Category Archives: Big Brother

‘Obviously inappropriate’: Insurer says ASIMIL8 plate shouldn’t have been issued

Whether “assimilation” is by fictional aliens in the television series Star Trek or in real life against Indigenous people, the meaning is the same and should never have been approved for a personalized licence plate, a senior executive with Manitoba Public Insurance says in internal email.

The unusual government discussion of alien species came during panicked discussions by senior staff at the non-profit Crown corporation that approves and issues the province’s licence plates after social media buzz about a Star Trek fan’s personalized plate “ASIMIL8.”

Well there goes my “Fuck Off Justin” application…


UK: Met Police make first facial recognition arrest amid London’s Christmas shopping crowds

A suspect has been arrested by police during a trial of controversial facial recognition technology among Christmas shoppers in central London.

Pedestrians in Leicester Square are being filmed by cameras, which then cross-check a photo of their face against a database of wanted criminals.

Officers using the system made three arrests yesterday, although the detention of only one person, a man wanted over violence, was thanks to the technology.


China’s electric vehicle monitoring raises surveillance fear

You have to admire their basic dictatorship.

More than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge.


Big Brother, Embedded And Unregulated: The Dark Side Of AI And Facial Recognition

If someone suggested placing fingerprint readers outside every shop, bank and restaurant, outside every hotel, school and hospital, and if they suggested you touch each one as you passed, you would think the idea laughable. Well, think again. The widespread and unregulated commercial availability of standoff facial recognition for commercial deployment on CCTV cameras is the nearest we will get to Big Brother anytime soon.


Here’s the secret details of 200 cities’ license-plate tracking programs

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Muckrock teamed up to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract the details of 200 US cities’ Automated License Plate Recognition camera programs (ALPR), and today they’ve released a dataset containing all the heretofore secret data on how these programs are administered and what is done with the data they collect.


Majority of Canadians oppose StatCan’s plan to access bank data: Nanos survey

New polling finds that about three-quarters of those surveyed aren’t on board with Statistics Canada’s temporarily-shelved plan to access the financial transaction data and personal details of 500,000 Canadians without their permission.

The Nanos Research survey of 1,000 adult Canadians conducted between Nov. 3 and Nov. 7 found that 55 per cent of those surveyed oppose the idea, 19 per cent somewhat oppose it, nine per cent are supportive, 14 per cent are somewhat supportive and three per cent are unsure.


Ready to be tracked by your boss? UK companies prepare to microchip employees to boost ‘security’

Some of the the UK’s largest companies are planning to implant their staff with microchips to “improve security” and restrict employees from accessing “sensitive documents,” sparking ethical concerns over such a move.

The Swedish firm, Biohax, which makes human chip implants, claims it is in talks with a number of the UK’s major businesses from the financial and legal sectors, to implant their employees with the devices, the Telegraph reports.


Colorado father is barred from watching his 11-year-old son’s school performance after he was mistakenly identified as a sex offender

Larry Mitchell arrived at Aurora Hills Middle School with his wife to watch their 11-year-old son perform in a Writers’ Cafe on October 26.

But problems arose after Mitchell gave his ID at check-in to school security at check-in, which said he was a match to a sex offender.


Statscan’s personal data grab is for a “new institutional personal information bank” 

For government use. From my article at Mind Matters:

Further investigation showed that the government agency has already been harvesting information from a credit bureau about, potentially, millions of Canadians for fifteen years, without anyone knowing. It plans to build “with the real-time financial transaction data  of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.” The goal is to develop “new institutional personal information bank” for government use. This comes on the heels of reports of China adopting mass surveillance and instruction of other governments in internet control, though the Canadian data grab appears to be independent.

In response to Conservative opposition questions in the House of Commons, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau* justified the secret data grab on the grounds that “High quality and timely data are critical to ensuring that government programs remain relevant and effective for Canadians.” He blames the previous Conservative government for abandoning the mandatory long-form census which was unpopular in many quarters. It asked one in four respondents about ethnicity, religion, disability, and how much they pay for housing. Many Canadians are either unsure or would rather not say. Trudeau has now restored the mandatory long-form census.

The Prime Minister reassured the public that “the anonymized data will be used for statistical purposes only.”

Former chief statistician Wayne Smith quit over an earlier issue involving government treating citizen’s data as government property: More.

Reality check: It makes sense that smaller governments will begin to welcome partnerships with big data and social media companies too for these purposes, to better control the citizens who don’t ever love or trust them enough.

See also: Chilling snippet from mass surveillance in China China is helping other countries restrict their citizens’ internet, while shunning the U.S.

Would Google be happier if America were run more like China?

Google branches out into politics

Google powering China’s snoop culture


Senior Google scientist quits over Google’s censorship in China


REPORT: Are you ready for a chip implant?

A company called Biohax has already “installed” around 4,000 chips in customers, inserted just below the thumb. They can use the implant to open secure doors, pay for tickets, and share emergency information with medical personnel. The chip is about the size of a Tylenol pill, and the procedure — which costs $180 — is similar to getting a tetanus shot.