Thursday, January 20, 2011

REDUX: "Are We Safer?", TSA Updates and more

"From checkpoints and electronic strip searches at airports… to your banker being forced to report suspicious deposits to being locked up for not disclosing all of your assets to the IRS… the signs are clear: 1984 is here. Whether it’s a War on Drugs, Illegal Immigration, or Terrorist… it is all a war on individual sovereignty." 
- John Pugsley, a man who woke up Orwell  
:::MORE HERE::: 

Here is second life for news that matters.

Failed UK ID Card project racks up another £400,000 in expenses

No plans for Aussie online ID (Y'know... in case you're an Aussie freaked out about NSTIC, right?)

Please check out Dana Priest's newest work on domestic surveillance, on PBS' Frontline featuring the history of DHS and US Fusion Centers in Are We Safer?

D.C. expanding public surveillance camera net

TSA is definitely not in favorable light with US public. We are looking for follow up stories on the Phil Mocek trial. 
Technology can scan fingerprints from 6 feet away 

GAO: "E-Verify better, but still flawed"

DIY Government: Challenge FBI Abuses

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

REDUX: Pentagon breaches, the "extreme" Fast for Justice, WIRED updates & more

BTC-  Thanks to JP @NCard for sending this one in.  You can support his work here.

Big WHOOPS to the Dept. of Defense.
Members of a credit union that serves active-duty military personnel and others connected to the Pentagon are at risk for identity theft after a laptop was hacked, exposing the personal and financial records of an undisclosed number of troops and their families. 
::: More from the Washington Post here:::

Here's second life for news that matters.
Late last week privacy law heavyweights released their positions, to "clarify"public interest towards NSTIC.

A window into how D.C. feels about constant demand for SSN# and Drivers Licenses


Why the Internet Is a Great Tool for Totalitarians

No Facebook, You May Not Share My Address and Phone Number With Developers


Minus the Mountain Dew, Skateboards and here's an update on Wednesday's "extreme" Fast for Justice c/o Frida Berrigan.  Today is Day 9 of this difficult fast.  

Today was one of extremes. We experienced the extremes of ice skating down the streets of Washington DC and then swimming in the warm oceans of Bermuda. We also actively bridged extremes by interweaving visits to the Pentagon and to the Department of Justice with two different perspectives of the plight of the Uyghur men both held and released from Guantánamo. And at the end of the day, such extremes were summed up for us at Bus Boys and Poets when David Swanson, being interviewed about his new book “War is a Lie,” demystified all the justifications for war. Yes, with such a full day, it is hard to
imagine that we are fasting (and on day 8 at that)!

Or perhaps we are in a funny window of the fast, a practice that does open up to unforeseen extremes, where we seem to have an abundance of energy. As you will see in our open letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the press release (attached below), we have planned an extended demonstration for Wednesday into Thursday to remind the DoJ that work day hours do not exist for the men detained at Guantánamo.

Our strength most certainly comes from our resolve as a community to open this dialogue with the DoJ, and that such a dialogue will be productive if it is done in the good faith. Fully aware that another risk of arrest and an overnight vigil is a relatively small gesture of effort, we hope that it is adequate and that our modest plea for a meeting will be granted. We will certainly keep you all informed. We ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

In peace and solidarity,

Witness Against Torture


Monday, January 17, 2011

REVIEW: TRON Legacy delivers strong identity-technocracy message

Tron sequel distills the nature of "bad" societal code

BTC - While taking a break this Christmas, I was drawn into and captured 3 times by the world of TRON Legacy (regular, 3D, & 3D IMAX). I found what I believe to be true about the power of cyberidentity staring back at me from the screen.

Disney’s TRON Legacy amazingly demonstrates the drama of gotham’s Big Tech sectors and the ongoing power strains of its inverted political society. The movie is strikingly current, as it opens with disaffected twenty-something & heir-apparent, Sam Flynn, on a mission to carry out an ethical hack to the dismay of estranged corporate board members.   Flynn “Junior” in TRON Legacy is posed as the human 2.0 version of his disappeared father, Kevin Flynn. The Son of Flynn obviates the younger class of tech geniuses who move out wildly popular social networks and web applications. Some have personal loyalties and a robin-hood sense of justice; while others fall in line towards self-service and the status quo. Flynn Jr.’s journey ahead is to adopt responsibility for the deep problems of “the machine” as it currently exists.

Sam follows a prompt by one of the board members to return to his father’s video arcade. Through exploratory events he finds himself dropped onto his father’s dark, tech grid world. He is picked up immediately by a Recognizer for the first offense of being unidentifiable. Later Sam, assumed to be a program, is given an identity disk. He is informed that if he is found without his disk, he may be “derezzed”; which is to be deleted or killed by the system. He survives a sentence to play the Program Games after he is discovered by Tron, a character devoted to the user. He then becomes hunted, known as The Son of Flynn.

"If you lose your disk, or fail to follow commands, you'll be subject to immediate deresolution."
TRON Legacy shows us the drama of a utopian technocracy gone totalitarian; including exile, political imprisonment, a high-level coup and genocide. Kevin Flynn, portrayed immaculately by Jeff Bridges, is an evolved California tech-zen guru who became a prisoner of the game he built. CLU, Kevin Flynn’s digital avatar, operates an absolute rule of technology against the indecisive, imperfect needs of vulnerable users. The Son of Flynn confronts the perils of being on the downside of power amid digital sycophants, tyrants, and innocent victims of his father’s grid world gone rogue. The film exhibits subtleties of human interplay towards singularity; where once useful, companionable relationships with technology turn into a struggle for power over the user base of humanity, power over identity is GOD and anonymity a crime.

TRON Legacy suggests that technology will mimic hidden flaws of human logic and the arcane dangers of perfection we may not be able to escape unless we evolve spiritually. It seems as if our human evolution has yet to break through and ethically catch up to pace of our gadget development. If technology tends to be running your life, with or without you - take a break and go see this film.

ALSO: The "score" on the Tron Legacy Motion Picture picture soundrack