Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Technology

Half a century ago people had to be reassured their social security card was not being used for identification. Now there are federally standardized and globally synchronized ID cards, government-sponsored online ID projects, DNA databases, and even secret databases of your newborn baby’s genetic information and nobody bats an eyelid. How did we get here, and how can we break this conditioning?

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Want to gain entry to your office, get on a bus, or perhaps buy a sandwich? We’re all getting used to swiping a card to do all these things. But at Epicenter, a new hi-tech office block in Sweden, they are trying a different approach – a chip under the skin.

More at BBC.

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The all-new Ford S-MAX introduces the Intelligent Speed Limiter technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.

We are now launching Intelligent Speed Limiter, a technology that could help prevent drivers from unintentionally exceeding speed limits.

The system monitors road signs with a camera mounted on the windscreen, and slows the vehicle as required. As the speed limit rises, the system allows the driver to accelerate up to the set speed – providing it does not exceed the new limit.

“Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they were going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement,” said Stefan Kappes, active safety supervisor, Ford of Europe. “Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit.”

Further new technologies available for the new S-MAX include the Pedestrian Detection system that will reduce the severity of some collisions involving vehicles and pedestrians, or help drivers avoid some impacts altogether.

The versatile people-mover also is equipped to help out at junctions where it is difficult to see. At low speeds a camera fitted in the grille monitors the view from the front of the car, which is then displayed inside the car.

How long will it be before this device becomes mandatory? If we give all of our situational awareness over to technology, what happens when we actually need to use it to prevent an accident?

This technology doesn’t take into account other drivers on the road. It is the other drivers that can cause you to need to suddenly brake or speed up to avoid an accident. Humans are better drivers because they know the routine and can often predict a situation they can avoid, which automated technology cannot.

I’m cruising down a 2 lane (one lane each direction) road with my wife on the back of my bike at 55 (posted limit). Good visibiltiy and no blind curves for about 3 miles down the road, and I could see the road for 2 miles behind me in the mirror. There’s a Bar-B-Q place on the right hand side of the road that we’re coming up on about 500 feet ahead, Black Ford explorer is coming at me slowing down with the left turn blinker, I instinctively roll back off the throttle and now I’m 60 ft away at 52 MPH…then she turns left. I looked her dead in the eyes and she still turned left.

I have two choices here, brake hard and slam into her, or gear down, lay on the throttle to pick up Gyro Force, and go into a swerve around the back of her. When I made the commit, I had about 20 ft of space and she was still in my lane, oblivious to the havoc she just caused. Once my swerve started, I put my thumb on the red button throwing the quad Stebel Air Horns on. I made sure that I did this after the path commit was going to be guaranteed to be behind her turn just to make sure that I didn’t throw her into a panic that would have made the situation worse on me.

In roughly 40 ft. passed the SUV I was back in my lane and at level cruise at 72 mph, letting off the throttle to get back down to the limit and continuing my Sunday ride to the next gas station where I could figuratively change my underwear. Another biker a ways behind us saw the scene unfold and caught up with me at that gas station and asked why I didn’t stop and confront the woman as I would have loved the look on her eyes after she heard the Stebel go off right behind her. I just said “I have an aversion to 20 to Life,” and left it at that.

We don’t need this type of technology in vehicles. We need people to pay attention and drive more carefully. Yes, the technology allows you to brake or accelerate if the signs are wrong, but isn’t that the same thing you do with cruise control?

Before anyone thinks they just won’t buy a Ford, other companies are working on or already have their own versions.

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Photographer Victor Chu spent the last six months on an ambitious project: to document landmarks in all five boroughs of New York City with an camera and an aerial drone.

More information at the Daily News.

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