Time flies just about as fast as tech giants and governments come up with new ways to spy on us. Here's the latest on the rapidly advancing techno-surveillance state.
- Hawaii is considering legislation that would require internet service providers to log and store data on their users, showing which websites they visited, for up to two years. Better that the state may warrantlessly access our innermost thoughts, of course. I know, I know: privacy advocates are always complaining about data retention. It's for good reason: look what happens when companies store our personal data. It gets leaked. UPDATE: The legislation has been tossed out!
- The FBI is throwing away yet more money into data analytics technology that will help them pinpoint who among us is a dangerous, domestic extremist. This software will scrape up all of our data from social networks, jumble it all together, and somehow spit out results that point them to those among us who are a danger to society. Not thrilled that your tax dollars are spent on such hair-brained schemes? Well you might be a domestic extremist, then.
- If you care about the environment, that's a warning sign to the federal government that you might be a domestic extremist. If you cover the environmental movement, you are even more dangerous.
- DHS is using the superbowl as an opportunity to flood downtown Indianapolis with surveillance cameras. Similar processes are taking place in the cities that will host the Democrat and Republican conventions, in Charlotte and Tampa Bay, respectively, as well as the G8 meeting in Chicago.
- News that federal agencies can retroactively exempt themselves and their programs from the Privacy Act. Maybe this is a sophomoric question, but how on earth can the government simply exempt itself from laws? What's the point of having laws if the government mustn't obey them?
- The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination doesn't apply to our computers, says a federal judge. The judge ruled, disastrously, that a woman could be forced to decrypt files on her computer so that federal agents could look at them. The judge can't force the woman to say the password or decryption information out loud, but it can force her to type it. Ummm.
- Another reminder that your data is not safe from the US government under the Patriot Act, even if you live outside the US. Maybe foreigners should be able to vote in US elections.
- Meet your robot overlords: a new drone that is machine controlled. Yeah you read that right. The robot is controlled by a robot.
- Finally, some cool news: Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei is so fierce, he is being charged with destroying a government surveillance camera outside his house. Courage is contagious. Pass it on.