Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Schools to use high tech surveillance methods on pupils

November 24, 2007

A report yesterday in the Daily Mail, see here.

Using RIFD technology, microchips sewn into the school uniform emit information on student details which are tracked at every point of the school day. Using this information a log of what the student is doing from the point of entering the school to leaving the school gates can be compiled.

Defenders of the scheme say that it will reduce the time taken by the teachers compiling registered and tracking down errant pupils. However, this technology will do nothing to stop truancy amongst pupils that are determined not to go to school. Other ‘benefits’ regarding security are equally as pointless as well as if a stranger was to enter the school no record of the stranger would show in the RFID logs. Pupils determined to do mischief could equally exchange coats and throw the whole system into chaos.

In America schools that utilized this technology feed the information collected by the RFID logs directly to police computers and alert the police to any truancy that may take place. Other variotions on these tracking systems is the use of electronic fingerprint reading devices which track when children get on and off school buses and enter individual classes.

These system when viewed as a whole seem to be another way to in-doctorate children(when people are most impressionable) into a culture of surveillance. With the popularity of such sites like Facebook and MySPACE where people voluntarily submit personal information for all to see(even potential employers/schools/government) it can be hardly surprising that this sort of technology is becoming accepted.

When will the day come when financial details are kept on these RFID chips and payment for school meals can only take place with these microchips. Where you will be unable to get a job or bank account unless your personal information is stored on a microchip and implanted into your body. Is a frightening thought. More frightening then one looks at the ‘security lapse’ which are endemic in modern society. See the recent fiasco with the loss of sensitive information by the UK government(estimated at 25 million people AT RISK of identity fraud) and already the alarm bells should be ringing.

It can only be a matter of time before the microchip is surgically sewn into children. We have the technology and the infrastructure in place (generally) to do this. We will be under surveillance at every turn, and at every juncture in our brief, miserable lives. Is this really the future we want for our children and the rest of us? What have we done wrong to be constantly under observation like some common criminal?

For an interesting news report(video) on the implications of this click here .

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Aldous Huxley – Propaganda In A Democratic Society

November 19, 2007

Propaganda in a Democratic Society

by Aldous Huxley

“The doctrines of Europe,” Jefferson wrote, “were that men in numerous associations cannot be restrained within the limits of order and justice, except by forces physical and moral wielded over them by authorities independent of their will. . . . We (the founders of the new American democracy) believe that man was a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights, and with an innate sense of justice, and that he could be restrained from wrong, and protected in right, by moderate powers, confided to persons of his own choice and held to their duties by dependence on his own will.” To post-Freudian ears, this kind of language seems touchingly quaint and ingenuous. Human beings are a good deal less rational and innately just than the optimists of the eighteenth century supposed. On the other hand they are neither so morally blind nor so hopelessly unreasonable as the pessimists of the twentienth would have us believe. In spite of the Id and the Unconscious, in spite of endemic neurosis and the prevalence of low IQ’s, most men and women are probably decent enough and sensible enough to be trusted with the direction of their own destinies. Democratic institutions are devices for reconciling social order with individual freedom and initiative, and for making the immediate power of a country’s rulers subject to the ultimate power of the ruled. The fact that, in Western Europe and America, these devices have worked, all things considered, not too badly is proof enough that the eighteenth century optimists were not entirely wrong. Given a fair chance, I repeat; for the fair chance is an indispensible prerequisite. No people that passes abruptly from a state of subservience under the rule of a despot to the completely unfamiliar state of political independence can be said to have a fair chance of being able to govern itself democratically. Liberalism flourishes in an atmosphere of prosperity and declines as declining prosperity makes it necessary for the government to intervene ever more frequently and drastically in the affairs of its subjects. Over-population and over-organization are two conditions which … deprive a society of a fair chance of making democratic institutions work effectively. We see, then, that there are certain historical, economic, demographic and technological conditions which make it very hard for Jefferson’s rational animals, endowed by nature with inalienable rights and an innate sense of justice, to exercise their reason, claim their rights and act justly within a democratically organized society. We in the West have been supremely fortunate in having been given a fair chance of making the great experiment in self-government. Unfortunately, it now looks as though , owing to recent changes in our circumstances, this infinitely precious fair chance were being, little by little, taken away from us. And this, of course, is not the whole story. These blind impersonal forces are not the only enemies of individual liberty and democratic institutions. There are also forces of another, less abstract character, forces that can be deliberately used by power-seeking individuals whose aim is to establish partial or complete control over their fellows. Fifty years ago, when I was a boy, it seemed completely self-evident that the bad old days were over, that torture and massacre, slavery, and the persecution of heretics, were things of the past. Among people who wore top hats, traveled in trains, and took a bath every morning such horrors were simply out of the question. After all, we were living in the twentieth century. A few years later these people who took daily baths and went to church in top hats were committing atrocities on a scale undreamed of by the benighted Africans and Asiatics. In the light of recent history it would be foolish to suppose that this sort of thing cannot happen again. It can and, no doubt, it will. But in the immediate future there is some reason to believe that the punitive measures of 1984 will give place to the reinforcements and manipulations of Brave New World.

There are two kinds of propaganda – rational propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with the enlightened self-interest of those who make it and those to whom it is addressed, and non-rational propaganda that is not consonant with anybody’s enlightened self-interest, but is dictated by, and appeals to, passion. Were the actions of individuals are concerned there are motives more exhalted than enlightened self-interest, but where collective action has to be taken in the fields of politics and economics, enlightened self-interest is probably the highest of effective motives. If politicians and their constituents always acted to promote their own or their country’s long-range self-interest, this world would be an earthly paradise. As it is, they often act against their own interests, merely to gratify their least credible passions; the world, in consequence, is a place of misery. Propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with enlightened self-interest appeals to reason by means of logical arguements based upon the best available evidence fully and honestly set forth. Propaganda in favor of action dictated by the impulses that are below self-interest offers false, garbled or incomplete evidence, avoids logical argument and seeks to influence its victims by the mere repetition of catchwords, by the furious denunciation of foreign or domestic scapegoats, and by cunningly associating the lowest passions with the highest ideals, so that atrocities come to be perpetrated in the name of God and the most cynical kind of Realpolitik is treated as a matter of religious principle and patriotic duty.

In John Dewey’s words, “a renewal of faith in common human nature, in its potentialities in general, and in its power in particular to respond to reason and truth, is a surer bulwark against totalitarianism than a demonstration of material success or a devout worship of special legal and political forms.” The power to respond to reason and truth exists in all of us. But so, unfortunately, does the tendency to respond to unreason and falsehood – particularly in those cases where falsehood evokes some enjoyable emotion, or where the appeal to unreason strikes some answering chord in the primitive, subhuman depths of our being. In certain feilds of activity men have learned to respond to reason and truth pretty consistently. The authors of learned articles do not appeal to the passions of their fellow scientists and technologists. They set forth what, to the best of their knowledge, is the truth about some particular aspect of reality, they use reason to explain the facts they have observed and they support their point of view with arguements that appeal to reason in other people. All this is fairly easy in the feilds of physical science and technology. It is much more difficult in the fields of politics and religion and ethics. Here the relevant facts often elude us. As for the meaning of the facts, that of course depends upon the particular system of ideas, in terms of which you choose to interpret them. And these are not the only difficulties that confront the rational truth-seeker. In public and in private life, it often happens that there is simply no time to collect the relevant facts or to weigh their significance. We are forced to act on insufficient evidence and by a light considerably less steady than that of logic. With the best will in the world, we cannot always be completely truthful or consistently rational. All that is in our power is to be as truthful and rational as circumstances permit us to be, and to respond as well as we can to the limited truth and imperfect reasoning offered for our consideration by others.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,” said Jefferson, “it expects what never was and never will be. . . . The people cannot be safe without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.” Across the Atlantic another passionate believer in reason was thinking about the same time, in almost precisely similar terms. Here is what John Stuart Mill wrote of his father, the utilitarian philosopher, James Mill: “So complete was his reliance upon the influence of reason over the minds of mankind, whenever it is allowed to reach them, that he felt as if all would be gained, if the whole population were able to read, and if all sorts of opinions were allowed to be addressed to them by word or in writing, and if by the sufferage they could nominate a legislature to give effect to the opinions they had adopted.” All is safe, all would be gained! Once more we hear the note of eighteenth-century optimism. Jefferson , it is true, was a realist as well as an optimist. He knew by bitter experience that the freedom of the press can be shamefully abused. “Nothing,” he declared, “can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” And yet, he insisted (and we can only agree with him), “within the pale of truth, the press is a noble institution, equally the friend of science and civil liberty.” Mass communication, in a word, is neither good nor bad; it is simply a force and, like any other force, it can be used either well or ill. Used in one way, the press, the radio and the cinema are indispensible to the survival of democracy. Used in another way, they are among the most powerful weapons in the dictator’s armory. In the field of mass communications as in almost every other field of enterprise, technological progress has hurt the Little Man and helped the Big Man. As lately as fifty years ago, every democratic country could boast a great number of small journals and local newspapers. Thousands of country editors expressed thousands of independent opinions. Somewhere or other almost anybody could get almost anything printed,. Today the press is still legally free; but most of the little papers have disappeared. The cost of wood pulp, of modern printing machinery and of syndicated news is too high for the Little Man. In the totalitarian East there is political censorship, and the media of mass communication are controlled by the State. In the democratic West there is economic censorship and the media of mass communication are controlled by members of the Power Elite. Censorship by rising costs and the concentration of communication power in the hands of a few big concerns is less objectionable than State ownership and government propaganda; but certainly it is not something of which a Jeffersonian democrat could possibly approve.

In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not forsee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.

In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were “solemn and rare,” there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances, though infrequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment – from poetical dramas to gladitorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distraction now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In Brave New World non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature (the feelies, orgy-porgy, centrifugal bumblepuppy) are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly “not of this world.” Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx’s phrase, “the opium of the people” and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in the calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metephysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.

In their propaganda today’s dictators rely for the most part on repetition, supression and rationalization – the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the supression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State. As the art and science of manipulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtless learn to combine these techniques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrelevance the rational propaganda essential to the maintenance of individual liberty and the survival of democratic institutions.

DNA testing apologists, Financial Times

November 18, 2007

Article take from here.

Seems these people are determined to build a DNA database of the United Kingdom. It heralds the loss of our personal identity. To think that future government could misuse this information should be reason enough to resist it. Why government create the policies of destruction and propose the insidious solutions to them, thus appearing as our saviour, only to become despotic with each step. We will all be micro-chipped next.

B455. “Why DNA Testing is Worth the Risk” Financial Times (May 10, 2004), p. 13.
In the growing debate over the encroachment of science on privacy, the use of DNA testing presents both high risks to privacy and great potential for the public good. How widely should it be employed and how does one determine its limits? This depends largely on the extent to which a society can ensure proper accountability to minimize abuses of such vital information. This entails using both privacy-enhancing technologies (for example, audit trails and encryption) and several layers of accountability (not just by various ministries but also by parliament and the media).
Most conflicts between the protection of privacy and services for the common good, such as national security and public health, have a tilted profile that makes it relatively easy to form the proper public policy – but not always to sell it to the public. Trading medical records, for example, which banks could use to call in the loans of sick people and employers could use to avoid hiring people who had had a heart attack – a practice that was once common and is now banned in the US – is grossly invasive and does little public good. Banning such practices is readily justifiable.
In contrast, using cameras to record license plates (but not the drivers) for traffic violations can save lives and entails a minimal invasion of privacy. It should be an easy public policy to embrace.
The public policy profile of DNA testing and data banks is very different. The level of privacy invasion involved is high. Testing someone’s DNA can reveal much about their ancestral history – say, family diseases and, arguably, their racial origins. It can determine whether one – or even one’s siblings and children – is predisposed to still other debilitating illnesses. As reflected in the increasingly bitter nature of paternity suits, it is also used to determine who is and who is not the biological parent of a child.
From many aspects, however, the public benefits are tremendous. In its most commonly recognized role, DNA testing helps solve individual crimes when the criminal leaves, say, some hair or blood behind, which enables DNA comparisons with someone who can be reasonably suspected of having committed that crime. How widely the authorities should cast such a net is a matter of much controversy. Some would limit the suspects to only those the police can demonstrate would have reasonable cause to have committed the crime. Others would include a much larger range of suspects – for example, the residents of a whole village in which it occurred.
Accountability is the key. The stronger the legal assurances that DNA data collected by police will be used only for solving crimes – and remain inaccessible to unauthorized individuals including the media – the more widely authorities may cast the net.
DNA testing provides better opportunities than any other available tool to prove wrongly accused people innocent. Democratic societies like to believe they are committed to going to the limit to ensure innocent people will not be incarcerated, as reflected in the commonly held notion that it is preferable to let 100 criminals walk free than to jail one innocent person. DNA can serve justice very well indeed. Surely this alone would justify the development of extensive DNA data banks – including of those arrested and not just convicted – as long as the data banks are properly supervised?
In another increasingly important use of DNA technology, it can assist national security efforts by enabling identification of the bodies of terrorists. DNA testing could, in fact, be the
ultimate “identification card”, if such a card is truly in the national interest. The data can also greatly help medical research, although in this case, it should be “de-personalized” – released to researchers without the names, addresses or other such attributes that enable personal identification. Researchers should commit themselves, subject to oversight, not to sidestep the ban against tracing people, even if it encumbers their work.
When it comes to weighing the considerable benefits of DNA testing against the growing demand for privacy protection, among the best technological safeguards is high-powered encryption of the data banks. Encryption could largely eliminate the possibility that unauthorized individuals will access information locked in these databases. Another safeguard can be provided by audit trails, in which anyone who accesses a file must leave their identification details. Audit committees should be established to review these trails. Separating DNA information from personal identifiers and requiring a court order for disclosure of names and addresses of those identified as criminals is crucial. Basic laws should determine the purposes for which these data banks may be used and should clearly ban other uses. For instance, parliaments should determine whether they may be used in paternity suits. A privacy advocate should be appointed whose duty would be to ensure the data are not abused. Regular oversight by non-partisan groups of lawmakers is part of good accountability. Annual reports about abuses that occur and corrective measures taken could help focus the public’s attention. In the end, however, in a non-perfect world, it comes down to one question: Does one trust the various layers of accountability, or fear abuses to such an extent that one is willing to sacrifice the many advantages that DNA testing can bestow on society? I vote with those who hold that we can provide adequate accountability.
The writer is author of The Limits of Privacy and, most recently, From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations.

An essay by George Orwell, England your England

November 18, 2007

   An interesting article by George Orwell.

England your England.

Secret warfare waged against own population in Britain today.

November 16, 2007

It was reported today that there is an increasing awareness among the public of the phenomenon known as Chem-Trails. Skeptics amongst you may believe that this is a conspiracy theory. I doubt it these days. With the increasing admission of governments around the world to performing experimentations on the unwittingly public is in the public domain. Read here.

It is easy to dismiss the Chem-Trail theory by citing increased airline traffic and normal Con-trails, but increasingly people have begun to analysis water content from areas where Chem-Trail activity is high, with worrying result. Levels of unusually high barium have been found in samples which have been analysied by the Environmental Protection Agency in Texas. See here.

Barium is a toxic substance which in low doses can cause nausia and vomitting, while prolonged exposure can lead to weakening of the immune system, in addition. Government is supposed to represent our interests and how can it be in the publics interest to have our bodies poisoned in some nationwide lab experiment.

Further more slow poisoning such as this has further consequences for the victim. Prolonged exposure can lead to retardation of the brain which leads to ill judgment and leaves the mind susceptible to manipulation. It should be the concerted effort of all free thinking people to pursue the purpetraitors of this crime, no matter where their odious trail leads, and punish those responsible.

Ultimately we must hold our politicians to account for sanctioning the behavior of the security services to carry out such dastardly deeds on the good people of this country. It just beggars belief that this behavior is a continuing feature of human life in BRITAIN and in the 21st century. How can we attribute the dismiss of Britain to immigrants when the behavior of the government is abhorrent.  It is plain to see that our elected ‘Rulers’ have little regard for the peasants.  Consistantly passing legislation that oppress people,  encourage social disorder, smack the face of long held cultural beliefs.  Like the push-me-pull-me from Dr Dolittle’s island,  an obscene circus act that claims to act on our behalf and to our ‘interests’.  We legitimize them in this act by voting for them.  It is akin to us giving a sex offender pornographic material, it doesn’t make sense.

It has always been the thought of man while looking to the sky and observing the heavens that they were untouchable, pure and arranged in concert.  Removed from all change and free from decay.  But increasingly looking upwards one cannot deny the existence of these stains on the sky.  Yet one may dismiss these benign looking lines as mere weather fronts or clouds even.  It strikes a fundamental nerve in the human psyche that the sky, far from being immutable and pure, may in fact be tainted.  Denial is comfort and comfort is the killer of all great endeavors.

Public awareness has to be increased in regard to this silent warfare taking place.

In reflection French had the right idea during the their revolution, We need to clean out the trash scum politicians and ‘secret’ operations against the very people that made this country great. All tyrannical regimes fall and their leaders never learn.