In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is quickly evolving into a high tech surveillance grid that is becoming more tyrannical with each passing day. They watch, track, monitor and record virtually everything that we do. The surveillance technologies just continue to become more and more advanced and the control web that is being constructed all around us continues to become even more inescapable.
We are slowly becoming acclimated to the idea of our privacy and even our bodies being invaded on a grand scale. The Patriot Act granted the government the right to search your home or tap your phone without a warrant and established a satellite based intelligence network that listens to your phone calls and picks out key works typed into your computer. Then more assaults to our rights; cameras at intersections, x- ray sensors at airports, all designed to get you used to the idea of your body being violated. If we continue on the path that we are currently on, we will be heading into a future where there will be absolutely no privacy of any kind. Our liberties and freedoms are literally being strangled to death. Every citizen needs to speak up and fight for their rights before there are no rights left to fight for.
Below is a list of currently implemented, privacy destroying technologies.
Pre-Crime Detectors: New "pre-crime" detectors are being tested by the Department of Homeland Security. The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program is designed to 'sense' and spot people who intend to commit a terrorist act. FAST technology uses remote sensors to detect when a person experiences irregular physiological properties like increased heart rate and darting eye movements that are supposedly associated with malicious intent.
FAST merges technology with behavioral science, measuring heart and respiration rates, and remote eye trackers that can measure pupils, position and gaze of eyes. Thermal cameras and audio analyze pitch changes in human voices. High resolution video analyzes facial expressions and body movements. Other sensor types such as pheromones detection are also in development.
On a similar note, “Pre-Crime” Surveillance Cameras, installed to analyze “suspicious behavior at tourist attractions, government buildings, military bases, transport systems are programmed with a list of behaviors considered “normal”. Anything that deviates from usual activity is classified as suspicious and guards are immediately alerted via text message or a phone call.
Critics have been concerned about "false positives." For example, some travelers might have some of the physical responses that are supposedly signs of mal-intent if they were about to be groped by TSA agents in airport security.
Next Gen Facial Recognition Technology: Law enforcement agents can quickly match a suspect against millions upon millions of profiles in vast detailed databases stored on the cloud using facial recognition.
The police can take a picture of any person, anywhere, and match it on the spot against millions upon millions of entries within a vast, intricate web of databases stored on the cloud.
Trapwire: TrapWire siphons data from surveillance cameras in stores, casinos, and other businesses around the country. TrapWire then analyzes this data for people of interest. Reportedly, these new spy cameras are “more accurate than modern facial recognition technology”, and every few seconds they send back data from cities and major landmarks all over the United States to a centralized processing center where it is analyzed.
Mob Alerts: Google recently filed a patent for a system that identifies when and where a “mob” event takes place and sends multimedia alerts to relevant parties. The patents are titled “Mob Source Phone Video Collaboration” and “Inferring Events Based on Mob Sourced Video”.
In this case a “mob” is defined as an activity or event attracting attention in the form of video recording and picture taking. Unfortunately that could include just about any assemblage or gathering. Here’s a quick blurb from the patent description:
“When there are at least a given number of video clips with similar time stamps and geolocation stamps uploaded to a repository, it is inferred that an event of interest has likely occurred, and a notification signal is transmitted (e.g., to a law enforcement agency, to a news organization, to a publisher of a periodical, to a public blog, etc.).”
Sure, everyone wants their picture uploaded to law enforcement agencies, newspapers and blogs. Thanks Google.
Smart Meters: The government’s goal is to have a smart meter installed in every house in America. The new smart meters are radio transmitters licensed by the FCC and can essentially be used as surveillance devices. Smart meters provide highly detailed energy-use data. The info can be used by police agencies, by insurance companies to determine health care premiums, and by criminals to determine if you own high-dollar appliances and when would be the best time to steal them. And that’s only the tip of the potential privacy invasion iceberg.
Smart meters harvest highly detailed data on how people live from day to day by monitoring their use of specific appliances. With data from thousands or millions of smart meters, researchers could design tools to measure how many times a day a refrigerator door was opened, eavesdrop on your sleep patterns, work schedules, track whether families are away on holiday, if someone uses a specific medical device or a baby-monitor, how they like to spend their free time etc.
It’s not hard to imagine a divorce lawyer subpoenaing this information, an insurance company interpreting the data in a way that allows it to penalize customers, or criminals intercepting the information to plan a burglary.
The data must also be transmitted to electric utilities, and potentially to third parties outside of the smart grid, subjecting it to interception or theft as it travels over communications networks and is stored in a variety of physical locations.
A National Database Containing Millions of Voices: VoiceGrid Nation has introduced a new product line called SpeechPro. SpeechPro uses advanced algorithms to enable government agencies to build a huge database containing millions of voices of criminals, persons of interest, people on watch list, and so forth - perhaps even just ordinary citizens. The technology will allow agencies to create a countrywide biometric database designed to store millions of people’s “voice-prints.” VoiceGrid Nation can scan through 10,000 voice prints in just 5 seconds.
We look forward to a future when products like these have turned the frivolous distractions of texting and iMessaging into acts of civil disobedience.
Fingerprint reading from 2 meters away: The new AIRprint sensor product line from IDair systems is designed for rapid, long range collection of fingerprints.
The sensor collects fingerprints from distances of 1 to 2 meters. This sensor allows fingerprinting to have the same ease-of-use as facial recognition. iDair's primary customer is the military, but it's pushing into the commercial space. The device is about the size of a small flashlight, so now your employer can set one up at the front door of the office and within a few days have the prints of the entire company.
Molecular Scanners: A new laser-based scanner built by Genia Photonics can detect traces of just about anything on your person from a stunning 50 meters (164 feet) away in around 1/1000000000000th of a second.
The government will soon be able to scan your body, car or belongings for just about any molecule or substance they please without you knowing. Laser scanner technology can “penetrate clothing and many other organic materials and offers spectroscopic information.”
Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States. The official, stated goal of this arrangement is to be able to quickly identify explosives, dangerous chemicals, or bioweapons at a distance.
The Spy in Your Television: The new Smart TVs — which connect to the internet, send and receive data on your viewing habits back to the television’s manufacturer in China, Korea etc. This data sends details of not just every show you watch but every button you press on your remote control. The TV manufacturer sells this information on the open market.
RFID Technologies: Have you ever heard of the “Internet of Things”? Soon nearly every inanimate object we come into contact with will be enabled with RFID tags. Your every move can be easily tracked by the prying eyes of corporations and governments through the ordinary objects in your possession such as your cell phone, your key fob, your watch, your jewelry, your purse or your wallet. They use the chips to evaluate your status, age, sex, purchasing preferences and more. For more info on RFID refer to my last post.
Biometrics: Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analyzing biological data. In information technology, biometrics refers to technologies that measure and analyze human body characteristics, such as DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements, for authentication purposes.
Biometric palm scanners are being introduced in airports, schools and even Disney World. A patent application filed by Samsung seems to indicate that next-generation Galaxy smartphones might feature biometric authentication as an alternative to PINs or passwords.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun rolling out its new $1 billion biometric Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. In essence, NGI is a nationwide database of mug shots, iris scans, DNA records, voice samples, and other biometrics, that will help the FBI identify and catch criminals NGI's facial recognition systems can find a single face from a pool of 1.6 million mug shots and passport photos with 92% accuracy in less than 1.2 seconds - even using photos in which the subject isn't looking at the camera. But it is how this biometric data is captured, through a nationwide network of cameras and photo databases that is of great concern to privacy advocates.
Iris Scanning Devices in Our Schools: A growing number of schools are replacing traditional identification cards with iris scanners.
Cell Phone Tower “Stingrays”: So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.
The government maintains that the stingrays don’t violate Fourth Amendment rights, since Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower.
Our Cell Phones Track Our Movements: If you have GPS on your phone you can be tracked anywhere, anytime.
Extraction Devices: Michigan State Police have a handful of portable machines called “extraction devices” that have the potential to mine the data of motorists they pull over from downloaded personal information taken directly from the motorist cell phone.
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different phone models and can bypass security passwords and access data files stored on your phone.
Automated License Plate Readers: Strategically placed cameras scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. However, police agencies have now begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles. This is also easily accomplished through RFID chips embedded in license plates driving past RFID readers established at toll booths, intersections etc. Somebody out there somewhere knows that you took a road trip to Nebraska on September 14th 2013.
Street Lights That Can Record Private Conversations: Federally-funded high-tech street lights called Intellistreets are now being installed in American cities. These LED-based streetlights can auto-adjust to the brightness outside to help save power; they also include a Wi-Fi connection and built-in speakers, to stream audio broadcasts to anyone within earshot. By the way, they also have audio and video recorders. These are supposedly to field calls for assistance. Doesn’t it give you a whole new level of comfort knowing that each lamppost you walk by is equipped with Wi-Fi transmitters, a camera, and a microphone?
The Spy in your Video Game: Users of the new Xbox One are complaining that Kinect is monitoring their Skype conversations for swearing and then punishing them with account bans. Microsoft has admitted it is punishing gamers for bad language but denied that it is snooping on private Skype chats.
A National Database of All Financial Transactions: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to record every financial transaction of every American. The government will be able to see every detail of your finances. Your permission will not be needed.
A National DNA Database: In April of 2008, President Bush signed into law S.1858 which allows the federal government to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the U.S. Six months later the law was fully implemented, and data collection is now being carried out. All 50 states are now routinely providing results of genetic screenings to the Department of Homeland Security. You can read the full bill at the link below:
The Systematic Recording Of Talk Radio Programs: Next time you call a talk radio station, beware: The FBI may be listening.
Spywares in the Workplace: Employers now regularly install monitoring software on their employees’ computers to capture their communications.
Software, sold by SpectorSoft could do more than vacuum up e-mails It can intercept a Tweet or a Facebook post. It can snap screen shots of computers or track an employee’s keystrokes, retrieve files from hard drives or search for keywords.
Mobile Backscatter Vans Remember those super-revealing backscatter X-ray machines that were removed from airports after loud protests? Well, they may come rolling down the street of your neighborhood. American Science and Engineering's Z Backscatter Vans look like any box truck you see on the road, but they'll peer through the cars of anyone in range looking for ... who knows what? The company's marketing materials say that the trucks' "primary purpose is to image vehicles and their contents."
Unmanned Aerial Drones: Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency used aerial drones to spy on farmers in Nebraska and Iowa. You might be next. But don’t worry its okay, the U.S. Supreme Court has found these camera taking flights to be perfectly legal.
NSA Snooping: Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first broke the news on the Snowden NSA leaks has reported that the NSA’s new technology gives it the power to “redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phone calls every single day. This means they’re storing every phone call, have the capability to listen to them at any time, and are collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.”
U.S. Intelligence ‘infiltrating’ social media: Almost everyone knows that social media activities leave you as openly exposed as jogging down the interstate in your jockstrap, but what you might not know is that intelligence agencies take advantage of social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook to spread disinformation and propaganda, as well as potentially foment public protests. The Associated Press recently revealed a clandestine operation – calling it “The Bay of Tweets” - run by US Agency for International Development (USAID) to create “a Twitter-like Cuban communications network” to promote dissenting viewpoints among its audience.
Wearable Technologies: For unfathomable reasons, some folks actually want others to know every intimate detail about their day to day lives and are oh so happy to broadcast it to the world. Lifeblogging tools such as the Narrative Clip’s GPS-enabled, wearable cameras allow users to document and share virtually every instant of their lives. The tiny, always-on cameras capture photos of everybody and everything you come into contact with. The images are then uploaded and broadcasted to the world. The obvious danger is that while the cameras can create a detailed journal of an individual’s life, they can also invade the privacy of friends and others being photographed without their knowledge or permission.
Other wearable technologies include “Smart Eyewear” such as Google Glass, Smartwatches, SmartClothing activity monitors etc.
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