How Schools Groom Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance

Jessy Irwin writes:

Since 2011, billions of dollars of venture capital investment have poured into public education through private, for-profit technologies that promise to revolutionize education. Designed for the “21st century” classroom, these tools promise to remedy the many, many societal ills facing public education with artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, and other technological advancements.

They are also being used to track and record every move students make in the classroom, grooming students for a lifetime of surveillance and turning education into one of the most data-intensive industries on the face of the earth. The NSA has nothing on the monitoring tools that education technologists have developed in to “personalize” and “adapt” learning for students in public school districts across the United States.

Full Story: Model View Culture: Grooming Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance

Public Panopticon: A Collection Of Unsecured Web Cams

Cryptogasm has found thousands of unsecured, publicly accessible webcams via Google. Lots of them are doggie day cares, some are pointed at public spaces, some are at work places and quite a few are of private residences. He’s aggregated them all, excepts ones that are pointed at children’s rooms, on a giant page.

You can view the cams here

You can also filter them by location. Here’s Oregon.

You can read more about it in this post, and the FAQ.

This reminds me of a thread from the William Gibson forum a few years ago, where someone discovered a publicly accessible remotely controllable webcam pointed at someone’s office. The forum poster tried, unsuccessfully, to communicate with the guy.

(via Metafilter)

Panopticon Now


Jon Evans at TechCrunch (one of my employers) on TrapWire:

Is it being used for “monitoring every single person via facial recognition“? Probably not. Doesn’t matter. Let’s not kid ourselves: the point is that as cameras get cheaper and more connected and more ubiquitous, facial recognition gets more accurate, and data-mining software gets better, something like conspiracy theorists’ worst nightmarish fantasies of Trapwire will come to pass. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: this is only a matter of time, and not all that much of it.

Little pieces of the panopticon are already being built all around you. […]

Even relatively enlightened governments are becoming, if anything, more secretive than ever. Did you know that the Obama administration has persecuted more whistleblowers than every other presidency in history combined? Did you know that (PDF) government security classification activities alone cost more than $10 billion a year? These are not exactly statistics that fill me with hope for our panopticon future. In the name of so-called security, we’re charging headlong into a future filled with one-way mirrors behind which the rich spy on the poor, and the strong on the weak. It’s a disconcerting thought.

TechCrunch: Move Along, No Panopticon To See Here

Image: watchingfrogsboil / CC

What Would You Do with the Massive Datasets from Persistent Surveillance?


Marshall Kirkpatrick outlines the rapidly accumulating data from persistent surveillance, geospatial tracking, and massive sensor webs and poses the question: what would you do with it? Skipping to the end of his piece:

Let’s assume that real-time persistent airborne surveillance data becomes another cloud service you can pull down to leverage for your application development, just like storage, computing and some other data APIs are today. Let’s assume that in time this data becomes a commodity, even!

What on earth will people do with that? The possibilities seem nearly endless.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around – a sure sign that it’s a powerful vision of the future. I asked ReadWriteWeb research intern and resident GIS guy Justin Houk what he would do with such a service and his first answer was, “Become invisible and king of the world.” Then he got serious and settled on a dream app tracking food carts in the city. (“I’m a man of simple taste,” he says.)

“It’s hard not to jump right to evil uses even for me,” Houk said. “I don’t know how more sinister types can resist.”

Apparently this kind of technology is fast leaving the realm of science fiction, even if it’s being exclusively used by the military, and will soon become more generally accessible and well developed than ever before.

What do you want to see done with it, or do with it yourself?

ReadWriteWeb: Spy-in-the-Sky as a Cloud Service

I think it’s about time I re-read The Headmap documents. (I’ve only been saying that for, what, five years now?)

See also:

The Coming Data Explosion

School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home



According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home” and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

Boing Boing: School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home

Recognizr: face recognition software for mobile phones

Last July TAT (“The Astonishing Tribe“) posted a concept video of their augmented social face-card system (okay, I made that term up, what else should we call it?). The video tickled the imagination with over 400,000 views.

TAT has since teamed up with Polar Rose, a leading computer vision services company, to turn that concept into a reality. The TAT Cascades system combined with Polar Rose’s FaceLib gives us this prototype called Recognizr.

Read More – Games Alfresco: Your Face Is A Social Business Card

(via Bruce Sterling)

DHS to Green Card Holders: Fingerprints and Photos, Please

The Bush administration has a parting gift for lawful permanent residents of the United States: starting next year, they will be subject to the same biometric collection program used to track foreign visitors.

That’s right. “Green card” holders will get the same treatment as other visitors. According to a notice posted in the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security will collect digital fingerprints and photographs for US-VISIT, the security screen created after 9/11 to checks the identities of visitors against a terror watchlist and other criminal databases. The new rule, the notice says, “expands the population of aliens who will be subject to US-VISIT requirements to nearly all aliens,” excepting Canadians and a few others.

Full Story: Danger Room

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