‘Heed’ The Warning! [v251]

JANUARY 2020

In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had a top-secret program that was illegally collecting communications records on everyone in America. He became a ‘whistleblower’ so he could inform every U.S. citizen to ‘HEED’ THE WARNING.

Edward Snowden revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing an unprecedented system of mass data surveillance, with the ability to ‘pry’ into the private lives of every person in America by collecting EVERY single digitized communication—phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and Internet browsing!

Snowden suggested that every American should be asking themselves: “What does it mean to have the data of our lives collected and stored on file, ready to be accessed not just now—by whatever administration happens to be in office at the moment—but potentially forever?” [ By who knows who ].

Snowden eventually decided that his loyalties lie not with the agencies he was working for, but for the public they were originally set up to protect. He felt that ordinary citizens were being betrayed, and that it was his ‘DUTY’ to inform all Americans about this surveillance and it would cost him his way of life and possibly his U.S. citizenship. [ As of Christmas 2019, he was still living in Russia, with his asylum scheduled to end by the end of 2020 ].

A deeply reluctant whistleblower—or “watchman on the wall” as I would call him—Snowden presented how the ‘god-like’ omniscience that digital data can bestow on those with the power to collect it, can ultimately turn into totalitarian control (which George Orwell warned us of in his book, “1984”).

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iuLLkWefxs ].

In 2012, Snowden got a job as an NSA contractor, working at an underground facility in Hawaii. Despite his modest status, he had remarkable access. He commented:

“Deep in a tunnel under a pineapple field—a subterranean Pearl Harbor-era former airplane factory—I sat at a terminal from which I had practically unlimited access to the communications of nearly every man, woman and child on earth who’d ever dialed a phone or touched a computer.”

Snowden continued: “I participated in the most significant change in the history of American espionage—the change from the targeted surveillance of individuals to the mass surveillance of entire populations. I helped make it technologically feasible for a single government to collect all the world’s digital communications, store them for ages, and search through them at will.” WOW!!!

 

This comprehensive NSA surveillance program was designed originally to find terrorists overseas, but was massively and secretly expanded as a direct outgrowth of the al-Qaida 9/11 attacks to ‘spy’ on American citizens. The intelligence community failed to see the terrorists coming, and was intent on gobbling up as much raw data as they could to prevent any future attack. For Snowden, however, this mass collection of the data on U.S. citizens was a gross violation of privacy: “I was resolved to bring to light a single, all-encompassing fact: that my government had developed and deployed a global system of mass surveillance without the knowledge or consent of its citizenry.”

Snowden revealed that American citizens were subjected to mass government surveillance, and that the privacy that they valued was not intact. ‘Uncle Sam’ had become a silent ‘partner’ in their lives—without their consent!

 

AGE OF SURVEILLANCE
Since the “Generation Xers”—and maybe even the “Baby Boomers”—information has been collected on Americans (and probably everyone in all other “First World” countries) since the moment they were born—and is stored somewhere that can be accessed by those who know where to look (and, at least for now, have the ‘authority’ to look).

However, as Edward Snowden’s infamous revelations suggest, the government has, for many years, been collecting the communication records of perfectly average folks like you and me—in essence ‘spying’ on millions of Americans! In addition to that, the NSA was tapping directly into the servers of the biggest Internet companies in the world (firms like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple) without their knowledge to obtain even more data! The sheer breadth of this should be ‘CHILLING’ to any American concern with privacy!

 

Even though people SHOULD get angry when the government ‘spies’ on them, they ‘allow’ private companies like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple, etc., to ‘voluntarily’ collect their data. (Well, maybe ‘coerced’ to allow them to do so when they agreed to the “Terms of Service”).

 

Data collection has been around for many years now via personal computers (the Internet “cookie” that tracks where you go on the Internet was implemented in 1994). However, during the past decade, that little ‘phone’ you have in your pocket/purse has become THE ‘tracking device’ for YOU, and it’s only going to get more ‘sophisticated’ as time goes on!

You may be thinking, “How much of my cell phone ‘communications’ are being collected?” Well, as an example, in 2014, protesters in Kiev, Ukraine found out. After a clash with police, demonstrators received an ominous text message on their cell phone: “Dear subscriber, you have been registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” So, pretty much ALL of your ‘movements’ and ‘interactions’, when you have your phone, are being recorded! (That means pretty much 24/7 for all the “Millennial” and “Gen Z” folk).

 

According to market research firm “Statista,” 67% of the people in the world have at least one cell phone, with 50% of them having a Smartphone! (The total number of cell phone outnumber the world’s population!) About 45% of them—2.88 billion—check Facebook on their Smartphone at least once every month!

In addition to that, as of 2019, there were about 1 BILLION surveillance cameras throughout the world. That might sound like a lot but, by 2022, it is estimated that the world will have OVER 1 TRILLION surveillance cameras—all connected to the Internet!!! [ A trillion is 1,000 TIMES more than a billion! ]. YOU ARE BEING ‘WATCHED’, and that’s only go to INCREASE GEOMETRICALLY! “Big Brother” is watching you!

 

In George Orwell’s book, “1984,” “Big Brother” was the leader of Oceania, a totalitarian state wherein the ruling party, “Ingsoc,” wields total power “for its own sake” over the inhabitants. In the society that Orwell describes, every citizen is under constant surveillance by the authorities, mainly by “telescreens.” The people are constantly reminded of this by the slogan “Big Brother is watching you,” a maxim that is ubiquitously on display everywhere.

The thing is, there so happens to be kind of an ‘Oceania’ in South Korea right now. It’s called “Songdo” (“Pine City”), a built-from-scratch “smart” city. It is a sensor-ladened showplace of 21st century urban design, and purported to be an “eco-friendly master-planned utopia.”

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZyL1kyOhWE&feature=youtu.be&t=1782 ].

 

Completed in 2015, it contained 80,000 apartments, 50,000,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 10,000,000 sq. ft. of retail space. As a “sustainable city,” 40% of its area is reserved for green space, which includes a park of 100 acres, 16 miles of bicycling lanes, numerous charging stations for electric vehicles, and a waste collection system that eliminates the need for trash trucks. All the houses, offices, and streets are connected to a WAN (“Wide Area Network”—kind of like a ‘local’ Internet).

Being ‘connected’ allows Songdo residents to video-conference with their neighbors, or even attend classes remotely. They can control the lighting, heating, air conditioning and more in their home, all with the push of a button on a control panel (or on their Smartphone).

Sensors gather information on things like traffic flow and energy use. This kind of information is then converted into many kinds of alerts—like telling citizens when a bus will arrive, or notifying the authorities when a crime is taking place. The water pipes are designed to prevent drinkable water from being wasted in showers and toilets.

Because of the beautiful surroundings, it is easy to forget that you’re being watched—on buses, in subways, in coffee shops and restaurants, in stores, in your office, and in your home. EVERY resident is being ‘WATCHED’, ALL THE TIME!

 

Now, even though we in the U.S. don’t hear much about this kind of surveillance in the news, it IS HAPPENING here—and at unprecedented ‘levels’!

Though the United States is a country that ‘preaches’ about freedom, and China is known as an authoritarian state, a new report from “PreciseSecurity.com” claims that the U.S. actually has more surveillance cameras per capita. China has more CCTV cameras overall, but the U.S. is ahead when you break down the numbers of cameras per person.

China, with 349 million security cameras (in 2018), had one camera for every 4.1 persons. By comparison, the U.S. had 70 million surveillance cameras installed, which works out to 4.6 people per camera. The United States has 15.28 CCTV cameras for every 100 individuals, followed by China with 14.36 and the United Kingdom with 7.5.” [ Reported by “IHS Markit” ].

“During the past few years, coverage of the surveillance market has focused heavily on China’s massive deployments of cameras and artificial intelligence technology. What’s received far less attention is the high level of penetration of surveillance cameras in the United States,” report author Oliver Philippou said, an analyst at IHS Markit. “With the U.S. nearly on par with China in terms of camera penetration, future debate over mass surveillance is likely to concern America as much as China.”

Many American cities have been aggressively in putting in surveillance infrastructure, including Detroit, which recently installed cameras to monitor public housing residents, and Baltimore, whose police department have been conducting secret aerial surveillance of residents for several years. Police departments have also partnered with Amazon’s Ring, a doorbell camera, to push the product to local homeowners, effectively encouraging neighbors to ‘monitor’ each other.

 

There are six municipalities in the U.S. that made the list of the top 50 most surveilled cities in the world. They included Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston. Atlanta was the only place in the U.S. to crack the top 10, with 15.56 cameras per thousand residents.

Chicago has about 13 cameras per thousand residents, and D.C. has 5.6. The other three cities have three or less cameras per thousand residents (Chicago had the highest number of individual cameras amongst U.S. cities, at 35,000).

 

On June 19, 2013, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary that the federal government had been employing surveillance drones on U.S. soil in “particular incidents,” deploying them for large public gatherings. In addition to that, it was mentioned that tiny drones were being used to fly inside buildings to track down suspects and assist in investigations. (Was that all they were used for?)

In the future, drones will be modified to carry high-resolution video cameras, infrared sensors, license plate readers, listening devices, and be disguised as sea gulls or other birds to mask themselves! By the end of 2020, about 30,000 unmanned drones are expected to be deployed in the United States for the purpose of surveillance and law enforcement.

With drones being able to ‘talk’ to each other now, and create complex 3D ‘images’ like the following presentation in Singapore, could you image if they had ‘weapons’ attached to them!

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qwd1znU3h8 ].

 

When you think about it, our whole civilization now ‘rests’ on this data infrastructure—from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep at night, and from the moment you’re born to the moment you die!

There just so happens to be a new company that is offering employers technology that can collect all data that matters in regards to “human interaction.” It’s called a “Sociometric Badge.” It’s kind of like a company ID badge, but it has sensors embedded in it. It captures the percentage of time that the employee talks, their tone of voice, and how loud they speak. The data is supposed to indicate how “successful they are collaborating.”

It also has a motion sensor that indicates ‘where’ within the office the employee is, and ‘how’ they move—allowing employers to monitor every move of their employees to a stunningly detailed degree.

 

The notion that we were constantly being surveilled like this would have been ludicrous just 20-30 years ago. (Exactly what Orwell wrote about in his “1984” book.) However, this is HAPPENING TODAY!

There is a company called “Inner Max,” that does wire transfers between the U.S. and South America. The company implemented a program where the employee had to download an app to their Smartphone, and it tracked everywhere the employee was, to the very smallest detail (So detailed, it kept track of how long they stayed in one place and how fast they were driving). The thing is, they were not allowed to turn it off after they went home from work. They were being monitoring all the time!

Myrna Arais was a district sales manager for the company, and felt “exposed all the time.” She was concerned that they were not only tracking her, but that they were recording and storing all this data. She wondered how much data they had on her, and what they were intending to do with it. Scared, she and another co-worker decided not to use the app. They were both IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED!

 

Going beyond the ID badge, for the past few years people have been being ‘chipped’ (an RFID chip implanted under the skin that contains all a person’s ‘credentials’ and health data). Thousands of tech enthusiasts all across Europe have already had microchips implanted, and a “major financial services firm” has had “hundreds of thousands of employees” chipped.

For security-obsessed corporations, this sort of technology can appear to have a lot of upside. If all of your employees are chipped, you will always know where they are, and you will always know who has accessed sensitive areas or sensitive information. “The chip implant is a secure way of ensuring that a person’s digital identity is linked to their physical identity. It enables access management in a way that protects individual self-sovereignty and allows users to control the privacy of their online activity,” said Dr. Stewart Southey, the Chief Medical Officer at Biohax International.

What often starts off as voluntary can just as easily become mandatory. Whereas tech itself may be neutral, in the hands of the wrong person, it could be extremely dangerous. Imagine the technology of today in the hands of a ‘Hitler’!

 

Going even further than the ‘implant’, Amazon is working with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Synchrony Financial to have the person’s hand become the ‘credit card’ (It is likely to tie in with a previously filed patent that includes a “non-contact biometric identification system” that features a “hand scanner” to produce a picture of a person’s palm.) People would then pay for purchases with their palms, without having to pull out a card or a phone. They plan to first pitch the hand scanner terminals to gas stations, coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, and other merchants that do ‘quick’ transactions and business with repeat customers.

All four major credit card companies—Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover—have said that they are looking for more secure ways to authorize payments and deter theft. They all said they are looking into adopting ‘biometric’ technologies as a form of authentication.

Biometrics refer to unique human physical characteristics like fingerprints, facial recognition, voiceprints, and iris or retinal scans—unique elements of a user that can entirely replace traditional alphanumeric passwords that are proved to be even more secure. (Visa announced pilot institutions that will begin using a new payment card that features an on-card fingerprint sensor.)

“Biometric technologies perfectly meet the public’s expectation for state-of-the-art security when making a payment,” said Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard U.K. and Ireland. “It will make the purchase much smoother, and instead of having to remember passwords to authenticate, shoppers will have the chance to use a fingerprint or a picture of themselves.”

 

Again, Edward Snowden was insightful about this: “Saying that you don’t care about privacy, because you’ve got nothing to hide, is no different than saying you don’t care about freedom of speech, because you’ve got nothing to say. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of rights and what privacy really is and what it’s for. Privacy isn’t about having something to hide. Privacy is about having something to protect. And that’s a free and open society. That thing is liberty.”

One thing we learned from Edward Snowden is that our government and businesses have an ‘aggressive’ appetite for data about American citizens, and they will ‘fight’ to keep being able to collect it and use it in a way advantageous to them!

 

“SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM”
There are many reasons for surveillance, but probably the one that ‘touches’ everyone’s lives on a daily basis—primarily in “first” and “second” world countries—is that of what Harvard professor Shoshana Zubov calls “Surveillance Capitalism.”

According to Zubov, our personal and private experiences have been ‘hijacked’ by Silicon Valley, and are being used as the “raw material for extremely profitable digital products.”

She says that we all enjoy personalized services like ‘targeted’ ads when we are wanting to purchase something, but the ‘behemoth’ behind serving you that ad has ALL of your personal information, and that it might be used in ways you don’t know about, nor would approve of!

Google (and the other search engines) know what we are looking for, and for most, know exactly where we are all the times (when one is “signed in” to their account). Then, Facebook knows all our hobbies, political preferences, and friends (with photos giving them MUCH MORE info on us than that!).

All this data is analyzed to create what they call “rich predictive data” models. Once you have comprehensive behavioral data of hundreds of millions of people, you can start predicting the ‘preferences’ of specific groups—and personalize offers to them.

At the simplest level, they can predict the ‘mood’ you’re in right now, so they can predict the kind of food you usually like when you are in that mood and then auction that prediction to their business customers in the restaurant business, who will then send you a very quick ad and a discount coupon. Helpful? Convenient? Meddling? Orwellian?

For example, the New York Times reported a case of a supermarket chain that predicted that a girl was pregnant even before she told the father! Algorithms discovered that the girl switched from fragrant shampoos to more neutral smelling products, and assumed she must be pregnant. The father finally figured it out—before she told him—after being repeatedly sent special offers for baby products!

Thanks to the analysis of trillions of terabytes of behavioral data—that we unwittingly leave around in the digital domain—‘big tech’ sometimes knows us better than we know ourselves! The “predictive value” that big tech can glean from residual data is huge! (The photos we post on our Facebook pages contain residual data from which vast amounts of valuable knowledge can be distilled!)

Let’s say I upload innocent photos of my children’s birthday to my Facebook Page. Algorithms are trained to recognize facial features and analyze the hundreds of muscles in everyone’s face. They also ‘look’ at what is in the background. These rich predictive signals are then fed into these new computational ‘factories’ that then create predictions of human behavior which is then sold to business customers who want to offer their products and service to that kind of person.

 

These processes have been ‘disguised’—they operate in stealth. They have been engineered to be indecipherable and undetectable, to create ignorance in a vast group of all of us that they call “users.” Our ignorance is their bliss!

Probably the more successful ‘experiment’ in this arena has been the augmented reality game called “Pokémon GO.” It’s important to understand that this IS NOT some happy little game that just got launched into the world via a toy company. It ‘PRECISELY’ EMULATES the logic of “surveillance capitalism”!

Business customers paid “Niantic Labs” (a Google company) not just for “click-throughs” (the process of clicking through to an online advertisement to the advertiser’s destination on the Internet), but for the real-world equivalent of click-through called “footfall”—knowing when ‘real’ bodies are ‘inside’ real business establishments. The industry term is “lure modules.”

The player of the ‘game’ is getting rewards by going to specific places, but the ‘real’ game is what is called the “shadow operation”—getting you into a place where they have predicted that you will be possibly interested in buying something (based on the “predictive data” associated with you).

Pokémon GO is a large-scale experiment—on a global scale—of action using remote control means to automate behavior—to ‘engineer’ behavior to fulfill the commercial ends of business while you are having a great time and are busy being entertained.

So, these days, “big data” is not really interested in just having what you’re browsing, or what messages/emails you are sending, they want to know about what you are ‘DOING’ at work, your car, and in your home. ‘Real-time’ tracking!

 

For example, some bright engineering-oriented person discovered that the Nest Security System has a microphone built into it. However, that microphone is not shown on any schematic of the product!

So, Google was asked why there is a microphone in their security system. They originally DENIED IT, but then said it was “a mistake”! Yeah, right! They may say that it has been “disabled,” and they don’t use it to record anything, but just wait a while, they will silently enable it in the future and call it a “new feature”! (Just remember their business ‘depends’ upon extraction of behavioral action!)

 

The CEO of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford, recently said that they are no longer a “car company,” and will be repurposing their automobiles as ‘surveillance’ vehicles—collecting data from the millions of people who are driving around in their cars and combining that with the data they have from Ford Credit (where they already know everything about you), and selling that information to other companies that will then market their related products directly to you (without your ‘specific’ approval—remember those “Terms of Service” agreements!). Looks like they are gettin’ with the times—big data! (and “car companies” are not as valuable on the stock market as “data” companies are!).

 

Another brilliant method to collect data is what Google did back in 2005—they purchased “Android, Inc.,” which had developed a mobile operating system. Some people in the industry commented that it was a great acquisition because it would be an additional ‘stream’ of income. However, ‘insiders’ said, “Hey, let’s just give it away so we can get the MORE VALUABLE thing: the behavioral data that we then can sell to our customers” (business that sell stuff to consumers). Currently, Google has about 80% of the Smartphone market! Brilliant!

 

On the ‘darker’ side of things, another ‘whistleblower’, Chris Wiley, a former employee of the British company “Cambridge Analytica,” sounded the ‘alarm’ about the methods used by this political marketing business. They used the Facebook data of more than 18 million Americans to analyze the best ways of manipulating American voters!

One of the things that Chris Wiley said when he broke this story was that Cambridge Analytica knew so much about so many individuals that they could understand their “inner demons.” They then figured out how to target those demons—with fear, anger, and paranoia—and how to ‘trigger’ those emotions. Then, by triggering those emotions, they could then manipulate people into clicking on a website, joining a specific group, telling them what kind of things to read, telling them what kind of people to hang out, and even telling them who to vote for!

 

These days we are living in that classic Faustian ‘bargain’—a pact whereby a person trades something of supreme moral or spiritual importance—such as personal values (or the soul)—for some worldly or material benefit, such as knowledge, power, or riches.

Shoshana Zubov says that “Surveillance Capitalism” is a behemoth that must be restrained and contained NOW, or there’s a possibility that in the future the ‘wrong’ people in charge of our data will be tempted to annex the rich control possibilities offered by these systems, and use them to “lord” over and against the ‘common’ people!

Twenty-first century citizens should not have to make a choice of either essentially going ‘analog’ or living in a world where our self-determination and privacy are being destroyed for the sake of commerce. That is unacceptable!

 

So, if our bosses, Google, and our government are all trying to track us, what are we supposed to do, just throw out our Smartphones and ‘disconnect’ from
the Internet entirely? Well, let’s face it, that’s really not possible anymore. So then, should we go with the other extreme of throwing privacy completely out the ‘window’?

We are at the ‘CROSSROADS’ of Internet security and freedom.

 

A MATTER OF ‘CONVENIENCE’
One of the major reasons for purchasing a smartphone is the convenience. Thanks to the built-in Internet capabilities, one can check their bank account balances, perform transfers, deposit checks, and then pay their bills. Social networking, e-mail and instant-messaging applications also allow users to keep in close contact with friends, family, and colleagues. They then can also check the weather, the latest news headlines, movie showtimes, stock quotes, the business hours at a store, and make reservations at a restaurant.

You will also never miss a meeting or forget an important date because you will always have your schedule with you by using the calendar app. Just about everything you need to keep your day running smoothly is at your fingertips, and all this is available while on the go, away from your desktop computer. It’s all VERY CONVENIENT!

All Smartphones come with cameras and microphones, enabling us to capture those memorable and important moments with photos and video without needing to have a separate device, and can be used wherever we are. With a GPS-enabled camera Smartphone, for example, you can take pictures of an event and then have it associated with the location for ease of searching in the future. GPS also enables the user to access a maps app, providing them with turn-by-turn directions to pretty much anywhere in the world!

Smartphones have grown to become music and video players as well. They enable you to listen to your favorite music, an audiobook, watch video clips, TV shows and movies, and read e-books. If you have your Smartphone with you, you’ll never be bored, because of the many apps available—such as Spotify, Netflix and the Kindle app—which allow you to sync your watching, reading and listening with your desktop computer, laptop or other devices automatically, meaning you can quickly pick up where you left off last time.

A Smartphone isn’t all about fun and games either. It can improve your productivity as well. Moments that would otherwise have been ‘wasted’ on public transportation or waiting for someone, can be used to check and respond to e-mails, read reports, and take/send notes on current project you are working on. While creating content isn’t as easy on such a small device, you still can open/change documents and spreadsheets, and login to the company’s online ‘portal’.

 

However, with great convenience comes the possibility of great distraction. Smartphones will alert you to new emails, text messages or comments on your various social networking sites, and the urge to check these latest updates can sometimes be too strong a ‘pull’ for some. Accidents and injuries can occur due to these distractions (so don’t respond to your smartphone’s alerts like “Pavlov’s Dogs”). For some, it’s hard to resist the urge to check your smartphone the second it sounds (Suggestion: When you do check your phone, do so responsibly and only when it is safe). [ I was hit from behind by a teenager texting, and it ‘totaled’ my vehicle! ].

The Pew Research Center said that in 2018, 94% of U.S. adults had a cell phone, and over 95% of teens use a mobile device to connect to the Internet. [ For ages 13-17, 45% use it constantly, 44% use it several times per day, and the remaining 6% use it about once a day. Back then, a typical teen sent/received 50 texts per day ].

Then, there’s what is called, “cell phone addition”—the inability to be away from your cell phone, and being ‘on’ your cell phone five or more hours a day.

Cell phone addiction is a fast growing addiction in the U.S. today. According to “Drug Rehab Treatments,” in 2016 there were over 225 million cell phone users in the U.S., and 63% of them are teenagers. In addition, a recent survey (2017) conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project, it showed that 51% of cell phone users felt it would be very hard to give up their cell phones. Many of the users said that they value to their cell phones more than other technologies like television, microwave ovens, and even cars!

In teens, cell phone addiction manifests itself in rising cell phone bill charges, panicking when they’re without their phone, moodiness, frustration, and a constant need to check their phone/text messages. General symptoms are feeling restless when not around the cell phone, irrational reactions (without cell phone around), problems at school and work, increased time on the phone and taking unnecessary risks (i.e. using the cell phone while driving).

[ Note: Most therapists suggest one set time limits for time you spend on the phone, set time aside for activities (i.e. sports, movies, and other activities that don’t involve the phone), and increase time with family and friends. If you try these measures and they don’t work you may be ‘in too deep’, and need to seek professional help from a certified therapist ].

 

Now, on the positive ‘side’ of this, here’s an example of some interesting ‘tech’ that is PRETTY ‘CONVENIENT’ and will start to affect more people ‘personally’ and positively.

I just upgraded my iMac at work to Apple’s latest operating system, “Catalina.” Although there had always been a feature to “Find My iPhone,” they have greatly increased its functionality. The new “Find My” app shows where ALL of your devices are located (which is great for those who consistently forget where they left their iPhone). However, it now has a feature that uses the Bluetooth connection on your iPhone.

So, for example, let’s say your MacBook is lost (or stolen). You can now activate the “Notify Me (When Found)” feature, and even if the device is not turned on or connected to a cell/WiFi network, it will use Bluetooth on any other Apple devices (or other Apple ‘users’) that are in the proximity of the lost/stolen device to tell you exactly where it is! (The ‘thief’s’ own iPhone could even ‘ping’ you telling you the location of your device!). This uses “crowd-sourced” technology, kind of like that product called “Tile” does when it tells you where your stuff is (based on their ‘tag’ you put on it).

The neat thing about this is that it lets you track your devices even when they’re ‘offline’, and relays its location securely and anonymously back to you.

 

Some are now suggesting that the cell phone you currently have will be supplanted by other tech like having some kind of ‘implant’—maybe placed behind your ear and ‘connected’ to your brain! [ Related story about what Elon Musk is proposing is below in the “Articles” section ]. However, to me, this just makes ‘tracking’ you more accurate!

 

LOSS OF PRIVACY
A lot of people are worried about the government agency ‘spying’ on them—and they SHOULD BE—but they don’t seem to be worried about Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, or other tech companies that are happily collecting, storing, and selling data about their users—and are doing pretty much what they want with the data about them! However, most of us are unwitting ‘co-conspirators’ in our own loss of privacy, and it’s primarily because of the Smartphone (and that ‘pesky’ “Terms of Service” agreement!).

In EVERY PHONE, there is a unique “Individual Mobile Equipment Identity” (IMEI) number, and a unique “International Mobile Subscriber Identity” (IMSI) number. These two global identifiers are ‘burned’ into each cell phone (no matter what SIM card you change to), and only exist in one place in the entire world—where it is located (essentially, for most, where you are).

Then, with the Global Positioning System (GPS), radio waves between satellites and a receiver inside your phone provide the specific location (and time information) to any software that needs to use it. It’s very convenient to have this capability if you are needing some directions to the place you want to go, but it also turns your cell phone into a ‘TRACKING’ DEVICE!

Now, in the past, when someone wanted to ‘disconnect’ from the network (and not be tracked), all they had to do was remove the battery. Well, today’s phones have sealed batteries that cannot be taken out. So, even if you “turn off” the phone, it still is sending out a signal of “Here I am”! That means that since your cell phone is constantly sending out a signal ‘telling’ the world where it is, some companies use that to their advantage—of course, without telling you!

It probably won’t surprise you that Google is one of those companies. All those Google “Street View” cars that continually update it’s maps—which is REALLY GREAT, but are also keeping ‘notes’ on which Wi-Fi your cell phone is connected to, AS WELL AS what WiFi networks that are available in your neighborhood! (So they can also sell that info to their business customers!)

 

As I mentioned, your data has became a ‘commodity’ before you understood what it was, and it became insanely valuable to all the social media platforms and the tech companies before you understood what you were giving up. They are making billions of dollars from your data, and because of that, it’s going to be VERY DIFFICULT to ‘pull the reins back’ any time soon (also since we are ‘ADDICTED’ to what the device does for us, and MANY of us think that we CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT!) The thing is, we have ‘voluntarily’ given all these companies—and the government—our ‘approval’ that they can use our data. As I mentioned previously, it’s called the “Terms of Service” agreement.

The agreement is usually a 200+ page legal form that even if you did read it, you probably wouldn’t be able to understand it. BUT, even if you did understand it, most of the time the very first paragraphs say that this agreement can be changed at any time, by the company, unilaterally, without your consent! They have built a legal ‘paradigm’ that presumes that ALL RECORDS collected about you do not belong to you, and they can do with what they want with it. (And if you don’t agree to their terms, you don’t get to use their service!) Pretty sneaky, eh? So, these companies have absolute proprietary ‘ownership’ of all of these records about all your life!

 

If someone asked you, 10-15 years ago, if you would mind if they planted a little tracking device on you that would tell them where you were, what you were reading, what you were spending you money on, who you were talking to, and what you were doing pretty much 24 hours a day, would you have said that would be okay? I’m thinking that you would have responded something like, “No way! Are you kidding me! I would never let you do that!” BUT, now people sleep in front of the Apple store for three days for the privilege of paying $800 dollars for a ‘tracking sensor’ that does exactly that and a WHOLE LOT MORE!

 

So, here we are at the ‘crossroads’ of Internet security and freedom. We don’t mind Google tracking us, but we don’t want our government doing it. Even though we know that our accounts can be hacked—and there’s been some really big examples in recent times—that doesn’t concern us enough to stop using it. In fact, we can’t stop using it we’re so DEPENDENT upon it—our work, our finances, our relationships—basically our whole lives are online and the connection ‘appliance’ is our cell phone.

The thing is, cell phones are not going to be the only device that will ‘inhabit’ our lives, but there is going to be your smart refrigerator, your smart car, and your smart home that will basically be ‘eavesdropping’ tools for the “big data” companies!

 

Earlier this month, a company called “Clearview AI” introduced an app that is being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the FBI, that takes a photo of a person—who could be on the sidewalk anywhere—and it quickly discovers their name, address, and many other details. It does this by having over 3 BILLION photos in its database (of just 330 million people!) that they have ‘scraped’ off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube, and other sites (which may have violated those websites terms of service).

Clearview’s database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI’s own database, which taps passport and driver’s license photos, is one of the largest, but only has 641 million images of U.S. citizens.

For some, the use of facial recognition systems by police is already a growing concern, and the scale of Clearview AI’s database—not to mention the methods it used to assemble it—is particularly troubling. Law enforcement agencies can upload photos of any persons of interest from their cases, and the system returns matching pictures from the Internet, along with links to where these images are hosted, such as social media profiles.

Kashmir Hill, a New Your Times journalist, says that the system was able to identify photos of her even when she covered the lower half of her face, and that it managed to find photographs of her that she had never seen before!

Mike Lee, a Republican Senator from Utah, introduced a bipartisan bill that would limit how agencies like the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could use the tech. He said that, “Facial recognition technology can be a powerful tool for law enforcement officials, but its very power also makes it ripe for abuse.”

The thing is, it may not be long before you will have to forget about walking down the street anonymously! Is privacy now obsolete in America? Has our Orwellian future arrived? Well, it just may have for the Chinese!

 

“SOCIAL CREDIT”
Taking the loss of privacy to a new ‘level’ is what the Chinese are calling the “Social Credit Score.” They are implementing a mass surveillance system that they call the “Golden Shield,” which uses speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television, and other Internet surveillance technologies to ‘track’ their citizens. The Chinese government is set to roll it out by the end of 2020, and hopes to create a gigantic online database of each and every one of its citizens by 2024—which will be able to track them 24/7!

Basically, this is how it is planned to work: If you make an Instagram post against the president of China, your “social credit score” goes down and/or you may go to jail. Then, your kids will not be able to go to certain schools and you will get ‘locked’ into a particular neighborhood (and other restrictions like that). However, if you just make ‘fun’ of ‘important’ person, your travel will be restricted to certain trains and you will not be allowed to travel on other trains! This will effectively ‘control’ EVERYONE in China! (I believe that this tech will DEFINITELY go global within a few years—“for safety sake”).

 

TECHNOLOGICAL ‘TIPPING POINT’
I believe we stand ‘on the brink’ of a technological revolution that is going to change our world forever.

We are now reaching a point in human history where, because of cheap storage, almost everything we do, our habits, our preferences and biases, right down to our work, finances, interests, relationships, daily travel, and what we do at home—and all the records about us anywhere and everywhere—are going to be amalgamated, centralized, and be kept forever! (and ‘analyzed’!).

Mass data technology means that we will never ‘escape’ from what we have written, posted, emailed, texted, what we have bought and from where, our bills, our loans, debts, paychecks, and investments‚anything ‘digital’ (which is pretty much everything today!).

Very few people in today’s busy world are aware of just how much their lives are about to change and how unavoidable and irrevocable this change is going to be!
[ That’s why I am posting this!!! ].

Our place to ‘hide’ has almost disappeared!

 

To give you a ‘basis’ for all this, here’s a bit of history. Essentially the “Internet” was ‘conceived’ in 1969 with the first ‘message’ being ‘sent’ between two computers (just two characters: “Lo”). However, it was ‘born’ in 1977, when Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn transmitted a message between two computers, one in San Francisco and the other in Los Angeles, 400 miles away.

However, the most important thing was that they used three networks to send the message. They had developed a way for computer networks to communicate with each other, and ‘pass along’ that info to the next computer. Described as a “handshake,” it was a ‘protocol’ for “packet network inter communication.” So, they called it “internetworking” (later condensed to “internetting,” and then later to just “Internet”).

Then, just a decade ago, instead of just sending messages of text, now the Facebook ‘platform’ has shifted our communication from e-mailing to ‘broadcasting’ the content of our lives. Now, “Facebook Live” enables users to share whatever they were doing, when they are doing it. It has forever changed the way we communicate!

 

Today, just 40+ years later, it’s amazing where we’ve come. Every SECOND there are 6,000 tweets, 41,000 Facebook status updates, and Google processes over 40,000 searches!

 

By 2023, scientists believe that 80% of all the people on this planet will have some form of digital ‘presence’ online, and it will become inextricably ‘linked’ with a person’s physical life. By then, it is also forecasted that about 20% of all reading ‘glasses’ will also be connected to the Internet, allowing users to experience augmented reality-type experiences by themselves or in a group.

“Block Chain” technologies will give anybody who wants to know anything about you access to almost any record regarding you and your life (and there will be no way to change or erase the data once it is ‘uploaded’ to the continually updating and disseminated block chain!).

So important is this digital life, it’s widely accepted that very soon a person in the very short term future will not be able to buy or sell even if they do not have a basic digital presence! It is believed that this threshold may be reached by 2022 or 2023! That’s crazy!!!

 

Just stop and think how ‘dependent’ you are on the Internet. If it ‘goes down’ for ANY REASON, you are ‘stressed’. At least here in America, most people could not ‘exist’ without the Internet/Smartphone [ Well, maybe only “Millennials” ;^D ].

MOST EVERYTHING is ‘digital’ these days—which can be good or bad. Being digitalized makes most things much quicker and more convenient to share than just 20-30 years ago. But, it also has a ‘dark side’.

Everything one does IS being stored and tracked—everything you look at on the Internet, everything you purchase, everything you do, when you do it, and ‘exactly’ where you are in the world right now (because of those ‘unique’ cell phone identifiers). In addition to that, since there isn’t anything ‘physical’ anymore (i.e. contacts, agreements, photos, videos, etc.), the digital version could be easily changed and/or ‘manipulated’ in the future to something different than it was originally.

Especially if you have a “smart” TV or a “smart home” device (like “Alexa”), you are being ‘RECORDED’, and as NSA ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden so aptly said, there is a PERMANENT RECORD (the title of his book) that can’t be deleted by you (because of the terms and conditions for its usage), BUT it just might be used AGAINST YOU in the future!

Question: Have you ever been talking with a member of your family—in front of your Smart TV—and mentioned that you were thinking that y’all should go to [ insert your favorite place here ] for vacation this year, and then, within minutes, your Smartphone ‘dings’ (telling you there is a message), and it is from one of the most popular ‘destinations’ near the vacation place you mentioned? If so, do you think that was by ‘chance’, or a ‘lucky’ circumstance? Well, let me tell you, it was neither of those! It was your Smart TV (or “smart home” device) ‘listening’ to you, and a “big data” company sold that info to one of their customers, who then sent the message to you.

Now, many people would say that was ‘helpful’, since they were going to do some searching on the Internet when they got a chance to do so. However, I’m thinking that many more people would think that was ‘creepy’—listening in on a ‘private’ moment with their family. Well, NOTHING IS PRIVATE anymore, and that’s what is important here! We have given up privacy for convenience, and we are NOT going to be able to GET IT BACK!

 

“INTERNET OF THINGS”
The Internet is no longer just a network of computers and servers. It’s now a network of ‘things’. ‘Things’ that know what we like to eat, how long we sleep, when we like our coffee, and even the ‘rhythm’ of our heartbeats.

Each device we ‘connect’ to the Internet becomes a ‘part’ of it. However, are these devices at our service or are they secretly ‘pulling the strings’—listening to us, influencing us, becoming a ‘part’ of us?!

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is not just poised to change our personal lives, it will ‘transform’ the way we do business, too. Connected devices can do everything from regulating the temperature in our homes to making sure the lights are always on when we get back to the house at night. But in a professional capacity, it will make retail experiences for customers better than ever. It will bring about a new era of innovation and ingenuity in just about every industry that you can think of—and it’s going to happen a lot sooner than you realize, too!

 

In 2018, there were about 14 billion ‘connected’ devices (your phone, your “smart” TV, refrigerator, car, house, etc). It is estimated that that will be 100 BILLION by the end of 2020! (7X!) It will be kind of like a ‘nervous system’, and the merging of a lot of these technologies is going to possibly lead to the first true “machine intelligence.” Then what? Will we still be controlling the devices or will the devices be controlling us?

 

For me, maybe the most ‘sinister’ of these devices today is the talking “Hello Barbie” doll. It connects to your Wi-Fi network and will use the ‘Cloud’ to have a conversation with your ‘impressionable’ children about their interests, what they want to be when they grow up, and what they want. That might be entertaining, but to me, maybe the most sinister about this ‘interacting’ Barbie doll is that it is ‘conditioning’ an eight-year-old girl to tell her most intimate thoughts to a ‘robot’, and that everything she will say to it will be recorded for the rest of her life—and will probably used to ‘manipulate’ her into buying something in the future or doing something that she probably would not have done on her own!

 

With all these ‘devices’ being connected, I see “Virtual Reality” (VR) becoming very popular. It will be a fully immersive ‘haptic’ environment, allowing ‘feedback’ as if you are really there—or actually really ‘doing’ something.

Related to this, Microsoft is developing a system that would make online interaction a lot more personal. They call it “Holoportation.” People will transmit live holograms of themselves over the Internet, and are then able to ‘interact’ with others. It’s also been suggested that, in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to ‘interact’ with a dead person—that will be ‘reconstructed’ by compiling their Internet history: all their online activity, their e-mail, photos, and Facebook posts! It will be kind of like a library of ‘souls’. [ I’m just imagining all the ‘bad’ things that people will use this for! ].

 

Given how fast technology moves and how quickly we adapt to it, I don’t think we’re gonna have to wait very long to find out about all this! So, don’t ‘blink’!

 

‘MANIPULATION’
Just like anything else, a ‘thing’ can be used in many different ways—however, it seems that a lot of people a continually trying to find a way to use it to THEIR advantage.

Now, Facebook is a business, and is supposed to increase their value for their shareholders. However, for me, this next example goes a bit too far.

There has been a document ‘leaked’ that was written by the Facebook executives in Australia, that tells their business customers that they have so much data on 6.6 million young adults and teenagers, that they can predict their mood shifts. They said that they can predict when a teen feels stressed, fatigued, anxious, inferior, or frightened—all kinds very personal feelings. The report continued to say that they could alert the businesses the exact moment when they are most likely to need a “confidence boost.” They gave an example:

Imagine that there’s a young person who’s contemplating a date over the weekend. It’s now Thursday night, their anxiety is peaking, and they need a confidence boost. Imagine still that you send them an ad for a sexy black leather jacket with an offer of free delivery, and you tell them that you will have it at their door by the time they wake up in the morning. Then, you send them a discount coupon valid for the next 30 minutes. Nine times out of ten you’re gonna sell that black leather jacket! They said they could now tell the exact moment when the teen is at peak vulnerability!

The thing is, this is not an ‘experiment’, this is happening today!

 

A bit more ’sinister’ example showed that, in the past, Google has ‘manipulated’ search results that showed that there was more interest in one candidate than another and, in turn, generated more votes for that candidate in the election!

This ‘practice’ is not limited only to search engines. Again, Facebook has run experiments manipulating the outcomes of an election by sending “go out and vote” reminders to only the people that ‘identify’ with one political party on voting day, and they determined that they could easily ‘flip’ an election!

These are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what can be done and WILL BE DONE with “big data.”

 

“HACKING” and CYBER CRIMES
Hackers have become VERY SOPHISTICATED of late. Recently, in published reports, they were shown to have accessed the traffic controls of some high-speed railways in Europe, and in the U.S., they have controlled the steering and brakes on a Jeep SUV—both of which could have had potentially scary results. Now, these were both controlled tests by ‘friendly’ hackers, but it showed that there were huge vulnerabilities in both systems.

Now, imagine hearing a stranger’s voice coming from the baby monitor in your nursery. I mean, how scary is that! But something like this ACTUALLY HAPPENED to a couple in Washington State. They had their top-of-the-line baby monitor hacked!

But, we really shouldn’t be surprised about all this, since we know that the Internet is just about everywhere, and can be connected to just about every device that makes our lives convenient. From phones to Facebook, we’ve chosen convenience over privacy, but at a ‘price’.

 

As I just mentioned, it seems that people are always looking for a way to create an ‘advantage’ for themselves. Enter “ransomware.” This is when you click on a link to something you are looking into, and when you arrive on that web page, a file is secretly downloaded to your computer and then it is ‘infected’ with a virus. It then ‘grabs’ every file on your computer, and ‘locks’ them up—it “encrypts” them with something that’s called a “key,” and without that encryption key, everything on your computer is inaccessible! Gone forever unless you pay the ‘ransom’.

The thing is, ransomware is profitable and popular because most people don’t have detailed backups of their data (which is pretty easy and inexpensive to do these days). Even so, ransomware has become a thriving international criminal enterprise.

 

When you think of bank robbers, most people think of masks, guns, and explosives. But ‘modern’ thieves know that the big money is no longer rooted in the physical world. One of the largest bank heists in history was a cyber crime.

In 2013, high-end hackers stole $40 million from thousands of ATMs around the world—all in just a few hours! (They were eventually caught because one of the hackers ‘bragged’ about it on Facebook!).

On the ‘low’ end, it is estimated that, in 2018, there were over 2 million cyber ‘incidents’ have a financial impact of over $600 billion worldwide. The lead categories of attacks are cryptojacking (1.3 million) and ransomware (500,000), followed by breaches (60,000), supply chain (at least 60,000 infected websites), and business e-mail compromise (20,000). [ “Internet Society” data ].

In another report, by the Herjavec Group, they predict that cybercrime damages will cost the world about $6 TRILLION by the end of 2021! They continued to say that “This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.”

Experts point out that a lot of this has to do with poorly protected “IoT” devices. Insecure IoT devices “provide new, easy approaches to steal personal information or gain access to valuable data or networks,” said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. They also power “botnets” that can create massive denial-of-service attacks. All this to say, this will be a HUGE challenge in the years to come!

 

One hack that gained international renown, happened in 2014. The Sony employees who logged on to their desktops early on Monday morning, November 24, 2014, were greeted with the sound of digital gunfire and the image of an ominous red skeleton under the title “Hacked By #GOP,” which stood not for the Grand Old Party, but for a shadowy organization called “Guardians of Peace.” Below was a message that read, in not very good English, “We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all your Internal data Including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release [that] data.” It read like the opening of a bad script for a cyber-thriller.

But for Sony, the horror movie was just the beginning. Before the entire system went dark, the malware wiped out half of Sony’s global digital network. It junked 3,262 of Sony’s 6,797 personal computers, and 837 of its 1,555 servers. Within hours, the global media giant was back in the 1980’s, with its employees using fax machines, pens, and note paper. The studio shop would only accept cash. It then got worse!

The hackers had actually been inside Sony’s system for weeks, and had stolen all of Sony’s data before deleting it. Over the next month, they released nine batches of confidential files onto the public Internet: everything from executives’ salaries to embarrassing e-mails about “no-talent” movie stars, to unfinished film scripts and actual unreleased films like “Annie” and “Fury,” which were posted on illicit websites.

Within weeks, U.S. intelligence agencies were pointing the finger at North Korea. Their motivation seemed to be a dark comedy called “The Interview.” The movie starred Seth Rogen and James Franco as a pair of bumbling journalists who go to North Korea to interview Kim Jong Un and eventually assassinate him. For months, North Korea had complained about the pending film. In June, a government spokesperson warned that the movie was “the most blatant act of terrorism and war” and threatened “a merciless countermeasure.” A couple of months earlier, North Korea had sent a letter to the secretary-general of the U.N., saying that unless the U.S. government banned the film, “it [would] be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism.” (That same day, Rogen tweeted: “People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it.”)

Ten days after the initial hack, the “Guardians of Peace” released a message saying that Sony had “refused to accept” its terms and must “stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism.” A week later, they released another message saying that anyone who went to The Interview would suffer a “bitter fate.”

The FBI had now formally attributed the attack to North Korea and declared it one of the largest cyberattacks ever perpetrated in the U.S.—an example of “information warfare.” An American media company had been attacked by a hostile foreign power.

 

This cyberattack was sophisticated and shows how vulnerable everyone is to these kinds of ‘attacks’. The question many are asking, when does hacking become an act of war?

On a more ‘heightened’ level, the issues of national network security are even more critical than an entertainment company losing some money (though that’s important). What kind of security is required to protect our nuclear missiles and warheads from being ‘hacked’? What kind of security is going to take care of the power grid or the GPS systems? Very vital questions of which the consequences can be extreme!

 

One ‘extreme’ example would be if our satellite-based Global Positioning System (owned by the U.S. government and operated by the U.S. Air Force) were to be hacked. You’d be surprised just how far-reaching the consequences would be!

The largest impact to our daily way of life would be agriculture. The entire industry uses computers with GPS to drive combines and run the watering equipment. If you take GPS out of that equation, and those machines can’t navigate anymore, within months there would be food shortages, not to mention the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars of food sales to other countries.

In addition to that, most importantly, our national security ‘depends’ on GPS, and our country would be in real ‘jeopardy’. Take GPS away and there’s no more target tracking of incoming missiles, and no guidance for outgoing missiles!

 

CYBER WARFARE
Cyber warfare refers to the use of digital attacks—like computer viruses and hacking—by one country to disrupt the vital computer systems of another, with the aim of creating damage, death, and destruction. It is being said that future wars will see hackers using computer code to attack an enemy’s infrastructure, fighting ‘in front’ of troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles.

A ‘shadowy’ world that is still filled with spies, hackers, and top secret digital weapons projects, cyber warfare is an increasingly common—and dangerous—feature of international conflicts. But right now, the combination of an ongoing cyber warfare arms race and a lack of clear rules governing online conflict means there is a real risk that incidents could rapidly escalate out of control.

There are plenty of grim cyber warfare scenarios available. Perhaps attackers start with the banks: one day your bank balance drops to zero and then suddenly leaps up, showing you’ve got millions in your account. Then stock prices start going crazy as hackers alter data flowing into the stock exchange. The next day the trains aren’t running because the signaling stops working, you can’t drive anywhere because the traffic lights are all stuck on red, and the grocery stores in all the big cities start running out of food. Pretty soon a country could be reduced to gridlock and chaos, even without the doomsday scenarios of hackers disabling power stations or opening dams.

One worst-case cyberattack scenario on the U.S. sees attackers combining outright destructive attacks focused on critical U.S. infrastructure with data manipulation on a massive scale, with military systems being an obvious target. They could prevent commanders from communicating with their troops or seeing where the enemy is giving the attacking nation a major advantage.

However, because most developed economies rely on computerized systems for everything from power to food to transport, many governments are very worried that rival states may target their critical national infrastructure. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, or industrial control systems—which run factories, power stations and other industrial processes—are big targets.

These systems can be decades old and were rarely designed with security as a priority, but are increasingly being connected to the Internet to make them more efficient and easy to monitor. But, this also makes these systems more vulnerable to attack, and security is rarely upgraded because the organizations operating them don’t consider themselves to be a target.

Big industrial control systems or military networks are often considered the main targets in cyber warfare, but one consequence of the rise of the “Internet of Things” may be to bring the battlefield into our homes!

“Our adversaries have capabilities to hold at risk US critical infrastructure as well as the broader ecosystem of connected consumer and industrial devices known as the “Internet of Things,” said a U.S. intelligence community briefing from January 2017. Connected thermostats, cameras, and ‘doorbells’ could all be used either to spy on citizens of another country, or to cause havoc if they were hacked. Not all IoT devices are in homes; hospitals and factories and smart cities are now chock filled of sensors and devices which means that the real-world impact of an IoT outage could be widely felt.

Some argue cyberwar will never take place; others argue cyberwar is taking place right now. Most experts say the truth is of course somewhere in the middle.

Beyond the famous example of “Stuxnet” (a malicious computer ‘worm’ uncovered in 2010), pure cyberwar operations will remain extremely rare, but already the concept has become absorbed into the broader set of military options that exist, just like other new technologies, such as submarines and aircraft, in the past.

It is possible that cyber weapons may also become a more common feature of low intensity skirmishes between nations because they are capable of causing confusion and chaos but not ‘too’ much damage. But it’s unlikely that a war would ever be fought purely with digital weapons because they are too expensive, hard to control, and of limited impact (at least as of today).

That doesn’t mean cyber warfare is irrelevant—rather that some kind of cyber warfare capability will be part of pretty much every military engagement from now on.

 

All this is a new kind of warfare. In the ‘old’ days countries needed long-range missiles to reach each other. Now they can do an awful lot of damage with not much more than a computer and an Internet connection!

It’s a time to be doubly aware of your dealings on the Internet!

 

“ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”
So, can some of these ‘issues’ be solved with what is called “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) or “machine learning”? Well, many believe that they can.

Artificial Intelligence is often used to describe ‘machines’ (the computers) that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as “learning” and “problem solving.” AI often revolves around the use of algorithms—a set of unambiguous instructions that a mechanical computer can execute, which then with “machine learning” (an application of AI) can provide the ‘system’ the ability to automatically learn and improve from an experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning’s primary aim is to allow the computer to access data and use it autonomously—without human intervention or assistance—and adjust actions accordingly.

There are many high-profile examples of AI that we’ve heard of recently, such as self-driving vehicles—which may be a few years off to be in our garages—however, something just opened in Guangzhou, China that shows the power of AI in a ‘tangible’ application today. It’s a COMPLETELY AUTOMATED robotic restaurant, that has no humans in it.

The diner has 46 different types of robots that, ‘out front’, welcome customers, take their orders, cook their food, make their drinks, deliver their orders, and take their payments. In the ‘back’, robots receive deliveries, store the ingredients, and select the proper ingredients to use in cooking (sometimes even creating their ‘own’ recipes!).

The research and development team at “County Garden” has created systems using 70 different machines for five restaurant styles: Chinese cuisine, hot pot, fast food, clay-pot rice diners, and noodle shops. They are planning to open 1,000 such robotic restaurants across China within the next two years.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPoAjRxyBQQ ].

 

To try to increase the rate of ‘learning’ AI systems can achieve, there is a new, very powerful concept being used called “Cloud Robotics.” It is basically the ‘interconnecting’ of every robot, via the Internet, with every other robot, so that they can learn from each other.

But, what happens when robots can do everything we can do? Could this kind of ‘intelligence’ spell the end of the human race? If a cloud-based intelligence can communicate instantly, how will humans ‘keep up’ and maintain control?

 

Well, Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Coventry University, is working on trying to merge human and machine intelligence—to create a ‘hybrid’ or a ‘cyborg’—working ‘with’ the power of AI rather than have it act ‘against’ us.

Warwick explains that humans and machines both use ‘electrical signals’ and ‘binary code’. In fact, scientists now can send brain signals across the Internet! (Warwick implanted an electrode array in his arm and connected it to a robotic hand. He then sent his brain signals over the Internet, from the UK, and was able to move a person’s hand in New York! He was also able to feel how much force the hand was applying—on a different continent!) Warwick says that we now have the technology to “upgrade humans”! So, the question is, what will life be like after humans become ‘cyborgs’? Well, we might not have to wait much longer to answer that question.

Tesla car company founder Elon Musk is saying that the human race will have to become cyborgs to survive—needing to digitally enhance their brains if they are to remain relevant in a future filled with artificial intelligence. “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said.

Musk suggests that once a ‘general’ artificial intelligence is created—capable of performing the wide range of intellectual tasks humans currently can—then humans risk becoming irrelevant.

The thing is, Musk is not just ‘philosophizing’ about this. He just launched a tech startup, “Neuralink,” to build implants that connect human brains with computer interfaces via artificial intelligence.

The approach would be to see groups of minuscule, flexible electrode “threads” implanted into the human brain by a neurosurgical robot. These threads detect and record the electrical signals in the brain, and transmit this information outside the body. This has the potential to create a scalable high-bandwidth brain-machine interface (BMI) system, meaning that it connects the brain to an external device to form a brain-machine interface. Musk says that the first tests on humans will happen by end of 2020.

The first goal for Neuralink is to understand and treat different forms of brain or spine-related disorders. For instance, paralyzed humans could use the implanted device to control phones or computers.

[ An article with more details about Neuralink is in the “Articles” section below ].

 

The first officially recognized human cyborg, British engineer, Neil Harbisson, said that, “Instead of using technology or wearing technology constantly, we will start becoming technology.”

Today, with AI being relatively ‘embryonic’ in development (about 40 years or so)—although it has been getting much ‘smarter’ at an incredible rate of late—these systems have ‘blind spots’, and the algorithms are making decisions without any human having insight into how those decisions were made.

However, as we have seen in the recent past, technology continues to ‘march’ forward. The next generation of robots will learn like an insect or a baby. It will ‘bump’ into things and learn how to navigate, rather than having all the ‘lessons’ programmed into it from the very start. But with the addition of machine learning, will AI still be fully under our control? What if machines become as intelligent as we are and start making decisions on their own—in a way which is not predictable by the original programmers?

Some very smart people have warned that any moment now the Internet could ‘evolve’ and become something more than just a tool. Perhaps an ‘intelligence’ capable of creating its own tools!

 

Many have asked that once the technology becomes more intelligent than humans, it may be able to exponentially better itself and/or create better versions of itself, by itself. At that point, since it will have access to everything—all human knowledge via the Internet—will it ‘transform’ into something else? If we have a world of super smart ‘robots’—all ‘connected’ to each other via something like “Cloud Robotics”—will it enslave us or become our ‘guiding light’? Will it treat us like ‘pets’ or like ‘food’?!

Some say the way these technologies are emerging, and at the rate at which they are merging, we just might not be the ‘masters’ of our destiny in the future—and be replaced by an ‘artificial’ intelligence.

 

ONE-WORLD LEADER
The thing is, I DON’T THINK the machines will ever ‘take over’. I came to this conclusion because of what the Bible has to say about this.

It says that there will be a ‘real’ person that will have TOTAL ‘CONTROL’ of the entire world—the “Antichrist”—the Devil incarnate.

Most Bible prophecy/eschatology experts believe the Antichrist will be the ultimate embodiment of what it means to be against Christ. In the End Times, a man will arise to oppose Christ and His followers more than anyone else in history. Likely claiming to be the true Messiah, the Antichrist will seek world domination and will attempt to destroy all the followers of Jesus and the entire nation of Israel (God’s “chosen people,” which has been Satan’s goal to eliminate them since Genesis 3:15!)

 

The Antichrist is going to be a strong, charismatic leader who is going to present himself as somebody who is very concerned about world peace. He will also have an ‘assistant’, the “False Prophet,” who will create a one-world religion and help in creating a one-world government.

 

The Bible tells us that the Antichrist shows up on the world ’stage’ when there is much ‘distress’ in the world—particularly in the Middle East. He will negotiate a peace treaty with Israel and the world. This will also allow the Jew to set up their third Temple, so that they can resume their sacrifices and offerings.

However, three-and-one-half years later, he shows his real ‘colors’—he breaks the covenant with Israel, “desecrates” the Temple, and begins to annihilate the Jews. This is called the “Great Tribulation.”

He will perform many signs and wonders in attempt to try to get people to follow him (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

[ The original sin of Lucifer was that he wanted to be God so much so that his pride led to his downfall. So, it is not surprising, since Satan has ‘indwelt’ the Antichrist, that he is simply carrying out the desire of Satan himself ].

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcmNQ9V0Fx0 ].

 

It is at this time that the Antichrist and the False Prophet will have total control of the world’s economy, and all commerce on a global scale—including the local level. The False Prophet will fully implement a new economic system, known as the “Mark of the Beast.” “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” [ Revelation 13:16-17 ].

The Greek word used for the ‘Mark’ is “charagma,” which means, “to engrave upon” or “stamp.” So, this ‘Mark’ might just be in the form of a ‘tattoo’—which no longer carries the ‘stigma’ that it once did in many cultures. (Many people today in the U.S. wouldn’t think twice about getting a tattoo in order to express support for something they truly believe in.)

This ‘Mark’ is essentially the ‘anti-Shema’ (the “Shema” is an ancient Jewish prayer of allegiance to God that’s found in the Book of Deuteronomy, that was ‘placed’ on the forehead and hand as a symbol of devoting all a Jews thoughts and actions to the one true God). But at this time, the Antichrist will demand everyone’s allegiance and he forces everyone to worship him.

Economic control will be used to force the citizens of the world to comply with the dictates of the one-world government and the one-world religion. The plan will be to give everyone on earth their own unique identification number that will be necessary to ‘function’ in society. If any individual does not submit, obey, and pledge allegiance to the Antichrist and his supreme authority, that person’s number will be invalidated and they will not be permitted to hold a job, buy food, or to ‘participate’ in any way in the global economy. The thing is, the technology required to pull this off is available today!

 

Even though the Antichrist presents the ‘Mark’ as being a choice—albeit a ‘choice’ with very grave consequences for not complying—his motive is primarily loyalty and worship (Satan’s goal from the beginning of time!)

Indwelt by Satan now, the Antichrist will eagerly seek to kill the followers of his most despised enemy, God, and will work to ‘stamp out’ the spread of the Gospel during the Tribulation. It’s not in his interests to force the Mark on those who are loyal to the God of the Bible, and leave them alive to reach even one more should for Jesus, so Christians will also be annihilated.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLSNj3dhyek ].

 

[ Note: Thankfully, the Antichrist along with his False Prophet, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, where they will spend all eternity in torment (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). For more details about this, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ].

 

ONE-WORLD ’SYSTEM’
For the Antichrist to have total ‘control’, there must be relative ‘agreement’ between countries, and we can see the beginning attempts to achieve a one-world government/new world order today.

The current ‘buzzword’ designed to hide the true intentions of those implementing one-world government, is “globalism.” The United Nations was founded upon a well-thought-out policy of globalism. This would require us to submit to the decrees of the United Nations General Assembly as law. Globalism has been a growing trend since 1973, when many famous and influential people signed the Humanist Manifesto II. The New Age Movement, which is made up of humanistic thinkers, has been very influential in causing free and affluent nations such as the U.S. to go along with the global plan for a New World Order. (People operating out of self-interest do not surrender their freedoms and heritage unless they are persuaded there is something better ahead).

The appeal of this New World Order lies in its proposal to free the world of wars and political strife, promising to eradicate poverty, disease, and hunger. Its purpose is to meet the needs and hopes of all mankind through worldwide peace.

Also labeled the new “era of globalization,” this New World Order will supposedly do away with the need for diverse world governments. This will be accomplished by the installation of a one-world political system or body. One means to achieve this is by eliminating all lines and borders demarcating the nations of the world. To effect all this change, it is believed that the New World Order will emphasize tolerance through the promotion and acceptance of other cultures and their values and ideologies. Its ultimate goal is a sense of unity and oneness with all people speaking the same language. Other objectives include the use of a single, world-wide currency, as well as oneness in politics, religion, and moral values. As a result, the world will be under one rule, that of one government that promises worldwide peace, the absence of war, and the elimination of all political unrest. (Everything the Antichrist will promise!)

In Sept. 2015, delegates from 193 nations unanimously approved a UN document called “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The preamble of the document called it a “New Universal Agenda.” The following are the major items in the agenda:

– The UN believes national populism (what is popular with the people of a nation) is an evil and growing threat to world government and world religion.

– They want opponents of world government and world religion to be prosecuted for violations of international law.

– International laws are an effort to silence enough of the opposition to world government and world religion to meet their goal of a global takeover by 2030!

– This is no less than a UN demand for the persecution and prosecution of people that oppose world government and world religion.

Simply put, this already approved document calls for a world economic system, a world government and a world religion to be established by 2030. Its preamble says, “All countries and stakeholders, acting in a collaborative partnership, WILL (not may) but-WILL, implement this plan.”

One government official said, “Not a single human being will be allowed to escape this next great leap forward.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it the “Start of a new era.” He said, the world is about to realize the “Dream of a world peace and dignity for all.” (Read ‘control’ of all people by the Antichrist!).

 

[ Incidentally, on Nov. 23, 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at an event called “Parliamentarianism between Globalisation and National Sovereignty,” and she said, “In this day, nation states must today—should today, I say—be ready to give up sovereignty.” ].

 

A one-world government is coming. It is almost here, and must be in place before the ‘final’ world ruler—the Antichrist—can ascend his ‘throne’.

 

WORLD-WIDE ‘TRIBULATION’
The Tribulation is a relatively short period of time (7 years) where everyone in the world will experience hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering—and it will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth before Jesus’ Second Coming takes place at the end of this period.

Once we reach the middle of this period, prophetic fulfillments will rapidly increase with many events happening almost simultaneously. The first of these events will be the stopping of the animal sacrifices by the Jews in the Temple. The prophet Daniel foretells this event, “Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate” [ Daniel 11:31 ].

The Antichrist will explain that the sacrifices are no longer needed because he is the Messiah and God. Then he will sit in the Temple, blaspheme the God of the Bible, and claim to be god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Apparently, the Antichrist will not only defile the Temple, but he may also make it the permanent ‘throne’ from which he rules for a time (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Even more insulting to the Jewish people, the Antichrist will erect an ‘image’ of himself in a wing of the Temple. This will be the “image of the Beast” that everyone will be required to worship in order to receive their ‘Mark’ of loyalty (the “Mark of the Beast,” which is also required to buy or sell anything). Every person alive will be required, under penalty of death, to worship the Antichrist, or at the very least, bow before the image of their new ‘god’, that will be set up in the Jewish Temple. [ i.e. like King Nebuchadnezzar did with his “golden statue” (Daniel 3:1-15) ].

The Jews, of course, will be horrified by these actions, and they will revolt.

This is the single most important ‘sign’ that the Tribulation will then have given way to the “Great Tribulation,” and there will now be three-and-one-half years of the most horrendous affliction to have ever descended on the earth. It will tremendously worsen the already-severe persecutions—similar to the difference between “labor” and “hard labor” when a woman is having a baby.

Jesus warned about this time—“the abomination of desolation”—when He said for the Jews to head hastily to the mountains (ancient Edom, which is where Petra is today) when this happens (Matthew 24:15).

 

This is when God will then finish His ‘discipline’ of Israel and finalize His judgment of the unbelieving world. The Church, made up of all who have trusted in the person and work of the Lord Jesus to save them from being punished for sin, will not be present during the Tribulation. God promised the Church (“born again” Christians) will have been previously removed from the earth in an event known as the “Rapture” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The Church that it would be saved from going through the “Tribulation” and experience His wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The Tribulation ends with Jesus physically returning to the earth—called His “Second Coming”—to stop the Antichrist/world from exterminating the Jewish people. All ‘UNBELIEVERS’ will be then cast into the “Lake of Fire” (with Satan and his demons), and all ‘BELIEVERS’ will be granted a place in Jesus’ “Millennial Kingdom”—the thousand-year reign on Jesus on this earth.

[ A quick overview of the “Tribulation” period ]:

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tP3yN8snsc&list=PLbE_MYjGeeTAVEyK-p4fG9Gb1nK3sMoh9&index=4 ].

 

I (and many other prophecy experts) believe that the “Tribulation” period is going to be soon, REALLY SOON! [ For more details about the “Tribulation,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ].I believe we are about to reach THE ‘tipping point’, one that nobody left on this earth is going to ‘escape’ from!

Jesus might be literally be standing right at the ‘door’, getting ready to ‘rapture’ His Church!

 

HEED THE WARNING!
We live in a world that is filled with danger. Warning signs and advisories are everywhere and are given so that we may avoid disaster.

We’re warned against bad choices and their bad consequences. They are given in advance as an act of mercy shown by someone who doesn’t want to see us experience the suffering that is certain to be brought on by our choices.

People who ignore warnings say they’ll ‘chance it’ and take the risk. They think the warning might be wrong, that it doesn’t apply to them, or maybe the person who gave the warning didn’t really understand all the ‘details’ about the danger.

Things that are bad for our health have warning labels on them, but that doesn’t stop people from consuming them. Highway signs warn of danger ahead and advise us to slow down. These warnings are ignored by many as well—and sometimes it ends badly in an accident that takes their life!

There are also weather warnings about coming storms, volcano eruptions, and tsunamis. Now, all such ‘physical’ warnings are helpful to protect and preserve life and property. However, warnings about spiritual dangers are more important—because they determine ‘where’ you will spend eternity! (Acts 20:31). Bible warnings are expressed by terms like “Take heed” [ Said about 55 times in the Bible (depending on the version) ].

 

Well, the Bible reveals God’s judgment and ‘sentence’ upon every action of man—and I’m thinking He understands the danger! By reading the Bible, we can be warned in advance about how He will deal with us regarding any actions we take. God’s warnings are inspired by His love and concern for us.

Those who believe the warnings will prepare and WILL BE ‘saved’ from judgment. However, those who ignore God’s warnings WILL NOT be able to escape God’s judgment!

 

As was mentioned previously, the Bible warns that there is a horrendous time coming called the “Tribulation”—essentially the end of the world as we know it. But, because the world has never seen such things and thousands of years have lapsed since these warnings were originally given by Jesus, the world ‘mocks’ these warnings (2 Peter 3:3-13).

The Bible has many ‘DIRECTED’ warnings for the unsaved (Matthew 7:13-14). They say that there is a ‘REAL’ HELL that they will go to where they will suffer for all eternity if they die in their sins without being ‘saved’ by Jesus (Luke 16:19-31). People will go to Hell because they ignored God’s warnings and decided to take a chance and risk it to see if God really meant what He said.

 

The ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden suggested that maybe it’s time that we heed the warning of George Orwell in his book “1984”:

“Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book, microphones, and video cameras, TV’s that watch us are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today and will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded unanalyzed thought—and that’s a problem! Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

 

It was also Snowden, who in his public debut—just days after reporters first published stories related to the leaks—warned of the threat of a NEW ‘LEADER’ who will ‘activate’ even greater surveillance powers:

“A new leader will be elected, they’ll flip the switch, say that because of the crisis, because of the dangers that we face in the world, you know, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it, and it’ll be turnkey tyranny.”

 

I don’t know if Snowden reads a Bible or not, but his quote is definitely ‘prophetic’—it’s what the Bible says the Antichrist does just before the “Great Tribulation” to TOTALLY ‘CONTROL’ EVERYONE on the planet! (Revelation 13:16-17).

 

Biblical prophecy is coming to pass right before our eyes. If you do nothing about the warning contained in the prophecies, God says, “And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.” [ Ezekiel 33:32 ].

Hopefully you have ‘HEARD’ MY WARNING. Will you ‘HEED’ IT? If you do (or have) heed God’s warning today, you can ‘ESCAPE’ the coming tribulation the people ‘left behind’ WILL EXPERIENCE! If you choose to ignore my plea now, all I ask is that you CONTINUE TO CONSIDER what I’ve said!

 

Any time you want someone to take notice of something, you engage in the proverbial ‘warning shot across the bow’. That’s what I am doing here!!! If someone heeds the warning shot, you don’t need to fire again. However, if they fail to heed the warning, then clearly more and stronger steps will be needed. The question is whether you will take these ‘warning shots’—that I just fired across your ‘bow’—to ‘heart’ before it’s TOO LATE!

 

Rather than heed the warning and repent, most Americans turn to their other false ‘gods’—science and technology—to bail them out. The Bible says that they have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear (Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-15), and that the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” [ Romans 13:12a ].

The Apostle Paul continues to warn: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” [ 2 Timothy 3:1 ].

 

Natural disasters usually cause a disruption in the lives of people, and others cause great destruction of life and property. Usually, though, such affect only a small part of the earth and its population at any one time. Nuclear war would cause greater destruction and affect more people, However, God has expressed His purpose to remove ALL EVIL from the ‘face’ of the earth!

The scope of this disaster was expressed by Jesus in His prophecy pertaining to the conclusion of the system of things: “Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved”​ [ Matthew 24:3, 21-22 ].

Jesus compared this coming worldwide disaster with an earlier world calamity, the Flood of Noah’s day, stating: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” [ Matthew 24:37 ]. The Bible states that in the days before the Flood “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [ Genesis 6:5 ], and that God was going to “blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land”​ [ Genesis 6:7a ].

As for Noah, we read that, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household” [ Hebrew 11:7 ]. Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives were all preserved alive through the Flood, however, the rest of mankind at that time, however, ignored the warnings. According to Jesus, people in those days before the Flood were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away” [ Matthew 24:38-39a ].

Then, in the days of Lot, God determined to bring the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah to ruin because of their gross immorality. Yet, they continued “eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building” as though nothing was about to happen. Though Lot warned his prospective sons-in-law of the danger, “in their eyes he seemed like a man who was joking.” However, God directed fire and sulfur to rain from the skies, destroying all of them. Lot and his daughters obeyed the warning and saved their lives​ (Luke 17:28, 29; Genesis 19:12-17, 24)—however, Lot’s wife “looked back” longingly (still wanting that ungodly lifestyle), and was turned into a “pillar of salt.”

 

We cannot imagine the anguish of our loving Heavenly Father when He looked down upon the earth and saw no one (except Noah) living a Godly life. It was so bad that He said, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them” [ Genesis 6:13 ]. God will only bare with people’s wicked ways for so long, then Judgment will come upon them—and I believe that we are living in just the same kind of day as were in the days of Noah and Lot!

 

Then, in Jesus’ day, the Jewish people had rejected God’s Word (the Scriptures) in favor of their own ‘traditions’. They also rejected Jesus as the “Christ,” or their Messiah. God then determined to execute His judgment upon them and their glorious city, Jerusalem, by means of the Roman armies. Jesus gave a ‘stern’ warning about this, and told His disciples how to escape that judgment.

In 70 A.D., when the city was crowded with Passover celebrants, the Roman forces under General Titus laid siege to Jerusalem. The walls were breached and the entire city was destroyed (including the Temple), and according to the historian Josephus, 1,100,000 people died, and 97,000 survivors were sold into slavery to Egypt and other lands. This was the allotment of those who failed to heed Jesus’ warning. Those who heeded the warnings and fled from the city, preserved their lives.

 

When Jesus talked about His Second Coming (in Matthew 24), He described that just before He came, there would be ‘signs’ that would include wars, food shortages, earthquakes, pestilences, increase of lawlessness, persecution of His disciples, and the ‘anguish’ of nations—with people fainting out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the earth (Matthew 24:7, 8, 12; Luke 21:10, 11, 25, 26).

As I discussed last month, if heeding warnings were critical for tens of thousands of people who escaped the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 (Details: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/), how much more vital it is for us to act now to receive God’s protection from worldwide destruction that is prophesied for the “End Times”!

The way to heed Jesus’ warning is, not by fleeing to literal mountains or by escaping to some other area of the earth, but by ‘turning’ to the true God, REPENTING of your sins, and BELIEVING that Jesus is your Savior!

 

Today, we find the majority of people in the world choosing the ’broad way’ that leads to destruction, because they say the way to eternal life is too ‘narrow’ for them.

The majority of people are ignoring God’s warning signs, just like they did in the days of Noah. Mankind is too ‘blinded’ by the pleasures of this world to be able to read the signs and heed the warning!

Will you ‘HEED’ THE WARNINGS of imminent disaster? Will you ‘PREPARE’ YOURSELF to be ‘raptured’ before this world is plunged into horrendous tribulation?

 

John the Baptist was the “voice crying in the wilderness” ‘preparing’ the way for the first ‘Coming’ (public appearance) of Jesus. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” [ Luke 3:4 ].

Now, I am not comparing myself to John the Baptist in any way of who he was as a ‘real’ “prophet,” but I’m trying to be like him being A ‘VOICE CRYING OUT’ about what is coming!

 

Maybe this illustration will help: The largest, most luxurious ship built in its day, the Titanic, left Southampton England on April 10, 1912. Just a few days into her journey, she began to get warnings that there were ice floes in her path. On April 12th, she got multiple warnings. On April 13th, she again got multiple warnings. On April 14th, she got seven different warnings from ships in the area saying, “Go around and change your course. You’re headed towards an ice floe. It’s dangerous.” However, the telegraph operator was busy sending and receiving telegrams from/to friends of the passengers in Europe and the United States. Even thought the telegraph operator did receive all the warnings, he just didn’t ‘HEED’ THEM. So, at 11:20 pm on the night of April 14th, the Titanic hit an iceberg, and by 2:20 am early in the morning of April 15th—two hours and 40 minutes later—the Titanic went down. The rest is history.

I’m here to WARN YOU that your ‘ship’ is headed towards an ‘iceberg’! Turn around! Change course! You’re headed towards disaster!!!

HEED THE ‘WARNINGS’! I BEG YOU to investigate all of this for yourself…NOW!

 

[ NOTE: These previous “Life’s Deep thoughts posts give a lot of details about all aspects of the “End Times”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/ ].

 

God is WARNING all of us that JUDGEMENT IS COMING! However, He is merciful, loving, kind, and forgiving. He is also patient and not willing for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). HOWEVER, God is also HOLY, JUST and RIGHTEOUS, and there comes a point when He’s ‘had enough’! (and I believe that is coming soon!).

God said that His Spirit will not always “contend with man” (Genesis 6:3), and that He will ‘remove’ the Holy Spirit from the earth! There will then be no ‘restraint’ for evil, and that’s when there will be chaos and catastrophe (the “Great Tribulation”). “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS….And these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT” (Matthew 25:41, 46).

Jesus said, “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42). Then, in the last book of the Bible, the Apostle John said, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

 

I believe we’re currently ‘IN’ a “Romans One” judgment (God’s wrath upon sin and unrighteousness), and when people continue to sin and rebel against Him, He ‘backs away’ and allows circumstances to take their toll—giving us over to a reprobate mind, and we can’t even think straight anymore (Romans 1:28). There’s no common sense—something that seems to be happening today!

 

So, if you are ‘UNSAVED’, ask yourself why would you want to have eternal torment as your future? If you don’t, and you truly want to be saved from Hell and its torment, RIGHT NOW repent of all of your sins and believe in Jesus as your Savior (Romans 10:9-13), so that you can go to Heaven. Then, commit to living as Jesus’ disciple, telling others about His love, and how they can ‘MISS’ the coming tribulation for this world. [ FYI: My life’s goal is to “Take as many people to Heaven with me as I can” ].

 

So, Elon Musk, Neil Harbisson, and Kevin Warwick—as well as many others—say that we need to “upgrade ourselves” to become more intelligent and be able to ‘survive’.

Well, the famous atheist John Gray said that humans may very well use science to turn themselves into something like gods, as they have imagined them to be. Each of them a parody of human beings that once existed.

Well, the Bible says they are ALL WRONG! The perfect “Homo Deus” was already here (Jesus)—and ALL Christians will one day be JUST LIKE JESUS! (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24). I guess you will have to decide ‘who’ you are going to listen to!

The thing is, there WILL BE an ‘existence’ in the future for the Christian and they will receive a spectacular ‘divine upgrade’, similar to the one Jesus received when He resurrected from the dead (He was able to ‘walk’ through walls and still eat a physical fish!).

 

Again, I want each of us to hear the URGENT WARNINGS of God, and realize the urgency of our situation. I want us to quit putting off till tomorrow what He calls us to do today (“Today is the day of salvation” – 2 Corinthians 6:2). There MAY NOT be a tomorrow for you!

 

Now, God’s grace is amazing, but it won’t last forever—and when He decides to remove it, there will be ‘hell to pay’. Hell on earth (the “Tribulation”) and Hell everlasting (where unbelievers will go).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” [ Galatians 6:7-8 ].

 

Maybe an illustration will help here: Imagine that the smoke detector isn’t working properly. Perhaps the backup battery is dead, or some of the wires are corroded. So, by the time there’s a thick layer of smoke and the flames are burning fiercely, it won’t be able to detect anything, and won’t be able to warn your family and there won’t be any ‘announcement’ of danger—and y’all will still be sound asleep. However, by the time you finally wake up yourself—maybe because of smelling smoke—it may already be too late!

That smoke detector is there to protect your life—kind of like a “watchman in the night” (Ezekiel 33). Back in the Old Testament times, a watchman was there to warn you of potential danger, essentially ‘saving’ your life. THAT’S what I’m trying to do here! ‘SAVE’ YOUR LIFE!

[ Consider viewing last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post, “Being A Watchman” for more details on this: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/ ].

 

TODAY is “the accepted time,” the time of grace—possibly the ONLY TIME LEFT FOR YOU to repent before the “Day of the Lord” comes—and by then it will be TOO LATE FOR YOU!!!

When Jesus returns, everyone’s ‘destinations’ will be frozen: Those ‘saved’ will be going to Heaven, and the ‘unsaved’ will be on their way to Hell—forever!

NOW is the moment we can change ‘destinations’! If you wait too long, it will be TOO LATE!

 

HOW TO AVOID BEING ‘LEFT BEHIND’
I’m NOT telling you all of this to ‘SCARE’ YOU. I’m telling you this TO ‘INFORM’ YOU—because the Bible has already told us that ALL THIS WILL HAPPEN!

To me, it looks like the United Nations is getting more support all the time for their “Agenda 2030” (read “One World Government”), and because of what the Bible says about the ‘last days’, all this leads me to believe that the “Tribulation” is coming soon, which, for me, means that the “Rapture” is coming EVEN SOONER! (since God’s ‘children’ will not experience His wrath – 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

As I said before, I believe we are also about to reach THE ‘tipping point’, one that nobody left on this earth is going to be is able to escape from. I’m thinking that it’s the “two minute warning”!

 

The two minute warning is something that takes place at the end of certain sporting events. It’s an ‘alarm’ that lets the participants know that there is only two minutes left in this game, and the following things are REALLY IMPORTANT when the two minute warning sounds:

– Things are critical
– It is ‘ultra’ important the way you play the game
– You can’t afford to be ‘careless’ during this time
– There’s much at stake
– It’s win or lose!

This is NOT the time to be negligent, indifferent, or be lackadaisical!

[ For more details about how scientists have ‘set’ the “Doomsday Clock” at two minutes before midnight, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/ ].

 

The Bible tells us that, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” [ 2 Peter 1:10 ]. That means that we should live in such a way as to be sure we will rise to meet Jesus in the air when He comes (the “Rapture”). I would hate for it to happen that when He returns that He would say you didn’t do everything that you needed to do to be part of the ‘bride’ of Christ. You let some things creep into your life that didn’t belong there, and now it’s TOO LATE!!! However, since you are reading this, you still may have time today to “make your calling and election sure”! So, why don’t you make it as sure as you can, RIGHT NOW!

 

Just as Edward Snowden felt he had a ‘DUTY’ to inform all Americans about the government ’spying’ on them—and it cost him his way of life and maybe his citizenship—I feel it is my ‘DUTY’ to inform you about the soon-coming time of the “Tribulation” (the end of the world, as we know it).

There is one thing that Snowden said that should be taken to heart by every Christian reading this: “The true measurement of a person’s worth isn’t what they say they believe in, but what they do in defense of those beliefs. If you’re not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren’t real.”

Wow! Hopefully, being at this part of the post, you understand my desire to WARN YOU that, in my opinion (as well as many other prophecy experts) that TIME IS SHORT, and I am ‘BEGGING’ YOU to become prepared to ‘MEET’ GOD. Pastor Adrian Rogers said it better than I can: “We [ ‘born again’ Christians ] ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.”

 

Life goes by so, so quickly (the US government now ‘categorizes’ me as a “retiree”), and I—as well as all of us—have VERY LITTLE TIME LEFT (especially since none of us knows when we will pass away).

If you were made aware that a horrendous natural ‘event’ was going to happen the next day, what would you do? Would you warn people? If so, what would you warn them of?

Well, for me, I would warn AS MANY AS I CAN that they will probably be ’MEETING’ THEIR MAKER VERY SOON! So, I would be concerned that they were NOT ‘READY’ (I am, as I wrote about in last month’s post, a “watchman on the wall”—or a “whistleblower” as Edward Snowden was—desiring that you ‘HEED THE WARNING’!)

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szaQ3hXvzfw&feature=youtu.be&t=2 ].

 

If you ‘heed’ the warnings here on earth—like forecasted natural disasters or surveillance of your personal information—to save yourself from ‘physical’ harm that will last, on average, 80-100 years, do you think it might be more important to heed the warnings of ‘where’ you will spend eternity? (being many, many more years than you will be here on earth!). The Apostle Paul put this succinctly: “Behold, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” [ 2 Corinthians 6:2c ].

Today is the MOST ‘PRECIOUS’ day you will ever live—since tomorrow is NOT PROMISED TO YOU—or anyone one else! (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-14). Death just ‘opens the door’ to eternity (Heaven or Hell).

 

The Bible says that you will be ‘LOST’ FOR ETERNITY WITHOUT JESUS!—in a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50) and a “fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 19:20)—somewhere you DON’T WANT TO BE for eternity!!! (“tormented day and night forever and ever” – Revelation 20:10).

 

Soon there will be no more ‘time’ as we know it! The wrath of God is about to ‘fall’ in ways that have never been seen before, and I don’t want you to be here when it ‘falls’!!!

 

Life is ‘PREPARATION’ FOR ETERNITY. It’s UP TO YOU (and God’s grace) ‘where’ you will end up! Please ‘HEED” MY WARNING! Get ‘right’ with God TODAY by REPENTING of your sins and sincerely BELIEVING in Jesus as you Savior!!! (Mark 1:15; Romans 10:9; Acts 3:19; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 6:2).

 

Friend, you are exposed daily to many dangers in this world. However, the most serious ‘danger’ concerns your soul, and its eternal destiny. Jesus declared, “…unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3). That’s BAD NEWS! However, the GOOD NEWS is, God can forgive your sins and save your soul if you will ‘HEED’ HIS WARNINGS!

 

 

[ Excerpts from: Edward Snowden; Glenn Greenwald; Laura Poitras; Grey Myre; Lloyd Green; Tom Hughes; Matt Ward; James H. Cagle; Jeremias Fababier; Ajai Prakash; Thomas Dibble; Rodelio Mallari; David Nield; John Gaston; Irina Ivanova; Thor Benson; Richard Stengel; Steve Ranger; James Boynton; Natashah Hitti; Rima Sabina Aouf; Shoshana Zubov ]

 

RELATED POSTS:

Being A ‘Watchman‘”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/

‘Last‘ Generation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249/

Mankind’s ‘Destiny’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/

‘Final’ Tribulation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/

‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/

Knowing ‘Assurance’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/

Leaving A ‘Legacy’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/leaving-a-legacy-v242/

‘Outworkings’ Of Grace”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/outworkings-of-grace-v241/

Amazing ‘Grace’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/amazing-grace-v239/

One’s ‘Last Words’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/ones-last-words-v232/

The Greatest ‘Gift’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-greatest-gift-v226/

A ‘Place’ To Retire”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-place-to-retire-v221/

‘Saved’ From Death”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/saved-from-death-v219/

 

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance
(Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

 

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RESOURCES:

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Permanent Record
By: Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.

In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.

Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online―a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDv4jv6oJZo

—————-
The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man
By: Luke Harding

Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.

In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.

—————-
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
By: Glenn Greenwald

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy.
Now Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity eleven-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with documents from the Snowden archive. Fearless and incisive, No Place to Hide has already sparked outrage around the globe and been hailed by voices across the political spectrum as an essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

—————-
Blowing Whistle – Edward Snowden’s 444 Revelations
By: Akṣapāda

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983 in North Carolina. Snowden was hired by Allen Hamilton, an NSA contractor after previously being employed in DELL and the CIA. Becoming disillusioned and disturbed with the programmes that he was assigned to, Snowden raised ethical concerns through proper internal channels which was ignored. After leaving the NSA facility in Hawaii and flying to Hong Kong, Snowden revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. And he became an international topic of discussion after his findings got published in magazines like Der Spiegel and The New York Times. As of October 2019, Edward Snowden had been granted permanent residency in Russia. He secretly married Lindsay Mills in 2017. This book has the vast and profound collection of Snowden quotes. Spare your time to grab the best compilation…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1705539831/

—————-
Citizenfour” (Movie)
Edward Snowden (Actor), Laura Poitras (Director)
Format: DVD

2014’s Academy Award winning documentary CITIZENFOUR is a real life international thriller that unfolds by the minute. With unprecedented access, this gripping behind-the-scenes chronicle follows award winning director Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country) and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s remarkable encounters with whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). The documentary not only shows the dangers of governmental surveillance, but makes audiences feel them. After seeing the film, viewers will never think the same way about their phone, e-mail, credit cards, web browser or digital footprint again.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XIFAJMS/

—————-
Snowden” (Movie)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Actor), Shailene Woodley (Actor)
Format: DVD

Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone (JFK, Born on the Fourth of July) tackles the most important true story of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged thriller reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the controversial figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the National Security Agency and became one of the most wanted men in the world. A hero to some and a traitor to others, the provocative story of what led him to that fateful decision makes for one of the most compelling stories in recent history.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LTHO65W/

—————-
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
By: Shoshana Zuboff

The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called “surveillance capitalism,” and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.

In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth.

Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new “behavioral futures markets,” where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new “means of behavioral modification.”

The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a “Big Other” operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. Zuboff’s comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled “hive” of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit–at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future.

With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future–if we let it.

—————-
On the Brink: Easy-to-Understand End-time Bible Prophecy
By: Daymond R. Duck

Organized in Biblical sequence and written with simplicity. Ideal for use as a handy-reference book.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0914984586/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i5

—————-
The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
By: Mike Lofgren

The New York Times bestselling author of The Party Is Over delivers a no-holds-barred exposé of who really wields power in Washington.

Every four years, tempers are tested and marriages fray as Americans head to the polls to cast their votes. But does anyone really care what we think? Has our vaunted political system become one big, expensive, painfully scripted reality TV show? In this powerful expose of the sins and excesses of Beltwayland, a longtime Republican party insider argues that we have become an oligarchy in form if not in name. Hooked on war, genuflecting to big donors, in thrall to discredited economic theories and utterly bereft of a moral compass, America’s governing classes are selling their souls to entrenched interest while our bridges collapse, wages, stagnate, and our water is increasingly undrinkable.

Mike Lofgren was the first to use the term Deep State, in an essay and exclusive interview on Moyers and Company, to refer to a web of entrenched interests in the US government and beyond (most notably Wall Street and Silicon Valley, which controls access to our every click and swipe) that dictate America’s defense decisions, trade policies and priorities with little regard for the actual interests or desires of the American people. In this essential and eye-opening book Lofgren takes his argument one step further. Drawing on insights gleaned over three decades on Capitol Hill, much of it on the Budget Committee, he paints a gripping portrait of the dismal swamp on the Potomac and the revolution it will take to reclaim our government and set us back on course.

—————-
The Deep State: 15 Surprising Dangers You Should Know
By: Craig Huey

The Deep State.

Politicians tell you it’s a myth…
The media mocks the very idea…
And bureaucrats deny its existence.

Here’s the shocking truth: They deny the Deep State exists because they are the Deep State. And, their primary goals are to:

– Grow bigger–expanding their power at the expense of your freedom
– Advance their ideology in every part of our society
– And resist anyone or anything that disagrees with their own agenda

The Deep State begins with a decentralized network at all levels of the state, local and federal government … into the private sector.

But its corrupt reach and influence stretch far beyond the government…

In The Deep State: 15 Surprising Dangers You Should Know, television commentator, author and small business owner Craig Huey reveals the little-known but powerful influence of this ideological stronghold over our entire nation … our culture … and even what our children are learning in school.

You’ll be horrified to learn:

– How the intelligence agencies have become weaponized for political purposes
– 8 government agencies where Deep State influence has escalated to a totalitarian, anti-democratic resistance movement
– How members of the “bloated bureaucracy” are promoting the Deep State (and getting paid hundreds of thousands to do it)
– The Deep State’s #1 most powerful tool to promote their ideological agenda — established under the Obama administration
– And more…

And, you’ll learn how to fight back and take a stand for your freedoms and values — before they are systematically destroyed by the Deep State.

—————-
1984
By: George Orwell

With extraordinary relevance and renewed popularity, George Orwell’s 1984 takes on new life in this hardcover edition.

“Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.”
— The New Yorker

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Lionel Trilling said of Orwell’s masterpiece “1984 is a profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book. It is a fantasy of the political future, and like any such fantasy, serves its author as a magnifying device for an examination of the present.” Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.

—————-
Brave New World
By: Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. “A genius [who] who spent his life decrying the onward march of the Machine” (The New Yorker), Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization. Brave New World, his masterpiece, has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.

—————-

 

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“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about fulfilled prophecies, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q4_d4_1of10.html ].

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ARTICLES:

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“Everything You Need To Know About Edward Snowden”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6vkEx5fQnc

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“Edward Snowden—Patriot or Traitor?”

He’s been dubbed an N.S.A. whistle-blower, but what’s the real story behind the Edward Snowden controversy? Inspired by the Suzanna Andrews, Bryan Burrough, and Sarah Ellison article in the May 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, we took the 20,000-word story, “The Snowden Saga,” and turned it into an animated 120-second video, featuring everything you need to know about the former N.S.A. contractor who sparked an international political frenzy.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCJ1SBEMU1s

*****************************
“Full Interview: Edward Snowden On Trump, Privacy, And Threats To Democracy”

On the eve of his memoir ’Permanent Record’ being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC’s Brian Williams in an exclusive interview. This is their discussion in its entirety, edited down slightly for clarity.

MSNBC delivers breaking news, in-depth analysis of politics headlines, as well as commentary and informed perspectives. Find video clips and segments from The Rachel Maddow Show, Morning Joe, Meet the Press Daily, The Beat with Ari Melber, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace, Hardball, All In, Last Word, 11th Hour, and more.

[ The 11th Hour ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9yK1QndJSM

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“Democracy Under Surveillance”

Interview between Col. Lawrence Wilkerson of William & Mary and political dissident Edward Snowden.

[ Learn Liberty ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWbaUfFfhlY

*****************************
“Edward Snowden Interview on Apple vs. FBI, Privacy, the NSA, and More”

“There’s a very real difference between allegiance to country–allegiance to people–than allegiance to state, which is what nationalism today is really more about,” says Edward Snowden. On February 20, the whistleblowing cybersecurity expert addressed a wide range of questions during an in-depth interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at Liberty Forum, a gathering of the Free State Project (FSP) in Manchester, New Hampshire.

FSP seeks to move 20,000 people over the next five years to New Hampshire, where they will secure “liberty in our lifetime” by affecting the political, economic, and cultural climate of the state. Over 1,900 members have already migrated to the state and their impact is already being felt. Among their achievements to date:

getting 15 of their brethren in the state House, challenging anti-ridehail laws, fighting in court for outre religious liberty, winning legal battles over taping cops, being mocked by Colbert for heroically paying off people’s parking meters, hosting cool anything goes festivals for libertarians, nullifying pot juries, and inducing occasional pants-wetting absurd paranoia in local statists.

Snowden’s cautionary tale about the the dangers of state surveillance wasn’t lost on his audience of libertarians and anarchists who reside in the “Live Free or Die” state. He believes that technology has given rise to unprecedented freedom for individuals around the world—but he says so from an undisclosed location in authoritarian Russia.

And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment’s notice, without anyone ever realizing what’s happening.

“They know more about us than they ever have in the history of the United States,” Snowden warns. “They’re excusing themselves from accountability to us at the same time they’re trying to exert greater power over us.”

In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even to label his beliefs. “I do see sort of a clear distinction between people who have a larger faith in liberties and rights than they do in states and institutions,” he grants. “And this would be sort of the authoritarian/libertarian axis in the traditional sense. And I do think it’s clear that if you believe in the progressive liberal tradition, which is that people should have greater capability to act freely, to make their own choices, to enjoy a better and freer life over the progression of sort of human life, you’re going to be pushing away from that authoritarian axis at all times.”

Snowden drews laughs when asked if he was eligible to vote via absentee ballot. “This is still a topic of…active research,” he deadpans.

But he stresses that the U.S. government can win back trust and confidence through rigorous accountability to citizens and by living up to the ideals on which the country was founded. “We don’t want Russia or China or North Korea or Iran or France or Germany or Brazil or any other country in the world to hold us up as an example for why we should be narrowing the boundaries of liberty around the world instead of expanding them,” says Snowden.

[ Reason TV ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8pkUTav0mk

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“How We Take Back the Internet”

Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he say, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee.

[ Edward Snowden ]

Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVwAodrjZMY

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“Edward Snowden Live From Russia”

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxKLpArDrC8

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“How Your Cell Phone Spies on You”

Taken from JRE #1368

[ Joe Rogan interviews Edward Snowden ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFns39RXPrU

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“Edward Snowden on America and Russia’s Diplomatic Woes”

Taken from JRE #1368

[ Joe Rogan interviews Edward Snowden ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k19Ipq0TV8Y

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“The Surveillance State is Built on Lies”

Taken from JRE #1368

[ Joe Rogan interviews Edward Snowden ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFpsw-svuac

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“Permanent Record” & Life as an Exiled NSA Whistleblower”

Edward Snowden discusses how his book “Permanent Record” sheds light on the evolving intelligence industry.

[ The Daily Show ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PArFP7ZJrtg

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“The Virtual Interview: Edward Snowden”

The New Yorker Festival presents Edward Snowden in conversation with Jane Mayer.

[ The New Yorker Festival ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fidq3jow8bc

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“‘You’re Being Watched’”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying”

Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has come forward as the whistleblower behind the explosive revelations about the National Security Agency and the U.S. surveillance state. Three weeks ago the 29-year-old left his job inside the NSA’s office in Hawaii where he worked for the private intelligence firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Today he is in Hong Kong — not sure if he will ever see his home again. In a video interview with The Guardian of London, Snowden says he exposed top-secret NSA surveillance programs to alert Americans of expansive government spying on innocents. “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded,” Snowden says. “And the storage capability of these systems increases every year, consistently, by orders of magnitude, to where it’s getting to the point you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer. … The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.” [more…]

Article: https://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/10/youre_being_watched_edward_snowden_emerges

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“Edward Snowden Has Three Security Tips For You”

Edward Snowden made his first live webcast appearance this month at the SXSW conference. The WSJ’s Thomas Di Fonzo spotlights three of Snowden’s online security tips.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QsXMwJ46x0

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“Snowden: Any Cell Phone Can Be Hacked”

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden tells Brian Williams that any country will a significantly well-funded intelligence organization can hack an individual’s cell phone.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=743u0pdikbM

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“Snowden” (The Movie)

CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.

The Fandango MOVIECLIPS Trailers channel is your destination for the hottest new trailers the second they drop. Whether it’s the latest studio release, an indie horror flick, an evocative documentary, or that new RomCom you’ve been waiting for, the Fandango MOVIECLIPS team is here day and night to make sure all the best new movie trailers are here for you the moment they’re released.

In addition to being the #1 Movie Trailers Channel on YouTube, we deliver amazing and engaging original videos each week. Watch our exclusive Ultimate Trailers, Showdowns, Instant Trailer Reviews, Monthly MashUps, Movie News, and so much more to keep you in the know.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KyltHXrxVk

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“Verax” (Edward Snowden Movie)

Secretive government agencies, classified information, international hideouts and charges of espionage — these are the makings of a Hollywood spy thriller. What began as an anonymous National Security Agency leak has turned into a media frenzy following Edward Snowden, the informant who revealed a secretive government-sanctioned data-mining project to the American public, and the world.

Now, a group of amateur filmmakers, based in the city where Snowden initially fled, Hong Kong, have taken a stab at the global drama that continues to unfold.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dncqc2Y8Uec&feature=youtu.be&t=17

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“Shoshana Zuboff on surveillance capitalism”

Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff wrote a monumental book about the new economic order that is alarming. “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” reveals how the biggest tech companies deal with our data. How do we regain control of our data? What is surveillance capitalism?

In this documentary, Zuboff takes the lid off Google and Facebook and reveals a merciless form of capitalism in which no natural resources, but the citizen itself, serves as a raw material. How can citizens regain control of their data?

It is 2000, and the dot.com crisis has caused deep wounds. How will startup Google survive the bursting of the internet bubble? Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin don’t know anymore how to turn the tide. By chance, Google discovers that the “residual data” that people leave behind in their searches on the internet is very precious and tradable.

This residual data can be used to predict the behavior of the internet user. Internet advertisements can, therefore, be used in a very targeted and effective way. A completely new business model is born: “surveillance capitalism.”

[ VPRO Documentary ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIXhnWUmMvw

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“Digits: Connecting To The Future”

TV Series

#1: “Connecting to the Future”:
Host Derek Muller escorts us to the physical heart of the Internet, describes the very first message sent by UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock, and demonstrates how Internet co-creators Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn devised a language that gave birth to the Internet as we know it.

Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBR4cvoz1eo

#2: “Guardians of the Web”
Host Derek Muller introduces viewers to “white hat” hackers, the U.S. Secret Service’s cyber crime division including West Point soldiers, all of whom are working to protect us from the risks associated with persistent connectivity, as the Web transitions from a medium to a utility, on par with electricity.

Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZyL1kyOhWE

#3: “Man Vs. Machine”:
We peer inside “The Internet of Things” and reveal how web advertising, search engines and 24/7 surveillance have transformed our lives. In the words of Edward Snowden: “TV is a medium you watch. The Internet is a medium that watches you as you watch it.”

Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlUGJHv3feQ

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“2010s = 1984: The decade we finally understood Orwell”

Saying George Orwell’s 1984 is my favorite book is like saying Star Wars is my favorite movie franchise. It would be more accurate to call them obsessions. I consume both in their entirety at least once a year, and have read everything there is to read about their creators. Their styles couldn’t be more opposite – naive space fantasy vs. ultimate hard-nosed dystopia — but both are exquisite examples of worldbuilding. [more…]

[ Chris Taylor ]

Article: https://mashable.com/article/1984-george-orwell-2010s/

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“Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system”

In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

[ Mike Elgan ]

Article: https://www.fastcompany.com/90394048/uh-oh-silicon-valley-is-building-a-chinese-style-social-credit-system

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“Cyborgs will replace humans and remake the world, James Lovelock says”

’Our supremacy as the prime understanders of the cosmos is rapidly coming to end.’

[ Corey S. Powell ]

Article: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/cyborgs-will-replace-humans-remake-world-james-lovelock-says-ncna1041616

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“Big Tech Plans Social Scores, Human Era Ending?”

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government. [more…]

Article: https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/big-tech-plans-social-scores-human-era-ending/

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“Powered by Gates Foundation Cash, MIT Develops ‘Tattoo ID’ Tracking Who Has Had Vaccinations”

The invisible “tattoo” is a pattern made up of tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light and thus glows under infra-red light. The pattern will be delivered alongside the vaccine into the skin via hi-tech dissolvable microneedles made of a mixture of polymers and sugar. [more…]

[ Lew Rockwell ]

Article: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/no_author/powered-by-gates-foundation-cash-mit-develop-tattoo-id-tracking-who-has-had-vaccinations/

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“’Social credit score’: China set to roll out ’Orwellian’ mass surveillance tool”

China is developing a new high-tech system of mass surveillance and coercion aimed suppressing political dissent among its 1.4 billion people, while forcing American and Western businesses to conform to the government’s communist policies if they want to operate there. [more…]

[ Bill Gertz ]

Article: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/9/social-credit-system-china-mass-surveillance-tool-/

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’The Entire System Is Designed to Suppress Us.’ What the Chinese Surveillance State Means for the Rest of the World”

BY CHARLIE CAMPBELL

Every morning, Mrs. Chen dons her bright purple tai chi pajamas and joins the dozen or so other members of Hongmen Martial Arts Group for practice outside Chongqing’s Jiangnan Stadium. But a few months ago, she was in such a rush to join their whirling sword-dance routine that she dropped her purse. Fortunately, a security guard noticed it lying in the public square via one of the overhead security cameras. He placed it at the lost and found, where Mrs. Chen gratefully retrieved it later.

“Were it not for these cameras, someone might have stolen it,” Mrs. Chen, who asked to be identified by only her surname, tells TIME on a smoggy morning in China’s sprawling central megacity. “Having these cameras everywhere makes me feel safe.”

What sounds like a lucky escape is almost to be expected in Chongqing, which has the dubious distinction of being the world’s most surveilled city. The seething mass of 15.35 million people straddling the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers boasted 2.58 million surveillance cameras in 2019, according to an analysis published in August by the tech-research website Comparitech. That’s a frankly Orwellian ratio of one CCTV camera for every 5.9 citizens—or 30 times their prevalence in Washington, D.C. [more…]

Article: https://time.com/5735411/china-surveillance-privacy-issues/

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“How China Is Using “Social Credit Scores” to Reward and Punish Its Citizens”

By
Charlie Campbell / Chengdu
Yi Tingyue has a lot going for her. She won a scholarship to China’s prestigious Sichuan University, where she graduated with a master’s in graphic design. She drives an Audi A4 and owns a penthouse apartment on the outskirts of provincial capital Chengdu. Vacations are spent touring Japan, Thailand and the U.S. Little wonder Yi is an 805.

That’s the score assigned to Yi by Sesame Credit, which is run by Jack Ma’s online-shopping empire Alibaba, placing the 22-year-old near the top of the scheme’s roughly 500 million–strong user base. Sesame determines a credit-score ranking—from 350 to a theoretical 950—dependent on “a thousand variables across five data sets,” according to the firm.

Unlike Western-style credit systems, Sesame takes in a broad range of behaviors both financial and social, all underwritten by an invisible web of Big Data. It’s the most prominent in a rising network of social-credit-score systems in China that are dramatically expanding the concept of creditworthiness—and raising fears internationally about Orwellian overreach by an autocratic regime.

In China, cash has long been king. As recently as 2011, only 1 in 3 Chinese people had a bank account. The nation’s rapid rise from collectivized penury to the world’s No. 2 economy meant it never had the chance to develop Western-style credit histories. That meant people could default on loans,
or sell shoddy or counterfeit goods, with few repercussions. Society was dogged by a question: Whom can you trust?

In 2015, the government set about addressing this by allowing eight companies—including Sesame parent Ant Financial—to run trial commercial credit scores. The official guidance called for a nationwide system that would “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven, while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” to be in place by 2020.

Data, of course, is key. As Sesame had access to the records of Alibaba’s mobile-payment app Alipay, which today boasts over 1 billion users worldwide, the company stole an easy march on its rivals in China. The system functions like a frequent-flyer scheme on steroids—one that transforms all of society into a first-class lounge. High scorers like Yi enjoy a bevy of perks. She can rent cars without a deposit, get better rates of foreign exchange and even skip hospital waiting lines. Rail stations have special waiting rooms for high Sesame scorers. For a time, high scorers could use a designated security queue at Beijing airport. [more…]

Article: https://time.com/collection/davos-2019/5502592/china-social-credit-score/

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“What Happens When You Merge AI, Facial Recognition & Social Credit”

China wants to give its prisoners (populace) the ability to pay with their faces to ride subways; this will be combined with its social credit program — which already tracks the communist nation’s citizens traveling — and if points are too low, it prevents travel.

The new program, which must have been assembled from George Orwell’s apparent instruction manual 1984, is slowly rolling out throughout China in several cities, The Standard reported.

In Shenzhen, China, home of OnePlus, Huawei and internet giant Tencent, the city has released a new government system for elderly Chinese. This new program will allow residents of China over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using just their face as their ticket.

If you think this is just a one-off, you would be utterly wrong. This form of facial recognition is already being experimented in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing according to the South China Morning Post.

China is planning to merge its 170+ million security cameras with artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to create a mega-surveillance state. This compounds with China’s “social credit system” that ranks citizens based on their behavior, and rewards and punishes depending on those scores.

The effort of using facial recognition as a ticket — especially as an incentive — is spreading across the world, starting with entertainment concert venues which Fight For The Future and dozens of artists strongly oppose as Activist Post reported.

That’s not all — even retail is pushing to forcefully indoctrinate society to use facial recognition technology as an anti-theft mechanism to be introduced in a thousands of stores using biometric software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters, as Activist Post reported.

Lately, BIG brother has been pushing the use of surveillance technology, from Amazon helping law enforcement with its Facial Rekogntion software, DHS wanting to use it for border control, to the Olympics wanting to use the tech for security.

Further, some of the biggest airports in the U.S. — estimated at 16 airports across the nation — are now scanning us as we board international flights. CBP (Customs And Border Patrol) expects to scale up the program to cover more than 97 percent of passengers flying outside of the U.S. by 2021 according to NextGov.

It’s all a part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Biometric Exit” agenda, which was originally signed into law under the Obama administration, BuzzFeed News reported.

Further, the policy director of U.S. CBP believes that facial recognition has already become essential. The agency’s head Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner has also hilariously said that its facial tracking technology isn’t surveillance, as Activist Post reported.

In 2017, Homeland Security clarified their position on domestic spying stating that Americans who don’t want their faces scanned leaving the country “shouldn’t travel.”

“The only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling,” the DHS wrote in a document.

This nightmarish reality if it comes to fruition will see everyone scrutinized and their bio identics in numerous government databases. This would allow anyone access to our biometrics at any single point in time, whether that’s our fingerprints, face, voice, or financial purchases for advertisers.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Chinese scientists have recently developed an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled 500 megapixel cloud camera that’s capable of panoramic capture of an entire stadium with the ability to target a single individual in an instant, Global Times reported.

The upgrade to facial recognition technology is developed by Shanghai-based Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Changchun, capital of Northeast China’s Jilin Province.

Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics aren’t the first researchers to advance facial recognition. There is also Shanghai-based YITU Technology which has evolved the facial recognition industry by being able to identify a person within a matter of seconds from a database of people, even if only their partial face is visible, CNBC reported.

The evolution of facial recognition technology is further documented by researchers at the University of Bradford have found that “facial recognition technology works even when only half a face is visible,” according to EurekAlert. Although, this upgraded technology hasn’t been tested by police to this writer’s knowledge, and let’s hope that it never is, for if it does civil liberties and privacy will cease to exist.

If Americans aren’t careful we will soon have the same surveillance state and facial recognition dystopia that Chinese citizens now have in 2020.

Already, facial recognition cameras are being suggested to be installed in subways, trains and bus stations like recently in New York. Earlier this year, the head of the MTA’s finance committee, Larry Schwartz, called for the installation of surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology to catch and deter criminals.

Although, the Chinese have gotten a head start on everyone with their social credit program that is already being flaunted in the U.S. and its world-famous Chinese Firewall preventing its populace from speaking out, arresting dissidents, imprisoning Muslim Uygurs aided by big tech like Google.

Privacy advocate groups, attorneys, and even more recently Microsoft, which also markets its own facial recognition system, have all raised concerns over the technology, pointing to issues of consent, racial profiling, and the potential to use images gathered through facial recognition cameras as evidence of criminal guilt by law enforcement.

“We don’t want to live in a world where government bureaucrats can enter in your name into a database and get a record of where you’ve been and what your financial, political, sexual, and medical associations and activities are,” Jay Stanley, an attorney with ACLU, told BuzzFeed News about the use of facial recognition cameras in retail stores. “And we don’t want a world in which people are being stopped and hassled by authorities because they bear resemblance to some scary character.”

Meanwhile in the UK, YouGov carried out Britain’s first national survey on public opinion regarding the use of facial recognition tech by the Ada Lovelace Institute. The institute found that, out of 4,109 adults aged over 16 questioned on the opinions of the technology — a massive 55 percent said they wanted the UK government to impose restrictions on the tech.

In addition, a 46 percent of respondents said they want the right to opt-out of the use of facial recognition technology and 61 percent of people opposed the use of facial recognition tech on public transport.

On the other side of the hemisphere, another national survey in the U.S. of 3,151 U.S. adults in December take by the Center for Data Innovation, found only one in four Americans believe the federal government should strictly limit the use of facial recognition biometrics technology.

The survey also indicated Americans are more likely to support a trade-off to their own privacy caused by biometric technology if it benefits law enforcement, reduces shoplifting or speeds up airport security lines.

Only 18 percent of those polled stated they agreed with strict limitations on facial recognition tech if it comes at the expense of public safety, compared to 55 percent who disagreed with such limitations.

However, a poll from the Brookings Institution in September 2018 contradicts that and found half of Americans favored limitations of the use of facial recognition by law enforcement, while 42 percent felt it invaded personal privacy rights.

There is still hope for Americans with Congressmen being opposed to the use of the technology and calling for a “halt” of its deployment. However, despite Congressional hearings on the matter police departments across the U.S. like Detroit have decided to go forward with a facial recognition program for police. The program has already drawn severe blowback with activists protesting the decision.

Already, we have had several wins in this long fight and there are signs of hope. First, San Francisco banned facial recognition technology being used by the government in May of last year, then Somerville, Massachusetts, and Oakland, California followed suit.

The rapid growth of this technology has triggered a much-needed debate to slow down the roll out. Activists, politicians, academics and even police forces all over the world are expressing serious concerns over the impact facial recognition could have on our society.

Several lawmakers have even chimed in to voice concerns about Amazon’s facial recognition software, expressing worry that it could be misused, The Hill reported.

A Senate bill introduced last year would force companies who want to use facial recognition technology on consumers to first get their consent. If that happens as soon as the ink is dry Amazon’s Ring and Amazon’s Facial Recognition which heavily relies on facial recognition technology could be banned across the U.S.

Congress under the House Oversight Committee recently held a bipartisan discussion on the issue of regulating the use of facial recognition technology and biometric cameras.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said, “there are virtually no controls …. Whatever walk of life you come from, you may be a part of this [surveillance] process.”

The committee’s top Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) also expressed “It’s time for a time out” on government use of the surveillance technology.

Fight For The Future has previously launched a first-of-its-kind interactive map that tracks where in the U.S. facial recognition technology is being used and where it is being resisted, along with a tool-kit for local activists who want to help kickstart a ban in their city or state, as Activist Post reported.

Consent to be identified by the government whenever and wherever we go is approval to have the government decide whether, when, and where we are allowed to travel like China. Making our faces be our travel card is put bluntly: a very dangerous precedent to allow.

We can’t change our facial structures, all of a sudden you could find yourself being blocked from services just because the government doesn’t like you or your politics.

If all else fails, I suppose we could all use anti-facial recognition lasers like the protesters in Hong Kong did to disrupt the systems. At least until the artificial intelligence evolves to the point which even George Orwell couldn’t have imagined.

Originally published at Activist Post – reposted with permission.

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“Republicans & Democrats Agree: Give Vast Snooping Powers to The U.S. Government”

Even in our polarized and right vs. left political paradigm, there is one thing both republicans and democrats can agree on: The federal government should have vast snooping powers and conduct mass surveillance on everyone. They simply disagree over who should be in charge of abusing those excessive powers. [more…]

Article: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/11/mac-slavo/republicans-democrats-agree-give-vast-snooping-powers-to-the-u-s-government/

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“Penn State Prof: Social Credit Will Shift Law In The West “From Constitution… To Analytics And Algorithm”

Professor Larry Backer of Penn State University writes in a 2018 paper that resistance to social credit systems in the west could be dissolved when the masses are “socialized… as a collective” and “…the great culture management machinery of Western society develop a narrative in which such activity is naturalized within Western culture.” [more…]

[ Tyler Durden ]

Article: https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/penn-state-prof-social-credit-will-shift-law-west-constitution-analytics-and-algorithm

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“U.S. Homeland Security Proposes Face Scans for Citizens”

The Trump administration intends to propose a regulation next year that would require all travelers – including U.S. citizens – to be photographed when entering or leaving the United States, according to the administration’s regulatory agenda. [more…]

[ Ted Hesson ]

Article: https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2019-12-02/us-homeland-security-proposes-face-scans-for-us-citizens

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“What does the US government know about you?”

How much does the US government know about you? It’s not a question easily answered. The US government operates the largest and most advanced spying, surveillance, and data collection programs on the planet. It’s made up of multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies, some of which operate in secret. The federal government, of course, consists more than two dozen major agencies that perform regular record keeping for operational purposes, such as the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Social Security Administration.

Aside from official government entities, third parties often comply with government requests for information. These include big tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of which were shown by Edward Snowden to have cooperated with the NSA’s spying efforts. And while we’re thinking about Edward Snowden, recall that he was a private contractor at the NSA at the time and not a government employee. Contractors and private companies can collect information on behalf of the US government as well.

The amount and accuracy of information that the government varies from one person to the next. Someone who spends a lot of time online, sharing on social media, creating accounts at different services, and/or communicating with friends and relatives overseas will leave a much more clear trail of data than someone who shuns Facebook and takes proactive steps to protect their privacy. Government employees must undergo rigorous background checks, while someone getting paid under the table at a local restaurant can fly under the radar.

Attempting to cover all the information that the US government knows about any one person quickly becomes overwhelming and full of caveats. With all of this in mind, it’s clear we need to narrow down our parameters. To that end, we’ll create three typical archetypes–Alice, Bob, and Chris–who fit the following profiles:
[more…]

[ Dennis Anon ]

Article: https://privacy.net/us-government-surveillance-spying-data-collection/

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“Six U.S. Cities Make the List of Most Surveilled Places in the World”

Atlanta and Chicago top the list of U.S. cities that are watching their citizens with security cameras, but China leads the world when it comes to official surveillance.

Conversations about privacy concerns in recent years have often focused on the online space, given high profile data breaches and repeated revelations of tech companies’ misuse of personal information. But the private sector isn’t alone in surveilling people, and invasions of privacy aren’t just threats online.

Offline surveillance by the government has grown exponentially in the past few years. One estimate found that the number of security cameras in the U.S. grew from 33 million in 2012 to 62 million in 2016. Now a new report from Comparitech, a technology research firm, takes a count of the number of closed-circuit television cameras owned by both government and private sources in cities around the world and compares that with the city’s population to find the density of cameras.

Atlanta was the only place in the U.S. to crack the top 10, with 15.56 cameras per thousand residents. That may seem low compared to cities higher on the list, most of which are in China and have 39 to 168 cameras per thousand residents, but Atlanta’s rate is high by U.S. standards. The five other municipalities that made the list of the top 50 most surveilled cities in the world included Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston.

Chicago has about 13 cameras per thousand residents, and D.C. has 5.6. The other three cities have three or less cameras per thousand residents. Chicago had the highest number of individual cameras amongst U.S. cities, at 35,000.

Kenneth Johnson, police commander of the Englewood district in Chicago, said that residents shouldn’t be concerned about privacy because the cameras are out in the open in public places. “This isn’t a secret. This isn’t an Orwellian ‘Big Brother,’” he told the New York Times last year. [ Mark Besh: Hmmmm! ]
[more…]

[ Emma Coleman ]

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“Big Brother Is Watching You: Is America Becoming Orwell’s Nightmare?”

WITH A THEATRICAL PRODUCTION of Nineteen Eighty-Four, imported from London, opening in Los Angeles in January 2016 at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage, renewed attention is being paid to one of Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels. Of course, George Orwell’s classic has been frequently reviewed and assessed. It has become commonplace to identify how far the Orwellian vision of the “surveillance state,” with its “Big Brother,” “doublespeak,” and “thoughtcrimes,” has become embedded in our society not just in authoritarian regimes all over the world, but in the United States, England, and Europe. [more…]

[ Stephen Rohde ]

Article: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/big-brother-is-watching-you-is-america-at-risk-of-becoming-orwells-nightmare/

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“Big Brother May Be Watching You in Your Car—But at Least He Wants You To Be Comfy”

Valeo’s Smart Cocoon 4.0 gathers a frightening amount of real-time data and puts it to good use.

The primary purpose of Valeo’s Smart Cocoon concept is to save power in electric vehicles. In extreme temperatures, when batteries are at their least efficient, it takes a lot of precious amps to warm or cool the cabin, and so Valeo sought to find a more efficient way to keep occupants comfortable. That raised the obvious question: Why heat (or cool) the whole cabin when you can target individuals?

Our demo took place in a Mercedes with its climate-control panel conspicuously blanked off. Hidden away is a panoply of equipment: low-light cameras, infrared cameras, temperature sensors, facial- and body-recognition units, and even low-power radar. The system complies a huge amount of data: It can figure out if a seat is occupied; recognize the occupant’s face; and detect body temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and activity levels. By comparing the temperature of your face with that of other parts of your body, the system even figures out out how heavily you are dressed (if at all). It even takes a guess at your gender and age. (All of the information is used in real time, nothing is stored in the car or the cloud.)

Using all this collected data, the system can figure out factors that affect your comfort—not just temperature, but also your mood, stress level, and fatigue. Temperature adjustment is done on a seat-by-seat basis using Valeo-developed energy-efficient devices, including heating pads concealed in the armrests and center stack (they can work behind leather and wood trim panels as well) and cooling vents that save energy by using intelligent air distribution and diffusion rather than brute force. The coolers piggyback on the battery-cooling system rather than a traditional A/C compressor. All use less power than a traditional single-point HVAC system.

Does Smart Cocoon work? Does it ever. I sat in the car, watched the demo (which included the low-light camera’s recognition of our faces and movements), and in a few seconds, I was…well, comfortable. I intentionally wore my extra-heavy L.L. Bean sweatshirt, which looks insubstantial but is surprisingly toasty, and it failed to fool the car. I removed my secret-weapon sweatshirt, and the system figured that out and adjusted the temperature accordingly.

Smart Cocoon still needs some development. The heating pads make the armrests uncomfortably warm, and while I was grateful, the system underestimated my age by 4 to 16 years. In addition, on the current version, there’s no way to set the temperature, because that would kind of defeat the purpose. But the Valeo folks acknowledge that the interface has a long way to go, especially considering cultural differences—Americans like to switch the A/C to Arctic Blast while Europeans apparently prefer a gentle breeze.

Still, the potential is pretty obvious. In terms of the base goal, Valeo says the system can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent—that’s like instantly boosting the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s range from 300 miles to nearly 400. And with all the data it collects, the system can respond empathetically, triggering stress-reducing lighting, sounds, and fragrances, or alerting a drowsy driver when it’s time to pull over for a nap. All good—provided you can get used to the idea that your car knows how you feel and what you’re wearing.

[ Aaron Gold ]

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“No Place To Hide: Automatic License Plate Readers Expand To Smaller Cities”

Last week, the Herald Publication in Mascoutah, Illinois revealed that the City of Fairview Heights entered into an agreement with the IDOT to install automatic license plate readers (ALPR) on highway trusses to allegedly “prevent, deter and solve crimes.”

Which is typical government doublespeak to explain away Big Brother tracking innocent motorists.

Taken at face value, Fairview Heights reasons for tracking everyone is nothing new, they use the same cookie-cutter excuses that law enforcement across the country have been using.

But what really caught my eye was the “other resolution approved by the council.”

The other resolution calls for the city to belong to the DEA’s National License Plate Reader Network (NLPRN).

The other resolution approved by the council calls for the city to belong to the National License Plate Reader Network which is administered by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). The agreement with the DEA allows Fairview Heights Police to both input data into the national system and retrieve data from it along with establishing the processes for the sharing and use of such information.

How does capturing the personal information of everyone driving through or into Fairview Heights prevent or deter crimes?

Fairview Heights Police officers “can input data into the national system and retrieve data from it along with establishing the processes for the sharing and use of such information.”

That same agreement further specifies that the information obtained through the NLPRN can only be used “for the investigation of drug trafficking offenses, money laundering, other crimes, amber alerts, silver alerts and in the furtherance of the mission of a traffic stop.”

But those are not the only things law enforcement uses them for.

The Fairview Heights Police Department and other agencies are helping the DEA expand their 343 million license plate database.

Five years ago, people were outraged to learn that the DEA had created a 343 million license plate database; this past year private ALPR companies have created a list of license plates that makes the DEA database look utterly laughable. Combined, these three ALPR companies have created a list of more than 14 billion license plates that track everyone’s movements across the US over many years.

Illinois law enforcement and other agencies have also created a statewide vehicle surveillance-sharing network.

As far as further plans go, Chief of Police Chris Locke said, “things are advanced to the point that the IDOT trunking system can be used to make connections under the state highway when the time comes to add more to the system.”

As part of a DEA program that was initiated in 2015 and has been growing in the United States ever since, the license plate readers are high-speed, computer-controlled camera systems that are typically mounted on street poles, streetlights, highway overpasses, mobile trailers or attached to police squad cars.

They automatically capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date and time. The data, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is then uploaded to a central server.

Do you really want law enforcement to know who is in your passenger seat? Do you want Big Brother to know when you go to the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, place of worship?

Look beyond the headlines and see what everyone has been saying for years: ALPRs can and will be used to track everyone’s movements.

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“Facial Recognition Could Take Over, One ’Convenience’ at a Time”

The trade show offers a glimpse of what the future could look like if facial recognition is everywhere.

Konami Gaming, a slot machine maker, wants to weave facial recognition into its one-armed bandits. During a visit to its Las Vegas headquarters to hear more about its plans, I quickly discovered what the world would be like if facial recognition is everywhere.

“Hello, Alfred,” said a measured, robotic voice, startling me. It came from a kiosk called “Biometrics Welcome Console” positioned right next to the door of the conference room where my meeting was held. The kiosk knew who I was because Konami had set up a profile for me, using a public photo from my CNET bio without telling me. The facial recognition tagged me before I’d even said hello to the Konami team members in the room.

I looked at the screen showing the photo the kiosk took of me when I walked in. The camera had caught just my eyes and nose. Still, the facial recognition software calculated it detected me with 60.5% accuracy.

“Any picture you use online can be used to identify you already,” Sina Miri, Konami’s vice president of innovation and strategic research and design, told me. Konami had also set up profiles of my colleagues at the visit, again without telling them.

Throughout the interview, Konami’s facial recognition cameras followed us. They captured our images so many times that the kiosk kept greeting us long after the meeting started. Eventually, a Konami staffer resorted to covering her face with paper to keep the machine quiet while we stood out of its view.

The exchange, which Konami saw as a positive demonstration of its capabilities but which I viewed as an invasion of privacy, illustrates the fine line that facial recognition needs to walk. Technology companies can’t wait to incorporate the feature, which can be as benign as Face ID on your iPhone, into more gadgets and systems. But consumer advocates worry it’ll have a chilling effect on our private lives.

Konami set up a facial recognition profile for me using my CNET profile picture without telling me.

Meanwhile, facial recognition’s spread marches on. Over the last decade, anything you can think of — toothbrushes, televisions, cars, refrigerators and even beds — has been connected to the internet. Within the next 10 years, facial recognition companies hope to do the same with their technology. CES 2020, where many of these companies showed their wares, was a glimpse into what the future of surveillance could look like. The annual tech conference was a prime spot to help make the biometric service mainstream.

Just as connecting a television to the internet was a fairly new concept in 2011, a world filled with facial recognition is essentially uncharted territory now. That might change fast. By 2019, analysts found that you couldn’t buy a new TV without an internet connection. Facial recognition companies want that sort of acceptance for their technology.

That means inserting FR, as the technology is called in shorthand, into every part of your life. You’ll experience it at the shopping mall, at school and in your own home.

“Once it’s used in other industries, it’ll be in places everywhere,” said Tom Soukup, Konami’s senior vice president and chief systems products officer. “There’s going to be widespread customer acceptance within the next two, three years.”

But facial recognition is used by police departments and government agencies for investigations, often without legal guidelines that protect citizens when it’s used. Lawmakers have raised concerns about, for example, the effect on free speech if police could use facial recognition to pinpoint and track protesters in a crowd.

“This is a tech that threatens to supercharge our cameras and turn them into surveillance devices like never before,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.

When everything became connected online in the last decade, the convenience came with some strings attached. For televisions, it meant that companies could start tracking people’s viewing habits and selling that data to advertisers.

With facial recognition, it could happen on a broader scale. You can’t change your face the way you can change an advertising ID associated with your device.

At CES, facial recognition appeared to be on the verge of wedging itself into spots it had never been before. The trade show itself implemented facial recognition for badge pickups for the first time, while LG showed off a door that could scan your face to unlock. A storage box for marijuana using facial recognition won a CES innovation award.

On Wednesday, Konami Gaming showed off its plans for implementing facial recognition in slot machines, explaining that gamblers could use their faces for loyalty and rewards programs from a casino.

Screenshot of a facial recognition system
All it took was a capture of my eyes and nose and the facial recognition detected me in an instant.

Konami’s Miri envisions a future in which facial recognition could enable pervasive, real-world online tracking for targeted advertising via Google and Facebook.

“Once we face ID you, what we do is build a profile,” Miri said. “If we know your favorite drink is rum and coke, we can put an advertisement of a specific brand of rum where you are, for example.”

Throughout the interview, Soukup referred to our faces as “QR codes,” reducing one of our most intimate, personal features to a machine-scannable jumble.

Soukup said Konami doesn’t have privacy officers who work on facial recognition development at its headquarters. Instead, the company has compliance officers, whose job is to make sure its technology meets the minimum standards of privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which includes provisions covering biometric information.

In the US, almost no regulations on facial recognition exist, outside of Illinois’s biometrics law. Everything that Konami did — taking my image without my permission to build a profile and then constantly tracking me in its office even though I never opted in — is completely legal.

“We’re living in a wild west when it comes to privacy protections,” the ACLU’s Stanley said. “Most deployments of facial recognition aren’t empowering individuals, but they’re empowering the companies that lie behind those devices.”

How convenient?
Konami’s executives said that facial recognition would speed up the process for gamblers looking to get loyalty rewards points. Under the current system, it takes about a minute and a half. With the biometric, Miri says, it would take 30 seconds.

You’d be exchanging a potential lifetime of facial tracking to save a minute.

PopID, a facial recognition company based in California, is behind facial recognition for businesses like Deli Time and Stoner’s Pizza Joint. It’s also got its technology on the campuses of schools like Stanford University and University of Southern California.

The company provided a similar comparison, saying it takes about 90 seconds to order food through facial recognition, compared to 3 minutes without it.

Yale Goldberg, PopID’s vice president of strategy and business development, says the company’s facial recognition is in more than 100 locations that ring up more than 1,500 transactions per week.

He says facial recognition will spread, pointing out the success it’s had at PopID’s parent company, Cali Burger.

“We have significantly more loyal top customers than we did before we had these kiosks. It’s because they know they can get this great experience every time,” Goldberg said. “They don’t need to add their onions and light ketchup and everything else. We know that for them. We make their lives easier.”

Facial recognition companies believe this technology will be everywhere in the next five years, arguing that the convenience will win over the public.

But with unease building over technology companies’ invasion of privacy, more people are becoming aware of the strings attached to that convenience, the ACLU’s Stanley said.

“We’ve seen a growing backlash against facial recognition in the country and growing understanding of the technology’s consequences,” Stanley said. “We need to be very, very wary about exchanging convenience for a world that we don’t recognize anymore.”

Before leaving Konami’s office, I asked the company’s staff to delete the profile it had made of me, along with any other biometric data that its cameras collected during my visit.

The staff deleted my profile but said they’d need to contact Konami’s biometric supplier to get rid of the data they collected on me. I wasn’t able to stay to see that happen.

After the story published, Konami apologized for building a facial recognition profile of us without our permission, and said that the company should have provided notice.

“We did not mean to offend the team or make light of important values,” a Konami spokeswoman said. “We will ensure that the data associated with Wednesday’s visit is purged from our internal system and that of our biometric technology partner.”

[ Alfred Ng ]

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“How Ransomware Locks Your PC & Holds Your Data Hostage”

If ransomware is affecting you, you need to watch this video to learn how to fight against ransomware. There are ways to reduce your risk and limit the damage that ransomware ultimately causes.

What is Ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malicious software that mostly comes from spam email attachments, malicious links, and web browser exploits. Ransomware is known to encrypt files on an infected computer preventing it from operating normally or allow surfing of the Internet. Through the display of a customized notification, ransomware attempts to offer victimized computer users a way to unlock their computer. Fundamentally, ransomware locks up a computer through aggressive file encryption only to demand a substantial ransom fee to unlock it. Ransomware will hold a computer hostage until the demanded payment is made. Computer users who encounter ransomware look to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to decrypt their files.

Ransomware has been responsible for countless attacks on everyday computer users, businesses, and even government entities. A hospital in California was once forced to pay a $17,000 ransom fee to restore the operation of their ransomware-infected computers so they could care for their patients. At one time, CrytoWall Ransomware made over $325 million for its authors in a matter of only six months. The U.S. Government has even advised the Department of Homeland Security to stop indirectly funding ransomware perpetrators by paying ransom fees to unlock their infected computers.

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_dyi9CWieo

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“Dealing with a Ransomware Attack: A full guide”

Help! Infected by Ransowmare? This video is a full guide on how to deal with a ransomware attack, how to decrypt your encrypted files, lockdown your network contain damage, recover data and so on. All the steps included here are free and can be performed by anyone before consulting professional help.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0yXmQx89x4

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“Ransomware As Fast As Possible”

Criminals have started using new types of malware to hold your computer hostage for money. How does this work, and how can you stay safe?

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shDgBHUXnr8

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“Ransomware attack takes down LA hospital for hours”

One of the greatest threats to private cybersecurity today is ransomware — a cyberattack that blocks access to a computer until the hacker is paid a ransom. The problem recently took on new urgency when a hospital in Los Angeles had its entire network shut down for hours, putting hundreds at risk; another high-profile breach hit L.A.’s health department last week. William Brangham reports.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X08wgodFgXw

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The Lazy Person’s Guide to Better Online Privacy

I consider myself a high-functioning lazy person. I do my laundry regularly, but leave clean clothes in a pile on the floor. I make it to work on time, but have to set my alarm for an hour earlier than I’d like because I hit the snooze button so many times. I will wear a blazer to my business casual office, but only to cover up my terribly wrinkled shirts… which I pick up off my bedroom floor each morning.

At the Internet Society, I work primarily on topics related to security and privacy. Through my work, I have the pleasure of learning about new vulnerabilities or computer viruses, how different apps and devices can or already are spying on me and selling my data, and all other manner of scary online threats. As you can imagine I’ve become increasingly paranoid about my online privacy.

Yet, when it comes to online privacy, lazy and paranoid is a terrible combination.

I know what I should be doing to better protect my online privacy. I know I should update my devices regularly. I know I should be using two factor authentication when its available. But, like the clothes I know I should be folding, I never take the time to do so.

So I’m making a change. When it comes to online privacy, for too long I’ve just been lazy and paranoid. Now, it’s time for me to become the paranoid, high-functioning lazy person I know I can be. Like overdressing to hide a wrinkled shirt, it’s time to take my laziness and turn it into a strength.

Here are a some actions I’m taking to improve my online privacy. All of them are easy, and a few don’t even require follow-up.

Learn how to “shop smart” for connected devices. You don’t want to have to return a connected device because it is spying on you. Returning things is a pain. Learn how to “shop smart,” and buy privacy respecting connected devices so you won’t have to.[1] My post on shopping for connected toys and Mozilla’s guide to shopping for connected gifts are both great places to start.

Update your devices and its applications. If a device or app has an auto-update feature, turn it on! Are you really going to want to take the time to update it later? Often this is as easy as a couple clicks. And don’t forget to update the less obvious devices. Anything that’s Internet connected, from your light bulbs to your thermostat, should be updated.
Turn on strong encryption. Some devices and services have the capability to use encryption, but don’t turn encryption by default. This is like owning a safe, but leaving it unlocked. Take a few minutes to see if your devices or services are already using encryption or if you need to turn it on.

Review the permissions on your mobile device. No flashlight app ever needs to track your location or your calendar. So, don’t let them! Seriously, do this, it takes less than five minutes. Review your permissions settings and turn off the permissions for apps to gather more data than you’d like.

Review the privacy settings on your social media and store accounts. You may be sharing a lot more than you intended through your social media and store accounts. Review your privacy settings to determine who can see what you write, the pictures you post, or your other activity on the platform. Ask yourself, who do I want to see this sort of information, and who do I not want to see it. When possible, avoid linking your social media accounts with other third party services. Your social media platform does not need to know what music you listen to, so don’t tie your music streaming service to your social media account!

Boost the privacy protections on your favorite browser. There are lots of great browser extensions or plug-ins that can increase your privacy when browsing the web. One browser plugin, HTTPS Everywhere, will ensure that if a website offers an encrypted SSL connection, it will use it. Others, like Ghostery and Privacy Badger, will block tracking cookies or web beacons that companies use to track your browsing habits. Getting privacy protecting browser plugins is a quick and easy way to better privacy.
Stop reusing passwords. It is tempting to reuse a password for multiple devices or services. How are you supposed to remember different passwords for everything? But, while reusing a password may be easier for you to remember, if hacked or stolen, it also makes it easier for criminals to gain access to your other devices or services. Take a few minutes to get a secure password manager and learn how to use it, or, for home devices, write down your passwords in a securely stored notebook.

Turn on two factor authentication (2FA) for your applications and services. Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch goal but hear me out. When you think of 2FA, think of something you know (e.g. password) and something you have (e.g a security token). 2FA means if someone only has your username and password they can’t login as you, and that’s really important, because companies lose databases of their users passwords all the time. The Two Factor Auth site will walk you through how to set it up for almost every website that supports it. Banks, social media, everything.

Let’s take action to better protect our privacy online. We might not clean our rooms and dust our furniture, fold our clothes, or wake up on the first alarm, but we’d rather not have our devices show the world just how lazy we can be.

*Strong security and privacy takes time and effort, and device manufacturers can be lazy too. So sometimes, there isn’t going to be a privacy respecting option. At the Internet Society we’re working hard to make it easier for device manufacturers to do the right thing when it comes to security and privacy. The OTA IoT Trust Framework provides manufacturers and others with a simple risk assessment guide for connected devices and systems.

[ Ryan Polk ]

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“Amazon just opened a grocery store without a checkout line”

Amazon is testing a grocery store in downtown Seattle that lets customers walk in, grab food from the shelves and walk out again, without ever having to stand in a checkout line.

Customers tap their cellphones on a turnstile as they walk into the store, which logs them into the store’s network and connects to their Amazon account through an app.

The service is called Amazon Go. It uses machine learning, sensors and artificial intelligence to track items customers pick up. These are then added to the virtual cart on their app. If they pick up an item they later decide they don’t want, putting it back on the shelf removes it from their cart.

The Seattle-based company calls it, “Just walk out technology.”

How Amazon’s line-less grocery service might really work

Can Amazon fix the grocery game?

When the customer leaves, the app adds up everything the customer has taken and charges their Amazon account.

Amazon said it began to work on the project in 2012. It is currently being tested by Amazon employees at the location at 2131 7th Ave., near Amazon’s offices, but will open to the public in early 2017, the company said.

The technology “is amazing,” said Phil Lempert, a food marketing expert based in Los Angeles.

He’s even more intrigued by the multiple images of “meal kits” show in Amazon’s video. These “everything you need to cook a quick, high-quality dinner” kits have become popular, but the economics of delivering them has meant they’re difficult to make economically viable. Stores such as Amazon Go may provide a sweet spot for them.

“When you look at the store itself in the video (and presumably it is the actual store), they have done a great job of merchandising, and having “meal kits” available is simply brilliant. As the meal-kit industry struggles due to the shipping/logistics aspect,” Amazon Go could be a venue where they could succeed, said Lempert.

[ Elizabeth Weise ]

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“Apple’s Latest Deal Shows How AI Is Moving Right Onto Devices”

The iPhone maker’s purchase of startup Xnor.ai is the latest move toward a trend of computing on the “edge,” rather than in the cloud.

Apple dropped $200 million this week on a company that makes lightweight artificial intelligence. It’s all about keeping an edge in AI … by adding more AI to the edge.

The acquisition of Xnor.ai, a Seattle startup working on low-power machine learning software and hardware, points to a key AI battleground for Apple and other tech heavyweights—packing ever-more intelligence into Smartphones, smartwatches, and other smart devices that do computing on the “edge” rather that in the cloud. And doing it without killing your battery.

“Machine learning is going to happen at the edge in a big way,” predicts Subhasish Mitra, a professor at Stanford who is working on low-power chips for AI. “The big question is how do you do it efficiently? That requires new hardware technology and design. And, at the same time, new algorithms as well.”

The most powerful AI algorithms tend to be large and very power hungry when run on general purpose chips. But a growing number of startups, Xnor.ai among them, have begun devising ways to pare down AI models and run them on extremely energy-efficient, highly specialized hardware.

Last March, Xnor.ai demoed a computer chip capable of running image recognition using only the power from a solar cell. A research paper authored by the founders of Xnor.ai and posted online in 2016 describes a more efficient form of convolutional neural network, a machine learning tool that is particularly well suited to visual tasks. The researchers reduced the size of the network by essentially creating a simplified approximation of the interplay among its layers.

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Apple already makes chips that perform certain AI tasks, like recognizing the wake phrase “Hey, Siri.” But its hardware will need to become more capable without draining your battery. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Now, AI on the edge means running pretrained models that do a specific task, such as recognizing a face in a video or a voice in a call. But Mitra says it may not be long before we see edge devices that learn too. This could let a smartphone or another device improve its performance over time, without sending anything to the cloud. “That would be truly exciting,” he says. “Today most devices are essentially dumb.”

Applying AI to video more efficiently, as Xnor.ai has demoed, will also be key for Apple, Google, and anyone working in mobile computing. Cameras and related software are a key selling point for iPhones and other Smartphones, and video-heavy apps like TikTok are popular among younger smartphone customers. Edge computing has the added benefit of keeping personal data on your device, instead of sending it to the cloud.

Dave Schubmehl, an analyst with the research firm IDC, says machine learning could also be used in Apple gadgets that currently don’t include AI. “I can see them running AI on the Apple Watch and in AirPods, to clean up sound for example,” he says. “There’s tremendous opportunity in existing products.”

Running sophisticated AI on video, like an algorithm that can tell what’s happening in a scene or add complex special effects, is usually done in the cloud because it requires a significant amount of computer power. “For example, adding synthetic depth of field to your photos might require running a deep network to estimate the depth of each pixel,” says James Hays, a professor at Georgia Tech who specializes in computer vision.

Besides making your iPhone’s camera smarter, Xnor.ai’s technology could help Apple in other areas. Giving machines more ability to perceive and understand the messy real world will be key to robotics, autonomous driving, and natural language understanding.

“If the goal of AI is to achieve human-level intelligence, reasoning about images is vital to that,” Hays says, noting that roughly a third of the human brain is dedicated to visual processing. “Evolution seems to consider vision vital to intelligence,” he says.

Apple seems to think that a more evolved form of computer vision is pretty valuable too.

[ Will Knight ]

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“The Display of the Future Might Be in Your Contact Lens”

Mojo Vision’s prototypes can enhance your vision or show you your schedule—right from the surface of your eyes.

A glance to the left. A flick to the right. As my eyes flitted around the room, I moved through a virtual interface only visible to me—scrolling through a calendar, looking up commute times home, and even controlling music playback. It’s all I theoretically need to do to use Mojo Lens, a smart contact lens coming from a company called Mojo Vision.

The California-based company, which has been quiet about what it’s been working on for five years, has finally shared its plan for the world’s “first true smart contact lens.” But let’s be clear: This is not a product you’ll see on store shelves next autumn. It’s in the research and development phase—a few years away from becoming a real product. In fact, the demos I tried did not even involve me plopping on a contact lens—they used virtual reality headsets and held up bulky prototypes to my eye, as though I was Sherlock Holmes with a magnifying glass.

A Future with Less Screens
Mojo Vision is all about “invisible computing.” The company, whose founders include industry veterans from the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, wants to reduce our reliance on screens. Instead of pulling out your phone to check why it buzzed in the middle of a conversation, look to the corner of your eye to activate an interface that will tell you in a split second.

“We want to create a technology that lets you be you, lets you look like you; doesn’t change your appearance; it doesn’t make you act weird walking down the street,” said Mike Wiemer, cofounder and chief technology officer at Mojo Vision. “It’s very discreet and frankly, substantially, most of the time it doesn’t show you anything.”

Making smart contact lenses is no simple task, though—even Alphabet’s Verily subsidiary had to refocus its Smart Lens program after hitting a few snags. You need to have the right sensors at the right sizes, the power to make it all work, and a display and image sensor, too. These sensors range from custom wireless radios to motion sensors for eye tracking and image stabilization.

The folks at Mojo Vision showed me prototype contact lenses with an embedded display—the screen was, amazingly, about the size of a dot from an ink pen. They say it’s the “smallest, densest display ever made,” but they didn’t have a version with all the sensors inside yet. I looked through the prototype, and as expected I saw text hovering over the real world. It’s not dissimilar from my experience using augmented reality eyewear like Google Glass or Focals, the smart eyeglasses from North—except Focals projects its interface to the glasses, whereas Mojo Vision’s contacts have the display integrated into the contact lens.

At the moment, the lens receives power via a wearable you wear on your wrist, which also handles much of the computing. Eventually, Wiemer said, he thinks the team might drop the wearable in favor of a smartphone-based solution.

Using Apps on a Contact Lens
Nevertheless, the possibilities are wide-reaching. I donned an HTC Vive Pro virtual reality headset outfitted with eye-tracking technology to get an early experience of what wearing Mojo Lens will be like.

If you’re looking straight ahead while wearing the lens, you won’t see anything visually disrupting. But peek to a corner in any direction and you’ll see icons pop up, ranging from a calendar, weather, notifications, music playback, and more. Stare at the arrow next to these icons to expand them even further to see more details—like a three-day forecast, for example—or all your calendar events for the day. It took me about a minute to figure out how to navigate the interface; it could all change at any moment, but it’s promising to see just how simple it is to use.

One of my favorite demo apps is Speech. Using only my eyes, I opened a prewritten speech, scrolled through it, and read it aloud. This app alone opens up a myriad of possibilities. Imagine sitting in a taped interview but, instead of looking at notes, you can pull up your next question with a flick of your eye without having to look down. Or if you’re filming a video, you may not need to shoot multiple takes because the script is in the dead center of your eye. Who needs teleprompters?

To those around you, it can be obvious when you’re using the contact lens. To pull up the interface you need to look at the corner of your eye—something that’s noticeable when someone is staring at you straight on, but it’s far more invisible than taking out your phone, or checking your watch. Alerts and notifications will also pop up sparingly, though I expect there’d be a way to control all of that down the road.

The lens will sit right on the cornea, and Ashley Tuan, vice president of medical devices at Mojo Vision, tells me it will be just like wearing normal contacts. The team calculated the lumens projection on the retina and found that everything is “way under the regulation,” in terms of safety standards.

“It’s a new form factor, but you as the wearer of this product, you just see content,” Wiemer assured me. “Just as you would see content if you held up a mobile phone or you put on a pair of glasses that made that content appear in the world—from the perspective of your body and your retina—it’s just light on your retina, just like light on your retina right now. The safety implications of this are something that we obviously paid a lot of attention to, but it’s a very safe product.”

They’ll Still Fix Your Vision
Mojo Vision is positioning its contact lens for consumers and businesses, but first it’s focusing on people who are visually impaired or have low vision—or vision poor enough that glasses cannot fix it. That’s because all contact lenses, smart or dumb, need to clear the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. Mojo Vision has been granted the Breakthrough Device Designation, which allows companies to fast-track development, assessment, and review for products that could help people with life-threatening or debilitating conditions—though the FDA maintains it preserves “the statutory standards for premarket approval.”

To show off the capabilities of helping people with low vision, the team threw me into a dark hotel room filled with stop signs and various other items. I was handed a stick with a prototype Mojo Lens and held it close to my eye. This one had an image sensor connected to it. Despite standing in almost pitch darkness, I could make out people in the room and the edges of the bed, and I could even read the stop sign with ease. It was almost like using night vision. The image sensor showed me the real world, but the lens increased the contrast, highlighted edges, magnified objects, and performed a few other tricks to help me see in the dark. Ideally, it will help visually impaired users navigate their surroundings a lot easier. It was impressive.

Mojo Vision is partnering with the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Palo Alto, California, to connect with the nonprofit’s clients and get input for the lenses during development. The company will also work with FDA experts to meet safety regulations.

If you don’t suffer from low vision, have a seat. If it takes a few years to get clearance on a device that works for the visually impaired, it will take a few more to make a smart contact lens for everyone else.

[ Julian Chokkattu ]

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“UN Agenda 2030: A Recipe for Global Socialism”

The United Nations and its mostly autocratic member regimes have big plans for your life, your children, your country, and your world. And those plans are not limited to the coercive “climate” agreement recently concluded in Paris.

While the establishment media in the United States was hyping ISIS, football, and of course “global warming,” virtually every national government/dictatorship on the planet met at the 70th annual General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York to adopt a draconian 15-year master plan for the planet. Top globalists such as former NATO chief Javier Solana, a socialist, are celebrating the plan, which the summit unanimously “approved,” as the next “Great Leap Forward” — yes, the old campaign slogan of the Chinese Communist Party.

The master plan is comprised of 17 “Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) with 169 specific “targets” to be foisted on all of humanity — literally all of it, as the plan itself states explicitly. “As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind,” reads the UN manifesto, entitled Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But if you love liberty, self-government, free markets, or the U.S. Constitution, you will almost certainly be wishing that the UN would leave you behind.

Officially dubbed “Agenda 2030,” the UN plot, as its full title suggests, is aimed at “transforming” the world. The program is a follow-up to the last 15-year UN plan, the defunct “Millennium Development Goals,” or MDGs. It also dovetails nicely with the deeply controversial UN Agenda 21, even including much of the same rhetoric and agenda. But the combined Agenda 2030 goals for achieving what is euphemistically called “sustainable development” represent previous UN plans on steroids — deeper, more radical, more draconian, and more expensive.

“This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity,” reads the preamble. “All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.” Ironically, the preamble even claims the UN goals will “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty” and “heal” the planet — or, as the planet is also referred to in the document, “Mother Earth.” Not-so-subtly purporting to usurp the role of God, the UN even claimed that the “future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands.”

Speaking on September 25 at the opening ceremony of the confab that adopted Agenda 2030, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hinted at just how far-reaching the plot really is. “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere,” he explained, presumably conflating “leaders” with mass-murdering gangsters such as Kim Jong-un, Raul Castro, Robert Mugabe, and other despots who hold great sway with most of the regimes comprising the United Nations. “It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.” “We need action from everyone, everywhere,” Ban said, pointing to the “guide” offered by the 17 SDGs. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.” “We must use the goals to transform the world,” Ban continued. “Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose.”

The Agenda 2030 agreement makes the audacity of the scheme clear, too. “This is an Agenda of unprecedented scope and significance,” boasts the document. “Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda,” the agreement continues. “What we are announcing today — an Agenda for global action for the next fifteen years — is a charter for people and planet in the twenty-first century.”

The Agenda

Perhaps the single most striking feature of Agenda 2030 is the practically undisguised roadmap to global socialism and corporatism/fascism, as countless analysts have pointed out. To begin with, consider the agenda’s Goal 10, which calls on the UN, national governments, and every person on Earth to “reduce inequality within and among countries.” To do that, the agreement continues, will “only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed.”

As the UN document also makes clear, national socialism to “combat inequality” domestically is not enough — international socialism is needed to battle inequality even “among” countries. “By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources,” the document demands. In simpler terms, Western taxpayers should prepare to be fleeced so that their wealth can be redistributed internationally as their own economies are cut down to size by Big Government. Of course, as has been the case for generations, most of the wealth extracted from the productive sector will be redistributed to the UN and Third World regimes — not the victims of those regimes, impoverished largely through domestic socialist/totalitarian policies imposed by the same corrupt regimes to be propped up with more Western aid under Agenda 2030.

Wealth redistribution alone, however, will not be enough. Governments must also seize control of the means of production — either directly or through fascist-style mandates. “We commit to making fundamental changes in the way that our societies produce and consume goods and services,” the document states. It also says that “governments, international organizations, the business sector and other non-state actors and individuals must contribute to changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns … to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.”

In plain English, the Agenda 2030 document is claiming that today’s “consumption and production” patterns are unsustainable, so we’ll need to get by with less. How much less? It would be hard to find a more clear and concise assessment than that offered by the late Maurice Strong, the recently deceased Canadian billionaire and longtime UN environmental guru who led the 1992 Earth Summit, in a pre-Earth Summit document: “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle-class … involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and ‘convenience’ foods, ownership of motor vehicles, numerous electrical appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning … expensive suburban housing … are not sustainable.”

In truth, such “lifestyles and consumption patterns” are sustainable, so long as the freedom that makes prosperity possible is not destroyed in the name of achieving “sustainability.” The UN and the environmental lobby claim that we must get by with less because there are now too many people on the planet consuming too many resources. But this rationale for accepting UN-imposed scarcity is patently false.

Of course, the promoters of Agenda 2030 would claim that rather than impoverish us, the global regime they envision would take good care of us — through universal health coverage, for instance. One of the targets for Goal 3, ensuring “healthy lives” and “well-being,” is: “Achieve universal health coverage,” including “vaccines for all.” Universal access to “mental health,” along with “sexual and reproductive health-care services” — code words for abortion and contraception — are also included. All governments are expected to integrate such services into their “national strategies and programmes,” the agreement demands.

It is worth noting that mass-murdering Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin made clear that controlled healthcare is the “keystone” of socialism. The United Nations obviously agrees. And though he may not call it “socialism,” Obama undoubtedly also views government control of healthcare as key. Indeed, enactment of ObamaCare could be viewed as a “great leap forward” by the United States toward implementation of a key component of Agenda 2030, before Agenda 2030 was even “approved.”

But as important as targeting healthcare is to the globalist schemers, any plan for building international socialism would be lacking without also targeting the next generation with global-socialist propaganda. And so an entire goal of Agenda 2030 is devoted to ensuring that all children, everywhere, are transformed into what the UN calls “agents of change,” ready to push forward the plan for the new global order. “Children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world,” the agreement explains.

The sort of activists that the UN hopes to make your children into is also explicitly defined in the agreement. “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development,” the global plan for 2030 states. Considering what the UN means by “sustainable development” — population control, central planning, global governance, and more — the agenda for your children takes on an even more sinister tone.

“Sustainable” children for global citizenship in the new order will be accomplished via what the UN misleadingly refers to as “education.” In the UN document the word “education” alone is mentioned more than 20 times. And throughout the agreement, the UN openly advocates the use of schools to indoctrinate all of humanity into a new set of values, attitudes, and beliefs in preparation for the new “green” and “sustainable” world order. The UN’s education agenda also puts sex “education” front and center. “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services [abortion and contraception], including for family planning, information and education,” the document explains.

How much will Agenda 2030 cost? Various figures have been thrown around by UN bureaucrats regarding the monetary costs of the plan, generally ranging between $3 trillion and $5 trillion per year.

Yes, trillions. In the “From Billions to Trillions” report released by the World Bank in July 2015, the globalist outfit, a key player in Agenda 2030, conceded: “To meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community needs to move the discussion from ‘Billions’ in ODA [Official Development Assistance] to ‘Trillions’ in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity.”

But the money needed to implement Agenda 2030 and other UN schemes is only part of the cost. Other parts include the loss of our national independence and freedom that the rise of global governance and global socialism would surely entail. Revealingly, empowering dictators to help in global governance is openly touted by Agenda 2030. The document states, “We recommit to broadening and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries [the regimes ruling those countries] — including African countries, least developed countries, land-locked developing countries, small-island developing States and middle-income countries — in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance.”

Powerful Promoters

When Agenda 2030 was adopted at the 70th annual UN General Assembly confab in New York City on September 25, the UN plot to re-engineer civilization was ushered in with a “thunderous standing ovation,” the UN Department of Public Information reported. Every one of the 193 UN member governments on the planet — from murderous communist and Islamist dictatorships to those ruling what remains of the “Free World” — vowed to help impose the UN’s controversial goals on their subjects.

It all sounded so wonderful to some of the world’s most brutal dictators that they could hardly contain their glee. “This agenda promises a brave new world, a new world which we have to consciously construct, a new world that calls for the creation of a new global citizen,” gushed Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe, the genocidal mass-murderer enslaving Zimbabwe who also serves as chairman of the African Union. “I want to believe that we are up to this task that we have voluntarily and collectively committed ourselves to. Our success, and in particular the promise of a new world that awaits us, depends upon this commitment.” He also promised to vigorously impose the UN Agenda 2030 on the starving and impoverished victims his regime lords over with Agenda 2030-style policies. The communist Castro regime vowed to work with socialist Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro and other tyrants to impose the UN goals on their victims, too — all with financing from Western taxpayers.

The brutal tyrants ruling Communist China, meanwhile, have also been enthusiastic cheerleaders for the UN goals — goals that the regime boasted it played a “crucial role” in developing. The Chinese autocracy, infamous for forced abortions, censorship, religious and political persecution, the “one-child policy,” terrible pollution, kangaroo courts, and of course, murdering more human beings than any other entity in all of human history, used its vast, global propaganda machine to celebrate Agenda 2030.

“China has made important contributions to the global efforts in reaching a fair, inclusive and sustainable post-2015 development agenda,” the regime’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Wang Min, was quoted as saying in a report by the Communist Chinese news and espionage service Xinhua. “China is also very active in putting forward Chinese proposals…. The agreement includes important proposals by China and many other developing countries in numerous aspects.”

Among other “commitments,” China promised to spend $2 billion in foreign countries to meet the UN goals in “education” and “health,” with its funding increasing to $12 billion by 2030. While only contributing a small piece of the pie, the fact that Beijing is so excited about the agenda is quite revealing. Echoing Chairman Mao’s rhetoric, EU and NATO globalist Javier Solana said, “With a sustained commitment from all countries, developed and developing alike, the world can ensure that it celebrates another great leap forward in 2030.” (Emphasis added.) The last “Great Leap Forward,” presided over by Chairman Mao Tse-tung between 1958 and 1963, resulted in the murder of an estimated 45 million Chinese who were worked, starved, or beaten to death.

The Obama administration, which apparently does not plan to present the UN scheme to the U.S. Senate for ratification as required by the U.S. Constitution, also offered a forceful defense of the UN agenda. Speaking to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2015, after purporting to commit the United States to the global plot, Obama claimed the UN blueprint “is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future.”

Even the world’s leading religious figure, Pope Francis, addressed UN member governments with a plea to support the UN goals. “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development … is an important sign of hope,” he declared, before demanding a UN “climate” regime as well.

Beyond governments and religious figures, much of the private sector also enthusiastically backed the new goals. Among the mega-corporations backing the scheme are the world’s top three search engines: Google, Microsoft’s Bing, and Yahoo. It was not immediately clear whether those corporations’ support for the UN agenda would affect the supposed impartiality of search results, but critics of the UN plan expressed alarm nonetheless.

For now, at least, the world and the White House are all pretending that the SDGs are binding on Americans, too. However, the U.S. Senate was not consulted, as the Constitution requires for all treaties. And even if the Senate were to ratify it, the federal government cannot grant itself new anti-constitutional powers merely by approving a treaty. Therefore, the agreement has no force in the United States. But as UN Agenda 21 showed clearly, that does not mean that the Obama administration, and possibly future presidents, would not attempt to push it forward anyway. The American people, therefore, must demand through their elected representatives that the UN power grab be stopped.

[ Alex Newman ]

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“Sondo Vision”

[ Gale International ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVtvlQ4Jzbw

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“Sleepy in Songdo, Korea’s Smartest City”

The hardest thing about living in an eco-friendly master-planned utopia? Meeting your neighbors.

Three years ago, 35-year-old Lee Mi-Jung followed her husband from the small coastal city of Pohang, best known for its steel industry and fish market, across the South Korean peninsula to Songdo. Billed as the world’s “smartest city,” it promised her all kinds of conveniences: an efficient trash system, an abundance of parks, as well as a vibrant international community—all wrapped in a walkable, sensor-laden showpiece of 21st century urban design. [more…]

Article: https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/06/sleepy-in-songdo-koreas-smartest-city/561374/

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“Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea”

An introduction to this new smart and connected city, which is being built from the ground up by some of the world’s best planners, architects, developers and technology companies.

[ Cisco ]

Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHO_zkHPTaI&list=PLf8v76pW8Tta26C3awzJG_rvHSlB-qOFe

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“The Technological Tipping Point”

“Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing” (1984, George Orwell).

It is no overstatement to say that we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that is going to change our world forever. This technological transformation is happening right now, and we will see significant change occur, not over the next couple of decades, but within the next couple of years. Very few people in today’s busy world are aware of just how much their lives are about to change, and how unavoidable and irrevocable this change is going to be. [more…]

[ Matt Ward ]

Article: https://www.raptureready.com/2018/07/08/internet-technological-tipping-point-matt-ward/

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“At CES 2020, Google doubles down on getting its software all around you”

The company is focused on an always-on, always-connected future.

Google is everywhere at CES 2020. With the world’s largest consumer electronics showcase under way here in Las Vegas, the search giant has dispatched an army of people clad in white uniforms to spread the gospel about the Google Assistant, the company’s digital concierge software. The company built a massive fun house with slides and a ball pit. The words “Hey Google,” the wake phrase for the software, are plastered all over buildings and the monorail in Las Vegas, the tech show’s host city.

It’s a classic corporate marketing blitz, but it’s also an apt metaphor for Google’s grand ambition: to get its software all around you — to fill up every inch of your life, from your commute to work to your Saturday morning vacuuming the house. (That means getting Google’s tech into the home with its smart speakers, as well as the vacuum itself.) [more…]

Article: https://www.cnet.com/news/at-ces-2020-google-doubles-down-on-getting-its-software-all-around-you/

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“John Lennox: Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?”

On Oct. 9, 2018, John Lennox addressed the critical questions surrounding artificial intelligence and how the future of artificial intelligence bears on a Christian vision of reality. This event was hosted at the Zacharias Institute in Alpharetta, GA, and is part of a new series called #TrendingQuestions.

Interview: https://youtu.be/njU4u2hMFnE?t=1105

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“PORTL”

Introducing the HOLOPORTL, The World’s First Single Passenger HOLOPORTATION Machine!

Next-generation 2020 version of our PATENT PENDING human-sized hologram projection machine, HOLOPORTL™️ is nearly done. Our proprietary production process of adding shadows and reflection take our content to the next level. The machine’s new seamless interior has even light distribution. Embedded studio quality production equipment and head level left and right speakers create very realistic experience.

Website: https://portlhologram.com/

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“What’s going on with TikTok, China, and the US government?”

The wildly popular video app’s ties to China are prompting some US users and politicians to panic.

ikTok, the short-form video app that’s been downloaded 1.5 billion times, is one of the most exciting and goofiest places on the internet, and possibly the only truly fun social media network in 2019. It is also based in China — and that’s the part that has some users, and now, politicians, concerned.

Over the past year and a half, TikTok, where under-60-second videos often feature bizarre memes, inside jokes, and bite-sized sketch comedy, has become the defining social media app of Gen Z, not only in the US but around the world in places like India and Europe. Though it originated as Musical.ly, a nearly identical app known mostly for lip-synching and popular with pre-teens, in 2017 the Chinese internet company ByteDance bought the app and relaunched it as TikTok, with all Musical.ly accounts migrating over to TikTok in August 2018. ByteDance is now the world’s largest startup, estimated to be valued at $78 billion. [more…]

Article: https://www.vox.com/open-sourced/2019/12/16/21013048/tiktok-china-national-security-investigation

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“TikTok Banned By U.S. Army Over China Security Concerns”

The U.S. Army this week has banned TikTok from government-owned devices as scrutiny over the platform’s relationship with China grows.

With backlash swelling around TikTok’s relationship with China, the United States Army this week announced that U.S. soldiers can no longer have the social media app on government-owned phones.

TikTok, a social media app used to create and share short form videos, is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance. Despite its popularity with users and celebrities – the app touts over 1.3 billion installs worldwide – several incidents over the past year have caused privacy experts to question how data from TikTok is being collected, used and whether it is being censored by China’s government. [more…]

Article: https://threatpost.com/tiktok-banned-by-u-s-army-over-china-security-concerns/151480/

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“TikTok accused of secretly gathering user data and sending it to China”

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges the app “includes Chinese surveillance software.”

TikTok, known for its quirky 15-second videos, has been illegally and secretly harvesting vast amounts of personally identifiable user data and sending it to China, according to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in California federal court last week.

The lawsuit also accuses the company and its Chinese parent company ByteDance of taking user content such as draft videos without their consent and having “ambiguous” privacy policies. It raises concerns that data gathered by TikTok could be used to identify, profile and track users in the US. The company is benefiting from this alleged activity because it uses this data to sell targeted ads, the lawsuit alleges.

“TikTok’s lighthearted fun comes at a heavy cost,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday.

The allegations against the popular short video app are the latest example of the growing security concerns surrounding TikTok, which surpassed 1.5 billion downloads worldwide in November. The US government is also reportedly looking into the app for potential security risks. [more…]

Article: https://www.cnet.com/news/tiktok-accused-of-secretly-gathering-user-data-and-sending-it-to-china/

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GM shows off its self-driving Origin shuttle with no room for a driver

Cruise LLC, the autonomous-car startup majority-owned by General Motors Co., unveiled its all-electric self-driving shuttle and announced that the vehicle is headed for production.

The shuttle, called Origin, is designed to be more spacious and passenger-friendly than a conventional, human-driven car. The silver, squared-off vehicle lacks traditional controls like pedals and a steering wheel, freeing up room for multiple people to share rides, Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann said at a San Francisco event Tuesday.

As a vehicle, the Origin is a step for Cruise and GM to get into selling services. But as a strategy, the idea is much greater. If it works, the companies could develop a lucrative business that extricates transportation from the ills that have made carmakers a constant target for regulators, namely pollution, congestion and traffic deaths.

Ammann said the vehicle, developed by Cruise, GM and Honda Motor Co., will cost half what a conventional sport utility vehicle does, making it inexpensive for Cruise to deploy. The vehicle can run for 1 million miles and will go all day and night, so it is constantly bringing in revenue, he said. Passengers will like it because it is roomier than a Chrysler Pacifica minivan but $5,000 cheaper per year than owning a car.

“It’s affordable and it’s right for you,” Ammann said. “It’s electric and shared and that’s right for the world.”

Tough path

Yet big challenges remain. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Cruise or any of the technology companies that are vying to be one of the first to build a self-driving car business. Many, including Cruise, have had delays.

Cruise took a step back last year and missed its deadline to have its cars ferrying the public by the end of 2019.

GM CEO Mary Barra, who made the automaker’s US$1.5 billion purchase of Cruise in 2016, said last year that the company would prioritize safety over quick deployment. Cruise then put off public services. The technology still hasn’t proven that it can drive better than humans.

Plus, in California where Cruise wants to start its business, the state has not yet finished rules to allow companies to charge for self-driving car rides.

There is plenty of competition, including Argo.ai, which has partnered with Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG, and Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet Inc. All of them are racing to be first to develop the best self-driving system and build a brand name the way ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. have.

Ride service

The Origin is trying to change the whole idea of a passenger vehicle. At least four people can fit in the shuttle facing each other while the vehicle drives itself.

Unlike many autonomous test vehicles, the sensors and lidar that act as the vehicle’s eyes are better integrated into the body of the vehicle.

Ammann said Cruise will first start its ride-sharing service with the modified Chevrolet Bolt compact cars it has been testing. Before long, the Origin will be deployed to pick up passengers. Ammann said GM will announce production details in the coming days.

While he wouldn’t get into details, Ammann said it won’t take too many vehicles on the road to get the ride-sharing business up to a scale that can be profitable.

Common good

For Cruise, the key will be getting people to give up personal transportation. The Origin has comfortable gray cloth seats and leg room for very tall passengers. But it is still shared, and Ammann acknowledged that people will have to give up riding alone for the common good.

“There’s an inherent tension between what’s good for us and what’s good for the rest of the world,” Ammann said. “We know the bus is better for the environment. Most of us are still burning up the atmosphere with gasoline because EVs aren’t yet affordable.”

One key is affordability. Compared with owning a car, using Cruise’s service will save $5,000 a year, according to the company. And if enough people do it, congestion will be reduced while no one has to worry about parking. Plus, Cruise’s fleet will offer a more consistent ride than Uber and Lyft, which have thousands of different drivers and cars providing service, Ammann said.

“What’s it going to be? Convenience or climate? Time or money? Speed or safety?” Ammann asked, then he made his pitch. “What if you didn’t have to choose?”

[ Bloomberg ]

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“Locusts, Demons Or Drones: Who Are The Locusts Of The Fifth Trumpet Judgment?”

This article is taken from the book and DVD entitled, “The LAST Prophecies – The Prophecies in the First 3 1/2 Years of the Tribulation.” By Bill Salus. Purchase options at bottom of article.

The Fifth Trumpet Judgment in Revelation 9:1-12 begins a series of three Woe Judgments. Woe means to cause great sorrow or distress. They are aptly called Woes, because these judgments are far worse than the preceding judgments in the Seven-Year Tribulation Period.

“And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, (5th Trumpet), woe, (6th Trumpet), woe (7th Trumpet), to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”” (Rev. 8:13)

The Fifth Trumpet Judgment starts with a star descending from heaven to earth. This star is a fallen angel named Apollyon who possesses the key to the “Abyss,” which is also referred to as the “Bottomless Pit.” Apollyon is Greek for the Hebrew word Abbadon, which means “Destroyer.”

Apollyon unlocks the Abyss and releases a multitude of locusts. These creatures possess power like the sting of a scorpion. They are commanded not to harm the earth’s vegetation, but only to torment the unbelievers alive at the time. Moreover, the locust are not instructed to kill these unsaved souls, but only to torment them to the point that they desire death!

Fifth Trumpet: The Identity of the Locusts

“The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men (who are unsaved) five months. And they had as king over them the angel of the (Abyss) bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:7-11)

These five verses provide us with more details into the identity and purpose of the locust invaders. Commentaries are divided as to the true identities of these locusts. Some teach that they are literal locusts, others suggest that they are demons, and more recently, some have presented the possibility that they could be drones.

Are the Locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment Demons?

It is my view that these details enumerated below set them apart figuratively as demons, rather than literally as insects:

1. They originate from the Abyss, (v3) – This is not where locusts come from. Locusts go through egg, nymph and adult stages — lacking the pupa stage. This means that actual locusts are birthed on the earth, whereas these demon locusts come from the Abyss.

It’s interesting to note that the Abyss is a temporary place of imprisonment for fallen angels and demons. Below is a quote about this taken from page 228 of the book entitled, “The Footsteps of the Messiah,” by Dr. Arnold Fructhenbaum.

“The Abyss is a temporary place of confinement for fallen angels and demons. It is the place where demons feared to be sent when they were cast out by Messiah… It is temporary, for the final abode for the fallen angels will be the Lake of Fire.”

The biblical proof of this statement is found in Luke 8:30-33, whereby demons were confronted by Jesus Christ and they pleaded with Him to be able to enter into a nearby herd of swine rather than be cast into the dreadful Bottomless Pit.

Therefore, when these demons of the 5th Trumpet Judgment are unleashed from this terrifying zip code, it can be anticipated that they will come on the scene with a vengeance!

2. They have power like scorpions, (v3), to strike men, (v5, v10) – Locusts don’t even bite people, let alone sting or strike them like a scorpion.

3. They follow instructions not to “harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree,” (v4) – since locusts feed upon foliage and stems of plants such as herbs and grasses, it’s not reasonable to assume they will ignore these fine locust delicacies.

4. These locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment in no way resemble real locusts: (v7-9) –
a. They are shaped like horses prepared for battle,
b. On their heads were crowns of something like gold,
c. Their faces were like the faces of men,
d. They had hair like women’s hair,
e. Their teeth were like lions’ teeth,
f. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron,
g. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots.

5. They are ruled by a fallen angel named “Apollyon,” (v11) – Demons have fallen angel friends, but not locusts.

Are the Locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment Drones?

Some Bible prophecy teachers have suggested that these locusts are drones. In fact, as the headline below reveals, there is a drone program named “Locust.”

“LOCUST Launcher Fires A Swarm Of Navy Drones” – Popular Science (5/24/16)

One of the primary prophetic details that some believe identifies drones in the Fifth Trumpet Judgment is found in the verse below.

“And they, (the locusts) had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.” (Rev. 9:9)

These advocates who believe the locusts are drones suggest that the, “breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle,’ implies that these are likely drones.

If this was the only detail about these locusts, then their idea could have credibility. However, there are many other details scattered through Rev. 9:1-11, that I believe mitigate against this possibility.

Some of the problems with this teaching are bullet pointed below.

• The majority of breastplates for human soldiers have been made of bronze or iron for centuries. Thus, this is not a new or unique detail that can only now be attributed to drones.

• The Locusts originate from the smoke that comes out of the Abyss, rather than a drone manufacturing factory somewhere. (Rev. 9:2-3)

• The commander of these locusts is the fallen angel named Apollyon rather than adrone programming specialist. (Rev. 9:11)

• The Locusts only torment men for five months, which poses the question: “Will a drone know the limits between killing and tormenting someone?” One tormented person that dies at the hands of a drone seemingly nullifies this entire theory. The pertinent verse is below.

“In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.” (Rev. 9:6)

It is difficult to think that a drone would know its limitations to be in compliance with this prophetic detail.

• Will a drone be able to determine who is an unbeliever, which is someone not possessing the “Seal of God?” The locusts receive specific instructions in the verse below.

“They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” (Rev. 9:4)

It would seem that determining who has the Seal of God would require spiritual rather than technological discernment. Such selectivity is something that apparently Apollyon possesses as the commander of the tormenting locusts.

If the locusts are demons, which is what I and some others believe, then the locust would also perhaps have the ability to decipher who to torment.

In the LAST Prophecies book and DVD I ask and answer the following questions:

• Is the Seal of God only for believers?
• What is the Seal of God?
• How does one obtain the Seal of God?
• Do you have the Seal of God?
• How does the Mark of the Beast contrast with the Seal of God?

[ Bill Salus ]

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“Marina Bay Countdown 2020 – 500 Drones 1st Performance”
Singapore Marina Bay 2020 Countdown. 500 Drones – 1st of 2 performances).
Love the swan and diamond formations. Great precision programming!
Happy New Year everyone. Cheers!

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qwd1znU3h8

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“The End is Near – Dave Hunt”

Originally titled “Prophecy, Current Events and the Return Of Christ” and recorded on 9/8/2000.

Brother Dave Hunt has since gone to be with the Lord. But, his teaching remain timeless and in many ways more important for today than for the day in which he first recorded them. Where are the Dave Hunt’s of today?

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l7d_1YqLPE

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“PROXIMITY 2020”

Prophecy Conference

The 2020 Proximity Conference in Southern California will be at Calvary Chapel East Anaheim hosted by Calvary Chapel Tustin.

Join us as we hear from Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel, Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries, Pastor Barry Stagner of Calvary Chapel Tustin and Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.

[ Jan Markell, Amir Tsarfati, Barry Stagner, Jack Hibbs ]

Details: https://cctustin.org/proximity

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“The Final Countdown”

Jan Markell talks to apologist Don Stewart for the hour about things to come. How do we live—and cope—with our times as end-time believers? We follow the road map outlined in the Bible and watch things align as predicted.

[ Don Stewart ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu0lziYCXIw

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“Living on the Brink of the End”

[ Tom Hughes ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR3lnVfF8cU&feature=youtu.be&t=1737

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“Eric Barger – Part 2 – The Rise of Surveillance Society”

What role does technology play in the end times? The Bible mentions a global leader, a single currency, and a one-world government.

In his new documentary “Home Invasion: The Rise of Surveillance Society,” Christian worldview expert Eric Barger discusses some of the ways today’s pervasive and often-biased technologies point toward what will take place in the last days.

In part two of our two-part series, we also close with practical words of warning for personal online usage, encouraging the use of discernment and care regarding the pervasive nature of new devices and apps. Join us for this fascinating episode of “A View from the Wall.”

[ I Am A Watchman ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-d4NNLyHKQ

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“Eric Barger on Perilous Times”

Are Christians living in perilous times? Find out with guest Eric Barger on the show Christ in Prophecy.

[ Christ In Prophecy ]

TV Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuW3IoVkC-Y

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The Top 10 Bible Prophecy Stories of 2019”

There was a time when news of last days’ significance was sporadic. I could easily do a weekly radio program and hit the highlights of the week in an hour or two on air. In the last decade, that has all changed. Now, when trying to prepare a new message on the signs of the times, I find myself having to leave out information due to volume. Some things just have to be set aside.

In light of that, let me present what I think are the top ten Bible prophecy signs of 2019. As stated, I could present 110. In some cases, these signs are Tribulation-related events but they are still casting a shadow on the Church Age. They are not in order of importance because each item is important!

All the signs of the last days are converging at the same time. Bible Prophecy is happening right before our eyes and like birth pains, the predicted events are happening more frequently and more intently. Never, in the history throughout the world have so many forces, including economic, scientific, techno-logic, ecologic, cultural, geopolitical, moral, spiritual and religion, converged together to bring this world that’s already teetering over the edge into the abyss, to a point of no return. Jesus said when you see all these signs happening, know that I am near, even at the door.

[ Jan Markell ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j47z6ZKQ-P0

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“Watchman Report: New Year’s Eve Prophecy Update”

Join us as Tom Hughes takes a look back at the biggest Bible Prophecy stories of 2019 and projects forward into 2020 any beyond!

[ Tom Hughes ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ExCZI2Llc

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“The Last Generation on Earth – Who are they? Urgent End Time Message”

As we venture deeper into the time of trouble, we face a relentless unseen army of fallen angels who are very determined to suppress the Truth of the Scriptures and the knowledge of the love of Christ becoming known and appreciated in the hearts of people. Just as the Lord uses people to accomplish good works and demonstrate His love, Satan will use his own people to bring about changes in the world that undermine these efforts. 2 Timothy 3 is a recipe for the kinds of individuals that the enemy will use. Whilst the enemy and his forces are finite, it is very saddening to see that many individuals on Earth demonstrate these characteristics, and not necessarily in small quantities either.

Acceptance of strange institutions pertaining to family and marriage, new age spiritualism, and even secular notions has had a severe ripple effect on a lack of faithfulness and Christ’s example being truly imitated. Whilst it is true that Satan and his fallen angels will be conquered, it is also true that most of humanity will be lost because of their decisions to turn their backs on Christ and His gift of salvation. The music / film industry is nothing short of a powerhouse industry that continues to produce Satanic messages mixed with new age spiritualism that is confusing those who do seek a world beyond this one. We must read the Scriptures every day, for the knowledge contained therein effectively allows us to adorn the Armor of Ephesians 6 in spiritual warfare.

The war we face daily is not to be taken lightly. We not only face a physical world of condemnation and tribulation, but a spiritual world that is constantly changing and intensifying in its logistical and spiritual applications as the days move forward. The Bible is clear on the nature of warfare that God’s people will need to face in their own walks: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6: 12-13

May this video bless you, and allow you to be fully aware of the truth regarding the nature of how many Satan is swaying. It’s not a pleasant or pretty picture, but it’s one we need to bear in mind when we witness and evangelise.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD9XPbt48ZQ

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“Prophecy Update 01-15-2020”

Community Church of Devore is located in Devore Heights, San Bernardino, CA.

[ Marco Quintana ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OedJXwBntDQ

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“Samsung’s Artificial ‘Neon’ Humans are “A New Kind of Life”

In a bid to “make science fiction a reality”, Samsung’s future factory STAR Labs has developed Neon, AI-powered virtual beings that look and behave like real humans.

Unlike artificially intelligent (AI) assistants like Siri or Alexa, STAR Labs’ computationally created beings aren’t programmed to be “know-it-all bots” or an interface to answer users’ questions and demands.

Instead, the avatars are designed to converse and sympathise “like real people” in order to act as hyper lifelike companions.

Samsung’s artificial Neon humans are “a new kind of life”
“We have always dreamed of such virtual beings in science fictions and movies,” said STAR Labs CEO Pranav Mistry.

“Neons will integrate with our world and serve as new links to a better future, a world where ’humans are humans’ and ’machines are humane’,” he continued.

The AI-powered lifeforms, called Neons, were debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and included simulations of a yoga instructor, a banker, a K-pop star, a news anchor and a fashion model.

While the Neons may appear to be modelled after real humans, each one has its own unique personality, according to the company.

This includes being able to move, express themselves and speak. They can also remember and learn things about their user, and speak in any language.

Samsung’s artificial Neon humans are “a new kind of life”
The Neons are still currently in their early development phase, acting mainly as AI chatbots in human-like form.

At the electronics event, visitors could see live demonstrations of life-size Neons on large displays as they reacted and responded to their audience in real-time.

In the near future, STAR Labs envisions people being able to license or subscribe to a Neon, with different virtual humans being able to offer different services such as a customer service advisor, a financial advisor, healthcare provider or concierge.

With further developments they could work as television presenters, spokespeople or actors. Alternatively, the avatars could simply act as companions or friends.

“Neon is like a new kind of life,” said Mistry. “There are millions of species on our planet and we hope to add one more.”

“Neons will be our friends, collaborators, and companions, continually learning, evolving, and forming memories from their interactions,” he added.

Samsung’s artificial Neon humans are “a new kind of life”
The technology platform powering the Neons is called Core R3, which stands for “reality,” “realtime” and “responsive”, and employs behavioural neural networks, evolutionary generative intelligence and computational reality.

Inspired by the “rhythmic complexities of nature”, the platform allows Neons to react in less than a few milliseconds when a question is asked in real-time.

An additional platform still in development, called Spectra, will complement Core R3 with more artificial intelligence, machine learning, emotions and memory.

Tesla founder Elon Musk also tried to bridge the gap between humans and technology with his tech startup Neuralink, which plans to build implants that connect human brains with computer interfaces via AI.

The end goal of this technology is to be able to connect the brain to an external device to form a brain-machine interface, eventually lead to a future of “superhuman intelligence”.

[ Natashah Hitti ]

Article: https://www.dezeen.com/2020/01/15/samsung-neon-star-labs-artificial-humans/

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“Neon’s CEO Explains Artificial Humans to Me and I’m More Confused Than Ever”

Pranav Mistry tells CNET to think of Neon as a confidant, a sort of virtual “dear diary” that reacts like a real person. What now?

Tall displays flank a stage in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall. People of all ages, ethnicities and genders smile from the screens. The videos look like streams of real people. But they aren’t actually humans. They’re Neons.

One of the buzziest companies at CES 2020, also called Neon, debuted late Monday at CES 2020 here in Las Vegas. The mysterious company, emerging from the Samsung Technology and Advanced Research Labs (aka STAR Labs), described its technology as “a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.”

Basically, Neon makes video chatbots that look and act like real people. Neons aren’t all-knowing smart assistants, androids, surrogates or copies of real humans. Instead, they’re designed to have conversations and behave like real humans. They form memories and learn new skills but don’t have a physical embodiment, at least not now. Neons can help with “goal-oriented tasks or can be personalized to assist in tasks that require human touch.” They can act as teachers, financial advisers, health care providers, concierges, actors, spokespeople or TV anchors. [more…]

Article: https://www.cnet.com/news/neons-ceo-explains-artificial-humans-to-me-and-im-more-confused-than-ever/

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“Humans Need to Become Cyborgs to Survive, says Elon Musk”

Humans will need to digitally enhance their brains if they are to remain relevant in a future filled with artificial intelligences, according to Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday, Musk said that enhancements were necessary so that humans could keep up with computers.

“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said. “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”

Musk, who is fond of grandiose proclamations, explained that computers were able to communicate at “a trillion bits per second”. Humans, meanwhile, are limited by our current communication methods – speaking or typing – to 10 bits per second.

That means that once a general artificial intelligence is created – capable of performing the wide range of intellectual tasks humans currently can – then humans risk becoming irrelevant.

“Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem,” Musk said, according to a report by CNBC.

While any such technology is still conceptual, it can be seen as an extension of contemporary prosthetics that are able to be controlled via electrical signals from the brain.

The first officially recognised human cyborg, Neil Harbisson, wears a head-mounted antenna attached to a chip at the back of his skull that allows him to perceive colours through sound.

Harbisson also advocated for the merger of humans and machines in an interview with Dezeen.

“Instead of using technology or wearing technology constantly, we will start becoming technology,” he told Dezeen. “It’s a very exciting moment in history that allows us to perceive reality in a greater way.”

Such human-computer communication might be enabled by neural lace woven into the brain, something which Musk, according to his Twitter, is also working on.

The billionaire entrepreneur’s previous predictions for the future have included that human driving will be outlawed – a proposition which is looking increasingly possible.

He has also set ambitious targets for his own companies, including that Tesla cars will be completely driverless in 2018 and that SpaceX will begin manned missions to Mars in 2022.

Musk’s talk at the World Government Summit also touched on the reality of job losses due to automation and the necessity of a universal basic income to protect people as a result.

[ Rima Sabina Aouf ]

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“Elon Musk’s ‘Neuralink’ Implant Will “Merge” Humans With AI”

Tesla founder Elon Musk has launched tech startup Neuralink to build implants that connect human brains with computer interfaces via artificial intelligence.

The approaching technology would see groups of minuscule, flexible electrode “threads” implanted into the human brain by a neurosurgical robot.

These threads detect and record the electrical signals in the brain, and transmit this information outside the body.

This has the potential to create a scalable high-bandwidth brain-machine interface (BMI) system, meaning that it connects the brain to an external device to form a brain-machine interface.

First tests on humans by end of 2020

The goal is to use Neuralink to understand and treat different forms of brain or spine-related disorders. For instance, paralysed humans could use the implanted device to control phones or computers.

However Musk also envisions the implant as a means of enhancing your own brain, giving humans the option to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI).

This could eventually lead to a future of “superhuman intelligence”, according to Musk.

As Musk explained at the Neuralink Launch Event in San Francisco on 16 July, the idea is to create a “well-aligned future” that mitigates the supposed existential threat of AI.

He and his team hope to test the system on a human patient before the end of 2020.

Each group of threads could contain as many as 3,072 electrodes, which would be distributed across 96 threads.

Musk’s Neuralink startup has also built a neurosurgical robot that is capable of inserting six threads into the human brain per minute.

Each thread is smaller than one tenth of the size of a human hair and contains 192 electrodes.

Threads inserted by neurosurgery robot

Each electrode group is encased inside a small implantable device that contains custom wireless chips, measuring four by four millimetres.

The threads would be individually inserted into the brain “with micron precision” by a tiny needle at the end of the robot, which measures around 24 microns in diameter.

This would be able to target specific parts of the brain and avoid damaging any blood vessels.

As Neuralink president Max Hodak told The New York Times, currently the operation would require drilling holes into the patient’s skull to implant the threads.

In the future, however, they hope to use a laser beam to pierce the skull with a series of tiny holes, which wouldn’t be felt by the patient.

“As safe and painless” as laser eye surgery

The implant would work by recording information emitted by neurons in the brain, as explained in a video presentation at the event.
People
The brain’s neurons connect to form a large network through synapses. At these connection points, neurons communicate with each other using chemical signals called neurotransmitters, which are released in response to an electrical spike called “action potential”.

When a cell receives enough of the right kind of neurotransmitter input, a chain reaction is triggered that causes an action potential, as the neurons relay messages to the synapses.

These action potentials produce an electric field that spreads from the neuron, and can be detected by placing electrodes nearby, allowing recording of the information represented by a neuron.

The Neuralink operation claims to be as safe and painless as having laser eye surgery, involving a two to eight millimetre incision in which to place the chip, which requires no stitches.

Musk joked on stage that users “won’t feel a thing”.

Wearable device connects implant to external devices

As many as 10 implants could be inserted into one hemisphere of the brain. These are connected via very small wires tunnelled under the scalp to a conductive coil behind the ear.

This coil connects wirelessly through the skin to a wearable device that the company calls the Link, which contains a bluetooth radio and a battery.

A single USB-C cable provides full-bandwidth data streaming from the device to a phone or computer, simultaneously recording all chip channels.

Controlled via a smartphone app, the Link can be used to make software updates and fix bugs via bluetooth, avoiding the need to tamper with the chip. Once the Link is taken off, the implant is shut down.

The launch of Neuralink follows Musk’s prediction at the World Government Summit in Dubai two years ago that humans will need to digitally enhance their brains if they are to keep up with computers in a future dominated by artificial intelligence.

“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” said Musk. “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.

[ Natashah Hitti ]

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“Hurricane Dorian: Why won’t people heed the warning?!”

Hurricane Dorian is threatening the lives of countless people, but many still won’t listen. Why is that? Watch how Ray Comfort uses this topic to start conversations about God.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jiI_nrfUPw

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“The Grim Reality of the Last Days (Mark 13:1-13)”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpMSRV1e2ac

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“Bill Salus: Showdown with Iran”

Bill Salus burst on the prophetic scene 12 years ago with a series of little known prophecies that focused our attention on the future wars coming to the Middle East. Suddenly, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39, Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49-51 began to take on new relevance. And just this week, ancient Persia, modern-day Iran, found itself in President Trump’s crosshairs. Are the shocking events of this week a portent of things to come in 2020? And which one of these ancient prophecies will find its fulfillment first? Will Damascus be destroyed? Will Russian and Iran partner up to attack Israel? Will Iran suffer a nuclear calamity? Will Israel face a multi-sided battle from its immediate neighbors? Gary and Bill discuss the simmering situation in Iran and when we could see these long-awaited prophecies begin to take shape? It appears a fuse has been lit in the Middle East. Is Gog and Magog just over the horizon?

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjMYv34CU3Y

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“The End Times – In the Words of Jesus – Classic Collection”

Jesus set the stage for the end times in his own words. Narrated by Ed Ragozzino.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PZ2Vfcx76g

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“Billy Graham – Sacramento CA (1983)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ4HvA-yyF0

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“When Watchmen Warn – Scott Townsend and Gary Ray”

Jan talks to the “I Am a Watchman Ministry” about reaching those left behind after the Rapture of the Church

[ Jan Markell interviews Scott Townsend ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU2E6XHaGwQ

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“Fiery Preacher Stuns UCLA Students!”

We must save the lost as Jesus did. There’s only a certain amount of time left. Who do you know who isn’t saved? What are you going to do about it? Reach out to the lost! There’s nothing more important than one’s eternal salvation.

[ Living Waters – Way of the Master: Season 2, Ep. 25 ]

Video: https://youtu.be/WAcYHz8IWcA?t=22

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“Heed The Warning”

[ King King ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cSaIa8P9fQ

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“Heed the Warning”
(Featuring Noah Neevz)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvTEaMl6-60

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“Amos”
(Parody of “Layla” by Eric Clapton)

What are you doin’ here, you looney?
No-one made you prophesy
You’d better run — you’ll die unless you don’t
You know you’re just some foolish guy

Amos — go back to watchin’ sheep
Amos — stop makin’ prophecies
Amos — are you gonna heed my stern advice?

So why’d you visit a foreign nation
When your own land is just due south?
Goodbye, you fool
Don’t tell us what to do
Or Jeroboam will cut you down

Amos — go back to watchin’ sheep
Amos — and sycamore-fig trees
Amos — are you gonna heed my stern advice?

We’re a successful civilization
And our economy’s goin’ great
So please don’t say
Another word today
About our moral lapse and faith
REPEAT FIRST CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – The Boy’s Aren’t Backin’ Down” album ]

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“Life In The Last Days”
(Parody of “Life in the Fast Lane” by “The Eagles”)

It’s sorta hard to understand, but it’s totally awesome
And it’s eternally finished
Who wrote it up? It was John the Apostle
And the Lord said it won’t diminish
He had fantastic revelations of the future news
Sent here from Jesus, sent here for you
When he saw Jesus comin’, John fell down as dead
He told him, Grab your tablet and write this down instead
Life in the last days — sure to make you lose your mind
Life in the last days — yeah, heh
He saw four horsemen, holding the reins
Of colorful stallions, who brought different things
He who rode the white conquered, and the red one brought war
And the black one brought famine; then pale horse number four
There was death in the saddle, ridin’ out through space
He had Hades right behind him, killed a fourth of the human race
All of the people, were trying to hide
When the earth started shakin’ and the moon turned to blood — the sun was
Black in the last days — sure to make you lose your mind
Life in the last days — yeah, heh
Life in the last days — everything prophesied
Life in the last days — yeah, heh
So much to tell you; I’ve got one verse. Man didn’t heed the stop signs
And the earth got worse and worse
If you’re a Christian, baby, you don’t need to fear a thing
If you’re not, go read the Bible ‘cause there’s more than I can sing
There’s a false messiah, the people will think he’s Christ
The world will take his number, but they’ll have to pay his price
They’ll look up and they’ll see Jesus and they’ll know that they’ve lost
He won the war when He was dyin’ on the cross and it was
Life in the last days — sure to make you lose your mind
Life in the last days — yeah, heh
Life in the last days — everything prophesied
Life in the last days — yeah, heh

[ ApologetiX – “The Boys Aren’t Backing Down” album ]

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“Must Seem Silly”
(Parody of “Mustang Sally” by The Commitments)

Must seem silly
Guess you’ll never go and trust Him now
Must seem silly now, baby
Guess you’ll never go and trust Him now
You’ve been runnin’ down the Lord with your mouth (Oooooooh)
Ooh! I guess you oughta quit your blasphemin’ or look out

All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
If you don’t wanna heed early warnings (Oooooooh)
You’re gonna be gnashin’ your teeth in spite

They taught you on every Sunday (Ahhhh)
You was a nice, respectful child
Now you’re puttin’ down those sanctified women
Say you won’t, you won’t get revived (Ain’t gonna get revived)
Must seem silly now, baby (Tellin’ you, baby)
Guess you’ll never go and trust Him now (Nowwww)
All right!
You’ve been runnin’ down the Lord with your mouth (Oooooooh)
Don’t forget that God could put you six feet underground
Ah, yeah, baby you gotta quit your blasphemin’

All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
All you wanna do is gripe about hell and (cry that ain’t right)
If you don’t wanna heed early warnings (Oooooooh)
You’re gonna be grindin’ your teeth in spite, yeah

C’mon, boys

Don’t be denyin’
Go get faith (Silly)
Don’t be denyin’ (Silly)
Yeah, heh
Yeahhh
He won’t be denied (Silly)
Yeah, yeah (Silly)
Oh, the Lord won’t be denied (Silly) Don’t be denyin’ (Silly)
Don’t be denyin’ (Silly)
Yeahh, Yeah, Yeahhh

[ ApologetiX – “Unconditional Releases” album ]

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“Strange Cat, But…”
(Parody of “Stray Cat Strut” by The Stray Cats)

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Jackson, you’re a strange cat – isn’t John intense?
Thank God above, though, for crazy friends
Guys crack jokes but I don’t care
I trust my Bible and they’re in my prayers

Strange cat, but I believe He’s right
I’ve a feeling that you know it way down inside
When the truth’s shone at you from the mirror, man
Rescues sinners from the garbage can

Meow! Yeah
Yeah, don’t talk like that

I know the Father’s grace in Christ abounds – oh, I know
I’ve been down and out and lookin’ for the light
How He found me, who knows? I was not somewhere nice
Speakin’ the truth while the fraidy cats whine
I’m a strange cat but the real God’s mine
I wish guys would heed that friendly advice
But I got cat-scratched and I got chastised
LEAD

I know the Father’s grace in Christ abounds
I’ve been down and out and lookin’ for the light
Hallelujah to my Lord – He’s awesome and nice
Speakin’ the truth while the fraidy cats whine
I’m a strange cat but the real God’s mine
I wish guys could see that they’re bein’ unwise
But I got cat-scratched and I got chastised.

[ ApologetiX – “You Can’t Say Euphrates WIthout the 80’s” album ]

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Bathwater
(Parody of “Backwater” by The Meat Puppets)

When will you wake up to the warning
‘Cause Jesus may come back today
Like the flood of Noah, His appearing
Will surprise the world and happen suddenly

Some think He never came
And they say He won’t come back here but He’s going to just the same
The date’s been prearranged
He’ll be back in a hurry – there are some people who’d better change

And when they say He’s been gone a long time
They laugh and say He’s kinda late
Just when they say there’s peace and safety
Destruction comes on them suddenly

Some think He never came
And they say He won’t come back here but He’s going to just the same
I maybe see a drain
With the bathwater circling – there are some people who’d better change

They are blind to the signs
Now’s the time for you to decide

You’d better wake up to the warning
‘Cause Jesus may be on His way
Though we might not know the day or evening
We’re still one day closer now than yesterday

Some think He never came
And they say He won’t come back here but He’s going to just the same
The date’s been prearranged
He’ll be back in a hurry – there are some people who’d better change

Some think He never came
And they say He won’t come back here but He’s going to just the same
I maybe see a drain
With the bathwater circling – there are some people who’d better change

[ ApologetiX – Apoplectic” album ]

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“Malachi”
(Parody of “Abacab” by Genesis)

Look up in the Word – it’s there undisturbed
Next to your pillow — beside your shirt
There’s a chap in the middle — somewhere near the Old Testament’s last page
Can you think of his name? Tell me, did you think of his name?

Is he Jewish? You’re getting there
Can you show us? A prophet share?
Malachi – He’s the messenger — Malachi

If you’re offerin’ — stuff to the Lord
Has it changed and — become a selfish chore
When you turn wives to widows
Leavin’ one you married to dwell alone
Well, don’t you think He’ll find out
Tell me, don’t you think He’ll find out

When you do it – you’re never scared
Don’t you know – you should stop and care
Malachi – says you’re unaware
Malachi – but it needs repaired

If you wanted a prophet, you got it, oh
If you wondered what God said – now you know!

He’ll send Elijah – yes again
For repentance – in someone else’s name
When he brings you the warning
Savior’s finally comin’ so tell a friend
Well, that’s a holiness summons
Yeah, that’s a holiness summons
Baby, that’s a holiness summons
Prepare your soul for His comin’

Will you do it? Go get prepared
Mend your soul and your God can spare
Malachi – he’s no teddy bear — Malachi

[ ApologetiX – “Minor League” album ]

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“Babel, Babel”
(Parody of “Rebel Rebel” performed and written by David Bowie)

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

We got some others in the world
They’re not sure if they should boil us in oil
They hate – the Israelites
They say, let’s go and unite
It’s like reading the Second Psalm
It’s like glancin’ at the Book divine
The Lord laughs at their pagan hordes
The world roars at His warning voice

They put me down – and they all scoff
Attacking things that put them off
Babel, Babel – their former address
Babel, Babel – that place was a mess
Babel, Babel – how could they know
God’s plans – they just move slow
Told ya

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

We got the mother of all wars
We’re just – not sure when but we’re sure of the source
He hates — the Israelites
He hates men sold out to Christ
He likes peace and he likes it false
He loves tramplin? on the Book divine
He’s got plans and he plays his part
He wants war and he comes with force

He hooked the crowd – but they are wrong
Their crafty kiiing – he put them on
Rebel nations – their forward address
Revelation – 16:16 says – it’s
Armageddon – how could they know
God’s plans – they just move slow
Told ya
Uhh!
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

Babel, Babel – the Torah says
Babel, Babel – a snake’s in the grass
Babel, Babel – why don’t they know
God’s plans – they just move slow
Told ya

Their former address – was facin’ a mess
In chapter 11 of old Genesis
They got the — translation of the languages
Now and — news live and their cameras and crews
Who wanna — be there when the battle ensues
‘Cause they love distress
But the dude won’t have success
Because he’s facin’ the best
But how could they know
I said, how could they know

So what you ought to know
The Revelation described
In chapter 19 long ago
Their man is doomed to lose and Christ defeats their troops
Because his forward address
Is a lake of regrets
Ooh – their faith is amiss
Ooh ooh — so how could they know
Heh heh — how could they know
Heh

[ ApologetiX – “I Know You Are but What Am I?” album ]

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“Wish You Could Hear”
(Parody of “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd)

Oh, don’t you see for yourself?
You’re headed for Hell
Mute, blind and lame
Can you smell or even feel?
Can your soul read braille?
You smile through a veil
Don’t you think I can tell?

Did you get what I said?
Your hearing is gone
Can’t actually see
Caught up in a cruel scheme
All covered with chains
Will you escape?
In second Corinthians four*
I believe Paul will explain

How I wish – how I wish you could hear
But so few lost souls in the devil’s control
Clear up their ears
He’s blinded all of them – they don’t know
They’re headin’ south – and they can’t steer
Wish you could hear

*NOTE: To sing this line correctly, pronounce and accentuate
it like this: “in SECond COR inthyuns FOUR” the original words
would be “a WALK-on PART in the WAR.”

[ ApologetiX – “Soundproof” album ]

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“Casket Place”
(Parody of “Basket Case” performed by Green Day)

Do we have much time to live until we find
A lot of things are happening all at once?
Violent crime explodes – the Lord has many foes
Morality is low – they’re proud about it

Sometimes I think this world’s asleep
Soon we just might be history
It all keeps adding up — I think I’m waking up
I’m not just paranoid — I’m not alone

I went to great lengths – to analyze these things
It’s just like back in Second Timothy now
I read through some more in Matthew 24
To get some signs when God will bring the first round

Sometimes I think this world’s asleep
3:1 through 5, Second Timothy
It all seems bad enough – I think I’m packin’ up
He might just tarry more – He might just come

Oh oh
Last days soon unfold – so you better know God
LEAD

Sometimes I think this world’s asleep
Keep your eyes on the Middle East
The whole scene’s getting rough – I think that backs it up
And I just can’t ignore – the signs I’m shown.

[ ApologetiX – “I Know You Are But What Am I” album ]

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“Ignorant Song”
(Parody of “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin)

Ah ah ah ah! Ah ah ah ah!
Ooh, we come from the Lord and the atheists know
But they did not want what their conscience showed

They hammer at your God – would drive worship from your land
They fight the Lord and sing with pride, “Tell hell that I am coming!”
Always seething, threatening us
The Holy Ghost would teach them if they’d trust

Ah ah ah ah! Ah ah ah ah!
Well, we come from the Lord and the atheists know
But they did not want what their conscience showed

They scoff and feel supreme – but Scripture tells the score
Of how they scoffed in times before — we all should know the Lord
All these people testing God
Have always known down deep they just ignored

That attitude better stop
1:18 warns in Romans
But Jesus Christ can win them, babe
Despite of judgment looming

Woo-oo woo-oo woo-oo
Woo-oo woo-oo woo-oo-oo
La la la — la la-la-la
Woo-oo woo-oo woo-oo
Woo-oo woo-oo woo-oo
Woo-oo woo-oo woo-oo-oo

[ ApologetiX – “I Know You Are But What Am I” album ]

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“Offer Your Prayer”
(Parody of “Scareborough Fair/Canticle” by Simon and Garfunkel)

Somebody once told me “The Lord is not your roadie
Ya ain’t the star so do it yourself”
I said “Look, it’s kind of dumb
If there’s things that I need done
It’s a shame not to call on the Lord’s help”

Well, my prayers start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’
I read through the rules and I think I found somethin’
Didn’t make sense not to get more done
I pray real hard cause the Heavenly Son
Showed what to do, said “Knock and seek”
So what’s wrong with praying and asking?
You better go into Luke, bro
11: 9 if you don’t know

Pray now
It’s a lost art, get your day underway
Pray now
Get a jump start, get a move on, get faith
God is listenin’, you know
Only you can start prayin’ though

There’s a cool case so you’re prayin’ gets bolder
You look it up Luke 18 yeah, let’s go there
When the meanest of men met the widow
Judge he was, you know, if you have the right scripture
But I see his patience’s gettin’ pretty thin
The woman gets annoyin’ so he might as well give in
The world’s like that – how about the Lord?
God already likes ya – and you’ll never get ignored

Pray now
It’s a lost art, get your day underway
Pray now
Fourth chapter, let me show ya in James
God is listenin’ you know
Only you can start prayin’ though

Somebody once asked “Jesus give us the capacity
To get ourselves a faith that is great”
Christ said “Well, why ya want help?
You could move a little hill yourself
If you would all use a little faith”

Well, my prayers start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’
I read through the rules and I think I found somethin’
Didn’t make sense not to get more done
I pray it smart cause the Heavenly Son
Showed what to do, said “Knock and seek”
So what’s wrong with praying and asking?
You’ll never know if you don’t go
You better try if you don’t know

[ ApologetiX – “Unconditional Releases” album ]

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“Taken Up”
(Parody of “Shake It Up” performed by The Cars)

Uh, well, a man called Elijah prayed one day
That the Lord would take Him away
Stand tall, Elijah — keep your feet
Don’t you worry, now – soon you’ll be
Taken up
Taken up — Ooh yeah
Taken up
Taken up

Well, men don’t fly – Israel knew
But you know Enoch did it, too
In Genesis 5, verse 24
Don’t you know why? He pleased the Lord

Taken up – ooh ooh
Taken up – yeah yeah
Taken up – ooh ooh
Taken up

That’s right, I said
Men don’t fly
(No, no, no)
And yet those guys
(Would get real close)
No one died
(Definitely not)
They were
(Ahh ahh ahh)
Taken up, yeah, home with God, woo! Yes!

LEAD
Oooh yes!

Uh, well, His friends know Christ will prepare
To take us right back up to there
Just hold tight – go to work
Let’s spread the news that the earth needs first

Just take it up – ooh ooh
Take it up – ooh yeah
Take it up – that’s right
Take it up

Uh well, shed some light
(Go, go, go)
Spread worldwide
(Let them know)
Stand for Christ
(Spread real love)
And we’ll
(Ahh ahh ahh)
Take ’em all – home with us, woo

Taken up – hey, have you seen
First Thess-a-lon-i-ans 4:17
Just stand tall in Christ — keep your feet
Don’t you worry, now – soon you’ll be

Taken up — ooh ooh
Taken up – ooh ooh yeah
Taken up — ooh ooh
Taken up – ohhh yeah
Taken up – taken up, taken up, baby
Taken up – taken up — ooh ooh
Taken up — taken up, taken up, baby
Taken up – taken up — ooh ooh
Taken up — ooh
Taken up – ooh yeah, yeah
Taken up – hoo hoo
Taken up – taken up
Oh Taken up – look it up — in Second Kings, baby
Taken up – check in – chapter 2, ooh!
Taken up – mm mm hmm
Taken up – oh yeah — yeah
Taken up – oh here He comes
Taken up – oh here He comes

[ ApologetiX – “Double Take” album ]

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“Droppin’ On The Sun”
(Parody of “Walkin’ on the Sun” by Smash Mouth)

It ain’t no joke, no lie, the Bible clearly spoke
To teach the world to fear the furnace underneath
To teach the world about hellfire but there’s liars
Who say they know Christians are wrong, even bad people rest in peace
It gets enough attacks. I know men doubt that it’s fact
It’s not like any map shows exactly where it’s at
But just like gravity you cannot see it really exists
And it does no good but they’ll deny it just to stay in their sins
So don’t delay, act now! Your time is runnin’ out!
Find out while you’re still alive — The true way is Jesus Christ
And if you follow the way, you’ll have no sorrow but if
the offer’s done, you might as well be droppin’ on the sun
Two thousand years ago He spoke out and they wrote down
All the best in the New Testament together in a book
And He told how it was dark, surrounded by fire
Where teeth will be gnashin’, man, Christ said Hell happens
And so He spelled it out, so to help out those who felt doubt
Then He brought it back up when He talked against the self-proud
And religious hypocrites threw hissy fits
Because that’s just what happens when they’re faced with their sins
So don’t delay, act now! Your time is runnin’ out!
By now I’m sure you’ve surmised — There’s two places to arrive
And if you follow the way you’ll have no sorrow, but if
The offer’s shunned, you might as well be droppin’ on the sun
It ain’t no joke that He’s gonna take the sheep and goats
And He’ll steer them to the left and right, but, listen, folks:
The ones that’s goats get disposed of. God won’t just burn their souls up
They’ll be livin’ in eternal Godless hopeless darkness
So don’t risk that, get facts, you ought to take a look at
Luke 16, Mark 9 and Jude — There’s one little chapt’r
Look today at Matthew chapter 10, verse 28
You need to read in Revelation 20 what does it say?
So don’t delay, act now! Your time is runnin’ out!
Find now while you’re still alive — Matthew chapter 25
And if you follow the way — you’ll have no sorrow, but if
You drop and punt, you might as well be droppin’ on the sun

[ ApologetiX – “Biblical Graffiti” album ]

*****************************
“Revelation Man”
(Parody of “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers)

There’s a man who seems just like a savior
With everyone he meets he gains their favor
Oh, with every move he makes,
Another hand he shakes
Odds are he won’t give you peace tomorrow

Revelation Man
Revelation Man
Hey, he’s givin’ you a number and takin’ away your faith

It’s there in Revelation that you find
A pretty beast who has an evil mind
He led the world astray;
They’ll give their souls away
All that he will give is grief and sorrow

Revelation Man
Revelation Man
Hey, he’s givin’ you a number and takin’ away your faith

Bringin’ all the world together one day
Then saying that he’s God Almighty next day
Oh, but you fell for all his tricks
By listenin’ to 666
God’s not who he is you’ll see tomorrow

Revelation Man
Revelation Man
Hey, he’s givin’ you a number and takin’ away your faith

Revelation Man

[ ApologetiX – “Biblical Graffiti” album ]

*****************************
*****************************
*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air… That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
[ Senator Frank Church, Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975 ]

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“The U.S. government has the capability to remotely activate cell phones and convert then into listening devices.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“I could watch drones in real time as they surveilled the people they might kill. You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking people’s Internet activities as they typed. I became aware of just how invasive US surveillance capabilities has become. I realized the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“Bulk collection means all of your communications are being secretly intercepted. The are being stolen as they cross India, and they’re being stored in these silos so that they can be rifled through at the convenience of secret agents, basically.”
[ Edward Snoden ]

“Imagineer, if you will, you’re sitting at my desk in Hawaii. You have access tot he entire world, as far as you can see it…Every website that’s visited by every individual. Every text message that somebody sends on their phone. Every phone call they make.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“Deep in a tunnel under a pineapple field—a subterranean Pearl Harbor-era former airplane factory—I sat at a terminal from which I had practically unlimited access to the communications of nearly every man, woman, and child on earth who’d ever dialed a phone or touched a computer.”
[ Edward Showden ]

“PRISM enabled the NSA to routinely collect data from Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple, including email, photos, video and audio chats, web-browsing content, search engine queries, and all other data stored on their clouds, transforming the companies into witting coconspirators.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“By creating a world-spanning system that tracked these identifiers across every available channel of electronic communications, the American Intelligence Community gave itself the power to record and store, for perpetuity, the data of your life.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“Now they are capable of winning total control of your whole device, including its camera and microphone. Which means that if you’re reading this now—this sentence—on any sort of more machine, like a Smartphone or tablet, they can follow along and read you. They can tell how quickly or slowly you turn the pages and whether you read the chapters consecutively or skip around. And they’ll gladly endure looking up your nostrils and watching you move your lips as you read, so long as it gets them the data they want and lets them positively identify you.”
[ Edward Snowden ]

“A very skilful bowman went to the mountains in search of game. All the beasts of the forest fled at his approach. The lion alone challenged him to combat. The bowman immediately let fly an arrow, and said to the lion, “I send thee my messenger, that from him thou mayst learn what I myself shall be when I assail thee.” The lion thus wounded rushed away in great fear, and on a fox exhorting him to be of good courage, and not to run away at the first attack: “You counsel me in vain, for if he sends so fearful a messenger, how shall I abide the attack of the man himself?” If the warning admonitions of God’s ministers fill the conscience with terror, what must it be to face the Lord Himself?

If the warning admonitions of God’s ministers fill the conscience with terror, what must it be to face the Lord himself? If one bolt of judgment bring a man into a cold sweat, what will it be to stand before an angry God in the last great day?”
[ Charles H. Spurgeon ]

“Why would the gods send a warning if we can’t heed it and change what’s to come?”
[ George R R Martin ]

“We’ve been given a warning by science, and a wake-up call by nature; it is up to us now to heed them.”
[ Bill McKibben ]

“Something watches over us and we know it when we follow the little voice inside or heed the warning or inspiration that arrives as if on wings.”
[ Michael Meade ]

“Those who don’t heed the warnings don’t live to admit they were stupid not to do so.”
[ Amy Tan ]

“It doesn’t pay to ignore warnings. Even when they don’t make sense.”
[ Debra Doyle ]

“The parallels between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor are striking. In each instance there were warning signs before the attack, and in each instance our government failed to connect the dots.”
[ Diane Watson ]

“My one purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.”
[ Jamie Zawinski ]

“God is gracious to always give a warning before He sends judgment.”
[ Jim George ]

RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

“Then if anyone hears the sound of the horn but fails to heed the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.”
[ Ezekiel 33:4 ]

“Since he heard the sound of the horn but failed to heed the warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life.”
[ Ezekiel 33:5 ]

“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”
[ Romans 13:12a ].

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
[ 2 Timothy 3:1 ].

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
[ Acts 20:28-30 ]

“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”
[ Acts 20:31 ]

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
[ Hebrews 2:1-3 ]

“Behold, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
[ 2 Corinthians 6:2c ]

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
[ 2 Peter 1:10 ]

“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
[ 2 Peter 3:3-13 ]

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
[ Matthew 7:13-14 ]

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
[ Matthew 24:7-12 ]

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
[ Matthew 25:41-46 ]

“And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”
[ Revelation 19:20 ]

“and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
[ Revelation 20:10 ]

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
[ Romans 10:9-13 ]

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:9 ]

“And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.” [ Ezekiel 33:32 ].

“Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved.”​
[ Matthew 24:3, 21-22 ].

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.”
[ Hebrew 11:7 ].

“And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“‘Keep on hearing,[a] but do not understand;
keep on seeing,[b] but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
[ Isaiah 6:9-10 ]

“Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’”
[ Matthew 13:14-15 ]

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“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

FOCUS VERSES:

“Behold, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
[ 2 Corinthians 6:2c ]

“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”
[ Romans 13:12a ].

“Then if anyone hears the sound of the horn but fails to heed the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.”
[ Ezekiel 33:4 ]

“Since he heard the sound of the horn but failed to heed the warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life.”
[ Ezekiel 33:5 ]

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
[ Matthew 7:13-14 ]

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
[ Romans 10:9-13 ]

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:9 ]

“Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved.”​
[ Matthew 24:3, 21-22 ].

“And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”
[ Revelation 19:20 ]

“and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
[ Revelation 20:10 ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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