#109: Camera 18 – ON

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

I am sure many of you have read the book 1984 by George Orwell, and didn’t like the society he portrayed. The year 1984 came and went, and things weren’t like that at all, but a few years later, all the workings for a Big Brother atmosphere are here. If you pay attention to your surroundings you will notice more and more factors either controlling your life, or watching your actions.

While I was in Las Vegas, I noticed it more than anywhere else, and that is somewhat understandable. With all the casinos in hotels they have to keep an eye on who is doing what to ensure fair play. But why do they have cameras in all the central hallways, restaurants, lobbies, elevators, entrances, etc.? If you travel to nice hotels in other cities, there are probably only 15% of the cameras watching your actions. Each room comes equipped with a nice mirror for your use, but I have to wonder if there is a camera behind that too.

As you go in retail stores, you will find more have installed security cameras and have hired someone to watch them full time. Once again this is to mostly deter theft, but what else can they do? They can watch you anywhere in the store, at any time, for any reason. Many companies that you call will state something to the effect of “This call may be monitored for quality control”, and that can be applied to the use of the cameras you see. I am sure employers want to make sure everything is fine with their employees. Now, during work, you have to make sure you don’t stop to take a quick break and collect your thoughts, as you wouldn’t want your boss to think you are slacking off.

Go to some of the bigger cities, and drive around. Look about twenty to thirty feet up and you will sometimes notice cameras on the outside of the building watching the street in front, the sidewalk, or parking garage. In some cases, they are monitoring intersections near the building. Most of the time these cameras are stationary, and are there to provide a good view of as much area as possible. They can’t see a lot of detail, but they can monitor any activity around the building as well as what is going on across the street. Why? There is no need for that.

Almost every government building is loaded with cameras, and sometimes microphones to listen in on what is going on. Private conversation is totally eliminated in this kind of environment, and that in itself is not conducive to happy workers. If you go to work and know you can’t talk privately about something with someone, and know that when you are talking, they could easily be watching you, how would you feel? Untrusted for sure.

If the thought of being monitored at any time while in public kind of disturbs you, think of the way we are heading. With each day it seems the common people are losing their privacy. Anything done by anyone to ensure privacy is bashed down by the system. Take Phil Zimmerman for example. He wants his mail and information totally private, but the government doesn’t like that since they can’t read his mail, or anyone else’s using his software. Now, he is under investigation for exporting munitions because of his desire for privacy. Since when does encryption software fall in the category of munitions? Every time he comes back into the country he is subjected to hours of questioning regarding his trip, his activities, etc. Big Brother is here.

The government is supposed to be here to guide us on the right path for the good of the people. Since when is being able to monitor every/any phone conversation good for the people(clipper)? Why is a social security number required to do anything these days? That is a good tracking method they have and can keep good tabs on where you are, and what you do. With that single number, anyone in power(or anyone who knows how to obtain that power) can get any information on you in a matter of minutes. Your credit records, hospital records, name/address/unlisted phone number, or anything else about you.

At the current rate, most citizens will lose almost every aspect of privacy they hold valuable. Anything you do, anywhere in the country you go, you will not be able to have a private moment. Imagine having open house inspections at random, random car searches driving down the highway, or worse. All these are aspects of a Big Brother society. Keep telling yourself that it doesn’t mean it will happen..

#108: I Wanna Know

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

In this day and age, there is more and more talk about who owns information and how freely it should flow. It is currently impossible to place a monetary value on information, or establish precedents on who should own what
information due to a lack of court cases involving it. Not that American courts are the ones that have a right to assess the value of information.

More in the computer world than in the ‘real’ world, you will find arguments about who should have access to information. Along with who should have it, other aspects come up such as how free it should be, what it takes to get it, and what price you should have to pay for it.

In the past I have always been one to think any and all information should be free to everyone else. Recently I have changed my view on this mostly due to other people wanting information from me. I don’t claim to be an information storehouse or anything, but here and there people want information on various subjects, and turn to me. Typically this is on BBS’s and I reply with the answer they need within a day or so. I have never had a complaint about this until a week or so ago. My stance on information freedom has changed from ‘anyone, anytime’ to ‘if you deserve it’.

During a conversation a few weeks back, I was told that waiting more than two days for a piece of information was way too long. He stated that it should only take one day, and no more. To keep things clear, this was being said about hacking knowledge. He believed that he should be able to get a response to his inquiries regarding hacking within one day, and that not getting it within that one day was unacceptable.

If that is the mindset people are starting to take, then the world of information is going downhill. Patience is a virtue, I know that has been drilled in your head by other people in the past. That being said, consider the current state of knowledge. If someone asks another person a question that demands a somewhat technical answer, that only a few people have, then that is a pretty valuable piece of information. The fact that it came to you somewhat quickly and without a price is a blessing.

If you want information, and you want it quickly, do something to earn it. Just sitting on your ass and offering nothing back to the person helping you is your way of saying that you don’t deserve the information. If mailing someone and waiting for a few days for the response is too long to wait, or too much of a hassle, then you aren’t even CLOSE to deserving the information.

More and more I notice that those without the ‘intel’ are the ones who demand it to be free. The people who don’t know about a particular subject, who want to learn, seem to be the most demanding to get the information they
want, and are willing to do little or nothing in return for it. These are the people that are the most dangerous to our society. They will be the first to take this information, and spread it to all ends of the world, eventually nullifying the value of it.

Bottom line: Since no one can put a true value on information in general, use your experience with it to put a value on the ‘intel’ you want, and the ‘intel’ you have.