How do kids end up with higher levels of weed killer?

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, may be accumulating in higher levels in kids than in their parents, according to a biomonitoring study by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), a nonprofit group focused on protecting people from toxins.1

Glyphosate has made headlines for landmark lawsuits, in which plaintiffs have been awarded billions in damages after juries agreed the chemical was responsible for their cancer diagnoses. Glyphosate is often associated with genetically engineered (GE) crops, as Roundup Ready GE crops are designed to survive direct dousing of Roundup.

This is a major usage for the chemical, but it’s not the only way people are being exposed. Glyphosate is also found in a staggering amount of non-GE foods, as it’s used as a desiccant, or drying agent, to speed up harvesting of non-GE grains and legumes.

As a result, popular foods among children, like breakfast cereal and oatmeal, may be among the most glyphosate-contaminated foods on the market, and could be driving up exposures in this vulnerable population.

Children are more exposed to glyphosate than adults

The CEH study involved 11 families who lived in California, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont. Urine samples from parents and children were tested for glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), the main metabolite of glyphosate, to reveal recent exposures to the chemical.

Only two of the people in the study (a parent and a child) were free from glyphosate, while the rest — 91% — had measurable quantities. Results for AMPA were similar.

When the level of glyphosate was factored in, in nine of the 12 parent-child pairs, the child’s body had higher concentrations of glyphosate than the adult. According to CEH, “We just completed a small study to help answer an important question: Are children more exposed to glyphosate than adults? Based on our results, the answer to this question is yes.”2

A probable human carcinogen and endocrine disrupter

It’s a concerning finding, as in 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer categorized glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” Further, evidence suggests pesticides are associated with chronic health conditions, including neurodevelopmental or behavioral problems, birth defects, asthma and cancer, in children.3

Glyphosate is also an endocrine disrupter, which may, “affect our body at extremely low levels,” Sue Chaing, the pollution prevention director at the CEH, said in a news release.4 In a 2018 report, CEH explained three key reasons why glyphosate’s endocrine-disrupting properties are especially dangerous for children:5

“One, they interfere with the body’s hormonal signals and processes in ways that can cause cancer, diabetes, strokes, and reproductive problems. Even more alarming is that EDCs [endocrine-disrupting chemicals] can cause health issues that are passed on to future generations.

The third key reason EDC exposure is so worrisome is that many of these chemicals appear to be most harmful in low, long-term exposures, the kind of dose one would be exposed to by eating foods containing trace amounts of glyphosate.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to EDC exposure as they are coming into contact with these chemicals precisely when their growing bodies are undergoing fundamental developmental processes mediated by hormones.”

What’s more, as noted in the journal Pediatrics, “[C]hildren’s unique behaviors and metabolic rate often place them at risk for absorption of higher doses from contaminated environments in comparison with adults.”6

Children, for instance, consume more food and fluids per pound of body weight compared to adults, making their exposure greater, relatively speaking. They also put their hands in their mouths more often and spend more time on the floor, where greater exposure to contamination via household dust and carpeting may occur.7

However, in kids it’s likely that greater consumption of glyphosate-contaminated foods targeting children could be a primary culprit in their increased levels compared to adults.

Lots of glyphosate-contaminated cereal is targeted at kids

Oat-based foods, such as oatmeal, cereals and bread, are common breakfast foods for kids, but many contain glyphosate residues. In testing done by Friends of the Earth (FOE), 100% of oat cereal samples tested positive for residues of glyphosate.8

For the study, 132 samples of house brands were tested, from more than 30 U.S. stores in 15 states. Residues of glyphosate and other pesticides — neonicotinoids and organophosphates — were found.

The average level of glyphosate in cereal samples was 360 parts per billion (ppb), which FOE noted is more than twice the level set by Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists for lifetime cancer risk in children. Some of the cereal samples contained residues as high as 931 ppb.

EWG has also commissioned glyphosate testing on oat-based cereal and snack products and found it in all 21 products tested. All but four of them came in higher than EWG’s benchmark for lifetime cancer risk in children.9

In previous EWG testing, 43 out of 45 food products made with conventionally grown oats tested positive for glyphosate, 31 of which had glyphosate levels higher than EWG scientists believe would be protective of children’s health.10

Examples of foods with glyphosate residues include Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch (833 ppb), Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios (400 ppb) and Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (312 to 566 ppb).11 In EWG’s first round of testing, the highest glyphosate level — 2,837 ppb — was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal.12

School cafeterias serving glyphosate-contaminated foods

CEH looked into how much glyphosate could be found in oat-based breakfast foods being served in K-12 schools across the U.S. In testing products often served for breakfast in school cafeterias, they found 70% contained glyphosate at concerning levels.

“Items found to contain the highest levels of the toxic herbicide include Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal and Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats. CEH did not find glyphosate residues in any of the certified organic cereals we tested,” CEH wrote.13 The last part is noteworthy, as research shows that eating organic leads to lower levels of pesticides in your body.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the diets of nearly 4,500 people living in six U.S. cities, assessing exposure levels to organophosphates (OPs), which are among the most commonly used insecticides on U.S. farms. Those who ate conventionally grown produce were found to have high concentrations of OP metabolites, whereas those who ate organic produce had significantly lower levels.14

Eating organic is one of the best ways to avoid food with glyphosate residues, but even then you may be exposed via other sources, as glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide on Earth.15 The data on just how much glyphosate is sprayed in the U.S. is mind boggling, and adds up to over 1.6 billion kilograms (3.5 billion pounds) applied since 1974.

This represents 19% of the glyphosate used globally during that time, and the majority (two-thirds of glyphosate applied from 1974 to 2014) has been applied in the last 10 years.16

Why eating organic oat-based foods is important

Roundup is “applied as a desiccant to most small nongenetically modified grains.” So for both GE crops and non-GE grains, glyphosate “is found in these crops at harvest.”17 The EPA has been raising the allowable level of glyphosate residue in foods, even as health concerns continue to mount. According to EWG:18

“The EPA’s legal limit on glyphosate residues is 30 parts per million, or ppm. The petition, joined by 18 industry leaders, asks the EPA to set a more protective standard of 0.1 ppm, which was the legal limit in 1993. Over the past 25 years, the EPA has increased the amount of glyphosate residue allowed on oats 300fold.

The first increase, to 20 ppm, was granted in response to a 1997 petition from Monsanto, when farmers around the world first began using glyphosate widely as a late-season drying agent.

It was increased to the current 30 ppm level in 2008. Since then, scientists have linked glyphosate to cancer, and researchers around the world have called for stricter limits on glyphosate exposures.”

A study in the Midwest found glyphosate in up to 93% of pregnant mothers,19 and it’s turning up virtually everywhere — in breastmilk, water,20 disposable diapers21 and even honey. This is why you should choose organic foods as much as possible, especially if your children eat oat-based foods.

The same holds true for pinto beans. In pinto beans, glyphosate levels were found up to 1,128 ppb, although average glyphosate levels were 509 ppb — 4.5 times higher than EWG’s benchmark.22

If you want to avoid glyphosate in your food, choose organic or biodynamically grown foods, which are not genetically engineered or sprayed with glyphosate as a desiccant. You can help to prompt change by reaching out to the companies that make your food. Let them know that you prefer foods without glyphosate residues — and are prepared to switch brands if necessary to find them.

CEH also recommends that parents contact their children’s schools and request organic foods and phasing out the use of glyphosate on school grounds.23 According to CEH:24

“Schools across the country are buying more organic food and ending the use of glyphosate on school grounds. Ask your school if they are interested! Towns and cities are also ending the use of glyphosate and other pesticides in parks and playgrounds. Ask your city councilor or other elected official if they want to join this growing movement.”

You can find out how much glyphosate is in your body

If you’re curious how much glyphosate is in your body, the Health Research Institute (HRI) in Iowa developed the glyphosate urine test kit, which will allow you to determine your own exposure to this toxic herbicide.

Ordering this kit automatically allows you to participate in the study and helps HRI better understand the extent of glyphosate exposure and contamination. In a few weeks, you will receive your results, along with information on how your results compare with others and what to do to help reduce your exposure.

We are providing these kits to you at no profit in order for you to participate in this environmental study. HRI is also in the process of doing hair testing for glyphosate, which is a better test for long-term exposure.

‘Star Wars’ protest against forced vaccinations in California

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened May 31, 2019 at Disneyland Resort in California, and a small group of “freedom fighters” staged a protest against forced vaccinations outside the entrance. Dressed as Star Wars characters and holding signs in protest against mandatory vaccinations, the protestors took the opportunity to demonstrate against this violation of informed consent rights. As the video explains:

“A small group of freedom fighters took this opportunity to spread truth about the sinister mandatory vaccination laws plaguing the nation. These activists stood in front of all entrances to Disneyland holding signs exposing the truth about the vaccine program.

No one entering the park that day could avoid moving past these activists and the truth they came to spread in hopes to restore freedom to the galaxy.”

Why is Disney an opportune place to learn about vaccinations?

The activists likely chose the location because crowds of up to 200,000 people were expected to visit the theme park that day,1 presenting an opportunity to gain lots of exposure.

The fact remains that a number of states are eliminating conscientious, philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions, leaving only medical exemptions signed by a state-approved doctor or other medical worker — but, according to federal vaccine use guidelines, almost no health condition qualifies for a medical exemption.

In June 2019, New Yorker parents lost their right to obtain a vaccine exemption for religious belief for their children to attend school. Earlier in the year, the Washington legislature voted to remove the personal belief exemption for the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Effective September 1, 2021, parents in Maine will not be able to send their children to school with a religious or philosophical belief vaccine exemption as well.2

“The legal right to obtain a flexible medical, religious and conscientious or philosophical belief vaccine exemption is being threatened in many states with bills proposing to severely restrict or remove exemptions from vaccine mandates,” the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) explains.3

This violates your right to informed consent, which means you have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical intervention and the freedom to make a voluntary decision about whether or not to accept those risks without being coerced or punished for your decision.

The right to make an informed decision about any and all medical procedures, including vaccination, is essential for personal freedom as well as individual health, especially in light of research that shows some people are more susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccines than others. According to a 2012 report from the Institute of Medicine:4

“Both epidemiologic and mechanistic research suggest that most individuals who experience an adverse reaction to vaccines have a preexisting susceptibility.

These predispositions can exist for a number of reasons — genetic variants (in human or microbiome DNA), environmental exposures, behaviors, intervening illness, or developmental stage, to name just a few — all of which can interact …

Some of these adverse reactions are specific to the particular vaccine, while others may not be. Some of these predispositions may be detectable prior to the administration of vaccine; others, at least with current technology and practice, are not. Moreover, the occurrence of the adverse event is often the first sign of the underlying condition that confers susceptibility.”

Some Disney ‘measles’ cases may have been vaccine reactions

In early 2015, Disneyland was the site of a measles outbreak5 that brought the state’s vaccine exemptions into the spotlight. However, a portion of those affected may have been experiencing a reaction to the live virus measles vaccine.

In a Journal of Clinical Microbiology paper, researchers described new technology developed to “rapidly distinguish between measles cases and vaccine reactions to avoid unnecessary outbreak response measures such as case isolation and contact investigations.” According to the paper:6

“During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccinees. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences.”

In other words, 37.6% of suspected measles cases in the 2015 Disneyland measles scare in California were actually vaccine strain measles infections and not caused by transmission of wild-type measles.

The CDC currently recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine; the first dose is recommended between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second dose between 4 and 6 years. The second dose was recommended starting in 1989, “in response to instances of primary vaccine failure of one dose.”7

Measles outbreaks in the U.S. highlight increasing instances of vaccine failure and some have called for a third “booster” dose of MMR. But here’s an important distinction: While there is an assumption that getting a second or third “booster” dose of MMR will “boost” immunity to the diseases, this may or may not be the case.

Provided a person has already responded to the first MMR vaccination, there is a question about whether a second or third dose will give a “boost” in vaccine-acquired immunity that is long-lasting.

According to the CDC, “Although some persons who develop normal antibody titers in response to a single dose of MMR vaccine will develop higher antibody titers to the three component vaccines when administered a second dose of vaccine, these increased antibody levels typically do not persist.”8

In other words, if you already responded to the first MMR dose, getting a second (and perhaps third) may not typically give you any more or longer-lasting protection.

Medical vaccine exemptions under fire in California

The 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak led to legislation in California to limit parents’ ability to make voluntary vaccine choices for their children. SB 277 became law June 30, 2015, prohibiting parents from sending their children to day care centers and schools with a personal belief exemption for religious or philosophical beliefs.9

This year, SB 276 was introduced to further tighten the last remaining vaccine exemption — the medical exemption — to a small list of contraindications approved by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Further, state department of public health officials — not a child’s personal physician — would have the ultimate say in whether a child’s health condition meets the CDC’s guidelines to qualify for a medical vaccine exemption.

It’s estimated that nearly half of children who are currently attending day care or schools with medical vaccine exemptions may be denied entry this school year if the new bill becomes law. The bill has been met with an outcry from parents, especially parents of children who have suffered vaccine reactions or are already vaccine injured and who may now be forced to receive all state-mandated vaccinations in order to attend public school or daycare.

“Someone like my daughter, who suffered 16 seizures after her first and only vaccination, would not qualify,” Michelle Sabino of Orange County told the Los Angeles Times. “She would be forced to be vaccinated in order to attend kindergarten.”10

Homeschooling booming as vax mandates increase

California’s increasingly restrictive vaccine mandates may not be having the intended effect of forcing more children to get vaccinated, as some parents are instead choosing to homeschool their children.

According to a Los Angeles Times investigation of California state data, there were 6,741 home-schooled unvaccinated kindergartners in California during the 2018-2019 school year, compared to 1,880 during the 2016-2017 school year.11

Nationwide, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the percentage of students who were homeschooled doubled from 1999 to 2012, rising from 1.7% to 3.4%. As of 2016, 3.3% of U.S. students in grades K to 12 were homeschooled.12

There is some debate as to whether vaccination mandates are a driving force in rising homeschooling rates. Some parents, for instance, cite academic standards as their primary driver in seeking alternative schooling. Still, for some parents already interested in homeschooling, California’s strict vaccine requirements could be the catalyst that persuades them to opt out of enrolling their children in public school.

“Those who do opt to home-school have been considering it [for other reasons] already, and the legislation would be the final push that they need to make that leap,” Julie Schiffman, a homeschooling mom in California, told the Los Angeles Times.13

That being said, not all homeschooled children are unvaccinated. One study suggested 38% of homeschooled families had fully vaccinated children while 56% reported partial vaccination and just 6% said their children had received no vaccines.14

Yet another report, published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, suggested homeschooled families should be targeted with vaccine mandates and not allowed to make medical decisions for their own children. Some are suggesting that parents of homeschooled unvaccinated children should be charged with neglect and their children barred from school activities as a coercive incentive for compliance:15

“States should encourage parents to get their homeschooled students vaccinated through enacting the same laws as those used for public school students. This could be done by enforcing current laws through neglect petitions or by requiring that children be immunized before participating in school sponsored programs.

As most states require some filing to allow parents to homeschool their children, it would be easy to enact laws requiring that homeschooled children be immunized or exempted before completing registration.”

Watch ACIP make your pharma choices

In the video above, you can watch the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) discuss the hepatitis B vaccine. ACIP tells the CDC which vaccines should be included on the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. As you can see, when asked for data on using this vaccine at the same time as other adjuvanted vaccines, they had “no data to make a recommendation one way or the other.”

Despite this, the vote was unanimous in favor of adding the vaccination to the schedule. The CDC states, “Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages,”16 but this isn’t the whole truth, problems ranging from inadequate testing to questionable testing are rampant.

For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil is supposed to prevent infection by certain strains of HPV virus, which in rare cases may cause cervical cancer if left untreated.

However, trial data from Merck shows that Gardasil vaccinations may actually increase your risk of cervical cancer by 44.6% if you have been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior to vaccination.17 ACIP has also been plagued by conflicts of interest. As noted by Children’s Health Defense:18

” … [F]our out of eight members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) ‘who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.'”

You have a right to informed consent

Demonstrations like the Star Wars-themed protest are increasingly necessary because there’s an ongoing effort to shut down all public discussion about vaccines and their side effects, as an increasing number of vaccinations are added to the childhood schedule. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of NVIC:19

“For children born in America in 1983, the federal government recommended 23 doses of seven vaccines given between two months and 6 years old. Today, the child vaccination schedule is 69 doses of 16 vaccines given between the day of birth and age 18, with 50 doses administered before age 6, at a current price tag of more than $3,000 per child.

… For children born in America in the years to come, that vaccine list and cost could double or triple.

The World Health Organization is encouraging drug companies to fast-track more than a dozen new ‘priority’ vaccines to market for children, pregnant women and adults — and you can be sure industry will lobby governments to mandate all of them — respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), streptococcus A & B, HIV, herpes simplex virus, gonorrhea, E-coli, Shigella, Salmonella, tuberculosis, malaria and more.

Where is the scientific evidence to support the assumption that forcing everyone to use more and more vaccines to atypically manipulate our immune systems and repeatedly provoke inflammatory responses in our bodies throughout life will produce better health for all?”

This is precisely the point, and the reason why vaccine choice is a necessity — one that defines the freedoms that the U.S. was founded upon.

How Google threatens your children

Google is without a doubt the largest and clearest monopoly on the planet. It dominates online searches and advertising,1,2 which in and of itself leads to automatic bias. As noted by Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page in their 1998 paper,3 “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” “… [W]e expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of consumers.”

Google has also infiltrated many other areas of our day-to-day lives, having acquired dozens of other companies4 you might not realize belong to Google or its parent company, Alphabet.

Among the most well-known are YouTube, the largest video platform on the web, and Android, one of the most popular operating systems worldwide.5,6 Google also has significant influence over urban development,7 health care8,9 and childhood education.

Google has become ubiquitous in American classrooms

Google’s influence over young children has been a concern for years. As noted in a 2014 article10 in the International Business Times, “How Google Took Over the American Classroom and Is Creating a Gmail generation”:

“Google apps, services and increasingly, Chromebooks, have become ubiquitous in the American classroom and it’s not hard to understand why: they require no expensive hardware, they never need to be updated, and they’re free, an important consideration for cash-strapped districts …

South Carolina’s Richland School District 2 boasts 22,000 Chromebooks, which covers a student populace nearing 27,000, who also use Google Apps.

That makes for a sizeable student population that will become accustomed to utilizing Google services … ‘Education is at the core of Google’s mission — to remove the four walls of the classroom and make the world’s information accessible to all students,’ a Google spokeswoman said.”

Google will know everything about your child

However, for all its conveniences, Google poses a very real threat to all these children. As noted in a 2017 article11 in The New York Times — which details the strategic moves that allowed Google to take over the American classroom — “schools may be giving Google more than they are getting: generations of future customers.”

In 2012, less than 1% of the tablets and laptops used in the U.S. school system were Google Chromebooks. By 2015, more than half the devices sold to K-12 schools were Chromebooks, equipped with a free suite of Google apps and education-specific programs.12

When you consider Google’s primary business is tracking, compiling, storing and selling personal data, by capturing children at an early age, it will be able to build the most comprehensive personality profiles of the population ever conceived — and there’s no opt-out feature for this data gathering.13 As reported by The Washington Post in 2015:14

“… [I]n a filing with the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued Google is tracking nearly everything students are doing when they are signed into their Google accounts and, in some cases, using that information to build profiles and serve them targeted ads in certain Google programs.”

By the time these children have grown into adulthood, every single preference, thought, belief and proclivity will be known about them, which will make them extremely vulnerable to manipulation, not only through targeted advertising15 but also through what might be called customized censorship or targeted social engineering — in essence, the strategy of tailoring the information any given individual can see in order to shape and mold their prejudices and ideas. The Washington Post writes:16

“Google makes $30 per device by selling management services for the millions of Chromebooks that ship to schools. But by habituating students to its offerings at a young age, Google obtains something much more valuable.

Every year, several million American students graduate from high school. And not only does Google make it easy for those who have school Google accounts to upload their trove of school Gmail, Docs and other files to regular Google consumer accounts — but schools encourage them to do so …

That doesn’t sit well with some parents. They warn that Google could profit by using personal details from their children’s school email to build more powerful marketing profiles of them as young adults …

Unlike Apple or Microsoft, which make money primarily by selling devices or software services, Google derives most of its revenue from online advertising — much of it targeted through sophisticated use of people’s data …

‘Unless we know what is collected, why it is collected, how it is used and a review of it is possible, we can never understand with certainty how this information could be used to help or hurt a kid,’ said Bill Fitzgerald of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy group, who vets the security and privacy of classroom apps.”

Google teaches children to trust the least trustworthy

While most adults are now at least somewhat aware that Google is spying on their every move and selling their personal data, children are simply too young to understand the long-term ramifications of this pervasive data gathering. (To get an idea of the kind of information tracked and stored, see “What Kind of Information Does Google and Facebook Have on You?”)

Children are extremely vulnerable to influence of all kinds, and Google is taking full advantage of this. As pointed out by a Berkeley, California, teacher in a May 2018 article in The Outline:17

“The video game Interland is part of Google’s ‘Be Internet Awesome’ curriculum aimed at ‘helping kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world’ … The game’s release was met with positive reviews that completely miss the point …

Interland sells to kids the message that Google is a trustworthy arbiter of online safety and privacy. And Interland is only one of many ways this message has become increasingly embedded in K-12 school classrooms …

Beyond datamining, some parents and privacy advocates have expressed concern that even when kids are explicitly taught how to safeguard their personal information online, school-mandated Chromebooks and Google accounts implicitly train kids to accept surveillance and hand over personal information …

Be Internet Awesome implicitly signals to students that Google is synonymous with privacy and safety. By focusing solely on personal choices, the program suggests that the power to protect personal information lies entirely within one’s own hands and locates responsibility for doing so with the individual.

There’s nothing wrong with telling students not to send money to someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince but for most people, most of the time, there is greater danger in all the usual and perfectly legal ways of persuading us to part with our money …

[J]ust as the greater threat to our privacy, as anyone compromised in the Experian hack can tell you, comes not from, or not only from, crappy passwords but from numerous ways we are tracked without our permission or knowledge.”

Google and third parties have access to your Gmail

One particularly offensive invasion of privacy is Google’s snooping into Gmail emails. According to a July 2018 Wall Street Journal report,18 Google allows hundreds of third-party software developers to access the emails of Gmail users, and they’re not necessarily just using software to scan for keywords. In some cases, employees are actually going in and reading the emails.

“One of those companies is Return Path Inc., which collects data for marketers by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Path’s partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address,” The Wall Street Journal writes.19

“Computers normally do the scanning, analyzing about 100 million emails a day. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company’s software, people familiar with the episode say.

In another case, employees of Edison Software, another Gmail developer that makes a mobile app for reading and organizing email, personally reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new feature, says Mikael Berner, the company’s CEO.

Letting employees read user emails has become ‘common practice’ for companies that collect this type of data, says Thede Loder, the former chief technology officer at eDataSource Inc. … Neither Return Path nor Edison asked users specifically whether it could read their emails. Both companies say the practice is covered by their user agreement …

Neither Return Path nor Edison mentions the possibility of humans viewing users’ emails in their privacy policies. Mr. Berner says he believes Edison’s privacy policy covers this practice by telling users the company collects and stores personal messages to improve its artificial-intelligence algorithms.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Gmail has 1.4 billion users worldwide — “more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.”20 While Google claims to have stopped scanning Gmail emails for the purpose of creating targeted advertising after being slapped with a class-action lawsuit in 2017, accusing the company of illegal wiretapping, it seems quite clear privacy is not a guarantee when using Gmail for your personal or business correspondence.

Making matters worse, while Google’s developer agreement does not allow third-parties to store, make permanent copies of, or expose a user’s private data, Google doesn’t emphasize enforcement of those policies, developers told The Wall Street Journal.

Is Google developing dossiers on children? You bet

Getting back to your children, is Google developing personality dossiers on them? According to a 2017 report21 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit focused on “defending civil liberties in the digital world,” the answer is yes. As reported in its executive summary:

“Throughout EFF’s investigation over the past two years, we have found that educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely.

This privacy-implicating information goes beyond personally identifying information (PII) like name and date of birth, and can include browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, and behavioral information.

Some programs upload this student data to the cloud automatically and by default. All of this often happens without the awareness or consent of students and their families.

In short, technology providers are spying on students — and school districts, which often provide inadequate privacy policies or no privacy policy at all, are unwittingly helping them do it.”

Your child’s school may be spying on your home life too

PJ Media reports22 there have also been incidents where school employees have remotely accessed students’ computers while in their homes. This surprising trend was revealed by the ACLU in the summer of 2017. In a June 15 article on, Marcela Betancur writes:23

“Most Rhode Island school districts participate in ‘1-1’ programs — in which third parties provide free laptop devices to students for the school year … We recently found out that most of the state’s participating schools give themselves the ability to remotely spy on their students through these loaned devices.

We published our findings early this month in a report24 titled ‘High School Non-Confidential: How School-Loaned Computers May Be Peering Into Your Home’ … The report found that more than 60 percent of Rhode Island school districts today participate in the 1-1 program.

It also discovered that a majority of those districts allow school officials or administrators to remotely access the device — while a student is at home, without their knowledge, and without any suspicion of misconduct.

We know from an outrageous Pennsylvania case,25 in which school administrators were found to have activated webcams to spy on students in their homes, that this obvious privacy concern is not hypothetical. Yet only six districts specifically stated in their policies that they would not remotely access the webcams or microphones of devices distributed through the programs.”

When it comes to potential privacy invasions by your child’s school, you’ll need to address such concerns with school administrators. There are, however, some ways to limit the amount of information Google can gather on your child. In its January 23, 2018, issue under “How to keep Google From Spying on Your Kid’s Chromebook,”26 Laptop Magazine provides detailed instructions on which settings to check or uncheck to minimize the data flow.

Google Chrome is an open-door invitation for spying

If you value your privacy at all you will want to STOP USING CHROME immediately. I installed the Brave browser earlier this year and it already has blocked one quarter million ads and 34,000 trackers.

In a June 21, 2019, article,27 Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey Fowler highlights the problems with Google Chrome specifically, noting that in one weeklong web surfing experiment, Chrome “ushered more than 11,000 tracker cookies into our browser,” and that “Seen from the inside, [Google’s] Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.”

The experiment led Fowler to switch to Mozilla’s Firefox browser, in which privacy protection is the default. In Fowler’s weeklong test, Firefox automatically blocked 11,189 tracker requests — cookies that companies and data tracking firms use to gather information about the websites you visit in order to build your personality profile.

Surprisingly, Fowler discovered tracking cookies from websites “you would think would be private,” such as Aetna and the Federal Student Aid department. Both “surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages,” Fowler writes.

He also discovered that Chrome automatically logs you in whenever you use Gmail, thereby allowing Google to track your activity and collect information for personalized ads without your knowledge (since you didn’t specifically log in). When doing an online search using Chrome on your Android cellphone, it also shares your location with Google, even if you’ve turned off location sharing.

“At a minimum, Web snooping can be annoying. Cookies are how a pair of pants you look at in one site end up following you around in ads elsewhere. More fundamentally, your Web history — like the color of your underpants — ain’t nobody’s business but your own. Letting anyone collect that data leaves it ripe for abuse by bullies, spies and hackers,” Fowler writes,28 adding:

“There are ways to defang Chrome, which is much more complicated than just using ‘Incognito Mode.’ But it’s much easier to switch to a browser not owned by an advertising company … I’ve chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple’s Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser29 goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.”

Google plan: Dictate outcome of 2020 presidential election

Google (or more accurately, Alphabet, the rebranded parent company that houses all of the various divisions) has become a gigantic octopus-like super entity, the tentacles of which reach into government, food production, health care, education, military applications and the creation of AIs that may run more or less independently.

A key component of many of these enterprises is data — your personal usage data; the tracking of every webpage you’ve ever visited and every single thought you’ve ever written on a Google-enabled device, along with geo tracking your every move.

Ultimately, what can be done with that kind of information, besides personalized advertising? How might it be used in combination with military AI-equipped robots? How might it be used to influence your health care decisions? How might it be used to influence your lifestyle decisions?

How might (or is) it used to shape politics and society at large? As reported June 24, 2019, by Project Veritas,30 undercover footage shows Google executive Jen Gennai making statements that raise strong suspicions about the company’s intent to manipulate the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. The video caught the attention of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who issued a statement:31

“This video shows Google’s biases are now a threat to a free and fair election, all while they hide behind the immunity given by Congress years ago when they were supposed to be a simple ‘town square’ where everyone’s voice could be heard without biased results.

In fact, Google references a significant role they see themselves fulfilling in the 2020 elections. This discovery should set off alarm bells throughout the country. It is no secret that Google has a political agenda. Multiple brave tech insiders have stepped forward and exposed Google’s censorship of content and specialized algorithms.

This media giant’s ‘social justice narrative’ should distress all Americans who value a free and open society. Google should not be deciding whether content is important or trivial and they most assuredly should not be meddling in our election process. They need their immunity stripped and to be properly pursued by class action lawsuits by those they have knowingly harmed.”

As discussed in “Google Buries Mercola in Their Latest Search Engine Update” Part 1 and Part 2, the holistic health community as a whole has most definitely been harmed by Google’s censorship and search algorithms, but we’re likely just the beginning. Given time, there’s no doubt in my mind the online censorship will spread across all fields of endeavor, eliminating views deemed to be in opposition to its goals and financial aims.

It’s time to dethrone Google

Today, being a conscious consumer includes making wise, informed decisions about technology. Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time pondering the ramifications of Google’s ever-growing monopoly over our day-to-day lives is likely to shudder at the possibilities, and agree that we cannot allow this to continue. To be part of the solution, I encourage you to take the following actions:

Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:

? Stop using Google search engines. Alternatives include DuckDuckGo32 and Startpage33

? Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave or Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.34 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN service (virtual private network) to further preserve your privacy

? If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service such as ProtonMail,35 an encrypted email service based in Switzerland

? Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives36

? If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts

Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition created by Citizens Against Monopoly