Big Brother Is Getting Bigger

Analogue Boy

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I've been posting on the subject of ID Cards, CCTV surveillance and car tracking quite a bit this year and despite some of the comments accusing me of mild paranoia and replies of it'll never happen here, it seems that the evidence of activity (the avid collection of personal data) in this country and the US (spying on its own citizens) is strengthening my concerns.

Leaving aside the details of accusations that the DVLA have been accused of 'selling drivers’ personal details to firms, some of which are run by convicted criminals', am I the only one who is worried where this is heading or have I still nothing to fear?
 

barfing_pumpkin

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am I the only one who is worried where this is heading or have I still nothing to fear?
Have to admit, it gives me the willies a bit too. Seems to me like it's a gradual process - remove a little bit of freedom there, a little bit here - and by the time we're 'having our faces stamped on by the jackboot' it'll be so long down the line that we won't be really aware of it. It's like the old saying about the frog and a pan of water: drop the frog in while it's boiling and it'll jump straight out; but put the frog in when it's cold, heat the pan gradually, and the frog will quite happily let itself be boiled alive.
 

Analogue Boy

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Lobsters, on the other hand, do not get the choice.

There's a lesson there somewhere.
 

Anome

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I thought this might be about the TV show. I'm not entirely sure which is more of a worry.

I suppose that with the TV show we at least stand a chance to do something about it.

Seriously, in many ways they're two sides of the same thing. At the one hand we are having our own rights to privacy taken away from us without our consent, and at the same time we are watching a group of people volunteer to give theirs up.

Pay close attention to what happens in the house. It may be happening in the real world soon.
 

Ringo

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Check out the google earth thread I posted in Chat. See how big Big Brother is now! :shock:

Check out manhattan island with buildings enabled. 8)
 

lupinwick

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Quite an old one this. Tracking your listening habits via iTunes :)

iTunes is Watching

I think the issue folks have with it is that its not obvious its going on.
 

Timble2

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Of course a big problem with any surviellance system is when they cock it up:

From the Grauniad

Camera blunder over '85mph tractor'
Press Association

Thursday January 19, 2006 3:49 PM


Speed camera bosses have apologised to a farmer after they tried to fine him for doing 85 miles per hour in a tractor.

Steve Crossman, who farms in Wiltshire, was puzzled when he received a ticket saying he had been snapped by a camera in Wales.

But he was even more surprised when he realised that he was being fined for speeding in his tractor.

With a top speed of 26 miles per hour it would take Mr Crossman's tractor more than four hours just to cover the distance from his farm in Horningsham to Abergarwed, south Wales where the offence took place.

The farmer contacted camera bosses in south Wales to protest that not only was the tractor incapable of racking up such a speed but he had never taken it over the Severn Bridge.

The Mid and South Wales Safety Camera Partnership quickly admitted that they had misread one letter in the registration plate on the film and had got the wrong vehicle.

They apologised and immediately retracted the ticket.

Mr Crossman told BBC Wales: "It's a good tractor, but not that good. It can just about get up to 26mph, but that's downhill, with a following wind and with no trailer on the back. There's no way it could get close to 85mph."

Now the driver of the car that was actually clocked on the A465 near Neath will escape prosecution because it is too late to issue another ticket.

A speed camera partnership spokeswoman said that the mistake was being investigated.

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved
 

Peripart

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How many tickets get issued to drivers of cars with plates "just" one digit or letter different to the right one? We're all made to feel guilty merely for being drivers these days, and we'd probably grumble and pay up, unaware that a mistake had been made.

Nasty idea : wouldn't it be fun to find out Red Ken's registration number and get a set of "his" plates for your own car? Totally illegal, but serve the bugger right, IMO.
 

lupinwick

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Yep - all this has to work 100% reliably. There is no margin for error.
 

mah_magic

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Timble2 said:
Of course a big problem with any surviellance system is when they cock it up:

From the Grauniad



With a top speed of 26 miles per hour it would take Mr Crossman's tractor more than four hours just to cover the distance from his farm in Horningsham to Abergarwed, south Wales where the offence took place.

The farmer contacted camera bosses in south Wales to protest that not only was the tractor incapable of racking up such a speed but he had never taken it over the Severn Bridge.



I wouldn't put it past a farmer to drive four hours at 26 mph, just to piss the comuters off.

Lets look at the positive side of road tax charge for usage systems.

Tax exempt farm vehicls and JCB's could be charged a sliding scale rate for the time spent on roads and the time of travel. So if they block the road at rush hour they get charged more than at 3am.

caravans could be charged in the same way (per mile and time of travel), this would make them think twice about traveling 300miles with their clapped out 60's death trap on wheels.

This is a good thing that would free up roads.

Employers could arrange staggered working hours for employees with the road managers and time slots would be issued for commuting at reduced rate tax / toll. Staff wouldn't then be able to blame the traffic for being late to work which would benefit the employer. The employee would use less fuel travelling to work due to less time in traffic jams.

People would be less stressed and more productive.

The world would be a better place all round... :twisted:
 

mah_magic

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And More....

Stolen cars would be traced faster.
Unregistered cars would be located.
criminals using duplicate plates would be found as the same plate would show up in two places at the same time.
Crimes could be solved faster, as all vehcles in an area at the time of an offence would be identifiable.
When you've visited a town, the town council could email you to ask if you enjoyed your visit and if you would consider upgrading to a holiday or moving there...

Infact lets tag everyone at birth. the government could then start a pavement tax, or even a stay at home tax where you would pay your council tax for the time spent in the councils area...
 

techybloke666

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Google vs the US Government

Mon, 23 Jan 2006
For the past few years privacy advocates have made a lot about the huge amounts of data search engines collect, saying these are ripe for the picking by government agencies and other companies interested in the vast amounts of personal information.

Google specifically has been a target in this debate, since the company has no policy on how long it retains data (thus it can do so indefinitely). But the search and advertising giant has repeatedly said it will not share user information, or anything for that matter. And if the proof is in the pudding, Google just dished out the flambe.

A recent filing by the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that the search company refused to comply with a subpoena last year demanding one million random URLs as well as all the search queries entered between June 1 and July 31, 2005; the company dismissed the action as the government overreaching.

Now the DOJ wants a judge in a Californian district court to order Google to play along. The data is sought after to try and revive Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a law that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004 after the ACLU fought it. COPA wants to penalise porn sites that can be accessed by minors easily, which was seen by opponents as state policing of an entertainment industry (it's worth noting that this has nothing to do with child pornography).

The new data being collected is part of an attempt to appeal the decision and get the law back in. Google has already stated that it will oppose any action. "Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches," Nicole Wong, Google's associate general counsel, said in a statement. "We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously."

But the DOJ doesn't share Google's point of view. "My understanding is we were seeking what keywords are put in and URLs,'' said Justice Department spokesperson Charles Miller. "Nothing personal."

That was the same thing Yahoo said when it acknowledged giving up data to the subpoena. Court documents reportedly reveal that Yahoo, MSN and AOL all gave over data to the investigators, leaving Google alone in refusing the request, since no other search engines have been named yet.

MSN was first to reveal its move, if somewhat vaguely: "MSN works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested. Microsoft fully complies with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and United States Law as well as Microsoft's terms of use and privacy policies in working with law enforcement. It is our policy to respond to legal requests in a very responsive and timely manner in full compliance with applicable law. "MSN takes the safety of its customers very seriously and is committed to providing a safe experience for consumers. As stated in MSN’s Terms of Use and Subscription Agreements, Microsoft will comply with applicable law to edit, refuse to post, or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, in Microsoft's sole discretion."

All the companies state that nothing private was given up, just general data. "We're rigorous defenders of our users' privacy,'' said Yahoo spokesperson Mary Osako. "In our view, this is not a privacy issue.''

But the privacy groups don't agree. "The fact is that over the last 10 or 20 years our privacy has been at risk by the vast amounts of data that society is putting in third-party hands,'' said Lee Tien, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, to MercuryNews.com. "That's how modern society has been architected.''

In fact, the subpoena is unprecedented, since it involves suing a data company for information that is destined for an entirely different case that isn't criminal. It also shows that governments would love to get their hands on the vast amounts of information search companies store and it's not that hard to get it from them.

"It's interesting and disappointing that other search engines would provide this material," privacy advocate Lauren Weinstein told SiliconBeat.com. "It's what we've been worried about all along. The fact that Google is refusing the subpoena... my initial reaction is three cheers for Google. But there is a sidebar to this. Part of the reason these problems come up is because this data is being retained in the first place.''

In the past few years governments have increased powers to cease data for profiling or investigative purposes. In December the European parliament ratified a law that forces telecoms companies and ISPs to retain usage data for two years. The laws were based on curbing terrorism, but privacy advocates in Europe also called it dangerous. UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford termed it as "green light for mass surveillance, fishing expeditions and profiling".

"Real terrorists escape detection by using foreign internet service providers like Hotmail and Yahoo, internet cafes, and pay-as-you-go phones while ordinary citizens could find details of their movement, acquaintances and favourite web sites circulating [among government officials]," she adds.

The U.S. Patriot Act extends government powers even further, including search, wiretaps and detention without a warrant. In December last year the New York Times reported that the National Security Agency is actively monitoring, tracing and analyzing large volumes of Internet and telephone traffic going in and out of the country. This has been happening with the full co-operation of the communications companies involved and without informing any of their customers.

But at least this is a massive feather in the cap of Google. Internet publications and writers have flocked to its support and attacked the government action. "Overall, I say kudos to Google for declaring the request overreaching and refusing to comply," wrote Search Engine Watch's Danny Sullivan. He also criticised the case at length, questioning why the DOJ doesn't simply do the searches themselves.

"Far better would be to do some searches that you think children and teens are actually doing, such as by doing a survey of them. Then just go start searching on Google and the other search engines yourselves. See what actually comes up, especially when the filtering protection each service offers is enabled."

He backs the assertion with the opinion of another government report, which did its own searching and found MSN the best at filtering porn. "We performed unfiltered five-minute searches for six keywords: three keywords known to be associated with pornography and three innocuous terms that juveniles would likely use (a popular teenage singer/actress, a popular cartoon, and a popular movie character)." the report read.

It remains to be seen if Google can keep the feds away, but the lines have been drawn and the internet audience and press are backing the search engine. How this will affect Yahoo and MSN's reputations, which have been having a hard time to keep up with Google's juggernaut of hype and actual delivery, is probably not going to be positive.

But the topic of data retention and just how secure privacy information is on such a service will now become an even bigger topic. Some might call the move alarmist, noting that non-personal information was requested. But if the search companies gave that up so easily, there is little preventing investigators from wanting even more — and laws exist in the U.S. and Europe to make this very possible.
http://cooltech.iafrica.com/features/841464.htm

Every other search engine served similar subpoenas by the Bush administration has complied so far, according to court documents. The cooperating search engines weren’t identified.
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=27937
 

lupinwick

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While we can rightly applaud google for resisting the pressure from the government, actions by the European Parliament are far more worrying.

In the past few years governments have increased powers to cease data for profiling or investigative purposes. In December the European parliament ratified a law that forces telecoms companies and ISPs to retain usage data for two years. The laws were based on curbing terrorism, but privacy advocates in Europe also called it dangerous. UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford termed it as "green light for mass surveillance, fishing expeditions and profiling".
Plus the data could be passed to other companies, folks like Sony who would love to curtail peer-to-peer networking and so on.
 

techybloke666

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yep that is concerning,
where will it all stop I wonder.

only saving grace will be the huge amount of data to trawl thro

ha ha ha

poor buggars
 

Kingsize Wombat

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This is a story I have been following for a while - it seemed like fiction at first - but it's real. It is coming to China - and then, probably, to a country near you. Or me. Or the country we live in. If you think about it, parts of this are already with us.

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents

On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called "Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System". In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?
Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It's not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school - or even just your chances of getting a date.


http://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-privacy-invasion
 

David Plankton

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Mythopoeika

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Horrifying idea.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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More on China's new "Citizen Score" system. I'm thinking we're already half way there with our credit rating and online scoring applications:

China's Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone

Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.

This society may seem dystopian, but it isn’t farfetched: It may be China in a few years. The country is racing to become the first to implement a pervasive system of algorithmic surveillance. Harnessing advances in artificial intelligence and data mining and storage to construct detailed profiles on all citizens, China’s communist party-state is developing a “citizen score” to incentivize “good” behavior. A vast accompanying network of surveillance cameras will constantly monitor citizens’ movements, purportedly to reduce crime and terrorism.

Even more worrying is that the government will be technically capable of considering the behavior of a Chinese citizen’s friends and family in determining his or her score. For example, it is possible that your friend’s anti-government political post could lower your own score. Thus, the scoring system would isolate dissidents from their friends and the rest of society, rendering them complete pariahs. Your score might even determine your access to certain privileges taken for granted in the U.S., such as a visa to travel abroad or or even the right to travel by train or plane within the country.

This planned data-focused social credit system is only one facet of China’s rapidly expanding system of algorithmic surveillance. Another is a sprawling network of technologies, especially surveillance cameras, to monitor people’s physical movements. One hundred percent of Beijing is now blanketed by surveillance cameras, according to the Beijing Public Safety Bureau.

Increasingly, citizens will refrain from any kind of independent or critical expression for fear that their data will be read or their movements recorded—and penalized—by the government. And that is exactly the point of the program.


https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/china-surveillance/552203/
 

Kingsize Wombat

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...and the Chinese Social Credit system will be kicking off now:

China to bar people with bad 'social credit' from planes, trains

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated March 2.

It added that the rules would come into effect on May 1.

The move is in line with President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”, said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court.

China has flagged plans to roll out a system that will allow government bodies to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a so-called social credit score.


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...ocial-credit-from-planes-trains-idUSKCN1GS10S
 

maximus otter

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Someone, somewhere in an office in Brussels, is looking at this report and thinking, “You know, elements of this aren’t such a bad idea...”

Expect a draft paper of Stage One of the EUSSR’s “Happy Smiley Communities United in Verifiably Trustworthy Diversity” to be released in the next year or two. In the middle of a thousand-page folder of statistics on grub screw production in Slovenia. On the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend.

maximus otter
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I guess this is why I have a natural aversion to any party seeking to grow the state, for down that path, if taken to extremes, ultimately lies totalitarianism.
 

Frasier Buddolph

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I'm seldom accused of being naive, but I can't see why this program is causing such alarm in the West (unless it's just the automatic assumption that anything the Chinese gummint does must be evil). Surely it's the proper role of any government to exercise some degree of social control, especially since humans seem to be so hapless at controlling their own impulses.

Yes, if taken to extremes this program could be used as a tool of oppression, but the same could be said of any number of programs in liberal Western democracies. I think any effort to disincentivise egregious assholery deserves a chance to work. Just my two cents' worth.
 

kamalktk

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Big Brother is getting Bigger.

/first thing I thought of
 

Xanatic*

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Frasier: I think you can imagine how your rating might go, if you have the temerity to question the party line.
 

Mythopoeika

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It's a bad idea because it will kill social mobility.
People who are poor will be prevented from changing their situation and they'll stay in a debt trap.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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It's a bad idea because it will kill social mobility.
People who are poor will be prevented from changing their situation and they'll stay in a debt trap.
Well that's the situation in many Western countries already. But the thought of not being allowed to travel because you couldn't or wouldn't pay a fine - that's pretty horrific.

Also - people are now posting their social credit scores on Chinese dating sites. In a country with a low percentage of women, I'm sure you will find an increasing number of rather restless young men with low social credit, no hope of escaping that, and not even a sex life to look forward to.

The other nefarious thing is that other people's social credit ranking affects yours. Say, your uncle neglected to buy a bus ticket, and your best mate smashes his car - bang, your rating goes down too.
 

kamalktk

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Facial recognition cameras and AI decisionmaking reach a chinese classroom.

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-china-face-surveillance-2018-story.html

"Here, the surveillance cameras took the data on individual facial expressions and used that information to create a running “score” on each student and class. If a score reached a predetermined point, the system triggered an alert. Teachers were expected to take action: to talk to a student perceived to be disengaged, for example, or overly moody."
 

Vardoger

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Facial recognition cameras and AI decisionmaking reach a chinese classroom.

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-china-face-surveillance-2018-story.html

"Here, the surveillance cameras took the data on individual facial expressions and used that information to create a running “score” on each student and class. If a score reached a predetermined point, the system triggered an alert. Teachers were expected to take action: to talk to a student perceived to be disengaged, for example, or overly moody."
The Chinese goverment is going to drive the citizens crazy with this kind of surveillance. They're on the path to a contra revolution by its citizens.
 
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