(WIRED) – THE PENTAGON CANCELED its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.
Run by Darpa, the Defense Department’s research arm, LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.
LifeLog’s backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.
Researchers close to the project say they’re not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn’t provided an explanation for LifeLog’s quiet cancellation. “A change in priorities” is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.
Ever since I started writing these, I get people tweeting me suggestions on conspiracies every day. Most of them super interesting honestly. Very rarely a stinker in the bunch. And what ends up happening is I have an idea of what I want to tackle on a given week, and then on Saturday someone sends me one I had never heard and it completely takes over my brain. That’s precisely what happened here when Blanco sent me this yesterday.
I’d never heard of LifeLog. I was 14 when it was canceled, I was too busy making sure my Myspace page had the proper background and videos autoplaying on a daily basis to be concerned with such nonsense like widespread government surveillance technology. I was too busy arguing that Brady with his two rings was far superior to Captain 1-and-Done in Indianapolis to be concerned with my digital footprint and what kind of personal information I was giving away for free to advertisers. Hell, I’m still too busy doing that to really care.
We live in the digital age. People constantly offering up their exact locations, spending habits, favorite brands, musicians, movies, pictures of family, close friends, known associates, every meaningless thought that crossed their mind, all within arm’s reach for anyone and everyone who cares to look. Facebook launching the same day Darpa publicly announced the shutdown of LifeLog isn’t a conspiracy. It’s a rebranding simple and plain. LifeLog wasn’t getting any spins in the club. No one would have signed up for this service knowing the government was behind it. So they turned to Harvard, people trust Harvard because they’re smart and must know better. Making Facebook initially as an “invite only” exclusive club made it mysterious and intriguing. If you didn’t get on Facebook you were an outsider, thus making you a dweeb. No one wants to be a dweeb. It was a genius and dastardly rebranding, and it worked to perfection.
January 2018 Facebook was said to have 2.2 BILLION monthly active users. Add in the fact that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp and you have to start questioning why everyone was so goddamn surprised that Zuckerberg was selling everyones’ data to corporations. There’s a reason why whenever you think of a product it magically appears on your phone. They know before you know what you like and want. And here’s my biggest problem with this: I don’t get why people don’t like this.
If you thought you were being private with anything you were doing on your phone or laptop, I don’t know what to tell you. People love to be afraid of an overreaching government, listening in on every inane conversation, reading every misspelled text message, as if every single person is Jason fucking Bourne or something. None of us are interesting enough to be that level of paranoid. You buying an eighth of weed from your connect who only has an ounce of weed isn’t sending the Pentagon into a tizzy. They want to know what you like to buy so they can sell you more of it. It’s fucking awesome.
There’s never been a more convenient time to be alive. Is it inching us closer to the world laid out for us in IDIOCRACY? 1000%. I guess my overall laziness and love of convenience supersedes my concern for the privacy of a guy from Topeka, Kansas, who ordered one too many Funko Pop action figures and is now getting targeted ads for Gamestop.