It’s paranoid time

Interesting week. The American public is shocked, SHOCKED, to discover it is living in a surveillance state. For some of us, who have been warning of this scenario unfolding over the last decade or so, the most difficult thing right now is to resist extracting cheap satisfaction by admonishing with “we told you so!”

We told you about Carnivore and ECHELON. We told you about Total Information Awareness (TIA). We told you about the secret rooms housing Narus network tap and DPI racks being quietly installed at core points of the US communications backbone at AT&T and others. We told you about the massive data centre the NSA was building in Utah. You dismissed us as cranks and paranoids – and resumed posting your Lolcats and gossiping about mindless crap, because, y’know, that’s what morons do.

Now all of this has coagulated into this amorphous thing being labelled Prism. (more…)

“It is vitally important to recognize that cellular telephony is a surveillance technology, and that unless we openly discuss this surveillance capability and craft appropriate legal and technological limits to that capability, we may lose some or all of the social benefits of this technology, as well as a significant piece of ourselves. Most people don’t understand that we’re selling our privacy to have these devices.” — Stephen Wicker, Cornell

What is startling about that statement is not what it implies, but that it gets stated so rarely, never in mainstream media, and in this instance, referring to an preinstalled Android app that runs in stealth mode without users knowledge, that it took so long to be made.

Wicker is writing about a particularly vile piece of what I call slimeware1 that has been shipped on various cell phones primarily in North America. To the best of my knowledge, it first came to light in August of this year and caused an absolute lack of concern amongst shiny junk users, who if they offered any kind of response at all, was generally along the lines of “stop being paranoid”. Wicker disagrees. From the same article(more…)

Not that I really need any corroborating evidence that the way the general public treats its private data has marked similarities to the way cats present themselves when on heat – a theme I began expanding on substantially here – but occasionally I still run into stuff that flabbergasts even me.

People in general have no shame, no dignity and not even the slightest interest in pondering the potential consequences of doing what is the data equivalent of streaking down Main St. at peak hour. All anyone needs to do it seems in order to harvest people’s personal information is simply ask. Mark Zuckerberg knows it very well, and wants to thank about half a billion imbeciles for making him richer than he ever thought possible (or deserved). His sentiments about privacy and end users have been captured (and verified) by Business Insider for all (a personal chat log, privacy be damned) – (more…)