The New Normal, ‘Big Brother the Beast Will Be Watching Your Allegiance’; Governments are using the pandemic to crack down on digital rights, report finds. Smartphone apps for contact tracing, enforcing quarantines and monitoring someone’s health status, have been introduced in at least 50 (5) countries.
By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN Updated 2:00 AM ET, Wed October 14, 2020
(CNN) In their fight against the coronavirus, ‘some governments’ [Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, India and others] are introducing digital surveillance and data collection tools that could pose a lasting threat to citizens’ rights, according to a new report by research institute Freedom House.
The Freedom on the Net 2020 report, an assessment of over 60 (6) countries released Wednesday, found that the pandemic has accelerated a decline in free speech and privacy on the internet for the tenth (5+5) consecutive year, and accused some governments of using the virus as a pretext to crack down on critical speech.
“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which is funded by the US government. “Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”
Amid the pandemic, internet connectivity has become a lifeline to essential information and services — from education platforms, to health care portals, employment opportunities and social interactions. But state and nonstate actors are also exploiting the crisis to erode freedoms online.
Nowhere has that approach been more apparent than in China, according to Freedom House, which rated the country worst for internet freedom for a sixth (6) year in a row.
Since the coronavirus outbreak emerged in Wuhan last December, China has deployed every tool in its internet control arsenal — from digital surveillance, to automated censorship, and systematic arrests — to stem the spread, not only of Covid-19, but of unofficial information and criticism of the government,
Censoring the coronavirus outbreak
Intent on downplaying unfavorable Covid-19 coverage, authorities censored independent reporting in at least 28 countries and arrested online critics in 45 countries, per the report.
Following China’s lead, governments from Bangladesh to Belarus blocked reporting and websites that contradicted official sources, revoking credentials and detaining journalists who challenged their statistics. In Venezuela, for example, the government barred a website with information about Covid-19 created by the opposition, while journalists were detained and forced to delete online content about the virus’ spread in hospitals.
Though misinformation about the coronavirus is a pandemic of its own, Freedom House says that at least 20 countries including Thailand, the Philippines and Azerbaijan imposed excessively broad restrictions on speech, many of them new or expanded laws policing “false” information, according to the report. In one of the most draconian cases, Zimbabwe passed an emergency provision penalizing “false” information about Covid-19, which could put offenders at risk of up to 20 years in prison.
Allie Funk, a senior research analyst for technology and democracy at Freedom House, who co-authored the report, said that the long-term impact of these laws will be devastating for free speech, pointing to the self-censorship and climate of fear that they create.
“People may be less likely to report on certain issues because they don’t want to face criminal penalties or they don’t want to face targeted harassment or violence from pro-government supporters online,” Funk said.
At least 13 countries went a step further, imposing internet shutdowns that kept populations entirely in the dark. Longterm connectivity restrictions effecting internet and phone services in Ethiopia, Myanmar and Bangladesh, for example, severely limited residents’ ability to learn about the virus or obtain life-saving information about its spread.
Surveillance in the name of public health
Tracking the spread of the coronavirus is key to limiting further infections — a tactic that has been credited for South Korea’s low number of Covid-19 deaths, for example. But without robust privacy protections, Freedom House warns that some technological responses to the pandemic could pave the way toward future surveillance states.
In at least 30 (6×5) countries, governments have invoked the pandemic to tap into telecommunications data for mass surveillance with little oversight, Freedom House said. In Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nigeria, among other places, that work is being carried out by or in tandem with national security and military agencies.
Smartphone apps for contact tracing, enforcing quarantines and monitoring someone’s health status, have been introduced in at least 50 (5) countries, with few privacy protections, according to the report. In China, for example, dozens of health code and contact tracing apps collect personal data that authorities can easily access. While in Singapore, migrant workers who already face discrimination are required to use apps, distinguishing them from other residents.
Though contact tracing plays a vital role in containing the virus, some digital monitoring tools are being rolled out hastily and with little accountability for how personal data — like location, names and contact lists — might be matched with public information to dangerous effect. And that could prove to be a slippery slope, Freedom House warns.
“History has shown that technologies and laws adopted during a crisis tend to stick around,” said Adrian Shahbaz, director for technology and democracy and a co-author of the report. “As with 9/11, we will look back on COVID-19 as a moment when governments gained new, intrusive powers to control their populations.”
Night Watchman Note; We are to ‘be watchful’ in helping to understand today’s events as related to biblical prophecy. That is what ‘watchmen or women’ do. Jesus made clear that when He actually does come for His disciples, His wise and faithful servants would be aware of the time because they would be watching. They would know the season of the times by WATCHING those things ‘coming to pass or occurring’ as Jesus said they would. The ‘BENCHMARK SIGN(s)’ always point towards Israel / Jacob. God’s prophetic timepiece. The FALSE PEACE COVENANT confirmed by the Prince/Beast among MENA (the many) is the ‘key sign’ of the times or the season of the times. Yes, we are in that period. The Prince/Beast will likely confirm and enhance the current ‘normalization’ agreement with Jacob to be a ‘peace’ agreement, to be extended to 7 years from the current 5 years, to include some agreement permitting the rebuilding of the third temple in exchange for ‘some portion of Jerusalem.’ The current ‘investment’ period for the Palestinians stands at five (5) years. This will likely occur AFTER the Bride, Disciples or True Church is removed from the earth via the Rapture / Harpazo / Redemption / ‘Twinkling’.
Seven (7) References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’
Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.
Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man
Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Be Watching).
John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.
In His Service,
Night Watchman Ministries
Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!
Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:
The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)
A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.
. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.
. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).
. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).
. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).
. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).
. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).
. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).
. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).
True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:
Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.