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Wake Up: Homelessness is Not a Crime (VIDEO)

25 Jul

Activist Post: Wake Up: Homelessness is Not a Crime (VIDEO).

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10 Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased

16 Jul

Activist Post: 10 Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased.

The Cybersecurity Directive Goes Viral

16 Jul

Michael Edwards:  Activist Post: The Cybersecurity Directive Goes Viral.

Coming Soon: Minority Report . . . The Reality Show

1 Jun

Editor’s Note:  We are actually funding our own enslavement.

Detecting a crime before it happens

By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington —

If Bob Burns is correct, terrorists may betray themselves someday by jiggling on a Nintendo Wii balance board, blinking too fast, curling a lip like Elvis — or doing nothing at all.

Burns and his team of scientists are researching whether video game boards, biometric sensors and other high-tech devices can be used to detect distinct nonverbal cues from people who harbor “mal-intent,” or malicious intent.

“We’re looking pre-event,” said Burns, the No. 2 at the Homeland Security Advanced Research Project Agency, a counterpart of the fabled Pentagon agency that developed Stealth aircraft and the Internet.

READ THE FULL STORY

DARPA and the (Not Too Distant) Future of Biometrics

28 May

Darpa’s Beady-Eyed Camera Spots the ‘Non-Cooperative’

Soon, keeping your head down won’t be enough to stump high-tech security cameras, thanks to Pentagon-funded researchers developing mini-cameras that can nab threats by hunting down — and scanning — their eyeballs.

A team of electrical engineers at Southern Methodist University (SMU), led by Professor Marc Christensen, first created the cameras with funding from Darpa, the Pentagon’s research agency. Called Panoptes, the devices use low-resolution sensors to create a high-res image that can be captured using a lightweight, ultra-slim camera. Because they don’t use a lens, the cameras were originally designed for miniature drone sensors and troop helmet-cams.

Only a year later, the Pentagon is giving SMU another $1.6 million, to merge the cameras with active illumination and handheld Pico projection devices. This allows photos captured on small devices to be transformed for large-format viewing. Whereas the first goal of the program was to create slim cameras with the power of a lens, the latest technology “lets us do even more than what a lens could do,” Christensen told Danger Room.

“This platform is really just the base, upon which we’ll focus on different applications,” Christensen said. “Now, we’re enhancing resolution even more, so the images are a 3-D map with even better, more accurate details.”

The new devices will yield a robust 3-D image that’ll be useful for seeing in caves and dark urban areas, and for the creation of versatile “non-cooperative” iris-detection security cameras.

Smart-Iris, the name of the new Panoptes innovation, is being developed in conjunction with SMU Professor Delores Etter, who specializes in biometric identification. It’ll eliminate problems like glare, eyelashes, dim lighting — and an unwillingness to stop and stare directly into a dedicated iris-detection camera. Instead, Panoptes devices will zero in on a face, no matter angle or movement, then narrow right into the iris. A long line of people, moving through a line, could be scanned by wall-mounted cameras and they wouldn’t even notice it was happening.

And new algorithms are being developed by Etter and colleagues to identify individuals based on segments of their iris, rather than a full frontal scan.

“Ideally, when you walk down a hallway, no matter where your head is looking, the device can grab your eyeball and detect what it needs to,” Christensen said. And where possible security and defense applications are concerned? “You can let your imagination fly with that one.”

And with this latest development, Christensen also sees widespread civilian application, as part of “the cell phone of the future.” He’d like to see the camera-projection device incorporated into phones, and says they’d be able to photograph the page of a book “down to the smallest lettering,” or detect counterfeit cash by “picking up the texture of a $20 bill.”

Photo: U.S Air Force

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/05/darpas-beady-eyed-camera-spots-the-non-cooperative/#ixzz0pFmjobrN

It’s For the “Community”

28 May

Census workers can enter your apartment in your absence

Bob Barr

Thousands of census workers, including many temporary employees, are fanning out across America to gather information on the citizenry.  This is a process that takes place not only every decade in order to complete the constitutionally-mandated census; but also as part of the continuing “American Community Survey” conducted by the Census Bureau on a regular basis year in and year out.

What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for “the collection of statistics.”  If the landlord of such apartment or other  leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be fined $500.00.

That’s right — not only can citizens be fined if they fail to answer the increasingly intrusive questions asked of them by the federal government under the guise of simply counting the number of people in the country; but a landlord must give them access to your apartment whether you’re there or not, in order to gather whatever “statistics” the law permits.

In fact, some census workers apparently are going even further and demanding — and receiving — private cell phone numbers from landlords in order to call tenants and obtain information from them.  Isn’t it great to live in a “free” country?

Google Continues Their Invasion

20 May

Google debates face recognition technology

By Maija Palmer in London  Financial Times

Published: May 19 2010 22:42 | Last updated: May 20 2010 01:02

Executives are wrestling over whether to launch controversial facial recognition technology after a barrage of criticism over its privacy policies.

Eric Schmidt, chief executive, said a series of public disputes over privacy issues had caused the management team to review its procedures and the launch of new technologies. According to Google executives, facial recognition is one of the key topics of internal debate.

Mr Schmidt said: “Facial recognition is a good example . . . anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed. When you go through these things, you review your management procedures.”

However, he would not rule out any eventual roll-out, saying: “It is important that we continue to innovate.”

Facial recognition has the potential to be the next privacy flashpoint. Google already uses the technology in its Picasa photo sharing service. This lets users tag some of the people in their photos and then searches through other albums to suggest other pictures in which the same faces appear.

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You are a “Dumbf*ck” Facebook’s Zuckerberg Says

14 May

I guess we can take Mark Zuckerberg’s word for it: the founder of Facebook does not hold his users in high regard.  There seems to be quite a firestorm surrounding the recent privacy violations of this behemoth.  Play at your own risk.

By Andrew OrlowskiGet more from this author

SOURCE: The Register: Posted in Music and Media, 14th May 2010 11:33 GMT

Free whitepaper – Taking control of your data demons: Dealing with unstructured content

Loveable Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called his first few thousand users “dumb f*cks” for trusting him with their data, published IM transcripts show. Facebook hasn’t disputed the authenticity of the transcript.

Zuckerberg was chatting with an unnamed friend, apparently in early 2004. Business Insider, which has a series of quite juicy anecdotes about Facebook’s early days, takes the credit for this one.

The exchange apparently ran like this:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb f*cks

The founder was then 19, and he may have been joking. But humour tells you a lot. Some might say that this exchange shows Zuckerberg was not particularly aware of the trust issue in all its depth and complexity.

Facebook is currently in the spotlight for its relentlessly increasing exposure of data its users assumed was private. This is nicely illustrated in the interactive graphic you can find here or by clicking the piccie to the right.

In turn, its fall from grace has made backers of the ‘social media’ bubble quite nervous. Many new white collar nonjobs created since the mid-Noughties depend on the commercial value of your output, and persona;l information. (Both are invariably donated for free).

But there’s a problem.

Much of the data created by Web2.0rrhea is turning out to be quite useless for advertisers – or anyone else. Marketeers are having a harder time justifying the expenditure in sifting through the Web 2.0 septic tank for the odd useful nugget of information.

Facebook’s data stash is regarded as something quite special. It’s authenticated against a real person, and the users tend to be over 35 and middle class – the ideal demographic for selling high value goods and services. In addition, users have so far been ‘sticky’ to Facebook, something quite exceptional since social networks fall out of fashion (Friends Reunited, Friendster) as quickly as they attract users.

Facebook also has something else going for it – ordinary users regard it as the natural upgrade to Hotmail. In fact, once the crap has been peeled away, there may not be much more to Facebook than the Yahoo! or Hotmail Address Book with knobs on: the contact book is nicely integrated, uploading photos to share easier, while everything else is gravy. Unlike tech-savvy users, many people remain loyal to these for years. ®

Big Brother Britain Encouraged by Michael Bloomberg

12 May

Michael Bloomberg thinks it is just great to live in London, location of the most security cameras on the planet; 500,000 cameras peer into the lives of its citizens.  Contact Michael Bloomberg and tell him that you will move out of the city if you live there, or you will refuse to visit if this is implemented.  In a CBS 2 News report Bloomberg says, “Nobody’s going to make the world perfectly safe, but wouldn’t you rather be somewhat safer?” Bloomberg said.  At what expense?  Being recorded nearly 300 times in the course of a day?  Let’s be honest:  we all have a death sentence the moment we are born.  We should be focusing on how to make our lives better, more free, more creative, and more enjoyable — not hiding under the couch of a surveillance police state that historically only wants more power, more money and more control.

The Sum Total of Where We Stand

11 May

Excellent synopsis of where we stand right now as a nation . . . and as a world.  This is not only the U.S.  The most disturbing trend is that the United States is not the sole example — this is a global, coordinated occurrence.  The U.S. is merely the driving force.

Once upon a time, the United States was a land of unparalleled freedom.  The rest of the world envied the freedom that ordinary Americans had to think, say and do what they wanted.  But all of that has changed.  Now Americans have to fear that they will be tackled by a squad of security goons and dragged off to a detention facility somewhere if they spill a Pepsi on a flight attendant or take a few too many pictures of a public building.  The United States used to be the polar opposite of totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but now America is rapidly becoming very much like them.  Due to the fear of a boogeyman living in a cave somewhere or some guy with explosive powder in his underwear we are all being forced to give up our freedoms and learn to live in a Big Brother police state.

But have things really changed so much that we have to give up all of the cherished freedoms that our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for?  Haven’t there always been fanatics and crazies and criminals out there?  Why do we suddenly have to become so afraid of them?

In the past, Americans would not let anyone make them live in fear.  If some unbalanced individual did something bad, it wasn’t the end of the world, was it?  No, in the past Americans dusted themselves off and continued to live as free men and women.  You see, when we live in fear and radically alter our way of life just to feel a little more secure, we lose.  We have let someone else steal our freedom and our dignity.

But now in the name of “security” all kinds of bizarre proposals have been implemented on the local, state and national levels.  Somehow we think that if everything that we do is watched, monitored and analyzed we will all be safer somehow.

Maybe we are safer and maybe we aren’t, but we are certainly a whole lot less free.

The following are 20 signs that the United States is rapidly becoming a totalitarian “Big Brother” police state….

#1) A new bill being pushed by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman would allow the U.S. military to round up large numbers of Americans and detain them indefinitely without a trial if they “pose a threat” or if they have “potential intelligence value” or for any other reason the President of the United States “considers appropriate”.

#2) Lawmakers in Washington D.C. working to create a new immigration bill have decided on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would be required to obtain.

#3) Barack Obama is backing a plan to create a national database to store the DNA of people who have been arrested but not necessarily convicted of a crime.

#4) Just to get on an airplane, Americans will now have to go through new full-body scanners that reveal every detail of our exposed bodies to airport security officials.

#5) If that wasn’t bad enough, the Transportation Security Administration has announced that airport screeners will begin roving through airports randomly taking chemical swabs from passengers and their bags to check for explosives.

#6) Starting this upcoming December, some passengers on Canadian airlines flying to, from or even over the United States without ever landing there, will only be allowed to board their flights once the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined they are not terrorists.

#7) Organic milk is such a threat that the FDA has been conducting military style raids on Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.

#8) An NYPD officer has broken his silence and has confessed that innocent citizens are being set up and falsely arrested and ticketed in order to meet quotas.

#9) A growing number of police departments across the U.S. are turning to mobile camera systems in order to fight motor vehicle theft and identify unregistered cars.

#10) For decades, Arizona has been known as “the sunset state”, but lately many frustrated residents have started calling it “the surveillance state”.

#11) Judges and police in Florida have been caught using “secret codes” on tickets in the state of Florida.

#12) An extensive investigation has revealed that between 2003 and 2007, that state of Texas quietly gave hundreds of newborn baby blood samples to a U.S. Armed Forces laboratory for use in a forensics database.

#13) A 6-year-old girl was recently handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#14) One 12-year-old girl in New York was recently arrested and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk.

#15) In Florida, students have been arrested by police for things as simple as bringing a plastic butter knife to school, throwing an eraser, and drawing a picture of a gun.

#16) When a mother on a flight to Denver spanked both of her children and cussed out a flight attendant who tried to intervene, she suddenly found herself handcuffed and headed for prison.  Why?  She was charged with being a domestic terrorist under the Patriot Act.

#17) A new global treaty may force U.S. Internet service providers to spy on what you do online.

#18) A leaked Obama administration memo has revealed plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres of land from Montana to New Mexico.

#19) 56 percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said that the U.S. government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.

#20) But one other recent poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: “It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”