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Links, Alerts updated January 22, 2003

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  • Information Awareness Office
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  • Beware of Total Information Awareness; Adm. Poindexter assures us that TIA will be designed to respect constitutional guarantees of privacy and shield law-abiding citizens from the Pentagon's all-seeing eye. But if the history of military surveillance of civilians is any indication, accepting that assurance amounts to the triumph of hope over experience. (CATO)

  • Fear of Big Brother; National governments should pass guidelines about how law enforcement bodies can use RFID for investigative purposes. (RFID Journal)

  • Opposition to RFID Tracking Grows; News that Gillette will purchase of 500 million tags has stirred privacy concerns among consumers. (RFID Journal)

  • Michelin Embeds RFID Tags in Tires; Michelin this week revealed that it has begun fleet testing of an RFID transponder embedded in its tires to enable them to be tracked electronically. (RFID Journal)

  • Homeland Security and You; Smart people are going to soon realize that sending a plain text e-mail through a commercial ISP is like misplacing a signed confession. This growing awareness will stimulate plenty of demand for encryption. (CNet)

  • FBI May Have Aided Pentagon Data Project; Possible FBI involvement in a high-tech Pentagon project that sifts through Americans' personal information raises new concerns about privacy and civil liberties, Sen. Charles Grassley said Tuesday. (AP)

  • The USA Patriot Act: What Are You Reading? A half a century ago, George Orwell used the famous phrase "Big Brother is watching you" in his novel 1984. Today, under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, Big Brother will indeed be watching us every time we use a public library. Or buy a book. (U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders)

  • RFID tags: Big Brother in small packages; Could we be constantly tracked through our clothes, shoes or even our cash in the future? I'm not talking about having a microchip surgically implanted beneath your skin. Nor am I talking about John Poindexter's creepy Total Information Awareness spy-veillance system. Instead, in the future, we could be tracked because we'll be wearing, eating and carrying objects that are carefully designed to do so. (CNet)

  • Pentagon Database Plan Hits Snag on Capitol Hill; A plan to link databases of credit card companies, health insurers and others--creating what critics call a "domestic surveillance apparatus"--raises concern on Capitol Hill. (BW)

  • ACLU report: U.S. Heading Toward Big Brother Society; Spurred by loosened legal standards following the 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States is evolving into a Big Brother society as technology advances and surveillance grows, the American Civil Liberties Union warned in a report released Wednesday. (AP)
  • The ACLU Report

  • Face Recognition Cameras Stir 'Big Brother' Fears; Police in this popular resort city of Virginia Beach, Va., recently began operating video surveillance cameras with controversial face recognition technology that critics say brings the United States one step closer to becoming a society where "Big Brother is watching you." (Reuters)

  • Court: U.S. Can Hold Citizens as Enemy Combatants; A federal appeals court today ruled that the government has properly detained an American-born man captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan without an attorney and has legally declared him an enemy combatant. (WP)

  • Watching Your Kids' Every Move (CBS)
  • Will Your TV Become a Spy? (BW)
  • Move to Open Government Electronically (NYT)
  • Many Tools of Big Brother Are Already Up and Running (NYT)
  • Going Electronic, Denver Reveals Long-Term Surveillance (NYT)
  • White House Spin: Web Security Plan Won't Invade Privacy (Reuters)
  • White House to Propose System for Wide Monitoring of Internet (NYT)
  • U.S. Eyes Big Brother Plan (BBC)
  • Antiterrorism: The Risks Of Censorship, The Threats To Privacy Here's the web's media news tracker on antiterrorism. Check back daily for updates. (
  • Perspective: A Tech Tool for Future Tyrants? (CNet)
  • FCC to hold open hearing on media ownership rules (Reuters)
  • Information Awareness Office Is Right Out Of '1984' (Nat Hentoff)
  • Total Info System Totally Touchy (Wired)
  • Big Brother Goes to Washington (Newsweek)
  • Administration Begins to Rewrite Decades-Old Spying Restrictions (NYT)
  • Pentagon to Track American Consumer Purchases (FOX)
  • Security Act to Pervade Daily Lives; (CSM)
  • Law Permits Surveillance by FBI (Yahoo! AP)
  • Secret Court OKs Broad Wiretap Powers (Reuters)

  • You Are A Suspect; Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database." (William Safire)


  • Print Publishers Prepare Launch of e-Periodicals; The New Yorker, the Financial Times and Forbes are working with Microsoft to put out versions of their content in Tablet PC format. (AdAge)

  • The Tablet PC's Implication for Newspapers; A Los Angeles Times pilot Tablet PC edition proposed for next year is said to preserve the experience of browsing a newspaper. (E&P)

  • TV's Flexible Future; "This can be a cell phone, this can be a camera, whatever, and then what you would do is pull out your display ... And when you're done, just roll it back up," scientist Anna Chwang tells CBS news.

  • Magazines to Publish on Tablet PC; Microsoft is working with Forbes, the Financial Times, the New Yorker, Slate and others in a digital publishing trial set for 2003.


    Read author and on-line columnist Rip Rense's thoughts about Jim Bellows.

    As the top man at the Herald Tribune Mr. Bellows published Tom Wolfe’s evisceration of William Shawn, and as the editor of The Washington Star he instructed his gossip columnist to write about the love life of The Washington Post’s executive editor. Mr. Bellows is the closest thing we have to Walter Burns, the wisecracking hero of The Front Page. According to Mr. Bellows, journalism "shouldn’t be something ancillary to your life, but something that nourishes your soul and is a lot of fun."

    Toby Young
    N.Y. Observer

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