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Surveillance

  1. Under $100 Lamp Records and Secretly Livetweets Conversations

    Let's shed some light... on your secrets.

    Remember comedian Kyle Ayers eavesdropping on and livetweeting a couple's breakup? Hilarious, yes, but ethical... hard to say. Well, any residual paranoia New Yorkers had left over from that fiasco is about to increase 1,000 fold: the city now has secret livetweeting lamps. Quick, everyone do a room check!

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  2. Sources Say the NSA Kept Heartbleed Bug A Secret And Exploited It For Years

    Et tu, CVE-2014-0160?

    We've only known about the Heartbleed threat since April 7th, but sources say the bug was no surprise to the NSA. In a violation of trust that may end America's remaining patience for irresponsible surveillance, the NSA kept the coding flaw a secret and left citizens vulnerable to threats from criminals and foreign intelligence agencies for years.

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  3. The NSA’s Leaked Advice Column Is Real and Extremely Ironic

    Dear Redacted...

    Being a professional voyeur is stressful. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that the NSA provided their employees with the guidance necessary to navigate the demands of their unique profession using a "Dear Abby"-style advice column. One frequent complaint? NSA spies were uncomfortable with constant surveillance in the workplace.

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  4. Today We Fight Back Against the NSA and Our Future Orwellian Dystopia With a Day of Activism

    We're mad as Hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore.

    The Internet is tired of complaining about the NSA, but instead of taking the "just stop complaining about it" option, there's an Internet-wide day of activism today. So, if you want your Internet porn habits to stay private (or your personal phone records. Whatever), crank up "We're Not Gonna Take It" and read what they want you to do about it.

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  5. PRSM: The Social Network You’re Part Of Whether You Like It or Not

    The ability to constantly share everything, with people you've never met before, and you don't even know they're listening! Welcome to the future!

    Do you like sharing on the Internet? Of course you do, it's what the Internet is for! But what if there was a service to let you share everything? Not just what you think is cool, but every site you visit and email you send, period. Good news -- there is! And the better news? You're already signed up for PRSM, the NSA's new social network.

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  6. Guardian Tool Lets You Know Exactly How Panicked to Be About NSA Surveillance

    Dear NSA: I love bald eagles and America, I promise.

    If you're paranoid and obsessive, not to mention prone to oversharing, there's a good chance you're a little concerned about this whole NSA surveillance thing. And it's not unlikely that you've been mentally running through every text, phone call, picture, email, and IM you've sent in the past, well, ever. But worry no more! The Guardian has developed a tool to see just how likely it is that the NSA cares about you. At all.

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  7. Wait, Really? New Poll Shows Most People Are Okay With NSA Accessing Their Phone Records

    What would be more unnerving to you -- that your government was keeping a running list of all the calls you made from your cell phone, or that your neighbor probably wouldn't have a problem with the policy? If it's that last one...well, we've got some bad news. A poll taken last week by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post found that  most respondents  -- 56% to be exact -- found the NSA's phone record requisitions to be fair play.

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  8. 1984 Up 7,000% in Popularity on Amazon This Week

    George Orwell's classic novel of a dystopian future is now a very popular guide to the world in which we live.

    As news of government surveillance of private citizens continues to break, many people are looking for a convenient primer on living under the all-seeing eye of a totalitarian dictatorship. Granted, we're not there yet, but that hasn't stopped plenty of folks from preparing. For Amazon, that means that copies of 1984, George Orwell's bleak vision of a dystopian future, is positively flying off of digital shelves, shooting up a staggering 7,005% in popularity in the past few days.

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  9. Drones, Drones Everywhere: German Railway to Test Anti-Graffiti Drones Despite Privacy Concerns

    Germany's national railway is testing small surveillance drones to stop graffiti, because of course.

    Germany is a country that takes its privacy very seriously. Google has had a number of problems with German privacy laws in the past, which is why it's surprising to see that the country's national rail system is considering using surveillance drones to stop people from vandalizing railway stations. When I say, "stop people," they'll just be gathering evidence as a preventative measure, not firing missiles at vandals or anything like that. At least not yet.

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  10. Governments Behaving Badly: U.K. to Track Online Messaging, U.S. Allowed to Straight Bomb Citizens

    Want some creepy, Big Brother flavored news? The British government is mulling a plan that would riddle its telecommunication infrastructure with "probes" that could surreptitiously read and glean information from citizens' emails and Facebook messages. Any other day, that would be the most offensive and invasive thing done by any major world power to their citizens. The United Kingdom got a stroke of luck, though, releasing the report in the wake of a leak from the U.S. Department of Justice that outlined the circumstances in which the United States government can use a robot to rain fire from the sky on a U.S. citizen without due process. Which is...probably worse? Yeah, probably worse. No one is having a great day here, though.

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  11. Meet MeCam, The $50 Surveillance Drone That Will Watch You Wherever You Go Next Year

    Have you always wanted a tiny robot that hovers behind you, documenting your every move, but don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a lumbering UAV or a quadcopter so noisy it can't join you inside fancy restaurants? Of course you have, because it's pretty clearly the coolest part of living in a self-inflicted Orwellian police state. Well, your long wait is getting close to over with the announcement of MeCam, a tiny, digital camera-equipped quadcopter that will follow you around and upload pictures and videos of you to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more in real time. Even better? The MeCam is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and should retail for just $50 when it comes to market early next year, meaning you'll never again have to worry about living an unexamined life.

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  12. Bus Rides More Uncomfortable Than Ever Thanks to Government Surveillance Devices

    Because berserk homeless people and the combined smell of the passengers' rancid body odor didn't make riding the bus enough of a horrible experience, government officials are currently in the process of installing surveillance devices to record any and all conversations during bus rides -- and we mean from everybody on board. The plan will be put into action in a number of major city transit hubs across the nation ranging from San Francisco, California to Baltimore, Maryland. Advocates say that this system of audio surveillance will aid in law enforcement and resolving service issues, but, frankly the public would probably rather not have the government hear their thoughts on last night's episode of American Horror Story.

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  13. Father Builds Child-Tracking Quadcopter To Accompany His Kid To The Bus Stop

    Tired of walking your kid to the bus stop every morning? Inventive dad Paul Wallich was. That's why he outsourced the gig to a quadcopter keyed in to track a GPS beacon stashed in his son's backpack. The result is a pretty amazing piece of high-tech parenting -- a flying drone that can follow his child from a set distance and make sure the kid stays out of trouble.

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  14. The Thousands of Surveillance Orders Issued Against Citizens Stay Secret For Too Long, Judge Says

    Search and surveillance has always been a part of criminal investigation and to keep things from going too far, searches generally require warrants. That's how it works in the physical world, and for the most part, that's how it works in the cyberworld too. There's one big difference though: In the real world, police sometimes come to your door with the warrant, letting you know something is up; whereas in cyberland searches and surveillance are secret by default. As such, many of those surveilled in investigations that never turn into cases will never know they were being watched. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith sees this as a problem.

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  15. Japanese Surveillance System Can Scan 36 Million Faces in a Second

    Step one of achieving a dystopia  is having the physical infrastructure to monitor large amounts of people at all times. Step two is having the software (or manpower I guess) to parse it all. A Japanese surveillance company has just made huge strides in that second part. The company, Hitachi Kokusai Electric, is just finishing development of a facial recognition system that, given enough footage, can scan and index around 36 million faces in just around 1 second. You'd need a pretty insane amount of footage before that calculation time became non-trivial.

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  16. Cisco Sued by Religious Group Falun Gong, Accused of Facilitating Chinese Spying

    Consumer electronics giant Cisco is facing down a lawsuit brought by 11 members of the Chinese religious group Falun Gong which claim that the company was complicit in the Chinese crackdown on the religion. Founded in 1992, Falun Gong grew to massive popularity in China until it was outlawed by the government in 1999. Since then, members of the group have reportedly been the victims of numerous human rights abuses. The suit claims that Cisco competed forcefully for a contract with the Chinese government, knowing full well that their surveillance technology "Policenet" would be used to monitor and repress Falun Gong online activities. Falun Gong claims that as a result of Cisco's successful contract bid, over 5,000 members of their religion were arrested, possibly tortured or killed. Cisco has stated that they are not at fault, and will fight the suit "vigorously" in American courts. A Cisco representative has stated that the company operates no networks in China and followed U.S. export policies for technology and did not customize the Policenet system -- which Falun Gong refers to as "Golden Shield" -- in any way for use by the Chinese government. The suit was filed in San Jose, California, and there is no word as to when it is expected to go to trial. (CNET via Slashdot)

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  17. New Information In School Webcam Spying Scandal: “Thousands” of Secret Pictures Taken of Students

    This February, parents of Lower Marion high school students brought suit against the school district for covertly spying on students using the webcameras of school issued MacBooks.  The LMSD said that the cameras, equipped with remote access software, were simply a security feature to be used in the case that the laptops were stolen or misplaced.  Parents say that they were never informed about this possible use of the cameras, and that some were activated without the computer being reported lost.  Michael and Holly Robbins found out about the cameras when pictures from their son's computer were used as evidence in disciplinary action against him. Now comes the information that the webcams took "thousands" of secret pictures of students in their homes.

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