Telecommunications and Internet companies are increasingly finding themselves in uncomfortable positions, caught between privacy laws that protect their consumers and law enforcement efforts that necessitate privacy invasion. As Internet and telecommunications services grow in popularity, law enforcement agencies have utilized them as a means to find information about individuals that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Big Brother may potentially be armed with yet another tool against the American populace, according to the New York Times: computers that can see and report on the behaviors of individuals. The computers may be used in prisons to analyze inmates' behavior and can alert corrections officers to potential incidents based on what the computer observes.
The United Nations and some of its most oppressive member states are clamoring for global regulation of the Internet, including possible censorship. Toward that end, the UN is working to set up an “intergovernmental task force” to figure out how to better control the web at the international level and how to “harmonize” policing of Internet content.
Want to help the Department of Homeland Security identify and track potential threats to our safety? There’s an app for that.
With the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, what has been called the “first information war” has taken a critical turn. The U.S. government, furious at the publication of thousands of classified and confidential pieces of diplomatic correspondence, has every intention of making an example of Assange to deter other would-be tamperers with American state secrets. WikiLeaks, be it recalled, has also provided a window on U.S. actions in Iraq by releasing classified videos showing U.S. helicopters machine-gunning civilians and committing other atrocities. Wikileaks has certainly enraged the American empire before, but now, it seems, Rome-on-the-Potomac is determined to strike back.
Are online TV alternatives prompting a mass exodus of viewers from cable and satellite television services? That depends on who you’re talking to. With the influx of such Internet-based video offerings as Hulu, Netflix, Google TV, Apple TV, and other Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services, which allow individuals to watch programs on TVs as well as laptops, iPods, smart phones, and other mobile devices, some industry observers predict that more and more viewers will soon be opting out of traditional TV.
In spite of rising security fears, 33 of our states are allowing some fax, e-mail, or Internet ballots this year. Adding to concerns is news of a security breach in a Washington, D.C., pilot Internet vote. The system was put online for a test in September.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), with the help of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Clinic, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine the scope of social network surveillance conducted by the agency during the Obama inauguration.