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Archive for the ‘Privacy Issues’ Category

All Your Children Are Belong Us

Posted by middlerage on June 7, 2014

We are fucking over our kids.

We as a society pay lip service to childrens’ privacy, for instance supposedly Facebook doesn’t sign up people under thirteen, websites contain disclaimers about “ask your mother before joining our Silly Space Furry Web Friends place,” but they can’t monitor who’s doing what.

My oldest was playing Clash of Clans in his/her iPod while at the skating rink, while the youngest was taking lessons. Oldest is going through the free wi-fi, but Apple, and a host of other online corpororations, now know exactly where that GPS enabled iPod was at 11:30 a.m.. They know exactly what OK was playing, for how long and that s/he might be interested in ice skating and/or hockey and/or how far s/he had to travel for this new wi-fi address to pop up.

And the NSA is tracking all of it.

Google, Facebook, Clash of Clans, Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, the FBI, CIA, and the NSA have a pretty thick dossier on a 100 million pre-teens.

Posted in kids, Privacy Issues | Leave a Comment »

Corollary Wanted

Posted by middlerage on May 30, 2014

So Ed Snowden is back in the news with an exclusive interview given to Brian Williams and NBC. I didn’t watch but I read some transcripted moments. This guy is a high school dropout? Sheesh, he defended his actions with an eloquence statesmen can only dream they had. Anyway, also this month, Frontline (PBS) aired a two-part documentary about the NSA’s domestic spying (mostly) and Ed Snowden (a little). It is called United States of Secrets and Part One aired May 13th while Part Two aired May 20th. However it is is also available for streaming. I didn’t watch. Then I did, thanks to the Fatman…

I had seen it was coming up on TV listings, and I was like, “I should watch that,” but I didn’t because who wants to make themselves miserable and angry when they could be watching re-runs of Friends? So I blew it off, but then Fatman discussed it on Facebook and I said “I need to make myself watch.”

There is far too much in the program to discuss on a brief blog post, but one take away I did want to mention is the astonishing condescension of the Intelligence Directors leading this spying on the American Citizenry. General Hayden, who ran the NSA under Bush II, just kept talking to the audience like we were little children and basically saying, “Hey, I can respect the constitution and the Fourth Amendment, but you’re gonna have another 9-11. Just tell me what you want, princess.” OMG.

The Fatman always signs his emails with the famous Ben Franklin quote: Those who would give up essential freedom to purchase a little security deserve neither. As I was watching United States of Secrets, I couldn’t help thinking of another quote (by George Santayana): Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

I wonder if we need a corollary: Those who disregard the wisdom of history (alá Ben Franklin) are dooming us all (alá Santayana). High level government officials seem to be astonishingly immune to wisdom.

And the chattering guvmint officials who keep calling Snowden a traitor just bring out the “middlerage” in me. I kept buying the official talking points that the NSA was “only” scraping off meta data (bad enough) and “only” collecting info on US citizens when one half of the communication was foreign. Turns out the guvmint is lying on both accounts. They are listening to everything you and I do. All the time. Watch the doc. I link it below.


Posted in Politicks, Privacy Issues | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

“Big Data” – Frightening

Posted by middlerage on May 10, 2014

File this one under Privacy

The Atlantic website always has an article of ‘sponsored content’ which is a paid advertising scheme wherein some company gets to write a psuedo-news article and place it next to the real journalism.

This one, written by IBM, caught my eye (in a bad way) and I clicked to see what it said. Here is a truly frightening excerpt:

[…], scientists at IBM Research are helping businesses understand their customers in entirely new ways by using terabytes of public social media data. They are able to generate deep profiles from vast amounts of noisy social media data and do so automatically, and reliably. This is data that marketers never had before, permitting much more refined marketing than traditional approaches based on demographics and purchase history alone. [my bold]

Which is sorta old news to  those of us bugged by eroding privacy, but the article isn’t aimed at other corporations for the purpose of selling ‘big data analytics’ rather it is aimed at you, the little guy, as a way to get  a ‘personalized’ retail experience.

Remember… Your smart phone is just your diary. Open. And taped to your forehead.

Posted in Privacy Issues | Leave a Comment »

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