HANOVER, GERMANY -- Growing support for RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging among technology vendors and retailers is creating both conveniences for consumers and new threats to their privacy.At least that was the consensus among a panel of experts speaking Friday at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, after a sometimes heated debate on the pros and cons of the technology.RFID tags are similar to bar codes in that they contain data and require a transmitter gun to collect it, but they can store more information than bar codes. Retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have been eager to adopt the technology because it can help them track inventory and buying information. However, privacy advocates fear that the tags can be left "active" after a sale, and the data stored will continue to be accessible. What's more, RFID tags placed in store loyalty cards, for example, could be used to profile consumers' shopping patterns."I can't really see the positive aspects of RFID for … [Read more...] about RFID: Is big brother watching?
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CIO magazine Editor in Chief Maryfran Johnson considers our June 1 cover story on Equifax's new business strategy, which involves massive amounts of consumer and business data. Gen Y is at the edge of a brand new world devoid of privacy. Do they care?I was talking recently with the CIO of a midsize bank about the potential of mobile apps and social media to attract college kids as new customers. The bank had conducted a focus group of twentysomethings to explore what they really wanted. "They love free stuff. They'll do anything for a $5 Starbucks card," said this CIO, clearly a bit surprised by how easy it was to capture these customers. Ubiquitous surveillance from Big Brother's wayback machineHe then imagined a twentysomething customer sitting by the shore, eating cereal, watching the sun rise and tweeting about it. "We have the technology to know who that is, where they're at, and now they're telling us what they're doing," he continued. "But what do we do with that? Do we say: … [Read more...] about Big Brother’s Mining Our Data, Do We Care?
In a world of ubiquitous security cameras, most people know by now that some form of Big Brother – government or private – is watching them. But they are less likely to know that in some areas, he is also listening.While it is not yet widespread, audio surveillance is increasingly being used on parts of urban mass transit systems.That is the bad news, in the view of privacy advocates. But the good news is that public awareness can, at least in some cases, curtail it.This past week, following revelations that New Jersey Transit didn’t have policies governing storage and who had access to data from audio surveillance on some of its light-rail trains, the agency ended the program.The Associated Press reported in April that NJ Transit had been using audio recording systems on train lines between Trenton and Camden, in Newark and Hudson County.Dennis Martin, former interim executive director of the agency, told the AP that the goal was to “deter criminal … [Read more...] about Big Brother is listening as well as watching
Recognizing just how powerful a tool social networking sites have become in orchestrating protests, rallies, and riots in the United States and beyond, the FBI is in the early stages of designing a complex system for monitoring tweets, Facebook status updates, Google+ posts, and the like in real time, all in the name of identifying and heading off potential security threats.The FBI wouldn't be the first organization to sift through troves of public social networking data for discovering and predicting trends, such as health outbreaks or box-office sales. However, privacy advocates may well be concerned by the prospect of the government building a system that's one part Big Brother from "1984" and one part PreCrime Unit from "Minority Report" -- especially if the FBI (or any other organization, really) were to combine the public social media data with user data it could acquire in any numbers of ways through other channels.Right now, the FBI is in the process of soliciting information … [Read more...] about FBI seeks Big Brother-‘Minority Report’ hybrid
Politics collided with the world of technology this year as stories about U.S. government spying stirred angst both among the country's citizens and foreign governments, and the flawed HeathCare.gov site got American health-care reform off to a rocky start. Meanwhile, the post-PC era put aging tech giants under pressure to reinvent themselves. Here in no particular order are IDG News Service's picks for the top 10 tech stories of the year. The feds fumble HealthCare.govWhile industry experts say that many if not most big IT projects have major problems, the fumbled Oct. 1 rollout of HealthCare.gov has the dubious distinction of casting a shadow on U.S. President Barack Obama's landmark legislative achievement: the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. Thirty-four states chose to be part of the HealthCare.gov marketplace. The US$630 million website, built to let millions of Americans shop for heath care, was able to sign up a paltry six people on its first day of service, 248 in … [Read more...] about Top Tech Stories of 2013: Big Brother, Wearables, and the Struggles of Aging Tech Giants
The FBI says it will make the world a safer place by "[reducing] terrorist and criminal activity." But privacy and civil liberties advocates say it is installing the infrastructure for Big Brother.Meet Next Generation Identification (NGI), a nationwide system the agency has had in development for several years that will allow it to monitor and identify "persons of interest" through multiple biometric means.Using traditional methods like fingerprints to track criminals will continue, but they are pretty much last century. NGI will include voice recognition, iris and retina scan data, facial recognition and DNA analysis.And those identifiers will all be integrated with thousands of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance camera systems that now monitor streets and other public areas as well as banks, casinos, airports, military installations, restaurant parking lots and convenience stores.The expansion of public surveillance cameras over the past five years has been … [Read more...] about FBI’s next-gen identification system stirs Big Brother fears
In Montreal, Canada, at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference in May 2007, Privacy International presented the first International Big Brother Awards. The "winners" of the Big Brother Awards are, in the words of Privacy International:the government and private sector organisations which have done the most to threaten personal privacyNational Big Brother Awards have been presented in sixteen countries since 1998, but 2007 was the first instance of an International Big Brother Awards presentation, where the worst offenders in the world were recognized for their contributions to the growth of surveillance societies.The winners in five categories (you may want to disable cookies in your browser and make sure you're behind a good firewall before visiting any of their websites) were:Most Invasive Company: Choicepoint"technology and information for confident, smart decisions" In the company's own words:ChoicePoint delivers comprehensive credentialing, background … [Read more...] about The Big Brother Awards
This guest post was written by TR member Todd Fluhr. "We have met the enemy and he is us." - Walt Kelly, PogoThe very words "Big Brother" inspire fear and loathing. The mere mention of George Orwell's book 1984 evokes a future of government control through omnipresent surveillance and mental enslavement through disinformation and revisionism. It has become an ingrained part of our collective social consciousness to such a degree that even the author's name has become synonymous with totalitarian dystopia and loss of privacy. We fear the emergence of an Orwellian super-government capable of tracking our every move and controlling our thoughts and opinions.Every day, there are new omens that "Big Brother" is ever nearer. Civil liberty groups and conspiracy theorists alike sound the alarm with each new surveillance technology, browser feature, cell phone application, or online convenience. Those who fear the future are often seen as luddites or delusional Chicken Littles shouting, "The … [Read more...] about Big Brother is YOU watching
Derrick Levasseur is the Big Brother 16 winner, taking home the $500,000 grand prize. He got voted the winner with a record breaking number of votes. Get the Free Tracker App to find a SNES Classic in Stock 30-year-old Derrick Levasseur is a police officer. Derrick attended college on a full ride baseball scholarship and got his master’s degree in Business Management. He’s been a Police Sergeant for 10 years after starting as an undercover officer when he was only 20 years old.Watch the reveal of the BB16 winner in the video clip below.Derrick Levasseur thanked everybody at Big Brother in the Tweet below.Big Brother is already confirmed for two more seasons. CBS has renewed the summer reality hit BIG BROTHER for its 17th and 18th editions for broadcast in summer 2015 and 2016. The series is hosted by Julie Chen.“BIG BROTHER continues to be the one of the summer’s most dominant programs, and with each season, Allison and Rich produce the most twisted ways … [Read more...] about Derrick Levasseur Won Big Brother 16
Spoiler warning: This post will be filled with Live Feed information that hasn't been shown by CBS yet. A lot of this information came from Big Brother After Dark on TVGN on Friday night. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Luvabella in Stock Friday night, Frankie J. Grande finally admitted to being Ariana Grande's older brother on Big Brother U.S. Frankie's game play blew up when he so heavily aligned with Christine Brecht and created a target on his back, so he was looking for damage control.In a bid to save himself from elimination and regain trust, Frankie gathered up some of his strongest allies (Zach Rance, Derrick Levasseur, Cody Calafiore and Caleb Reynolds) and admitted the truth. As a YouTube celebrity, he also noted that he only makes $1,000 a week, living paycheck-to-paycheck.He later told Brecht, Victoria Rafaeli, and Nicole Franzel after discussing if he should with the other men. As with most things this season, the women were last know.“I have been lying to … [Read more...] about The Big Brother House Secret’s Out: Frankie J. Grande’s Little Sister Is Ariana