Does this happen to you: You are daydreaming and end up with a thought, an idea or a memory and you think "How did I get here?" Do you then try to trace back what associations your mind made to end up with that final thought? Amazing, hey, the speed of the human mind?
Well several things started my train of thoughts, inspiring today's Rumble:
- In one of my previous posts The Intelligence of a Human Being - Part 2, I rumbled jokingly about "Do you think 'They' are monitoring [this blog]? You know, 'Them' ?
- I had just re-read another rumble about how we form our opinions. How dependent we really are on how the press presents events to us.
- Both got me to think about freedom of speech, the privacy we have as individuals in the age where Google Earth shows how we sunbath (in monokini?) in our backyard?
All of that brought back a memory where "an organisation" demonstrated us an automated intelligence system gathering data from all over the world, analyzing keywords and automatically indexing it in web format, flagging 'suspicious activity'. Somewhere they were trying to sell the system as 'important for the humanitarian world to make use of it'.
I tried to trace back the name of the system on Google, but found similar interesting stuff (all in the area of 'How much privacy have we left?'):
Ever heard of ECHELON? Well I am sure ECHELON surely has heard of you! "According to some sources ECHELON can capture radio, satellite, telephone, fax and Email communications, and other data streams nearly anywhere in the world and includes computer automated analysis and sorting of intercepts."2. VIRAGE:
Similar technology is used to monitor TV and radio broadcasts worldwide:
"Effective collection, exploitation and dissemination of high-value information are critical during a crisis. [..] Virage [...] will seek to address these challenges by providing the following technologies:
- eViTAP - A fully automated, real-time, multilingual, broadcast news and video VoIP monitoring system [used for] live Arabic, Mandarin, Persian, Russian, and English news sources.
- IDOL-based TransMedia Crisis Index (TCI) - A sophisticated tool that adds new intelligence capabilities, enabling organizations to automatically make conceptual and contextual associations between disparate pieces of data."
Don't you just love it when they give military intelligence systems a 'humanitarian' spin? Damnedright disgrace if you ask me. I wonder how much of all of this is really going to help the humanitarian cause in a world, where one child dies of hunger every 4 seconds. That is over 20,000 per day. Every day! How can we sleep at night?
Photo credit: Wikipedia, WFP-Peter Smerdon