Home > Uncategorized > With huge data being collected we are moving towards a ‘No Place To Hide’ World

With huge data being collected we are moving towards a ‘No Place To Hide’ World

The Governments are collecting all kinds of data related to the behavior of their citizen and their enemies worldwide with the help of cyber roadways. Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency and Julian Assange Editor-In-Chief of WikiLeaks, have been talking about cyber-spying and surveillance for some time. Today I read the transcript of Ted talk of Lawyer and TED fellow Catherine Crump, who talks about the American police collecting data about citizen via cameras installed at public places.

She talks about the new trend that is in development now. The case of shooting of Michael Brown did mention that he was shot with some advanced military weapon. But it also raises a serious question about how an advanced military weapon meant for battlefield reached the small town of Missouri and landed in the hands of a policeman. This is something that is happening with the surveillance sector too she says.

This seems quite a bit difficult to understand as we know that most of the surveillance technologies and advanced surveillance weapons lies in the hands of governments (even when you talk about cyber weapons like viruses that attack a particular kind of project or technology, I am referring to Flame virus and the likes of this).

When I read the news on the Lizard Squad hacker group which recently made headlines for taking the claim of the hack of year 2014, Sony hack. This hacker group is offering DDoS attacks for a monthly fees (payable via BitCoin and PayPal) which sounds really scary. Because, this also means that anyone who can offer fees can get hacking done (or performed) on a specified target.

Remember this hack resulted in the world speculating that the movie The Interview was the reason of the hack that pointed at North Korea after which this week US imposed sanctions on North Korea.

Let me concentrate on what Crump has to say. She in a Ted Talk says that NSA-style mass surveillance is also “enabling local police departments to gather vast quantities of sensitive information” about each and every citizen in a way that was not possible before.

She talks the camera as a primary gadget that is hooked to the Internet. These surveillance cameras are installed everywhere and are equipped with something called the “Automatic License Plate Reader”. That means each camera n the traffic signal on the turn, on the gate of a residential area, on the entry and exit gates of the public transport, can record the data about the places a car or person goes. The scattered data thus collected will not make sense, but if the data is arranged to be in a particular order it ill reveal every detail about where you go, how long you stay here and what all you do in a day (and yes on which days.)

According to her, “local police departments are keeping records not just of people wanted for wrongdoing, but of every plate that passes them by, resulting in the collection of mass quantities of data about where Americans have gone.”

This detail takes me to an article I wrote on 8th August. “कहाँ तक बचेंगे कैमरे से, आप उसकी निगरानी में जो रहेंगे?” This was about proposed smart cities in India and the installation of surveillance cameras on roads and important places to catch culprits. The talk of Crump offers some information about what all could happen in the process of collecting data about culprits when data about  other citizen also gets collected and if one day the collector of the data says segregating the data is needed.

What Crump says gets amplified when to this data one adds the data that is collected through location reading is added. Your position on the globe (you will be somewhere on the globe always), and the places you visit and go to regularly will be traceable, making you always remain under surveillance. The difference however, is that in real world you will be unaware of what data is getting collected unlike the fiction world of Orwell, where citizen knew what data is being collected and how- which enabled them to take some precautionary steps.

This New World does look like a threatening place, with “No Place To Hide” as Glenn says while writing about Snowden and revelations.

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