TSA Announces Plans To Subject Domestic Travelers To Biometric Screening

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As promised/threatened, the DHS is moving forward with expanded use of biometric scanning at airports, including facial recognition and fingerprint matches. What was touted as a way to combat international terrorism and illegal immigration will now include those on the home front, as the tech spreads to include US citizens on domestic flights. But the TSA doesn’t see this as an unwanted incursion into the lives of innocent citizens. Instead, it pitches it as a useful tool to speed up security screening at TSA checkpoints.

The TSA expects paying customers to foot the bill for the expansion — the same citizens it’s been selling civil liberties back to for years. From the TSA’s “roadmap” for expanded biometric screening:

Yes, the paying members of the TSA’s Pre✓ program will be the first to “enhance” their “travel experience” by feeding their faces into a database the TSA controls, using tech prone to erroneous conclusions. Other travelers won’t be able to opt out of biometric screening, however. They’ll just be subject to the non-enhanced travel experience where TSA and CBP officers ask a long series of invasive questions and infer suspicious behavior on the part of travelers who bypass the biometric kiosks.

It’s true that traveling in the US has always been a “papers, please” experience. But prior to the 9/11 attacks, this simply meant presenting a ticket before boarding. Now, it’s everything about everybody, no matter how useless this information is 99.9% of the time. Rather than move towards smarter screening methods, the TSA has decided to subject everyone to the same level of screening with the same arbitrary rules stemming from airborne attacks the TSA failed to prevent.

The TSA pitches this as a paperless airport, but it’s really just another way for the government to compile a massive database of identifying info and of citizens’ movements. The DHS likes to talk about its 96% accuracy target, but has released no information about actual accuracy in test runs, so concerns about false positives/negatives aren’t going away anytime soon.

The government has responded in the worst way to terrorist attacks in the US. It has made freedom of movement a hassle — one that diminishes Constitutional protections and turns every traveler into a potential suspect.

Source: TSA Announces Plans To Subject Domestic Travelers To Biometric Screening

“Five Eyes” Wants Access to Every Electronic Device

According to an article in the National Post the Five Eyes intelligence network is demanding tech companies provide a back-door into all electronic devices.

“Canada joined its intelligence allies recently in demanding that technology companies co-operate with law enforcement agencies in allowing access to encrypted communications.”

Five Yyes (FVEY) is an intelligence alliance including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.

Although similar requests for co-operation have been made in the past, that “is the most aggressive call we’ve seen,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

The big change, according to Israel, is that governments are now saying “fix it for us or we will fix it for you.” That’s led to concerns among privacy experts that the government will try to legislate a requirement for tech companies to build backdoors for law enforcement.

Letting multi-national intelligence agencies have access to every electronic device can and will be abused.

Giving law enforcement access to electronic devices is a bad idea

Why Columbus is more important than you realize

“Whether we love him or hate him, we should be aware that Columbus set in motion a series of interchanges that will affect us more than we’ll ever know…”

There is likely no public secular holiday more controversial than Columbus Day. Since the observance first began to be celebrated in the nineteenth century it has been opposed by a diverse rage of groups, from the Ku Klux Klan to the American Indian Movement to the National Council of Churches…

While we may downplay the individual achievements of Columbus, we should acknowledge he launched one of most significant events in the history of the world: the Columbian Exchange…

Article: Why Columbus is more important than you realize – Acton Institute

That sign telling you how fast you’re driving may be spying on you

Road sign records a photograph of your license plate.
Road sign records a photograph of your license plate.

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going, don’t simply assume it’s there to remind you not to speed. It may actually be capturing your license plate data.

According to recently released US federal contracting data, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms.” The DEA is buying them from RU2 Systems Inc., a private Mesa, Arizona company. How much it’s spending on the signs has been redacted…

Continued: That sign telling you how fast you’re driving may be spying on you

USAID Spends $89.7 Million Finding Jobs for 55 Afghan Women

Afghan women walk with their children / Getty Images
Afghan women walk with their children / Getty Images

“A federal government program to promote gender equality in Afghanistan and help women find employment is costing taxpayers over $200 million but has only found jobs for 55 women.”

‘The USAID program, Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs, or Promote, is a five-year $216 million effort. USAID has spent $89.7 million in three years but “has not demonstrated whether the program has made progress” toward its goals…’

A 2017 goal of the program was to help 420 women find new or better employment, enroll 1,968 women in the internship program, and have 900 program graduates. By halfway through the year, Promote had only found new or better employment for 39 women, or 9.2 percent of its goal.”

Continued: USAID Spends $89.7 Million Finding Jobs for 55 Afghan Women

“Take back control—it’s time for IREXIT” | New Irish party calls for Ireland to leave EU

A new Irish political party will campaign for the Republic of Ireland to leave the EU, inspired by the successful Brexit movement.

The Irexit Freedom party, which is set to be launched in Dublin next Saturday, wants Ireland to ‘take back control’ from Brussels.

Nigel Farage speaks to journalists in Brussels

The party, which plans to run candidates in next year’s European Parliament elections and the 2021 Irish general election…

Continued: ‘Take back control – it’s time for IREXIT’ New Irish party calls for Ireland to leave EU

Soros’ Role In Social Media Censorship Exposed In Leaked Document

“The memo discusses how big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter (all of which are openly censoring user accounts today) will be recruited and called upon to collude with the Soros and Brock agenda in order to manipulate the political landscape.”

Social media censorship is here and out in the open, and it has become clear that the major tech companies are working together to shut down and silence members of the free press for political reasons.

It turns out, according to a leaked 49 page document, that this special influence may be none other than George Soros himself, the world’s wealthiest liberal political agitator. Soros has long been known to exert influence, via his immense personal wealth, at the grass-roots level of many political struggles around the world…

Continued: Soros’ Role In Social Media Censorship Exposed In Leaked Document

The Militarization of Police Does Not Reduce Crime

New research finds it does reduce public support for law enforcement.

“Curtailing militarized police may be in the interest of both police and citizens”, concludes Jonathan Mummolo, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University. His study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Overall, “the routine use of militarized police tactics by local agencies threatens to increase the historic tensions between marginalized groups and the state, with no detectable public safety benefit”, Mummolo concludes. “While SWAT teams arguably remain a necessary tool for violent emergency situations, restricting their use to those rare events may improve perceptions of police with little or no safety loss…”

Story: The Militarization of Police Does Not Reduce Crime

Massachusetts Cop Pleads Guilty to Pocketing $11,000 for Hours He Didn’t Work

“Of the $249,407 Sweeny received in 2015, overtime pay accounted for $111,808 of it. Of the $218,512 he earned in 2016, overtime pay made up $95,895.”

A Massachusetts state trooper is pleading guilty to pocketing $11,000 in overtime pay for hours that he didn’t actually work.

Kevin Sweeney, 40, of the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) found a way to game the system in order to receive extra money for shifts that he either left early or did not work at all…

“Sweeney concealed his fraud by submitting fraudulent citations designed to create the appearance that he had worked overtime hours that he had not, and falsely claimed in MSP paperwork and payroll entries that he had worked the entirety of his overtime shifts…”

Story: Massachusetts Cop Pleads Guilty to Pocketing $11,000 for Hours He Didn’t Work | Reason

Roundup ingredient found in Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and other cereals

“Days after a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper more than $289 million in damages after he claimed Monsanto’s best-selling weedkiller Roundup gave him cancer, the controversial ingredient – glyphosate — has been detected in popular kids’ breakfast cereals, including Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, according to an activist group.

Lab tests conducted by the left-leaning Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy group that specializes in toxic chemicals and corporate accountability, indicated almost three-fourths of the 45 food products tested detected high levels of glyphosate, which has been identified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization in 2015…

Yet, Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., and senior science adviser for the EWG, says the bottom line is that glyphosate does not belong in children’s food and that recent biomonitoring studies show detectable levels of the ingredient in people’s urine, which likely comes from dietary exposure.”

Article: Roundup ingredient found in Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and other cereals

How US Sugar Subsidies Bring a Red Tide of Algae to Florida’s Shores

“Though other factors play a role in the algae bloom crises, one of the most significant involves the sugar industry. A combination of federal sugar subsidies, federal regulations on pollution, and federal control of Lake Okeechobee (a giant lake in southern Florida) runoff guidelines has created a recipe for disaster.

The federal sugar subsidy prevents Americans from buying sugar from Cuba and other sources. This means that we have to produce our own sugar and that we pay the world’s highest price for sugar. It also means that we grow sugar and sugar substitutes in a high-cost fashion using a lot of fertilizer!

…the solutions are simple and straightforward. End the sugar subsidies and the EPA and its protection limits. Restore the right of the people to sue polluters that cause demonstrable harm.”

Story: How US Sugar Subsidies Bring a Red Tide of Algae to Florida’s Shores

One QUARTER of Suspended Feds Have Been Suspended Before

Official data show serious discipline for feds is rare, but secret settlements obscure true figures.

One in four federal employees suspended by federal agencies in 2016 had been suspended before, according to a new review, which suggested an array of best practices for agencies to reduce misconduct in the workplace…

The review examined misconduct issues rather than poor performance. GAO cited as examples of misconduct “time and attendance infractions; intoxication; workplace violence; physical aggression toward an employee; improper use of a government-issued credit card; misuse of government equipment (such as viewing pornography or gambling); use of public position for private gain; and behavior that affects national security.”

Continued: One Quarter of Suspended Feds Have Been Suspended Before