Love and Hackers Always Find a Way: NBC tries to lock down the Olympics, Can’t

NBC has ruined the Olympics for years. Now many people are taking coverage into their own hands. Thank God for mirrored sites.

I mean what is NBC to expect? It shows gymnastics every single night and plasters it with advertising. In today’s media world viewers want more choices. Frankly NBC should be careful not to kill audience interest in the Olympics.

(From Reuters)

People who are finding ways to circumvent NBC’s restrictions seem to be spreading the word to friends, like New York City journalist Kate Gardiner, who sent out a public service announcement message on Twitter last weekend to urge her followers to use a service called TunnelBear.

The 26-year-old has been using the service to keep up with live swimming broadcasts even though she does not own a television.

TunnelBear is a VPN service that sends a user’s Internet connection to different countries, so in Gardiner’s case it appears her computer is based in London. The decision to avoid NBC was easy for her since she’s one of the millions of U.S. residents without a cable subscription.

“I’m not going to buy a cable subscription to spend three weeks watching Olympics coverage. It’s not going to happen,” she said.

Click here for the story.

Does your town have approval from the FAA to fly drones?

106 towns, universities, and other government entities do. And the list is growing.

As The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports;

“The 18 entities represented in the files include police departments from Seattle, Washington to North Little Rock, Arkansas; about 10 public colleges and universities; a few federal agencies, including the USDA and the Department of Energy—Idaho National Lab; and other entities like the City of Herrington, Kansas and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. For every entity, the files include the actual Certificate of Authorization (COA) application information submitted to the FAA (for each entity, that file is called “COA.xls”), and many other supporting records. The files go back several years and include COAs for every year that the entity has had drones. For some entities this is as early as 2004.”

The FAA anticipates that there will be 30,000 drones in US skies by 2020. This doesn’t seem like a good thing.

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Should we just learn to love Big Brother and his control of Big Data?

I will never submit to Big Brother, and I don’t think anyone else should either. However as one lives one’s life online, as more and more of us do, one is going to be tracked, one’s purchases analyzed, and social media profiles peeped on. This is just reality and we do need to come to terms with this.

Privacy still exists, but only for those who can live offline. Indeed for those who are able to live without email, social media etc, their privacy might be as secure as ever and perhaps more so. If one can go completely off the data grid one can still maintain one’s privacy. For those of us who are addicted, who do much of our socializing, work, banking, etc online, privacy has pretty much vanished.

Click here for the story.

Facebook Monitors Online Chats for Criminal Activity

If you’re doing anything sketchy (which of course you wouldn’t) think twice before you do it on Facebook.

(From Mashable)

“Facebook and other social platforms are watching users’ chats for criminal activity and notifying police if any suspicious behavior is detected, according to a report.

The screening process begins with scanning software that monitors chats for words or phrases that signal something might be amiss, such as an exchange of personal information or vulgar language.”

Click here for the story.

Nurturing Democracy from the Other Side of the Planet

There is a fledgling democracy in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan and journalism professors at Stony Brook College are helping the country develop a culture of inquiry and a free press, from the far side of the globe.

This type of work was done largely in person after the Iron Curtain came crashing down and Eastern European countries sought a way forward. But now some of the work in Bhutan is not being done in Bhutan, but in “virtuality.”

As the tiny kingdom opens to the rest of the world, good advice will be vital. Now that advice is just a mouse click away.

Click here for the story.

Cops Can Now Predict Future Crimes With New Software

The Minority Report takes one step closer to becoming reality.

The power of predictive algorithms is something society is going to have to come to terms with soon. Sure, right now the software is used to guide officers to “hot” areas based on a collection of recent variables. But what if we start using people as variables based on their racial or religious profile also? That doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me.

In an age where there may be as many as 30,000 drones in the sky by 2020 according to the Department of Homeland Security, and in a world in which robots literally the size of mosquitos, which also fly like mosquitos, can be mounted with cameras, where do we draw the line? Do we draw the line. Can it be drawn?

Click here for the story.

And just to freak you out a bit more, check out the quad-copter video below.

Three former NSA employees expose in court ‘mass illegal surveillance’ program?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is doing a lot of work here. I for one am very thankful they do what they do, especially on this issue.

(From Activist Post)

Three former employees of the NSA, William E. Binney, Thomas A. Drake, and J. Kirk Wiebe, have come forward with evidence to back up a case being valiantly fought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Click here for the article.