Mumbai mirror - September 08, 2020 BOLLYWOOD folk are not very different from the rest of us. So, when this young actor, who has been dating a gorgeous actress, began ‘liking’ posts shared by another bright-eyed actress who features in his next, there was obviously friction. While he swears it’s just to drum up some excitement for his film, the girlfriend suspects otherwise. Conscious coupling of a lead pair prior to onscreen collaboration has been the oldest promotional trick in the hat. But could these social media niceties suggest more than what meets the eye? Guess:- Young actor:- Kartik Aaryan? Gorgeous actress :- Sara Ali Khan ? Another bright-eyed actress :- Janhvi Kapoor ? So Janhvi and kartik's pr is pretending that they are dating for dostana 2 promotions ? https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/opinion/the-informefit-stop/articleshow/77986418.cms
2020.09.09 02:15 clmeScientific evidence and cross-country variability in cloth mask policies
LAST UPDATED on 14 September 2020 This post focuses strictly on the controversial issue of recommending or mandating cloth masks for the general public during COVID-19. For a regularly updated executive summary of the evolving scientific understanding of COVID-19 in general, see here. Overall, the available scientific and policy evidence indicates that mandating or even just formally recommending to the general public to wear a cloth mask in nonhealthcare settings is unwise. These 23 highly respected Canadian epidemiologists and public health experts have recommended the following standard for all COVID-19 related policies:
COVID-19 control must be balanced with basic human rights. People need to be empowered to make informed choices about their own lives and the level of risk they are prepared to accept. Universal public health measures are appropriate only when they are truly necessary, supported by strong evidence, and when there are no other alternatives...Any requirements for mandatory masks must be based on strong evidence...
Bearing in mind the foregoing standard, what follows is a review of the academic literature demonstrating that the requirement for strong evidence is not being met (the other components of the foregoing standard pertaining to human rights and personal autonomy are discussed in section #2 of this post):
The increasing polarised and politicised views on whether to wear masks in public during the current COVID-19 crisis hides a bitter truth on the state of contemporary research and the value we pose on clinical evidence to guide our decisions...There is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks. For instance, high rates of infection with cloth masks could be due to harms caused by cloth masks...The numerous systematic reviews that have been recently published all include the same evidence base so unsurprisingly broadly reach the same conclusions. However, recent reviews using lower quality evidence found masks to be effective...This abandonment of the scientific modus operandi and lack of foresight has left the field wide open for the play of opinions, radical views and political influence.
On 7 September 2020 in an essay co-authored by two researchers from the aforementioned University of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, it was further pointed out that:
...the number of published trials on the effects of masks in Covid-19 transmission is – so far – zero.
The evidence for the effectiveness of face masks in reducing viral transmission is very weak. Few studies examine the use of face masks in community settings; those that do find no evidence of reduced transmission compared with no face masks...Efforts to communicate a position so strongly in favour of widespread use of masks in the community...in the face of persistent evidence gaps, risk promoting policy based more on eminence than evidence. The unintended consequences of unequivocal advocacy of a contested position go beyond the downsides of policy implementation: they include the potential erosion of trust in science more generally, when the measures put forward fail to live up to their promise, or result in problems that could be, or had been, anticipated.
The gold standard of evidence in biomedical research is the randomized controlled trial. A systematic review of cloth mask research published in 2020 in the academic journal Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that:
Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
The foregoing finding has been reinforced by a Bayesian analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials. Perski et al., 2020, concluded:
Available evidence from RCTs is equivocal as to whether or not wearing face masks in community settings results in a reduction in clinically- or laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections.
The evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective measure against COVID-19. However, there is enough evidence to support the use of facemasks for short periods of time by particularly vulnerable individuals when in transient higher risk situations.
We included 15 randomised trials investigating the effect of masks (14 trials) in healthcare workers and the general population and of quarantine (1 trial). We found no trials testing eye protection. Compared to no masks there was no reduction of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases (Risk Ratio 0.93, 95%CI 0.83 to 1.05) or influenza (Risk Ratio 0.84, 95%CI 0.61-1.17) for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers (Risk Ratio 0.37, 95%CI 0.05 to 2.50).
A most recent systematic review of 18 randomized controlled trials and of 11 other systematic reviews by Dugré et al., 2020, concluded:
This systematic review found limited evidence that the use of masks might reduce the risk of viral respiratory infections.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of potential health risks of face masks by Bakhit et al., 2020, concluded that:
There are insufficient data to quantify all of the adverse effects that might reduce the acceptability, adherence, and effectiveness of face masks. New research on facemasks should assess and report the harms and downsides. Urgent research is also needed on methods and designs to mitigate the downsides of facemask wearing, particularly the assessment of alternatives such as face shields.
A peer-reviewed paper from August 2020 by Martin et al., 2020 assessing the overall wisdom of recommending masks for the general public, noted:
There is very limited evidence that cloth face coverings reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19...Few studies examine the use of face coverings in community settings: when taken in aggregate, those that do find no statistically significant evidence of reduced transmission compared with no face coverings...Rather than communicate a falsely unequivocal message about the value of face coverings, researchers should articulate scientific disagreement, the nature of scientific uncertainty, and its implications for how we act to improve knowledge and action.
Non-medical, fabric masks are being used by many people in public areas, but there has been limited evidence on their effectiveness...
A September 2020 empirical study (preprint) by (van den Broek-Altenburg et al., 2020) highlighted the foolishness of rushing to recommend or mandate masks for the general public. One of the study's key findings was that:
...Wearing a facial mask outside work increased probability of COVID-19 infection.
Almost 100% of known transmissions of corona happen from extended interaction (home, work, public transit) - you are very unlikely to get it from a stranger passing you by the sidewalk or by a grocery aisle - see here and here.
Cloth masks are ineffective against transmission of COVID-19 through aerosolized respiratory droplets (i.e. smaller droplets <5 μm that remain in the air for hours) and this airborne route of transmission has just been emphasized by many experts to be the most likely primary means of infection. The solutions that would work to address this route are not cloth masks, which can filter only larger droplets (>5 μm), but "social distancing, limiting interaction indoors, avoiding air recirculation, improved natural and artificial ventilation, and innovative engineering solutions which collect and neutralise aerosols to provide clean air in personal and community spaces" (Wilson et al., 2020). For more details, see also the peer-reviewed letter to the WHO signed by 239 experts, this paper from August 4, 2020, as well as the corroboration from (Donaldson, 2020).
This Finnish governmental report concluded that the majority of systematic reviews of empirical studies on mask efficacy found no benefit to wearing masks.
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and most recently Netherlands have also officially recommended against mask-wearing by the general population. Note that here we are talking about the official epidemiological boards of experts of countries like Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Netherlands that have reviewed all that evidence and concluded that masks should not be recommended to the public, let alone made mandatory; these are formal boards of experts with PhDs, not the "unwashed" or "uneducated" masses that believe in conspiracies and fake news. If you worry that this information might be dated, see also this 6th August 2020 article Europe's Top Health Officials Say Masks Aren't Helpful in Beating COVID-19.
As of late July 2020, 19 states in the USA have decided against mandating masks: Wisconsin, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Alaska.
Recent data from US areas with widely different frequencies of mask wearing do not support the idea that cloth masks are effective: e.g. CaliforniaversusArizona, as of late July 2020.
Oxford University Professor Carl Heneghan explained on 13 August that UK's recent experience suggests masks for the general public have been ineffective.
Widespread use of cloth masks has been pushed by the media as a (putative) solution to a specific problem: the risk of asymptomatic/presymptomatic transmission of COVID-19. We have recently learned that the problem is smaller than initially believed. The World Health Organization has acknowledged on 8 June that there is strong evidence from detailed contact tracing showing that asymptomatic transmission is possible, but rare. Under pressure, it has undermined the shred of credibility it had left, by backpedalling the acknowledgment one day later, but the rabbit is out of the bag and independent peer-reviewed empirical research (see here 1, here 2, here 3, and here 4) supports the initial acknowledgment of inefficient asymptomatic/presymptomatic transmission (R0 <0.1, compared to R0 of 2-3 for symptomatic transmission; that's 20-30 times less!). Even if one believed that cloth masks work, a cost-benefit calculus of public health policy would still show that healthy/asymptomatic people need not wear them. If alive, Richard Feynman would probably say that addressing COVID-19 with cloth masks is a great illustration of cargo cult science.
Because the topic of masks has become morally-loaded ("Do the decent thing, and wear a mask"; "Be a good human and protect the vulnerable"), we must be aware of people's tendency to "often choose morality over hard evidence" and control for it. We need to look at the totality of available evidence, to see the general patterns that emerge, the outliers, and the variance in the quality of the research designs involved. We need to keep in mind Carnap and Hempel's total evidence rule, lest we jump to silly conclusions. We also need to keep in mind that because of mob pressure, there is an asymmetry as to which science gets publicized and which science gets banned and overlooked. We know that researchers like Michael Osterholm who expressed reservations about masks have been harassed by the pro-mask crowd. The science one gets to see these days on social media is the science approved by the mob - there are very clear signs of pervasive COVID-19 related censorship.
Note: This is the expanded and updated section #1 of my older long post on masks. I exceeded the maximum numbers of characters allowed, and therefore had to split the initial post, with the former section #1 moved here as a separate thread. I will regularly update it.
2020.09.08 19:02 default_4Our responsibility for the news we choose to pay attention to.
There’s a news story I’ve tried very hard not to pay attention to for the last three months. I haven’t clicked on links about it, I’ve stayed away from news channels covering it, I’ve done my best to tune out when friends have brought it up. I’m not avoiding it because it isn’t interesting. On the contrary, it’s nothing if not interesting. It involves death and drugs, a grieving girlfriend turned murder suspect, an estranged father turned enraged avenger, a boys’ trip to Bangkok, an A-list actress playing investigator, crores of rupees and just as many conspiracy theories, a therapist breaching confidentiality, WhatsApp screenshots, corpse photos, briefcases with leaked documents. Twists, turns, nightly newsbreaks, each relentlessly interesting. Most interesting of all is, of course, that I know all of this unwillingly, without once going out of my way to learn it. All it’s taken is scrolling through Twitter’s trending topics once in a while. A FaceTime with a friend who heard a juicy rumour and just had to tell someone. An update passed around the dinner table casually, like achaar. Or letting an Instagram video auto-play a second too long before scrolling past. Without wanting to, I’ve seen how fanatically the news anchors are leaping out of their seats to tell this story and how breathlessly the nation has risen up to help. It reminds me of when I was a bratty infant refusing to finish a meal, and Ma would carry me to the window of our living room. She’d point down at a man on the street, saying he was a raakshas sent here from another world. A woman passerby would turn princess-in-disguise. Ma’s voice would rise and fall with each plot-point and while I got lost in thrall to the fantasy playing out outside, Ma would slip lauki-roti morsels into my now pliant, unthinkingly chewing mouth. Maybe I pay attention to demands on my attention because being thus duped as a baby taught me a couple of things about attention and distraction, about distraction and vigilance. Or, much more likely, it’s because I spent most of my career working in digital media or, as it’s been referred to since Esther Dyson coined the term in the early 2010s, the attention economy — an ecosystem in which audience’s attentions are gathered for the ultimate benefit of funders and advertisers. I spent years attention-capturing and I know how precious a commodity attention is. I recognise the tricks used to capture it. They paid my bills for years. In lockdown, we’ve all had plenty of attention to spare. Aside from the occasional mask-on walk, my life for the last six months has been contained to two locations, both in the same room: a bed, on which I sleep and scroll, and a desk three feet from the bed, at which I write and scroll. My entire universe of happenings unfolds on screens. No parties, no travel, no dates, no drinking, no commute. Just endless unoccupied attention, lying in wait to be grabbed. This is a dangerous way for a citizenry to exist – bored and looking for things to look at. It frees us up to look in some inconvenient directions. Say, at our crashed GDP and unprecedented unemployment numbers. At a pandemic so mismanaged that India has broken global records for illness. An escalating threat of war with China, a farcical Supreme Court contempt charge, wrongfully jailed activists, police pellet-firing at citizens in Kashmir, students being made to risk illness to sit exams, a dangerously invasive health data policy – take your pick. Each of these stories is worthy of a hundred primetime debates. And yet, twice this week, when panelists brought up the GDP on major news channels, they were shouted down by the anchors for distracting from the real issue at hand: the story I’m trying not to think about. I’m not going to spin conspiracy theories of my own here, about who wants to distract us and from what. I’ll only tell you what I said to a family member I love deeply earlier in the week: Every single day from today till the day you die, news and content companies will draw your attention to a new story. A new event. Each of these events will be made to feel like the most important thing that’s ever happened – it will feel like everyone is thinking and talking about this thing, and so you must know and think about it too. When you feel that pull on your attention, that hook tethering you to your screen, when the anchor’s rising and falling voice is ringing through your home, you must ask yourself a few questions. Does this story affect my life or the lives of my loved ones? Is this a story I can do anything helpful about? Is this a story being told to me for my benefit? If the answer to these questions is no, please look away as soon as you can manage it. Your attention is precious. What you think about is who you are. You must also ask: Are there other things going on? Things that do impact me or my community, that I’m being made to look away from? Things I can or should do something about? And if those answers are yes, you must turn your head and look. Refuse your reduction to a disobedient infant kept occupied by made-up fantasies. Look for the lauki. When you find it, show it to everyone you know. Source
2020.09.07 11:56 daminiofficialQUARANTINE YOURSELF NOT YOUR BRAND
As publicists, brand marketers and agency owners, many of us are not prepared for coronavirus. Most of us have never lived during a pandemic, let alone personally experienced one. This will not be a crisis that will go away any time soon. As marketers, don’t keep marketing with your head in the sand. So no matter what your opinion of the merit of this virus and its threat to society, there’s no denying that it is creating a multiplier effect on what was already a trend towards online buying behaviour vs. offline. There was no doubt that our newer generations were already living predominantly digital lifestyles…opting for their devices vs real-world buying and decision-making behaviour. But this current outbreak is going to take it to a whole other level forcing people of all ages to rethink how they live their lives and how they buy. If you own a business or influence one, now is the time to really think hard about how your business is investing in its online strategies and whether you’re prepared to cater to this new world. “Internal traffic is not internal! With so many employees working remotely right now, this may influence your digital analytics data! Your typical filter won’t catch workers working remotely unless they are possibly using a VPN or other remote network connection. This means your employees might be counted in your analytics metrics, even though you had previously created a filter for this.” 📷 The beauty of social media during this pandemic is its ability to build companionship through digital platforms. A change in routine, different work settings, and social distancing have been tough for many. But there is a level of hopefulness in knowing that we can and will continue to communicate with each other with the help of the internet. The tone conveyed by businesses and individuals has varied, but it is important to remain optimistic while not making light of the situation when navigating your digital marketing presence during this time. While all businesses are not expected to provide their two cents on the virus, there is nothing wrong with posting or sharing messages on the pandemic’s secondary effects that you do have some expertise on. Social media is going to be a mainstay for everybody staying at home during this time. And it’s something that you can work on and improve in the background. Make sure all of your information is up to date. Look for ways to spice up your social profiles and feeds. Upload pertinent content that keeps you and your brand top of mind, but also speaks to the needs of your audience. We do think it’s important that we focus on the possibilities and put forth the kind of creative effort that will help us emerge stronger than ever. Encourage positive dialogue and open the door for creative suggestions from your team on ways your business can adapt to what’s happening. Think of this time as a blessing to devote the time to our business that before we could never seem to find. Adaptability, communication, service and transparency are the critical areas that, as business owners, we need to master right now. Let’s put into action the things we always say we want to do but never have time to fully plan out.
“TAKE A RISK AND KEEP TESTING, BECAUSE WHAT WORKS TODAY WON’T WORK TOMORROW”
We all have those projects that we put on the back burner, waiting for when things slow down. Well, now is your time to dig out those projects and give them your full attention. This could include writing a book, updating your brand messaging, creating and publishing a new website, creating a video or podcast, designing a new offer, or even developing a thought leadership strategy. Whatever it may be, now is the time to do it. In a time of uncertainty, businesses need to prioritize consumers and employees’ safety. 📷 Be kind and aware of the situation. The brands that do this best will undoubtedly rebound most quickly once the COVID-19 pandemic retreats. Until then, be critical of your digital marketing efforts and double down on lean effectiveness. As always, we are here for you to help and hope you stay safe during this difficult time.
2020.09.06 18:14 NewsPlantInside the online cult of #JusticeforSSR The story of three men united by their fever-pitch resentment towards Rhea Chakraborty, and their anger and grief at the death of a Bollywood star.
A picture posted on a popular Facebook group shows actor Rhea Chakraborty next to a coronavirus illustration. “Which virus is more dangerous?” shouts the text on the image. The caption says: “2020 worst year in the history of mankind. The two most dangerous virus against humanity.” The Facebook group in question is called “Justice for Sushant Singh Rajput”. With over one lakh followers, it’s peppered with posts hashtagged #ArrestRheaChakraborty and #IAmSushant. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “She should be hanged,” said Singh Dheeraj, one of the group’s five administrators. “But then again, in our country, it took very long for even Afzal Guru or Yakub Memon to be hanged..." Dheeraj is a final-year engineering student in Faridabad. He agreed to talk to me over a Facebook Messenger call only after he confirmed that I’m a “nationalist”. “I’m against anti-nationalism,” he told me. About being one of the admins of the Facebook group, he said, chuckling: “I have not told my parents or friends. They will think that I am not focusing on my studies.” For a nation obsessed withBigg Boss**, viewers no longer need to wait for an episode to be shot and aired. A version of this reality show, well-known for its voyeuristic appeal, plays out all day, every day, on social media and TV news screens. Ever since actor Sushant Singh Rajput died in June, the saga that followed has unfolded on our screens, and the past month has been particularly binge-worthy.** In a profile by the New York Times in June, talk show host Jon Stewart said, “Twenty-four-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11. There are very few events that would justify being covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So in the absence of urgency, they have to create it.” And this is exactly what’s happened following Rajput’s death. Except this isn’t a movie — Chakraborty cannot take off her make-up and go home at the end of the day. Instead, she’s been thrust into a real-life trial by the media, where everyone watching, from national television anchors to quiet college-going students, has turned jurist. In the process, Chakraborty has been torn apart by leading TV news channels, which demand her arrest, accuse her of “black magic” , camp out outside her building, pass off conspiracy theories as “news”, and conduct “postmortems” of Rajput himself. Republic’s Arnab Goswami screaming about drugs is only surpassed by Times Now’s Navika Kumar breathlessly running into the studio claiming to have a bag full of incriminating documents. “It isn’t that Arnab or Navika don’t know what they’re doing,” said Pratik Sinha, founder of fact-checking siteAlt News**. “They know exactly what and why they go on camera for. They have people to please.”** Instead, it’s worth asking why young men and women like Dheeraj, who have never met either Rajput or Chakraborty, suddenly find themselves dedicating hours to administering Facebook groups that seek “justice for Sushant”. For this, I spoke to three men – Saahil Chaudhary, an aspiring actomodel; Surjeet Singh Rathore, a member of the Karni Sena, a caste Hindu group; and Dheeraj. What links them is their fever-pitch resentment towards Chakraborty, and their anger and grief at the death of a Bollywood star. https://preview.redd.it/0wvscb7gxjl51.png?width=794&format=png&auto=webp&s=ec670d0cf24a98f5ca4373602479d02fec17fdfa
Humans of #ArrestRheaChakraborty
Over the course of lengthy conversations, I asked all the three men where they found their conviction to convict Rhea Chakraborty. Singh Dheeraj Dheeraj hadn’t been a big fan of Rajput; what drew him was the fact that Rajput, like himself, was also from Bihar and managed to make it big in Bollywood. For Dheeraj, the logic is fairly simple as to why he believes that Rajput was murdered, and did not die by suicide. “How can they suddenly call him crazy now?” he said, possibly referring to reports on Rajput’s mental health. “It must have something to do with the fact that Rhea was living with him, right?” This is a popular theory. Rajput’s therapist broke confidentiality last month and said the actor had depression and bipolar disorder. While the therapist also said Chakraborty was his “strongest support”, Rajput’s family has claimed that he “started having mental problems” after Chakraborty “came into his life”. When I asked Dheeraj what kind of changes he thinks Chakraborty brought into Rajput’s life, he paused and came up with this anecdote, which he said is tied to the idea of an “ideal home”. “Agar Salman [Khan] ki girlfriend ya wife aur Salman ke beech scene hua, toh kiska chalega? Salman ka hi chalega. Aur jabki yahan par Sushant aur Rhea ke sath jo scene hua, usme kiska chala tha? Rhea ka chala tha,”he said. (If something happens between Salman Khan and his girlfriend or wife, who will win? Salman will. And here, if something happened between Sushant and Rhea, who used to win? Rhea used to.) But why did he think Chakraborty was controlling Rajput? Dheeraj brought up how Chakraborty tried to “change” Rajput’s staff members and friends. “She had things to hide...look how she was acting with Mahesh Bhatt,” he said. “Was it correct of her to behave that way when she was with Sushant? Anyway, I am a nationalist, I am anti-Bollywood, anti-Rhea and anti-all these drugs and alcohol she used to do.” He refused to elaborate further. This feeds into the image of Chakraborty constructed by the mainstream media. Photos of her posing on a beach in swimwear, or videos of her working out in sportswear are repeatedly shown during panel discussions, suggesting to viewers, like Dheeraj, that she’s some sort of promiscuous, gold-digging seductress with no “morality” or “culture”. After some hesitation, he admitted that he believes Chakraborty deserves capital punishment, though he was quick to add: “Justice should be achieved but not hanging. Anyway in our country it was already difficult to hang people like Yakub Memon or Afzal Guru so obviously she cannot be hanged...but she should be punished...Women are like goddesses for me.” Dheeraj didn’t watchDil Bechara**, the movie starring Rajput that released after the latter’s death, because he was juggling between his studies and the Facebook group. He also spends a large part of his day “counselling” women, he said. “Him [Rajput] going away has caused a lot of sadness to many girls,” he explained. “I send them videos...I try to make them understand.”** Saahil Chaudhary Not far from Dheeraj, in the same state of Haryana, Saahil Chaudhary took to his YouTube channel on August 27, minutes after Chakraborty gave her first television interview to Rajdeep Sardesai on Aaj Tak. Wearing a fitted white t-shirt and a neatly shaped beard, Chaudhary folded his hands and addressed his two lakh followers: “Somebody please hammer Rajdeep Sardesai’s head.” He spewed expletives against Chakraborty —zaleel aurath, haram ki bachhiandmadarchodd ki bachhibeing some of them — while his followers echoed his views gleefully in the comments section below, calling Chakraborty a “prostitute” and a “lady Dawood”. This video received over 2.85 lakh views on YouTube. Chaudhary has been busy for the last few months, providing daily updates on the investigation into Rajput’s death. He posted his first video on June 17, two days after Rajput died, telling his viewers that it was his “duty” to “expose the dirty secrets of Bollywood”. In the video, Chaudhary claimed to have met Rajput “four or five times”. “He was such a gentleman, so kind-hearted. Today, I’m not going to spare anyone.” Since then, Chaudhary has uploaded 48 similar videos. According to him, Chakraborty must be arrested at once and the powerful in Bollywood should be shamed. Importantly, when I spoke to Chaudhary, he denied having ever met the actor. During our conversation, his own frustrations at not being able to “make it big” in Bollywood were evident. “Out of lakhs of people, one got a chance and he became a star, but then you killed him?” he said. “What the fuck? You murdered him?” Chaudhary runs a gym in Haryana, and has been trying to make it as an actor and model for over 10 years. Unable to be cast even as the friend of the hero, he started to explore YouTube to make himself more visible, he said. From cooking videos to workout videos to health tips and now the Rajput case, he feels like he’s finally found a platform to gain some stardom. Although, he added, none of his videos on YouTube are monetised. Chaudhary has over two lakh subscribers on his channel. His most-watched video, with over two million views, is regarding who Chakraborty is dating. When I asked him for the source of his information to declare Chakraborty guilty, Chaudhary said that people sent him articles and photos that he “verifies using logic”. After this “verification”, he concluded: “Rhea is hiding facts and is involved in the murder.” During the course of our chat, he also claimed that Chakraborty is a “gold-digger” who was having an affair with director Mahesh Bhatt. So, what would he tell Chakraborty if he ever met her? “I don’t want to talk to her,” he replied. “I will simply do what the entire public wants to do:uske kaan ke neeche bajaunga main.I will give her a tight slap. I am sure that when this happens, the public will be satisfied. With this one slap, Sushant Singh’s parents and sisters will be at peace.” Surjeet Singh Rathore YouTube is Chaudhary’s platform of choice, but Surjeet Singh Rathore came into the limelight when he appeared on Arnab Goswami’s primetime show on Republic Bharat on August 21. The show was hashtagged #WhySorryRhea, and Rathore was introduced as an “eyewitness” who was reportedly present when Chakraborty saw Rajput’s body at the Cooper Hospital mortuary. According to Rathore, Chakraborty “confessed” to her crime then; she placed her hand on her chest and said, “Sorry, babu.” “Why is she saying sorry? Was she involved?” Rathore asked Goswami, who took long, dramatic pauses and repeatedly asked Rathore to describe Chakraborty’s demeanour. Rathore is a member of the Karni Sena, a Rajput group. When I spoke to him on the telephone, he said he was in Rajasthan, the Karni Sena’s home state, from where he would “speak the truth”. After appearing onRepublic, he claimed, Mumbai became “unsafe” for him. “I am not scared,” he added. “If something happens to me or Kangana Ranaut, Karni Senapoori Hindustan mein aag lagaenge. The Karni Sena will set fire to the whole of India.” What does that mean? He replied, “Don’t you remember our Padmavat movement?” Here’s a quick refresher: In 2017, the Karni Sena led a violent campaign against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie Padmavat, claiming it tarnished the reputation of Rajputs and misappropriated history. Before the movie was released, Karni Sena workers vandalised the film set, slapped the director, trashed a theatre playing the movie’s trailer, threatened to cut off actor Deepika Padukone’s nose and behead Padukone and Bhansali, moved petitions to ban the film, and received support from the Bharatiya Janata Party. The group eventually retreated when Padmavat was released, saying there was, after all, “nothing objectionable” in the film. Rathore told me he had once spoken to Sushant Singh Rajput on the phone when the Padmavat incident occurred, to tell Rajput not to support Bhansali. Apart from that, they’ve never met, though he met Chakraborty once, according to him, at the mortuary. As he explained to Goswami, he apparently went to the mortuary to see Sushant as a fellow Rajput. Why is Rathore so involved in this case? “I am a Rajput. I am a member of the Karni Sena. Sushant was also a Rajput, it’s my right to be involved,” Rathore replied. https://preview.redd.it/wm3qahsmxjl51.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=903f5fd4d47e5f1181c3b15c834f0b47adc92bdd When he left the mortuary, he said, Aaj Tak spoke to him but the interview never aired. So, Rathore approached Arnab Goswami who helped him “bring the news to the world”. Rathore added that Chakraborty must be arrested “as soon as possible” on the basis of her saying “Sorry, babu” to Rajput’s body. In his post-Republic days, Rathore spends his time answering “calls from all across the country, mostly from my supporters and from TV channels”. He has a girlfriend but he quickly said, “Woh Rhea jaisi nahi hai.” She is not like Rhea. Currently, Rathore’s Facebook page, which has over 21,000 followers, is filled with posts seeking justice for Rajput, Rathore’s TV interviews, and pictures from his time in Jaipur. One photo shows him standing on a terrace, arms extended, with the caption: “For success in life...you need two things...Ignorance and confidence...❤️ My Jaipur.”
Politics to the Right
Through the course of my conversations with these men, it became apparent that what irritated them the most was Chakraboty’s alleged infidelity. As men, they seemed to empathise with the pain Rajput might have gone through of loving a “morally corrupt woman”. Apart from that, the other common thread was their tendency to be aligned with the Right. However, only Dheeraj openly proclaimed his support for the BJP; both Rathore and Chaudhary said this issue isn’t political. Dheeraj’s affinity towards the Right came forward in our conversation when he asked me if I had worked as a reporter during the citizenship law protests, and what I felt about BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s role. Mishra had made an incendiary speech in February targeting the protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the Delhi riots followed soon after, leaving over 50 dead. When I told him that no matter what side I’m on, violence is not the way out, he said, “Violence for religion is justifiable. There are Muslims living in my lane. Tomorrow if they block the road, there is a limit to how long one can wait for the police before taking action himself.” He also brought up Asifa Bhano, the eight-year-old who was raped and murdered in Jammu in 2018. “Why is that when Asifa, that Muslim child, was raped in a temple in Jammu, all Bollywood celebrities came out and shamed the country?” he said. “What about Hindu women? I am not saying they should not speak about the injustice against Asifa, I’m just saying you cannot internationally shame your country. These celebrities, they are not with us Hindus. They are not with the country.” Dheeraj, Chaudhary and Rathore all agreed that the only journalists currently doing his job correctly is Arnab Goswami. Dheeraj added that he’s a fan of Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary and Aaj Tak’s Anjana Om Kashyap — both of whom are also known for their proclivity towards the BJP. https://preview.redd.it/atux7ol1yjl51.png?width=1276&format=png&auto=webp&s=6207172eea37a1804d543f2bc220b38dcd21ed47
Lack of moderation of hate content
After these chats, I went through 15 Facebook pages dedicated to fighting for “justice” for Rajput, which has now become synonymous with arresting Chakraborty. These pages are managed by 35 admins in total, of which 20 seemed to have authentic profiles on Facebook, three were clearly fake, three were aliases, and nine I couldn’t tell. I identified fake profiles based on the fact that they had no personal or authentic pictures. The profile images were either pictures of Rajput or representational images, the friends list was limited, and there was no personal information like place of work. There was no consistent pattern to be established between the profiles, apart from their support for Rajput, love for Goswami, and hate towards Chakraborty. Some had a history of hateful, communal posts, or far-Right posts, some had posts critical of the government, and others had almost no political posts at all. Here’s a sample of the sort of hate spewed against Chakraborty. https://preview.redd.it/00bszhxvxjl51.png?width=1276&format=png&auto=webp&s=45dd3360f3a054ab86167b592817027ec78c7bed In the background of this venom is the fact that Facebook India has been facing tough questions in recent weeks over its propensity to ignore hate speech. A Wall Street Journal piece reported on Facebook’s soft approach to posts inciting violence by members of the BJP, although the social media giant has robust policies for the same — on paper, at least. It doesn’t take much to notice that most of the pages I surveyed violate multiple regulations and standards set by Facebook, especially with regards to hate speech, bullying and harassment , and violence and incitement. Nevertheless, most of them have been online for over six weeks, and continue to garner a massive following and rapid engagement.
The news and us
So, let’s return to this question: What does the Sushant Singh Rajput case reveal about us? It’s a vile but immensely sustainable, and successful, ecosystem, and I reached out to Alt News’ Pratik Sinha to learn more. Alt News has largely kept away from reporting on the news coverage of Rajput’s death. As Sinha said: “I can bust facts, not gossip.” News has now entered the realm of gossip, Sinha said, which is rooted in “mudslinging and rumour-mongering”. “Gossip is addictive. I don’t know what to bust in this bizarre case...Initially it looked like this incident was used as a campaign strategy for the upcoming Bihar election, but right now? It has somehow gained a life of its own. Where should one draw the line between freedom of speech and freedom of life?” Sinha described the viral nature of this “news” as “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. A coordinate effort at hate often has two motives, financial or political. In the circus surrounding Rajput’s death, it’s impossible to pinpoint either with clarity. For the many young people involved, Sinha said, being able to earn instant recognition is motive enough. “For example, maybe for this boy Dheeraj, if not for this case he might not have had women coming up and talking to him,” he said. “Now this may seem frivolous but for him, this must be life-changing.” What forms a narrative, Sinha explained, is the size of the body that sustains it. Leading channels like Republic and Zee News serve up content that is religiously shared by these Facebook pages. So, who is the trigger: the public, or the news? Has social media ensured that if there’s enough public outrage, news organisations will have to take notice? Or do news channels, in their race for TRPs, produce content tailormade to appeal to the nation’s imagination? It’s a chicken-and-egg situation, so it’s impossible to accurately answer. For those without financial or political ambitions, this case seems to have given them a sense of purpose, or “social currency”, as Sinha called it. Dheeraj told me that apart from support, he also receives threats from Shahrukh Khan or Aamir Khan fans. Does that scare him? He immediately and excitedly replied, “No, no, not at all. Maybe it will be good if something big happens with me.” When it comes to news channels, no matter what came first, media houses ensured that the story stayed alive. In the last month alone, there were four child rapes in New Delhi and a rise in caste- and gender-based violence in Uttar Pradesh. The economy is down, the unemployment rate is up, floods and monsoons have displaced thousands, and the ongoing pandemic claims hundreds of lives every day. Yet all of this takes a backseat when compared to the Rajput case. Has the case become a distraction from the very real social and cultural fears that we face? As Orwell once said, “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.” On Facebook allowing such content to thrive, Sinha said: “Content moderation is most often a business decision. If you take down a post or page that has over one lakh followers, then it means you lose that many eyeballs, which then means you lose that many people looking at advertisements. And that’s where the money flows in for these platforms. So most often, these policies are only written down, not implemented.” In the last decade, two media trials stand out: the Aarushi murder case and the death of Sunanda Pushkar. Neither found a satisfying judicial conclusion. Trials by the media don’t happen impulsively, Sinha pointed out. “Every day, we scratch our heads as to what is happening today. But it isn’t like we were fine yesterday or the day before, right?” he said. And ultimately, no matter the outcome of the investigation into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the biggest reveal by the media is what this case has exposed when it comes to our society. Arnav Binaykia, Anna Priyadarshini and Monica Dhanraj contributed research to this article. https://www.newslaundry.com/inside-the-online-cult-of-justice-for-SSR
2020.09.05 07:01 autotldr180 Sikh families from Afghanistan arrive in Delhi
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 7%. (I'm a bot)
Chobal Singh, an Afghan Sikh, addresses the media on his arrival at Delhi airport from KabulNEW DELHI: A batch of 180 Sikh families from Afghanistan arrived at the IGI airport here on Thursday on "Long-term" visas, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said. Following an attack on a gurdwara in Afghanistan in March this year, there has been an "Exodus" of Sikh and Hindu families. They are arriving in India on the initiative of the DSGMC, Sirsa said in a statement. "Till date more than 450 families have already arrived in the national capital and the DSGMC is making arrangements for their stay in the inns of gurdwaras. The families also brought with them Guru Granth Sahib, in a chartered plane," he said. They were welcomed at the airport by Sirsa and Vikramjeet Singh Sahni of the World Punjabi Organisation. Sirsa thanked the central government, particularly Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, for facilitating "Long-term visas" for these families, the statement added.
The National Intelligence Grid, better known as NATGRID, is an integrated IT solution which would allow user agencies to access data gathered from various databases such as credit and debit cards, tax, telecom, immigration, airlines and railway tickets, passports, driving licenses among others. It is being developed as a measure to help security agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) etc. in tackling crime and terror threats in the country.
The NATGRID is conceived to be a framework which will leverage Information Technology to connect approved User Agencies (security/law enforcement) with designated Data providers (Airlines, Banks, SEBI, Railway, Telecom etc.) with a view to enhance the country’s counter- terrorism capability. The platform envisages approved operating procedures and oversight mechanisms to facilitate access between users and providers to enable them to analyze and disseminate information/intelligence for synergizing efforts to counter terrorism related activity. The proposed user agencies of the NATGRID are:
Intelligence Bureau (IB),
Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW),
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI),
Enforcement Directorate (ED),
Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU),
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT),
Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC),
Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence (DGCEI) and
On March 13, 2012, the then Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh in responseto a parliamentary question acknowledged that the government is cognizant of the privacy concerns surrounding NATGRID. He further stated that, “NATGRID’s security framework has been designed to protect secrecy and privacy of information within the NATGRID system. The extant legal regime regarding privacy ipso-facto applies to NATGRID.” The Right to Information Act, 2000 which aims to bring transparency and accountability to government authorities contains a provision which exempts intelligence agencies from its purview under S.24(2) of the Act. NATGRID is exempted from the RTI Act, 2005 vide Gazette of India Notification No. GSR 442 (E) dated 09.06.2011 issued by DOP&T. In addition to being exempt from the RTI Act, NATGRID is also being developed and deployed in the absence of a data protection law in India. Since NATGRID aims to collate data from various sources to create profiles of people to track for criminal activity, it is necessary that data protection measures be put in place to ensure that NATGRID does not violate its mandate by suffering from function creep. “Function creep” occurs when information is used for a purpose that is not the original specified purpose. In the absence of data protection measures and by being exempt from disclosures under the RTI Act, NATGRID presents the very obvious danger of becoming a tool for state-sponsored mass surveillance. The prevailing legal regime regarding privacy can thus be reduced to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017 10 SCC 1) which states that any justifiable intrusion by the State into people’s right to privacy, which is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, must conform to certain thresholds which include legality, necessity, proportionality and procedural safeguards. The threshold of legality requires that the intrusion must take place a defined regime of law i.e. there must be an anchoring legislation, with a clear set of provisions. However, in response to a parliamentary question on December 17, 2013, the then Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh stated that the Government does not plan to issue any executive order to give a legal framework to NATGRID. The threshold of procedural safeguards requires that there is an appropriate independent institutional mechanism, with in-built procedural safeguards aligned with standards of procedure established by law which are just, fair and reasonable to prevent abuse. In response to a parliamentary question on March 1, 2016 the then Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary stated that “An Audit Committee headed by Deputy National Security Advisor has been constituted to audit the manner in which the data is accessed and sought to be used.” It is our view that such a measure is not sufficient to satisfactorily respond to the privacy concerns which may arise.
2020.08.24 12:32 l8nightphilosopherOn replying slow and entitlement
Sharing a nice piece I found about the about constant availability and expectation of instant replies. She primarily talks about instant messaging here but I thought it might interest Slowly users as well.
A few years ago, I was dating a man who would take hours - hours! – to respond to my messages. It drove me insane. Naturally, I'd give him hell for it. (I was young and “in love” i.e. completely irrational and selfish - do understand.) During one such tantrum, he gifted me the following thought: if I haven't replied to you, he said, it means I haven't looked at my phone. And if I'm not looking at my phone, I'm in my good place. This I understood. The anti-screentime revolution was in full swing, we were all trying to reclaim ourselves from our phones, myself included. It helped, in my unhinged pining to hear from him, to conjure an image of him absorbed in a book, in a conversation with a friend, in a spell of work, or a nap, or even just a thought. His gently implied chide was: to expect instant responses from anyone is to hope for them to never be absorbed in their own present. Could any hope be less loving? That thought's been coming back to me often. Maybe because I have 34 WhatsApps marked unread to respond to later and 50something emails from people I like, that I haven't felt like sitting down with for weeks. Invariably, when I do respond to such dispatches in wait, I begin with some sort of forgiveness-seeking – "sorry I didn't reply sooner!” (I'm not) / "sorry I didn't see this!” (of course I did) / “sorry I haven't had a chance to reply!” (chances are, chances were plentiful). To one friend, I recently said: “Will you forgive my 1-month reply time, please?” I really did feel bad - a month feels like too long to let a message sit, especially from a person I like as much as I like him. “Any sooner and I would have suspected something amiss," he replied. “For the future - take your time, no apology necessary.” Another friend, sending a check-in text, ended it with: “Ping back in your own time. I quite like sssss—lo0000—www messaging." Gifts. These are gifts. I too have become a fan of ssss-loo000-Www messaging. There's a small handful of people I'm closest to on earth, with whom daily contact is as effortless as breathing. And then there's everyone else I know - people I like plenty but would rather talk to slowly, who I'm always hoping will themselves take time to respond, even when I reach out. For years, I felt guilty about this tendency to let messages sit in wait. I was accused of being “hard to get in touch with” (a criticism I've now accepted as fact). The guilt stemmed from feeling like I was letting down a normal expectation - now that we have our phones in our hands all the time, as I truly do, shouldn't we be capable of instantly responding to whatever shows up on them? Adding to the awkwardness is the fact that while I might be non-responsive on email or WhatsApp, I may still be posting on social media, making it amply clear to correspondents-in-wait that I'm not off-grid or terribly busy. I'm sitting around, actually, often just cracking inane jokes and taking selfies. But mostly, the guilt is created by the platforms themselves, by design features built to create urgency. Like the “seen" that marks an Instagram message that's been read; like WhatsApp's “online”, “last seen”, and blue ticks; like Gmail's “nudges”, which tack bright orange reminders onto old emails: “Received 4 days ago. Reply?" (No, Google. You may own all my data but you don't yet own my time. Sit down quietly.) There's business sense in these platforms building a culture of constant availability. Their profits, to an extent, are based on our need to communicate – so of course they'd heighten that need to fever pitch. And it's worked. Here I am, basically making apologies for letting down expectations I didn't myself set. At lam Thursday night, a stranger messaged me on Instagram asking if I could help with charity work. I saw it and thought: it's past midnight, I can reply to this tomorrow. A few minutes later, she messaged again: “You could at least reply." I felt instantly furious - how could anybody feel so entitled to my time? I said I'd planned to – just, in the morning. And she said: “It showed ‘seen' so I thought you don't wanna reply.” And so I remembered to redirect the rage towards Silicon Valley, toward the design teams building this sense of entitlement and the billionaire bosses rewarding those innovations. I'll concede that this is a tiny hill to die on. But I'd also encourage you to pan the camera out, and note that this hill forms only one pimple on the Everest that is the Facebook empire's disregard for our mental and social wellbeing. In the last two decades, as we all started carrying smartphones around with us, it became technologically possible to reach one another instantly. But we never paused to assess the expectations that might come with that possibility and whether we're on board with them. We never came to cultural consensus on whether we want to be reached as much as we can be, and whether we want to respond as quickly as we technically can. And we forgot, maybe, the unique opportunities afforded by ssss-loo000-www corresponding - the time to let thoughts swill; the joy of stepping past legato-style daily updates, into reflective catchups about long spans of living; the chance, even, to miss one another. I know some people will read this and think: What? And that's fine. This isn't for you. This is for my 20-year-old friend who often posts on her Instagram story: “friends, so sorry I haven't been able to respond to your messages in a couple of weeks” – sister, it's cool, you don't have to. This is who you are. It's for you, who leave scores of messages unread, resolving to sit with them later in a social mood, but being eaten up by guilt about it nonetheless. It's for everyone whose personality just doesn't lend itself to constant reachability, even if the phone in your hand does. Most of all, it's for that ex-boyfriend I used to throw tantrums at - my bad, I get it now. And I hope, always, that you're plenty absorbed.
2020.08.22 19:36 biggreekgeekFlatten the Curve. #50. PART 1. Jeffery Epstein & Espionage. Peter Thiel & Carbyne. Isreali Surveillance Tech & UAE. China Uyghurs Dentions & Erik Prince. Human Rights Watch; Similar Tech in China & Carbyne. Carbyne in the USA 911 SYSTEM. Michael Chertoff: Wrote Patriot Act + Carbyne Director.
Read Flatten the Curve Part 49. Link Here Headlines. A line designed to get into your head. And it works, judging by the amount of circulation of conspiracy posts that help move those headlines that masquerade as revealing connections, but are merely propoganda headline clones being disseminated. So lets get ahead of the lines before the lines get into your head. Humans have two primary modes of communication; verbal and nonverbal. Nonverbal is body language. Body language on it's own can give you insight. Pairing verbal and nonverbal gives you the whole picture. Headlines are verbal. The content is nonverbal. That's how you get a glimpse of the bigger picture. But we can't look at each article as a completed part of the communicative process. That would be like only watching hand gestures while having a conversation with someone. The article isn't the subject, the event is the subject, and if the subject was person, then we have to find as many articles as we can to profile the body language and interpret the nonverbal communication. Let me show you what I mean.
Offender Conspiracy Article Profiling • criminal article profiling, is an investigative strategy used by law enforcement agencies conspiracy theorists to identify likely suspects hidden motives and has been used by investigators conspiracy theorists to link cases subjects that may have been committed by the same perpetrator. Multiple crimes may be linked to a specific offender event and the profile may be used to predict the identified offender's conspiracy's future actions real intent. Criminal Profiling Here
Nonverbal communication (NVC) Multiple Article Profiling (MAP) • is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform multiple article content searches (MACS) such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and the distance between two individuals, article source, differing information, dates, pov, and the connections between the sources. It includes the use of visual cues such as body language (content), distance (dates) and organizations/politicians, corporations, law enforcement, environmental issues, economics, and technology/AI. Original NVC Content Here
I have no doubt that the actors who have advanced copies of the script are using data algorithm aggregation that compiles the different content sources into a complete picture for them. We plebs aren't so lucky, we have to peruse and parse multiple sources to connect the dots. In essence, we are the plebs living in a technofuedal era before the invention of the modern Gutenberg technopress for the masses. So let's throw on some work boots, grab a shovel, and start digging.
The Hacks and Muckrakers.
May 18, 2018: Vanity Fair • “We just got back from the Middle East,” he told a room full of Israelis, upon arriving in Jerusalem from Saudi Arabia last May. Source Here
May 22 2017: Slate • The President Just Told a Room of Israelis That He “Just Got Back From the Middle East” Source Here
Trump. The man's Presidency has come at a time where it's all starting to fall apart. And I can't help but think of Trump as Julius Caesar part two. A populist leader who threatened the establishment and upended the republic, paving the way for Augustus Caesar and the soft introduction of Roman empire, as it let the pretenses of being a Republic fade away. If you aren't familiar with that time of history, I would highly recommend doing so. There is more to my comparison that I'm not elaborating on, except to say, if you dig you will find someone else who loves Roman history, looks like a clone of Augustus, and we watched as he made rounds while articles suggested that he had aspirations of becoming President. Do I think that it'll happen soon? Probably not. History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. And we're only at the start of the Hollow Men by T S *Eliot *.
December 14, 2016: Techcrunch • President-elect Donald Trump met with some of the most prominent executives from the tech industry today at Trump Tower, with investor Peter Thiel and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at his side. Trump opened the meeting with CEOs from Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and others by thanking Thiel for his support. “I want to add that I am here to help you folks do well. And you’re doing well right now and I’m very honored by the bounce. They’re all talking about the bounce. So right now everybody in this room has to like me, at least a little bit,” Trump said, perhaps in reference to the fact that he received little support from Silicon Valley during his campaign. “We’re going to try to have that bounce continue. Perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There’s nobody like you in the world. There’s nobody like the people in this room and anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you. You’ll call my people, you’ll call me, it doesn’t make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here,” Trump said.
Interesting, wouldn't you say? No formal chain of command around here. They thanked Peter Thiel for his support. Ok. Maybe nothing, maybe something. Ok. It's something.
August, 2018 Articles: www.theverge.com • Trump claims Google is suppressing positive news about him.
www.cnbc.com • Trump: Facebook, Twitter, Google 'have to be careful'.
Stop the presses, because were getting squeezed and pasteurized. The tech leaders meet with Trump. They thank Thiel, suggesting that he organized the assembly. And then Trump starts bashing the Technocrats that he's meeting with? Nothing but Bread and Circus. Plain and simple.
June 27, 2017: Tech Transparency Project • No other company in America was as intimately tied to the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party during Barack Obama’s eight years in office than Google. Today the company is doing everything it can to restore the same cozy White House access it enjoyed under President Obama. Eric Schmidt has attended at least two meetings with Trump and attended a third White House meeting with tech leaders last Monday. At the same time, The Groundwork – a secretive Schmidt-funded startup that ran the Clinton campaign’s data operation – recently relaunched itself as a technology platform for liberal organizations working to fight the Trump Administration’s agenda. By all appearances, Google appears to be working overtime to both ingratiate itself with the Trump Administration while simultaneously cashing in on the “resistance” to Trump’s agenda. Source Here
By all appearances? He's working both sides? Trying to cash in? Really? Seriously? Let's break that down. ** 2020 • Eric Schmidt/Net worth: 15.3 billion USD. Call me crazy, but I don’t think a guy with 15 billion dollars is worried about "cashing in**". As I've stated numerous times, this is no longer about money, it's about control. That's imperative to understand. You don't worry about the money hidden under the mattress when you have a locked vault full of cash. Money is only an incentive for those who either don't have it or need more of it. Neither of those categories apply to Eric Schmidt. So lets examine how badly the Tech guys and Trump aren't getting along, shall we?
March 2, 2016: Defense News • Google Executive Schmidt To Head New DoD Advisory Board. Source Here
Ah. He's working for the Pentagon to make it better. And this happens almost a full year before meeting with Trump. This doesn't look like someone playing both sides, this looks like a team player in a game that only has one team. This is political wrestling that would make Vince McMahon envious. If you want to dive deeper into how Eric Schmidt funded the non profit that started fake news, here's a previous Flatten the Curve post. Part #19
Attendees included Eric Schmidt and Larry Page of Google, Tim Cook of Apple, Satya Nadella and Brad Smith of Microsoft, Jeff Bezos of Amazon (who expressed his excitement that Trump’s administration could be “the innovations administration“), Safra Catz of Oracle, Chuck Robbins of Cisco and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. Thiel’s business partner, Palantir CEO Alex Karp, attended as well.
Those are big names and big companies. But they all hate Trump, right?
Thiel has been instrumental in shaping Trump’s approach to technology, helping assemble a list of candidates for technical roles in the upcoming administration and reportedly bringing David Sacks and other long-time associates to the transition team. During his speech at the Republican National Convention, Thiel talked about spreading the prosperity of Silicon Valley to other regions across the country and cited space travel as one of America’s great technological achievements. “Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East,” Thiel said.
I should point out that Thiel and Musk started PayPal together.
November 24, 2019: Business Insider • What do the founders of YouTube, Yelp, Tesla, and LinkedIn have in common? Apart from leading massively disruptive technology companies, their founders all share a common resume line item: employment at PayPal. Known for their entrepreneurial mindset and anti-establishment attitude, this elite group is known as the "PayPal Mafia," and they all put in time during the payment platform's early days some 20 years ago. Source Here
Oh. And Pete's instrumental to creating Facebook. Thiel became Facebook's first outside investor when he acquired a 10.2% stake for $500,000 in August 2004. He sold the majority of his shares in Facebook for over $1 billion in 2012, but remains on the board of directors. And he funded Hulk Hogan's lawsuit to take down Gawker. Told ya, it's just political wrestling to entertain us.
However, one of the biggest proponents of travel to Mars, Elon Musk, has also been one of Trump’s most outspoken critics. Musk donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and frequently denounced Trump, saying that the former reality television star “doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States.” But since the election, Musk appears to have warmed up to Trump. He was a late addition to the invite list for today’s meeting. The transition team also announced this morning that Musk will join Trump’s strategic and policy forum, a group of business leaders that will serve as an advisory committee to the president-elect. Source Here
Musk and Trump, a marriage made in heaven. It's destiny, I tell you, destiny. Or an act (don't worry Elon, I haven't forgotten about you) designed to make us believe that somebody up there is fighting for us down here. Yet the inclusion of the quote about Mars and War in the Middle East stands out, wouldn't you agree? And we have environmental collapse triggers happening. Riots happening. Why those riots are also happening in Beruit, aren't they? And Isreal and Saudi Arabia don't get along with Lebanon, or the Hezbollah. And President Trump went from Suadi Arabia to Isreal, didn’t he? And wasn't there an explosion there recently? Must all be a coincidence. Let's get back to Pete the magical Thiel and see what else Hulk Hogan's buddy is mixed up in.
He co-founded Valar Ventures in 2010, co-founded Mithril Capital, serving as investment committee chair, in 2012, and served as a partner at Y Combinator from 2015 to 2017. Through the Thiel Foundation, Thiel governs the grant-making bodies Breakout Labs and Thiel Fellowship, and funds nonprofit research into artificial intelligence, life extension and seasteading. A co-founder of The Stanford Review, he is a conservative libertarian who is critical of high government spending, high debt levels, and foreign wars. He has donated to numerous political figures. At the 2009 Singularity Summit, he said his greatest concern is the technological singularity not arriving soon enough. Source Here
Singularity. Not. Arriving. Soon. Enough. Call me paranoid and pass the tin foil hat, but what Matrix code is needed to decipher his words intent? Not soon enough for what? Better Netflix selection? The Alien invasion? Godzilla awakening because of Fukushima? Are the Decepticons already here? Or have they been downplaying the ELE that's approaching? I'll take ELE for a thousand, Alex. So he's into AI (he backed Deepmind and OpenAI) and life extension. He went to Stanford. He's also going to have his body cryonically preserved. And his Palantir surveillance is, well, nottofreakyououtoranything, everywhere. Palantir's first backer was the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel. Then Palantir became Big Brother. Literally. The Palantir clients include the CIA, DHS, NSA, FBI, CDC, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Special Operations Command, West Point, the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization and Allies, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And Palantir is also being used by Banks, Hedge Funds, Financial Services, and other corporate clients. Big Brother wants to be Palantir went it grows up. Now, are you wondering why I started with Trump, Saudi Arabia and Isreal? Are you curious about how it goes from ex CEO of Google Eric Schmidt "playing" both sides of the fence to Palantir and Peter Thiel? Just sit right back and hold tight, cause I'm about to take you on a one way trip to a Brave New Normal World that's called 1984. Warning. What you're about to read will make you forever question every officially sanctioned narrative. Trust me. Still game? Are you sure? Last chance. You're about to leave neverneverland and you can't go back. Alright. Let's go.
It's All Hidden In Plain Sight.
Let's talk about Epstein. Yep. Him. I've been strangely quiet about Jeffery haven't I? Nothing written about the Captain Pedo and his Amazing friends didn't mean there was nothing there, it just meant that I didn't find anything that indicated something deeper than a pedophile blackmail ring. And sex and political blackmail is as old as time itself. There's a reason they say the world's two oldest professions are prostitutes and politicians. Yet it turns out the professional pimp and the abducted teens may be playing a bigger role than we thought.
July 31, 2019: NY TIMES • Mr. Epstein’s vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through controlled breeding. Mr. Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, which he confided to scientists and others he hoped to use as the site for seeding the human race with his DNA.
Welcome to the Island of Dr. Moreau. We're it's the monsters trying to make humans. Do you still think this was all about blackmail, cause it wasn't. Stop thinking in normal terms, because normal is dead, long live the New Normal.
At one session at Harvard, Mr. Epstein criticized efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of overpopulation, said Mr. Pinker, who was there. Mr. Pinker said he had rebutted the argument, citing research showing that high rates of infant mortality simply caused people to have more children.
Epstein criticized efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care. Hmmmm. My memory is foggy, but isn't there someone in Africa trying to provide health care and reduce starvation? Who could that be? Wasn't he into computers and had pictures taken on Epstein’s private jet? Wasn't it Bill Gates? Now why would Billy be hanging around someone who would vocally espouse an ideology that is completely antithetical to his stated humanitarian goals?
Also at the Indian Summer dinner, according to an account on the website of Mr. Brockman’s Edge Foundation, were the Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Jeff Bezos, who was accompanied by his mother.
Then there was Mr. Epstein’s interest in eugenics. Once, at a dinner at Mr. Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a scientist who told him that Mr. Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impregnated at his 33,000-square-foot Zorro Ranch in a tiny town outside Santa Fe. Mr. Mr. Lanier, said he had the impression that Mr. Epstein was using the dinner parties to screen candidates to bear Mr. Epstein’s children. Mr. Epstein did not hide his interest in tinkering with genes — and in perpetuating his own DNA. Interviews with more than a dozen of his acquaintances, as well as public documents, show that he used the same tactics to insinuate himself into an elite scientific community, thus allowing him to pursue his interests in eugenics and other fringe fields like cryonics. One adherent of transhumanism said that he and Mr. Epstein discussed the financier’s interest in cryonics, an unproven science in which people’s bodies are frozen to be brought back to life in the future. Mr. Epstein told this person that he wanted his head and penis to be frozen.
More Epstein and Eugenics. Source Here Now call me crazy, but there's some strangeness happening. Cryonics, don't die, just Let It Go and get Frozen. First Peter Thiel, now Epstein. Let's hope the AI Singularity arrives in time, right? Now I wouldn't have even bothered with their shared interest of joining the Walt Disney Cryonics Club, if there wasn't more in play, and there's more in play.
August 9, 2019: TRT World • The billionaire shared the same personal network that included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, infamous Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
According to investigative journalist Vicky Ward, quoting a meeting with Trump’s transition team, Acosta told a White House official: “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.”
That's a bit of an exclusive club, kinda like being in the Mouseketeer CIA club. But, hey, nothing to see here, is there? But just in case, let's look into the company that Epstein worked with, Carbyne.
This single company, Carbyne, brought together a who’s who of power brokers and intelligence figures from multiple regions including Russia, China and the Trump administration itself, with Epstein at its heart. Officially, Carbyne provided high-tech solutions for emergency centres. In reality, it existed in a grey area giving it unprecedented access to private information, with significant potential for privacy abuse. Carbyne provides a service for police emergency centres, providing complete access to the caller’s camera and GPS, providing the dispatcher with a live video feed.
Ok. So Epstein and Thiel both are into AI, Surveillance, and Cryonics. President Trump was in Isreal and Saudi Arabia in May 2017. And who ended up in Isreal just afterwards? PayPal Founder in Israel: Too Much Copying and Not Enough Innovation in High-tech
June 15, 2017: Haaretz • Billionaire Peter Thiel visits Israel – and gives out tips on how to build a successful startup. Source Here
Hey, one month after Trump visited the Middle East, Peter Thiel decides to take middle eastern vacation to give out business tips. And then Thiel must've reciprocated and invited the Fresh Prince of Saudi Arabia to get the all inclusive Palantir surveillance pitch. Smile for the camera everyone, cause the world's a stage and we're filming a world wide Truman Show.
April 7, 2018: Gulf News • Google, Thiel feature in Saudi Prince’s Silicon Valley tour. The Saudi delegation visited several Silicon Valley corporate campuses, including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. In addition to Facebook, where Thiel sits on the board, the Saudi delegation visited data-analysis start-up Palantir Technologies Inc and a trio of investment firms created by Thiel: Clarium Capital, Valar Ventures and Founders Fund. Thiel is chairman and co-founder of Palantir. Source Here
March 17, 2020: Forbes • These responders are now using a tool built in part by former members of Israel’s military intelligence—Elichai being one—that’s backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who is now the company’s chairman, and a small, passive investment from deceased multimillionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. SourceHere
Ok look. I get it. Rich people make investments, those investments are bound to end up in the same company. But these companies aren't exactly run of the mill home security systems, are they? Nope. This is the kind of surveillance systems that the KGB or the Stasi could only dream of. And when you wish upon a star dreams come true. And Peter Thiel must be wishing upon a star. Ok. Strap in, buckle up, and try to keep up, or you're gonna get left in the dust. Cause it's boom or bust from here on out, and we're gonna add it up like the count. So Elichai owns Carbyne. Peter Thiel invested in Carbyne. And Carbyne is in the USA linked to the 911 system, and it's being used to fight the pandemic.
Forbes (Link Above) • Its founder thinks Carbyne’s tech could make the lives of 911 dispatch and healthcare professionals much less chaotic in the Covid-19 crisis. Carbyne relies on callers submitting themselves to self-surveillance via their own mobile phone. Once a caller uses their Android or iPhone to call 911 (85% of emergency calls now come from mobile devices), they receive a text message that asks for permission to get their precise location and access video from their smartphone camera.
Step right up and give your permission to be saved. Big Brother is looking out for you. So Elichai used to work for the 8200. Cool name, right. I'm not sure about you, but that sounds pretty dystopian. And I've gotta say, that all of Technocrats that are promising us an AI utopia, sure seem to be getting ahead of the curve by building doomsday bunkers for a dystopia. And here we sit wasting our time Doomscrolling. So what else has sprung up from the 8200? Have you ever heard about the NSO Group?
November 1, 2019 - WhatsApp identified an Israeli company, NSO Group, as having developed the spyware called Pegasus, which it held responsible for the breach. This disclosure was part of a lawsuit WhatsApp has filed against the NSO Group in a US federal court, saying the company was actively involved in hacking users of the encrypted chat service. As per the WhatsApp complaint the “target users included attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, diplomats, and other senior foreign government officials.” NSO’s spyware Pegasus has been reportedly used to target journalists in Mexico investigating drug cartels, rights group Amnesty International, human rights activists in UAE, activists in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. According to Israeli news reports, Saudi Arabia paid $55 million for its use. The contract was later frozen over the scandal alleging NSO software's role in Saudi Arabia tracking slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the months before he was murdered in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. In India, 17 people, who are known to be targeted include activists and human rights lawyers. Source Here
Whoops. Do you remember Jamal Khashoggi? He was trying to expose Human Rights abuses against Saudi Arabia. And then Suadi Arabia decided to murder him, and confirm that they were abusing human rights. Jamal paid the ultimate price to prove his point. But who is selling the hacking tools? At this point they all seem to be springing up from members of the 8200, and the companies they started.
TRT - Link Previously Provided • DarkMatter, a UAE surveillance and intelligence group employing former NSA operatives was built on the back of a larger initiative to modernise Emirati intelligence and military operations. The group took part in at the Arab Future Cities Conference in November 2015, where it presented a vision of smarter, tech-driven cities, which caught the eye of Chinese officials. Smarter cities meant Big Brother-esque widespread surveillance installed throughout the UAE. Only two years later in April 25 2017, DarkMatter signed a Global Strategic Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei, a leading Chinese company, for the same ‘Big Data’ systems and ‘Smart City’ solutions. The middle man? None other than Erik Prince, who had gone from working for the Emiratis, to working for a Chinese billionaire. In suspect timing, the Memorandum of Understanding also took place right before China scaled up its total surveillance and crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang, China.
February 2, 2019: Reuters • Xinjiang is a major part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure network but the region has faced attacks blamed on members of the Muslim ethnic Uighur minority. Beijing has responded with a security clampdown condemned by rights groups and Western governments. Frontier Services Group (FSG), a Hong Kong-listed company founded by Prince, said in a Chinese-language statement posted on its website on Jan. 22 that it had signed a deal to build a training centre in southern Xinjiang. Prince is deputy chairman, a minority shareholder and a board member of FSG, a security, logistics and insurance provider. Source Here
Watch this video.
Chinese authorities are using a 911 mobile app to carry out illegal mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. Source Here Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Aren't we condemning China for the camps, and yet the West is helping to build those camps? Must be a big mistake. We didn’t know what was happening. And Erik Prince swears he didn't know. Honestly. He's not lying. Cross my heart and hope to die. Pinky swear.
8200 leads to NSO and Carbyne. DarkMatter is in the UAE with NSA employees. The NSO hack was used to capture Khashoggi. Peter Thiel invested in Facebook, Facebook owns WhatsApp. Peter Thiel invested in Carbyne. Eric Prince works for and founded FSG, which built the Muslim reduction school. China is using similar tech to target Muslims and send them back to school. Carbyne 911 surveillance tech accesses your phone camera after you click on the link to give permission. So. Peter Thiel funds Carbyne. Eric Prince is working for the UAE developing security and the UAE ends up with Dark Matter, and then his company (FSG) is sold to China, and they build re-education centers, which uses technology like Carbyne, and that technology is being used in the USA. Got it? Good. Because I'm seriously having a hard time keeping up with the behind the scene footage of this LARP.
Link Previously Provided • 1,400 people worldwide, including Indian lawyers, rights activists and journalist, were targets of an online spying campaign that used highly sophisticated spyware developed by an Israeli firm via WhatsApp. WhatsApp is at the centre of a global storm over privacy after it was revealed that at least 17 Indians and about 1,400 people worldwide had their phones breached through the social media app. Their privacy was compromised by surveillance technology so invasive that could read and transmit the entire contents of a phone as well as operate its camera.
WhatsApp, Doc, I think I need an appointment because I'm suffering from Mass Psychogenic Illness from too much Doomscrolling. Do you want to get deeper? I mean really deep? Yes? Ok. Let's jump into the deep.
October 18, 2019: fortune.com - How a WhatsApp Tax Launched Massive Anti-Government Protests in Lebanon.
What a crazy New Normal World Order we live in. What are the odds that we have a WhatsApp hack tax protest and we also have a WhatsApp hack that uses your phone camera, while also using similar tech in the USA and China. That's inconceivable! That's incredible! Someone call the press and let them know about this! Uhm. Wait. Better not. You might get Khashoggid. So Eric Prince is involved. Peter Thiel is involved. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook, and Peter Thiel helped Facebook grow. And then there was this.
March 28, 2018: Daily Mail • Employee of Peter Thiel's company Palantir helped Cambridge Analytica harvest the data of millions of the Facebook users. Alfredas Chmieliauskas is said to have suggested to Cambridge Analytica that it create a personality quiz smartphone app to get access to networks of Facebook users. The Times report also claims that Sophie Schmidt - the daughter former Google executive Eric Schmidt - had urged Cambridge Analytica to work with Palantir. Source Here
At this point, I think I'm going to need to buy a whole lot of tacks and string and make pciture maps on my walls. If we're all living in a Truman Surveillance Show, might as well play the part of the New Normal crazy conspiracy theorist, right?
January 17, 2017: The Intercept According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in December Prince attended the annual “Villains and Heroes” costume ball hosted by Mercer. Dowd wrote that Palantir founder Peter Thiel showed her “a picture on his phone of him posing with Erik Prince, who founded the private military company Blackwater, and Mr. Trump — who had no costume — but joke[d] that it was ‘N.S.F.I.’ (Not Safe for the Internet).”
No. Sanity. Fracking. Involved. Is more like it. This insanity can't pass for sanity, can it? And yet they label us crazy when we start to find the big picture, even if we aren't entirely sure what the big picture means.
The Intercpt Continued: In July, Prince told Trump’s senior adviser and white supremacist Steve Bannon, at the time head of Breitbart News, that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program, the CIA assassination ring that operated during the Vietnam War, to fight ISIS. Such a program, Prince said, could kill or capture “the funders of Islamic terror and that would even be the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East, and any of the other illicit activities they’re in.” Prince also said that Trump would be the best force to confront “Islamic fascism.” “As for the world looking to the United States for leadership, unfortunately, I think they’re going to have to wait till January and hope Mr. Trump is elected because, clearly, our generals don’t have a stomach for a fight,” Prince said. “Our president doesn’t have a stomach for a fight and the terrorists, the fascists, are winning.” Source Here
Sounds good, right? Kill people who kill people and maybe someday we won't have people getting killed. Killer idea! HEWDSHAWT! Grab your BFG and let's go BGH. It's a date! But then why are these cell phone surveillance hacks companies being constantly linked with their names, and those hacks are being used to target journalists and human rights activists? It's a small New Normal World Order after all. And it's getting smaller everyday. No worries though, Keep Calm and Carry On, We're All In This Together, and You're Either With Us Or Against Us. It's all good. That kind of thing could never happen here.
July 27, 2019: NARATIV • Michael Chertoff, who ran Homeland Security under George Bush, serves on Carbyne’s advisory board. Chertoff wrote the Patriot Act, which authorized digital surveillance of Americans. Source Here
Uh. Is nobody paying attention? Are the wolves guarding the sheep?
March 16, 2003: Washington Post • It didn't help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden. Former president Bush, a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. Source Here
Need more proof?
September 16, 2015: Carlyle Group • The Carlyle Group and The Chertoff Group Acquire Majority Stake in Coalfire Systems. Founded in 2001 and based in Louisville, Colo., Coalfire is a global cybersecurity and technology services provider specializing in cyber risk advisory, compliance assessments, technical testing and software services for private enterprises and government organizations. With its technical depth and breadth of IT services, Coalfire serves clients in sectors including technology, retail, payments, healthcare, financial services, education, local and state government, and utilities. Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and the co-founder and executive chairman of The Chertoff Group, said, “Cyber threats are an existential risk to companies and individuals around the globe. We and Carlyle are excited to partner with Coalfire, an innovative technology-enabled services company helping clients to address cyber risks.” Source Here
The 2020 Parliamentary Budget Session had to be cut short 12 days ahead of schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that a lot of time that would have been dedicated to the discussion of pressing issues was lost. Meanwhile, fresh issues, especially in the domain of digital, and privacy rights have arisen. These problems required urgent parliamentary deliberation and oversight. With the upcoming Monsoon Session offering a glimmer of hope, we urge our Parliamentarians to take note of issues in the domain of data, privacy, and digital rights. Since a truncated session might be on the cards, we identify core issues as ‘prioritization and efficiency’ will be realistically how this session may be structured.
The 2020 Parliamentary Monsoon Session: Lite Version?
‘Better late than never’ is the sentiment as indications emerge that the Monsoon Session of the Parliament for this year may soon be announced. While an official announcement is still awaited, various news reports over the past few weeks have claimed that parliament might commence around Late August-Early September. It has been rumoured that to ensure that social distancing protocols are followed, each wing of the Parliament (the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha) might sit for business on alternate days --- with each wing using up halls of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to ensure safe social distancing. On the other hand, a similar scheme but with a morning and evening shiftinstead of alternate days has also been suggested by some sources. Given the backlog of urgent issues the second approach is a more preferable option since the former would amount to half the time for deliberation in comparison. Whatever route is taken, it is obvious that prioritisation of issues, and procedural efficiency may dominate this session. We, sincerely believe that this is possible while maintaining a healthy balance deliberative and considered debate. To aid in this effort we have identified several core digital rights issues which may benefit from parliamentary scrutiny. This is only the first step and we intend to follow this up with correspondence with the treasury and the opposition benches.
Digital, and Privacy Rights: Important Issues and the Way Forward
A lot of developments, which have a direct bearing on every Indian citizen’s digital, data, and privacy rights have shaped up over the past few months. Website blocking, blanket app bans, deployment of intrusive surveillance technologies and continued internet shutdowns are just a few of these issues. Our team has been on its toes to make sure that citizens’ rights are duly respected and protected. To this effect, we have consistently engaged with various government ministries, legislators, civil society organisations, parliamentary committees, and the citizens themselves to vociferously advocate for a more inclusive, and rights-respecting digital ecosystem. As an organisation that works closely with issues pertaining to digital rights, transparency, innovation, privacy protection, and civil liberties, we have consistently engaged with governmental bodies to brief them about core issues that seek immediate and foolproof redressal. From time to time, we have also come up with and advocated for policy recommendations for these issues. The following table lists the broad issues that we reckon are of utmost importance for discussion in the upcoming parliamentary session along with some broad policy recommendations that should be deliberated upon.
Demands from the Government/Recommendations/IFF’s Actions
Aarogya Setu being made a pre-condition for access to livelihood, employment and basic needs
a. Aarogya Setu made mandatory for entry to Delhi District Court. [link]b. Aarogya Setu’s use for air travel. [link]c. RWAs and Aarogya Setu: An anti-privacy combination. [link]
a. Make a law as per the right to the privacy judgement to regulate Aarogya Setu emphasising the voluntary and uncoerced usage of the app. [link] b. Engagement with the parliamentary machinery through correspondence with the Parliamentary Committee on IT with the aim of keeping them updated about current and impending security and privacy issues. [link]
Censorship of innovation through app bans
a. Proposed generalised app ban guidelines. [link] b. 59 apps banned on June 29 2020. [link]
a. Undertake comprehensive reforms starting with issuance of an SOP as per Supreme Court judgements prior to registration of any cases on social media content. b. Avoid drastic and patchy measures. Approach the issue with a nuanced plan that involved the Personal Data Protection Bill, NCSS and Competition Act working in tandem. [link]
Unregulated surveillance technologies and absence of safeguards
a. Facial Recognition Technology deployment. [link]b. Delhi Police’s use of drones for surveillance. [link] c. Surveillance through Call Data Records. [link]
a. Build robust privacy safeguards into laws regulating potentially intrusive technologies and avoid usage of drones for law enforcement. [link] b. Ensure that the concerns of civil society and the public are duly incorporated en-route to a comprehensive Data Protection Bill, which currently lies with a Joint Parliamentary Committee. [link]c. Rethink usage of intrusive technologies like Facial Recognition and develop foresight and safeguards before deployment. [link 1] and [link 2]
a. Internet shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir. [link 1] and [link 2]b. Internet shutdowns in the North-East of India. [link]
a. Undertake legal reforms as per the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Anuradha Bhasin case. [link 1] and [link 2]b. Follow principles of proportionality, absolute necessity and transparency while administering internet shutdowns. [link]
Lack of Internet access
a. Poor Internet access in A&N Islands. [link]b. Lack of 4G access in remote parts of Odisha. [link]
a. Expand tele-connectivity and 4G internet access on priority in all parts of India. [link]b. Recommendations to TRAI to uphold Net Neutrality, and bolster Internet Access. [link]
Cyber attacks against activists
a. Large scale phishing and malware attacks and vulnerabilities in India. [link]b. NSO Group comes up with new tools pitched towards governments. [link]
a. Constitute a high level inquiry and make an express statement that such intrusions and attacks are illegal acts.b. Expedite the process on the much needed Data Protection Bill. [link]c. Ensure there is parliamentary dialogue and oversight on such issues so that such threats can be checked in real-time. [link]
a. Environmental awareness and activism websites blocked in an act of opaque censorship. [link] b. Privacy-friendly search engine DuckDuckGo blocked. [link]c. Arbitrary blocking of WeTransfer: [link]d. Whistleblower provides blocking orders for over 4000 websites. [link]
a. Reform the website blocking process specifically focussing on removing the opacity existing in regulation [link] b.Recommendations to the Standing Committee on Information Technology to avoid arbitrary website blocking, and internet shutdowns [link]
Janta Parliament Initiative
We definitely realise that legislative deliberation through the various activities of the Parliament is one of the most vital parts of governance and policy making in the country. Therefore, it gives us immense pleasure to be a part of the Janta Parliament initiative where more than 50 civil society organisations and citizens’ campaigns will come together for a 6-day simulated conference to convene a unique citizen driven Parliament. We have contributed to this initiative through substantive inputs towards the summary demands for analysis, demands and recommendations. This is a coordinated effort at setting out a concrete, well-researched and pragmatic agenda to address urgent COVID-19 related policy issues whenever the next parliamentary session takes place. To start off, Janta Parliament is going to hold a press briefing at 1430 hours today (13th August 2020). Therefore, we urge all media organisations to attend and be part of this unique and much needed initiative. In conclusion, we really hope that this Independence Day our parliamentarians pledge to make the best use of the parliament to discuss and resolve urgent issues from all sectors including digital rights, and privacy during the upcoming session. This is very important because legislators are our first line of defence against breaches of rights and their diligence is essential to deepening the sense of democracy in the country. We also hope that consensus can be reached on the arrangements and starting date of the monsoon session without any further delay, and that instead of a truncated session, a fully functional and efficient session can be held.
You can read more on Jan Sarokar’s Janta Parliament initiative, and participation here. [link]
The Facebook event page for Janta Parliament (August 16 to August 21). [link]
2020.08.05 10:19 CopyPastePosterSALMAN KHAN GUNS FOR FOUR BACK-TO-BACK RELEASES; AIMS TO RETURN TO SETS WITH RADHE BY NOVEMBER, FOLLOWED BY GUNS OF NORTH, KABHI EID KABHI DIWALI AND TIGER 3
Mirror (Feb 20) was the first to report that Salman Khan will be playing an upright Sikh cop in LoveYatri director Abhiraj Minawala’s next, which features Aayush Sharma as a gangster. The film was to roll in Delhi in April, but the coronavirus-triggered lockdown played spoil-sport. During the lockdown, Salman stayed put with Abhiraj and writer Hussain Dalal, who has penned films like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, 2 States, Jawaani Jaaneman and Baaghi 2, in his farm in Panvel working on the script which is now locked. Titled Guns Of North, it will be shot in 90 days once life gets back to normal According to a source close to the development, the film is based on the Marathi hit, Mulshi Pattern, recommended to Salman by his friend, actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar. “While in the original, Upendra Limaye’s cop was on screen for just 20 minutes, this time around, the script has been rewritten, to focus on the confrontation between Salman and Aayush, who play cop and gangster. He has almost 50-55 days work,” informed the source, adding that the extended cameo has now become a full-fledged role The shooting dates are yet to be decided because Salman’s first priority is to complete and release the Prabhudheva-directed action thriller, Radhe. “Around 10 days of shoot still remains. Now, they are contemplating letting go of a song which is not integral to the narrative. Salman is still at his farm and looking to resume work on Radhe in October or November. It’s a big screen entertainer, so the makers are in no hurry to release the film. If they can get back to action in the next two-three months, they will target the Republic Day weekend. If they miss that, their next consideration will be Eid 2021,” shared the source. https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/salman-khan-guns-for-four-back-to-back-releases-aims-to-return-to-sets-with-radhe-by-november-followed-by-guns-of-north-kabhi-eid-kabhi-diwali-and-tiger-3/articleshow/77357196.cms?utm_source=mmandroid&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=list
2020.08.04 07:13 HanuwomanRape reports for July 2020
Below is a table listing the reports submitted to rapetracker between July 1 and July 31.
This list is certainly not exhaustive as a lot of reports in vernacular media never make it to the English media. I do know that I also miss reports in a few papers as well.
As always, remember that this is a very tiny percentage of the reports that make it to the media from the police. The reports in the police are a minuscule percentage of the assaults that occur in India as most are never reported. If you go by the NCRB statistic from 2018, a rape is reported every 15 minutes in India. So a timeframe of 30 days would normally see 2880 reports made to the police. This list has only 322.
As per news reports a coordinated effort is underway by the Government of India to strengthen its stance on banning mobile apps. According to a senior government official and other sources in the government, the GoI is planning to come out with guidelines, flouting which any app can be banned. Such wide scale banning would undermine nuanced policy approaches for protecting the digital rights of the citizens. We have some alternatives and suggestions to protect users, innovation and the larger national interest. So, we wrote to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) urging them to develop a transparent cybersecurity policy, and asking them to expedite the work on the Personal Data Protection Bill.
Proposed guidelines on the banning of mobile applications and websites
In this Economic Times article dated July 27, a senior government official has reportedly stated that the government is currently working on a protocol, which shall define expectations and rules to be fulfilled by all mobile applications. Failure to comply may lead to the application being banned by the government. However, the framework through which these proposed guidelines will be enforced remains unclear. It has been suggested that various ministries including the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Ministry of Communications, and the Ministry of Home Affairs shall be part of the consultative process, which will form these guidelines or rules.
In a statement published on July 1, 2020 on the banning of 59 mobile applications we asked for transparency in the process through which these applications had been banned. This is in line with our consistent view regarding the government’s operational practice much more widely when the powers under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 are utilised. We further pointed out that such blanket bans would undermine the digital rights of Indian citizens and set a worrying precedent. These bans are in deviation from the current rule of law framework under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the decisions of the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India. We firmly believe that such bans stifle innovation and are harmful to the growing technological ecosystem of the country. While innovators should be assured that the government supports them through a stable and reliable system, strengthening this ‘ban regime’ by legitimising it through official guidelines will hurt the interests of the public at large. Recently, India has seen opaque and arbitrary acts of censorship where websites like DuckDuckGo and WeTransfer and websites dedicated to environmental awareness and activism like FridaysForFuture and LetIndiaBreathe were blocked. A ban regime may further contribute to this ongoing arbitrary practice and thus should not be introduced.
What should be done instead?
In our letter dated 31 July 2020, we wrote to MeitY suggesting that instead of formalising a ban regime, the government should direct its efforts towards both coming up with progressive reforms, and expediting important policy processes for the forumulation of insitutional frameworks of enforcement. To this effect, we made 4 broad recommendations :
Advancing the National Cyber Security Policy: We suggested a rights-centred, effective and evidence based approach towards the National Cyber Security Policy that puts India’s interests first. All penalties under it from the life cycle of investments towards operations in emerging and foundational sectors such as technology are the need of the hour. We also suggested that the ongoing process for the formulation of the National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) 2020 under which the draft recommendations must be accelerated towards finalisation but first put through another round of expert and public consultation.
Focus on the Data Protection Bill and the Competition Act: Furthermore, we emphasised the need for a well-drafted Personal Data Protection Bill, which can safeguard the privacy of personal data of citizens through clear standards and evidence. While we understand that the draft bill currently lies with a Joint Parliamentary Committee(JPC) for scrutiny, steps can be taken by MeitY to expedite the process by coordinated effort with the JPC by providing written context and explanations on key legislative choices.
Considering inter-ministerial inputs on Competition Law: Further there are ongoing processes by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to examine amendments to the Competition Act in which inputs on data side harms are also being considered. Here, inter-ministerial inputs may be of immense value. This is due to repeated allegations and instances of the abuse of market power and unfair trade practices by technology companies which sometimes if left unaddressed lead to grievances which then lead to demands for ad-hoc actions such as bans.
Adoption of graded penalties: We also recommended that instead of placing blanket bans on applications which fail to meet the standards set by the NCSS and PDP Bill, the government should adopt a system of graded penalties wherein defaulters can be penalized monetarily and through requisite changes in operational practices in situations of non-compliance. This penalty should be accompanied with a framework which ensures that the defaulter makes an effort to comply with the standards set by the government, failing which further penalties may even be escalated in exceptional circumstances towards complete prohibitions which are term limited, or on repeated violations may even be perpetual. We intend to follow up and will keep urging all our government institutions to take clear steps to protect your digital rights.
Representation to the MeitY urging them to rethink the move on generalised guidelines for banning apps dated July 31, 2020. [link]
Our initial statement on the government’s press release on 29 June 2020, which banned 59 mobile apps dated July 1, 2020. [link]
IFF’s solidarity with LetIndiaBreathe (LIB) and FridaysForFuture and subsequent action on behalf of LIB dated July 13, 2020. [link]
Blog post on the blocking of DuckDuckGo and our action dated July 2, 2020. [link]
Blog post on blocking of WeTransfer and our action dated June 9, 2020. [link]
December 2023 With Saudi Arabia in flames, the world's largest oil exporter is out of the picture, for better or for worse. As oil prices skyrocket to meet the demand, Saudi Arabian importers will be frantically searching for new options. While Pakistan is an importer of crude petroleum, it does not make up a sizable amount of Pakistan's imports. Nonetheless, Pakistan must prepare to compensate for all of Pakistan's trade with Saudi Arabia through substitution with its strategic partners.
Immediate Need: $2.337 Bn of Oil Pakistan has contacted the governments of Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan to secure a contract for increased petroleum imports for the next three years. Pakistan's population would be very upset if it did not take actions to keep down prices of fuel, and the military heavily relies on oil for transportation. With PM Zardari in power, he is being tested with his first crisis- and he must keep the fuel prices stable in Pakistan to save Pakistan's economy while the world will burn outside of the country. PM Zardari has asked his Minister of Energy to calculate the need of oil to keep Pakistan's economy stable so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can begin signing deals with regional allies. Iran: $1.5 Bn of Oil until 2026 The Minister of Energy believes that Iran, sharing a land border with Pakistan will be able to provide the cheapest options given our relationship and geographical advantages. However, without an oil pipeline between Iran and Pakistan, there are significant time limitations that must be met through barges and ground transport via train and trucks. PM Zardari has reached out to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and informed him that Pakistan would like to sign a deal to acquire $1.5 Bn of oil imports annually for the next three years. Iran exports approximately 785,000 bbl/day, making Iran the 18th largest oil exporting country. However due to relation issues with the west and other countries, Pakistan expects Iranian demand will not rise much among major consumers, and Pakistan would like to seize this opportunity to do business with Iran. Qatar: $1 Bn of Oil until 2026 Pakistan has also reached out to Qatar, one of our most faithful business partners and security allies. Shortly after an attack on their country, Qatar is likely seeking opportunities to instill confidence and growth among their population, especially with unrest growing in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has proposed a deal to Qatar where Pakistan will order $1 Bn of oil annually until 2026 to eliminate dependency on Saudi Arabia and keep prices stable. With Pakistan's new defense commitments to Qatar, Pakistan is confident that these deals will be secure from intervention from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will take extensive efforts to protect this deal with Qatar. The issue is that all of the oil will have to be transported to Gwadar or Karachi by barge, and that is a time consuming endeavor. There is really no way around this, so diversifying with other nations was our best option. The surplus ordered should cover delays. Kazakhstan: $1 Bn of Oil until 2026 Kazakhstan is also one of the largest oil exporting nations and have been gifted with vast reserves. Although they are not directly our northern neighbor, they are still quite close and manage a pipeline from Skymkent that ends at Gwadar. Typically this line is used for Kazakhstan to sell their oil to nations abroad, however this time, Pakistan would like to purchase some of the oil for itself, rather than using it as a point of transit. Pakistan would like $1 Bn worth of oil every year until 2026. These deals will net Pakistan a surplus of $1.163 Bn in Oil imports that will be stored to be gradually released to the market to keep prices stable
Kerman-Gwadar Oil Pipeline Pakistan's Ministry of Energy is proposing a pipeline to pass from Kerman, Iran to Gwadar, Pakistan to give Pakistan a direct channel to import Iranian oil from. Pakistan is unsure how long the issues in Saudi Arabia will last and what sort of government would rise in its place, so is looking for ways to prepare itself for a worst case scenario. Pakistan will begin the construction of its own side, if Iran agrees, and asks that Iran begin construction of their side. This project will cost $500 Mn and will be completed in two years.
Recently, the US EIA has discovered that Pakistan is sitting on a reserve of 9 billion barrels of petroleum oil and 105 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is a game changer for Pakistan, which was originally believed to only have limited reserves. In 2009, Pakistan thought it would run out of natural gas by 2029, but with the recent information, that is not only untrue, but provides overwhelming evidence to support wide-spread expansion of oil and natural gas extraction in the country. It is clear that in the long-term Saudi Arabia may no longer be a viable option for oil importing, so turning to Pakistan's own reserves will not only be beneficial for Paksitan's use, but position Pakistan as a long-term key exporter of petroleum and natural gas. The Ministry of Energy has begun approving permits for public-sector petroleum and gas enterprises in Pakistan to begin setting up operations to begin extracting petroleum and natural gas. Once the public-sector businesses have priority, then Pakistan-domestic private businesses will be allowed access and so on.
2020.07.25 21:49 cool_boyyDil Bechara & Paatal Lok fame Swastika Mukherjee Publicly Apologised For Filing False Dowry Harasmment Case Against Husband’s Family
Swastika marries her husband Promit Sen in 1998. Promit was the son of Rabindra Sangeet singer, late Sagar Sen. A daughter was born to the couple in 2000 and the woman left her in-laws’ home the same year. Subsequently she filed 498A against her husband as well as brother-in-laws Pritam and Priyam. Both brothers were acquitted from charges of physical and mental torture by an Alipore court in 2005. Later, Pritam filed a damage suit of Rs 7.7 crores (USD 1mn approx) against Mukherjee for filing false charges and falsely implicating and publicly maligning their image. All through the court hearings, Pritam had also suffered a huge financial loss. During this trial, Swastika failed to appear in court and later her counsel told the judge how she was not submitted any copy. On other hand, when the process counsel had gone to her home to hand over the copy, she refused to take the same and also unleashed her dog on him. The court agreed that the woman’s defence was not made truthfully and rejected the same, directing the case to be heard ex-parté. Swastika had then rendered an unconditional apology then for contempt of court. 2007 The trial court directed Swastika to pay the amount to Pritam in 2007 and she moved the high court against the verdict. 2009 Later in April 2009, as reported by The Telegraph, a Calcutta High Court division bench comprising of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice S.P. Mitra upheld the trial court’s order that actress Swastika Mukherjee would go “undefended” in the Rs 7.7-crore damages suit filed by her brother-in-law Pritam Sen. However, Swastika was not ready to give up. The actress then told the media, "We had filed an appeal against the case and it has been rejected. It doesn’t mean the final verdict is out. I can’t comment further because we are yet to receive a copy of the court order and the matter is sub judice." The damages suit had been dragging on in the trial court since 2005 after Pritam was discharged from the false 498A case. On the basis of the bailiff’s report, the high court issued an arrest warrant against Swastika in January that year, which prompted the actress to turn up in court, apologise and also pay a fine of Rs 8,500. Swastika then appealed to the division bench against Justice Sinha’s order, which was dismissed as well. Subsequently the actress confessed in a media conference that the dowry harassment allegations she made against her estranged husband were false, apparently bringing a closure to an episode that has been playing out amidst full media glare for ten years. Swastika ended the same by saying, I am deeply sorry for all that Promit and his family has had to go through. I hope he can move on. Her brother-in-law, Pritam said "We went through hell for the past ten years. So many arrest warrants, all the expenses and the defamation aside, my brother is never going to get back the last ten years. He’s totally mentally devastated." Status As On Date As per sources, the decree of Rs 7.7 crore has not yet been executed. It’s still executable. The false dowry case was finally quashed by Supreme Court. However, the divorce remains pending even after 20-years despite SC ordering of a consent divorce. Actress apologises in courtActress loses appeal in Rs 7.7 crore casePaatal Lok Actor Swastika Mukherjee Publicly Apologised For Filing 498A Case Against Husband’s Family
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