Privacy is Dead
The federal government is perfecting software that will be able to pick suspects out of a crowd through facial recognition, and while we’re sure it’ll prove itself very useful for finding terrorists, it’s kind of horrifying all the same–especially since they might make it available for use by your neighborhood police.
The crowd-scanning project is called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System, the New York Times reports, and will be known as BOSS, because if there’s one thing our government loves more than chipping away at our privacy, it’s hyper-masculine acronyms.
With only 131 days left in the Christmas shopping season, time is ticking on what you’re going to get your favorite conspiracy theorist. Stop your worrying, because the New Museum Store’s forthcoming Privacy Gift Shop has all the “stealth wear” for the Drudge Report reader in every family.
Opening Aug. 28, clothing, gear and gadgets that hinder the surveillance of pesky devices like cell phones and drones will be available for purchase at the museum. The pop-up shop lasts until Sept. 22 and gifts will also be available for purchase online.
In a move that will likely make no difference to politicians embroiled in as-yet-unreported sex scandals, Google has pretty much flat-out stated that it has a right to go through your email.
A motion filed on July 13 by Google’s attorneys “says Gmail users should assume that any electronic correspondence that’s passed through Google’s servers can be accessed and sued for an array of options, such as selling ads to customers,” RT reports.
The Future Will See You Now
Astronomers have detected a mysterious intergalactic radio signals, and, “in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.” Mindblown.gif. [Discovery]
A new project struck up through a partnership with Facebook and Dartmouth will analyze veterans’ opt-in social media data to determine whether it’s possible to predict suicide risk through Facebook status updates. [Naked Security]
Millions of young people in Japan are holed up in their rooms after becoming withdrawn, or “Hikikomori,” and paralyzed by social anxiety. Why? [The BBC]
Zynga accidentally put the email address of a random stranger on their customer support page. This is what happened. [Kotaku]
New Drone City
Now that Google Glass has officially established itself as the newest buzzy gadget, a backlash is brewing, uniting the technophobic and privacy-obsessed to form an anti-cyborg movement.
A new site, called “Stop the Cyborgs,” wants to help organize those who want to “save humanity from the cyber collective.” They see Google Glass less like a cool way to livestream footage of yourself sky diving and more like the beginning of a violent Borg-like empire. Sorry, Sergey!
The drone invasion is practically upon us: The FAA is authorizing various police departments to fly unmanned aerial vehicles; Chris Anderson left Wired to focus on his drone hobbyist startup. But it seems some folks are none too keen on the idea of eyes in the sky surveying their yards, and you will probably not be too surprised to learn some of those opponents live in Texas.
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be drone-operating snoops.
A company that everyone trusts wholeheartedly with the troves of personal data you’ve turned over is reportedly developing an app that will further engender great faith and confidence from the public.
Just kidding, it’s Facebook. Facebook is doing another creepy thing because it is a day that ends in “y.”
Is Snapchat representative of a new wave of apps that tout privacy as the defining feature? Fred Wilson thinks so. [A VC]
Google’s obsessive drive to quickly index and display as much info as possible on search results pages could diminish Wikipedia’s traffic. [Optimize and Prophesize]
Coursera and other startups offering online classes could totally be the future of education…if only they figured out a stable business model. [New York Times]
Marissa Mayer made a Yahoo employee dance to “Gangnam Style” as cruel punishment for not participating in the employee feedback survey. [AllThingsD]
Is Reddit raising a new round at a $400 million valuation? [TechCrunch]
Did you receive an email this holiday season from a kind-hearted woman who just wanted to celebrate Christmas by sending random strangers pictures of herself in skin-bearing bikinis? Free noodz from an anonymous hottie seemed too good to be true! And indeed, it was.
Sophos’ Naked Security reports that malware is currently circulating via screensavers of bikini shots landing in the inboxes of hapless Internet folks.
Online privacy pundits might not want to venture over to China any time soon; the country just passed a law requiring citizens to identify themselves when signing up for internet and mobile access. [Bloomberg]
Another Snapchat scandal! Turns out both Snapchat and Facebook’s new Poke app store your videos sent over the services locally, meaning it’s possible to save videos sent to you without the sender ever knowing. [BuzzFeed]
It appears those ads at the top of Wikipedia are paying off: the Wikimedia Foundation has raised $25 million so far in its 2012 fundraiser. [The Next Web]
Someone wants to make a stage show in Las Vegas based on Portal. [The Daily Dot]
John McAfee is at it again. [Wired]