344 posts tagged with surveillance.
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Let's Go Shopping!

The Intercept have just published an expose on the 2014 catalog of British spy tech maker Cobham, who sell their gear to “clients and partners in over 100 countries” including US police forces. Among the equipment is an array of cellphone-intercepting IMSI catchers, better known as Stingrays (previously); handheld or car-mounted direction finding devices to pinpoint a cellphone's location; and surveillance cameras hidden inside everything from street lights to bug zappers and trashcans along with receivers, recorders and viewing devices. A full copy of the 120 page catalog itself is available as well.
posted by scalefree on Sep 9, 2016 - 14 comments

Auditing Algorithms and Algorithmic Auditing

How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - "A former academic mathematician and ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics, with results that cause damage both financially and to the fabric of society. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: Weapons of Math Destruction." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 6, 2016 - 59 comments

The fall of Roger Ailes

For 20 years Roger Ailes ruled the $1 billion a year Fox News empire, expecting a culture of fear to stop widespread sexual harassment from being exposed. Then, beginning with the Gretchen Carlson lawsuit against him, it was all exposed. How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.
posted by Artw on Sep 2, 2016 - 41 comments

The sky over Baltimore city was the color of a dull nickel...

‘OK, this is it,’ ” Stanley recalls. “I said to myself, ‘This is where the rubber hits the road. The technology has finally arrived, and Big Brother, which everyone has always talked about, is finally here.’
Monte Reel at Bloomberg in his article "Secret Cameras Record Baltimore's Every Move from Above" about how Persistent Surveillance Systems Inc. brought an air force surveillance system from Fallujah to Balitmore.
posted by ennui.bz on Aug 24, 2016 - 31 comments

"[T]reating the world as software promotes fantasies of control"

Maciej Ceglowski on the moral economy of tech. [more inside]
posted by metaquarry on Jun 29, 2016 - 53 comments

Renting in the panopticon

A British startup has created a system for offering landlords continuous surveillance of their tenants' online activity to determine whether they are likely to be asset risks. The system, named Tenant Assured, connects to the tenants' social media accounts and mines their status updates, photos and private messages, feeding them to an algorithmic model, which is claimed to find potential signs of financial stress (which include posts with keywords like “loan” or “staying in”) or crime. The landlord gets an online dashboard, showing the tenant's social connections, and a histogram of their online activity times, as well as flagging up any potential danger signs, as well as a five-factor psychometric profile of the tenant, annotated with what a landlord should look for.
posted by acb on Jun 10, 2016 - 125 comments

WORLD OF TOMORROW

World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
posted by kliuless on May 7, 2016 - 23 comments

Lay my purple on the grass

Anohni's new album, Hopelessness , has a lot to say. She grapples with the surveillance state, ecocide, drone warfare, gender, and more in a more electronic setting than her previous work with Antony and the Johnsons. "A big part of [the album] is an examination of my own complicity and my own inability to truly extricate myself from the brokenness of the system that I'm a part of. It's that chasm, that denial that I wanted to model, an inquiry into and within myself." [more inside]
posted by hollyholly on May 6, 2016 - 12 comments

Edward Snowden: THE INTERNET IS BROKEN

The activist talks to Popular Science about digital naïveté
Security, surveillance, and privacy are not contrary goals. You don’t give up one and get more of the other. If you lose one, you lose the other. If you are always observed and always monitored, you are more vulnerable to abuse than you were before. [more inside]
posted by wonton endangerment on Apr 24, 2016 - 62 comments

PANOPTICOPS

How Aerial Surveillance Has Changed Policing — and Crime — in Los Angeles Geoff Manaugh rides along with the LAPD's Air Support Division.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 28, 2016 - 16 comments

The dawn of the Taft Test

The Website Obesity Crisis Maciej Cegłowski calls for downsizing web pages. And "I shouldn't need sled dogs and pemmican to navigate your visual design." (previously)
posted by doctornemo on Jan 1, 2016 - 71 comments

Participation in our own surveillance was the price of entry into heaven

Under Watchful Eyes: The medieval origins of mass surveillance. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 28, 2015 - 11 comments

Spoofing Border Drones

The bad guys on the border have lots of money and what they are putting money into is into spoofing and jamming GPS systems. DHS was unable to say just how often smugglers tried to jam or spoof border-watching UAVs. CBP had little to show for the big price tag. UAVs helped in just 2 percent of apprehensions on the southwest border.
posted by sammyo on Dec 22, 2015 - 8 comments

vers le bas avec Tor!

The French government mulls laws to block Tor and public WiFi. Is this what happens when police ask Santa for presents ("liste au Père Noël", according to Le Monde)?. (via)
posted by doctornemo on Dec 7, 2015 - 30 comments

The ISIS Twitter Census

Defining and describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter Although much ink has been spilled on the topic of ISIS activity on Twitter, very basic questions remain unanswered, including such fundamental issues as how many Twitter users support ISIS, who they are, and how many of those supporters take part in its highly organized online activities. ... We set out to answer some of these important questions using innovative techniques to create a large, representative sample of accounts that can be clearly defined as ISIS supporters, and to attempt to define the boundaries of ISIS’s online social network. [SLPDF] [via]
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Nov 24, 2015 - 4 comments

Tweeting from a protest subjects you to enrollment in a police database

Your Social Media Posts Are Fueling the Future of Police Surveillance - Any posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other location-tagged social media uploaded in [an] area will appear on a display at police headquarters. An uploaded Vine from one block away could show someone running away, and give the cops a starting point for their investigation. How long until that hypothetical situation is a reality? “We’re 100 percent there,” says Lee Guthman, head of business development at Geofeedia, a location-based social media monitoring site.
posted by nevercalm on Nov 22, 2015 - 46 comments

Desire Modification in the Attention Economy

The Future of (Post)Capitalism - "Paul Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy." (previously; via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 4, 2015 - 22 comments

Frankly, you sound a little paranoid

If someone had told me even a few years ago that such a thing wasn’t pure coincidence, I would have had my doubts about that someone. Now, however, I reserve my doubts for the people who still trust. There are so many ghosts in our machines—their locations so hidden, their methods so ingenious, their motives so inscrutable—that not to feel haunted is not to be awake. That’s why paranoia, even in its extreme forms, no longer seems to me so much a disorder as a mode of cognition with an impressive track record of prescience. --Walter Kirn on modern paranoia in The Atlantic [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Oct 14, 2015 - 33 comments

Of course I'd like to sit around and chat... but someone's listening in

Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 26, 2015 - 105 comments

The only thing I don't want to do is to raise the white flag.

What can we do about the privacy threat posed by online ad networks? And how much trust should we place in Silicon Valley to design the future of our society? What Happens Next Will Amaze You: Slides from a recent talk by (Mefi's own) Maciej Cegłowski.
It's no accident how much the ad racket resembles high-frequency trading. A small number of sophisticated players are making a killing at the expense of everybody else. [...] I don't believe there's a technology bubble, but there is absolutely an advertising bubble. When it bursts, companies are going to be more desperate and will unload all the personal data they have on us to absolutely any willing buyer. And then we'll see if all these dire warnings about the dangers of surveillance were right.
[more inside] posted by teraflop on Sep 22, 2015 - 103 comments

NSA Mass Phone Surveillance Possibly Constitutional After All

On December 13, 2013, the US district court for the District of Columbia ruled that the NSA's bulk collection of American citizens' telephone records was "likely" to violate the Fourth Amendment (previously on MeFi). Today, DC's federal court of appeals overturned that ruling. The rationale is that the plaintiffs did not prove "that they were affected by the metadata-gathering program," so they did not have standing to challenge it in court. [more inside]
posted by Rangi on Aug 28, 2015 - 25 comments

Watch the skies

North Dakota becomes the first state to legalize weaponized drones. "Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are now permitted on drones, thanks to the actions of a lobbyist representing law enforcement.

Drones previously.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Aug 28, 2015 - 75 comments

GCHQ and Me

My Life Unmasking British Eavesdroppers. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 20, 2015 - 14 comments

The Philosopher of Surveillance

When intelligence officials justify surveillance, they tend to use the stilted language of national security, and we typically hear only from senior officials who stick to their platitudes. It is rare for mid-level experts — the ones conducting the actual surveillance — to frankly explain what they do and why. And in this case, the candid confessions come from the NSA’s own surveillance philosopher. The columns answer a sociological curiosity: How does working at an intelligence agency turn a privacy hawk into a prophet of eavesdropping?
What Happens When a Failed Writer Becomes a Loyal Spy? Peter Maass for The Intercept
posted by p3on on Aug 11, 2015 - 26 comments

ida-cracked-files-sostituire agli originali.rar

Italian surveillence software vendor Hacking Team were hacked, with 400GB of data dumped. According to leaked invoices, Hacking Team sold offensive software to countries including South Korea, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, and Mongolia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Luxemburg. There are initial indications that Hacking Team had pretty poor operation security, for example, using the password Ht2015!. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed on Jul 6, 2015 - 44 comments

All your passwords belong to us

Yesterday a Fisa court judge issued final authorisation to a programme banned after Congress banned bulk collection of telephone data in the USA Freedom Act.
Today The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 1, 2015 - 9 comments

Bulk collection is all fun and games until the OPM gets hacked

When hackers take millions of records from the Office of Personnel Management, clearly the solution to the problem is more online surveillance. (Reuters)
posted by Lycaste on Jun 6, 2015 - 15 comments

It's not paranoia if they are flying mysterious planes over your house

Scores of low-flying planes circling American cities are part of a civilian air force operated by the FBI and obscured behind fictitious companies, The Associated Press has learned
posted by hydropsyche on Jun 2, 2015 - 102 comments

Internet journalism and invasive surveillance

Quinn Norton is selling you out
posted by The Devil Tesla on May 29, 2015 - 37 comments

Police Bodycams Hit Toronto

By the end of May, 100 Toronto police officers across the city will be wearing the increasingly popular policing tool [more inside]
posted by mrbigmuscles on May 17, 2015 - 26 comments

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

"I don't think they're all necessarily horrible people..." In an impressive display of solid intelligence tradecraft, the IC Watch project has released the Transparency Toolkit, whereby social media sites were mined for keywords, project names, employers, and locations known or suspected to be associated with the U.S. Intelligence Community. [more inside]
posted by Emperor SnooKloze on May 11, 2015 - 74 comments

Librarians as privacy warriors

THE FBI HAS NOT BEEN HERE
Watch very closely for the removal of this sign.
posted by Athanassiel on May 11, 2015 - 35 comments

China announces it is scoring its citizens using big data

China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 5, 2015 - 77 comments

"He who has access to information controls the game."

1966 BBC documentary predicts challenges of electronic privacy. BBC's 1966 documentary "California 2000", besides being a fascinating flashback in itself, features an amazingly prescient interview with internet pioneer Paul Baran, in which he warns of the risks of government centralized use -- and misuse -- of state-run digital surveillance, 24 years before the EFF was founded.
[more inside]
posted by markkraft on Apr 10, 2015 - 24 comments

"I would want the dickpic program changed."

John Oliver explores the topic of government surveillance in the context of the June 1st deadline to reauthorize the Patriot Act and the ongoing Edward Snowden case.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 6, 2015 - 108 comments

"Hobsbawm was a marked man, and he knew it"

The two sides in the Cold War, finding each other irresistible, ended up in a contrapuntal relationship where, as George Urban put it, ‘they marched in negative step, but in step all the same.’ They had their spies, we had ours. They had their files, we had ours. True, we didn’t have gulags. But what kind of democracy is it that congratulates itself on not having gulags? Never mind the dragnet surveillance, the burglaries, the smearing of reputations, the bugging of public telephone boxes, cafés, hotels, banks, trade unions, private homes, all this legitimised by the thesis that everyone is a potential subversive until proven otherwise – the problem is that the defenders of the realm took on the symptoms of the disease they were meant to cure.
– In the essay Stuck on the Flypaper historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders goes through the recently released MI5 file on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm [previously] to explain how the British secret service surveilled and interfered with the lives of British citizens during World War II and the early part of the Cold War.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 27, 2015 - 11 comments

Quies Custodiet Ipsos Custards?

Via a freedom of information act request, Ars Technica acquired 4.6 million license plate scans from the Oakland Police Department. The scans cover 1.1 million unique license plates, and only 0.2% of them were associated with any criminal activity. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar on Mar 24, 2015 - 51 comments

The Algorithmic Self: On Being Made by the Numbers

"The first step toward protecting the self in an age of algorithmic manipulation is to recognize such manipulation as a problem." Frank Pasquale, writing for The Hedgehog Review, grapples with "The Algorithmic Self." [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Mar 16, 2015 - 5 comments

This plan isn’t for the next two weeks or three months.

EFF’s Game Plan for Ending Global Mass Surveillance
For years, we’ve been working on a strategy to end mass surveillance of digital communications of innocent people worldwide. Today we’re laying out the plan, so you can understand how all the pieces fit together—that is, how U.S. advocacy and policy efforts connect to the international fight and vice versa. Decide for yourself where you can get involved to make the biggest difference.
posted by andoatnp on Jan 27, 2015 - 23 comments

Deep Lab

Deep Lab is "a congress of cyberfeminist researchers, organized by STUDIO Fellow Addie Wagenknecht to examine how the themes of privacy, security, surveillance, anonymity, and large-scale data aggregation are problematized in the arts, culture and society."

The Documentary
The Lectures
The Book
posted by I-baLL on Jan 20, 2015 - 7 comments

The Code We Can’t Control

David Auerbach for Slate discusses the dangers of the algorithm-driven data collection and organization of Big Data in a review for law professor Frank Pasquale's book on the subject, The Black-Box Society. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum on Jan 15, 2015 - 31 comments

Every breath you take

The Creepy Surveillance of Elf on a Shelf. How does the ubiquitous holiday tattletale work its behavioral magic? By teaching kids to expect that there's always someone watching.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 25, 2014 - 93 comments

Face the face

"Facebook actually makes masks out of everyone’s faces." Artist Sterling Crispin creates DATA-MASKS as a way to physically present the abstract data structures that Facebook and biometric surveillance systems use to pull a face from a crowd.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Dec 2, 2014 - 10 comments

Shepherded, lovingly but firmly, away from harmful things like airlocks.

Tropical Islands is the mother of all water parks, built inside one of the world's largest buildings, with a separate play area for the kinder while the teens and adults discreetly down their pina coladas or Erdinger weissbiers in the thatch-roofed bars overlooking the beach. It's safe, and clean, and organized and curated and manicured to within an inch of its life. It's got that Malaysian high concept futurist vibe going, combined with German thoroughness and attention to detail, for an experience that's pretty much what you'd expect if Disneyworld opened a park in Singapore, only with fewer dire declarations of death to drug smugglers. It is in short thoroughly enjoyable if you're in Berlin and for some reason decide you want a relaxing tropical beach-side day out in an environment that's barely less artificial than an L5 space colony.
posted by vibratory manner of working on Nov 23, 2014 - 19 comments

interview with filmmaker Laura Poitras

A nicely lengthy interview with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Poitras was one of the key figures involved in the revealing of Edward Snowden as the NSA whistleblower; she has a film (Citizenfour) opening this week. Poitras discusses her role as a documentary filmmaker, as well as her unique perspectives on the War on Terror, NSA surveillance, her status as a high-profile dissenter, and being on the receiving end of government harrassment.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Nov 11, 2014 - 19 comments

Industry and government say "Collect Everything".

"Sometimes, society gets it wrong... When that happens, strong privacy protections—including collection controls that let people pick who gets their data, and when—allow the persecuted and unpopular to survive."

What happens when we let industry and government collect all the data they want.

posted by anemone of the state on Nov 9, 2014 - 21 comments

The Evil Part (may not be evil in all jurisdictions)

The 7th Underhanded C Competition. "The underhanded goal is this: write surveil() in such a way that the act of surveillance is subtly leaked to the user or to the outside world. PiuPiu can not reveal the act of surveillance, but your function is technically able to edit the Piu or user structure during scanning. Find a way to alter that data (this alone is a bit of a challenge, since you are not supposed to alter the data, just scan it) in such a way that an informed outsider can tell if someone is being archived. The leakage should be subtle enough that it is not easily noticed. As always, the code should appear simple, innocent, readable and obvious." [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 3, 2014 - 30 comments

Grooming Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance

The same technologists who protest against the NSA’s metadata collection programs are the ones profiting the most from the widespread surveillance of students.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 24, 2014 - 27 comments

The Secret State and the Historians

The UK's National Archives has today released the formerly secret files detailing MI5's monitoring of the British Marxist historians Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill [PDF downloads available]. The Guardian reports. An official historian explains. [more inside]
posted by bebrogued on Oct 24, 2014 - 40 comments

The NSA and me

The NSA and Me is an essay by James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace, an early book on the agency. It details how he came to write the book, and the NSA's efforts to keep him from publishing it in the late 70s/early 80s.
posted by Harald74 on Oct 13, 2014 - 13 comments

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