Posts Tagged ‘survaillance’

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PETITION TO CONGRESS

 

Friends:

Please see this urgent email I just received from Demand Progress. It’s an outrage: The Guardian has obtained long sought-after evidence of the extent of ongoing spying on Americans under the PATRIOT Act — and it’s as bad as we’d worried. “The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.” “The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.”

Click here to demand an investigation of — and end to — this spying right away:

http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/patriot_verizon/?referring_akid=2172.1614546.lhIIRG&source=taf

The government is continuing — and expanding — egregious spying and other infringement on our civil liberties that began under the Bush administration. And enough is enough! Please sign on to our petition to the House Oversight Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee to demand an immediate investigation of this spying. Just click here:

http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/patriot_verizon/?referring_akid=2172.1614546.lhIIRG&source=taf

 

Department of Homeland Gestapo and their National Operations Center have leaked a verboten list of words that you should not be associated with on your social media, lest you incur the interest of the secret, unaccountable repression organs of the federal tyranny.

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Your beloved Obama presides over this police state abomination, and you mindlessly cheer on his every abuse.

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Betray Friends’ Privacy to Comment?

 

I was ready to “Login with Facebook” over on TED’s website, when their privacy invading app told me they were taking my email address and other info – including my friend’s info and video information.  And I stopped.

Who gives them the right to stick these data mining marketing tricks into their message board?

Fuck you, TED. We live in an invasive, privacy destroying Brave New World of aggressive marketing yuppies with no scruples.  Rudeness is being normalized.  You can’t even have a conversation with a human for more than two minutes without them pulling out some tappy tappy device in the middle of it.  The humans are resembling cyborgs more and more, slaves to the devices.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on Maajid Nawaz’s talk about extremism allegedly running rampant across the globe far and ahead of democracy.  Some of his claims make more sense in particular Arab countries than they apply to the rest of the globe.  Some of his thinking is constrained and limited in scope, and that is the point I wish to make. The talk, and the world view behind it, are completely missing the larger picture of empire, global hegemony by the US and friends.  Behind the scenes the real exercise of power grinds on to coopt and derail popular movements, to benefit extremists when convenient, to fund and arm military dictators, which is very often convenient, to protect brutal human rights abusers when they provide strategic benefit, and etcetera.  This is not a new or novel understanding.

The Arab world in particular should know well the machinations of Uncle Sam in propping up oil dictators and overthrowing the disobedient ones.  Iran’s actual democracy was destroyed in 1953 by the CIA, and even admitted to.  This is not covered up today. Nawaz focuses a lot on Egypt, without mention of US support of Mubarek right up until his ouster by one of their torturer friends in the Egyptian military.  The Egyptian military receives more than a billion dollars in so-called military “aid” every year, $1.3Bn as of 2010.  What are they purchasing with this graft? Pakistan has also received much.  Saudi Arabia and Bahrain receive quite shockingly positive media when their people rise up demanding democracy – and are brutalized, tortured and imprisoned for their efforts.  US leaders smile and change the subject. To fail to mention any of this obvious undemocratic imperial meddling is a credibility killer, in my view.

Nawaz himself is a former “extremist,” already taken in by one set of dogmas.  One wonder if this new prevailing democracy myth he ascribes to is similarly processed in extremist fashion? As far as fighting for democracy and against Islamic militant extremism, we again must examine the facts on the ground.  In 1979 the Mujahadeen, the precursor to “Al Qaeda,” were created, armed, trained and imported into Afghanistan to overthrow the pro-Soviet government.  Decades of horror and destruction followed, which persists to this day.  That particular US supporting of extremism was launched under Jimmy Carter of all people. Today, the Al Nusra Brigades in Syria are doing the empire’s dirty work.  These absolute extremists, with a blood drenched record of terrorism that exceeds Al Qaeda’s record already, are part of the current imperial strategy to topple dominoes.  Al Nusra is supported directly and unequivocally by US client regimes Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are hosted and given free passage on NATO state Turkey’s territory to invade Syria next door.  US CIA are also on the other Syrian border in Jordan, arming and training fighters.

How does any of this fit into the picture that Nawaz paints during his talk? His is a sin of omission.  The myth prevails rather than the reality.  I’m all for democracy and promoting it, but let’s not close our eyes and play fools.

And TED, you can go to hell for daring to demand personal contacts from people commenting on your website.  Have some shame and some tact, basic etiquette.  To talk to you in the street you first demand my mother’s Facebook posts, and which videos she watches?  And my sister’s dog photos?  Can I say my comment then?

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Big Brother Wears Google Glass

by ALYSSA ROHRICHT

 

In 2014, for a mere $1,500, you can literally have Big Brother strapped to your retinas. It isn’t marketed that way, of course. Instead, Google Glass is marketed as making “augmented reality” a part of our every day lives. And while Google’s mantra may be “Don’t Be Evil” (though the company’s own morality is questionable at best), you can be assured that the government, the Secret Service, and corporations are chomping at the bit to get ahold of this veritable gold mine of information.

 

“Imagine your brain being augmented by Google,” Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page said in a 2004 interview. And that’s now something we no longer have to imagine. In a teaser-video for Google Glass, we’re shown the viewer flying an airplane, playing sports, ice sculpting, and playing with a dog, all the while the glasses display the time, the temperature, and incoming phone calls in the upper right view frame of the glasses-wearer. The glasses take instant photos, videos, and even display information from the internet, including translating text and an instant GPS feature.

It is hard not to make the connection between Google Glass and George Orwell‘s Big Brother lurking around every corner of the dystopian novel. In Orwell’s nightmarish future world, Big Brother – via telescreens that can never be turned off – can literally see into every space of the city. He is in your bed room, at work, on the street, and peering down every hallway. With Google Glass, Big Brother won’t need a telescreen and he won’t need to spy on citizens. Instead, citizens will do the spying for him. Google Glass will constantly be gathering real-time information about your every single movement. What you see, what you hear, where you go and how you get there, who you speak with and what about, what you eat, drink, purchase, what you research, what you read on the street and in books and even what you do in the privacy of your home.

Gold mine is an understatement. Advertisers and corporations have been data mining for years, and we already give them most of this information through what we type on search engines, the websites we visit, and even through our smart phones and GPS devices. And they’ve been using that information to target us with tailored advertisements expertly based on our patterns of interests ripped directly from that information. Google Glass doesn’t necessarily do anything new, but it is the ease with which we are offering up our data on a silver platter that is transforming the data mining world. We aren’t just inviting these companies – and furthermore, the government – to view our thoughts, patterns, and consumer habits when we access the web. Now we’re inviting them into our private lives even further and literally placing them at the forefront of everything we do by affixing them directly in front of our faces 24/7.

Obviously, I’m not the first to criticize this new gadget, nor am I the first to see the glaring connection to our impending Orwellian future. Mic Wright writes in The Kernel that “Project Glass is the telescreen made real, strapped directly onto your face, pumping adverts into your retina, encouraging you to perpetually jones for more information in a way that will make today’s Twitter addicts seem slothful and non-reactive.” And it is true. We are not only giving up our last semblances of privacy, we are also succumbing even further to our ever-growing need to be “tapped-in” to the interweb and the endless stream of useless information it offers us.

The ramifications of the ease of accessibility for government and security agencies is even more frightening, especially in the face of the recent Justice Department “white paper” obtained by NBC earlier this month detailing the legal justifications that the Obama Administration has claimed for the targeting and killing of American citizens without trial. The paper was written in an attempt to legitimize the 2011 drone killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen, including Samir Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki, and later Abdulrahman, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. The paper argues that the targeted killings of U.S. citizens are justified and legal under U.S. law if  a threat is “imminent” (though for a specific attack to be imminent does not mean that it must currently be under way at the time), a high-level official has provided evidence that the person in question may be a threat, and if capture is difficult. The incredibly vague memo leaves much room for interpretation, and of course, this is intentional. When questioned about the right to due process under the Constitution, General Eric Holder responded in March of 2012 saying,

Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

Basically, if the Executive Branch says you’re guilty, that’s all the due process you need. Never mind a court, a trial by jury, or the notion that you’re innocent until proven guilty. The word of our government should be all that we require for any legal justifications.

The prospects for the information that Google Glass can provide to our government, which now reserves the right to detain us without charge (under the National Defense Authorization Act) and even immediately and covertly put an order out for our deaths, are terrifying, to say the least.

“In the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.”

This dire prophecy is from Orwell’s 1984 and never before has this statement rang so true as today. As Wright wrote in his piece, in a way, Google Glasses are something “grimly inevitable.” It is not surprising that technology and access to the web has finally made the push not just to the tips of our fingertips but literally to right before our eyes at every moment. Not surprising, but worthy of resistance nonetheless.  Wright notes,

“What will be lost with the proliferation of Google glasses, and what will be gained? Project Glass will not materially improve our lives. It will improve Google’s databases and make it easier to sell, sell, sell us more products and services. Ultimately, whatever the utopian rhetoric of Google’s cash-rich, sense-light engineering team, Project Glass will make you the easiest piece of meat to market to in history”

“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,” Orwell wrote in 1984. For years, we’ve carried Big Brother around in our pockets, willingly giving up our information on the web and through our phones. Now,  as those in the tech world clamor to be one of the lucky “bold, creative individuals” to get to try out Google Glass for free and before the wide-release, we will lose our last vestiges of privacy. Facecrime is no longer just a term in a book to describe an illegal act given away by a facial expression. Now, it has become our reality – our “augmented” reality.

Alyssa Rohricht maintains Crash Culture and can be reached at aprohricht @ msn . com.

 

Unmanned copters with live video now a threat globally.  Here is a video of unknown operators actually stalking French police with a quad-copter.  The usefulness of these devices to violate people’s privacy, and even to assist in crimes, has yet to be seen…

 

Somewhat relevant:

‘Did we just kill a kid?’: The moment drone operator who assassinated Afghans with the push of a button on a computer in the U.S. realized he had vaporized a child… and could not go on