Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Under Constant Surveillance

As threats to public security increases day by day, there is a growing demand for more surveillance in all aspects of our lives. E-mails, Facebook profiles, search queries, surfing habits, you name it, are all recorded and used.

Now, considerable amount of that data is for marketing purposes and it can be viewed either good or bad depending on its exact purpose. Some of it are in the hands of the law enforcement agencies for apparent public safety.

Still, I can not help but be concerned. If you told me a country like Australia would propose a country wide Internet censorship, I would not believe you, or Germany would shut down sites like Wikileaks, no, I would say it was unlikely, either. Nor would I believe copyright treaties would be negotiated behind closed doors. And, no, I would not think it was possible for a company like Airbus, or any company if that matters, to spy on staff bank accounts for due diligence. Not in those parts of the world anyway. But they all happened.

I have never been comfortable with tracking, tracing, digitally recording everything on the streets and whatnot. But I thought my paranoia was a result of my upbringing, my personal experiences and deeply, and adversely I should say, affected by the places I had to live.

Let's see: I was shot at a few times, survived a couple of explosions, and OK, enough examples, already. Suffice to say that I had to live in a military regime for four years, and...

If you ask me what I value most, I will promptly and without hesitation say: FREEDOM. And I'm concerned, very concerned. Unlike most of you, I know, I feel, what oppression is very well, first hand.

And this increasing number of cameras, dvr, security, etc have started to bother me big time. I am planning to get deeper into this surveillance thing, why it is done, how it is done, the trade off of privacy in return for safety, its political implications, so and so forth. It might at first seem this will inevitably shift the focus of this site from cyberspace. Not quite! When it comes to intelligence, information gathering and similar activities, it is the cyberspace that interconnects them. Just like sound waves need air to travel, it is cyberspace that helps all of above function properly.

Let me end with a teaser. Cory Doctorow had once written a short story, Scroogled, trying to imagine what would happen if Google gone bad. I had taken great pleasure in reading and translating it to one of the obscure languages listed in his post (Sadly, I changed the permalink structure and the software so the link pointing to it will not work). More interestingly, the original story seems to have vanished from Radar Magazine, who published the story. So I had to link through web archive. Funny, isn't it? Even permanent links, the so called permalinks are not so permanent.

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