China Unveils “Super Surveillance Camera” That Can Link To Its Social Credit System


28-09-19 09:39:00,

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Device can identify individual faces out of crowds of tens of thousands; Will take mass surveillance to a new level

A new camera with a resolution five times more detailed than the human eye, able to monitor thousands of people in real time and identify individual faces has been unveiled by Chinese scientists, prompting renewed fears about mass surveillance.

ABC News in Australia reports that the new 500 megapixel cloud camera AI system, dubbed a ‘super camera’, was revealed at China’s International Industry Fair last week.

The camera system, equipped with state of the art facial recognition utilities, was designed by Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The designers claim that the system can detect and identify thousands of human faces or other objects in real time and instantly locate specific targets in environments such as crowded stadiums.

Of course, it would work equally as well at protests.

The designers suggested that police could set up the camera system in the center of Shanghai and monitor the movement of crowds, while cross-checking the images with medical and criminal records.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing told the Global Times that the system could “very easily be applied to national defense, military and public security.”

Technology like this in the hands of Communist Chinese authorities, who already operate a citizen social credit system, does not bode well for privacy rights and freedom.

“The Party-state has massive databases of people’s images and the capability to connect them to their identity, so it isn’t inconceivable that technology like this is possible if not now then in the future,” Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute noted.

The social credit system, which rewards ‘good behavior’ with incentives and punishes disobedience by restricting and banning people from buying travel tickets, is currently enforced using a vast network of over 200 million surveillance cameras, as well as other tracking tools.


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Israel Unveils Newest Golan Settlement: ‘Trump Heights’


17-06-19 07:13:00,

First in Poland it was the proposed “Fort Trump,” but now in Israel it is “Trump Heights”. In a breaking story that had us doing a double take just to assure it is indeed real, a new Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights has been named ‘Trump Heights’ in honor Trump’s deeply controversial decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory. 

Image source: AFP

None other than Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu presided over the opening ceremony, which featured the unveiling of a large sign bearing Trump’s name and US-Israeli criss-crossing flags. 

The United Nations and other countries have not given international backing to the US recognition, which further last month involved the State Department officially changing world maps to reflect the new status. The settlement is yet to be established though the sign is in place, in what is sure to unleash a new wave of controversy and protests in Syria and the Palestinian territories. 

Israel’s premier pledged in April to name a new settlement after Mr Trump, soon after the president overturned decades of US policy by recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan.

The region is located about 60km (40 miles) south-west of the Syrian capital, Damascus, and covers about 1,000 sq km (400 sq miles).

The new settlement is expected to be built near Kela in the northern Golan Heights. —BBC

Israel fully annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing it from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967. The United Nations has never recognized Israeli annexation and settlement there, but has repeatedly condemned it — all of which has resulted in a Syria-Israel state of war ever since. 

Thank you PM @Netanyahu and the State of Israel for this great honor!🇺🇸🇮🇱

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019

Later in the day Sunday President Trump retweeted a congratulations and photos highlighting the event – which had been sent from the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who was on hand representing the United States during the ceremony.

Friedman noted it was the “first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949)”

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British Left Unveils Plan To “Weaponize” The Bank Of England

British Left Unveils Plan To “Weaponize” The Bank Of England

30-07-18 07:06:00,

Authored by George Pickering via The Mises Institute,

Under cover of the tumult of Westminster politics in recent weeks, the far-left leadership of Britain’s Labour Party recently released anew plan to alter the fundamental role of the Bank of England in the British economy.

The plan — co-authored by Graham Turner, who is regarded as a likely pick for Governor of the Bank of England if Labour wins the next election — would have Britain’s central bank adopt a new set of objectives, similar to the ‘dual mandate’ pursued by the US Federal Reserve. If the plan were to be put into effect, not only would the Bank pursue a 2% inflation goal, as it already does, but it would also adopt the new goal of promoting ‘maximum employment’, as well as new productivity targets.

More worryingly though, the new plan would aim at “integrating” the Bank of England’s monetary and macroprudential policy with the government’s “industrial strategy.” In practice, this would mean the Bank would be required to use its regulatory powers, as well as its control over credit expansion, to arbitrarily steer cash toward whichever industries and businesses happened to be favoured by the government of the day. This policy — which has been given the deceptively inoffensive name of ‘credit guidance’ — would likely involve the Bank of England adjusting the capital requirements for commercial banks in such a way as to manipulate them into extending more loans to the manufacturing sector and other “critical areas of technology,” and fewer loans to the supposedly unproductive residential and commercial real estate sector.

This desire to diminish the role of real estate in the British economy also led to one of the more bizarre proposals put forward by the plan. Contrary to banks’ widespread use of real estate as collateral for loans in the present, Labour’s new plan would force banks to “show they are raising the share of loans backed by intellectual property instead.” Even leaving aside the questionable validity of the very concept of intellectual property, this article would not be the first to point out that banks might be less willing to extend loans at all if they were forced to secure those loans on shaky estimates of the value of the copyright to a self-published volume of the borrower’s poetry,

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Illinois Unveils Another Shocker: Sell A Record $107 Billion In Debt To Fund Insolvent Pensions

Illinois Unveils Another Shocker: Sell A Record $107 Billion In Debt To Fund Insolvent Pensions

28-01-18 10:14:00,

If there is such a thing as financial hell, it is probably Greece… with Illinois coming in close second.

For those unfamiliar, here’s a quick recap: Illinois (rate just one notch above junk) is drowning under a mountain of debt, unpaid bills and underfunded pension liabilities and it’s largest city, Chicago, is suffering from a staggering outbreak of violent crime not seen since gang wars engulfed major cities from LA to New York in the mid-90’s, while rising taxes have prompted a mass exodus with the state lost 1 resident every 4.3 minutes in 2017. 

Here is just a small taste of some of our recent posts on Illinois’ challenges:

Seen in this light, any irrational actions undertaken by the near-insolvent state would almost make sense, if not be expected. Actually make that irrational and utterly bizarre, such as a proposed offering of a mind-blowing $107 billion in debt – a never before attempted amount in the world of munis – to “fund” the state’s insolvent pension system, which would also assure that Illinois would default (even faster) in the very near future.

According to Bloomberg, Illinois lawmakers are so desperate to shore up the state’s massively underfunded retirement system that “they’re willing to entertain an eye-popping wager: Borrowing $107 billion and letting it ride in the financial markets.“

If that number sounds oddly large, is because it is: an offering of this size would be by far the biggest debt sale in the history of the municipal market, and amount to roughly 50% more debt than bankrupt Puerto Rico accumulated in the run up to its record-setting insolvency.

Putting the proposed deal in context, Illinois had $26.3 billion of general-obligation bonds as of July and the state sold $750 million of bonds in November to pay down unpaid bills that had accumulated during its two-year budget impasse.

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