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The Searchable Life 413

oni writes "Here's a story on wired about a Pentagon project called LifeLog. It seeks to record every bit of information that can be had, index it by name, or SSN, or even location, and make the database searchable. Furthermore, '[LifeLog adds] physical information (like how we feel) and media data (like what we read) to this transactional data.'" If you think you can build such a system, apply for a grant. There's also a current AP story about Total Information Awareness.
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The Searchable Life

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  • Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:16PM (#5999958)
    That our government wants to do *completley* evil things that make dystopian futures depicted in movies like Brazil and 1984 look pleasant ?
  • by b0tman ( 667349 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:18PM (#5999977) Homepage
    this sounds pretty ambitious, and fairly cool inasmuch as recording your life... however, c'mon, this is being sponsored by the pentagon. if allowed to happen, this will kill any privacy we thought we once had. and imagine if someone hacked this database. gives identity theft a whole new dimension.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:23PM (#6000031) Journal
    1) Make such a system. Run it for a few years so it's full of goodies.
    2) Make it open to the public.

    Suddenly, it becomes quite clear that innocence is a fiction, and everyone does things that we persecute each other for. Faced with such such evidence, either tolerance or societal implosion must result.
  • Re:The formula... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#6000057)
    Your concious memories are not the same as your subconcious ones. You can be impacted by things you don't remember happening. Most people can't remember much before the age of 3 or 4, yet we're all very much shaped by those experiences.
  • Double-Edged (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#6000067) Homepage Journal
    The more we centralize things, the more vulnerable we are to a single point of failure with absolutely catastrophic consequences.

    Historically, the core value behind the second amendment was not the right to go deer hunting, but the idea that we needed to reserve to the states and to the people enough power to protect itself if the federal government seemed overpowerful or out of control.

    As information becomes more and more literally a form of armament in modern society, perhaps we need to ask the Supreme Court to start to construe control of information as covered under the second amendment, and to say that the unfettered protection of private information by the states and by individuals is Constitutionally protected. I've seen the courts look to the 4th and then 9th amendments for privacy protection, and having trouble finding it. Maybe they're just looking in the wrong place.
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:30PM (#6000101)
    The Neilson television rating system, monitors what channels people are watching. But people subvert this system by just leaving their TVs on to prefered channels even if they are not in the room. (neilson of of course tries to combat this).

    which suggest that a chafing scheme could be used to mess with the logs on my web usage.

    for example, I have perl script that continously goes to random web sites and pretends to browse web pages 24/7. My own usage is potentially lost. and by random chance I will of course visit al queda web pages, child porn sites, and many other dark alleys of the internet and thus launder them at the same time. Of course this idea sucks for its impact on web bandwidth but I suspect that by the time it becomes possible to track everyones's moves in a data base there will be lots of bandwidth available too.

    Another schema is of course Anonymizing things via encryption and bitTorrent like peer-to-peer access to pages.

  • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:36PM (#6000147) Journal
    I find it amusing that your sig is "If you do not get invovled with your government, you are a dumb-ass whiner."

    Its amusing because the government has long since quit caring about individual citizens. Just take a look at all the actions it taken against its own citizens over the years, usually in favor of fake "people" (corporations) or its own lust for power.

    So, if you're not super-rich and buying campaign ads for your government officials, or else telling the officials what they already wanted to hear, then "getting involved" means nothing, unless you're going to run for office.

    I'd vote for anyone who runs for office on the platform of "not bought by corporate interests".
  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maul ( 83993 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:39PM (#6000168) Journal
    1984 was not about tracking people, although that was a key element in what is was about: thought control.

    Big Brother is watching. The clear point of this data tracking system is to collect info on everyone, and then selectively enforce laws which everyone has broken on dissidents or the unpopular scapegoat of the day.

    1984 can only come about if the people loose the power to speek freely,

    Didn't Ashcroft say something like those who criticize the President are helping terrorists?

    Incidentally, many Americans believe that the government should be able to stop speech that is "offensive."

    The first ammendment is in more danger than we think.

    do not participate in the government,

    Less than half the populace votes in the United States. This should be a cause for alarm.

    and have the ability to physically throw out those in charge if neccessary./i>

    We've allowed the 2nd. Ammendment to be severely weakened for the sake of "protecting children." Now we can't even do that when when Big Brother comes knocking.
  • I Can See it Now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:47PM (#6000236) Homepage
    The year: 2045. A grandfather, not long for this world, is handing over the family server to his children.

    "Son, this here Petabyte array is the digital recording of my entire life. I've been building it, expanding it, adding to it and migrating data onto it since 1996, when it started out as a single 200Mb disk in a Win95 box running dbaseII. Thankfully it survived those dark days, those hard times. Now, it contains every digital photo I've ever took, every file I've ever downloaded, every mp3, avi, and mov I have seen. The entire family financial history in on there, including the papers from when William almost had to file for chapter 11 protection in 2021. All your baby pictures, all my grandchildren's schoolwork are stored in the hierarchy somewhere, those I've recently reviewed on are fresh on disk, those I haven't seen in 20 years are archived in the tape library. Every plane flight booked, every libraray book checked out, every speeding ticket, it's all there. Now, Son, I give you the key to the tape library and the root password. Promise me you won't let the UPS batteries fail, and check the RAMArray for cell errors periodically. If you do these things diligently, may your life's image merge into the family database tree, and when the time comes you will join me in cyberspace as your children tend the server farm. Bless you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:56PM (#6000310)
    The current storage technology can't dream of keeping up with such a program. So for now, I'm not terribly worried. But that probably means there will be new funding for storage and database research, which will advance the state of the art for the rest of us so at least we can all do the same thing too.

    Failing some major political shift concerning privacy, the only hope we have is to shove as much invalid data as possible at them until it makes the results so useless that the entire concept will be scrapped.

    Cue Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie: The Privacy Song...

  • I once talked with one who was able to tell me a lot about my hobbies, my political beliefs, religion and personal life based on three or four simple questions about alcohol, music, and color preferences.

    Wow. Fascinating. What were the questions? Is there a web page I could browse? Or is this a demographer's state secret?

    This could be better than "What's your sign?" for gathering information about people. :)
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:07PM (#6000400)
    Geez, it seems like every story that shows up under the "Your Rights Online" should really be under the category of "No Rights Online." (And the "Online" part is really moot, except that it makes a way to connect the topics to the tech-news theme.)
  • by Etyenne ( 4915 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:31PM (#6000655)
    I have always been annoyed by data harvesting, either from the private sector (credit report, etc) or by the governement (this Life thingy, Echelon, etc). It is pretty much granted that this trend will not revert since the public is apathic and legislators (governements) have a vested interest in these mega DB. Unless you live like an hermit thousands of miles from civilization, it is almost guaranteed that your personnal data will be collected somehow. The only way I can think to fight back (beside complaining to legislator, which have a razor thin chance of changing something) is to somehow find a way to inject bogus data in these collection systems, thus making the whole DB less accurate and reliable. So far, I have not come up with an efficient and legal way to do that. Certainly, there is somebody smarter than I that have tought about it. So, what is your way of fighting back ?
  • by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:57PM (#6000991)
    It's kind of funny because his talk of paying rent, gas, food, and tuition really just affirms your assertion that one no longer owns anything. I have long had a beef with the progession from a ownership based society (the American dream of owning a house and a chicken in every pot) to a disposable service based society. Even though ownership of land and property can be usurped by the government (hence there really is no ownership beyond what they allow) the idea of the traditional American dream has been replaced with that of a consumer driven economy and a dumbed down society where your life is rented from blockbuster and true American grit has taken a back seat to couch-ass complacency.

    I'd like to contradict what the kid said as for America not needing you. We do need you. We need people just like you in America to continue to think freely and express their opinions, however radical. That is what being American is all about. So I say stay and fight in your own way, only run when your actual _life_ is on the line. That's what I intend to do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:00PM (#6001035)
    These systems can only be built and utilized if people are willing to do the work.

    Oracle has already expressed an interest in it. They certainly have the database expertise. Think you can convince them not to?
  • You might want to reconsider whether or not that camera can tell how you feel...

    Emotion Recognition Using a Cauchy Naive Bayes Classifier []
    Facial features detection and face emotion recognition []
  • by Kazoo the Clown ( 644526 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:24PM (#6001243)
    It wouldn't take five minutes for the congress to exempt themselves. And no more than about a week for the data to become completely bloated with erroneous nonsense.
  • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:31PM (#6001331) Journal
    How would they backup such a monstrous amount of data anyhow? If the place housing the data goes away, what would happen to the data? the only way i can think of backing it up is to have a huge offsite backup drive farm. i don't think tapes would be an option.
  • Where can I sign up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PetoskeyGuy ( 648788 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:32PM (#6001341)
    If we can't stop the system from being developed we should make sure everyone has access to it. Would FOI enable anyone to find out anything the Gov knows about anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @05:19PM (#6001799)
    OK, but only if ALL public servants submit to it first, for a test period of 5 years, where every gov't official has his/her life exposed to all of us in the name of open government.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein