Tag Archives | Privacy

Digital surveillance ‘worse than Orwell’, says new UN privacy chief

JACannataci

Joseph Cannataci

United Nations privacy chief Joseph Cannataci says a Geneva convention for the internet is needed, per the Guardian:

The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance.

Speaking to the Guardian weeks after his appointment as the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci described British surveillance oversight as being “a joke”, and said the situation is worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen.

He added that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and said it was regrettable that vast numbers of people sign away their digital rights without thinking about it.

“Some people were complaining because they couldn’t find me on Facebook. They couldn’t find me on Twitter. But since I believe in privacy, I’ve never felt the need for it,” Cannataci, a professor of technology law at University of Groningen in the Netherlands and head of the department of Information Policy & Governance at the University of Malta, said.

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Noam Chomsky: Why America Is the Gravest Threat to World Peace

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Noam Chomsky via Alternet/TomDispatch:

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Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrates 25 years of defending online privacy

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

Maria Korolov via CSO Online:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the digital world’s top watchdog when it comes to privacy and free expression.

But while cops and firefighters are often ready to retire after 25 years on the job, protecting citizens, the EFF has a full agenda as it celebrates its 25th anniversary today.

The EFF was founded in 1990, when the Web still had just one webpage. Its first major case was one in which the U.S. Secret Service, hunting a stolen document, raided a company’s computers, computers that were also used to run an online bulletin board, and read and deleted those users’ messages.

The company, Steve Jackson Games, and some of the users of that bulletin board, thought that the government overstepped its warrant.

The situation inspired former Lotus president Mitch Kapor, Sun Microsystems employee John Gilmore and John Perry Barlow, cattle rancher and Greatful Dead lyricist to form the EFF and represent Steve Jackson Games and their users against the U.S.

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The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

"Tesla circa 1890" by Napoleon Sarony - postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Tesla circa 1890” by Napoleon Sarony – postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This post was originally published on Activist Post

Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate more than 70 years after his death.

Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control?

We know that he was undoubtedly persecuted by the energy power brokers of his day — namely Thomas Edison, whom we are taught in school to revere as a genius.  He was also attacked by J.P. Morgan and other “captains of industry.” Upon Tesla’s death on January 7th, 1943, the U.S. government moved into his lab and apartment confiscating all of his scientific research, some of which has been released by the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. (I’ve embedded the first 250 pages below and have added a link to the .pdf of the final pages, 290 in total).… Read the rest

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Permaculture – Reconnecting with Nature

Bonzai-Tree-Permaculture

Phil Watt via Waking Times:

Humanity has lost its connection to nature. We’re so bombarded with artificial imagery and ideals of superficial living that most of us think taking in an occasional sunset or going for a bush-walk is what it means to be united with our Mother Earth. These practices are wonderful, and very grounding, however they are temporary and don’t truly represent the holistic way we most naturally connect to the spirit of our world and the life that it breathes.

As a culture, we have become disconnected from our food. We have forgotten the cycles of natural systems. We are blind to the divine patterns found in nature. We have lost the innate wisdom of knowing our environment like the back of our heart, and knowing our place within it. Instead we have accepted urbanization of our civilization as ‘natural’. In cities we live in a cement jungle, on top of each other but isolated from each other and our natural environment.

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The Force Which Shapes The World

download4

Linda and Morris Tannehill via Not Being Governed:

But a discussion of how government could be dismantled and how free men could then build a laissez-faire society out of the pieces still doesn’t answer the question, “How do we get there?” Politicians are politicians because they enjoy wielding power over others and being honored for their “high positions.” Power and plaudits are the politician’s life, and a true politician will fight to the death (your death) if he thinks it will help him hold on to them. Even the gray, faceless bureaucrats cling to their little bits of power with the desperate tenacity of a multitude of leaches, each squirming and fighting to hold and increase his area of domination. How can we successfully oppose this vast, cancerous power structure? Where can we find a force strong enough to attack, undermine, and finally destroy its power?

Some people, gazing up at the fearsome might of the American Leviathan, have decided that our only hope lies in an eventual armed revolution.

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The Future of Facebook is Telepathy

Facebook. Telepathy. From CNN/Money

Mark Zuckerberg just dropped a big clue about Facebook’s future.

The social network’s founder and CEO believes that one day, we’ll be able to share our thoughts directly — brain to brain — using technology.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: Wired Photostream (CC)

“You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like,” Zuckerberg said. “This would be the ultimate communication technology.”

He made his comments during a public Q&A session on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon. The response was addressed to a user who asked about Facebook’s long-term plans.

In the past decade, the company has expanded the way users communicate on the platform. First there were plain profile pages. Next came comments, and then the Wall, Likes, Groups and News Feed.

Over the last year Facebook has moved away from mass sharing and focused on personal messaging.

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First robot wedding: The bride wore white and the groom wore out his batteries

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Lydia Willgress via Daily Mail Online:

Two robots have tied the knot in Japan in what is thought to be the first wedding of its kind in the world.

Frois, the groom, and bride Yukirin walked the aisle, wore traditional outfits and even carried out a ‘wedding kiss’ at the event in Tokyo on Saturday.

Special invitations were made, featuring a picture of the two robots inset in a heart, and the 100-strong congregation included a range of smaller robotic models.

After the ceremony the couple even managed to ‘cut a cake’ before an automated orchestra performed a song for the equivalent of their first dance.

The event was organised by Maywa Denki, which produces electronic accessories and designed the groom Frois.

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Facebook’s new algorithm can recognize you even if your face is hidden

There’s just no hiding from the archons of Facebook now that their algorithm can recognize you even if your face is hidden, as reported by Forbes:

The head of Facebook’s artificial-intelligence research lab says the software can identify users 83% of the time even if their face isn’t visible.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg for WIRED magazine

Mark Zuckerberg for WIRED magazine by Charis Tsevis, on Flickr (CC)

 

We are just beginning to come to grips with the idea that computers and algorithms can recognize our faces, and the implications that has for privacy. Now the head of Facebook’s artificial-intelligence research lab says that an experimental algorithm he helped develop for the giant social network can recognize you with a high degree of accuracy even if your face is hidden from the camera.

Yann LeCun, an expert in computer vision and pattern recognition who was hired by Facebook in 2013, presented his research at a recent conference in Boston.

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