Tag Archives | Big Brother

Just in time for Xmas: Big Brother Barbie

Barbie is a horrible toy. We can all agree on that. But now we can despise her for something other than the ridiculous body image and vacuous statements on consumer culture she sells the kiddies.

This Barbie can spy on your family.

Sorry citizen, you have comitted a thought crime. The appropriate agencies have been notified.

Sorry citizen, you have comitted a thought crime. The appropriate agencies have been notified.

Vigilant Citizen sounds the alarm:

In an attempt to revitalize its Barbie brand, Mattel will soon launch Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi-connected doll with artificial intelligence that “talks” to children by recording what they say and responding accordingly. All of the children’s interactions with the doll are recorded using a microphone and are sent to a remote server through Wi-Fi. The recorded voices are then interpreted by an algorithm in order to generate an appropriate response. While some might find this innovation fun and interesting, others see a big-brotherish nightmare as the toy has the capability to ask personal questions to little girls, record their answers (and everything else the mic picks up) to then transmit the information to a remote location.

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Top-Secret Pentagon Program Exploited Aid Workers as Covert Spies

In 2007, Kay Hiramine, pictured here with President George W. Bush, was awarded the president's Volunteer Service Award—despite serving as a paid operative of the U.S. Department of Defense. (Photo: White House archives)

In 2007, Kay Hiramine, pictured here with President George W. Bush, was awarded the president’s Volunteer Service Award—despite serving as a paid operative of the U.S. Department of Defense. (Photo: White House archives)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

It is the stuff of spy novels, but a new investigation published Monday reveals that the U.S. Pentagon for years funneled millions to a charity organization employing it to serve as the front group for global espionage—very real revelations that experts warn could have dangerous implications for aid workers worldwide.

After a months-long investigation, The Intercept‘s Matthew Cole, with help from Margot Williams and Lee Fang, exposes the reach of a highly-classified Department of Defense program, which ran from December 2004 to 2013.

The program was reportedly the “brainchild” of Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, an evangelical Christian who served under President George W. Bush. After the 9/11 attacks, Boykin was charged with expanding the intelligence gathering arm of the DoD and, “taking a page from the CIA’s playbook,” began tapping NGOs to use as a cover for Pentagon espionage operations.… Read the rest

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Stop CISA: Join EFF in a Week of Action Opposing Broad “Cybersecurity” Surveillance Legislation

How do you kill a zombie bill like CISA? Grassroots action. That’s why EFF and over a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA.  The Senate is likely to vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in the coming weeks, and only you can help us stop it.

We keep hearing that CISA and the other “cybersecurity” bills moving through Congress are “must-pass” legislation. But just like the original version of CISA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we think grassroots activism can stop this legislation in its tracks.

CISA is fundamentally flawed because of its broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers. Combined, they make the bill a surveillance bill in disguise. The bill may even make things worse for Internet users in several ways.

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All the Creepy Ways Big Brother Is Watching You


John W. Whitehead Via Activist Post:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
—George Orwell, 1984

None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

Indeed, there was a time when most Americans thought nothing of driving a few miles over the speed limit, pausing (rather than coming to a full stop) at a red light when making a right-hand turn if no one was around, jaywalking across the street, and letting their kid play hookie from school once in a while. Of course, that was before the era of speed cameras that ticket you for going even a mile over the posted limit, red light cameras that fine you for making safe “rolling stop” right-hand turns on red, surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition software mounted on street corners, and school truancy laws that fine parents for “unexcused” absences.

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Edward Snowden’s E-mail Provider Forced to Shut Down

BigBrotherObamThe secure E-mail provider Lavabit, whose users are said to include Edward Snowden, shut down on Wednesday for reasons that are verboten. An ominous message on the company’s homepage vows to fight for the Constitution:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.… Read the rest

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Surveillance Cameras Wearing Party Hats For George Orwell’s Birthday

Dutch artists Thomas voor ‘t Hekke and Bas van Oerle, who use the moniker FRONT404, adorned the surveillance cameras in their city of Utrecht in adorable party hats for George Orwell’s birthday:

On Tuesday June 25, to celebrate the 110th birthday of George Orwell, surveillance cameras in the center of the city of Utrecht were decorated with colorful party hats! George Orwell is best known for his book ‘1984’, in which he describes a dystopian future society where the populace is constantly watched by Big Brother. By making these inconspicuous cameras that we ignore in our daily lives catch the eye again we also create awareness of how many cameras really watch us nowadays, and that the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality.

orwell's birthday

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The NSA PRISM Leak of Snowden and The Pentagon Papers of Ellsberg

The more things change, the more they stay the same, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have any(Steven Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers leak, left; Edward Snowden of the NSA PRISM leak, right)

Of course, you won’t find too much support for that “traitor” and “defector” on the mainstream news networks (even Andrew Napolitano seems to be the lone voice lionizing Snowden as an “American hero” on the Fox News Network).

Dana Stuster writes at Foreign Policy.

“…[T]he reaction to Snowden’s leaks is in many ways different than the response Ellsberg received when the Pentagon Papers were published four decades ago. Then, politicians went out of their way to be associated with Ellsberg’s disclosures. Sen. George McGovern, who was running for president at the time, told the New York Times that he suggested Ellsberg make the Pentagon Papers available to “a respectable newspaper” and that he did not release the Pentagon Papers himself because it would have seemed too political, according to an Aug.

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