Tag Archives | Privacy

From the Pages of Barry Ween: What We Would All Like to Do and Say to the Minions of the Surveillance State

via chycho

barry_wee_8

Barry Ween is a fictional “10-year-old boy who secretly possesses the most powerful intellect on Earth”. His escapades are brilliantly depicted by Judd Winick in the pages of “The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius”.

Barry is a genius, and we’re not talking about the regular Einstein type of genius, or beyond belief Tesla genius, we’re talking about 350 I.Q. “by far the smartest organism on the planet” genius. We’re talking about “self-awareness-in-the-womb-smart” (click images to enlarge).

Being the smartest creature to ever walk this earth, he realizes early on that for his safety and the safety of those that he loves, he would have to remain hidden. After all, we all know what humanity is capable of once fear of the incomprehensible and the unknown takes hold.

His first few years were long and arduous but he withstood them, and at the age of 10 he acquired enough freedom to explore the limits of science and understanding, albeit, still in secret.

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NSA’s Desperation for Secrecy Leads to Stupidity, Alienating the Hacker Community

nsa_General_Keith_B._Alexander_in_service_uniform
via chycho

In 2012 we witnessed NSA’s Director Gen. Keith Alexander put on a black t-shirt and jeans and head out to DEF CON, “one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions”, in search of the youngest and brightest minds in our society to join his ilk:

“‘In this room, this room right here, is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace,’ Alexander told the standing-room-only audience at DefCon, a grassroots gathering in Las Vegas expected to draw a record 16,000 attendees this year. ‘We need great talent. We don’t pay as high as everybody else, but we’re fun to be around.’”

DEF CON 20 By General Keith B Alexander Shared Values Shared Response [sic]

We all know that top government officials lie, this should be obvious to everyone, especially after watching the “National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate” when he stated that the NSA does “not wittingly” spy on Americans, but the lies that Gen.

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Can We Learn About Privacy From Porn Stars?

I understand taking on another name, yet I have to wonder if these porn stars are turning to the media to promote their goods. What say you disinfonauts?

Detail of a New York Times Advertisement – 1895 (wikimedia- Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs) (PD)

via New York Times

 I DIDN’T expect to become a porn star. People rarely do. I was 19 years old, and my photographer roommate had an offer from a website to buy some nude pictures. We did a shoot and then waited two weeks in case I woke up in a panic over the idea of releasing naked photos of myself into the world. But I didn’t, and so I turned to the required paperwork. One of the boxes to fill in read “Stage Name (if applicable).”

Stage names are common in the entertainment industry — whether in Hollywood, rap or pornography — and they’re used for all sorts of reasons.

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Rethinking Privacy: Google Glass Harassment & The Coming Age of Sousveillance

PIC: Antonio Zugaldia (CC)

PIC: Antonio Zugaldia (CC)

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” – Dalai Lama

A woman was recently accosted at a bar in San Francisco for wearing Google Glass, and while I can sympathize to a certain degree with those disgruntled patrons who had not agreed to be recorded while out in public, I cannot help but wonder:  do these same individuals share a similar sense of outrage over the illegal monitoring and recording of all our digital data by the NSA? Many view Glass as a further intrusion of privacy, and as wearable/recordable tech becomes increasingly ubiquitous we are probably going to start seeing signs like these popping up in stores and restaurants all over the place.

This tech will force us to reconsider previously held notions of “public versus private” and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but another question worth asking might be: could this tech – when used responsibly – potentially help us to regain some sense of equilibrium and empowerment against the current surveillance state?… Read the rest

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FreedomPop’s Anonymous, Encrypted “Privacy Phone” Service

PIC: FreedomPop(C)

PIC: FreedomPop(C)

Forgive me if I’m a little bit cynical at this point about any company claiming to offer anonymous phone service. However, if it’s all on the up and up – and presuming that the NSA and their associated goons can’t render its “privacy” claims null and void – FreedomPop’s phone could be useful. You can pay for your service with BitCoins, too.

Via The Next Web:

Budget carrier FreedomPop today announced a new Privacy Phone service that attempts to offer secure and anonymous voice, text and data communications.

Jokingly referred to as the “Snowden phone,” FreedomPop’s latest offering is based on a Samsung Galaxy S II. Voice and text will run over 128-bit encryption, while data is funneled through a pre-installed VPN. In an extra touch of security, you’ll be able to pay for the phone in bitcoin in order to keep the transaction anonymous. FreedomPop also says you can change your number whenever you want.

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How Your Car Is Tracking You

Photo: usien (CC)

Photo: usien (CC)

Got a new car? Like the GPS navigation? Live traffic updates? The Detroit News describes how high tech in vehicles puts drivers’ privacy up for grabs:

Every time a motorist slides in behind the wheel, odds are that car or truck is gathering information: How aggressively the driver accelerated, whether the speed limit was observed, how hard the brake pedal was applied. And beyond driving habits, where and when the car was driven, what route was taken and whether the seat belt was buckled.

Few laws or regulations address ownership of data collected by infotainment and navigation systems in dashboards and by electronic black boxes under hoods. Auto data privacy is the industry equivalent of the Wild West, according to automotive industry and law experts.

Should drivers expect information collected by their cars to be private? Can police or other government agencies get their hands on recorded data after a crash to review drivers’ whereabouts if they’re suspected of a crime?

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UK Government To Make The Entire Population’s Medical Records Available For Sale To Drug And Insurance Firms

medical recordsThe move will allow insurers to more efficiently serve the public and pharmaceutical companies to better target their life-saving new drugs…because surely those are the only reasons why those industries would pay to access vast troves of personal medical data. The Guardian reports:

Drug and insurance companies will from later this year be able to buy information on patients – including mental health conditions and diseases such as cancer, as well as smoking and drinking habits – once a single English database of medical data covering the entire population (harvested from GP and hospital records) has been created.

Privacy experts warn there will be no way for the public to work out who has their medical records or to what use their data will be put. The extracted information will contain NHS numbers, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender.

Once live, organisations such as universities – but also insurers and drug companies – will be able to apply to gain access to the database, called care.data.

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UT Austin Engineers Build First Nonreciprocal Acoustic Circulator: A One-Way Sound Device

The Conversation

The Conversation (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (FU)

It appears that snoops may soon have access to a powerful tool that may likely be used to abuse privacy.

via utexas

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever circulator for sound. The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.

“Using the proposed concept, we were able to create one-way communication for sound traveling through air,” said Andrea Alù, who led the project and is an associate professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Imagine being able to listen without having to worry about being heard in return.”

This successful experiment is described in “Sound Isolation and Giant Linear Nonreciprocity in a Compact Acoustic Circulator,” which will be featured on the cover of Science in the Jan.

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Edward Snowden’s Television Interview with German Public Broadcaster ARD

snowden ardvia chycho

From what I understand western mainstream media is not providing very much coverage of Edward Snowden’s latest television interview (transcript). Understandable of course since much of what he talks about would contradict the script.

Figured we’d do our part and give this as much exposure as possible. Below you will find the Vimeo copy (Dailymotion, YouTube copy has been taken down due to copyright claim by ARD). It is worth the watch.

Edward Snowden Interview, English (1/27/2014)

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Advocacy Groups Plan Day of Protest Against NSA Surveillance

Pic: DWFB (C)

Pic: DWFB (C)

As football season gears up for its climax, many people are overlooking a much bigger game that is being played at the moment.  Grant Gross for PC World reports on the Day We Fight Back protest:

A group of activist groups and Internet companies are planning a coordinated protest of U.S. National Security Agency surveillance on Feb. 11, with the hope that millions of people will join them.The protest, called the Day We Fight Back, comes a month after the anniversary of Internet activist Aaron Swartz’s death. Swartz committed suicide last January while facing a 35-year prison sentence for hacking into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology network and downloading research articles.Among the organizations participating in the protest are Demand Progress, an activist group Swartz co-founded, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Reddit and Mozilla.”Today the greatest threat to a free Internet, and broader free society, is the National Security Agency’s mass spying regime,” David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, said in a statement.… Read the rest
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