U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- People on the internet think they are anonymous. The scary truth is that no one on the internet is truly anonymous. Companies like Google and Facebook log every site you visit and everything you buy online. What you do on the Internet lives on forever in someone’s database.
Companies across the web build profiles of internet users to be able to target them with advertisements. If you email your brother about couches from your Gmail account, the algorithm will scan the emails and pick that up. Any websites that you go to running Google AdSense will start showing you banner ads for new couches.
These profiles are extensive. One privacy researcher stated to me that these companies know more about the end user than they know about themselves. I would attend to agree with this statement.
These profiles do more than just allow companies to target you with ads. Companies like Buxtonco use these internet profiles to predict the behavior of people to help retail companies know what type of items that certain people would like to buy even before the target customer knows what they want themselves.
These companies track everything a user does on the Internet. This data mining goes far beyond just scanning emails. Big tech also monitors and scan every message sent by a user to another user. They are not tracking chats just for advertising reasons. These companies also monitor chat logs for illegal activities.
If companies can use these profiles to target users with ads and accurately predict what type of items a user wants to buy, and if these tech companies can alert on illegal content then what is there to stop these companies from banning other terms that they don’t agree with on an ideologue basis?
Even scarier is that there nothing stopping them from making from making a shared database that could block people on all platforms. We see companies do this exact same thing with spammers.
Spamhaus Block List (SBL) is what the name sounds like to the layman. If spam comes from your IP or email address, Spamhaus or one of their partner companies will add you the list of spammers. The issue is that there are false positives. Once you are on this list, it could be challenging and complicated to get off of it, and almost all email providers share this list.
I can envision a future when these lists are used to ban “wrong think.” It is a scary thought, but it is also based on reality. Independent Journalist Tim Pool recently appeared on the “Joe Rogan Experience” with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Policy and Trust & Safety Lead Vijaya Gadde.
What came out of the Podcast was shocking.
Pool brought up Twitter banning people on their platform for political reasons. Dorsey and Gadde denied that politics was causing Twitter to ban people. Pool then brought up that misgendering someone was grounds for being banned on the social media platform.
Dorsey and Gadde both stated that it was true that a user misgendering someone was a bannable offense, but they do not see that as forcing their personal beliefs on users. Pool brought up that half of America doesn’t believe that a man can decide to become a woman. Over half the country thinks people should not be forced to identify a biological male as a female.
They refused to acknowledge that transgenderism is still a massive debate in the country. I think being in the San Francisco Bay Area numbs them to outside perspectives. Dorsey and Gadde kept referring to Twitter as being for free speech, but against “hate speech” even though they refused to quantify what that is to them.
When Pool pressed the two Twitter executives on rules that seem to cause conservatives to be banned while leaving liberals untouched, Gadde stated if someone wants to be a part of the public discourse than you have to play by their rules.
Pool sees the danger of these companies banding together to form a list that would remove people from the public discourse. He thinks the danger is so great that he wants the government to step in and regulate them by forcing them to adhere to the Free Speech laws of the United States. It is worth noting that Pool is a liberal but understands the dangers the future holds for people with views that are not liberal enough for the tech giants.
It isn’t just social media giants that could join these lists. Searches on services such as Google can also be used to track what you do online and add these histories to a database that can be used in a list.
Google logs everything you search for on their site. Even in “Incognito Mode” your searches and websites you visit are still seen by Google. Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has massive amounts of data on almost all Internet users in the country. Experts agree that they have more files on Americans than the US Government.
That isn’t even the scary part. Your ISP (internet service provider) can and does track you. There are many ways that they do this, but most of the time it is by sniffing packets. Your computer brakes down all data it sends into tiny chunks called packets. Sniffing a packet is just examining the packets to see what is in them.
When I worked for a large ISP, we would get a request from the US Government to set up monitoring of certain people or companies. We would do something called “port mirroring.” Everything a user would send and receive would also be sent by us to a second port which would feed into big brother’s database.
Search history, emails, sites visited, chats, and everything else you can think of was visible to these Government agencies. What if ISPs used this to create a profile on you to determine if you are the type of people they want on their service? Well, they already do this exact thing!
People who get caught downloading pirated movies and music do get kicked off their internet provider’s service. They find users pirating content by the methods I mentioned above, or by the content holder using multiple methods to track down who is downloading their content.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) both weld tremendous power over ISPs and the Federal Government alike when it comes to copyright issues. They are able to have ISPs take proactive action by kicking users off their platform.
There are people on the left that would like to see people on the right be deplatformed by using these same techniques as the MPAA, and the RIAA uses against pirates. You have to look no further than Alex Jones (www.infowars.com ) to see these techniques in action.
Jones was removed from every social networking site and video site overnight. These companies claim not to have worked together, but all the takedowns happened at the same time. Not only that, but Apple removed his app from their App store. People contacted his ISP to try to get his servers shut down. They were trying to erase him from the Internet. No matter what you think of Jones that is just chilling.
The Notorious NAZI site “The Daily Stormer” was brought down by Go Daddy who was their registrar after a widescale campaign by the left. A registrar holds the authority records that tell the web browser what domain name service (DNS) server to use to look up the domain name. These DNS servers then translate the name to an internet address.
After deleting “The Daily Stormer’s” authority record, Go Daddy put a block on transferring the domain name to another registrar. The Daily Stormer didn’t break any laws. They were a NAZI site, so few people came out to defend their freedom of speech and demand Go Daddy release their domain name. I was one of those people.
I don’t agree with their ideology. I find their racist beliefs repugnant, but what I saw wasn’t just a registrar taking down a NAZI internet site. I saw this move as a test run by far leftist groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center that cheered the downing on the site.
Once they saw that their pressure could get a site removed from the internet, then they could go after other sites that don’t agree with their narrow world view. Every Free Speech advocate should have been up in arms over this move.
When they get done removing these sites their next step will be to go after the users using the techniques that we discussed earlier and being gun-guys that means you and me. They aren’t going to stop at just getting us banned from sites.
In 2012, The Journal News published the names and addresses of every handgun permit holder in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties. They even made an interactive map for readers to use to find homes with guns.
There is nothing to stop these anti-gun groups from using your online data to make a similar map. That is the scary part. The good thing is that there are things that you can do to protect you and your family from these online thugs.
AmmoLand News is launching a guide to internet privacy and safety. This user guide will be a multi-part series going over the threats and how to mitigate them in an easy to understand format.
I am going to use my 20 years of experience in the fields of encryption, network security, ethical hacking, and cyber security to help you protect yourself online. I have worked on contracts for multiple government/intelligence agencies and for giants in the tech world. I know the methods of tracking because I have used them and defended against them.
The first article will deal with privacy by using VPNs, 188.8.131.52, and encryption. Don’t worry if you don’t know what those things are yet. By the end of the first article, you will have a firm understanding of these terms and why they are important.
From there every few days there will be another article tackling subjects to help you better protect yourself. Nothing can stop all threats, but like in the real world, you don’t want to be a soft target.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.