Mike Holm is a mathematician who once worked for the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland. He left the intelligence community and worked for Covenant Eyes in Michigan to help create a far more controlling software program that would have shocked George Orwell. This post is about how Covenant Eyes is becoming more like Oceania and how the sexual purity software is allegedly being used in an abusive way to control and manipulate people as sensitive information is weaponized. While Mike Holm thinks he is serving God the reality is that he is serving the Christian industrial complex.
“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.”
George Orwell in 1984
“There is great evil behind the world of pornography and I was blessed to use God’s gifts to me in a mission close to God’s heart: providing effective tools for people seeking freedom from the destructive power of pornography. So, I accepted the job fairly-well on the spot and ended up turning Walmart down.”
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
George Orwell’s classic
There were a couple of articles that grabbed my attention recently that dealt with Covenant Eyes that I think reveals the authoritarianism of evangelicalism and the Christian industrial complex. In order to understand how Covenant Eyes became much more draconian and controlling let’s start with Michael Holm.
Who is Micheal Holm?
Today Michael Holm is the Chief Data Scientist for a company called PicNix Inc. For a person who appears to be in his thirties he has had an interesting career. Mike attended Northwestern College in Iowa where he graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in mathematics and computer science. Mike then attended grad school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where he obtained a masters and a PhD in mathematics. He also did graduate research while in the University of Nebraska system. In October of 2011 Holm was processed into the National Security Agency (NSA) which is at Fort Meade, Maryland. For three years at the NSA he was an applied research mathematician. According to the Christian Post Holm found his work at the NSA to be “purposeful and valuable.” But in desiring to move his family back to the Midwest and away from the D.C. metropolitan area he took a job at Covenant Eyes in November in 2014. At Covenant Eyes he worked with artificial intelligence to develop a system to detect pornography through images. The breakthrough is convolutional neural networks which allows in the classification of images. He currently works with PicNix Inc. Michael Holm is married to his wife who he met in Iowa and they own a farm in Michigan and have six children.
A Brief Overview of the National Security Agency
The origins of the National Security Agency go back officially to 1947 and the National Security Act which also created the Central Intelligence Agency. The government had struggled with how to process radio and signals going back to World War I. The Armed Forces Service Agency inside the Department of Defense dealt with signals but it came under criticism. President Harry Truman then ordered the creation of of the NSA in 1952. According to Truman’s memo the NSA was, “to provide an effective, unified organization and control of the communications intelligence activities of the United States conducted against foreign governments.” The NSA played a key role in fighting the Cold War in the post World War II era. The agency worked hard at deciphering Soviet cables and signals intelligence or what is known as SIGINT. The NSA had two major setbacks in the Cold War era when the Israelis attacked the USS Liberty in the Mediterranean which happened during the six day war in 1967 between Israel and Egypt. Then in 1968 North Korea seized the USS Pueblo. The NSA became a key part of the intelligence community after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It became a part of the Global War on Terrorism. A significant setback occurred in 2013 when an NSA contractor working for Booze Allen Hamilton by the name of Edward Snowden fled the NSA to Hong Kong and leaked deeply sensitive material that showed up in newspapers in the United States, Greta Britain and Europe. The NSA struggled with morale issues according to my research and had a lot of turn over. This blog believes that Michael Holm would be a part of that turnover in the post Snowden environment. The NSA has had a brain drain of employees leaving to start their own companies. You can read more about this flight of employees in the Annapolis Capital Gazette and Baltimore Sun. To get into the NSA one has to submit to a rigorous background check and polygraph.
A Brief Overview of PicNix Inc.
PicNix Inc. is a small company in Owosso, Michigan. According to this blog’s research is appears to have about ten employees. This small company started in 2016 and it performs artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify to create products and solutions. In addition to expanding the technology with Covenant Eyes and doing pornography detection this company is also involved in oil and gas exploration in Michigan and Texas and mobility features in the automotive industry. Michael Holm is the Chief Data Scientist for PicNix Inc. As of this writing Brian DeLorge is the president of the company and the senior scientist is Joe Geisbaur.
What is Covenant Eyes?
This blog has written about Covenant Eyes previously. Covenant Eyes is a small company in Owosso, Michigan. They have two locations and the second one opened up in 2016. Established in 2000 the founder of the company is Ron DeHaas. Prior to the internet company Ron worked as a geologist for Chevron Oil from 1972 to 1972 and developed a career in the oil/geology industry for the next couple of decades. In August of 1992 George’s family was killed in a highway accident when they were hit by a tanker truck. You can read about the details here. In time he changed professions and started the first internet accountability company. You can read about the corporate history here plus there is his interview with Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition here.
Covenant Eyes is a player in the evangelical culture wars. In this case its focus is on pornography. How pornography can be defined is another issue, after all in Sovereign Grace Ministries pastor Jared Millinger in Pennsylvania compared blogs to pornography in 2011. At Covenant Eyes they focus on creating spiritual purity. Their programs are used on many different platforms to include IPhone, IPads, and Android. In 2016 they also introduced an Overcoming Porn app . They also have an active blog which you can read here. Covenant Eyes also has a close relationship with evangelical Christian churches, which use their software in house and make it available to their congregations in men’s and woman’s programs. You can read about their relationship with churches here.
Remembering the Role Covenant Eyes Played in the Harvest Bible Chapel Scandal to Abuse Staff
Covenant Eyes as a software program can be quite manipulative and abusive. This blog worked hard in 2019 in telling the story of James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. Harvest Bible Chapel is known as the Mars Hill of Chicago. Its a story of corruption, abuse of power, fraud and waste. The church was $42 million dollars in debt and people were sacrificially giving money while James MacDonald profited off a non-profit ministry and kept upgrading mansions and going on expensive safaris in Africa. James MacDonald was eventually fired for talking about planting child pornography on the computer of the CEO of Christianity Today. You can read about that in, “Mancow Muller Produces an Audiotape of James MacDonald Allegedly Wanting to Plant Child Pornography on a “Critic’s” Computer. Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Board Promptly Fires Him.”
This blog worked the Harvest Bible Chapel story and drilled into the church and analyzed the situation and leaked church documents in the abusive situation. While I was doing this former Harvest Bible Chapel employees were approaching this blog and sharing about how Harvest Bible Chapel was using Covenant Eyes in a questionable and un-ethical way. People were under intense pressure to have Covenant Eyes installed on all electronic devices. During the scandal of Harvest Bible Chapel information was leaking out onto The Elephant’s Debt blog. MacDonald from what I was told was using Covenant Eyes to target employees and try and plug leaks from occurring. People told me of deep fear they had over resisting this pressure. I recall one former Harvest Bible Chapel employee tell me the incredible pressure he was under to install Covenant Eyes and how he didn’t want James MacDonald to spy on him. In this case it wasn’t about keeping employees spiritual pure and free from pornography. Covenant Eyes was about totalitarian control and abuse of a workforce in a corrupt mega church in Chicago. You can read more in, “The Dystopian George Orwell Classic 1984. What is the Business Relationship Between Harvest Bible Chapel and Covenant Eyes? Did Harvest Use Covenant Eyes to Control and Abuse the Staff?”
The Christian Industrial Complex and How People Continue to be Harmed
What Mike Holm actually did is to create a far reaching program that was much more authorterian through artificial intelligence. He built and created a program that is far reaching in its control and intimidation. And Mike did it not for the glory of God and to help people be free from pornography but to profit off the Christian industrial complex. Evangelical Christianity is a business and people like Mike Holm have whored their souls in service of the industry. One of the concerns that this blog has with evangelicalism is that it is far too controlling and authorterian. Did Mike’s research and work eventually contribute to the allegations of spiritual abuse inside Harvest Bible Chapel? Ministries like Covenant Eyes have too close a relationship with many ministries, denominations and more. At the end of the day its about money and not about God. This blog would suggest that Mike Holm’s efforts are not about faith but money as well. It appears that Mike Holm has been an evangelical for the bulk of his life and this blog would ask the question does he know what a healthy faith is? Many evangelicals do not. And as someone on the outside today I continue to see the problems which exist. Mike Holm helped the totalitarian super state Oceania thrive and became more abusive. Oceania for those who do not know is the totalitarian super state that George Orwell wrote about in his classic 1984. Mike Holm in his work is in service of Oceania. As I repeatedly say at this blog, if you want to understand the culture of evangelicalism put down your Bible and instead read George Orwell. You can read more in, “In Order to Understand Evangelical Culture One Should Cease Reading their Bible and Read George Orwell Instead.”
This Blog is Looking for Stories of Covenant Eyes Being Abused in Churches and Ministries to Silence Dissent and Enable Corruption
After hearing about how Harvest Bible Chapel allegedly used Covenant Eyes this blog is putting out a call for information. This blog is looking for stories of churches, ministries or individuals who use Covenant Eyes to weaponize information. Indeed if there are problems at Covenant Eyes itself in the culture or ethical issues this blog would like to discuss and pursue those issues. Those who have stories they would like to tell about spiritual abuse from Covenant Eyes or by ministries who used the software in a destructive way are encouraged to contact The Wondering Eagle at email@example.com. In keeping with the theme of sexual purity and pornography I am going to close this post with a track from the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Hamilton. It deals with the affair between Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds.