Tag Archives: private

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

You are being tracked-the National Vehicle Location Service

Kaye Beach

April 1, 2012

You know what would really be disturbing?  If all of the ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) tag scanning cameras (both public and private) were taking all of the millions of tags that they were capturing indiscriminately and uploading them into a searchable,  central database.  Remember that ALPR systems not only collect the tag number of the vehicle but also the exact time and location of the vehicle.  Now THAT would be very disturbing!    We could effectively be tracked wherever we go.

As a Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Detectives explained, “the real value” of ALPR “comes from the long-term investigative uses of being able to track [all] vehicles—where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1956787

Well, they ARE doing it.  Want to see how many?

National LPR database counter

What is NVLS?

NVLS stands for National Vehicle Location Service and is a service delivered in conjunction with National Vehicle Service – NVS (http://www.nvsliens.org/) to LEA’s via the NLETS messaging system. The LPR data delivered as part of the NVLS web portal comes from a nationwide LPR data repository managed by Vigilant Video containing both private and publicly gathered LPR data.

Read more
Take a look at Vigilant Video’s PowerPoint;

NVLS_Tier_I_R1

Naturally, the first I heard of it was through the International Association of Chiefs of Police in their agenda for what I call The IACP’s Big Brother Fest 2010. (They have one every year)  If you are feeling brave,  take a look for yourself.   Forewarned is forearmed.

Here is a great article about Vigilant Video’s incredible new service.

Private company hoarding license-plate data on US drivers

January 12, 2012 | G.W. Schulz

Capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing trends in law enforcement, a private California-based company has compiled a database bulging with more than 550 million license-plate records on both innocent and criminal drivers that can be searched by police.

The technology has raised alarms among civil libertarians, who say it threatens the privacy of drivers. It’s also evidence that 21st-century technology may be evolving too quickly for the courts and public opinion to keep up.

. . .Meanwhile, police around the country have been affixing high-tech scanners to the exterior of their patrol cars, snapping a picture of every passing license plate and automatically comparing them to databases of outstanding warrants, stolen cars and wanted bank robbers.

The units work by sounding an in-car alert if the scanner comes across a license plate of interest to police, whereas before, patrol officers generally needed some reason to take an interest in the vehicle, like a traffic violation.

But when a license plate is scanned, the driver’s geographic location is also recorded and saved, along with the date and time, each of which amounts to a record or data point. Such data collection occurs regardless of whether the driver is a wanted criminal, and the vast majority are not.

While privacy rules restrict what police can do with their own databases, Vigilant Video, headquartered in Livermore, Calif., offers a loophole. It’s a private business not required to operate by those same rules.

Read More

When the Cops are Worried About Your Privacy-You Should Worry Too!

Kaye Beach

Dec 5. 2011

I imagine somebody is making a mountain of money off of this deal.  It will be ordinary travelers along with the cops on the beat that will end up paying the interest on this foolish plan.

In today’s world, your information is VALUABLE and your rights are CHEAP.

GATSO USA Forms Unique, Strategic Partnership with Nlets

Earlier this month, GATSO USA was approved as a strategic partner by the Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets).  Nlets is the nation’s premier interstate network for the exchange of critical law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety-related information. Supporting every agency at the state, local and federal level. . .

The approval of GATSO is an exciting first for the photo-enforcement industry.

Nlets will be hosting GATSO’s back office and server operations within the Nlets infrastructure. GATSO will have access to registered owner information for all 50 states plus additional provinces in Canada. The strategic relationship has been described as a “win-win” for both organizations.

. . .From GATSO’s perspective, hosting the system with Nlets will provide a ruggedized, robust connection to comprehensive registered owner information.

. . .Nlets was created over 40 years ago by the principal law enforcement agencies of the States. Today, it serves law enforcement agencies in all of the United States and territories, all Federal agencies with a justice component, selected international agencies, as well as a variety of strategic partners — all cooperatively exchanging data. (Emphasis mine) The types of data exchanged vary from motor vehicle and drivers’ data, to Canadian and Interpol databases, state criminal history records, and driver license and corrections images.

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Here are some of NLETS’ “strategic partners”

REDFLEX (Red Light (S)camera company)

OnStar (your on board eavesdropping and tracking device)

BioKey (biometric company)

and an old Oklahoma favorite,  InsureNet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is from the ‘Nowhere to Hide’ Blog (A site that says it is ‘ for cops by cops’)The writer reviews a few basic facts of the situation and asks some obvious questions that really illuminate this liberty and privacy travesty that is happening right under our noses.

“Should we be worried” he asks.  Worried?!  Worried is an understatement.

As the author notes, this endeavor involves;

. . . innovative use of technolgy for law enforcement, a psuedo-government agency (Nlets), two foreign-owned private companies, and LOTS of PII sharing.- some might even say it had all the makings of a Will Smith movie “

Security, Privacy, and Innovative Law Enforcement Information Sharing: Covering the bases

Excepts from NowheretoHide.org, published Feb 6, 2011;

The main points I took away from this press release were:

  1. Nlets is going to host the back-end server technology that GATSO needs to look up vehicle registration information of red-light runners;
  2. Gatso is going to have access to vehicle registration information for all vehicles/owners in ALL 50 states in the U.S. and (some) provinces in Canada; and
  3. And, because it’s behind Nlets firewalls, security is not an issue.

. . .After I read the press release, I thought that it would be a good case-study for the topic of this blog - it involved innovative use of technolgy for law enforcement, a psuedo-government agency (Nlets), two foreign-owned private companies, and LOTS of PII sharing - some might even say it had all the makings of a Will Smith movie.

To help set the stage, here are a few facts I found online:

  • Gatso-USA is a foreign company, registered in New York State, operating out of Delaware; its parent company is a Dutch company, GATSOmeter BVGatso.
  • Gatso does not appear to vet all of the red-light/speed violations itself; it uses another company – Redflex Traffic Systems to help with that (Redflex is not mentioned in the press release).
  • Redflex seems to be a U.S. company, but it has a (foreign) parent company based in South Melbourne, Australia.
  • Finally, there are no-sworn officers involved in violation processing. Red-light/speed enforcement cameras are not operated by law enforcement agencies; they outsource that to Gatso, who installs and operates the systems for local jurisdictions (with Redflex) for free, (Gatso/Redflex is given a piece of the fine for each violation).

BUT what is new here is that a sort-of-government agency (Nlets), has now provided two civilian companies (with foreign connections) access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) (vehicle registrations) for the entire U.S. and parts of Canada…should we be worried?

Here are nine questions I would ask:

  1. Personnel Security: Will Nlets have a documented process to vet the U.S. and overseas Gatso and Redflex staff who will have access to this information through direct or VPN access to Nlets systems?
  2. Data Security: Will Gatso or Redflex maintain working/test copies of any of the registration information outside of the Nlets firewall? If so, are there documented ways to make sure this information is protected outside the firewall?
  3. Data Access: Will Gatso/Redflex have access to the entire registration record? or, will access be limited to certain fields?
  4. Code Security: Will any of the code development or code maintenance be done overseas in the Netherlands or Australia? If so, will all developers be vetted?
  5. Network Security: Will overseas developers/site suport staff have access to the data behind Nlets firewalls? What extra precautions will be taken to protect Nltes systems/networks from abuse/attack?
  6. Code Security: Will Nlets conduct any security testing on code loaded on the servers behind their firewalls?
  7. Stakeholder Support: Have all 50 U.S. states, and provinces in Canada, been made aware of this new information sharing relationship? Do they understand all of the nuances of the relationship? And, are they satisfied that their constituents personal information will be protected?
  8. Audit/Logging: Will all queries to vehicle registration information logged? Is someone checking the logs? How will Nlets know if abuses of authorized access are taking place?
  9. Public Acceptance: How do states inform their constituents that their personal vehicle registration information is being made available to foreign owned company? Will they care?

How these questions are answered will determine whether or not we should worry…

Read more

Pay Attention to This One! Oklahoma Fourth Committee Meeting on Federal Healthcare Reform

Kaye Beach

Nov. 1, 2011

Those of us in Oklahoma who want to retain our privacy and control over our medical care should pay attention to the fourth joint legislative committee meeting on the effects of healthcare reform.   The fourth meeting, scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd, 2011, will be held at the Tulsa Technology Center, Riverside Campus.

Amanda Teegarden, Executive Director of OK-SAFE, Inc., is one of the scheduled presenters on that date, addressing the technology, security & privacy concerns associated with the implementation of health care reform.

She will be presenting some very interesting facts about Oklahoma healthcare reform system as constructed so far and illustrate why we should not go any further on this unconstitutional federal monstrosity of a mandate.

Amanda Teegarden is a crack researcher with the perspective of an ordinary taxpaying Oklahoman. Every freedom loving Oklahoman ought to pay very close attention to the information brought forth by her presentation this Thursday.

Here is one glimpse of what is in store for us if our state does not take care to protect the interests of Oklahoma citizens from the federal takeover of our healthcare.

Obamacare HHS rule would give government everybody’s health records

By: Rep. Tim Huelskamp | 09/23/11 3:29 PM
OpEd Contributor
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has proposed that medical records of all Americans be turned over to the federal government by private health insurers.

It’s been said a thousand times: Congress had to pass President Obama’s  health care law in order to find out what’s in it. But, despite the repetitiveness, the level of shock from each new discovery never seems to recede.

This time, America is learning about the federal government’s plan to collect and aggregate confidential patient records for every one of us

Read more

Raw patient claims data, demographic data, prescription drug utilization data. . .this is individualized, specific, sensitive information about you going into a federal database!

 

 

 

 

Read more and watch the press conference held by Congressman Huelskamp about this outrage here

There OK legislature has created a website detailing these meetings: www.okhealthcare.info – check for meeting details, including presentations.

OKC Airport Considers Ditching TSA, Hiring Private Screeners

Will Rogers World Airport in OKC does not have the body scanning devices YET…..

Send them an email and ask them to please, not get the things!

For general comments or questions: wrwa@okc.gov

__________________________________

 

OKLAHOMA CITY — With less than a week away from the busiest travel day of the year, the TSA is making changes to the controversial screening procedures.Pilots will catch a break, but passengers will be required to go through body scanners or the more intrusive pat-downs, or both.

The public scrutiny couldn’t come at a busier time.With the public outcry of the aggressive pat-downs, some airports are looking into hiring private screeners.

One of the airports is Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport.The airport received a letter from a Florida representative encouraging airports to ultimately ditch TSA agents all together.Leaders at the Will Rogers World Airport are looking at what it would take to make that happen.”Right now, what we are trying to do is gather information — as much information as we can about the opt-out program, so that we can move forward and learn about the program,” said airport spokeswoman Karen Carney.

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Hats Off to Jesse Ventura-Fusion Centers Exposed!

Oklahoma Information Fusion Center Power Point

Americans need to know about these new UN-American institutions.

Much appreciation to the Governor and his show for diving into the Fusion Centers!

Skeptical?  See the documents for yourself.

Operation DeFuse

These are the questions to ask about fusion centers