Tag Archives: big brother

Cory Doctorow – Little Brother

I always thought that it’s kinda cool, when authors promote their books by seeding them away on their websites. It won’t stop a good author from being compensated for their work and this will definitely give them a good rep in a world of insane copyright trials and patent wars.

This time I stumbled upon a mention of the author, who wasn’t known to me before – Cory Doctorow. But if you have read a little about the book called “Little brother” on wikipedia, you would know, why I became interested in his works.

Little Brother

Continue reading Cory Doctorow – Little Brother

Rebellion against Big Brother

As you have, probably, heard already, the two major fascist governments – USA and UK(well, the usual bunch), have been spying on their own citizens for the last decade. And I’m not talking about some minor privacy violations we have got used to already. No, I’m talking about massive Big Brother system like in the Person of Interest TV series. Well, the reality, as it happens, is scarier than the fiction. Have you missed it? It’s been all over the news for the last few days. It’s also worth mentioning that apparently Wikileaks was under DDoS attack, because of revealing this particular truth.Anonymous logoIn the past I thought that Anonymous hacktivist group consists from mostly naive ideologists, whose actions were sometimes funny, but most of the time – just useless, but today I welcome their new operation against the Big Brother. I am not sure that they will succeed, but the more dirt they uncover on all, who is behind the Trapwire project, the better it will be for all of us. Maybe I’m too conservative, but privacy is not the price I’m willing to pay for security.

Your phone company is your enemy

…at least when it comes to your privacy. This shouldn’t come as surprise to my readers(at least I hope so – I believe in your intelligence), but after watching following video from Malte Spitz you could still be shocked by the scope of all that data gathering.

After watching this video I had so many questions. As always, when my privacy is violated, I was angry, but I also would like to know what exactly my phone company has on me. For how long the data is stored? How often it is accessed? For what purposes? Well, I won’t get an answer for the most of these questions, but at least I can follow an example from Malte and file a request to get all the data about me.

New York – Surveillance City

Microsoft together with the New York Police Department created a system which allows the officials to tap into live video feeds, check environmental sensors, get the data from license plate readers and query law enforcement databases at the same time.

Sounds familiar, right? The good, ol’ cyberpunk. Well, at least in the cyberpunk stories there was always a possibility to hack into such systems. I’m wondering, how it was created here. Because of Microsoft – it probably has some decade old security holes. And imagine the possibilities of misuse of this system by the police officers – spying on their wifes, colleagues, neighbors. Of course, everything sounds nice in the article from the NY Mayor – Michael Bloomberg.

SOPA? ACTA!

Only two weeks have passed since the famous SOPA blackout day. SOPA and PIPA were stopped and rightly so, but another danger looms on the horizon. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement aka ACTA was developed by the same parties to achieve the same goals. Developed in secret. Developed to stomp our freedoms and to give even more power to the corporations. The world of the cyberpunk novels is coming and governments are eager to turn our society into dystopia. Politicians talk about the human rights and freedoms, but enact fascist policies. We are so used to hypocrisy of lawmakers that we do not notice it.

Do you think that more power to copyright holders is a good thing? Would you enjoy random searches on a border without a warrant? Are you comfortable with the fact that your ISP will be forced to spy on you? Do you think that DRM circumvention for ANY reason should be punishable by law? No? Then let your representatives in the government hear your voice. Read the agreement, sign the petition, support FSF and act while it is still not too late. Act to protect your rights, your privacy, your freedom.

Stop ACTA

Visa and MasterCard planning to exploit customer data

According to Wall Street Journal’s article, two major credit-card companies, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are planning to use their customers’ buying history to deliver targeted ads online. I don’t know how do you feel about this, but I think that this is outrageous. Those companies are entrusted with our money. They have so much power already, but they want even more? Google and Facebook have enormous databases and now we will have Visa and MasterCard spying on us?  It’s major privacy issue, that’s for sure.

I hope that European Commission will look into this. Ideally, companies should be prohibited from sharing their customers’ data with third-party and punished harshly for any data leak. Naturally I do not expect to see such laws implemented in the near future, I’m not naive. There is just too much money in the targeted ads’ market.

Facial Recognition Service from FBI

Facial recognition technology, which we have been seeing in the movies for ages, will make an appearance in the USA next year, courtesy of FBI:

Today, an agent would have to already know the name of an individual to pull up the suspect’s mug shot from among the 10 million shots stored in the bureau’s existing Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Using the new Next-Generation Identification system that is under development, law enforcement analysts will be able to upload a photo of an unknown person; choose a desired number of results from two to 50 mug shots; and, within 15 minutes, receive identified mugs to inspect for potential matches. Users typically will request 20 candidates, Megna said. The service does not provide a direct match.

 

Innovation or Intrusion?

Facebook wants to gather even more data on all of their users. You didn’t think that it is even possible? Then check their recent video:

User profiles will be soon redesigned and presented as a timeline. Other users will be able to rummage through the events from your biography, check your old photos, and the like. It’s identity thief’s dream made reality.

By the way, Facebook disabled comments for this video. Probably because their predicted what kind of reaction this video will trigger.

Cryptographical Arms Race

Iranian government’s position on civil liberties is widely known. They even managed to acquire the infamous “Enemies of the Internet” title. This title, pretty much like every other one, requires constant vindication. The Iranian government knows this and battles any means to access unrestricted Internet, such as Tor, which provides censorship free Internet for tens of thousands of the Iranian people.

Iran tried to block Tor traffic in January. They tried to do this few days ago. Unsuccessfully. Fix was released in the same day. Fail.

This arms race is very entertaining. Well, maybe not so much, if you are one of those oppressed people. However, a loser in this fight is kinda predictable. Yes, I mean the Iranian government. So, grab some popcorn and wait for Iran’s next move.

More On Facial Recognition

Here is yet another video from Black Hat USA 2011 security conference,  as a continuation to the topic I brought up before.

This video is invaluable to anyone, who wants to know more about a current situation in facial recognition technology. Yeah, it’s kinda long(almost like a movie!), but it’s worth your time. Unfortunately, looks like that our future will be such as some authors of the dystopian fiction predicted. Privacy is a thing of the past, even if you don’t use any social service.