Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 12:12 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption If you're modest, think twice before having sex in your van, truck, or RV. Law enforcement uses roving vans with backscatter X-ray technology to peer inside vehicles (the same technology used in airport body scanners). In the Land of the Free, authorities don't request search warrants. More at Forbes here and here. What, you don't want an X-ray bath?
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RE[2]: Ridiculous
by Doc Pain on Sat 3rd Dec 2011 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Ridiculous"
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

These thing are less effective then the cops they put out on pedal bike patrol...


I don't know about the US in particular, but I think "tax magic" is the same everywhere. For example, in Germany there's a saying "material costs good, personnel costs bad".

Real cops are too expensive, but "investing" in technologically-advanced material (be it digital radio, armored vehicles, cameras, trapdoors, whatever), even if more expensive in the end, seems to be more promising.

I believe there's lots of "tax magic" in the background, seen in quarterly processes. The benefit of the society, a real fight against terrorism or just the simple opportunity of bringing the state's responsibilities for the people into life again don't play an important role. Service contracts, continuous delivery of material and finally the "hey, look what I've got!" are in the scope of the planners.

And even if the technology purchased is good, it will be operated by stupid idiots. I've seen policemen talking into the back (or the battery, or the antenna) of their handheld radio, complaining they couldn't understand each other. :-)

To close the circle to mobile x-ray surveillance:

Even though this idea has lots of potential (as I said, to improve security on streets when applied to trucks to investigate the securing of their payload), this doesn't seem to be interesting enough. Remember the "look what I've got" teaser? It's exactly that.

And if operated by idiots, propagated by idiots, and maintained by idios, with other idiots defining the "proper" procedures, you can easily estimate how tons of data will be stored, and finally, they'll find their way where they don't belong. It has often been that case, e. g. in Germany, confidential tax data written to CDs found their way to people who sold them back to the government. You never know who gets his hands on data that you expect deleted. Nobody deletes anything.

The justification "it fights terrorists" looks like a welcome statement when it's about massive investitions into some new technology, or an argument when some secretly kept technology becomes public. The opposite jusstification, "but it doesn't fight terrorists", is very helpful when an investition should be denied, even if it would be something positive.

Let's invest into better schools. - But that doesn't fight the terrorists!

Why did you buy a fleet of new PCs for the your governmental department this year? You bought a full new equipment last year. - Because those new PCs do fight terrorists!

See how nice it works? :-)

Also remember my words: Everything that is possible will be done, no matter if we can recognize it. Whenever media thinks they've discovered something new, revolutionary or scary, it just means that it's been "business as usual" for many years now. Remember the last "scandal" when government was claimed to be spying at people? They do this all the time, even now, as I type. And it's not just my government doing so. Be it x-rays, radio, cameras, Internet... the more the better.

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