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…)


Destroy SOPA

Seriously, what is at stake is your right to interact; to criticise; to parody; to discuss.

SOPA/PIPA wants to give carte blanche censorship powers to the corporate sector.

No accountability. No responsibility.

The real target is you.

React or submit.

Hollywood creates nothing. Neither does the RIAA. Ask them – have they ever returned a cent to artists by suing dead people and single mothers? They will not answer. They are parasites. Dinosaurs that natural selection is removing from the biosphere. They have no function other than to serve themselves. Herein lies their desperation.

Destroy them.

They are worthless.

So are the politicians that are selling you out.

Register to vote – and remember who’s who.

“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…)

[continued from part 1]

gimme, gimme, gimmeGive me convenience or give me death

The Dead Kennedys

So forget impending government doom for now. The far more realistic threat of a totalitarian surveillance and censorship state will not arrive via that route in the short term, but by one less anticipated. One could argue that it is already here. Of the twin dystopias of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World, it would appear that Huxley’s vision was by far the most prescient – and the reasoning for that is captured with absolute perfection in this web comic by Stuart McMillan. [Far too big to reproduce here, but you can also download a 7.5 meg .pdf copy. Bonus trivia, McMillan is an OzBrisbanite]

The absolute policing of our thoughts and (except for Britain where its already a fact of life) saturation surveillance will not arrive by gunpoint and anonymous spiffily uniformed thugs. It will be (and already has been) invited in the door by the general public that is oblivious to what they are enabling. (more…)

Why are you here?

It’s the sort of question that if dwelt on for too long as a generality drives men insane and makes them invent religions. So don’t think about it in the general way. Instead, take the question literally and apply it to this precise point in time – then there is a simple answer and it doesn’t require any priests or shamans or philosophers or spooks. You are here, reading this, because sometime in the ’70s the US defense department gave a pile of blank cheques to a bunch of libertarian hippies and told them to build a communications network that could remain functional even in the event of a nuclear war. And they did.

That’s why you are here. (more…)