December 21, 2010
Forget the StreetView data vacuum scandal. If an idea proposed for the money hole known as the U.S. Post Office is adopted, your friendly neighborhood postal person may be soon driving a high-tech data collection vehicle that would rival anything Google put to use for the government.
|Post Office trucks may be used to determine if you have problems with the government. Photo: Kevin Spencer.|
“The service’s thousands of delivery vehicles have only one purpose now: to transport mail,” Michael Ravnitzky, chief counsel to the chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, wrote for the New York Times last week. “But what if they were fitted with sensors to collect and transmit information about weather or air pollutants? The trucks would go from being bulky tools of industrial-age communication to being on the cutting edge of 21st-century information-gathering and forecasting.”
“Data collection wouldn’t require much additional staff or resources; all it would take would be a small, cheap and unobtrusive sensor package mounted on each truck,” writes Ravnitzky.
He said outfitting the trucks would make “it significantly easier to spot a problem or anomaly” and the system “could assess road quality, catalog potholes and provide early warning of unsafe road conditions like black ice.”
Forget the prospect of weather forecasting or black ice. The federal government is far more interested in collecting data on citizens than it is on reporting road conditions. The NSA and the CIA don’t give a hoot about potholes.
On Monday, the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post, told us what we already know – the government has created a massive Stasi-like snoop apparatus in America. “The government is creating a vast domestic spying network to collect information about Americans in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and subsequent terror plots,” Reuters reported. “The government is using for this purpose the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators,” and may soon use the Post Office if Mr. Ravnitzky’s proposal is adopted.
“The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States,” explains CBS News.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The FBI is also in the business of setting up patsies in order to promote the manufactured war on terrorism.
“Everything contained within the Post’s article has already been reported and covered in depth by this website and others in the alternative media that have consistently warned of the threat of the exponential rise of the big brother spy system over the past decade,” writes Steve Watson.
“The Washington Post report notes that such suspicious activity reports are just one piece of information being collected at the local and state levels and fed into a vast ‘Guardian’ database via fusion centers, which ultimately connect to the FBI, the DHS and even the Department of Defense,” Watson continues.
Guardian replaced the TALON database. It was created on orders issued by the deputy defense secretary during the Bush regime, the neocon Paul Wolfowitz, and was criticized for gathering information on antiwar activists and other political activists who posed no credible threat to the empire. TALON reports were collected by Defense Department agencies including law enforcement, intelligence, counterintelligence and security, and were analyzed by a secretive Pentagon agency, the Counterintelligence Field Activity.
CIFA was supposedly “disestablished” and the TALON database shut down. Of course, that was merely public relations spin – intelligence databases are never shut down. Instead, they are repurposed. TALON is now Guardian and it continues its legacy of collating data on threats to the establishment and its profitable occupations and covert wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. Guardian has nothing to do with al-Qaeda, the fake terror group that takes its name from another database.
The Post Office data collection scheme will undoubtedly be used in the same way Google’s StreetView was used – to vacuum up wireless data and ferret out intelligence.
In July, Consumer Watchdog issued a newswire calling for the Energy and Commerce Committee to conduct hearings into privacy violations by Google. John M. Simpson of the non-profit group said “it appears that Google holds classified U.S. government contracts to supply search and geospatial information to the U.S. government.”
In addition, White House records show that Google executives have been holding meetings with U.S. national security officials for undisclosed reasons. Finally, it also appears that Google’s widely criticized efforts to collect wireless network data on American citizens were not inadvertent, contrary to the company’s claims.
As history has repeatedly shown, alliances between the U.S. intelligence community and giant corporations that collect data on American citizens can be a toxic combination where the U.S. Constitution is concerned.
Now the Post Office is about to be thrown into the effort to create a massive and all-encompassing electronic panopticon. “Such a system could aid in homeland security by rapidly detecting chemical agents, radiological materials and, eventually, biological attacks,” Ravnitzky avers.
It will also be used to determine user behavior over public Wi-Fi hotspots, a charge made against Google by the German Data Protection Authority in May.
The government is not worried about al-CIA-duh or the remote possibility of a biological attack. It is concerned – as the DHS report on “rightwing extremism” and the similar report issued by MIAC revealed – about the political activity of ordinary Americans.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is said to be the motto of the Post Office. If the government has its way, the motto will need to be updated to include “and data-mine your personal information” to make sure you are not a threat to the establishment.