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December 07, 2006


the burningman

Anyone with any doubts about this one should just watch The Wire for a few episodes. Anything electronic is as good as signing your name over your fingerprints. Cell phones and the internet: like 1984, except unlike Orwell's nightmare, the internet leaves a record of what your THINKING about (online).

It's a great show besides, probably the best social drama ever on American television. (Season is ending this week...)


Ever see The Listening?

It's a dramatization of a system used by NSA to listen in to cell phones and land-line phones. It's pretty interesting, and is actually based on the system you're talking about. I saw it by chance, too.

Makes you kind of want to take out the battery to your cell before going to certain places, that's for sure.


There was movie released in the late 90s with Will Smith called "Enemy of the State" and looking back from the post 9/11 vantage point it's amazing how prescient it was.

Personally my cell phone is such a piece of junk I doubt anybody could hear very much by bugging it but if I were sure someone were activating it and listening in I'd put it on top an 8 Track Tape player and start in with Rino's 8 Volume Greatest Hits of the 70s.

They'd be begging to be waterboarded in a few hours.


the internet leaves a record of what your THINKING about (online)

Well yeah. It's called "publishing". If I post something online the cops have every right to read every word of it, even print it up and put it in a filing cabinet. That's why I don't say anything online I wouldn't say to anybody's face.

It's a totally different issue from the government tapping your cell phone.

forget what you "publish"

Anything you communicate electronically may as well be cc'd to the FBI. Downloads, wire transfers, page views, emails...

Everything digital should be assumed compromised.

How you deal with that is a whole other kettle of fish.


"Anything you communicate electronically may as well be cc'd to the FBI. Downloads, wire transfers, page views, emails..."

That of course is a different story. If the FBI is tracking my Google searches, it's very different from their tracking what I've conciously put up with the intention of having people read it.

Of course you run into all kinds of problems. Do our ubiquitous right-wing trolls who pollute Indymedia and other leftist websites get put into the "terrorist" camp by the FBI?

Whenever I put on my Hazmat gear and go diving into racist cesspools like Little Green Footballs or Stormfront, do they classify me as a potential right wing terrorist (oops patriot).

If I pay for a couple of donuts and a coffee at Shopright with my credit card does that mean that the FBI assumes I'm broke and couldn't possibly be donating to "terrorists"?

It's all about the algorithms you need to sift through this enormous pile of information.


Of course the flip side of this (and it really comes out in George Packer's article in the New Yorker this week) is that the "ruling class" is far more afraid of what electronic information networks can do to empower people to resist them than they are encouraged by the idea that they can use them to monitor people.

So part of their strategy of suppressing the power the internet has to allow people to communicate is to seed little nuggets of paranoia that will discourage people from using it.

Red Heretic

I have an idea.

Couldn't someone theoretically write a program for people with Smart Phones and Pocket PCs that would show if there were activity on the microphone? This seems like it could be very useful.

Someone could also write software that locks out the microphone until you unlock it.

software solutions

That sounds great – but in the meantime, let's just assume that listening devices are prevelant.

Take out those batteries, or even put phones in a different room for private discussion.

Anything online is published, with a marker that goes back to the user directly. Just to remember what should be obvious.

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