Tag Archives | Technology

How to Protect Ourselves on Social Networks and from Data Collection Systems of Governments and Corporations

via chycho
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I. What’s Going On

Online, we are both a product for corporations and a person of interest to governments (2, 3).

Corporations are taking advantage of these times by changing their privacy policies so that they can track us, use us, and sell us whatever their algorithms decide that we need or want based on data they have acquired about our movements, contacts, desires, fantasies, or kinks. Governments on the other hand are using our data to make sure that we will never acquire enough power to change any policies that we deem to be a threat to our happiness, livelihood, or survival. In essence, we are at war with these organizations and we should act as such:

“…this is truly unprecedented in history. And what we’re seeing is secrecy and surveillance are completely subverting security and liberty, not just in the United States, but for many, many citizens around the world.”

This corporate misconduct and government surveillance is threatening the internet (2, 3), the original purpose of which was to create an “open architecture networking” system where “a globally interconnected set of computers” would allow “everyone” to “quickly access data and programs from any site”.

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Surveillance State Hurts U.S. Economy: Lavabit Likely to Move Overseas

via chycho

CaptureIn a sign of things to come for the U.S. tech industry, Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, the secure private encrypted email provider that shut down after 10 years of operation (2, 3) because he decided not to abide by the demands made by the United States government to spy on their 400,000 plus users, explains that if he loses his case against the U.S. government he will most likely hand over his company to someone overseas and let them run it. It’s important to note that the U.S. government already new that this would be the end result, that revelations about NSA’s PRISM program would hurt American Technology companies, but they didn’t really care.

Levison clarifies his position in the following interview on Democracy Now!. The segment in which he makes these comments occurs at approximately the 11 minute mark, but the whole interview is well worth watching, especially the part just before these comments where he explains how the U.S.Read the rest

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Mind Controlled Flamethrowers!

Yes, really, you can control a flamethrower just by concentrating. Or at least Matt Oehrlein can, reports Jesse Hicks for The Verge:

“Wouldn’t it be really cool to have a mind-controlled flamethrower?” ponders Matt Oehrlein. He’s perched on a solid wooden desk, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, his sneakers crossed at the ankle and swinging in the air. He’s thin and tall, sporting thick-rimmed black glasses and a shock of bushy brown hair. Around him rises what to an outsider looks like functional chaos: a warehouse-like, fluorescent-lit workshop where a traffic light hangs from the ceiling, a forklift idles nearby, and the shrill grind of a table saw cuts through the air.

Naturally, he already does have a mind-controlled flamethrower. It’s a precarious-looking wooden frame about 3 feet tall, topped by a pair of propane tanks. After some required assembly, Oehrlein dons a Bluetooth-enabled headset, steps on a safety switch, and begins to concentrate.

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Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Bruce Schneier On The Solution To Surveillance

PRISMVia the MIT Technology Review, the security expert on staying free from the NSA:

My five tips suck. They are not things the average person can use. One of them is to use PGP [a data-encryption program]. But my mother can’t use PGP. Maybe some people who read your publication will use my tips, but most people won’t.

Basically, the average user is screwed. You can’t say “Don’t use Google”—that’s a useless piece of advice. Or “Don’t use Facebook,” because then you don’t talk to your friends, you don’t get invited to parties, you don’t get laid. It’s like libertarians saying “Don’t use credit cards”; it just doesn’t work in the real world.

The Internet has become essential to our lives, and it has been subverted into a gigantic surveillance platform. The solutions have to be political. The best advice for the average person is to agitate for political change.

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David Cronenberg’s POD Implant For Your Brain

david cronenbergDavid Cronenberg has a new multimedia project involving a fictional mobile body-add-on gadget called "Personal On-Demand," or POD for short, ostensibly created by biotech startup firm BODY/MIND/CHANGE. Are you ready for your fitting?
MEET POD (PERSONAL ON-DEMAND), THE ULTIMATE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE. POD IS AN EMOTIONAL SENSORY LEARNING AND DATA-MINING ORGANISM. WE’VE REDESIGNED THE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE TO MAKE DISCOVERING THE THINGS YOU NEED, LOVE OR DESIRE EFFORTLESS. POD GROWS WITH YOU TO BECOME AN INTUITIVE COMPANION, FULFILLING YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES ON DEMAND.
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Nearly Half Of American Jobs Are Likely To Be Eliminated By Computers Over The Next Two Decades

american jobs

Humanity is nearly obsolete. MIT Technology Review writes:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage.

Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

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Senator Raises Concern That The FBI Could Access iPhone Fingerprint Data

fingerThose who find Apple’s new fingerprint reader disturbing apparently include members of Congress. Ars Technica reports:

On Thursday, the Minnesota senator Al Franken, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, published a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent,” wrote Sen. Franken. “If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What’s more, a password doesn’t uniquely identify its owner—a fingerprint does.”

He also has specific questions for Cupertino:

Is it possible to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format that can be used by third parties?

Is it possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone? If so, can this be done remotely, or with physical access to the device?…

Under American intelligence law, the FBI can seek an order requiring the production of “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)” if they are deemed relevant to certain foreign intelligence investigations.

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E-ZPass Is Being Used To Track Your Car Far From Tollbooths

Via Forbes, a video from a Defcon conference presenter who hacked his E-ZPass and found that his car's location was being tagged continuously while he drove through New York City:
He hacked his RFID-enabled E-ZPass to set off a light and a “moo cow” every time it was being read. Then he drove around New York. His tag got milked multiple times on the short drive from Times Square to Madison Square Garden in mid-town Manhattan…and also on his way out of New York through Lincoln Tunnel, again in a place with no toll plaza. At Defcon, where he presented his findings, Puking Monkey said he found the reading of the E-ZPass [in non-toll situations] “intrusive and unsettling.”
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U.S. government knew that revelations about NSA’s PRISM program would hurt American Technology companies, but they didn’t “really really care”, Bart Gellman

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When details of NSA’s PRISM surveillance program were revealed, American technology companies shuttered in fear, not because they were concerned about criminal prosecution – both the Bush administration and the Obama administration had authorized the program – they shuttered in fear because they knew the revelations would negatively impact their business.

In the following interview on Democracy Now!, when Juan Gonzalez asks Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, the British newspaper that first reported on the Snowden affair (2), what his thoughts are on the impact of the revelations of the surveillance program on the world stage, Rusbridger replies (segments of interest occur at approximately 38:00 and 47:00 – emphasis added):

ALAN RUSBRIDGER [38:00]: Well, I think, the bit that is sometimes missing from the American debate, the President places great emphasis on the fact that America doesn’t spy on Americans in American territory, as if that was the only thing that mattered.

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