Those who follow me know I am outspoken. Twitter is but one of the forums I express my thoughts on. I realize that in all probability, my tweets are monitored by law enforcement, but I don’t break laws, so it comes with the territory I guess.
But, I was thinking about the notion that police want to push, that you have NO privacy anywhere at any time, and should never expect it. This rape and murder of privacy is not just done by your street cops, but by law enforcement as far up as the Supreme Court. The SCOTUS has ruled, in fact, that police can violate your Fourth Amendment rights…IF they are “ignorant of the law”. Can I get away with shoplifting if I am “ignorant of the law”?
But, back to our topic. Cops use a variety of software to track you, but on Twitter, they have a “special tool” called “BlueJay”, a bit of evil business from a company called “Bright Planet”. Let me explain what BlueJay CLAIMS it can do.
Bright Planet claims BlueJay :
> BlueJay captures tweets from the entire Twitter firehose unlike all other products on the market.
> BlueJay is invisible and covert
> BlueJay captures geographically tagged tweets.
Now, I think those of us who are activists understand that we may be watched by law enforcement, ESPECIALLY if you are an Anon. BUT, it bothers me a LOT that they are “capturing tweets from the entire Twitter firehose”. The point is, unless I misunderstood the EULA of Twitter, Inc., this mass monitoring of fellow users,
is a direct violation of the user agreement.
It is in the spirit of the Russian Stasi, the Nazi SS, and other secret police, to think they have the right to monitor everyone. It violates our senses as Americans, a country in which even the accused have the “innocent until proven guilty” starting point. It also violates the notion that if there is no “reasonable suspicion” that searching our persons and effects, is a violation of our rights.
And, from learning a bit about how BlueJay works, it is clear that in many respects, it is indiscriminately collecting data on everyone using Twitter…some folks who quite obviously, are not activists, not criminals, not hackers…just kindly folks who may be alone in the real world and seeking human interaction via the internet.
Now, if we understand this “firehose collection of tweets” from Twitter, and then, layer over this, the use of Stingray, an electronic instrument that tricks your phone into connecting to it, as if it is a phone tower you can use to call people (More on Stingray at http://www.globalresearch.ca/new-hi-tech-police-surveillance-the-stingray-cell-phone-spying-device/5331165 ) you suddenly understand that “Big Brother” is not COMING…he’s here and been living in your back room for years now.
And, at the point at which you ACCEPT these violations of your privacy as being “OK”,
then you have effectively LOST your rights…if you ever had them at all (something the late George Carlin said…that you don’t have any rights).
It is NOT OK that the police can drive by your house, trick your phone into connecting to them, and for them to get access to your calls…it is NOT OK that your tweets are scooped up by cops who are looking at you like you are a terrorist, murderer, ISIS sympathizer, or other criminal…It is NOT OK that using a word like
#gunfire or #protests or #Ferguson, could make you the target of a police investigation.
BlueJay costs $150.00 a month, for a minimum of three months. Police have to supply their OWN keywords…and yes, “Anons” and “Anonymous” could be part of the keyword list they supply to the program.
It is very important to understand what the term “Twitter firehose” means.
From this article http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/15/5108058/gunfire-can-twitter-really-help-cops-find-crime
heres a quote:
“BlueJay claims to offer a “crime scanner” for Twitter that will help police “monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals.” It will also help to “identify potential witnesses and indicators for evidence,” “track department mentions,” and capture “tweets from the entire Twitter firehose.”
Twitter’s application programming interface (API) is free and offered to anyone who wants it. The API is essentially a sample, a subset of billions of tweets than anyone can produce and stream based on whatever parameters they want to set. “Firehose” access is different: it’s a stream of literally every tweet, in real time. It’s relatively expensive, and not as easy to access as Twitter’s API. BlueJay thus claims their product is superior because it goes extra steps to access the firehose, allowing police to monitor every single tweet produced by every single Twitter user in their jurisdiction, rather than a subset. (There’s been some academic discussion about whether or not anyone needs access to billions of tweets rather than millions. This recent study out of Arizona State University suggests the API introduces significant bias into the tweet stream, meaning that maybe it’s more accurate to access the firehose.)”
You must stop a second and understand what we are saying. We are saying that BlueJay scoops up ALL tweets. Every tweet on Twitter in real time is gathered. If you have been on Twitter very long, you realize what a staggering statement that is.
EVERY TWEET…by default.
Another of these insidious programs is “Snap Trends”.
“SnapTrends is another very similar option. It provides basically the same service as BlueJay, but it’s able to identify where keywords are trending on social media. It then shows those trends in red on a map as hotspots. The point is to identify where things are happening in real time and to pinpoint a search, in the words of the FBI, “based on breaking events or emerging threats.” SnapTrends isn’t limiting itself to police use, however; its salespeople see it as a potential tool for news organizations and even the energy industry. SnapTrends representatives wouldn’t give an exact price, but indicated the service was slightly more expensive than BlueJay.”
Snap Trends is not just a cop software, but can be used by businesses as well.
The CLAIM is that Twitter is not used by many people. Although 70% of Online Adults are said to use “Social Networking Sites”…they say only around 18% use Twitter.
Of course, that 18% is more than double the 8% using it at the end of 2010.
But, Twitter kind of “self selects” itself as a social canvas (a tool THEY love to use) populated by influencers and people who serve as a megaphone for social movements. Actors, Writers, Musicians, Comedians, even many well known politicians, use Twitter as a bully pulpit to get their ideas across. Also, activists in various movements such as #BlackLivesMatter , #Anonymous, #AnimalRights, tend to be more active on Twitter than Facebook.
Twitter, for all its faults, is a newsmaking social site. It is not unusually to see the news media citing what was tweeted on Twitter, in a way they seem not to do with Facebook.
Media savvy people KNOW that Twitter is not only a “bully pulpit”, but as we saw in the Arab Spring, serves as a valuable logistical tool in organizing and carrying out protests.
So, truth be told…if you want more bang for your buck, dropping your digital microphone into Twitter is far more of a “target rich environment” than Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other social sites.
We KNOW that Twitter, at least your “TimeLine”, is by its nature, the antithesis of “private”, so many will say “of course you have no privacy”…and, there is legitimacy in that claim…your expectation of privacy on Twitter (unless you protect your tweets) is on par with your expectation of privacy on a public sidewalk, essentially nil.
But, that said…I say there IS a difference between followers reading your post, and someone scooping up every tweet in real time. It offends something deep inside of us, and does so because we know that such tactics are on their face, deeply creepy.
A line from USUAL SUSPECTS, I would paraphrase is the line which says the best trick the Devil ever did was to convince you he doesn’t exist. The best trick the police, and law enforcement ever did, was convince you your rights don’t exist, and, the more the Supreme Court makes precedential rulings stripping us of First and Fourth Amendment rights, the better the law enforcement likes it…your “rights” are the only thing that gives ANY defense for you from the Government goons…and once your rights are diluted by hundreds of SCOTUS rulings in favor of the government and big corporations AGAINST John Q. Public, your defenses are gone.
And, perhaps the most troubling thing is “We are buying them the stick they beat us with”.
This means that it is our own tax dollars used to purchase the software and hardware they are using to violate our rights.
I’m an old man…I grew up in the 1950s in a time that the only phone we had was in the house, hardwired to the line it sent its calls through, and most often, there was a “party line”. Having a party line meant any given call, was not private, since some party could pick up their phone and quietly listen to your conversation.
We didn’t have the Internet, the IoT (Internet of things), cellphones, computers, etc. And, if you told someone in the 1950s that their toaster could spy on them…they would quite literally think you were mentally ill. Or, if you told them you were able to control a car distantly, even drive it into a ditch, you would be diagnosed as delusional.
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
The Doobie Brothers had an album with that title. But, that group of words can be used to describe several things from Drugs to Military Equipment for Cops. We see Ferguson Cops bitching and moaning about having to give back TANKS to the government. They are like drug addicts who are going through withdrawal…because of course, how can you give a ticket to someone speeding, if you are not pulling them over in an MRAP / Bearcat. Or, how can they break up a domestic quarrel without grenades, bulletproof vests, helmets, and machine guns.
The point here is that the #InfoJunkies are hooked on spying on us, like they were in a Man From Uncle movie, tracking the Nemesis S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
Law Enforcement seems to view us ALL as the enemy. We are tracked, traced, recorded, tricked into linking up to a fake phone tower, and yes, killed all too often.
There are some that will say, “I have nothing to hide, so they can watch me.” If you say that, then at what point do you draw the line…are you fine with them stopping every car on a freeway, ripping out the upholstery looking for drugs, or them doing a cavity search on your wife or husband ? It IS a slippery slope and there has to be a point at which you are NOT fine with it.
Are you fine with a SWAT team breaking down your door and rifling through your personal papers, cabinets, tossing a flashbang grenade into your child’s crib ?
The violation of your rights is slowly, but continually being exercised on an ongoing basis. You cannot boil a frog by dropping it into boiling water, but you CAN put a frog into tepid water, and increase the temperature slowly until you boil him, this is the “law of incrementalism”…i.e. that if you threw the full blast of the experience at a subject, they might recoil and escape, but if you do it slowly, they get accustomed to the change, and before they know it, a radical change is already there.
Privacy is important not because of the criminal things you want to hide, but, because being secure in your person and effects, is a central tenet of civil rights. The founding father’s tried to build these rights into law, and to set a defensive moat around them, but the militarized cops have blown them up with C4.
The fact is that, paraphrasing Edmund Burke, all that needs to happen for evil to win, is for good men and women to do nothing.
Actually, Burke had several things to say during the eighteenth century, but are still so valid, they inform us of what we need to watch out for.
> Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, friendship, are things almost unknown in high stations.
>People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.
Letter to Charles James Fox (1777-10-08)
> The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
Speech at a County Meeting of Buckinghamshire (1784).
> Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
They will always say they are taking our rights “for our protection”. This excuse is what I call “the noble reason” meaning that politicians always have to sound like they are doing something for the people’s good. Whether it is the “War on Terror” or “War on Drugs”, the truth is that neither TERROR (an emotion) nor DRUGS (substances which change an element of physiological function) are truly being fought, and the ones who suffer the most, are often the most innocent.
The truth is that the people of a country will only get as good a government as they tolerate, and politicians, like many men, are only as faithful as their options to do otherwise.
“In the kingdom of the blind, the one–eyed man is king.” – Desiderius Erasmus
In a country in which there is an unseen, covert plot to take your rights, only those who understand the dangers, have foresight enough to install measures to block it.
To scoop up everyone’s tweets, with the defense that you might find ONE terrorist hiding, is like killing every human, with the thought that ONE might rob you.
It is not enough to be aware of what the law enforcement police state is doing, you must expose them, else, we shall find ourselves without rights in a dystopian future, where we have the security of solitary confinement,
and the freedom of solitary confinement.
Thanks for reading this.