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NYPD Wants Your License For Facial Recognition. Should They Gain This Power?

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According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center and Facial Identification Sections would like to get full and unfettered access to the state’s database of driver’s licenses.

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Currently, the police department is limited to mugshots of criminals within their own facial identification database. Now they want the ability to match facial images with identity for the millions of people who drive cars within the state of New York.

Why is law enforcement asking for facial identification capabilities over innocent, law-abiding folks? An article on the subject suggests that such a capability could help the department to identify lost adults with cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s; it could help hospitals put names to unconscious patients who are admitted without ID; and if expanded, it could aid in interstate law enforcement efforts to find criminals that live under false identities.

What Price Hath Privacy? 

Do such piecemeal benefits justify the removal of yet another brick from our personal sanctuaries of privacy?

A proposed expansion of capabilities in governmental programs always requires the vigilance of concerned citizens. As technology has evolved, the power of surveillance has risen exponentially. The potential and far-reaching implications, not just in the present but for the future, need to be in the forefront of our minds and a topic of our deeper discussions.

Typically, such inquiries eventually lead to the question, ‘What might happen if these capabilities fell into the wrong hands?’

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This question may be more prescient to the case than it appears. And rather than focusing on the NYPD’s ability to protect their technology and freshly-inherited citizen database from external cybertheft, we might be better served to simply ask ourselves: Is the New York Police Department—itself—the ‘wrong hands’?

Tools Of Power?

Not to make us fearful but more so to reflect, do we believe that this law enforcement agency consistently adheres to its stated commitment to ‘Protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens and impartially enforce the law’? Or do we have reason to believe that has the potential to move the needle closer to a dystopian police state? In the bigger scheme of things, are there times when an agency such as this serves—in whole and in part—the agendas of the Deep State?

If we are realistic about the reach of the Deep State, then we have to acknowledge their well-honed ability to infiltrate and control any discrete entities under the broad purview of government. If, for example, they became more capable of locating and targeting ordinary citizens, some of whom they may identify as ‘enemies of the state,’ it could certainly supplement the current and future tools they use to neutralize dissent.

Here’s Edward Snowdon on the dangers of this technology:

But regardless of our opinion about the autonomy or integrity of any particular branch or agency of government, as a general rule we might best be served to promote limits on the proliferation of personal information that can give rise to an increased centralization of power. While the consolidation of personal data might help to make certain processes more efficient or effective, it moves us further away from the kind of liberty promised by the forefathers.

Decentralization

The original purpose for image-mounted driver’s licenses is to help maintain safety and accountability on our roadways. Few would disagree that the ends justify the means in this case, if the Department of Motor Vehicles maintains this information in the strictest of confidence.

Now–if there are some other ways that society can benefit from the existence of the DMV database, why wouldn’t we empower the DMV itself to govern those additional processes so that the information remains as private as possible? If, for example, the NYPD wanted to ascertain the identity of an unconscious person who had been admitted to hospital, it could submit a picture of the patient to the DMV who could conduct the search within their secured database, and only provide information back to the NYPD if they find a positive match.

Less efficient and effective? Perhaps we need to remain ready to pay that price for our privacy. Heart-based reflection, without becoming fearful, is the key here.

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IKEA Plans To Switch From Styrofoam Packaging To A Mushroom-Based Alternative

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Styrofoam is harmful to our planet, which is why it's great to see IKEA switching all styrofoam packaging products to a compostable mushroom-based alternative.

  • Reflect On:

    If more sustainable options exist why wouldn't we implement them now? As consumers we have a say in creating the type of world we want to live in.

The cat’s out of the bag, by now the vast majority of us are aware that Styrofoam is bad for our environment as it doesn’t decompose and, in its production process, leaches toxic chemicals into our environment. Yet, despite this awareness, it is still being used on a massive scale to package anything from your new flat screen TV to your late night sushi rolls. As consumers we can choose to either support the companies that are contributing to the waste epidemic on our planet — or not.

Thankfully, as awareness grows, some large corporations like furniture giant IKEA are leading the way and choosing more sustainable and harmonious products. No doubt these sustainable options will appeal more to the conscious consumer and even though we can’t be clear as to whether or not these decisions are being made because of a general concern for our environment or because of growing consumer awareness, it doesn’t really matter because, regardless of the why, things are shifting for the better.

Compostable Alternative

Ikea has announced that they will be looking to switch all of their packaging materials from Styrofoam to a new substance called MycoComposite, which is made out of mushrooms and other organic materials. This material is entirely natural and compostable; it grows within a week and will decompose within 30 days. It can also be reused if it is kept dry.

This was a product we wrote about 7 years ago! And here it is today, finally getting the attention it deserves.

The process to create this packaging material is quite simple really–from Intelligent Living:

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  • Agricultural byproducts such as hemp, husk, oat hulls, and cotton burrs are pressed into the desired shape that can fit around items as packaging.
  • Then, it is seeded with mushroom spores that sprout mycelium (a root structure) after a few days.
  • The mycelium threads rapidly through the structure and binds it together to form a shock-resistant and durable packaging material.
  • The last step is to heat-treat the material to kill spores in order to arrest further growth of the fungus.

Mushroom-based packaging uses only about 12% of the energy that is used in plastic production and produces 90% fewer carbon emissions than plastic/Styrofoam production. Non-petroleum-based packaging is just another step towards ending our reliance on fossil fuels; there are plenty of alternative options available, we just need to look. In some cases we simply need to put on our thinking caps, we are a creative, problem-solving species and no doubt there are much more harmonious alternatives for many of our current processes.

The SWOT Analysis below conveys the advantage that Mushroom based materials has over plastic.

Strengths

  • Biodegradable
  • Easily grown from agricultural waste products which are plentiful
  • Strong, lightweight, mouldable
  • Produced using less energy
  • No waste or pollution from the process itself
  • Inexpensive
  • No health risks

Weakness

  • Takes longer to produce than most plastics
  • Less variability and range of products can be produced
  • Not as fire resistant/good as Styrofoam

Opportunities

  • Replace plastic products as a socially and environmentally safe alternative
  • Research is ongoing to improve and create more products
  • Community development through GIY initiatives

Threats

  • Compete against already strongly established plastic dependence (suppliers, manufactures, buyers)
  • Opposition to fungus grown product, misinformed views

One Small Step Towards Massive Change

Just think for a moment, not even just about the hundreds of IKEA stores worldwide, but consider all the big box retailers like Amazon and ALL OF THE STYROFOAM packaging that is being used and where all of that ends up. The fact that technology even exists for us to use a compostable alternative should leave the other substances completely behind. Because why would we continue using materials that are harmful for our planet if working alternatives already exist? That’s a whole other topic, and I’m sure you already know all about the why.

IKEA’s Head of Sustainability, Joanna Yarrow, said this was the retailer’s “small yet significant step towards reducing waste and conserving ecological balance.”

Another Ikea spokesperson told The Telegraph, “IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and planet, which includes taking a lead in turning waste into resources, developing reverse material flows for waste materials and ensuring key parts of our range are easily recycled. IKEA has committed to take a lead in reducing its use of fossil-based materials while increasing its use of renewable and recycled materials.”

Yes, it may be a small step, but just think of how big this step really is, and we can only hope that other retailers will follow in the footsteps of IKEA. Maybe it goes without saying, but we do have a say in the matter. If other retailers aren’t willing to give up their use of Styrofoam, then we can choose to shop elsewhere, and if enough people do the same, then these other retailers will have no choice but to change their ways. This is why raising awareness is so important.

Much Love

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ABC & CBS Fire The ‘Leaker’ of Video Showing Anchor Amy Robach Commenting On Jeffrey Epstein

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A producer at CBS was fired after ABC said she was the person who had leaked the video detailing how ABC prevented the airing of a sensational interview with a prominent victim of Jeffrey Epstein.

  • Reflect On:

    Are the recent testimonies from mainstream media insiders starting to hone our discernment about what is real and what is fake in our perceptions of the world?

In the wake of a firestorm of criticism being heaped upon mainstream media companies ABC and CBS as a result of their response to a leaked video featuring ABC anchor Amy Robach, more and more people are awakening to the possibility that Mainstream Media is more in the business of hiding the critical truths humanity needs to know rather than reporting on them. Indeed, phrases like ‘the news you need to know’ is sounding more like a parent shielding children from information that would actually help them grow up.

The latest episode started about a week ago, with the surfacing of a video featuring ABC anchor Amy Robach complaining that the network had refused to air her interview with a prominent accuser of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. This is some of what she had to say:

I had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, “Who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.” Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.

It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything. I tried for 3 years to get it on to no avail… There will come a day when we realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known.

The fact that Robach freely implies that Buckingham Palace had prevented her news organization from broadcasting an interview damaging to them is very telling. Joe Martino discusses Robach’s testimony more in-depth in this article he wrote right after it happened.

ABC Goes Into Damage Control

Predictably, ABC News downplayed the significance of the video, saying that Robach’s Epstein story wasn’t fit to air at the time. They were quick to try to convince their counterparts at Fox News that everything is all on the up-and-up:

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“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since, we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and six-part podcast that will air in the new year.”–ABC Spokesperson

Uh-huh. So it’s taken them three years to fully suss out the validity of this interview, and there’s still another year to wait before we get to hear the story? That’s some pretty tough and thorough standards.

But wait a minute: isn’t this the same news organization that recently made the lightning-fast decision to broadcast a video from a 2017 Kentucky gun exhibition showcasing the awesome power of new military weaponry and try to pass it off as the current-day slaughter of Kurds by the Turkish army?

‘Leaker’ Gets Fired

ABC’s efforts to ‘rectify’ the situation has only left them with more egg on their face. It is no surprise that they completely discount Robach’s claim that outside influence (Buckingham Palace) had any bearing on their decision not to air the interview, as well as Rorbach’s claim that this interview really ‘had everything’; but if Robach’s claims were just their anchor’s erroneous and self-inflating testimony about the integrity and value of her story, would the network really have reason to be so upset that this video came out?

In a move designed to clearly send a message to other would-be leakers of ‘sensitive’ internal information, ABC has worked hard to identify the employee suspected of leaking the Robach video to watchdog group Project Veritas.

Their investigation led them to Ashley Bianco, a former producer on ABC’s “Good Morning America” who joined “CBS This Morning” last month. After ABC executives informed their counterparts at CBS of their suspicions, she lost her job.

There’s just one problem, though. Bianco adamantly denies that she is the leaker.

Bianco Speaks Out

“I did not leak the tape,” Bianco told journalist Megyn Kelly in an interview posted on YouTube. “I’m not the whistleblower. I’m sorry to ABC, but the leaker is still inside.” She said she was fired by CBS after the network received a call from ABC informing her new boss that she once had access to the leaked video.

Bianco told Kelly that she doesn’t know who leaked the tape because “everyone” at ABC was aware it existed. She also insisted she had never heard of Project Veritas before this week. “I begged, I pleaded, I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” she told Kelly. “I wasn’t even given the professional courtesy to defend myself. It was humiliating, it was devastating.”

Compounding this was the fact that Project Veritas published a note from the alleged real “ABC insider” it claimed was behind the leak.

Using the pseudonym ‘Ignotus,’ the alleged leaker began the piece published by Project Veritas by stressing, “I did not and do not seek any personal gain from this information whether it be financial or otherwise,” and expressed their desire to make the information public out of “anger, confusion and sadness.”

“I’ve walked the halls experiencing similar feelings we are all having right now,” wrote the supposed leaker, addressing ABC employees. “All of you regardless of your own personal differences in one form or another do an outstanding job. I sincerely enjoy working with each and every one of you and will continue to do so throughout our careers.”

Ignotus then addressed “those wrongfully accused,” an apparent reference to Bianco:

It is terrible that you have been lashed out at by the company. I know some may put the burden of guilt on me, but my conscience is clear. The actions of the company towards you are the result of their own and not anyone else. The public outcry, from coast to coast, of all people, creeds, and political affiliations, is clear. I have not one doubt that there will always be support for you, and you will have prosperous careers. For neither you, nor I, have done anything wrong.

NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck highlighted the hypocrisy by saying that this is ‘an example of how the liberal elites have decided that the very journalistic ethics that are extolled in journalism schools and advocacy groups are no more than empty promises.’

Indeed, more and more signs are coming out that mainstream media is breaking apart from the inside, as the many honest and hard-working employees like CNN’s Cary Poarch and this most recent whistleblower become emboldened to extol the true journalistic virtues of integrity, fairness, and neutrality, and show how the current mainstream media machine has become anything but a proponent of those values.

The Takeaway

One of our highest aims here at CE is to examine and understand the distinctions between how the world really is, and how we are perceiving it as a result of social engineering and mass perception-building strategies that have been in place in various forms for ages. The current revelations about the hypocrisy of mainstream media provides fertile grounds for our growing discernment of this.

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How Facebook Has Become The Strategic Media Mouthpiece For The Global Elite

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Facebook has made deals with mainstream media outlets to pay for their news content, further turning Facebook from a neutral social media platform into a conglomerate that supports a political bias and the agenda of the global elite.

  • Reflect On:

    What can conscious media outlets do to overcome growing censorship and mainstream bias from the big tech companies and ensure that you continue to get neutral, agenda-free news coverage and commentary on the issues of the day?

It’s not clear whether Facebook was truly conceived by an innocent genius with noble intent, but one fact has become abundantly clear: Facebook is now a mouthpiece and tool for the proliferation of mainstream perception. This is specifically designed to enrich the global elite and continue to disenfranchise ordinary citizens and any attempts to bring important truths to light that would threaten the elite. And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg is now a ‘junior partner’ in this global elite.

The episode of the Jimmy Dore show found in the video below, which is worth watching to get the full context of the discussion, introduces whistleblower Vikram Kumar, a former promoter of third-party videos on Facebook. Dore brings interesting insights into Facebook’s latest strategies in terms of controlling the news commentary. He explains how Facebook is proliferating the establishment’s narrative while limiting and blocking alternative voices which, of course, Facebook characterizes as ‘Fake News’. Here, Kumar discusses Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in Congress to this effect:

Back in 2017 there was that TechCrunch report that said that Facebook was taking measures to stop the spread of ‘Fake News’ by banning certain political accounts from promoting their videos on their newsfeed. So when I heard Mark Zuckerberg in 2018 telling Congress that he would be doing the same thing, I thought, what changed between 2017 and 2018? Are they taking new measures, are they re-taking the measures?  And it wasn’t until a week later that I realized that Variety Magazine reported that Facebook Watch, which is Facebook’s media platform, had reached a multi-million dollar deal with CNN, Fox News, ABC, and large media outlets.

The congressional testimony was the perfect opportunity for the political establishment, the media establishment, and the tech companies to form an alliance against small media outlets.

Returning Media To The Global Elite’s Control

The process of bringing fundamentally liberating technologies like social media under control has been a difficult process, but the global elite seems to feel they are getting a handle on it. Since the big media giants Google, Facebook, Youtube and others are now strictly following the global elite playbook, with special algorithms and thinly-veiled censorship strategies, the process of promoting the elite agenda while suppressing dissenting voices is in full swing.

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One of the biggest issues to remedy was the lack of viewership that traditional mainstream media was getting from young people, which is really the target market not only for advertisers but the social engineering wing of the global elite as well. Here’s how Kumar describes it:

As you know, young people, they don’t watch cable… the viewership of Fox News, CNN, and ABC are dying off, they’re getting older and older, and so what Facebook is, is access to young people, right, and so they viewed small anti-establishment media outlets such as yourself as an existential threat to their next generation of revenue.

Tech companies view media companies extremely valuably, you could go back to 1996, there was that merger between Microsoft, General Electric and NBC to create MSNBC.com. A lot of people don’t know that the ‘MS’ in MSNBC stands for Microsoft, and the reason why media companies and tech companies are so intertwined with each other is ’cause you can influence young people so much when you have the distribution network of something like Facebook, and with Facebook Watch, and their media platform, and their deal with CNN, Fox News, and ABC, they’re able to indoctrinate the next generation of young people. And so they want to take viewership away from shows like yours, and put those young people that haven’t been paying attention with cable news back into the pockets of companies like Fox News, ABC, and CNN.

Every media company wants some of that Facebook Watch dough. And so the companies that have coverage that Facebook doesn’t like are out of there, and new companies that have coverage that Facebook likes are back into the deal. And so Facebook is already taking steps to craft the political landscape in the framing that they find positively. And so you get that whole thing where Facebook shuts down over 800 political pages and accounts, and even legitimate political pages that expose things like police brutality… you’re already seeing a coordinated effort from the establishment media and tech companies to kind of craft the narrative for young people.

This is how that Variety Magazine article Kumar talked about characterizes the deal between Facebook and Mainstream Media:

After going through the fake-news wringer, Facebook is shelling out money on original news content. The strategy is partly aimed at driving up viewing on its Facebook Watch platform — but it also is supposed to demonstrate the social-media giant’s commitment to funding trustworthy journalism.

A corporate conglomerate now giving itself the authority to judge what is and isn’t trustworthy journalism. What could possibly go wrong?

Is Facebook Still Just A Tech Company?

The slippery slope that Facebook is trying to anchor itself to is as clear as the nose on Mark Zuckerberg’s face. He continues to want us to think about Facebook as a social media platform whose objective is still ‘to make the world more open and connected,’ yet at the same time he wants Facebook to become the prime arbiter of the ‘news that is fit to print,’ or in this case, to decide which sources of news will benefit and not benefit from Facebook’s tremendous reach. The same Variety article reinforces the idea that Facebook is trying to have things both ways, gaining the advantages of defining itself as a tech company, and not taking on the liabilities inherent in being a media company:

In the past, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remarked that Facebook is a technology company — not a media company. Asked whether Facebook is now in fact a media company, given that it’s paying for a growing slate of content, Brown responded, “Having worked for big media companies, I don’t think Facebook is a media company. But are we responsible for the media on Facebook? Yes.”

The fact is that we have entered into somewhat uncharted territory in terms of what defines a media company since the rise of the Internet. We can only hope that we will collectively awaken to the fact that Facebook has clearly gone beyond being a platform that provides equal access to all voices and commentaries, and has given in to the temptation to control the flow and proliferation of information. As this Wired article starts off,

FACEBOOK STEADFASTLY RESISTS categorization as a traditional media company. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists on calling the social network a technology platform—even though nearly half of all American adults get their news on Facebook. These old arguments no longer work, especially as Facebook starts making its own video content.

It is incumbent upon the awakening community to clearly grasp what is happening here and to act accordingly in terms of our future engagement with social media sites like Facebook. It is important to see how Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed media cross-ownership that led to mergers between tech companies and media companies, was a seed that has already started to bear the fruit of an Orwellian dystopia, where the global elite are permitted to continue to proliferate mainstream propaganda and limit exposure to alternative views that are a threat to their agenda.

The Takeaway

Conscious media outlets, like us here at Collective Evolution, are in the crosshairs of the recent efforts on the part of Facebook and other large media conglomerates to selectively control the proliferation of information. Our best hope in these times is that the awakening community makes deliberate choices in terms of which sources to tune in to. While the global elite may have the power, the wealth, and the technology, they are still pushing an agenda, which to discerning minds looks and sounds very different from the unbiased truth.

Our hope is that a growing number of people are seeing through the agenda of the global elite enough to be motivated to ensure that conscious media survives, and then thrives. One of the future goals of our Conscious Media Movement campaign is to strengthen an alliance between ourselves and other conscious media outlets and work together to find ways we can amplify the voice of truth and neutrality.

One of the first steps we are taking in our CMM campaign is to fund an Investigative Journalism team to join our efforts here at CE. To help support this, click here. 

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