This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
The NFL announced a change to its bag policy Thursday and beginning with the 2013 season, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be permitted inside NFL stadiums. [more inside]
The EFF's Year End Review The ACLU's This Year in Civil Liberties Amnesty International's Anual Report (video) [more inside]
"The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices [represent] an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other ... This is a little for the better, and much for the worse." - Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Professor (via battellemedia.com) [more inside]
The Department of Homeland Security has expressed interest [PDFs] in forcing all commercial airline passengers to wear a taser bracelet that can be used to incapacitate anyone on an airline. This video, from the company that will produce the bracelets, explains how the bracelet would be put on the passenger at the point that they clear security, and would not be removed until they leave secure areas. It would take the place of boarding passes, carry personal and biometric information about the passengers, track and monitor every passenger via GPS and shock the wearer on command, immobilizing him or her for several minutes. DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development is also excited about the possiblility of using it as an interrogation tool at airports. Ah freedom, who knew it smelled like burning flesh?
The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen in line, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain.
The Subpoenas are Coming! The FBI, in an attempt to prosecute Adrian Lamo (discussed here) is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau. And by secretly, they mean don't tell your colleagues, editors or lawyers, or risk facing obstruction of justice charges. (Via dailyrotten)
Civil liberties and privacy may be priceless, but they may soon have a price tag. In this NYT article, describes efforts by the White House Office of Management and Budget to quantify the cost of enhanced security and lessened liberties. "As long as they're going to deal with monetary evaluations, I told them they should start asking about the cost of destroying democracy," said Mr. Nader.
Does privacy have a place in society anymore? Or is it incompatible with a crowded and technologically-advanced world? If we must submit to constant surveillance, who should we trust to watch?
How much freedom should we trade for our security? That is the title of this years Economist/Shell essay competition. The winner will receive $20,000 as well as inclusion in The Economist: The World in 2003. The closing date is August 15. Anyone feel like entering? If I can learn to write English in time I may submit an essay that takes the form of a discussion between a 68 year old Japanese American ex-internee and a 7 year old Israeli girl.