Big Brother

NSADan Nosowitz writes on Popular Science:

The National Security Agency is, by nature, an extreme example of the e-hoarder. And as the governmental organization responsible for things like, say, gathering intelligence on such Persons of Interest as Osama bin Laden, that impulse makes sense–though once you hear the specifics, it still seems pretty incredible. In a story about the bin Laden mission, the NSA very casually dropped a number: Every six hours, the agency collects as much data as is stored in the entire Library of Congress.

That data includes transcripts of phone calls and in-house discussions, video and audio surveillance, and a massive amount of photography. “The volume of data they’re pulling in is huge,” said John V. Parachini, director of the Intelligence Policy Center at RAND. “One criticism we might make of our [intelligence] community is that we’re collection-obsessed — we pull in everything — and we don’t spend enough time or money to try and understand what do we have and how can we act upon it.”



Sketch To Mug ShotReports Michigan State University:

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The long-time practice of using police facial sketches to nab criminals has been, at best, an inexact art. But the process may soon be a little more exact thanks to the work of some Michigan State University researchers.

A team led by MSU University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Anil Jain and doctoral student Brendan Klare has developed a set of algorithms and created software that will automatically match hand-drawn facial sketches to mug shots that are stored in law enforcement databases.

Once in use, Klare said, the implications are huge.

“We’re dealing with the worst of the worst here,” he said. “Police sketch artists aren’t called in because someone stole a pack of gum. A lot of time is spent generating these facial sketches so it only makes sense that they are matched with the available technology to catch these criminals.”





Steve Lohr describes a truly alarming development in facial recognition technology, showing how it is already in use to control prison populations, and in all probability before long, the general public. In the video below Dr. Rosalind Picard demonstrates two technologies invented at MIT that the company leading the research, Affectiva, is developing into products. Check it out and read the whole New York Times story, it’s information you should be fully aware of:

Hundreds of correctional officers from prisons across America descended last spring on a shuttered penitentiary in West Virginia for annual training exercises…


Via Media Roots: In George Orwell’s 1984, Britain is depicted as a totalitarian police state that is ruled by the Party, or Big Brother — an enigmatic, ubiquitous elite that controls society…




An article (largely inspired by Disinfo posts—thank you) that contextualizes recent developments in an increasingly nosey society, published by Taki’s Magazine: The perverse coupling of surveillance and exhibitionism forms a cornerstone of American technocracy. Most…