We live in a world driven by computers. Our phones, our cars, our houses are equipped with them and soon our own bodies. What will happen if we don’t learn to control them?
S01E07 : To change the future, click here
Based on the data collected from Do Not Track’s users, we have predicted three possible outcomes for society. And yet the one constant about the future is that it's not written: it is all still up to us.
Cory Doctorow – science fiction author, journalist and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing – joins New America’s Peter Singer and Passcode’s Sara Sorcher to talk about society’s “peak indifference” to the Surveillance State, what policies could stand in the way of a future Internet utopia, whether young people actually care about their privacy online, and what a future world war might look like in the 2020s.
Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, chats about funding “moonshot” projects to help the military beef up its digital defenses, the risks that come with the burgeoning Internet of Things, and what it’s like to work in an office with robots in the lobby.
On 5 June 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the first shocking evidence of global mass surveillance programmes.
We’ve since learned that the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been monitoring the internet and phone activity of hundreds of millions of people across the world. Two years on, we take a look at how the landscape has changed thanks to the documents Snowden released.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no secret of his disdain for online services that ask you to trade highly personal data for convenience — a trade that describes most big advertising-supported technology companies. But last night, in some of his strongest comments to date, Cook said the erosion of privacy represents a threat to the American way of life. Cook spoke at a dinner in Washington, DC, hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which honored him as a “champion of freedom” for his leadership at Apple.
“Our privacy is being attacked on multiple fronts,” Cook said in a speech that he delivered remotely, according to EPIC. “I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
Facebook. Instagram. Google. Twitter. All services we rely on — and all services we believe we don’t have to pay for. Not with cash, anyway. But ad-financed Internet platforms aren’t free, and the price they extract in terms of privacy and control is getting only costlier.
A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that 93 percent of the public believes that “being in control of who can get information about them is important,” and yet the amount of information we generate online has exploded and we seldom know where it all goes.
Prediction is an industry, and its product is a persuasive set of hopes and fears that we’re trained or convinced to agree upon. It’s a confidence trick. And its product comes so thick and fast that, like a plothole in an action movie, we’re carried on past the obvious failures and the things that didn’t even make sense if we had more than five seconds to think about them.
A WOMAN AT a gym tells her friend she pays rent higher than $2,000 a month. An ex-Microsoft employee describes his work as an artist to a woman he’s interviewing to be his assistant—he makes paintings and body casts, as well as something to do with infrared light that’s hard to discern from his foreign accent. Another man describes his gay lover’s unusual sexual fetish, which involves engaging in fake fistfights, “like we were doing a scene from Batman Returns.”
These conversations—apparently real ones, whose participants had no knowledge an eavesdropper might be listening—were recorded and published by the NSA. Well, actually no, not the NSA, but an anonymous group of anti-NSA protestors claiming to be contractors of the intelligence agency and launching a new “pilot program” in New York City on its behalf. That spoof of a pilot program, as the prankster provocateurs describe and document in videos on their website, involves planting micro-cassette recorders under tables and benches around New York city, retrieving the tapes and embedding the resulting audio on their website: Wearealwayslistening.com.
It’s like teaching them to look both ways before crossing the street. Reading privacy policies for apps is about learning basic safety tips in the Internet Age and gives parents an opportunity to teach kids about responsibility and self awareness on the Web.