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« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2011, 11:46:15 AM »

Cyborg Watch: Electronic Circuits Built From Human Blood
foxnews.com

Cyborg alert!

Indian researchers may have brought the fictional man/machine one step closer to reality, devising innovative new electronic components -- made from human blood. They speculate that circuitry to link human tissues and nerve cells directly to an electronic device, such as a robotic limb or artificial eye, might one day be possible thanks to the development of these biological components.

Writing in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, the Indian researchers describe creation of a "memristor" -- an electronic component similar to a resistor but able to carry varying amounts current rather than a fixed amount.

The esoteric electric circuit was merely theoretical until 2008, when HP scientists built one in their labs. S.P. Kosta of the Education Campus Changa in Gujarat and colleagues have now explored the possibility of creating a liquid memristor from human blood.

They constructed the biological memristor in a laboratory using a 10-milliliter test tube filled with human blood held at 98.6 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) into which two electrodes are inserted; appropriate measuring instrumentation was attached. The experimental memristor shows that resistance varies as voltage sent through it changed. The device retained a specific level of resistance for at least five minutes -- the reason for the name "memory resistor."

Having demonstrated memristor behavior in blood, the next step was to test for the same behavior in a device through which blood is flowing -- which Kosta also managed to do.

He plans to develop a version of the device that combines several memristors to carry out a specific logic function.
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« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2011, 11:47:52 AM »

Google making app that would identify people's faces
edition.cnn.com

Google is working on a mobile application that would allow users to snap pictures of people's faces in order to access their personal information, a director for the project said this week.

In order to be identified by the software, people would have to check a box agreeing to give Google permission to access their pictures and profile information, said Hartmut Neven, the Google engineering director for image-recognition development.

Google's Profiles product includes a user's name, phone number and e-mail address. Google has not said what personal data might be displayed once a person is identified by its facial-recognition system.

"We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues," Neven told CNN in an exclusive interview. "Face recognition we will bring out once we have acceptable privacy models in place."

While Google has begun to establish how the privacy features would work, Neven did not say when the company intends to release the product, and a Google spokesman said there is not a release timeline.

The technology wouldn't necessarily be rolled out in a separate app, a Google spokesman said. Instead, facial recognition could be issued as an update to an existing Google tool, such as its image search engine.

Google has had the technical capabilities to implement this type of search engine for years.

Just as Google has crawled trillions of Web pages to deliver results for traditional search queries, the system could be programmed to associate pictures publicly available on Facebook, Flickr and other photo-sharing sites with a person's name, Neven said. "That we could do today," he said.

But those efforts had frequently stalled internally because of concerns within Google about how privacy advocates might receive the product, he said.

"People are asking for it all the time, but as an established company like Google, you have to be way more conservative than a little startup that has nothing to lose," said Neven, whose company Neven Vision was acquired by Google in 2006. "Technically, we can pretty much do all of these things."

Neven Vision specialized in object and facial recognition development. The object-related programs are reflected in an image search engine, called Goggles. The face-recognition technology was incorporated into Picasa, Google's photo-sharing service, helping the software recognize friends and family members in your computer's photo library.

In 2009, Google acquired a company called Like.com, which specialized in searching product images but also did work in interpreting pictures of people. Google has also filed for patents in the area of facial recognition.

Privacy concerns

As Google's size and clout grow, so does the chorus of critics who say the company frequently encroaches on people's privacy. Over the years, Google has made various missteps.

The company agreed to pay $8.5 million last year in a legal settlement over grievances that its Buzz social-networking service published the names of people with whom Gmail users regularly communicated. Google quickly fixed the problem, but its repercussions are still being felt: On Wednesday, Google announced it had reached an agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to receive an independent review of privacy procedures once every two years.

Google also faces numerous inquiries from governments regarding information collected by its Street View vans. Developers who report to Neven work on aspects of that street-level photography initiative -- mainly privacy-minded features such as the automatic blurring of faces and license plates, he said.

Google also is concerned about the legal implications of facial recognition. Even during trials among its own employees, Google has taken steps to ensure testers have explicitly agreed on record to try out the service.

The novelty of this sort of product may help attract early adopters. But policies would need to be uncomplicated and straightforward to keep users from abandoning it over privacy concerns, experts said.

"Online, people don't think about the privacy concerns; they think about the fun activities they're doing," said Karen North, director of a University of Southern California program that studies online privacy. "They're going to have to figure out a way where people who like the ease and fun of some of these technologies ... online don't feel burned at any given point. Because once they feel burned, they'll opt out."

North said she believes Google has a tendency to push boundaries in order to outdo competitors. The service could push too far by, say, aggregating every photo of a user it finds on the internet without giving that user an easy way to erase certain images, she said.

"Google, in all the best ways, has put itself in a very difficult position -- that no matter what they do, they have to do it biggest and best," North said. "They have trouble starting small and building up because they're Google."

A 'cautious route'

Google acknowledges the nefarious ways someone could leverage facial-recognition technology.

Many people "are rightfully scared of it," Neven said. "In particular, women say, 'Oh my God. Imagine this guy takes a picture of me in a bar, and then he knows my address just because somewhere on the Web there is an association of my address with my photo.' That's a scary thought. So I think there is merit in finding a good route that makes the power of this technology available in a good way."

Neven and a Google spokesman described the facial-recognition app concept as "conservative" in relation to privacy.

"I think we are taking a sort of cautious route with this," the spokesman said. "It's a sensitive area, and it's kind of a subjective call on how you would do it."

While the opt-in requirement limits the app's utility, Neven foresees many circumstances where people would agree to be found.

"If you're an actor in L.A., you want to have everyone recognizing you," he said, sitting outside in the sun at Google's beachside office some 12 miles from Hollywood.

A facial-recognition app could tie in to social-networking initiatives Google is said to be working on. For example, people looking to connect online could use their phones to snap each other's pictures and instantly navigate to that person's profile, rather than having to exchange business cards or remember a user name.

This month, Google redesigned its Profiles pages in a change that more closely resembles Facebook's site. On Wednesday the company announced a new social-search tool, called +1, that allows people to share helpful search links with their friends. 
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« Reply #47 on: April 02, 2011, 02:29:15 PM »

I personally feel that face-recognition databases are going too far. There would be many ways to abuse and misuse it. Just my two cents worth.
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« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2011, 11:16:28 PM »

Law Enforcement Increasingly Peeping at E-mail, Instant Messages
www.pcworld.com


Law enforcement organizations are making tens of thousands of requests for private electronic information from companies such as Sprint, Facebook and AOL, but few detailed statistics are available, according to a privacy researcher.

Police and other agencies have "enthusiastically embraced" asking for e-mail, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but there's no U.S. federal law that requires the reporting of requests for stored communications data, wrote Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, in a newly published paper.

"Unfortunately, there are no reporting requirements for the modern surveillance methods that make up the majority of law enforcement requests to service providers and telephone companies," Soghoian wrote. "As such, this surveillance largely occurs off the books, with no way for Congress or the general public to know the true scale of such activities."

That's in contrast to traditional wiretaps and "pen registers," which record non-content data around a particular communication, such as the number dialed or e-mail address that a communication was sent to. The U.S. Congress mandates that it should receive reports on these requests, which are compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Soghoian wrote.

If law enforcement wants to intercept e-mail or instant messages in real-time, they are required to report it. Since 1997, federal law enforcement has requested real-time intercepts only 67 times, with state law enforcement agents obtaining 54 intercept orders.

Soghoian wrote that those low figures may seem counterintuitive given the real-time nature of electronic communications. But all of the communications are stored, he noted.

"It is often cheaper and easier to do it after the fact rather than in real-time," Soghoian wrote.

Cox Communications, a major U.S. service provider, charges $3,500 for a wiretap and $2,500 for a pen register. Account information, however, costs a mere $40.

Soghoian found through his research that law enforcement agencies requested more than 30,000 wiretaps between 1987 and 2009. But the scale of requests for stored communications appears to be much greater. Citing a New York Times story from 2006, Soghoian wrote that AOL was receiving 1,000 requests per month.

In 2009, Facebook told the news magazine Newsweek that it received 10 to 20 requests from police per day. Sprint received so many requests from law enforcement for mobile-phone location information that it overwhelmed its 110-person electronic surveillance team. It then set up a Web interface to give police direct access to users' location data, which was used more than 8 million times in one year, Soghoian wrote, citing a U.S. Court of Appeals judge.

Those sample figures indicate the real total number of requests is likely much, much higher, since U.S. law does not require reporting and companies are reluctant to voluntarily release the data.

"The reason for this widespread secrecy appears to be a fear that such information may scare users and give them reason to fear that their private information is not safe," Soghoian wrote.

In 2000, the House of Representatives considered legislation that would have set standards for reporting requests by police for location information, such as the tracking of mobile phones. But the Department of Justice opposed the bill, Soghoian wrote, saying the reporting requirements would be too time consuming.

Soghoian argues that Congress should have oversight of these new surveillance powers. He recommended mandating that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts compile statistics on requests for stored communications as they do now for wiretap orders. The information could be sent to the office by the courts rather than the DOJ.

"These reporting requirements would provide Congress with the information necessary to make sound policy in the area of electronic surveillance," Soghoian wrote.
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« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2011, 11:17:46 PM »

ID scans to attend public events?
www.rawstory.com


The San Francisco Entertainment Commission was scheduled Tuesday to consider a proposal that would mandate ID scans for every person entering a "place of entertainment" attended by more than 100 people -- a move that immediately sparked the fears of civil libertarians, who saw it as yet another encroachment of a creeping "police state" culture.

The commission said it would take up the proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening, at their typical meeting place in San Francisco's City Hall.

The proposal before members would also mandate that cameras be placed in event halls where they can be clearly seen by attendees. The systems would also need to be freely accessible to local, state and federal law enforcement on demand.

The rules make no mention of safeguards to protect the privacy of event patrons. They would instead require that scanned IDs and video footage from the venues shall be kept for "no less than 15 days" -- meaning, they would be able to keep the information forever.

It would also mandate that all event attendees pass through a metal detector.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a San Francisco-based privacy non-profit, warned that the rules would ultimately change the city's culture and infringe on Americans' civil liberties.

"Scanning the ID’s of all attendees at an anti-war rally, a gay night club, or a fundraiser for a civil liberties organization would have a deeply chilling effect on speech," they cautioned in a Monday advisory. "Participants might hesitate to attend such events if their attendance were noted, stored, and made available on request to government authorities.

"This would transform the politically and culturally tolerant environment for which San Francisco is famous into a police state."

A spokesman with the EFF was not available for comment.

Though it would likely affect anti-war rallies or other political gatherings, the rules would most directly impact event organizers like concert promoter Live Nation. A message left for the company's corporate communications department received no reply.

The California Music and Culture Association said it was opposed to the proposal, which was initially pitched as a crackdown on nightclubs.

The proposal reads like an eerie echo of a warning imparted by Texas Republican state Rep. David Simpson, who told Raw Story last month that he expected a broader push for TSA-like security at football games and on sidewalks.

"This is not a left or right issue," he said. "They are treating American citizens with great indignity, and we've got to make this right."
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« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2011, 02:22:38 PM »

End In Sight For Roll Calls As Schools Prep Kids For Head And Hand Scanning
www.independent.ie


An Irish software firm has brought the traditional school attendance register into the computer age.

Two schools have already adopted the latest face-recognition technology to monitor attendance and timekeeping among thousands of pupils, and other schools are planning to introduce the system from September.

Students simply look at a device when they arrive at school and, within seconds, they are scanned, identified and their attendance is registered.

It saves hours of teachers' time recording attendance and 'lates', and provides an at-a-glance record of who's in and who's out.

It also makes it easy to track poor attendance or lateness patterns, which would allow for early intervention to nip a problem in the bud.

And it overcomes the so-called 'buddy punching' problem, where a student can make a false registration by swiping in someone else's card.

Templeogue College in south Dublin has become the first school here to use the system to track attendance and timekeeping among its 700 pupils.

It has also been installed in Ardscoil Ris, Limerick, in recent weeks and a number of other schools are planning to use it from September.

The Anseo Enterprise system has been created by the Co Kerry software company, Ivertec, specialising in educational products and costs an average of about €15 per pupil.

Face-recognition software is now widely used as an ID system, but this is the first time it has been adopted by schools in this country.

A student is required to do little beyond perhaps pulling back a long fringe so the scanner gets a clear view of the face.

Templeogue principal Aoife O'Donnell said they wanted an accurate and efficient system to replace the time-consuming tradition of rolls.

They were investigating systems such as swipe cards when they learned of the face-recognition software, which eliminates the issue of lost or forgotten cards.

She said parents have been generally supportive.

"Within five minutes of school starting, we know exactly who is in the building and if students come in late, it will show up," Ms O'Donnell said.

It is too early to say what impact the system will have on attendance and timekeeping, but when fully operational she said it would allow them to build up attendance profiles.

Ms O'Donnell added that, in an era of cutbacks, staff time was much better employed in teaching rather than in checking and recording attendance manually across a minimum of 24 classes every day.

Sixth-year student Luke O'Callaghan-White (17), said there were a few 'Big Brother'-style jokes initially, but that had all passed. He said the system was "straightforward, efficient and preferable to a year head interrupting the first class for five minutes" to take a roll.
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« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2011, 02:23:41 PM »

VISA launching ‘digital wallet’ for U.S. banks
rawstory.com

Visa Inc, the world's largest credit and debit card processing network, is building a digital wallet that people can use to pay for things online or with their phones instead of with traditional cards.

The network said on Wednesday it is working with several large U.S. and international banks to develop the wallet. Its partners include US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Regions Financial, BB&T Corp, Toronto Dominion's TD Bank and the U.S. arm of Barclays PLC.

The "digital wallet" will store the banks' customers' credit and debit card account information, both for Visa cards and other cards. People can use the wallet to pay for things online or in stores, Visa said.

The network will also have to convince merchants to put a new "one-click" button on their websites, so that potential customers can use their Visa digital wallets to buy things by clicking the button instead of by manually entering all of their account information every time they want to make an online purchase.

Banks, mobile phone operators and networks like Visa are all trying to gain a foothold in the small but high-potential market for U.S. mobile payments. Last week Isis, a separate mobile payments venture run by three of the top four U.S. carriers, said it had modified its initial goals and was now open to working with Visa and MasterCard as it introduces its own mobile wallet.

Jim McCarthy, Visa's head of global products, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that mobile payments in the United States "will more easily take off" from people using their smartphones' browsers to buy things online.

But Visa and its rivals, including MasterCard Inc, American Express Co and Discover Financial Services, are also trying to figure out ways for people to buy things with their phones in physical stores.

McCarthy said that a previous, separate Visa pilot to test smartphone payments with Bank of America Corp and other large U.S. banks will be commercially available this summer.

Visa will roll out the digital wallet in the United States and Canada in fall of 2011. McCarthy would not discuss revenue projections.

The San Francisco-based company is increasingly looking to new technology for growth, in the face of an increasing saturated U.S. credit and debit card market and tightening regulations of that market.
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« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2011, 01:37:33 PM »

End In Sight For Roll Calls As Schools Prep Kids For Head And Hand Scanning
www.independent.ie


An Irish software firm has brought the traditional school attendance register into the computer age.

Two schools have already adopted the latest face-recognition technology to monitor attendance and timekeeping among thousands of pupils, and other schools are planning to introduce the system from September.

Students simply look at a device when they arrive at school and, within seconds, they are scanned, identified and their attendance is registered.

It saves hours of teachers' time recording attendance and 'lates', and provides an at-a-glance record of who's in and who's out.

It also makes it easy to track poor attendance or lateness patterns, which would allow for early intervention to nip a problem in the bud.

And it overcomes the so-called 'buddy punching' problem, where a student can make a false registration by swiping in someone else's card.

Templeogue College in south Dublin has become the first school here to use the system to track attendance and timekeeping among its 700 pupils.

It has also been installed in Ardscoil Ris, Limerick, in recent weeks and a number of other schools are planning to use it from September.

The Anseo Enterprise system has been created by the Co Kerry software company, Ivertec, specialising in educational products and costs an average of about €15 per pupil.

Face-recognition software is now widely used as an ID system, but this is the first time it has been adopted by schools in this country.

A student is required to do little beyond perhaps pulling back a long fringe so the scanner gets a clear view of the face.

Templeogue principal Aoife O'Donnell said they wanted an accurate and efficient system to replace the time-consuming tradition of rolls.

They were investigating systems such as swipe cards when they learned of the face-recognition software, which eliminates the issue of lost or forgotten cards.

She said parents have been generally supportive.

"Within five minutes of school starting, we know exactly who is in the building and if students come in late, it will show up," Ms O'Donnell said.

It is too early to say what impact the system will have on attendance and timekeeping, but when fully operational she said it would allow them to build up attendance profiles.

Ms O'Donnell added that, in an era of cutbacks, staff time was much better employed in teaching rather than in checking and recording attendance manually across a minimum of 24 classes every day.

Sixth-year student Luke O'Callaghan-White (17), said there were a few 'Big Brother'-style jokes initially, but that had all passed. He said the system was "straightforward, efficient and preferable to a year head interrupting the first class for five minutes" to take a roll.

I wonder how it works with the girls who at that age believe the more makeup the better? I remember when I was in junior high the photographer couldn't even get a good picture of one girl because her face reflected so much light!
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« Reply #53 on: May 28, 2011, 01:17:44 PM »

32 Signs That Big Brother Technology Is Growing 

endoftheamericandream.com

Do you want your children and grandchildren to live in a futuristic "big brother" control grid where everything they do is watched, recorded, tracked and tightly controlled? Well, that is exactly where things are headed.

We witnessed some really bad totalitarian regimes during the 20th century, but what is coming is going to be far more restrictive than any of the despots of the past ever dreamed was possible.

Today, nearly every government on earth is tightening their grip on their citizens.

Paranoia has become standard operating procedure all over the planet and nobody is to be trusted.

Global politicians will give speeches about liberty and freedom even as they undermine them at every turn.

There are very, very few nations on the planet where liberty and freedom are increasing.

Instead, almost everywhere you turn the "control grid" is getting tighter.

Governments don't want us gathering together and interacting with one another.

Instead, they want us to work our tails off to support the system, they want us enslaved financially and constantly drowning in debt, and they want us addicted to television and other forms of entertainment.
They want us as numb and docile as possible. Meanwhile, all over the globe they continue to construct a futuristic "big brother" control grid that will ensure that they will always be able to control us.

Sadly, this is not the plot to some post-apocalyptic science fiction movie.

This is really happening.

When you read the list below, each of the 32 signs may not seem to be all that significant individually. However, when they are all taken together, they paint a truly frightening picture....

#1 The days of the free and open Internet are slowly coming to an end. Many nations around the world have implemented strict Internet censorship and many other nations are moving in that direction. With each passing year the level of freedom on the Internet diminishes.

Regulation of the Internet has even become a primary topic of discussion at G-8 meetings. According to The New York Times, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is leading the charge for a more "civilized Internet"....

Leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized countries are set to issue a provocative call for stronger Internet regulation, a cause championed by the host of the meeting, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, but fiercely opposed by some Internet companies and free-speech groups.
Why are free speech groups strongly opposing what Sarkozy is trying to do?

It is because western governments want to kill liberty and freedom on the Internet just like China is doing. The Internet has been a great tool for waking people up and distributing information, and the control freaks that want to run all of our lives do not like that one bit.

#2 Internet censorship in China, the largest nation on earth, is absolutely brutal. The Chinese government blocks any websites that talk about such topics as the Dalai Lama, the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters and Falun Gong.

Even web searches for the English word "freedom" are blocked.

#3 Starting next year, all new cellphones will be required to contain a chip that will allow the president to broadcast "emergency alerts" to the cellphones whenever the president wants. Cellphone users will not be allowed to opt out of the presidential messages.

The following is how a CBS news report describes the new system....

A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones.

It’s called the Personal Localized Alert Network or PLAN. Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software.
#4 The U.K. has more surveillance cameras per citizen than anywhere else in the world. In fact, according to one estimate, there are 4.8 million video cameras constantly watching every move citizens make.

#5 A "certified TSA official" was brought in to oversee student searches at the Santa Fe High School prom last weekend.

Will this kind of thing soon be happening at every high school in America?

#6 The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending huge amounts of money to install surveillance cameras in the cafeterias of public schools so that government control freaks can closely monitor what our children are eating.

The following is how a recent article posted on Infowars.com describes this new program....

Billed as part of an effort to reduce obesity and improve eating habits, small cameras are programmed to take snapshots of lunch trays before and after each student eats. Each child is uniquely identifiable via a barcode attached to the tray. The amount of calories and nutrients that each child has consumed is then calculated via a database containing 7,500 different varieties of food.

#7 The EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros on propaganda campaigns in an attempt to convince the citizens of Europe that the EU is good for them.

#8 Today, FBI surveillance teams regularly employ warrantless GPS tracking to monitor the movements of peaceful activists - even if they are not suspected of ever committing a crime. The Obama administration is fighting in court to keep this practice legal.

#9 According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, "homegrown terrorists" represent as big a threat to American national security as al-Qaeda does.

#10 Federal VIPR teams are establishing a series of "internal checkpoints" all across the United States. The following is how a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson described these VIPR team activities....

The TSA has announced its intention to expand the VIPR program to include roadside inspections of commercial vehicles, setting up a network of internal checkpoints and rolling out security procedures already active in airports, bus terminals and subway stations to roads and highways across the United States.

#11 Thousands of "dysfunctional" families in the U.K. are being subjected to intensive 24-hour surveillance to make sure that their children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

#12 U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer says that Amtrak should have a "no ride list" similar to the "no fly list" used at U.S. airports.

Before you can get on an airplane today, your name is checked to make sure that it is not on any international watch lists.

So what do you have to do to get on an international watch list?

Nobody really knows.

#13 U.K. authorities are now admitting that every phone call, text message, email and website visit made by private citizens will be stored for one year and will be available for monitoring by government agencies.

#14 The amount of cell phone surveillance that goes on is absolutely staggering. For example, one German politician named Malte Spitz recently went to court to force Deutsche Telekom to reveal how often his cell phone was being tracked. What he found out was absolutely amazing. It turns out that in just one 6 month period, Deutsche Telekom recorded the longitude and latitude coordinates of his cell phone 35,000 times.

#15 DARPA has now developed new video surveillance technology that many are warning will bring about the end of public anonymity. The following is how the ExtremeTech blog is describing this new technology....

To be in public is to be on camera, but most video footage is discarded, as only so much can be sorted and analyzed -- until now. DARPA has created a technology that can index and analyze video in real-time, marking the end of anonymity in public places.

#16 In the U.K., it is now illegal to photograph the police for any reason whatsoever.


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« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2011, 01:18:36 PM »

32 Signs That Big Brother Technology Is Growing (cont...)

#17 Police in the U.K. have purchased software that will enable them to easily follow the "digital footprints" of virtually anyone. The following is how one recent news report in the U.K. described this new software....

The Metropolitan Police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the U.S. military which tracks suspects' movements and communications and displays them on a three-dimensional graphic.

The software aggregates information gathered from social networking sites, GPS devices like the iPhone, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs to build a detailed picture of an individual's movements.

#18 In Tacoma, Washington a seventh grade student was recently questioned by the Secret Service about a message that he posted on his Facebook page.

Be very careful about what you put up on Facebook or Twitter. The entire world can see it.

#19 According to the ACLU, state police in Michigan are using "extraction devices" to download data from the cellphones of motorists that they pull over. This is taking place even if those pulled over are not accused of doing anything wrong.

The following is how an article on CNET News describes the capabilities of these "extraction devices"....

The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.

#20 Last year, one shocking poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: "It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism."

#21 The MPAA and RIAA have submitted their master plan for enforcing copyright rights to the new Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement and it includes installing spyware on everyone's computers that would detect and delete any infringing materials.

#22 The U.K.'s new Internet law includes a "three strikes" rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the Internet if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement - without proof or evidence or trial.

#23 Would you like to have your face scanned and your ID recorded every time you attend a public event? Don't laugh. The San Francisco Entertainment Commission is actually proposing a new rule which "would require all venues with an occupancy of over 100 people to record the faces of all patrons and employees and scan their ID’s for storage in a database which they must hand over to law enforcement on request."

#24 Today, the U.S. government and governments all over the industrialized world have become so obsessed with reducing carbon emissions that now they even tell us what kinds of light bulbs we are allowed to buy.

#25 The Obama administration is developing a universal "Internet ID" program that would watch, track, monitor and potentially control your activity on the Internet. These "trusted identities" are being touted as a way to increase safety and security on the Internet and as a way to eliminate the need for dozens of different usernames and passwords.

#26 As I have written about previously, the "Internet kill switch" is rapidly becoming one of the favorite new tools of tyrannical governments all over the globe....

Once upon a time, the Internet was a bastion of liberty and freedom, but now nation after nation is cracking down on it. In fact, legislation has been introduced once again in Congress that would give the president of the United States an "Internet kill switch" that he would be able to use in the event of war or emergency. Of course there would be a whole lot of wiggle room in determining what actually constitutes a true "emergency". The members of Congress that are pushing this "Internet kill switch" bill want the U.S. to become more like China in this regard.

#27 A shocking document released by Wikileaks proves that high level U.S. government officials have been pushing for North American integration. According to the document, some of the goals of this integration would be to turn North America into an economic zone similar to the EU, to have one common currency for the entire continent and to have one common "security perimeter" for the entire continent.

#28 One of the most liberty-killing pieces of legislation in recent years was the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats will never vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act because they don't want to look "soft" on terrorism.

#29 If you display the wrong political message on your car, you may find law enforcement officials cracking down on you.

A 73-year-old Virginia resident was recently kicked out of a national park for displaying a sticker promoting "Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty" on his car.

The following is an excerpt from a recent Rutherford Institute report about this incident....

The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 73-year-old Virginia resident who was allegedly ordered by a park ranger to remove his car from a national military park in South Carolina because of political messages attached to his vehicle. Jack Faw, whose ancestors fought in the historic battle memorialized at Kings Mountain National Military Park, contacted The Rutherford Institute after being told by a park ranger that the decal promoting a political organization associated with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which was displayed on the back window of Faw's car, was not allowed in the park.

#30 Brutal crowd control techniques are not just for major events anymore. Recently, riot police in Illinois used tear gas, LRAD sound weapons and crowd suppression tactics against a bunch of college students that were just blowing off some steam at a year-end block party at Western Illinois University.

#31 The U.S. government is gathering more information on all of us than ever before. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, every six hours the volume of information that the NSA gathers is equivalent to the entire Library of Congress.

Nobody is anonymous anymore. The truth is that the U.S. government, governments across the globe and major international corporations have more information about you than you probably ever dared to imagine.

#32 If you think things are bad now, just wait until you see what global authorities have planned for the future.

Are you ready to live in a "Planned-opolis"? Are you ready to use a "calorie card" and to have what you eat determined by a "global food council"?

The entire globe is moving in the direction of totalitarianism. Our world is literally becoming a prison grid. Of course those in power say that we need more regulation and more control "for the good of humanity", but that has never worked out too well in the past, now has it?

If you don't like the direction this world is headed then now is the time to stand up and let your voice be heard. If you wait until they are ripping the last shreds of liberty and freedom away from you it will be too late.
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« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2011, 01:22:58 PM »

How Technology Is Challenging The Church

religion.blogs.cnn.com

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and Bible publishers are ostentatiously commemorating the landmark by producing an abundance of gorgeous doorstops. Leather bound Bibles. Two-volume sets. Replicas of the 1611 version complete with “original” illustrations.

The hoopla is entirely justified, since the King James Bible revolutionized Bible reading, bringing Scripture into a common vernacular for the first time for the English-speaking world.

It is not too much to say that the King James Bible - mass produced as it was, thanks to a new technology called the printing press - democratized religion by taking it out of the hands of the clerical few and giving it to the many.

Today, another revolution in Bible reading is underway – one that has nothing to do with gilt-edged paper. If the King James Bible brought the Bible to the English-speaking masses, today’s technology goes a giant step further, making Scripture - in any language and any translation - accessible to anyone on earth with a smartphone.

Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.

In the face of church leaders who claimed that only they could interpret the Bible for the common people, Reformation leaders like Martin Luther taught that nothing supersedes the authority of the Word itself.

"A simple layman armed with Scripture,” Luther wrote, “is greater than the mightiest pope without it."

In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.

With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.

This helps solve a problem that Christian leaders are increasingly articulating: that even among people who say that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and savior, folks don’t read the Bible.

According to a 2010 survey, more than a third of born-again Christians “rarely or never” read the Bible. Among “unaffiliated” people - that is, Americans who don’t belong to a religious congregation - more than two thirds say they don’t read the Bible.

Especially among 18-to-29 year olds, Bible reading has come to feel like homework, associated with “right” interpretations and “wrong ones,” and accompanied by stern lectures from the pulpit.

Young Christians “have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive,” the Christian demographer Dave Kinnaman told the Christian magazine Charisma in 2009, “that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships.”

This yearning for a more unmediated faith - including Bible verses live in your pocket or purse 24/7, available to inspire or console wherever and whenever they’re needed - has met an enthusiastic embrace.

For growing numbers of young people, a leather-bound Bible sitting like an artifact on a stand in the family living room has no allure. It’s not an invitation to exploration or questioning.

Young people want to “consume” their spirituality the way they do their news or their music. They want to dip and dabble, the way they browse Facebook.

Thus the almost-insane popularity of Youversion, a digital Bible available for free on iTunes and developed by a 34-year-old technology buff and Christian pastor from Oklahoma named Bobby Gruenewald. He conceived of it, he told me, while on a layover at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, wishing he had a Bible to read.

“What we’re really trying to address is, how do we increase engagement in the Bible?” he said.

Now available in 113 versions and 41 languages, including Arabic, Youversion has a community component that allows users to share thoughts and insights on Bible verses with friends. It has been installed on more than 20 million smartphones since 2008.

On May 2, Youversion staged its own King James commemorative event: for 400 seconds, starting at noon, more than 10,0000 users logged on and read a portion of the Bible – King James translation, of course - a kind of 21st century Bible-reading flash mob.

Traditionalists worry that technology allows young believers to practice religion without committing to what in the south is called “a church home” - and they’re right.

I did a public Q&A with Michigan pastor Rob Bell on the eve of the publication of his new bestseller "Love Wins" and was astonished, during the book-signing that followed, at how many acolytes felt they knew Rob through his sermons, which they regularly downloaded off the internet, even though they had never met him. They hailed from places like Australia, South Africa and New Jersey.

They listen to Bell while they’re working out, or commuting to work. They get their religion - like their meals – on the run.

It is now possible to imagine the extinction of the family Bible, long given as a gift on graduation day or other big occasions and inscribed with special dates: births, marriages, deaths.

Instead, the Bible may someday exist exclusively online, with features that allow for personalization: Link to photos of weddings and baptisms! “Share” favorite verses!

When Bible study can be done on Facebook as easily as in the church basement, and a favorite preacher can teach lessons via podcast, the necessity of physically gathering each week in the same place with the same people turns remote.

Without a doubt, this represents a new crisis for organized religion, a challenge to think again about what it means to be a “body” of believers.
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