Posts Tagged ‘techno-fascism’

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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.

 

The assaults are coming every day now, perhaps multiple times. US military industrial partner RAYTHEON is having a “RIOT” and you can see how they track your cell phone, your social media, your images, and can predict where to find you… for any and all unspecified reasons, by any and all customers who may find this sort of thing useful. These include the US government, foreign governments (dictatorships), corporations, organized crime, the “market” is wide open.

RIOT Training Video on Guardian Websiteraytheon-riot

 But Raytheon is not the only corporation in on the domestic surveillance game:

Google Moves to Destroy Online Anonymity

And “Homeland Security” (sic!) lets us know:

“Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.

Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

And military contractor General Dynamics is also in on the feeding frenzy (feeding on citizen’s civil liberties:

“Some of the more high profile and highly trafficked sites being monitored include the comments sections of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, Wired, and ABC News. In addition, social networking sites Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are being monitored. For the first time, the public not only has an idea who the DHS is pursuing with their surveillance and where, but what they are looking for as well. General Dynamics contract requires them to “[identify] media reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government, DHS, or prevent, protect, respond government activities.” The DHS also instructed General Dynamics to generate “reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies: positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS.” In other words, the DHS wants to know who you are if you say anything critical about the government.”

Is there anyone left who disputes the techno-fascist police state?  Can any informed person deny the breathtaking scope of an out of control fascist system designed to track and squash political opponents?

The current fascist, hyper-nationalist propaganda relies on ignorance, an uneducated, gullible population too distracted to rub neurons together.  Anyone who can read, and has the self respect to stay informed about the important issues affecting us cannot blindly accept this monstrosity of an out of control, unaccountable police state, the likes of which Goebbels and Hitler could only dream.

by Joe Giambrone

I clicked over here and over there, looking for something watchable.  Site after site, they want more and more information about me.  First it was my email address.  And my birthday (which they never got accurately).  And my name (ditto).  Now I’m the subject of numerous databases, and they demand my Facebook login, with assorted “apps” siphoning up whatever data they can access.

Hey online film-streaming websites: Fuck You.

I’m the customer here.  This is my decision.  You don’t get to have my personal information to store forever and aggregate and analyze and sell to third parties, and try and sell me crap I don’t want for the rest of my life, and hand over to governments, or organized crime, or pornographers, or anybody else.  What movies I watch is my business.  What websites I peruse is my concern.  Suck on that.

These marketing whore scum, who’ve taken up hipster style cubicle residences across the Interwebs, think that because they dress differently, speak in newly-coined jargon, and pretend to be different than their Madison Avenue forebears, that people owe them something.  Wrong.  Nor should anyone tolerate invasions of privacy under any pretexts (Cue the honorable Bill Hicks).

 

These next-gen marketing gurus would have you believe that access to your entire personal life is a good tradeoff for some convenience.  They play to the basest instincts of their targets in these predatory schemes.  Mostly they want one thing: MORE.  More information.  More money.  More sales.  More leverage, over you.  More integration with other businesses — and with the government, of course.  In this case, more for them is less privacy for you.  Your life is an open digital book to be exploited by savvy carnivores with goatees and laptops.

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Facebook is Big Bro’s central hub today.  Combine with Google search capabilities, and your private life is probably no longer in existence.  These private for-profit corporations have infiltrated peoples’ personal spaces, and their machinations are insidious and in the background much of the time.  As Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated, it can simply change its legal boilerplate, its Terms of Service, any time it wishes, and few of the hundreds of millions will actually close out their accounts.  These boiled frogs continue divulging all the most intimate aspects of their lives to a greed-centered corporation, which is surveilling them 24/7.

Google was in the news recently for allegedly standing up for gmail users’ privacy and requiring “cops to get a warrant.”  Of course the plot thickens down deeper in the article, where: “It’s unclear how many of the subpoenas or warrants Google complied with—the company has only said it complied in part or in full to 88 percent of total requests from American authorities.” (Ars Technica)  A subpoena is not a warrant, and it has no judicial oversight.

Dark Empire MicroSoft is in on the game too.  My own email is apparently being read by their marketing robots.  I’ve used the Hotmail account to back up a new novel I’m working on, by attaching the file and sending it to myself.  But recently, on the intrusive side-bar advertisements forced on me by the Hotmail/Outlook website, I’ve noticed some odd pitches.  Am I in the market for a crossbow?  Perhaps a bow is relevant in the novel, which MicroSoft has stored on its servers, but I do believe the digital empire has tipped its hand.

But, of course, these are the infant stages of a “Total Information Awareness” society.  People have essentially given over to private corporations what was the National Security Agency’s unlawful wet dream under Donald Rumsfeld.

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It doesn’t take a highly-paid screenwriter to ponder over the implications of having your entire life splattered up on web servers.  Your past, your associations, your future movements, everything just sitting there for software to piece together in the background — is no one concerned about the abuses that are surely coming?

Generation Mindless-Tapping doesn’t seem too concerned over much, unless their drunken nude photos end up at a job interview.  The political repression of dissidents has never entered their inane streams of monosyllabic gibberish.  Perhaps they’ll grow up in a couple of years as social conditions here continue to deteriorate under bi-partisan “austerity.”

Ah – but then it will be too late.  Techno-Fascism is something I’ve been talking about since the mid 1990s.  It’s here.  It hasn’t gone full-blown yet, but everything required for turn-key totalitarianism is developed, tested, proven and in use pretty much all over the developed world.  Thus this widespread turn to “austerity”, as the common rabble cannot credibly fight back.  We are under complete surveillance and disempowered as a result.

These are not small issues and represent tectonic shifts in the power relationships between the people, the corporations, and the government.  A corporate-state partnership is better known as fascism.  Cozy alliances where corporations exercise unrestrained power in society by manipulating government and laws in their own interests, and government continues to acquiesce to the demands of powerful corporate lobbies, is fascism in action.  The rights of the people are diminished, as has been the clear pattern year after year.  Citizen rights, liberties, freedoms, are under a wide assault from many pieces of corrupt legislation and from shadowy, secretive power grabs by the “national security” state.  None of this bodes well for you and me, or for the next generations to be born.

So, do I want to give more access to my personal information to some movie website?  Do I want more of my personal life stored, analyzed, bought, sold, handed to the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Mossad, Xe or McDonalds?

I don’t think so.

When I travel over to the cinema, and I buy myself a ticket to watch a film, the theater doesn’t get access to my entire life and my personal information.  Why should it?  It’s none of their fucking business.

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