Tag Archives: free will

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

Kaye Beach

April, 14, 2012

Best Buy (and Victoria’s Secret and The Finish Line and many other stores!) Requires Govt. Issued Photo ID for ALL Returns.

The ID card data is swiped, stored and shared with a third party  to track customer purchases and “to monitor the return behavior of shoppers; and warn or deny individuals flagged as questionable” Link to The Retail Equation, Inc.’s brochure

 

Best Buy’s return policy;

Returns Tracking

When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. . .

Link

. . . And how do we like it so far?

I’m Done With Best Buy Thanks to The Retail Equation

03-18-2012 02:37 PM

I am a premier silver member and have been for several years.  In November of last year, I received a warning in store that I could not make any returns at Best Buy for 90 days.  So for the next 90 days I did not make any purchases at Best Buy.

Yesterday, I spent over 700.00 on the new Ipad and an Invisible Shield.  The Invisible Shield was not installed correctly and Best Buy decided to give me a refund.  Keep in mind that this was only 29.99 of the amount I spent.  This was the first purchase I have made since the 90 days had expired.  I figured that I could return something that was actually not working correctly and be fine.  However I received another warning today saying that I could not return anything for 90 days even though the product was not working correctly.

It sounds like The Retail Equation (TRE) does not take into consideration that some returns might be valid due to defective products.  All TRE looks at is how many returns and that is not a fair way to evaluate whether someone is abusing a return policy.   In the end, Best Buy has lost a premier silver member.  Amazon and other online retailers will gladly accept my business going forward.  Best Buy seriously needs to find another way to evaluate returns instead of TRE.  Their method simply does not work.

http://forums.bestbuy.com/t5/Best-Buy-Geek-Squad-Policies/I-m-Done-With-Best-Buy-Thanks-to-The-Retail-Equation/td-p/486051

Another unhappy Best Buy customer is suing them over their “swiping” policy.

How does this work?  According to the Retail Equation, Inc.,

“The technology’s predictive modeling measured the likelihood of fraudulent or abusive behavior, as well as the likelihood of a consumer’s profitability”

 Predictive Analytics

From Wikipedia  Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

Data mining and predictive analytics is being used in just about every aspect of our lives.  Predictive analytics applies a mathematical formula to masses of data to predict what a person is more or less likely to do in the future.  Decisions are being made that affects our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, every day.

For example, in our schools;

“They use their technology infrastructure to gather and analyze data on the factors that are most predictive of students who are in danger of school failure and/or dropping out.  . . .As a result, the district has forged new partnerships with local law enforcement agencies”

From the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development pg 26

If you think it stinks when you are misidentified as a naughty shopper, wait till you are misidentified as a “troubled individual”

Technology identifies troubled individuals

Sept 26, 2010

Imagine using the same technology to locate a lone bomber before he carries out his terrorist act and to identify a troubled veteran or first responder ground down by tragedies and violence.

Stop imagining.

A Swiss professor working with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who heads the Mind Machine Project there outlined how this program operates through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms.

. . . Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.

He said lone bombers, in particular, are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes, Guidere explained, can be identified by the computer program.

The practical side is that once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin. . .

Read more

The burgeoning use of driver’s license scanning devices makes tracking and monitoring of the population much easier.  When these data are held in separate databases there are plenty of security and privacy concerns but if the databases are linked or matched with other databases or shared-watch out!  The negative implications explode at that point.

In case you are wondering just what information is in those bar codes on your driver’s license, here is a link for you to follow and find out.

And here is a great article from 2002 which is ancient history from a technology capability perspective, but it does a great job of allowing us to begin to consider the implications of widespread scanning of our government issued photo ID’s .

Welcome to the Database Lounge

Published: March 21, 2002

ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.

But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.

”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”

Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.”

Read More

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .

 

TSA tests ID-scanning machines at Washington Dulles

April 14, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration began an experiment today at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to check identification and boarding passes by machine rather than just the visual check by officers.

While TSA officers have been checking identification with black-lights and magnifying glasses, the machines are geared to recognize all valid identification, ranging from driver’s license or passport to tribal identification or foreign passport.

“For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini, TSA director of checkpoint technology. “We think it’s a valuable technology and we think over time we will see the real value added.”

The machine doesn’t store any personal information about the passenger, according to Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.

Gee.  When have we heard that before?

Although TSA has repeatedly stated that the scanners were “incapable of storing or transmitting” scanner images, despite specification data to the contrary provided by the respective manufacturers. In August 2010 EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) discovered that the TSA had stored over 2,000 images, which the agency quickly claimed were of “volunteers” without specifying who compose this group or whether any were passengers who had “voluntarily” used the scanners in the testing phase.

Read more

The TSA is conducting the driver’s license “experiment” at Dulles, Houston and Puerto Rico but hopes to eventually “expand the program to every airport checkpoint” Read more

At some point in the not-so-distant-future, we will be required to show and/or swipe our driver’s license for just about everything we as humans need to live.  As the process grows more and more automated and the data is digitized, we will find our movements, transactions and habits logged and our lives tracked and documented.    Data mining and predictive analytics will be applied to nearly everything we do.  The purpose of such credentialing processes is to allow some access and deny others, deemed unworthy by algorithm, access.

In 2010 I was repeatedly denied the ability to pay for my purchases by check due to a company called Certegy’s algorithm which decided that since I rarely write checks but had written several during the Christmas shopping season, this indicated that I was untrustworthy and that stores should not accept my checks.  The year before, I was denied the privilege of renting a car because my credit score was too low.  My credit score is low because I don’t buy on credit!  I wasn’t asking to pay for the rental with credit either.  I offered my debit card.

Chances are you have experienced similar incidents.  Chances are that we have encountered other bumps in the road of life when no explanation for the problem was ever given but likely there was some algorithm behind it.  This is our future.  In health care, travel, purchases, renting or buying our homes, anything information about us that can be digitized can be factored in to determine whether or not we measure up.  This is nothing short of destiny management.

With the governments unhealthy focus on security at all costs, we can expect things to get more and more complicated as the practice of tracking and tracing and databasing everything we do grows. Woe to those that are unfortunate enough to be perceived as a possible threat or have a data trail that makes them appear less than an ideal citizen in the eyes of Big Momma Gov. who is no longer willing to wait for us to actually do something wrong before she pounces.  This government (and its partner corporations) wants to play psychic and limit our opportunities based on some supposed prescient power that indicates that we are more likely to do something naughty in the first place.

How do we exercise our free will when it is being effectively pre-empted?

Advertisements

Welcome to the Panopticon

This Podcast is from a 2008 episode of the Corbett Report. Technology goes stale very fast, but for those who have not been paying very close attention to the development of surveillance technologies, it will serve nicely as a primer on the transformation of society taking place worldwide.  in the US we are undergoing a “paradigm shift” of which if allowed to continue will conclude with the destruction of the ideals of our forefathers.

Since 9-11 our government has decided that information is the key to preventing future terrorist attacks.  So they are gather and collect it-lot’s of it, on everyone.

Look at the assumptions that underlie this new policy of pervasive surveillance of the American public.  Fusion centers, Intelligence Led Policing, Biometrics. . .The stated goal is to monitor our day to day activities, associations, and transactions and from this information predict and who among us is likely to be a threat to the US Government long before any illegal act is committed and to preempt such an act well before it takes place.

Our former Peace Officers are being forced to adopt a the role of nanny-cop.  the new premise is a preemptive one.

This paradigm shift represents an ominous development that turns due process on its head.  We are now presumed guilty until proven otherwise.  If this new paradigm is accepted we invite our government to treat us as criminals or at the very least, like children that require constant monitoring by our betters.  Our government, under the US Constitution is elected to represent us, not to rule us.  They are more properly viewed as peers that require close scrutiny by us and not the other way around.  Are we prepared to abandon the central premise that this country was founded upon which is a government By, For and Of The People?

In the March 2008 episode of the Corbett Report,  the concept of the Panopticon is used as a metaphor to anchor the individual technologies of surveillance to the larger concept and reveal the construct as a pervasive system of human control.

Surveillance is a destroyer of the free will that makes us human.

It stunts us spiritually.

It is in the sphere of our free will we commune with our maker. surveillance shrinks this space and constrains our souls.

I believe that surveillance disrupts exactly what our founders sought to enable-the liberty to be, the freedom to become

Think about it.

Click hereTo see the origins of the creepy poster above (no. it’s not a clever anti- Orwellian campaign)

Do you know what a Panopticon is?

The Panopticon was a model prison designed in 1785 by
the English social theorist Jeremy Bentham. Also known as
the ‘Inspection House’, the design allowed the prison guards
to observe all the prisoners (from the Greek: pan-opticon)
without the prisoners themselves being able to tell when
they were being watched. As a prison design, the success of
the Panopticon was short-lived,5 but several centuries later,
the term was adopted by the French philosopher Michel
Foucault as a metaphor for techniques of surveillance and
social control in modern society.6 His central argument was
that ‘panopticism’, the principle of omnipresent surveillance,
had created a “whole new type of society… transported from
the penal institution to the entire social body”.7 From secure
accommodation to hospitals, schools, work and domestic
life, the act of being watched – what Foucault called the
disciplinary power of the gaze – was shown to be every bit
as important as the coercive power of the state in regulating
individual behaviour.

From the Neoconopticon Report

James Corbett has impressed me with the accuracy of his reporting and the measured manner in which he delivers his reports is a welcome change from the usual fare of the many panicked pundits who leave me feeling like there is simply no hope.

Corbett says;

The panopticon stands as a metaphor for what is happening in our own day and age. Except in our time, the panopticon is not an architectural structure like a prison; it is the very planet itself. We are increasingly being watched, tracked, traced, our data stored and logged in national databases to which citizens do not have access. The cumulative effect of this technology is that citizens end up like the prisoners in Bentham’s panopticon: afraid to do anything out of line for fear it may be seen someday, somewhere, by someone. This is amplified by the fostering of terror paranoia by various government programs to make the prisoners of the panoptic system into citizen informants in a type of Snitch State.

Visit this link to the Corbett Report and listen online to this excellent report;

Welcome to the Panopticon

“Choice Architechture”

A Surveillance Society or a Free Society?

Sept. 26, 2009

By Mark Lerner, for the Constitutional Alliance, Inc.
The Big Question ‐ should government control the people or should the people control government?
Orwell’s prediction of a future big brother government came true. Whether acknowledged or not, Americans now live in a surveillance society.
Most of that American public falls into one of the categories the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calls “potential threats;” environmentalists, animal lovers, anti‐war protestors, pro‐lifers, evangelical Christians, observant Jews, Constitutionalists, returning veterans, and third party candidate supporters are all “potential domestic terrorists.”  Just how far is the American public willing to let the government go in order to assure public safety? Do the people want the police on every block, all emails read by the government, phone calls overheard, or every financial transaction monitored? Do the people want sensors placed in cities that detect how much an individual perspires, in order to assess and monitor supposed guilt?

ElementAgenciesPreCrime

How about computer software programs that decide whether or not the way people walk or dress presents a threat to the government? In Britain citizens are captured on surveillance cameras an average of 300 times a day; does the American public want to be subjected to this level of scrutiny?

MOVis2015CAgoal9
The Real ID Act 2005 mandated that facial recognition technology be used for all drivers’ license photos; facial recognition, a biometric, measures distances between facial characteristics ‐ specific parts of the mouth, eyes, nose and so on – and digitizes this information. Using this technology, each citizen would be enrolled into a single global biometric identification system.

No matter where a person is ‐ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma or Paris, France that person can be identifiedwith the use of facial recognition technology. Closed circuit television cameras/surveillance cameras (CCTV) and linked computer systems make possible remote surveillance and global information sharing.

The “standard” for the digital facial image/photograph in the Real ID compliant driver’s license was contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Real ID ACT 2005. This “standard” is from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations.The Real ID Act 2005 has not yet been implemented ‐ 26 states have rejected this federal law and have said “No” to this act.
The Real ID Act is but one of the many laws, programs and initiatives that have one thing in common: track, surveil, and control. Government tells the people these laws, programs and initiatives are needed “to protect” them and that giving up privacy, freedom and mobility are small prices to pay for security.
When did rights become privileges?
A rare agreement: Both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), representing the left and the right, stand opposed to the federal Real ID Act of 2005.  Who redefined privacy? It is one thing to believe that people should have no expectation of privacy
when in public; it is another to say when in public, technology will be used to identify and profile people, without their knowledge or consent. Courts have gone too far when they rule that a police officer does not need a warrant to go onto private property, install a GPS device on a vehicle, and track both car and driver wherever.

Are Americans so afraid that they are not willing to accept some risk in order to preserve freedom?
Isn’t it time the discussion took place on the growing surveillance and monitoring of the American public? What about the time‐honored presumption of innocence?  Americans have the responsibility to pass on to their children and grandchildren the rights, liberty and freedom that so many sacrificed for, in order to live in a free society. Americans have the responsibility to resist a surveillance society, which is contrary to those rights, that liberty, and that freedom.

The men and women in law enforcement, the military, and in intelligence agencies commit to upholding the U.S. Constitution. They share in the responsibility of protecting those rights, that liberty and that freedom. It is time for American public to put aside partisan differences and decide if they want government to control the people or the people to control government. Media has a responsibility to facilitate such a discussion. Just as the American public must put aside their partisan differences, so too must the media.

Mr. Olbermann, Mr. Matthews, Ms. Maddow, Mr.Hannity, Mr. Beck, , Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Dobbs, Mr.Sanchez, what say you? Each of you is an intelligent individual. The public may not agree with each of you on every subject but on the issue of protecting our liberty, rights and freedom nearly all citizens would agree it is time to have the discussion we propose. Which of the aforementioned hosts has the courage to have the discussion on their show?  Healthcare, immigration, wars, the economy, terrorism, corruption in government, unemployment and other issues are all very important issues. Which of these issues should take precedent over a discussion concerning our civil liberties in the context of national security?

If not now, when?

The Constitutional Alliance will be issuing a call for action alert next week.

In this alert we will be asking every organization, group and citizen to stand with us demanding such a discussion as we
propose take place immediately.

We expect every group from the “far” right to the “far” left to stand with us. We have already started contacting potential panelists for such a discussion. These panelists are well respected and represent the views of many on the right, left and in the middle. The federal government and more specifically the DHS would be expected to participate in the discussion.

Let’s get down to brass tacks and stop the name calling, insults and playing of the “blame game” long enough to have a serious discussion about where we are headed as a country. What type of society do we want to leave for the children of today and the children of the future?