For Beyond 50's "Political" talks, listen to an interview with Cheryl K. Chumley of "The Washington Times". She'll lay out clearly what's happening: America is becoming a de facto police state. From traffic light cameras to phone tapping, from militarized police forces to targeting specific groups of people, the government is unfettered in its desire to control the American people. Chumley will also explain ways we might overcome and recapture our freedoms. They are commonsense solutions to stop the erosion of our freedoms.
When Business Turns Big Brother - It's common practice for retail stores to collect and process personal data from their customers in this era of Big Data. Once you enter their stores, shopping surveillance begins: store cameras can track your movements to determine shopping habits; mannequins are technologically equipped to record a shopper's gender, estimated age and ethnicity; even facial recognition software has been used in the U.S., U.K. and Asia to spot celebrity shoppers. Big Data is becoming a $55 billion industry. Google maintains the largest behavioral profile data bank on individuals in the entire world, and Google executives are among some of the most politically connected people in Big Business. Twitter in mid-2013 announced that it, too, wanted to jump into the website tracking game and start recording via cooking what sites online users visit.
The Patriot Act and Why You Should Care - When the Patriot Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, it only took a quick month - no time for members of Congress to discuss or debate the points of it. Pretty fast! One far-reaching effect is on the banking industry. The Patriot Act's amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) now means banks must instead play Big Brother, and generate what's called a Customer Identification Program (CIP) that lays out account-opening procedures and tells employees what information to collect from each and every potential client - including a list of all personal information that must be gathered and stored.
The Government's Prying PRISM Program -
Run by the National Security Association (NSA), PRISM/US-984XN is a
computer network processing data about you (like email content, file
transfers and live chats) from leading Internet corporations: Google,
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Paltalk, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, and Skype.
Since 2006, the NSA has been gathering all this data without public
awareness until former computer technician for the CIA and contractor
for the NSA, Edward Snowden, leaked about all this illegal eavesdropping
to the press.
The Battle Against Zoning Zealots - They say the homeowner's association (HOA) has grown so out of control that living there is like living under a monarchy. Many homeowners believe that community oversight helps preserve and protect their property values, and they ultimately see a good return on their fees to the HOA. But is the trade-off of freedom worth it? HOA horror stories suggest that residents are frequently called upon to abide by the strictest of regulations, some of which seem to go far beyond what board members claim are aimed at preserving community safety or property values.
The Rise of Militarized Police -
After Sept. 11, police nationwide are better equipped to handle acts of
terrorism and local crime. They now have military-grade assault
weapons; protection from Kevlar helmets and high-tech bulletproof vests
for routine beat patrol; ride Humvees; survey an area with helicopters;
fire guns with darts that have GPS technology; use apps that can predict
a crime so they can send out the police force to the scene before it
happens; and employ the use of drones.
Unmanned Drones Coming to a Community Near You - In 2011, researchers announced the creation of the Nano Hummingbird, a technological advancement that's the size of a real hummingbird. In January 2014, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein provided her own story - a little heads-up of where America was heading on drone policy. She told a crowded room about being home, listening to activists protest outside, and then went to the window for a peek. Inches from her face was a drone. Her message to the senators was blunt: Go slow with this new technology. The negative repercussions on personal privacies could prove significant.
The Baffling White House Embrace of Radical Islamism - White House officials and diplomats working for the administration try to tell us the Muslim Brotherhood is no threat - that it's not a radical Islamist faction with an anti-American bent - we know better. But to listen to the Obama administration speak, the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate political force with potential to assist with Middle Eastern and North African peace deals and democratic nation-building - that it's a necessary diplomatic partner.