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Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the tinfoil-sales-skyrocket dept.
alphadogg writes "As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report. These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video and mine it at their leisure, according to 'Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Government,' written by John Villaseno, a senior fellow at Brookings and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA."
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Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother

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  • Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:42PM (#38400008)

    The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things. Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions. I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

    • Re:Accountability (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:48PM (#38400142)

      Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government...

      There's an asymmetry in this power relationship since the governments can accumulating data on itself. Think of this relationship as a system admin and a regular user.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

        • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rickb928 (945187) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:08PM (#38400504) Homepage Journal

          Why do you assume they need to wiggle out of it? If no one cares, or no one pursues any remedy, there's nothing to wiggle out of at all.

          And New Yorkers may well vote for a Mayor that would continue the policy. OWS didn't endear themselves to the rest of the 99% in NYC, so they may well find out they have little or no support.

          Then we're reduced to the argument that like it or not, protesters deserve at least minimal protection of their civil rights, which they do. And this becomes an old argument in big cities; The rights of the inconvenient v. the rights of the masses. We're going to have to lobby for the rights of the inconvenient, because sooner or later, we are all inconvenient to someone. Yep, even you.

        • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:10PM (#38400546)

          Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

          A few tips:

          Flood the MSM with gossip from the latest reality show.
          Put up blogs saying the footage was false
          Astroturf blogs with misinformation and lies.
          Start censoring the internet by removing links showing footage

          A month or two later, nobody will remember it and those who do will find it hard to get links to prove it.

          This can't be blamed on the advent of technology or perceived as something new as the art of propaganda has always been here. Just to quote Joseph Goebells, Hitlers chief propagandist:

          “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

          • by timeOday (582209)

            "... truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

            I would really like to know why anybody (who is not playing a villain in a movie) would say such a thing? Is there any reliable source? Some dude on the Internet says no [bytwerk.com], for what it's worth.

            • Your point being that Goebbels is in no way a villain in a movie ?
              I mean the guy's job was basically to sell the systematic extermination of Jews, gypsies, gays, lesbians, mentally retarded and physically challenged, you would think he was ok with saying more chocking things than "the truth is the greatest enemy of the State", especially in a private context.
              That being said I wasn't there so I can't testify.
              Coincidentally , in Mein Kampf, Hithler has a rant about "the jews' big lies" which is very sim
        • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Informative)

          by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:29PM (#38400860)

          Possible, merely theoretical solutions that have no basis in what would happen:
          * Confiscate Cameras: http://www.infowars.com/cops-confiscate-cameras-at-ohio-congressmans-town-hall/ [infowars.com]
          * Delete data: http://www.pixiq.com/article/chicago-police-delete-journalism-professors-video-footage [pixiq.com]
          * Destroy phone/camera: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2011/06/miami_police_destroy_cell_phon.php [scienceblogs.com]
          * Use of a live streaming/storage to avoid confiscation/destruction? There's tech for that:
          ** http://inventorspot.com/articles/spy_technology_how_disable_a_cell_phone_15035 [inventorspot.com]
          ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_jammer [wikipedia.org]
          * Wiretapping laws: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/05/1954216/Leave-a-Message-Go-To-Jail?from=twitter [slashdot.org]
          * Camera blocking devices:
          ** http://www.gizmag.com/norte-photoblocker-club-beer-cooler/20820/ [gizmag.com]
          ** Unable to find it, but I'm sure I remember Kipkay having a video showing how to make glasses that would blind any camera sensitive to infrared.

          Some of this, such as the wiretapping cellphone case, has been overturned. I believe. This is just off the top of my head. I'm sure there is more for real cynics with time to list.

        • by Smallpond (221300)

          Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

          Many states have moved toward making it illegal to take pictures of police beating up citizens because it violates the citizen's privacy.

        • They don't need too. They just say that's what you get if you don't do what your told.
          Fear is the way these things are done. You obey or die.

        • by alexo (9335)

          Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

          They don't need to wiggle out of it, they can just ignore it, like the NYPD did.

        • Kill code (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Catbeller (118204) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:45PM (#38404464) Homepage

          The police could send a "kill camera" signal to every phone and appliance in the zone that has wifi or cell access, so that nothing will take a picture.
          Apple already applied for the patent (has the patent) for killing cameras in a specified area with a kill code.
          Think it through. There is nothing to stop them from developing a kill code, and they probably already have asked for one from manufacturers. It'll be here, sooner rather than later.
          If the tech generation has a failing, it is that it believes that their tech is intrinsically on their side - it's why I have such a hard time getting people to care about computerized vote counting. The machine ain't your friend, not when you don't control it.

      • by bonch (38532) *

        The asymmetry is balanced in numbers. The regular users outnumber the system admins, and the citizens outnumber the government. We already saw social technologies contribute to the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations this year.

        • by suutar (1860506)
          For this to be relevant, the larger group has to be willing to do something; at the very least they have to be willing to actually look for and at the information.
        • Since taxes on the rich can rise about 50% it's not always going to be true that citizens outnumber government employees.

          These technologies, like nuclear weapons, will always be with us. That means that they will eventually be abused.

          I know you think you have free will but I've never started a book with a Jewish author and ended up reading a Nazi or vice versa.

          People need many things to become incensed enough to buck the system. Most importantly they need central points of incandescence to catch fire
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by epyT-R (613989)

      tell that to gun owners who've had their firearm ownership rights neutered so that government officials have an advantage..

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by planimal (2454610)
        blame that on your state. i can walk into any gun store and walk out with as many rifles as i can afford, and as many pistols as i can afford six days later.
        • by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:12PM (#38400570) Journal

          blame that on your state. i can walk into any gun store and walk out with as many rifles as i can afford, and as many pistols as i can afford six days later.

          You're doing it wrong. Walk into any gun store with a rifle, walk out with as many pistols as you can carry the same day*

          (*note for the humour-impared - it's a joke, already!)

          • You're doing it wrong. Walk into any gun store with a rifle, walk out with as many pistols as you can carry the same day

            And get a pound of lead free, as a bonus?

        • Your state sucks, then -- albeit, not as much as some others might. I didn't have to wait six days when I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk a few months ago (Alaska, FTW!!!)

          However, and more to the point, I think epyT-R was commenting more on the difference between the types of firearms an average citizen can buy vs. the firearms that the military has on hand. Sure, you can buy an AR-15 or a Beretta FS92, and if you are willing to jump through a few hoops, you can even buy a full auto M-16 or AK-47. But
          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            But how many people do you know who have something like the 30mm chain gun in an Apache helicopter, or the 20mm Vulcan minigun in the nose of an A-10 Warthog?

            The A-10 uses a GAU-8 Avenger 30mm autocannon (the A/A 49E-6 Gun System), not a 20mm Vulcan.

            How about the family members that are posted at the local National Guard base with it's armory and squadron of A-10s?

            If it got to the point that the US government employed the US military to attack US citizens, you can be guaranteed that a not-insignificant portion of those military personnel and military assets will go over to the side of the citizens. There would most definitely be a very nasty fight. Chances would

    • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:54PM (#38400264)

      I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

      Your statement is great in theory. By using ubiquitous they way you did, you seem to assume the government and citizens will be on an equal playing field. That is almost assuredly not the case, and the deck will be stacked in the government's favor.

      The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things.

      Your statement is undeniable. The problem here is that the more power and ability the government has, the more it is likely to be used against you. Or more simply, governments you may not consider authoritarian today are likely to be authoritarian tomorrow.

      • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:02PM (#38401364) Homepage

        Your statement is great in theory. By using ubiquitous they way you did, you seem to assume the government and citizens will be on an equal playing field. That is almost assuredly not the case, and the deck will be stacked in the government's favor.

        Exactly this. In the UK PC Simon Harwood was caught on camera murdering an innocent man who was walking away from him for no apparent reason, and it still took journalists and years of legal wrangling to even start a manslaughter case against him. For some strange reason the CCTV in the area wasn't working that day, but fortunately a couple of people caught it on camera phones.

        Similarly when the police accidentally murdered an innocent man on the London Underground in the wake of the 7/7 bombings for some reason all the surveillance technology wasn't working and in the end no-one was actually punished for it.

        The police always try to cover up wrongdoing by their colleges and the Crown Prosecution Service tries to avoid bringing cases against them. Their hand has to be forced by overwhelming evidence and media attention, and even then sometimes they just lose vital files [bbc.co.uk] and the crime goes unpunished.

        We can't allow the government to have wide ranging surveillance. It is abused far too often, because that is human nature, and the abuses are rarely punished and powers rarely taken back. It really is a slippery slope, with each incremental power grab requiring monumental effort to claw back.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          That's not as strange as it might sound. I used to work security at an undisclosed location and the cameras would often times not be working properly. Either they'd be frozen or they couldn't move or they just out right didn't work at all.

          CCTV is only as effective as the monitoring and maintenance provides for.

    • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:15PM (#38400618) Homepage Journal

      Authoritarian governments that pass SOPA and NDAA? The Military Commissions Act and PATRIOT?

      I am in the mind of Walt Kelly's Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and they are us."

      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism [wikipedia.org]

      Excerpt from pages 166-73 of "They Thought They Were Free" [goodreads.com] First published in 1955
      By Milton Mayer

      But Then It Was Too Late

      "What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn't make people close to their government to be told that this is a people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

      "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

      "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

    • "I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government" - The government can spend millions of dollars on infrastructure and software to analyze and track this data. Basically the more resources required to tackle data, the further the balance tips in favor of government. Add to this the certain to follow laws restricting access to such surveillance (in addition to those that already exist). The government in the US
      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        All true, but the one thing that works against the government is that it frequently has a tendency to simply be incompetent. Just look at the TSA for example. Or look at the military and its contractors, with various weapons projects getting so expensive and set back by delay after delay and massive cost overruns that they eventually fall apart or by the time they're delivered, they're already obsolete. Heck, the U.S.'s most advanced spy drone was just captured by the Iranians simply by jamming their com

    • The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things. Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions. I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

      This sounds like the government's justification for increased surveillance and restrictions on sharing information.

    • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:33PM (#38400922)

      Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions.

      Which is why they're putting the legal mechanisms in place to shut down this technology at a moment's notice. The "internet kill switch" is just one facet of this, but there are other developments (National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 [wikipedia.org], for instance) that are related to shutting down protests and silencing dissension right here in the U.S.. There are reports that our armed forces are being trained to handle domestic civil unrest situations currently, as well.

      Plus with the work that government contractors have been caught doing in the way of astroturfing [wikipedia.org], I seriously wonder if the technology will remain clean enough to function. I wouldn't put it past the government to put people to work obstructing the flow of information. There's been plenty of comments I've seen on Occupy articles (particularly on CNN) that are almost too antagonistic, reposted over and over every time it gets bumped off the first page, coupled with scores of other similar comments by people using handles like "John126421" and "BearsFan583".

      Google will censor search results if the government tells them to, just like any other company with a presence here in the U.S., the ISPs will cut service, the phone companies will turn off the towers. It hasn't gotten to that point yet but it will if unrest gets to the point of Arab Spring here. There is so much back scratching going on between these telecoms and the government that there's no way that the people can be sure that they will maintain the ability to communicate on their infrastructure. Short of putting our own networks in (which won't happen without massive collaboration, not to mention a lot of money) I'm thinking that we're not going to have these avenues when we really need them, so we'd better come up with some lo-tech alternatives.

    • The very first thing the Republicans will do if they get their hands on the White House and Senate again is destroy the Freedom of Information Act. To the Right, accountability and truth are as deadly as a wooden stake is to a slumbering vampire.
    • ...technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

      "You can't stop the signal Mal."

    • As simple evidence it doesn't matter. Consider the protest and Tienanmen square. everyone knows how it ended. What effect did it have?


    • can you access/record/store hundreds of thousands of Terabytes of CCTV, telephone communications, SMS, chat, emails?
      Can you as a citizen, pay thousands of people to retroactively investigate on the life of other citizen ?
      How are citizen more empowered by big browser than governments ?
      As some dude said someday on the interwebs : "Staline would have LOVED facebook". And I might add, no jews would have survived the holocaust if it had taken place in Y2K.
    • by toby (759)

      The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things

      This kind of evasion was used by the citizens of every other 20th C state which soon after descended into fascism. = "It can't happen here," etc. Of course it would be nice if it "couldn't happen" wherever you live. But please study some history.

  • by Moskit (32486) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:46PM (#38400094)

    Funny that article writer wrote "authoritarian". This applies to almost any country - with USA being the prime example (CarrierIQ^3), or ubiquitous cameras in UK.

    If people think their governments do not spy on them just as in "authoritarian" regimes, they are so wrong...

    • by bonch (38532) * on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:49PM (#38400158)

      The obvious difference is that public outcry led to severe criticism of Carrier IQ as well as a possible FBI investigation.

      • This FBI investigation reminds me of the ending of Casablanca, where the French police captain says "Round up the usual suspects."

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Of course it did. Carrier IQ is not part of any government surveillance program, so the government loses nothing by pretending to care about surveillance. This investigation will find that nothing illegal took place, and the carriers will at most pay a token settlement. If it were a government surveillance program, it would just be defunded and reestablished under another name.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        The obvious difference is that public outcry led to severe criticism of Carrier IQ as well as a possible FBI investigation.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_America_Act_of_2007#Domestic_wiretapping [wikipedia.org]
        Public outcry led to severe criticism of the telecom industry and... Congressionally granted retroactive immunity?
        I wish this public outcry thing had results that were a bit more consistent.

      • Carrier IQ is a child's toy compared to Palantir. [businessweek.com]
    • by onyxruby (118189)

      Be definition all government is authoritarian. That being said if you think the US is a leading culprit in being a /fascist/ government, than you really need to learn more about most other governments around the world actually operate. I certainly think they go to far on many things (SOPA etc), but to call them a prime example is ignorance at best.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        It depends on how you define "fascism" (which has long been a subject of debate). If you go with the Mussolini definition of "corporatism", I don't see how any government in the world can top the US for being fascist.

        • That often repeated definition never mentions that Italian corporations were extensions of the Italian government. Like the Dutch east India company etc.

          'Corporation' means different things in different places and times. Only the Italian government could charter a corporation.

          Freddy and Fanny, not IBM and Microsoft.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Right, except it's a little backwards now; instead of the government controlling the corporations, the corporations control the government. But it's rather irrelevant, like the question of the chicken or the egg, because it's such a minor distinction in practice; in either case, the two powers are intertwined and control society, and the regular people have no say whatsoever.

      • I don't completely disagree with you -- there are indeed far worse examples in terms of how governments treat their own citizens. However, I would argue that you would be hard pressed to find a government that has such a negative influence on as many people worldwide as the U.S. And the trend even here within our own borders with, as you mention, SOPA, PATRIOT Act, and the like is very, very disturbing.
      • by Moskit (32486)

        No, I do not think USA has a fascist government. No need to learn more ;-)
        I wrote however that they are a prime example of spying and collecting data due to 1) being considered a "free" country for such a long time, 2) being far from that stereotype. You would not be surprised Soviet Russia did it, or East Germany, or Libia. But USA? :-)

        As far as collecting information on people goes, USA is IMVHO very advanced, it's just not that you get impression this data is used very visibly, as in "authoritarian" coun

        • by onyxruby (118189)

          Than my apologies for misunderstanding what you meant. I will not argue at all about the US spying on and collecting unfathomable amounts of information...

          I too often see the clueless who think that because they can't smoke pot or got a parking ticket that they live in a fascist government.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      I hate to go all tin-foil hat on you here, but I'm probably about to. I look at TV, and we have basically three genres to choose from, in mainstream media at least. One is comedy, escapism at its finest. Another is reality TV, where you see everything someone else does. The last is the crime drama (Law and Order and CSI franchises, Maybe the Cold Case types, and one-offs like The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Unforgettable, Castle, Blue Bloods). There is very little else on.

      Look at the progression of the

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:47PM (#38401170) Journal

      Funny that article writer wrote "authoritarian". This applies to almost any country - with USA being the prime example

      That's not funny, that's accurate.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Just because the governments of democratic countries have authority doesn't make them authoritarian. Authoritarianism differs from democracy in general in that the leader maintains (and usually achieves) power by claiming it for himself, and in the US in particular in that there is usually little or no separation of powers.

      While you're free to argue about the effective differences in practice, or the lack thereof, or even to claim they are the same, the fact remains that they are not. Pretending that they

      • by Moskit (32486)

        Article is about advance in technology that allows to use it in authoritarian countries. My point is that this advance in technology is applicable to all countries for specified purposes.

        I do not claim that democratic countries are authoritarian, just that they use the same technology, and often for the same goal, just not always so openly.

        Discussion here would be similar to discussion about guns. Gun itself is not good or bad. It can be used by a good policeman or a bad policeman, enemy soldier or own sold

    • by forkfail (228161)

      In the West, it's the big corporations that are doing the spying. They just haven't flexed their muscle yet. But given the truism about knowledge and information being power and all, that's where Big Brother's taken up abode in the West.

  • authoritarian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by convolvatron (176505) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:46PM (#38400096)

    at this point i dont think we need the qualifier anymore.

    'authoritarian governments will soon be able' -> 'governments will'

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:02PM (#38400412) Homepage

    http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/2846ca1b6bee64e1 [google.com]
    "As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and something like TIA). On the other hand, the internet can be used to change the status quo in various ways (better designs, better science, stronger social networks advocating for things like a basic income, all supported by better structured arguments like with the Genoa II approach) to the point where there is abundance for all and rounding up dissenters to mainstream economics is a non-issue because material abundance is everywhere. So, as Bucky Fuller said, whether is will be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race to the very end. While I can't guarantee success at the second option of using the internet for abundance for all, I can guarantee that if we do nothing, the first option of using the internet to round up dissenters (or really, anybody who is different, like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany) will probably prevail. So, I feel the global public really needs access to these sorts of sensemaking tools in an open source way, and the way to use them is not so much to "fight back" as to "transform and/or transcend the system". As Bucky Fuller said, you never change thing by fighting the old paradigm directly; you change things by inventing a new way that makes the old paradigm obsolete."

    Other related thoughts:
    http://pdfernhout.net/on-dealing-with-social-hurricanes.html [pdfernhout.net]

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Or, you know, it could be something in the middle. People are really good at acclimating to their circumstances, and no matter how great things get there will always be malcontents. If scarcity of resources and materials wasn't an issue, then it'd be scarcity of mates. If it wasn't scarcity of mates, it'd be popularity. If it wasn't popularity, it would be real estate, or mental/physical capacity, or lifetime, or whatever. Some people will always find something to be unhappy about, and then they'll con

      • That's a sensible point, and I won't disagree with the general truth of it, but the 21st century problem is that our weapons of mass destruction (nukes, plagues, bureaucracy/holocaust, and soon robotics and nanotech) have become so powerful that we need "A Newer Way Of Thinking" to deal with the consequences of all that power.
        http://anwot.org/ [anwot.org]
        Otherwise, just a few malcontents empowered by such WMDs could doom us all, as could just an accidental use of them. So, for our own protection, we need to work toward

  • by Dunbal (464142) *

    As the price of digital storage drops

    Someone hasn't checked prices recently, post flood.

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekmux (1040042) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:28PM (#38400842)

      As the price of digital storage drops

      Someone hasn't checked prices recently, post flood.

      I'm sorry, I couldn't stop laughing over the idea that you think anyone in charge of Government spending is worried about a price tag.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Yep, it's kinda funny that all these big governments (like the UK and USA) and their desires to gather information on their citizens, not to mention computer users big and small worldwide, are all dependent on one tiny little country in southeast Asia for their hard drives. What's that saying about putting all your eggs in one basket?

  • My response (Score:3, Funny)

    by blackbeak (1227080) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:03PM (#38400424)
    I was gonna comment, but then....
  • by lightknight (213164) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:05PM (#38400472) Homepage

    The burden of all these extra security measures is beginning to exert a force on the economy. It's like watching the birth of a quantum singularity...interest followed by naked terror, as you realize that you can't outrun it (but not for lack of trying). I liken it to a particular episode of Stargate SG-1 (A Matter Of Time): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWpfr_0RmuM

    The people of the US are like that team, running across the desert, knowing they are doomed.

    On a separate note, the fact that the US people are so submissive to their rights being stolen from under them reminds me of Russians facing the Gulag; they don't try to escape, even though they could, they just go along with it because fighting against it does not occur to them.

     

    • the fact that the US people are so submissive to their rights being stolen from under them

      I think the word you are looking for is "complacent", not "submissive". We have at least two generations of school kids who are basically ignorant of history, and who have spent their entire lives believing that the U.S. are -- and always will be -- the "good guys", with the inevitable result being that they cannot even conceive of the idea that our government might not always have their best interests at heart.

      • ^_^. Two sides of the same coin. If you are complacent with the deterioration of your rights, then you are submissive to the usurped authority of those who are taking them away from you.

        Think of it this way -> from the viewpoint of those who seize your rights, what difference is there between you submitting to their laughable authority versus being complacent as they deny you your ancestor's hard fought inheritance? None.

        Them -> "Oh, you aren't submitting to me, but merely being complacent as I take a

  • Already Here: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother

    There, fixed that for you.
    • Indeed, and this trend was foreseen years ago, which is why anonymity systems were designed to thwart such efforts under the assumption that records might be kept for a person's entire lifetime.
  • Why spend all that money? Why will taxpayers want to put their cash towards a grossly mismanaged and costly project that will erroneously fuck over tons of people with no benefit whatsoever? This is really a pie in the sky idea that will never fly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think it's time for us to get together to build an underground internet.

  • by U8MyData (1281010) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:25PM (#38400786)
    Unless something really bad happens to destroy the technological revolution that we are all a part of, it's here to stay. There needs to be stronger, iron clad privacy, individual, and economic legislation in place to provide due process in a time where decisions are made in an instant. The Occupy protests, although very visable, have little chance on making a serious impact on what they are protesting. Rather, you have to be in the game to change the game. I had a thought the other day, if they really wanted to make an impact, why didn't they put together a petition, circulate it, send it to D.C., make it a matter of historical public record, and see what happens? As it stands they are remarkably forgetable. To that end, citizens need to, from within the game, *demand* protections from this inevitable reality before it is too late.
  • Coming soon? Sorry it's already here.
    Authoritarian Government? No, try every single one.
    Controlling the people has become harder with information being spread so fast, but there are ways to single out people and beat them into submission with information.

  • Can we dispense with this false dichotomy between "authoritarian" and (I suppose) "democratic" governments. It is part of this great fantasy that this sort of thing will only happen in bad third-world countries whose leaders wear military uniforms and chomp on cigars. Our grand democratic leaders would never do such things, except they do all the time and want to do more of it.
  • The phrase 'authoritarian government' fits the US oh so very well now - those who would deny it are either ignorant or complicit.
  • Deluge them with pictures of yourself with your finger up your nose to protest this surveillance mentality. As a society, do we want our every move recorded? Hoodies became popular with young people because of ubiquitous surveillance so it is safe to say that overall, society does not want to have it's every move recorded.
  • by Hasai (131313) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:44PM (#38401128)
    It's called "Facebook," and twits are lining-up to dump their entire lives into it.
  • by AdamJS (2466928) on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:02PM (#38401362)

    I saw a demo a month ago of a software product in development that only needs the sparsest of details about your friends, and a few time-lapsed satphotos or GPS data about/of your vehicle at specific times to be able to predict *exactly* where you would be on a given night (barring outlier events, like an earthquake - though there were examples of how to factor that in if you think it's a possibility). And the kicker, is that the mass-majority of the data this system needs (for North Americans and western Europeans) is already available for free.

  • by swb (14022) on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:42PM (#38401946)

    I read someplace that this is kind of how they curtailed the car/roadside bombings in Iraq that were so common there.

    They put up enough drones to cover the city with video; when a bomb went off, they basically rewound time and followed the car that blew up back to where it came from, which often was a bomb factory or other insurgent facility.

  • Governments are incredibly inefficient. They're even more inefficient than Big Corporations. Bureaucracy hobbles them both. People who work for Government or for Big Corporations are the bottom of the barrel, because no one intelligent and creative would long survive an environment where their work and activity are constrained by a PHB with a room-temperature IQ but an incredible sociopathic ability to kiss ass.

    So let's place any tech tool in the hands of those people versus in the hands of an intelligen

  • ... to "authoritarian" governments, citizen?

  • Wouldn't it be easier to just use the wayback machine [archive.org]

  • Reliance on the assumption that targets will use monitored systems can be exploited instead of turning into a pissing match.

    to think Establish a flawless online profile which reinforces what you prefer spies to think of you, drop online connections which may be embarrassing, and lead a double life.

    If you are a revolutionary, act alone without trail and or communicate directly. It's perfectly practical to research almost any subject in a "benign" way.

    The bar is very basic. Either be willing to accept

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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