Re: Surveilance was: Transhuman fascists?

From: Mike Steven (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 23:06:33 MST

> > Dan Fabulich <> wrote:
> > >*How do you know which screen to look at?* There are hundreds of
> > >thousands, if not millions of cameras you could be monitoring, any of
> > >which may have a picture of somebody slitting a child's throat. The
> > >way to tell which one is to LOOK at all of them, requiring a gargantuan
> > >amount of processing power/time. That's where the computation comes
> > >and a hell of a lot of it.

Then Michael S. Lorrey <> wrote:
> Lets look at the number of cameras in a total ubiquitous open
> surveillance system:
> Range of average camera(at useful resolution): 50 m radius
> Field of view: 90 degrees
> Area under surveillance by 1 camera: ~7500 square meters
> Area of dry surface of Earth: 148,300,000 square kilometers or,
> 14,830,000,000,000,000 square meters
> Number of cameras necessary to cover every square meter of the dry land
> on the planet:
> 20,000,000,000,000, or 20 trillion cameras,

But the vast majority of those cameras would be pointing at a place where
there aren't any humans, vehicles or robots and so would be worthless. A
fairly universal surveillance system (obviously I agree no system will be
perfect) could get by with a tiny fraction of that number of cameras,
particularly if the cameras are mobile. As for cost, already today you can
get an (admittedly rubbish quality) web-cam for less than 50, and at that
price it wouldn't be exhorbitantly expensive to have every room in your
house under surveillance. (You may be relieved to hear that I don't have any
plans to start webcasting any time soon :)

If that level of surveillance is possible today, I don't think it's a huge
stretch to postulate a future system which could cover not just your house,
but also shops, businesses, public areas etc and at significantly higher
quality than the best available today. Sure, if you decide to go hiking in
the middle of nowhere there won't be any cameras, apart from those you bring
with you (or ones which follow you if we soup up the tech a bit).

> which if you treat each
> camera as a network device on an internet like system, would require a
> network a minimum of approximately 150,000 times larger than the current
> worldwide internet (but only if you have nothing BUT cameras on the
> network, no servers, routers, or clients), and is 20 times greater than
> the capacity of the IP number system's maximum capacity.

As I said, I think your numbers may be inflated with a lot of redundant
cameras, but even if they're not, I wouldn't like to bet against the future
existance of a network 150,000 times the size of today's net. Lucent have
already made a cable which could accomodate all of North America's voice and
(I think) data traffic at once.

> If you include
> routers and clients for each of the 6 billion members of the human race,
> this should add at least another 50 billion IP addresses to the network,
> assuming that you can put a couple thousand cameras on one router, and
> one server can handle a million or so cameras at once.
> Now lets say we use Zero's Rules as a filtration protocol, recapped
> here:
> > > > "Notify me whenever:
> > > >
> > > > (1) someone accesses any of my banking data;
> > > >
> > > > (2) one of my listed sworn enemies (a) purchases a weapon (b) comes
> > >within
> > > > 200 yards of my person (c) comes within two blocks of my house (d)
> > >accesses
> > > > any of my data or (e) speaks my name; and
> > > >
> > > > (3) anyone is watching me by remote surveillance.
> > >
> 1) seems to be pretty easy, and is more of a network/database function
> than a camera function.
> 2) The enemies list:
> a) purchases a weapon: unless you have evidence that shows a reasonable
> threat of imminent harm, then I don't see how you could claim a right to
> this information, however, it is easily obtainable enough by adding some
> reporting functions to the NICS database system already in place. In the
> instance of private sales, any video footage showing a gun in a 2 foot
> proximity to an 'enemy' would be sufficient, assuming that the weapon in
> question actually looks like a weapon, and that the system is capable of
> delineating between dinner knives and a combat knife, a pen and a pen
> gun, a hand raised in greeting and a hand poised to strike, a walking
> cane or a beating cane (or a cane with concealed sword or gun), and is
> able to xray a person and determine if the person has a weapon concealed
> on their person...
> b) comes within 200 yds of Zero's person: This is less difficult than
> monitoring all cameras, so long as your system knows your GIS
> coordinates at all times, and the GIS coordinates of all enemies at all
> times, video feeds would only be neccessary to make sure that its
> actually an enemy and not someone wearing the enemies ID chipset in an
> effort to confuse and bollux up your complex defense network.
> c) much like (b), only a limited number of cameras need to be
> monitored.
> d) accesses any of my data: This is a toughie, because you really have
> no idea where in the world any of 'your data' is at any gien moment, and
> you really have no control over what other people do with 'your data'. I
> may query your bank info once, then resell it a million times through
> encrypted channels, unless you want to do away with encryption as well
> (not likely to happen).
> e) speaks my name: Ok, then we are adding microphone devices to the
> network, so the number of IP addy's needed is now double what I
> calculated for just video feed, and you need voice recognition software
> that is totally foolproof with all languages and accents and speech
> impediments ( plus you'll need video sign language translators that can
> read the couple dozen different sign languages), AND these applications
> will need to be context sensitive to be able to discriminate between
> someone actually referring to you, and someone giving a mathematics
> lecture, or reading a comic book aloud...

I basically agree with most of this, but I think you're attacking a bit of a
straw man in e). The system wouldn't have to be totally perfect to at least
have a reasonable chance of catching your name, particularly if it only has
to monitor your "sworn enemies list". In fact this is possible today - if
you can persuade your sworn enemies to permanently wear a radio mike linked
up to a computer with the latest speech-to-text software.

Michael S. Lorrey <> continued:
> 3) Anyone who is watching you by remote surveillance: relatively
> impossible, as with microtechnology, 'remote surveillance' could be any
> bug, bird, etc. that doesn't need to be on your perfect network, and you
> would need to be able to trace their line of sight communications
> (another physical impossibility) to their own encrypted private network,
> break their encryption, and track the signals to the GIS coordinates,
> through any number of other devices or networks that would be stripping
> and counterfeiting ID data on the packets, of one of your enemies.
> > I wrote:
> > But given the technology required for universal surveillance, it should
> > comparatively easy for everyone to have a gizmo strapped to their wrist
> > monitoring vital functions which would trigger an alarm (and nearby
> > in the event of their demise. Any murderer would be caught "on tape" and
> > police would converge on the location immediately. Even if some kind of
> > poison was used, you could simply rewind the video from the victim's own
> > personal camera, find the point when their food was tampered with and
> > nail the murderer.
He added:
> First you are assuming that a camera with 360 degree field of view in
> both the x/y and x/z coordinate planes would have sufficient resolution
> to record that info, that the persons system would not have been
> pre-emptively EMPed by a person wishing to do them harm, and that the
> person wishing to do them harm is either trackable by their own unit
> (which they likely won't be wearing) or identifiable in video.

To carry on the poisoner example, Let's say the poisoner is president of the
Magic Circle (and therefore adept at slight of hand, used to concealing
things from cameras and a master of disguise). He slips something in my food
as the waiter brings it from the restaurant's kitchen. Despite all this,
the fact that he walked right past my plate just before I was served (and
then keeled over dead after my first bite) would be registered by the Crime
Analysis Computer. The CAC could then rewind the tape, tracking his
movements backwards (perhaps over several cameras, or via his own personal
camera(s) until the point when he's putting on his fiendishly clever
disguise, identify him and send round the cops. (Or if it's looking at
historical footage, fast forward whilst tracking him to his current
location). Obviously it's all a bit late for me personally, but the very
high probability of retribution is likely to be an effective deterant to the
committing of the dastardly deed in the first place.

As for EMP and most other camera disabling technologies (all those where the
network knows the camera has been disabled), presumably this would trigger
immediate alarms, which would probably cause me to, at the very least, stop
eating and be on my guard (and probably take further defensive action if I
was the sort of person to have a sworn enemies list :). In any case I would
presume that the act of disabling a camera in a public place (or on someone
else's property) would itself be a crime and footage just prior to the zap
would probably be enough to identify the zapper (or at least place them on
the scene).

Also, if the technology was good enough to have a personal mobile camera
covering everyone then anyone who disabled their own camera (prior to a
crime) would be inviting suspicion and might automatically be tracked by
other cameras as they pass. Yeah, we're talking a lot of computing power and
memory (but hands up anyone who doesn't think future capabilities in these
areas won't dwarf today's).

Incidentally, I'm not saying that this kind of surveillance capability
doesn't make me uncomfortable, but if such a system manages to prevent some
religious nut from wiping out humanity before I can grow a diamond
space-ship and head for my nano-engineered asteroid utopia then the
(admittedly big) bad points might be worth it.


I wrote:
> > Actually there's a system on trial in some nightclubs in (I think)
> > which automatically compares photos of people who have been banned with
> > incoming patrons and sounds an alarm if it recognises them. Again, this
> > based on a hazy recollection of a news article but I seem to recall that
> > system was even quite good at seeing through disguises.

Michael S. Lorrey <>> replied:
> The system is part of a controlled gate system, so the person always has
> the same size face, at the same height and distance from the camera in
> the same lighting conditions.

If current systems can recognise (even somewhat disguised) faces head on and
at a certain distance, it doesn't seem a great leap to imagine future
systems which have a 3d scan of the criminal (or whoever) and can recognise
them from the side, in motion and wearing a false nose. Again the system
won't be perfect but I think it could get pretty reliable. - there's already
software which can recognise people solely by the way they walk (and I
understand it's fairly hard to fool).

Technotranscendence wrote:
> Too many posts!
> Anyway, one comment, in case someone hasn't brought it up. Imagine,
> ubiquitous surveillance is just around the corner, what things do you
> would be used to counteract it? There're always ways to fake out any
> system.

Michael S. Lorrey <> replied:
>a) EMP/ECM devices
>b) low tech disguises
>c) weapons disguised as other normal items
>d) normal items disguised as weapons (sowing confusion and doubt)
>e) encryption
>f) optical camouflage technologies
>g) holograms
>h) DOS attacks on video servers
>i) IP spoofing of video servers and cameras
>j) baseball bats
>k) diagonal cutters
>l) autonomous crime agents

>sow propaganda of suspicion about the system, and denigrate the
>integrity of the system, and the popultion will dismantle the system for
>you. Put out enough autonomous agents of your own that are built to
>bollux up the system, and the system will be degraded to the point of
>uselessness. This is pretty basic stuff, right out of standard SpecWar
>and/or ChiCom insurgency manuals.... tho updated for the new technology.
>The tactics of warfare never change, only the weapons and the targets.

Current network security / anti-virus stuff may not be great (far from it,
in fact), but it is improving and even at today's standard I doubt any
individual or organisation would be able to totally take out the internet
short of launching a lot of nukes (and even then there's likely to be some
survivors in a bunker somewhere who'll still be able to play Quake). If this
is true today, I imagine future systems are likely to be less rather than
more vulnerable to such attacks.

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