With each new electronic advance, it seems that both Hollywood and government are trying to usurp our rights to privacy -- as well as criminalizing behavior for any activity which would circumvent their efforts to control our private lives.
DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
Under the guise of protecting their intellectual property, Hollywood has convinced the government to grant them extraordinary powers to criminalize any attempt to tamper with their electronic protection schemes even if the content that is protected falls within the public domain. An example would be a book which is clearly in the public domain is packaged in an electronic wrapper as an "e-book." While there is no copyright protection on the content, the electronic seal must remain thus granting a perpetual copyright where no such right or authority has been authorized under the copyright law. No -- this is not the worst part. It is the constant surveillance of your computer, telephone and other electronic devices to insure that you have a valid license for the content you possess on your phone, recorder, computer and other electronic gadget. Under the guise of licensing checking, or checking for updated software, two-way communications is often established between your device and the organization's server. Since not one person in a million can decode the information that is flowing between the two ports -- anything can be downloaded to your computer or uploaded to their servers. There is no doubt that one item that is often uploaded is a GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) which links the software, hardware and licensing information together in an easily traceable and trackable manner. This information is often added to all of the documents you send, record or transfer using your own electronic devices. Hence, both Hollywood and the government can track your actions and, with the proper search warrant, use your own electronic devices to "testify" against you.
AUTOMOTIVE BLACK BOXES
This is the on-board chip contained in almost every car on the road. It ostensibly is used to provide crash safety information to engineers so they can improve the crash reliability of vehicles. Unfortunately, the information contained in the crash chip also indicates speed, safety-belt fastening and other parameters which can potentially cause your insurance carrier to reject your claim or, if subpoenaed by the other party, can prove you were at fault.
And extension of this system is the General Motors' OnStar "Safety" system which includes a GPS (Global Positioning System) Tracker as well as a large number of engine operating data items. While it is great to know what is causing the "Service Check" indicator to activate, all of this information is also available to anybody who wants to view it remotely from the GM OnStar site. If this were not bad enough, the FBI has been alleged to turn the in-cabin microphone on without the occupants' knowledge to remotely surveil activities in and around the vehicle.
VEHICLE SPEED PASS
We are now beginning to receive reports that divorce attorneys have subpoenaed "toll road" speed pass data showing car location, along with date and time, to prove a cheating spouse was not where they said they were at the time in question.
All modern cell-phones are enabled with a GPS tracking system for emergency (911) purposes. However, under certain conditions, the system can be used to reveal your location at any given time. It is only a matter of time until the authorities start using cell-phone tracking data to locate perpetrators and witnesses associated with a particular crime. No wonder personal cell-phone jammers (currently illegal under FCC rules) are becoming more and more popular with businessmen and criminals as well as others with some incentive to hide their whereabouts.
This is an ongoing subject which we will revisit in future posts.
What can YOU do?
Beware of the capabilities of any digital electronic device that you purchase.
As much as practical, disable features that you do not use and certain update programs that are associated with notorious trackers of information.
Be extremely careful about what programs you download and read all of the rights and permissions information contained within the license before you click the "I accept" button.
Become aware of privacy rights legislation and make sure that your elected representative know your position on overly intrusive programs and legislation.
Do not support manufacturers of equipment that contain "always on" tracking systems... or disable such systems if you are sure that they pose a threat to your health, wellbeing and safety. (Note: we are speaking of computers and not vehicle devices that are required for safety)
Be more aware of the government's intrusion into your life for political purposes. Join the EFF) Electronic Freedom Foundation), which unlike the socialist/Marxist ACLU, actually strives to protect your on-line freedoms.
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“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell