The cost of resisting China’s Big Brother

CHINA: Clampdown on activists who expose surveillance through new technology

“WE HAVEN’T seen you before. Which media are you from?” a middle-aged woman asked a tall man operating a video camera outside a Beijing court.

“I’m from an independent newspaper,” the videographer replied with a slight smile on his face. The woman and her friend, who were queueing to take documents into the court, chuckled after hearing a statement that they all knew was false. “He’s police,” one of the women said a few minutes later.

The exchange outside the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court was a rare moment of levity in the normally serious, sometimes violent business of monitoring and controlling rights activists, dissidents, independent religious leaders, separatists and others deemed a threat to China’s state security.

Related article: China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

The plain-clothes police officer was taking footage of petitioners, journalists, lawyers and supporters of dissident Hu Jia, who was sentenced that day in April to three and a half years in prison for subversion. “Surveillance is both overt and insidious,” said Phelim Kine, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. Overt surveillance in China is used “both to intimidate, and as a lesson to the neighbours”, Kine said.

Hu won the EU’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought last month. He and fellow activist Gao Zhisheng were also nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Hu, 35, is the most prominent of a growing number of activists who have tried to reflect the intense glare of state surveillance back at those trying to monitor and control them.

The activists’ photographs, video, transcripts and diaries, usually distributed via the internet, have given outsiders rare glimpses into surveillance and abuses of power by China’s vast public security network. China tolerates some local activism but it confronts those who begin to operate at a national or international level. The relatively few national-level activists who have mastered the use of the internet and digital technology like Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, are “desperately outnumbered” by the people watching them, Kine said.

“It tells you that those people like Hu Jia, who do master the technology and get the message out, are prey to retribution,” Kine. “What you see in China is that anyone who reaches a certain level of prominence, those people face serious consequences,” he said.

Read moreThe cost of resisting China’s Big Brother

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening – a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person – not the device – set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security’s directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and imagers that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious tells invisible to the naked eye – signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

But this is no polygraph test. Subjects do not get hooked up or strapped down for a careful reading; those sensors do all the work without any actual physical contact. It’s like an X-ray for bad intentions.

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Home Office: Car journeys to be stored on a national database for five years


CCTV cameras, converted to read ANPR data, capturing people’s movement. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Reuters

The police are to expand a car surveillance operation that will allow them to record and store details of millions of daily journeys for up to five years, the Guardian has learned.


Paul Lewis on police plans to store car surveillance records Link to this audio

A national network of roadside cameras will be able to “read” 50m licence plates a day, enabling officers to reconstruct the journeys of motorists.

Police have been encouraged to “fully and strategically exploit” the database, which is already recording the whereabouts of 10 million drivers a day, during investigations ranging from counter-terrorism to low-level crime.

But it has raised concerns from civil rights campaigners, who question whether the details should be kept for so long, and want clearer guidance on who might have access to the material.

Read moreHome Office: Car journeys to be stored on a national database for five years

The Orwellian nightmare is here

In the Queen’s speech this autumn Gordon Brown’s government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and “made accessible” to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and “other public bodies”.

This fact should be in equal parts incredible and nauseating. It is certainly enraging and despicable. Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised. Our words and web searches, our messages and intimacies, are to be stored and made available to the police, the spooks, the local council – the local council! – and “other public bodies”.

Read moreThe Orwellian nightmare is here

The CCTV cameras spying on hundreds of classrooms

CCTV monitors classrooms at one in 14 schools, according to a survey.

The poll of teachers also found that almost a quarter feared there might be more cameras hidden around the campus that they did not know about.

Most said their schools were fitted with surveillance cameras. Almost 80 per cent said there were cameras at the entrance and more than 7 per cent said there were some in classrooms.

Nearly 10 per cent of teachers polled by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said there were cameras in the lavatories.


Big brother is watching you: One in 14 schools is monitored by CCTV

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The Disconnect Between Supply and Demand in Gold & Silver Markets

There is a huge demand for both gold and silver right now in India and North America. North American shops are completely bare of silver.  Indian shops are empty of both silver and gold. Even the Indian banks don’t have any gold or silver.  The big western bullion banks, based in New York and London, control both the gold and silver trade.  Reports from India are that they are refusing to extend Indian bank lines of credit, forcing the small banks to deliver to clients, collect money, and pay down lines of credit, before being allowed to take delivery of another gold or silver shipment. This is very abnormal. Normally, if a banker’s bank knows that its customer-bank has firm orders, it would extend the smaller bank a bigger line of credit.  Not now.

By refusing to extend lines of credit, the big bullion banks are essentially rationing a very thin supply.  Most physical silver, for example, is being reserved for industrial and fabrication use, and investors are simply not able to get any, without waiting for months.  Investor oriented shops are bare, and the U.S. Mint has suspended coin production.  All available supply seems to be reserved for industrial users.  You cannot substitute paper claims for real silver, in industrial use, because paper doesn’t have the physical properties of silver.  So, it seems that all available supply is being diverted to industrial users, and, to a lesser extent, aside from the squeeze on lines of credit, also to jewelry fabricators.  But, investors are left out in the cold.  They can accept paper claims, or nothing.  The most interesting mistake that the manipulators have made is in not supplying the U.S. Mint, which has run out of silver, proving that there is a severe shortage.

Read moreThe Disconnect Between Supply and Demand in Gold & Silver Markets

One Nation Under Siege – Full Theatrical Release

From documentary filmmaker William Lewis comes a bone chilling documentary on the spying, tracking and control of the American public.

Source: Google Video