The Mark of the Corporate Beast

The vaccine passports are sending data to various corporations, including Amazon and Microsoft:

As if the liberty erasing connotations of vaccine passports were not enough on their own, it has been revealed that the Scottish government has allowed data from the scheme to be shared with private companies including Amazon.

The Daily Record reports, “We have learned the NHS mobile phone app which presents the personal medical information in the form of a QR Code shares data with companies including Amazon, Microsoft, ServiceNow, Royal Mail and an AI facial recognition firm.”

Users of the vaccine passport app were not informed their data would be shared, according to the report.

The Scottish system is very similar, if not identical, to the British and Welsh systems, so it would be surprising if the Welsh vaccine passport, and the British vaccine passport which is in development but has not been imposed yet, did not transfer the same data to the same corporations.

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Keeping Big Tech in Line

Not the United States, unfortunately. But China continues to crack down on the corporate elite and their rapacious financial parasitism:

China’s state market regulator said it was fining e-commerce giant Alibaba, along with other Big Tech majors including Baidu and JD.com, over violations of the country’s anti-monopoly legislation. The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) slapped fines of $78,300 on each corporation, saying they failed to declare 43 deals, dating back to 2012, to the proper authorities.

The list of antitrust violation cases that have been brought to light include Beijing Baidu Wangxun Technology and Nanjing Wangdian Technology’s joint purchase of Nanjing Xinfeng Network Technology, Alibaba’s acquisition of the equity of AutoNavi Software Holdings, and Tencent’s acquisition of equity in China Medical Online.

All the cases announced represent transactions that should have been declared but weren’t. SAMR noted that the list includes a raft of firms and a long transaction time span.

“With the in-depth advancement of anti-monopoly law enforcement, the awareness of corporate operators’ concentration declarations has continued to increase, proactively sorting out and reporting the concentration of operators that have not previously been declared illegally … and actively cooperating with investigations,” the watchdog said on Saturday on its official WeChat account.

The penalties are the latest development in Beijing’s major clampdown on technology-focused businesses, amid a nationwide move towards increasing national security. The country’s tech giants, particularly the ones operating in the financial sector, have been under close scrutiny from state authorities due to their increasing power.

In October, the SAMR imposed a fine of $533.5 million on food delivery platform Meituan. The penalty over monopolistic practices was the second-biggest fine on the Chinese platform economy since Alibaba was slapped a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine in April, for exclusionary practices.

The corporations, both Chinese and US-based, should have seen this coming. There can be no question that Xi is genuinely committed to fighting all forms of corruption; an intelligence report on him written before he came to power even highlighted the expectation that he would “aggressively attempt to address these evils”.

Xi knows how very corrupt China is and is repulsed by the all-encompassing commercialization of Chinese society,
with its attendant nouveau riche, official corruption, loss of values, dignity, and self-respect, and such “moral evils”
as drugs and prostitution, the professor stated. The professor speculated that if Xi were to become the Party General Secretary, he would likely aggressively attempt to address these evils, perhaps at the expense of the new moneyed class.

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23 and Me Sells Your DNA Data

This is the exact opposite of “surprising”:

Cynics will say that nothing says “trusted neighborhood doctor” quite like a company that is a cross between Big Pharma and Big Tech – but apparently Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe wants to be perceived as having the characteristics of all three.

The company, best known for harvesting genetic data from millions of Americans via spit tests that produced questionably useful information to the customers, recently went public, and now the serious side of its business is emerging – using all that data to develop new drugs and usher in the era of a new kind of Big Pharma that relies on Big Tech strategies of collecting data and monetizing it.

It would have been difficult not to see this one coming. I’m just a little surprised they didn’t do it sooner.

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The Flight From Taiwan

And so it begins. They can explain it away all they like, but it’s apparent that multinational corporations are beginning to prepare for the island’s reunification with the mainland:

Taiwan chip giant TSMC announced on Thursday plans to build a new factory in Japan to meet long-term appetite for chips and said, near-term, tight supplies will likely continue into 2022 amid booming demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and a key supplier to Apple Inc (AAPL.O), said it would set up a chip plant in Japan that will use older chipmaking technology, a segment currently under a severe supply shortage due to robust demand from automakers and tech companies. But production from the plant is only likely to begin by late 2024.

The company and Taiwan in general have become central in efforts to resolve a pandemic-induced global chip shortage, which has forced automakers to cut production and hurt manufacturers of smartphones, laptops and consumer appliances.

This doesn’t mean war in the Straits. In fact, I doubt there will be any need for a war; it’s more likely that Russia will be forced to invade and occupy Ukraine due to the insane neoclown puppet government there. But it does suggest Chinese domination of the semiconductor market.

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A Flaming Techwreck

I wouldn’t use Team Kushner’s TRUTH SOCIAL even if it was an excellent, reliable platform simply because I regard it as just another false alternative gatekeeper in the Parler mode. But it’s not even remotely surprising to see that, in the dev sense, they’re already digging themselves into a hole and splashing gasoline all over themselves.

The new social network founded by former President Trump may violate the terms of use of the software on which it is based. On Wednesday night, after Trump revealed the TRUTH social app, Twitter users began to note that the network appeared to be based on an open-source social networking software called Mastodon, which allows people to modify the underlying code so long as they abide by its license. But the Trump network appears to have taken the publicly available code for the website while violating the terms that make it free to use.

Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told TPM in an email that TRUTH appeared to violate the terms of use that the software sets forth: making the source code available, and having a copy of the general product license available to users. “I do intend to seek legal counsel on the situation though,” Rochko told TPM, while declining to discuss any specific legal action he may be contemplating. “Compliance with our AGPLv3 license is very important to me as that is the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free,” Rochko added.

The AGPL license mandates that software developed for free — like Mastodon — remain publicly available after its been modified. Under the license, TRUTH needs to share any modifications to Mastodon’s code. The requirement allows developers to remain aware of how the software is being used so long as its run on public servers, continuing the chain by which different open-source developers continue to work on and further modify code that’s been created.

And it’s only a matter of time before someone lights a match. People purporting to represent either the Republican or the MAGA establishments have been sniffing around Gab, BitChute, Infogalactic, and Unauthorized for 18 months now, and at no time have they demonstrated even a modicum of serious technical knowledge. It’s quite likely that they have very little idea what they’re doing and I expect they will make all the obvious mistakes that people who have been working on these things for the last five years have either experienced or avoided.

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Just Stop Already

I have less than zero interest in joining Jared Kushner’s gatekeeping site:

Former President Donald Trump said he will launch his own social media network called TRUTH Social in early 2022.

The new Trump Media & Technology Group said it will create a rival social network to the current ‘liberal media consortium’ and ‘fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.’

Trump, who will serve as TMTG’s chairman, said, ‘I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced.

‘This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech. Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!’

While Donald Trump was unquestionably the greatest president since Andrew Jackson, I am unlikely to support any of his post-presidential efforts. The man simply can’t be trusted due to the shady figures with which he still surrounds himself. And his refusal to support his followers who were arrested on January 6th, to confront the election fraud, or to support the existing alternative platforms indicates that he is no longer much more than a figurehead for those who have hijacked the MAGA movement.

Finally, he did nothing – literally nothing – to fight back against Big Tech while he had the ability and the power to do so. While I respect him for his historically great four years in office, as far as I’m concerned, his time is past.

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China Refuses to Flex

The Global Times won’t even admit the existence of the hypersonic orbital glider that has been widely reported across the West:

The Financial Times (FT) quoted on Saturday several sources saying that “the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle” in August and judged it to be a “nuclear-capable hypersonic missile.” According to the FT article, the missile “flew through low-orbit space” and could help China “negate” US missile defense systems which are designed to target the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile. The progress of the Chinese military has “caught US intelligence by surprise,” the report said.

The US generally has the ability to monitor global missile launches. If the FT report is to be believed, it means that there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system, which is a new blow to the US’ mentality of strategic superiority over China. According to the FT, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology announced the 77th and 79th launches of the Long March 2C rocket, but there was no announcement of a 78th launch. The report believes the 78th “secret launch” may be to test the above-mentioned hypersonic missile.

The FT also reported that China has tested a new space capability with a hypersonic missile, citing sources. It said the missile missed its target by about more than 30 kilometers, yet the test showed that “China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons.” But if Chinese authorities do not voluntarily release such top defense secrets, others can only speculate based on technical monitoring methods.

It is meaningless to discuss the credibility of the FT report. But it is important to note the unstoppable trend that China is narrowing the gap with the US in some key military technologies as China is continuously developing its economic and technological strength. China doesn’t need to engage in an “arms race” with the US – it is capable of weakening the US’ overall advantages over China by developing military power at its own pace.

China appears to be attempting to reassure the world that despite its weapons development program, its ambitions are toward regional, rather than global, dominance. I tend to believe them, simply because for over two thousand years, they have been considerably more sinned against than sinning with regards to foreign intervention. According to Lee Kuan Yew, even their invasion of Vietnam was limited to containing “the Prussians of Southeast Asia” and dissuading the Vietnamese from expanding their field of operations beyond their occupation of Cambodia.

Of course, that’s the problem with imperialism. In order to be left alone, a nation has to develop sufficient strength to impose its will upon its neighbors. The question, then, is if that nation can simultaneously develop sufficient moral strength to resist the imperialist temptation.

One has to admire the dry restraint of the Chinese foreign ministry. It’s all about space tourism, you see.

Speaking during a regular press briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked to comment on a report from the Financial Times that Beijing had conducted a hypersonic missile test in August, which had shocked US intelligence. The spokesman stated that China had undertaken “routine spacecraft test” to evaluate the rocket’s reusable technology. “This is of great significance for reducing the cost of the spacecraft. The peaceful use of space provides a convenient and inexpensive way to travel,” Zhao added.

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Republicans Play China Police

It’s infuriating how Republicans insist on trying to throw their weight around outside US borders, but don’t lift a single damn finger to prevent US-based companies from abusing, banning, and censoring Americans in the United States:

A top Republican has become the first member of Congress to call out LinkedIn, the only major American social media platform that operates in China, for censoring American users on behalf of the ruling Communist Party.

Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee in Congress, sent a letter Friday to Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, criticizing them for bowing down to the Chinese government by blocking the profiles of Americans who refer to the Asian superpower in a critical fashion.

There are at least 100 Americans whose LinkedIn profiles have anecdotally been found to have been banned by China in the past few months for allegedly anti-China content in the “Education” or “Experience” sections of their LinkedIn profiles.

Who cares about China censoring foreigners? Do something about Google, and Twitter, and Apple, and Facebook censoring Americans in the United States, FFS!

Conservatives are so utterly useless as they smugly preen and posture about abstract freedoms while doing absolutely nothing of any material value, they almost annoy me more than the idiot SJWs.

UPDATE: YouTube is now censoring all anti-vaxx information.

YouTube will ban any video that claims “vaccines are ineffective or dangerous” from now on and has suspended the accounts of prominent vaccination opponents, including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

To which, top Republicans said “well, did you know LinkedIn is censoring criticism of China?”