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Your Mobile phone?! ATM withdrawls?! : The Police and the live monitoring of dissent.

May 11, 2011

Paranoid I might be, but I must admit I was little startled by the recent disclosure that Apple devices (Iphones, Ipads, macbooks) were actually storing your every physical movement (The Guardian newspaper, April 20, 2011).  Apple’s Iphone now becomes another device for monitoring political activity and misplaced ‘security threats’ (you know, like environmentalists or someone like you, perhaps).

 Two British academics discovered that there was this little unnamed Apple file that contained all of your travel minute by minute.  And it could be run through a program to create a lovely (marketing, criminal, technical service) matrix of where and what you have been doing over the past six months of your life.   (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/20/iphone-tracking-prompts-privacy-fears)

Well, two weeks later, the London Metropolitan Police have just purchased the software program to let them monitor all of your digital activity (The Guardian newpaper, May 11, 2011) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/11/police-software-maps-digital-movements)

 Called “Geotime”, the security program can create a futuristic real-time 3-D graphic of  a person’s movements and communications by collating info from numerous digital sources such as your mobile phone, ATM withdrawals, internet surfing, social networking, GPS.  Um…the Apple Iphone, too.

 I love this sentence in the Guardian article: “The Police have confirmed its purchase and declined to rule out its use in investigating public order disturbances.” 

 Perhaps this nefarious software purchase by the ‘protectors of civil liberties’ in London shouldn’t really be a surprise as the US Military has been using the same program for years.  And we know that about their commitment to freedom and democracy based on the  mantra of  “it’s all okay if it is made in American”.

The US Military and their (un)Intelligence Services have monitored international communications for the past two decades and have since the “Patriot Act” (post-September 11, 2001) in been able to secretly access all of one’s email and financial transactions.

 One only has to think of the current  G-20 Summit  inquiry in London concerning the police killing of Ian Tomlinson, a bystander to the whole demos, the use of kettling to contain people who are legitimately protesting, and the G-20 arrests in Toronto where a 1,000 people were detained on fictitious law (remember McGuinty for his lack of democratic values).

It makes me wonder how serenely and quietly we are permitting the securitization of every aspect of our lives.  And where protestors can be arrested before they even take place in a demonstration (See The Guardian again).  Or, where tanks can roll into cities in Syria (See the news today), shell civilians, kill and arrest any ‘dissenter” by calling them a ‘terrorist’. 

And to think how amazingly the  Apple Iphone is selling so well….selling out our future.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sherwood Hinze permalink*
    May 11, 2011 11:46 pm

    I mentioned the news about the Iphones tracking our movements a week or two ago on Facebook and the only response I got from people was “ehh, what can you do?”

    Not only do people generally not care, they see the whole idea as generally benign.

    In a related story I read in Harper’s magazine, scientists have discovered that sheep are really good at following orders…

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