LIONEL PODCAST: The United States of Surveillance

How cool is this, right? Samsung blues. (Apologies for the bad Neil Diamond pun.) Thanks again to the thorough research and journalism of Paul Joseph Watson. It seems a story of inconceivable importance has been issued yet it seems that all we apparently care about are trifling miscellany. As I’ve said before: beware of anything called Smart or Green. Why?

Smart?! Exhibit A: “In responding to privacy concerns over their Smart TVs recording private conversations and sending them to a third party, Samsung admitted that voice data is ‘sent to a server’ during the process.” What?! Oh, it gets better; it seems that Samsung’s global privacy policy advises its consumers to, “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” As Rockwell intoned, “Someone’s watching me.”

Your dishwasher’s listening. In 2012 CIA Director David Petraeus mused about ‘the emergence of an ‘Internet of Things’ — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm.

“‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”

All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.

“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”

Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.

So, the question remains. Whither the mainstream media? We’re being swallowed in a 24/7 full-spectrum panopticon. Strike that. Correction: we’ve already been swallowed. It’s happened. And this surveillance Goliath we’ve acceded to unwittingly and, frankly, nonchalantly.

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