Welcome to the Machine: AKA big brother is always watching

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  • I am more and more getting the unsettling impression that privacy is a quaint notion of the past. Perhaps this stems out of my addiction to Person of Interest, but I am starting to feel like this "fictional reality" is actually really not far off from our current reality. If search engine advertising is truly on the verge of Pay Per Look instead of pay per click (meaning it can track your eye movements and know that you have merely looked at an add, without actually clicking on it)......then that means someone or something is always watching. It is really unsettling. How much are we even really actually aware of right now? How much are we being watched and monitored? Is privacy just an illusion at this point? Is it already gone, or can we find a way to save it?

    So I sound crazy?

  • Hello, this is one of my favourite topics and I have not seen Person of Interest, perhaps I should.

    I'm not sure the lizard lounge is the right place for something that is actually happening. The vast majority of surveillance is faceless, they don't care who you are because they're working on generalisations, marketing to people like you. Google ad words are more targeted at you by looking at what you have searched for, emailed, said in chat etc. Give it a few years & you'll probably get free phones that monitor your conversations for certain words, he said pizza, let's send him an offer from the local supermarket, oh wait, he can't be bothered to cook, ahh but he's vegan we can't send the nearest one, Domino's it is! Facebook and others are already doing something similar, they changed the license, anyone that clicked yes without reading has only themselves to blame.

    Are you worried about corporations spying on you or the government? Anything you take for free will come with surveillance, facebook, gmail and a lot more, with these companies you are the commodity to be sold to the hungry advert touts and anyone else. I have read a few things stating that the governments don't really need their own surveillance equipment, the commercial stuff is so good, they just need to tap in to it. Of course they do have it but the information available from the corporates is a goldmine for them.

    Pay per look sounds unlikely, it would need all computers to have a camera which is permanently on (mine is covered) and recording constant eye movement, not impossible but it would take a large chunk of your processing power which would be much better employed searching for extra terrestrial life (does Seti still run?) or something else. Advertisers aren't keen on pay per click, they want a pay per click only if they bought something model, the people running the adverts are not keen especially as I could click a link then bookmark the first part of url containing just the site & object & buy it a week later without the referral. Though I'm sure they could make it work.

  • Welcome here, where we often rage against the Machine.

    FO has it pretty well sussed out in his post, at least so far as the internet is concerned.

    But the internet is just one part of a much larger Machine, as most of us realise. The top Machine is the corporate state, a combination of multinational companies and governments. Which increasingly, are using actual and virtual machines to track and record us.
    These machines are good servants, but very bad masters, and those who control the machines decide which function they will serve.

    Yes, we can all be tracked quite easily, and our interests, and our politics, and our peculiarities, all recorded and stored for future use against us.

    We fall into their hands readily, because we eagerly accept the electronic toys they hand out to us, which greatly enable them to enhance their tracking of us. We even pay for them.

    Ideally they would like to achieve a state whereby we cannot exist without the Machine, the all-powerful corporate state, where multi-nationals run governments and tell them exactly what to do. Already this latter is a reality in many countries of the world, including our own.

    The Machine has problems which are hangovers from the haphazard past, some of which are considered anarchist ideas like people should be able to live how they wish, work the hours they prefer, and all be equal before the law. The Machine likes to fit people into easily-manageable categories, all of which will do exactly as they are told, and any that do not fit it tries to mould to fit, and keeps an extra eye on them, and sometimes suppresses them. The Machine has been trying to do all this for some time now, but the electronic age has greatly increased its capabilities.

  • There's a woman called Catherine Albrecht I think, who is a government IT expert from America, turned privacy expert. She has set up a browser called startpage.com, that's completely encripted, free from advertising, no keystroke tracker etc. You can pay a little a year to have their encrypted email account too, which covers you and another person.

    I use start page as my browser now as I was sick of the intrusion. I also stopped putting my photos of me up facebook, as this is now being used for facial mapping and profiling at protests and festivals. They trialled it at Download festival, so every time you walked into the main arena, they scanned everyone's faces with overhead cameras. (along with cashless payments).

    I have heard, with working in the tattoo community, that the government in America are trying to make certain types of tattoo and body modifications illegal, as facial tattoos are becoming more prevalent, along with sub dermal implants, which alter the key mapping points of the face, making this type of tracking difficult. Apparently asymmetric patterns, under the eye, across the forehead and along the jawline, full eye tattoos etc throw the mapping system off, and people are catching on to this. Apparently there has been a surge in the popularity of these sorts of modifications in the US, where the surveillance state is out of control.

    I find it increasingly worrying seeing the erosion of privacy, especially as the tories are now stealing and selling people medical records for profit, which is the most personal and intimate information about a person. Add to that, big companies now pushing for microchipping employees, to apparently help them with security, scary times. Wont be long until we are living in Aldus Huxley's Brave New World in Orwells 1984.....

  • We like to think that the US is out of control but I think it's far worse here, we just don't hear so much about it as people are more accepting. IT security professionals in the US including some very influential people such as governmental/presidential advisers speak out about it regularly.

    The filming of protesters is nothing new, I was filmed at a protest many years ago. Peaceful or otherwise, public land or otherwise you will be filmed & enter the system.:S

    I have heard about the sub dermal implants and facial tattoos, I don't suppose it will take the recognition systems long to get past that. I would think something subtler such as makeup that reflects certain wavelengths of light would work better and be less permanent.

    In Huxley's Brave new world he talked about getting people not to care about the major issues due to other problems or other distractions, I think for the majority of people that is already the case.

    Following on from OldKeith's comment, if anyone opposes the further erosion of state in favour of corporates then they should definitely be looking to do anything they can about the ttip & tpp, there are a couple of petitions in the appropriate section on here.

  • "In Huxley's Brave new world he talked about getting people not to care about the major issues due to other problems or other distractions, I think for the majority of people that is already the case."

    That is absolutely the case. If you have numerous financial problems, and/or housing problems, and/or social problems, and on top of this are working 12 - 14 hours a day just to stay alive and exist, there is little scope for stepping back and thinking outside of your own present situation. This is how the system uses the present setup to achieve its purpose, quite apart from the profits such economic slavery brings.

  • Yeah, its looking bleak. I read in the news that they've allowed Genetically Modified babies to go ahead, so how long until we have a population of blithely unaware, perfectly obedient little drones? I doubt it will take them long to start tweaking with genes they shouldn't, rather than just eradicating illness which is the guise they've pushed it through under.

    I have a friend who is very much of the 'well I've got nothing to hide, arrrrggghhh terrorists, let them look blah blah' argument, and nothing we can say will shake her from this opinion. So it looks like they don't really need to do much tweaking to the human race, the population is docile enough as it is.

    The TTIP, the TTP and the snoopers charter, as well as the proposed withdrawal from the human rights charter, and the lack of uproar from the general population sums up the general apathy towards the corrupt state and the level of its overreach....

    (signed more petitions than you could shake a stick at F.O x )

  • Genetically modified babies.... Again, in Brave new world they have a system of artificial baby raising & presumably creation that modifies them to fit in one of 5 castes or ranks, allowing them to fill certain roles. It's all coming true.

    I've signed one or two in my time as well. ;)

  • I read Brave new world a couple of months ago, and I was shocked by some of the parallels. Same with 1984. It is a bit like they are using it as a blueprint.

    I heard somewhere that we are the most surveilled by cameras in the world. I'm not sure how true this is. But it did include cameras that are now being worn by the population. But it does make me wear a hood/ big hat alot when I'm out. Not that I have anything to hide, just like being irksome to the powers that be.

    It also affected my choice of gaming console, after I found out the xbox one had a voice activated/ sensor based camera, that Microsoft would have access to. Especially as Microsoft are one of the worst offenders for privacy abuses. The gaming community were up in arms over it, and then Microsoft had to withdraw it from being mandatory to being an option feature. But then you hear of Samsung Smart T.vs with the same technology, and Samsung issued a statement saying that they couldn't guarantee what was happening with the information collected...... Cant wait to get off grid....

  • Hah yes, I read that too. I like how you think. There may be that I have nothing to hide right now but history generally shows that the data they collect can be used against you in the future. What isn't illegal now maybe in the future.

    I think there are only two cameras for the xbox, both are extras, the one for the kinnect shouldn't be able to take images but it wouldn't surprise me if it did. The kinnect is a fantastic piece of technology, I expect something like it to be in every home in the future. However it has a tremendous possibility for snooping, people think of biometric information as just a fingerprint but it could be anything, the Kinnect can tell its users apart by their height and movements. Assuming it's always on it will also know what time you enter the room, how long you spend there, whether your movements indicate you're eating or even having sex on the couch.

    Of course Microsoft wouldn't be interested in any of that data...

  • This topic both amazes and scares me at the same time.
    I too have read Brave New World about 20 years back. Huxley was ahead of his time wasnt he?
    Similar to you Whitepoppy, I could see paralells from the book reflecting in real life even way back then.
    What amazes me though is the speed in which new technologies and new privacy laws are being brought in.

    For the past two decades I have watched as friends, aquaintances new & old have tried to lobby, petition and peacefully demonstrate against new laws or acts being introduced, whilst our Government here in the UK and USA turn a blind eye to the campaigns.

    I used to be politically active years ago ( nothing militant) just attending meetings, campaigns, petitioning, demos and writing the odd letter to MP'S ) untill I was intimidated by constant harrasment from police for silly things like spot checks on my car etc. This does go on and ive known many people throughout those times to have had their lives destoyed, losing thier jobs, property husbands, wives, families and in some cases thier entire sanity.

    I dont know what the way forward is but its going to be interesting times.

  • Of course, the one major surveillance device that almost everybody carries with them, is the one that some of you will be reading this on now. Your "smartphone".

    Before I carry on, I will explain that I have spent all my working life to date (20 years) working in ICT. I am an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician and have my own repair centre for computers and mobile devices. I no longer work with these devices due to the condition I have acquired through being around them for too long. That's another story and I digress.

    Hands up who has a smartphone? I will be keeping my hand well and truly down to that one. Now, hands up whos smartphone is an iPhone?


    An iPhone is always listening out for a signal, but not the signal we class as mobile phone reception. No, it's listening for a signal instructing it to switch it's microphone and/or camera on.

    "I turn my iPhone off most of the time" I hear you say. So what? It still listens for this signal even when the battery is supposedly too flat to power the phone on. Never wondered why the battery in an iPhone is not designed to be removed by the end user?

    "I have a Samsung" I hear you say. Great. But look at the later models - oh yes, non user removable battery.

    Go research the subject, you may be quite shocked.

    Forget the days where bugs were positioned to listen into people under surveilance, the bug is already right there with you. Your dearest, always with you, mobile phone.

    As for what these devices are actually doing to you from a health aspect, that deserves a dedicated thread!


  • I am both amazed and terrified.

    Amazed by the wonderfully intelligent and insightful people that are a part of this forum. It is honestly extremely difficult to find. So thank you! That's incredibly refreshing.

    Terrified because you have all deepened my fears to "want to live in a hole in the woods" level, lol but I guess that's ok. Fear is more productive than ignorance.

    whitepoppy : have you read Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"? What you brought up about genetically modified babies made me think of this book. The premise of the book is designer human beings being used for spare parts. It is really horrifying and soul crushing. It brings into consideration the very large question of what it even means to be human and the governing factors that determine this classification. I think you would absolutely love it.

    oldkeith : those who seem to behave contrary to the system and who the "Machine" keeps an eye on, reminded me of the Divergent trilogy.

    Ahhhhh, there's so much amazing literature out there that has predicted this for a long time coming. I could keep going and going on this topic, but unfortunately I need to take off.

    To be continued! [h=3][/h]

  • iPhone = SpyPhone, although I am kind of in support of government surveillance, if your stupid enough to distribute all your personal details to private corporations who abuse legislation, avoid paying tax, an well abuse your freedoms, then well its really your fault. (17 years of experience in web design made me scared to trust anyone with my data!)

  • iPhone = SpyPhone, although I am kind of in support of government surveillance, if your stupid enough to distribute all your personal details to private corporations who abuse legislation, avoid paying tax, an well abuse your freedoms, then well its really your fault. (17 years of experience in web design made me scared to trust anyone with my data!)

    I second every word of this!

  • Wowwwww......Soooo Learning xxx
    Well i think this darkness has grown from the seeds of Mans Worlds Eyes..
    Its Forever Need To Watch...Control...Observe...Experiment ...Study ..Greed...Etc Etc ..
    All that it sees and Labels As "Different.. A Threat..Power..Etc Etc"
    And It Be Simple Really ......Because Just As We..Mans World ..Earth..Nature....Animals...Plants Etc Etc All Have Evolved And Grown ..Adapted Etc ....So Has Mans Worlds Watching Eyes...
    Meaning They No Longer Use Their Eyes.....
    They Use MACHINES ......
    Well thats how i see it ....xx

  • Rather than searching for vague phrases, do you have any proof that the iphone or other smart phones are listening for some secret signal from big brother?

    If this were true & became common knowledge Apple's sales would drop, I can't see them throwing away that kind of market share. Is it only an American big brother or do other countries get to listen in as well, or perhaps the illuminati?

  • Everything they say and advise in the video is correct, as far as we are lead to believe.

    A smartphone (Apple or otherwise) is never off unless the battery is physically disconnected. Trust me!

    Makes you wonder if they have technology within the battery to track you even when the battery is registering as dead and in need of charge?

    My old man was in the telecomms industry in the mid 1980's - 90's
    He dealt with technical design of the phone and what goes on inside the phone.
    Technology was advanced back then.... i dread to think what theyve got now.
    Indeed my father along with others, had been working on new nano technology "tracking devices".

    I think if you are up to anything criminal, political, subversive, campaigning or anti capitalist work then its safe to say that you should not discuss any of your dealings withing a mile radius of any type of technological equipment ie phone, computer, tablet etc.

    Thats not being paranoid thats called being safe.

  • Meh, cop out answer. You seem a rational person Rich, I presume you've taken more than a few apart in your time, what is there inside that is different that indicates to you the capability to receive a special signal? Have you been able to capture this signal on a packet sniffer or wifi recorder? Details, I need them!

  • Here's a few more details, FO, going way back from 2011. You only need to do a random search for anything about Apple or iphones gathering information. And there's nothing inside a phone that you can see if you stripped one out, it's all hard-coded, a technical bloke like you should know that:

    It's been going on since before 2010, in one form or another:



    A bit closer to where we are now:




    Even has plans to learn more about your very own body – wouldn't that info be nice to sell to the big pharmas?:

    And a bit about Siri, who will soon be able to tell you when you need to take a crap, even before you felt it yourself:

  • Thanks Keith. Yeah I knew about these ones, I was looking for something on the special signal Rich mentions in post 12 that can turn on your mic & camera even when the phone is off. The problem I have is that the maybe stuff distracts from the real stuff, such as Siri listening to everything you say while waiting for you to give it a command. The same with the Samsung TV which listens to everything said, the licence agreement suggests not saying anything private near it.

    As we've said before, the government doesn't need to create special spy software when companies already do it so well & they can just hook in to that. We need to be looking at what we're giving to companies out of convenience or supposed need. People don't realise that convenience often equates to opening another avenue for risk.

    There is a lot of important stuff also going on such as the FBI trying to force Apple to backdoor the iphone. If that happens all countries will demand the same access, it will be impossible to keep secure and before we know it all kinds of undesirables will have the exact same access. I'm fairly sure they don't need that access, they're just taking advantage of the situation to push through something that benefits them.

  • It could be that there is no special signal, it just stays on, (Although we think it's off) with a minimal power circuit still running. If that was the case, it only needs a trip signal to start recording and sending, which of course uses more power.
    (Nicolae Ceausescu the Romanian dictator was doing this with TV sets back in the 1960's and 1970's. TVs had to be registered, and were hard-wired in, (no plug or wall switch). All could be remotely switched to record and send back details of what their microphones were hearing at that very moment. He had fun times listening in to dissidents talking, arguing, having dinner, and even copulating).
    That was back then, so nothing would surprise me about what modern smart phones are capable of. (I think I'm safe with my Nokia 3310, mind, but you never know).

    Personally I think Apple want their customers details for themselves alone, with only Apple deciding what is sold, and to whom. Giving the FBI details of how to get in just one phone doesn't stop there - they would then know how to get into every (Apple) phone that used the same encryption.

  • I didn't know Ceausescu did that in the past, how were the signals transmitted? I guess a hardline would make more sense in those times.

    Apple have gotten in to phones in the past for the authorities, they're making a fuss this time as the government want a way in to all phones. There have been numerous attempts at this kind of thing in the past that have failed so they use ever sneakier methods. Another worrying thing is the stupid comments from Trump, both he and Hilary Clinton have shown a remarkable lack of knowledge that should play right in to the hands of the government agencies hoping for a totalitarian state.

  • Meh, cop out answer. You seem a rational person Rich, I presume you've taken more than a few apart in your time, what is there inside that is different that indicates to you the capability to receive a special signal? Have you been able to capture this signal on a packet sniffer or wifi recorder? Details, I need them!

    Unfortunately, I have no answer to this one. Mainly because it's not supposed to be found. I just personally believe these devices are capable of this from researching the subject.

    I have taken hundreds of phones apart, indeed. There are many chips in there that we have no idea what they're for. With an RF meter, I've found smartphones transmit regularly, but why is often unknown.

    All i can say really is be cautious of these devices, they probably aren't quite what they appear!!!