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Safety & Internet Surveillance

Posted: May 2, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in The Pros


What is this surveillance thing anyway and why does it matter to us? 

The safety of the citizens of the world is always the number one priority when the topic of Internet Surveillance comes up in discussions in politics around the world. For people that are extememly against being tracked fully online, accroding to the New American, “For Internet freedom activists, though, government regulation or control of the Internet is off the table and non-negotiable. First of all, the U.S. Constitution does not allow even the federal government to regulate the Web, much less the UN; and if either gets its foot in the door, restoring liberty online would be extremely difficult (2012).” The U.S. and the world need to know that the government is not trying to see what you did at that party last weekend, they want to know if you are engaging in suspicious activities online.

When one talks about internet surveillance and how it relates to the political environment, you have to discuss the Patriot Act. This website defines what the Patriot Act actually entails. Within this website it is said that the Patriot Act is in place to help to “enhance law enforcement investigatory tools” ( This is important for the safety of the United Sates Citizens, especially after the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 

Internet surveillance is something that we all have to deal with. Although, in the political sphere, it is something much more prominent. It is something that government officials have to deal with every day. They are suing tracking tools to see what people are doing and also be scrutinized at the same time. The way that the government and Internet surveillance are intertwined allow for a safer place to call home. If the United States government is tracking our every move, whether it be on social media or our Google searches, we need to know that it is for the safety of the United States citizens. Without this tracking and big brother watchdog methodology, the government would not be able to find the terrorist plots that have occasionally started online. This is why we need to just accept the fact that we are being watched in this new society.

Clay Shirky has made many discussions about the Internet and how it ties into society. Clay did a TED talk that I found very interesting  and related to Internet and how the government can use it for surveillance.

Clay touched on social media in his TED talk as well but there was another video that discusses the discussions that have been made within the United Nations about having global Internet surveillance in order to create a safer place for the world citizens. Clay does not discuss any of the surveillance topics until the video is almost done but he still touches on it. I believe this video is a good look at what social media and media history is in today’s world. Without this background information, it would be hard to understand what people are even up in arms about in regards to their Internet privacy.

Many people are up in arms about this because they think it is taking away from their right to privacy. These citizens need to know that the tracking of our Internet activity allow for a safer place. This video also discussed the problems of the distribution of copyrighted material. This is where most of the people got angered about having total Internet surveillance. They want to have the opportunity to share their music or videos that they have downloaded with their friends and they do not see the problem with this. The government, as an institution needs to be able to protect the business that keep local governments going. One of these viable business is the multimedia industry that some people believe is suffering from sharing copyrighted material.

In all honesty, I do not believe being watch online is that big of a deal. I have nothing to hide. If the government wants to read my emails from my professors and my boss, then go ahead. I also believe that the government will not be watching your Internet usage if you are not doing anything suspicious. This is something I have reiterated many times, but I believe it needs to be said. The governments of the world only have access to small amount of your information and what they do have they only examine if you are going a “person of interest”.

Whether you are for or against the government using Internet surveillance on their citizens, it is important to be educated about the topics.

-Johnny Walters Jr.


Clay Shirky: How social media can make history. 2009. Video. TED Web. 29 Apr 2013. <;.

“UN Seeking Global Internet Surveillance For Terror, Propaganda.” New American (08856540) 28.22 (2012): 7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.

Image Credit

N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 27 Apr 2013. <;.


In 2012, these five countries were listed by Reporters Without Borders as “Internet Enemies” for having heavily-monitored internet.  Many of them were also cited for having heavy censorship.


Vietnam is a country of which, in the midst of rapid urbanization, has an internet usership rate of a third of its population.  Vietnam’s Internet infrastructure is run by 16 providers, most of which are directly or indirectly control by its Communistic Government.  Its top provider, controlling about 75% of the market, is a subsidiary of the nation’s government-run Ministry of Communications.  One provider is owned by the Armed Forces; others, which are private, rely on the government for funding and technology.

Many websites in Vietnam are blocked, most of which are user-generated content, including both foreign and domestic blogs.  Some providers even block social networking sites, such as Facebook, which has caused many citizens to acquire software to counteract censorship.  However, more alarming is its surveillance methodology.  Subscribers to telephone or internet service must register their personal information with the Vietnam Internet Network information Center, which prohibits explicit content, radical viewpoints, and propaganda.  Any violation of its code is punishable for prison time and large fines.  Internet cafes are also regulated, and browser logs of patrons are often stored.  The Internet provisions are enforced by the Ministry of Public Security, as well as a secret “cyber-army” of 80,000.


Bahrain has some of the best internet coverage in the Middle East, and a usership rate of 77%.  However, it is also one of the most censored and monitored, perhaps  due to recent cyberattacks, which, coincidentally, may have been provoked by the government. A great amount of web content is unavailable, including pornography and explicit sites.  Malware, disguised as media related to human rights, has attacked many servers.  Some of it has been found to be from Federal sources, which has used Facebook and Twitter to obtain IP addresses and personal information.

In addition, there is close networking of mobile networks.  Authorities can directly search through mobile data or track down subscribers, sometimes after Tweets containing “questionable material” are posted.  Some people have been interrogated, having to explain their social networking habits and even giving away their passwords.  The leading Internet Service Provider is Batelco, which is run by the royal family.  All citizens must have contingency with the laws of the Information Affairs Authority, which is headed both by a government minster and the royal family.


Iran has a very sophisticated internet infrastructure.  Iranian internet use has a 33% participation rate, and many use it to obtain news media.  The network is monitored very closely.  When protest threats are imminent, the government actually slows down the connection speed.  Many websites are blocked, and not just political opposition and independent news websites; also many entertainment websites that are deemed to be “out of the line”. There have been many cyber-attacks upon Iran’s Nuclear Weapon servers.  Therefore, there is a new Internet Service being created known as the “Halal Internet”, which will have emails, search engines, and social networks developed under control of the government.  The government also plans to reduce the network’s connection speed and increase subscription cost.

Internet providers much obtain a specific license from the Telecommunication Company of Iran.  Filtering is done by keywords, blacklists, URLs, and IP addresses in areas that are prone to protest.  The government monitors both foreign and domestic sites, and has been especially cracking down on Twitter and Facebook.  They have used tools such as Deep Packet Inspection, which tracks browser history and analyzes email content.  Recently, due to the privatization of internet providers and uprise in user-generated content, the authorities created the Supreme Council for Cyberspace.


The Syrian Internet Network is comprised of both the Syrian Computer Society (SCS) and the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE).  SCS controls many of the mobile networks, while STE controls many fixed connections.  In 1999, there was a government document calling for a National Internet System, which had monitoring capabilities of hundreds of users at once, six monitoring terminals, and data recording/storage of all VoIP, email, web, chat and news.  Emailing, chat functions, and web pages were to have sampling capabilities.

The Syrian government has monitored many web conversations, and made many arrests.  The government has allegedly purchased proxies by a company known as Blue Coat Systems.  The government has supported spyware, malware, and phishing techniques to track IP addresses and information.


The mother of all Communist governments, it is no surprise that its Internet use is heavily regulated.  There are four national networks: CTNEy, Chinanet, Cernet, and CHINAGBN, all of which are owned by the state.  In addition, the three major national service providers, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile, are also controlled by the state.  Corporations are entitled to public internet access.  With a user rate of 42.1%, China’s internet usage is by far the highest in the world.  There are five governmental departments involved with censoring and monitoring the web.

There is also a system known as the Great Firewall which provides VPN services.  It has the ability to block encrypted connections.  Monitoring is also built into social networks, chat, and VoIP, which is the responsibility of private companies.  There is an application known as QQ, which is basically a Trojan Horse, seeking certain keywords and expressions on chat.  All bloggers are required to register their own names and phone numbers.  There are also regulations of how long certain websites can be used.

There is a clear economic impact associated with China’s web surveillance.  There is a great effect on competitiveness, because monitoring their own websites are an extra cost to web services.  There was a popular Chinese platform, known as GitHub, that hosted open-source software and libraries of code.  On it was a list published of people who contributed code to the Great Firewall, which led the Chinese government to block access to the list.  Later, it was revealed that a third party member was impersonating the site, and a warning was shown.  Anyone who proceeded had their IP address recorded and their passwords intercepted.  The Chinese government has been known to cyber-attack many American companies, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

A video talking about China’s recent crackdown on VPN’s.

Internet Surveillance Policies

Posted: April 30, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in The Cons
Anti ACTA Berlin - Guy Fawkes

Anti ACTA Berlin – Guy Fawkes (Photo credit:

Katz Vs. United States

This was an act passed in 1967 stating that the interception of communications is a search, and a warrant is required.  This was used in wiretapping, which became increasingly more prevalent during the Cold War.  However, this notion would carry on past audible communications and onto the Internet.  This law was imposed off the Fourth Amendment, which requires that all searches and seizures are backed up by a warrant, which is obtained through probable cause.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Passed in 1978, which created a secret federal court to issue warrants for wiretapping.  This law was created in light of the Watergate Scandal of 1972, where wiretapping through telephone wires exposed the malice of Richard Nixon.  The law also allowed for surveillance of communication devices to be done to non-US citizens without a warrant.  This led to a great amount of surveillance being done by the FBI for foreign intelligence.

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

A controversial law passed in 1994 requiring all telecommunications companies to make it possible for the government to wiretap all communications.  This was passed in light of recent technology, such as the fiber optic system and cellular communications, that made it harder for the government to wiretap.  This was also passed just as the Internet began to take off, and was first used through the Internet as a medium for voice-over-Internet protocol.

The Patriot Act

A new provision enacted by President Bush following the traumatic 9/11 attacks.  The act made it easier to obtain foreign intelligence and track down terrorism suspects.  Basically the Act allowed for law enforcement to use surveillance for crimes of terror, and federal agents could track down terrorists through web surveillance.  Also, it called for new technology to override suspects with anti-tracking devices.  The act also led to new technology for information sharing between the government.  While it was praised by some for helping to track down terrorism suspects, many people felt that it was too restrictive of their internet rights.  It is still a very controversial law.


The Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act were proposed by Congress in 2012, which became extremely controversial by both internet companies and internet users.  Interpretations of the law led to blackouts and internet protests, as many were worried that their liberties were being taken away.   SOPA was designed to protect copyrights and intellectual property.  However, this would be done by monitoring networks and censoring websites that that are not in accordance with the notion.  By monitoring the content that is posted, only content that is original would be allowed, restricting a great deal of information.  PIPA was more created to regulate websites, both domestic and foreign, of distribution of counterfeit goods.  This monitoring of user-generated content would have a debilitating impact on the Web 2.0.


Like SOPA and PIPA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement set up federal provisions to protect against internet fraud.  This act also aimed to use secret agencies, instead of ones like the WTO, to protect digital security.  ACTA was an international act, that has only been ratified in Japan, but forces countries to begin monitoring IP networks.  The act, which was really controversial, was finalized in closed-door sessions, and would boost both internet surveillance and censorship.


The latest of the controversial online protection acts, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act allows for corporations to share user data with the National Security Agency in order to obtain domestic intelligence.  It creates a loophole that allows for the government to monitor internet use without a warrant; for example, it would provide for increased use for a program called EINSTEIN which automatically tracks IP addresses of people that have given threats against the federal government.  The law also protects against private sector corporations that use surveillance software to track Internet users.  This new provision has commonly been seen as an infraction of the Fourth Amendment.

This is a video talking about CISPA and all the harm it would cause.

The Negative Consequences of Internet Surveillance

Posted: April 30, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in The Cons

Internet surveillance is detrimental to even the most basic fundamentals of the web.    The internet started out as an electronic portal in which free information could be spread over a large network, as the technology of packet switching become sophisticated enough to become the number one way that people obtain information.  The Internet has become commercialized, personalized, and decentralized; yet in such an open sphere, the easiest way to diminish such a useful tool is to monitor it.

The most obvious downside to Internet Surveillance is privacy.  In George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel, 1984, he envisioned a world in which people were constantly watched and forced to live their lives in a certain way, completely stripped of their liberties and living fearful, reclusive lives.  In a way, this idea is becoming a reality, as both governments and corporations can track information that is viewed on the web.

Certainly, this is a scary phenomenon.  Imagine that every time you read a book, there is a man standing behind you, monitoring everything that is read.  With the Government’s Surveillance technologies, they can monitor both websites and are encrypted and unencrypted, and can even gather private information.   It is not difficult to obtain IP addresses of content that is posted, which means that one’s physical location can be tracked down.  Unbeknownst to many, this practice is becoming more common, as our national security has been threatened on many recent occasions.  Also, methods such as this are not only used by the government.

This technology is also used by corporations to gather information from people in order to target certain demographics.  Recently, social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have come under fire for selling information to third party companies to assist with marketing.  This practice, due to federal loopholes and a lack of a bastion for privacy, is legal and listed in the social networks’ terms of use.  Aggregated information collected is extremely valuable to corporations, and reemphasize the emerging idea that the users are actually the product, not the customers, of social networking.

A video explaining how we, as users of social networks, can protect our private information and limit data that could be used for corporate interests.

Internet Surveillance ruins the structure of the internet and makes it compact, as internet users could begin feeling restricted, which would change their internet habits and ultimately lead to self-censorship.  Web surveillance itself is along the same lines as censorship, in which the government makes the Internet more restrictive.  Obviously, this would lead to the Internet becoming privatized and beaurocratized, in a way, as some members of society may have less Internet restriction.

With this restriction on Internet, the Internet would cease to continue growing.  Such an essential innovation that has brought other innovations into the world would become sabotaged, which would create a huge damper on the US economy.  In fact, since almost all US businesses rely on the Internet to make sales, Internet surveillance could inadvertently hamper the economy.  However, for better or for worse, many users do not feel this impending pressure of surveillance, which is why usership habits have not changed much.

The government often uses Internet Surveillance to track down criminals.  Many terrorists have been located because of Internet surveillance, sparing the country the risk of violence.  In recent news, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina demanded that the FBI use more surveillance in light of the Boston Bombings, in order to track and investigate the Tsarnaev brothers, who were the perpetrators of the crime.

However, as this technology becomes available to the government, it is also easy to get into the wrong hands.  Sources have reported that Al Qaeda was, at one point, trying to adapt this technology.  In addition, hackers have been able to obtain this technology to track down personal information from people and corporations, as cybercrime continues to skyrocket.  Ironically, what governments have tried using to stop criminals has actually helped them.

To put it bluntly, Online Surveillance ruins the integrity of the internet.  The government has largely supported Internet Surveillance and done little to protect online freedom.  The recent provisions passed in Congress have violated the Fourth Amendment and will continue to impede the advancement of the internet.

This video shows how easy it is to track down someone’s IP address.

What is Internet Surveillance?

Posted: April 30, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in Uncategorized

Internet Surveillance is becoming a critical issue in today’s politics, as technology involving the Internet continues to advance and define our daily lives.  Many people don’t realize that, whether they might be casually browsing or furiously attempting to conduct online research, they are constantly being monitored.  As the Web 2.0 begins to underscore users as being both producers and consumers of such a mass information conglomerate, issues of privacy are starting to become more prevalent in our daily lives.

Surveillance of Electronic Communications is nothing new.  Wiretapping of telephones, albeit lacking the surveillance of information or media, was a very controversial topic in the 20th century.  It also laid the foundation for the surveillance policies that persist through the Internet era.  Circuit-switched systems, used in older house phones, could easily have a wire attached, which would transmit the soundwaves to an additional audible location.  Stereotypically, as shown in Hollywood films, Investigators would listen to conversations in a parked van with headphones.

In 1967, there was a US Supreme Court Case, known as Katz vs. United States, that became one of the first surveillance laws passed.  The law passed determined the interception of communications as a search, which requires a warrant.  A few years after wiretapping exposed the infamous 1972 Watergate Scandal of then-US President Richard Nixon, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up a secret federal court to issue wiretap warrants.

The basis of these acts was incorporating the Fourth Amendment with laws on communications.  This Amendment requires that all searches and seizures must be backed up by a warrant, issued if there is probable cause.  The FISA provided three critical components: between US persons and foreigners, between communications inside and outside the US, and between wired and wireless communications.  However, this created a loophole, where radio communications between non-US citizens could be obtained without a warrant.

The United States government, especially during and after the Cold War, began to push for more surveillance of Communications.  In 1994, they passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which denoted that all telecommunications companies make it possible for the government to tap and monitor all communications of any subscriber.  The law came in conjunction with new technologies, such as Optic Fibers, which made it harder to carry out wiretapping.

Initially, this law had little effect on the Internet.  The only application of this provision was in Voice-over-Internet Protocol Systems, where Internet users could call and talk to eachother on different computers.  However, in 2004, the US Department of Justice decided to extend the law to Internet Providers.  Therefore, all Internet providers were required to provide technology to make it possible to track Internet use.

A prominent technology used in web surveillance is packet sniffers.   Computer administrators, such as employers at an office, also use this method.  A packet sniffer is a program that allows viewing of all the information passing over a network.  They can either be Unfiltered, where they capture all the packets, or Filtered, where only packets containing specific elements are displayed.  The information is obtained from a user’s ISP.

Another form of web surveillance is Desktop Monitoring.  Basically, signals that are transmitted when information is being inputted are diverted to desktop monitoring programs, which, again, can be applied by an administrator.  This is common at job sites, where people install software into computers.  However, this can also be done by email attachments containing monitoring software, which is known as a Trojan Horse.  This information can either be streamed or recorded for a third party.  This form of surveillance is also commonly used by hackers to obtain personal information.

Internet Surveillance is done by the government to monitor criminal behavior online.  It is also done by corporate entities to better target certain demographics to advertise products.  It is done by employers to try to reduce distractions and boost productivity.  It is done by hackers who want nothing more than to obtain personal information and possibly capitalize.  It is no secret that Internet Surveillance is all around us today.

This video talks about how the government and corporations use Web Surveillance.

Pro Surveillance: Analyzing Political Relationships of Power

Posted: April 30, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in The Pros

Jerod Greenisen


Society will benefit from the conception that actions are watched, if criminal behavior is monitored and punitive measures are implemented correctly. The presence of cameras do not reduce crime, as cameras are non-punitive agents and only function to increase the awareness of criminal behavior. Present cameras do perpetuate the conception that criminal behavior is in the area. Therefore society would benefit from the actions of punitive agents in response to recorded criminal behavior, however this benefit is consequential only if punitive agents are able to effectively rely on cameras. Additionally, society would benefit far greater from the conception that cameras are everywhere. This would create attitudes that are consistent with studies suggesting that criminality is only reduced when punitive measures are implemented and  that as a result of surveillance, criminal behavior is reduced. Reliance on surveillance by punitive agents that leads to successful measures in statistical data concerning apprehended criminal behavior will benefit society if the relationship between surveillance and punitive agents is strengthened by execution, consistency, and expansion. Should criminal behavior be apprehended as a result of surveillance on a consistent basis the demand for increased surveillance will grow. This is to say that society demands safety and that it trusts its punitive agents to ensure safety. The expansion of surveillance is intrinsic to its existence. The presence of cameras increases the conception within public opinion that criminal behavior happens in the area under surveillance– should it be apprehended– then expanding the area of surveillance will be embraced by society as the presence of surveillance ensures a safer community, even in the safest of spaces. Also, the expansion of surveillance of public space will perpetuate the conception that criminality is abound, and transcends sociologically ascribed borders of varying degrees of safety.

A prime example of the successful implementation of a successful relationship between punitive agents and surveillance oriented policy can be seen in this case study.  Allison Manning of  The Columbus Dispatch reports that one year after more than 100 camera were installed crime statistics dropped in several categories in most of the neighborhoods. Most noteworthy Weinland Park had a 46% drop in assaults. The Hilltop had 44% decreases, and other neighborhoods with a greater ratio of observational area  to camera saw decreases of about 14%. The results pleased city officials and the police that twelve more cameras were purchased as a result. Additionally the explementary statistics of the policy lead to  the  Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center formally endorsing Columbus Ohio stating “Columbus is doing something right because they’re considering when the incidents of crime are most likely to occur”. This was said in response to the monitoring of CCTV feeds, staffed professionals are constantly monitoring feeds on weekends leading to strategic coordination of dispatched police units. Criticisms that the cameras have pushed criminal behavior outside the scope of the cameras have been coupled by complaints that neighborhoods without the added security are being excluded, and the cameras would be a welcome addition to the police presence in the area.


These studies concerning public opinion of security cameras and the example set in Columbus, Ohio strengthen the conception that surveillance has the power to enrich societies and shape public opinion. The nature of surveillance transcends physical cameras. It extends into the internet and functions in contexts that are more complex than cameras on street corners, but the motiv and potential good for society are the same. Three major players emerge out of this relationship with  the  internet, there are corporations, governments, and masses of individuals, consumers, and citizens. Each party has a stake and relationship to each other and in the implementation of web based surveillance. By analysing the power relationships between the three players a greater understanding of the political relevance that an increased acceptance of surveillance has to the benefits of society.

The relationship between the consumer and the corporation is a good relationship to begin to discuss the benefits surveillance holds for a society that embraces  shared information,  efficient methods of communication, and  connectivity. The freedom of expression is a highly valued freedom in American society. A great deal of criticism about social networking sites is concerned with the issue of  narcissism. So, concerned that  Bill Davidow of the Atlantic dubbed it an epidemic. It is important to keep in mind the relationship being described here. People are very willing to share information about themselves online, imagine looking for one’s reflection in every reflective surface on one’s way to a destination. This epidemic, so to speak, is creating a new relationship businesses have to consumers. As people are so free to share information about themselves on social media platforms businesses interested in more effective advertisements are listening in. This is all to connect one with a better consumer experience, after all checking to see if one’s hair looks okay in a shop window and discovering the perfect pair of shoes is a fantastic surprise. Natasha Singer of the New York Times wrote a very insightful article about how there is a trade economy centered around the trade of identities like stocks in the NYSE is exploding. Within seconds profiles, founded upon social media interactions, mouse clicks, goolgled items, and an assortment of web based interaction,  are being sold to firms that want to tailor  one’s experience on the web. Should someone be someone listen to The Beastie Boys very consistant frequency, would that person who goes to a  music related site be upset to be reminded (or even learn for the first time) that a new documentary is coming for release soon though a banner ad? Often criticisms surface that advertisements are not relevant to a consumer, “why would I buy diapers, I don’t have a child?” this criticism can be taken in a new direction.- support for increased mobility of businesses to access publically shared information. For certain online privacy is important and social media platforms as well as web browsers offer the opportunity to keep some interactions private, however should anyone pass up on the opportunity to transparently represented on the web- they would also miss out on all the efficiency and precision the web has to offer the individual consumer.

Individuals have another relationship that has been healthily fostered through developing surveillance devices and methods. The State has a prime interest in perpetuating itself, protecting its borders, securing safety within those borders, and  self  correcting itself for errors.  Three case studies can help shed light upon the role surveillance plays in the individuals investment in a relationship to the state. The first case comes from a few years back and functions to describe how the state self corrects its errors in the interest of the citizen it means to protect. The case involving CIA Director David Petraeus and his affair with Paula Broadwell is good example. Here there is an extension of the state that is faltering and possibly contributing to a deterioration of the state’s prowess- sharing detailed, classified, sensitive information outside the explicit means of communication. Resolving the issue was hinged upon careful surveillance techniques and cross referencing that data with other data such as credit card transactions and hotel check-ins. The state is also interested in protecting its borders. Take for example how Chinese hackers (possibly state-sponsored) were apprehended using sophisticated trojan horse methods and cross referencing facial recognition with the facebook account activity of the suspected hackers.  Lastly the state is vested in securing safety within its own borders. The success of the Boston Bomber apprehension is a bright example, but nothing in comparison to the achievements of the NYPD special anti-terror units and London-inspired CCTV campaigns. Siting the prevention of several terrorist plots, before they even happened. The state already has a vested interest in civilian security and surveillance has proven an efficient method of  execution.

The third and final relationship that is worth analysing is the relationship between the state and corporations concerning where the individual’s stake is in both . There is hardly room for conversation or action to remove the current system of surveillance. The systems that are in place to track interactions on the web are far more more rooted than many of us are even aware. CNN correspondent and tech columnist Bruce Schneier in the article “The Internet is the Surveillance State” bluntly articulates that the battle for complete online privacy is over. He lays out case by case examples of just how invested corporations and governments- even in in liberal democracies- are in securing the web transparency of individuals online. It is also worth pointing out that the governments and corporations often work together to share information about web profiles, see recent legislations that pushes for backdoors to be put into web programs that are exclusive to the police to secure information. Legislation and political action should be focused more on web freedoms for the individual. Watch us on the web, but grant us the same rights that you grant corporations. Farhad Manjoo writes for Slate, “When you weigh cameras against other security measures, they emerge as the least costly and most effective choice. In the aftermath of 9/11, we’ve turned most public spaces into fortresses — now, it’s impossible for you to get into tall buildings, airports, many museums, concerts, and even public celebrations without being subjected to pat-downs and metal detectors. When combined with competent law enforcement, surveillance cameras are more effective, less intrusive, less psychologically draining, and much more pleasant than these alternatives.” Let the public take it a step further.

Should the discourse in the individuals right to privacy, anywhere and wherever be shifting in the direction favoring the state and the corporation, the individual needs to level the field by pursuing policy that grants the individual the same access to information. Much of the alienation towards surveillance comes from attitudes that express uncertainty or  mystery surrounding where the results of surveillance is going, what is being done with it, and who exactly cares or is watching. Policy that grants corporations the ability to be vigilant on the web, governments should be within reach of the people as well. David Brin articulates in his novel “The Transparent Society” the worth of empowering everyone to the access of CCTV and internet mobility and identity. This must be the direction that the individual finds solace within when it comes to the web identity. Whereas the powers that demand privacy to be release are too great and whereas the discourse on what constitutes a free entity under the state (be it a real person or a corporation), the individual must secure this right of corporations and governments for themselves.


Watch these stories on Surveillance:





Posted: April 30, 2013 by Nikolas Sartin-Tarm in Uncategorized

This is a video describing how the FBI has been lobbying various internet companies, such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, to support a bill that would increase internet surveillance for criminals through encrypted sites.