Re: Surveillance Technology

den Otter (
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:38:07 +0100

> From:

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

What good would that do them?

[from a previous post]

"Now, enter the surveillance system. All data is stored at separate places (multiple redundancy) and for cross-referencing. When trying to fake evidence, one would have to break into *all* the encrypted databases (in underground vaults) and change *all* the relevant data (the nasty thing is that seemingly unrelated data can nonetheless serve to check the validity of primary data). This is a very tough job to do right, and in my scenario various civil rights (non-government) organizations and government agancies would have joint control over the databases, breathing down eachothers neck all the time, checking for every possible irregularity. Imagine cops with cams integrated into their uniforms, their cars, their guns etc., monitored by the people and government alike. I bet the level of authority abuse would drop drastically."

> 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

I *don't* talk about a nanotech future. Once we have "mature" nanotech, AI, uploading and superintelligence and thus the Singularity can't be far behind, and the world as we know it will cease to exist. My ideas relate to what is possible here and now, not within 50-80 years.

, 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)?

Contrary to what you seem to believe, these techniques will be out of reach of the vast majority of criminals for many years to come. And even if these methods would become available, that doesn't mean that criminals would actually use them; they're usually not the brightest individuals around. Many (most) get still caught on such things as fingerprints. Apparently wearing gloves is already too "high tech" for them.

Furthermore, you can't fool an integrated surveillance system by "simply" dropping fake DNA or changing your face. You can't possibly find and modify all the relevant surveillance details (in time). Even if it were possible, it would be the domain of a mere handful of supercrooks, the system would still catch 99% of all other criminals.

> 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.

The thread is about eliminating arbitrary justice, about revealing the truth by means of technology. Cameras are the closest thing we currently have to a "truth machine". That is very Extropian, IMO. I too dislike oppressive bureaucracies, but it doesn't make me blind to the fact that for society as it is now (with imperfect people), massive improvement cannot be achieved by abolishing the concept of the state. Anarchy could *never* produce the level of (near) perfection that a transhumanrun state could. Seeking perfection is the transhuman thing to do, settling for (severe) imperfection out of fear and prejudice isn't.

(Of course this is all mostly philosophical, as the world will probably remain pretty much as it is until the Singularity. I'm not really suggesting that transhumanists should waste (all) their time on political reform attempts; there are more important things to do).

> Things have definitely gone downhill since I started reading it four or
> five years ago.

The world has been going downhill since day one, obviously...