Is Big Tech Merging With Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It
Wired, David Samuels Opinion, 1.23.19 07:00 AM
A FRIEND OF mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work.
WHEN HE OFFERED to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by the government. A low social rating could prevent her from working or traveling abroad.
China’s social rating system, which was announced by the ruling Communist Party in 2014, will soon be a fact of life for many more Chinese.
By 2020, if the Party’s plan holds, every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state will affect one’s social rating.
Personal “creditworthiness” or “trustworthiness” points will be used to reward and punish individuals and companies by granting or denying them access to public services like health care, travel, and employment, according to a plan released last year by the municipal government of Beijing. High-scoring individuals will find themselves in a “green channel,” where they can more easily access social opportunities, while those who take actions that are disapproved of by the state will be “unable to move a step.” . . .
Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Azure Government Cloud Service, Big Brother, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Democratic Party, Dragon Fly, Facebook, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Google, GovCloud, Intelligence Community GovCloud, Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative, Microsoft, National Security, National Security Agency, Privacy, Security Classifications, Silican Valley, Social Rating System, Surveillance, Venezuela, Washington Post, Wired, Yahoo
Sunshine Week: The Pathetic Story of One Request for Total Info Awareness
Wired, Ryan Singel, 03.13.07 01:23 PM
This week is Sunshine Week, an open government initiative sponsored by American Society of Newspaper Editors, that celebrates and advocates for more transparency in American government, especially as it relates to official requests for documents from government agencies. So this might be a good time to talk about my long-standing Freedom of Information Act request that the government has stymied, lost and bounced from component to component.
In the fall of 2002, a government plan to root around in every conceivable database – public or private – on Americans' daily lives to find possible terrorists began gathering attention from journalists. The research project, known as Total Information Awareness, was spearheaded by Adm. John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame and was eventually largely killed off by Congress (portions of the effort went into the Pentagon's black budget and was allowed to be developed so long as only foreigners were targeted by the system).
But prior to that, the program was tested using some interesting data sets. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, told Congress that it had tested some data-mining tools on information gleaned during the war in Afghanistan. Darpa also said that it had created an entire fake world of data – 10 million fake people buying fake things with fake credit cards, fake people emailing other fake people, etc. In a later interview, Poindexter called this "Vanilla World." Into this morass of data, Darpa would insert fake "red teams" – fake terrorists plotting with other fake terrorists for some nefarious fake terrorist attack.
Fascinating. So on July 8, 2003, I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask for documents about the testing and for documents about privacy protections in TIA. Though I've filed many FOIAs in my life, little did I know what I was getting into by asking Darpa to turn over information... . . .
Congress, DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Federal, Freedom of Information Act Requests, Government Transparency, Total Information Awareness System, Wired
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