“Webcams, tracking devices, and interlinked databases are leading to the elimination of unmonitored public space. Are we prepared for the consequences of the intelligence-gathering network we’re unintentionally building?” Read the interesting article at MIT Technology Review.
MIT Report: Surveillance Nation
2003-03-18 Geek stuff 22 Comments
It’s getting so a person can’t privately go out in public anymore.
the bastard son of this side of tech is the RFID electronic tags…
Christ the things you -can- do with them…
StarTrek always was something other than an utopia for me..
Nothing really new. Privacy has been lacking for a long time.
The only surprise is the one on people’s face at the true extent of it all.
You remember 9/11? Do you remember the breadth of all the images that were gathered which showed Mohammad Atta and his partners in crime in the days leading up to 9/11? Did you see how many videos were taken or captured which showed them? Quite a few. Just smile next time you walk into the local grocer. Smile when you are getting money out of your ATM. Smile when you are doing business at the bank. Smile when you are walking around the Auditorium at your local sports arena.
You are being filmed!
the more info, the less space they have to keep it for long term and they have less chance to fall on you in a random check the more data they have.
My mother and my close familly still know nothing about me and my taste how would an organisation could do better?
Being filmed didn’t prevent them doing their business, though. It’s an excercise in futility. You can’t read peoples minds. “Terrorist faces” or “criminal profiles” don’t commit crimes, minds do.
I don´t think that the purpose of cameras in shopping malls and ATMs is exactly to track terrorists, although after the fact they can be used to provide some intelligence, as was the case with the terrorists of 9/11.
Sadly, their use as **preventive** measures is quite lacking, and they **do** invade our privacy somehow.
But we are debating here without any input from a surveillance expert. I am an I.T. guy and have enough work dealing with 14-year old hackers, so I would appreciate the informed opinion of an expert on surveillance.
“the more info, the less space they have to keep it for long term and they have less chance to fall on you in a random check the more data they have.”
The vast amounts of data make intelligent use of it difficult. But that isn’t the problem.
The problem is that somebody in the police or secret police can decide to pick on you. They are then able to easily call up all the data about you and find something to hit you with.
What happens if you talk to a girl whose jealous boy friend is in the secret police?
I agree. It isn´t the legitimate use of surveillance that is the problem, it´s the illegitimate use.
“Judge a system by the consequences of failure, not the consequences of success” (can’t remember who said this).
The biggest monitoring problem is from the vast, interconnected, and unaccountable privately held databases, held by companies such as shops and insurance companies. The drive to maximise profits, reduce risk, and the constant bombardment from advertising, serve to increase discrimination and increase stress. The low grade regulatory framework, information, and accountability, makes the power relationship a one way street.
In the case of government held systems, the all-pervasive camera, in combination with an increasingly tense and risk averse society, is encouraging the reinforcing of an uncomfortable level of caution or self censorship in thinking and behaviour. In an increasingly affluent and frightened society where people are judged by appearance, this can’t be a good thing.
Writing in The State We’re In, Will Hutton describes the mechanisms and costs of living in a low-trust society. In essence, the number of fine grained decisions that need to be made by people increases, the system ossifies, and the costs of social and economic transactions increase, while any gains are temporary and largely illusory.
I must admit I’m pretty worried by the direction things are taking. Non-stop increases in petty regulation, knee-jerk policies created by sound-bite politicians, a media more interested in selling entertainment than investigative journalism, marginalisation of the poor, reducing opportunities for those without contacts or money, increasingly distant and detatched political system, and business that looks no further than the bottom line.
Welcome to the west. Enjoy your stay.
Its true that the latest technology bares us all. But it all depends upon its usage also. I see US govt, as one of the worst govts in this respect. If you want to have profile of a person, since every thing is computerised and every thing can be tracked including your purchases and online time, you are just like a sitting duck to be zeroed on. The powerful persons always enjoy the private life and citizens have their lifes on display. No privacy for US citizens. On the name of information (to know) laws, they expose the citizen to the bones. I really get irritated with these kind of arm twisting technologies and their usage in day to day life.
we are leaving a trace of ourselves all over the place.. Visa Cards, Plane Tickets, what-have-ya.. now they are taking our pictures? who cares..
In Sweden, IIRC, it is illegal for a private (e.g. shop) camera to film a public area (e.g. street outside shop). So all cameras are positioned to film inside the shop, and not outside it.
Public (e.g. traffic) cameras probably don’t have this restriction.
Cameras are one thing, but think of the millions… BILLIONS of eyes pointed at you when you walk on the street… eyes… EYES!!!!!
some are making the connection between two separate things… the threat of terrorism or other action against the west, and the clamping down on us westerners for our own benefit.
there is no cause-effect link between these two. the first is caused by our governments insensititvy and naivety. the second is caused by their guile and cunning for their own ends.
to stop each one, the real causes must be addresses… in this case: (1) treat the world like you’d want to be treated yourself, (2) get more involved in who actually rules over us and how in our democracies.
‘We have the right to live in freedom’…
We are free only so long as we are vigilent about it. There are multitudes of people who, for religious, political, economic social and other reasons, think that surveilling, profiling, identity carding, segregating, etc., society either in whole or in part is a good thing.
Some Americans thought it was a good thing to intern Japanese, Italian and German Americans during WW2. Some Americans thought it was a good thing to ‘root out the Reds’ from our society after WW2. There will ALWAYS be people willing to decide what is best for us based on their own moral touchstone. There will always be ‘fascistii’, Blackshirts, Brownshirts and every-other-color shirts among us. WE must not permit them to flourish. Right now America is living an experiment in Fascism. If it lives or dies WE will ultimately decide by either standing by or standing up…
Yeah, right. This is America. Land of the empires.
You won’t hear abut the downside of this crap until some billionaire executive’s kid gets it on the chin.
This is just another symptom of the apathy disease. The cycle is almost over. Next is the slave chains.
Any use of any tool or machine can be turned to evil. As for being on PUBLIC LAND then I say… hey, what is the word PUBLIC? It is for everyone to see. That is one of the basis’ for owing somethings. To be out in the open and not in secret. Plenty of crime out there and as usual the honest people will suffer, not crooks.
Interesting, but fairly easy to avoid for the most part if you don’t go into the big city often.
Remember most of the video surveilence isn’t taped, its like walking past a mirror except that maybe just maybe some one might be watching if they are doing their job looking for traffic acidents, drivers in need.
As for stores well they probably only tape on a loop that lasts a day or so, and the quality is usually awful. Only in high end locations like jewellry stores or casinos would you expect better tech to roll back for “joint casings” etc. Watch the discovery channel for that one.
And I am damn glad they have em in airports & other critical zones. If am flying I already leave a trail, thats good for national boundary control unless you believe people should be able to go anywhere on the planet anon. Perhaps that will happen one day.
I’m glad the ATMs use it in case some jerk steals my cards.
Oh & for the folks outside the US who like to continually rain on GWB gov. Well some of it scares me too, but the UK is obviously far closer to G.Orwells 1984 than US is, atleast in the camera sense.
On the US cable network shows “craziest things people do” or whatever its called, how come almost ALL the video comes from UK.
I grew up in UK before surveilance was everywhere, been living in US since & I hardly notice it.
On the $ tracking side, don’t use cc’s if you don’t want to be tracked, cash is still ok for most things.
end of rant
i don’t care if the government secret police watch me and the rest of the world in public places, like parking lots, shopping malls, etc…
when they try to stick a camera bug in my home is when i will get irate, and start destroying their equipment every chance i find it, (gotta have a little privacy, besides they would get bored watching me pick my nose and scratch my a$$ (in that order, (nose first))
First, we have sattelites that can see much of your house now. Not in it, but when you come and go, who else comes and goes, etc. Not that this is directly is an issue, but: See the U.S. Patriot Act and the proposed sequel.
The problem is that the government is pushing for more “secret courts” while Aschcroft continues to use the Bill of Rights as toilet paper. The government now has the right to access all of your book purchases from book stores and declare you an enemy of the state, which can deny trial and counsel for a very long time.
Personally, I just bought the Quran, Karl Marx and The Art of War a few weeks ago then realized that is probably what they are profiling for. An Islamic Communist studying war. I an not, of course, just an avid reader of everything. However, my book buying habits will probably sort to the top of someones “select statement” one day.
But, it can’t be stopped now. Most Americans seem to think that the government is here to protect us and are voting for less liberty because the government says we should. I just wish many would read what Thomas Jefferson said about government over 200 years ago.