Coronavirus Pandemic Panic and Shrinking Civil Liberties & Privacy Rights

In my last post, I’d asked:

‘Will citizens have any civil rights in the end?  Will the most draconian laws and protocols sunset eventually, or be covertly extended for other purposes?  Israel, for instance, is using counter-terrorism protocols cell phone data to monitor the movements of citizens who’ve tested positive for the virus.’

Many citizen civil and privacy rights are being ceded voluntarily; many are being trampled on far more covertly.


‘Never let a crisis go to waste: US lawmakers bask in coronavirus panic while quietly building the police state of their dreams’,
Helen Buyniski, RT.com, March 19, 2020

“As the coronavirus epidemic monopolizes the attention of the American people, government is taking the opportunity to sneak through all manner of restrictive legislation, including a law that could end the internet as we know it.

Killing the internet… to save the children?

The ominously-named EARN IT Act [<link to S. 3398 at Congress.gov., bi-partisan cosponsors and text, including: and for ‘other purposes’] (short for “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act”) that quietly debuted in the Senate earlier this month is a carefully crafted weapon for crushing encryption without explicitly banning, industry professionals have warned. While this particular bill purports to be all about ending child sexual exploitation, the industry is concerned it will make their business model unsustainable – while doing nothing to protect children. So are independent media producers, who fear their speech would be declared anathema. It would in practice strip section 230 legal immunity – protection from liability for third party content – from any website that failed to comply with a set of “best practices” imposed on a supposedly voluntary basis by a 19-member “commission” run by Attorney General William Barr.” [snip]

“Platforms that persist in encrypting messages despite Barr’s commission’s heavy-handed “recommendations” could be sued out of existence over user-generated content, which they become liable for with section 230 gone. This ingenious model keeps encryption itself legal – a crucial loophole for government agencies that rely on encrypted messaging to keep their own secrets, well, secret.”

@EFF March 11EFF sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee explaining how the EARN IT Act violates the First Amendment. https://www.eff.org/document/eff-earn-it-act-first-amendment-letter-sjc … [<pdf]

“And while the Trump administration and even the media that oppose him are excoriating China for “abusing power,” that same administration has joined together with a “wide array of tech companies,” [including Facebook and Google] working together on a program that would use location data from Americans’ phones to “combat” coronavirus, as a glowing article in the Washington Post describes. Apparently, the idea of remotely monitoring citizens via their phones to ensure they don’t break quarantine lost its totalitarian sheen when it crossed the Pacific Ocean.

While the anonymous sources cited by WaPo repeatedly insist the project is “not seeking to collect and maintain a database of Americans’ whereabouts,” the involvement of Google – currently expanding a coronavirus testing website that debuted this past weekend into a national system that requires users to create an ID (or use the Google account they use for everything else) – hints that it could easily become such a thing.

Meanwhile, social media platforms have become home to the curious sight of Americans calling for more police state, confusing strict control with competent management. Hashtags like #ShutdownNYC and #LockdownLA from city-dwellers panicking at the thought that their neighbors might be out spreading the virus are the product of a 24/7 news cycle of fear, the necessary fuel for the crisis mindset that has allowed lawmakers to get away with so much.” [snip]

“Unfortunately for Americans, police state powers adopted during a crisis are almost never relinquished – and never without a fight. When the country makes it through this crisis, its people will have another long, hard battle to fight if they hope to claw back their lost civil liberties.”

For instance, Sean Penn:  @adri16 Mar 19

“Here’s actor Sean Penn [on CNN] asking that the U.S. Military take command & control of the  crisis. He uses the example of his work in #Haiti as a comparison. Haiti is now in revolt so under the #SeanPenn plan revolution in the U.S. might be assured.  Sean Penn says there is “no greater humanitarian force than the U.S. Military” as he requests that the U.S. Military take command & control of the #coronavirus crisis. One thing for certain from this interview, California still has the best weed in the nation. #SeanPenn

Would you trust Gates and Zuck with your DNA and RNA?

The two tech titans funded an effort to bring metagenomic sequencing and software to poor countries. Now, it’s helping trace the spread of the new coronavirus’, March 17 2020, wired.com

“IDSeq is a cloud-based, open-source bioinformatics pipeline for metagenomic sequencing. In non-scientist speak, it’s packages of computer code that comb through all the genetic material extracted from a sample—a tube of human blood, say, or a swab that’s been up someone’s nose. It matches all those mishmashed bits of DNA and RNA to massive databases of known microbes, telling you which bugs are in the mix. Running IDSeq only requires having a sequencer you know how to use and an internet connection.” [snip]

“As Chinese officials began to grapple with an explosive outbreak of a novel coronavirus, global health experts worried about what would happen if it spread to China’s less technologically advanced neighbors in the South Pacific. When a new disease emerges, it’s crucial to track its spread. That means more than just gleaning the numbers of new cases. Collecting genetic information about a virus can help public health officials understand how it arrived in their country and take steps to slow its advance. It can also help researchers monitor the virus for mutations that might make diagnostic tests less effective.”

“Although scientists in China had by then sequenced the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 and deposited that genomic data in GenBank, DeRisi’s team hadn’t yet updated their software to search the most recent version of the database. They wanted to let IDSeq fly blind and see what it could turn up.”, etc.

Would you trust philanthro-capitalist Bill Gates with anything?

Speculative but past-as-prologue?  ‘Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus’, 19-Mar-2020, Biohackinfo News.

“Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can show who has been tested for the coronavirus and who has been vaccinated against it.

The 64 year old tech mogul and currently the second richest person in the world, revealed this yesterday during a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session while answering questions on the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.” [snip]

The ‘digital certificates’ Gates was referring to are human-implantable ‘QUANTUM-DOT TATTOOS’ that researchers at MIT and Rice University are working on as a way to hold vaccination records. It was last year in December when scientists from the two universities revealed that they were working on these quantum-dot tattoos after Bill Gates approached them about solving the problem of identifying those who have not been vaccinated.

The quantum-dot tattoos involve applying dissolvable sugar-based microneedles that contain a vaccine and fluorescent copper-based ‘quantum dots’ embedded inside biocompatible, micron-scale capsules. After the microneedes dissolve under the skin, they leave the encapsulated quantum dots whose patterns can be read to identify the vaccine that was administered.

The quantum-dot tattoos will likely be supplemented with Bill Gates’ other undertaking called ID2020, which is an ambitious project by Microsoft to solve the problem of over 1 billion people who live without an officially recognized identity. ID2020 is solving this through digital identity. Currently, the most feasible way of implementing digital identity is either through smartphones or RFID microchip implants. The latter will be Gates’s likely approach not only because of feasibility and sustainability, but also because for over 6 years, the Gates Foundation has been funding another project that incorporates human-implantable microchip implants.”

‘Gates-funded program will soon offer home-testing kits for new coronavirus’,  March 8, 2020, seatlletimes.com

“Testing for the novel coronavirus in the Seattle area will get a huge boost in the coming weeks as a project funded by Bill Gates and his foundation begins offering home-testing kits that will allow people who fear they may be infected to swab their noses and send the samples back for analysis.

Results, which should be available in one to two days, will be shared with local health officials who will notify those who test positive. Via online forms, infected people can answer questions about their movements and contacts, making it easier for health officials to locate others who may need to be tested or quarantined, as well as to track the virus’ spread and identify possible hot spots.”

“The story has also been updated to clarify that projections of a possible 30,000 infections in the Seattle area by the end of March represent the upper end of modeling results for unchecked spread, with 12,000 cases as a more likely number. The researcher who did the modeling is also identified.”

‘Inside the U.S. Military’s Plans to Stop ‘Civil Disturbances’ Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Something They Haven’t Done in 30 Years’, William M. Arkin, 3/20/20, newsweek.com

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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CB's picture

Coronavirus Dashboard

COVID-19 confirmed cases in the US have exploded today. It currently stands at 38,792 which is 14,532 more than yesterday. That is an astronomical daily increase of 37.46%. The cause of this is undoubtedly due to increased testing now finally being done. At this exponential increase of confirmed cases, the total count could eventually rise to over a million by the end of April. The country should be getting prepared and start building emergency hospitals before the medical system gets swamped (as was done in China).

Because of Trump's ill-advised America First policy, the country lost the most critical period required in handling the COVID-19 pandemic - the first four to six weeks were absolutely crucial.

Trump cared so much more for the financial health of Corporate America that he neglected the physical health and well-being of ordinary American citizens. Will he ever pay for this criminal dereliction of duty during this time of crisis?

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

coronavirus chart w/ my present eye/brain configuration, and yes to more hospitals like china. but the more tests that are completed, the more the ratio of deaths to positive-testing drops, and usually to less than 1%.

are you arguing for more eradication of citizen civil liberties and privacy rights (as with bill gates' schemes), then, CB? sorry to be a thickwit, but i'd been working on another post of great meaning to me, and lamus brainus syndrome may be upon me again.

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@CB And I realize you are well aware but it isn't only Trump who was and is negligent. And really, negligence assumes they want this thing to stop, which I am highly skeptical about. This works for them in so many ways. Stop people gathering, force them on to digital platforms where what they say can be monitored. Ban the use of cash allowing capitalists unfettered access to all "money." Track those who have been vaccinated or not and use that to shame, or punish, those who are skeptical of any said vaccine. Keep people home, glued to their screens, fearful and angry, at each other. Fully institute that fascist state they've been longing for. If it were only Trump we might have a hope of changing the course, but it isn't.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

wendy davis's picture

@lizzyh7

and it took me some time to find it again, but as for sheltering in place in lockdowns:

Loneliness alters the immune system to cause illness, study finds;
While previous research has demonstrated the negative impact loneliness can have on health, the mechanisms underlying this association have been unclear. Now, a new study sheds light on the issue, finding that loneliness can alter immune system cells in a way that increases susceptibility to illness. (a few snippets of alengthy and technical article):

Researchers say their study helps explain why loneliness can alter immune system cells in a way that increases susceptibility to illness; medicalnewstoday.com

“Loneliness triggers CTRA gene expression in white blood cells
Previously, the team found that people who were lonely had greater inflammation and a weaker immune response than those who were not lonely, suggesting loneliness may be associated with a mechanism known as “conserved transcriptional response to adversity” (CTRA).
CTRA is characterized by an increase in expression of genes that play a role in inflammation and a decrease in expression of genes involved in antiviral response.

Prof. Cacioppo and colleagues delved deeper in this latest study, analyzing the gene expression in leukocytes – white blood cells in the immune system that help stave off infection – of 141 adults aged 50-68 who were part of the Chicago Health, Aging and Social Relations Study.

and i just saw in the twitterverse that Rashida Tlaib's "BOOST" bill needs further examination, as it's all by way of digital currency, which may augur some hint at permanency as in gates' and modi's cashless society' which was a boon for the elites, death for the poor.

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snoopydawg's picture

@lizzyh7

but with all the restrictions being placed upon us we are forfeiting almost every numbered right we have. Next up is goodbye habeaus corpus where the police or military goons will arrest people and hold them indefinitely. Yippee. This scenario almost looks like it's a police state's dream.

This is already happening in some U.K.. countries. Gawd help us.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

this italian bloke on twitter is offering updates constantly; this thread starts on march 19, and one might need to click it to stand alone. but he says businesses are still open, with all the horrific restrictions for everyday citizens. RT had shown photos that the military is already there...

denmark's made mandatory vaccination the law, and now WHO has a few up. CO gov. jared polis has sent the national guard all over to 'help', including san miguel county (telluride and environs) where every citizen must submit to testing by drawn blood. wtf?

some 3500 swedes have had digital microchips implanted to use digital currency, money is so filthy. it's just all happening so rapidly, and often voluntarily (as w/ bill gates' ID 2020 or whatever it's called.

He wants to own the biometric data of all humans, as he owns the svalbard doomsday seed vault.

trump issues some new orders vis a vis the national guard esterday, but RTs coverage was abominable, most about the FEMA head's freudian slip.

mutti mutti merkel is limiting 'gatherings' to only 2. cdc: 50. jared polis: 10. mancos is a fooking ghost town now, mr. wd reports.

what will the global economy look like in six more weeks? (for the 'inconsequential people', i mean.) did the senate and house ever hash out the 'payment plans' for amerikans?

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wendy davis's picture

Justice Department Reportedly Asks Congress for Indefinite Detention Powers To Fight Coronavirus’; Congress should loudly and unanimously reject this insanity’, reason.com. March 21, 2020

"The Justice Department is using the COVID-19 outbreak to press for sweeping new powers that include being able to detain Americans indefinitely without a trial, Politico reports.

The department is asking Congress to allow the U.S. attorney general to ask courts to suspend court proceedings. These include "any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings," reports Betsy Woodruff Swan, citing DOJ documents presented to Congress.

In other words, the Justice Department would be able to postpone trials, hearings, and other procedural steps that follow arrest. That represents a potentially huge violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Those powers would apply "whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation," Woodruff Swan writes, and would remain in place for "one year following the end of the national emergency."
..................................
If you think that those powers, once granted by Congress, would be used only in temporary or emergency situations—well, I have a 2001 Authorization on the Use of Military Force to sell you.

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