Author Topic: they know what you are doing  (Read 126300 times)

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #645 on: August 16, 2015, 08:42:06 AM »

and now AT&T has bought directv...hope you don't have one of those smart TV's or they will be watching you watch them..bwhahahahahahahah

Investors / Dallas, Texas , Jul 24, 2015

AT&T Completes Acquisition of DIRECTV

Becomes World’s Largest Pay TV Provider and Video Distribution Leader Across TV, Mobile & Broadband

DALLAS, TEXAS – July 24, 2015 — AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has completed its acquisition of DIRECTV. The newly combined company – the largest pay TV provider in the United States and the world – will offer millions of people more choices for video entertainment on any screen from almost anywhere, any time.

“Combining DIRECTV with AT&T is all about giving customers more choices for great video entertainment integrated with mobile and high-speed Internet service,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “We’ll now be able to meet consumers’ future entertainment preferences, whether they want traditional TV service with premier programming, their favorite content on a mobile device, or video streamed over the Internet to any screen.

“This transaction allows us to significantly expand our high-speed Internet service to reach millions more households, which is a perfect complement to our coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage,” Stephenson said. “We’re now a fundamentally different company with a diversified set of capabilities and businesses that set us apart from the competition.”

AT&T now is the largest pay TV provider in the U.S. and the world, providing service to more than 26 million customers in the United States and more than 191 million customers in Latin America, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Additionally, AT&T has more than 132 million wireless subscribers and connections in the U.S. and Mexico; offers 4G LTE mobile coverage to nearly 310 million people in the U.S.; covers 57 million U.S. customer locations with high-speed Internet; and has nearly 16 million subscribers to its high-speed Internet service.

Current customers of AT&T and DIRECTV do not need to do anything as a result of the merger. They’ll continue to receive their same services, channel lineups, and customer care. Customer account information, online access and billing arrangements remain the same. The integration of AT&T and DIRECTV will occur over the coming months. In the coming weeks, AT&T will launch new integrated TV, mobile and high-speed Internet offers that give customers greater value and convenience.

With the completion of its DIRECTV acquisition, AT&T will continue to deploy its all-fiber GigaPower Internet access service – the company’s highest-speed Internet service, which allows you to download a TV show in as little as three seconds. When the expansion is complete, AT&T’s all-fiber broadband footprint will reach more than 14 million customer locations. 

AT&T announced that John Stankey will be CEO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services, responsible for leading its combined DIRECTV and AT&T Home Solutions operations. Stankey will report to Stephenson. DIRECTV President, Chairman and CEO Mike White announced his plans to retire.

“Mike is one of the world’s top CEOs and a great leader who built DIRECTV into a premier TV and video entertainment company spanning the U.S. and Latin America,” Stephenson said. “He has been a terrific partner and friend, and his legacy will be an important part of our combined company.”

As a result of this transaction, AT&T leads the industry in offering consumers premier content, particularly live sports programming, such as the exclusive rights to NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which gives customers every out-of-market NFL game, every Sunday afternoon, on any screen – TV, mobile devices or PCs. Additionally, the company owns ROOT SPORTS, one of the nation’s premier regional sports networks, and has stakes in The Tennis Channel, MLB Network, NHL Network, and GSN (Game Show Network).

AT&T is also developing unique video offerings for consumers through, among other initiatives, its Otter Media joint venture with The Chernin Group. The joint venture was established to invest in, acquire and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services. This includes its purchase of a majority stake in Fullscreen, a global online media company that works with more than 50,000 content creators who engage 450 million subscribers and generate 4 billion monthly views.

Under the terms of the merger, DIRECTV shareholders received 1.892 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $28.50 in cash, per share of DIRECTV. AT&T will provide complete updated 2015 financial guidance at a conference the company will host for financial analysts in the coming weeks. The conference will be webcast to the public.

The DIRECTV acquisition significantly diversifies AT&T’s revenue mix, products, geographies and customer bases. As a result of this acquisition, as well as AT&T’s acquisition of Iusacell and Nextel Mexico, AT&T expects that, by the end of 2015, its largest revenue streams will be, in descending order: Business Solutions (both wireless and wireline); Entertainment & Internet; Consumer Mobility; and International Mobility and Video.

As part of the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of the transaction, AT&T has agreed to the following conditions for the next four years:

•Within 4 years, AT&T will offer its all-fiber Internet access service to at least 12.5 million customer locations, such as residences, home offices and very small businesses.  Combined with AT&T’s existing high-speed broadband network, at least 25.7 million customer locations will have access to broadband speeds of 45Mbps or higher.
•Within its wireline footprint, the company will offer 1Gbps service to any eligible school or library requesting E-rate services, pursuant to applicable rules, within the company’s all-fiber footprint.   
•Within AT&T’s 21-state wireline footprint, it will offer discounted fixed broadband service to low-income households that qualify for the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In locations where it’s available, service with speeds of at least
10Mbps will be offered for $10 per month. Elsewhere, 5Mbps service will be offered for $10 per month or, in some locations, 3Mbps service will be offered for $5 per month.
•AT&T’s retail terms and conditions for its fixed broadband Internet services will not favor its own online video programming services. AT&T can and will, however, continue to offer discounted integrated bundles of its video and high-speed Internet services.
•AT&T must submit to the FCC new interconnection agreements it enters into with peering networks and on-net customers for the exchange of Internet traffic. The company will develop, in conjunction with an independent expert, a methodology for measuring the performance of its Internet traffic exchange and regularly report these metrics to the FCC.
•AT&T will appoint a Company Compliance Officer to develop and implement a plan to ensure compliance with these merger conditions. Also, the company will engage an independent, third-party compliance officer to evaluate the plan and its implementation, and submit periodic reports to the FCC. 
AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

1 Includes DIRECTV Latin America pay TV subscribers as of March 31, 2015, including subscribers of Sky Mexico, in which DIRECTV holds a minority stake.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. In the U.S., our wireless network offers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage*. And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at and YouTube at

© 2015 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Reliability and signal strength claims based on nationwide carriers’ LTE. Signal strength claim based ONLY on avg. LTE signal strength. LTE not available everywhere.

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 10:34:12 AM by space otter »

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #646 on: September 02, 2015, 05:30:24 AM »

I think this is one time when assume is ok.. if you work for the gov you can assume  your info has been hacked - even if you haven't been notified YET..sigh

Posted: 09/02/2015 04:20 AM EDT

Millions Affected By The U.S. Government Hack Haven't Been Told Yet

The DoD will inform them "later this month."

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government has not yet notified any of the 21.5 million federal employees and contractors whose security clearance data was hacked more than three months ago, officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

The agency whose data was hacked, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), said the Defense Department will begin "later this month" to notify employees and contractors across the government that their personal information was accessed by hackers.

OPM said notifications would continue over several weeks and "will be sent directly to impacted individuals."

OPM also announced that it hired a contractor to help protect the identities and credit ratings of employees whose data was hacked.

In a statement, OPM said it had awarded a contract initially worth more than $133 million to a company called Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID experts, for identity theft protections for the 21.5 million victims of the security data breach. The contractor will provide credit and identity monitoring services for three years, as well as identity theft insurance, to affected individuals and dependent children aged under 18, the agency said.

Officials have said that compromised records could include embarrassing personal details, such as arrest records or information about drug use, generated by field investigators assigned to check out disclosures made in clearance applicants.

U.S. investigators have said they believe the hackers were based in China and probably were connected to the Chinese government. So far U.S. security officials have found no evidence that the Chinese or anyone else had tried to use the hacked data for nefarious purposes, officials said.

An interagency group is considering whether responsibility for security clearance investigations should be shifted from OPM to another government agency. The White House confirmed such a study is under way.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and David Gregorio)

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #647 on: September 03, 2015, 07:24:18 PM »
By Julia Edwards
Posted: 09/03/2015 08:26 PM EDT

New Federal Rules Will Make It Harder For Law Enforcement To Track Your Cell Phone

"The public has a real privacy interest and concern here. We have attempted to strike the right balance."

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors and some federal law enforcement agencies will need to obtain a search warrant to use devices that track cellphone locations, under a policy announced by the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday.

Until now, U.S. attorneys and Justice Department agencies, including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, have been able to use cell-site simulators without applying for a warrant or outlining a probable cause.

Cell-site simulators replicate phone towers to pick up location-identifying information that enables law enforcement to apprehend fugitives, conduct narcotic investigations or rescue a kidnapped child, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told reporters on Thursday.

"But we also recognize that the public has a real privacy interest and concern here," Yates said. "We have attempted to strike the right balance."

The American Civil Liberties Union estimates at least 53 agencies across 21 states use cell-site simulators, but the number could be much higher because many keep their purchasing of the devices a secret.

Privacy advocates have criticized law enforcement agencies for picking up the data of bystanders when they are tracking a suspect.

Under the new guidelines, agencies will have to delete data collected from phones outside of the one targeted within 30 days. Those who are known not to be targets will be deleted within a day, according to the new guidelines.

The new regulations come during a debate over privacy versus security that was spurred by disclosures from fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 that the United States collected Americans' cellphone data without warrants.

There will be exceptions that will allow federal agencies to use cell-site simulators without obtaining a warrant, such as in "exigent circumstances," the guidelines said.

State and local agencies will have to comply with the new rules only in cases they are investigating in tandem with federal agencies, the Justice Department said.

The guidance does not apply to federal agencies outside the Justice Department, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.

Other rules introduced on Thursday include training personnel to use the equipment appropriately and mandatory supervision.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Peter Cooney, Steve Orlofsky and Bernard Orr)

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #648 on: September 07, 2015, 11:39:35 AM »

this was in todays local paper..i hope they will update if they catch the hacker
By Julie E. Martin    
 Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, 12:06 p.m.
 Updated 22 hours ago

family pic at link

Hacker stuns Dayton family with computer takeover


Tanya Smith could not believe her eyes as she watched her computer being operated by a hacker somewhere in cyberspace.

Bright green text scrolled against the black computer screen as the hacker typed away furiously in front of her. She was helpless to stop it — her keyboard and mouse rendered useless by the intruder.

“He was making fun of me, saying, ‘you can't type on here,'” she said. “Then this person typed, ‘why do you look so surprised?'”

The hacker had not only accessed her computer, but its camera as well — making him able to watch what was going on inside the family's house in Dayton as he typed away. The hacker hijacked the family's technology at around 11 p.m. Aug. 21. The ordeal, which Smith said lasted until about 4 a.m. Aug. 22, included a take over of not only the family's computer but its television, iPods, cell phones and children's electronic devices.

“Somehow he was able to control everything that was connected to the Wi-Fi,” she said. “You couldn't do anything. He was totally in control.”

The hacker stole a small amount of money from a bank account as he continued to harass Smith and her family from inside their computer. He typed that Smith's husband looked bewildered. The hacker told them he could see their 10-year-old daughter in her pajamas ... and that she looked pretty.

The girl was not even in the same room as the computer. She was in the living room, watching television. But because the television set has Wi-Fi and a camera of its own, he was able to watch her as well, Smith said.

“He was typing inappropriate things, saying, ‘now you're making me mad, I'm going to take more money out of your banking account,'” she said.

Smith's daughter-in-law, Jenna McClafferty, witnessed the incident when it was happening. Because she is good with computers, her in-laws asked her to come to the house and see what was happening for herself. She could not help but be stunned.

“The hacker was saying all kinds of provocative things. It was just crazy,” McClafferty said. “I was in total shock. He knew that my husband and I were there.”

Smith called 911. At first the dispatcher was in disbelief. But state police from the Kittanning station – who are investigating the crime – came to her Main Street home. When they walked in, the hacker typed: “You should have never called the cops.”

The state troopers investigating could not be reached for comment, but Smith said they helped the family find the camera on their computer and cover it up. When they did, the hacker said he could no longer see their “beautiful faces,” but could still hear them.

The family eventually unplugged all of the electronic devices in their home or removed the batteries. Items like iPods, with batteries that cannot be removed, they laid face down in their garage until they lost all power.

It took about five days for Smith's cable company to replace their modem and give them a new IP address. Her bank is in the process of refunding the stolen money. About $100 was taken before the bank recognized problems and froze the account.

“I don't know how to make my family feel safe again, when there was someone typing on our computer saying he had been watching us for days,” she said.

Protect yourself online

Computer experts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania say there are measures to thwart hackers like the one who invaded the Smith home.

“It's really about what you do as a user,” said Bill Balint, chief information officer at IUP.

One of the key things to do is to keep programs and software up to date. Such updates — sometimes called patches — are often released to fix breaches found in the program's security and stay ahead of hackers.

“Hackers find ways to exploit,” Balint said. “They keep scanning ports and different IP addresses looking for that vulnerable one that hasn't been patched. Then they can go to town.

“Whether it's an operating system or a web browser, you have to really pay attention to keep your systems patched.”

Paul Grieggs, IUP's IT security manager, said he has heard of cases similar to Smith's. Hackers now can steal Wi-Fi passwords and also use programs remotely to take over computers.

“If they get a foothold in your computer, they can install these programs and basically control your computer,” he said.

Grieggs cautions that hackers can strike anywhere at any time, so it pays to be vigilant.

“If you follow some basic tips, a lot of times what happens is a hacker will move on to an easier target,” he said. “You don't have to be a cyber security expert in your home. But if you follow some basic practices to stay safe, they'll move on.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.


Battling hackers

• Phishing. Never respond to an email asking for your user name and password, even if it looks official. And do not click on links in emails that ask you for this personal information. Instead, open the organization's website in a separate browser.

• Stay up to date. Updates for computer programs include “patches” that address security weaknesses. Without them, hackers may find weak spots that they can use to access your computer and personal information.

• Have a strong password. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters that is at least eight characters long.

• If you suspect you have been hacked, usually the best thing to do is shut your internet connection immediately. It is also important to contact your internet provider, Grieggs said.

• Experts recommend checking out websites with information in cyber safety such as the following:;;
From Indiana University of Pennsylvania

« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:19:00 AM by ArMaP »

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #649 on: September 09, 2015, 11:07:48 AM »

By Andy O'Donnell
Security Expert

4 Secrets Wireless Hackers Don't Want You to Know

Hacker: Nothing to see here. Please don't bother reading this.

You're using a wireless access point that has encryption so you're safe, right? Wrong! Hackers want you to believe that you are protected so you will remain vulnerable to their attacks. Here are 4 things that wireless hackers hope you won't find out, otherwise they might not be able to break into your network and/or computer:

1. WEP encryption is useless for protecting your wireless network. WEP is easily cracked within minutes and only provides users with a false sense of security.

Even a mediocre hacker can defeat Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)-based security in a matter of minutes, making it essentially useless as a protection mechanism. Many people set their wireless routers up years ago and have never bothered to change their wireless encryption from WEP to the newer and stronger WPA2 security.

2. Using your wireless router's MAC filter to prevent unauthorized devices from joining your network is ineffective and easily defeated.

Every piece of IP-based hardware, whether it's a computer, game system, printer, etc, has a unique hard-coded MAC address in its network interface. Many routers will allow you to permit or deny network access based on a device's MAC address. The wireless router inspects the MAC address of the network device requesting access and compares it your list of permitted or denied MACs. This sounds like a great security mechanism but the problem is that hackers can "spoof" or forge a fake MAC address that matches an approved one. All they need to do is use a wireless packet capture program to sniff (eavesdrop) on the wireless traffic and see which MAC addresses are traversing the network. They can then set their MAC address to match one of that is allowed and join the network.

3. Disabling your wireless router's remote administration feature can be a very effective measure to prevent a hacker from taking over your wireless network.

Many wireless routers have a setting that allows you to administer the router via a wireless connection. This means that you can access all of the routers security settings and other features without having to be on a computer that is plugged into the router using an Ethernet cable. While this is convenient for being able to administer the router remotely, it also provides another point of entry for the hacker to get to your security settings and change them to something a little more hacker friendly. Many people never change the factory default admin passwords to their wireless router which makes things even easier for the hacker. I recommend turning the "allow admin via wireless" feature off so only someone with a physical connection to the network can attempt to administer the wireless router settings.

4. If you use public hotspots you are an easy target for man-in-the-middle and session hijacking attacks.

Hackers can use tools like Firesheep and AirJack to perform "man-in-the-middle" attacks where they insert themselves into the wireless conversation between sender and receiver. Once they have successfully inserted themselves into the line of communications, they can harvest your account passwords, read your e-mail, view your IMs, etc. They can even use tools such as SSL Strip to obtain passwords for secure websites that you visit. I recommend using a commercial VPN service provider to protect all of your traffic when you are using wi-fi networks. Costs range from $7 and up per month. A secure VPN provides an additional layer of security that is extremely difficult to defeat. Unless the hacker is extremely determined they will most likely move on and try an easier target.

Related Articles
•Wireless Security for Home Users FAQ
•Securing Your New Wireless Router
•How To Hide Your Wireless Network From the Neighbors
•WPA2? WEP? What's The Best Encryption To Secure My Wi-Fi?
•5 Tips for Securing Your Wireless Network
•How to Make Your Wireless Router Invincible to Hackers

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #650 on: September 10, 2015, 07:53:50 AM »

ok and then what happens when your face pic gets hacked?...ecckk shdes of robot control..double eckk

Tech Insider
Eugene Kim
11 hrs ago

Nuke all your computer passwords, says Intel exec (INTC)

Let's face it: no one likes passwords.

With all the different websites and devices you log into, it's become almost impossible to keep track of all the passwords you have.

But what if you could forget about passwords and log in instantly using something else, like your face or finger prints?

Intel thinks that's a real possibility — and something you can do right away.

"We want to eliminate all passwords from computing," Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP and general manager of Intel's Client Computing Group said at the Citi Global Technology Conference held on Tuesday. "I can confidently say today, you can eliminate all your passwords today, if you buy a 6th Generation Core system."

Skaugen was referring to the new 6th Generation Core chips Intel released last week, which powers some of the latest Windows 10 devices that come with some of the new facial recognition software, like Windows Hello. To enjoy the full functionality of Windows Hello, you also need Intel's RealSense 3D Camera, which looks at multiple angles to detect the photo's depth and heat to determine the user's identity.

"You can do everything from measure blood pressure, blink detection, all these kinds of things...In fact, in Berlin, one of my funniest demos in my 23 yeras at Intel is when I brought two identical twins out on stage and I mixed them up and only one could log in with the PC, and it actually worked," he said.

That's not the first time twins were used to validate how Intel's RealSense Camera works on Windows Hello. Last month, The Australian tested six sets of identical twins of various ethnicities and age ranges to prove it works seamlessly. Not a single twin was able to log in using the sibling's log-in photo.

Intel has been pretty vocal about killing the password. Earlier this year, it also released an app called True Key which lets users log in to multiple apps using biometric features, like the distance between your eyes or different points on your face. Late last year, Intel also acquired a startup called PasswordBox that makes it easy for users to log-in to websites and apps without having to type in passwords.

In fact, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich believes these features will even help revive PC sales. During his last earnings call, he said, "A lot of the really good features of Windows 10, things like Windows Hello where you have facial log in, and you don’t have to use all your passwords, the Start screen and your ability to go through that, the touch usages of gaming, as the new games come to this product — those are going to run with PCs that have the latest features," he said.

"That, combined with products like Skylake over the long haul, I think Windows 10 will be a boost to the PC market."

NOW WATCH: How To Make Sure You Never Forget Your Passwords Again

Offline zorgon

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19931
  • Gold 879
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #651 on: September 11, 2015, 05:27:06 PM »
Can your "smart TV" watch you?

Pay attention to the part about SKYPE :D

Sorry no embed available

Offline ArMaP

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9990
  • Gold 751
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #652 on: September 12, 2015, 05:09:08 AM »
Let's face it: no one likes passwords.
I like passwords. :)

Biometrics is interesting but it's based on something that can change out of our control, so no thanks.

Offline ArMaP

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9990
  • Gold 751
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #653 on: September 12, 2015, 05:38:23 AM »
Can your "smart TV" watch you?

Pay attention to the part about SKYPE :D
And the same applies to the Facebook app.

Offline Sinny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2447
  • Gold 305
  • Think In, Out and Around The Box.
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #654 on: September 13, 2015, 08:12:24 AM »
The UK will be Minority Report in just a few short years. 
Already we have bio-metrics installed in schools and some places of employment.

In order to set up my new smart phone I literally had to sell all rights to my privacy. 

I've had to continue. I need these services to progress in the system. 

I hope the rebellion cometh soon,  I'd rather live in dystopia than this virtual  prison. 

The schools over here are tipping the scales in NWO agenda.  I don't have kids yet, but all my friends do and every other day they are being requested to give up their lawful rights over their children by the state. 

I can see why so many people are currently at war with our so called social services. If I were to have children right now,  I would be in permanent battle with the local authorities in regards to their Nazi policies. 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:16:14 AM by Sinny »
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society"- JFK

Offline ArMaP

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9990
  • Gold 751
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #655 on: September 13, 2015, 09:19:42 AM »
In order to set up my new smart phone I literally had to sell all rights to my privacy. 

I've had to continue. I need these services to progress in the system.

I hope the rebellion cometh soon,  I'd rather live in dystopia than this virtual  prison. 
Just by looking at your post we can see why rebellion isn't expected in the near future. :)

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #656 on: September 18, 2015, 07:03:32 PM »

Alexander Howard
Senior Editor for Technology and Society, The Huffington Post
Posted: 09/18/2015 05:06 PM EDT | Edited: 4 hours ago

The Government Is Learning How To Change Your Behavior -- Supposedly For Your Own Good

Governments should be obligated to disclose how behavioral science and technology are used in public policy

Not every effort to change how we make choices will go flat like the soda ban that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration tried to impose upon the people of New York City.

That effort, which ultimately fell apart after beverage companies sued the city and a court ruled that the public health department had exceeded its regulatory authority, is probably the best known example of a government trying to change how consumers make a given choice.

The idea behind New York City's ban seemed simple enough: people will drink less soda if they're forced to buy a smaller portion. If they wanted another cup of soda, they could go get one -- but overall, people would drink less of it, reducing the risk of obesity or diabetes.

Bloomberg's soda ban became a political football, with a national debate breaking out over whether the government should be able to tell you to get a smaller cup for your drink or not. Public health advocates supported it. Beverage companies saw a risk to their bottom lines. Critics saw it as a restriction of individual freedom, with Big Brother meeting Big Mother.

But despite the controversy, a growing number of governments have been experimenting with applying behavioral science to identify the reasons that people make poor choices about health or their finances, tweaking the way options are presented in randomized trials to assess the results.   

This week, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to make behavioral science part of more U.S. government policies and programs, following the promising early results of various experiments by the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team:

By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy." -- President Barack Obama 

In the NPR interview embedded below, Maya Shankar, the team's chairwoman, told host Robert Siegel about their first annual report's findings. 

listen  at link

In past years, conservatives have decried the Obama administration's use of behavioral science as liberal paternalism, or the 21st century version of the nanny state.

But research by law professor Cass Sunstein, the former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, suggests people don't oppose the use of behavioral science in public policy; only the outcomes of their political opponents using it. How governments communicate and present choices to the public can be now be tested and improved on an unprecedented scale, and in various forms and contexts.

By deciding to make opting in for organ donation the default choice at the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, or by automatically enrolling people in retirement savings plans, it's possible to achieve improved social outcomes without huge expense.

Similarly, it can be beneficial to "nudge" people about important deadlines or tasks -- say, when school administrators send text messages to accepted college students as a reminder that they should actually go ahead and enroll in school. Nudges might take the form of a letter, email, text message or other prompt, like the one below.

<iframe frameborder="0" src="" width="243" height="198" title="Organ Donor Widget" scrolling="no"></iframe>

Agencies can now test different versions of the language used in forms using randomized trials and analyze which ones work better, thus improving websites and digital services.

We should want them to do so, frankly: no one wants to spend extra time filling out forms and applications on a government website, or, more seriously, not to understand crucial questions or details.

Results can improve even more when this approach is coupled with new technologies in non-governmental contexts, like a "smart toothbrush" connected to an app, and incentives, like lower dental insurance premiums for better hygiene.

The U.S. government is far from alone in experimenting with applying behavioral insights to making public policy. As The Guardian reports, there now are "nudge units" in Australia, Singapore and Germany, in addition to the British "Behavioural Insights Team."

That group, founded in 2010, has quadrupled in size and has been spun out of the British government as a private "social purpose" company, taking on projects around the world.  In April 2015, the BIT entered into a three-year partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies on its new What Works Cities initiative.

As consumers share more of their personal data for apps and services that help them make choices about their health, energy use, education or finances, they will also need crystal-clear disclosures about how the government chooses to present these choices, beyond notices in the Federal Register.

Baking the evidence gathered from behavioral science into public policy is not without controversy or risk, and concerns about the "nanny state" or privacy abound.

As presidents and prime ministers decide to move forward with this approach, it's crucial that they effectively disclose their rationales for the decisions behind the decisions to lawmakers and the public, so that the consent of the governed is not an afterthought.

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #657 on: September 21, 2015, 03:52:45 PM »

Dana Liebelson
Staff Reporter, The Huffington Post
Posted: 09/21/2015 02:36 PM EDT | Edited: 3 hours ago

Tech Giants, Democrats Go To Bat For Net Neutrality Rules In Court

"Once again, big broadband is on the wrong side of history."

WASHINGTON -- Tech giants and Democratic lawmakers filed briefs in court this week defending the strong net neutrality rules  approved  by the Obama administration. Telecom and cable companies are suing the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to overturn the rules.
Net neutrality refers to the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, meaning Internet Service Providers cannot charge content producers a premium for giving users more reliable access to content. In February, the FCC voted 3-2 on party lines to approve strong rules to protect net neutrality, a landmark decision that was widely supported by the American public.

Major tech companies, longtime supporters of net neutrality, have recently ramped up their support in court. The Internet Association -- a trade group that represents Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and other companies -- filed a legal brief, dated Sept. 20, backing the rules.

Over two dozen lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Senate Democrats, and Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking House Democrat, filed their own supportive brief on Monday. "This Court should affirm the FCC’s Order as entirely consistent with the authority delegated to the Commission by Congress," the filing reads.

AT&T and the CTIA-The Wireless Association, as well as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, whose members include Comcast, sued the FCC in April in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Verizon, the parent company of The Huffington Post, is a member of CTIA.)

These companies contend that the agency overstepped when it ruled to reclassify consumer broadband as a utility service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The agency's rules also applied to mobile access.

"It is, in short, a sweeping bureaucratic power grab by a self-appointed 'Department of the Internet,'" reads a joint brief for the petitioners, filed in July. Telecom and cable companies say the rules will hamper innovation, a criticism backed by Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have attempted to gut the rules.

The Internet Association pushed back against critics' claim that the rules will hamper business development. "The open Internet fuels a virtuous circle of innovation," their brief reads.

Public interest and civil rights groups support the new regulations on the basis that they promote Internet freedom.

"We also talk about the Internet as a powerful tool for political and social expression that allows communities of color, in particular, to shed light on issues and events that often go unnoticed by traditional mass media," Steven Renderos, the senior campaign manager for the Center for Media Justice, said on Monday during a call with reporters.

Althea Erickson, the policy director for Etsy, said on the call that an open Internet allows microentrepreneurs to compete with much bigger brands. She noted that 30,000 Etsy sellers contacted Congress and the FCC in support of open Internet protections, going so far as to put their comments on engraved spoons and embroidered pillows.

"By putting in place strong net neutrality rules, the FCC made clear that the Internet is open for business," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on the call.

"Once again, big broadband is on the wrong side of history," he added

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #658 on: September 23, 2015, 02:16:10 PM »

Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:50pm EDT
Related:  Tech,  Cybersecurity 
WASHINGTON  |  By David Alexander

5.6 million fingerprints stolen in U.S. personnel data hack: government

vid at link

Hackers who stole security clearance data on millions of Defense Department and other U.S. government employees got away with about 5.6 million fingerprint records, some 4.5 million more than initially reported, the government said on Wednesday.

The additional stolen fingerprint records were identified as part of an ongoing analysis of the data breach by the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense, OPM said in a statement. The data breach was discovered this spring and affected security clearance records dating back many years.

The news came just ahead of a state visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. officials have privately blamed the breach on Chinese government hackers, but they have avoided saying so publicly.

President Barack Obama has said cybersecurity will be a major focus of his talks with Xi at the White House on Friday. The United States has told China that industrial espionage in cyberspace by its government or proxies is "an act of aggression that has to stop," Obama said recently.

U.S. officials have said no evidence has surfaced yet suggesting the stolen data has been abused, though they fear the theft could present counterintelligence problems.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday the investigation into the data breach, which affected the records of some 21.5 million federal workers, was continuing and he did not "have any conclusions to share publicly about who may or may not have been responsible."
He indicated the OPM announcement was not related to Xi's visit but instead came about because officials at OPM had met with members of Congress and told them about the fingerprints and so needed to release the information to the public as well.

Officials from OPM and the Defense Department only recently discovered that the additional fingerprints had been stolen as they continued to assess the data breach, OPM said in a statement.

During that process, officials "identified archived records containing additional fingerprint data not previously analyzed," the OPM statement said. As a result, the estimated number of people who had fingerprint records stolen rose to 5.6 million from the 1.1 million initially reported, it said.
OPM said the total number of people affected by the breach was still believed to be 21.5 million.

The agency downplayed the danger posed by stolen fingerprint records, saying the ability to misuse the data is currently limited. But it acknowledged the threat could increase over time as technology evolves.

"An interagency working group with expertise in this area ... will review the potential ways adversaries could misuse fingerprint data now and in the future," it said.
The group includes members of the intelligence community as well as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

"If, in the future, new means are developed to misuse the fingerprint data, the government will provide additional information to individuals whose fingerprints may have been stolen in this breach," OPM said.

Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who has accused the administration of failing to take cybersecurity seriously, said the OPM announcement was further evidence that officials viewed the data breach as "a PR (public relations) crisis instead of a national security threat."

The individuals affected by the breach have not yet been notified. The OPM statement said the personnel office and Defense Department were working together to begin mailing notifications to those affected.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Susan Heavey and Andrew Hay)

Offline Gigas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1285
  • Gold 90
  • This can't be real
    • An obscure place from my mind
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #659 on: September 23, 2015, 02:55:32 PM »
Ya that finger print face recognition sounds good till they pick you up on a warrant for downloading songs, movies, porn and heretic small talk about the dot gov. They'll know exactly who to hook up then. Still , its a good idea protecting the personal technology in your possession from thieves heisting your devices and turning them into zombie hack tools on the deep dark web of mystery.
Everyone loves me, till they're sick of me USA, LLC
Free Click Tracking USA, LLC

* Recent Posts

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by The Seeker
[Today at 08:48:25 PM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by spacemaverick
[Today at 02:40:59 PM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by The Seeker
[Today at 02:31:52 PM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by spacemaverick
[Today at 01:20:45 PM]

The Question We Should Be Asking by Eighthman
[Today at 01:08:19 PM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by ArMaP
[Today at 11:50:28 AM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by petrus4
[Today at 08:48:05 AM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by ArMaP
[Today at 06:59:15 AM]

Re: fake news - live by ArMaP
[Today at 06:55:12 AM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by petrus4
[February 17, 2018, 09:54:11 PM]

Netherlands underground by space otter
[February 17, 2018, 03:02:36 PM]

Re: fake news - live by space otter
[February 17, 2018, 02:29:40 PM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by ArMaP
[February 17, 2018, 11:59:55 AM]

Re: Mandalay: The biggest shooting since Columbine. by petrus4
[February 17, 2018, 09:25:28 AM]

Third nuke at lv shooting by robomont
[February 17, 2018, 12:17:42 AM]

Re: Major Speech In China by robomont
[February 16, 2018, 06:29:51 PM]

Re: Major Speech In China by Somamech
[February 15, 2018, 10:05:19 AM]

DOG FOOD RECALL by space otter
[February 15, 2018, 07:59:28 AM]

Re: Alinsky's guide to control... by The Seeker
[February 14, 2018, 09:00:34 PM]

Re: Alinsky's guide to control... by Eighthman
[February 14, 2018, 07:41:20 PM]