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June 11, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Users of encrypted messaging services who assume their communications are kept private may want to think twice.
Social media users concerned about personal privacy and free speech amid the unprecedented censorship and overreach by Big Tech corporations have begun turning to encrypted apps like Signal and Telegram which promise freedom from prying eyes. But not every messaging service which presents itself as secure may actually be what it seems.
In the FBI-led global sting operation called “Operation Trojan Shield” which took the world by surprise this week, international law enforcement agencies developed and deployed a fake encrypted messaging service called “Anom” to secretly surveil users’ communications in a sweeping worldwide operation which led to the arrests of over 800 suspected members of transnational criminal organizations.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “Anom” used cell phones equipped with a single secure-messaging app promising users “total secrecy.”
Unaware that the service they thought was safe had actually been designed by the FBI to track down members of international crime syndicates, users across the world allegedly communicated details of illegal activities through “Anom” without fear that their conversations would be intercepted.
But the promised privacy of the platform was an illusion, with international law enforcement authorities secretly “monitoring 27 million messages from more than 12,000 users across more than 100 countries.”
“This is a complicated issue,” Dan Gainor told LifeSiteNews in an email Friday.
Gainor is Vice President of Free Speech America, Business and Culture for the Media Research Center, the media watchdog organization which runs Newsbusters, whose 24/7 recording and documenting operation is dedicated to exposing liberal media bias.
“Naturally, we want the FBI and other crime-fighting organizations to stop crime,” Gainor said. That’s what we pay them to do.”
“At the same time, Americans value their privacy in an increasingly intrusive world. These two desires smash into one another here.”
Gainor expressed concern about the wide-ranging implications of government surveillance when wielded by government entities that adhere to political ideologies which are openly hostile to conservative values.
Gainor observed that President Joe Biden recently declared “white supremacy is terrorism,” a stark weaponization of the spurious pejorative frequently lobbed by the political left against conservatives who hold mainstream right-leaning perspectives on issues like critical race theory, border security, and voter ID laws.
“That’s not criticizing an action, that’s a thought crime,” Gainor said. “Under that interpretation anything they don’t like, including opposition to critical race theory, could be suspect. And the government could target it.”
An affidavit which was unsealed in U.S. federal court this week revealed that Operation Trojan Shield began in 2018 after law enforcement dismantled an existing encrypted service in use by international criminal gangs and filled the void with “Anom,” a next-generation device developed by the FBI in collaboration with a confidential source.
The devices were then distributed to users who trusted “Anom” to provide much-desired secrecy and security.
“It’s not surprising that the FBI would set something up like that,” author and Editor-in-Chief of Crisis Magazine Eric Sammons told LifeSiteNews in an email Thursday. “No one should think that online communications are ever 100% private and secure.”
But users of commercially available encrypted apps, many of whom have sought out the alternative platforms to evade the predations of Big Tech, may indeed be operating under the assumption that their communications are private, or at least safe from overreaching censorship and control.
PETITION UPDATE (5/5/2021) - BREAKING: Facebook permanently removes LifeSiteNews’ page
Facebook has just permanently banned LifeSiteNews’ Facebook page. This apparently is not a temporary measure: It is gone for good.
"Much like when LifeSite was removed from YouTube, this comes with little surprise,” noted LifeSiteNews Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts.
"Facebook has been silencing any voice that goes against their beliefs and agenda," continued Roberts. "Our LifeSiteNews Facebook page has been removed simply because we have shared reports of doctors, nurses, expert researchers, and even the former Pfizer VP speaking out against the COVID shots. We’ve also been tagged for the numerous articles we have shared making the connection between the COVID shots, and really all vaccines, and aborted baby cell lines."
"This all comes down to another case of Big Tech silencing free speech on their platform," she added.
"At this time, I encourage those of you who are still on Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech platforms to continue sharing LifeSiteNews articles with your friends and family, please!” urged Roberts. “I also encourage you to follow us on these alternative platforms:"
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Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition, vital to our freedom of speech.
PETITION UPDATE (2/23/21) -
LifeSite has signed on to a Media Research Center (MRC) letter to all 50 state Attorneys General, calling for an investigation into Big Tech.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have monopolized the industry, and are using their influence to collect user data, suppress content, and silence those who voice ideas and beliefs counter to their own.
As we urged prior, action must be taken to combat these efforts, and that is why we’ve joined the MRC in this fight.
Please take a couple of minutes to READ this LifeSiteNews article about MRC's initiative: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lifesite-joins-effort-asking-state-attorneys-general-to-investigate-big-tech-for-deceptive-trade-practices
Then, please SIGN and STOP using Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
PETITION UPDATE (2/9/21) -
YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a ban, every single one of our videos is completely gone. Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to 300,000+ followers.
This is the latest and appalling affront to free speech which is happening to many conservative and Christian organizations.
Please SIGN this petition and STOP using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google (owner of YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
We are not going to take this lying down!
Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos:
You can watch our current videos on Rumble, here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNews
Or on our LifeSiteNews Catholic Rumble channel, here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNewsCatholic
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After you SIGN this petition, please also see our 'Goodbye Google' resources to find out how to quit Big Tech and learn more about good alternatives!
PETITION UPDATE (1/26/20) -
Twitter has again locked LifeSiteNews out of two of our accounts on the platform for displaying a message noting that President Joe Biden’s newly named Assistant Secretary of Health “Rachel” Levine is a man.
Both accounts displayed a simple message which read: “Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health. ‘Rachel’ Levine is a father of two who divorced his wife in 2013 after 30 years of marriage.” The tweets also included a link to LifeSite’s article Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health, and contained part of the opening sentence of that article, “Joe Biden has announced his intention to appoint a gender-confused man” as Assistant Secretary of Health.
For stating biological or Biblical truths, Twitter and Big Tech are trying to shut down conservative voices.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to consider dumping Twitter, Google (who own YouTube) and Facebook. To be clear: LifeSite is still using Twitter and Big Tech to encourage others to migrate away from these illiberal platforms.
This is not the first time that LifeSiteNews has been censored by Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter indefinitely suspended our account for a tweet that linked to an article on transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv.
At the time, Twitter gave LifeSite the option to delete the tweet and reactivate our account right away. LifeSite remained steadfast that the tweet did not violate any of the company’s “rules and policies,” and sought several appeals with Twitter, while looking into legal action against the company.
And, while LifeSite's account was eventually restored, we must now consider what course of action we will pursue in this case, over and above appealing the ban.
Meanwhile, since taking office on Wednesday last week, Joe Biden has already signed an executive order which will force women’s athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to be open to men. He has also turned back the Trump administration’s policy protecting women’s sports programs in schools.
Last week, LifeSite was banned for two weeks from our YouTube channel, after the site determined that one of our videos about vaccines violated YouTube’s “community guidelines.” We are also in the middle of appealing this ban.
Please considering SIGNING and SHARING this petition. Thank you!
Twitter just deplatformed President Trump premanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily deplatformed.
Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech AND their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.
Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. [CLICK HERE for our "Goodbye Google" resources page to find good alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google!]
When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, and, or, Google and Amazon to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.
Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook's 'community guidelines' are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.
Simply put, Twitter, Facebook, Google (who owns YouTube) and Amazon appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.
Don't contribute to this assault on democracy: Stop using Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon as your default social media platforms and search engine! [CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.]
To repeat: a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.
We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over "misgendering" a man who claims to be a woman.
LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.
And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.
Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders (like President Trump) from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.
But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our 'Goodbye Google' Resources page.
The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!
This kind of manipulation poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.
So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon is to quit using their platform.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to pledge to stop using Twitter and Big Tech. Then, please CLICK HERE to find alternative search engines and social media platforms. Thank you!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
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'BREAKING: Twitter permanently bans President Trump from platform' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-twitter-permanently-bans-president-trump-from-platform
WATCH LifeSite's exclusive series - 'Big Tech vs Free Speech' - of interviews with experts on how Big Tech censorship is killing free speech: https://www.lifesitenews.com/bigtech/
From YouTube to social media and beyond, online censorship is rampant. Read the latest articles covering this ongoing struggle: https://lifefacts.lifesitenews.com/goodbye-google/censorship/
With former President Donald Trump banned from a slew social media platforms and conservative views increasingly targeted for removal from the public square, many people have quit mainstream communications apps and made the move to encrypted messaging services like Signal and Telegram, as well as free-speech social media alternatives like Rumble, Parler, and Gab.
“Tens of millions moved onto the Signal app for encrypted communications,” Gainor told LifeSite. “Suppose the employees, who have told management they don’t like the app being used this way, leak a backdoor to the government. Or install monitoring software. We might never know.”
Commercially-available encrypted messaging apps are not the same as encrypted services like the FBI’s covert platform “Anom,” which use specialized cell phones designed to thwart surveillance efforts in a way that goes “a step further than such commercial apps,” The Wall Street Journal notes.
But while commercial apps designed to protect users’ privacy don’t fit the same criteria as platforms which use special devices stripped of tracking features, the clever FBI sting operation perhaps suggests that encrypted messaging services may not be as secure as they appear.
“Trojan Shield is a reminder that all electronic communication could potentially be monitored,” Gainor said. “Phone calls, email, messaging and more. Our Brave New World has countless ways to invade our privacy and destroy our freedoms.”