A privacy and security group called Silent Circle has posted an informative and thought-provoking video about the future of privacy issues, especially related to technology. We at privacyliving.com recommend you take a look at this video. From smart homes to smart phones, technology is here to stay. The question is how we address privacy issues related to snooping, data collection and the use of this information by individuals, corporations and our governments.
Last spring, there were some severe storms that passed through my region of the country, creating serious concern amongst my family and friends. Multiple tornadoes were spotted in the area and all the weather information services that we rely upon were directing residents to take cover and prepare for some serious and potentially deadly storms. Based upon past experience and knowledge of my region, I took the warnings very seriously and I must admit that I felt a little bit powerless.
Normally I feel pretty prepared; we’re never prepared enough, but a certain level of preparation gives us a sense of well-being and allows one to sleep better at night. But when a tornado rolls into town, knowing the magnitude of death and destruction that can be caused, you start to second guess how prepared you are.
My family sheltered in place during the storm. Since we don’t have a storm shelter or bunker, we hurried into a room/closet area where there are no windows in our home. Luckily, the storm passed over within an hour or so and things returned to normal. But during the storm, some well-layed plans didn’t happen as they were supposed to. And Murphy’s Law was in play (What can go wrong will go wrong)! Here are some lessons we learned and want to share with you so that you are better prepared.
- Have batteries on hand. Inevitably, something that uses batteries will need more than you expect. Common battery sizes to stock are AA, AAA, 3V, 9V, C and D. Check your equipment for what you commonly use.
- Expect things to fail. Murphy’s Law is always in play. Test anything you think that might be vital during an emergency. Then check it again. My phone failed and I couldn’t call anyone during the emergency. My wife’s battery on her phone went dead. Bad planning!
- Put supplies in the room that you will be sheltering in. You need water and snacks. If you will be there for a long period of time (more than 8 hrs), then your plan should include things like real food, entertainment (playing cards, games), portable toilet (plastic 5 gallon bucket w/ lid works), weather radio, basic first aid kit and more.
- Prepare for stress and heat or cold. During our experience, the electricity was out at our home and the house got hot fast. A bunch of people cramped into a small area tend to create lots of heat and tempers can flare. Have hot or cold weather clothing. Cold drinks go a long way when it’s hot; chemical heat packs and warm clothes help if there’s extreme cold.
- Flashlight and basic tools. Sometimes overlooked – a flashlight is worth it’s weight in gold during an emergency. Include some basic tools like hammer, screw drivers, crowbar, etc. You may have to break through debris to get outside of your house after a storm. Put them near the emergency supplies/storm closet.
- Technology will let you down – go old school. Develop different strategies for getting what you need from different sources. For example, during the storm I thought I could depend on my phone’s weather app; The app failed, then my phone froze. Luckily, I had my trusty old weather radio and lots of batteries! A land line phone may be an option too, if satellite phone is not affordable.
The rules on stashing cash on the international market or in a foreign ban are changing…
“For decades, Switzerland has been the global capital of secret bank accounts. That may be changing. In 2007, UBS Group AG banker Bradley Birkenfeld blew the whistle on his firm helping U.S. clients evade taxes with undeclared accounts offshore. Swiss banks eventually paid a price. More than 80 Swiss banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse Group AG, have agreed to pay about $5 billion to the U.S. in penalties and fines.” – Bloomberg Business Article
Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states
Have you noticed that the privacy rules are changing? Companies like Google and Amazon don’t want to know what music or book you bought yesterday. They want to know what you will buy tomorrow! And they want to get it delivered to you today.
“Here’s what’s going on: There’s a movement underway to enable businesses to not only better recognize customer needs, but to anticipate them, ideally before they’ve been consciously acknowledged by customers themselves. Achieving this goal requires not just better Big Data crunching of online behaviors (or things like offline listening habits, brick & mortar shopping checkouts, and every inch of geophysical movement), but actually knowing enough private stuff to channel it via the feedback loops of sponsored content and search results.” – Forbes article on internet privacy – May 28, 2014.
Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathansalembaskin/2014/05/28/privacy-issues-could-threaten-the-future-of-commercial-social-media/#55d499cbfef8
I blogged on January 15, 2015 (almost exactly one year ago) that I was concerned about the American economy. Reasons were given why, such as similarities to past collapses, rising inflation, the precarious economic stance of the US Government (Think: massive debt and endless Fed money printing), demographics and the like. As we race into the economic abyss and as we stand prepared to elect another American president in the face of unprecedented tyranny, my thoughts have returned to fearing the worst of our economy. There’s an every day reminder when I pass a gas station that things are not right. Gas prices, as any American driver knows, are currently at historic lows, more or less $2 below the “normal” going price of just 2 years ago. Not to rain on the “Lame-stream” media’s continuance parade of positive news, but I actually passed by a closed gas station the other day while driving. The station must have closed sometime before the fuel price collapse, probably around the summer of 2014 when prices were near $4/gallon, as opposed to $1.60/gallon today. My memory is short and it was a shocking thing to see such high prices again!
Preparing for Economic Collapse
My point is that I’m both pleased and terrified every time I fill up my car with gas. I’m of course pleased that I can fill up the car for less than half what it cost just a few short years ago; on the other hand, the knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes in the oil and gas industry is frightening I’m sure. Exploration rigs shut down every day, people lose jobs, and there’s a cascading effect causing collateral damage on the economy. Add this knowledge to what I discussed in my previous writing, found here: Is the Collapse of the American Economy Just Around The Corner? and it feels we are one big step closer to economic collapse.
It’s easy to put your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and just ignore the warnings. But I’d advise you to take a look at your life and take steps to improve your preparedness, in any way you can. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Questions you might ask yourself:
Do I have enough money saved to carry me or my family through hard times?
Do I have emergency supplies like food and water in the event of a crisis?
What would I do if the stock market collapses, wiping out my investments?
Do I have secondary skills/means that can help me earn money?
Am I prepared to defend what I have in the event of a collapse?
These are all tough questions, but we should all consider the worst case scenario. To ignore the possibility would be naive and dangerous.
If the idea of American Collapse is new to you, here are a few websites that can catch you up on what’s been going on and what you can do to help yourself and your family:
Countless stories of individuals losing their social media account by suspension and revocation come up every day. This week I was exceptionally pissed off about the recent suspension of a famous You-tuber known as Hickok45. This man has about 1.8 million subscribers so I know I wasn’t the only one disappointed. After a short time the account was restored and the star of the channel made a short explanation video advising he had no explanation for what happened.
The reason I think the channel was restored this time is because so many of the subscribers and fans made their own videos complaining and waging new conspiracy theories. The big advantage Hickok45 has is that he has 1.8 million fans. If you are a normal social media person how will you defend yourself if you only have a handful of followers and are trying to get started?
My advice is simple: Make sure you establish yourself on as many platforms as possible and especially on competing platforms up to and including your own website. Google, Google Plus and YouTube are all owned by the same crowd. Facebook and Instagram are the same company as well. It should also be your understanding that all social media and the internet itself does not have your interest at heart. If you enter into the social media sphere it should be like being inserted into the matrix. You are entering onto the territory of angry hostiles and it should be your goal to spread the good news. If you find yourself being kicked off of one social media outlet you should immediately notify your followers on all the other sites. This will prevent any unreasonable conspiracy theories and also help round up a defense force of other social media people who may make some posts in your defense.
Finally, be respectful. While I believe these social media outlets are secretly out to destroy freedom and privacy, they don’t belong to you. They are within their rights to make their own rules. Pushing the envelope is at your discretion and on your shoulders.
Are you prepared for an emergency if disaster strikes where you live? There are many examples of disasters, both man-made and natural: EMP event, power outage, hurricane, terrorist strike, nuclear explosion, financial crisis and more. This week, the historic winter storm Jonas is expected to strike the Maryland/Washington D.C. area and people are raiding store shelves in a panicked rush to gather food. There’s a good likelihood that power will be out for a period of time, people will be stranded in their vehicles on highways and other problems will crop up. After all, history has shown over and over what happens when storms hit.
You should ask yourself if you would be ready for a similar emergency event. It’s never a question of “if” disaster will strike; it’s always a question of “when?”. So are you prepared?
Researchers are now apparently developing a new app that “blocks third parties from identifying an individual’s location based on what they search for online.”
These days it’s common for almost everyone to have a smart phone – young and old – hip or not. It’s just the way we stay connected. And why not?! Smart phones do so much more than the old analog phones that had buttons instead of the touchscreen, like navigating to a particular address, a google search, staying in touch on social media and so much more. And therein lies the problem.
As someone who’s been using phones since before the advent of the cell phone, I can tell you that never has there been a time like today when people spend so much time on their phones. Frankly, it is shocking and disturbing to me. It’s also dangerous.
You have probably observed what I’m talking about. You are strolling down the street and see 90% of the people around you staring at the phone in their hands; you are driving in traffic and glance over to see the guy passing you texting on his phone or you are trying to have a conversation with a friend who is having a conversation with someone else on their smart phone. It’s really gotten out of hand. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m in a zombie movie. And I have been the zombie myself at times.
We’ve got to have some collective discipline and stop being smart phone zombies!
Put it down when driving. Don’t text or interact with others on your cell phone when driving. You could be saving someone’s life, if not your own life.
Don’t be rude when having a conversation (YES, it’s rude). Put down your smart phone – that Facebook “like” can wait.
Don’t walk down the street continually focused on your phone – You may be walking into a moving car or another person!
Give yourself a break from your phone. More studies are now being conducted on smart phones causing brain damage from things like radiation. The more you use it, the more you put yourself at risk. Like Ben Franklin once said, “Everything in moderation.”
Airbus has now developed a new camera monitoring system that can take down and control your drone! Apparently the new “drone Killer”, which officially has applications for airports and controlled air space locations, can do things like hijack a drone, taking control of it. It can also jam the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV’s) signal, essentially disabling it or triangulate where the remote signal (the pilot/controller) originates.