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Data Storage Government Privacy Hardware

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

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

  • 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:authoritarian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:24PM (#38400772) Journal

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

    There are no retention laws on license plate scanners, toll booths, really anything. Most retention requirements are written from the stance of minimums, not maximums.

  • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:33PM (#38400918)

    So what? MP5s are only effective in certain situations, like close-quarters battle. They're no match at all for some rednecks with long-range hunting rifles. We've seen in war after war after war that snipers are extremely effective against regular foot soldiers. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that full-auto == invincible, even though the range on something like an MP5 is rather pathetic.

  • 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 [], 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 [], 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.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.