Backdropped by a Drudge Report storyboard featuring the headlines of National Security Agency’s (NSA) government spying and data collection of Americans, on Monday founder Matt Drudge tweeted his concerns: “All of the cameras. All of the phones. All the recordings. Everywhere.”
This tweet followed a Drudge Report link to a story about face-recognition software which predicts the end of anonymity for everyone, everywhere. According to the article, the software has long been used by the military and it’s already being used by Facebook. However, the report reveals that now the United States government is busy at work “building the world’s largest cache of face-recognition data, with the goal of identifying every person in the country.”
The article goes on to declare that if government isn’t stopped, the potential capability of face-recognition software is the “ultimate fulfillment of Big Brother paranoia.” Matt Drudge has been accused of driving government paranoia on his Drudge Report page.
This kind of extreme visibility “is a trap,” warns artist Zach Blas, who has designed masks to protect wearers from this kind of intrusion. Blas asked, “If cameras can tell a person’s identity, background and whereabouts, what’s to stop the algorithms from making the same mistakes as governmental authorities, giving racist or sexist biases a machine-driven excuse?”
The Drudge Report storyboard has been building for days before and after Matt made his tweet, and included details of new gadgets and devices designed for privacy intrusion in ways never before imagined. One such device, Coversnitch, was described as “just a taste of the real privacy threats facing Americans in an age of the sweeping NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden.”
According to the Fox News report linked by the Drudge Report, the mini-spy device not only eavesdrops and records private conversations, it feeds those conversations to a member’s Twitter page. Plans are available for free to build this device which requires continuous wireless connection in order to function. Following is a scrap of conversation picked up by the Twitter feed from this device: “I’m just not entirely convinced that changing the way we do things, without talking to management, is the best idea.”
In addition, another Drudge Report link followed to an article in which the Department of Justice is quoted, announcing that, “it will begin collecting data on stops, searches and arrests made in five U.S. cities to weed out possible racial biases within the criminal justice system.” According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the project is backed by a $4.75 million federal grant in conjunction with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to establish “better relations between law enforcement and young men of color following the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the shooting death of black Florida teen Trayvon Martin.”
The libertarian founder of the Drudge Report has a long history of aggregating news reports about government spying. Today, the Drudge Report is including a link to an article in which Snowden makes the accusation that the “NSA spies more on Americans than Russians.” Since blowing the whistle on the NSA, Snowden has been exiled in Russia. He has also been nominated this year for the Nobel Peace Prize. Snowden says it’s every citizen’s duty to speak out and expose intrusive government policies and methods. He is urging patriotic Americans to resist, as he did.
While in China, President Obama defended America’s surveillance programs saying that they served national security. Obama’s defense of NSA espionage tactics occurred days after a Snowden leak broke that the American spy agency tapped into Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei’s computer system. Obama wanted to reassure China it had no commercial interests in collecting data, only national security.
In addition to keeping a running update of government spying stories on his Drudge Report page, Drudge has personally spoken out bitterly against the intrusion by the government. In the past he claimed the reason President Obama would never take on the NSA for spying was because the NSA has collected too much dirt on the president.