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STALKING "THE THING"
 by Jim Hightower

  It's back. "The Thing That Just Won't Die" has returned in mutated form to terrorize
 the good people of our country, gorging itself on gargantuan fistfuls of our First and
 Fourth Amendment rights.

  "The Thing" was once known as TIA末Total Information Awareness末the
 Orwellian/Frankensteinian creation of John Poindexter, the disgraced, convicted,
 and totally loopy former operative from the Reagan White House. Brought in from
 the cold by George W, Poindexter set up shop in a wing of the Pentagon called
 DARPA末Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

  At DARPA, the maniacal Poindexter put together his TIA, a super computerized
 program to gather every scrap of data there is on everybody末from our bank
 accounts to video rentals, our medical histories to photos of protests we've attended.
 All of this was to be sifted and sorted, ostensibly to detect suspicious behavior that
 would tag someone as a possible terrorist.

  Noting that this would make millions of Americans suspected terrorists and amount
 to a wholesale invasion of our people's privacy, the public screamed, congress
 cut-off TIA's funding, and Poindexter ultimately was forced back to Disgraceland.

  But, wait...TIA didn't die.  It metamorphosed from DARPA to ARDA末
 Advanced Research and Development Activity. While publicly pretending to kill TIA,
 congressional leaders had quietly funneled money to ARDA to resurrect TIA as
 The Thing, which is now pursuing the exact same assault on our privacy as TIA was,
 even using some of Poindexter's old crew.

  ARDA says that its Thing can wolf down a "petabyte or more" of data. How much
 is that? A petabyte will hold 40 pages of text on every man, woman, and child in the
 world, with room left to get information on your dog and parakeet.

  To help us finally drive a stake through the heart of this Thing,
 call the Center for Democracy and Technology:  202-637-9800.
  

 "Office was cut, but data-mining work continues." Austin American-Statesman.
 February 23, 2004.

 Copyright 2004 by Jim Hightower & Associates
 Contact Sean Doles (sean@jimhightower.com) for more information.


 LETTING CONSUMERISM GET UNDER YOUR SKIN

 by Jim Hightower

  Have you been "chipped" yet?

  A company called Applied Digital Solutions wants you to undergo a surgical procedure to implant
 a tiny RFID microchip in your arm. Why would you want to do this? Because "Radio Frequency ID" chips
 will eliminate the heavy burden of having to carry credit cards and remember your ATM numbers. Instead,
 your arm becomes your card and ID number simply run your arm under a scanner and your embedded radio
 chip sends a digital signal to the computer, allowing you to complete your transaction. ADS calls its microchip
 "VeriPay."  

  There's only one rational reason that ADS executives think we'll submit to this: They're insane.
 Insane, but serious. They insist that this technological leap is needed because many people lose their
 credit cards. "VeriPay solves that problem," says a corporate PR flak, cheerfully noting that ADS's chip
 "is sub dermal and very difficult to lose. You don't leave it sitting in the back seat of a taxi," he said.

  Sub dermal or not, your ID number still can be stolen by a geeky thief who rigs up a device to intercept
 your radio-transmitted number, then plays it back later to your ATM machine, emptying your account.

  If your number is stolen, or if you simply switch credit-card companies or banks, what are you to do?
 No problem says the PR guy: "If you don't want it anymore... you can go to a doctor and have it removed.
 I call it an opt-out feature," he said gaily. Swell, instead of simply calling your credit card company to cancel
 your card, you'd have to call a surgeon. This is progress?  

  Still, ADS is banking on you to "get chipped," as they cheerily put it in a special promotion. To lure you,
 they're even offering a $50 discount to the first 100,000 people who sign up.

  By the way, the honchos of ADS are such business geniuses that the company's stock  plummeted from
 $12 a share three years ago to about 40 cents today.
  I wouldn't entrust two bits to them much less my arm.

 "An ATM card under your skin," www.msnbc.com, December 1, 2003.

Copyright 2004 by Jim Hightower & Associates
Contact Sean Doles (sean@jimhightower.com) for more information.

THE TECHNOLOGICAL THEFT OF OUR PRIVACY
 
by Jim Hightower

  Big Brother is no longer a paranoid's nightmare
 he's alive and living deep inside the Pentagon.

  Specifically, Big Brother is operating under the pseudonym of DARPA,
 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It has unleashed a
 bunch of Dr. Strangeloves to throw our tax dollars at any number of
 technological schemes to spy on us and destroy our Constitutional right
 to privacy.

  DARPA is the agency that has given us the Total Information Awareness
 program to ransack any and all databases and compile secret dossiers
 on each of our lives. It is also the creator of PAL, the cognitive computer
 system with sensors that let its wearers secretly record our words and
 movements. And now it is bringing CTS into our private worlds.

  CTS "Combat Zones that See" is an urban surveillance system
 that uses thousands of cameras linked to a central computer to track,
 record, and analyze the movements of every vehicle in a city. Its software
 can identify your cars by size, color, shape, license plate... and even by
 your face. It lets authorities either governmental or corporate keep an
 unblinking eye over everyone's movements in entire cities. CTS says its
 goal is to "track everything that moves," storing and categorizing this
 phenomenal amount of data so that it is instantly retrievable.  
 Act suspicious... and CTS flashes an alert to authorities, complete
 with your profile.
   
  Oh, don't worry, says DARPA,  for  CTS is only  for  foreign surveillance.  But that's news to the corporate contractors developing CTS .
 "The whole theme here is homeland security," says one bluntly.
 Once the technology is developed ,  there'll soon be versions for
 sale to everyone from shopping centers to private detectives.

  To fight CTS,
 call the Federation of American Scientists: 202-546-3300.


 "New Pentagon system would track, analyze every vehicle in cities,"
 Austin American-Statesman, July 4, 2003.
 "Big Brother Gets a Brain," Village Voice, July 9, 2003.

 Copyright 2003 by Jim Hightower & Associates
 Contact Sean Doles (sean@jimhightower.com) for more information.
INVASION OF THE PRIVACY SNATCHERS
 by Jim Hightower

  It's 2003... do you know where you are?

  Not the physical you you're right there. But the little "digital you"
 that banks, credit-card firms, insurance companies, brokerage houses,
 and other corporations have created from personal information that that
 they've gleaned from you information you thought was private.
 For example, how much liquor have you charged to your credit card,
 what's your net worth, have you missed a loan payment, are you taking
 medicine for a sexual problem, what's your monthly take-home,
 did you make a series of one-nighter trips to Las Vegas last year?

  All this and more is collected by your financial institutions and
 thanks to a little known law that congress passed four years ago
 those institutions now can share all of your personal data, compile it
 into a detailed profile, and store this digital you inside their computers.
 But they don't stop there the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act lets them give
 "you" to all of their conglomerate affiliates and to sell "you" to other
 corporations under joint marketing agreements. The digital you is their
 slave... and the actual you doesn't know which corporations have you
 or what they're doing with you.

  You can thank former senator Phil Gramm for this theft of your privacy.
 At the behest of the industry (which, coincidentally, just happened to be
 his major campaign funder), Phil dutifully maneuvered this body-snatching
 bill into law. Gramm left the senate last year and was rewarded with
 what else? a fat cat job with a giant financial firm that had lobbied for
 this bill.

  If you think that these privacy invaders should not be allowed to use and
 sell your personal information without getting permission from you in writing,
 you are not alone. People all across the country are outraged and are pushing
 for action to stop the privacy snatchers. There is both a bill and an intiative in
 California that would outlaw this corporate intrusion. If it passes there, other
 states will follow.
 To join this fight for privacy, go to: californiaprivacy.org.


 Consumer Reports, June 2003

 Copyright 2003 by Jim Hightower & Associates
 Contact Sean Doles (sean@jimhightower.com) for more information.
Cult of Surveillance
  ACLU

  Government: Cult of Surveillance
 
  The ACLU cited a long list of privacy-leeching programs
 that seem to indicate a "cult of surveillance" in the current
 administration.

 These include:

 * Total Information Awareness - Developing in the Pentagon's
 secretive research and development wing, Total Information
 Awareness is the brainchild of former Reagan National Security
 Advisor John Poindexter. The Pentagon-funded project aims to
 create the most expansive electronic surveillance network in human
 history. It would record and monitor every American's Internet
 surfing, reading habits, financial transactions, travel plans and mental
 health histories in the hope of predicting future behavior.
 Conservative New York Times columnist William Safire has
 called the program a "supersnoop's dream."

   * Operation TIPS - As envisioned by the Department of Justice,
 Operation TIPS would have systematically recruited a network of
 government informants among everyday American workers with
 easy access to private homes. This army of snoops would have
 been composed of postal workers, utility technicians and the
 proverbial "cable guy." Popular outcry forced the administration
 to scale back its plans for its corps of what the ACLU called
 "government-sanctioned peeping Toms" but the government is
 pressing forward with a more limited version of the scheme.

   * Domestic CIA - Last week, the advisory Gilmore Commission
 recommended to Congress that it create a intelligence agency similar
 to the CIA, but for use on American soil. Such an agency would, the
 ACLU said, inevitably engage in covert activities similar to the smear
 campaigns waged against political dissidents - most notably the Rev.
 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - by the Hoover-era FBI.

  * Sweeping New Surveillance Powers for the Department of Justice
 - Earlier this week, the Justice Department gained vast new powers
 to monitor the lawful activity of Americans. The new powers were
 granted when a the ultra-secret, espionage-specific Foreign
 Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruled that information
 gathered by warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
 could be used in criminal proceedings. Significantly, the Justice
 Department need only meet a standard far less than probable cause
 in order to obtain these warrants.

 www.memes.org

 Be sure to check out Surv Tampa by Bill Gallagher

   Surv Tampa 
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