Adding to its revolutionary navigation service, Google is planning to release a new version of the Google Maps program, offering users a 3D aerial-mapping technology that provides details capable of showing objects just four inches wide. But as U.S. technology companies race to produce aerial maps with greater detail and visibility, critics are posing privacy concerns and warning that America is quickly becoming a surveillance society.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars or more on his tax liabilities after becoming one of the more high-profile individuals to renounce U.S. citizenship in recent years. The Brazilian-born multi-billionaire now lives in Singapore, where the government does not impose capital-gains taxes or take a cut of income earned abroad.
With social-networking giant Facebook ready to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of its stock, analysts have estimated that the company could be worth as much as $100 billion. That means Saverin, who owns about four or five percent of the company, might be sitting on billions of dollars’ worth of assets — a figure that almost certainly would get the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the big-spending U.S. government frothing at the mouth.
The U.S. government is developing implantable sensor microchips for use in American troops, supposedly to monitor their health on the battlefield, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced earlier this year seeking proposals. But critics of the scheme are speaking out, warning that the new technology could just be a prelude to expanding the use of related devices among the general population — with dangerous implications for freedom and privacy.
Supposedly on Americans’ behalf, the U.S. government is employing new hardware, such as supercomputers, monitoring systems, and laws to literally and figuratively lay us bare at will. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” is being undermined by the new surveillance state.
To rival the campaigning efforts of Mitt Romney and other GOP presidential hopefuls, President Obama’s reelection campaign is employing an array of high-technology tactics.
Last summer, the President’s reelection team hired dozens of engineers, developers, data scientists, and other specialists to bolster its new media and web development platform. "We need your help recruiting the folks that will wage the most innovative and effective digital campaign in history," Obama’s top digital strategist Joe Rospars wrote in an email to prospective staff members, "a team that will not just surpass but demolish our fundraising, communications, and organizing goals."
Is saving 30 percent on your car insurance enough to justify granting Big Brother access to your vehicle? That’s the question many consumers and industry analysts are asking, as more auto insurance companies offer new options that calculate premiums based on a person’s driving habits, rather than set variables such as age, gender, and past driving records.
Law enforcement agencies around the nation are increasingly turning to tracking cell phones in surveillance operations, and, according to a recent report by the ACLU, they are doing so largely without the benefit of a warrant. According to the secular legal group, many of the more than 200 police departments that responded to the ACLU survey on their use of such tracking said that their officers do not bother with a warrant to access such investigative resources.
A new service offered by Google is raising some eyebrows, as users now have access to monthly reports that reveal all their online activities using Google products (Gmail, YouTube, Google+ social network, online search, etc.). Called "Account Activity," the new feature will allow users to "step back and take stock of what you’re doing online," Google product manager Andreas Tuerk noted in a blog post. "Knowing more about your account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account."
Citing a September letter from China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan outlining their plan to introduce a UN resolution on Internet governance, U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-Texas, left) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) have sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 114 to prevent such an action.
The lead story in Wired magazine for April exposed the Stellar Wind program for its intended purpose: to spy on every jot and tittle of every American citizen’s life all the way down to his “pocket litter:” parking-lot stubs, receipts from McDonalds, tickets from his haircut at Cost Cutters, as well as all the way up to the content of his every e-mail, every Google search, every telephone or cellphone conversation.
In the little town of Bluffdale, Utah, between the Wasatch Range and the Oquirrh Mountains, the National Security Agency (NSA) is building what will be the nation's largest spy center, reports Wired, a print magazine and online publication reporting on technological developments and their effects, including electronic privacy. Dubbed the Utah Data Center, the project is already employing thousands of hardhat workers in its construction and will soon have some 10,000 construction workers building a data center that will be more than five times the size of the nation's capitol, Wired reports.