Tag Archives: Surveillance

A Novelist Describes Google Glass

Finally! An artist with a gift of voice offers his vision of Google Glass. Gary Shtyengart, author of “Super Sad True Love Story,” alternates between 3rd person narration and essay to share what it’s like to look through Glass. Refreshingly, his piece in the New Yorker is not a product review. Powerful and imaginative, Shtyengart uses literary tools–instead of tech specs–as a way to introduce us to Glass.

“O.K. Glass. Google translate ‘hamburger’ into Russian.”
“Gamburrrger,” a voice purred, not so gently, like my grandmother at the end of a long hot day.
And, all of a sudden, I felt something for this technology.

Wearing Glass takes its toll. “You look like you have a lazy eye,” I’m told at a barbecue, my right eye instinctively scanning upward for more info. “You look like you have a nervous tic,” when I tap at the touch pad. “You have that faraway look again,” whenever there’s something more interesting happening on my screen. To awaken Glass, one must tap at the touch pad or jerk one’s head; otherwise the device remains inactive, conserving its limited battery supply and allowing the user to remain perfectly human. At breakfast, I jerk my head up theatrically, and then use a new function which allows me to move around Web sites by holding two fingers to the touch pad and moving my head about, in effect turning my skull into a cursor. “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,” my wife says.

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The Future of Search

“Answer, converse, anticipate,” are the verbs Nathaniel Mott uses to describe Google’s newest search venture. Writing at PandoDaily, Mott explains the thrust of Google’s opening keynote during the 1st day of its I/O conference. The annual summit, geared towards developers, featured the company’s newest innovations.

With “Knowledge Graph” the search giant “will begin to answer Google users’ questions before they ask them.”

Mott continues:

Voice-activated search coming to the Chrome browser is perhaps the most interesting of today’s search-related announcements. Google Now — or some version of it, anyway — has been rumored to be coming to desktop computers for months, and its addition to Chrome will aid Google’s attempts to become a ubiquitous aspect of users’ lives.

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The FBI And Gmail Spying Powers

“It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story, writes Ryan Gallagher of Slate.

From the perspective of law enforcement, the data that passes through email, cloud services and chat is difficult to monitor in real time. As Gallagher notes, “That’s because a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks.” For newer forms of communication, the FBI’s spying power is restricted.

Gallagher summarizes a recent speech by the FBI’s general counsel, Andrew Weissmann, and reports that the agency will push a proposal this year to expand their “Internet spy powers.”

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Proposed Ohio Law Would Officially Allow Snooping on Kids’ Text Messages, Calls, and Emails

Writing on Slate, Ryan Gallagher reports on an Ohio representative’s bill that would enable adults to monitor their children’s digital communication.

“Rep. Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, is pushing to amend a state wiretapping law…making it permissible for parents, grandparents, guardians, and custodians to snoop on their kids’ communications so long as they are under the age of 18. The interception would have to be made, according to the proposed law, “in good faith for the protection of the child.”

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