The Future Of Digital Tracking Technology

June 25, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

In The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozov writes that digital technologies can suppress freedom, liberty and democracy rather than enhance it. Some of the fascinating technologies that Morozov describes being developed and used right now include:

  • SAPIR : Search on Audio-visual content using Peer-to-peer Information Retrieval
    • An ambitious project funded by the European Union
    • Aims to create an audiovisual search engine that first automatically analyzes a photo, a video or sound recording; then extracts certain features to identify it; and finally uses these unique identifiers to search for similar content on the Internet.
    • For example: using SAPIR, an antigovernment chant from the streets of Tehran can be broken down into individual voices, which in turn, can then be compared to a universe of all possible voices that exist on amateur videos posted on YouTube.
  • TOR : Anonymity Network.
    • Initially funded by the US Navy, but later became an independent project
    • Allows users to hide what they are browsing by first connecting to a random “proxy” node on the volunteer Tor network, and then using that node’s Internet connection to connect to the desired website
    • Guarantees the anonymity of its users: it’s like surfing on the Internet using many helpers who fetch all the websites you need, and thus make sure that you yourself are not directly exposed
  • DDoS Attack: Distributed-Denial-of-Service attack.
    • It is becoming an increasingly popular way of silencing one’s opponents, by attacking the “target website” (e.g: has been used in Saudi Arabia to ban the philosophy-discussion-based website Tomaar)
    • All websites have occupancy limits. This attack takes advantage of resource constraints by sending fake visitors to the targeted websites. The fake visitors are generated by computers that have been infected with malware and viruses, thus allowing a third party to establish full control over them and use their resources in the way they choose
    • Today, the capacity to launch such attacks is frequently bought and sold on eBay for a few hundred dollars.

You can find this and much more in what is a fascinating book over here.

Source: The Net Delusion