Category Archives: Big Brother
By Katherine Rushton
Researchers at Princeton and Northwestern universities have pored over 1,800 US policies and concluded that America is an oligarchy. Instead of looking out for the majority of the country’s citizens, the US government is ruled by the interests of the rich and the powerful, they found. No great surprises there, then.
But the government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined. Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check.
By Lev Grossman
Knightscope K5 promises enhanced policing capabilities, courts controversy
Much can be done with online data. But did you know that computer wonks once determined that liking a Facebook page about curly fries means you’re also intelligent? Really. Computer scientist Jennifer Golbeck explains how this came about, how some applications of the technology are not so benign — and why she thinks we should return the control of information to its rightful owners.
By Eric Chiu
Wearable technology will generate more confidential data than ever before. But will it stay secure?
Remember how, just a few years ago, something called “the cloud” was generating a whole lot of buzz? There were competing predictions about where the market was headed, and even over what ‘cloud’ meant. Today, well. . .we all know how it turned out. We know the cloud is where mountains of data on each of us resides, with more going there each day.
Every piece of wearable computing that comes down the pike, finds an audience, and gets integrated into our everyday lives, will generate data. Lots and lots of data. The software in the onesie, the chip in the watch, the fitness tracker on the wristband, the heart monitor in the T-shirt, the camera in the headset — these are all destined to become spigots of personal information. Social media is an infant compared to the huge data these channels will generate.
By Tom Brewster
There are a handful of real and present threats. In automobiles, trucks are a major concern. Many contain standardised code to manage vehicles, such as the control area network (CAN) bus protocol, used for internal communications between devices in a vehicle.
“CAN messages that control physical attributes are standardised. Therefore, if you figure out a hack for one manufacturer others will be quite similar if not identical,” says Chris Valasek, director of security intelligence for IOActive.
One of the functions that has understandably worried onlookers in the trucking and security industries is the kill switch that powers the vehicles down. “Some fleets use the GPS tracking and ‘check-out’ systems to control access to the trucks when they are in depots or secure overnight storage locations to prevent the truck being stolen,” Ollmann adds.
Privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian sees the landscape of government surveillance shifting beneath our feet, as an industry grows to support monitoring programs. Through private companies, he says, governments are buying technology with the capacity to break into computers, steal documents and monitor activity — without detection. This TED Fellow gives an unsettling look at what’s to come.