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Topic: EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour"

The European Union is spending millions of pounds developing "Orwellian" technologies designed to scour the internet and CCTV images for "abnormal behaviour". 

A five-year research programme, called Project Indect, aims to develop computer programmes which act as "agents" to monitor and process information from web sites, discussion forums, file servers, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers.
Its main objectives include the "automatic detection of threats and abnormal behaviour or violence".
Project Indect, which received nearly £10 million in funding from the European Union, involves the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and computer scientists at York University, in addition to colleagues in nine other European countries.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, described the introduction of such mass surveillance techniques as a "sinister step" for any country, adding that it was "positively chilling" on a European scale.
The Indect research, which began this year, comes as the EU is pressing ahead with an expansion of its role in fighting crime, terrorism and managing migration, increasing its budget in these areas by 13.5% to nearly £900 million. 
The European Commission is calling for a "common culture" of law enforcement to be developed across the EU and for a third of police officers – more than 50,000 in the UK alone – to be given training in European affairs within the next five years.
According to the Open Europe think tank, the increased emphasis on co-operation and sharing intelligence means that European police forces are likely to gain access to sensitive information held by UK police, including the British DNA database. It also expects the number of UK citizens extradited under the controversial European Arrest Warrant to triple.
Stephen Booth, an Open Europe analyst who has helped compile a dossier on the European justice agenda, said these developments and projects such as Indect sounded "Orwellian" and raised serious questions about individual liberty.
"This is all pretty scary stuff in my book. These projects would involve a huge invasion of privacy and citizens need to ask themselves whether the EU should be spending their taxes on them," he said.
"The EU lacks sufficient checks and balances and there is no evidence that anyone has ever asked 'is this actually in the best interests of our citizens?'"
Miss Chakrabarti said: "Profiling whole populations instead of monitoring individual suspects is a sinister step in any society. 
"It's dangerous enough at national level, but on a Europe-wide scale the idea becomes positively chilling."
According to the official website for Project Indect, which began this year, its main objectives include "to develop a platform for the registration and exchange of operational data, acquisition of multimedia content, intelligent processing of all information and automatic detection of threats and recognition of abnormal behaviour or violence".
It talks of the "construction of agents assigned to continuous and automatic monitoring of public resources such as: web sites, discussion forums, usenet groups, file servers, p2p [peer-to-peer] networks as well as individual computer systems, building an internet-based intelligence gathering system, both active and passive".
York University's computer science department website details how its task is to develop "computational linguistic techniques for information gathering and learning from the web".
"Our focus is on novel techniques for word sense induction, entity resolution, relationship mining, social network analysis [and] sentiment analysis," it says.
A separate EU-funded research project, called Adabts – the Automatic Detection of Abnormal Behaviour and Threats in crowded Spaces – has received nearly £3 million. Its is based in Sweden but partners include the UK Home Office and BAE Systems.
It is seeking to develop models of "suspicious behaviour" so these can be automatically detected using CCTV and other surveillance methods. The system would analyse the pitch of people's voices, the way their bodies move and track individuals within crowds.
Project coordinator Dr Jorgen Ahlberg, of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, said this would simply help CCTV operators notice when trouble was starting.
"People usually don't start to fight from one second to another," he said. "They start by arguing and pushing each other. It's not that 'oh you are pushing each other, you should be arrested', it's to alert an operator that something is going on.
"If it's a shopping mall, you could send a security guard into the vicinity and things [a fight] maybe wouldn't happen."
Open Europe believes intelligence gathered by Indect and other such systems could be used by a little-known body, the EU Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), which it claims is "effectively the beginning of an EU secret service". Critics have said it could develop into "Europe's CIA". 
The dossier says: "The EU's Joint Situation Centre (SitCen) was originally established in order to monitor and assess worldwide events and situations on a 24-hour basis with a focus on potential crisis regions, terrorism and WMD-proliferation. 
"However, since 2005, SitCen has been used to share counter-terrorism information.
"An increased role for SitCen should be of concern since the body is shrouded in so much secrecy. 
"The expansion of what is effectively the beginning of an EU 'secret service' raises fundamental questions of political oversight in the member states."
Superintendent Gerry Murray, of the PSNI, said the force's main role would be to test whether the system, which he said could be operated on a countrywide or European level, was a worthwhile tool for the police.
"A lot of it is very academic and very science-driven [at the moment]. Our budgets are shrinking, our human resources are shrinking and we are looking for IT technology that will help us five years down the line in reducing crime and combating criminal gangs," he said.
"Within this Project Indect there is an ethical board which will be looked at: is it permissible within the legislation of the country who may use it, who oversees it and is it human rights compliant."



Topic: Kafkaesque form of media gagging order is becoming a troublingly frequent weapon in the legal battlefield


The battle against "legalese" – the derogatory name given to incomprehensible legal jargon – has made steady progress since the term was first coined in the early 20th century. Proficiency in Latin is no longer a requirement for law students, and huge swaths of court rules have been rewritten in "plain language".

Yet one uniquely baffling genre of court document continues to grow: a new generation of omnipotent injunctions. Injunctions are a form of court order, usually preventing the recipient from doing something. Imagine you know something important about an individual, "A", which you attempt to publish or communicate to others. You are sued by A in an attempt to keep that information confidential – not altogether an unusual sequence of events.

In the course of the legal proceedings brought by A, you are likely to receive a court order, stating something like "the publication of all information relating to these proceedings is expressly prohibited". If asked by a friend or colleague about the case brought against you by A, you would have to say: "I can't talk about it, I've been injuncted." Frustrating, but not uncommon. A's injunction was probably obtained on the basis that if you were allowed to reveal the information at the heart of the case, it would render the ensuing process pointless.

But then imagine the injunction was more abstract, all-encompassing, and powerful. One that, in addition to prohibiting publication of information, ordered that you "must not use and must not publish or communicate or disclose the information that A has obtained an injunction".

When you had digested the scope of this injunction, you would realise your response to the aforementioned friend or colleague would now be quite different. If they asked you what happened to the case brought against you by A, your response would have to be silence because, first, the injunction prohibits you from disclosing the information you have about A; and second, the injunction prohibits you from disclosing the fact that A has obtained an injunction.

Regrettably, this is not a rare Kafkaesque experiment in civil procedure. It is, in fact, reality in a growing number of cases brought before England and Wales's high court. Of course it is impossible to say just how many of these cases there are. The parties are unable to discuss them, so their existence often passes by unnoticed by a wider audience; and even where the existence of these injunctions does come to the attention of the press, journalists are equally bound by their terms, risking contempt of court should they report them.

There are indications though, that these once rare weapons are becoming a more regular feature of the legal battlefield. Newspapers, though obviously prohibited from reporting the fact of these injunctions, are notified of them nevertheless, with the paradoxical consequence that the claimant's desire for secrecy becomes widely known by everyone in major media outlets. The Guardian, for instance, has been served with at least 12 notices of injunctions that could not be reported so far this year, compared with six in the whole of 2006 and five in 2005.

Lawyers practising in this highly specialised area are alarmed, they say, by the increasing prevalence of these once "highly abnormal" orders. "If the court is dealing with confidential information, it is only right that it isn't put into the public domain as a result of the hearing," one expert in media law told me. "But that is now increasingly being conflated with the idea you need to protect the identity of the claimants."

"The fundamental principle is that all these applications should be dealt with in open court. You can only keep things secret if to do otherwise would render the administration of justice impracticable," he added. "It's hard to see how revealing the identity of the parties falls into that category."

Even in cases where an individual faces the revelation of personal information – think of Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, who applied for an injunction to prevent the fact of his four-year relationship with Jeff Chevalier being published – the principle of open justice emerged victorious. Referring to the parties anonymously is "a course to be avoided unless justice requires it", Mr Justice Eady said in the Browne case, adding that there was no good reason why the parties should not be identified.

More alarming still is the fact that corporations, with motives centred more on their brand and reputation than personal disaster, are invoking these orders, gagging others from saying they have been gagged, let alone whatever they initially wanted to speak out about.

Why are judges agreeing to these orders? Almost unbelievably, in one case a company that had aggressively injuncted its critics then persuaded a judge that, were its behaviour to become publicly known, the company might appear – well – aggressive. The court's response? The mother of all gaggings.



Topic: Mini ice age took hold of Europe in months


JUST months - that's how long it took for Europe to be engulfed by an ice age. The scenario, which comes straight out of Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, was revealed by the most precise record of the climate from palaeohistory ever generated.

Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by the Younger Dryas mini ice age, or "Big Freeze". It was triggered by the slowdown of the Gulf Stream, led to the decline of the Clovis culture in North America, and lasted around 1300 years.

Until now, it was thought that the mini ice age took a decade or so to take hold, on the evidence provided by Greenland ice cores. Not so, say William Patterson of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his colleagues.

The group studied a mud core from an ancient lake, Lough Monreagh, in western Ireland. Using a scalpel they sliced off layers 0.5 to 1 millimetre thick, each representing up to three months of time. No other measurements from the period have approached this level of detail.

Carbon isotopes in each slice revealed how productive the lake was and oxygen isotopes gave a picture of temperature and rainfall. They show that at the start of the Big Freeze, temperatures plummeted and lake productivity stopped within months, or a year at most. "It would be like taking Ireland today and moving it up to Svalbard" in the Arctic, says Patterson, who presented the findings at the BOREAS conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, on 31 October.

"This is significantly shorter than what has been suggested before, but it is plausible," says Derek Vance of the University of Bristol, UK. Hans Renssen, a climate researcher at Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, says recent findings from Greenland ice cores indicate the Younger Dryas event may have happened in one to three years. Patterson's results confirm this was a very sudden change, he says.

The mud slices from the end of the Big Freeze show that it took around two centuries for the lake and climate to recover.

Patterson says that sudden climate switches like the Big Freeze are far from unusual in the geological record. The Younger Dryas was brought about when a glacial lake covering most of north-west Canada burst its banks and poured into the North Atlantic and Arctic OceansMovie Camera. The huge flood diluted the salinity-driven North Atlantic Ocean mega-currents, including the Gulf Stream, and stalled it. Two studies published in 2006 show that the same thing happened again 8200 years ago, when the Northern hemisphere went through another cold spell.

Some climate scientists have suggested that the Greenland ice sheet could have the same effect if it suddenly melts through climate change, but the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded this was unlikely to happen this century.

Patterson's team have now set their sights on even more precise records of historical climate. They have built a robot able to shave 0.05 micrometre slivers along the growth lines of fossilised clam shells, giving a resolution of less than a day. "We can get you mid-July temperatures from 400 million years ago," he says.




Topic: Computer Shows Your Thoughts on Screen


Global Research, November 10, 2009
Times - 2009-11-01

Scientists have discovered how to “read” minds by scanning brain activity and reproducing images of what people are seeing — or even remembering.

Researchers have been able to convert into crude video footage the brain activity stimulated by what a person is watching or recalling.

The breakthrough raises the prospect of significant benefits, such as allowing people who are unable to move or speak to communicate via visualisation of their thoughts; recording people’s dreams; or allowing police to identify criminals by recalling the memories of a witness.

However, it could also herald a new Big Brother era, similar to that envisaged in the Hollywood film Minority Report, in which an individual’s private thoughts can be readily accessed by the authorities.

Jack Gallant and Shinji Nishimoto, two neurologists from the University of California, Berkeley, last year managed to correlate activity in the brain’s visual cortex with static images seen by the person. Last week they went one step further by revealing that it is possible to “decode” signals generated in the brain by moving scenes.

In an experiment which has yet to be peer reviewed, Gallant and Nishimoto, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, scanned the brains of two patients as they watched videos.

A computer programme was used to search for links between the configuration of shapes, colours and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients’ visual cortex.

It was later fed more than 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate if people were watching them.

Finally, the software was used to monitor the two patients’ brains as they watched a new film and to reproduce what they were seeing based on their neural activity alone.

Remarkably, the computer programme was able to display continuous footage of the films they were watching — albeit with blurred images.

In one scene which featured the actor Steve Martin wearing a white shirt, the software recreated his rough shape and white torso but missed other details, such as his facial features.

Another scene, showing a plane flying towards the camera against a city skyline, was less successfully reproduced. The computer recreated the image of the skyline but omitted the plane altogether.

“Some scenes decode better than others,” said Gallant. “We can decode talking heads really well. But a camera panning quickly across a scene confuses the algorithm.

“You can use a device like this to do some pretty cool things. At the moment when you see something and want to describe it to someone you have to use words or draw it and it doesn’t work very well.

“You could use this technology to transmit the image to someone. It might be useful for artists or to allow you to recover an eyewitness’s memory of a crime.”

Such technology may not be confined to the here and now. Scientists at University College London have conducted separate tests that detect, with an accuracy of about 50%, memories recalled by patients.

The discoveries come amid a flurry of developments in the field of brain science. Researchers have also used scanning technology to measure academic ability, detect early signs of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions, and even predict the decision a person is about to make before they are conscious of making it.

Such developments may have controversial ramifications. In Britain, fMRI scanning technology has been sold to multinational companies, such as Unilever and McDonald’s, enabling them to see how we subconsciously react to brands.

In America, security agencies are researching the use of brain scanners for interrogating prisoners, and Lockheed Martin, the US defence contractor, is reported to have studied the possibility of scanning brains at a distance.

This would allow an individual’s thoughts and anxieties to be examined without their knowledge in sensitive locations such as airports.

Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, said rapid advances in the field were throwing up ethical dilemmas.

“It’s absolutely critical for scientists to inform the public about what we are doing so they can engage in the debate about how this knowledge should be used,” he said.

“It’s the age-old problem: knowledge is power and it can be used for both good and evil.”



Topic: Invention Secrecy at Highest in a Decade


Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, U.S. government agencies may restrict the disclosure of a patent application whenever its publication is deemed “detrimental to the national security.” In Fiscal Year 2009, 103 new secrecy orders were issued, while 45 existing orders were rescinded. The overall number of orders in effect increased by about 1% over the year before, according to statistics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that were released to Secrecy News under the Freedom of Information Act.


The most vexing secrecy orders, known as “John Doe” secrecy orders, are those that are imposed on private inventors who are not government contractors so that the government has no property interest in the invention. In Fiscal Year 2009, there were 21 new John Doe secrecy orders, according to the latest statistics. An argument could be made that secrecy orders in such cases are infringements on an inventor’s First Amendment rights, but such an argument has never been tested in court.

In general, however, challenges or complaints concerning the operation of the patent secrecy system seem to be rare. Most secrecy orders originate at defense agencies, with the U.S. Navy in the lead this year with 39. (The National Security Agency issued 12 secrecy orders in FY 2009.) In such cases, the most likely customers for the inventions are the military agencies themselves, not commercial enterprises, and so the secrecy orders may have no adverse impact on the inventors. For other resources on invention secrecy, 




Topic: Genes Have "No Clinical Relevance" in Predicting Disease, Scientists Admit


(NaturalNews) Genetic analysis is essentially useless in predicting a person's risk of cancer, heart attack or other common diseases, according to a set of commentaries published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The decoding of the human genome in 2003 led to a flood of research into the contributions that genetic variation might make to the risk of various chronic diseases that tend to develop late in life, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Since then, a number of for-profit companies have begun offering genetic screenings and disease risk assessments.

"With only a few exceptions, what the genomics companies are doing right now is recreational genomics," said David B. Goldstein of Duke University, author of one of the commentaries. "The information has little or in many cases no clinical relevance."

A few diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay Sachs disease, can be caused by a mutation on a single gene. Most diseases, however, are much more complex, and develop due to an interaction between environmental factors and the contributions of a variety of genes.

In order to calculate the genetic contribution to these diseases, geneticists developed the technique known as genomewide association study, in which the genomes of groups of healthy people are compared with the genomes of those with a certain disease. The hope among researchers has been that this analysis could point out genetic differences between the groups that might be linked to disease risk.

While genomewide analysis has successfully identified some differences between the genetic codes of healthy and diseased patients, these differences provide little information about disease risk. Researchers expected to find a small number of common genetic variations that were responsible for each disease. Instead, common gene variants appear to contribute to disease risk only very marginally.

Goldstein suggests that the genetic component of chronic disease risk might arise from a large number of rare genetic variants, making genetic screening far less helpful in predicting risk. If only a small number of variants are involved, they might provide information on the biological pathways that lead to the development of the disease. If many different variations are implicated, however, this would tell researchers nothing except that an error in the functioning of nearly any bodily system can contribute to disease risk.

"In pointing at everything," Goldstein wrote, "genetics would point at nothing."

Based on the failure of more than 100 genomewide studies -- carried out on thousands of patients in a number of different countries -- to deliver useful results, Goldstein suggests that the approach should be abandoned as a waste of resources. Genomewide analysis is only effective at uncovering common variations with large effects, Goldstein says. Discovering rare variants with smaller effects is "beyond the grasp of the genomewide association studies."

A single genomewide analysis study costs several million dollars to carry out.

In addition, as more such studies are carried out, each one will deliver less new information on gene-related disease risk -- a problem of diminishing returns.

Also writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers Peter Kraft and David J. Hunter of the Harvard School of Public Health disagree with Goldstein that the studies are incapable of providing useful data. They agree, however, that they have provided no clinically useful information to date.


Topic: US Judge Rules Against Compulsory Vaccinations

30 years after compulsory vaccination became US Law:

US Court issues an injunction to stop it and to hold the the government and drug companies responsible for reactions.

A Preliminary Injunction to stop mandatory vaccinations has been issued in the United States District Court of New Jersey.

This comes after a federal lawsuit opposing forced vaccines was filed in that court by Tim Vawter, pro se attorney, on July 31st with the federal government as defendant.

When the judge signs the Preliminary Injunction, it will stop the federal government from forcing anyone in any state to take flu vaccine against their will. It will also prevent a state or local government from forcibly vaccinating anyone, and forbid any person who is not vaccinated from being denied any services or constitutional rights.

Vawter’s filings included a Complaint, and several pages of evidentiary Exhibits. Vawter’s legal papers have been written not only for filing in federal
court, but additionally so they can be looked at by activists around the world for ideas on filing lawsuits in their own countries to help stop forced vaccinations.

Vawter believes that as the truth of the dangers of flu vaccines continues to become known, banning the forced use of them will eventually succeed on a worldwide basis. He cautions people to avoid fear and keep themselves focused on the task of blocking forced vaccination. Preliminary Injunction will immediately halt mandatory vaccinations in the U.S.

The Court, having heard the Motion for Preliminary Injunction and read the papers in its support, states in the Preliminary Injunction that it appears the federal government has engaged in some amount of negligence with regards to failure to properly investigate the safety of the flu vaccines scheduled for use in late 2009-2010, and the evidence submitted does warrant a more thorough investigation into the safety of the flu vaccines.

The Court ordered that the government shall be forbidden from forcing any person to be required to take any influenza vaccination against that person’s free will and free choice. The government will not allow any state or local government, or any party, to force any person to be required to take any influenza vaccination against that person’s free will and free choice.

U.S. government sued for gross negligence and violation of the Constitution

In his Cause of Action, Vawter charged that the federal government has engaged in gross negligence by funding and promoting flu vaccines that are proven to be dangerous and manufactured with little oversight. The vaccines scheduled for use in late 2009 and 2010 contain heavy metals including thimerosal mercury, which have been proven to cause autism in children with lowered immune systems, and other dangerous and toxic ingredients.

The federal government has stated it will force these flu vaccines onto the American public against their will, under a document signed by Health and
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

He further charged that the vaccine makers stand to earn billions of dollars selling vaccines, and are already spending tens of millions advertising a “Phase 6 Pandemic” that the evidence shows does not really exist.

The federal government has not required the World Health Organization (WHO) to show evidence of such a pandemic. There has been no collection of facts, sworn testimony, witnesses being questioned, hearings being held, or lie detector tests being given when preposterous statements have been made.

The WHO declared a massive “Phase 6 Influenza Pandemic”, even though only a few hundred people worldwide had so far died of this swine flu virus, and
when far more people die each year of regular flu.

Vawter noted there is a preponderance of evidence to show that the federal government so poorly trained its employees that they eagerly agreed with the unsubstantiated claims of the WHO in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Forced vaccination would violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the government to enter homes and force people to
be vaccinated, or to forcibly remove people to another location for vaccination.

It would also violate Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights by depriving people of liberty without due process of law.

Vawter charged that the federal government has engaged in gross negligence by failing to properly investigate factual evidence submitted by esteemed medical professions over many years which proves flu vaccines have caused serious damage to people.

The CDC has stated that thimerosal mercury is being used in the new flu vaccines being prepared.

The government has failed to investigate profiteering.. Billions of dollars in vaccine sales can cause organizations to falsify threats so as to cause unwarranted public hysteria leading to forced vaccinations.

The government is guilty of gross negligence because its employees failed to properly investigate the release of a case of live swine flu virus. One of the main companies the government deals with, Baxter Vaccines, was apparently involved in the transporting of live bird flu virus that was released on a public train earlier this year.

A lab technician with the Swiss National Center for Influenza in Geneva had traveled to Zurich to collect eight ampoules, five of which were filled with the H1N1 swine flu virus. However, failure of the dry ice in their container allowed pressure to build up, and the ampoules exploded as the train was pulling into a

The highly reputable UK newspaper “the Telegraph” reported on July 2nd that flu vaccines tested on homeless people caused twenty-one of them to die.

Vawter charged there is a preponderance of evidence to show that government will not provide people being vaccinated with a list of the vaccine ingredients and possible negative side effects before they are vaccinated. Most of the public will not know this flu vaccine contains thimerosal mercury.

Vawter submitted an Order to force the government to publish vaccine ingredients and side effects, and to give this information to everyone who takes a flu vaccine, and do so at least 3 days prior to their vaccination. A denial of this order would violate Plaintiff’s rights to demand the government obey the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by requiring it to engage in freedom of speech. The First Amendment not only allows a citizen to have freedom of speech himself, but it allows a citizen to demand his government engage in freedom of speech when it is promoting the use of such as these vaccinations to the public.

The government proclamation stating a person cannot sue for any damages he receives from the flu vaccine, completely bypasses the congress and the court system in violation of the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution which grants the right to sue to recover for damages.

Vawter submitted an Order to deem unconstitutional any proclamation, rule or similar law that forbids people from suing for damages resulting from the
vaccines of 2009 and 2010.

Robert O. Young, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Founder of ‘THE NEW BIOLOGY’
LIVING’ for Health.