Thursday, May 31, 2007

Self-Survelliance - Man Assists the U.S Government in Monitoring his Movements

Indeed, his server logs show hits from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President, among others.

Tara has written up an interesting story over on her blog, almost amusing but for revealing the state of the U.S government today.
(Was the infamous McCarthy Era this bad?)

Anyway, she refers to an article in Wired magazine titled The Visible Man: An FBI Target Puts His Whole Life Online.

An extract: Hasan Elahi whips out his Samsung Pocket PC phone and shows me how he's keeping himself out of Guantanamo. He swivels the camera lens around and snaps a picture of the Manhattan Starbucks where we're drinking coffee. Then he squints and pecks at the phone's touchscreen. "OK! It's uploading now," says the cheery, 35-year-old artist and Rutgers professor, whose bleached-blond hair complements his fluorescent-green pants. "It'll go public in a few seconds." Sure enough, a moment later the shot appears on the front page of his Web site,

There are already tons of pictures there. Elahi will post about a hundred today — the rooms he sat in, the food he ate, the coffees he ordered. Poke around his site and you'll find more than 20,000 images stretching back three years. Elahi has documented nearly every waking hour of his life during that time. He posts copies of every debit card transaction, so you can see what he bought, where, and when. A GPS device in his pocket reports his real-time physical location on a map.

Elahi's site is the perfect alibi. Or an audacious art project. Or both. The Bangladeshi-born American says the US government mistakenly listed him on its terrorist watch list — and once you're on, it's hard to get off. To convince the Feds of his innocence, Elahi has made his life an open book. Whenever they want, officials can go to his site and see where he is and what he's doing. Indeed, his server logs show hits from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President, among others.

He ends with this.
For now, though, Big Brother is still on the case. At least according to Elahi's server logs. "It's really weird watching the government watch me," he says. But it sure beats Guantanamo.


Peter said...

You may want to read this related article from the Guardian:

- an article by Naomi Wolf

Quote (from point 6):

"Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy.

Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal.

But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".

"Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.

"I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."

"That'll do it," the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist.


womanwandering said...

I liked Hasan's way of dealing with it ... finding his story in this crazy mixed up world he did make me laugh.

I remember a Belgian telling me very seriously that maybe it was taking so long for the Belgian 'powers that be' to let me into Belgium because I had lived in Turkey 2 years ...

I was stunned that anyone could believe nonsense like that but these days I find myself unwilling to test it by visiting friends in America.