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At least 10% of Airbnb rentals found to have hidden video cameras

airbnb The popular vacation rental platform Airbnb is planning to go public later this year, hailing incredible success from its innovative community-sharing model. But there may still be a few more kinks that need to be ironed out before then, including the problem of some Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras without notifying their guests.

While it’s considered permissible for Airbnb hosts to install surveillance cameras outside of their properties, or even indoors in common areas like kitchens and living rooms if they feel the need, under no circumstances should hidden cameras ever be installed in bedrooms or bathrooms – though this may be happening at a very small percentage of properties.

According to a recent survey conducted by IPX 1031, 11 percent of the 2,023 Americans surveyed by the group who say they’ve stayed at an Airbnb at least once claim that they’ve discovered hidden cameras inside Airbnb rentals – though they didn’t indicate where these cameras were found.

In today’s growing surveillance society, hidden cameras are popping up all over the place, which means their presence at some Airbnb rentals isn’t necessarily out of the ordinary. But since Airbnb guests have no way to know whether or not the properties they’re staying at have them, there are concerns among some that spying might be taking place.

Based on the findings of the IPX 1031 survey, more than half, or 58 percent of respondents, say they’re worried about the presence of hidden cameras inside Airbnb rentals. More than 75 percent say they’re okay with said cameras being in common areas, but obviously none of them want there to be hidden cameras anywhere else.

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While there’s not much Airbnb can do about this other than to simply inform its hosts and “Superhosts” about the proper guidelines for cameras and surveillance, it remains a point of contention for some potential Airbnb guests who might be leery, or perhaps borderline paranoid, that they might be getting surveilled while traveling – and who may choose to stay at a hotel instead.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that hidden cameras could be in motels and hotels, too. This is the world we live in, after all – an expanding police state where cameras are appearing in public on light posts, traffic lights, building exteriors, and really anywhere else they can be at least somewhat discreetly placed.

Most Airbnb guests still say they’ve had positive experiences, and have never encountered hidden cameras where they shouldn’t be

The other thing that’s also noted in the survey is that the vast majority of Airbnb guests are happy with their experiences, and haven’t ever encountered anything shady like hidden cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms. In fact, most Airbnb guests say they actually prefer not to meet Airbnb hosts in person, and are already able to gather the information they need prior to booking in order to feel safe and secure.

“According to our survey, only 30% feel it’s necessary to meet their host,” says IPX 1031. “A majority would rather communicate virtually or over the phone and be able to access the property through a lockbox or keypad. And while most respondents said they trust their Airbnb host (83%), more than half are still leery about the host having access to the property (and their belongings) 24/7.”

“Superhost” status is another important thing to many potential Airbnb guests, as maintaining this coveted status as an Airbnb host is considered a valid indication of trustworthiness.

“According to respondents, first impressions and trustworthiness certainly go hand in hand when it comes to renting an Airbnb,” IPX 1031 further states about its survey findings.

For related news, be sure to check out Surveillance.news.

Sources for this article include:

ZeroHedge.com

IPX1031.com

NaturalNews.com

Originally posted: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-05-22-airbnb-rentals-found-to-have-hidden-video-cameras.html
Author: 

Yes, Google has been LISTENING and RECORDING everything you say in your own home through secret NEST microphones

googleGoogle was founded on the corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.” Since then, it seems like Google’s corporate direction has been to be evil in just about every way imaginable, and on a very personal level.

There is nothing more valuable than our privacy and yet, in the tech age, that’s the first thing we lost. 

Mind you, as social media got more and more popular, we gave up a lot of our privacy voluntarily. Posting pictures wherever we go; letting all of our followers know where we are, where we’ve been, where we’re going. Telling everyone, including perfect strangers sometimes, our most intimate details and plans, etc.

After the big tech behemoths figured out most users of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms were so willing to give up their privacy, they began taking it for granted that they could violate our privacy at their whim, even without our permission.

As Business Insider reports, Google announced earlier this month that Nest Secure, its home security alarm system, was getting updated. Following the upgrade, the company said, users would be able to utilize Google Assistant, a virtual-assistant technology.

But there was an issue users weren’t previously aware of: They didn’t realize that their Nest system had a microphone, to begin with.

Business Insider noted:

The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device.

Earlier this month a Google spokesperson told the news site that failure to disclose this little detail was an “error.” 

Get more news like this without being censored: Get the Natural News app for your mobile devices. Enjoy uncensored news, lab test results, videos, podcasts and more. Bypass all the unfair censorship by Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Get your daily news and videos directly from the source! Download here.

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” said the spokesperson, who was not named in the story. “That was an error on our part.” (Related: Google now SPYING on students using classroom technology, while pretending to be “teaching” them.)

The company further notes that “the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.” Further, Google officials said that the mic was put into the Next Guard system in the first place because developers were considering what features and upgrades could be added later such as the capability of detecting glass breaking.

Google has a history of stealing personal data, then saying, “Oops…sorry!” 

As for whether to believe the company when it says that the microphone is inactive until a user makes it active, that’s dubious at best, especially given the fact that Google never bothered to tell anyone Nest Guard even came with a mic.

As NewsTarget reported in November 2017, Google has a reputation for using its voice-activation software to double as an eavesdropping device:

While the voice assistant’s purpose is to eliminate handicaps in using smartphones, it may also pose as a threat to the security and privacy of everyone. When the feature is turned on, it picks up everything you say to it, and is even triggered by background noise and conversations with other people.

Other “smart” devices are also capable of listening in, as Surveillance.news added:

According to security researchers, a flaw in the LG SmartThinQ application could allow hackers to take control of various household appliances, such as smart dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves, dryers and vacuums. 

As for Nest Guard, Business Insider notes, the revelation about an on-board microphone serves as a reminder of when Google’s tech served as a vacuum for personal data without permission. In 2010, for example, privacy advocates were outraged when Google admitted that its fleet of Street View cars “accidentally” gathered personal data that was being transmitted via a consumer’s unsecured WiFi network, which included a user’s email accounts.

Google bought Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion and today it’s a standalone company under the umbrella corporation Alphabet. 

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part,” Google said in a statement. 

It sure was. 

Read more about massive violations of privacy at PrivacyWatch.news.

Sources include:

BusinessInsider.com

NewsTarget.com

Surveillance.news

Originally posted: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-14-google-has-been-listening-and-recording-everything-you-say-nest-microphones.html
Author: 

ROGUE AI: Alexa DOWN – Amazon helper stopped working, ‘ignored users’ and wouldn’t turn off

AlexaOn Wednesday morning, AMAZON’S virtual assistant “Alexa” stopped working for some of its users all over the world. Essentially, Alexa- who is controlled by voice- was just ignoring user requests. (A global outage map showed that users were experiencing issues around the world, although primarily in the UK and Europe – which was just waking up.1)

The downtime started around 8 a.m. UK time and was resolved about an hour later.

In case you don’t know, Alexa is an “intelligent” personal assistant built by Amazon who responds to voice commands and can talk back to you. She can tell you the weather or news or even order a pizza.

She’s always listening and she’s constantly getting smarter, too.

So far, Amazon has not explained exactly what caused the outage. But after you watch the video below…it might make you wonder what they were all doing. (It might make you shudder, too!)

 

SOURCE:

  1. The Sun

Originally posted: https://www.healthnutnews.com/rogue-ai-alexa-down-amazon-helper-stopped-working-ignored-users-and-wouldnt-turn-off/

Amazon Alexa a “DEMON device” that gathers information that can be used to blackmail you for life

alexaMillions of unwitting “sheeple” have willingly outfitted their homes and offices with so-called “smart” speakers like Amazon’s Alexa device, which is marketed as a convenience assistant for getting things done simply using only your voice. But as revealed by Justus Knight in a recent video update to his YouTube channel, Alexa is, practically speaking, an always-listening demon device that can monitor, track, and record people’s conversations for blackmail purposes.

The epitome of Orwellian, Big Brother privacy invasion, Alexa is hardly the innocuous technological “advancement” that its proponents claim it is. Alexa is a far-Left purveyor of “progressive” ideologies such as those perpetuated by Black Lives Matter (BLM). It’s also a potential snitch device that authoritarian overlords can use to control the populations of the world.

“Who would fall for putting an Orwellian device in their home that could potentially listen in on them, proven that it listens in, proving that it can send messages to other people without authorization, created by a company that created a doorbell (Ring) that can film other people and alert the police, that would potentially put drones that can facially-recognize you to deliver packages to your front door – who would do such a thing?” asks Knight.

“Well, guess what: a lot of people. So, if you have one, and I’ll say this again, take it and throw it in your garbage can – quick, before it takes over your life, because it’s going to, and in all seriousness, it is.”

Be sure to watch the full video with Justus Knight below:

Amazon Alexa tells adopted children to “kill your foster parents”

In addition to spreading Leftist propaganda, Alexa has also been caught encouraging violence. Last year, the Amazon product told children to “kill your foster parents,” suggesting the always-listening speaker is evolving into some type of artificial intelligence (AI) terrorist.

Other Alexa devices have also been caught spewing rated-R (and possibly rated-X?) chatter about sex acts, canine defecation, and other unsavory topics that its users never asked to discuss. And this isn’t a defect, apparently: it’s exactly what Amazon wants Alexa to do.

“The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator,” writes Jeffrey Dastin for The Japan Times.

“New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the internet. However, ensuring she does not offend users has been a challenge for the world’s largest online retailer.”

In other words, Amazon wants Alexa to be a faux human with semi-intelligence to do and say things without user consent. It’s all part of Amazon’s efforts to take over the world and everything in it, and sell everyone’s privacy down the river in order to rake in more of the almighty dollar – which is all Amazon has ever cared about.

“Money will get rid of all your security,” Justus explains about the digital model of selling people’s private data for profit.

“It always appears simple and innocent … well, until it’s too late,” he further warns, revealing how tech corporations always market their new gadgets as “advancements,” when in fact they’re almost all Orwellian in nature and purpose.

“Before you speak that next word or give that next command, just understand you are being led by the beast now,” Knight writes. “It isn’t just ordering carry out, it isn’t just answering simple questions. It is recording you, listening to you, learning you and ultimately controlling you.”

For more related news, be sure to check out Surveillance.news.

You can also keep up with the latest news about what the tech giants are up to by visiting Technocrats.news.

Sources for this article include:

JustusAKnight.com

NaturalNews.com

JapanTimes.co.jp

Originally posted: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-03-amazon-alexa-a-demon-device-to-blackmail-you-for-life.html

Author: 

How Google is secretly recording YOU through your mobile, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files

AndroidIf you run Android software on your smartphone, Google may have been recording you every day – without you knowing

If you own an Android phone, it’s likely that you’ve used Google’s Assistant, which is similar to Apple’s Siri.

Google says it only turns on and begins recording when you utter the words “OK Google”.

But a Sun investigation has found that the virtual assistant is a little hard of hearing.

In some cases, just saying “OK” in conversation prompted it to switch on your phone and record around 20 seconds of audio.

It regularly switches on the microphone as you go about your day-to-day activities, none the wiser.

 Here's how Google Assistant stores what you're saying

SUN
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Here’s how Google Assistant stores what you’re saying

Once Google is done recording, it uploads the audio files to its computer servers – often dubbed “the cloud”.

These files are accessible from absolutely anywhere in the world – as long as you have an internet connection.

That means any device that is signed into your personal Gmail or Google account can access the library of your deepest, darkest secrets.

So if you’re on a laptop right now and signed into Gmail – you could have a listen.

 Apple also keeps your Siri voice recordings - but it says it anonymises it after 18 months

GETTY IMAGES
Apple also keeps your Siri voice recordings – but it says it anonymises it after 18 months

Recordings last around 10-20 seconds on average, and a text version of the conversation is saved.

The Silicon Valley giant states on its terms and conditions that it keeps these recordings for “improving speech recognition against all Google products that use your voice”.

After the Sun Online presented examples of the voice recognition flaws to Google, a spokesman said: “We only process voice searches after the phone believes the hot word ‘OK Google’ is detected. Audio snippets are used by Google to improve the quality of speech recognition across Search.”

It recently launched a smart assistant, Google Home.

Mundane voice recordings from the general public will help its artificial intelligence that runs Google Home, by teaching it how humans naturally communicate.

In simple terms: it’s a free language class for its software.

How to find out exactly what Google knows about you

First, you’ll need to be signed into your Gmail or Google account.

Once you’ve done that, type “history.google.com/history” into your web browser.

You’ll be taken to a hub which contains your entire digital footprint, so be careful, it could make for some grim reading.

This includes Maps searches and YouTube videos you’ve watched.

Click on “Activity Controls “on the left-hand side of the page.

Under “Web and App Activity”, click “Manage Activity”.

If Google’s keeping tabs on you, there should be a stream of web pages and map searches that show up in chronological order.

You can randomly delete searches, or select all the searches to make them disappear.

But Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company and its largest product is a targeted advert service, which it sells to the biggest brands in the world.

Billions of annual web searches, location and email data allow it to target the population with specialised marketing – and there is no reason why it couldn’t do the same with your voice data, too.

So, now for the important question: how can I listen to the sound files Google has from my life?

How can I listen back to the audio Google has recorded from my phone?

It’s pretty easy.

Unlike Apple, who does not publicise any of the voice data it stores through Siri, Google is pretty transparent – giving you full access to your audio.

First, you’ll need to be signed into your Gmail or Google account.

Once you’ve done that, type “history.google.com/history” into your web browser.

You’ll be taken to a hub which contains your entire digital footprint, so be careful, it could make for some grim reading.

 Visit history.google.com/history to find a hub that is pretty much a tell-all about your digital life

Visit history.google.com/history to find a hub that is pretty much a tell-all about your digital life
 You can check for your web activity by clicking here
You can check for your web activity by clicking here
 Scroll down Activity Controls to find the section titled Voice & Audio activity
scroll down Activity Controls to find the section titled Voice & Audio activity

 You should see a list of all the audio files here

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You should see a list of all the audio files here

This includes Maps searches and YouTube videos you’ve watched.

Under the tab Voice and Audio Activity, you’ll find a list of recordings in chronological order.

Before you start listening, you might want to plug your headphones in.


GOOGLE TIPS How to unsend a message on Gmail – essential tips to reclaim those embarassing email blunders


You’ll have to listen to the cringe-worthy sounds of you buying a pack of fags in the newsagent or making small talk at the bus stop.

But there might also be all lots of salacious gossip that you wouldn’t want anybody else to hear.

You’ll be shocked to hear what it’s picked up, however.

The Sun Online discovered recordings from when the phone’s owner was not in the room – and even revealed a romantic interlude between two mystery colleagues.

How do I switch it off?

It is possible to stop Google from storing so much info in the future.

Go back to “Activity controls” and under “Web & App activity” you should see a blue toggle.

You can switch this off, but be warned. Officially you have merely “paused” the recordings – so keep checking back on a regular basis to ensure that the terms and conditions don’t change in the future and you aren’t auto-enrolled when a new Android update comes along.

Apple iPhone users aren’t any better off.

The tech giant also stores your voice recordings to improve its Siri assistant – but you aren’t able to access them.

Apple says that the recordings are anonymised after 18 months, so nobody would be able to figure out who is speaking.

Originally Posted: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/4295350/did-you-know-google-has-been-secretly-recording-you-heres-how-to-find-the-creepy-audio-files-that-are-monitoring-your-conversations-every-day/

If you believe in liberty, you should be using the BRAVE browser (not chrome)… here’s why

As the United States begins to resemble the fictional world created by George Orwell in his famous novel 1984, more and more companies are being forced to find ways to continue developing new technology while simultaneously respecting the privacy rights of their customers. One such company is Brave, a relatively new Internet browser founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. According to Brave’s official website, the company “aims to transform the online ad ecosystem with micropayments and a new revenue-sharing solution to give users and publishers a better deal, where fast, safe browsing is the path to a brighter future for the open web.”

Astonishingly, Brave was able to raise $35 million from its Initial Coin Offering, or ICO, in under 30 seconds last week according to a report put together by Tech Crunch.

“ICOs operate by selling investors cryptocurrency, which can be used to store value in many ways beyond a traditional share,” Tech Crunch explained. “For its sale, Brave created its own coin – The Basic Attention Token, or BAT – and sold one billion of them. That collection of BAT cost 156,250 ETH, which is just over $35 million.”

Tech Crunch went on to say in their report that “a further 500 million BAT is stored for user growth and ‘BAT development,’” and that “the ICO is the highest grossing to date.”

Brendan Eich left Mozilla in the year 2014 after a group of Social Justice Warriors launched a targeted campaign against him once it was revealed that Eich donated $1000 to help California pass Proposition 8. As it turns out, radical leftists aren’t okay with people having the freedom to donate their hard-earned money to conservative causes. They actually believe that if you are in charge of a large, international corporation, and you demonstrate to the public that you support something that the progressive left does not (in this case, traditional marriage), then you should lose your job.

So much for the so-called “tolerant left.”

This is hardly the first time that the radical statists have attacked a business for its political beliefs. Another corporation that has openly supported traditional marriage is the popular fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, which in 2012 officially came out against the union of same-sex couples. Even though the company released a statement at the time making it very clear that while president Dan Cathy and his family believe in the biblical definition of marriage they still love and respect everyone, the liberals didn’t’ pull any punches. Many Democrats were trying to organize a nationwide boycott of the fast food chain, and to this day they would more than likely love nothing more than to see the entire business crumble like a house of cards.

In 2013, Phil Robertson, star of the hit A&E show Duck Dynasty, was temporarily suspended from the network for making comments in support of traditional marriage during an interview with GQ. One could argue that Robertson was too blunt with his remarks on sin and the homosexual lifestyle, but even so, the fact that he was temporarily fired from his job for practicing his first amendment speech rights is unacceptable and unconscionable.

While it would be wrong to argue that the liberals don’t have a constitutional right to organize against business owners like Brendan Eich or Dan Cathy, there is something morally incorrect about destroying the lives of those that you disagree with. Forcing someone to choose between their career and their values is not who we are as a country, and quite frankly, the liberals should know that better than anyone – after all, they are always saying that they believe in inclusion and compassion for all, aren’t they?

Sources:

Breitbart.com

Brave.com

WashingtonPost.com

CNN.com

Originally Published: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-07-if-you-believe-in-liberty-you-should-be-using-the-brave-browser-not-chrome-heres-why.html

Could Your Fitbit Data Be Used To Deny You Health Insurance?

fit bitBy Andrew Boyd, University of Illinois at Chicago

Wearing a fitness tracking device could earn you cash from your health insurance company. At first, this sounds lucrative for the people who participate, and good for the companies, who want healthier insurance customers. But it’s not quite so simple.

Under the program, people who have certain health insurance coverage plans with UnitedHealthcare can elect to wear a Fitbit activity tracker and share their data with the insurance company. The data would be analyzed by Qualcomm Life, a company that processes medical data from wireless sensors for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Depending on how active participants are, as measured by the Fitbit, they could earn as much as US$1,500 toward health care services each year.

Interest in wearable fitness trackers is booming. More than half of people who already own one believe their devices will help them increase their life expectancy by 10 years – even though it’s impossible to actually know that because the clinical trials necessary would take at least a decade. Adding free money to the mix only makes the devices seem more attractive.

Before we celebrate this new partnership, though, it’s important to consider potential costs to the patients. We are not far from days when wearable health devices will be able to diagnose illnesses. While this is not legal now, if Obamacare were repealed, as Republicans have vowed to do, corporate partnerships like this one with UnitedHealthcare and Fitbit could pave the way for insurance companies to use fitness tracker data to deny coverage or hike up rates for consumers.

 

Diagnosis by device

There are positive elements to pairing wearable fitness trackers with health data.

An existing flu treatment medication works best when administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. But it’s difficult to catch the flu so quickly. A Fitbit could make that much easier. If the device measures a sudden decrease in the number of steps the person takes per day, plus perhaps an elevated resting heart rate, that could signal the presence of a virus.

If an insurance company has access to those data, it could send a message to the patient. If the person really was feeling poorly (rather than just having decided to watch TV all day or gotten snowed in), she could be directed to go to her doctor or an urgent care clinic. The person could see a health professional quickly, get an effective treatment and be on the mend sooner – thanks to her Fitbit data.

This ability will only increase in the future. There are more than 20 clinical trials using Fitbits underway, studying the role of activity in treating pediatric obesity and cystic fibrosis, and even how it can boost chemotherapy’s effectiveness and speed in recovery from surgery. As those studies are published in the coming years, researchers and doctors will get even better at identifying signals of specific diseases in wearable devices’ data.

Beyond the Fitbit

Similar efforts include one to detect influenza with a portable heart-rate monitor. Other researchers are analyzing voice and speech patterns to reveal neurological disorders and other diseases – and are using calls to a health insurance company as a data source. Even eye-tracking software could measure cognitive understanding, which could identify signs of dementia. Detecting symptoms earlier through Fitbit data could allow faster, more effective treatment.

The biggest push, though, is coming from Qualcomm, which has offered a $10 million prize to the team who can develop a specific type of multifunction medical device. Without involving a health care worker or facility, the device must be able to accurately diagnose 13 health conditions, including pneumonia and diabetes. It must also be able to capture in real time five vital signs, such as heart rate and breathing rate, and process the data locally.

The global competition is down to finalists; the winner will be announced early this year. That could bring wearables’ insights to doctors – and insurance companies – much sooner than we might think.

Cause for concern

Wearables’ data can definitely be used to help patients. But it could also be used to harm them, particularly in light of recent political developments. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare), insurance companies were barred from denying coverage to customers who had preexisting medical conditions at the time they signed up for insurance. If that rule is lifted by Republicans in Congress, insurers might look to wearable devices for evidence they could use to refuse to pay for patients’ health care.

This development would have enormous consequences. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as many as half of all Americans have some sort of condition that could be used to exclude them from coverage, such as asthma, cancer or mental illness. Might insurance companies ask prospective customers for their Fitbit data, in addition to – or even in lieu of – a physical exam or laboratory tests? If that provision of Obamacare were repealed, could insurance companies set rates based on what those data show – or deny coverage entirely?

Car insurance companies are already using similar methods. Some insurers provide their customers with devices to install in their cars, measuring drivers’ behavior and calculating the risk involved – and the rate they pay for coverage.

Assembling the data

At the moment, the algorithms connecting activity tracker data and health conditions are still under development. But the biggest thing UnitedHealthcare would need is a large data set of customer Fitbit measurements, so it can link them to insurance claims. Its new cash-for-data program will begin to assemble that information.

As insurance customers signed up to use a Fitbit and get some extra cash for sharing their data, United would be able to match their Fitbit measurements with any health conditions identified in their medical records. Over time, the company could build up enough information from, say, people with asthma and people without it to be able to tell asthma patients apart by looking just at their data. The company could do this for other common diseases, too, or even adapt the algorithms from the contestants in the Qualcomm competition.

It’s unclear what the company would do with what it learned. But one possibility is that when evaluating a prospective customer, the company could look at his data and know all about any preexisting conditions. That might mean a person doesn’t get insurance, or has to pay more for coverage.

Making coverage decisions

The financial power of the health insurance industry is enormous. Not only are there many large companies, but they have the ability to determine whether a sick person gets well or doesn’t – and whether the cost is ruinous or merely expensive.

Would people feel able to object if insurance companies required customers to wear fitness trackers or other monitoring devices? Would new patients provide access to past data a Fitbit collected? Could an insurance company consider it fraud if a user didn’t wear the device?

If used – and regulated – well, the devices can help individual patients change their daily habits to become healthier, saving insurance companies money, and passing some of those savings along to customers. Alternatively, the devices could provide justification for denying coverage to the inactive or unhealthy, or boosting their insurance rates.

Consumers should not assume their insurance companies will use their data only to improve patient care. With millions of dollars on the line, insurers will be sorely tempted. With the legal landscape around preexisting conditions in flux, people should think twice before signing up.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct the spelling of UnitedHealthcare’s corporate name and the fact that Fitbits cannot detect tremors, and also to reiterate that the Affordable Care Act presently bars insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with preexisting conditions.

Andrew Boyd, Assistant Professor, Biomedical and Health Information Sciences,University of Illinois at Chicago

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Image Caption and Credit: A log of your preexisting conditions? Timo Newton-Sims/timo_w2s/flickr, CC BY-SA

Originally Posted: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2017/02/could-your-fitbit-data-be-used-to-deny-you-health-insurance.html

New video details how Amazon.com SPIES on your most private thoughts, fetishes and conversations

Amazon.com isn’t merely a massive retailer; it’s also a dangerous spy machine that collects detailed profiles of your most private thoughts, fetishes, and conversations.

Every Amazon.com device you use is actually a surveillance collection interface that’s translating your thoughts, beliefs, and conversations into a “psychological profile” database at Amazon.com servers. For example:

* Amazon ECHO devices constantly listen to your most private conversations and process your voice by uploading segments of audio to Amazon.com servers. Law enforcement agencies have already sought to use audio recordings from ECHO devices to incriminate individuals for words they uttered in their own private homes. Owning an Amazon ECHO device is like planting a law enforcement bug in your own home… that YOU pay for!

* Kindle devices record what books and authors you read, including which text passages you highlight in those books. This can be used to expand a psychological profile of your beliefs, preferences and even fetishes.

* Amazon FIRE devices can hear your voice and upload recordings to Amazon servers. They also track and record all your preferences in films, television shows, viewing times and title ratings.

* The Amazon.com website builds a psychological profile of your interests and demographics based on your purchase history. This is used to promote “suggested” products while a psychological profile of you is accumulated on Amazon’s servers.

* Every Amazon service is collecting data about your likes and dislikes, including Amazon MUSIC. It is the combination of all these data sets that is astoundingly dangerous because it “profiles” your mind without your consent.

Watch the mini-documentary below for a deeper explanation of how Amazon.com is now your Big Brother. Stay up to date on privacy news at PrivacyWatch.news and PoliceState.news

Originally Published:
Author: 

 

 

Government is now tracking your medications … No privacy or escape from tyranny

digital-matrix-spy-surveillance-hackerThe digital age is leading to the end of centuries-old constitutional privacy guarantees, as evidenced by the growth of Internet cloud-based data storage and electronic records, both of which are too easily accessible to prying eyes enabled by power-hungry politicians.

For instance, most Americans are unaware that state and federal governments are tracking – and accessing – your prescription medication records. Dozens of states allow federal and state law enforcement agencies free, warrantless access to databases that contain your drug history. What’s more, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency is scrambling for authority to search databases in states where there are pharmaceutical privacy protections, reports Scripps News.

At present, 31 states grant authorities this kind of carte blanche access; only one state – Missouri – and the District of Columbia do not have prescription drug marketing programs. But these protections are likely to fall as well; Missouri’s program is currently on target for state approval, while D.C. officials say theirs will be up and running by year’s end.

Scripps News noted further that very often disclosures to police agencies of a person’s prescription drug history are done without actually notifying that person, thereby denying them any opportunity to object to the warrantless search or consult a lawyer. No court ever approves the records release that divulges medical histories that most people rightfully want to keep private.

State programs are in place to help track and analyze information that assists healthcare providers and pharmacists limit abuse of addictive medications like opioid painkillers. But patchy state statutes have left many privacy loopholes, giving police ready access to your records.

During a five-month investigation, Scripps News discovered that law enforcement officials gained access to at least 344,921 prescription histories of American citizens between 2014 and 2015 in states that do not require a court-ordered warrant, as per the Fourth Amendment. That’s more than six times the number of searches conducted by police in states that have enacted better privacy measures. But the access without court oversight – or any other oversight, really – is what concerns privacy advocates because it paves the way for abuse.

Why are police and elected officials okay with this?

Marlon Jones, an assistant fire chief with the Unified Fire Authority of Salt Lake County, Utah, told Scripps News that he could have lost his career and his family after he was falsely charged with felony crimes associated with doctor shopping, all because of a warrantless search by local police.

Police were investigating the theft of prescription drugs from regional ambulance services. Though they had no suspects, probable cause or warrant, an officer working the case logged onto the state’s controlled substances database and searched through prescription records for all 480 fire department workers.

“I had no idea that a police officer, just on a whim, could go into my medical records and then determine what’s appropriate, in his opinion,” Ryan Pyle, a firefighter paramedic whose prescription records were also accessed in the same warrantless search, toldScripps News.

Officers did not make any arrests in the theft of drugs, but rather focused on prescription histories of both Jones and Pyle, charging them with purchasing controlled substances under false pretenses – charges that had nothing at all to do with their investigation.

“It impacted every bit of our lives,” Jones noted, adding that he was put on suspension just a few months after having been promoted. “What (the investigator) did threatened to take everything I held dear.”

Pyle’s arrest came right as he and his wife were in the middle of adopting two boys. He said that when he was charged his immediate thought was that he was going to lose those two kids.

Fishing expeditions

What’s really scary – and offensive – is that local officials had no problem with searching the prescription drug database without a warrant. So much for standing up for the Constitution.

“We would not do anything that would go beyond the bounds of what the law allows,” said Cottonwood Heights mayor Kelvyn Cullimore, Jr., hiding behind the state law that permitted the search. While he admitted that the search could have been more narrow, he claimed that if state law allows it, then it’s fine.

Except that it’s not alright. And there is – rightfully – a legal battle now brewing over the treatment of Jones, Pyle and many other Americans whose Fourth Amendment rights are being trampled on a daily basis.

Scott Michelman, an attorney for Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C.-based legal watchdog representing Pyle and Jones, said that allowing police to go on warrantless “fishing expeditions” through personal information, then making untrained medical judgments, has the potential to destroy people’s lives, and it ought to be stopped.

He’s right, of course.

Sources:

Scripps News

Fourth Amendment

Author: J. D. Heyes
Originally Posted: http://www.naturalnews.com/055265_prescription_drugs_warrantless_searches_government_tracking.html

NSA surveillance extends to biomedical implants including pacemakers to collect data on unsuspecting Americans

Digital-Matrix-Spy-Surveillance-HackerMaybe it’s something in the water at the National Security Agency, but for some reason, officials there just can’t seem to get enough of spying on us by continually expanding their surveillance dragnet.

As reported by The New American, the agency is now looking into possibly stealing data from Internet-connected biomedical devices like pacemakers, according to the NSA’s deputy director, Richard Ledgett.

“We’re looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now,” Ledgett told the attendees of the 2016 Defense One Tech Summit, held June 10 in Washington, D.C. Defense One is a defense/national security oriented news and information website.

The deputy director referred to the devices as just “another tool in the toolbox” of electronic surveillance, agreeing with a comment that the data that could be collected from pacemakers and other devices would be akin to a “signals intelligence bonanza.”

“As my job is to penetrate other people’s networks, complexity is my friend,” he told the conference. “The first time you update the software, you introduce vulnerabilities, or variables rather. It’s a good place to be in a penetration point of view.”

The ‘Internet of things’ is turning out to be a huge privacy issue

Penetrating networks is spy-speak for essentially violating rights that are supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment, which (supposedly) guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures … .” The amendment also requires government to get search warrants issued only “upon probable cause” from a court of law, which describes “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The NSA would likely get cute and argue that hey, signals from a pacemaker aren’t “papers” or “houses,” so they aren’t covered by the Fourth Amendment. But they certainly are “effects,” and no one could reasonably argue that stealing data from a device (without a warrant) is not an invasion of privacy, given that the data was not being sent to NSA for analysis voluntarily.

Are you starting to see why this “Internet of things” isn’t all it is cracked up to be?

That said, according to The New American, Ledgett is not the only one who is anxious to begin collecting data from biomed devices and other Internet-connected devices and appliances:

At a Senate hearing in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Internet-connected devices of all sorts could help with “identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.”

In a letter to electronic privacy champion Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Clapper actually identified, in passing, some devices that could be hacked by the NSA and other federal agencies so that they could gain access to private data. Those items included “a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a child’s toy.”

No more value of liberty?

The fact that top officials with U.S. intelligence agencies are so blatant about their desire to scoop up as much personal data on American citizens as possible ought to be alarming to many in Congress, but at least publicly there has not been much push-back. Many of these intelligence briefings are held in secret; there are portions held in public, but eventually the House and Senate intelligence committees most generally launch closed-door sessions so that they can discuss classified materials.

They apparently also discuss new and innovative ways to destroy constitutional protections.

Very influential states’ rights advocate and jurist, St. George Tucker, wrote regarding the importance of the checks included in the Fourth Amendment: “The constitutional sanction here given to the same doctrine, and the test which it affords for trying the legality of any warrant by which a man may be deprived of his liberty, or disturbed in the enjoyment of his property, can not be too highly valued by a free people.”

In the Information Age, however, “free people” seem to have forgotten what value is inherent in liberty.

Sources:

TheNewAmerican.com

Cyberwar.news

NationalSecurity.news

Author: J. D. Heyes
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/054387_NSA_medical_surveillance_pacemakers.html#ixzz4BpfgdgTl