The US military recently purchased a massive new surveillance program that could give them access to EVERYTHING that’s done online. And, the city of Oakland, California is hoping to use armed robots to kill suspects in the near future. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: The US military recently purchased a massive new surveillance program that could give them access to everything that’s online. Well, you know what, I, let me tell you about when I saw this story. I, I had been doing some reading that it really is troubling to me and it’s troubling because there’s, the millennials don’t seem to give a whether they’re being monitored or not. They, they, I mean, if you take a division in age groups, baby boomer, boomers, yes, they don’t like it. Older baby boomers, yes, they don’t like it even more. Millennials, maybe Xers and millennials, they think about it differently. They think it’s just a cost of doing business so they can have access to the stuff they want.
Farron Cousins: Right. A lot of them have the mentality, well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so what does it matter? You know, forget civil liberties, forget all of that. You know, let’s just, you can have my data. It doesn’t matter. It’s not important.
Mike Papantonio: It’s just, it’s amazing, man.
Farron Cousins: And we should be terrified that the United States military has bought this program, Augury is what it’s called.
Mike Papantonio: Yes. Yeah.
Farron Cousins: And they can use this, they can just pay and the company will hand them over data, email activity, website activity, cookie data that is on their computers. It lets them know every single thing an individual has done. And Augury was basically started for corporations.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Have you ever even heard of Motherboard?
Farron Cousins: A little bit, a little bit.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. I had not really heard. I, I knew that they had organizations, but Motherboard apparently is the king of this process scrape and sell, right?
Farron Cousins: Yeah. And, and so again, this was started for corporations so they can get your data and target you with ads and sell you stuff. And the military saw the application of that, they said, well, wait a minute. If you know what websites this person’s going to, you know who they’re emailing and what they’re saying in the email, maybe we should have that. Maybe we need to know that. You know, so, so we can, we can track the hackers, they say. We, we gotta make sure we’re cutting down on cyber crimes. So NCIS is actually the big military organization that is buying this left and right. And the scariest part.
Mike Papantonio: With, with no warrants.
Farron Cousins: Exactly.
Mike Papantonio: It’s completely warrantless searches. Now, again, let me come back to the basic concept that just should startle everybody, including millennials, if you’re a millennial. And that is that they’re willing to trade off this right to privacy because they, because the internet has functions that they want.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: In other words, I want this and I want it so bad, I’m willing to let you into every little secret of my life, my home, whatever, my job, whatever I do, you can have it, no problem, because I’m not worried about it. And then the second thing is they, they’ve always assumed, they’ve come up, it’s a generation that’s come up and has always assumed that this just goes on. Yeah. When I, when I go into that world, this is gonna go on. So what do I have to complain about, right?
Farron Cousins: Well, and another scary part of this too is that this is the government’s way of getting around the whole, I need to have a warrant, which means I have to have probable cause.
Mike Papantonio: Right.
Farron Cousins: Now it’s the same data where five years ago you would have to have a warrant.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah.
Farron Cousins: But now they go to Augury and they say, hey, I got a thousand dollars here. Gimme some data.
Mike Papantonio: What, what, what gen, are you an Xer?
Farron Cousins: No, I’m, I’m on the upper end of the millennials.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. Did you, did, did you have to take civics in school? Did they, did they teach civics, did you take it?
Farron Cousins: We, we did a little bit.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. Did they.
Farron Cousins: Mostly economics.
Mike Papantonio: Did, did they teach history about what happens when this goes bad? I’m, I’m really, I’m curious about it because when I was coming up, that was a big deal. You took civics and it was a big deal and they talked about things like right to privacy. They talked about the Fourth Amendment. They talked about searches and seizures and warrantless searches. It was a big deal.
Farron Cousins: Right.
Mike Papantonio: Did they not do that when you were coming up?
Farron Cousins: No. Really, they did not. You know, our, our history classes kind of ended right at the end of World War II. We dropped the bomb, we win. That’s it. You’re good to go graduate now. But, but I do, I do wanna point something else out here because this, this is actually truly terrifying here because we have.
Mike Papantonio: The whole story’s terrifying.
Farron Cousins: Well, yes.
Mike Papantonio: But if you think it’s particularly terrifying, then that’s terrifying to me.
Farron Cousins: You’ve got the CEO of the company, a man, Rabbi Rob Thomas. He’s the CEO that makes Augury.
Mike Papantonio: Okay.
Farron Cousins: He also sits on the board of the Tor software project. And Tor is a, is a online tool that allows you to basically not be tracked and not be searched.
Mike Papantonio: Okay.
Farron Cousins: So this guy has created the disease while also selling the cure for it.
Mike Papantonio: Oh my God.
Farron Cousins: Rabbi Rob Thomas is who he is.
Mike Papantonio: Rabbi Rob Thomas. Okay. Well anyway, this only gets worse before it gets better because when you have a generation that doesn’t care. I mean, if you say, I don’t care. This is worth it to me. All this stuff I want, this is worth it to me. You know, I, well, you know, you and I have been doing this together for 20 years. And the interesting thing is the age difference between me and you, the way we see it, the way I see it, the way you see it. We most of the time merge on that. But I think about it when, when, when somebody sees a story like this, they go, well, I care. Well, and I’m, I’m millennial. Well, that’s not what the numbers say. That’s not what the statistics say.
Farron Cousins: Well, and that’s not what the actions say either.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, yeah.
Farron Cousins: Like, you know, Facebook’s selling your biometric data, you’re still putting your pictures up there every single day.
Mike Papantonio: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I’m eating, I’m drinking a milkshake at, at whatever it is. You, you, you’re there showing them what your life is. It doesn’t seem to bother anybody.
Mike Papantonio: The city of Oakland, California is hoping to use armed robots to kill suspects in the near future. All right. This story is just another story about the weaponization of local police, isn’t it? We’ve done this story so many times. You know, Barney Fife gets in a new tank. Barney Fife gets a rocket launcher in some, you know, podunk town in the middle of Mississippi or Florida or Alabama. So, so this is kind of one of those deals, isn’t it? They, they have this thing that is designed for a certain use, but now they wanna arm. It this robot they want to arm and put actual active, dangerous.
Farron Cousins: I, I know it’s, it, it’s not funny, but it is kind of funny because you really do have these cops. They get all these toys, these weapons of war from the, you know, military program that sends the surplus out to police officers and say, okay, well we got this little, it’s described as basically a Roomba with tank treads on it. And it’s supposed to be used to go in and disarm bombs.
Mike Papantonio: Right, right.
Farron Cousins: But the cops in Oakland say, okay, but what if, what if we put a shotgun on it? This is real. Like, what if we just put a shotgun on it and I’ve got the remote control. I can go in here like I’m playing a game and just shoot the bad guys with my Roomba robot.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And I can make the decision to do that. I ought to have the autonomy to make the decision, are they a threat? Because we’re using active weapons, active ammunition right now. Now, so, so where this started was this started with what they call a pan disruption cam, it’s a, it’s a robot that’s designed to do things like, you know, shoot heavy amount of water to disarm or various things they can use to disarm somebody who might be holed up in a house, for example. But now it came up at one of the council meetings, somebody raised, hey, can’t we just arm it with shotgun shells and just take ’em out? I don’t think it’s gonna go anywhere, at least, at least for a little while. But I would hate to think that some cat out there saying, I don’t think we can do anything about getting them outta that corner in the house. Let’s go ahead and blow ’em away. Right?
Farron Cousins: Well, and, and it, and it shows how stupid this overall program is. I, I forget the names, is it the 538 program, something like that.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Five. Yeah. It is, where the military sells their.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. And, and the reason we even have that program is because these military contractors like Lockheed Martin.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah.
Farron Cousins: They wanna sell the new stuff.
Mike Papantonio: The new stuff. Right.
Farron Cousins: So they’ve convinced the government, hey, give the, give last year’s stuff to these cops.
Mike Papantonio: If you’ll look at it, it was, when it first started, it was actually the manufacturers, the designers of these weapons that were giving them to ’em. And then it said, well, why don’t you military give ’em your old stuff so you can buy some new stuff from us?
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: It’s all about the weapons industry, getting their ugly hands on more money.