Re: orwell vs nixon jowls...

Charlie Stross (
Tue, 7 Dec 1999 10:18:42 +0000

On Mon, Dec 06, 1999 at 08:13:06PM -0800, Spike Jones wrote:
> > Here in the UK, we're building the infrastructure of a very efficient
> > panopticon surveillance society. 600,000 CCTV cameras went up in
> > ...
> > they're testing neural network based face recognition systems that will
> > alert them if certain suspects are seen in public -- suspects believed...
> Looks like this could be easily fooled with something as simple as
> those Groucho Marx glasses/nose combination.

Unfortunately, no.

As I understand it, this sort of biometric system relies on metrics -- such as the distance apart your eyes are, or the distance from your ankle to your knee joint -- that aren't easily modified but which are visible in public.

>If one were to be
> seen wearing that, people would understand it is a citizens protest
> against universal surveillance. Now, if it becomes illegal to wear
> Groucho glasses, *then* one should worry.

If it was an effective defense, they _would_ ban it. These security measures are for our safety and comfort; anyone trying to defeat them is obviously either a predator or a misguided paranoiac who needs medical help. (That's the mind set of the current government; they're doing this for public safety, and anyone who says otherwise can be ignored because _of course_ they mean well, so their actions must be good. Do you detect a certain logical fallacy here?)