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YouTube Vigilantes Shine a Spotlight on Nasty Neighbors

YouTube users have repeatedly helped merchants, homeowners and police to nab evildoers. Plummeting tech prices are apparently now inspiring a new wave of YouTube citizen sleuths, and these vigilant observers are shifting their sights from burglars, animal abusers and Halloween hoodlums to perhaps the most despicable and annoying cretins on the planet -- belligerent neighbors. The New York Times...

Mexican City to Use Citywide Iris Scanners to Track Criminals, Terrify Everyone Else

Like something out of a futuristic Roberto Bolaño novel, city officials in Leon, Mexico are currently putting together a citywide database of its citizens' irises. They plan on using the system to keep track of known criminal offenders -- and, presumably, every other person in the city. Biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers has already begun shipping iris scanners to the city of more...

'Google Alarm' Plug-In Sounds Alarm Every Time Google Mines Your Personal Data

We all know that Google watches over us like the omniscient, online shepherd that it is. But just how often do we unknowingly send information to the digital behemoth? With 'Google Alarm,' you can now find out -- in real-time. The plug-in, available for both Firefox and Chrome, analyzes each page a user visits, and checks for Google-affiliated URLs, like Google Analytics, AdSense or YouTube....

NSA's 'Perfect Citizen' Cyber Program 'Is Big Brother,' Says Contractor

Share "Perfect Citizen." With a name straight out of a bad spy thriller, the National Security Agency's new surveillance program, recently uncovered by the Wall Street Journal, is designed to detect cyber-attacks on the nation's private companies, government agencies and U.S. infrastructure. It operates primarily through sensors that are deployed across these networks, detect unusual activity,...

Intel's Autonomous, Web-Connected Car Knows When You're Driving Dangerously

Not content to rule the PC market, Intel is trying to shoehorn its chips into everything it can find. The latest target of the chip giant is the automobile, which it hopes to make truly "smart" by way of processors, sensors and wireless transmitters. At the company's latest Research Day event, it showed off an electric vehicle equipped with cameras and sensors that stop just short of turning it...

British Government to Install CCTVs in 20,000 Homes

On July 23rd, the British Children's Secretary, Ed Balls, announced a plan to spend a potential £400 million (over $675 million) on the installation of closed circuit cameras (CCTVs) in the homes of 20,000 "problem families" -- which include homes with truant children, alcohol abuse, or reports of malnutrition -- according to the Daily Express. The program would put the families under...

Amazon Apologizes For Its 'Big Brother' Move on Kindle

When Amazon.com went into Kindle devices across the country to delete unauthorized copies of 'Animal Farm' and '1984' by George Orwell, the irony was certainly not lost on users. A Big Brother move, no doubt, especially because no one was informed of the invasion of privacy -- and customers thought the reclaimed content had been legally purchased. Amazon did issue refunds, but the blogosphere...

NSA Whistleblower Gets Ignored by Everyone

When the New York Times revealed in December of 2005 that the U.S. government was eavesdropping on citizens' telephone and e-mail conversations without warrants, a retired AT&T technician named Mark Klein knew he had physical evidence showing how the feds had been stealing information from AT&T's network. Strangely, though, nobody gave him the time of day. According to Klein, even the...

Civilians Run City-Wide Surveillance in Pennsylvania Town

Okay, Switched readers, here's a great debate. Lancaster, Pennsylvania is known as the home of Hershey's corporate, the town where Peeps was invented (not made -- that's Bethlehem), and the American city with the highest amount of surveillance per capita. Lancasterians have been subjected to a community-wide program that installs closed-circuit cameras on nearly every street, hosting more outdoor...

UK College Begins Begins Testing Facial Recognition Attendance System

It's something we never really appreciated when waltzing into class way back when, but the ability to show up at your leisure without having to "clock in" and "clock out" was awesome. If you agree, you'll probably want to shred that application for City of Ely Community College in the UK, which has become one of the first UK schools to trial a new facial recognition technology from Aurora....

Britain's Surveillance Cameras Get Ears and Brains

It was less than a year ago that closed circuit television (CCTV) security cameras in the UK were given the ability to hear. Now, in some places, those cameras are getting a major upgrade in the form of an artificial intelligence program that law enforcement officials hope will eventually be able to identify and locate specific sounds. The current generation of software is sophisticated enough for...

Public Audio Surveillance Hits London

Everyday this Big Brother stuff gets scarier and scarier. Pretty soon the only place you'll be safe is in your own home, in your bed room, under the blanket. We posted before about experts declaring that by 2057 there will be roughly one million sensors and recorders for every U.K. resident. It looks like London is wasting no time rushing towards that goal. We're well aware of the security...

New Technology Detects Terrorists Before They Strike

All your Big Brother nightmares are about to come true, thanks to an $800,000 award from the Nation Science Foundation. The money is funding computer and behavioral scientists at the University of Buffalo to work on a tracking system that will allow authorities to score an individuals likeliness to commit a terrorist act. Sound creepy? Well, it gets even better. The system works by monitoring...

Sneak Peek at Next-Generation Surveillance

BBC corespondent Humphrey Hawksley recently got up-close and personal with Big Brother, or rather the people developing the next generation of surveillance technology. Hawksley's first visit was with a team of researchers at Maryland University. They've developed a technology that can pick individuals out of a crowd based on the way they walk. His second visit was with the Defense Advanced...