According to Dan Amira at NYMag:
… On the streets of London, right now, there are a dozen recycling bins that track the movements of passersby based on a unique I.D. on their smartphones. The bins, which display video ads, can “identify if the person walking by is the same one from yesterday, even her specific route down the street and how fast she is walking,” Quartz reports. But the bins are just one component of what could one day become a vast advertising network tailored precisely to you, with a specificity beyond even what was imagined in Minority Report:
The company still needs to sell retailers on the concept. Memari said he was working on a proposal for a bar that would install five tracking devices: one by the entrance, one on the roof, one near the cash register, and one in each of the bathrooms. That would allow the bar to know each person’s gender (from the bathroom trackers), how long they stay (“dwell time” is the official metric), and what they were there for (a drink outside or a meal inside). And targeted advertising for the pub could follow those people around London on Renew’s omniscient recycling bins…
Yeah, I know some people already pay to have their smartphones nag them about their calorie intake and exercise output. Just feeling like a Luddite, right now.
Or never go to London. At least not with a network-compatible phone.
What a fucking nightmare.
Has any enterprising developer come up with a “block my phone’s signal” app yet? Something that would still allow you to text, receive data, etc. but not allow your phone to be tracked without your permission or knowledge?
@kc: What a fucking nightmare.
I agree. But if the Feds were to monitor all this stuff to make me safer, I’m totally on board.
It’s all good future paranoid stuff that would no doubt send a tingle up Glenn Beck’s leg. For an extra hit of the looming gamified commercial horror that awaits all of us helpless little bunnies, try Jesse Schell’s talk at DICE in 2010:
Does anyone ever consider turning off their phone? Or disabling the GPS and figuring out where the fuck you are the old fashioned way?
Of course, that wouldn’t change the fact that this is a fucking nightmare.
If you think this is just a test in a London bar, you’re high.
My favorite coffee shop is doing it.
@SG: Does turning off the GPS do any good? Can’t they track you anyway? Mine is always off and if I pull up maps, the phone seems to know where I am.
Edit: And a lot of people can’t turn off their phones because they’re used for work.
How long before a divorce law gets a subpoena for the dataset?
Proud non-owner of a smartphone. I’ve got a $20 GoPhone that I bought in a blister-pack, and it does calls and texts just fine. I can play Angry Birds on my laptop if I feel like it.
Actually, it’s the other way around — as soon as private companies start monitoring this stuff, the government will figure out how to get on board. So here’s a thought, maybe we should ban private companies from doing this rather than trying to prevent the government from getting the information from private companies after the fact?
At the Missouri State Fair rodeo last night:
There’s a photo. I spoke on the phone with two people who were there. They confirmed the account.
@SG: Unless you take out the battery, your phone is never ‘off’. You may turn off the display, but otherwise all the button pushing and whatever and so forth is just Human Interface.
There is at least one company that is working with major retailers to identify customers when they walk in the store by their cell phone. They will beam coupons to your phone or point you to specific items based on past purchases. (this was being tested at several large stores 4-5 years ago so I assume it is pretty far along
The end result for the retailer is more sales but as Target famously found out a while back such data mining could lead to them sending information someone does not want known to people it is not intended for
@Michael Bersin: Holy. Shit.
Wouldn’t one of those chips that Obama wants to implant into everyone do the job too?
OTOH, is it any different from the websites displaying ads based on what they learn from your (private? HA) activities?
And that leads me to wonder what exactly old Ed Snowden is doing in Russia to make himself invisible to all this internet stuff? Living with a herd of yaks in the tundra?
@Mnemosyne: as soon as private companies start monitoring this stuff, the government will figure out how to get on board
Are you suggesting that the appropriate solution to invasive government is to curtail private activities? Make them illegal? To protect citizens from government?
Am I understanding that correctly?
Here’s a different take on companies with large databases and how they’re playing with them. OxyContin maker closely guards its list of suspect doctors.
Read to the bottom.
Uh, yep. The AP, KSHB (NBC affiliate in Kansas City) and the Kansas City Star are on it, too.
I’m concerned that the individuals who told the story are gonna have the usual right wingnut crazies checking out their kitchen countertops…
You mean like purchasing on-line, real time,” marketing information?”
@Stillwater: Problem is, it’s not the Feds and people are happier to have corporate entities do this, yet freak out about much less intrusive data mining.
@Violet: Yep. It’s called power down. You aren’t going to get your texts or your phone calls without the network being able to know where you are.
As for tracking your ID, is this really any different than going to a bar enough times that the bartender knows your face and gives you special treatment because of it? And if you say, encrypt the key, if the company knows the format of the messages the phone uses to communicate with the network, and they are standard, an encrypted key that comes up the same each day is still a key.
London is already blanketed with cameras in public spaces, so I suspect they will quickly get used to something like this and move on. I don’t know if I agree with that attitude or not, but it really doesn’t seem to bother them.
Exciting finish to the PGA comin up.
@Belafon: As for tracking your ID, is this really any different than going to a bar enough times that the bartender knows your face and gives you special treatment because of it?
Uh, yeah. Like, categorically different. In the one case a single person knows your habits, proclivities and preferences. In the other, anyone who wants to know has access to data establishing those things.
@Violet: Turn off the WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular radios. Also known as “airplane mode” or simply turning the phone off.
These trash cans will pick up and record the MAC address of the phone’s WiFi adapter, probably. That’s how I’d do it. The MAC is coded in firmware and it doesn’t change.
@Belafon: That’s not exactly an app that does what I said. I thought unless you took the battery out, the phone was still trackable.
Is the bartender in your scenario pushing coupons into your hand for drinks or snacks you’ve bought only once and some you’ve never purchased without actually greeting you or having a personal interaction with you or asking if you want them? Is he calling you by your given name instead of the nickname you commonly use? Is he selling your name and your purchasing history and daily traveling habits to a hundred other companies and you have no control over what they do with that info?
Are you sure about this?
When I hold down the button on my iphone4, there is an option to turn off the phone, and turning it off then back on appears to involve a boot process. And it appears to not drain the battery roaming when turned off. And running applications appear to be reset when going through the apparent on-off cycle.
@Soonergrunt: Also the Bluetooth address, which also doesn’t change. Better: both. However, I don’t know how many people would have either on in a bar anyway.
@Violet: If the GPS is off, the phone can usually determine its location by using triangulation off the very cell towers that it needs to work. Accurate to anywhere from a couple of hundred yards to a few feet depending upon how many towers are within line of sight. Phones can also determine their location fairly accurately by reading WiFi signals. There’s more to the back end of that particular technology, but it can generally generate a location fix within 100 feet.
I’m sure they’re doing it already.
@MikeJ: That’s already been happening. In fact, several divorce lawyers have supposedly subpoenaed the NSA for that very information, according to a report I read a few weeks back.
That’s rather Greenwaldian of you.
@Belafon: To expand on my quote, for everyone here. Here’s the way your cell phone is different than every other way you used to communicate.
In the old days, you’re phone was fixed to one place. At the time your phone company set up your number, it set up its network so that if someone was trying to call you, or you were trying to call someone, it knew exactly where the two ends were.
Now days, though, we walk around, and are never in the location where we bought our phone. So, instead, your phone has to periodically tell the cell tower where you are. And by periodically, I mean frequently, so that if you get closer to another tower, the stuff being sent to you gets switched to the new tower. And, like all things antenna, your phone doesn’t point a little flashlight at a tower, because it doesn’t know where one is. So it yells, as quietly as possible to save power, so that one or more antenna know where you are. And what it yells is a standard format, CDMA or GSM. And lots of people know those. So, if you are willing to spend the money, you can figure out what this message is.
@burnspbesq: Heh. I was gonna go that direction at first, but thought it was too easy!
@Michael Bersin: Little Green Footballs linked to the photo. It’s disgusting. This type of behavior cannot help Repubs in the next presidential elections.
@Soonergrunt: My wifi is almost always off when I’m outside of a known location with wifi (like the house), although I’ll have data on.
@Bill Arnold: The fact that the phone detects ‘turning it back on’ means something inside it is on. And, fwiw, if you ever go to ‘secure’ sites, you leave your phone at the door, and not leaving your phone at the door is a serious security violation. I would assume this is not just the Security Department’s little joke.
@Violet: Possibly. He sees you come in, prepares your favorite drink, and tells the waitress that this one is for free. She knows he does this for those who come in a lot. Therefore, she swings by your table more often. She also lets the other waiters and waitresses know.
I’d like to think that somewhere deep inside one of our intelligence agencies is a person with enough actual intelligence to figure out that the potential yield from hacking into these systems isn’t worth the potential shit-storm if it leaks.
@Bill Arnold: I think you’re right and MattF is wrong. There’s a difference between putting the device to sleep and turning it off. The latter ceases all electronic operations, and is functionally the same as removing the battery; the phone makes no contacts with networks and does no updating of apps.
@Belafon: That’s not the same thing. Did they press coupons into my hand for unrelated drinks–not my favorite–and suggest I try them? Did they do any body-language reading to decide if I want the free drink and acknowledgement of being a regular today or not? Maybe I just want a quiet corner and to be treated like everyone else. If they did that, they’re very different from a corporate monitoring system that calls me by whatever name they have for me, which may not be what I’m called, and can’t read the mood I’m in.
@ruemara: I’m not sure what you’re saying so I don’t know how to respond. I take it, tho, that you’re saying some data collection by government is justified and people who object to it are over-reacting. Is that right?
Yes, I’m suggesting that the government regulate private companies and ban them from invading their customers’ privacy. OMG SOSHULISM!!
Are you suggesting that private companies should be able to do anything they want without government interference?
@burnspbesq: As long as the government does that without violating the law, there’s no problem here. I submit to you sir that it would be Greenwaldian if she had suggested something along the lines of “The Government has already done this and sent people who asked about to GITMO!”
@MattF: I imagine the secure sites don’t want to deal with teaching everyone the difference between turning the device off and putting it to sleep. Or of risking someone turning the device back on after entering, either accidentally or on purpose. Anyway, by your logic if I turn a light off it is still on since I can activate it using a switch.
Well, no sane person objects to the government collecting census data.
So police investigating a murder should not be allowed to subpoena phone records? Should subpoenas be banned entirely since you object to any data collection by the government?
@Violet: I can’t speak for iOS but for Android turning off GPS probably won’t help much. Google recently sent out an update to Google Services that tracks a phone’s location via WiFi access points. It’s really useful in a building where GPS is unreliable and you have WiFi. You could make your phone more untrackable by turning off WiFi and Data(3G or 4G or whatever).
@Violet: As long as the cellular radio is on, your phone can be located. As long as any of the radios is on, signals can be sent to the device to turn on the others, turn on the microphone and/or camera.
I’m pretty sure Greenwald would freak out at the merest suggestion that the government should be allowed to regulate corporations in any way whatsoever.
@Michael Bersin: I read shit like this and I just want to cry.* Can’t imagine how much that would hurt for Obama himself, or Michelle or the girls, or any people of color, or, well, any people with a little bit of humanity remaining in them. How in the world do they keep from screaming and cursing and lashing out every day?
*In fact, I am crying.
@scav: That’ll make ol’ Rush happy.
@jheartney: Well, a light switch is a real mechanical switch, a button on a phone is not. It’s possible that the logic of keeping phones out of secure sites is that you just don’t allow people to do dumb things, but the attitude I’ve seen among site managers is ‘Bringing in a phone is unsafe. Period.’
@BillinGlendaleCA: Like I said above, my WiFi is almost always off. Not sure that makes a difference, though.
Is this cellular radio just the basic phone itself? Or something you can turn off and the phone still works? I have “airplane mode” and “driving mode”, so I know things can be turned off and the phone still work, but I don’t know if that means it’s still trackable.
@Mnemosyne: Nice, Mnem. That’s exactly what I expected from you: proposing a crystal clear binary division about what most rational, thinking people view as complex problems requiring a bit of nuance.
Yes, I’m suggesting that the government regulate private companies and ban them from invading their customers’ privacy. OMG SOSHULISM!!
No, that’s not what your argument up to this point has been. It’s that we should regulate private companies to protect citizens from government. But that’s not socialism. It’s the opposite.
Are you suggesting that private companies should be able to do anything they want without government interference?
No, of course not. I never said anything which would lead a careful reader to think I do. Go back and look at what I wrote. But again, you’re argument wasn’t that private companies ought not be allowed to collect, maintain and distribute this type of information because doing so violates people’s rights. It was that preventing private data collection preempts government from gaining access to and abusing it.
I’m open to some subtleties here. Are you?
The crazies have been selling gun targets of the most offensive variety with images of Obama on them for years now. I suspect that the Obamas have got used to shrugging and ignoring the haters, rather than letting them get into their heads – which is very much what the haters would like to achieve as a first step.
I was on a road trip which crossed into a different time zone, and the clock on the rental car changed within 1/4 mile. I checked my flip phone (back when they were new) and the time didn’t change,
(For about 15 seconds, which was pretty much the same thing). Those phones are designed to know where the nearest tower is. And they save lives. And it’s all spelled out in the fine print!
Which NOBODY reads.
@Mnemosyne: So police investigating a murder should not be allowed to subpoena phone records? Should subpoenas be banned entirely since you object to any data collection by the government?
Wtf are you talking about, Mnem? I’m talking about the surveillance state. You’re talking about government being able to collect evidence in a criminal trial. Of course government gets to collect evidence in a criminal trial. Otherwise there is no trial.
Calm down and think, Mnem. You’ve got a brain in there. Use it.
You posed a broad question about the government collecting data. People answered you in those terms. If you aren’t happy with the answer, blame your poorly framed question, rather than being snotty to those who responded.
The calorie tracker I have on my smartphone was a free download. I’m not sure who pays for stuff anymore :-)
@Mnemosyne: Is stillwater T and H? Or cornerstone under a new name? That style looks really familiar.
Please point me to any comment of yours in this thread that indicated you were looking for nuance.
Actually, no. My argument for weeks has been that if we want to prevent the government from getting hold of people’s data, we first have to prevent private companies from collecting that data, because that’s where the government is getting it from, at least according to Greenwald and Snowden. Are you saying you think Greenwald and Snowden are wrong or have published incorrect information? If so, you should be careful, because their partisans will rip you to shreds for even hinting at such a thing.
Yes, that’s what I was saying — the government is not doing its own, original data collection, it’s getting it from private companies that are already collecting the data. Again, if you have conflicting information and can show that Greenwald and Snowden are wrong and the government is doing their own data collection independent of what they’re getting from Google or Facebook, please share it.
And, yes, I think the government should protect us from the private companies that are invading our privacy rather than letting private companies do whatever they want. I’m just old-fashioned that way, I guess.
Man, between “there are 47% percent of the people…” and “holding my nose…” it’s like you can’t be a high profile opponent of the administration lately without somebody spying on you or your staff and recording what you say.
That evidence only exists because a private company collects it. Again, if you have evidence that the “surveillance state” is collecting that kind of information in the United States independent of private companies, please provide those links. Obviously, the UK is a different story since they have government surveillance cameras on every corner in London, but you’ll need to let me know if you’re discussing the British surveillance state rather than the US surveillance state so I at least know which country is being discussed.
@Violet: But I don’t think the argument here is how a company treats you versus how a company (bar) treats you. The argument is that information about you is being recorded, in this case by one or more people versus a trash can. About the only difference is that it generally takes a person more than one time to recognize someone, so our privacy is dependent on the limited storage capacity of the human brain, though I have known some people that are very good at knowing everyone they meet.
But to continue what you are asking, about the only difference between the scenario I describe and what you describe is what each thinks is good for business. And if giving coupons to people, and having waitresses recommend specials, drives up business, then they’ll do it.
So the recycle bins will now be able to spam us. Will they have an opt in or opt out feature? Guess it depends on how much the customers complain.
@Mnemosyne: because that’s where the government is getting it from, at least according to Greenwald and Snowden. Are you saying you think Greenwald and Snowden are wrong or have published incorrect information?
Hah! So Burns was right! You’re a Greenwaldian about this!
And no, I don’t think GG and Snowden were wrong to publish this stuff. But that should have been apparent from the argument I’m making, Mnem. And I find it interesting – confunsingly so – you’d think that was a button for me. It’s like you don’t read what people write, and instead react according to a previously determined protocol. And this isn’t the first time you and I have gone round about these types of things. It’s effing weird.
@Violet: The cellular radio is what makes your phone a cell phone. Without it, you either have a iPod (or something that just has local apps) or a battery powered brick (if you have a phone that does thing but calls). See my comment above.
@NickT: You posed a broad question about the government collecting data. People answered you in those terms. If you aren’t happy with the answer, blame your poorly framed question, rather than being snotty to those who responded.
“Snotty”? Coming from you?
@Belafon: I guess I see a difference between a person “recording” you–in the sense of recognizing you and remembering key things about you–and a corporation tracking your movements via a third party item (your phone). People have always used their brains to remember things about other people–what they look like, how they sound, what they smell like, what they like and don’t like and so forth. It’s how we as humans are wired. If a bartender (presumably a human) does that with his customers, it is a small extension of his abilities as a human in general.
A corporation tracking your moves by your phone, which it sounds like they don’t own because it’s separate company that owns the recycling can trackers, involves very little or no human interaction. It also means the info about you can be stored forever. If this company wants to track your movements and preferences throughout your entire life, they can just download your file and do so. It’ll always be there.
Will the bartender always remember you? If you don’t go to the bar for five or ten years? Maybe he’ll leave the bar, and if you go back, no one remembers you. No free drink for you. It’s an entirely different scenario from a corporation tracking your movements to profit off them.
Phoenician in a time of Romans
Remember how conservation and recycling is supposed to lead to economic ruin? Well…
In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide electricity to a quarter of a million homes and 20 percent of the entire country’s district heating, Sweden is now importing trash from the landfills of other European countries. In fact, those countries are paying Sweden to do so.
You read that correctly, countries are paying to get rid of a source of fuel they themselves produced so that Sweden can continue to have the energy output they need. You don’t have to be an economist to know that’s one highly enviable energy model.
@NickT: Oh, I know. I suppose anyone in public life grapples at some point with the idea that they may, someday, be a target for somebody. But it’s so nakedly racial in the case of the Obamas, and in this particular instance has a not-quite-but-almost state-sanctioned imprimatur (*cough* Missouri State Fair *cough*). I’m not sure how you go about shrugging and ignoring all the damn time. I mean, I can see them saying “As soon as this campaign ends, so will these attacks mostly” but I can’t imagine the mindset it would take to shrug it off every day for eight years or more.
@Mnemosyne: Obviously, the UK is a different story since they have government surveillance cameras on every corner in London,
In 2005, the New York Civil Liberties Union conducted the most intense camera count (PDF), but focused mainly on Lower Manhattan. The group counted 4,176 cameras below 14th Street, an area about one-sixth the size of the island. That’s up 443 percent from 1998, when the group conducted its first study. Greenwich Village and SoHo offered the least privacy, with a rate of three cameras per acre, or one for every 84 residents.
@Mnemosyne: Disco! The government has outsourced and privatized its surveillance, is one way to look at it. Another is that the corporate surveillance state is way more pervasive and invasive than anything the government does, and people don’t view it as a threat, even willingly submit to it! I find the latter to be scarier than the former, but I’d consider either or both conclusions to be valid… and both to be things we should find ways around.
And, as I have said, technology toothpaste does not ever go back into the tube. It just needs to be regulated and carefully controlled, with checks and balances. And the only thing that really makes a technology less powerful is if it is replaced by a more effective/dangerous/powerful technology. Always.
We invented nuclear weapons, we still have nuclear weapons. We invented guns, we still have guns. We invented bombs, we still have bombs. We invented fighter planes, we still have fighter planes. We invented aircraft carriers, we still have aicraft carriers. We invented swords, we still have swords. The old technologies never go away, but ony get supplanted by more powerful ones in most situations.
All of this surveillance tech will always be with us. Now that it’s here, it’s here to stay. What to do about it, or how to fight against it, that is a serious question. And I’m leaning towards a combined strategy of arms race (i.e. encryption everywhere) and legislation to decriminalize many everyday things people do (i.e. drug use, prostitution, sex in general) that would make the possession of all this evidence by the state unattractive or useless, or at least much more harmless, and also legislation to further restrict its use in criminal proceedings.
@Violet: And what’s the difference between what you say about a corporation tracking you and the government tracking you?
@cathyx: I don’t like either one. Why are you asking?
@SiubhanDuinne: They, people of color and “the other”, have been dealing with this for so long that actions such as were described are both commonplace and like water off a duck’s back.
Okay, I will believe you — but I still find it hard to fathom.
/Thin-skinned white person
@Violet: I totally agree. Our laws, and our beliefs, are based on the idea that 1) it’s hard to get this information, and 2) that people forget easily. This is very similar to a discussion a few days ago about organizations recording everything. Someone made a comment about “The Wire,” and about how there was an episode where, when two dealer groups got together, someone tried to take minutes. One of the reasons we know about how many Jews the Germans killed is that they kept records. When the US killed bin Laden, the important thing wasn’t killing him, it was getting to the records he kept.
I do think an interesting discussion would be for a bunch of people, like most of us here, to get in a room together and try to figure out what new laws would look like concerning data, privacy, and the needs of law enforcement. I think there is a legitimate need of law enforcement that prevents something like “you shall never record any data.”
A real interesting question about the spam cans above is how do you write a law that keeps up with changing technology? If we write a law that says “you cannot collect information without the user agreeing,” it’s really not much different than now, because most people agree to a lot of things without reading what they are agreeing to. And the company above doesn’t even have to know who you are exactly. And specifically, no person will ever know who you are. How would you write legislation that prevents a company from doing something like:
1) Someone does a study that shows that men stay at a bar longer than women. Without knowing who you are, they could use the fact that they can triangulate your position to figure out your gender, and target ads toward you.
2) Someone shows that men are more likely to leave a bar alone or in pairs, while women leave in pairs or groups. They then track how groups of phones exit the bar to determine who you are.
And all of this is done without a human ever seeing this data. Actually, a person could never discern these patterns.
Davis X. Machina
How about low-turn-out second-term midterms?
@Michael Bersin: Disgusting but sadly, not surprising.
I wonder if Brad Pitt’s mom was part of the audiance hooting and hollering?
@HinTN: Not sure if I agree with you. I’m a “person of color” being a Black woman and things like this disgust and horrify me. I’ll never get used to the blatant racism shown towards President Obama. Never. And I’ll never forget it either. Just another reason why I’ll never vote Republican. They condone this type of nonsense.
Gordon, the Big Express Engine
Wait, so are you all telling me there is a specific reason I get porn spam and friend finder ads??? I thought I was just lucky!
@Davis X. Machina: Well hopefully 2014 won’t have a low turn out. I vote every chance I get. I voted in 2010 here in very blue Maryland. Not sure why people aren’t motivated to vote in mid-term elections.
I learn so much on these threads. Had to Google “Brad Pitt mother” to know what the reference was. Honestly, thou, at least from the one story I saw, she sounds like a standard-issue Republican but not a total bat-shit wacko wingnut. Which is to say, she might write letters to the editor but she doesn’t sound like someone who would hoot and holler an Obama clown at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Read what I said again. I didn’t ask about the morality of what GG and Snowden released, I asked if you thought they were factually incorrect, aka “wrong.”
You’re not getting into mclaren’s habit of not reading your own links, are you?
According to your article, most of the cameras are operated by private companies, particularly nightclubs. So that invalidates my point about the government using data they collect from private companies how, again?
@SiubhanDuinne: I know, but she’s a bigot and deserves to be mocked at every opportunity. But isn’t it amazing that her issue is gay marriage, yet her own son is a strong supporter of same sex marriage. Maybe she should ask people to boycott her son’s movies.
Mnem, Arguing with you is like arguing with an etch-a-sketch.
My argument is that if we want to keep the government from looking at our private data, we first need to prevent private companies from collecting that data. In what way have I been inconsistent in that argument?
A few years ago a trucker called in to Ed Schultz’s show and told a story that goes like this:
He had to pee, so he pulled into a truck stop.
He left without buying anything, because he only used the rest room, which was located in the back of the gift shop area.
Two weeks later he got a phone text message asking him to answer a customer service poll from that truck stop.
He NEVER spent one cent there, but his company credit card or truck computer told someone that he was there for 10 minutes.
Ed told him about RFID and he freaked out.
About (at least) ten years ago.
“Legally” they say that using EZ-Pass won’t be used to issue speeding tickets, but the courts said that they can be used to track unfaithful spouses; Like “Working late” equals getting on and off a tollway exit ramp 30 miles from home in order to hang out at your mistress’ condo, or go to strip bars or gay pick-up places.
All of these have been upheld in divorce courts.
@Violet: Not likely to happen very easily, short of using some Old Symbian-based OS or the late, lamented Nokia Maemo/Meego phones which wasn’t infected by Google, Apple or Microsoft ‘privacy statements’.
As Bruce Schnier said, we traded privacy for convenience without a fight.
The important thing is to keep shining the light on the darkness.
Having said that, I’ll let you know if the Missouri State Fair revokes my media credential for the Governor’s Ham Breakfast on Thursday (I’m joking – about the revocation. I really do have a credential for the breakfast). The breakfast is the one political gathering in Missouri when almost everyone involved in politics attends. It’s a great event to try and catch a short interview and to get those file photos for future use.
Wait, what was the first reason to stay out of bars?
@Mnemosyne: My argument is that if we want to keep the government from looking at our private data, we first need to prevent private companies from collecting that data. In what way have I been inconsistent in that argument?
So, to repeat the first comment I made in response to this suggestion, you’re argument is that to prevent government from monitoring, storing and acting on privately collected data, government needs to pass a law prohibiting itsownself from monitoring, storing and acting on that data?
The solution to the surveillance problem is to curtail private activity in order to prevent – by preemption – governmental overreach and abuse?
Am I understanding that argument correctly?
@Michael Bersin: Here in Georgia, it’s the Eggs & Issues Breakfast — and it happens in January, at the start of the state legislative session — but otherwise, it’s probably a somewhat similar event. Agree with you about shining light into the darkness. If nothing else, maybe a few cockroaches will scurry out.
@fuckwit: The first firm to release a Tor-enabled router will be on my shortlist. Sure, Tor users are probably on some NSA feed, but get enough of a herd of users that overload of data will become less of a value as herd immunity strenghens against Government-induced Privacy Extraction and abuse against individuals.
The real problem, though, is what to do about Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, And the card networks?
Sad to say, we need to find out which firm above has the most egregiously bad privacy statements and then, like was done during SOPA and PIPA debacle,
target them with a mass exodus to a less abusive provider-but unlike the many corporations that led the SOPA/PIPA battle, this one has to be done by the masses. That, sadly, I’m not hopeful, as such an effort will require a year or more before it gets big enough to be noticed by the business press. But once it hits the business press, like chummed water, the other sharks start swimming.
It’s time for sousveillance-and maybe some crowd-funded sousveillance databases not made illegal by some obscure laws.
@NickT: The census is MANDATED BY LAW in the Constitution. It has to be done.
Cell phone monitoring must be somewhere in the footnotes, probably on one of those pages that got lost somewhere..
@Bill Arnold: Any phone that does not have a physically removable battery pack is a compromised phone, short of putting it into a Faraday Cage-and even then there’s a slight risk that a directed high poer signal especially at the lower LTE bands used by AT&T and Verizon, can break through.
Thats why corporations who must travel overseas use burner phones and laptops, and should never connect to any WiFi network in places with high risk of compromise. Hell, go look at Dan Gilmoor’s latest Guardian article on what info he was given when he last went to DefCon and the Black Hat conferences in Las Vegas.
Let’s go through this very slowly.
If private companies do not collect certain data, then it is not available for the government to search. Therefore, if you don’t want the government looking at certain data, you should first prevent private companies from collecting that data for themselves.
And, frankly, if you’re at the point where you’ve decided that it’s impossible for the government to pass laws to regulate itself because the government will just break those laws anyway, then you’d better retreat to a shack in the woods, because the only thing that’s currently preventing the government from accessing your data anytime it wants is the law.
@Mnemosyne: Therefore, if you don’t want the government looking at certain data, you should first prevent private companies from collecting that data for themselves.
In other words, you’re suggesting that because government can’t constrain its own nefarious activities all on its own, government needs to pass a law limiting the types of actions private companies can take. And that’s the only reason justifying the passage of the law – for government to constrain itself.
So, individual rights don’t come into play on either end of the equation: that the justification of the policy derives from individual rights being violated by government when it requires private companies to turn over individual meta-data, or alternatively that those rights aren’t being violated when government passes a law proscribing the types of activities private citizens can engage in. On what grounds, then, is the policy justified? I mean, you’re just making a pragmatic argument here, that the best – only? – way to prevent government collection of individual meta-data is to prevent collection of that data at the source. And that means constraining private activity at the point of access. And pragmatically, you might be right about that solution. But doesn’t the pragmatic solution you’re proposing require some legal or moral justification, for instance, that even the private collection of individual meta-data violates individual rights?
Which leads to the further question? Does it? Does private collection and storage of meta-data violate individual rights? If people agree to it, then it would appear that it doesn’t. Yet even then government might still not have the right to access that meta-data without a prior demonstration of need. Like probable cause or somesuch. Like “reasonable suspicion”. Something!
how does that sound to you? Permit private companies to collect and maintain meta-data but prevent government from accessing it without a warrant? Is that a fool’s errand? If so, then the problem isn’t with the data collection, it’s with that part of our government, yes?
But here’s a question Mistermix would probably like to ask: if government can’t be trusted
Whoops! That last sentence got chopped off and I don’t remember how the story ends. But I don’t think it really matters too much since you I doubt you’ll take the above comment seriously anyway.
Well, I guess we all now know I’m an uninformed idiot when it comes to cellphones. (Please no cracks about what else I may be an idiot.) I just don’t use them or own one. I’ve survived so far.
My take on it is that I personally don’t give a damn, and other people may react more strongly, or (less likely) less strongly.
Is it possible to say “meh” with more emphasis? I suppose some may be in favor of it.
Given the prevalence of public cameras in GB, I just don’t see this as terribly intrusive.
Jesus Christ in a chicken basket, it’s about fucking time you finally understood the point mnem was making. fuck that took a while.
so, someone sets up some doodad to catch the MAC addresses of every wifi-enabled device walking around and targets ads towards the ones that it sees again and again.
oh Jesus, this is gonna be all obama’s fault, isn’t it.
@lojasmo: Is it possible to say “meh” with more emphasis?
I get that lojasmo. Personally, I’m a bit more on the “marghhh!” side of things, but I get that someone might not think this is a big deal. That would mean refraining from imposing limits on private collection of meta-data as well as government access to that data, for whatever ends it sees fit.
I’m personally uncomfortable with that, but it’s not an unreasonable view. What’s unreasonable, it seems to me, is to say that government access to meta-data is a bad thing and the solution is for government to prohibit private behavior solely on the grounds that government can’t constrain itsownself.
@Stillwater: I didn’t think the point was that that was THE solution, but that it’s something to consider when discussing surveillance. Even if you said that the government was strictly barred from amassing communications data on people, if you don’t also say that private companies have to conduct themselves similarly, then the government can just get the data that the companies amass, and we’re back to square one. That’s basically what happens with phone records now, isn’t it? Your phone bill is considered the company’s, not yours, so the government just goes to the company to get info on you, rather than having to sneak bugs into your house or something.
@FlipYrWhig: It seems to me the difference is that in the phone company records scenario government had to make a request to a court (based on probably cause) and then the phone company (with a court order) to turn over/provide access to that data. What’s happening now is that government has unrestricted access to that data, no court orders required.
@Stillwater: Whoops, I think I misunderstood part of your comment. Sorry ’bout that.
This is why I wrap my mobile in tinfoil.
wow, that never happens.
I was in Manchester, UK in 2011, driving a rental car, and got a ticket for driving in a bus-only lane. I was caught by a camera and the city government (or a private contractor) contacted the rental agency. I got a letter from them two weeks later telling me that they had already charged my credit card for the fine.
The trucker at the truckstop might have been detected the same way. No RIFD, just a camera at the entrance recording every vehicle that drove in.
I can’t wait for real Thoughtcrimes. And it will happen in the next 20-30 years.
@Howard Beale: Seems like a sensible approach. The political/economic effort would be a lot like anti-SOPA, on a larger scale. Combination strategy: anti-surveillance technology, political activism, awareness-raising (which Greenwald/Snowden are helping with in their own way), ending the anti-drug crusade that gives the government too much power to prosecute for non-offenses, and, most importantly, consumer pressure on corporations to stop collecting this stuff in the first place! This is America: money talks, and bullshit walks. People MUST learn to stop trusting corporations, or all bets are off, since they’re the ones collecting this stuff.
BTW, the main problem with Tor is that it’s slow as fuck. Maybe that’ll change once more people get on it. But it’s the only way I know of in TCP/IP to be secure in “metadata”. And of course PGP and SSL everywhere, and disk encryption too, for message/content security. The education effort will be probably even bigger than the political effort.
Interesting that the offending announcer is Mark Ficken. “Ficken” is German for “fuck”. I never knew it was an actual surname.
You don’t need a smart phone for someone to track you holding a cell phone – they just need a fempto cell that your phone will talk to. I know when my neighbors use a Sprint phone, because my unit will tell me.
Uhh… Not that I track it. Just saying it’s possible.
I do think we need to pass laws against selling distributing this meta-data. It should be illegal to track someone by what mac addresses listen into a broadcast node: It ruins what the network is for, for one; for two, it’s a staggering invasion of privacy to sell the data that you walk or shop somewhere.
On the other hand, meta data should be able to be used for diagnostic and network purposes; meta data is the only way to identify users who visit a website (it’s your face) so using it without sharing it is probably okay when you intentionally visit the site.
And those little popups to make you agree to things? Those should die a horrible death. The AUP has to be reasonable, and it doesn’t need to be clicked upon and there’s no way to not agree to the policy on my OS or hardware or software. It’s just bizarre and unreasonable to think they can keep adding in terms where we give up rights by visiting.
@Violet: @Yatsuno: Switch off the WiFi, Mobile network, GPS and Bluetooth. Unless they work by magic they can’t see you. I’m in the UK and I went down my local shopping centre last week, Dominos immediately spammed me with this week’s buy one get one free offer.
Communications doesn’t occur in the manner 4th admendmenteers would like.