Re: Surveillance Technology

Peter C. McCluskey (
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 22:09:48 -0800 ( writes:
>my inner geek [] wrote:
>>Having worked at SGI, I know that special effects experts can fake
>>almost anything, including surveillance audio and video.
>Indeed. What's the value of surveillance video when anyone can create their
>own on a computer at any time?

At least as good as eyewitness testimony by people who know how to lie.

>den Otter [] wrote:
>>Yes, *of course* it makes perfect sense to index every citizen's
>>DNA and fingerprints
>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, the latter is possible *TODAY*)?

I hope I can upload before many people can change their DNA at will.

>the value of face recognition when crooks can just get a face transplant
>(which a researcher recently claimed would be perfectly possible in five

5 years? Maybe the rich will be able to do this then, but for the average crook it doesn't sound believable.

>As with gun laws, crypto laws and other pointless restrictions on personal
>freedom, the surveillance state will *only* affect normal citizens who break
>dozens of nonsense laws every day, and will have no effect on real criminals

Making selective enforcement of those laws much easier for defendants to prove. How long will the laws survive that? (I'm thinking of Brin's surveillance state - I'm not sure about den Otter's).

>Frankly, this whole thread seems to come from people whose concept of
>identity is seriously screwed. I am not my body, I am not my fingerprints,
>I am not my DNA, I am not my face, I am my mental programming. You can't
>track mental programming with video cameras and fingerprint scanners! In
>a few years a crook could kidnap me, transplant my face, hands and blood
>to their body, and your wonderful surveillance state would regard them as
>me, even though they'd have none of my mental programming.

The surveillance state might be able to track him from the time he kidnaps you until he gets to his house (or wherever he makes the switch), and notice that 2 people went into the house and only 1 came out. In the society you would prefer, how will you deal with this situation?

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list