In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.
Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”
The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.
While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented “the largest data loss in CIA history.”
President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.”
Microsoft employees say hello by pronouns and race
Facebook plans to shut down its facial recognition program
- Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, on Tuesday announced it will be putting an end to its face recognition system.
- The company said it will delete more than 1 billion people’s individual facial recognition templates as a result of this change.
- Facebook services that rely on the face recognition systems will be removed over the coming weeks, Meta said.
Facebook on Tuesday announced it will be putting an end to its facial recognition system amid growing concern from users and regulators.
The social network, whose parent company is now named Meta, said it will delete more than 1 billion people’s individual facial recognition templates as a result of this change. The company said in a blog post that more than a third of Facebook’s daily active users, or over 600 million accounts, had opted into the use of the face recognition technology.
Facebook will no longer automatically recognize people’s faces in photos or videos, the post said. The change, however, will also impact the automatic alt text technology that the company uses to describe images for people who are blind or visually impaired. Facebook services that rely on the face recognition systems will be removed over the coming weeks.
“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” the company said. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”
Ending the use of the face recognition system is part of “a company-wide move away from this kind of broad identification,” the post said.
Meta, which laid out its road map last week for the creation of a massive virtual world, said it will still consider facial recognition technology for instances where people need to verify their identity or to prevent fraud and impersonation. For future uses of facial recognition technology, Meta will “continue to be public about intended use, how people can have control over these systems and their personal data.”
The decision to shut down the system on Facebook comes amid a barrage of news reports over the past month after Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower, released a trove of internal company documents to news outlets, lawmakers and regulators.
People in UK Who Post “False Information” About Vaccines Could be Jailed For Two Years
New law criminalizes “knowingly false communication.”
People in the UK who post “false information” about vaccines online could face two years in prison under a new law.
The Online Safety Bill, described as “the flagship legislation to combat abuse and hatred on the internet” has faced fierce criticism from civil liberties groups for its broad overreach.
The law would create a “knowingly false communication” offence which, according to the Times, “will criminalise those who send or post a message they know to be false with the intention to cause “emotional, psychological, or physical harm to the likely audience”. Government sources gave the example of antivaxers spreading false information that they know to be untrue.”
Given that authorities have deemed all kinds of information about the pandemic and vaccines “false” that later turned out to be true, this is a chilling prospect.
For example, claims that vaccines are not fully effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 would have once been deemed “false,” but that position is now a proven fact.
The bill would also change the current stricter standard of “indecent” or “grossly offensive” content to the much broader definition of “harmful effect” when deciding if a post or a message is criminal.
This is more in line with UK hate speech laws that determine whether an act of hate speech or a “hate incident” has been committed not on the basis of whether or not it actually happened, but on the basis of the supposed victim feeling like they’ve been targeted.
“The new offences will include sol-called “pile-ons” where a number of individuals join others in sending harassing messages to a victim on social media,” reports the Times.
And if you think that will stop left-wing mobs who routinely form “pile-ons” against conservatives for expressing dissenting opinions, think again.
It will be selectively enforced against people who criticize or make fun of those deemed “oppressed minorities,” despite such groups having the full backing of the state and every cultural institution (the alphabet people).
The Online Harms Bill is being amplified with the help of relentless propaganda about black football players being abused online, despite the fact that most of the abuse originates abroad, mainly from Middle Eastern countries.
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