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Ford CEO Frankly Admits That The Car of the Future Is A Surveillance Device You Pay To Spy On You


 

BoingBoing.net

The era of finance capitalism is marked by a curious shift in the desire of the business world: to get out of the business of making things people use, and into the business of getting money for owning, extracting and/or liquidating things.

The thing is, this isn't a good strategy. Not only did the drive to build up financial institutions themselves precipitate the financial crisis (tanking Lehman Brothers in the process, and bringing the rest to the brink of extinction, forced to beg for government handouts), but all the real-economy businesses that tried to become financial institutions also collapsed in the crisis: GM converted its making-cars business to a issuing loans business and nearly croaked as a result; ditto GE.

Since then, the extractive model has shown itself to be a loser for businesses do things that people value: Toys R Us was looted into bankruptcy; so was Sears.

But the dream of extractive rentierism still haunts the managerial classes.

Take Ford CEO Jim Hackett, whose recent Freakonomics Radio appearance celebrated his company's shift from a car business to a debt-issuance business, with Ford Credit now accounting for a third of the company's profits. Hackett vowed to increase that share by using the leverage he could exert over his debtors to force them to let him spy on them (for example, by doubling down on GM's car radio surveillance), and then cross-referencing this data on the data borrowers are forced to supply in order to buy their cars, and with data-sets from corporate acquisitions like the scooter company Spin.

It's funny how these real-economy naifs keep getting taken for rides by finance svengalis, who convince them to convert their making-things-people-need businesses to extracting-value-at-loan-point businesses. Every single time, they end up like the bottom tier of a pyramid scheme, emptying their pockets to benefit the con-artists who kicked the whole business off.

For the CEO of Ford to announce that he will goose his company's debt business with a surveillance business at the exact moment that the world's biggest debt issuers and surveillance businesses are coming under tight scrutiny and fretting about massive regulation as they head into another 2008-grade crisis is pretty perfect rustbelt timing. Welcome to the bottom of the pyramid, Ford. Your financial betters will be along shortly to get rich off of your touching enthusiasm and trust.

“We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?” Hackett said, according to the podcast transcript.

“The issue in the vehicle, see, is: We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us,” Hackett said. “We know what people make. How do we know that? It’s because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they’re married. We know how long they’ve lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We’ve never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”

Data could be what Ford sells next as it looks for new revenue [Phoebe Wall Howard/Detroit Free Press]

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It’s Spreading: Now the British Media Is Pushing Microchipping In The UK


By Adam Palmer
TheOrganicPrepper.com

It’s no coincidence that a veritable public relations advertisement concealed as an article in the Daily Mail regarding the microchipping of thousands of Swedish people would soon be followed up by an article announcing yet more microchipping of employees and individuals in the UK. That is just what is happening now in an article by the Guardian entitled “Alarm over talks to implant UK employees with microchips.”

Although both articles present the idea of microchipping as something that is new and rarely done, the truth is that neither the technology nor the process is new and the practice is growing across Europe and North America at an alarming rate.
 

The UK’s largest employer organization is promoting microchips

Britain’s largest “employer organization” and “main trade union body” is now speaking out over the prospect of British companies implanting their employees for security purposes.

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Facebook Handing Over More Info To US Government

‘This Is What Facebook Was Designed To Do’


By Mac Slavo
SHTFplan.com

Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide, including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. And, according to a new report, those requests are increasing at an alarming rate.

According to QZ.com, in the United States, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising—it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.

This is alarming many and causing a concern about privacy.  Joe Joseph, from the Daily Sheeple, isn’t sugarcoating the reality of Facebook either.  “Duh. This is exactly what Facebook was designed to do,” says Joseph.

“You have to remember that Zuckerberg had “seed money” and that seed money came from CIA front companies that put a lot of resources into this and…basically think about it as like, sowing seeds; if you will. They knew that Facebook was gonna bear fruit. I don’t think they realized just how big it would become. But I can tell you that they get so much information and intel from social media:  I don’t think that it would go away even if we wanted it to.”

The government keeps requesting the information, and Facebook continues to comply with the government’s demands.  In the first six months of 2013, it granted the government—which includes the police—79% of requests (“some data was produced” in these cases, the company says); in the first six months of 2017, that share rose to 85%. “We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data — whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere — to make sure it is legally sufficient,” Chris Sonderby, the company’s general counsel, wrote in a post. “If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary.”

But Joseph thinks Facebook is just trying to pacify the easily manipulated sheeple of society. “This is pretty troubling when you think about what you put out there, what they collect, and Facebook only being one of the many avenues that they have,” Joseph says. “The United States is collecting your data. Whether you like it or not. They are scooping up everything. And they’re taking it and they’re storing it in their facility at Bluffdale, Utah which has the capacity at this time to store every communication on the face of this earth for the next one hundred years.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Joseph continues.  “This is stuff that is unacceptable to me, but I’m sure, to a lot of you. And these companies have really gone too far…they can reconstruct your life and make anyone they want a patsy.”

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Why Is Google Hiring 1,000 Journalists To Flood Newsrooms Around America?


By Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge

So what do you do when you fail to elect your chosen candidate and your former political allies and mainstream media turn against you by painting you not as the 'progressive', open-minded, friendly tech company that you used to be but as an evil, racist, Russian-colluding corporate villain intent upon destroying all that is sacred in the world?  Well, you just buy the media, of course.

As Poynter notes today, after a series of public relations debacles in recent weeks, from the firing of James Damore to news last week that Google's algos served up some fairly disturbing keywords to potential advertising buyers (e.g. "Why Do Black People Ruin Neighborhoods"), Google is ramping up its media presence with the announcement that the Google News Lab will be working with Report For America (RFA) to hire 1,000 journalists all around the country. 

Many local newsrooms have been cut to the bone so often that there's hardly any bone left. But starting early next year, some may get the chance to rebuild, at least by one.

On Monday, a new project was announced at the Google News Lab Summit that aims to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms in the next five years. Report For America takes ideas from several existing organizations, including the Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America and public media.

Unlike foreign or domestic service programs or public media, however, RFA gets no government funding. But they are calling RFA a national service project. That might make some journalists uncomfortable  – the idea of service and patriotism. But at its most fundamental, local journalism is about protecting democracy, said co-founder Charles Sennott, founder and CEO of the GroundTruth Project.

"I think journalism needs that kind of passion for public service to bring it back and to really address some of the ailments of the heart of journalism," he said.

Here's how RFA will work: On one end, emerging journalists will apply to be part of RFA. On the other, newsrooms will apply for a journalist. RFA will pay 50 percent of that journalist's salary, with the newsroom paying 25 percent and local donors paying the other 25 percent. That reporter will work in the local newsroom for a year, with the opportunity to renew.

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Google - The New Censorship

How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?


By Robert Epstein
usnews.com

Google, Inc., isn't just the world's biggest purveyor of information; it is also the world's biggest censor.

The company maintains at least nine different blacklists that impact our lives, generally without input or authority from any outside advisory group, industry association or government agency. Google is not the only company suppressing content on the internet. Reddit has frequently been accused of banning postings on specific topics, and a recent report suggests that Facebook has been deleting conservative news stories from its newsfeed, a practice that might have a significant effect on public opinion – even on voting. Google, though, is currently the biggest bully on the block.

When Google's employees or algorithms decide to block our access to information about a news item, political candidate or business, opinions and votes can shift, reputations can be ruined and businesses can crash and burn. Because online censorship is entirely unregulated at the moment, victims have little or no recourse when they have been harmed. Eventually, authorities will almost certainly have to step in, just as they did when credit bureaus were regulated in 1970. The alternative would be to allow a large corporation to wield an especially destructive kind of power that should be exercised with great restraint and should belong only to the public: the power to shame or exclude.

If Google were just another mom-and-pop shop with a sign saying "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," that would be one thing. But as the golden gateway to all knowledge, Google has rapidly become an essential in people's lives – nearly as essential as air or water. We don't let public utilities make arbitrary and secretive decisions about denying people services; we shouldn't let Google do so either.

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Here's Why "People Are So Afraid Of Google Now"


By Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com

Google, pardon Alphabet's efforts to influence the American political discourse (not to mention presidential election outcome) stretch far beyond the company’s penchant for subtly disadvantaging independent and conservative thinkers on platforms like YouTube. By financially supporting left-leaning policy shops, Google’s parent company has helped raise a liberal army intent on hashing out policy minutiae to help bend US policy to their benefactors’ advantage.

But what happens when these supposedly “independent” think tanks publish something that displeases their corporate master? As one researcher at the left-leaning New America think tank learned, the punishment is swift and severe.

Barry Lynn, formerly a top researcher at New America, learned that lesson the hard way after publishing a paper praising European Union antitrust regulators for fining Google nearly $3 billion for purportedly rigging its search algorithm to favor its own services over its rivals.

According to the New York Times, the New America Foundation has received more than $21 million in funding from Google, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt and his family’s foundation since the think tank was first established in 1999. The money helped establish New America as an “elite voice” in policy debates on the American left.

“But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had been chairman of New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.”

Slaughter, a close ally of the Clintons who’s best known for her 2012 Atlantic Cover Story “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” quickly caved.

The statement disappeared from new America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure quickly rippled  through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington officers where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab. The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.”

The answer to that last question, as employees of New America quickly learned, is, obviously, no, it can't. A few days after the incident Slaughter summoned to Lynn to her office, where she summarily dismissed him – along with 10 of his underlings.

“Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms. Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a large corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr. Schmidt serves as executive charman.

Ms. Slaughter told Mr. Lynn that ‘the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,’ according to emails from Ms. Slaughter to Mr. Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team – nearly 10 full-time employees and unpaid fellows – would be exiled from New America."

While she asserted in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, that the decision was ‘in no way based on the content of your work,’ Ms. Slaughter accused Mr. Lynn of ‘imperiling the institution as a whole.’”

Lynn, who eventually shared his story with the NYT, blasted Google’s aggressive tactics, which the company has denied through its communications machine.

And the punchline, which also serves as the title for this post: "Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings.” said Lynn. “People are so afraid of Google now.

In a series of statements published on Twitter, Slaughter and New America slammed the NYT’s story as “absolutely false.”

In a separate email sent last year, Slaughter castigated Lynn for organizing a conference where he intended to criticize tech companies’ hegemonic influence.

“We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points,” Ms. Slaughter wrote in an email to Mr. Lynn, urging him to ‘just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others.’”  

Slaughter is now reportedly helping the Open Markets team secure financing for a new, separate nonprofit entity. However, no money will be forthcoming from Google.

Google spent more than $9.5 million on lobbying during the first half of 2017, more than almost any other company. It has helped organize conferences at which key regulators overseeing investigations into the company were presented with pro-Google arguments, sometimes without disclosure of Google’s role in funding NA, according to the NYT.

The company has also donated to more than 170 groups from across the political spectrum, according to voluntary disclosures on its website.

What was that about “don’t be evil”?

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Video: George Orwell A Final Warning




"In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. The sex instinct will be eradicated. We shall abolish the orgasm. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty to the party, but always there will be the intoxication of power. Always at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one. Don’t let it happen. It depends on you." ~ George Orwell
 
 
 
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