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Don’t Buy Anyone An Amazon Echo – Not Even Yourself

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A group of hackers have successfully turned the Amazon Echo into a surveillance tool to listen in on the conversations of unknowing targets.

  • Reflect On:

    Even if hacking these devices is difficult to do, does the fact that it is possible to make you reconsider using "smart speakers" such as these? What is your privacy worth to you?

In recent years “smart speakers” are becoming popular as home tools to assist with day-to-day tasks; making phone calls, searching google and basically anything else you might use your phone for. Upon command, they wake up and complete the task given and offer a hands-free, voice-activated method to make our lives easier, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, recently a group of Chinese hackers have figured out a way to use the popular Amazon Echo as a spy device and listen in on the day-to-day conversations of targeted individuals.

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This group of hackers has spent months developing a new method for essentially hijacking the Echo. While it is far from a total takeover of the smart speakers, it is, from what we know, the closest thing to a practical demonstration of how these devices can absolutely be utilized as a method of secret surveillance.

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During the recent DefCon security conference, researchers Wu HuiYu and Qian Wenxiang shared their presentation called, Breaking Smart Speakers: We Are Listening To You, explaining how they hacked into an Amazon Echo and turned it into a spy bug.

Now, before we start thinking Big Brother is listening, it is important to know that this hack involved a modified version of the echo, which did have some parts swapped out. However, this doctored device was still able to hack into other, non-modified devices and it does so by connecting both the hackers Echo and a regular Echo to the same local area network, or LAN. This process allowed the hackers to turn their own modified Echo into a listening bug by relaying audio from the other Echo’s speakers without any indication that they were transmitting anything.

Although this was a difficult process, the Chinese hackers proved that it was, in fact, possible and could represent a first step towards exploiting this increasingly popular device.

So, What Does Amazon Have To Say?

Before the presentation, the researchers notified Amazon of the upcoming exploit and they pushed out some security fixes back in July when asked about the attack from Wired, the company responded by stating that, “customers do not need to take any action as their devices have been automatically updated with security fixes.” The spokesperson added that “this issue would have required a malicious actor to have physical access to a device and the ability to modify the device hardware.”

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Unfortunately, that last statement overlooks the fact that the hackers did not have access to the physical device that they were intercepting — only the LAN and anyone can get their own Echo quite easily online and in stores. So, although Amazon updated the security of these devices, it is still possible that hackers could once again, figure out a way to gain access to the device.

According to the hackers,

“After a period of practice, we can now use the manual soldering method to remove the firmware chip…from the motherboard and extract the firmware within 10 minutes, then modify the firmware within 5 minutes and [attach it] back to the device board,” they write. “The success rate is nearly 100 percent. We have used this method to create a lot of rooted Amazon Echo devices.”

Do We Need To Be Concerned?

To be able to effectively and easily hack an Echo remotely wouldn’t be easy, says Jake Williams, a former member of the NSA’s elite hacking team Tailored Access Operations. However, if spies were able to take over a device like the Echo it would make a powerful tool for surveillance because unlike a phone, it picks up sound from a room, not only right next to the device, but anywhere in earshot.

“These smart speakers are designed to pick up all the noises in the room, listen and transcribe them,” says Williams. “As a result, they’d make phenomenal listening devices if you can exploit them.”

Let’s not forget about what happened earlier this year where a couple from Portland, Oregon received a phone call from a person they knew warning them to unplug your Alexa device right now, you’re being hacked. This person had received a voice mail which contained a private message between the couple talking about hardwood floors. You can read more about that here.

I Have Nothing To Hide, Why Should I Care?

This is a common response from many people in regards to privacy issues. But this issue goes so much deeper than that. As Edward Snowden says,

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

We have a right to our privacy. If these devices can, in fact, be used as surveillance tool’s then there is a very good chance that they are being used. We have already seen a tremendous level of corruption from the NSA spying on Americans’ and even Facebook violating our rights and using messenger to listen in on our conversations. Why would we feel that these devices that are literally plugged into our homes and flat out listening to us and our “commands” couldn’t be used as a method of surveillance?

Cell phone’s alone have been proven to be able to listen in even when the phone is turned off. These smart speakers have even more capacity as they pick up sound all over the place and have a much broader range.

Should you let this stop you from getting your own Echo or similar device? Well, that’s up for you to decide, for me it’s not worth it.

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New Bodycam Footage Reveals Details Of George Floyd’s Arrest Prior To His Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    New police bodycam footage shows what happened prior to George Floyd's death.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have solutions that can lead us to different societal outcomes, not based on new belief systems, but truly allowing people to experience peace, emotional calm and connection?

George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin was one of the events of 2020 that has brought up a great deal of collective shadows that need to be addressed. News of Floyd’s death sparked massive civil unrest and protests that are still going on today, more than two months since it happened.

New police bodycam video shows a terrified George Floyd begging for officers not to shoot him. The footage is from body cameras worn by officer Thomas Lane and Alex Kueng, two of the four cops fired and charged in Floyd’s death. The video was leaked to the Daily Mail and shows officer Lane, approaching Floyd’s SUV, ordering him to show his hands. Floyd does not comply, so the officer pulls out his gun.

“Please don’t shoot me. Please[…] Please, please don’t shoot me. I just lost my mom, man.”

“Put your hands up there,” says the office. “Put your (muted) hands up there. Put your hands on the wheel.”

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” Floyd says as he’s dragged out of his SUV and handcuffed. Floyd is then taken to a police vehicle across the street, where officers attempt to get him inside. Floyd pleads that he’s claustrophobic and scuffles to avoid being put in the vehicle.

“I’ll roll down the window,” one of the officers says.

“Please, I’m not trying to win,[…] “I’m not a bad guy, man. I’m not a bad guy.”

Floyd is wrestled to the ground after avoiding going into the backseat. As the video ends Floyd begins telling officers “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” The world is aware of how this incident ends.

The current murder case against former cops Thomas Lane, Alex Kueng, Derek Chauvin, and Tou Thao is ongoing. This piece of footage is being used as evidence in the case.

The video below shows the entire incident. Viewer be warned some of this footage may be unsettling.

Why It Matters: The Floyd death has had me wondering what can honestly be done differently when it comes to policing. Watching this video I did not feel a sense of connection and community amongst officers. I felt a separation between them and the potential ‘criminal’ they were engaging with.

In the US, stats show this type of behavior can affect black people more than others, but I never felt this incident was race-related. To me it felt like how many police interactions feel: stressful and disconnected. So why is that? Why in general is humanity so disconnected from one another?

A deeper look into the state of being of police officers points us to the fact that police are consistently under a high level of stress and are not living in a balanced state of being while on the job. Not a surprise to some, but perhaps to others.

I’ve often wondered if the larger issue here is that we have a police force that is experiencing “among the most stressful occupations in the world and officers typically suffer a variety of physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects and symptoms,” according to a 2012 study examining the role of stress and other psychological challenges in a police officers life. “Officers operating under severe or chronic stress are likely to be at greater risk of error, accidents, and overreactions that can compromise their performance, jeopardize public safety, and pose significant liability costs to the organization” the study abstract continues.

After following 59 police officers through 16 weeks that had been trained on Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training, it was noted that:

“The greatest and, in our view, most important effect of the self-management training was seen in the participants’ increased ability to manage their moods and emotions, which is a fundamental key to sustaining resilience. … For the police officer, the abilities to think rationally under stress, concentrate, plan ahead, remember and organize crucial information, make effective decisions, and control inappropriate emotion-triggered reactions are critically important and in some cases, can determine the difference between life and death for the officer and other parties.”

Since 2012, 300 to 400 police officers per week in the Netherlands have received heart coherence training through the HeartMath.  It was estimated that by 2016, 30,000 Dutch officers would have gone through the training, we are awaiting an update on this figure. HeartMath Benelux is an official partner of the Dutch Police Academy as clearly they see value in this form of training for officers.

The Conscious Takeaway: Why is the emotional and psychological state of an officer not one of the most important factors discussed in the media? It so often comes down to race as our social engineering has trained us to view things in that manner.

We have a potentially extremely powerful solution through Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training yet instead of having these discussions we point to divisive narratives like race? But does this really account for the vast majority of poor interactions with police? Perhaps it’s time for a new approach?

Maybe we can begin to address the state of being of ourselves and start taking responsibility for how we feel, what we go through, and how to master our emotions? There are plenty of tools out there, it simply requires a cultural shift in wanting to move towards peace vs staying right where we are. It moves us from a story of separation to one of connection – something that we experience directly, not are taught through beliefs and ideas.

Perhaps attuning to heart coherence can be a solution alongside other proposed ideas?

After all, are the police not people we want to feel like can truly help the community?

“It makes you not want to call the police department […] If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?” – James Smith, neighbor who called police.

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Alan Dershowitz Implicated In Unsealed Ghislaine Maxwell Documents

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Alan Dershowitz has been implicated in the latest events pertaining to the Ghislaine Maxwell case. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the accuser, is claiming to have sexually engaged with him as a minor, unsealed documents reveal.

  • Reflect On:

    How many people may be implicated here that don't come to light? Is there something deeper going on here that remains to be uncovered and continues not be covered by mainstream media?

What Happened: Well known attorney and political commentator Alan Dershowitz has been implicated in the latest news pertaining to the Ghislaine Maxwell case. She is currently being held in New York awaiting her trial next year. Dershowitz was mentioned, along with Bill Clinton and others in a set of unsealed documents that were part of now-settled civil litigation against Maxwell. She appealed the decision of the judge to unseal them, but to no avail.

Maxwell was Epstein’s right hand person, and the documents, along with testimony from many others over the past few years, show that Maxwell sexually abused children and also directed victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre to be sexually abused by others, using her and many others as sex slaves.

The NY Post explains:

The emeritus Harvard Law professor was accused of having sex with then-minor “Jane Doe #3” — identified in court documents as Virginia Roberts Giuffre — and witnessing Jeffrey Epstein and others sexually abusing girls and young women.

The allegations, lodged in a 2014 court filing, reemerged in more than 600 pages unsealed Thursday night in Giuffre’s 2015 defamation case against.

In 1997, Dershowitz wrote the following: “Reasonable People Can Disagree Over Whether It Should Be As Low As 14.” You can find that article and read more about that here.

He is currently denying the allegations made by Giuffre, calling her a liar. He also stands by that article he wrote in 1997.

Why This Is Important: Elite level trafficking and pedophilia are coming to light, and it’s a major step for humanity given that many implicated and accused people are those in positions of great power, and in some cases made out to be idolized by the general public, usually showered with fame and fortune.

Research indicates there are many children suffering and that do suffer as a result of this activity, and there are so many examples going beyond the Jeffrey Epstein showing that this is quite rampant among our political and financial elite, and among those who pull the strings that we never really see.

This type of activity also shines light onto the world of politics. For example, with regards to Epstein and Maxwell, there is evidence suggesting that both are actually high ranking intelligence officers, with the job of entrapping powerful politicians and people. You can read more about that here. Is this what goes on in the system we continue to hold up and empower by voting year after year? Why are we playing with a system that’s clearly created out of disconnection and separation, and that does not allow humanity to thrive?

Is it time for something new? Is the current state of our world a reflection of the ‘leadership’ we choose and agree to put into power?

If you want to see some more examples and dive through more evidence, you can refer to this article I published towards the end of last year.

You can also watch our interview with a survivor of these types of pedophile rings.

You can access the full interview and start your free trial HERE on CETV, a platform we created to help combat internet censorship and allow us to continue to do our work and get the word out about various issues and topics.

The interview is with Anneke Lucas, who is is an author, speaker, advocate for child sex trafficking victims, founder of the non-profit organization Liberation Prison Yoga, and creator of the Unconditional Model. Her work is based on personal experience of a 30-year healing journey after surviving being sold by her family as a child sex slave to a pedophile network.

The interview is deep, and goes into the consciousness aspect of her experience and why that aspect is so important.

The Takeaway: There are many events taking place that are causing people to really question what’s happening on our planet and why. Why do we think and live the way we are living, and why is there so much misinformation, deception, and examples of fraud and deceit that come from multiple governments? Is it really a surprise that many of these people may be involved in activities that represent such a disregard for human life? Isn’t that what geopolitics has resulted in? War is a great example.

More people are starting to realize that we’re not really living in a democracy, but in the illusion of democracy where our physical rights are slowly taken away by governments who are capitalizing on crisis after crisis, ones in which they themselves help create and prolong.  Elite level child trafficking simply shines a light on how our current level of unconsciousness is creating a world built on disconnection.  Now is a time where these truths are being made transparent.

At the end of the day, we can change things anytime we want. We are indeed that powerful as one human collective.

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“Reasonable People Can Disagree Over Whether It Should Be As Low As 14” – Alan Dershowitz On Sexual Consent

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In 1997, well known American lawyer and political commentator Alan Dershowitz published an article titled "Statutory Rape is an Outdated Concept." In it, he argued for lowering the age of consent.

  • Reflect On:

    Has there been a slow and steady effort within the mainstream and 'powers that be' to normalize and justify pedophilia and underage sex? If so, why?

What Happened: In 1997, well known American lawyer and political commentator Alan Dershowitz published an article titled “Statutory Rape is an Outdated Concept.” (You can see a screenshot of  it below.) In it, he states that “reasonable people can disagree over whether it (the age of consent) should be as low as 14, 15 would be an appropriate compromise.” He then goes on to suggest that “Perhaps there should be stair-casing below 15 with the penalty increasing inversely with the age of the victim.” This means that if the age of consent was lowered to 14, and a 50 year old man slept with a 13 year old, the penalty wouldn’t be as severe as it would be if it were a 12 year old, and so on and so forth. He has since defended his position.

His argument is that if girls at this age can decide whether or not they can have an abortion, then they are certainly capable of consenting to sex with older people. Another point he makes is that puberty is happening at younger ages these days, another reason he seems to justify his position.

For me, at that age a child is still a child, they are still developing both mentally and physically. You could argue they are in-fact in a more vulnerable time in their life to be taken advantage of, which in my opinion is simply another form of rape, despite the fact that at the time it may appear to be “consensual.” This is why many of these children grow up and are adversely affected by their experience, because when they are older they have a greater mental capacity to understand what really happened.

Someone like Jeffrey Epstein is an expert in manufacturing consent, perhaps that’s why there is reason to believe Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were both high ranking intelligence officers, with the job of entrapping powerful politicians and people. You can read more about that here.

Keep in mind that Epstein and other powerful people have been accused of rape, without consent, despite the fact that again, manufacturing the consent of a child is still, in my-opinion, rape and leads to large amounts of trauma. One only has to ask: is this the type of world we wish to live in? If not, then what do we do about this reality? Are we addressing the underlying reasons as to why this happens? Are we empowering it unknowingly?

Many people have brought Dershowitzs’ article back into the lime-light given the fact that he had defended Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile who apparently killed himself. The article has also been making its rounds after documents were recently unsealed a few days ago in which Bill Clinton, Dershowitz and others have been implicated. The documents pertain to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently being held without bail. She was Epstein’s right hand person, and the documents allege that Maxwell sexually abused children and also directed victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre to be sexually abused by others like Dershowitz. These accusations also corroborate with a number of other victims that have spoken out against both Maxwell, Epstein and others, claiming that many children were groomed to be sex slaves.

The documents were part of now-settled civil litigation against Maxwell. The NY Post explains:

The emeritus Harvard Law professor was accused of having sex with then-minor “Jane Doe #3” — identified in court documents as Virginia Roberts Giuffre — and witnessing Jeffrey Epstein and others sexually abusing girls and young women.

The allegations, lodged in a 2014 court filing, reemerged in more than 600 pages unsealed Thursday night in Giuffre’s 2015 defamation case against Maxwell.

Did Dershowitz know what Epstein was doing? He claims he didn’t, but from the public point of view, and in my opinion, it’s quite clear that nearly ‘everyone’ in Hollywood and big politics knows what is going on, and knew what was going on, as stated even by John McCain’s wife.

This begs the question, how can so many people remain silent and not speak up about and against elite level pedophilia? Why didn’t she say anything? Are they involved? Why are so many people who ‘mingle’ in these circles so silent? It’s great when people from within the industry speak out, Ricky Gervais would be the latest example, he recently told Hollywood to “Stop F****** Children” during an Oscars speech. While this appeared to be in gest, many felt the truth within his words.

Then there is Cardinal George Pell, a high ranking Vatican official who was convicted of child sexual abuse has been set free, and all charges have been dropped. If Cardinal George Pell is or would be involved in such things, is not odd that he himself established The Diocesan Commission Into Sexual Abuse in 1996. If he is in fact guilty, this leads to the point above made by Wedger, that the people responsible for tackling this issue are actually involved and part of the problem. That being said, Pell is innocent under the law.

Dershowitz is of course responding to the recent allegations, saying that Giuffre is lying, and that there is no evidence at all he was ever involved in having sex with/raping a minor. What’s concerning is that Giuffre’s accusations corroborate with many other victims that have come forward making these claims over the years.

We’ve written about this topic a lot, and if you want to dive in a bit deeper, I published this article late last year that provides more examples.

Child-Sex Trafficking Is A Much Deeper Issue

It’s strange sometimes when reading about this topic within the mainstream, or how it’s covered by mainstream media. The word “rape” doesn’t seem to be used, and instead there are more terms used like “underaged girls.” We must remember that although young children have not been implicated in the Epstein case, teenagers are still developing both physically and mentally, and they are very susceptible and vulnerable to brainwashing and manipulation by people of power. The Epstein case is a great example, and there are multiple accusers here who are all sharing the same story.

But how much of what we are getting from the mainstream pertaining to the Epstein/Maxwell case actually highlights how widespread this issue really is?

There is evidence suggesting that little children, not just teenagers, are also being sexually abused, trafficking, and murdered, sometimes in a ritualistic fashion.

This is why we are using the Epstein case to highlight our interview with a survivor.

You can access the full interview and start your free trial HERE on CETV, a platform we created to help combat internet censorship and allow us to continue to do our work and get the word out about various issues and topics.

The interview is with Anneke Lucas, who is is an author, speaker, advocate for child sex trafficking victims, founder of the non-profit organization Liberation Prison Yoga, and creator of the Unconditional Model. Her work is based on personal experience of a 30-year healing journey after surviving being sold by her family as a child sex slave to a pedophile network.

The interview is deep, and goes into the consciousness aspect of her experience and why that aspect is so important.

The Takeaway

A lot of information is coming to light, and more people are starting to have a major paradigm shift when it comes to seeing how our world operates. The idea that many people in powerful positions that are responsible for and have a great influence with regards to dictating health, environmental and political policy are engaged in some these actions makes us realize that they are not operating from a space of connectedness and wellness for all, they appear to be disconnected and out to harm others. So are they capable of dealing with major global issues in a way that truly allows humanity to thrive?

Is our world a result of handing our power over, again and again, to ‘leaders’ who do not possess empathy, morality, and have such a large disregard for human life? Why do we continue to choose to participate? What does it say about our collective level of thinking and consciousness? Why do we continue to vote every four years and put power into the hands of those who wish to progress our society into an authoritarian Orwellian state under the guise of good will, instead of taking matters into our own hands?  If billions of us can follow orders a lockdown for months, why can’t we take such large steps, collectively, to tackle issues that matter more deeply?

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