Finally, a typeface for all the words governments never say about surveillance

Surveillance has proven to be good fodder for games. In Touch Tone, a fictional yet fathomable government has deputized its citizenry to spy on their peers by solving puzzles and decoding encryption keys and codes to access private data. Nothing to Hide applies the logic to your every movement. It is a virtual Panopticon that requires your location, likeness, and actions to be visible at all times. Attempts at evasion are futile. Privacy is dead. There are no secrets anymore. These titles use video game mechanics to make the logic of surveillance explicit.  Their metaphors may even be too successful insofar as they…


Mineblock envisions a troll-free Minecraft universe

Earlier this year, eight-year-old Jivan Armen logged onto a Minecraft server in his home in east Vancouver to start building something new, as millions of his peers do each day. Jivan loves roller coasters and had begun constructing one to transport sheep throughout his world. Then disaster struck. A griefer logged on and set his roller coaster ablaze. There was no recourse; only tears. Jivan ran to his father for consolation. “It’s not a great introduction to the Internet,” Jivan’s 46-year-old father Haig says. In fact, since then, Jivan has been shy to log into his favorite game out of fear of…


In the surveillance-riddled hell of the future, your only escape is this rubber mask

One thing we’re loving about this anti-surveillance facial prosthetic (read: mask) is that it stops scary-complex facial recognition systems like those in Chicago from spying on you. The other is that it reminds us of an Aphex Twin video, but that’s beside the point. And that point is fairly straightforward, really: your identity can’t be detected if you’re wearing someone else’s face.  As explained in the video below, skin-grafts are not required, so no worries. This is all done by the aid of a relatively normal-looking, realistic, 3D-scanned rubber mask. But just whose face is the URME Surveillance mask portraying?…


This app is like Dark Souls’ note-leaving system IRL, minus the anguish

One of the coolest features in the Souls series is the ability to scrawl hints, boldfaced lies, and evidence of your existential duress on the ground for other players to read. The app Slice, available on iTunes, lets users mark their physical environment in a similar way, well, except for those bloodstains that reveal to others their grizzly deaths. Now that would just be morbid!  But everything else is pretty spot on, and it turns out Dark Souls makes a pretty awesome social app. You can drop a marker at your current locale on a GPS-enabled map and write a…


The Internet is more restricted around the world than you think

The Internet has great potential to do good stuff, like spreading freedom of speech around the globe, but according to this info-graphic map by an advocacy group for freedom of the press, it turns out that in many places it’s just another form of censorship. The color code shows where governments rank in terms of restrictions on the flow of information through the Web and other outlets, with Canada and the Baltic states finding themselves in a good situation, but with nations like China and Iran colored black, and the small African republic of Eritrea coming in dead last. The United…


A checklist for how not to get punched wearing Google Glass

It seems Google is aware that their newfangled augmented reality eyewear has a public image problem, with privacy issues surfacing around facial recognition software and the fact that early adopters are basically positing themselves as geeky, walking camcorders. So the tech giant has put together a list of dos-and-don’ts when sporting Google Glass, which cheekily addresses some rather serious concerns. The dos start off positively enough. Wearers should use voice commands, explore the world, and make sure that they implement the lock screen, lest they lose their glasses and some stranger should have access to all the strange shit they’ve…