Big Brother





So says Ryan Holeywell on Governing:

States are sounding the alarm over a federal policy that would require them to overhaul their systems for issuing driver’s licenses, arguing it’s a massive unfunded mandate that will be incredibly difficult to implement.

If you think you’ve heard this before, you are right. In 2005, following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, Congress passed the REAL ID Act. The law was designed to shore up the security of state-issued identification cards in an effort to thwart terrorists and others who use fake IDs to facilitate their crimes. Fast-forward seven years and REAL ID has yet to be fully implemented. Now, as another deadline approaches, states are once again scrambling to meet it and requesting more flexibility. But should they really be concerned?

Federal officials have consistently delayed REAL ID implementation to give states more time to comply. The most recent delay came in March 2011, and today the deadline for states to come into “material compliance” with the law is Jan. 15, 2013. For practical purposes, however, it’s even sooner: States must provide final documentation to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Oct. 15. State officials say they’re taking this deadline seriously, despite the feds’ track record…


Writes Jon Evans on TechCrunch: The government of Syria uses made-in-California technology from BlueCoat Systems to censor the Internet and spy on its pro-democracy activists (who are regularly arrested and tortured, not…



Via RT America:

In January of 2012, the US Congress passed legislation that will open up the US sky to unmanned drones. The robotic aircraft will be used for military and police operations and will add to America’s current arsenal of around 7,000 drones. According to some accounts, peaceful protest might be a reason that feds would deploy the unmanned craft. There are currently 300 active drone permits in the US, but will that soon swell out of control? Amie Stepanovich, a member of the National Security Council for EPIC, joins us for more.




Ah, the social network. A Boston Phoenix story detailing law enforcement’s hunt for “Craigslist Killer” Philip Markoff reveals what Facebook sends to the cops when they subpoena your profile information (a topic…


Big Brother surveillance cameras that bark orders at you is already in full effect in London and could be coming soon to the US. Luke Rudkowski (www.youtube.com/wearechange), Abby Martin (www.youtube.com/AbbyMediaRoots) and Mark Dice (www.youtube.com/theresistance) made an entertaining video highlighting the issue so San Diego residents can be aware of the scary and very likely possibility of Big Brother barking “laws” at you in your neighborhood:



Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media: It seems sadly fitting the USA Patriot Act turned ten years old the day after police in Oakland, California assaulted peaceful demonstrators with tear gas and…






Siri Is Watching

Tim Stevens on Endgadget said this was happening back in ’09. For all those who rushed out to get the new iPhone, if you are using Siri, you are giving a hell lot of personal info to Apple:

Microsoft’s little Clippy, the uppity paperclip who just wanted to help, never got a lick of respect in the ten years he graced the Office suite.

He’s long-since gone, but his legacy lives on through a DARPA project called CALO: the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes. It’s intended for use to streamline tedious activities by military personnel, like scheduling meetings and prioritizing e-mails, but there are a few non-com spin-offs intended as well, like an iPhone app called Siri due to hit the App Store sometime this year. Siri will have more of a consumer angle, helping to find product reviews and make reservations, but we’re hoping a taste of its military upbringing shines through.


David Sirota writes at Salon.com: With the Obama administration considering federal civil-rights investigations into police brutality, some local police departments have reacted not by cleaning up their act, but instead by intensifying…



img_inboxCreepy and cool — an add-on tool from the Sunlight Foundation that, with a single click, gives you the hidden political allegiances of both companies or institutions and family, friends, and coworkers. Perhaps someday when you apply for a job or an apartment, your boss or landlord will use it on you:

Inbox Influence provides details on both the sender of the email and the company from which it was sent. With it, you can even see how your friends and family have given to political campaigns. Perhaps Uncle Joe has more mainstream views after all?



CSO interviews skip tracer Frank Ahearn about how to vanish from society, skipping off to a tropical island or a clean start in North Dakota, if you don’t want to be found….