Surveillance


By Michael Hampton for the homeland stupidity blog:

What have you got to hide? The answer may shock you: If you’re like most Americans, you have far more than you realize that you need to be hiding, and not doing so may be putting you and your family in grave danger.

In his new book, Three Felonies a Day, attorney Harvey Silverglate holds that the typical American professional commits an average of three federal crimes a day, just going about their daily business, without even realizing it. And the only thing keeping them out of prison — make that keeping you out of prison — is the fact that federal prosecutors haven’t looked at you yet. “No social class or profession is safe from this troubling form of social control by the executive branch,” reads a statement on the book’s Web site, “and nothing less than the integrity of our constitutional democracy hangs in the balance.”

[more at the homeland stupidity]


William Bulkeley reports on yet another city falling victim to a techno-panopticon, in the Wall Street Journal: A giant web of video-surveillance cameras has spread across Chicago, aiding police in the pursuit…


From animal:

Earlier this week, the US military revealed that’s it’s getting closer to realizing a fully operational squadron of robo-beetles for recon missions. But a couple of weeks ago, German publishing house Eichborn unleashed 200 “fliegenbanners” on startled conventioneers at the Frankfurt book fair. Ad agency Jung von Matt/Nectar says the mini-banners were designed “so that the fly could fly with it, but low and for short distances, constantly landing on visitors.” And I’m sure more than a couple of the winged mediums were then subsequently squished.




James Bamford reviews The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency by Matthew M. Aid in The New York Review of Books:

On a remote edge of Utah’s dry and arid high desert, where temperatures often zoom past 100 degrees, hard-hatted construction workers with top-secret clearances are preparing to build what may become America’s equivalent of Jorge Luis Borges’s “Library of Babel,” a place where the collection of information is both infinite and at the same time monstrous, where the entire world’s knowledge is stored, but not a single word is understood. At a million square feet, the mammoth $2 billion structure will be one-third larger than the US Capitol and will use the same amount of energy as every house in Salt Lake City combined.

Unlike Borges’s “labyrinth of letters,” this library expects few visitors. It’s being built by the ultra-secret National Security Agency—which is primarily responsible for “signals intelligence,” the collection and analysis of various forms of communication—to house trillions of phone calls, e-mail messages, and data trails: Web searches, parking receipts, bookstore visits, and other digital “pocket litter.” Lacking adequate space and power at its city-sized Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters, the NSA is also completing work on another data archive, this one in San Antonio, Texas, which will be nearly the size of the Alamodome.

Just how much information will be stored in these windowless cybertemples? A clue comes from a recent report prepared by the MITRE Corporation, a Pentagon think tank…