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A Century After 1984

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 61,688 ✭✭✭✭ Overheal


    One of my managers at Best Buy and I once got into a break-room conversation about his new Android phone. “I can sit here, and eat, and I don’t even have to touch the phone,” he said, “I can just say ‘OK Google,’ while you still have to push a button,” referring to my iPhone. Well, this presented a question for me. I was already privacy-aware those last few weeks having got into some discussions in the past about the privacy policy associated with Windows 8. “So the phone is listening to you all the time?”

    “Don’t believe all that conspiracy bull****. The NSA doesn’t care about you.”

    Whether or not it is true, today, doesn’t mean it won’t be true in 10 years. And citizens will have signed away their consent to have their privacy chipped away at. That is the most important thing, to remember: it will be consensual. Consumers agree to sign up for grocery store loyalty card programs, which give those retailers the ability to track your data. And, this can be done in many useful ways. As a result, I do this myself. For them, it supports their business, allows them to reduce spoiled inventory by predicting the shopping patterns of their customers. For more nefarious uses, however, it can be used to gauge all sorts of demographic data: religious affiliation, political beliefs, or in the famous case of Target, even whether or not you are pregnant. Algorithms are brilliant.

    Ideally, whether most of us like it or not, it is important to our constitutional rights that any of this information extracted from us be legally obtained, through our consent. As an American, I have the right to travel lawfully and without impedance within the borders of these United States. As you can see on Youtube, immigration control checks exists within the US border, up to 100 miles from the border. They are random and done strategically to try to screen illegal immigrants. However, any American, driving lawfully through a checkpoint, doesn’t even need to state their citizenship, or show their ID. Unless a law enforcement officer states you are being detained as a suspect to a crime, they can’t force you to reveal that information. You do not have to tell them what your business is. You do not have to tell them where you are going. If an officer asks “are you a US citizen?” you can merely reply “am I free to go?” and that is perfectly legal. For them to arrest you or detain you without probable cause, is illegal. And while proponents of immigration checks find that frustrating, it is critical to our freedoms. Those freedoms do not likely extend during international travel, and as such I don’t have much comment on the TSA, except to say their record of performance is disappointing. As US citizens, we can of course support our local law enforcement by volunteering information, and I do. Occasionally (2-3 times a year) I will usually find some cause to call law enforcement to alert anything from gunshots I have overheard to a couch abandoned in the left lane of I-95. And I don’t mind if an officer asks about my goings on, I will gladly answer as a gesture of support to his work. But I am not legally obligated.

    Other Youtube activists also get in trouble for recording in public. In one example, a public citizen on a public street took photographs of his local Sherriff’s Department. Sherriff’s argued with the man on the street for several minutes, trying to force him to stop his recording, and present ID. None of what the man was doing was illegal. Presumably at the end of the clip when recording stops, however, he is detained. I am curious to the aftermath of that encounter. Other examples, (many others) all underline one important fact: everyone (including Law Enforcement) is uncomfortable with the culture of public surveillance. (The officer at 1:10 in this clip, just makes my day by the way. Some people get it.)

    That encounter raised a troubling question about surveillance. How much surveillance are we really willing to accept as lawful? Consider, that if you have a conversation in public, on a public street, you have no legal expectation of privacy. Correct? The problem is physics. Sound, light, heat, they all travel over significant distances. While the human ear cannot pick up a conversation behind your neighbor’s closed door across the street, for instance, does that really mean that the sound energy from your conversation is not traveling? This was the same argument Google ran into, in its legal battle concerning Street View cars, which not only collected location and light-wave (visual) public domain data, but also collected electromagnetic signals as well: they were mining data about residential Wi-Fi, and cataloging it. Electronic signaling is currently protected by the Wiretap Act, to my understanding. But what should be both fascinating and disturbing, is that Wi-Fi signals, among other things, can actually be used to track movement. Studies have indeed been conducted which can track whether someone is moving around in their home, for instance, where the Wi-Fi signal is emanating. This is because the human body is an impedance on the wireless signal. Currently, the precision is very poor, and it can tell what room you may be in, but that is precision enough surely.

    What begins to happen when devices are made which are so sensitive that they can pick up and processes all sound energy which emanates from a large, public radius? It is worth thinking about. But more than likely, would never be accepted by the population at large. Not today, at least.

    Let’s look at all the ways that technology can be used to mine data:
    • Your Phone: this can pick up your location data, and microphone and visual input. Through user consent and product privacy policies, in some cases consumers allow these devices to know their location which is quite common, and on an increasing basis allows the phone to constantly listen out for the user’s voice input (such as “OK Google,” which can later be extended to be anything, in theory, such as “Bomb,” or other key phrases like “Heroin”, “Rifle”, “******”, etc.). This is in addition to the phone’s web capabilities, including phone conversations, text, and email.

    • Your Doctor: this is probably the most closed-loop in your life, currently. It is unknown (and perhaps unlikely) that this data is being used in any way maliciously. You agree for your doctor to store your medical data and share aspects of it with insurers and other providers within the said network. Potentially, data from medical databases could be processed to discern a wealth of information about the public (such as obesity rates, spread of infection, etc) to more accurately determine medical supply and research demands. That the government cannot even get the V.A. to function correctly, leads one to feel that this is not a clear and present danger to privacy.

    • Your Store: you agree to a myriad of loyalty programs. Companies offer you rewards and incentives for joining. They mark their store products at higher prices for non-involved members (it can be perceived to be a “discount” but that holds about as much truth as “cash prices” at gas stations). In return they get the data mentioned previously, and in turn you get those discounts, or discounts on gas, or whatever have you. Ideally, a system such as this should be tied into product recalls, with affected purchasers of items being automatically contacted, but this does not seem to happen. Some companies such as Best Buy do offer to share your purchase history with you, which is substantially more than what grocery stores currently offer their customers. This also helps those customers track when they bought their electronics, usually for the purposes of making claims on manufacturers warranties and accidental protection they may have purchased that goes beyond what those manufacturers provide. For that matter…

    • Your products: you register your brand new rice cooker with an obscure rice cooker company. No big problem here. At least 2 other people in the loop already know about your purchase, like your credit card company, and the retailer. Registering products has a low potential for malicious use.

    • Your car: this one is very tricky. Most cars on the road today have electronics in them which, for the most part, are closed loop. Going forward, however, most cars will likely be constantly synced to location data, which will be shared in all likelihood with the vehicle manufacturer on an ongoing basis, and any third party programs you use such as Sirius satellite radio and OnStar. But more cars will come with features like basic navigation or even satellite radio as standard, perhaps even mobile web access as the technology progresses. Plus, it is only a matter of time before vehicle “black boxes” become normal, which with all the other data a car can provide through rear-view and 360-degree parking camera features, and dash-cameras, can tack virtually all the guesswork and determination of fault out of a collision. Supreme Court battles have already been waged about law enforcement’s ability to trespass on a suspect’s driveway to install GPS tracking on his vehicle (without a warrant, at that) (United States v. Jones, 2012).

    • Your television: in the 90s, it was an oft-rumored theory that your TV was spying on you, that it was bugged. And, this idea was made popular in Orwell’s 1984. Enter the Smart TV. The Smart TV is web enabled, and in some cases come equipped with Web cameras for video calling. Nifty! The future! But also kind of intimidating. These TVs can also process and determine what channel’s you’re watching, and use that information in relation to television ratings and the like. I’m more or less OK with that. But, I also do not own a Smart TV, nor do I watch television – it’s an expensive waste of my energies.
    • Your appliances: Samsung, back from making the Smart TV, started making Smart Appliances. Your washing machine can send you alerts when your laundry needs to be rotated. Refrigerators can tell you when your milk is about to go off – in theory. A DIY hacker recently created a microwave that can read product barcodes and determine the appropriate cook setting for that product. However, that also means that somewhere, a database knows what flavor HotPocket you had for lunch, and what time you were in your home today. Between that and other home activity information, it’s a wonder if in 50 years a government won’t have the ability to just “know” when you’re not home, and do a warrantless search of your home?
    • Fitness and Wearable Devices: Certainly this includes phones, most newer ones having more advanced sensors in them than just a few years ago (like Apple's M5 Co-Motion Processor in it's iPhones), there are also devices like FitBit, Misfit Shine, and others, that can record your pulse, activity levels, even when you sleep and how well you sleep. This information is synced to an online service in virtually all cases, and that removes under some Supreme Court decisions, your right to privacy of that data, as it currently stands.

    Now, this is where things start to get scary: The Internet.

    Recently, Microsoft put out some new terms and conditions. The actual contract is exhaustively huge. They offered to summarize it in layman’s terms: “As part of our ongoing commitment to respect your privacy, we have updated the Microsoft Services Agreement to state that we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail, to target advertising to you. Nor do we use your documents, photos, or other personal files to target advertising to you.”

    Wow.

    What they’ve really said here is “we have access to these.” And they do. I use Skype. I use OneDrive. If Microsoft wanted, or the NSA had a cause to, they can probably go right into my online folder and look at my code for my spring project final. If I started collecting and storing a bunch of nuclear weapon schematics on my OneDrive, I wonder how long it would be before they took a serious interest in what kind of ice cream I had bought? It’s Reese’s Peanut Butter.

    And I can see the logic here from a security standpoint, you don’t want someone replacing the finale at a fireworks display with a dirty bomb (and boy, is that ever why security is heightened around the 4th of July, among other things). What’s more, what about someone buying large quantities of propane, blowtorches, fertilizer, from home improvement stores? Theoretically, what if someone wasn’t on the loyalty programs, but purchased separate amounts of each at different Lowe’s locations, and a Home Depot and an Ace Hardware? With enough technological oversight and processing power, if the suspect used the same credit card in each transaction, those databases could be pooled together to piece together the image of someone making bombs. More than likely, that level of interconnectivity doesn’t yet exist. And, should it? Perhaps we want someone alerted when our neighbor is potentially building things to kill us.

    There is no good way to stop the roll on of technology, so let’s rule that out. HP just created a computer than can process hundreds of terabytes of data in seconds. Let’s assume that the capability will exist for a central entity to be able to, in the future, be able to extrapolate this level of detail. Should be be afraid?

    Whether or not we fear that change, one thing is clear: we should be legally protected in our right to be free of it. Anyone, should have the right to go live off the grid. Which of course means shedding that technology, but that is the price of it. Credit cards, phones, email, all of it can be used in some way to take your privacy. But, to be fair, you trade it. You trade it for convenience. Just like man trades something of his for something of someone else’s in our most basic units of community. We as a people are not by nature geared toward isolation.

    To that end, I would like to always be a proponent of that legal right to privacy. However, as a futurist, I acknowledge that I am exchanging my own privacy for the intent of progress. I am OK with my grocery store improving its business practices through its data gleaned from me. I am OK with Microsoft being in possession of my data, by necessity of the system, in order to sync my documents across my multiple devices and locations. I am OK with my phone processing my data in exchange for providing me the reciprocating data that I am looking for. I am against the use of my data for malicious means, but I acknowledge that as we progress technologically, we are going to be far more connected than we are even now.

    Thinking centuries down the path, humans will be exploring our solar system, colonizing stellar bodies, and hopefully probing our nearby star systems. If we haven’t already killed each other. The only way we can accomplish any of that is by understanding each other: understanding what makes us all different and unique, but by necessity, also understanding what we are all doing, and how we are doing it. Just as individual cells of a human body need to cooperate and interact to make the body function, for the species to take its step into space, humans need to function together as cohesive organisms, closely linked to one another, to achieve common goals. It is probably not something to shy away from, even if it is, today, incredibly terrifying to fathom.

    Thanks for reading.


Comments



  • Corroboration: this just in, that hospitals are buying up consumer data to predict health - http://gizmodo.com/hospitals-are-using-credit-card-data-to-predict-peoples-1600594944




  • Lack of privacy is the new norm. It has become acceptable in social media to post whatever personal or family data with only the changeable terms and conditions present to protect them. So what impact does that have on wider society? This is a question posed by Prof. Helen Nissenbaum, lecturer on law and privacy issues. Conformity. In that by having a vast information gathering apparatus which can data mine person information about a subject from both private sector and public open data sources allows a picture to be build up - their preferences and politics. So if the individual knows that this data is being weighted and judged, think for example if one was under constant CCTV, behaviour is changed and one conforms to the accepted norms - according to her study.
    So as per the OP, there is a lessening of a need for the Minister of Truth to product good-think, the individuals will self-correct due to this surveillance.




  • Overheal wrote: »
    Ideally, whether most of us like it or not, it is important to our constitutional rights that any of this information extracted from us be legally obtained, through our consent.


    I agree with Overheal about the importance of consent in regards to personal information access. Such access seems to be expanding with the advance of technology. It takes many forms that invade privacy.

    For example, awhile back I observed a foreign exchange doctoral student taking facial recognition exposures of young, underage females (cheerleading squad) as they passed through the door entering into a coffee shop. When I confronted him about this, he said that the coffeeshop was a public place and he did not need permission of the parents or guardians for the girls. I then asked him if the university Human Subjects Committee had approved his taking of such facial recognition exposures of underage females without consent, and he once again reasserted that he could capture any identities that occurred in a public place without consent of anyone. I then went to the coffeeshop manager, and she told him he could either stop or leave, but could not continue such action without first obtaining the consent of her customers.




  • Overheal wrote: »
    One...

    Thanks for reading.

    The most thought provoking post I've read on this site for quite some time.

    My thanks.




  • I'm not convinced its a bad thing.

    They are going to be so busy, so focused on their net that encompasses everyone, anyone that makes a decision to deliberately and completely drop off it, will find it easier to do so, and the traditional knowledge, skills and fieldcraft of tracking such people down will erode and diminish further.

    It may be the leap in societal integration that is required for the population of the world to continue without sinking to some of the depraved lows we have seen in the century just gone.


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  • I'm not convinced its a bad thing.

    They are going to be so busy, so focused on their net that encompasses everyone, anyone that makes a decision to deliberately and completely drop off it, will find it easier to do so, and the traditional knowledge, skills and fieldcraft of tracking such people down will erode and diminish further.

    It may be the leap in societal integration that is required for the population of the world to continue without sinking to some of the depraved lows we have seen in the century just gone.

    I'm not sure this would be the case.
    Consider the amount of information already being stored. Basically the whole internet in the west in the case of the USA. And computers are getting faster.
    Other things will make it even more difficult to drop off the map. Like laws to force citizens to carry ID and produce it when asked.
    CCTV cameras all over cities and the countryside eventually I would imagine.
    When money is turned into purely digital form, we won't be able to buy anything without it being egistered and anyone bartering will be arrested.
    It is already illegal to trade/barter in some circumstances. But most people don't really worry about that right now. It can be legally considered a gift, when done in small amounts.
    There is no water available publically, soon we willbe asked to payfor it like electricity, with no other means to get clean water without paying for it.

    Right now you can't own property. Every piece of property is owned by the state. Because land owners register their property with the state.
    If you don't they will take it off you. Which means to me that there is no where to hide if I did want to get off the "grid".
    One solution left might be to try and join the traveling community, but again this is more a life of enslavement, due to the social stigma attached, which seems to perpetuate crime. Leading to a small group of people free from many chains to/in society, but constantly abused by the state.

    After doing some research, ther eis a fair bit of room in the outskirts of Russia, but it's barren and cold there. Canada isn't as free as it used to be, so I am not sure where you could go todrop off the grid. And to stay among society is to become slowly more enslaved to it's neurotic conditions and laws.




  • Torakx wrote: »
    Other things will make it even more difficult to drop off the map. Like laws to force citizens to carry ID and produce it when asked.
    Fortunately this is not a reality and not likely to be a reality. It is however frequently misunderstood by law enforcement to be a requirement of citizens. The freedom of movement is explained here, for the USA. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from being searched for ID without any probable cause (walking in public, conducting an Open Carry of a firearm, or recording others in public, is not justification for probable cause. Nor famously is looking Mexican or Arab). The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from having to divulge what their business is, where they are traveling, and what contents they might be carrying are, such as if they are not being detained. The 14th protects the right of due process, as well. In short, there are far too many fundamental laws in place where this will ever be a legal obligation.
    CCTV cameras all over cities and the countryside eventually I would imagine.
    When money is turned into purely digital form, we won't be able to buy anything without it being egistered and anyone bartering will be arrested.
    I think that is also against the laws. For one, the currency is ingrained in federal law, and States cannot print their own. You can't ever expect to outlaw barter. While electronic payment (debit, credit, online) will continue to become more and more convenient, you can not outlaw cash transaction. I just don't see this happening in our lifetime.
    It is already illegal to trade/barter in some circumstances.
    Which circumstances? I'm genuinely curious.
    There is no water available publically, soon we willbe asked to payfor it like electricity, with no other means to get clean water without paying for it.
    That is unlikely. West Virginians do have their own problems with natural water sources being contaminated by industrial coal mining but that is another issue entirely. A government cannot charge you for air, or water, or any other naturally obtained resource. Such is the case in oil drilling for instance: companies either own or lease the land they drill on, and beyond EPA regulations theres not much stopping them from doing so. Water you pay for is water pumped and treated by a municipality. Electricity is not a free commodity by any means.
    Right now you can't own property. Every piece of property is owned by the state. Because land owners register their property with the state.
    If you don't they will take it off you. Which means to me that there is no where to hide if I did want to get off the "grid".
    If you wish to own property then technically no you are not fully off the grid. This is because you are within the national border, included in the sovereign territory. The land is typically registered and you are taxed and all that good stuff. If you wish to be a vagrant, however, and forgo the ownership of land, then you can get away with living off the grid.
    One solution left might be to try and join the traveling community, but again this is more a life of enslavement, due to the social stigma attached, which seems to perpetuate crime. Leading to a small group of people free from many chains to/in society, but constantly abused by the state.
    Well there are often misunderstandings about laws and rights, especially when individuals go against the flow of society. This is why some offers react poorly, even illegally, to citizens who say, choose to open carry a shotgun in public within their 2nd amendment rights. Similarly, the natural reaction is for people to tense up about people who live off the grid, or yes, the traveler community. An entertaining fiction on Netflix is Jack Reacher, in which they do a good job of portraying the government's paranoia surrounding someone who exercises his freedom to live like a ghost.
    After doing some research, ther eis a fair bit of room in the outskirts of Russia, but it's barren and cold there. Canada isn't as free as it used to be, so I am not sure where you could go todrop off the grid. And to stay among society is to become slowly more enslaved to it's neurotic conditions and laws.

    I mean, you're probably looking at unsettled areas like the Rockies, Appalachians, Alaskan wilderness, or similar, in North America.

    To be fair to the proceedings, it's hard to think of someone who would care to be 100% off the grid. Again, we're social animals. It's just a question of how much privacy we would like. I don't care if a government knows where I live: knowing where I live, a government can server me, as it is designed to do. If I live in the wilderness I still want my presence known to say, state troopers, and fire rescue, should an emergency ever arise. Play a survivalism game for a short spell (Minecraft, The Forest, Stomping Land, etc) and ignoring any dinosaurs and zombies, get a feel for the isolation and desire to have collaboration.




  • Overheal wrote: »
    Fortunately this is not a reality and not likely to be a reality. It is however frequently misunderstood by law enforcement to be a requirement of citizens. The freedom of movement is explained here, for the USA. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from being searched for ID without any probable cause (walking in public, conducting an Open Carry of a firearm, or recording others in public, is not justification for probable cause. Nor famously is looking Mexican or Arab). The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from having to divulge what their business is, where they are traveling, and what contents they might be carrying are, such as if they are not being detained. The 14th protects the right of due process, as well. In short, there are far too many fundamental laws in place where this will ever be a legal obligation.
    .

    The laws are in place but they are often ignored or re interpreted to be entirely different. Try an experiment where you apply different literary theories to the Constitution and you get what I mean. Look at various individual cases and you will see plenty of examples of relentless violations.

    Additionally rights are not absolute. You have them until you are challenged and then poof, no more. As for probable cause, I think the Patriot Act spits in the face of that. And recently, don't you feel so much safer now that you know everyones iphones and galaxies are going to be fully charged?

    The government, between the war on women, family courts, the sex offenders registry - which includes stupid college kids who streaked or some dmbass who took a leak and had no idea a child was 400 yards away, and terrorism has slowly stripped away the rights of privacy, due process, and a multitude of others all under the auspices of protection. I call cobblers on all of it.

    The ease with which people can get subpeonas on personal information, including medical records as well as warrantless surveillance pretty much demonstrates that consitutional rights are on shaky ground to begin with.

    As for your OP- regarding technology. Go analogue, pay cash, and use snail mail. As for medical confidentiality, you can say goodbye to that too now that the government has its hands all over it.




  • I don't fully follow american law. But I have spent a few years looking into common and maritime law when researching for my own interest and mostly in regards to life here in Ireland.

    Common law here gives me all or most of the rights mentioned a post or two above. Because that is based on the Irish constitution.
    However, if I am to appear in a court or I speak to an Irish garda(police), they are ignorantly(or maybe not ^^) addressing me as a corporation and so common law does not have to apply if I understand(agree to submit) and represent the corporation that is my person. Then, once they have insisted I am a corporation, they will proceed to apply maritime law to my situation and person(birth cert registered corporate name).
    This as far as I know is why a human being can be fined for revenue legally.
    Because they are a corporation in the eyes of the law.
    You will notice on Irish fines for insurance, that it states the person(in all capital letters) was driving. In legal terms, driving is using a vehicle to transport goods for sale etc.
    Those fines would never say traveling.
    And so if I try torepresent the human being that is really me and invoke the gardais oath of service, in theory I could use my common law rights to protect mysefl and not show any ID for example.
    In practise whatwill really happen is I will not be recognized as invoking my rights. They won't acknowledge the oath of service and I will be bundled into a car and held at a station for questioning.
    But that realistically would only happen if they wanted to contract with me for revenue or I am actually breaking common law.

    Again regarding maritime and commobn law, I see all by-laws as being maritime law for revenue and all laws as being under the common law umbrella.


    Cameras are already going up allover cities. I am not sure why theywould not go up in the countryside at some later stage. Certainly possible in my lifetime and again, law doesn't stop anything, because they will do the switcheroo to maritime when it suits. And the courts and government, at least in Ireland, is owned and run by corporations. It is a corporation, in order to be able to function in this economy internationally and probably nationally too.
    Add to that, the fact this little country is completely corrupt at governing levels. If cameras can make someone moneyand control dissent, it's going tohappen eventually.

    Regarding paying for water and air etc.
    Again maritime law is applied toanyone who won't conform.
    Currently we have our water this year being privatized.
    This is done under maritime law of course. So people will be threathened with court and jail and fines etc.They will be well within their rights to not pay according to the law.
    Because its a private company trying to force a legal contract under duress(lack of any other source of water).
    The only defense against this maritime law is to insist you are not a coporation and you as a person have not contracted.
    Even by maritime law it is argueable if a contract is in place. I'm not sure, because we all are registered to the state when gettign a birth cert, so guilty by association sort of thing...maybe, at a stretch.

    Oh... on the money issue.
    So much in that topic alone!
    Concerning America and money, isn't the Federal Reserve a private person?
    It is not state owned right?
    They print their money AFAIK according to the needs of the country and according to the IMF "laws".
    Unfortunately a lot of the same people run in those circles..

    Pretty much the same here. We run on a 10% fractional reserve, which means potential for a crazy amount of inflation and one of the reasons for the property bubble here in Ireland.
    Banks only need to reserve 10% of what they loan out, this is their way of "printing" money. But it's mostly done through credit.
    Applied to an account. And when that account is given thatloan, I think the bank can loan out 90% worth of that loan as well.
    I might have drifted off the topic of virtual currency a bit..
    I just can't see any reason why the current trend toward virtual credits will stop. Apart from a complete collapse of the financial system, fingers crossed :D




  • Likening this to 1984 is a bit hysterical. Unless you've never read 1984, I suppose.

    Some of course did predict that we'd all be happy to give away our private information.


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  • Black Swan wrote: »
    I agree with Overheal about the importance of consent in regards to personal information access. Such access seems to be expanding with the advance of technology. It takes many forms that invade privacy.

    For example, awhile back I observed a foreign exchange doctoral student taking facial recognition exposures of young, underage females (cheerleading squad) as they passed through the door entering into a coffee shop. When I confronted him about this, he said that the coffeeshop was a public place and he did not need permission of the parents or guardians for the girls. I then asked him if the university Human Subjects Committee had approved his taking of such facial recognition exposures of underage females without consent, and he once again reasserted that he could capture any identities that occurred in a public place without consent of anyone. I then went to the coffeeshop manager, and she told him he could either stop or leave, but could not continue such action without first obtaining the consent of her customers.

    And yet American public schools have 100s of cctv cameras all over their campuses filming children all day without parental consent. All the name of security.




  • Likening this to 1984 is a bit hysterical. Unless you've never read 1984, I suppose.

    Some of course did predict that we'd all be happy to give away our private information.

    I wouldn't be one to label our current situation as being reaally like 1984 but to mind there are a striking number of parallels in several areas that are of definite concern.

    You have obviously the watchful eye of the law made possible by technology cctv etc.

    Unaccountable government who massage figures and present them as fact. The chocloate ration has been increased to 7 grammes! The unemployment rate has fallen to 10%!

    The increasing pressure on political correctness and homogenisation of gender through quotas and social engineering.

    Social media regularly presents us with material through which we can vent our collective fury, a la 2 minutes hate, only for it to have been forgotten shortly afterward. See magaluf girl etc.

    Recently there has been landmark laws passed, effective throughout europe, on the right to be forgotten which is a form of rewriting the past.

    You have institutional abuses of prisoners and the like in special facilities such as Guantanamo bay, where people have been held unconstitutionally for many years without trial or access to legal protection.

    Torture techniques mandated by US and UK governments, water-boarding, rendition (aka vaporising!)

    And to top it all off you have the constant state of 'war' or threat through which power is maintained and used as an excuse for the circumvention of rights at home. These threats are rarely visible to us, yet they exist in the public consciousness.

    The war on drugs followed by the war on terror followed by war in the middle east and so on.

    Honestly I am not a fan of hyperbole, nor do I take any of these apparent similarities very seriously, but it is starting to feel a little bit like we are on a path that doesn't end well.




  • In regards to security and storage of private and public information, WIRED did a cover feature article "Inside the Matrix" on a massive information file server storage city being built by No Such Agency in Utah. They should be able to intercept and store every bit of web/internet information worldwide, including wireless mobile communications in this one massive storage centre. At another location, they are also building a super-super computer to process it at extraordinary speeds, including translations of different worldwide languages and codes.
    Torakx wrote: »
    There is no water available publically, soon we willbe asked to payfor it like electricity, with no other means to get clean water without paying for it.
    Overheal wrote: »
    A government cannot charge you for air, or water, or any other naturally obtained resource.
    Welcome to Southern California where water is scarce, especially during a multi-year drought. For the recent years that I have attended university across the pond I have received a monthly water bill computed upon usage levels from a public entity. If you don't pay your bill, they will cut your water off, and there are no alternatives other then buying gallon jugs and hauling it yourself from private sector for profit retail markets and stores.




  • What I mean by that is that you can't be charged for well water for instance. Public funds that supply and treat water is another story, I should have clarified that. Until clean air stops being an abundant resource we won't be charged for that either; different in the case of oxygen tanks for medical reasons.

    Another instance of a situation where the right of policy to scan user data is leading to justifiable results, like tracking down child pornographers that assumed their gmail inbox was a safe place to store their collection - same thing I already considered about cloud services like OneDrive and DropBox; except in this case a human isn't physically looking through the user's attachments/files but a computer was looking for duplicates of known child pornography files.

    http://gizmodo.com/how-google-hunts-down-child-porn-in-your-inbox-1616310140




  • diveout wrote: »
    And yet American public schools have 100s of cctv cameras all over their campuses filming children all day without parental consent. All the name of security.
    According to the AASA, public notice is to be provided, and the AASA recommendations are normally followed, especially in the very litigious US:
    PROVIDE NOTICE. School districts should notify staff, parents, students and community members of the presence of surveillance cameras. Post signs in locations where cameras are used. Notification can be included in staff and student handbooks.

    If your district already uses cameras, review the extent to which you have provided notice about the camera surveillance, especially in the immediate vicinity of the cameras.

    "Provide Notice" may only satisfy the "informed" condition of informed consent; and the extent to which security cams violate a student's reasonable expectation of privacy under the 4th Amendment of their Constitution has been problematic. There have also been court case judgments against security cameras in boys and girls locker rooms, where various degrees of undress may occur; i.e., the needs of security violated the reasonable expectation of privacy.

    The UK "has more video surveillance per capita than any other country in the world." An estimated 5.9 million cams? In Britain "It estimated there are between 291,000 and 373,000 cameras in public sector schools, plus a further 30,000 to 50,000 in independent schools." Do they obtain informed (parental) consent?

    "Most secondary schools have installed CCTV cameras to counter problems such as bullying and vandalism" in Ireland. The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools advised that schools should outline a policy in relation to the use of the cameras for parents and students, which may serve to inform them, but it was not clear that consent was obtained.




  • Overheal wrote: »
    What I mean by that is that you can't be charged for well water for instance.
    Of course you can; depends upon who owns the land that the well is on.
    Another instance of a situation where the right of policy to scan user data is leading to justifiable results, like tracking down child pornographers that assumed their gmail inbox was a safe place to store their collection - same thing I already considered about cloud services like OneDrive and DropBox; except in this case a human isn't physically looking through the user's attachments/files but a computer was looking for duplicates of known child pornography files.
    In a democracy, if people support such measures; whereby their personal rights or privacy may be compromised for the promise of greater security, then that's how democracies work, I'm afraid.




  • Adam Curtis's documentaries do a great job of summing all this up by proxy.




  • Overheal wrote: »
    What I mean by that is that you can't be charged for well water for instance. Public funds that supply and treat water is another story, I should have clarified that. Until clean air stops being an abundant resource we won't be charged for that either; different in the case of oxygen tanks for medical reasons.

    Another instance of a situation where the right of policy to scan user data is leading to justifiable results, like tracking down child pornographers that assumed their gmail inbox was a safe place to store their collection - same thing I already considered about cloud services like OneDrive and DropBox; except in this case a human isn't physically looking through the user's attachments/files but a computer was looking for duplicates of known child pornography files.

    http://gizmodo.com/how-google-hunts-down-child-porn-in-your-inbox-1616310140

    Interesting to know Google is not only colluding with the federal government's espionage programs but now also law enforcement.

    I wonder what else they are scanning for in your inbox.




  • The amount of data gleaned from this case is alarming.

    However, on a second read-through I should point out something clear to this particular case: he was already a suspect in a murder, thus 'fed already had reason or suspicion to search his phone records. Likely, discovering Siri prompts happened on Apple's server end, and the flashlight-log may have been something that was stored in the phone hardware's cache.

    Either way, this story confirms exactly what I wondered about yesterday about the new Microsoft Cortana and in my opening post about Hey Google, and how ubiquitous virtual assistants have become: consider that everything you ever say in earshot of a VA can very well be retrieved and used against you.

    http://gizmodo.com/yep-a-murder-suspect-actually-asked-siri-where-to-hide-1620724727
    Answering "I need to hide a body" used to be one of Siri's little jokes. She used to give suggestions. She doesn't anymore. Why? We can't be sure, but it miiight have something to do with an accused murderer who asked the question apparently in earnest.

    Florida man Pedro Bravo is accused of murdering his friend Christian Aguilar and burying the body in nearby woods—not one of Siri's suggestions—in September of 2012. And now records from his phone, which were only just presented to the jury at his trial, show he mentioned to Siri "I need to hide my roommate," to which she gave her cheeky but also sorta kinda pretty useful "joke" answer, seen above.

    Perhaps even more damningly, the phone's location data also blows up Bravo's alibi, while other data indicates the flashlight was turned on 9 times and used for over 48 minutes on the night in question. It doesn't take a virtual assistant to figure out what that might be all about. [The Independent]




  • Caught piece about facebook's new messenger app and it's associated permissions which have caused a bit of a stir.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-fiorella/the-insidiousness-of-face_b_4365645.html

    Extract:
    Phone
    An app can use your phone and/or its call history.

    Note: Depending on your plan, you may be charged by your carrier for phone calls.

    Phone access may include the ability to:

    Directly call phone numbers; this may cost you money
    Write call log (example: call history)
    Read call log
    Reroute outgoing calls
    Modify phone state
    Make calls without your intervention

    Photos/Media/Files
    An app can use files or data stored on your device.

    Photos/Media/Files access may include the ability to:

    Read the contents of your USB storage (example: SD card)
    Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
    Format external storage
    Mount or unmount external storage

    Camera/Microphone
    An app can use your device's camera and/or microphone.

    Camera and microphone access may include the ability to:

    Take pictures and videos
    Record audio
    Record video

    The full list is a lot longer too!

    All without intervention or authorisation from the user.


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