Friday, June 15, 2012


Welcome to the new police state.

Advertising Age, an advertising trade newspaper, has revealed that back in 2010:
 “Microsoft sought to patent an advertising engine that gauges people's emotional states based on their search queries, emails, instant messages and use of online games, as well as facial expressions, speech patterns and body movements. The ad engine is device-agnostic; as Microsoft noted in its application, ‘client devices" could include personal digital assistants, smart phones, laptops, PCs and gaming devices.’” 
Wait a second, just wait a second! I have a problem with some of this. And its use as an “ad engine” is the least of it.

It’s not so much tracking search engine queries that sends chills up my spine. That’s old news. You go to look up, say, “navel lint” and some website pins a cookie to your hard drive. The next thing you know, you’re getting pop-up ads for belly button cleaners, lint tweezers, lint brushes, navel jewelry and pulled pork belly sandwiches at your neighborhood takeout joint. So big deal.

But e-mail? They can read your e-mail? Isn’t that qualitatively the same as illegally tapping somebody’s phone or stealing and reading somebody’s snail mail? And instead of saying to the person on the Microsoft staff who thought of this, “This kind of hacking is against the law and is legally and morally repugnant. You have a criminal mind and you’re fired,” .....Instead of that, they give the guy money and a team to develop the technology?

And then they start reading your facial expressions, presumably through that little chat lens on the top of your screen that you thought was there so that you could have face-to-face conversations with your mom in Mumbai or your pop in Peroria.

What’s the next step?

Well, if I can think of the next step, so can some errant cops, or political thugs, or crypto-fascists, or Mitt Romney. They can catch you frowning at the news that Scott Walker won in Wisconsin, or screaming at the computer screen whenever you catch Mitt lying through his teeth again.

And then they can check your e-mails to see if you were one of the people who’s writing to friends and acquaintances, urging them to vote Democratic.

And then they can come for you and take you away.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Cross-posted at No More Mr. Nice Blog


Anonymous said...

Next: Police Drones—Recording Conversations In Your Home & Business To Forfeit Property?

Police are salivating at the prospect of having drones to spy on lawful citizens. Congress approved 30,000 drones in U.S. Skies. That amounts to 600 drones for every state.

It is problematic local police will want to use drones to record without warrants, personal conversations inside Americans’ homes and businesses: Consider the House just passed CISPA the recent Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. If passed by the Senate, CISPA will allow—the military and NSA spy agency (warrant-less spying) on Americans’ private Internet electronic Communications using so-called (Government certified self-protected cyber entities) and Elements that may share with NSA your private Internet activity, e.g. emails, faxes, phone calls and confidential transmitted files they believe (might) relate to a cyber threat or crime (circumventing the Fourth Amendment) with full immunity from lawsuits if done in good faith.

CISPA does not clearly define what is an Element; or Self-protected Cyber Entity—that could broadly mean anything, e.g. a private computer, local or national network, website, an online service.

Despite some U.S. cities and counties banning or restricting police using drones to invade citizens’ privacy, local police have a strong financial incentive to call in Federal Drones, (Civil Asset Forfeiture Sharing) that can result from drone surveillance). Should (no-warrant drone surveillance evidence) be allowed in courts—circumventing the Fourth Amendment, for example (drones’ recording conversations in private homes and businesses) expect federal and local police civil asset property forfeitures to escalate. Civil asset forfeiture requires only a preponderance of civil evidence for federal government to forfeit property, little more than hearsay: any conversation picked up by a drone inside a home or business, police can take out of context to initiate arrests; or civil asset forfeiture to confiscate a home/business and other assets.

Local police now circumvent state laws that require someone be convicted before police can civilly forfeit their property—by turning their investigation over to a Federal Government Agency that can rebate to the referring local police department 80% of assets forfeited. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to forfeit property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture that have nothing to do with illegal drugs.

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