Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Privacy campaigners may enjoy the irony'

Paul Marks reports in New Scientist :

An Orwellian nightmare it may be to many of us, but CCTV is a boat full of holes to the organisations that pay for it. That's because the people watching CCTV images back in the control rooms often have too many screens to monitor at once, and so may miss the criminal or antisocial activities they are there to spot.

To the rescue of Big Brother's limited attention capabilities come Ulas Vural and Yusuf Akgul of the Gebze Institute of Technology in Turkey, who have developed a gaze-tracking camera system that watches the eyeballs of CCTV operators as they work. It then automatically produces a summary of the CCTV video sequences they have missed during their shift. "This increases the reliability of the surveillance system by giving a second chance to the operator," the researchers write in the journal Pattern Recognition Letters (DOI: 10.1016/j.patrec.2009.03.002).

The system uses webcam-style cameras trained on the irises of the CCTV operators. From this, software works out where the operators are looking as they stare at each monitor - and the areas they have not been paying attention to. From this it creates a video of what they missed, for them and their bosses to watch at the end of their shift.

~ more... ~

Latest on Pirate Bay trial

From the Pirate Bay Blog :

Regarding Friday [17 Apr, 2009]

On friday we will get the verdict in the ongoing trial. It will not be the final decision, only the first before the losing party will appeal. It will have no real effect on anything besides setting the tone for the debate, so we hope we win of course.

Since a lot of people and press are really interested in the outcome of this part of the spectrial, we've decided to hold a small press conference on friday at 13.00 swedish time (GMT+1 / CET). It will be held on Bambuser, no-one is invited physically to participate, only digitally.

The URL for the Bambuser-stream will be posted on the front page of the site on friday some minutes before 13. If you're from the press or just interested in hearing our thoughts about the outcome, you are welcome to join the stream and chat.

3 Daft Monkeys - 'Paranoid Big Brother'



The song in this video is "Paranoid Big Brother" by 3 Daft Monkeys.

(cc) No Rights Reserved

"The Big Brother State" is an educational film about what politicians claim to be protection of our freedom, but what we refer to as repressive legislation.

Since terrorism has become a global threat, especially after 9/11, governments all over the world have started enforcing laws which, so the governments say, should increase national security.

These laws obviously aim at another goal: the states gaining more and more control of their citizens at the cost of our privacy and freedom.

-------------------------------------------

Original animation by David Scharf:
http://www.huesforalice.com/bbs/index.php?page=start


Remixed under licence from Creative Commons Non-Commercial Sampling Plus 1.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/nc-sampling+/1.0/

Big Brother wants to be your close friend and constant companion


Photographers Rights And The Law In The UK - A brief guide for street photographers.

Know your rights when you're out with your camera.

Despite the law being clear on a citizen's rights to freely take pictures in public places (with a few restrictions) there is growing evidence of the police, police community support officers (PCSOs), security guards and general jobsworths failing to respect the rights of photographers going about their lawful business.

For more info on photographers rights, please visit:
http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographers-rights-and-the-law.html




The Cashless Society Cometh...




Is the NSA copying everything on the internet - your emails, web traffic, VOIP phone calls? Yep - check out this story:

"AT&T whistleblower: I was forced to connect 'big brother machine'"
Reported by David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Wednesday November 7, 2007

A former technician at AT&T, who alleges that the telecom forwards virtually all of its internet traffic into a "secret room" to facilitate government spying, says the whole operation reminds him of something out of Orwell's 1984.

Appearing on MSNBC's Countdown program, whistleblower Mark Klein told Keith Olbermann that a copy of all internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company's San Francisco office -- to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access -- via a cable splitting device.

"My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room," said Klein. "And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those internet cables into the secret room -- and we're talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the internet."

Asked by Olbermann how he knew what was being sent along those particular lines, Klein said it was all part of his former job:

"As a technician, I had the engineering wiring documents, which told me how the splitter was wired to the secret room," Klein continued. "And so I know that whatever went across those cables was copied and the entire data stream was copied..."

According to Klein, that information included internet activity about Americans.

"We're talking about domestic traffic as well as international traffic," Klein said. " And that's what got me upset to begin with."

Previous Bush administration claims that only international communications were being intercepted aren't accurate, Klein says.

"I know the physical equipment, and I know that statement is not true," he added. "It involves millions of communications, a lot of it domestic communications that they're copying wholesale, sweeping up into that secret room."

When Olbermann asked Klein if being involved in the process reminded him of a scene in the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the former technician said he had another movie in mind.

"Actually, I'm a little older so my thought was George Orwell's 1984 and here I am forced to connect the big brother machine," he said. "And I felt I was in a funny position, but I needed my job, so I didn't want to make a fuss a the time. But after I retired, I thought about it some more." According to ABC News, Klein believes AT&T has similar operations in place in as many as 20 other sites.

He is in Washington to lobby Congress not to pass a proposed telecom immunity bill, which would provide legal immunity to companies who secretly participated in NSA warrantless eavesdropping programs. Some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies are currently facing an array of class-action lawsuits related to the matter.




We are living through a surveillance revolution empowered by technology - who is watching you?



A documentary made for A2 level media studies



Talk by James Bamford author of "The Puzzle Palace" and "Body of Secrets" & Chris Calabrese Program Counsel of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Project



Over 4 million cameras, being retro-fitted w/speaker systems. Yelling out orders to people like a concentration camp. Doesn't sound like V for Vendetta at all.
If you want people to be nice or clean up more, have it a point for every citizen to do public service much like some country's requirement for military service.

Evelyn Glennie: How to listen to music with your whole body

From Ted Talks



About this talk

In this soaring demonstration, deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums.

About Evelyn Glennie

Scottish percussionist and composer Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music. Full bio and more links

[ hat tip to Naeem ]

Internet crackdown In France

Piracy could have a new foe by the end of the week: the French government.

Lionel Laurent reports for Forbes :

Pirates sailing the online seas looking for downloadable plunder may have to put France at the bottom of their list this week, as politicians debate a radical new package of measures that would allow the government to cut off Internet access as punishment for illegal downloads.

If the new law is voted through on Thursday, file hunters indulging their appetite for illegal freebies may find themselves facing a "three-strike" system, in which the French government would issue two warnings before finally cutting off Internet access.

According to Agence France-Presse, final tweaks to the proposed measures on Tuesday included a minimum cutoff period of two months, as well as outlining the precise structure of the government body intended to monitor both legal and illegal content distribution on the Internet. Both chambers of parliament will vote on the bill Thursday.

Such a law would be a big boost for media companies like Vivendi as well as retailers with a stake in defending sales of compact discs and DVDs, such as PPR. Up until now, the media industry has had to devote its own money and manpower to go after file-sharing Web sites and their users--one example being the ongoing trial of the Swedish site "The Pirate Bay"--but the proposed law would see a government directly getting involved for the first time.

~ more... ~

How the media controls your mind



"This video is an edited version of one of Alan Watt's Blurbs from November 23 2006. I put this video together to provide a brief introduction to the subject of predictive programming and how the mainstream media has been used to subtly manipulate our minds to guide us down a particular path. There is so much to this whole subject that it is impossible to cover everything within a short video like this. But I have at least tried to get you started by providing a summary of how predictive programming works. If you go to http://www.CuttingThroughTheMatrix.com and check out some of the many talks that Alan has given on this subject, you'll be amazed at the sheer extent of the use of predictive programming in the media.


Predictive programming comes in many forms and many degrees of subtlety. If you have never looked into this subject, you wouldn't even notice how often predictive programming is used in fiction. But when you know how to recognise the signs, you realise that the mainstream media is infested with it. As Alan Watt has said many times: "All fiction is propaganda", and that is so true. When you watch your favorite TV cop drama, you probably assume that it is produced solely for the purpose of providing drama and entertainment for your viewing pleasure. And that's true to an extent. But there's another side to it that most people rarely think about. And that's the fact that these types of programmes are also used as a way of conditioning our minds to accept certain ways of thinking about certain things. When we see a character in the drama react in a certain way to hearing news of a certain thing, we will then be far more likely to react in a similar way. Even though you know you have your own mind, and you know that you are an individual who is free to think in any way you choose, there's no getting away from the fact that you will be influenced by the way other people react to things. We've done it since the day we were born.


For example, let's say your'e watching your favorite soap opera and one of the characters gets the wrong end of the stick and comes up with some crazy idea about how their partner is cheating on them. And then the character's friend says "See, there you go again with your crazy conspiracy theories". This is a typical example of counter-intelligence or propaganda, as it would have the effect of altering the way the viewer thinks about anyone who comes out with any valid idea about how things are not what they seem. Counter-intelligence is often used when a secret has leaked out into the public domain and the establishment tries to attach some false or ridiculous association to the secret so that people will not want to believe it. The term conspiracy theorist was invented for the purpose of discrediting anyone who disagrees with the establishment's interpretation of reality. Due to the effect of predictive programming over the last half century, the term "conspiracy theorist" is now so loaded with negativity that it has become more of an insult than a description.



Occult symbolism is also used extensively in the media, particularly in Hollywood movies, and especially in cartoons targeted at children. From the Wizard of Oz to Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear, the symbolism is put right in your face - hidden in plain sight - and anyone who knows about occult symbolism can see it a mile off. I was amazed at how much occult symbolism is in the Toy Story movie. Virtually every scene contains images of pentagrams and other masonic symbols, like the compass and square.


The people who work in Hollywood are masters at their craft and we have to give them credit for what they do. Not only do they create some amazing movies that keep us entertained, they are also able to use those movies to imprint certain messages in our minds, and without most people being aware of it. Predictive programming isn't always a negative thing in my opinion, as it can be used for positive effects as well. It's a bit like electricity in that regard. Electricity can cook your food but it can also cook YOU if you're not careful. I have no objection to Hollywood or to the people who are employed there. But we should all be aware of how our mind can be programmed if we allow it to be. This short video can only provide an intro to the subject. To get a fuller picture of how predictive programming works and how it has been used, you really need to listen to Alan Watt at http://www.CuttingThroughTheMatrix.com. He goes into detail and he's done extensive research into the subject."

Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates

BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Thousands of dolphins blocked the suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday.

The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China's fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China's.

The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.

~ more... ~

Council spends £60,000 snooping through bins on early morning raids

A council sends snooping officials to rifle through the rubbish of taxpayers at a cost of £60,000 a year.

'Bin police' have been going through wheelie bins in 'dawn raids' in a bid to establish what type of rubbish was being thrown away.

Stunned residents were woken by council contractors emptying their bins into containers at 5.30am before driving off.

The scheme aims to find out levels of household recycling and what measures the local authority could introduce to improve waste disposal and treatment.

But residents have slammed the scheme run by Lancashire County Council as an invasion of their privacy and condemned it as a Big Brother-style intrusion.

~ more... ~

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