Is Privacy Dead? 4 Government and Private Entities Conspiring to Track Everything You Do Online and Off

A while back a sister contacted me and requested I remove some comments she had left on this blog back when I first started it. She was going stealth and didn’t want Google popping her name up as appearing on a site with Transsexual in its title.

No problem I did a search on her name and deleted all her comments.

Over the weekend she contacted me again and said that Google was still showing her name linked to that post, would I change or delete the post.

I refused.

Why? Because it would change nothing with Google.  Google is one big tracking machine.  I wish I could exert more influence over it, if I could I’d start pulling in 10,000 hits per day and start running ads.

But as it is, having both Women and Transsexual in the title was sort of a bit of serendipity that puts this blog fairly high in priority on searches that combine both words.

On the other hand this woman believes that simply blasting her presence from TS/TG sites will keep employers from discovering her past.

Even those transkids whose parents are supporting their transition in early childhood have a past.

Birth Certificates, Social Security numbers, school records.

If you transition in adulthood the credit card companies and all the data vacuums will never ever forget you.  My partner is over 14 years post-op, has changed addresses several times as well as all her papers.

She still gets credit card and other offers in her old name.

There is no privacy in a Total Information Awareness society.

This person said she wasn concerned about a CIA level investigation, but I’m not talking about that, either.

I’m talking about your basic hundred dollar background check they give for anyone being offered any sort of management position.

During this economic down turn negative credit reports have become grounds for turning down job applicants.

All this really sucks.

It also sucks to be afraid you will be turned down for a job because of being TS/TG.

This is reason to support an inclusive ENDA.

From Alternet

The police-corporate surveillance “complex” is being consolidated, drawing ever-closer corporate tracking and government surveillance.

By David Rosen
September 10, 2012

Americans’ personal privacy is being crushed by the rise of a four-headed corporate-state surveillance system.  The four “heads” are: federal government agencies; state and local law enforcement entities; telecoms, web sites & Internet “apps” companies; and private data aggregators (sometimes referred to as commercial data warehouses).

Conventional analysis treats these four domains of data gathering as separate and distinct; government agencies focus on security issues and corporate entities are concerned with commerce. Some overlap can be expected as, for example, in case of a terrorist attack or an online banking fraud.  In both cases, an actual crime occurred.

But what happens when the boundary separating or restricting corporate-state collaboration, e.g., an exceptional crime-fighting incident, erodes and becomes the taken-for-granted operating environment, the new normal?  Perhaps most troubling, what happens when the traditional safeguards offered by “watchdog” courts or regulatory organizations no longer seem to matter?  What does it say that the entities designed to protect personal privacy rights seem to have either been effectively “captured” or become toothless tigers?

In President Eisenhower’s legendary 1960 farewell address, he warned of the potential power of the military-industrial complex.  Ike’s 20th century formulation represented the intertwining of the U.S. military and private contractors to achieve two complementary goals.  First, it sought to help corporations make guaranteed, cost-plus profits and to provide glide-path retirement programs for the military brass.  Second, it sought to influence Congress and thus shape foreign policy, helping fulfill the then just-emerging global imperialist strategy.

Today’s corporate-state surveillance complex demonstrates a comparable intertwining of U.S. policing forces and private companies in the monitoring of domestic life.  It is being implemented thanks to the technology fruits of a half-century of the military-industrial complex.  The Defense Department created the Internet and what it can do in Yemen it can do in Oakland. The global war on terrorism is coming home!

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First Transgender Woman Legally Recognized in Vietnam

From The Advocate:

BY Editors
September 09 2012

Pham Le Quynh Tram has become the first transgender woman to be legally recognized by Vietnamese authorities as a woman, according to website Vietnamnet.

A decision granted by the administration of her town in the Binh Phuoc province allows Pham Van Hiep (her birth name) to redefine her sex from male to female and to legally change her name to Pham Le Quynh Tram.

“I can’t believe that this is true,” Tram says, who had reassignment surgery in 2008. “I cannot describe my happiness of living with my true sex.”

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Mother of transgender child shares her family’s journey

From LGBTQ Nation:

By Kergan Edwards-Stout
Sunday, September 9, 2012

While audiences nationwide became acquainted with Sarah Tyler and her family following their appearance last year on Anderson Cooper’s talk show, I got to know them in a completely different manner: at church.

Living in conservative Orange County, Calif., and being gay men with children, it was important that my partner and I find a church family where every single person is welcome, which we found at Church of the Foothills.

One of our pivotal moments as a congregation occurred when we learned that Danann Tyler would be transitioning from boy to girl, which prompted me to bring in a speaking panel from the Orange County Transgender Coalition to help educate our members.

As would be expected, having a child undergo such a transition caused numerous issues within the Tyler family, at school, in their community, and at work. Sarah Tyler graciously took time to share with me the journey her family has traveled, including not only the many challenges they’ve faced, but also the joyful child the transition from male to female eventually revealed.

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Minority Voters To Be Intimidated By Polling Place Vigilantes, Report Warns

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — Concerned that a veritable army of Tea Partyers will descend on polling places in minority neighborhoods to challenge and intimidate voters on Election Day, two public interest groups on Monday called for government officials to take extra steps to protect voters’ rights.

A new report from Common Cause and Demos, titled “Bullies at the Ballot Box,” describes efforts by right-wing groups — foremost among them, a Tea Party spin-off group called True the Vote — to train as many as a million volunteers in “poll-watching.”

“I think we have seen a much more coordinated and well-funded effort than we’ve seen in years past, and that’s why it’s so concerning,” said Jenny Flanagan, director of voting and elections at Common Cause and one of the report’s authors.

“The message behind their tactic I think is what’s most concerning to us,” she said, because the groups appear to be “targeting racial minorities and others who have a past of being targeted.”

The report notes that True the Vote official Bill Ouren has told volunteers they should make voters feel “like driving and seeing the police following you.” And the president of True the Vote coalition partner Judicial Watch has accused the Obama administration of trying to mobilize “the food stamp army” and “steal the election” with the “illegal alien vote.”

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GOP Rep. Appears on White Nationalist Radio Show

From Mother Jones:

By Mon Sep. 10, 2012

A North Carolina Republican congressman appeared on a notorious white nationalist radio program on Saturday to talk up legislation he coauthored accusing President Barack Obama of committing impeachable offenses. Rep. Walter Jones, a fiercely anti-war congressman who often breaks with his party on key votes, appeared on the Political Cesspool, a Memphis-based program hosted by ardent white nationalists James Edwards and Eddie Miller. The show has been condemned by groups like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic beliefs. Jones is the first member of Congress to appear on the program.

An avowed white nationalist who says David Duke is “above reproach,” Edwards has referred to African Americans as “heathen savages” and “subhuman” and suggested that slavery was “the greatest thing that ever happened” to blacks. The show’s mission statement is blunt: “We represent a philosophy that is pro-White and are against political centralization,” it declares. It then outlines a series of issues the show exists to promote. “We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races,” reads one plank. Another bullet point endorses the Confederacy: “Secession is a right of all people and individuals. It was successful in 1776 and this show honors those who tried to make it successful in 1865.”

Edwards’ rhetoric has caught the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which argues that he has “probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists.” As the SPLC notes:

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Pat Robertson: Since ‘We Don’t Condone Wife-Beating These Days’ Husband Should ‘Move to Saudi Arabia’ to Beat Her

From Right Wing Watch:

by Brian Tashman
on Mon, 09/10/2012

Mitt Romney this weekend stumped alongside televangelist Pat Robertson, not minding Robertson’s legacy of incendiary, insensitive, heartless and apocalyptic rhetoric that has gotten him in trouble in the past. Apparently, Robertson’s own CBN has become aware of Robertson’s problematic statements, and may even be editing his controversial claims out of episode archives.

For example, today on the 700 Club’s “Bring It On” segment where viewers ask Robertson questions, one man wondered how he should go about repairing his marriage with a wife who “insults” him and once tried to attack him.

“Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her,” Robertson responded. “This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff,” Robertson continued, “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.”

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