Category Archives: Big Tech

‘Why Should I Distinguish Between White People and Racists?’

Twitter’s New CEO Parag Agrawal: ‘Why Should I Distinguish Between White People and Racists?’

I don’t think Twitter is the platform for any real political discussion. Twitter will “censor” speak they don’t agree with. mrossol

By Breitbart 11/30/2021

Incoming Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who will shortly replace Jack Dorsey as head of the far-left social media company, uncritically repeated a quote in 2010 suggesting that there should be no need to “distinguish between white people and racists.”

“If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists,” tweeted Agrawal, in quotes. It is unclear who he was quoting.

While anti-white racism has become common in many U.S. institutions, including its top corporations, Agrawal made his comment in 2010 — years before the Black Lives Matter movement would arrive to push American corporations even further towards the left on issues of race.

Relatively unknown in Silicon Valley until now, Agrawal was announced as Jack Dorsey’s successor shortly after the Twitter co-founder announced he would step down from his role after a six-year stint as its CEO.

Dorsey, who presided over the company’s shift from what his predecessor called “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to a platform that censors conservatives on a regular basis, including the banning of President Trump, has often been denounced by conservatives.

Relatively unknown in Silicon Valley until now, Agrawal was announced as Jack Dorsey’s successor shortly after the Twitter co-founder announced he would step down from his role after a six-year stint as its CEO.

Dorsey, who presided over the company’s shift from what his predecessor called “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to a platform that censors conservatives on a regular basis, including the banning of President Trump, has often been denounced by conservatives.

Yet close observers of Twitter’s internal politics, including its former employees, have observed that the real engine of censorship inside the company was not Dorsey himself, but the “trust and safety” department, which sets censorship policies for the company.

The “trust and safety” department became increasingly influential as the media pushed for more social media censorship of conservatives. In 2020, Politico ran a gushing profile of trust and safety global lead Vijaya Gadde, portraying her as the driving force behind the policies that censored Donald Trump.

Agrawal appears to have similar priorities. In an interview with the MIT Technology Review last year, while he was CTO of the company, Agrawal said free speech was no longer a focus for the company.

“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation,” said Agrawal.

“The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.”


No More China Tech: 57 Million Credit Card Machines Likely Compromised

11/10/2021  The Epoch Times,  by Anders Corr

Anders Corr

Anders Corr

Americans and allies are too dependent on China tech, as demonstrated by recent revelations that our Chinese-manufactured credit card machines are sending data back to China for no good reason.

The U.S. Treasury Department says that millions of Chinese point-of-sale (POS) devices, the credit card machines found at check-out counters, could be sending customer data back to China for no good reason.

Treasury Department lab tests show that the data is encrypted and sent to unknown third parties in China. The transmissions are “superfluous to normal payment transaction processing,” according to a letter from the Treasury’s Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCCIP), as quoted in Bloomberg News. The China-bound data transmissions are larger and more frequent than the transmissions of normal payment transactions.

“Treasury’s preliminary assessment is that data transmission by these devices indicates the possibility of risks to customer data confidentiality,” a Treasury spokesperson emailed to Bloomberg.

A subsidiary of the Chinese company, PAX Global, claimed that the security concerns were just “rumors.” The company’s headquarters are split between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. PAX has manufactured 57 million terminals that operate in 120 countries around the world, according to its own claims.

Epoch Times Photo
Global Payments Inc., the credit card processing company that recently said it was subject to a massive security breach, announced on April 2 that around 1.5 million credit card numbers were exposed. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

On Oct. 26, the FBI raided PAX offices in Jacksonville, Florida. And two days later, the company’s senior vice president of security and services quit her job.

A British security agency is also investigating the Chinese POS device manufacturer.

Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs reported that the FBI raid was not only linked to the discovery of “unusual network packets” from the company’s terminals, but to reports that the PAX systems could be linked to cyberattacks, hacks, and illicit data collection on U.S. and European Union organizations.

Financial company FIS Worldpay, a Florida-based payment processing company, has for security reasons been forced to replace its PAX terminals with machines from American and French manufacturers. A FIS spokesman explained that the reason FIS is replacing PAX terminals is because FIS “did not receive satisfactory answers from PAX regarding its POS devices connecting to websites not listed in their supplied documentation.”

The likely compromise of American and allied financial data by Chinese-manufactured POS credit card machines is the tip of the iceberg of vulnerability to China tech. Other China-linked companies, like Zoom, TikTok, and computer and cell phone manufacturers, have hundreds of millions of global users who are vulnerable to data loss to China.

Zoom was downloaded 485 million times in 2020, and continues to have serious security issues. In 2020, the FBI issued a security warning about Zoom, and the Department of Defense forbade its affiliates to use the video-conferencing application. Zoom’s encryption keys were available to the Chinese regime, and its international meeting traffic routed through Chinese servers.

Yet in 2020, 90,000 schools in 20 countries made the wrong decision and utilized Zoom. Skype and Google provide better video calls, but the Zoom craze has gone dangerously viral.

The high rate of usage among naive Zoom users, many of whom are children, is not due to lack of warning.

“Zoom was found to be sending unauthorised data to Facebook,” according to a recent article in the Business of Apps. Its past hoarding of data and sub-standard encryption, identified by academic researchers, is well known. “Zoom saw itself banned by governments for official business (Canada and Taiwan), numerous organisations (SpaceX and Nasa) and school boards (New York and Taiwan),” according to the article.

As late as September 2021, Zoom software allowed remote code execution, that is, hacking of user machines over the internet. Zoom supposedly found and fixed the vulnerability, which is why we know about it. But with a lagging track record on security over the years, which is often only fixed when Zoom is caught with its hand in the digital cookie jar, who knows what remains. Prudence should be the order of the day. Stop using Zoom.

TikTok is even closer to China, and was downloaded 850 million times in 2020, and over three billion times overall. Twenty-eight percent of TikTok users are under the age of 18, and 59 percent are female. North America had 105 million users in 2020.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing.

Due to national security concerns, India banned the app in June 2020. Two months later, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring either the divestment of Bytedance from TikTok, or an American purchase of the app. However, the Biden administration unwisely revoked the order.

In April, the Beijing regime doubled down by taking a 1 percent stake in a key Bytedance management company, and one of its three board seats, according to The Information.

In response, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rightly blasted the Biden administration, which he said “can no longer pretend that TikTok is not beholden to the Chinese Communist Party. Even before today, it was clear that TikTok represented a serious threat to personal privacy and U.S. national security. Beijing’s aggressiveness makes clear that the regime sees TikTok as an extension of the party-state, and the U.S. needs to treat it that way. President Biden must take immediate action to remove ByteDance and TikTok from the equation.”

Rubio rightly went beyond just a whack-a-mole approach. “We must also establish a framework of standards that must be met before a high-risk, foreign-based app is allowed to operate on American telecommunications networks and devices,” he said.

The problem is not only China-linked software, however, but also the American and allied dependence on China’s manufacture of computers, tablets, and phones. Ninety percent of computers, and 70 percent of cell phones, are manufactured in China. All of this hardware, therefore, includes a higher level of security risk.

The world’s electronic device manufacturing processes are largely controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which has proven to be unscrupulous in its pursuit of power. We tend to ignore the attendant perils for reasons of convenience and budget, but we do so at our own grave risk.

The U.S. Treasury Department has hinted that technology from China should be rejected because of the higher risk it entails.

“OCCIP encourages stakeholders in the U.S. financial system to adopt a risk-based approach to protecting the confidentiality of their customers’ data, the integrity of their networks, and the availability of their services,” the Treasury Department said in this month’s letter about the PAX investigation. “Banks and financial service providers should apply this risk-based approach to their supply chains.”

While such warnings are welcome, they are entirely insufficient. We need laws and executive orders that mandate and provide for a fully secure technological environment for America and our allies. Our information security depends upon U.S. and allied control and protection of all information technology, from seed investment, to ownership, hardware manufacture, and the writing and operation of software that gives life to our networks. Nothing else will do.

It is unconscionable that U.S. and allied governments continue in their failure to protect our democratic communities from unscrupulous China-linked technology manufactures, including software like TikTok and hardware like computers, phones, and credit card machines, at the expense of American and allied privacy, workers, and the diversity of our industrial ecosystems, and those of our allies.

Our democratic governments must get smart fast, or the loss to China will be irreversible, and ultimately entail the loss of democracy itself.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Anders Corr has a bachelor’s/master’s in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. He authored “The Concentration of Power” (forthcoming in 2021) and “No Trespassing,” and edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies.”


YouTube Bans All ‘Harmful Vaccine Content’ From Its Platform

I will delete my gmail account soon. I have stopped using youtube. mrossol

The Epoch Times  9/28/2021

Google-owned YouTube announced Wednesday it will ban all “harmful vaccine content” from its platform, including claims that vaccines are ineffective at reducing transmission of disease, prompting concerns that the firm will escalate censorship of dissenting viewpoints.

“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, and we’re now at a point where it’s more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” YouTube wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

So far, the Bay Area-based company said it has removed 130,000 videos for violating its policies that it claims were created in tandem with various “experts” to deal with alleged “COVID-19 and medical misinformation.”

Now, videos that allege “approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines,” YouTube’s blog said, saying that its policy will now apply to content that questions the efficacy of all vaccines, not just COVID-19 ones.

“These policy changes will go into effect today, and as with any significant update, it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up enforcement,” the company also wrote, adding: “Personal testimonials relating to vaccines will also be allowed, so long as the video doesn’t violate other Community Guidelines, or the channel doesn’t show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy.”


A spokesperson for the company confirmed to news outlets accounts operated by Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who have frequently raised questions about vaccines over the years, were banned from the platform.

Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were also deleted from YouTube, the broadcaster announced. YouTube told Reuters that the channels violated its COVID-19 policies, while Russian officials threatened to block YouTube.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said the YouTube ban on RT’s channel may have broken Russian law.

“In fact, it has been broken very brazenly,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Because of this, it is a case of censorship, and of obstructing the dissemination of information by the media, and so on.”

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were criticized months ago for blocking articles about whether COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Facebook in May confirmed it ended its ban on content that suggests COVID-19 emerged from the laboratory, coming as President Joe Biden announced he ordered an inquiry into theories about the origins of the CCP virus.

The Epoch Times has contacted YouTube for comment.


Social Media Is Not Enough. The Left Wants to Close Your Bank Accounts.

Left Doesn’t Just Want to Censor You on Social Media. It Also Wants to Close Your Bank Accounts.

When White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that people who spread “misinformation” “shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others,” she revealed the left’s chilling plan for censoring content that goes against the left’s narrative.

It is becoming increasingly clear that political leaders on the left and Big Tech are joining arms to not just deplatform dissident voices from social media, but to bar them from the digital space entirely, including from having the ability to make and receive payments online.

In the latest example, Chase Bank reportedly planned to close the credit card account of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Sept. 18, stating that “continuing the relationship creates possible reputational risk to our company.” While as of Aug. 31, a Chase spokesperson said that they had “made an error and apologized for any inconvenience caused,” the initial gesture can’t be ignored.

This comes just a couple months after Wells Fargo made the “business decision” to close 2020 Republican Delaware Senate candidate Lauren Witzke’s account. Two of the more prominent digital payment services, PayPal and Stripe, have also become active cancel culture participants.

PayPal has admitted to closing accounts flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2019, now, PayPal has announced a partnership with the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League to focus on “further uncovering and disrupting the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.”

In their joint statement, neither PaylPal nor the Anti-Defamation League explicitly define what they mean by extremist and hate movements, but it would be naïve to think that mainstream conservatives will escape the crosshairs of this new partnership.

Following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Stripe stopped payment processing services for the Trump campaign’s website and online fundraising efforts, as well as for individuals who had been present at the protest-turned-riot.

Conservative organizations and individuals have been censored by these digital payment and financial service companies not because of what they say on these platforms, but because of who they are. These woke institutions are replacing financial credit with social credit.

In a tweet from July, author and business owner J.D. Vance states, “The next stage of deplatforming will be denying people access to the financial system. Second Amendment will mean little if Visa won’t let you buy ammunition.”

Vance is making an important point: If a person has the “wrong viewpoint,” the left will be coming for “your speech, your wallet, your ability to be a citizen in a digital environment.”

It hasn’t only been conservatives that have been censored, shadow banned, and suspended from online platforms. Certain content by any user that opposes or questions the left has been stifled, regardless of political or ideological view. Facebook and Twitter have especially taken part in this cancel culture behavior, most notably by kicking off former President Donald Trump.

The direction in which these tech companies are headed necessitates alternative digital payment services that will not deplatform users for their political views. Fortunately, conservative commentator Dan Bongino has stepped up to address this issue in the digital payment space.

Bongino recently announced the creation of AlignPay, a new platform that pledges to process the digital payments of organizations, regardless of their political beliefs. The launch of AlignPay highlights an important point: One of the most effective ways for conservatives to counter censorship is to develop, support, and promote alternative platforms, thereby providing users with greater choice.

Bongino openly admits that the creation of his newest anti-cancel culture payment process platform is in direct opposition to Stripe and PayPal after their cancelation of organizations and individuals. It is initiatives like Bongino’s that will address gaps in the technology marketplace for those who are not satisfied with their current options—choices that cancel users not only for what they say on the platform, but for what they say and believe off the platform.

AlignPay’s website states that the platform is “built for freedom,” and will be free from “cancel culture,” as it specializes in processing debit, credit, and other forms of mobile transactions. It also aims to provide its services at lower costs than competitors.

AlignPay also will prioritize user security and privacy by fully encrypting all transactions and not selling or monetizing users’ personal data. The platform’s services will be available to political campaigns, nonprofits, e-commerce sites, businesses, activist groups on both the left and right, and any organization, as long as they are not engaged in unlawful or criminal activity.

Other conservatives have also taken initiative to counter Big Tech censorship by developing alternative platforms. Locals was created by conservative commentator Dave Rubin to allow content creators to run their own subscription-based pages and communities.

RightForge was developed in part as a response to the deplatforming of Parler by Amazon Web Services, Apple, and Google to provide a range of IT services free from censorship and interference, including cloud and website hosting, website and application development, among others.

The digital platform GETTR is another recently created free speech alternative that was launched on Independence Day by former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller.

These are just a few examples of companies that have responded to tech censorship, which ultimately poses a threat to the health of our democracy. As the French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville once noted:

Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us.

To help restore balance between tech companies, their users, and the body politic, it is crucial that innovations and free market alternatives, such as Bongino’s AlignPay, are amplified and that innovations such as this continue to be created.