The Asch Experiment – The Power Of Group Dynamics
In psychology, the Asch conformity experiments or the Asch paradigm were a series of studies directed by Solomon Asch studying if and how individuals yielded to or defied a majority group and the effect of such influences on beliefs and opinions.
A Man Lives In A Society Where Citizens Police Each Other With Their Mobile Phones
CHD Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and author, journalist and former political advisor Naomi Wolf weigh in on the battle to maintain the rights put in place by our founding fathers. Listen to their eye-opening discussion here.
The Ten Steps to Fascism
By Naomi Wolf
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Cast criticism as “espionage” and dissent as “treason.”
10. Subvert the rule of law.
BIG BRO 2.0
How China Is Building Nightmarish Surveillance State With Cameras Checking Emotions And Tracking ‘Social Credit’ With AI
By Patrick Knox
March 15, 2021
BIG Brother-like mass state surveillance is being developed by China with streets full of cameras that can monitor citizens’ emotions and track their “social credit” scores.
The high tech systems will also help people snoop and rat on each other from the comfort of their homes — or on the go with their smartphones.
The Communist regime’s nightmare-inducing plans involve installing spy cameras in all places and using artificial intelligence to calculate a person’s “social score” which will determine benefits or punishments.
The sheer level of surveillance being planned is straight out of the dystopia created by author George Orwell in his book 1984, where the eyes of the state — Big Brother — are always watching you.
But now it is being made easy with 21st-century spy technology.
It comes as privacy campaigners told The Sun Online that China’s success in developing technology not only threatens the human rights of Chinese citizens but people across the world.
Dahlia Peterson, research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, told Sun Online: “China is developing an Orwellian-style state.
“Domestically, the most frightening part is that many people inside China remain unaware of the true scope of surveillance, and still welcome it as a source of ‘security’.
“In programs such as Sharp Eyes, local governments nationwide have even successfully convinced citizens to take part in surveilling each other. “
Ms Peterson now feared China’s surveillance model may continue gaining legitimacy after the pandemic.
She said: “This would only deepen China’s normative advantages by allowing Chinese surveillance companies strategic expansion on a global scale.”
Vidushi Marda, from human rights and privacy charity organisation ARTICLE 19, said it is feared this highly invasive technology could now spread around the world.
She told The Sun Online: “We think it is crucial to focus on China — not because it is a wildly different style of surveillance — but because Chinese tech companies have fueled an international boom in governments’ acquisition of surveillance technology.”
We can now reveal some of the terrifying measures being developed by Beijing to keep tabs on its citizens in a very real version of Big Brother.
China has been developing a “social score” system that has also created a dystopian nightmare where citizens can track each other on radar-style “lowlife” scanners.
The nightmarish scheme blacklists “lazy” citizens who get into debt or spend their time playing video games in a creepy initiative that could have come straight out of Black Mirror.
The scheme was first unveiled in 2014 and has been trialed in cities and provinces each using their own system — tracking financial and social worth.
Millions of people with low “social credit” have been banned from taking flights and planes because of the system.
And then people with high credit get discounts, get shorter waiting times at government-run institutes and are more likely to get jobs.
In China’s next five-year plan, which covers 2021 to 2025, the regime has set out its ambitions to step up people watching even more.
It states: “We will also closely guard against, and a crackdown on, the infiltration, sabotage, subversion and separatist activities of hostile forces.”
Biometric surveillance is another sinister development being spearhead by the no-holds-barred Chinese state.
The northwestern region of Xinjiang, the home of the persecuted Uyghurs people, has often been described as the “testbed” for this.
But now the tech is used in all places of transport, such as bus, train or subways.
Among the tests in Xinjiang includes scanning cameras which “read” people’s emotions — identifying whether they might be a threat to the state.
It has also developed cameras which can detect who people are with a 99 per cent success rate based purely on the way they walk.
Dr Matt Mahmoudi, Amnesty’s Artificial Intelligence Researcher, said: “China dystopian system of mass surveillance offers a stark warning to the rest of the world about the dire consequences of ubiquitous facial and emotion recognition technology.
“Across the country, the government has rolled out projects such as ‘Skynet’ and ‘Sharp Eyes’ to keep the population under constant observation and control.
“People’s movements, interactions, even their expression — can be weaponised against them in China’s system of total surveillance.
“Nowhere is this more terrifying that in China’s Xinjiang Region, where it is estimated up to one million Uighurs have been arbitrarily held captive in so-called ‘re-education camps’ and are subjected to brainwashing and torture.
“The pervasive use of biometric surveillance acts means law enforcement can exact total control over the lives of the Uighur population by watching their every move.
“Facial and emotional recognition is by design a technology of mass surveillance and antithetical to human rights, which is why Amnesty International is calling to Ban The Scan.”
Predictive policing is another Orwellian innovation — once gain taken right out of science fiction, this time resembling the hit Tom Cruise film Minority Report.
Authorities link personal details on the mandatory ID card which people must carry with a huge database of information linked to that person.
The data includes CCTV footage of them, medical history, supermarket memberships, IP addresses, phone calls, social media usernames, delivery records, residential addresses, and hotel stays.
Record of friends or love interests, petitioning to the government and other subserve activity is also monitored.
Basically, the state can record everything people have been up to — and draw you to their attention if suspicious activity is predicted.
It is named after a quote from China’s former dictator Mao Zedong that “the people have sharp eyes” when looking out for neighbours not living up to Communist values.
Sharp Eyes has already seen more than 200 million public and private security cameras installed across China, reports tech and science journal One Eye.
China’s 2016 five-year plan set a goal for Sharp Eyes to achieve 100 per cent coverage of the massive country’s public spaces by this year, which has reportedly been achieved.
Dahlia Peterson, a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, has recently published a study on the growing grip the regime is exerting on its people.
Ms Peterson said: “Unlike prior programs, Sharp Eyes places surveillance capabilities in citizens’ hands and encourages their direct participation.
“This strategy echoes the surveillance mechanisms of the Cultural Revolution (1966 until 1976), the period from which Sharp Eyes derives its name.”
Local residents meanwhile will have special TV boxes installed in their homes, according to One Eye.
This means they can watch live footage and press a button to summon the police if they saw anything amiss — with cams available to be viewed on smartphones.
This blocks access to a number of foreign websites, including Google-based services, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Great Fire Wall Of China
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party has been tightening its grip on the country’s heavily censored web which known to the rest of the world as the Great Wall of China.
YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook and western email accounts have been blocked — and all bloggers and influencers to have a state-approved credential before they are allowed to publish content.
Chinese citizens are also required to have their public online accounts verified by the shadowy Cyberspace Administration using personal information including IDs and phone numbers.
Authorities clearly identifying social media personalities will prevent users from “creating rumours online and damaging the stability and harmony of society”, authorities said.
Anyone discovered trying to get around the Great Firewall faces jail, under new laws.
China epic surveillance state has come under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic which broke out just over year ago in the city of Wuhan.
While authorities have primarily used mobile location data and ID-linked tracing apps to flag people coming back from abroad for quarantine, the camera surveillance system has played a crucial role, according to officials, state media and residents.
The network has been used to trace the contacts of people confirmed as infected with the virus, and to punish businesses and individuals flouting restrictions.
But the digital dictatorship was also used to stifle criticism and track down and target people who speak out.
Small Group Plays Big Role In Pushing Vaccine Skepticism, Facebook Study Finds
By Elizabeth Dwoskin
The Washington Post
March 14, 2021
Facebook is conducting a vast behind-the-scenes study of doubts expressed by U.S. users about vaccines, a major project that attempts to probe and teach software to identify the medical attitudes of millions of Americans, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
The research is a large-scale attempt to understand the spread of ideas that contribute to vaccine hesitancy, or the act of delaying or refusing a vaccine despite its availability, on social media — a primary source of health information for millions of people. It shows how the company is probing ever more nuanced realms of speech, and illustrates how weighing free speech versus potential for harm is more tenuous than ever for technology companies during a public health crisis.
While Facebook has banned false and misleading statements about coronavirus vaccines since December, a huge realm of expression about vaccines sits in a gray area. One example could be comments by someone expressing concern about side effects that are more severe than expected. Those comments could be both important for fostering meaningful conversation and potentially bubbling up unknown information to health authorities — but at the same time they may contribute to vaccine hesitancy by playing upon people’s fears.
The research explores how to address that tension by studying these types of comments, which are tagged “VH” by the company’s software algorithms, as well as the nature of the communities that spread them, according to the documents. Its early findings suggest that a large amount of content that does not break the rules may be causing harm in some communities, where it has an echo chamber effect.
The company’s data scientists divided the company’s U.S. users, groups, and pages into 638 different population segments to explore which types of groups hold vaccine-hesitant beliefs. The document did not identify how Facebook defined a segment or group different communities, but it noted that the segments could be at least 3 million people.
Some of the early findings are notable: 10 out of the 638 population segments contained 50% of all vaccine hesitancy content on the platform. And in the population segment with the most vaccine hesitancy, 111 users contributed half of vaccine hesitant content.
Facebook could use the findings to inform discussions of its policies for addressing problematic content or to direct more authoritative information to the specific groups, but the company was still developing its solution, said spokeswoman Dani Lever.
According to the documents, the research effort also discovered early evidence of significant overlap between communities that are skeptical of vaccines and those affiliated with QAnon, a sprawling set of baseless claims that has radicalized its followers and been associated with violent crimes.
Facebook has partnered with more than 60 health experts around the globe, Lever said in an emailed statement, and it routinely studies a wide variety of content to inform its policies.
“Public health experts have made it clear that tackling vaccine hesitancy is a top priority in the COVID response, which is why we’ve launched a global campaign that has already connected 2 billion people to reliable information from health experts and remove false claims about COVID and vaccines,” she said. “This ongoing work will help to inform our efforts.”
Nearly 30% of Americans — and half of Republican men — say they do not intend to get one of the three federally approved vaccines, according to a March poll by PBS NewsHour, Marist and NPR. An Associated Press/NORC study from late January found that the top reasons for concern over the vaccinations were fear of side effects, distrust of vaccines, and desire to wait and possibly get it later.
Covid-19-related misinformation has flooded the company’s platforms, including false narratives about the disease, which can be cause by the novel coronavirus, being less deadly than the flu, that it is somehow associated with a population-control plot by the philanthropist Bill Gates and that vaccines are associated with the Antichrist. Its content decisions, its potentially anticompetitive behavior, and its use by extremist groups to foment violence have drawn the attention of regulators, leading to Congressional hearings and major antitrust charges by the Justice Department.
Facebook, which owns the WhatsApp messenger and Instagram, collect reams of data on its more than 3.3 billion users worldwide and has a broad reach on those users’ devices. Public health experts say that puts the company in a unique position examine attitudes toward vaccines, testing, and other behaviors, and to push information to people.
But the company’s history of misusing people’s data makes a steep hill to climb when it comes to proving that Facebook’s research efforts serve the public. The company allowed a political research firm to exploit the profiles of tens of millions of Americans, resulting in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, and at one time manipulated people’s emotions for an internal study.
Since April, the social network has partnered publicly with Carnegie Mellon University researchers to conduct the COVID-19 Symptom Survey, a daily survey of Facebook users that asks people about their symptoms, testing, mental health, attitudes about masks, and intent to get vaccinated. A related project has used smartphone data to track whether people are following social distancing orders and lockdowns. At least 16 million people have been surveyed, making it one of the large public health data collection efforts during the pandemic, the researchers have said.
Facebook has also banned a wide range of baseless or misleading claims about vaccines and about the virus — removing more than 12 million pieces of content — and connects people to authoritative information with labels on posts and with a banner atop the Facebook site, according to the company.
Facebook’s research into vaccine hesitancy will force the company to walk a fine line if it decides to further police it, since much of the content regards expressions of concern and doubt versus outright misinformation.
“Vaccine conversations are nuanced, so content can’t always be clearly divided into helpful and harmful,” wrote Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health, in an opinion article last week in the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s hard to draw the line on posts that contain people’s personal experiences with vaccines.”
But according to the documents, Facebook worries about the content that does not break its rules outright. “While research is very early, we’re concerned that harm from non-violating content may be substantial,” the documents said.
That risk of harm seems to be disproportionately affecting a few communities, Facebook’s engineers found.
The results from Facebook’s early research track with findings from disinformation researchers who have noted that a small minority of people, particularly influencers and people who post frequently or use underhanded tactics to spread their message, can have an outsize impact on the conversation and act as superspreaders of misleading information.
The researchers noted that while some small percentage of vaccine hesitant comments could be overcome when they were posted in communities with a diverse range of opinions, the concentration of such comments in small groups suggests that they are becoming echo chambers where people simply reinforce people’s preexisting ideas.
In segments that were affiliated with QAnon, the study found widespread vaccine skepticism. “It’s possible QAnon is causally connected to vaccine hesitancy,” the document said. In QAnon communities, skepticism of vaccines was connected to a distrust of elites and institutions.
Last year, external researchers found that QAnon groups in Facebook were influential in fueling the spread of a misinformation-filled documentary called “Plandemic” on social platforms.
The internal Facebook study found that comments that could contribute to vaccine hesitancy overlap with QAnon and go well beyond it, into many other different types of communities. While QAnon groups appeared to be more focused on a possible distrust of authority as a reason for doubting the vaccine, other groups had different ways of expressing their doubts and worries. This finding suggests that public health experts will need to develop nuanced messages when trying to address vaccine hesitancy in the population.
• The Defender: Big Brother Watch
• Big Brother Watch
• Why It’s Important To Know About Shadow Issues And Work On Them
• #RemoveTheMask #RefuseTheJab #StopTheMadness
• COVID Lockdown: Harms Are 10 Times Greater Than Benefits
• Vaccination Resource Page