Privacy, Democracy and Big Data

I read recently two very interesting articles that discuss in depth the current problems with the internet, privacy and democracy implications. I highly recommend reading both:

  • The Real Privacy Problem
  • Three Paradoxes of Big Data

The Internet and the related technologies erode the very fabric of society. They do so quietly, surreptitiously, in little steps. As usual, do not blame the tool, blame those that use it for evil. Although some tools better not have existed in the first place, I feel.… -->

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Facial recognition for surveillance at large

There is an interesting article about face recognition cameras and software at TechRepublic that cites a few interesting projects and makes a good point about the advances of the technology.

I talked to a few people that know well the camera systems in London and I understand that they now can track anyone around the city automatically. The technology that we think is from fiction books is actually already there. There is no need to think whether it is possible or not, it is. The only problem for wide-spread surveillance is that the cameras have to be installed…

I read a wonderful book “Rule 34” by Charles Stross recently that I can wholeheartedly recommend. The book’s action is set into the future but that is the future that has all the technology of today, simply deployed overall. It is not such a far-fetched story any more than the article linked above.

The spread of surveillance calls to life such things like counter surveillance clothing fashion. I think when it is in the fashion, it is not new any longer, is it?… -->

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Global survillance economic results

An article in The Morning Call talks about economic impact of the NSA surveillance, but limits the discussion to its area of interest – the US companies, while making me think about the rest of the world:

Worldwide spending on the cloud is expected to double over the next three years to more than $200 billion. U.S. firms have been leaders in developing the technology. According to a new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, however, global worries about NSA surveillance are likely to reduce U.S. market share.

The report’s admittedly loose estimate is that U.S. cloud-computing firms will lose $21 billion to $35 billion in revenue between now and 2016. According to the report, some 10 percent of non-U.S. members of the Cloud Security Alliance said they’ve canceled a project with a U.S. company since the disclosure of the NSA’s surveillance. In addition, 56 percent indicated “that they would be less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud computing service.”

Interestingly, this does not only apply to the US economy. There are companies everywhere that would rather prefer not to be monitored. That would rather prefer to go about their business without this stranger looking over their shoulder day and night. What will happen?

I think we may be facing a new arms race soon. The businesses with money were not all that interested in keeping things private until now. Now they will likely invest in tools for privacy and the tools will get better. And so off we go, there will be demand for privacy from the, ahem, private sector and the demand for surveillance from the government sector. Big money to be made.

Just wondering… will the common citizen become “collateral damage” in this war?… -->

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Surveillance and resistance

Quite interestingly, it seems there is some resistance to total surveillance, both in the minds and in the reality. Yes, the surveillance is increasing and the automated processes for surveillance, linking of events, things and people and follow-up and recognition is driving the technological advances now in the so-called “big data” processing. Not only your shopping habits but also all of your whereabouts can be linked together and clearly identified with sufficient data and processing power.… -->

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Surveillance at large

It was only a matter of time before all those security cameras would supply the images to a central location and become a part of a large surveillance network. It was inevitable from the beginning. Now Wikileaks apparently revealed some documents that shed light on the USA surveillance network that is, indeed, using those surveillance cameras all over the country as this article in io9 reports. Inevitable.… -->

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