“Data Is Worth More Than Money” Says Schwab Advisor

Your data both external and internal is being bought and sold; and that can be used against you in punitive ways.

February 12, 2024

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

data In 1992, there was a movie called “Sneakers”. All-star cast, with a comedic take on where the world was heading in terms of technology. It involved a hacking device, and touched on online dating as well as the dangers privacy faced when technology got into the wrong hands.

It starts off as robbing the rich to give to the poor. It turned into a massive power grab for control over access to data.

There is a scene where Marty and Cosmo face off, and Cosmo (the bad guy) says:

There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information.

This was a quote from a 1992 work of fiction, but incredibly accurate in its foreshadowing because close advisor to Klaus Schwab, Professor Yuval Noah Harari told Anderson Cooper:

“Today in the world data is worth much more than money. Ten years ago you had these big corporations paying billions and billions for Whatsapp or Instagram, and people wondered are they crazy. Why do they pay billions to get this application that doesn’t produce any money? And the reason why is because they produce data, and data is the key.”

Money is changing hands for this precious commodity. Each incremental encroachment is presented as “no big deal”, and “highly secure”, yet the data matrix to isolate you and your goings expands and tightens around all our necks.

Each platform, each technological advancement and convenience, and each security measure culminates into a massive surveillance state, with data being processed much like that of the stock market.

The video continues:

“The world is increasingly kind of cut up into spheres of data collection, of data harvesting. In the Cold War you had the iron curtain. Now you have the silicon curtain between the USA and China. Where does the data go? To California or does it go to Shenzhen and to Shanghai into Beijing?”

Harari is concerned the pandemic has opened the door for more intrusive kinds of data collection including biometric data.

“What is biometric data? It’s data about what’s happening inside my body. What we have seen so far it’s corporations and governments collecting data on where we go and who we meet, the movies we watch. The next phase is the surveillance going under our skin.”

Biometrics are the newer frontier in data collection, and it is being offered and pushed by mobile phone companies, apps, and financial institutions. The worst part is they can get it wrong and it’s up to the private citizen to sort it out.

It’s not just about knowing you are here or there, or watch this movie or that. It’s not even just about knowing that you have high blood pressure or cancer. But add to that financial tracking, and you find yourself operating in a virtual prison. Your body is “freely” living in the world, but everything about you is strictly monitored and controlled.

Marketing companies already build out audiences by matching emails to addresses to ISPs and that’s just to sell you the latest in footwear! Imagine the amount of data mining and cross-referencing is happening on the government end of things.

Recent revelations from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) shared out:

The Treasury Department has admitted that it helped law enforcement catch people involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach by urging banks to comb through the private transactions of customers using terms like “MAGA” and “Trump” as part of a surveillance scheme intended to fight money launderers but used to hunt Jan. 6-ers.

These search terms were suggested and shared on the FinCEN Exchange, along with searches for purchases of a bible, at a Bass Pro Shop, or any religious texts.

This is a public-private information exchange platform established by Congress in 2020 for the purpose of disrupting money laundering, terrorism financing, and other crime.

Such a search was never performed on “BLM” or “Defund the Police” or “ACAB” or “FTP” during 2020, mind you. The fact that your financial institution would turn over your purchasing history in some fishing expedition conducted by those who find your politics misaligned with theirs is terrifying.

When you see the amount of lawfare happening in today’s political climate, you either keep your head down and say nothing or understand there are consequences for diverging from the approved talking points.

Daniel Nuccio of the Brownstone Institute flags Automatic License Plate Readers or ALPRs. All they do is just log your license plate. They don’t pan or move. They don’t process you in any way, they are just logs. As its defenders point out, it would be like if someone sat on the corner and wrote down every license plate that passed them. That’s not unlawful.

But as Edward Snowden rightly pointed out, metadata tells quite a story too. Who you are calling, with what amount of regularity, can add up to something. If you’re calling a nephrologist weekly, one can deduce you might have some kidney problems. All they had was your call logs though. Nothing else.

Now apply that same logic to license plates. They can see if and where you attend worship services. They can see what kind of restaurants you frequent. They can see the doctors and professionals you visit. They can see who your known associates are. A lot can be deduced about you if you have a camera doing this on every city block.

Nuccio asks an important question: at what point does someone cross over from benign logging to stalking or casing? Forget the implications of someone actually sitting down and doing this sort of thing in the first place. How pervasive does it need to be to become creepy?

Now factor in that these are not stand-alone operations. In fact, quite the opposite, they are collaborative operations that can and often do talk to each other.

In previous posts about privacy, I mentioned VPNs and how they are not foolproof. And that’s true. Someone can still see when your car is there and when it’s not. Someone can still see who goes into the house and leaves regularly and at what times. Someone can still see which lights are on and what room you’re in at any given time of the day. So a VPN doesn’t make you invisible, it only obscures.

That’t true of any countermeasure to guard your safety. But obscured is still more work than being on full display. A deterrent is better than no deterrent.

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