Tag Archives | Surveillance

The Force Which Shapes The World

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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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The Logic of Surveillance Capitalism

Allseeingeye

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

You have probably noticed it already. There is a strange logic at the heart of the modern tech industry. The goal of many new tech startups is not to produce products or services for which consumers are willing to pay. Instead, the goal is create a digital platform or hub that will capture information from as many users as possible — to grab as many ‘eyeballs’ as you can. This information can then be analysed, repackaged and monetised in various ways. The appetite for this information-capture and analysis seems to be insatiable, with ever increasing volumes of information being extracted and analysed from an ever-expanding array of data-monitoring technologies.

The famous Harvard business theorist Shoshana Zuboff refers to this phenomenon assurveillance capitalism and she believes that it has its own internal ‘logic’ that we need to carefully and critically assess. The word ‘logic’ is somewhat obscure in this context.… Read the rest

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Churches Tracking Attendance With Facial Recognition Technology

All you mega church congregants (are there any amongst disinfonauts?), don’t think the pastor won’t know if you don’t show up on Sunday: the church is using facial recognition technology to make sure you’re in attendance, reports Fusion:

We know that Facebook has a vast facial recognition database so good that it can recognize you when your face is hidden, that the FBI has built a millions-strong criminal facial recognition system, and that Google’s new Photos app is so effective at face recognition that it can identify now-adults in photos from their childhood. But now facial recognition is starting to pop up in weird and unexpected places: at music festivals (to identify criminals); at stadiums (to weed out “sports troublemakers“) and at churches. Yes, churches.

Screenshot from Churchix.com website.

Screenshot from Churchix.com website.

 

Moshe Greenshpan, the CEO of Israel- and Las Vegas-based facial recognition software company Face-Six, says there are 30 churches around the world using his Churchix technology.

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A Brief History of False Flag Terror

lady_liberty_towers

James Corbett via Waking Times:

In naval warfare, a “false flag” refers to an attack where a vessel flies a flag other than their true battle flag before engaging their enemy. It is a trick, designed to deceive the enemy about the true nature and origin of an attack.

In the democratic era, where governments require at least a plausible pretext before sending their nation to war, it has been adapted as a psychological warfare tactic to deceive a government’s own population into believing that an enemy nation has attacked them.

In the 1780s, Swedish King Gustav III was looking for a way to unite an increasingly divided nation and raise his own falling political fortunes. Deciding that a war with Russia would be a sufficient distraction but lacking the political authority to send the nation to war unilaterally, he arranged for the head tailor of the Swedish Opera House to sew some Russian military uniforms.

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Why ‘National Security’ Is a Fallacy

National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland

Ian Sanjay Patel writes at Middle East Eye:

Despite the expiration of a Section of the US Patriot Act on 1 June, the ongoing influence and legacy of the Act continues to be felt around the world. Following 2001, dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe drafted counterterrorism laws in its image. As I write this, controversial new counterterrorism legislation – criticised for its arbitrary fault line between terrorism and political dissent – has been passed or is now being considered in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and the UK.

Deliberate vagueness

UK government guidance on its Counterterrorism and Security Act, which came into force in February this year, refers to “extremist organisations” and “extremist ideology” with a deliberate vagueness that is characteristic of the “war on terror”. The Act – without sufficiently defining terrorism and insinuating itself into a vast number of public spheres in the process – imposes a “prevent duty” on professionals working in schools, universities and the health care system to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

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Who owns your face?

Screen shot via.

Screen shot via.

Jeff John Roberts via Fortune:

In a fateful moment for privacy, Facebook’s “Moments” uses facial recognition to expose where people went and who they were with.

What a bad week for privacy. Consumer watchdogs gave up on government talks over facial recognition software after industry groups appeared to reject even basic restrictions on face-scanning. Meanwhile, Facebook rolled out a new service called “Moments” that expands the use of the company’s powerful “faceprint” technology.

This doesn’t mean the privacy apocalypse is upon us; for now least, the Facebook “Moments” tool is just one more creepy-but-useful social media innovation. But if loss of liberty happens gradually, June of 2015 could be a watershed we look back on with regret. It marks a time when we took new steps towards accepting the use of our very faces as a universal ID card – without deciding on the rules for using it.

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Retailers want to use facial recognition technology without your permission

Justin Pickard (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Justin Pickard (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Privacy advocates left a government organized meeting after corporation advocates “refused to concede that there was any scenario during which a person’s consent to scan their face was needed.”

Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica:

After more than a year of discussions, all nine privacy advocates have stormed out of a government-organized “multi-stakeholder process” to sort out details around the best practices for facial recognition technology.

The sticking point was that corporations apparently refused to concede that there was any scenario during which a person’s consent to scan their face was needed.

“When we came in [last] Thursday, [we proposed] that in general, there will be exceptions, but the default for identifying unknown people is that you get permission before you identify them using facial recognition,” Alvaro Bedoya, one of the nine participating advocates and a law professor at Georgetown University, told Ars. 

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Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Virginia Postrel Via Bloomberg View:

Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

This is happening in America — weirdly, to a site I founded, and one whose commenters often earned my public contempt.

Los Angeles legal blogger Ken White has obtained a grand jury subpoena issued to Reason.com, the online home of the libertarian magazine I edited throughout the 1990s. The subpoena seeks information about commenters who posted in response to an article by the site’s editor Nick Gillespie about the letter that Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine B. Forrest before she sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Ulbricht was convicted of seven felony charges, included conspiracies to traffic in narcotics and launder money, and faced a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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You’re a Criminal in a Mass Surveillance World – How to Not Get Caught

Anne-Frank-NSA

David Montgomery via Liberty.me:

Sometimes you just get lucky.

I was in Amsterdam when the Snowden story broke. CNN was non-stop asking politicians and pundits, “Is Edward Snowden a traitor?” Those who said he betrayed America also said something else: Mass surveillance is only an issue if you’re a criminal. If you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to fear.

The Snowden story hit me upon my return from – of all places on earth – the Secret Annex of the Anne Frank House. The Secret Annex is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years. It was during this period of hiding in terror that Anne wrote her world-famous diary. In it she confided, “I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met.”

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

I say I was lucky because the cosmic unlikeliness of my Secret Annex visit coinciding with Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations led to some revelations of my own.

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