Tag Archives: surveillance

Is Big Brother Watching Over Your Shoulder?

The European Commission will undertake an investigation into failure on the part of the United Kingdom to protect its citizens from secret surveillance. The actual legal action leading to this study is the use of controversial behavioral advertising services which are being tested on BT’s internet customers without their consent. The EU says internet users must provide “clear consent” before a commercial organization uses data related to their shopping habits. Phorm has developed technology that allows internet service providers to track what their users are doing online. That information can then be sold to media companies and advertisers. EU telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding said: “I call on the UK authorities to change their national laws and ensure that national authorities are duly empowered and have proper sanctions at their disposal to enforce EU legislation.”

The world has yet to fully grasp changes in technology that allow government and private bodies to gain control of private data and engage in activities that intrude on the private lives of people. There is no question advertisers are trying to develop programs which provide them data concerning not merely the purchasing activities of individuals, but also about their everyday activities.

British Police Keep Files On Protestors!

Among the most sacred rights of Englishmen and women is the right to protest and complain about the government. Unknown to those protesting in the streets of the land is that police are taking photographs, and videos of those in the crowd. The Metropolitan police advises other groups on how to store data about those in protesting crowds. Its storage system indicates names of those in the protest as well as other information about these individuals. According to a recent investigation by the Guardian surveillance teams are targeting journalists who cover demonstrations. Christina Ferguson, notes, ” a searchable database containing photographs of people who are not even suspected of criminal activity may well violate privacy rights under article 8 of the Human Rights Act.” Why is anyone taking names of those in a crowd?

Many journalists are angry that police photograph them or take videos while they are covering a protest. In so doing, the police are somehow linking a journalist who is doing her job with the ideas or desires of the group that is protesting. I have often wondered what would happen if police cease doing such things and spent their time trying to capture criminals.

US Senate Investigates Military Eavesdropping

Two former intelligence officers, Army reserve linguist Adrienne Kinne and Navy Arab linguist David Faulk both worked as intercept operators at the giant National Security Agency(NSA) where they were engaged in eavesdropping on phone calls from members of the military to their homes back in America. Kinne told ABC, “these were just really everyday average Americans who happened to be in the Middle East in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones.” Bush officials argue that conducting surveillance on people outside the United States is merely part of protecting the nation from terrorists.

The report is an indictment of the Bush administration’s policies which violate the rights of Americans by claiming anything they do is justified on grounds they are protecting America against terrorism.

Does Big Brother Have Bigger Eyes To Watch Us?

The British police are going to expand their car surveillance operation that eventually will allow them to record and store details dealing with millions of daily journeys people make and maintain this information in their records for up to five years. A national network of roadside cameras will enable them to “read” up to 50 million license plates daily which would allow the police to reconstruct the daily travel of an individual. The project will result in being able to pinpoint the precise time and location of all vehicles on the road. Thousands of CCTV cameras across the country have been converted to read this data and capture the movement of people during the course of one’s daily movements. Police helicopters now have infra red cameras which can read the license plate of a car from 2,000 feet in the air.

The director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, noted this data base provides British police with “extraordinary powers of surveillance” that no other democratic nation has given members of its police forces.

Of course, the police insist the data base will only be used for the purpose of good. We have heard that claim by governments such as the one run by George Bush.

Big Brother Is Listening In Swedish!

The Swedish legislature is prepared to pass a new law which will place all Swedish communication under the surveillance of government bodies. the National Defense Radio Establishment(FRA) will be able to monitor all incoming and outgoing messages, phone calls, text messages and all forms of communication. The FRA promises to destroy any personal information uncovered in these searches. Waheed Mjjdeh, a former Taliban official regards the entire project as a waste of time. “Why do bin Laden and al-Zwahari take the trouble ot send tapes to the media rather than call them? They know there are technologies that can trace people’s location and therefore they avoid it.” During his time in the Taliban he could not recall a plan of attack that was discussed on the telephone.

Par Strom of the New Welfare Foundation regards the entire enterprise of being something out of George Orwell’s 1984. “FRA is going to read all Swedes’ emails and text messages, listen t their telephone conversations and see which web sties we are browsing. This is absurd.” A point well taken. This supposed preventive measure will not prevent any attack nor will it prevent the government from listening into the ideas of ordinary citizens.

State Department Warns Loose Lips Can Hurt In China

The Unied States State Department has warned Americans traveling to China for the upcoming Olympic Games they may discover while in the supposed privacy of a hotel room, people are listening into their conversations. The State Department warning suggests tourists can be under surveillance even when resting in a hotel bed. The State Department comment drew angry responses from the Chinese government. Foreign Minister spokesperson, Qin Gang, said: “There is no special arrangement which is beyond the security measures widely employed in accordance with international rules at public locations, hotels, and offices in China.” However, the State Department insists there is rmote technical monitoring of hotel rooms which might be directed at specific people.

Qin insists “the warning by the US bureau is irresponsible.” On the other hand, it might pay to whisper or keep the water running when engaged in a conversation about anything political in China. I wonder if public toilets are under long range surveilance.