From the July 2003 Idaho Observer:
Technotyrants see no need for your privacy
Vendors racing to perfect products intended to cast us all in government's Truman Show
Actor/comedian Jim Carey played the lead role in a movie called The Truman Show. He played a normal guy who thought he was normal until he discovered that since the day he was born the world was watching him on TV 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He could not so much as hide in a closet and be alone with himself. He was the proverbial goldfish in a fishbowl. Just imagine...
Whatever privacy remains in our own lives may not last much longer. Satellites can pinpoint small objects on Earth and track them from space; telephonic and electronic communications, through cables, phone lines or satellites, can be monitored at the flip of a switch; cameras are positioned at intersections as well as inside and outside buildings all over the country (they are even reportedly at certain locations in the national forests); anytime you supply your Social Security, credit card, driver's license or passport number to a form or a purchase, the transaction can be traced; you can voluntarily have a tiny tracking chip implanted in your pets and children (there is evidence to suggest that such chips are being injected into people via vaccines and implanted during surgeries); late model cars come stock with tracking devices and are also coming with data recorders that can be downloaded by government to determine a variety of things -- including speed of travel; the telephones and televisions in our homes can be remotely controlled as microphones; Americans cannot even withdraw a few thousand dollars without raising red financial flags and; there is a law against nearly everything, so most types of behaviors can be viewed by police as suspicious and, therefore, as probable cause to be detained.
But those are just the things we know about and are part of our everyday lives here in the land of the free. There are a few more technologies coming online that will provide government jobs for half the world's population -- half the world will be employed by government to watch the other half so government can keep an eye on us at all times.
compiled by The Idaho Observer
The spy machine of DARPA's dreams
An article by Noah Shactman appearing in the May 22, 2003 edition of The Emerson Review (www.emersonreview.tk) described how, The Pentagon is about to embark on a stunningly ambitious research project designed to gather information about a person's life, index it and make it searchable.
Allegedly still in its infancy, the Department of Defense's LifeLog program would track everything an individual does -- sent and received email, websites visited, library books checked out, photos taken, purchases and phone calls made, TV shows watched, magazines subscribed to, grades earned, employment gained, drugs taken, hospitals visited (just for starters) -- and dump it all into a giant database that has our names on it.
The massive amount of data our entire lives would generate would be pulled from all existing data sources, plus people would be fitted with a global positioning system transmitter, audio/visual sensors so government can see and hear what we are seeing and hearing and bio-medical monitors to track our vital signs.
This giant amalgam of personal information could then be used to 'trace the threads of an individual's life, to see exactly how a relationship or events developed, Shactman reported as being stated in a briefing from Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA), the black-ops agency sponsoring the development of LifeLog.
Schactman acknowledged that LifeLog could just be the latest in a long line of blue sky projects that never make it out of the lab. However, the Bush administration has already assigned Former Rear Admiral and Convicted Felon James Poindexter to head the Total Information Awareness (TIA) database project under the auspices of Tom Ridge's Department of Homeland Security.
Poindexter's TIA, also a DARPA project, intends to track Americans' transactional data. Defense Analyst Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists believes, LifeLog has the potential to become something like TIA cubed once it has the capability of compiling what we see, hear and feel.
Those who doubt LifeLog will ever come online or believe the government has no desire to scrutinize our lives so closely only has to recall how many ways their own lives are monitored today as compared to 20 years ago.
The project even has roots in practical application. Shactman described self-described cyborg Steve Mann. Mann, now a professor at the University of Toronto, has been wearing a camera and an array of sensors to record his existence since he was a teenager. He claims to have convinced some 30 of his present and former students to do the same thing. He calls it, an experiment into existential technology and the metaphysics of free will.
DARPA's vision for LifeLog, however, has nothing to do with free will. It lists the military, policing and social conditioning advantages to be gleaned from knowing everything there is to know about everyone.
As of Shactman's writing, DARPA had solicited private industry and academia to submit research proposals for 18 month research efforts that could be extended for up to 24 months.
Ironically, the researchers will be the centerpieces of their own study -- every aspect of their lives will be monitored, analyzed and filed for easy search access.
The Emerson Review is a weekly, 16-page publication from Frederic, Michigan, that reports news items that would be of interest to IO readers. See The Emerson Review online at www.emersonreview.tk or give this watchdog press a call at (989) 344-9950
I'd rather go naked
In March, 2003, former Portland, Oregon TV news anchor, talkshow host, medical reporter and talk radio program host Mary Starrett reported a new clothing design craze sweeping the nation: Tiny specks capable of tracking virtually every single item are being imbedded by manufacturers.
Called radio frequency ID (RFID) the tiny little transmitters are being inserted into clothing where they will remain intact for the life of the garment. According to chip manufacturer Phillips Electronics, the devices will be 'imperceptible to the wearer' Starrett reported.
Microchipped clothing may sound like something out of a futuristic sci-fi novel, but clothing manufacturers are already sewing this phenomenally invasive technology into their designs. Italian clothing manufacturer Benetton is placing RFIDs into its clothes and, Starrett reported, Gillette has already purchased 500 million of these tracking devices and, starting in July, will imbed them in shaving cream and razors sold at WalMart stores.
According to Starrett, the chipped products will be put on smart shelves. The items will be able to be tracked. The trade publication RFID Journal claims the technology will replace bar codes, cut down labor costs and be an excellent inventory control mechanism.
Consumers Against Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) is an international watchdog group on the frontlines of electronic monitoring technologies development and implementation. CASPIAN activist Katherine Albrecht, a Harvard University doctoral candidate explained that consumers have no idea that the consumer can be tracked by RFID chips imbedded in the products they purchase. ...anytime you go by an RFID reader device the [product] would beam out your identity to anyone with access to a database -- all without your permission, Albrecht said.
Experienced journalist that she is, Starrett expected that people would be skeptical of such seemingly paranoid claims. According to a 2001 Newsweek article on the RFID scheme, she wrote, proponents are looking ahead to a seamless network of millions of RFID receivers in airports, stores and even in your home. And remember -- you can't turn these things off.
Where's it all coming from?
One of the world's leading RFID application research facilities is the Auto ID Center based at Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT). Starrett reported that the center has received tons of money from some of the world's most powerful corporations.
The world's most powerful corporations, incidentally, exchange favors with the government within whose countries they conduct their commerce. There is no end to the law enforcement and surveillance applications of a world with millions of RFIDS and RFID readers sown into our cultural fabric.
Just go naked
It is times like these that paranoia is not the appropriate way to look at the near future of our electronic enslavement. Disgust is better -- disgust for the mindlessly uninformed consumers who buy the products of major corporations and the major corporations who abuse our trust by setting us up like this.
Albrecht said she would rather go naked than wear clothes with spy chips.
Starrett said she would wear the old clothes in her closet.
We can all do our part by buying things second hand and by refusing to conduct business with companies who are participating in a global plot to track us all like livestock.
This story originally appeared on the website at www.newswithviews.com, a regularly updated digest of news and editorials from some of the nation's most astute pro-American thinkers.
Any object, anywhere -- identified instantly
There is a growing and developomentally competive vision in academia and the private sector to build an infrastructure that will aid expanded global computer capabilities to the point that every object on the planet, both living and inanimate, can be instantly identified. The following from www.autoid.com says it all:
The Auto-ID Center is a not-for-profit global research organization headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founded in 1999, the Auto-ID Center's vision is of a world where computers will be able to identify any object, anywhere, instantly. Further, the Center's mission is to design the infrastructure and develop the standards to create a universal, open network for identifying individual products and for tracking them as they flow through the global supply chain. The Center has sister labs at the University of Cambridge in England and Adelaide University in Australia. Plans are under way to expand into Japan and China.
There can be no doubt that government and industry are putting a lot of money and effort into quickly advance electronic tracking technologies. We are now living in the societies science fiction writers were imagining a few decades ago.
If we cannot lie to ourselves, then...
...soon we will not be able to lie to government, either.
Associated Press writer Joann Loviglio lead her story entitled Brain is Source of Research to Find Liars (June 6, 2003) with the sentence, In the quest to build a better lie detector, scientists are seeking to go beyond the body's indirect signals to the very seat of deceit: The brain.
Existing and not-to-distant future technologies used to invade personal privacy are opening up nearly every aspect of our lives to outside scrutiny -- without, necessarily, our knowledge or consent. Under those circumstances, the last outpost of privacy lies in our innermost thoughts. Researchers are making tremendous headway into developing technologies that will breach the stronghold of our brains.
Loviglio explained how one unnamed researcher has developed a headband outfitted with lights and detectors able to 'see' blood flow changes in the brain. Another, she wrote, used magnetic resonance imaging to snap several split-second pictures.
University of Pennsylvania Biophysicist Britton Chance leads a headband project that points a light at the brain's prefrontal cortex -- the place where decisions are born.
Testing has shown that the moment before a test subject utters a lie, a millisecond burst of blood flow is read by sensors and shows up as a spike on a laptop computer.
Proponents of the technology are surprised that people are resistant to the development of a lie detector that actually works. They use the same logic government investigators use, If you have nothing to hide then you won't mind me searching your house. Harvard University Psychology Professor Stephen Kosslyn observed, If you're innocent, wouldn't it be nice to have a way to support your claims?
Chance and Penn State researcher/psychologist Daniel Langleben claim that people cannot influence the biochemical responses in the brain that occur when a lie is told. American Civil liberties Union Director Barry Steinhardt states that the new lie detection methods are not as reliable as the scientists claim.
There seems to be a general consensus among the headband researchers that looking into peoples' brains for the truth will help police and the courts. Doctors could also tell if patients are lying and corporations could invade employees' brains to see who is true to their work and who is not.
The article made no mention of how the research is being funded. However, research being conducted at federally-funded universities is usually financed by federal grants and grants from industry.
Steinhardt warned that, if the technology does become viable, then it would become another weapon in the arsenal of those who want to put us into a surveillance society where every action, every deed and one's very thoughts can be monitored, categorized and correlated.
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