Watch_Dogs “We are Data” – Creepy Cool Big Brother Interactive City Map

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If you don’t visit any websites today, take the time and visit this one: We Are Data and prepared to be amazed (and totally creeped out)!

According to Ubisoft’s website, in the video game “Watch_Dogs”, Chicago is a smart city where data is used to solve all sorts of complex city problems. To show the amount of real data that is actually available now, they made a big brotherish type website where you can view data from three major cities, in real time. The data is then placed in it’s location on an interactive map.

Watch_Dogs WeareData gathers available geolocated data in a non-exhaustive way: we only display the information for which we have been given the authorization by the sources. Yet, it is already a huge amount of data. You may even watch what other users are looking at on the website through Facebook connect.

You first select a city, then you can select on a blue diamond that gives an exact location in the city. You are then zoomed into an overhead map where you can see traffic lights, ATMs, mobile network locations, etc. Kind of cool, but the creepy factor jumps up as you also see live tweets and other social media information. You can click on the social media icons and see actual posts from people in that area!

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This really makes you think, if a video game company can pull this off, what can other organizations do that have different agendas? Imagine an interactive map that provides actual cell phone user data. Or if clicking on the CCTV video icons actually showed you the video from the location.

Sound far fetched?

It really isn’t. What if an interactive map pulled in live cell user data, say from one of those fake cell towers (or from planes) you hear about? Open or easily hacked webcams and CCTV video camera interfaces could be added – ever hear of Shodan? Heck, vulnerable routers or again easily hacked ones could also be made available.

Sadly as a high-tech society, we share way to much information electronically. We also give up a lot of electronic security in the name of convenience. In doing so, we have made big brother type scenarios an actual possibility!

The best thing we can do is make sure our devices are secured and encrypted. Turn off any Geo-Location information, and set privacy features when using social media. Never leave network devices set to the default credentials. And finally, never trust public Wi-Fi!

Texans Practice Shooting Down Drones

Saw this video today and thought I would pass it on. Many Americans are up in arms about the news of police and government agencies using Drones to patrol US skies. Some are actually using arms to practice shooting them down!

Drone technology has been a game changer in Iraq and Afghanistan, but why use it in the friendly skies of the US? Big brother rumors abound, but there may be more to it. There have been over 40 reported attempted terrorist attacks on the US since 9/11. The real number may be much higher.

I was talking to a SWAT officer a few months ago and mentioned the 40+ stopped terrorist attacks. He just looked at me and said that border patrol guys say the number is much higher, but a lot of things they run into are not publicly reported.

Most likely the choice to use drone technology in the US is to detect and deter militant attacks. But of course the political correctness of America would inhibit politicians from coming out and publicly saying that. So, you get the Big Brother conspiracies and apparently, concerned US citizens that are practicing shooting these devices down.

Hopefully political correctness can be overcome and constitutional rights straightened out in this matter.