Tagged With only in america

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Despite the fact that the US government seems more enthusiastic than ever about gathering data, its taste for making it classified seems to be waning. This year’s Information Security Oversight Office report reveals that the total number of "original classification" decisions fell over 40 per cent in 2012.

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American culture unapologetically romanticises the lives of the first pioneers. Through rose-coloured glasses, we see Manifest Destiny as fate, leading our heroic ancestors across a perfectly manicured landscape. In reality, the frontier was a terrifying, dangerous wilderness. And you were only as good as the tools you carried.

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Email and phone call metadata certainly isn't private, but maybe you were holding out hope that good old-fashioned snail mail somehow avoided big brother's living gaze. The New York Times is reporting that's all being tracked too. Surprise, surprise.

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You probably turn to Yelp to look for single, stand-out restaurants and businesses. But there's a lot of data inside all those reviews, which can make for fascinating analysis — letting you spot trends across geographic locations.

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In the past couple of weeks, the NSA has, unsurprisingly, responded with a series of secret briefings to US Congress that have left the public in the dark and vulnerable to misstatements and word games. US Congress has many options at its disposal, but any response must start with a special investigative committee for true accountability.

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When Steve Jobs presented the initial design for his donut-like headquarters to the Cupertino City Council, in 2011, he described the building as a reaction against suburban office parks. “We’ve come up with a design that puts 12,000 people in one building; which sounds a bit odd,” he said. “But we’ve seen these office parks with a lot of buildings, and they get pretty boring pretty fast. We’d like to do something better.” The question, though, is better for whom?

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It's only natural to be a little skeeved out by the idea that the government is slurping up your private data behind the scenes, but there's a very public piece of your data being collected as well: the look on your face. There's already a national database of over 120 million faces in the US, and the Washington Post reports that it's slowly turning into the ultimate police tool.