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Secret Code Is Recording Every Keystroke You Make On More Than 400 Of The Most Popular Websites On The Internet

If someone secretly installed software on your computer that recorded every single keystroke that you made, would you be alarmed?  Of course you would be, and that is essentially what is taking place on more than 400 of the most popular websites on the entire Internet.  For a long time we have known that nothing that we do on the Internet is private, but this new revelation is deeply, deeply disturbing.  In my novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End”, I attempted to portray the “Big Brother” surveillance grid which is constantly evolving all around us, but even I didn’t know that things were quite this bad.  According to an article that was just published by Ars Technica, when you visit the websites that have installed this secret surveillance code, it is like someday is literally “looking over your shoulder”…

If you have the uncomfortable sense someone is looking over your shoulder as you surf the Web, you’re not being paranoid. A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted.

Go back and read that again.

Do you understand what that means?

Even if you ultimately decide not to post something, these websites already know what you were typing, where you clicked and how you were moving your mouse.

Essentially, it is like someone is literally sitting behind you and watching every single thing that you do on that website.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

In a blog post revealing the findings, Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton, said: ‘Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.

This is fundamentally wrong, and if I am elected to Congress I am going to fight like mad for our privacy rights on the Internet.  Nobody should be allowed to literally monitor our keystrokes, but according to a brand new study that has just been released, 482 of the largest websites in the entire world are doing this

A study published last week reported that 482 of the 50,000 most trafficked websites employ such scripts, usually with no clear disclosure. It’s not always easy to detect sites that employ such scripts. The actual number is almost certainly much higher, particularly among sites outside the top 50,000 that were studied.

“Collection of page content by third-party replay scripts may cause sensitive information, such as medical conditions, credit card details, and other personal information displayed on a page, to leak to the third-party as part of the recording,” Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, wrote. “This may expose users to identity theft, online scams, and other unwanted behavior. The same is true for the collection of user inputs during checkout and registration processes.”

I am calling on every website that is using this sort of code to cease and desist immediately.  This is a gross violation of our privacy, and Congress needs to pass legislation protecting the American people immediately.

And of course it isn’t just the Internet where are privacy rights are being greatly violated.  The CIA has developed software that can remotely turn on the cameras and microphones on our phones whenever they want, and they can also use our phones as GPS locators to track us wherever we go

CIA-created malware can penetrate and then control the operating systems for both Android and iPhone phones, allege the documents. This software would allow the agency to see the user’s location, copy and transmit audio and text from the phone and covertly turn on the phone’s camera and microphone and then send the resulting images or sound files to the agency.

So just like the Internet, nothing that you do on your phone is ever truly private.

And would you be shocked to learn that our televisions can be used to spy on us as well?

Incredibly, they can even be used to monitor us when they appear to be turned off

A program dubbed “Weeping Angel” after an episode of the popular British TV science fiction series “Dr. Who,” can set a Samsung smart TV into a fake “off” mode to fool the consumer into thinking the TV isn’t recording room sounds when it still is. The conversations are then sent out via the user’s server. The program was developed in conjunction with MI5, the British FBI equivalent of a domestic counterintelligence and security agency, according to the WikiLeaks documents.

We are rapidly getting to the point where nothing will ever be truly private in our society ever again.

Virtually everything that we do is constantly being watched, tracked, monitored and recorded, and with each passing day our level of privacy is being eroded just a little bit more.

If you don’t want your children to grow up in a world where “Big Brother” is omnipresent, now is the time to stand up and fight.  We can put limits on technology and start reclaiming our privacy, but that is only going to happen if we all work together.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into A Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid

Traffic Stop - Photo by DarkKomodoWhat do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common?  They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments.  All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt.  Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue.  According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year.  And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up.  Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher.  For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250.  If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback.  Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid.  The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us.  As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you.  This happened to me a few years ago.  I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired.  But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now.  For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city.  They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave.  So where is all of this headed?  Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements?

Back in the old days, the highways of America were great examples to the rest of the world of the tremendous liberties and freedoms that we enjoyed.  Americans loved to hop into their vehicles and take a drive.  But now government is sucking all of the fun out of driving.  The control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system have figured out that giant piles of money can be raised by turning our roads into revenue raising tools.

At this point things have gotten so bad that even some police officers are admitting what is going on.  Just check out what a few of them told Car and Driver

The president of a state police union isn’t pretending it doesn’t happen. James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan union, says, “When elected officials say, ‘We need more money,’ they can’t look to the department of public works to raise revenues, so where do they find it? Police departments.

“A lot of police chiefs will tell you the goal is to have nobody speeding through their community, but heaven forbid if it should actually happen—they’d be out of money,” Tignanelli says.

Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan, says the role of law enforcement has changed over the years. “When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues,” he says. “That’s just the reality nowadays.”

And as the economy has gone downhill, many jurisdictions have massively jacked up traffic fines.  According to the Los Angeles Times, various traffic fines in the Los Angeles area are far higher than they once were…

If you’re caught running a red light in Los Angeles, be prepared to shell out $446, up from $271 eight years ago. Make a rolling right turn at a stoplight and the ticket comes to $381 — more than double what it cost in 2008.

And of course the cost to the driver does not end with the ticket.  Your car insurance will likely go up as well.  In fact, one study found that a driver that just gets one speeding ticket will pay an additional 20 percent for car insurance for the next three to six years.

That can add up to a lot of money.

But politicians just keep wanting to find a way to issue even more tickets.  One of the hottest trends all over the country is to automate the issuing of traffic tickets by installing cameras.  According to USA Today, this has become a huge growth industry…

Sales of the cameras have nearly quadrupled since companies moved to digital and wireless technology in the mid-2000s. The number of local contracts for cameras was up to 689 last year, from 155 in 2005, according to industry data complied by market leader American Traffic Solutions (ATS).

And these automated traffic cameras can raise an enormous amount of cash.  Just check out what has been happening in Washington D.C.

The speeding and traffic light cameras have become more lucrative as their number in the District has increased. Combined, they issued tickets valued at $24.4 million in 2007. That figure more than doubled by 2010, to $50.9 million, and it reached $84.9 million in the last fiscal year.

But as annoying as those traffic cameras are, automated license plate readers are perhaps even more insidious.

The amount of data that these automated license plate readers are capturing is astounding.  The following is from a recent article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Photographing a single license plate one time on a public city street may not seem problematic, but when that data is put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing. Information about your location over time can show not only where you live and work, but your political and religious beliefs, your social and sexual habits, your visits to the doctor, and your associations with others. And, according to recent research reported in Nature, it’s possible to identify 95% of individuals with as few as four randomly selected geospatial datapoints (location + time), making location data the ultimate biometric identifier.

Our license plates have essentially become “our papers” which the government can read whenever it would like without even asking for our permission.

According to L.A. Weekly, local police agencies in the L.A. area have captured more than 160 million data points on private citizens using these automated license plate readers…

L.A. Weekly has learned that more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County are using hundreds of these “automatic license plate recognition” devices (LPRs) — units about the size of a paperback book, usually mounted atop police cruisers — to devour data on every car that catches their electronic eye.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are two of the biggest gatherers of automatic license plate recognition information. Local police agencies have logged more than 160 million data points — a massive database of the movements of millions of drivers in Southern California.

Each data point represents a car and its exact whereabouts at a given time. Police have already conducted, on average, some 22 scans for every one of the 7,014,131 vehicles registered in L.A. County.

As the use of these devices becomes more widespread and they become even more sophisticated, eventually the government will know where almost all of us are and what almost all of us are doing at all times.

The following is a brief except from a Washington Post article that detailed how automated license plate readers are now being used to create a “dragnet” that will track the movements of all vehicles from the time that they enter Washington D.C. to the time that they leave…

More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.

Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.

This is just the beginning.

For now, as long as you carefully obey all traffic laws and you don’t work in a major city like Washington D.C., the changes that are happening probably do not affect you too much.

But the key is to see where all of this is going.  Our roads are slowly but surely being transformed into a revenue generating control grid.  And this is just yet another example of how government feels the need to constantly watch, monitor, track and regulate everything that we do.

Does anyone else feel like the life is slowly being choked out of our society, or am I alone?

Traffic Stop Photo By Jeff Dean

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