All posts filed under “Creeping erosion of norms

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

From the BBC: ‘Police play down spy planes idea’: “Merseyside Police’s new anti-social behaviour (ASB) task force is exploring a number of technology-driven ideas. But while the use of surveillance drones is among them, they would be a “long way off”, police said. … “The […]

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Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Last month I mentioned some fascinating details on planned obsolescence gleaned from a review of Giles Slade‘s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Having now read the book for myself, here’s my review, including noteworthy ‘architectures of control’ examples and pertinent commentary. Slade […]

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‘Anti-Homeless’ benches in Tokyo

‘Anti-Homeless’ benches in Tokyo

Images from Yumiko Hayakawa Yumiko Hayakawa has a very thoughtful and well-illustrated article at OhMyNews on the story behind the variety of ‘anti-homeless’ benches and architectural features (including public art) in Tokyo’s parks and public areas – by making it difficult or impossible to lie […]

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‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

The Mosquito sound has been mixed (sort of) into a dance track: “…the sound is being used in a dance track, Buzzin’, with secret melodies only young ears can hear. … Simon Morris from Compound Security said: “Following the success of the ringtone, a lot […]

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Countercontrol: blind pilots

Countercontrol: blind pilots

In a recent post, I discussed a Spiked article by Josie Appleton which included the following quote: ‚ÄúPolice in Weston-super-Mare have been shining bright halogen lights from helicopters on to youths gathered in parks and other public places. The light temporarily blinds them, and is […]

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Designed to control rather than enable

Designed to control rather than enable

As Cory Doctorow says, “Your home and life are increasingly full of devices that seek to control, rather than enable you.” That, succinctly, is what this website’s about: design as something to restrict and control the user, rather than empower and enable. Products that enable […]

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Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Image from uninnovate.com I’ve just come across a very interesting new blog, uninnovate.com, which focuses on the phenomenon of “engineering expensive features into a product for which there is no market demand in order to make the product do less.” The first few posts tackle […]

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

An image from Hendricus Loos’s 2001 US patent, ‘Remote Magnetic Manipulation of Nervous Systems’ In my review of Adam Greenfield‘s Everyware a couple of months ago, I mentioned – briefly – the work of Hendricus Loos, whose series of patents cover subjects including “Manipulation of […]

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Some interesting aspects of built-in obsolescence

Some interesting aspects of built-in obsolescence

This San Francisco Chronicle review of Giles Slade’s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America (which I’ve just ordered and look forward to reading and reviewing here in due course) mentions some interesting aspects of built-in (planned) obsolescence – and planned failure – in […]

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The illusion of control

The illusion of control

Scott Adams recounts an anecdote illustrating the ‘illusion of control’ and how important it is to many people – even to the extent that it is the single defining characteristic of mankind which one might use to explain human behaviour to aliens: “The maintenance man […]

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The Privacy Ceiling

The Privacy Ceiling

Scott Craver of the University of Binghamton has a very interesting post summarising the concept of a ‘privacy ceiling’: “This is an economic limit on privacy violation by companies, owing to the liability of having too much information about (or control over) users.” It’s the […]

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Use of RFID in DRM

Use of RFID in DRM

Via Dave Farber’s Interesting People, a brief New Scientist article outlines Sony’s continuing obsession with restricting and controlling its customers (the last one didn’t go too well): “A patent filed by Sony last week suggests it may once again be considering preventing consumers making “too […]

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