Tag Archives | Surveillance

Julian Assange at SXSW: ‘People Are Products Sold to Advertisers’

Picture: Espen Moe (CC)

Picture: Espen Moe (CC)

Julian Assange Skyped into music and culture festival South by Southwest to address the masses. He had some choice words for interviewer Benjamin Palmer of digital advertising firm the Barbarian Group.

Industry site AdAge reported that Assange was referring to Google when he made the comment, but I can’t help to wonder if he had meant to include the Barbarian Group, as well as SXSW’s ubiquitous corporate sponsors. He also made some other interesting comments about the NSA and the “military occupation of the internet,” which you can read here.

I found one full video of the event, and I can’t guarantee it will be live for very long. It’s after the jump. Watch it while you can

AdAge

It was still one of the more interesting and different sessions for SXSW attendees, who thus far have been inundated as expected with expensive and often pointless brand activations.

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The NSA Has Their Own ‘Dear Abby’

PIC: Rob Speed (CC)

PIC: Rob Speed (CC)

One of Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed this incredible bit of absurdity: The agency has its own “Dear Abby” type advice column titled “Ask Zelda”. Incredibly enough, one of the published columns is a response to an NSA employee who complains about a boss and his team of “snitches” spying on casual conversations with coworkers. For an extra dose of irony, check out the department the employee works in…

Via The Intercept.

What if the National Security Agency had its own advice columnist? What would the eavesdroppers ask about?

You don’t need to guess. An NSA official, writing under the pen name “Zelda,” has actually served at the agency as a Dear Abby for spies. Her “Ask Zelda!” columns, distributed on the agency’s intranet and accessible only to those with the proper security clearance, are among the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The columns are often amusing – topics include co-workers falling asleep on the job, sodas being stolen from shared fridges, supervisors not responding to emails, and office-mates who smell bad.

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How To Think About The Origins Of The American Surveillance State

slaveryMatt Stoller on understanding that the United States was birthed as a surveillance society:

American political surveillance is older than the republic itself.

Think about it this way. Slaves were controlled in a largely totalitarian society, even before the American Revolution, and this lasted until the Civil War. This society involved radical restrictions on peoples’ ability to read, travel, work for pay, trade, own property, marry, and not be physically and mentally abused. At the core of slavery was an aggressive need for control, it was the mother of all totalitarian surveillance cultures. This surveillance didn’t just involve slaves, but surveillance of those who sought to free slaves via such institutions as the Underground Railroad.

After slavery and a brief interlude of Reconstruction, sharecropping and segregation took its place, and sharecropping was enforced by a reign of terror by both legal institutions like local police and commercial monopolies of credit, railroads, and farm supplies, and extra-legal institutions like the KKK.

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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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The Surveillance State is Metaphorical: They’re Already in Your Head

sacredsigilsservitor3Now, I’m not saying I’m a supporter of the surveillance state or anything like that. It’s hyper creepy as all get out. As a matter of fact, before I even get into that level of sketch I’ll first focus on the bright side. One thing that no one seems to philosophically contemplate nearly enough these days is how quickly we’ve plunged ourselves into increasingly fantasy centric lifestyles. Why is that? Our lives are cripplingly boring and we’re forced into these alternate dimensions of thought as a reflex. I mean, how many of us actually find any sort of fulfillment in our supposed “careers”. Like 2% optimistically? I think I’m being generous with that. I mean, increasingly intertwined mind rape corporations are currently taking home record profits, and who the fuck grows up thinking, “I want to work at the Pizza Hut corporate office one day.” Fucking no one….ever…and yet, uber boring places like that are where a crap ton of us end up, gladly, because the alternative is further selling our lives down the rabbit hole of higher education, which may or may not make things better for us and costs an ass ton of money.… Read the rest

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NYPD Is Beta-Testing Google Glass For Law Enforcement

google glassSoon police may instantly know the identity and personal background of everyone they see, VentureBeat reports:

Google Glass may soon become a favored tool for law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The New York City Police Department’s massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit is evaluating whether Google Glass is a decent fit for investigating terrorists and helping cops lock up bad guys, VentureBeat has learned.

The department recently received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out. “We’re trying them out, mostly for patrol purposes,” a ranking New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat. Wireless facial recognition software is one potential use.

The glasses are currently only available through Google’s Glass Explorer program, in which people who interested in acquiring them first apply and then receive notification from Google on whether it accepts or denies their application. Respondents who get the green light must pay $1,500 for the privilege.

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Red Light Surveillance Camera Vendor Bribed Govt. Officials In 13 States

Pic: Derrek Jensen (PD)

Pic: Derrek Jensen (PD)

What cost, freedom? Um, baseball game tickets, apparently. (Also acceptable: A buck o’five.)

Via Raw Story:

A fired executive from one of New Jersey’s red-light camera vendors contends in a lawsuit filed in Arizona that the company provided lavish gifts and bribes to government officials in 13 states — including New Jersey — to secure new contracts.

The brief but bombshell reference to New Jersey and other states in a 13-page counterclaim was made by Aaron Rosenberg, former nationwide lead salesman for Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix. He did not mention specific municipalities from any of the states.

Rosenberg noted in the suit that Redflex “bestowed gifts and bribes on … officials in dozens of municipalities within, but not limited to the following states: California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia.”

He said Redflex bribed local officials with meals, golf outings and tickets to professional football and baseball games.

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New Snowden Leak Reveals ‘False Flag’ Attacks By British Intel Agents

abc_edward_snowden_2_jt_130609_msIn other news, water confirmed as wet, fire hot.

Via NBC:

British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”

Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and exclusively obtained by NBC News describe techniques developed by a secret British spy unit called the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) as part of a growing mission to go on offense and attack adversaries ranging from Iran to the hacktivists of Anonymous. According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.

Both PowerPoint presentations describe “Effects” campaigns that are broadly divided into two categories: cyber attacks and propaganda operations.

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Feb. 11: “The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance”

Pic: Jeff Schuler (CC)

Pic: Jeff Schuler (CC) of original art by “Venchen”.

They know you’re reading this.  Dan Gillmore writes at the Guardian:

Two years ago, major websites like Google, Reddit and Wikipedia went dark for a day. They were protesting the then-pending “Stop Online Piracy Act,” federal legislation that would have done enormous damage to the open internet by creating system of censorship and deterring digital-media innovators. The 18 January 2012 blackout created an outpouring of opposition from average Americans who suddenly realized what was at stake, and Congress backed off a bill that almost certainly would have passed otherwise.

There won’t be a website blackout next Tuesday, 11 February, but there will be another virtual call to arms. In the US the primary goal this time is to help reverse America’s retreat from liberty by telling lawmakers we can’t abide a surveillance state – and by insisting they vote for a measure, called the USA Freedom Act, that would begin to restore the civil liberties we’ve lost in recent times.

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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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