You’ve heard about the surveillance state, but what about a surveillance society? One where it’s not just the government with an eye on you, but everyone else too. That security camera at the corner store, the red light cam at the intersection, the teens on the bus sending snaps, and even your friends uploading a night on the town to Facebook; each are a single neuron in a slowly growing brain getting smarter by the day. It’s not just that 1984 got it wrong, it’s that it lacked a large enough imagination. In the public sphere, this summer the FBI will introduce its Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database, a massive overhaul of the previous fingerprint-only system which will collect “iris scans, palm prints, face-recognition-ready photos, and voice data” and make that data widely available to state and federal agencies. On the private side, Facebook is near to perfecting their own face-processing software using a deep learning AI which improves itself by feeding on bulk data. DeepFace is for now only a research project, all that effort spent just so they can make auto-tagging quicker, but the potential applications boil over from there. The data vacuum that looms over the online world is intruding on the physical with an appetite for the metadata of flesh, and adapting to it won’t be as easy as using a TOR client or proxy. The collection of real world bulk data is even spawning its own field of academia, Social Physics, which envisions a kind of real-time census of citizen data. The question left to be answered then is how can one opt-out, if only temporarily, from such a system. How can we fool machine eyes, eyes of algorithms and determinism, instead of human ones? The answer may lie in abandoning the old methods of concealment and adapting all new methods of confusion.
The Glossary of Surveillance has been updated after falling by the wayside for a few months. 27 new entries were added bringing it to a total of 60.
The information that continues to pour from the Snowden leaks, alongside the drama that is now ramping up on the Hill, has ensured that, even some 10 months later, this is an issue that won’t be so easily suffocated. The tide has risen to such a point where the idea of reform does not seem so alien anymore, and even the highest office in the land has maybe seen the writing on the wall. However, we can already see this is a box not so easily closed. Much of Obama’s proposed reforms stick to the bulk collection of domestic call data, which itself is only a small part of the vast surveillance infrastructure that reaches out from the American heartland. Take even a curious scroll through the Glossary posted here, pick an entry at random, and see where it takes you. While Americans may rest easy in hoping someday they may be shielded by a system of checks and balances against unwarranted surveillance, the rest of us living under this wide umbrella are not so lucky. The bulk collection of American phone data may fall, but the rest is definitely here to stay.
The True Detectives Join the Colonel Club
INT. CAR – LUNCH – ESTABLISHING
RUST COHLE and MARTY HART are digging into the new KFC 18 Piece Family Special for $29.99. MARTY is eating quickly, rotating the drumstick as he bites off big chunks of chicken. RUST picks as his more gingerly, pulling off small bits of skin and meat with his fingers.
Bucket’s gonna go cold if you don’t pick up the pace.
It’s already gone cold, they just warm it up.
Told you we shoulda got burgers.
It’s all the same.
It’s been ten years since the InterFace changed everything, forever. The simplicity and elegance of design combined with its swiss army knife combination of data and mobile functions has made the InterFace a device we can’t live without. The haptic trinity of muscle, bone, and surface-level mindplants were a giant leap ahead of the iffy skinplants which burned so many early adopters (literally!). Our modern concept of integrated computing has grown so much since its early days being cobbled together in garages and computer labs across the old tech sectors. What we take for granted today as te-chic was once derided as “wearable tech” and was met with open hostility by a confused and less enlightened people. Presented here are the ghosts of te-chic past, thirteen pictures which chronicle the industry’s hovercoaster ride to the present, in a format straight out of the twentytens; the listicle.
Space is so hot right now. The past year has seen a flurry of activity from all over the globe with regards to space and orbital operations, and with the recent announcement of Russia’s plans to install 11 new military satellites by 2015, it looks like things won’t be slowing down any time soon. Besides SpaceX’s first commercial satellite, a milestone in itself, this year saw the launch of the US government’s newest spy satellite, complete with creepy mission badge, and the launch of India’s first defense satellite and their new Mars Orbiter. The last two years have seen more countries put their first satellites into space than any other two years combined. Right now there are more than 1071 operational satellites in Earth’s orbit, and more stuff tends to mean more junk as well, which has military experts and orbit otakus quaking in their moon shoes. On July 20th, the Chinese government launched three new satellites which many observers believe are the next stage in China’s growing ASAT, or Anti-Satellite, capabilities. Satellites form the backbone of our most valuable communication and signal relay networks, yet are suspended completely defenseless in orbit. In the future the destruction of key satellites, as well as a barrage of cyber-attacks, could act as the first salvos in a major conflict between nations. And while this may seem like forced moves from a strategic viewpoint, a chaotic dismantling of our orbital infrastructure could have a lasting impact measured in decades, potentially leaving a legacy more destructive than any atom bomb.