Body scanning machines  installed in major airports across America are revealing their most intimate body parts. These new security devices to be installed at 38 major airports are set to replace metal detectors and pat downs at airport checkpoints.

As pointed out by the ACLU  the controversial machines can see through a person’s clothes and this form of electronic strip search has enormous potential for abuse.  Everytime you need to jump on a plane you face the spectre of having your nude body inspected at random.  It has provoked an outcry from troubled women who feel that they are being assaulted by this invasive new technology.

 As Barry Steinhardt, Director of Technology and Liberty Group at the ACLU  has pointed out abuse of photographic technology under the pretext of security has been a reality in the past and it is invariable that the device will be misused.  As Steinhardt pointed out that the ‘active millimeter wave body scanners’ was justified given that there are less invasive technologies around and that the experts don’t seem to have successfully tackled cargo screening.

The efficacy of the technology must also be questioned as although the scanners can see items under clothing, it doesn’t look under the skin, so won’t be able to detect items surgically implanted or within body cavities. Neither can it see through rubber or plastic or items that resemble skin.

There are questions of informed consent and those who have refused to take the scans have been subjected to pat down searches.  Based on previous experience, it is conceivable that there will be warehouses of photos collected by employees for their circulation.  There have been no  details released on how tightly regulated and monitored the system will be to avoid this temptation.

Before long to get into the footy stadium or your employer’s building you might face this kind of test.

It is just as much the perception that you might be exposed to prying eyes than the reality of this occurring that is frightening and demonstrates that the Foucauldian panopticon is very much alive and well in this surveillance society.  What if the security camera picks up something innocuous? It is forseeable that pat down searches would quickly follow.  It evokes images of the abusive and degrading interrogation that Donald Rumsfeld allowed at Guantanamo Bay with prisoners being interrogated naked.

The move signals just the latest of incursions into the civil rights and privacy of domestic citizens in the name of national security. We know that without court permission the administration has been spying on groups from animal liberationists, Quaker peace activists and  anti war protesters, whilst the National Security Agency has been intercepting our emails, phone calls and snooping into the hard drives of our computers.

A picture is worth a thousand words…and few would disagree that you can increase the chances of making a sale by posting a photo to your ebay listing.

Auctiva, MyEasyPics, BiggerBids and other picture services have flourished in offering services to ebay  sellers.

Now Vzaar is promising to take ebay photo services to new levels by offering online video ads of their items to prospective purchasers   youtube style.

The London based start up claims that  5,000 ebay sellers have jumped on board to use their online video services to their ebay auction listings. 

Ebayer buyers will now be able to see items from different angles through the use of online videos which also enables sound so you can hear whether a car engine purrs or rumbles.


Panoptic pink mobile phone

November 26, 2007

“Panoptic Pink” ….A new shade of pink?  No.

For the purveyor of all things pink, the object is to be ‘seen’ with their pink mobile phone. 

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to possess a pepto bismol pink phone to be seen!!

The bad news is that you risk being seen by the wrong people in unimaginable ways as reported by the Washington Post !!!

This unfortunate situation is probably more legal than the shade of pink you carry around in your pocket.

But you probably be a bit troubled by the prospect of your cherished Motorola V3 Razor being turned into a tracking device.    

Federal officials are routinely asking Courts to order companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of certain persons of interest.

A disturbing trend is emerging of requests being granted without the need to establish probable cause of the commission of a crime or information relating to a crime.

Despite precise location data being obtained on a subject, these types of requests have been sealed by the Government so you will never know whether big brother has been tracking your pink print within private areas.

 You may have one of those nifty services where you can locate your friend or family by pressing a button and even sending them an alert,  or where your parent can erect a virtual fence around you by having an SMS sent to them if you venture outside  a certain area.

 How does this technology work? E911 tracking systems read signals sent to satellites from a phone’s GPS chip or triangulated radio signals sent from phones to cell towers. Law enforcement officers can ‘ping’ wireless devices so as to locate them when a call isn’t being made. In doing so, they can determine the precise location of your mobile and then seek the location of all persons who communicate with you.

Law enforcement officials are also obtaining orders for cell tower site data, which is far less precise than data derived from E911 signals which is far less accurate, and can yield ranges from a few miles up to 300 miles.  A far lower standard of proof is required for these requests,  and data obtained is being used and retained by
wireless carriers in the normal course of their business. 

Apparently wireless carriers are also coughing up your data in knee jerk fashion without even requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant.

  You are paying for your data to be shared with third parties outside your pink circle. These companies can in turn sell your information without violating your privacy.

You may want to bear that it mind when you decide whether to buy a car with a GPS or associate with those who have one.  But surveillance is difficult to avoid with the interaction of a proliferation of new technologies which  read your licence plate, cities saturated with CCTV cameras and facial recogntion software.