Empathy

Yesterday I listened to an acquaintance talking on Periscope about the loss of his family through divorce. He is wrecked.

And I was wrecked for the rest of the day.

Thing is I was terribly conflicted, too. Not all men are evil, nor are all women. Nothing is completely black and white. No situation, no matter how horrible, can be so easily boiled down. We are fallen, all of us, in need of a savior.

This encounter pushed me back into my own past, my mother’s abuse, her long string of men in the house after Daddy died – even stealing my boyfriend and taking him to her bed because I was a virgin and wouldn’t, and her utter abandon of us – the six children of my father. What chance did any of us have for even a semi-normal life?

Zero.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION

By Pastora Covert

There is a message that occasionally floats around Facebook (FB), which reads as follows:

“Recommended by a lawyer. The violation of privacy can be punished by law. Note: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you haven’t issued a statement at least once, it will be technically understood that you allow the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in your updates of profile status.

“I declare that I have not given my permission to Facebook to use my photos or any information in my profile, my updates and my statuses!

“Make a copy and paste! Do not share!!!”

As a rule, I do not share spam or other posts that play on the emotions, support cancer, promise miracles, show my friends I love them, etc. because I rely on my own ability to communicate without the aid of memes or passing on tear-jerking, guilt-producing junk that comes across my feed uninvited.

I have a good eye for scams, too. So I was skeptical when I read this, and passed it by the first few times I saw it. Then some close friends posted it, and finally, thinking I would be on the “safe side”, I copied it and put it up on my own wall. The message states that I don’t give FB permission to keep or use my personal information or pictures or any other content. That my stuff is my stuff, and they can’t have it.

As it turns out, that message, along with every other character I’ve typed and posted on FB, is all sitting together in a pile of data that I voluntarily have fed to Facebook over the entire time I have been a member, and I caused not one tiny ripple on the surface of calm that is the monolith of Facebook.

Why? To find that answer, please give me a show of hands.

  • Who read the FB Terms of Use? Or the revised Terms of Use?
  • Who clicked “I Agree to the Terms of Use”?
  • Who clicked without reading so you could hurry up and give away all your important information in exchange for inclusion?

If you read it and agreed, and understood it, this article is not for you. Thanks for reading!

If you didn’t read it, but agreed anyway, please continue reading, but you won’t like this.

The FB Terms of Use agreement, when boiled down, says that everything we post will be held by FB on their servers FOREVER, and they can mine our data and use it for their own purposes.

If you agreed and clicked, the fact is that, apart from infringement on previously copyrighted work, you could not take this to court and win a dispute over the rights to anything you have posted on Facebook.

Another fallacy found in the little statement above is the idea that FB only collects your pictures and your status updates. Remember, every keystroke is vulnerable to hackers because FB is not encrypted.

FB has a fearsome army of bots that are crawling over all of your pages, posts, pictures, comments on friends’ pages, Instant Messages, Chat, Live video, and more. You can be sure that from this they know everything about you – where you live, who your family is, the names and ages of you children, where they go to school, how they did on exams, where your mate works, what your preferences are, your sexual identity, your habits, your style, your purchases. In short, if you realized the extent of the invasion of your privacy that you agreed to, if you understood the picture they have constructed of your existence, you would be horrified. You should be!

Then there is the whole issue of Google, Twitter, SnapChat, Gab, Instagram, YouTube, Medium, etc., and many of these are connected with FB, or use FB credentials to log in. They share info.

Here’s another shocker:

Even the rooms I built that FB led me to believe were “safe” from the knowledge of others were not exempt from the data mining.

Ask yourself:

  • Did you think you were safe from anyone knowing about that medical condition you have in common with a secret, select few friends?
  • Did you copyright any of that poetry before you posted it in a private room you thought would hide your works until you were ready to reveal?
  • Did you know that FB knows all about that special gathering place for mothers of children with Autism? For sufferers of mental health issues? For gun collectors?
  • How about your MMJ Grow Room? Do you ever say anything that could incriminate you in a court of law?

FACT: FB records everything in every room and adds it to the pile of data they have on you.

That’s not all! Think about passwords to other applications you have used FB to access. Who guards that bridge? What about hackers who get into FB and steal your information? They are not bound by even the simple “gentleman’s agreement” that FB has so graciously proffered to its users. They can take it all! It happens every day! Attacks come from inside the USA and from all over the world.

All that data they have collected? It’s not just used to determine which ads you’d like to see. There are many future uses that await, things that we can’t imagine, but the plans are on the drawing board at Zuckerman’s headquarters.

Even if FB did not do anything nefarious with your data, it is very EASY TO HACK! So is Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and most other social media applications (we won’t even talk about Cortana and Siri right now, since this is article is about FB). In fact, even Amazon can be easily hacked, and with Google recording and parsing every keystroke you do if you have Gmail or Chrome, they can find out your clothing size, your address, your bank account, your electronic devices, what you search for, and what you like to read.

ARE YOU CONVINCED YET? Are you ready to start reducing your internet footprint? Or at least ready to start getting back some control over what you share about your own life? You need to wake up! You need to stop voluntarily feeding the beast!

HOW TO BACK AWAY FROM FACEBOOK SLOWLY, WITHOUT DRAWING ATTENTION

What can you do?

  1. Start deleting all pictures of your children. Facial recognition is a real thing. Stalkers and pedophiles should not be allowed to see where your children live, where they go to school, if they are home alone, and all the other information you willingly share about their lives. Delete every reference to their names. If you must talk about your children, give them nicknames and tell your family not to call them by their real names on FB. EVER!
  2. Start deleting your own pictures and posts that are likely to give info that you would prefer not remain in the FB domain FOREVER!
  3. It’s best to leave FB altogether. If you don’t want to explain it to all your friends and family, then just delete all your content except the puppies and kittens and balloons, and then let your account sit for several months without visiting or posting. Let it lie dormant. Then go in and delete the rest of your content, and then delete your account. Do not simply deactivate it – DELETE IT. This will not get rid of all that FB has stored on you, but it will push it to the bottom of the pile so that your data doesn’t come up to the top of the search engines, but remains semi-hidden beneath a huge pile of daily accumulations of new data that other FB users are voluntarily sharing with Mr. Zuckerberg and his giant machine.

HERE’S WHAT I DID!

If you care about your safety, if you worry about being hacked, stalked, or doxed:  if you care about your data being collected and stored on FB servers FOREVER, I challenge you to locate a social platform that offers encryption, free social media, truly secret chat and hidden rooms, and NO TRACKING OR STORING YOUR DATA! For my safety and enjoyment, it is VITAL that my social platform that does all of these things.

All of these services are just part of the package, and the very foundation of Brax.Me (https://Brax.me). Brax sets the new standard! Nothing else in the way of free social media can compete!

BRAX.ME IS THE SECURE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM that:

  1. Uses encryption so secure for daily operations, that even if someone “strong-armed” one message in a chat thread, it could not read the whole conversation!
  2. Makes available E2E encryption that even the owner/programmer/creator cannot read unless you give him the key. This means you can talk about ANYTHING and nobody can eavesdrop, and even if a warrant were served, nobody could testify to what you said because they can’t find out.
  3. Does not track your activity, or even save your chats! Once they are gone, they stay gone.
  4. Does not know anything about private, secret rooms that you create if you don’t tell them! You can make undiscoverable secret rooms that you populate by invitation only!
  5. Allows you to store your private data and keeps it private!
  6. Provides FREE social media accounts with 4G secure document storage space!
  7. Offers paid business accounts with all the data you wish to store and HIPPA compliant data security that hospitals can legally maintain for the privacy of their patients.

For all these reasons, and more, I have moved to Brax.Me – I read the Terms of Use and it was really short, easy to understand, and I gladly agreed to it.

The Cloud is NOT secure! I store my documents on BRAX. My data is secure on Brax.Me and this is the perfect solution to storing my webpages, personal documents, even my videos. I can store up to 4 Gigabytes of my data for FREE, or pay a fee if I wish to store even more!

I have created five rooms (some are secret), and one community, with plans for expanding! I have End-2-End encrypted chats with people and I know that there is no Man In The Middle listening in. They don’t record your private chats the way FB does.

In addition to SECURITY, I have FUN!! I am getting prepared to launch a radio show on KBRX Live Radio! I interact with other users on the radio station chats, and the broadcaster chats with everyone in the room! It’s an amazing, fun experience, and something I have not seen anywhere else!

If you have any questions, please come on over to Brax using the device of your choice. You can find Brax.Me in Google Play! Or you can log in on your laptop. You can find me on Brax as @PastoraC and visit my open room, Pastora Covert’s Place. You can find lots of rooms that you can join according to your interest. If you don’t find something you are looking for, you can create it yourself. Brax doesn’t use your preferences to feed you ads. You won’t find Google intruding, or FB suggesting things to you. You can’t follow or be followed, you simply join rooms or add users to your own room. You get notifications if you want them. You tailor your experience to suit your needs.

Finally, there’s a friendly helpful community on Brax.Me. People will welcome you and help you find your way around. There is a room designed for new people, free tech support, a tour that every new user should take, and a wide variety of services and tools that are at your disposal! I invite you to come and check it out! Come say hello to me, and I’ll help you learn how to navigate!

Brax.Me! Simple, clean, efficient, safe and FUN!

See you on Brax!

 

Rejection

I have been rejected. The pain is a bitter wound.

I did many supportive things, helpful things, over the years. These things were received and accepted as long as nobody knew I was a multiple. If I had kept this information to myself, if I had never bared my soul, those things I did out of love might still count for something. But, I made the mistake of entrusting someone close to me with my secret.

I thought that if I backed off for a while and let her have her space, she would come around. Instead I have been spied on and tricked, and though I helped her raise her children when she was incapable of doing so, now I am not to be trusted. The religious spirit has risen up against me, and I have neither the words nor the heart left to fight it.

Now I am Persona non Grata, regardless of the good I have done, the sacrifices I have made, the unconditional love I have given, the unwavering support and assistance over the years I have given without any thought except to help my loved ones get closer to God. It all means nothing to those upon whom I have lavished it, because I am multiple.

This I must endure, but it is an open wound. I think God must be tired of my prayers. My heart is so heavy. I am trying so hard not to run away inside, but to bear patiently with the pain. The grief is nauseating, the sorrow haunts my dreams.

Right now the light seems so dark around me, and I feel so lonely.

But I am reaching for my Savior, the Lover of my Soul, to banish the darkness and bring me into the light once more. I’m trying to keep my eyes on Him. He was despised and rejected, and unlike me, He never sinned. I’m trying to allow Him to work His life out in me.

Warning: Are you being LAZY about CYBER SECURITY?

WARNING: ARE YOU BEING LAZY ABOUT CYBER SECURITY?

Do you care if your personal information is being collected?

Do you care that every picture you have posted is permanently on a number of servers?

Does it bother you that all of your data that you voluntarily give away in order to use FB and Twitter and Instagram and YouTube is collected and available to people you would NEVER give permission to see it if you knew?

Do you realize that your internet habits are creating a vulnerability that could come back to harm you?

I watched a really informative video live broadcast on Periscope by @RobMusic (on Twitter he is @RobMusic0), creator of https://Brax.Me, regarding Man in the Middle (MITM) and other issues of cyber security. I felt I needed to pass on some of this information.

I used to be lazy about Cyber Security, but the truth is, I had to learn the hard way that if we don’t take steps to be secure, we are asking for trouble. That’s just the world we live in, and we can ignore it, or we can do something about it.

Here is what I do.

I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that I pay a modest fee for (up to $40 per year) and a new Mozilla app called TrackMeNot (TMN) (free, and still in development, but I love doing alpha and beta testing) with my Mozilla Firefox – kind of interesting, because TMN does a fake search thing to cover your activity with “noise”. These measures work well for my personal internet needs.

But when I want real security, still using my VPN, I also use TOR (obviously it’s Mozilla product, too). You have to read up on how to use TOR so you don’t inadvertently undo its benefits with your usual internet habits.

Don’t forget that you need a good anti-virus/anti-malware application, too, and you need to do your homework on which ones are not built with a backdoor into them so that they can be easily manipulated to get access to your data.

Why do these things? My reason is because I have been stalked twice (that I am aware of). One man stalked me for 20 years, and another for about a year.

One of the scariest things I found recently was a website for ancestry that had all my personal information for the past 30 years! It was like being doxed (having all of your personal information broadcast online in order to harass and expose you) but not knowing it. Fortunately there was the option to remove myself from this ancestry site in my various addresses and iterations, but who knows how many of these there are. We don’t realize that we are giving a very steep price for “free” services, and once we pay, even if we want to stop using the free services, the payment is irrevocable!

The man who stalked me for 20 years finally revealed himself and started asking me questions that revealed the depth of his spying, and he really scared me. At the time I didn’t know how he did it, though I worked with him in Long Island, NY, and he was a computer engineer who worked on military contracts, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise – he probably found my personal information on one of those sites. Or he could have simply known how to “follow” me and was so obsessed that he didn’t mind spending the time to do so.

BTW, I’m sure you wonder why these guys stalked me. The first guy was in love with me. The big surprise was his fixation on me – the fact that he had a weekly podcast for years and spoke about me nearly every week. SMH. Not sure how you do that when you have no input from a person for two decades, but there is no way to understand the motives of the heart sometimes.

The second guy was mentally unbalanced. Suffice to say I have learned to be more careful in many respects. That’s when I learned to be smarter online.

I was off FB for about 5 years after that, and when I came back, I used only part of my name and asked my family and friends online to not say my real name, and have been liberal with the block button.

I still maintain a web presence, and in fact, I have increased it. I’ve had one website for 18 years, and it has over 5 million views. I’ve added another website that is more specialized, and it is doing pretty well after about six months of use.

My blogs are on WordPress (WP), and my main blog is on my private domain with proper configuration by my domain server. WP needs proper configuration, just as TOR does – no matter what, you have to do the research. A plug-in that is an option on WP is WassUp. I used WassUp to learn where my traffic was coming from – at first it was just a hobby, because I knew a lot of them were bots or web crawlers compiling data for search engines – in the early days, you had to personally register each page on various search engines so they could come to your page, crawl over it, index it, and then it eventually became available on search engines. It was exciting to see flags from all over the world, representing my visitors. WassUp can tell you the page visited, and if it is a bot.

But then it got serious as I realized I was being stalked. I began to use WhoIs to look up IP addresses that showed up on WassUp because I was trying to track and locate my second stalker, who doxed me and went after my family. I eventually found out his name and location, but he was in Canada, so there was nothing I could do about it short of starting an international incident! I couldn’t get him to remove the stuff he wrote about my family (even though it was really inaccurate) so I had to walk away.

This is the reason I don’t show my full face, and I run my profile picture through a filter. It’s just one more step in securing my privacy and safety.

What does this have to do with everyone else?

The truth is, people generally will not do anything about Cyber Security until something bad happens. After my stalkers changed my life, I really had to step up my security. I use anti-virus, and VPN, I even use a VPN on my phone. I don’t do any financial transactions without a VPN. I don’t connect to any “free” Wi-Fi without a VPN. I take the warnings that my activity on a strange Wi-Fi may be monitored or captured by someone else, and I either don’t do it, or I use VPN to do it.

Unfortunately, email is not secure, and it is impossible to secure it at this present time. You can safeguard it against viruses, worms, Trojan horse programs, etc. However, there is always a MITM who collects and saves email – at the very least the ISP has copies of all your emails, and your government has access to all of it if they need/want it – regardless of your politics, this is the truth. If you work for a company that supplies Internet, be assured that there is at least one MITM that is employed by your IS/IT department, and they know what you buy on Amazon, and they can read all of your emails.

I really wish that there was a solution to the email situation. But I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that with everything I write online, including email, I understand someone else is reading it without my permission. That’s a necessary mindset, though it creates a lot of frustration. In the end the only things that are really truly safe are the thing is you never say, or only say to God. All of your devices can be eavesdropped on, and unless you take wise steps to secure your own personal data, photos, financial information, opinions and deep dark secrets, these bits and pieces of your life are out there for someone with bad motives to exploit!

By the way, NEVER DO BUSINESS INVOLVING MONEY ON A WEBSITE THAT IS STRICTLY HTTP!! MAKE SURE IT IS HTTPS! That means it is encrypted so that your financial information and passwords are not stolen. And CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS FREQUENTLY, USING CHARACTERS AND SYMBOLS AND NUMBERS THAT DO NOT IDENTIFY YOU.

This is just a little of the background on why security is so important to me, what I personally do to protect myself and my information, and why I’m very serious about sharing this information with you.

SOLUTIONS:

For a few months now, I’ve been getting to know Rob B., creator of the Brax.Me app that works on phones and laptops (https://brax.me) and I’ve listened to a lot of his videos on Periscope, and he has over 40 years in computer programming and cyber security, starting in the medical field where securing medical information was his priority. I take his warnings seriously, and I’m computer/internet savvy enough to realize that if we don’t take all the measures we can, then we might as well leave the doors unlocked with a sign that says “Please come in and take what you want”.

If you have ever been stalked, you understand. But you are not powerless!

Here are some tools to help you:

  1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but be sure you research it first (see below for Rob’s recommendation of a VPN). A VPN masks your location by routing your connection through servers in different locations.
  2. Use an encrypted Social Network. I use and highly recommend Brax.Me because it is encrypted, and it is secure. I even have the option to use End to End Symmetrical Encryption (E2E) on top of the provided encryption for chats so that nobody, not even Rob, the creator of Brax.Me, can see what I am talking about with someone. As someone who is entrusted with the secrets and problems of others, this is extremely important to me. (Rob explained that he likes that option because as a defender and protector of Free Speech online, he likes the fact that he cannot be forced to give information that he does not have).

Brax.Me is where I am building my “internet residence” and I invite you to come and visit and see that it is so much safer than anything you have done online so far. There are rooms you can create – I have three on Brax.Me – and you can create communities – I have a community there. You can create private, locked rooms that add people by invitation only and they are unsearchable (cannot be discovered without invitation) for talks about things with like-minded people. The content is not recorded, it is not shared. When you close a chat, all traces of that chat disappear. It is safe, and Rob is constantly improving things there. If you would like to come see what it is about, please visit me at Pastora Covert’s Place https://brax.me/room/pastoracovertsplace.

On Brax.Me, there is a room dedicated to helping Newbies learn how to navigate and the community is very friendly; people want to help. There are rooms on Cyber Security where you can get up to speed on the latest ways to make sure you stay safe out there.

But Brax.Me is so much more. You can run a radio show there, or do your broadcasts on Periscope and simultaneously have secure chat on Brax so that your comments are not viewed on Periscope! That’s a great way to avoid the inevitable trolls on Periscope!

You can upload documents to rooms and share videos. You can blog, you can join groups that reflect your own interests, but nobody can follow you the way they do on other apps. You join a room to see what’s in it. You leave a room if you don’t like it. You can block people, you can invite people. You have so many options, and once you get used to the format difference, you will see that there are many possibilities!

Those of you who know me, you know I won’t sell something unless I believe in it! I can tell you that I will be leaving Twitter very soon, I’m doubtful about ever broadcasting on Periscope, and I’ll only maintain a presence on FB that relates to my ministry. But I will only share my private information on Brax.Me, under circumstances that I can control, because I have had the chance to really research it, and I know that my information will be safe.

If you want to know more about about Brax.Me, go to Rob’s website: https://whatthezuck.net/whatthezuck/

If you want to use a truly safe VPN, here is what Rob has to say about that:

“A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the number one defensive tool against Man-in-the-Middle attacks, HTTPS spoofing (by employers), and location tracking. This is the most important item in your toolkit.

“My preferred VPN is Private Internet Access (PIA). It has provided very good speed for a very reasonable price of $39.95 a year. It is one of the least expensive VPN providers. They are in 25 countries and allow 5 simultaneous devices (including mobile). They have been transparent with their logging policies and have strongly stuck to their guns on not providing logs even to law enforcement.”

Here’s the link if you want to buy the VPN through Rob Braxman. It would be a good thing to do, because he doesn’t charge for the use of his social network app, Brax.Me, and it would be kind to support his efforts – the cost is the same, no matter whether you buy through him or directly from the source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/wthezuck

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best. Thanks for reading.

Stay safe, my friends.

Guest Post – David Murry Podcast: Understanding Prayer and Fasting

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Quickly, before you start to feel turned off by another works-motivated speech on fasting, please listen to David Murry’s podcast. You’ve never heard it explained so clearly, and for those of us who “see inside”, this is such important understanding!

Understanding Prayer and Fasting – DWMurry

Love in Yeshua/Jesus

Cate