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Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the tinfoil-sales-skyrocket dept.

Data Storage 191

alphadogg writes "As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report. These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video and mine it at their leisure, according to 'Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Government,' written by John Villaseno, a senior fellow at Brookings and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA."

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191 comments

Accountability (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400008)

The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things. Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions. I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

Re:Accountability (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400142)

Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government...

There's an asymmetry in this power relationship since the governments can accumulating data on itself. Think of this relationship as a system admin and a regular user.

Re:Accountability (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400206)

Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

Re:Accountability (5, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400504)

Why do you assume they need to wiggle out of it? If no one cares, or no one pursues any remedy, there's nothing to wiggle out of at all.

And New Yorkers may well vote for a Mayor that would continue the policy. OWS didn't endear themselves to the rest of the 99% in NYC, so they may well find out they have little or no support.

Then we're reduced to the argument that like it or not, protesters deserve at least minimal protection of their civil rights, which they do. And this becomes an old argument in big cities; The rights of the inconvenient v. the rights of the masses. We're going to have to lobby for the rights of the inconvenient, because sooner or later, we are all inconvenient to someone. Yep, even you.

Re:Accountability (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400862)

We're going to have to lobby for the rights of the inconvenient, because sooner or later, we are all inconvenient to someone. Yep, even you.

No, we don't have to do any such thing. Instead, we can just sit back and let authoritarianism grow and civil liberties die out as we're doing now, until pretty soon our society isn't much different from that of Nazi Germany (except instead of picking fights with highly industrialized adversaries and eventually getting our asses kicked, we just pick fights with backwards countries and exploit them for their resources).

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401436)

If no one cares, or no one pursues any remedy, there's nothing to wiggle out of at all.

At least some people care. Charlie Brooker's 3rd Black Mirror show on Channel 4 on Sunday in the UK is about every bit of people's lives being recorded. The first two were interesting.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400522)

Easy, take all the cell phones in the area as "evidence" to be used again everyone for committing the crime of "protesting".

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400546)

Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

A few tips:

Flood the MSM with gossip from the latest reality show.
Put up blogs saying the footage was false
Astroturf blogs with misinformation and lies.
Start censoring the internet by removing links showing footage

A month or two later, nobody will remember it and those who do will find it hard to get links to prove it.

This can't be blamed on the advent of technology or perceived as something new as the art of propaganda has always been here. Just to quote Joseph Goebells, Hitlers chief propagandist:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Re:Accountability (5, Informative)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400860)

Possible, merely theoretical solutions that have no basis in what would happen:
* Confiscate Cameras: http://www.infowars.com/cops-confiscate-cameras-at-ohio-congressmans-town-hall/ [infowars.com]
* Delete data: http://www.pixiq.com/article/chicago-police-delete-journalism-professors-video-footage [pixiq.com]
* Destroy phone/camera: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2011/06/miami_police_destroy_cell_phon.php [scienceblogs.com]
* Use of a live streaming/storage to avoid confiscation/destruction? There's tech for that:
** http://inventorspot.com/articles/spy_technology_how_disable_a_cell_phone_15035 [inventorspot.com]
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_jammer [wikipedia.org]
* Wiretapping laws: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/05/1954216/Leave-a-Message-Go-To-Jail?from=twitter [slashdot.org]
* Camera blocking devices:
** http://www.gizmag.com/norte-photoblocker-club-beer-cooler/20820/ [gizmag.com]
** Unable to find it, but I'm sure I remember Kipkay having a video showing how to make glasses that would blind any camera sensitive to infrared.

Some of this, such as the wiretapping cellphone case, has been overturned. I believe. This is just off the top of my head. I'm sure there is more for real cynics with time to list.

Re:Accountability (2)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401232)

Well, only so much. For example, police brutality at Occupy protests was documented by multiple angles every time, because most everybody has a camera phone. How can an authoritarian PD wiggle out of that?

Many states have moved toward making it illegal to take pictures of police beating up citizens because it violates the citizen's privacy.

Re:Accountability (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400226)

The asymmetry is balanced in numbers. The regular users outnumber the system admins, and the citizens outnumber the government. We already saw social technologies contribute to the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations this year.

Re:Accountability (2, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400224)

tell that to gun owners who've had their firearm ownership rights neutered so that government officials have an advantage..

Re:Accountability (4, Informative)

planimal (2454610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400392)

blame that on your state. i can walk into any gun store and walk out with as many rifles as i can afford, and as many pistols as i can afford six days later.

Re:Accountability (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400570)

blame that on your state. i can walk into any gun store and walk out with as many rifles as i can afford, and as many pistols as i can afford six days later.

You're doing it wrong. Walk into any gun store with a rifle, walk out with as many pistols as you can carry the same day*

(*note for the humour-impared - it's a joke, already!)

Re:Accountability (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400626)

That is not so. The state can buy as many MP5s [hk-usa.com] as they can afford. Mere citizens cannot.

Re:Accountability (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400918)

So what? MP5s are only effective in certain situations, like close-quarters battle. They're no match at all for some rednecks with long-range hunting rifles. We've seen in war after war after war that snipers are extremely effective against regular foot soldiers. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that full-auto == invincible, even though the range on something like an MP5 is rather pathetic.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401264)

MP5 vs sniper. Seriously like it matters when you're fighting an army of drones.

Re:Accountability (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401266)

The point is that the state will never allow citizens to be on the same footing as itself when it comes to firearms.

And do you really think that more men were killed by snipers than by M-16s and AK-47s? Incidentally, at least two local police departments near me will issue MP5s (selective fire!) to any officer who cares to qualify.

Re:Accountability (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401338)

Without getting into the endless "how to conduct guerrilla warfare" discussion, it gets more complicated when the other guys have tanks, helicopters, flir cameras in the sky, UAV's, javelins, shot direction and ranging equipment, cruise missiles, mk19's, armed ground rovers and capable snipers of their own with even better equipment.

Situations like Iraq showed us that, while people with guns and IED's can do damage, the k/d ratio is so bad you'd more-or-less have to have accepted martyrdom to opposed such a well trained, well equipped fighting force.

Re:Accountability (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401354)

Further, I'd suggest that normal "police" operations are fairly "open", while insurgency is usually quite camouflaged, hidden, and behind cover.

We've see this in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Where the tide is actually turned, is in Artillery and Air Operations. There aren't enough "troops" to wage a war against insurgency without air support.

Re:Accountability (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401464)

Afghanistan is a bad example. Logistically it's a nightmare to conduct operations in there, especially for the US. The US doesn't have guaranteed bases in the region and as such has to keep on the good side of some pretty questionable characters.

Strategy is what arm chair generals think wins wars, logistics is what actually wins them. Take a look at the Art of War and it's almost completely about the logistical aspects of ware. Granted a lot of it would be considered a war crime in modern day, but the fact remains that the strategies are as devastatingly effective now as they were when the book was written.

Re:Accountability (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400632)

I can walk into any gun store and get any number of rifles or pistols I can afford instantly. Depends on your location. I'm assuming you're also from the United States of America.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400912)

But you can't buy the exact same models the state or the fed can which is his point.

Re:Accountability (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401210)

Your state sucks, then -- albeit, not as much as some others might. I didn't have to wait six days when I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk a few months ago (Alaska, FTW!!!)

However, and more to the point, I think epyT-R was commenting more on the difference between the types of firearms an average citizen can buy vs. the firearms that the military has on hand. Sure, you can buy an AR-15 or a Beretta FS92, and if you are willing to jump through a few hoops, you can even buy a full auto M-16 or AK-47. But how many people do you know who have something like the 30mm chain gun in an Apache helicopter, or the 20mm Vulcan minigun in the nose of an A-10 Warthog?

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400238)

LIES.

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400264)

I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

Your statement is great in theory. By using ubiquitous they way you did, you seem to assume the government and citizens will be on an equal playing field. That is almost assuredly not the case, and the deck will be stacked in the government's favor.

The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things.

Your statement is undeniable. The problem here is that the more power and ability the government has, the more it is likely to be used against you. Or more simply, governments you may not consider authoritarian today are likely to be authoritarian tomorrow.

Re:Accountability (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401364)

Your statement is great in theory. By using ubiquitous they way you did, you seem to assume the government and citizens will be on an equal playing field. That is almost assuredly not the case, and the deck will be stacked in the government's favor.

Exactly this. In the UK PC Simon Harwood was caught on camera murdering an innocent man who was walking away from him for no apparent reason, and it still took journalists and years of legal wrangling to even start a manslaughter case against him. For some strange reason the CCTV in the area wasn't working that day, but fortunately a couple of people caught it on camera phones.

Similarly when the police accidentally murdered an innocent man on the London Underground in the wake of the 7/7 bombings for some reason all the surveillance technology wasn't working and in the end no-one was actually punished for it.

The police always try to cover up wrongdoing by their colleges and the Crown Prosecution Service tries to avoid bringing cases against them. Their hand has to be forced by overwhelming evidence and media attention, and even then sometimes they just lose vital files [bbc.co.uk] and the crime goes unpunished.

We can't allow the government to have wide ranging surveillance. It is abused far too often, because that is human nature, and the abuses are rarely punished and powers rarely taken back. It really is a slippery slope, with each incremental power grab requiring monumental effort to claw back.

Re:Accountability (1)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401408)

But what is the alternative? Stop developing communications or information technology?

Don't forget that there are rapidly diminishing returns, which levels the playing field to some degree. A secret spy satellite network is much more advanced/thorough/organized than any surveillance technology the public has access to, and yet in most urban contexts a bunch of people with camera phones + internet access could easily acquire data that is comparably informative (or superior in some cases).

Re:Accountability (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400618)

Authoritarian governments that pass SOPA and NDAA? The Military Commissions Act and PATRIOT?

I am in the mind of Walt Kelly's Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and they are us."

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism [wikipedia.org]

Excerpt from pages 166-73 of "They Thought They Were Free" [goodreads.com] First published in 1955
By Milton Mayer

But Then It Was Too Late

"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn't make people close to their government to be told that this is a people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

Re:Accountability (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400716)

"I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government" - The government can spend millions of dollars on infrastructure and software to analyze and track this data. Basically the more resources required to tackle data, the further the balance tips in favor of government. Add to this the certain to follow laws restricting access to such surveillance (in addition to those that already exist). The government in the US has contemplated allowing government agencies to lie about whether data even exists, in addition to refusing to provide it. There's no way this ends up being in the favor of citizens.

Re:Accountability (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401132)

All true, but the one thing that works against the government is that it frequently has a tendency to simply be incompetent. Just look at the TSA for example. Or look at the military and its contractors, with various weapons projects getting so expensive and set back by delay after delay and massive cost overruns that they eventually fall apart or by the time they're delivered, they're already obsolete. Heck, the U.S.'s most advanced spy drone was just captured by the Iranians simply by jamming their communications and spoofing GPS signals; granted, the Iranian government isn't exactly some guys in their garage, but they're also not one of the world's most powerful and richest governments either.

Re:Accountability (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400798)

The ubiquity of the technology may contribute to the ease of surveillance, but authoritarian governments were already doing bad things. Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions. I believe the tradeoff is worth it because ubiquitous technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

This sounds like the government's justification for increased surveillance and restrictions on sharing information.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400894)

Yes, and you can tweet about that on your way to having your balls electrocuted by a government official.

Re:Accountability (5, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400922)

Ubiquity of technology empowers protest movements just as much as it empowers government, creating a public accountability that wasn't there previously and enabling a transfer of information beyond government restrictions.

Which is why they're putting the legal mechanisms in place to shut down this technology at a moment's notice. The "internet kill switch" is just one facet of this, but there are other developments (National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 [wikipedia.org], for instance) that are related to shutting down protests and silencing dissension right here in the U.S.. There are reports that our armed forces are being trained to handle domestic civil unrest situations currently, as well.

Plus with the work that government contractors have been caught doing in the way of astroturfing [wikipedia.org], I seriously wonder if the technology will remain clean enough to function. I wouldn't put it past the government to put people to work obstructing the flow of information. There's been plenty of comments I've seen on Occupy articles (particularly on CNN) that are almost too antagonistic, reposted over and over every time it gets bumped off the first page, coupled with scores of other similar comments by people using handles like "John126421" and "BearsFan583".

Google will censor search results if the government tells them to, just like any other company with a presence here in the U.S., the ISPs will cut service, the phone companies will turn off the towers. It hasn't gotten to that point yet but it will if unrest gets to the point of Arab Spring here. There is so much back scratching going on between these telecoms and the government that there's no way that the people can be sure that they will maintain the ability to communicate on their infrastructure. Short of putting our own networks in (which won't happen without massive collaboration, not to mention a lot of money) I'm thinking that we're not going to have these avenues when we really need them, so we'd better come up with some lo-tech alternatives.

FOIA (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401154)

The very first thing the Republicans will do if they get their hands on the White House and Senate again is destroy the Freedom of Information Act. To the Right, accountability and truth are as deadly as a wooden stake is to a slumbering vampire.

Re:Accountability (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401422)

...technology in the hands of citizens can be more powerful than in the hands of government.

"You can't stop the signal Mal."

Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (5, Informative)

Moskit (32486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400094)

Funny that article writer wrote "authoritarian". This applies to almost any country - with USA being the prime example (CarrierIQ^3), or ubiquitous cameras in UK.

If people think their governments do not spy on them just as in "authoritarian" regimes, they are so wrong...

^^^THIS^^^ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400148)

E-nuff.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400158)

The obvious difference is that public outcry led to severe criticism of Carrier IQ as well as a possible FBI investigation.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401110)

This FBI investigation reminds me of the ending of Casablanca, where the French police captain says "Round up the usual suspects."

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401288)

Of course it did. Carrier IQ is not part of any government surveillance program, so the government loses nothing by pretending to care about surveillance. This investigation will find that nothing illegal took place, and the carriers will at most pay a token settlement. If it were a government surveillance program, it would just be defunded and reestablished under another name.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401442)

The obvious difference is that public outcry led to severe criticism of Carrier IQ as well as a possible FBI investigation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_America_Act_of_2007#Domestic_wiretapping [wikipedia.org]
Public outcry led to severe criticism of the telecom industry and... Congressionally granted retroactive immunity?
I wish this public outcry thing had results that were a bit more consistent.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400196)

I think you don't know what "Authoritarian" means. The US and UK are obviously not libertarian, and the label definitely applies. What are you reading into the choice of word? Do you think the list of "authoritarian" regimes excludes Western governments?

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400414)

The last 3 UK Labour governments pursued a policy of economic neo-liberalism and social authoritarianism. While this authoritarianism is no where near the level of repression witnessed in the likes of Middle eastern countries, it is a bit naive to think of Western governments are the good guys and the rest are best. For non-UK citizens, here is a few blogs which gives an idea of what NuLabour as they were called got up to:

http://nulabour.org.uk/
http://newportcity.blogspot.com/

Please note that (UK) Labour have been out of power for over a year so these are old blogs.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (2)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400660)

Be definition all government is authoritarian. That being said if you think the US is a leading culprit in being a /fascist/ government, than you really need to learn more about most other governments around the world actually operate. I certainly think they go to far on many things (SOPA etc), but to call them a prime example is ignorance at best.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401160)

It depends on how you define "fascism" (which has long been a subject of debate). If you go with the Mussolini definition of "corporatism", I don't see how any government in the world can top the US for being fascist.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401344)

I don't completely disagree with you -- there are indeed far worse examples in terms of how governments treat their own citizens. However, I would argue that you would be hard pressed to find a government that has such a negative influence on as many people worldwide as the U.S. And the trend even here within our own borders with, as you mention, SOPA, PATRIOT Act, and the like is very, very disturbing.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (1)

Moskit (32486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401454)

No, I do not think USA has a fascist government. No need to learn more ;-)
I wrote however that they are a prime example of spying and collecting data due to 1) being considered a "free" country for such a long time, 2) being far from that stereotype. You would not be surprised Soviet Russia did it, or East Germany, or Libia. But USA? :-)

As far as collecting information on people goes, USA is IMVHO very advanced, it's just not that you get impression this data is used very visibly, as in "authoritarian" countries.

In any case the article should not single out "authoritarian" countries, as the technology is available to all.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401144)

I hate to go all tin-foil hat on you here, but I'm probably about to. I look at TV, and we have basically three genres to choose from, in mainstream media at least. One is comedy, escapism at its finest. Another is reality TV, where you see everything someone else does. The last is the crime drama (Law and Order and CSI franchises, Maybe the Cold Case types, and one-offs like The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Unforgettable, Castle, Blue Bloods). There is very little else on.

Look at the progression of the majority of programming - the crime drama has taken over, and always "chasing the bad guys" . Even L&O Criminal Intent, which is supposed to show the bad guys' perspectives, shows them in a terrible light.

And the progression of technology, so that now CSI has become the butt of jokes with all of its impossible tech, which is no longer so impossible.

I'm not saying this is the case, but I can't prove otherwise. We are gradually, whether intentional or not, becoming used to the idea that an ever-present layer of surveillance is good for us. As long as it helps bad guys get caught, it's good. You never see it being misused, unless it's part of the plot and the bad guy gets it in the end.

And then there is "Person of Interest". I was oddly interested in this based on the previews, to see how they treated it. And to my dismay, a single guy can eavesdrop on any conversation and track any person, almost as bad as Morgan Freeman's Batman machine. With limits where it makes the plot more interesting.

USA is being conditioned, whether it is intentional or a fluke, to accept that recording everything is good for us, through entertainment. I watch these shows and I am horrified, others probably don't pick up on the big brother aspect. Call me a nutter, I'll call this a hypothesis.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401258)

You may have a point about more crime drama on TV but I think that deep down, no matter what politics a person they follow, they are socially conservative and desire security and are fearful of change of any sort. IMHO, this is why crime fiction is always popular as the good guy has always got to triumph over the bad guy.Maybe this insecurity is what you are getting at?

This quote from a Sherlock Holmes story sums up this insecurity:

"“It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life, and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney.”

http://betterholmesandgardens.blogspot.com/2011/07/you-like-this-weather-chas-using.html

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401170)

Funny that article writer wrote "authoritarian". This applies to almost any country - with USA being the prime example

That's not funny, that's accurate.

Re:Authoritarian? or any Western country as well? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401324)

Just because the governments of democratic countries have authority doesn't make them authoritarian. Authoritarianism differs from democracy in general in that the leader maintains (and usually achieves) power by claiming it for himself, and in the US in particular in that there is usually little or no separation of powers.

While you're free to argue about the effective differences in practice, or the lack thereof, or even to claim they are the same, the fact remains that they are not. Pretending that they are a) only makes it easier for people to dismiss you as a lunatic, and thus any subsequent claims as the ravings thereof, and b) doesn't create a useful starting point for a discussion of how to improve, because a government without any authority would rather defeat the point -- we might as well revert to allowing the strongest chimp to run the show.

authoritarian (5, Insightful)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400096)

at this point i dont think we need the qualifier anymore.

'authoritarian governments will soon be able' -> 'governments will'

Re:authoritarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400448)

These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video

They already are. Case study: Sweden, the so called FRA law, the EU directive for "data retention", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_data_retention [wikipedia.org]

Sweden is generally considered a benevolent regime, yet all data is monitored, saved and mined for whatever the government pleases. (Hello FRA my friends)

It will go downhill from here.

Re:authoritarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400540)

at this point i dont think we need the qualifier anymore.

'authoritarian governments will soon be able' -> 'governments will'

Governments now...

Re:authoritarian (3, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400772)

'authoritarian governments will soon be able' -> 'governments do'

There are no retention laws on license plate scanners, toll booths, really anything. Most retention requirements are written from the stance of minimums, not maximums.

US already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400254)

This has been in place since the early 80's at least. It was upgraded just after 9/11 with the NSA wiretaps at the telco level.

Nothing new here, other than the fact that most people don't know it is happening.

Whelp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400366)

I guess it's time to start traning pigeons. Fear not, PigeoNet is on its way, folks.

Re:Whelp... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401372)

They'll just pass more laws regarding the licensing of pigeons. Good luck proving you're not a terrorist when they catch you with an unlicensed pigeon sitting on your windowseal.

A race between utopia and oblivion (5, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400412)

http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/2846ca1b6bee64e1 [google.com]
"As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and something like TIA). On the other hand, the internet can be used to change the status quo in various ways (better designs, better science, stronger social networks advocating for things like a basic income, all supported by better structured arguments like with the Genoa II approach) to the point where there is abundance for all and rounding up dissenters to mainstream economics is a non-issue because material abundance is everywhere. So, as Bucky Fuller said, whether is will be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race to the very end. While I can't guarantee success at the second option of using the internet for abundance for all, I can guarantee that if we do nothing, the first option of using the internet to round up dissenters (or really, anybody who is different, like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany) will probably prevail. So, I feel the global public really needs access to these sorts of sensemaking tools in an open source way, and the way to use them is not so much to "fight back" as to "transform and/or transcend the system". As Bucky Fuller said, you never change thing by fighting the old paradigm directly; you change things by inventing a new way that makes the old paradigm obsolete."

Other related thoughts:
http://pdfernhout.net/on-dealing-with-social-hurricanes.html [pdfernhout.net]

Re:A race between utopia and oblivion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400816)

like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany

WTF?! There were no IBM computers in WWII. Computers didn't exist for starters, it wasn't until Bletchley Park's work on the Enigma decoding before we got anything remotely like a computer. IBM didn't enter the computing field until the 1953.

You obviously have no clue. Go and learn about Alan Turing's work for a starting point.

Re:A race between utopia and oblivion (5, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400996)

http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/ [ibmandtheholocaust.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust [wikipedia.org]
"IBM and the Holocaust is a book by investigative journalist Edwin Black which details the business dealings of the American-based multinational corporation International Business Machines (IBM) and its German and other European subsidiaries with the government of Adolf Hitler during the 1930s and the years of World War II. In the book, Black outlines the way in which IBM's technology helped facilitate Nazi genocide against the Jewish people through generation and tabulation of punch cards based upon national census data."

Re:A race between utopia and oblivion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401024)

IBM did sell tabulating, punch card and other business equipment to Nazi Germany. They also did the same for the WRA for Japanese-American internment in the USA during WWII.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II

Re:A race between utopia and oblivion (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401314)

WTF?! There were no IBM computers in WWII. Computers didn't exist for starters

IBM sold punched card tabulating machines at the time. They were like a useful subset of a SQL database, but not 100% automated. Human intervention was required to help orchestrate the computations. This mature technology probably handled real world business (and genocide) tasks much better than the flaky early computers would have.

What? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400420)

As the price of digital storage drops

Someone hasn't checked prices recently, post flood.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400842)

As the price of digital storage drops

Someone hasn't checked prices recently, post flood.

I'm sorry, I couldn't stop laughing over the idea that you think anyone in charge of Government spending is worried about a price tag.

Re:What? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401182)

Yep, it's kinda funny that all these big governments (like the UK and USA) and their desires to gather information on their citizens, not to mention computer users big and small worldwide, are all dependent on one tiny little country in southeast Asia for their hard drives. What's that saying about putting all your eggs in one basket?

can they beat the encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400450)

These days, anyone who cares about privacy is already encrypting their emails, IMs, and so on. The existence of such tracking by even first world western governments is not a secret or a surprise to anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last decade.

So, given that people who care about their communications privacy already use encryption, I can't imagine they have the resources to break that. All they can do is go after the people who *don't* care about their privacy, and those people, by definition, don't care.

And prosperity will never be found again (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400472)

The burden of all these extra security measures is beginning to exert a force on the economy. It's like watching the birth of a quantum singularity...interest followed by naked terror, as you realize that you can't outrun it (but not for lack of trying). I liken it to a particular episode of Stargate SG-1 (A Matter Of Time): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWpfr_0RmuM

The people of the US are like that team, running across the desert, knowing they are doomed.

On a separate note, the fact that the US people are so submissive to their rights being stolen from under them reminds me of Russians facing the Gulag; they don't try to escape, even though they could, they just go along with it because fighting against it does not occur to them.

 

Re:And prosperity will never be found again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400654)

On a separate note, the fact that the US people are so submissive to their rights being stolen from under them reminds me of Russians facing the Gulag; they don't try to escape, even though they could, they just go along with it because fighting against it does not occur to them.

The average person doesn't perceive any loss of rights, which is why they aren't fighting against it. Fourth amendment? Fifth amendment? Well those are for criminals, and I'm not one of those. Domestic surveillance? Well I'm too boring for the government to lock up, and they say it keeps the terrorism away...

Re:And prosperity will never be found again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400674)

On a separate note, the fact that the US people are so submissive to their rights being stolen from under them

Submissive? They love it!

Take the new show "Person of Interest." It's apparently one of the hottest new shows ever. The premise?

A universal government surveillance computer monitors all cameras and phone conversations, as well as being able to automatically activate cell phones microphones as necessary, to record and track every single person in the United States.

Sadly, there is a downside to this program, and it's a downside that the protagonists seek to remedy: to ensure that it doesn't infringe on people's rights, it only focuses on people preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

So the protagonists go out of their way to "fix" this "flaw" by tracking down people identified by the surveillance computer who aren't terrorists. I need to emphasize this again: the protagonists are the people who think a nation-wide surveillance program should target everyone. And this is one of the hottest new shows this year.

And, no, from what I've seen, they've never addressed the privacy implications. The best we get it bemoaning that the surveillance machine doesn't give them enough information.

But you see this in other cop dramas as well. Warrants are solely ways for murderers to go free. Police - as protagonists - are allowed to torture suspects to win confessions. Without any sort of consequence. They're shown as the "good guys," torturing the "bad guys" to get them "off the streets."

The American people aren't just submissive in seeing their rights stolen, they're actively clamoring for more rights to be stolen in the name of "catching bad guys!"

FTFY (1)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400516)

Already Here: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother

There, fixed that for you.

Re:FTFY (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401300)

Indeed, and this trend was foreseen years ago, which is why anonymity systems were designed to thwart such efforts under the assumption that records might be kept for a person's entire lifetime.

Better have a case of No-Doze. (2, Funny)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400532)

If they decide to "mine" my data, movements and activities, they will be fast asleep within 15 minutes.

Mining will not be enough... (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400650)

At some point in the near future, all cars will be equipped with GPS transponders. These are already required for many trucks; personal vehicles are next. The People's Republic of Massachusetts and some other states are considering requiring it for autos, supposely to tax your mileage, ha. Next will be a requirement for all of us to carry a personal GPS device, like, ah, a cell phone.

Re:Mining will not be enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400782)

"supposely to tax your mileage, ha"

Ha, indeed. Too bad every automobile doesn't come with a tamper-resistant device that *already* tracks mileage. We could call it, I dunno... an odometer, maybe.

So, in other words, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400686)

Americans and British are screwed.

Just in Case... (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400696)

I think that long term surveillance is a good thing for prosperity and for our great nation! The government is doing the right thing. Our leaders know what they're doing!

This is my true opinion... anyone who posted an opinion with this name otherwise has been stealing my accounts... probably a malicious evil hacker!

Why? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400750)

Why spend all that money? Why will taxpayers want to put their cash towards a grossly mismanaged and costly project that will erroneously fuck over tons of people with no benefit whatsoever? This is really a pie in the sky idea that will never fly.

It is time to build an underground internet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400754)

I think it's time for us to get together to build an underground internet.

Here to stay (2)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400786)

Unless something really bad happens to destroy the technological revolution that we are all a part of, it's here to stay. There needs to be stronger, iron clad privacy, individual, and economic legislation in place to provide due process in a time where decisions are made in an instant. The Occupy protests, although very visable, have little chance on making a serious impact on what they are protesting. Rather, you have to be in the game to change the game. I had a thought the other day, if they really wanted to make an impact, why didn't they put together a petition, circulate it, send it to D.C., make it a matter of historical public record, and see what happens? As it stands they are remarkably forgetable. To that end, citizens need to, from within the game, *demand* protections from this inevitable reality before it is too late.

Soon? Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400808)

It's already happening. In the country hosting the TLAgency that is both employing the most mathematicians and the single biggest buyer of the most computer hardware on the planet. And who've already retroactively condoned and indemnified collaborating telcos in law. I could go on, but, well, you know who is clearly at it already. Those "authoritarian regimes" are nothing but feeble also-rans, really. Deny it if you will. Where do they get their means from, eh?

summary and title are wrong (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400834)

Coming soon? Sorry it's already here.
Authoritarian Government? No, try every single one.
Controlling the people has become harder with information being spread so fast, but there are ways to single out people and beat them into submission with information.

No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401030)

I didn't know you could be so highly esteemed for pointing out the obvious.
The paper is well documented and proves its point, but this information is only useful to basic of information consumers.
Another example of academics waiting too long to draw a conclusion.

Authoritarian Governments? (1)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401072)

Can we dispense with this false dichotomy between "authoritarian" and (I suppose) "democratic" governments. It is part of this great fantasy that this sort of thing will only happen in bad third-world countries whose leaders wear military uniforms and chomp on cigars. Our grand democratic leaders would never do such things, except they do all the time and want to do more of it.

Saddest part (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401084)

The phrase 'authoritarian government' fits the US oh so very well now - those who would deny it are either ignorant or complicit.

Re:Saddest part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401220)

When there's nothing worth modding I have 15. Today I have none.

Everyone send them a video (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401112)

Deluge them with pictures of yourself with your finger up your nose to protest this surveillance mentality. As a society, do we want our every move recorded? Hoodies became popular with young people because of ubiquitous surveillance so it is safe to say that overall, society does not want to have it's every move recorded.

They have this NOW. (3, Insightful)

Hasai (131313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401128)

It's called "Facebook," and twits are lining-up to dump their entire lives into it.

Unimportant nobodies = Government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401184)

Well, they do it because they are scared of us. Boohoo, pussies. Posted this with my real IP. Come get us nazi faggots. :)

My father was murdered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401268)

and what really helped speed up capturing the killer was a video recording made by one of those ubiquitous little cameras you see in the elevator of the condo he was living in.

I'm not saying that the killer would never been identified without it but it certainly helped narrow the number of suspects quickly (my dad was famous and had a lot of potential enemies).

While I agree that unfettered access by the government to monitoring devices is not good (especially if, as is the case in much of the world, the government is definitely not on the side of its people), there ARE benefits to having these surveillance systems around. I believe that the U.S. is under a long term trend of declining violent crime. While there are doubtless many factors explaining that, could this be one of them; the fact that with sufficient effort there is a good chance law enforcement could find some sort of record placing you at a specific region and time period. The fact that every video cam in every ATM, store, gas station, garage, apartment entrance, public building etc. could be recording one should give an (intelligent) person pause (criminals usually aren't too smart though).

Anyway, like it or not we are definitely headed to an always on surveillance world. Maybe our only hope is to have a legal system that severely rations the information that is given to law enforcement; giving them only the information needed to solve each individual crime on a case by case basis. (This is what was portrayed in Greg Bear's book "Queen of Angels", excellent portrayal of the near future).

The future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401312)

So you're saying they don't already?

I saw a mudcrab (2)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401362)

I saw a demo a month ago of a software product in development that only needs the sparsest of details about your friends, and a few time-lapsed satphotos or GPS data about/of your vehicle at specific times to be able to predict *exactly* where you would be on a given night (barring outlier events, like an earthquake - though there were examples of how to factor that in if you think it's a possibility). And the kicker, is that the mass-majority of the data this system needs (for North Americans and western Europeans) is already available for free.

Sometimes these articles are hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401466)

Sometimes I make comments that others disagree with. Sometimes the people who disagree with me cyberstalk me and try to create problems in my life. When I reverse the tables and check out who these cyber stalkers are I typically find rants about religion and government intrusion into the web. The hypocrisy of this "do as I say and don't do as I do" ridiculousness is pretty crazy and it actually validates the perverted logic behind cyber surveillance programs.

Suggestion to cyberstalkers: Do not stalk people on the Internet and complain when "big brother" starts doing it. Do not write or help write trojans or malware and then complain when "big brother" starts following your lead. Do not steal credit card numbers and complain when "big brother" starts doing it. Do not use a remote desktop tool and then complain when "big brother" starts doing it. Do not censor by removing posted content or posting content in other peoples screen names or images as other computer users and then complain when "big brother" censors people.

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