Author's posts

McPocalypse Now

I belong to the generation that had school drills for the Big One.  Many of us can remember the look of terror in the eyes of our parents as we sat around the TV watching President Kennedy announce the “quarantine” of Cuba on October 7, 1962.

Will the world’s families once again feel that horrible terror?

(cross-posted on dKos)

Whoever Controls Our Data Controls Us

We need to take back our data.

Bruce Schneier writes in a commentary on Wired that we have become intimately bound with our data in the information age.  The bits of information about us that are collected and stored in hundreds, even thousands of different spots around the globe determine whether we can get a job, obtain health insurance, have a loan approved, even board an airplane or enter a foreign country.

We leave a data trail wherever we go: when we use a discount card at the supermarket; when we log on to the Internet through our ISP; when we pick up a cell phone call.  Each bit and byte has the potential to affect our future, yet we have no control over who handles it, who gains access to it, even whether we can have a look at it ourselves.

Police State 2.0: It’s Here

cross posted at The Ohm Project: an exercise in resistance

High resolution cameras covering nearly every inch of public space.  National IDs crammed with biometric data.  Facial recognition software that can’t be defeated even by plastic surgery.  And a massive database to connect the cameras, the IDs, all financial and medical data.

It’s not merely resident in the mind’s eye of a screenwriter of the next dystopian thriller.  According to Naomi Klein in the latest issue of Rolling Stone , China has already implemented much of the above and is only a year or two away from completing this Information Age 1984 with the eager help of U. S. corporations and an American government that looks the other way as anti-export laws are violated.

Klein says that the latest unrest in Tibet was a test for the ever-expanding system, called the "Golden Shield."  And the oppressive infrastructure earned at least an A-.  Dissident cell phones were jammed.  Information favorable to the protestors was blocked on the Internet.  Photos of the participants, especially the leaders, were rapidly disseminated on "Most Wanted" posters on the Internet and the protests were "spun" through Chinese media to make the Tibetans look like violent thugs.