Politics and Other Societal Inanity

Power Structures of the World Don't Play Nice

Posts tagged technology

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Fear Your Smartphone


If you’ve set up a new mobile phone recently, you were likely prompted with an innocent-sounding request for your “usage information.” The phone probably assured you that it would collect your data “anonymously,” and that it would send the information back to the carrier or phone manufacturer to “improve your service.”

In theory, this sounds reasonable. If your phone keeps dropping calls when you’re at work, wouldn’t you want it to report back its troubles? If all your coworkers’ phones also drop calls, maybe the carrier will notice that it has a dark spot in its network and try to fix the problem.

The problem with diagnostic monitoring, though, is that phone companies don’t say how they do it. 

 Trevor Eckhart, a 25-year-old software-systems administrator in Connecticut, posted internal documents and a scary video showing what our phones know about us. Eckhart exposed the capabilities of Carrier IQ, a company that makes software used by several carriers and phone companies to gain “insight into their customers’ mobile experience,” as the firm describes it. Carrier IQ’s software, which is completely hidden from users (and could continue to work even if you opt out of your phone’s diagnostic monitoring), is capable of logging and reporting back pretty much everything that happens on your phone. It can see the apps you use, the sites you visit, your physical location, and it can even log your individual keystrokes, which means that it can read your text messages and passwords.

Read more from the article here.

(via rapunzels-inquisition-deactivat)

Filed under politics technology news smartphone surveillance watchers data mining mobile phone

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License Plate Scanners Logging Our Every Move

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the District of Columbia is engaging in widespread tracking of citizen’s movements using automated license plate readers (ALPRs). According to the Post, the D.C. police:

  • Are running more than one ALPR per square mile;
  • Are planning on sharply increasing the density of these devices until they form a “comprehensive dragnet;”
  • Retain the time/date/location/tag number even of innocent people for whom nothing is found to be wrong;
  • Store that data in a database for three years.

It has now become clear that this technology, if we do not limit its use, will represent a significant step toward the creation of a surveillance society in the United States.

(Source: azspot, via girtabaix)

Filed under license plate scanners surveillance surveillance society Big Brother police state government control politics database technology Orwell

87,380 notes

Need I mention that this was not the result of a government edict but came from private enterprise?




See what a group of engineers did  to encourage people to use the stairs in Stockholm.

hahh omg….

Waaant.  If they could do this for the DC Metro stairs, I’d use them everyday.

I’d end up late for everything if all stairs were like this.

(Source: hellyeahchandlerbing, via emersonsj)

Filed under politics economy psychology technology engineering music government private enterprise Libertarianism

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A Eulogy

There are many eulogies to Steve Jobs on the Internet today. This is likely one of the best.



October 6, 2011

Jobs is being remembered as a pioneer, a technological revolutionary, a visionary.  Rightfully so.

But it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and the world owes a tremendous debt to Steve Jobs for something else. He was perhaps the greatest living example of ‘philanthropy’ in action.

While people like Warren Buffet are pleading with the government to raise their taxes and give away their wealth to sycophantic bureaucrats, Jobs showed time and time again that the best way to improve people’s lives is to create value and be productive.

Steve Jobs was one of the most productive human beings to have ever lived; he started several successful companies which directly employed tens of thousands of people. Indirectly, his businesses improved the livelihoods of millions across the globe, from Chinese factory workers to iPhone app programmers to Apple shareholders.

In building an empire and unimaginable wealth for himself, Steve Jobs enriched the lives and livelihoods of others by creating value. Not by forced redistribution. Not by giving things away. By creating value.

*   *   *

Politicians would do themselves and their constituents a great service by comparing their own track record for enriching people’s lives against Steve Jobs’ performance, and then kindly stepping out of the way. The path to prosperity is not paved in votes, but rather in freedom: the freedom to create, produce, risk work hard… and be rewarded for your efforts.

If you have the time, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes and read some of Jobs’ own words; there are boundless sources online that will praise his creativity, drive, and intellect, but perhaps no one is better suited to explain Steve Jobs than the man himself.

Read more »

Filed under politics economy Steve Jobs technology philanthropy jobs job creation value creating value

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The significance of the new technologies in all of this is that they give citizens the power of surveillance that previously only the State and rich, powerful corporations have possessed. Now the people can record many actions of governments and distribute those records worldwide. Surveillance is being turned on its head. The mass media is no longer a necessary factor in the equation.




Occupy Wall Street News Round Up of the Day: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell delivers a scathing excoriation of the criminally under-reported police brutality exhibited during last weekend’s Occupy Wall Street protests.

The footage of police officers dragging women by their hair and tackling civilians to the ground simply for holding a video camera drew the ire of Anonymous members, who have released private details about suspected pepper-spraying police officer Anthony Bologna, and have vowed to “take [the NYPD] down from the Internet” if police brutality against the protesters persists.

Meanwhile, the “99 percent” wrapped up the 11th day of their Wall Street “occupation” with some “star power” in the form of Susan Sarandon, who lent her support to the cause.

Though O’Donnell’s show is called The Last Word, Matt Taibbi, popping his Occupy Wall Street cherry in Rolling Stone, notes that this movement may be instrumental in conquering Wall Street corruption by taking the important first step toward “making people aware of the battle lines.”

[atlanticwire / nymag / anon / cnbc / rollingstone / video: tss.]

(Source: thedailywhat, via throughyourlies)

Filed under Occupy Wall Street News Round Up hvc3 occupy wall steet politics news surveillance technology new technologies police

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Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets

credit: Yana Paskova / The Chronicle

by Jeffrey R. Young The Chronicle

Computer networks proved their organizing power during the recent uprisings in the Middle East, in which Facebook pages amplified street protests that toppled dictators. But those same networks showed their weaknesses as well, such as when the Egyptian government walled off most of its citizens from the Internet in an attempt to silence protesters.

That has led scholars and activists increasingly to consider the Internet’s wiring as a disputed political frontier.

Read more »

Filed under politics technology activism activists Internet alternate Internets repression censorship

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Overshoot: 'Humanity falls deeper into ecological debt'


From The Province:

Humankind will slip next week into ecological debt, having gobbled up in less then nine months more natural resources than the planet can replenish in a year, researchers said Tuesday.

The most dominant species in Earth’s history, in other words, is living beyond the planet’s threshold of sustainability, trashing the house it lives in.

At its current pace of consumption humankind will need, by 2030, a second globe to satisfy its voracious appetites and absorb all its waste, the report calculated.

Earth’s seven billion denizens — nine billion by mid-century — are using more water, cutting down more forests and eating more fish than Nature can replace, it said.

At the same time, we are disgorging more CO2, pollutants and chemical fertilizers than the atmosphere, soil and oceans can soak up without severely disrupting the ecosystems that have made our planet such a comfortable place for homo sapiens to live.

Counting down from January 1, the date when human activity exceeds its budget — dubbed “Earth Overshoot Day” — had receded by about three days each year since 2001.

The tipping point into non-sustainability happened sometime in the 1970s, said the Oakland, California-based Global Footprint Network, which issued the report.

This year, researchers estimate that the equivalent of Earth’s resource quota will be depleted on September 27.

“Overshoot” is driven by three factors: how much we consume, the global population, and how much Nature can produce.

The United States is the biggest ecological deficit spender, according to an earlier calculation by the same group.

If all people adopted the American lifestyle — big house, two cars, huge per-capita energy consumption — the world’s population would need about five “Earths” to meet its needs.

By contrast, if everyone on Earth matched the average footprint of someone in India today, humanity would be using less than half the planet’s biocapacity.

Check out the rest of the article here. You can learn more about our growing ecological debt here.

(‘Earthrise’ photo credit: NASA

Filed under Anthropocene Earth Global Footprint Network India USA choices ecological footprint ecological overshoot ecosystem services ecosystems human activity lifestyle news population resource consumption resource depletion science sustainability technology politics

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Technology Keeping Internet Freedom Ahead of Censorship

Control the flow of information and you can control the entire populace of a country by more or less peaceful means by directing the thought processes of the people. Hitler understood that. Stalin understood it. And the leaders of the democracies of the West understand it as well. That is why it is vital that the Internet remain free of censorship. But the governments of the world won’t take resistance lying down. That is one thing we can be very sure of.

by Bob Adelmann
The New American

August 24, 2011

 Efforts by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet may become irrelevant if the new technology being developed succeeds as expected. When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the FCC last December, the FCC rewrote its rules to allow them to regulate the Internet anyway through the whitewash called “net neutrality.” Verizon immediately filed suit to overrule the new attempt, and a House subcommittee in March voted to invalidate the actions of the FCC. But the new rules remain in place until the issue is decided.

All of which may be irrelevant as new technology, called Telex, is being developed as a “work-around” for any such attempts by the FCC. Alex Halderman (pictured above left), an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, is one of the developers of the software. In a recent interview he explained that people living under Internet censorship are already able to connect to third-party servers outside their country, but that it doesn’t take long for the government to find these servers and block them. Telex, on the other hand, turns the entire Internet into an anti-censorship device. He says:

Read more here.

Filed under politics government information free flow of information censorship control propaganda sheeple journalism free press mass media blue pill red pill technology Internet Internet freedom net neutrality Internet censorship Telex FCC anti-censorship device

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