Americans’ personal privacy is being crushed by the rise of a four-headed corporate-state surveillance system. The four “heads” are: federal government agencies; state and local law enforcement entities; telecoms, web sites & Internet “apps” companies; and private data aggregators (sometimes referred to as commercial data warehouses).
Conventional analysis treats these four domains of data gathering as separate and distinct; government agencies focus on security issues and corporate entities are concerned with commerce. Some overlap can be expected as, for example, in case of a terrorist attack or an online banking fraud. In both cases, an actual crime occurred.
But what happens when the boundary separating or restricting corporate-state collaboration, e.g., an exceptional crime-fighting incident, erodes and becomes the taken-for-granted operating environment, the new normal? Perhaps most troubling, what happens when the traditional safeguards offered by “watchdog” courts or regulatory organizations no longer seem to matter? What does it say that the entities designed to Read more…
“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Steven Spielberg
It was a mere ten years ago that Steven Spielberg’s action film Minority Report, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, offered movie audiences a special effect-laden techno-vision of a futuristic world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. And if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will bring you under control.
The year is 2054. The place is Washington, DC. Working in a city in which there has been no murder committed in six years—due in large part to his efforts combining widespread surveillance with behavior prediction technologies—John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise), Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime in Washington, DC, uses precognitive technology to capture would-be criminals before they can do any damage—that is, to prevent crimes before they happen. Unfortunately for Anderton, the technology, which proves to be fallible, identifies him as the next would-be criminal, and he flees. In the ensuing chase, Anderton finds himself not only attempting to prove his innocence but forced to take drastic measures in order to avoid capture in a surveillance state that uses biometric data and sophisticated computer networks to track its citizens.
Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so Read more…
An onrush of condemnation and criticism kept the SOPA and PIPA acts from passing earlier this year, but US lawmakers have already authored another authoritarian bill that could give them free reign to creep the Web in the name of cybersecurity.
As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing.
H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short), has been created under the guise of being a necessary implement in Read more…
AFP Photo / Samantha Sin
Some of the biggest Internet service providers in America plan to adopt policies that will punish customers for copyright infringement, and one of the top trade groups in the music biz announced this week that it could begin as soon as this summer.
The chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America told an audience of publishers on Wednesday that a plan carved out last year to help thwart piracy is expected to prevail and be put in place by this summer. RIAA CEO Cary Sherman was one of the guest speakers among a New York panel this week and he confirmed that, at this rate, some of the most powerful Internet providers in America should have their new policies on the books by July 12, 2012.
Last year, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other Internet service providers proposed best practice recommendations that they suggested would
On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.
If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and Read more…
By Ms. Smith
What happens when stupid non-geeks write bills like SOPA and HR 1981? Rep. Lamar Smith says it’s for the children, of course, and if you object to being spied upon online then you are some kind of guilty pro-child-porn lowlife pond scum sucker. Where does the stupidity stop?
It’s for the children, of course, and if you object to online spying then you are some kind of guilty lowlife pond scum sucker. No wonder so many of us hate stupid people. Rep. Lamar Smith, infamous to geeks as the author of SOPA, is sponsoring the bill H.R. 1981 which is better known as “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act.” H.R. 1981 isn’t exactly as easy to spit out as SOPA and is closer to something out of Orwell’s 1984. The EFF summed it up like this, “This sweeping new ‘mandatory data retention’ proposal treats every Internet user like a potential criminal and represents a clear and present danger to the online free speech and privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.”
More or less, much like the just-in-case your data trail eventually reveals you are a terrorist, this bill presumes you are guilty until proven innocent of being a child porn dog as it would require ISPs to store your data for