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CMS: Big Brother Is Watching
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In this episode:

From the Web to the sidewalks, big brother is there. Watching you. But what are your rights?


Episode Audio

49:24 minutes (23.72 MB)
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I teach a class on new and old media at Trinity College, and -- even though it's not the exact focus of the course -- lately we've been kind of freaking each other out about the sheer amount of information we surrender voluntarily every day to platforms like Google and Facebook.

As one of my students said, Google is like a parallel system of consciousness. If, at the end of a given day, you know that she searched for apple magic mousse, Rosie O'Donnell Halloween costumes, cute guy who anchors of the Weather Channel, best pizza in Newington ...well, you sort of know where her thoughts were going.

And who knows this? Just Google? One of my students recently had an experience in which Facebook seemed to know about something he had searched for on Google, without his ever having shared that.  Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na!

Also on the show, an essay by Rand Cooper and Let Us Correct You: Guess what? You don't have to rake leaves.

Related Content:

  Great show and couldn't


Great show and couldn't get on the que to ask, however, here goes
Here are some questions comments:

1. How effective is using the Browser privacy settings and erasing cookies everyday? Do we appear like a new person everyday browsing Google, Yahoo? 
2. Colin's comment on our footprints we leave in the clouds on Yahoo, Google are valid. Is there talk / movement as Colin's guest spoke to on a "Free Cloud Report" ? allowing us each to audit our digital footprint?
3. Cameras on the stoplights? There are already opticons (fire, police, & emergency). And monitoring traffic or setting a light off, aren't there already capacitance loops buried at most stoplights to do this already? Get ready for tickets....What's happening in UK where this is already instituted...?

2009++ = G.O. 1984.....?



Listener E-mail from Patrice

I was only able to hear the first half, but I loved what I heard.

I'm sure you also know that Google (I have google mail, obviously) also saves and looks at the content of chats online, and has apparently recently published transcripts of phone calls... Including the individuals name and phone number.  I'm not sure how that works, and I think that's been corrected -- I just heard about it in the last week.

You are really doing wonderful things for this state with your new show, Colin.

I hope you're enjoying doing it, because we sure are enjoying listening.

Listener E-mail from Linda

I was so engrossed in writing a recap of the FTC workshop that I completely missed today's show.  Just listened to the podcast and loved it.  Fantastic topic.  I know Big Brother is watching me all the time. Big Gold Dome spies are watching me too.  In fact, they probably read all the email I send to you.  Hi Big Gold Dome spies! 

Good segment with Bill from NOFA. 

I also love "Things I'm supposed to Love but Hate."  Did that come from the parade show?  I never found the appeal of parades when I was a kid, and still have a hard time getting into them, unless I'm actually participating.  Our martial arts school always marched and performed kukri (Burmese machete-like sword) cuts in the Hartford Veteran's Day Parade.  That was fun, except for all the waiting around for hours in the freezing cold in uniform, which did not allow for bulky sweaters and coats.  And gloves don't work well when doing sword work.  Of course numb hands are not necessarily a good thing, either...especially when spectators are in close proximity!


Electronic Privacy

It is not that difficult to insulate yourself or your computer as it were from the prying eyes of Google as you navigate the web.  A person can deactivate the "cookie monster" that Google has installed on many (most) web sites by adding a few new commands in the Windows Explorer file.  Instructions on how to do this can found on the web with ease. 

I will also note a point of interest that was not talked about on today's show in regard to blindly accepting many of the licensing agreements that we are asked to do with most computer applications.  If you do take the time to read the agreement and decide to decline the terms, you are not allowed to use the software.  So we are stuck - this why so many of us blindly say, Yes I Accept, without reading the fine print.  It is the same way with ATM machines, you must accept the fee that they charge, or you are denined use of the machine. 

Listener E-mail from Don

Interesting debate you're having re. privacy.

Incrementalism: In the interest of so called public safety we will continue to give up our privacy to the government and corporations.

Soon we wont need police on the streets. Computers and robots will site us and send a ticket or summon us to court. Increasingly we fight wars from the security of an office and a broadband connection.
It's an unfortunate fact of live.

Law enforcement personal and lay people alike have become more comfortable with this increased surveillance and mechanical enforcement.

Personally I don't relish living in such a world. Security does not mean that much to me. I only wish our government would spend more time monitoring the corporations that have  in many ways taken over our lives.

Where does it end. Human beings are not machines, not robots. We make mistakes, we die, life is risky. Do we really want to live in a "Disneyland" of sorts where every citizen does the right thing, where there's no risk, no crime, not dirt. Hell, give me the grit and grime any day.

We developed machines and computers to serve humanity.
It seems we are increasingly serving "The Machine."