“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
When Benjamin Franklin said those words, he couldn’t have known about the Internet. But his point, which has withstood the test of time, applies to any modern-day government that seeks to control us in the name of “security.”
The latest example of the Obama administration’s move to “secure us” is the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace”, an innocuous title for a program that will identify us whenever we are online.
Obama and his administration officials are “enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
But not to worry. Administration spokesmen assure us that they are not talking about a national ID card or a government-controlled system. And they stress that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain “possible” on the Internet.
Though details about the “trusted identity” project are scarce, we do know that the project will be enacted under the auspices of a national program office within the Commerce Department.
More on the Obama administration and the Internet: According to Jeffrey Anderson at The Weekly Standard, Obama et al are using your tax dollars to pay Google, Yahoo! and Bing so that when you search for “Obamacare” (and a whole host of other entries), the first listing that comes up (or the first listing after “Stories” on Yahoo!) is the administration’s own health-care website, www.healthcare.gov. It gushes about the “merits” of the highly unpopular health-care “reform.”
“The administration apparently has no plans to stop using taxpayer money to promote Obamacare in this manner any time soon,” Anderson writes.
“Smart” pill bottles connect to Internet, contact you
Meanwhile, a “smart” pill bottle has been developed that connects you to the Internet, kind of like Big Brother reminding you to take your pill.
AT&T and Vitality Inc. have teamed up on a new technology that helps you remember to take your meds by sending you a reminder call, weekly e-mail report and monthly updates to you and your caregivers.
The Vitality GlowCap, embedded with a light that flashes orange when it’s time to take your dosage, fits on standard prescription bottles and uses light and sound reminders. If you ignore it, the warning is followed by a phone call or text message.
If the cap is not removed within an hour, an alarm will sound in the second hour that gradually escalates.
“Each time the pill bottle is opened, adherence data is recorded and securely relayed to Vitality over the AT&T wireless network,” the companies said in a statement. “This daily adherence information is used to compile periodic progress reports that are sent to patients, caregivers and doctors and family members.”
Making it easier for the aforementioned “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” to track your meds and whether you’re taking them when you’re supposed to? Who else could tap into what kind of meds you’re taking? Hmmm? A disgruntled Private Bradley Manning-type employee loading your info onto a flash drive? Might your medical information one day be displayed for all to see in a Wikileaked document?
Twitter ahead of traditional news … again
When Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others were shot last Saturday during an outdoor, townhall-type gathering in Tucson, the Internet was abuzz with details ahead of the traditional news media. Twitter users slammed the micro-blogger with tweeted information that made Gabrielle Giffords and alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner among the top ten trending topics within a couple of hours of the shooting and kept them in the top five trended topics throughout Sunday.
Loughner’s MySpace page contained information that was quickly screencaptured by at least one quick-thinking blogger before the page was taken down.
Loughner’s YouTube videos were also grabbed to prevent them from being lost in the event YouTube removed them.
Another nail in the coffin of “old media”
A billboard that said it all: “We bought this to illustrate the futility of one-way communication.”
Yammer, a private social network for businesses, is hiring and wanted to attract new employees to the Twitter for enterprise, so it bought a $6K-per-month/3-month billboard run, using the one-way communication device to make its point. Did it work?
Demand for Facebook investing “off the charts”
“It’s a blowout!” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Linkedin is making a move too. The social-networking site for professionals, LinkedIn Corp. is planning to go public later this year, making it the first such company to launch an initial public offering.
At the Consumer Electronics Show
Super phones with wicked fast processors, 3-D TVs, Internet TV, swiping from your e-reader to a TV and so many more Buck Rogers-amazing futuristic things from this reporter’s notebook report of what he saw at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Oddsmakers are offering betting lines on whether new technologies will be released to the mass market.
Twitter brings in the New Year in record fashion
Twitter saw 6,939 tweets per second four seconds after midnight on Jan. 1 in Japan, setting a new record in terms of TPS. It more than doubles the previous record of 3,283 TPS set during Japan’s victory over Denmark in the World Cup last summer.
“In fact, on New Year’s Eve, that all-time TPS record was shattered more than 68 separate times within a single 3-minute period,” Twitter notes.
In other Twitter news, Twitter has developed Tweetie for Mac, a welcome improvement for Apple users. Twitter for Mac download comes complete with native retweet support, real-time updating and drag-and-drop tweets.
So you’re dead. Now what?
When we shuffle off this mortal coil, what happens to everything we’ve posted, tweeted, and facebooked? In short, is it part of your estate? And what’s to be done with it?
Mass animal die-offs via Google maps
It’s an “Open Internet Challenge”
Wanna be a snitch? Is your Internet service provider interfering with content? U.S. regulators at the Federal Communications Commission are asking software developers to create apps to help monitor Internet service providers for network management abuses.
PewResearch – 65 percent say they’ve paid for online content
Are you among two-thirds of Americans who have paid for Internet content? Music, software and apps are the most popular content Internet users have paid to access or download, although the range of paid online content is quite varied and widespread.
Bits and bytes
Wal-Mart invests in Chinese online retailer.
Facebook defeats Google as most visited in 2010.
More from The Facebook Nation.
Did Zuckerberg steal the idea for Facebook?
Technology beats the cheats.
The time capsule
1976 – Shah of Iran goes into exile
Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Chet Kearney of Cypress, Texas, and Sydney Thomas of Milwaukee, Wis., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Gary Cooper in his portrayal of baseball great Lou Gehrig in the Oscar-winning film “The Pride of the Yankees.”
The biopic traces the life of Lou Gehrig, famous baseball player who played in 2130 consecutive games before falling at age 37 to ALS, a deadly nerve disease which now bears his name. Gehrig is followed from his childhood in New York until his famous “Luckiest Man” speech at his farewell day in 1939.
The quote: “All the arguing in the world can’t change the decision of the umpire.”
This week’s quote: “What we’ve got here is … failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!