Imagine that you are sitting on a bus. A few seats ahead of you, you see a person you think you recognise. Perhaps it is an old classmate? Using your mobile phone camera, you take a photograph of her.
Using off-the-shelf face-recognition software combined with substantial processing power accessed cheaply through cloud computing, you search for publicly available images (such as on Facebook) matching the image you captured of the woman on the bus.
You find out that the person is indeed your old classmate, and you can also access information such as her address, phone number, birthday and perhaps income.
Latest 2 of 36 commentsView all comments
On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister’s communications director, John McTernan, was with a group of Labor staffers in a Canberra bar.
Realising who they were from their conversation, the 19-year-old barmaid commented that “Julia Gillard’s done well in Parliament this week.”
“Were you watching Question Time?” McTernan asked. “No”, the young woman said. “I’ve been reading jezebel.com.”
Latest 2 of 244 commentsView all comments
The government wants to be your Facebook friend, follow you on Twitter, read your emails and text messages, and know which websites you visit. It then wants to file all that information for up to two years in case you are found to be a terrorist, crime lord or paedophile. The government also wants your computer passwords and might even send you to jail if you refuse. Creepy.
These changes are under consideration by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and if implemented, will substantially increase the powers the intelligence community has to spy on Australians in the name of national security. Many of the proposed changes are of dubious value and a direct attack on the civil liberties of all Australians.
Increased powers to intercept phone calls, emails and other communications are just the start of the government’s assault on basic freedoms. For example, the attorney-general may soon have the power to modify warrants after they have been issued, and the duration of search warrants may be doubled from 90 days to six months.
Latest 2 of 215 commentsView all comments
Most of the time I use the internet to research stories, look up movies or stalk… errm, I mean keep in contact with friends using social media. If I’m feeling particularly exciting I might check out a YouTube video of a cat playing the piano or a panda sneezing.
My computer, on the other hand, is busy running around extorting people as part of an organised crime gang or working as a double agent for foreign governments. And in its down time it hires itself out as a mercenary.
And there is a good chance yours is doing this too.
Latest 2 of 14 commentsView all comments
Depending on which way you look at it, Australia can indeed be considered ‘the lucky country’ when it comes to internet censorship.
Our browsing has always remained the decision of the user, and an entire world of possibilities have been left open – happiness, whatever your definition, has never been further than a mouse click away.
While some of the options available on the internet are morally ambiguous, many of them are legal – you just don’t want to bring up the topics loudly at dinner parties.
Latest 2 of 66 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…