Just like back in the day, no one was prepared to report what was actually supposed to have been wrong about all this, of course, because it was pretty clear after the first NY Times vague report was clarified  that Clinton didn’t actually break any laws and there’s no evidence she didn’t adhere to the rules that were in place during her tenure. Sure, something could be wrong with it, but until someone else does some reporting it’s important to discuss ad nauseum what “the problem” really was: this scandal, true or not, important or unimportant, “feeds the narrative” that Clinton is a person of hugely flawed character. None of them were prepared to say this themselves, of course, being unbiased reporters just reporting the facts and all. It’s just that a lot of other people think Hillary Clinton is a devious, Machiavellian control freak and therefore it’s important to report this story. Which will, of course, further feed that narrative.
Data is the pollution problem of the information age, and protecting privacy is the environmental challenge. Almost all computers produce personal information. It stays around, festering. How we deal with it — how we contain it and how we dispose of it — is central to the health of our information economy. Just as we look back today at the early decades of the industrial age and wonder how our ancestors could have ignored pollution in their rush to build an industrial world, our grandchildren will look back at us during these early decades of the information age and judge us on how we addressed the challenge of data collection and misuse.

Noise freaks have been trying to raze heads and rupture eardrums with blunt volume in the name of art since the invention of amplification. But paradigms are shifting: Quiet, it seems, is the new loud.
“There’s been a dramatic increase in the fine art use of sound—using and thinking about sound in new ways,” explains Mike Wyeld, a sound technical instructor working in the Royal College of Art’s animation department. “And the absence of sound gives you an experience you could not possibly have had before.”

Inside a Room Built For Total Silence

A list of known NSA spying techniques
  • The USA can access personal email, chat, and web browsing history. (Source)
  • The USA tracks the numbers of both parties on phone calls, their locations, as well as time and duration of the call. (Source)
  • The USA can monitor text messages. (Source)
  • The USA can monitor the data in smartphone applications. (Source)
  • The USA can crack cellphone encryption codes. (Source)
  • The USA can identify individuals’ friends, companions, and social networks. (Source)
  • The USA monitors financial transactions. (Source)
  • The USA monitors credit card purchases. (Source)
  • The USA intercepts troves of personal webcam video from innocent people. (Source)
  • The USA is working to crack all types of sophisticated computer encryption. (Source)
  • The USA monitors communications between online gamers. (Source)
  • The USA can set up fake Internet cafes to spy on unsuspecting users. (Source)
  • The USA can remotely access computers by setting up a fake wireless connection. (Source)
  • The USA can use radio waves to hack computers that aren’t connected to the internet. (Source)
  • The USA can set up fake social networking profiles on LinkedIn for spying purposes. (Source)
  • The USA undermines secure networks [Tor] by diverting users to non-secure channels. (Source)
  • The USA can intercept phone calls by setting up fake mobile telephony base stations. (Source)
  • The USA can install a fake SIM card in a cell phone to secretly control it. (Source)
  • The USA can physically intercept packages, open them, and alter electronic devices. (Source)
  • The USA makes a USB thumb drive that provides a wireless backdoor into the host computer. (Source)
  • The USA can set up stations on rooftops to monitor local cell phone communications. (Source)
  • The USA spies on text messages in China and can hack Chinese cell phones. (Source)
  • The USA spies on foreign leaders’ cell phones. (Source)
  • The USA intercepts meeting notes from foreign dignitaries. (Source)
  • The USA has hacked into the United Nations’ video conferencing system. (Source)
  • The USA can spy on ambassadors within embassies. (Source)
  • The USA can track hotel reservations to monitor lodging arrangements. (Source)
  • The USA can track communications within media organizations. (Source)
  • The USA can tap transoceanic fiber-optic cables. (Source)
  • The USA can intercept communications between aircraft and airports. (Source)

here’s a gif of cat:

Becoming Internet-famous, like Laina Morris who became the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” meme above, is a gold mine for some, but a nightmare for others. Most don’t intend to become famous, their pictures just happened to go viral.

The world of memes can pit free speech against the desire for privacy. 

Internet Memes And ‘The Right To Be Forgotten’

Photo: Courtesy of Complex


Drone Blinding

Demo for digital privacy tool Cyborg Un Plug shows how it can be set up to disconnect cameras on nearby drones:

Cyborg Unplug is an anti wireless-surveillance system for the home and workplace. It detects and kicks selected devices known to pose a risk to personal privacy from your wireless network, breaking uploads and streams.

In this lab test we look at a flying surveillance device, also known as drones.

You can find out more about Cyborg Un Plug here

Thought Crimes

Could your own brain betray you?

by Pearl Tesler

Imagine this: You get scooped up by police, fitted with electronic headgear, and shown a series of random pictures. Among the random pictures is a not-so-random one: A crime scene. A tiny electric twinge on your scalp tips off police; the crime scene is familiar to you. You are under arrest.

This story is made up—but the technology is not.

Decades ago, researchers discovered a neural phenomenon known as the P300 wave, a voltage spike that occurs in your brain whenever you see something familiar to you. Detectable by EEG, P300 is the basis of a lie-detection technique known as brain fingerprinting. Brain fingerprinting evidence has been deemed admissible in several court cases.

Newer techniques promise to go even further in getting inside your head.

At the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting last weekend in San Jose, brain researcher Jack Gallant of UC Berkeley presented surprisingly faithful reconstructions of brain activity using fMRI scans, a technique called brain decoding (see below). He also cautioned that there was, as yet, no way to distinguish between real and distorted or fabricated memories. “We have a long way to go before this stuff is reliable.”

Still, rapid strides in neuroscience raise new questions about just how far the justice system can or should go in peeking into peoples’ minds. At what point, if any, do you lose your right to the privacy of your own thoughts?

Legal scholar Nita Farahany of Duke University is already on the case. She sees two potential bulwarks against neural prying: the 4th and 5th constitutional amendments, which protect against unlawful search and self-incrimination, respectively.

But even these redoubtable legal barriers may not be enough to guard against an Orwellian future in which your own brain betrays you in a court of law. Farahany cites fingerprint and DNA evidence, both routinely collected, as examples in which the body “testifies” against itself.

As scanning technologies improve, the open question of whether scrutiny of grey matter constitutes a reasonable search will become an increasingly grey area. For now, at least, your thoughts are your own.


Life Sharing by Eva and Franco Mattes (2000–03).

For Life Sharing we turned our private lives into a public artwork. We made each and every file on our computer, from texts and photos to bank statements and emails, available to anyone at any time through our website.

Anything on our computer was available to search, read and freely copy, including the system itself, since we were using only free software.

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.
—  Edward Snowden

The site ThatsNotCool.com offers “callout cards” to send to people who cross your digital boundaries.

The growth of social media has brought with it an epidemic of nonconsensual sexy-photo sharing—called “revenge porn” because the images are often uploaded by an ex-lover. There’s a definite gender issue here: in an estimated 90 percent of cases, the person who uploads the photo is male and the person whose photos get misused is female. Activists have struggled to help lawmakers understand the nature of the problem and to create statutes that help victims reclaim their photos.

Because it’s a new phenomenon, data on revenge porn is difficult to find. One study from McAfee found that 1 in 10 ex-partners threatened to share nude or sexual photos online and that 60 percent of those making such threats followed through. A separate study, from Pew, revealed 40 percent of adults on the internet had been harassed online, while 19 percent had witnessed others being sexually harassed there.

Continue reading about the struggle to get revenge porn off the internet at BitchMedia.org.

Samsung was recording private conversations using some of its TVs…

And now a privacy group, EPIC, has asked the FTC to investigate.

"Samsung routinely intercepts and records the private communications of consumers in their homes," said the privacy group in its 20-page complaint (PDF). "Samsung’s attempts to disclaim its intrusive surveillance activities by means of a ‘privacy notice’ do not diminish the harm to American consumers."


anonymous asked:

Anybody have problems understanding privacy? I become extremely upset when people violate my privacy or touch things that belong to me or walk into areas I consider personal, but I can't really grasp how this works for other people. For example I become confused knowing when it is or isn't okay to look at someone if they're changing and I don't know when it's okay to walk into someone's room. It's really confusing.

I’m very serious about my own privacy. That generally extends to other people as well. I don’t even like glancing around in someone’s house unless I know them well. However, sometimes I forget about personal space. And sometimes it gets awkward. But friendly tip: Don’t look at people while they’re changing ever, just to be safe :)

- Mod G

Can you imagine a world where your home, your vehicles, your appliances and every single electronic device that you own is constantly connected to the Internet?  This is not some grand vision that is being planned for some day in the future.  This is something that is being systematically implemented right now.  In 2015, we already have “smart homes”, vehicles that talk to one another, refrigerators that are connected to the Internet, and televisions that spy on us.

Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and that opens up some wonderful possibilities.  But there is also a downside.  What if we rapidly reach a point where one must be connected to the Internet in order to function in society?  Will there come a day when we can’t even do basic things such as buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without it?  And what about the potential for government abuse?  Could an “Internet of Things” create a dystopian nightmare where everyone and everything will be constantly monitored and tracked by the government?  That is something to think about.

Today, the Internet has become such an integral part of our lives that it is hard to remember how we ever survived without it.  And with each passing year, the number of devices connected to the Internet continues to grow at an exponential rate.  If you have never heard of the “Internet of Things” before, here is a little bit about it from Wikipedia

Things, in the IoT, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, electric clams in coastal waters, automobiles with built-in sensors, or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue. These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices. Current market examples include smart thermostat systems and washer/dryers that utilize wifi for remote monitoring.

But there is also a dark side to the Internet of Things.  Security is a huge issue, and when that security is compromised the consequences can be absolutely horrifying.  Just consider the following example

It is a strange series of events that link two Armenian software engineers; a Shenzen, China-based webcam company; two sets of new parents in the U.S.; and an unknown creep who likes to hack baby monitors to yell obscenities at children. “Wake up, you little ****,” the hacker screamed at the top of his digital lungs last summer when a two-year-old in Houston wouldn’t stir; she happened to be deaf. A year later, a baby monitor hacker struck again yelling obscenities at a 10-month-old in Ohio.

 Both families were using an Internet-connected baby monitor made by China-based Foscam. The hacker took advantage of a weakness in the camera’s software design that U.S.-based Armenian computer engineers revealed at a security conference in Amsterdam last April.

The Internet allows us to reach into the outside world from inside our homes, but it also allows the reverse to take place as well.

Do we really want to make ourselves that vulnerable?

Sadly, we live at a time when people don’t really stop to consider the downside to our exploding technological capabilities.

In fact, there are many people that are extremely eager to connect themselves to the Internet of Things.

In Sweden, there are dozens of people that have willingly had microchips implanted under the skin.  They call themselves “bio-hackers”, and they embrace what they see as the coming merger between humanity and technology.  The following is what one of the founders of a Sweden based bio-hacking community had to say during one recent interview

“The technology is already happening,” says Hannes Sjoblad, one of the founders of BioNyfiken. “We are seeing a fast-growing community of people experimenting with chip implants, which allow users to quickly and easily perform a variety of everyday tasks, such as allowing access to buildings, unlocking personal devices without PIN codes and enabling read access to various types of stored data.

 “I consider the take-off of this technology as another important interface-moment in the history of human-computer interaction, similar to the launches of the first windows desktop or the first touch screen. Identification by touch is innate for humans. PIN codes and passwords are not natural. And every additional device that we have to carry around to identify ourselves, be it a key fob or a swipe card, is just another item that clutters our lives.”

And of course this is happening in the United States as well

In America, a dedicated amateur community — the “biohackers” or “grinders” — has been experimenting with implantable technology for several years. Amal Graafstra, a 38-year-old programmer and self-styled “adventure technologist”, has been inserting various types of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips into the soft flesh between his thumbs and index fingers since 2005. The chips can be read by scanners that Graafstra has installed on the doors of his house, and also on his laptop, which gives him access with a swipe of his hand without the need for keys or passwords.

But you don’t have to have a microchip implant in order to be a part of the Internet of Things.

In fact, there are a whole host of “wearable technologies” that are currently being developed for our society.

For instance, have you heard about “OnStar for the Body” yet?  It will enable medical personnel to constantly monitor your health wherever you are…

Smart, cheaper and point-of-care sensors, such as those being developed for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, will further enable the ‘Digital Checkup’ from anywhere. The world of ‘Quantified Self’ and ‘Quantified Health’ will lead to a new generation of wearable technologies partnered with Artificial Intelligence that will help decipher and make this information actionable.

 And this ‘actionability’ is key. We hear the term Big Data used in various contexts; when applied to health information it will likely be the smart integration of massive data sets from the ‘Internet of things’ with the small data about your activity, mood, and other information. When properly filtered, this data set can give insights on a macro level – population health – and micro – ‘OnStar for the Body‘ with a personalized ‘check engine light’ to help identify individual problems before they further develop into expensive, difficult-to-treat or fatal conditions.

If that sounded creepy to you, this next item will probably blow you away.

According to one survey, approximately one-fourth of all professionals in the 18 to 50-year-old age bracket would like to directly connect their brains to the Internet…

According to a survey by tech giant Cisco Systems, about a fourth of professionals ages 18 to 50 would leap at the chance to get a surgical brain implant that allowed them to instantly link their thoughts to the Internet.

 The study was conducted on 3,700 adults working in white-collar jobs in 15 countries.

 “Assuming a company invented a brain implant that made the World Wide Web instantly accessible to their thoughts, roughly one-quarter would move forward with the operation,” the study found.

In the end, they are not going to have to force most of us to get connected to the Internet of Things.

Most of us will do it eagerly.

But most people will never even stop to consider the potential for abuse.

An Internet of Things could potentially give governments all over the world the ability to continually monitor and track the activities of everyone under their power all of the time.

If you do not think that this could ever happen, perhaps you should consider the words of former CIA director David Petraeus

“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing”

Are you starting to get the picture?


Searches reveal who we are and how we think. True intellectual privacy requires safeguarding these records

Freedom of thought and belief is the core of our intellectual privacy. This freedom is the defining characteristic of a free society and our most cherished civil liberty. This right encompasses the range of thoughts and beliefs that a person might hold or develop, dealing with matters that are trivial and important, secular and profane. And it protects the individual’s thoughts from scrutiny or coercion by anyone, whether a government official or a private actor such as an employer, a friend, or a spouse. At the level of law, if there is any constitutional right that is absolute, it is this one, which is the precondition for other political and religious rights guaranteed by the Western tradition. Yet curiously, although freedom of thought is widely regarded as our most important civil liberty, it has not been protected in our law as much as other rights, in part because it has been very difficult for the state or others to monitor thoughts and beliefs even if they wanted to.

Google is in your brain — and that’s horrifying.