14 July 2009

You're Being Watched

Well, it is pretty much a given that much of we do is being monitored. I had two moments over the weekend that got me thinking about this whole surveillance issue. Firstly, I watched Eagle Eye, a movie about a computer program designed by the government to gather and compile information and make decisions on who to watch and what actions to take with that information. It also gives a glimpse of what is possible (maybe a little exaggerated) in this digitally-driven world. The next morning I read about this CIA story in the news, part of which is about domestic surveillance programs. Then, later that morning, I heard on NPR about this technology company, Palantir, in California who is developing capabilities to assist in data mining and finding trends and patterns in that data. Sound familiar?
This area is a controversial. Some people probably feel that the government has no right in people's personal business. Others strongly feel that if the government can gather certain information and subsequently use it to save lives or make its citizens more safe, then they should do so. Whichever side you are on, or if you are in the middle, there is (a least) one massive question: who is going to be keeping tabs on the people gathering the information to ensure they use it for good? Or as the wife in Enemy of the State says, "Who's going to monitor the monitors of the monitors?"


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_(software)

    This subject has ALWAYS interested me. Its why I liked Enemy of the State so much.

    They use the same kind of theories and software to display ads specifically designed around your browsing history and searches. Its why I get ads about "free guitar" and "black keys albums". Its pretty freaky accurate.

    Combine that with your easily aquired cell phone usage, and - hey, isn't your email web-based? Thanks, we'll take that, too.

  2. free guitar!!!
    sweet! give them your ss# and email password. lol

    yeah, the amount of info out there (even PUBLIC information) for others to obtain can be scary.

  3. Good point on open source -- look at the French Prez and his speedo!

  4. scratch that i think it was MI5 in England..