“Wait until pictures start getting indexed.”

police_sketch.jpgWell, I called it:

In in class I took with Eben Moglen I predicted in a class discussion that pictures on the internet would soon be indexed:

Re: video cameras (Feb. 11, 2005)

Many people in the class were skeptical

Well, here it is, less than two years later:

Face Search Engine Raises Privacy Concerns

Of course, there are standard objections to the two primary critiques of surviellance “paranioa”.

  1. If I am not breaking the law, why should I care?
  2. There is so much informatoin being gathered, who could possibly sort through it all?

The responses to these objections should be well rehersed.

  1. Pervasive Omniscient Surviellance will have an impact on the basic fabric of personal social and cultural interactions as we currently understand them.
  2. The AI is coming, getting more powerful by the day.

Zyprexa Memos Released Using Tor

Freeculturenyu.org is covering an unfolding story laced with greed and deciept in the pharmaceutical industry. The freeculture angle here is that Lilly will predictably try to control this information by abusing copyright laws.

However, there is another important angle to this story relating to the relationship between anonymity and free speech, especially in a world of omniscient surveillance.

Tor users must remember to install both Tor and Privoxy (instructions). There is also a firefox plugin, torbutton, which makes using Tor a bit easier.

From freenetproject.org’s philosophy section

But why is anonymity necessary? You cannot have freedom of speech without the option to remain anonymous. Most censorship is retrospective, it is generally much easier to curtail free speech by punishing those who exercise it afterward, rather than preventing them from doing it in the first place. The only way to prevent this is to remain anonymous. It is a common misconception that you cannot trust anonymous information. This is not necessarily true, using digital signatures people can create a secure anonymous pseudonym which, in time, people can learn to trust.

Digg It

Wonderful Things

testtaker_main.jpgMonday night I went to the ITP’s end-of-semester show. A friend of mine is in the program and I went to check out the scene. ITP, the Interactive Telecommunications Program, is part of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. ITP has been around since ’79, and lies somewhere concetually between the MIT Media Lab and Mary Flanagan. When I visited the MIT Media Lab this summer I began to understand how it was really operating as a pooled R & D lab for corporate interests (with plenty of military funding). I got the vibe that ITP is coming from a different place with different priorities, but I don’t really know the full back story.

Here are some of the highlights of the many many projects I saw the other night:

Emerging themes continue to suggest that we are indeed embarking on a era that can be described as “The End of Forgetting“, and that epistemology itself is transforming beneath our feet. That is, the way we know what we know, the kinds of things that we know, and our relationship to knowledge is being transformed by shifts in memory, computational possibilities, simulation, and visualization. Going to a show like this really reinforces these bold predictions.

Free Laptops

apple treeIn keeping with the Alchemist’s recent “free” disambuguation theme, here is my latest installment on the OLPC project:

In this essay/story I leave wise ‘ol Plato behind, and tried for a straight up, journalistic take on the project. Except there is no such thing as objectivity in journalism, so in this piece is explicitly infused with subjectivity and ideology. Conversations with Ian Bicking helped convince me that believing in this project is a ultimately a matter of faith, in which case our optimism or cynicism go a long way towards shaping reality. And our perceptions are often shaped by media, so lets start advocating for this project instead of kicking it in the shins.This is one reason I am starting to think that olpcnews should seriously ease up on the project, stop taking cheap swipes and jibes, and start offering more constructive criticism, or even better, apply for some grants so they can fix the project as they see fit.

Happy Holidays!

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