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‘Quit Google, Facebook’ suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens

daily alternative | alternative news - 'Quit Google, Facebook' suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens

A best-selling author and technology expert has said that web users should boycott internet giants like Google and Facebook if it is confirmed they were involved in a US surveillance programme referred to as Prism.

In an interview with Wired.co.uk, Professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School suggested that consumers had a responsibility to leave social networks found out to be collaborating secretly with intelligence services such as the US National Security Agency:

“When you have enormous concentrations of data in a few hands, spying becomes very easy”

Tim Wu

“Quit Facebook and use another search engine. It’s simple.” He added, “It’s nice to keep in touch with your friends. But I think if you find out if it’s true that these companies are involved in these surveillance programs you should just quit.”

Wu cautioned that he felt many facts were not yet verified but admitted he was not surprised to hear of the existence of Prism. News of the programme was, he said, “shocking and dispiriting”.

“When you have enormous concentrations of data in a few hands, spying becomes very easy,” said Wu. “So Facebook and Google were always obvious targets for any government that wants to know stuff about people.”

Wu was speaking after giving a keynote speech to delegates of ORGCon2013, an Open Rights Group conference held in London on Saturday 8 June. Appearing to refer to Prism during his address, Wu asserted that the current situation was one of “crisis”.

As part of his keynote, Wu described several historical examples of technologies having been used as tools of oppression or societal control, such as enforced propaganda radio broadcasts by the Nazi regime. He also commented that he felt web users ought to have a “visceral” sense of ownership over their online data.

In further comments made during interview, Wu criticised the track record of the Obama administration on civil liberty issues, saying that the Justice Department under Obama had, in his opinion, been, “a colossal disappointment in this respect”.

Responding to remarks made by President Obama immediately following revelations on Prism, Wu said, “I think he is underestimating the degree to which people want to feel safe and secure from eavesdropping.” Wu added, “I’m not relieved by his comments at all.”

 

daily alternative | alternative news – ‘Quit Google, Facebook’ suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens

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Technology

Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition

As we march steadily toward a cashless society, Google is naturally at the forefront of seeing it come to fruition as quickly as possible.

Despite the fact that several years ago Google had a major security scare with its first incarnation of the digital wallet smartphone app, which required a temporary shutdown, they are announcing a new system being tested which does not even require the smartphone at all.

A growing number of people apparently find that having to remove their smartphone is just such a hassle that they are prepared to embrace payment via biometrics – in this case, facial recognition.

As a perfect indicator of the target market, please read this sad quote:

“Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier,” Bhat said. (Source)

In one sentence, that quote might represent literally everything that is wrong with modern society.

The new system is being cleverly called Hands Free; and, as the second indicator of its potential mass appeal, it will be rolled out first at McDonald’s and Papa John’s fast food restaurants.

A second more serious component to this ties in with the recent rollout of citywide WiFi systems that keep people connected at all times. Layered on top of that is the arrival of billboards with hidden cameras built in that can film you, then track you through your mobile phone. This reality makes the following information more chilling than convenient:

The digital wallet uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections alone [sic] with location sensing capabilities in smartphones to detect when someone is near a store enabled with Hands Free payment technology.

“When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, ‘I’ll pay with Google,’” Bhat said.

“The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.”

At some locations, Google is experimented [sic] with using cameras in stores to recognize people with Hands Free digital wallets so they could pay without even pausing. (emphasis added)

The number of people already prepared to accept this system numbers in the millions, according to Google.

Although this announcement would appear to border on satire, please view the videos below to get an idea about a world where cash is seen as a major annoyance, and laziness is embraced as a virtue.

 

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition

via Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition.

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