Written by Mike Krieger via the blog Liberty Blitzkrieg,

At present, it is no longer limited to sole proprietorships or even the Internet sector. It has expanded to a broad range of products, services and economic sectors, including insurance, retail, health care, finance, entertainment, education, transportation, etc. creating a whole new ecosystem of suppliers, producers, customers and market players. Almost every product or service that starts with the word "smart" or "personalized," every device connected to the Internet, every "digital assistant," is simply a supply chain interface for the unobstructed flow of behavioral data to predict our future in a surveillance economy.

– Extract from the essential article: "The goal is to automate us": welcome to the era of capitalism of surveillance

In recent years, much of my content has been devoted to the important geopolitical changes that I see on the horizon, and this macroeconomic perspective leads to two significant conclusions. First, the planet is moving away from a unipolar world almost entirely dominated by the United States for a more multipolar world. Second, this fundamental change in the geopolitical landscape, coupled with what appears to be the next to count with the biggest global debt bubble in the history of humanity, will lead to a single reset of a generation of the global economy and the global financial system that keeps it running.

As it has become increasingly clear in recent months, the two main protagonists of this major historical change are the United States and China. As I speculated on how the growing tensions between these two giants of the economy would probably mark the end of globalization as we know it (and perhaps a bifurcated global economy), I've spent less time talking about what the internal situation will look like in the countries themselves. This is a major oversight, because what really matters to Chinese and American citizens in ten years, is not which country has more military bases abroad, but how will the everyday life of ordinary people?

In this respect, China and the United States seem to be moving in similar and very dystopian directions with respect to the destructive marriage of the ruling government and the pervasive surveillance technology. I've read some excellent articles on this topic over the past week, which has put the issue in the foreground. In other words, is it really important to know who wins the game of geopolitical risk if "we, the people" end up being controlled, monitored and completely enslaved by the very technology that we so ardently adopted and supposedly would world a more liberated place a few years ago?

All who read this are probably aware of the terrifying and terrifying social credit system being unveiled in China. The first paragraph of a recent must read wired article, Big Tech merged with Big Brother? Kinda Looks It, sums up the situation:

One of my friends, who runs a big television production company in Los Angeles, a crazy city of cars, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People's Republic of China, was walking to work.

When he offered to organize a faster mode of transportation, she refused. When he asked why, she explained that she "needed steps" on her Fitbit to connect to her social media accounts. If it fell below the correct number of steps, its health and fitness rating would decrease, which is part of its social rating, controlled by the government. A low social rating could prevent it from working or traveling abroad.

Most Americans will read that and think there is no chance of it happening here, but the truth is much more complicated and, in some ways, we are at least going in the same direction.

We live in a situation where we still enjoy constitutional protections such as freedom of expression on paper, but much of the public discussion is dominated by two tech giants who arbitrarily ban people, it is eroded into the practice. As I noted in last year's article, Americans need social media guided by rights enshrined in the US Constitution:

I say in theory because in practice, we learn that it is easy to marginalize speech to the point of being removed from the public discourse. We have left the digital public space dominated by profit-maximizing companies whose policies do not explicitly reflect the law of the land and the values ​​that are supposedly dear to us.

If you are like me and think that the civil liberties enshrined in the US Constitution are fundamental to who we are as a people, it is necessarily unacceptable that a handful of private technology companies that do not respect not these principles have dominated the rails. of public communication to the point that a handful of leaders must decide what is an acceptable speech.

But it's even worse than that. Technology giants are in some way co-operating with government or government-funded institutions. So it's not really accurate to call them private companies. Although it may seem surprising, I think that Amazon is the most pernicious and the most dangerous of all. Worse than Google and even worse than Facebook.

The above wired The article addresses the Amazon problem. For example:

Last year, Amazon Web Services announced the opening of the new AWS Secret Region, the result of a $ 600 million 10-year contract that the company won from the CIA in 2014, which has made Amazon the only cloud computing service provider for data classifications, including unclassified, sensitive, secret and highly secretive, "according to a company press release. Amazon.

Once the standalone servers administered by Amazon's CIA were put into service, the NSA quickly followed suit by announcing its own integrated Big Data project. Last year, the agency transferred most of its data to a new, classified computing environment called the GovCloud Intelligence Community, an "integrated large data fusion environment", as described in the NextGov news site, which allows government analysts to "link the points" to all available data sources, classified or not.

The creation of IC GovCloud should give shivers to anyone who understands how powerful these systems can be and how inherently resistant they are to traditional forms of surveillance, whose backgrounds can be described as poor.

Amazon's IC GovCloud was quickly countered by Microsoft's secure version of its Azure Government cloud service, designed for the use of 17 US intelligence agencies. Amazon and Microsoft are expected to be the top bidders in the Pentagon's Secure Enterprise Cloud Defense System (JEDI) – a win-win contract that should be worth at least $ 10 billion.

With so many pots of gold to be expected at the end of Washington, DC, rainbow, it seems that technology companies have little to entrust their personal data – which, legally, are actually their data – to agencies espionage that guarantees their confidentiality. profits. This is the threat that now appears in view. It's something we should be counting on now, before it's too late.

You can not really read the above and just refer to Amazon as a private company. The truth is that Amazon at this point is a little part of the government, and it should be treated that way. It should be subject to much more transparency and monitoring, or even be divided. This should be the consequence of being so intimately linked to US intelligence agencies. Do you really trust a company that earns so much money through contracts with spooks to protect your personal information and not be subject to widespread surveillance? You should not, and nobody should.

Amazon, which collects and analyzes consumer data and sells a wide range of consumer-grade home devices with microphones and cameras, can offer surveillance agencies particularly attractive opportunities to reuse their existing microphones, cameras and data.

Amazon Echo does not register?
OK if you say so.

"Amazon told The Associated Press that it would not publish such recordings" without a valid and binding legal request duly notified ", which seems to indicate that the recordings in question exist." pic.twitter.com/PXaCB9ha6a

– Michael Krieger (@ LibertyBlitz) January 25, 2019

Although Amazon troubles me the most, all technology giants are deeply problematic and pose a real threat to freedom, privacy and human dignity. Yes, the situation is serious.

Unbeknownst to many, these companies dominate the operation of the Internet so much that it is almost impossible to get away from it. For example, a journalist from Gizmodo recently tried to stop interacting with Amazon for a week and discovered that it was impossible. Basically, if you want to use the Internet, you can not really avoid Amazon.

Finally, we found that Amazon was too big to be conquered.

AWS is the largest provider of cloud-based Internet services, generating more than $ 17 billion in revenue last year. Although Amazon is making a lot more gross sales (over $ 100 billion) with its retail business, if you look closely at its results, you'll find that the majority of its profits come from AWS. Technology is where the money is, baby.

Launched in 2006, AWS has seized vast expanses of the Internet. My VPN ends up blocking more than 23 million Amazon-controlled IP addresses, resulting in a variety of unexpected losses, from Motherboard and Fortune to the US Government Accountability Office website. (Government agencies love AWS, which probably explains why Amazon, soon to be a Cerberus company with three "headquarters", has chosen Arlington, Virginia, in the suburbs of DC, among others.) Many apps for smartphones on which I rely also rest. work during the block …

Amazon has become so integrated into the infrastructure of modern life and into the business models of many companies, including its competitors, that it is almost impossible to avoid.

The US economy is becoming less and less a free market, and the tech giants are increasingly driving this pernicious trend.

Of course, I'd like to not award the honorable mention to Facebook for being a scary and dishonest surveillance company masquerading as a platform. In the past 24 hours we have learned the following …

"Facebook pays teens to install a VPN that spies on them."

This is the abuse of children by the way.https: //t.co/1f9ME7jm24

– Michael Krieger (@ LibertyBlitz) January 30, 2019

As disturbing as it is, I am convinced that we can remedy the situation. Much of this Orwellian world of gigantic technology watch companies and governments working with them was created in the background, while most of the public did not really understand how their business models worked and the terrifying implications ubiquitous surveillance in the real world. profit and social control. We wake up slowly from a long sleep and, while many think it's too late to go back, I say it's never too late. Even for China, you never know what can happen. You can only abuse people a long time before they break.

The truth is that we have little choice. Technology is simply a tool that can be used for good, bad or any other spectrum in between. The company is moving quickly and resolutely towards the path of malice and most governments are happy to encourage and associate with it.

Either we turn this thing over or we will be reduced to nothing more than sweeping, loving, manipulating serfs manipulated on the digital plantation of an oligarch. To leave such a legacy to our children and grandchildren is unacceptable.

The fact that Facebook continues to exist and earn billions of dollars is proof that we are an apathetic, demoralized, abusive society.

– Michael Krieger (@ LibertyBlitz) January 30, 2019

I would like to think that we can do better than that.

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