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Google’s Latest Plan to Sell Your Data Will Leave you FURIOUS

Giving our behavioral data to companies with this grand a scope will likely never be completely safe, but this is beyond reproach. 

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One of the most invasive and unnerving realizations that we must face in our new technological age is the fact that we are very literally being mined by the products that we use.

There is a great deal of convenience in the internet.  We can use it to travel around our city on even the busiest of days with ease.  We can order any number of dishes from any number of restaurants.  Heck, we can even rent an electric scooter to ride around town, leaving it where we like when we’re finished.

But, as the wise have always told us, nothing in this life is free.  Sure, we pay for these services, and we pay to have access to the internet, but that’s not nearly all of the value that is being taken from us by the corporations whom we trust online.

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Google, Facebook, and others have long been selling our online behavioral data to advertisers, in order for those advertisers to then weaponize their work in the most effective ways.  Google is literally telling Dupont and these other enormous chemical companies, what time of day is best for them to run laundry detergent commercials in order to maximize their weaseling into our pockets.

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Worse still; this game is played at such a high level that only Holy Rollers need apply for a seat.  That means that you and I are simply pawns in the game.

Has that stopped forward-facing companies like Google from continuing this habitual debauchery?  Of course not.

And it’s getting worse. 

MOST OF THE data collected by urban planners is messy, complex, and difficult to represent. It looks nothing like the smooth graphs and clean charts of city life in urban simulator games like “SimCity.” A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has set out to change that.

The program, known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city’s patterns of movement. Like “SimCity,” Replica’s “user-friendly” tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas. It’s an appealing prospect for planners making critical decisions about transportation and land use. In recent months, transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have signed up to glean its insights. The only catch: They’re not completely sure where the data is coming from.

This “appealing prospect” sounds a lot more like data harvesting for the sake of targeting us with more advertisements.

To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations — creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city’s real-world patterns but that “obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people,” as Bowden told The Intercept.

The program comes at a time of growing unease with how tech companies use and share our personal data — and raises new questions about Google’s encroachment on the physical world.

Concerns over the use of this GPS data are obvious enough to understand, but a fun analogy awaits you anyway:

Let’s say that Amazon puts a new Whole Foods store in your town, and Google isn’t happy about it for whatever reason.  Google has the power to reroute traffic to the area near that store to make it an unappealing commute.  Eventually, people will stop coming.

Or, even crazier, if Google decided they didn’t want the location to even show up in their Maps app.  You could be literally lost, confused, and impaired while driving.

Giving our behavioral data to companies with this grand a scope will likely never be completely safe, but this is beyond reproach.

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U.S. Birth Rate Declined More in 2020 Than in the Last 50 Years

Birth and fertility rates in the United States declined to the lowest level in nearly 50 years.

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Birth and fertility rates in the United States declined to the lowest level in nearly 50 years, according to data provided last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One would think that with so many millions of Americans stuck at home on coronavirus lockdowns that the birth rate might have ticked upwards in 2020. But, nope. The numbers are down another four percent over numbers from the previous year’s reports. According to UPI: The total and general fertility rates in 2020 also declined 4% from 2019 to record lows. The report said at the current level — known as “below replacement” — there are more people dying every day than are being born. The decline from 2019 to 2020 is the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years. The U.S. birth rate last year was down to about 56 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, which is the lowest rate on record. UPI added that this is the lowest birth rate since 1979. “About 3.6 million births were recorded nationally in 2020, down from the 3.75 million births in 2019, the data showed. The 2019 figure was down from 3.79 million in 2018,” UPI reported. The only good trend is that births to teens is also down. Births among 15- to 17-year-olds fell by 6% and to 18- to 19-year-olds by 7%. Consequently, abortion rates have also been falling. Abortions dropped 7% to 862,320 in 2017. that is down from 2014’s 926,200. America is hardly alone in this. Most economically wealthy nations are experiencing similar declining birth rates. Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Texas Senate Passes Bill Banning Sex-Change Procedures for Minors

Last week, the Texas State Senate approved SB 1646, which would ban sex change procedures for minors, by an 18 to 12 vote margin.

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Last week, the Texas State Senate approved SB 1646, which would ban sex change procedures for minors, by an 18 to 12 vote margin. The bill will now go to the State House before it can go to the governor’s desk. State Senator Charles Perry’s bill would define sex changes for kids as child abuse. If made into law, the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS) department would be tasked with dealing with violations. “Perry argued in floor debate that the bill was necessary to prevent children from making irreversible decisions that they may regret later, but experts say both parts of that claim are questionable,” the Texas Tribune reported. “According to Marjan Linnell, a general pediatrician, puberty suppression treatments are completely reversible and have been used for decades to delay early onset puberty. While other treatments such as hormones and surgery may cause irreversible changes, Linnell said the risks are discussed extensively with children and their parents before the procedures, which is typically only performed after puberty,” the paper added. Of course, the problem is, telling a 6-year-old about complex and possibly dangerous procedures is a waste of time since they aren’t advanced enough mentally and emotionally to make such important decisions. The bill in Texas is just one of the many bills in states across the country proposing limits on transgenderism. Not only are states trying to prevent the medical sector from dangerously affecting the health and wellbeing of children already suffering from confusion and pressures (usually from adults), but legislators are trying to limit men pretending to be women from playing sports against natural-born women. Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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