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George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’

A wise man with a deep understanding of world and eerily prescient and accurate thoughts. Post-NSA revelations, 1984 seems even more real and possible. Reading this letter gives a view into George Orwell's thought process and he really impresses. [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on Aug 15, 2013 - 128 comments

 

The summer sexism was called out?

There have been some high profile examples of sexism in the UK media this summer. Are we seeing a groundswell of strong female voices calling out sexism? Big Brother has in the past caused the UK media to focus on uncomfortable issues such as bullying and racism. Following the removal of a housemate for aggressive behaviour towards a fellow female housemate, how will the conversation continue this summer? [more inside]
posted by Ness on Jul 16, 2013 - 19 comments

ITU

At its WCIT meeting in Dubai, the UN's ITU has quietly approved a collection of RFCs called 'Requirements for Deep Packet Inspection in Next Generation Networks' (Y.2770) designed to standardize broad spectrum traffic sniffing. The European Parliament recently passed a resolution against the ITU asserting exactly this sort of control over internet standard.
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 5, 2012 - 23 comments

Smile, you're in the land of the free

TrapWire is a national surveillance network run by veterans of America's intelligence community and is installed in most American cities. It's "more accurate than modern facial recognition technology", and was revealed as part of WikiLeaks's Stratfor releases (previously). Meanwhile, WikiLeaks is currently the victim of a massive DDOS attack.
posted by bwerdmuller on Aug 10, 2012 - 62 comments

Big Brother at the Petrol Station

We've all heard about the proliferation of CCTV in the UK. Now, accounting firm Ernst & Young has a new scheme for the Brits: Uninsured drivers won't be able to fill up. [more inside]
posted by symbioid on Mar 15, 2012 - 53 comments

The Science is on a Need-to-know Basis, and You Don't Need to Know

The committee took the unprecedented step of recommending that some details of these biological studies [be] kept from the public, so that no one could use them as recipes for new bioweapons. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Feb 13, 2012 - 30 comments

We'd like to help you learn to help yourselves

We can all cite instances in which we know that we should act differently in our own self interest or in the wider interest, but for one reason or another do not. We need to think about ways of supplementing the more traditional tools of government, with policy that helps to encourage behaviour change of this kind. The Behavioural Insights Team has been established to do just that. [more inside]
posted by grounded on Jan 5, 2011 - 51 comments

"the public is positive, but they are judgemental."

Why Reality TV works.
posted by Artw on Nov 21, 2010 - 86 comments

Charlie Brooker calls it Quits

"… if I ever have to see this gurning little maggot clicking into faux reverie mode again – rising from his seat to jazz-slap the top of his piano wearing a fake-groove expression on his piggish little face – if I have to witness that one more time I'm going to rise up and kill absolutely everybody in the world, starting with him and ending with me.". Charlie Brooker, the UK Guardian's TV 'critic', calls it quits.
posted by lalochezia on Oct 15, 2010 - 71 comments

He likes to keep himself to himself

After years of "If You Suspect It, Report It" (the more Big Brotherly British equivalent of "See Something? Say Something."), it has been finally been determined what level of encouraging people to turn in their neighbours is just too much.
posted by 256 on Aug 11, 2010 - 47 comments

Red light for AZ traffic cameras

Arizona has turned off every speed camera on its highways after complaints that they violated privacy and were designed to generate revenue rather than promote road safety. The 76 cameras took 2.7 million photographs, but only 16 per cent of drivers who received a speeding ticket paid up. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on Jul 19, 2010 - 155 comments

Kindle popular

Amazon is sharing the books and passages that Kindle readers highlight the most. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 4, 2010 - 81 comments

The Data Deluge

According to one estimate, mankind created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005. This year, it will create 1,200 exabytes. Data data everywhere and possibly too much to drink?
posted by Glibpaxman on Feb 28, 2010 - 21 comments

Big Brother 2.0: now easier than ever before!

Alt-Printscreen, load photo software, paste, crop, navigate browser to image host, browse for file, upload. Yeesh, so much work. Want free and "seriously instant" screen-grabbing or screen-casting? Then you'll be glad to know two pieces of software have recently cropped up to streamline the whole process: (open-sourced) Gyazo for instantly hosted screen-grabs, or (free) Jing, likewise, for screen-grabs and screen-casts. [more inside]
posted by tybeet on Dec 1, 2009 - 17 comments

Big Brother's just a beetle on the wall

Cyborg Spy Beetles are no longer a thing of the future. UC Berkeley (funded by DARPA) has created cyborg beetles guided wirelessly via laptop. These spy beetles were created with the intent of bugging actual conversations, literally acting as the "fly on the wall". [more inside]
posted by scrutiny on Oct 27, 2009 - 56 comments

"children should be wary of all adults – unless they're government-approved?"

A group of respected British children's authors and illustrators will stop visiting schools from the start of the next academic year, in protest at a new government scheme that requires them to register on a database in case they pose a danger to children.
"In essence, I'm being asked to pay £64 to prove that I am not a paedophile."
posted by orthogonality on Jul 15, 2009 - 139 comments

The Last Man in Europe

1984: The masterpiece that killed George Orwell
posted by Artw on May 9, 2009 - 79 comments

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

BigBrotherFilter: Estimates place the number of CCTV cameras in the UK at 4.2 million, but how can these images all possibly be watched? Researches in Turkey have an answer: an eye-gaze tracking system placed on the CCTV operators themselves which can "then automatically produces a summary of the CCTV video sequences they have missed during their shift". [more inside]
posted by tybeet on Apr 15, 2009 - 32 comments

The Play at Home Game!

Become a Virtual Texas Deputy! (via)
posted by cjorgensen on Feb 23, 2009 - 50 comments

Ram, gang, ram!

Zombies don't run, says Simon Pegg. Well ours do, says Charlie Brooker, director of Deadset. (also some stuff about the election and skeletor and stuff)
posted by Artw on Nov 9, 2008 - 84 comments

I feel safer.

Not only will SAFEE ensure 9/11 never happens again, but it will also catch unruly passengers.
posted by gman on May 30, 2008 - 28 comments

A google a day?

Google Health launched today.. [more inside]
posted by pearlybob on May 19, 2008 - 79 comments

Shepard Fairey Meets George Orwell

Shepard Fairey's cover art for Penguin releases of 1984 & Animal Farm.
posted by jonson on Apr 13, 2008 - 29 comments

"Leaving no trace [of our daily lives] is nearly impossible."

The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
posted by amyms on Feb 16, 2008 - 44 comments

You were poked by Big Brother.

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has become increasingly popular, until it seemed like everyone and their grandma was joining up. A new feature, called Facebook Beacon, lets corporations join the fray. Might this be cause for concern? [more inside]
posted by Reggie Digest on Nov 19, 2007 - 49 comments

11:54

Surveillance Society Clock. "It's six minutes before midnight as a surveillance society draws near within the United States." [Via Danger Room.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 18, 2007 - 37 comments

Eviction surprise!

So you're in the Big Brother house in Australia. Your dad died last Wednesday. His funeral was on Monday. But his dying wish was that you shouldn't be told that until you're evicted. So when will you be evicted? Since you're not up for eviction this week, it'll be at least a fortnight. A letter from Emma's brother.
posted by reklaw on May 25, 2007 - 79 comments

Rewriting history

"Web History helps deliver more personalized search results based on what you've searched for on Google and which sites you've visited." Google unveils Web History, a new feature to help you "view and manage your web activity." You can also get an idea of what sites you visit frequently, broken down by time of day, and search across the full text of pages you've visited. "If you remember seeing something online, you'll be able to find it faster and from any computer with Web History. " What could possibly go wrong?
posted by jbickers on Apr 25, 2007 - 26 comments

Big Brother is Watching You. On CCTV.

George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 2, 2007 - 44 comments

AT&T Unity Plan FREE calling to 100 million customers.

AT&T and Verizon obey FBI emergency requests, even if they're of dubious legality, and they get paid for it. But AT&T can't be sued, they say, because that would endanger national security.
posted by homunculus on Mar 20, 2007 - 42 comments

Big Brother State

Big Brother State. Nice animation about life in a surveillance society. [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2007 - 49 comments

You had to live -- did live, from the habit that became instinct and the assumption that every sound you made was overheard.

For Your Eyes Only? Allegations that the government is reading your e-mails, with the help of AT&T. The latest episode of NOW did a good piece on the NSA's domestic surveillance program (previously discussed here.) It can be viewed on their website. Meanwhile, Canadian human rights attorney Maureen Webb has written a new book on the scope of government surveillance, and found that the use of sophisticated methods to search for terrorists is not identifying the right suspects.
posted by homunculus on Feb 21, 2007 - 72 comments

Your world, delivered to the NSA

AT&T Ducks Accountability. Lawsuits, Questions Follow NSA Surveillance Approval.
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2007 - 14 comments

Bollywood Vs Bigots on UKs Big Brother

The UKs Celebrity Big Brother provokes a diplomatic incident after bullying and alleged racism in the Big Brother house. At the center of the furor are Shilpa Shetty, massive bollywood film star, and Jade Goody, a previous Big Brother content famous for being a previous big brother contestant and her odd views on geography. Both Jade and Shetty are now up for eviction, with the formerly popular Jade being widely expected to be evicted. She could face trouble on the outside, where already an anti-bullying charity she represents has dropped her. Meanwhile Shetty has become favorite to win.
posted by Artw on Jan 17, 2007 - 136 comments

Psiphon

Psiphon facilitates circumvention of national firewalls.
posted by Optamystic on Nov 29, 2006 - 15 comments

This won't hurt, it's for your own good.

Fingerprinting school kids for lunch. Several schools in California will require students to scan their fingerprints before getting their school lunch to help speed up cafeteria lines. Don't worry about it, it's already being done in Georgia while Florida has a similar system which also lets parents check to see what their kids bought for lunch. Arizona doesn't do fingerprints, it just has the kids enter a number for their meals. New Jersey has Iris Scanning.

Hopefully all of this information was gained through parental consent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 5, 2006 - 38 comments

Harshin' My Mellow

Drugs at music festivals are nothing new. Sometimes this results in comically bad journalism and sometimes the results are not so funny. At the Wakarusa Music Festival this past year police used new, creepy tools pursue drug dealers on the Festival grounds in an attempt to seperate the drugs from the music.
posted by aburd on Sep 16, 2006 - 28 comments

The next big thing in stalking!

You are being followed.
posted by panoptican on Jul 25, 2006 - 53 comments

The future, Conan?

Before I was even aware that such a plan existed, the FAA has put the brakes on a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office plan to purchase a fleet of 20 camera-equipped unmanned spy drone planes (only $30,000 apiece) to fly over my city and monitor civilian behavior round the clock. Sadly, the plan is not permanently kiboshed, but merely on hold until authorization can be obtained.
posted by jonson on Jun 22, 2006 - 39 comments

Surveillance Nation

Surveillance Nation. Cameras, Cameras everywhere. Welcome to the United Kingdom.
"The UK would appear to have around 4.2m cameras in operation," says Professor Clive Norris, of Sheffield University's centre for criminological research. "That's more than anywhere else in the world, with the possible exception of China. It's one for every 14 citizens."
While you're here, admire the ANPR system, that will record every journey by private car, anywhere in the country and keep the information for five years. It will be switched on this summer. Not everyone is happy.
posted by grahamwell on Jun 20, 2006 - 65 comments

EFF Whistleblower Wiretapping Suit Halted by Nuclear Option

Bush administration signals intent to invoke the obscure state secrets privilege in order to stop the EFF lawsuit against AT&T, (previously discussed here) for providing the NSA direct access all 312 terabytes of its customers' telephone and internet traffic since 2001, (including those Good Vibrations charges you racked up). In a nutshell, according to legal experts, invoking the privilege kills the judicial process dead: the courthouse doors are closed, and there's nothing but grownup stuff to see here; move along, kids.
posted by squirrel on May 2, 2006 - 51 comments

Houston Loves You

NewsFilter: I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?
posted by I Love Tacos on Feb 18, 2006 - 154 comments

A spider named Big Brother

Shut yo' mouth! The US government, will soon spider the entire web analyzing all pages -- including your blog -- for evidence of "terrorism". It greatly extends prior government watching of the web for "terrorists" like the ACLU. But not for political speech, of course. Never that.
So shut your mouth and shut down your blog if you don't want to end up on a list of people to be "neutralized" -- like Mario Savio, hounded for ten years despite never breaking a law.
posted by orthogonality on Feb 9, 2006 - 111 comments

Geeks wear tinfoil hats too!

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Sometimes, its the unheralded steps, that take you most quickly to your destination. On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and their associated domains announced the first release of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Version 0.1. NIEM "establishes a single standard XML foundation for exchanging information between DHS, DOJ, and supporting domains, such as Justice, Emergency Management, and Intelligence." The release of this specification, and the development of the systems that utilize it may actually be the cataylst for more 'progress' in information mining on the individual than most other, well publicized efforts. NIEM Mission: "To assist in developing a unified strategy, partnerships, and technical implementations for national information sharing — laying the foundation for local, state, tribal, and federal interoperability by joining together communities of interest." When you say it like that, it sounds sort of cool!
posted by sfts2 on Jan 12, 2006 - 19 comments

Ubicomp

In the early 1990s Mark Weiser at Xerox PARC coined the term ubiquitous computing or "ubicomp" to describe the way he thought computing ought to look in the post-PC era: computers would be invisible, "in the woodwork everywhere around us." Ubicomp has been discussed here a few times before (in fact a MeFite went on to write a book about it)...but with a flood of manufacturers racing to offer up their versions of the so-called digital home, is Weiser's vision moving closer to reality?
posted by Shanachie on Jan 11, 2006 - 23 comments

George Galloway In the UK Big Brother House

George Galloway is in the Celebrity Big Brother house. My jaw dropped when I read it. He's a prominent member of the Respect Coalition, an antiwar figure and a frequent target of corruption claims. He claims his strategy is to reach a new audience of young people and to offer the public a "chance to show a large and different audience what I'm really like". There's already a debate about the war on the official show message boards.
posted by By The Grace of God on Jan 6, 2006 - 73 comments

So much for #31#

$110 gets you last 100 calls made by any cellphone. Apparently it is legal.
posted by riffola on Nov 29, 2005 - 26 comments

It's 11pm, do you know where your child is?

Mologogo Track any Java/GPS enabled phone through a convienent Google Maps based interface with mologogo.
posted by phrontist on Oct 30, 2005 - 10 comments

Porn and the rest of us

What you watch Tucked deep inside a massive bill designed to track sex offenders and prevent children from being victimized by sex crimes is language that could put many Hollywood movies in the same category as hardcore, X-rated films. The provision added to the Children's Safety Act of 2005 would require any film, TV show or digital image that contains a sex scene to come under the same government filing requirements that adult films must meet.
posted by halekon on Oct 12, 2005 - 41 comments

Click Click

"The number of secret court-authorized wiretaps across the country surged by 19 percent last year, according to court records which also showed that not a single application was denied."
posted by knave on Apr 29, 2005 - 20 comments

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