Monday, May 19, 2008

Paranoia isn't always paranoia, sometimes they really are watching you

Daily Kos: Police State 2.0: It's Here: "Klein says that the latest unrest in Tibet was a test for the ever-expanding system, called the 'Golden Shield.' And the oppressive infrastructure earned at least an A-. Dissident cell phones were jammed. Information favorable to the protestors was blocked on the Internet. Photos of the participants, especially the leaders, were rapidly disseminated on 'Most Wanted' posters on the Internet and the protests were 'spun' through Chinese media to make the Tibetans look like violent thugs.

While some in the West were protesting the crackdown on dissent, companies like Yahoo, Google, Cisco and a mysterious company called L-1 Identity Solutions have been cooperating with the Chinese government and hoping to profit greatly from helping construct Police State 2.0. Yahoo came under mild Congressional criticism in 2006 for turning over email data belonging to dissidents who had (unwisely) used their free email service. Google custom tailors searches in China to censor out results offensive to the government. Cisco provides the routers for the Great Firewall of China that not only blocks out websites like the BBC but also allows deep packet surveillance on Chinese surfers.

And L-1 may be the lynchpin of the whole system. Some say their facial recognition sofware is the best in the world. Despite American laws prohibiting the export of technology that could aid the Chinese govenment in oppressing its citizens, L-1 is stealthily working with Chinese companies to compete for the contract to make the facial recognition software that will tie China's rapdily growing high resolution camera phalanx into a integrated system that can identify everyone on the street at any time and tie their face to their national ID and the vast amount of data kept there.

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