Re: Surveillance Technology

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 03 Dec 1998 08:39:17 -0500

den Otter wrote:

> ----------
> > From:
> > And who watches the watchers?
> Other watchers. Visualize it as a circle of people where everyone
> watches the guy in front of him, while being watched from behind
> himself.

And you know what people call that particular sort of circular formation?

> > And where exactly are you going to store all that data anyway? You don't
> > have enough atoms to store more than a few hours of global surveillance
> > data at an accuracy high enough to be useful. You can't store the universe.
> No need to store the universe. There would be many cameras, but obviously
> not *everywhere*, just on strategic public spots (therefore not a transparant,
> but rather semi-transparant society). I'm not sure how much data can
> be stored with current technologies, but it should be quite a lot. Obviously
> it would require giant complexes (the self-replicating chip factories in
> the desert would certainly come in handy, though it should also be feasible
> in the traditional way), and after an x amount of time a part of the files
> would probably have to be deleted to make room for new data. You'd
> simply take the system as far as current technology would allow it, and
> expand from there (you could think about turning large parts of the moon
> into storage space, for example. Same for the earth's deserts etc).

I think that it would be possible for there to be programs which filter video content in a similar manner to the way the NSA computers filter phone traffic. Obviously, it would be easy to set cameras to not record data they are viewing when nobody is in viewing range.

> > Uh, you can't use criminals who are caught to prove that criminals are
> > stupid, when most of the criminals who are stupid get caught and most of
> > the smart criminals don't. The law enforcement folks I've spoken to
> > certainly seem to be aware of that.
> Most criminals are stupid. That more aren't caught is more due to the
> incompetence of the police than to the crook's intellect.
That more
> aren't *convicted* is of course due to inherent flaws in the justice
> system. This is probably even a bigger problem than police corruption/
> incompetence/indifference etc.

Actually, for example, serial killers that are caught tend to have genius level intelligence. I would suppose that those criminal geniuses who don't like or have no need to get so violent merely go into politics...

> > And, of course, in your wonderful future the smart criminals would take
> > over the surveillance system and hence would no longer be regarded as
> > criminals, just like Clinton and Reno.
> Clinton has been voted into power, hence he is technically not a criminal,
> but rather that what the people deserve. Of course, *any* system can
> be corrupted, but it can be made extremely difficult to do and keeping
> the takeover hidden would be harder still.

Actually, given that the Federal Election Commission report on the '96 election shows that Clinton overspent his spending limits by some $46 million, there is a case that he is in fact a criminal who stole his office. Too bad we can't use that as grounds to undo all the damage he's done since....

> > >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).
> >
> > Yes I can, because with universal global surveillance I can get any
> > information I want. Is this universal surveillance or isn't it? You
> > can't have things both ways.
> Yes you can, more or less. Only those involved in a criminal case
> (prosecution & defense) have access to the data, and they are
> monitored by others while looking over the evidence (and the others
> are monitored by a 3rd party, etc.) Changing data from the access
> terminal can be made physically impossible (limited command
> functions).
> > >The thread is about eliminating arbitrary justice, about revealing the truth
> > >by means of technology.
> >
> > What is "the truth"? Why is video more "true" than anything else?
> The truth is what really happened (for example: x shoots y with gun z).
> Video is simply the most detailed and explicit tool to record "reality"
> that is available to us today. It's like a perfectly neutral witness with
> a photographic memory.

Hardly. Video can easily be spliced and doctored by anyone with a few thousand dollars of computer equipment. What is needed is some sort of encrypted pseudo-random background signal which cannot be faked, so that alteration of video can easily be detected.

Mike Lorrey