Big brother is watching…

Ok, so this is something that’s just really freaked me out.

Just been watching Torchwood which is a series we have here in the UK, in a nutshell about everlasting life and how it can profit a select few people with unlimited power. It’s Sci-Fi, of course, so not in any way real – but it does make you think. There’s people in this world with far too much power, far too many resources. Some say that money is power, but that’s not true; you can have trillions of £$ whilst being powerless. Instead, there’s an old saying that remains true, to this day more than ever, and that is “He who controls the Information controls the World.”

Yes, that’s right. It’s not about who you are, or where you are, or what you do – but who you know and what you have access to. Think, government. Not prime minster or anyone public like that. We’re talking MI5 and MI6 here (or CIA and FBI in USA). We all have our basic “human rights” as everyone is raving about, but in reality all of these human rights are infiltrated on a daily basis. I make a phone call – that’s tapped. I send an SMS – that’s tapped. I send an e-mail via Gmail – that’s tapped. I send a tweet from a private account – yup, still tapped. Our governments control the Information and thus control the World, whether we like it or not.

What if…

Now here comes the big ‘what if’. There’s always one in every rant, isn’t there?

So, what if this controlling of Information stretches far further than what we first think? Here’s an insight for you; I’ve just been sent an MP3 via e-mail from a radio promotional pool, the content of which belonging to one of the “big four” labels. So I’m sat there, listening to it, and in my Winamp content box I saw something flash up along the lines of “watermarking” – and I immediately view the MP3 “ID3” tag (that’s the bit holding the song name, artist, album etc). In the “Encoded by” field, I see this:

WAM!NET Content Studio Watermarking

So I Google this to find out more, and I’m quite horrified on my finding. There’s a company out there (no guessing who!) that allows you to plonk your raw music files from a CD or studio in to their software, encode it as MP3, but (and this is the sly bit) place an inaudible stream of copyright data in the MP3 file itself.

Yes! You actually heard it right! (…or, not at all as the case may be) Companies can actually tag their audio content, so no matter what you do to it – whether you put it on a CD, or re-encode it to another format, that tag is still intact. So that means, if I send this MP3 file to a friend, because it’s tagged the promo pool I got it from know it came from me and I was the one who sent it. Clever stuff, right?

Another what if…

So, yeah. Now that we’ve established the technology exists and it is indeed impossible to rid of this tag, what’s to stop digital download companies like Apple’s iTunes Store and Amazon and Spotify (etc) doing the same thing?

Say I buy a song from the iTunes Store and send it to a member of my “immediate family” which is now an entirely lawful thing to do here in the UK (I believe), that means my details are (potentially) on that audio recording and it can be traced back to me. That is some clever, but very worrying stuff, because! What if this family member sends the song to one of their friends, and their friend sends it to one of their friends (and so on)… that means this is (potentially) all traced back to me, right? But wait, officer! I haven’t done anything wrong!… yet I’m legally responsible for breaking the law as my details are (potentially) tagged in the song.

I have a theory – and I do stress, this is a theory, my own thoughts, and completely unproven… but nevertheless, having found out the above, technically possible. What if the authors of our MP3 software (Winamp, Windows Media Player, VLC etc) and our MP3/music players (Apple iPod, Sony, Creative etc) have teamed up with said “Big Four” labels and are reporting back with this special “tag” who owns each played MP3/music file, where it’s played from, how many times, etc.? You know, it’s entirely possible, but either way being true or false, we (the public citizens) are unable to prove Jack Sh. Doesn’t this worry you?

Now that, readers, is completely messed up, and this is where the law of tomorrow is going. It’s not just government, but all corporations that are wanting full control. For all we know, they may already have it. Scary times!

Hope you enjoyed this blog. #MindlessRamblings

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