Surveillance Technology
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 05:14:07 -0800 (PST)

my inner geek [] wrote:
>Having worked at SGI, I know that special effects experts can fake
>almost anything, including surveillance audio and video.

Indeed. What's the value of surveillance video when anyone can create their own on a computer at any time?

den Otter [] wrote:
>Yes, *of course* it makes perfect sense to index every citizen's
>DNA and fingerprints

What's the value of DNA and fingerprints when anyone can change their DNA and fingerprints at will (the former will certainly be possible in the kind of nanotech future we talk about, the latter is possible *TODAY*)? What's the value of face recognition when crooks can just get a face transplant (which a researcher recently claimed would be perfectly possible in five years)?

As with gun laws, crypto laws and other pointless restrictions on personal freedom, the surveillance state will *only* affect normal citizens who break dozens of nonsense laws every day, and will have no effect on real criminals who can easily get access to the technologies required to change their authorized identity.

Frankly, this whole thread seems to come from people whose concept of identity is seriously screwed. I am not my body, I am not my fingerprints, I am not my DNA, I am not my face, I am my mental programming. You can't track mental programming with video cameras and fingerprint scanners! In a few years a crook could kidnap me, transplant my face, hands and blood to their body, and your wonderful surveillance state would regard them as me, even though they'd have none of my mental programming.

My mind is just totally boggled by this thread; it's so obviously absurd that I can barely imagine anyone on this list actually taking it seriously. Things have definitely gone downhill since I started reading it four or five years ago.