Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 03, 2000 at 05:25:31PM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > Ahem. Taxation in the UK is roughly on a par with the USA -- it's the
> > > lowest tax zone in Europe, and one of the lowest tax regimes in the
> > > developed world. Welfare bureaucracy is minimal, too. This is the country
> > > where an allegedly left-wing government is privatising the air traffic
> > > control system and the post office, and has privatised most of the
> > > infrastructure items that are handled by local government in the USA.
> > I was referring to the US on those, but is health care privatized yet? What is the
> > ratio of police to civilians?
> Healthcare: if you want private treatment, you can pay for it. There aren't
> any restrictions on private healthcare. (What there _is_ is a big supplier,
> funded via the tax system, that has 98% of the market.)
So 98% of the health care market is still socialized, is what I was
asking. Better health care goes only to those who can afford it,
everyone else gets rationed.
> Police: not sure, but I think it's under 0.1% of the population. Certainly
> we hear more complaints about there not being enough police than about there
> being too many.
Which police are those? Last time I was at Heathrow, the place was
positively crawling with 'police' with HK's and Uzi's.
> > I've heard that the violent crime rates are up some 28% or so over there...
> In 12 months, yes. Note that there's a statistically significant correlation
> between violent crime and economic performance in the UK. The economy isn't
> booming by US standards, but it's doing better than at any time in the past
> thirty years. (Postulated cause: economy doing well == more young men with
> money to spend on alcohol. Second postulated cause: those people who _aren't_
> doing well see more affluence around them and are more inclined to go in for
> crime as a way of augmenting their standard of living.)
> What _is_ noticeable is a displacement of crime from surveillance areas to
> those places that aren't covered.
How about the proposition that due to the better economy, the black
market of the criminals is more valuable, and therefore more worth
protecting, as well as affording criminals the ability to better afford
black market weapons. Granted you'll have a lot more Liverpool toughs
who can afford to go and cause trouble at the football games.
> > > 1. Make BBZ's illegal, of course.
> > "What's this? Oh, its a camping microwave, oh, not that, no, thats a fleadle-o-meter.
> > What does it do? Well, it would be a little hard for a layman like yourself to
> > understand, being a highly technical piece of equipment, but its VERY SENSITIVE
> > equiment, expensive too. You wouldn't want to damage it at all, inspector. I'm here to
> > demonstrate it to various parties in the defence industry. Who? Well I'm not at
> > liberty to say...."
> Try that on your average copper over here and you will rapidly learn how to
> say "I just have a habit of falling down stairs in police stations" to the
> local magistrate. _If_ you don't want to make things worse for yourself.
> (Again, note: I'm not in favour of this shit, I'm just describing the way
> things work in the real world. The public image of the polite and unarmed
> British bobby is just that, these days -- public image spin.)
It might not work, but as has been shown with many a hacker, a little
social engineering can go a long way on occasion. Appropriate supporting
ID props also work well. Its funny, you don't know how many speeding
tickets the mere existence of my concealed weapons permit has gotten me
> > > 3. Fibre optics.
> > Which need to be resolved into digital form somewhere, or else processed in optical
> > circuits. Using a laser system would work wonders to fry such optical circuits.
> Sure. I was thinking of cameras a few metres from the optical head,
> and some sort of attenuator or fuse to stop that sort of attack. Which,
> incidentally, is going to get you nailed _fast_. One of the obvious
> things for the law'n'order brigate to do with cameras is to vigorously
> prosecute people caught vandalizing them. Another obvious thing is to
> arrest anyone seen approaching a camera that goes blank. And one thing
> they _already_ do is put up cameras with overlapping fields of view, so
> that if you take out one, you'll be on tape via the other.
So my earlier assertions of the number of cameras needed goes up if you
have overlapping fields of view that are at sufficient resolution to use
as evidence. More expensive system, higher taxes.
> > > 4. Neural network detection of suspicious behaviour -- lurking with intent
> > > to zap a camera _will_ get you highlighted and questioned by the
> > > police. (This latter is currently in active development by, for
> > > example, London Underground, who want to be able to spot trouble on tube
> > > train platforms -- like disturbances, bombs, pick-pockets, or potential
> > > suicide risks.)
> > So I have a HUD on the inside of my sunglasses, and the BBZ fry-o-lator is disguised
> > as my breifcase. I use cortical scanning to identify targets, the AI of my fryolator
> > focuses the beam on the cameras as I spot new targets, and I simply walk on by....
> Here you're pitting future-tech against present-day tech. I sympathise, but
> it won't work. By the time you get your HUD and cortical scanning widget
> and AI, the control freaks will have something better.
Actually, the aiming technology exists today, its part of your standard
attack helicopter. The tech is available and all you need to do is
> Remember, they outnumber you, and they've got more money.
The point of active measures in civil disobedience is to make it as
expensive as possible for them to maintain their authority. A low level
war of attrition on them, even if your side has losses, will sap their
will to the point where they will push for greater, more overt, control,
raise taxes, and be more likely to public violate the human rights of
those of us they do catch. Standard ChiCom insurgency strategy. Works
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