Whether it is a TV, desk fan or wall clock, the gadgets you could buy from catalogues in the previous decades to spy on people were all pretty big. New Scientist has an article informing us that not only have the devices got smaller, but also that they are more high tech now. One similarity is that the objects used to hide the circuitry are still items that can easily be swapped in a home or office without people normally noticing. Fans, wall clocks and TVs are normally quite easy to swap, as there aren’t that many popular models that will be found in most homes/offices. The same applies really for USB coffee cup warmers, USB hubs or even keyboards. I’m currently trying to resist the urge to see if my combined hub and cup warmer is sealed or screwed shut 🙂
May 26 2010
Sounding more like a plot device in Mission Impossible XIV than a well researched BBC article, spying on people’s keyboard strokes via the mains cable that powers the computer is more fuel for the tin foil hat brigade. The article doesn’t mention whether PS/2 keyboards are the types of device that can leak information back through to AC wiring (not at all sure why, but I can imagine there being less potential digital interference when USB was used), nor does the piece refer to whether PSUs with certain features would be likely to curtail this activity. For that matter, would surge suppressors (with their sine wave cleaning abilities) further protect paranoid users?
Another article with potentially information missing, is a piece on credit card info thieves using cloned cards at unattended checkouts in supermarkets to empty American customers’ accounts. I can’t understand why a simply block on non Chip’n’PIN cards using these sort of self service checkouts wouldn’t be put in place. This way staff would get a chance to physically check the card at normal check outs, meaning more hassle for the data thieves at the very least.
May 06 2010
Just caught an interesting BBC article regarding claims from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (the president of Kalmykia (or Kalymkia as the BBC have it currently spelt in the article?!)) that he was abducted by aliens, and spoke with them!
Now the question is whether this is connected to recent UFO sightings in Kazakhstan? Tongue in cheek level is around 99.7% here, on my part, but a really small part of my brain wants to hope this is some sort of alien contact involving two way communication. If I have a couple of beers, that stat might alter to 98% 🙂
Hoping KZBlog doesn’t totally hate this post 😉
Apr 01 2009
tv news re.protests.glad live pics r now normal,less(?) chance of repeat of traf. square(?)coverage,with reversed timeline on police charges
Nov 10 2008
Long term readers will have realised that I am not exactly a staunch Monarchist (though not necessarily a Republican – I’m happy to have a Royal family for tourist purposes, I just wish they had no actual connection (even if it is already only really rubber stamping certain procedures)), similarly I tend to view the house of Lords as being an arcane institution that is a hangover from near feudal times. Whilst those that enter the house as life peers (as opposed to hereditary peers that have a seat simply because there Great^x Grandfather owned a third of Staffordshire at one point) are often there because they have experience in certain areas (or they donated a lump sum to a political party 🙁 ), the hereditary peers are often seen as being even more out of touch with modern day reality than judges even!
Well it looks as though common sense has won the day (in that House at least, shame about the commons…) as the BBC has reported the Lords have backed an amendment to the law that would require DNA records to be deleted from the national database should an innocent person request. Of course, the House of Commons will not pass this amendment, but it is good to see the Lords actually backing a sensible idea. Whilst you can argue over whether convicted criminals should have their DNA eventually removed, after serving their sentence, the idea that innocent people who have their DNA profiled and stored should not be able to request that data’s removal does not seem right – as the article states, this is effectively a National DNA Database through the back door, bypassing any new laws that would otherwise have to be drawn up.
Oct 24 2008
I was following a story over at The Register, which involved the UK government’s ID card forum. The original article contained allegations that some of the supporters of the ID card scheme were in fact students who had just sat through a presentation by Jacqui Smith (the Home Secretary), and not bona fide people who had registered to actually discuss anything. It appears that the wonderful Labour spin masters had taken parts of the pupil’s original messages (anything pro-ID card obviously), renamed them to Shooter1, Shooter2 etc. Messages querying whether Shooter1 et al were genuine were not answered at the time. (The Shooter part of the user names was based on the school the talk was given at (Shooters Hill College, Greenwich), not anything to excite conspiracy nuts 🙂 ).
Anyway, the forum has now been shut down (as planned), but the discussions that took place appear to show that the alleged (by the government) majority support for ID cards amongst young people may not exist. It will be interesting to see if this sort of public experiment in gathering actual opinions is repeated any time soon for other controversial topics.
Oct 15 2008
I was speaking with a friend yesterday about the American presidential election, having just finished watching Michael Moore’s Slacker Uprising. I tend not to dip into politics to often on this site, suffice to say I’m not exactly leaning to the right as I type this 🙂 Anyway, after the short conversation, I remember I had bookmarked something a while back, and had forgotten to post the link on here. So, a little belatedly, here it is – Obama’s Birth Certificate Is A Fake?
Personally, I would have been happier if it were something against McCain, rather than Obama, but I still found the article captivating reading. Even if the certificate turns out to be genuine, the processes involved in the testing were interesting, though if you don’t like the CSI series of TV shows, you might want to give it a miss.
Just before hitting the Publish button, I thought I would go and check McCain’s Wiki page. Glad I did, as within the discussion page, some people question McCain’s eligibility to be President as well! Check out the snopes page for a quick summary, and if you want to read a synopsis of a essay on the subject, check here.
Finally, I found the following YouTube video on Michael Moore’s Sicko film where he argues with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
May 23 2008
The brilliant UK govt. has released information on plans to create a huge database of phone calls and e-mails based in Britain. Quite aside from the civil liberties/govt. intelligence agencies powers angles, the fact that there have been multiple incidents involving lack of data security within the last year have led to many people being very unhappy with the proposal. Check out the BBC’s article for a little background info. If approved, it would effectively extend the range of the much hated RIPA that has had many journalists and bloggers up in arms already. Combine that with the fact that I’m pretty sure the intelligence agencies already have the capabilities to do this, on an international scale with the Echelon scheme. I suppose it is possible that if such legislation were bought in, it would legalise such schemes that are already quietly in place, and would make any such evidence admissible in a British court of law.
PS To those of my friends that think I have paranoid tendencies, you could be right, but you need to be aware what is happening in your world. Close your eyes too long, and you lose the right to complain when things like this become public in years to come due to some shady circumstances etc.
May 22 2008
This is definitely one of those cases where it is difficult to tell whether unfolding events are heading towards a better crime-free world, or simply Big Brother worming its way even further into our everyday, law-abiding lives… de Telegraaf (a Dutch newspaper) originally reported this issue, where the police will have access to live video feeds from security cameras in shops and some businesses. Check here for a little more detail. Basically, if an alarm is raised, police can easily tell whether a robbery is taking place, or perhaps a till operator has simply mistakenly nudged the button. However, the idea that such video feeds are now fed into a central system, means that should security services, and other government intelligence agencies can now follow our every day lives a lot more easily.
(Grote Broer? Dutch for Big Brother apparently.)
Apr 24 2008
This sort of post is perfect for the Aware or Conspiracy Nut category here at ChrisMerriman.com. Each of the following actually occurred, and are well documented. However, if your friend just bought up the topic without any sort of background info, you’d probably write them off as another internet conspiracy nutter. My thanks to Cracked.com for the original post this information is taken from.
Military coup followed by a fascist dictator installed as a president… in America! OK, so this didn’t actually take place, but back in 1933, the big bosses at General Motors, DuPont, Chase Bank and a certain Senator Prescott Bush (now whatever happened to that lineage 😉 ) allegedly were involved in planning this plot, though all those named denied it at the time. They weren’t averse to maintaining links with the Nazi powers in Germany even after America entered Word War II…
State sponsored scheme to keep citizens ignorant of their medical situation, for research purposes. Again, something like this is easily written off as just another flight of fancy from tin-foil hat wearers, but this one occurred in America. The government decided that action need to be taken to combat the spread of Syphilis, and so took unwitting volunteers, mostly illiterate black men, and carried out experiments. Those that already had syphilis were used in further experiments, not informed of their condition, and often put through unnecessary and painful procedures. For a further forty years, the patients were denied access to what had, by that time, become standard treatment regimes.
The Church of Scientology & MK Ultra. You could (and people have) dedicate entire web sites to this group’s beliefs and the (entirely separate) US experiments. Go and google if you’d like to discover what are hiding in volcanoes, and just why some people do wear tin-foil hats.
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