Thursday, December 20, 2012

Big Brother is watching you

So, the police are apparently using third-world dictator style software to trawl social media:

Police insist a web-scanning tool which allows them to monitor people's movements is not a case of Big Brother watching.

The software, Signal, developed by Wellington company Intergen with police collaboration, means wall posts, photos, videos and status updates sent from major events are likely to be viewed by police.

While it scans only public posts (like, say, this one), that doesn't mean its not a problem. The internet is the new town square - and this is like the police putting an officer with a notebook behind everyone to note down what we're saying. No, nothing "Big Brother" about that at all.

And what do the police use this super new "crime-fighting" tool for? Murders? Rapes? burglaries? Yeah, right:
Police use Signal to search for hashtags and keywords, enabling them to monitor large groups. During the World Cup they used Signal to intercept a boy-racer convoy from Auckland to Hamilton that was to coincide with a match, and learnt quickly about a planned protest.
So, just to get this straight, police are trawling social media so they can interfere with people's freedom of movement and their freedom of speech (also, their freedom to party - monitoring private social events seems to be another key "benefit"). No, nothing to worry about there at all.