Re: Surveilance was: Transhuman fascists?

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 06:47:09 MST

Mike Steven wrote:
> > > 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
> only
> > > >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
> in,
> > > >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 :)

Good to hear. However, the fact that a camera isn't pointing at anything
doesn't mean it won't be on the network, and won't be getting data
downloaded from it by automated filter/analysis systems, and won't be
taking up bandwidth. Moreover, a current day web-cam is of pathetic
quality as an instrument of surveillance. Additionally you brought up a
factor that would INCREASE the number of cameras on the network:
enclosed areas. For example, my apartment is less than 100 square
meters, yet I would need 5 cameras to cover it all on the interior, so
there would be many billions of areas of suboptimal coverage where you
would need overlap. My original calculation was that there was optimal
area coverage and camera utilization.

> 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).

However, this system would be totally dedicated toward security, nothing
else. Most people wouldn't care to spend more than 1-5% of their annual
income on personal security. You are talking about a system that would
cost several times the entire GDP of the planet to build and maintain on
an annual basis. Cameras wear out, cameras get destroyed by weather, and
by people who don't want to be seen.

> > 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 optimally used, and that is just voice and data. Video bandwidth is
several orders of magnitude fatter. I was simply talking the number of
nodes, but if you wanna talk bandwidth, we can go there as well. The
numbers favor me evem more.

> > 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.

The less discriminating it is, the more hits it will feed back to the
user. The more hits it feeds back will increase the paranoia level of
the user.

> 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
> be
> > > comparatively easy for everyone to have a gizmo strapped to their wrist
> > > monitoring vital functions which would trigger an alarm (and nearby
> cameras)
> > > 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
> slow
> > > 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
> again,
> > > 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.

And you are assuming that he would be inserting the poison in your food
in an area that is covered by what you've admitted will be a suboptimal
system (not likely). You are also assuming that the act will be
performed by the individual themselves, rather than by an autonomous

> 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).

Dwarfing todays total global capacity for ONE application? I don't think

> 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.

THis is the worst weasley argument to make. The paradox of this argument
is that:

a) your perceptions of crime and our trust in humanity today are based
upon the lowest common denominator
b) the lowest common denominator is a low paid, low intellect, low
educated lowlife.
c) at the same time, you claim to hold the transhumanist ethic that
technology will lift up and improve the lives of all people, increasing
their intelligence and capacity to learn, and access to knowledge and
d) that your perceptions of crime are based on the lowest quartile of
the population, while your expectations of the future population reflect
the highest quartile.
e) you are assuming that the transhumanist trends will make human beings
better people, but when it comes to crime you assume that they will
become the worst possible human beings.

This is the perceptual dissonance in the arguments for total
surveillance that makes it not only distasteful for me, but IMHO exposes
the hypocrisy of the people who beleive in it. (besides the fact that
the person arguing for total openness the most on this list right now
wont' post his real name or location, how hypcritical is that?)

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

As chips drop their operating voltage to get greater processing for less
power consumption and heat generation, they actually become easier to
EMP. Taking the babyblanketnet out completely is not necessary to make
it useless. An extended campaign to simply corrupt the reliability of
the information it put out, and produce areas of spotty coverage, will
cause people to lose faith in the system and refuse to pay for its

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