Eric Schmidt….still Full Of S***

It’s amazing how much power and money can remove someone from reality, but Eric Schmidt is a regular example…..yet another step in his quest to become the next Scott McNealy

I’m personally hoping people will simply ‘adapt’ by banning GG from civilized society, and/or just spray painting the glasses when you see them on someone’s face – why is it OK for overpaid techies to peer into everyone else’s business? – Oh right, it’s NOT.

Schmidt: Google Glass Critics “Afraid of Change,” Society Will Adapt

Number Six


Interesting change, could be pro or against privacy, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, it’s definitely a victory for private car owners, but on the flip side, the cynic in me says it works arguably against govt open data. Maybe a clarification needs to be added, to keep publicly owned license plates avail. for public viewing vs. privately owned? Time will tell….

From Ars Technical:
Minnesota modifies liberal open records law to make car location data private

Number Six

The sad truth….

if he wins re-election, time to ramp it up, people!

From Salon:

Why Does Obama get a pass on Civil Liberties?

Let us stipulate, as lawyers like to say, that President Obama has a deplorable record on civil liberties, one that threatens long-term damage to the country’s constitutional culture.

Why, then, has his base of support not been eroded decisively? Why have so many on the left fallen silent, after railing against George W. Bush’s rights violations, as Obama has prolonged and codified most of the same practices? And why have so few on the right, riding a groundswell of resentment toward big government, failed to resent the biggest governmental intrusions into personal privacy since the FBI’s domestic spying during the Cold War?

The facts are not in dispute. While Obama has ordered an end to CIA kidnapping and torture, he has personally approved kill lists containing the names of American citizens to be targeted by drones. While he has tried to move the accused masterminds of 9/11 and others from Guantanamo to civilian courts (only to be blocked by congressional Republicans), he has also embraced military commissions and indefinite detention. He voiced misgivings about a bill subjecting suspected terrorists to military arrest — whether foreigners or Americans, whether in Afghanistan or Alabama — and then signed it into law.

In practically every significant court case, his administration has argued for an expansive encroachment on individual rights, much as the Bush administration did. Obama’s Justice Department has successfully opposed the habeas corpus petitions of Guantanamo prisoners, persuading conservative judges to rule in one case that sketchy, unverified intelligence reports must be presumed correct. This absurdity has now entered case law as an erosion of the venerable right, dating from the Magna Carta, to summon your jailer before an impartial magistrate.

The administration has continued undermining the Fourth Amendment. It argued in the Supreme Court, unsuccessfully, that law enforcement should be free to attach GPS tracking devices to vehicles without showing probable cause and getting warrants. It has vigorously used a tool that Obama denounced in the 2008 campaign: the administrative subpoenas known as National Security Letters, which are issued without warrants to acquire the library, Internet, banking and other records of individuals suspected of nothing at all. His Justice Department has invoked state secrets, as did Bush’s, to deny wrongfully imprisoned and tortured victims the right to sue the government. The administration has sought broad immunity for Secret Service agents and others in law enforcement who arrest people exercising their First Amendment right to speech.

Obama’s solicitor general has just made a catch-22 argument before the Supreme Court that could exempt from constitutional challenge the law that authorizes the interception of Americans’ international communications without probable cause — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, broadened in 2008 with Obama’s vote as senator. Because the surveillance by the National Security Agency is secret, his administration argues, there is no way for the lawyers, journalists and rights organizations who suspect they are being monitored to prove that they are, in fact, targets of surveillance, and therefore they have no standing to sue.

These acts aren’t deal-breakers for many voters, except among a small number of civil liberties advocates, such as Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, whose blog “Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama” deplored the left’s lack of outrage. Other liberals, seeing a constellation of social and economic issues, don’t want to damage Obama’s re-election chances by speaking out. He’ll probably get the votes of most lawyers for the ACLU, which has criticized him persistently. And his judicial nominees will be more liberal than Mitt Romney’s. So there is no opportunity for principled voting. Without a civil liberties candidate with a chance to win, pragmatic balloting is unavoidable.

A symmetrical silence about Obama’s rights policies afflicts Republicans. They worry that government is too big when it funds programs for the poor but not when it funds wars. It is too big when it regulates business but not when it regulates individual lives. It can decide whom people may marry, restrict women’s control over their pregnancies and evade the Fourth Amendment by invading Americans’ privacy. Only true libertarians seem to care.

But there is more here than hypocrisy. Terrorism remains a threat, as the FBI repeatedly reminds the country with sting operations that lure hapless wannabes into dramatic plots they couldn’t execute without undercover agents. Each arrest stokes the public’s fear. Furthermore, rights violations are largely clandestine and invisible. Their targets are “others,” meaning foreigners, terrorists, common criminals and various people not like “us.”

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, polling by the AP and the National Opinion Research Center found that those surveyed supported, by 65 to 21 percent, a government policy to read, without warrants, any emails to people inside the U.S. from countries known for terrorism. By 48 to 37 percent, respondents favored warrantless monitoring of U.S. citizens’ Internet searches “to watch for suspicious activities,” not further defined. In other words, I’m willing to give up your rights for my security.

It’s not generally understood that constitutional rights are not divisible, that those denied to others, including suspected terrorists, are also denied to “us.” For example, Ernesto Miranda of the Miranda warning, who secured our right to silence during police interrogation, was not a model citizen. He had a long record and had kidnapped and raped a mentally defective teenager. Yet his right now belongs to us all.

A certain appreciation of constitutional law is required to grasp what has happened under the Bush and Obama administrations, and neither the press nor the school system educates well on these issues. It has been widely noted that global warming went unmentioned in the presidential debates, but hardly anyone has observed that both poverty and civil liberties (and the Supreme Court) were also ignored by the candidates and moderators.

It took a comedian, Jon Stewart, to raise Bush-era surveillance policies with Obama, on The Daily Show on Oct. 18. “We have modified them,” the president said. “Now, they’re not real sexy issues.”

Stewart replied: “You don’t know what I find sexy.”

Number Six

Big Brother takes the wheel

This is VERY scary, and should be banned by states generally.  At minimum, provide the ‘opt-out’ option at NO COST to the consumer! – Number Six

From Salon:

Big Brother takes the wheel

Your insurance company wants to install a device in your car to track your every decision and move. Be afraid

By David Sirota

Your chipper TV friend Flo, otherwise known as Progressive’s ubiquitous shill, wants you to be excited — very excited. As you’ve probably learned from her gratingly effervescent commercials, she and her Big Brothers in the insurance biz want you to see the latest Orwellian scheme not as a privacy-destroying step to justify raising your government-mandated car insurance premiums. Instead, she wants you to see her “patented, proprietary” device “from the future” as a great innovation aimed at saving you money.

And yet, as the federal government this week takes a big step toward possibly mandating “black boxes” for new cars, and as more car firms like Progressive pressure you (and potentially soon require you) to put tracking bugs in your vehicle, serious questions are now swirling around so-called “telematics-based insurance” — questions that Flo doesn’t want you to ask. She purports to have all the answers, shrouding this complex surveillance system in her squeaky voice, wide smile and promises of car-insurance utopia — almost as if she were deliberately parodying the saccharine avatar of an autocratic mega-corporation in a dystopian sci-fi flick. But despite the TV ad barrage, the questions nonetheless persist because the tracking system is both so invasive and so arbitrary.

To appreciate that disturbing reality, consider this dispatch about how the system works:

Richard Hutchinson, the usage-based insurance manager at Progressive, says the SnapShot works on algorithms that use your driving style to predict how likely you are to have an accident, and how expensive it will be if it happens. Normal insurance plans use dozens of set variables like age and gender to calculate rates, but the SnapShot taps into literally thousands of dynamic inputs including how fast and what time of day you drive. The device captures data in one-second intervals. One of the most revealing stats: how much you brake and how often. Over-braking is a key indicator of an accident-prone driver…

In the end, (Thilo Koslowski, an automotive analyst with Gartner) says the major hurdle is the Big Brother effect. While (the system) might seem innocuous, once there’s a way to capture how you drive and transmit the results to a home base, the next step could be to monitor your daily commuting route and force you to take a different, theoretically safer, way.

If this seems eerily familiar, that’s because it follows earlier evidence that the 2002 film “Minority Report” was less fantasy than spot-on prophecy. In that film, humans have developed technology to fight “pre-crime” — that is, to stop crimes before they occur, and punish people as criminals for allegedly preparing to commit said crimes.

“Telematics-based insurance” is simply the insurance-industry realization of that technology — a technology that can punitively charge you higher rates for embracing driving styles and geographic routes that supposedly mean you are about to incur collision costs, even if you haven’t actually incurred said costs yet, and even if you never will incur said costs in the future. Essentially, the insurance firms are combining data from the past with real-time data from your car to presuppose that if you brake in a certain style, commute on a certain road, or drive in other myriad ways deemed “risky” but legal, there’s a higher chance that you will get into an automobile accident. So rather than charge you a higher premium after you incur those accident costs, the companies are looking to punitively charge you beforehand à la a Department of Pre-crime.

What’s wrong with such a system? The assumptions baked into the algorithms, that’s what. Yes, your particular braking method may be idiosyncratic, and actuarially, that may indeed suggest you are more likely to crash at some point. But citing generalized odds to assume that you in particular will definitely crash in the future — and to then act on that assumption by charging you higher premiums in the present — is both illogical and predatory, forcing you to pay for accidents you haven’t yet been involved in, or may never be involved in in the first place.

Of course, Flo and other insurance-industry spokespeople like her insist that the system today only exists to give customers premium discounts for “good” driving (however arbitrary that definition of “good” is), but not to raise premiums for “bad” driving. However, if and when the devices become a prerequisite for insurance — which many experts say will soon happen — we would likely see a system in which the “standard” premium is inflated, and the “discounts” for “good” driving only slightly reduce premiums. That is, we would likely see a system in which the technology stealthily raises overall premiums for everyone.

What can be done about all this? Fox reports that some states “currently have specific mandates that prevent insurance companies from requiring” the tracking devices. That’s a good first step, but the regulation is easy for the industry to get around with punitive pricing schemes — the kind that will hold a proverbial gun to the consumer’s head and make the devices a de facto obligation.

No, the only real protection is for states to ban insurers from using these devices to charge higher premiums. It’s a rather simple legislative initiative; a state could simply say that a licensed insurer cannot raise a customer’s premium unless that customer incurs a financial outlay by the insurance company (say, via a collision).

Insurers will no doubt say that’s an unacceptable government intervention into the “free market.” But, then, so too is the government requirement that all drivers buy the car insurance industry’s products. And if states are going to use statutory power to force people to be the insurance industry’s customers, which is a huge financial boon to insurance companies, then in exchange it’s more than fair to require those companies to adhere to some basic consumer-protection rules.

Without such rules, Flo or another one of her Big Brothers will probably soon be in your car — whether you like it or not.