Monday, October 20, 2014

Social Pollution or Social Control?

Ajit Pai (2014, October 17) The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter. The Washington Post

Ajit Pai is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

[excerpt] If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”[end]


Private tech companies pitch Web surveillance tools to police. By G. W. Schulz Sep 4, 2012

[Excerpted] "Private tech firms have found a new market for their sophisticated software capable of analyzing vast segments of the Internet – local police departments looking for ways to pre-empt the next mass shooting or other headline-grabbing event.

Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites are 24-hour fire hoses of raw information that need an automated tool for deciding what’s important and what is not. So technology companies are pushing products at law enforcement conferences, in trade publications and through white papers that promise to help police filter the deluge for terrorists, traffickers, pedophiles and rioters.

In the process, privacy advocates and other critics fear these tools – once reserved for corporate branding – could ensnare Internet users who happen to be at the wrong cyberspace destination at the wrong time.

...One company, SAS Institute Inc. of North Carolina, teaches police that they can scrape and analyze massive volumes of data from the backsides of Facebook and Twitter – something not everyone even knows is possible.... Two years ago, SAS made its pursuit of law enforcement customers official by acquiring the British firm Memex, which converts disparate pieces of data like fingerprints and mug shots into intelligence by making it more easily available for sharing and analysis. Memex aggressively marketed itself to the dozens of intelligence “fusion centers” created after Sept. 11 that allow local, state and federal police to swap digital tips in a command center-like setting...

...Then there’s 3i-MIND, a Swiss company that last year prominently showcased Web surveillance products at a law enforcement conference in San Diego. There, it pitched OpenMIND, developed specifically for intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which “automatically finds suspicious patterns and behaviors” across the Internet. It digs not just within social media, but also through blogs, online forums and the “deep Web,” where many chat rooms exist....
[end excerpt]

How Privacy Went Extinct By David Rosen, AlterNet 26 August 12

[Excerpted] Two surveillance systems that have recently been in the news, TrapWire and Domain Awareness System (DAS), point to the future of the surveillance state.

First, the isolated element (e.g., the fingerprint, the mug shot) is being integrated into a complex digital profile. Yet, whether a suspicious person or object (e.g., car, container), 21st-century surveillance is grounded in state-of-the-art guesswork.

Second, these systems represent two different business models; one of government use of private product (TrapWire), the other a joint venture between a city government and a private corporation (DAS). This may suggest the next phase in the development of capitalism's corporate state: from regulator to partner. But most of all, TrapWire and DAS exemplify how the state, at both the federal and local levels, is increasing its power to track the lives of ordinary Americas. 

TrapWire correlates video surveillance with other data, including criminal and terrorist watch lists, facial recognition profiles, license plate information, stolen vehicles reports and other event data. Its apparently most break-through feature is predictive capabilities designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance....

DAS has a very different lineage. It was developed as a commercial partnership between the New York City Police Department and Microsoft at an estimated cost of $30 to $40 million. According to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, "We're not your mom and pop police department anymore." The city will get 30 percent of the profits on Microsoft sales of the system to other cities and countries. At the official launch ceremony, Bloomberg boasted, "We are in the next century. We are leading the pack."

With DAS, investigators can track individuals or incidents (e.g., a suspicious package) through live video feeds from some 3,000 CCTV cameras, 2,600 radiation substances detectors, check license plate numbers, pull up crime reports and cross-check all information against criminal and terrorist databases.

These two programs add to a growing arsenal of high-tech capabilities being implemented by both federal and local governments in a ceaseless war against terrorism. [end excerpt]


Buglike Drones 
The New Totalitarianism of Surveillance Technology. By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK. August 16,2 012

The NSA Is Watching YouBy Amy Goodman, Truthdig 26 April 12
Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us. Published on Monday, April 9, 2012 by Common Dreams by Bill Quigley 
 The Surveillance Society Meets Robotic Warfare

1 comment:

  1. MSM's primary job is to spread mis-information. Start there perhaps since We supposedly own the air waves. And this represents a misuse. A fantasy of course.
    So long as money is easily the prime motive everything is for sale--and just about everyone. Greed is supreme. According to Benedictus de Spinoza the three primary affects are desire, joy and sadness. In the USA desire is the DESIRE for wealth. It is a madness that must run its course. Presently I would nominate Monsanto as the corporation most willing to perpetrate insane product use. The world's finest poisoners.


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