WHAT HAPPENS IF CHINA ACHIEVES QUANTUM SUPREMACY?

IMAGE CREDITS:  ED JONES / STAFF / GETTY .

IMAGE CREDITS: ED JONES / STAFF / GETTY.

Google has already publicly displayed disloyalty to the United States.

The company now claims to have achieved quantum supremacy.

If China comes out on top of the current tech arms race, the world could be absorbed into a high tech tyranny the globe has never seen.

Artificial intelligence, human enhancement, and quantum computing arms races are currently shaping the future. The values and culture that we embrace – and are willing to fight for – will determine how these technologies are deployed.

The Chinese and American models (under the Trump admin) are battling for the future.

report from CNBC today says that China’s surveillance tech is “spreading globally.”

Chinese spy tech has reportedly been embedded into Amazon and Apple computer chips.

Read more at infowars.com

Amazon Web Services Announces Cryptography-Using Quantum Ledger Database

AWS - Amazon Web Services Office in Houston, Texas

By Joeri Cant

Amazon Web Services, Inc., an Amazon.com company, announced that the Amazon quantum ledger database (QLDB) was now available.

Transparent and immutable transaction log

According to a post on Sept. 10 from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the newly available Amazon QLBD is a new class of database that provides a transparent, immutable and cryptographically verifiable transaction log ‎owned by a central trusted authority.

The post continues to explain that Amazon QLBD eliminates the need to engage in the complex development effort of building one’s own ledger-like applications or rely on the capabilities of a blockchain framework.

Shawn Bice, a VP at Amazon Web Services, Inc. told Business Wire that AWS has been using a version of Amazon QLDB for many years to store data for some of its most critical systems, and has benefitted from being able to view an immutable history of changes. He added:

“Today, we are proud to announce Amazon QLDB, offering customers a fully managed service that provides the same ledger capabilities, along with the ability to cryptographically verify data integrity. We are excited to see customers streamline their operations and enhance their customer and partner experiences by using Amazon QLDB.” 

Continue Reading at Cointelegraph.com

Trump Admin Is Considering Using Amazon Echo And Apple Watch To Determine If Citizens Should Own A Gun

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By Chris White

The Trump administration is considering a proposal that would use Google, Amazon and Apple to collect data on users who exhibit characteristics of mental illness that could lead to violent behavior, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The proposal is part of an initiative to create a Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), which would be located inside the Health and Human Services Department, the report notes, citing sources inside the administration. The new agency would have a separate budget and the president would be responsible for appointing its director.

HARPA would take after Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which serves as the research arm for the Pentagon. The idea was first crafted in 2017 but has since gotten a renewed push after mass shootings killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in August.

The Suzanne Wright Foundation approached the president recently and proposed the agency include a project called Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes, or Safe Home, the report notes, citing two people familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump has a close relationship with Bob Wright, who founded the foundation after his wife died of cancer. Wright was a former chair of NBC and occupied that position while the president hosted “The Apprentice.”

HARPA would develop “breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,” according to a copy of the proposal. “A multi-modality solution, along with real-time data analytics, is needed to achieve such an accurate diagnosis.”

Read More: dailycaller.com

The Phony Patriots of Silicon Valley

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Kevin Roose writes:

Top tech companies are rallying around the flag. How opportunistic of them.
Not long ago, many leading technologists considered themselves too lofty and idealistic to concern themselves with the petty affairs of government. John Perry Barlow, a lion of the early internet, addressed his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” to the “governments of the industrial world,” saying that for him and his fellow netizens, these creaky institutions had “no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.”

But that was before privacy scandals, antitrust investigations, Congressional hearings, Chinese tariffs, presidential tweets and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Now, as they try to fend off regulation and avoid being broken up, some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley are tripping over their Allbirds in a race to cozy up to the United States government. These companies’ motives vary — some are vying for lucrative public-sector contracts, while others are lobbying against regulation by painting China as a red menace that must be defeated for the good of the country.

Either way, the game is the same: salute the flag, save our bacon.

The latest example of Silicon Valley’s patriotic playacting comes courtesy of Peter Thiel, the Trump-backing venture capitalist. In an op-ed in The New York Times this month, Mr. Thiel took Google to task for opening an artificial intelligence lab in Beijing while canceling a controversial Pentagon contract, accusing the company of trying to “evade responsibility for the good of the country.”

Mr. Thiel’s obvious conflicts of interest aside (he is on the board of Facebook, Google’s rival, and is the chairman of the technology firm Palantir, which has lucrative government contracts of its own), seeing him lecture anyone on patriotism is rich. He was among the first major supporters of the Seasteading movement — a group of libertarians who wanted to flee the United States and build a floating city in international waters — and in 2011, he became a New Zealand citizen after buying up property there. (“It would give me great pride to let it be known that I am a New Zealand citizen and an enthusiastic supporter of the country,” Mr. Thiel wrote in his citizenship application.)

But Mr. Thiel, who did not respond to a request for comment, is far from the only tech titan trading in his hoodie for a flag pin.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief, has also been warning that if the social network — the proud, American social network, that is — is broken up or harshly regulated, it will only be a matter of time before China takes over the global tech industry.

In an interview last year, Mr. Zuckerberg said that if Facebook were broken up by American regulators, “the alternative, frankly, is going to be the Chinese companies.”

David Marcus, one of Mr. Zuckerberg’s lieutenants and the executive in charge of Facebook’s digital currency project, called Libra, echoed that point while testifying before Congress last month.

“I believe that if America does not lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will,” Mr. Marcus said. “If we fail to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values are dramatically different.”

Mr. Zuckerberg, who speaks Mandarin, is an odd choice to lead the charge against China. He has spent much of the last decade trying desperately to curry favor with the Chinese government in hopes of getting Facebook’s apps — which are banned there — permission to operate in one of the world’s most lucrative markets. Mr. Zuckerberg even reportedly offered to let Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, name his second child. (Mr. Xi declined.)

Google, too, is rallying around the flag. The company’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, went to the White House to visit with President Trump in March, to discuss government contracts and reassure the president that Google does not discriminate against conservatives. This month, in a series of tweets attacking Mr. Pichai and Google, President Trump recalled that meeting, which he described as “Mr. Pichai working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election.”

Like Mr. Zuckerberg, Mr. Pichai was a China booster before he began distancing himself from the country. Last year, Mr. Pichai had a large team of Google engineers building a prototype search engine, called Dragonfly, that was designed to be compatible with China’s censorship regime. The project was dropped amid heated internal dissent from Google employees. But it reportedly would have blocked sites like Wikipedia, as well as other material considered objectionable by Chinese authorities.

Amazon and Apple, two tech giants that love America so much that they have gone to elaborate lengths to avoid paying taxes to its Treasury, are also promoting themselves as national champions. After President Trump criticized Apple’s plans to do some of the assembly of its Mac Pro in China, the company reiterated its desire to keep much of the computer’s assembly in the United States. And Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, has knocked rival firms for insufficient patriotism, saying that “if big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”

Representatives for Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple all declined to comment.

Conspicuous patriotism is not a new tactic for companies accused of bad behavior. In the 1980s and 1990s, defenders of American tech giants like IBM and Microsoft argued that those companies’ monopolistic behaviors were necessary to stave off competition from Japanese rivals. During World War II, Hollywood movie studios delayed a federal antitrust crackdown, in part by agreeing to help the military in the war effort.

Meredith Whittaker, a co-founder of the AI Now Institute at New York University and a former Google employee, characterized the tech industry’s scaremongering about China as a tactical move meant to deflect criticism.

“It’s a really convenient narrative,” Ms. Whittaker said. “It evokes nationalism and a red scare trope that has worked in the past. And it implies that regulation, accountability, and taking a pause to consider ethics would be counter to ‘winning.’”

Patriotic posturing may be a cynical tactic, but it could also be a smart one. Today’s big tech companies are in a better negotiating position than most industries under fire. The meteoric growth of companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon has bolstered the American stock market and made Silicon Valley a global innovation hub. Even if the motives of the tech giants are questionable, the importance of technologies like 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence to the country’s competitive position isn’t lost on lawmakers.

Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents parts of Silicon Valley in Congress, has called for greater regulation of tech companies. But in an interview this month, he told me that the risk of losing ground to China worried him.

“There is a risk that we could see a Berlin digital wall,” Mr. Khanna said. “The question is, are the values of liberty, privacy and freedom of speech going to be embedded in technology platforms? China’s platforms do not have many of the values that liberal democracies believe in.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with the belief that America’s values are superior to those found in Shanghai and Shenzhen, or that American tech companies should act in the country’s best interest. But lawmakers should be appropriately wary of Silicon Valley’s charm campaign, and they should avoid conflating what’s good for Facebook, Google and other tech companies with what’s good for the nation. Tech executives might be whistling “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” but they really just want to be left alone.

Via nytimes.com

Bitcoin Startup Brings Lightning Network Payments to Amazon, Whole Foods

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Marie Huillet reports:

United States-based payments startup Fold has made Lightning Network (LN) payments possible at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber and other big name retailers. The news was revealed in an official blog post published on July 10.

As previously reported, the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to bitcoin’s scalability limitations, opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain, turning to the underlying blockchain only to record the net results.

In its announcement, Fold reveals that participating selected retailers will settle users’ LN payments — denominated in satoshis, or one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin — via their prepaid access programs in a currency of their choice. 

LN payments are thus processed via the Fold site, where users can select a retailer and pay the relevant invoice using their Lightning wallet. Once paid, this provides them with a gift card — at a maximum value of $25 — that is redeemable either in-store using a barcode or online via alphanumeric code. 

Beyond the evident scalability and accessibility benefits of providing LN support at major retailers, Fold underscores that its services more broadly aim to keep faith with the cornerstone principles of crypto: meaning no Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, a non-custodial system and — in an outburst of Bitcoin maximalism — no support for altcoins.

Beyond the aforementioned Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber, Fold’s Lightning payment service is also available for REI, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, Target, AMC, Whole Foods and others. 

Fold follows other third-party crypto payment processors aiming to provide ways for users to use Lightning at major e-commerce and retail locations. 

This April, fellow startup Moon launched a web browser extension allowing online shoppers to use their Lightning wallets for purchases on Amazon and similar sites. As Fold, Moon serves as an intermediary — meaning that household names like Amazon are for now still not handling or processing the crypto directly.

As reported, Fold had rolled out its Bitcoin payments service — this time explicitly designed as a gift card — that was available for use at retailers such as Starbucks as early as 2015.

This March, blockchain development firm Lightning Labs announced the initial release of the Lightning offramp Lightning Loop, providing a non-custodial way to receive funds via the network.

Via Cointelegraph.com