WIRED Digest: Words of warning from those who care

Posted: August 6, 2009 in CCTV, identification, social security number, surveillance, surveillance state, U.K. identity

BTC – A relative sent me these two news items from Wired Magazine out of concern for my personal safety. Since we are on a WIRED kick this morning, we included alot we’ve missed.


Digitized Stalking Is the New World Order

The EFF writes that threats to “locational privacy” include:
* Monthly transit swipe-cards.
* Electronic tolling devices (FastTrak, EZpass, congestion pricing)
* Cellphones.
* Services telling you when your friends are nearby.
* Searches on your PDA for services and businesses near your current location.
* Free Wi-Fi with ads for businesses near the network access point you’re using
* Electronic swipe cards for doors.
* Parking meters you can call to add money to, and which send you a text message when your time is running out.

“In the world of today and tomorrow, this information is quietly collected by ubiquitous devices and applications, and available for analysis to many parties who can query, buy or subpoena it or pay a hacker to steal a copy of everyone’s location history,” the report said. “It is this transformation to a regime in which information about your location is collected pervasively, silently, and cheaply that we’re worried about.”

Read the report here.

c/o Charlie Sorrel for WIRED – GADGET LAB

As an ex-Brit, I’m well aware of the authorities’ love of surveillance and snooping, but even I, a pessimistic cynic, am amazed by the governments latest plan: to install Orwell’s telescreens in 20,000 homes.

£400 million ($668 million) will be spent on installing and monitoring CCTV cameras in the homes of private citizens. Why? To make sure the kids are doing their homework, going to bed early and eating their vegetables. The scheme has, astonishingly, already been running in 2,000 family homes. The government’s “children’s secretary” Ed Balls is behind the plan, which is aimed at problem, antisocial families. The idea is that, if a child has a more stable home life, he or she will be less likely to stray into crime and drugs.

It gets worse. The government is also maintaining a private army, incredibly not called “Thought Police”, which will “be sent round to carry out home checks,” according to the Sunday Express. And in a scheme which firmly cements the nation’s reputation as a “nanny state”, the kids and their families will be forced to sign “behavior contracts” which will “set out parents’ duties to ensure children behave and do their homework.”

And remember, this is the left-wing government. The Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, batting for the conservatives, thinks these plans are “too little, and too late,” implying that even more obtrusive work needs to be done. Rumors that a new detention center, named Room 101, is being constructed inside the Ministry of Love are unconfirmed.

UPDATE: Further research shows that the Express didn’t quite have all its facts straight. This scheme is active, and the numbers are fairly accurate (if estimated), but the mentions of actual cameras in people’s homes are exaggerated. The truth is that the scheme can take the most troublesome families out of their homes and move them, temporarily, to a neutral, government-run compound. Here they will be under 24-hour supervision. CCTV cameras are not specifically mentioned, not are they denied, but 24-hour “supervision” certainly doesn’t rule this out from the camera-loving Brits.

It remains, though, that this is still excessively intrusive into the private lives of citizens, cameras or not. I have added links to the source and also more reliable reports.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

>>SIN BINS FOR WORST FAMILIES :THOUSANDS of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced yesterday.


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