(TMU) – By now most Americans are keenly aware of the vast surveillance infrastructure tracking our everyday movements. From intersection cameras watching us while we drive to the eyes of corporate surveillance in the workplace, retail stores, and even our own homes, Americans are recorded on camera many times each day and week.
Now a new study by Safety.org is here to tell us exactly how many times….and the answer may surprise you. Using IPUMS Time Use data, researchers calculated that the average American is recorded by surveillance technology at least 238 times each week.
The number could be much higher – thousands of times per week – for people who frequently travel by plane or work in high-security jobs.
The study breaks down the number into several different categories. The largest contributor to surveillance camera uses is roadways and intersections, where cameras embedded in traffic lights record the average American motorist 160 times per week.
The next categories are work – which researchers say involves the typical employee being recorded 40 times a week in the office – and retail shopping, which contributes to another 24 average weekly instances.
The most surprising category, according to researchers, regarded home and neighborhood surveillance. Home entertainment devices and gadgets, as well as the proliferation of doorbell cameras, make your daily walks or jogging regimen a new source of daily surveillance. While in previous decades Americans could expect to remain unobserved in the privacy of their own home/neighborhood, the average citizen is now surveilled 14 times a week.
The increasing use of advanced surveillance tactics by police also adds to the rising numbers.
“The notion of doing biometric identity checks on millions of people to identify a handful of suspects is completely unprecedented,” says Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch. “There is no legal basis to do that. It takes us hurtling down the road towards a much more expansive surveillance state.”
Safety.org says that these numbers will rise as surveillance technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous. Facial recognition software alone will contribute considerably to this rise. The researchers believe that by 2021, there will be about a billion cameras recording humans globally. Only China, which is soon to have a security camera for every 4.1 of its citizens, will have a more invasive surveillance state apparatus than the U.S.
The number arrived at – 238 – is certainly shocking but may not even be the full story. When you consider another kind of surveillance – data tracking and harvesting by online advertisers and Internet service providers – and our increasing use of mobile devices that record and triangulate our locations and movements, security cameras are only one facet of the issue.
Biological and epidemiological tracking, buoyed by contact tracing efforts in the coronavirus age, is also expected to add dramatically to the surveillance state. For example, some health officials say there is a need to integrate real-time data between healthcare systems and the private sector.
“The price of this escape route is an unprecedented increase in digital surveillance,” says a new report about contact tracing in the UK. “In normal times, the degree of monitoring and state intervention we are talking about here would be out of the question in liberal democracies. But these are not normal times, and the alternatives are even more unpalatable.”
Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space
The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.
You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.
The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.
In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.
“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.
While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”
On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”