There is clearly overwhelming evidence that there are growing ties between U.S. radials and the Islamic State as well as several offshoots and splinter group affiliates.

There is an urgent need to closely surveil the identified individuals.

Continue reading An FBI Field Report on the Radical “Resistance”

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Ford v. Kavanaugh: CIA False Dialectic? (Video)

George Webb

The SCOTUS Senate Hearings are not about which witness is telling the truth, argues George Webb, but rather a classic “divide and conquer” CIA ploy to distract public opinion from the issue of illegal government spying (which Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh vigorously defends) and against Trump’s “Red Wave” in the run up to the 2018 Midterm Election.

H/t Prof. Darrell Hamamoto

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