Monthly Archives: November 2018

Chinese Communist Customer Score Being Used In The United States Secretly.

im-34082

toptechnicalsolutions.com

Two people call customer service at the same time to complain about the same thing. One waits a few seconds before a representative gets on the line. The other stays on hold. Why the difference?

There’s a good chance it has something to do with a rating known as a customer lifetime value, or CLV. That secret number is used by all manner of companies to measure the potential financial value of their customers.

Your score can determine the prices you pay, the products and ads you see and the perks you receive.

Credit-card companies use the scoring systems to decide what to offer customers who want to cancel their cards. Wireless carriers route high-value callers immediately to their most skilled agents. At some airlines, a high score increases the odds of a seat upgrade.

In the model, the scores ranged from $8.52 to $203.93.

Company will refrain from marketing to such customers and won’t be in a hurry to answer their messages.

Single man, 22

High-school diploma

Lives in rural area

Shops rarely, mostly on weekdays

Usually buys at deep discounts

Returns merchandise excessively

Company will send an occasional discount.

Single woman, 31

Bachelor’s degree

Lives in suburbs

Shops a fair amount

Browses for discounts but often exceeds budget

Never returns merchandise

Company will invite such customers to VIP events and ensure their complaints get answered first.

Married woman, 41

Graduate degree

Lives in big city

Shops regularly, mostly on weekends

Usually pays full price and rarely returns items

Buys and browses best-quality items

“There’s no free lunch,” says Sunil Gupta, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School who has researched models for calculating lifetime value. “The more profitable you are, the better service you will get.”

These days, companies are resorting to all sorts of data and scores to size up consumers and predict their behavior. Retailers use risk scores to try to limit merchandise returns and prevent e-commerce fraud. There are scores to measure the likelihood a person will become sick, cancel a subscription or bad-mouth a company.

Everyone with a bank account, cellphone or online shopping habit has at least one CLV score, more likely several. And most people have no inkling they even exist, let alone how they are used, what goes into them or how accurate they are. Unlike credit scores, CLVs aren’t available to consumers and aren’t monitored by any government agency.

“There needs to be a public conversation around the accuracy of the scores being used,” says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit digital-privacy research group. “You can essentially be accused of being cheap or a fraudster, and it may not even be true.”

To determine how the scores are compiled and how they are used, The Wall Street Journal interviewed data scientists who develop the models and employees of the software and analytics firms that help companies put them to use.

Most CLV score users contacted for this article declined to comment on how they score customers, citing competitive reasons. Many say the scores make them more comfortable offering costly services and products in the short term because they are confident they will pick up more business in the long term. Some say they aim to increase each customer’s lifetime value by encouraging repeat business.

In some respects, the scores are just a high-tech version of what shopkeepers have done for generations—make judgments on a customer’s value based on how they look or behave. As far back as 20 years ago, academics were publishing models to calculate the future value of customers.

Now there are hundreds of analytics firms that calculate customer lifetime value, each with its own approach. Some of them put a value on shoppers based simply on what they spend, while others use hundreds of data inputs, adding and deducting points for demographic information such as ZIP Codes or behavioral details such as the number of returns they make or when they shop.

“Not all customers deserve a company’s best efforts,” says Peter Fader, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who helped popularize lifetime value scores. His scoring method is based on transaction history, which he says is all companies need to determine how customers will behave in the future. This year, he sold the firm he co-founded, Zodiac Inc., which performs such analysis, to

Nike
Inc.

The data that goes into a score can come from transaction records, website interactions, customer-service conversations, social-media profiles and third-party brokers such as Acxiom LLC and

Alliance Data Systems
Corp.’s

Epsilon, which sell information on such things as the number of bedrooms in a house and the type of credit card someone carries. Each piece of data is weighted based on past patterns and perceived level of predictability.

Marital status is often factored in, with some companies assuming that singles are better customers, and others, the opposite. Age also is a common input, potentially penalizing older people because of their shorter projected lifespans.

Father Of Web Says Tech Giants To Big And May Have To Be Split Up.

Father of Web says tech giants may have to be split up

reuters.com

Guy FaulconbridgePaul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – Silicon Valley technology giants such as Facebook and Google have grown so dominant they may need to be broken up, unless challengers or changes in taste reduce their clout, the inventor of the World Wide Web told Reuters.

The digital revolution has spawned a handful of U.S.-based technology companies since the 1990s that now have a combined financial and cultural power greater than most sovereign states.

Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, said he was disappointed with the current state of the internet, following scandals over the abuse of personal data and the use of social media to spread hate.

“What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up,” Berners-Lee, 63, said in an interview. “There is a danger of concentration.”

But he urged caution too, saying the speed of innovation in both technology and tastes could ultimately cut some of the biggest technology companies down to size.

“Before breaking them up, we should see whether they are not just disrupted by a small player beating them out of the market, but by the market shifting, by the interest going somewhere else,” Berners-Lee said.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook have a combined market capitalization of $3.7 trillion, equal to Germany’s gross domestic product last year.

LOVE AND HATE

Berners-Lee came up with the idea for what he initially called “Mesh” while working at Europe’s physics research center CERN, calling it the World Wide Web in 1990.

When asked who had the biggest intellectual influence on him, he said: “Mum and Dad.”

“They were building computers, so I grew up living in a world where everything was mathematics and the excitement of being able to program something was very fresh,” he said.

There was, he said, no ‘Eureka’ moment.

Instead, it was hard work, the experience of working in computer science and an attempt to overcome the frustrations of trying to share information with colleagues and students.

“Eureka moments are complete nonsense. I don’t even believe the one about Archimedes. He had been thinking about it for a long time,” he said.

Now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford, Berners-Lee expressed dismay at the way consultancy Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher.

That scandal, he said, was a tipping point for many.

“I am disappointed with the current state of the Web,” he said. “We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment and to a certain extent also I think the optimism has cracked.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and pledged to do more to protect users’ data.

But social media, Berners-Lee said, was still being used to propagate hate.

“If you put a drop of love into Twitter it seems to decay but if you put in a drop of hatred you feel it actually propagates much more strongly. And you wonder: ‘Well is that because of the way that Twitter as a medium has been built?’”

DARPA Seeks FAA Approval For Military Drones Over American Cities

zerohedge.com
by Tyler Durden
Wed, 10/31/2018 – 23:05

Authored by Nicholas West via ActivistPost.com,

Just a little over 10 years after drone surveillance inside U.S. borders was declared a conspiracy theory, it is now an indisputable fact of life. So, too, are military grade drones along the “border,” which in reality constitutes a 100-mile-wide swath that encircles the continental United States and 2/3 of its population.

According to a new report from Defense One, this level of access is still seen as a restriction by the DARPA-directed military apparatus. As new forms of autonomous aircraft take to the skies such as the latest Blackhawk helicopter drones that could be ready by 2019, DARPA and aircraft developers want permission to fly over large cities as needed. Utilizing a new artificial intelligence system that is literally called MATRIX, developers see an opportunity for more flexibility in potential use. Of course, surveillance isn’t mentioned among those uses:

After that, similar to Predator drone maker General Atomics, they have their eyes on FAA certification to fly large, unmanned aircraft within the continental United States, to help ferry people and supplies from the mainland to offshore oil rigs, among other potential jobs. Today, large drones likes Predators are forbidden to fly over the U.S. except in a handful of largely unpopulated areas along the U.S.Mexico border.

The FAA is now figuring out how to change guidelines to allow unmanned planes and helicopters to fly over big cities. “We are working with the FAA on that. Our stated goal is 2030. It very much depends on rule making. We are certainly hoping for sooner, for the mid-2020s, to field it,” he said.

In that linked article sourced above, the long-range plans of converting military aircraft to dronesand incorporating them anywhere and everywhere inside America is also detailed and expanded upon as a potential replacement for the already controversial use of police drones.

By 2025, enormous military-style drones – close relatives of the sort made famous by counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq – will be visible 2,000 feet above U.S. cities, streaming high-resolution video to police departments below. That is the bet that multiple defense contractors are placing, anyway, as they race to build unmanned aircraft that can pass evolving airworthiness certifications and replace police helicopters. And if that bet pays off, it will radically transform the way cities, citizens, and law enforcement interact.

We are now seeing various trends beginning to dovetail into what could become the ultimate in military presence over the United States. As I recently reported, new A.I. algorithms are being devised that look for emotional indicators in an attempt to predict crime and social unrest. The “Eye in the Sky” system, developed by Cambridge University, seeks to use small Parrot drones to identify “violent poses” in crowds. The system will be powered by biometric recognition and artificial intelligence, as seen in the video below:

Imagine a system like this being applied to the far more sophisticated military systems that already exist, then connecting all of it to the growing federal biometrics database.

I suspect that if the FAA does grant access to larger military aircraft over U.S. cities, it will be with the “strict guidelines” that no forms of surveillance or weaponry will be permitted onboard. Of course, once granted even the slightest access, all it will take is one catastrophic event to remove any restrictions at all.

“Unlike many new industries, which grow unfettered until emerging problems prompt regulation, unmanned flight needs relief from existing restrictions in order to blossom, Scassero said. Once that happens, the market for large unmanned planes could be enormous.”

For reference, here is what I wrote in 2013 regarding the long-term plans and eventuality that was also hinted at in the mainstream media at the time in an Associated Press article entitled, “Drones With Facial Recognition Technology Will End Anonymity, Everywhere.”

AP certainly offers a correct summary of how the databases that already exist (where we thought our personal information was protected) will be opened and utilized any time necessary.

“From seeing just the image of a face, computers will find its match in a database of millions of driver’s license portraits and photos on social media sites. From there, the computer will link to the person’s name and details such as their Social Security number, preferences, hobbies, family and friends.

Adding that capability to drones that can fly into spaces where planes cannot — machines that can track a person moving about and can stay aloft for days — means that people will give up privacy as well as the concept of anonymity.”

Naturally, the AP peddles this softly as it recounts these “new” developments in a tale of researchers with Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center attempting to assist in sharpening FBI images of Boston bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers. This is reminiscent of the above-mentioned Chris Dorner manhunt where we heard calls for how nice it would have been to have a drone at the ready for quicker identification and possible assassination.

“In a real-time experiment, the scientists digitally mapped the face of “Suspect 2,” turned it toward the camera and enhanced it so it could be matched against a database. The researchers did not know how well they had done until authorities identified the suspect as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger, surviving brother and a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

‘I was like, ‘Holy shish kabobs!’ ‘ Marios Savvides, director of the CMU Cylab, told the Tribune-Review. ‘It’s not exactly him, but it’s also not a random face. It does fit him.’”

This astonishment is somewhat absurd considering that drones have already been developed that are equipped with camera systems like DARPA’s Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS). This sensor system can instantly see an area roughly the “size of a small city” with an “all-seeing” eye according to retired Lieutenant, David A. Deptula. The next generation of surveillance tech sees the landscape through a 1.8 billion pixels camera, the highest resolution yet created.

Using a touchscreen interface that can produce up to 65 windows for analysis, military observers can see down to the individual object level to track the movements of vehicles and people. Beyond the real-time surveillance, the system can store everything for future review right down to the minutes and seconds.

The only thing truly new about this Associated Press story is the announcement that what most people thought to be limited to overseas theaters of war will now definitely be used across Battlefield USA.

Communist Chinese-style ‘Digital Authoritarianism’ Grows Globally.

45df1185c5ae838904a183db53e85bbf582b0fe4

france24.com
01 November 2018 – 09H59

WASHINGTON (AFP) –

Governments worldwide are stepping up use of online tools, in many cases inspired by China’s model, to suppress dissent and tighten their grip on power, a human rights watchdog study found Thursday.

The annual Freedom House study of 65 countries found global internet freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018, amid a rise in what the group called “digital authoritarianism.”

The Freedom on the Net 2018 report found online propaganda and disinformation have increasingly “poisoned” the digital space, while the unbridled collection of personal data is infringing on privacy.

“Democracies are struggling in the digital age, while China is exporting its model of censorship and surveillance to control information both inside and outside its borders,” said Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

“This pattern poses a threat to the open internet and endangers prospects for greater democracy worldwide.”

Chinese officials have held sessions on controlling information with 36 of the 65 countries assessed, and provided telecom and surveillance equipment to a number of foreign governments, Freedom House said.

The accusations made by Freedom House are “without basis, unprofessional, irresponsible, and have ulterior motives,” said Chinese foreign ministry official spokesman Lu Kang at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

Cyberspace is complex, he added, and requires “the global community, including governments, businesses, think tanks and media to adopt a constructive attitude to maintain it.”

The report found 17 governments approved or proposed laws restricting online media in the name of fighting “fake news,” while 18 countries increased surveillance or weakened encryption protection to more closely monitor their citizenry.

According to the researchers, internet freedom declined in 26 countries from June 2017 to May 2018. Gains were seen in 19 countries, most of them minor.

– China’s ‘techno-dystopia’ –

One of the greatest threats, Freedom House said, is efforts by China to remake the digital world in its “techno-dystopian” image.

It cited a sweeping Chinese cybersecurity requirement that local and foreign companies “immediately stop transmission” of banned content, and compels them to ensure that data on Chinese users is hosted within the country.

This has been followed by “hundreds” of new directives on what people can and cannot do online, and tighter controls on the use of VPNs to evade detection.

The report said leaked documents and other evidence suggest as many as a million Muslims may be held in internment camps in Xinjiang, many as a result of nonviolent online activities.

China appears to be using its big tech firms involved in telecom infrastructure to extend its dominance and gain an edge in surveillance, according to Freedom House.

Companies such as Huawei — largely banned from contracts in the US and Australia — are building infrastructure in many parts of the world including Africa and Latin America, according to Freedom House board chairman Michael Chertoff, a former US secretary of homeland security.

“This opens up a potential for exploiting information in these countries by having technological backdoors that can be used by the Chinese government to collect intelligence,” Chertoff said.

– Suppressing dissent –

The researchers said online freedom is facing threats in democratic and authoritarian states.

India led the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 so far, claiming that the moves were needed to halt the flow of disinformation and incitement to violence.

Similar actions were taken in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

“Cutting off internet service is a draconian response, particularly at a time when citizens may need it the most, whether to dispel rumors, check in with loved ones, or avoid dangerous areas,” Freedom House researcher Adrian Shahbaz said.

“While deliberately falsified content is a genuine problem, some governments are increasingly using ‘fake news’ as a pretense to consolidate their control over information and suppress dissent.”

Shahbaz said more governments, including Saudi Arabia, are employing “troll armies” to manipulate social media and in many cases drown out the voices of dissidents.

“It has now become a tool of authoritarian diplomacy to deploy an army of electronic trolls,” he said.

The researchers said online freedom also declined in the United States in part due to the rollback of “net neutrality” rules which ensured that all data be treated equally, without “fast” or “slow” lanes for commercial or other reasons.

It said online freedom also faces threats in the US as a result of the reauthorization of a surveillance law and a “hyperpartisan” environment in social media marked by large disinformation efforts.

China Supersizes Internment Camps In Xinjiang Despite Global Criticism.

im-34128

independentrecorder.com
By Alexander John
November 2, 2018

A Muslim man arrives in front of the Id Kah Mosque for the morning prayer on Eid al-Fitr in the old town of Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang region, in this picture taken on June 26, 2017.

Updated Nov. 1, 2018 8:15 p.m. ET

CANBERRA, Australia—Chinese authorities aggressively expanded the scale of internment camps in Xinjiang this year, according to a new study, even as China’s program of mass detentions of Muslims in the region started to draw international scrutiny.

An examination of satellite imagery released Thursday by intelligence analysts from an Australian security think tank mapped the expansion of 28 detention camps in the restive frontier region. Their analysis found that total floor area of these facilities grew more than 465% from early 2016, with the greatest growth occurring in the three months ended this September.

B3-CG022_backgr_4U_20181101095816

Bulking Up
An Australian think tank’s analysis of satellite images identifies 28 facilities in China’s Xinjiang region believed to be part of a mass-detention program mainly targeting Muslims.

The report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which provides research for Australia’s military, adds new details to a growing body of evidence about one of China’s largest suppression campaigns in recent years. It shows that the building of detention facilities accelerated at a time when former detainees or their family members began to speak out and international media, including The Wall Street Journal, reported details of the program.

U.S. officials and United Nations experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of people, mainly from the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic group, may have been incarcerated in the detention centers. Uighurs living outside China have reported disappearances of family members, with some saying relatives have died in detention or soon after their release.

While Chinese officials denied the existence of the mass detention program as recently as this summer, in recent weeks, Xinjiang’s governor and other officials have portrayed the detention centers as well-equipped vocational schools that are part of a program to eradicate the extremist violence that buffeted Xinjiang for years.

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the Australian report’s findings but denied that people were being “detained” in the Xinjiang camps. At a routine news briefing Thursday, Lu Kang described the facilities as “training centers” that support local development and help maintain social stability.

China’s human rights record comes up for review next week by a U.N. panel in Geneva. Ahead of that hearing, the U.S. government, as well as other countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K. have all raised questions about the situation in Xinjiang. Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told British lawmakers on Tuesday that he raised Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart after British diplomats visited the region in August and found that reports on detentions there are “broadly accurate.”

The Australian think tank likened the rapid expansion of detention centers in Xinjiang to China’s island-building project in disputed areas of the South China Sea. “The Chinese state has changed the facts on the ground in Xinjiang so dramatically that it has allowed little time for other countries to meaningfully react,” its report said.

The report analyzed satellite data and cross-referenced findings with construction-tender documents, as well as evidence collected from other official sources, activists, academics and nongovernment organizations. While German researcher Adrian Zenz has estimated that Xinjiang may have as many as 1,200 facilities, the Australian researchers focused on a sample of 28 camps.

As of the end of September, those facilities sprawled over an area more than 40 times as large as the Los Angeles Coliseum, the researchers said, covering almost 700 acres.

One facility in Hotan, a city in southern Xinjiang, expanded by more than 2,469%, from 1.7 acres in early 2016 to almost 43 acres, the report said. Another facility in Shule County had more than doubled in size since March, the report said.

Satellite imagery of all 28 facilities showed high-security features resembling prisons, with significant fencing to restrict the movement of people inside, watchtowers, and strategic barricades with only a small number of entry points. These camps, the report concluded, are “punitive in nature and more akin to prison camps than what the Chinese authorities call ‘transformation through education centres.’”

Republican Party Headquarters In Volusia County, Florida Shot Up Liberal Media Calls It Vandalism.

291018hq

By that logic, the mail bomber was also “vandalism”

Paul Joseph Watson | Infowars.com – OCTOBER 29, 2018

Click Here For Video.

After a Republican Party headquarters in Volusia County, Florida was shot up, the media reported the incident as an act of “vandalism”.

The windows of the HQ were shot out Monday morning and four bullet holes were found inside the office. The attack was almost certainly politically motivated because no other business on the strip was targeted.

“At this point we can confirm that at least four rounds were fired into the building,” said South Daytona police Capt. Mark Cheatham. “We are working to see if we can get video from nearby businesses but so far we have no witnesses.”

The incident occurred hot on the heels of a South Florida man being arrested for sending dud pipe bombs in the mail to top Democrats, but what little media attention it has received downplayed the shooting as an act of vandalism.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported the shocking incident as a mere act of “vandalism,” equating it with graffiti.

The Florida Times-Union also reported that the office had been “vandalized by gunfire”.

By this logic, the mail bombs were just “vandalism”. No, that was terrorism and so is this.

If a right-wing Trump supporter had shot up a Democratic party headquarters, would the media call it vandalism or terrorism?

As of right now, CNN hasn’t even reported on this attempted terror attack at all.

But there’s no media bias against conservatives, honest!

 

Thousands Of Americans Walk-Away From The Radical Left Democrat Party.

THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WALK AWAY FROM THE UNHINGED DEMOCRATIC LEFT

Disgruntled Dems leaving in hordes.

Owen Shroyer | Infowars.com – OCTOBER 29, 2018
Owen Shroyer delivered a speech at the #WalkAway march in Washington D.C. on Sunday to fire up young liberals who are ready to get behind Trump and help Keep America Great!
 

 

« Older Entries