The Most Important Report About the USS Fitzgerald Collision.

The Collision between the USS Fitzgerald, DDG 62 and the ACX Crystal, a container ship, that resulted in seven sailor’s deaths and nearly sunk the US Navy ship is a continuing mystery. The great mystery is still the time it happened. There is a one-hour discrepancy.  The really big story is how the container ship was able to approach the Fitzgerald give that ships array of detection devices that are designed to detect approaching missiles let alone a 39,000 ton deadweight container ship that was ten stories high above the water line.

I was a sailor and was a forward lookout and helmsman as part of my underway duties. As a forward lookout, I scanned the sea from my perch above the bridge from port to starboard forward, that is the direction we were steaming. On a clear night, such as the one during the collision, visibility was excellent. The ACX Crystal could not be missed as shops are very well illuminated. I once sighted a masthead light 11 miles away, even before radar detected the ship it was attached to. That was a light bulb 11 miles away.  AS  helmsman, I executed the orders from the Officer of the Deck. On the Fitzgerald, that would have been a “Rudder hard left” or right, to avoid a collision. Didn’t happen on the Fitzgerald.

The attached article gets to that point as an early report said the ACX Crystal was running dark. That still does not answer the question of why the Fitzgerald did not see the ACX Crystal on the radar. The warship had several systems to protect it.  That suggests a systems failure on the Fitzgerald. We’ll hear more about that later.

Here is the message from the mother of a Fitzgerlad sailor.

Was the ACX Crystal running dark and silent before collision?

Ok, this falls solidly under rumor until otherwise noted.

From The American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/06/something_is_fishy_about_uss_fitzgerald_story_we_are_getting_from_the_media.html#.WUa-NP4Ztn5.facebook

We received an email from a Navy Mother that raises serious questions. We will redact her name, while the rumors (and that’s how they must be categorized for now) reported by her son aboard the Fitzgerald are checked out. Here is what she wrote to us:

My son is assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. I am unable to share his rate with you.

The information is short and not so sweet. The implications are disturbing.

The ship is registered in the Philippines. We do not know who the owner is. The container ship neither had its running lights or transponder on. That is an action taken willfully. Furthermore, for the container ship to strike with such accuracy is troublesome. Given what some have done with cars in Europe, what a feather in the cap it would be to sink a U.S. Navy warship. Think on that.

My son missed being washed out to sea by the blink of an eye. He was on his way to one of the berthing areas that was rammed.

Yes, language is important. “Rammed” is the perfect word.

Loving and Concerned Navy Mother

The ACX Crystal had reportedly made a radical course change previous to the collision. So if there is any truth to the allegations made above, it really does make the actions of whoever was running the cargo ship look more than a little sinister. Again, this is all falling under rumor, but it should be interesting to see the results of the investigation.

 

USS Fitzgerald Deliberately Rammed

The USS Fitzgerald DDG-62 an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, was rammed and nearly sunk by a container ship south of Japan. The collision took place in crowded waters at 2:30 AM local time, 57 miles off shore. The container ship, of Philippine registry that indicates nothing of its ownership or control, was running with lights off and had made a number of radical course changes just prior to impact.  This was a deliberate attack on the US navy ship.

Something is fishy about USS Fitzgerald story we are getting from the media

Under no circumstances should a US Navy vessel possibly be damaged by a container ship at sea. Multiple systems exist to prevent this. Even CNN is noticing how little we know about the catastrophe that took the lives of seven sailors and almost caused a powerful warship to founder.

The USS Fitzgerald, an anti-ballistic missile destroyer that was part of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, will no longer be ready to defend the carrier and other ships from missile attacks launched from North Korea, should push come to shove in the current confrontation with the rogue regime on the threshold of the capability to attack New York, Los Angeles, and our power grid with nuclear missiles.  This is an incident that could affect the outcome of a nuclear confrontation of historic moment.

Brian Joondeph yesterday noted how the media have distorted what really happened, by reporting a “collision,” as if the ships randomly bumped each other in the fog or something. The truth is that the ACX Crystal, a ship with somewhat murky provenance, rammed into the Fitzgerald with calamitous results:

[Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin of the 7th fleet] described the damage as “extensive,” adding that there was a big puncture and gash below the waterline on one side of the ship. He also said three compartments were severely damaged.

“The ship is salvageable … [it] will require some significant repair,” Aucoin said. “You will see the USS Fitzgerald back … It will take months, hopefully under a year.”

Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby describes for CNN the extent of the chaos unleashed:

First, we know the crew fought heroically to save their ship and the lives of their shipmates. We know that from early reports by Navy officials but also from the images that flashed across our screens, our tablets and our phones after the incident happened early Saturday.

One look at the crushed, twisted starboard side, the hoses flaked about, the water being discharged, the frantic work being done tells you all you need to know about the stuff you can’t see in those same images: a fiercely brave crew working together to staunch the flooding, to rescue their shipmates and to save their ship.

You can be certain they ended up drenched, exhausted, scraped and bruised — but not broken. They kept that ship from foundering for 16 brutal hours. And they brought her back into port.

We received an email from a Navy Mother that raises serious questions. We will redact her name, while the rumors (and that’s how they must be categorized for now) reported by her son aboard the Fitzgerald are checked out. Here is what she wrote to us:

My son is assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. I am unable to share his rate with you.

The information is short and not so sweet. The implications are disturbing.

The ship is registered in the Philippines. We do not know who the owner is. The container ship neither had its running lights or transponder on. That is an action taken willfully. Furthermore, for the container ship to strike with such accuracy is troublesome. Given what some have done with cars in Europe, what a feather in the cap it would be to sink a U.S. Navy warship. Think on that.

My son missed being washed out to sea by the blink of an eye. He was on his way to one of the berthing areas that was rammed.

Yes, language is important. “Rammed” is the perfect word.

Loving and Concerned Navy Mother

If there is any substance to this – that the ACX Crystal disabled protective systems and rammed the Fitzgerald at high speed aimed at crtical facilities (evident from the damage)

…we have to consider the possibility of an asymmetric warfare attack designed to disable missile defense of a carrier strike group, as North Korea demonstrates the ability to make exactly such attacks on a multibillion dollar warship carrying thousands of sailors.

Under no circumstances should a US Navy vessel possibly be damaged by a container ship at sea. Multiple systems exist to prevent this. Even CNN is noticing how little we know about the catastrophe that took the lives of seven sailors and almost caused a powerful warship to founder.

The USS Fitzgerald, an anti-ballistic missile destroyer that was part of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, will no longer be ready to defend the carrier and other ships from missile attacks launched from North Korea, should push come to shove in the current confrontation with the rogue regime on the threshold of the capability to attack New York, Los Angeles, and our power grid with nuclear missiles.  This is an incident that could affect the outcome of a nuclear confrontation of historic moment.

Brian Joondeph yesterday noted how the media have distorted what really happened, by reporting a “collision,” as if the ships randomly bumped each other in the fog or something. The truth is that the ACX Crystal, a ship with somewhat murky provenance, rammed into the Fitzgerald with calamitous results:

[Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin of the 7th fleet] described the damage as “extensive,” adding that there was a big puncture and gash below the waterline on one side of the ship. He also said three compartments were severely damaged.

“The ship is salvageable … [it] will require some significant repair,” Aucoin said. “You will see the USS Fitzgerald back … It will take months, hopefully under a year.”

Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby describes for CNN the extent of the chaos unleashed:

First, we know the crew fought heroically to save their ship and the lives of their shipmates. We know that from early reports by Navy officials but also from the images that flashed across our screens, our tablets and our phones after the incident happened early Saturday.

One look at the crushed, twisted starboard side, the hoses flaked about, the water being discharged, the frantic work being done tells you all you need to know about the stuff you can’t see in those same images: a fiercely brave crew working together to staunch the flooding, to rescue their shipmates and to save their ship.

You can be certain they ended up drenched, exhausted, scraped and bruised — but not broken. They kept that ship from foundering for 16 brutal hours. And they brought her back into port.

We received an email from a Navy Mother that raises serious questions. We will redact her name, while the rumors (and that’s how they must be categorized for now) reported by her son aboard the Fitzgerald are checked out. Here is what she wrote to us:

My son is assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. I am unable to share his rate with you.

The information is short and not so sweet. The implications are disturbing.

The ship is registered in the Philippines. We do not know who the owner is. The container ship neither had its running lights or transponder on. That is an action taken willfully. Furthermore, for the container ship to strike with such accuracy is troublesome. Given what some have done with cars in Europe, what a feather in the cap it would be to sink a U.S. Navy warship. Think on that.

My son missed being washed out to sea by the blink of an eye. He was on his way to one of the berthing areas that was rammed.

Yes, language is important. “Rammed” is the perfect word.

Loving and Concerned Navy Mother

If there is any substance to this – that the ACX Crystal disabled protective systems and rammed the Fitzgerald at high speed aimed at crtical facilities (evident from the damage)

…we have to consider the possibility of an asymmetric warfare attack designed to disable missile defense of a carrier strike group, as North Korea demonstrates the ability to make exactly such attacks on a multibillion dollar warship carrying thousands of sailors.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/06/something_is_fishy_about_uss_fitzgerald_story_we_are_getting_from_the_media.html#ixzz4kN7JuYv2
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

Science fights back against the global warming fraud

It has taken far too long, but the self-correcting mechanisms of science finally are contradicting the global warming fraud. Despite billions of dollars of grants for those who support the so-called “consensus” (itself, a lie), and the fear of retaliation, scholars interested in the truth are publishing a wave of scientific papers contradicting the orthodoxy.

Best of all: President Trump’s EPA chief has signaled that he sees that questioning of scientific hypotheses (and all scientific knowledge ultimately is a hypothesis, awaiting a possible correction based on new information) is legitimate.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reignited a long simmering debate over a method of scientific inquiry that could upset the supposed “consensus” on man-made global warming.

In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak on Monday, Pruitt said he supported a “red team-blue team” set up to test climate science. Pruitt was inspired by an op-ed by theoretical physicist Steven Koonin, but others have been pushing this idea as well.

The team that will question the orthodoxy is seeing a wave of evidence come its way.

Kenneth Richards writes:

Just in the last few weeks alone, another 20 scientific papers were identified which link solar variations to climate changes, which means 58 papers have already been published in 2017.

Since solar activity does vary, it kind of makes more intuitive sense that this might affect climate more than the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Occam’s Razor favors this explanation. Check out this graph that Richards highlights:

It’s at least as convincing as the phony, uncorrected Hockey Stick that had to “hide the decline.” Sure, it is one study, and it is Finland (very far north), but there 58 papers this year, already. I am guessing that it might be easier to make the case that the sun has the major influence on climate than to make the case for CO2.

The No Tricks Zone has catalogued 650 skeptic scientific papers already, and as we see, the wave is growing larger.

The huge problem for the Warmists is that “cutting edge research” now works against them.

It has taken far too long, but the self-correcting mechanisms of science finally are contradicting the global warming fraud. Despite billions of dollars of grants for those who support the so-called “consensus” (itself, a lie), and the fear of retaliation, scholars interested in the truth are publishing a wave of scientific papers contradicting the orthodoxy.

Best of all: President Trump’s EPA chief has signaled that he sees that questioning of scientific hypotheses (and all scientific knowledge ultimately is a hypothesis, awaiting a possible correction based on new information) is legitimate.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reignited a long simmering debate over a method of scientific inquiry that could upset the supposed “consensus” on man-made global warming.

In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak on Monday, Pruitt said he supported a “red team-blue team” set up to test climate science. Pruitt was inspired by an op-ed by theoretical physicist Steven Koonin, but others have been pushing this idea as well.

The team that will question the orthodoxy is seeing a wave of evidence come its way.

Kenneth Richards writes:

Just in the last few weeks alone, another 20 scientific papers were identified which link solar variations to climate changes, which means 58 papers have already been published in 2017.

Since solar activity does vary, it kind of makes more intuitive sense that this might affect climate more than the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Occam’s Razor favors this explanation. Check out this graph that Richards highlights:

It’s at least as convincing as the phony, uncorrected Hockey Stick that had to “hide the decline.” Sure, it is one study, and it is Finland (very far north), but there 58 papers this year, already. I am guessing that it might be easier to make the case that the sun has the major influence on climate than to make the case for CO2.

The No Tricks Zone has catalogued 650 skeptic scientific papers already, and as we see, the wave is growing larger.

The huge problem for the Warmists is that “cutting edge research” now works against them.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/06/science_fights_back_against_the_global_warming_fraud.html#ixzz4jhd9ZBQr
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

Rod Carew’s Heart

Rodney Carew played for the Twins when I also worked for that team. We were and remain friends. This article by Scott Johnson is very interesting.

 

 

THE HEART OF ROD CAREW

You may have heard that former baseball great Rod Carew needed a new heart after a massive heart attack in 2015. I was vaguely aware that he recently had a heart transplant. Listening to Rod talk in the booth during the broadcast of the Twins game against the Angels in Anaheim on Thursday night, I understood from Rod’s comments that the story behind the transplant had taken a few twists and turns.

Rod mentioned crying a lot. The backstory wasn’t entirely clear.

Rod seemed to be saying that he had coincidentally met the young man who was his donor when he was in high school and that the young man had bragged in creative ways the rest of the day about having met Rod Carew. He talked about connecting with the young man’s family after he had received his heart.

Looking around online, I found that all becomes clear in the moving April 2017 Los Angeles Times story by Mike DiGiovanna: “NFL player Konrad Reuland died at 29. But his heart saved baseball legend Rod Carew.” What a story. If you missed it, you may find it of interest. It gives you, as they say, something — actually, many things — to think about.

Trump As Roman Emperor

Trump… Our Claudius

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Roman Emperor Claudius, who reigned from 41 to 54 AD, was never supposed to be emperor. He came to office at age 50, an old man in Roman times. Claudius succeeded the charismatic, youthful heartthrob Caligula—son of the beloved Germanicus and the “little boot” who turned out to be a narcissist monster before being assassinated in office.

Claudius was an unusual emperor, the first to be born outside Italy, in Roman Gaul. Under the Augustan Principate, new Caesars—who claimed direct lineage from the “divine” Augustus—were usually rubber-stamped by the toadyish Senate. However, the outsider Claudius (who had no political training and was prevented by his uncle Tiberius from entering the cursus honorum), was brought into power by the Roman Praetorian Guard, who wanted a change from the status quo apparat of the Augustan dynasty.

The Roman aristocracy—most claiming some sort of descent from Julius Caesar and his grandnephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus)—had long written Claudius off as a hopeless dolt. Claudius limped, the result of a childhood disease or genetic impairment. His mother Antonia, ashamed of his habits and appearance, called the youthful Claudius “a monster of man.” He was likely almost deaf and purportedly stuttered.

That lifelong disparagement of his appearance and mannerisms probably saved Claudius’s life in the dynastic struggles during the last years of the Emperor Augustus and the subsequent reigns of the emperors Tiberius and Caligula.

The stereotyped impression of Claudius was that of a simpleton not to be taken seriously—and so no one did. Claudius himself claimed that he feigned acting differently in part so that he would not be targeted by enemies before he assumed power, and to unnerve them afterwards.

Contemporary critics laughed at his apparent lack of eloquence and rhetorical mastery, leading some scholars to conjecture that he may have suffered from Tourette syndrome or a form of autism. The court biographer Suetonius wrote that Claudius “was now careful and shrewd, sometimes hasty and inconsiderate, occasionally silly and like a crazy man.”

Sound familiar?

Roman intellectuals hated Claudius, who hit back blow-for-blow at them for their slights and snark, and showed no mercy to plotters and conspiracists. After Claudius’s death, the court toady and philosopher Seneca—pal of Claudius’s successor, the sinister and murderous Nero—wrote a cruel satire on Claudius’s supposed crudity and buffoonery. Seneca’s Apocolyncotosis (The “Gourdification” of the Divine Claudius) mocks Claudius’s halting speech and off-putting mannerisms. He also poked fun at Claudius’s lowbrow friends, and his penchant for crass popular entertainment.

Later Roman historians, drawing on now lost contemporary accounts of Claudius, reflect the same prejudices. In the biography of Suetonius and throughout the Annals of the historian Tacitus, the accidental emperor Claudius comes off as little more than an impulsive bumbler, an accidental emperor who came to power on a fluke and whose lack of Julian elegance made him more a buffoon than the head of the global Roman Empire of some 60 million citizens.

Claudius’s 50 years of private life before becoming emperor were also the stuff of court gossip and ridicule. He would marry four times and was often flattered and manipulated by younger women.

Modern historians, however, have corrected that largely negative view and ancient bias.

Claudius’s rule of some 13 years as emperor was marked by financial reforms and restoration after the disastrous reign of the spendthrift Caligula. Claudius-haters like Seneca, Suetonius, and Tacitus focused mostly on Claudius as the uncouth outsider—and overlooked what he had done for Rome after the disasters of the Caligula regime.

The empire under Claudius grew and was largely at peace. Rome annexed Britain, and added a variety of border provinces in the east. While court insiders and gossipers ridiculed Claudius’s supposed ineptness, he nonetheless assembled one of the most gifted staffs of advisers and operatives—many of them freed slaves—in the history of the Julio-Claudian and Flavian dynasties.

Claudius was foremost a builder and a pragmatist. Some of the Roman Empire’s most impressive archaeological remains (such as the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Anio Novus aqueducts and the reconstituted port at Ostia) date from his reign, as he focused on constructing new infrastructure and improving Roman roads, bridges, ports, and aqueducts.

The early few months of the Trump presidency are, in many ways, Claudian. Trump is likewise an outsider who, in the view of the Washington aristocracy, should never have been president.

The thrice-married Trump was supposedly too old, too crude, too coarse, and too reckless in his past private life. His critics now allege that the blunt-talking Trump suffers from some sort of psychological or physical ailment, given that his accent, diction, grammar, and general manner of speaking, as well as his comportment, just don’t seem presidential.

If Claudius constantly scribbled down observations on imperial life (unfortunately now mostly lost), Trump is an incessant tweeter, who daily issues forth a litany of impromptu impressions, half-baked thoughts, and assertions—that are likewise the stuff of ridicule by journalists.

The media and the Washington establishment—like Claudius’s elite critics, Seneca, Suetonius, and Tacitus—focus mostly on the psychodramas of the president. But while they obsess over the frequent absence of First Lady Melania, Trump’s two-scoop ice cream deserts, the supposed undue and sinister influence of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the insider spats between the New York moderates and the Steve Bannon true-blue populists, the assorted firings of former Obama appointees, and investigations of Trump associates—the American government, like Rome under Claudius, goes on.

Critics also miss the fact that Trump is not a catalyst but a reflection of contemporary culture, in the way that the world portrayed in Petronius’s Satyricon both pre- and postdated Claudius. The Neroian crudity, obscenity, and vulgarity of a Madonna, Bill Maher, or Steven Colbert—or DNC head Tom Perez or California Senator Kamala Harris—had nothing to do with Donald Trump.

The real story of the Trump administration is not the messy firing of James Comey or the hysterical attacks on Trump by the media, or even his own shoot-from-the-hip excesses. Rather Trump, also like Claudius, has assembled a first-rate team of advisors and cabinet officials.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Homeland Security Director John Kelly—and the dozens of professionals who work for them—comprise the most astute and experienced group of strategists, diplomats, world travelers, and foreign policy thinkers since the Truman and Eisenhower administrations.

Never have so many cabinet officers been given such responsibility and autonomy. It is unlikely that a Mattis or McMaster—outsiders who lack bureaucratic portfolios—would have ever held such office under either a progressive Democratic president or an establishment Republican one. A mercurial and unpredictable president gives a Secretary of Defense or State more leverage abroad than does an apologetic sounding and predictably complacent Commander in Chief. The result is a recovering military and a slow restoration of American deterrence abroad that will ultimately make the world safer and the need for America to intervene less likely.

Trump’s Justice Department under former Senator Jeff Sessions and his Deputy Rod Rosenstein is likewise a vast improvement over the one headed by Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, which politicized and even nullified federal law.

So far, any diagnosis of what our contemporary Claudius has done in his first three months rather than what he has said—or what the media says he has said or done—suggests national improvement.

The stock market is up over the last four month. Unemployment is down. Labor participation is inching up. Business confidence polls stronger. Illegal immigration has dropped by 70 percent. Federal revenues are increasing while federal spending is declining. Neil Gorsuch and other federal judicial appointees are being roundly praised. Local police and federal law enforcement officials are re-enthused after years of demoralization.

Trump’s executive orders on the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and the reenergized support for the coal industry, will bring more jobs and lower energy costs. Industries like steel, aluminum, and beef are talking about exporting and hiring in a way that they have not in years. While the media caricatures Trump’s propensity to jawbone companies about outsourcing jobs abroad, corporations themselves see executive orders on deregulation, promises of tax reform, and a new attitude of “America first” as incentives to stay home and hire Americans.

Talking heads cringe after watching network interviews of Trump (who unlike former President Obama will talk off-the-cuff to almost anyone at any time anywhere about anything). Smug authors pen long exposes of Trump’s buffoonery in Washington and New York magazines. Yet we should no more believe that their satires of Trump, the man, are an accurate window into the Trump agenda or record than was Seneca’s Apocolyncotosis a reliable account of the reign of Claudius.

From what we can tell, the more Rome prospered under Claudius, the more the imperial court grew to despise him—as if his odd mannerisms and the even odder way he came to power could not be squared with the able administration of a far-flung empire over the 13 years of his reign.

In the end, Claudius was likely murdered by dynastic rivals and relatives who thought that a young, glib, handsome, intellectual, and artistic Nero would be a pleasant relief from the awkwardness, bluntness, and weirdness of Claudius. What followed was the triumph of artists, intellectuals, stylish aristocrats, obsequious dynastic insiders, and flatterers—many of them eventually to be consumed by the reign of terror they so eagerly helped to usher in.

How Products Spy On You In Your House

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has written to the Federal Trade Commission expressing concern that the regulations for toys and related products are not keeping pace with “consumer and technology trends.”

He said toys that spy on kids by automatically connecting to the Internet through WiFi can deliver tantalizing tidbits of information about their lives to marketers.

“I worry that protections for children are not keeping pace with consumer and technology trends shaping the market for these products,” Warner said in a letter to acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen.

He asked whether the government has taken action with respect to My Friend Cayla or other products manufactured by Genesis Toys.

“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” is the basic handbook on how American arrived at the point of being a de facto police state that essentially ignores the Constitution.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center previously filed a complaint with the FTC about some of those products, alleging My Friend Cayla and i-Que Intelligent Robot toys violated federal privacy laws.

Warner said recent events “have illustrated that in addition to security concerns with the devices themselves, new data-intensive functionalities of these devices necessitate attention to the manner in which vendors transmit and store user data collected by these devices.”

“Reports of your statements casting these risks as merely speculative – and dismissing consumer harms that don’t pose ‘monetary injury or unwarranted health and safety risks’ – only deepen my concerns,” he told Ohlhausen.

The EPIC report on the letter noted claims that CloudPets, a product of Spiral Toys, “stored customers’ personal data in an insecure, public-facing online database.”

The toy, the report said, “exposed over 800,000 customer credentials and more than 2 million voice recordings sent between parents and children.”

Regarding My Friend Cayla, he noted a complaint last year from privacy advocates that claimed the doll “can be used for unauthorized surveillance.” In February, 2017, the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s equivalent of the FTC, pulled My Friend Cayla off the market due to concerns over the doll’s surveillance capabilities.

“We all know that many of these so-called ‘smart’ devices aren’t so smart at protecting the safety and security of our kids,” said James P. Steyer of Common Sense Media. “Children’s toys with weak security can put not just kids’ personal information at risk, but imperil even their innermost thoughts. We applaud Sen. Warner for his efforts to ensure that our laws and rules keep pace with rapidly changing technology.”

Stephen Balkam of the Family Online Safety Institute also expressed concern.

“The expanding world of connected toys offers innumerable benefits to children through education and play,” he said. “However, it is vitally important that parents can trust toymakers with their children’s most sensitive information. Companies must take their responsibilities to families seriously and ensure that data is protected to the highest industry standards.”

WND has reported several times on the controversy, including late in 2016 when EPIC, which has had concerns about the “Internet of Things” through which “always on” devices such as smartphones, DVR machines, televisions and toys are connected, raised concern about the My Friend Cayla toy.

The company declined comment to WND, but it boasts on its website: “My Friend Cayla is a beautiful 18″ interactive doll that offers hours of imaginative play! Cayla can understand and respond to you in real-time about almost anything. Ask her questions about herself, people, places, and things. She’s the smartest friend you will ever have.”

The doll’s features prompted EPIC to file a landmark complaint, alleging such toys put children under intense and constant surveillance, violating federal privacy law.

The group said Genesis Toys and the company that monitors children’s comments, Nuance Communications, “unfairly and deceptively collect, use, and disclose audio files of children’s voices without providing adequate notice or obtaining verified parental consent in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act … the COPPA Rule, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”

“It is incumbent upon the Federal Trade Commission to take action in this matter, and to enjoin Genesis Toys and Nuance Communications from such unlawful activities.”

The complaint alleges the toys “are deployed in homes across the United States without any meaningful data protection standards.”

The complaint also cited the toy maker’s i-QUE Intelligent Robot.

Previously, Mattel’s “Hello Barbie,” a WiFi-connected doll with a built-in microphone, was spotlighted.

“Hello Barbie records and transmits children’s conversations to Mattel, where they are analyzed to determine ‘all the child’s likes and dislikes.’ … Kids using ‘Hello Barbie’ won’t only be talking to a doll, they’ll be talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial,” EPIC said.

Samsung’s Internet-connected SmartTV also has a built-in mic that always is on and “routinely intercepts and records the private communications of consumers in their homes.”

“When the voice recognition feature is enabled, everything a user says in front of the Samsung SmartTV is recorded and transmitted over the Internet to a third party regardless whether it is related to the provision of the service.”

Microsoft has a voice and motion recorder called Kinect that is now installed in Xbox video-game consoles.

“The Kinect sensor tracks and records users’ voice and hand gestures when users say the word ‘Xbox’ followed by various permissible command options.”

A year earlier, EPIC began raising concern over such toys and “always-on” consumer devices.

The technologies may violate wiretap restrictions, state privacy laws, the Federal Trace Commission Act and more, the privacy group warned.

“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” is the basic handbook on how American arrived at the point of being a de facto police state that essentially ignores the Constitution.