Things are not looking pretty for the land of the free.
The year 2014 has made it very clear that privacy is under threat, and the situation is not likely to improve. Mass surveillance – which became a national issue via theEdward Snowden leaks – is not subsiding or under reform; instead, it is becoming more bold and complex with each passing day.
It would take several books to catalog the myriad ways in which the rights of The People have been casually infringed upon by various levels of government just in years since 9/11 and the introduction of the PATRIOT Act.
And it’s not only federal agencies like the NSA, Homeland Security and the FBI that are taking liberties with our … umm … liberties; it is local police, too. The rise of technology is rapidly fueling these agencies with data and “intelligence” with very little oversight and even less pause for reflection to use these powerful abilities wisely and, yes, judiciously.
Here are just a few major areas where privacy has lost badly to surveillance technology in 2014. Not that anyone is paying attention, but they are worth reflecting upon soon – hopefully before it is too late to turn things back around:
1. Militarized Police and Weapons of War on American Streets:
True, this technology has been in use for several years now and has been demonstrated at protests such as the those held outside of the G20 in Pittsburgh, Toronto and other locales.
But the events in Ferguson really allowed this brand of crowd control to come of age. This and other key protests have seemingly justified a massive police response for just about anything now …but… you know, the first amendment is still respected and all.
The Daily Sheeple reported:
Ferguson police have stocked up on less-lethal ammunition in the last few months including “hornets nest” CS sting grenades, which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation, tear gas, riot gear, plastic handcuffs and the like in the lead up to the decision which is expected to come any time now. St Louis County police have spent $172,669 on this stuff just since August.
The Pentagon’s 1033 surplus program, which hands out everything from MRAP armored vehicles, to bulletproof vests, assault rifles, and other military weapons to domestic law enforcement agencies, is one of the major reasons that ordinary police departments, including those in small towns, are gearing up as for battle … and that includes Ferguson:
The Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program) is authorized under federal law and managed through the Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety. The Missouri Department of Public Safety is the sponsoring state agency responsible for administration of the 1033 Program in Missouri.
2. Biometrics Comes of Age:
Fingerprints and iris scans are becoming normalized as identifiers on mobile phones, including the iPhone 5, computers and other platforms.
Increasingly, technology – including devices used by police – areutilizing other bodily features (in addition to fingerprints and eyes) to identify you, including ears, noses, heart rate (via electrocardiogram), blood vein matching, your scent or smell and even “butt biometrics” – no joke – which will allow smart car seats to identify the sitter based on their unique posture.
While these are surely being integrated into law enforcement devices, they are also becoming the mainstays of “wearables,” the new trendy technology that is collecting data on all of those using it to track health progress, etc.
Surveillance cameras have already been used to identify you by your walk for several years now, but advances have allowed technology to even identify the person wearing a camera, such as a police officer with a mounted body cam, by just 4 seconds of footage, revealing a ‘biometric fingerprint’of the individual.
Of course, roadside blood draws have already entered the picture in law enforcement work, including numerous locales that have implemented mandatory policies during stops. This is sure to pick up. In Seattle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted a paid, voluntary survey of drivers who received up to $60 to give blood and breath samples at a roadside stopin an effort to study how many people drive impaired.
3. Smart Phone Apps Know Everything About You:
Vocative published a long and unsettling list of apps for smart phones and other similar devices that all collect untold amounts of information about you every day.
Whether you realize it or not, permissions for apps routinely allow the collection and sharing of such information as your contact and address book, your text message, audio recorded from your device’s microphone, your call log and much more.
Yes, this is really happening, so beware if you are using mobile apps including:
By Mac Slavo – Activist Post –