Bird’s Eye: As even casual readers know, I love technology. But as Ani Defranco observed, “Any tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” And a lot of our brave new tools are weapons for others to watch us. Here are some insights into the problem, and a specific suggestion for a solution.
* Your Cellphone Is A Tracking Device That Lets You Make Calls Cory Doctorow Boing Boing
Cell phones are tracking devices that make phone calls. It’s sad, but it’s true. Which means software solutions don’t always matter. You can have a secure set of tools on your phone, but it doesn’t change the fact that your phone tracks everywhere you go. And the police can potentially push updates onto your phone that backdoor it and allow it to be turned into a microphone remotely, and do other stuff like that. The police can identify everybody at a protest by bringing in a device called an IMSI catcher. It’s a fake cell phone tower that can be built for 1500 bucks. And once nearby, everybody’s cell phones will automatically jump onto the tower, and if the phone’s unique identifier is exposed, all the police have to do is go to the phone company and ask for their information.
Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since Minority Report premiered that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction. …Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality, examples abound
FICTION: In Minority Report, police use holographic data screens, city-wide surveillance cameras, dimensional maps and database feeds to monitor the movements of its citizens.
REALITY: Microsoft, in a partnership with New York City, has developed a crime-fighting system that “will allow police to quickly collate and visualize vast amounts of data from cameras, licence plate readers, 911 calls, police databases and other sources. It will then display the information in real time, both visually and chronologically, allowing investigators to centralize information about crimes as they happen or are reported.”
FICTION: No matter where people go in the world of Minority Report, one’s biometric data precedes them, allowing corporations to tap into their government profile and target them for advertising based on their highly individual characteristics….
REALITY: Google is presently working on context-based advertising that will use environmental sensors in your cell phone, laptop, etc., to deliver “targeted ads tailored to fit with what you’re seeing and hearing in the real world.” However, long before Google set their sights on context advertising, facial and iris recognition machines were being employed, ostensibly to detect criminals, streamline security checkpoints processes, and facilitate everyday activities. For example, in preparing to introduce such technology in the United States, the American biometrics firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) turned the city of Leon, Mexico into a virtual police state by installing iris scanners, which can scan the irises of 30-50 people per minute, throughout the city.
* Why You Should Start Using a VPN Lifehacker
You may know what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is; you probably don’t use one. You really should be using a VPN, and even if you don’t think so now, at some point in the future you may consider it as important as your internet connection.
When we took at look at your five favourite VPN service providers, we noticed a few things. First, being the “best” is big business for VPN providers, and they’ll fight dirty to be one of them. Second, there are so many VPN providers that it’s difficult to choose a really good one. VPNs are not all created equally, and in this post, we’re going to look at what a VPN is, why you want one, and how to pick the best one for you. Let’s get started.