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Big Brother Really Is Watching Us All

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the hi-guys dept.

Security 405

siddesu writes "The BBC has a nice high-level overview of some technologies for surveillance developed in the US and the UK. 'The US and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game ... But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"

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405 comments

Elevated Heart Rate? (4, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630789)

Boy that surprise birthday present sure landed me in jail quick. I hope I can explain that brand new S&M outfit adequately in court!

Re:Elevated Heart Rate? (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631091)

Your honor after carefull consideration we've determined the defendant is of no danger to society, however the prosecution requests the defendant not be allowed within 1000 feet from any property which houses goats.

Oh yeah? (0, Troll)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630795)

What am I thinking now?

Gotta love the people... they elect SUCH nice people into office to make these decisions.

This is when... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630813)

I'll become a millionaire overnight selling my own brand of tin-foil clothing!

CAUTION: May cook organs/skin during warm weather.

Re:This is when... (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631111)

It's gettin hot in here.
So take off your tinfoil cloths.

Re:This is when... (2, Funny)

Chief Wongoller (1081431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631345)

Better make the clothing reversable! Remember, the shiny side reflects and the dull side absorbes. Wear the shiny side out and not only do you stay cool, you will also reflect the surveyling beam back to the operator, so he/she then unwittingly reads their own thoughts. Er no, "hey this guy seems to harbour a lot of suspicions; must be a threat; lets move in now!"

Ineffective (4, Insightful)

kccricket (217833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630833)

Terrorists will simply train themselves to remain calm and lower their heartrate.

Re:Ineffective (5, Insightful)

Nossie (753694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630885)

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!

And you actually thought it was aimed at terrorism?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!! /moment of temporary insanity

Re:Ineffective (3, Informative)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630891)

Or use drugs to achieve that effect. (They are already using amphetamines to lower the number of people who chicken out).

Re:Ineffective (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631555)

Wow... just like the US army! Those terrorists sure are evil, using the same tactics we do. We better develop even better drugs for our own Army... What's that you say? Who developed LSD, and most other popular drugs? I have no idea what you're talking about.... By the way, drugs are bad, don't do drugs - Join the army FIRST!

Re:Ineffective (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631037)

You are getting confused with Scientologists that already do this when they play with their e-meters.

Re:Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631131)

e-meters? I call mine a penis.

Windmill tilting anyone? (3, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631477)

You are getting confused with Scientologists that already do this when they play with their e-meters.
Hmm, I smell a lawsuit. And there are a lot of Ex-SCO lawyers out of work right now.

"Clearly they are infringing on my client's religious rights and patented technology."

I hope they really can read my mind.... (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630839)

.. I'll just think of tub girl and goatse.cx man all day. take that fuckers.

Re:I hope they really can read my mind.... (2, Funny)

HairyNevus (992803) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630909)

You really think the G-Men at the wheel of this aren't into that?

Re:I hope they really can read my mind.... (4, Funny)

dircha (893383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630935)

"No, don't talk - don't say anything. I'm filling my mind with a picture of beating their huge, misshapen heads to pulp!. Thoughts so primitive they block out everything else; I'm filling my mind with hate!"

Captain Pike salutes you :)

Re:I hope they really can read my mind.... (2, Insightful)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631601)

Seriously- think of what some Christians might do to their kids: scan their heads for anything violent, sexual, or unholy (and of course punish them accordingly). What a nightmare.

Re:I hope they really can read my mind.... (4, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631639)

Yep. And what will the parents have to say when their kids scan them and see all the same stuff? :)

Re:I hope they really can read my mind.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631653)

Fuck off, troll.

Just like the polygraph (4, Insightful)

Ginnungagap42 (817075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630841)

"And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking."

I call crap on this. We will be able to detect biometric data. We will not be able to tell "what you're thinking."

Re:Just like the polygraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630865)

We will not be able to tell "what you're thinking."

Google "Remote Functional MRI."

Doesn't return anything? Just wait. It will.

Re:Just like the polygraph (2, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630897)

I know, doesn't it make you just gag at the sheer stupidity of it? trouble is people are idiots, and will lap this shit up. I know i can a. think of something else b. think of more then one thing at a time to really fuck them up.

My bet is if they ever really could tell what people are thinking... it would go something like this - FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX...

Re:Just like the polygraph (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631019)

My bet is if they ever really could tell what people are thinking... it would go something like this - FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX...
Actually, it look like this: "FOOD,SEX,DRUGS,FOOD,SEX,DRUGS,FOOD,SEX,DRUGS..."

Re:Just like the polygraph (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631233)

You forgot ROCK&ROLL!

Re:Just like the polygraph (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631677)

only on weekends

Re:Just like the polygraph (2, Insightful)

starkravingmad (882833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631567)

or in the case of a suicide bomber - SEX, SEX, SEX, SEX, SEX, SEX...

They can do this now, sort of. (3, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631005)

Actually, modern technology can detect the magnetic fields that your firing neurons produce right now. This is where you get all those images of "brain activity" that you see. It is very much a non-invasive and passive technology, and could, theoretically, be carried out remotely. If studies are carried out in real situations, they could correlate the patterns of brain activity with the the apparent intent of the individual (assuming that similar intentions make similar patterns). The result is they could tell what you are thinking (in a rudimentary way). It's not really that far fetched.

They can do this now, sort of-Physics. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631201)

"Actually, modern technology can detect the magnetic fields that your firing neurons produce right now. This is where you get all those images of "brain activity" that you see. It is very much a non-invasive and passive technology, and could, theoretically, be carried out remotely."

*sigh*

Now I can see why you all think broadband is "unlimited".

In plain English the energy is too small. The attenuation is too great. And no useful device is sensitive enough. Let along the resolution is too poor. And I haven't even touched upon the issue of matching "brain activity" with "what you think" in other than the most superficial way.

Re:They can do this now, sort of-Physics. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631613)

"Actually, modern technology can detect the magnetic fields that your firing neurons produce right now. This is where you get all those images of "brain activity" that you see. It is very much a non-invasive and passive technology, and could, theoretically, be carried out remotely."
I hadn't heard of this. I have heard of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which is able to detect blood flow to different parts of your brain.

But that's a far cry from detecting the firing of neurons via magnetic fields...

Re:They can do this now, sort of. (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631273)

You would have to have some pretty good filtering technology to filter out someones brain waves from another room with all the other ambient electromagnetic radiation going around. A standard action potential [wikipedia.org] only fluctuates the membrane voltage by about 120 mV. Meanwhile, a CRT, which actually is vulnerable to Van Eck Phreaking, requires a voltage of 32,000 volts [wikipedia.org] to display an image on the screen.

Re:They can do this now, sort of. (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631285)

It can theoretically be carried out remotely. But there are a number of problems:

1) How to get a mu-metal shilding of adequate size in place. Currently these are small cubes in the 10-20 metric ton range. Without them you have massice amounts of jung magnetic fields that prevent reading anything.

2) How to monitor more than one neuron?

3) how to interpret what was monitored?

Seriously, wide-area surveillance this way is impossible. But this technology is usable for torture. All in all you first need to know who the subjects are, and that has to be done by other means. This technology is just intended to provide the means to establish a totalitarian state, where citizens fear the government and agree to anything.

Re:They can do this now, sort of. (4, Insightful)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631577)

AFAIK, they do this using fMRI. So they'll need to figure out how to build a MRI machine that is big enough to fit over your house without anyone noticing and a way to keep all the ferrous metal objects in your house from turning it into one big blender, otherwise I doubt they could detect field changes that small anytime soon. I would agree with you about correlating general emotional responses with specific brain activity though.

But we may *think* we know what you're thinking (2, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631121)

I'm inclined to agree that we will no more be able to tell what a person is thinking than a computer can understand what they've written. That may not matter: if we think we can know what a person is thinking, then we may act on it anyway. We already are: Ohio Court Admits Lie Detector Tests As Evidence [slashdot.org] .

Re:Just like the polygraph (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631143)

It's scary if somebody who says this is actually in a position of power. Bring on the pyramid schemes and silicon snake oil salesmen and let's see the Albanian economy recreated on a really large scale!

Since I don't live in the USA I can stand back and laugh at the idea of a comic book artist selling a mind reading machine to a world famous corrupt and inept FBI beaurocrat - but those who have to live with polygraphs can only be annoyed by the stupid futility of it.

Re:Just like the polygraph (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631195)

I think it's impossible now. But in principle I think it could be done.

I thought of a thought criminal detector for airports actually. The idea is on entry to the US you hook people up to an MRI scanner and then show them a quick "America fuck yeah" type montage. Patriotic stuff - cheerleaders and so on. But you cut in news footage that people who hate America will be annoyed by. Like B52s carpet bombing, fighter jets dropping napalm or Mardi Gras parades. Or George Bush flipping the finger to the masses. Now there are presumably bits of your brain that will light up with anger as you get a short term burst of anger.

So you have a bunch of annoyance data. Now my model of this is that conservatives will register very low levels of annoyance at the patriotic stuff. I'd toss in some gay rights parades and pictures on Michael Moore though, just to make sure you get a few spikes. Left wingers, at least the Kos/Democratic Underground ones will register a bit higher on the patriotic stuff and lower on the gay rights/Michael Moore stuff. And the sort of people who might blow themselves up in airports will register a bit more. And America does have a few terrorists on ice in various locations around the world, so you could run the test on them. Actually, in a twisted sort of way it doesn't matter if the people in Gitmo had a patholigical hatred of America before they were locked up, they certainly do now. So they're ideal test subjects to get a potential terrorist response.

Now this is not precrime and you can't punish people for thought crimes. But you can tag them for surveillance later. If a right wing, Christian terrorist group started to blow shit up, you can in principle detect them too. It's not really about politics, my theory is that violent extremists are motivated by uncontrolled anger.

I think if you have enough visual trolls, you can probably deduce someone's political views quite accurately. And if their politics are too extreme and their are terrorist groups that share them, you tag 'em.

This is the world we live in (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631497)

Patriotic stuff - cheerleaders and so on. But you cut in news footage that people who hate America will be annoyed by. Like B52s carpet bombing, fighter jets dropping napalm
If you are annoyed by indiscriminate killing of civilians [wikipedia.org] , you hate America. Got it.

Re:Just like the polygraph (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631299)

"And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking."
I can't wait for this. When I am yelling "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" to my kid, I'll actually be able to get a truthful answer(from a machine, not my kid). Most importantly, I will have a clue what my wife is thinking.

In 20 years, with the killswitch chips implanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630863)

We'll be able to automatically detect what someone is going to do and kill them before they do it... all without human intervention.

This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630867)

I grew up in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the sort of shit we dealt with each day.

The Communists claimed to have devices that could read minds to determine one's intentions. Now, we didn't know if this was true or not. But seeing as many of us wanted to live another day, or at the very least not get tortured, we assumed they did.

It seems that the citizenry of the UK and the US are now in a very similar position....

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631055)

Now, we didn't know if this was true or not. But seeing as many of us wanted to live another day, or at the very least not get tortured, we assumed they did.

It seems that the citizenry of the UK and the US are now in a very similar position....

What? Have you ever set foot in the UK? Nobody is scared of the government reading their minds and torturing them.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631239)

But if they were scared, wouldn't they keep quiet? Perhaps you have a mind reading devices so you know what all those people are thinking but not saying? Speak out against your government on freedom of speech on the Internet and you are a paedophile. Speak out against surveillance and you are a terrorist. Speak out on the environment and you will face a crippling lawsuit for defaming a polluting company. People aren't speaking out BECAUSE THEY ARE SCARED. Look at some of the venom that comes out on the Internet when people *think* they have anonymity and you will see how worried people really are.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (4, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631109)

I grew up in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the sort of shit we dealt with each day.

And it's funny, I was just in Poland (Krakow) two months ago. The place felt *worlds* more free than NYC or London. Fewer cameras around. No constant babble about how bags are subject to search because of terrorism. Able to buy an intercity train ticket for cash without ID (same went for a domestic plane ticket, though they did glance at my passport when I boarded). Fewer police swarming about, unlike in NYC where they seem to be out in force near Penn Station or driving in cavalcades, lights flashing to an unknown destination.

I love the USA, but Poland definitely has its good points...

-b.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631295)

That destination was outside my apartment. Every day. dozens of police cars parked along 1st Ave, who then drive off in said convoy. Good time to "do crime" over on the west side of town I suspect...

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631347)

This may be the case for NYC, but to be fair, NYC is hardly representative of the States at large. And NYC has ten times the population of Krakow. (Places like, oh, Washington DC have fewer excuses...) The domestic flight ID matter is a point, but it's also worth noting that the US is a lot bigger than Poland, so "domestic" flights aren't quiite the same thing. As for intercity rail, I've never tried Amtrak - their web page seems to say you'll need ID - but gaaak, who'd want to bother with Amtrak anyway? (Greyhound might be another comparison, and a cursory inspection seems to indicate they don't require it.)

Mind you, there's still plenty to go on about nationwide, but less than 3% of us are subject to the NYC level of, ah, crackdowns.

I suppose you could make some comparison with rural Poland as well, though. Eh.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631413)

This may be the case for NYC, but to be fair, NYC is hardly representative of the States at large. And NYC has ten times the population of Krakow.

DC is just as bad as far as obtrusive police (actually worse), and has just about the population of Krakow.

The domestic flight ID matter is a point, but it's also worth noting that the US is a lot bigger than Poland, so "domestic" flights aren't quiite the same thing. As for intercity rail, I've never tried Amtrak - their web page seems to say you'll need ID - but gaaak, who'd want to bother with Amtrak anyway?

The flight I was on was Krakow to Warsaw, basically equivalent to the NYC-DC shuttle. If you think that they aren't super-strict with security on THAT flight, you'd be surprised :) Remember, no getting out of your seat within 1/2 hour flight time of National Airport.

Amtrak doesn't always check ID, especially if the ticket is bought with a credit card, but the ticket machines have CAMERAS in them. Gah. As far as who would bother, I do. Train time from NYC to Washington is about 3:15, and the train is generally on time. Try driving the same route in under that time, especially on a high traffic weekend or when rush hour is involved. No thanks, and I can read or sleep on the train. As to flying; no thanks -- getting out to the airports and back plus security will make it take just longer than the train.

-b.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631679)

(Greyhound might be another comparison, and a cursory inspection seems to indicate they don't require it.)

I seem to recall that I was asked to present ID last time I bought a Greyhound ticket. I know for certain that passengers are routinely subject to baggage searches, and not just at the initial point of embarkation. Possession of a weapon or any form of alcohol will get you kicked right off a Greyhound bus.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (-1, Troll)

furball (2853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631381)

I love the USA, but Poland definitely has its good points...


You should move there. Let us know how it goes.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (4, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631457)

You should move there. Let us know how it goes.

I'm considering it -- plenty of opportunities in technology and engineering since the country is developing rapidly, and I'm a citizen by parentage so I'd have no problem getting a work permit or establishing a corporation there.

BTW: I never quite understood the sentiment that if someone says that a place has some good points over the USA, they're somehow not worthy of being an American. Having a citizenry that acknowledges its country's faults makes that country a better and stronger place, since they talk about the faults and strive to correct them. Blind acceptance serves no one.

-b.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631319)

Indeed. Thoughtcrime at its best. And best turn yourself in if you had a bad thought, they might show some mercy then.

It constantly amazes me how democratic governments try to get rid of their legitimation and turn into totalitarian regimes.

Re:This reminds me of my youth in Poland. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631369)

Indeed. Thoughtcrime at its best. And best turn yourself in if you had a bad thought, they might show some mercy then.

BTW, Poland and Czech were pretty tame as far as the communist regimes went, at least after the mid-1950s. Not like Russia or Romania, where a lot of people just "disappeared" to be sent to labor camps or were shot without trial.

In Poland, some people went to prison, and others became unemployable (and they did send in the Army to crush demonstrations), but the secret police weren't nearly as nasty as other places.

-b.

I'm not worried about big brother. (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630869)

Re:I'm not worried about big brother. (1)

sien (35268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631693)

Yeah. It's a pity they didn't mention more about this. For all the technology DARPA and US is developing they still have to deal with the fall out of cameras in everyone's hands.

The impact of the photos of American 'Freedom Tickling' at Abu Ghraib had a huge effect on the US occupation of Iraq.

Now sites like Live Leak [liveleak.com] can be used by people to show video that TV networks won't show. There you can see what an IED explosion is like and what an F-18 strike run in air support looks like. Also, you can check out a 400K bomb disposal robot being destroyed.

Heart Rate Raised? (5, Interesting)

Randseed (132501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630875)

Harm you because their heart rate is raised? They could be overdosing on caffeine. They could be on meth. They might be some teenager on Ritalin or its relatives. They might be masturbating. They might just have physiological tachycardia.

I'd rather the government not base their decision on whether to come in guns blazing on something as ridiculous as whether my heart rate is increased above some theoretical average at the time.

It's just an excuse. Re:Heart Rate Raised? (5, Insightful)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630985)

I'd rather the government not base their decision on whether to come in guns blazing on something as ridiculous as whether my heart rate is increased...

They will base the decision on your political expression and activism, the other things will simply justify your murder. The elevated heart rate will come when they ask you if you and your children would like some pancakes [rotten.com] . The report will say that they had reason to believe you were armed and dangerous.

Unless the US returns to rule of law, tools used to track individuals will be used to identify, harass, intimidate, disrupt and eliminate opposition. Domestic spying is against the law. Unreasonable search violates the Constitution. It is completely unreasonable for government or industry to keep tables of "gait DNA" and other metrics for people who have not committed crimes. The purpose for this kind of thing is a crime in itself.

Re:It's just an excuse. Re:Heart Rate Raised? (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631331)

Amen.

Re:Heart Rate Raised? (1)

negated (981743) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631025)

Or they could be complete sociopaths. Wouldn't someone like that have a fairly normal heart rate while doing the unspeakable?

-S

Re:Heart Rate Raised? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631135)

Harm you because their heart rate is raised? They could be overdosing on caffeine. They could be on meth. They might be some teenager on Ritalin or its relatives. They might be masturbating. They might just have physiological tachycardia.

Or they could be justifiably afraid/pissed off that someone is prowling around their place. Could be a cop; could be a burglar after all.

-b.

I For One... (0)

Phantombrain (964010) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630905)

*insert obligatory overlord related joke here* Come on people, I know it will eventually be posted, but it's only funny for so long.

Big brother is so cliche (4, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630923)

Big brother has nothing on Ceiling cat [ceilingcat.com]

Re:Big brother is so cliche (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631105)

yeah, both are very similar, except the ceiling cat is harmless, and the smaller brothers of the big brother are not.

The US are well ahead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630925)


of selling their filtering and censoring systems to anyone who will pay them, wether its Cisco or Yahoo or Websense
if you got the cash they have the solution , who cares about freedom in China or Tibet or Saudia Arabia or NK
as long as a buck is to be made the Americans will be at the front of the line
yeah well ahead

Revolting against over-surveilance (4, Interesting)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630927)

So in the end, my question is what can we do about it? It's impossible to get the masses (in the US) to actually get out and do something about this right now, I just don't think they care enough. Mass opinion is that if you don't have anything to worry about the government finding then don't worry about them watching you.

The only credible methods I've seen for avoiding surveilance involve actually destroying the surveilance equipment.

The only way to circumvent them is by RF jamming, wire cutting and creating a bright spot around you at all times to flood the camera view - which involves wearing bright LED's or a laser.

Does this mean that eventually there are going to be rogue groups going around and destroying government surveilance equipment? I think so. When you feel you're cornered you do what you have to.

Does this mean that people who are planning terrorist attacks in the future will develop plans to destroy/jam all of the surveilance equipment if they want to get out alive? Definately.

Re:Revolting against over-surveilance (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20630969)

Does this mean that eventually there are going to be rogue groups going around and destroying government surveilance equipment?

Already on that

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=speed+cameras+destroyed [google.co.uk]

Re:Revolting against over-surveilance (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631155)

It's impossible to get the masses (in the US) to actually get out and do something about this right now, I just don't think they care enough. Mass opinion is that if you don't have anything to worry about the government finding then don't worry about them watching you.

The more I hear about this garbage, the more I sympathize with the various "militia" groups that were doing their thing in the mid-90s. Shame that McVeigh had to give all of them a bad name by killing civilians senselessly.

-b.

Pay attention to the man BEHIND the curtain (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631217)

What you can do about the goverment controllin' your life is...

(1) Ignore bogus Nightmare On Elm Street Hollywood-fantasy threats like that the goverment might install cameras everywhere and watch you like a hawk. They won't, and even if they did, it wouldn't matter.

(2) Pay attention to the real threats to your liberty that might sneak under the radar while you're distracted by the bogus threats. Do you wonder, a bit, why the BBC, which wholeheartedly supports as massive and omnipresent a government as possible, is running this story? It's a distraction. Get scared about CCTV cameras, and maybe you won't notice that your ability to choose which doctor to see, or which school to send your kid to, has quietly vanished away.

So pay attention to stuff like the government pre-collecting much or most of your income right out of your pay, before you see it, giving it enormous wealth at its disposal. (Do you think you'll control what they do with that wealth? Could you control General Motors after buying 1 share of their stock?) Avoid letting the Federal government tell your state and local government what to do, with respect to property laws, drugs, et cetera. If you're European, avoid letting the EU tell your national government what to do. Avoid allowing the government to be the sole health-care and old-age pension provider, so you have zero choice about and zero economic leverage over what sort of health-care and old-age pension you'll get. (If you think it's tought influencing your HMO because all they'll lose if they piss you off is 0.001% of their income, imagine how much luck you'll have influencing the government health service when they can force you to pay.)

And so forth. Basically, avoid putting the important decisions about your life into the hands of a government bureucrat. Try to keep those decisions with yourself, or, at worst, with some local government for whom you are one out of (say) 100,000 votes, instead of one out of 100,000,000.

How you do this is simple: next time someone says Wouldn't it be a great idea if government did X or Y, so individuals didn't have to? or The government should DO something about problem Z! just shoot them, and then bury the body wearing gloves so you don't catch the virus.

Re:Pay attention to the man BEHIND the curtain (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631697)

you are right, the funds the government has available should be as limited as possible, so that it doesn't waste them on unnecessary or outright dangeroups stuff.

but there are two prerequisites for you to be able to do that -- the right to be informed on what the government is up to, and the right to influence decisions of the government -- which basically means no censorship and free elections.

extra surveillance can easily mean the incumbent government will collect enough information on everyone to effectively enforce censorship (and prevent people from gathering or disseminating information) and limit participation in free elections in any capacity. this process may even look like freedom on the surface.

that is why you should not dismiss the big brother outright.

Re:Revolting against over-surveilance (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631397)

Does this mean that eventually there are going to be rogue groups going around and destroying government surveilance equipment? I think so. When you feel you're cornered you do what you have to.

Already happening - see, for example, these pictures [winplc.net] of cuts in closed circuit television cables done in the UK, during a Holiday weekend.

Chicken Joke (5, Funny)

Dragonflite (1155813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630945)

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Big Brother: I've seen many chickens cross many roads. Please specify.

Never Resign (3, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20630981)

In the snap of the chilly evening,
My face frozen like a thrull,
The roaring of the howling wind
Is deafening to all.

House minions roam out in force,
Trying to fathom thoughts
Of Citizens within their homes,
Whose actions they know naught.

Fahrenheit Four Fifty One, and
Huxley's Brave New World
Form siren lures to power lords
Elected and unfurled.

The weak attempts must duly fail
Of the Bretheren of Cain;
Cordwainer Smith declared it best -
Scanners Live In Vain

ubiquitous surveillance ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631017)

I'm beginning to think society is getting rather close to an era of ubiquitous surveillance ... where virtually every action (and eventually even thoughts) of every person is viewable, recordable, replayable, broadcastable, etc.

It's a scary thought at first, but then I got to thinking that as the technologies behind this mature and become more powerful (as all technologies do) we will eventually reach a point where "everybody" really means "everybody" ... corporate executives looking to skim a little cream for themselves ... politicians inking secret deals ... extremist groups looking to do harm to others in society ... that asshole neighbour who puts his garbage in front of your house late at night to avoid the excess bag charge ... everybody.

Maybe, just maybe, ubiquitous surveillance will be the thing that saves humankind from the antisocial forces that currently plague us. When anybody can have their actions exposed on YouTube (or whatever the equivalent is in the future), people will be shamed into behaving in decent, harmonious way. It will be like some kind of techno-buddhist utopia.

Re:ubiquitous surveillance ... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631183)

Maybe, just maybe, ubiquitous surveillance will be the thing that saves humankind from the antisocial forces that currently plague us. When anybody can have their actions exposed on YouTube (or whatever the equivalent is in the future), people will be shamed into behaving in decent, harmonious way. It will be like some kind of techno-buddhist utopia.

As long at the surveillance data is truly public, and all citizens are on a level playing field as far as access, it MAY be a good thing. But this article talks more about GOVERNMENT surveillance -- the scary part is that you don't know what they have on you, and how some twisted desk-sitter may choose to (mis)interpret the data somewhere down the line.

-b.

Re:ubiquitous surveillance ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631435)

The playing field will be (captcha;)leveled alright. By a tank.

Re:ubiquitous surveillance ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631291)

wrong. surveillance is a tool to maintain control, and as long as power is unevenly distributed, so will be access to surveillance information (and other tools of control).

corporate executives are government servants and vice versa. just make a list of the top US politicians, and remove those who weren't corporate executives at some point in time. i doubt you'll be left with many.

politicians and top corporate folk are the same group, they just shift occupations from time to time for various reasons. and they are out to get you ;)

Re:ubiquitous surveillance ... (3, Insightful)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631599)

That's adorable. The Free Market (tm) Panopticon is gonna save us.

Try this: there is no symmetry of rights in a class society. They get to watch you; watching them is a crime. FOIA compliance is already disappearing.

ummmm...... (2, Funny)

SlashdotCrackPot (1019530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631021)

FTFA: "will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised"

ummmm.... or how about scared shitless from the armed men outside that 'may' want to cause you harm for raising a heart rate!!!

Re:ummmm...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631351)

it's only a level *LOL* =) hahahaha

tags? (4, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631027)

Where's the tags "tinfoilhatbait" or "overlordbait"?

they are looking for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631043)

Jason Bourne... dun dun dun

What ethical engineering jobs are out there? (1)

femto (459605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631089)

It seems that all the interesting engineering jobs involve using technology to invade someone's privacy, creating a patent monopoly on a life saving device, or the meaninglessness of creating a better device for people to say "I'm on the bus" to each other. So what exciting engineering jobs are out there, that will make the world a better place to live in (and can preferably be done from Australia)?

Re:What ethical engineering jobs are out there? (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631519)

It's a job. You want excitement? Get into death sports.

Re:What ethical engineering jobs are out there? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631557)

It seems that all the interesting engineering jobs involve using technology to invade someone's privacy, creating a patent monopoly on a life saving device, or the meaninglessness of creating a better device for people to say "I'm on the bus" to each other. So what exciting engineering jobs are out there, that will make the world a better place to live in (and can preferably be done from Australia)?
Where's my damn jet pack already?

The Inevitable (3, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631117)

We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"

Jim, Jim, what's Jack thinking?

Umm...

Well, come-on, Jim. What is it?

Umm... he's thinking that we're a bunch of lamers because we're scanning him with the BB-1600, and everybody who's anybody has a MBB-8, which is what he's got.

Ah, come on. They both work. The MBB-8 just comes in more colors.

Yeah. Mac fan boys. Piss me off.

the heart rate really narrows it down (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631123)

will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised
will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, they will be in your house.

NOT NEW (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631159)

There is already court precedent for this in the U.S.

Through-the-wall IR scanners have been available to some police departments in the US for a while now. There has already been at least one court case about them.

In the United States (yes, still), it is illegal for officers of law enforcement to use electronic means to determine what is going on in your home without first obtaining a judicial warrant. The case I mentioned dealt with police using an through-the-wall scanner to determine where an alleged drug dealer was inside someone else's house, before they raided it. Because they had not obtained a warrant, the evidence was thrown out of court. The judge ruled that it was clearly an electronic device, and thus fell under the Federal Statute preventing its use.

I wish I had a citation at hand for this case, but I do not. I will try to find it.

NOT BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631403)

"The case I mentioned dealt with police using an through-the-wall scanner to determine where an alleged drug dealer was inside someone else's house, before they raided it. Because they had not obtained a warrant, the evidence was thrown out of court."

Man! Good thing they didn't put the house under surveillance. Oh wait! Where? Now why would they want to admit that as evidence?

"I wish I had a citation at hand for this case, but I do not. I will try to find it."

I'm sure Lexis-Nexis will be a great help.

Re:NOT BS. (4, Informative)

Peyna (14792) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631525)

Kyllo v. U.S. [cornell.edu] is probably what you're looking for. The legal standard has fluctuated a bit in recent years, but right now the Court is sticking with "general public use," for determining whether a particular type of technology constitutes a search.

Re:NOT NEW (1)

marcop (205587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631417)

Thanks for posting this. I remembered this case also when I read the article. Here is write up [prfamerica.org] about the case. So all this tech looks to be unconstitutional.

Re:NOT NEW (1)

Tiro (19535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631717)

I wish I had a citation at hand for this case, but I do not. I will try to find it.
Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001)

If Big Brother is Watching Me... (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631253)

...he really needs to get a life!

Where do they get their numbers? (4, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631261)

Interestingly, we, the public, don't seem to mind. Opinion polls, both in the US and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance.

I think we've just found the next Jason Blair.

I have to call bullshit on this one. In my entire life, I have met atheists and believers, gays and straights, liberals and conservatives, and not once, ever, in my life have I met someone who espoused more surveillance. Now, I live in a large metropolitan area - one with numerous projects involving installing more surveillance cameras, and even the most conservative, cop-loving suburbanites are at best indifferent, and quite often, vehemently opposed. There's a lot of hostility, but absolutely no support. The law of statistics would dictate that if 75% of the population supported more surveillance, I would have - at least once in my life - have heard someone argue in support of it. But I've never heard it from anyone. Not even the most gullible of idiots or stupidest of patriots I've met has ever said they'd like to see more surveillance.

Re:Where do they get their numbers? (1)

Longtime_Lurker_Aces (1008565) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631579)

Sadly.... very, very sadly, I have to disagree with you.

The average american is completely driven by fear and pretty much just accepts the reality they're presented as how it is, how it was, and how it will be. Very few people have the courage to try to bring about change. Look at how long slavery existed, then look at how long Jim Crowe laws were in place after that. If you tell the average American that communists/terrorists/gays/drug dealers/whoever are out to get them, and the only way they'll be safe is to give up some of their rights/freedoms the sad, sad truth is most people will choose safety over liberty.

I talked to a guy just a couple weeks ago, a smart college-educated guy, who when I was ranting about surveillance said he didn't care. When I looked at him incredulously he said he "didn't have anything to hide" and something about catching/punishing whichever bad guys we were talking about. It was yet another step towards me losing all faith in humanity.

Rainbow Six (2, Interesting)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631317)

Did anyone else notice they've basically developed the "heartbeat sensor" described in Rainbow Six in 1999 or so?

as always, the real truth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631321)

Is that smart geeks are raking in the dough selling wet dreams to the fascists, that god help us, are still in positions of power. I mean, the trillion dollars for the Iraq war had to go somewhere. I for one am glad a few geeks managed to get a slice of it. Welcome to the brave new world where money grows on trees, and nobody ever has to take accountability, responsibility, or admit they were wrong. They'll get what they deserve in the long run. Be patient. God does have a sense of humor.

So much for sex (3, Funny)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631333)

But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised.

So your significant other is on the other side of the wall whispering sweet nothings and describing the slinky nightie she currently has on, your elevated heart rate could get you in trouble? Sounds to me like the government just killed seduction.

Re:So much for sex (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631631)

So your significant other is on the other side of the wall whispering sweet nothings and describing the slinky nightie she currently has on
and a SWAT officer kicks down the door, about twenty of them rush in, filling up the room, waving batons and tazers around and firing automatic weapons straight up into the ceiling (I hope you don't live in an apartment) before finally tossing a few canisters of tear gas and jumping out the window. Boy, talk about your mood killers.

Thought Police (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631341)

But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"

So basically....The thought police....

Re: Read their thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631411)

... We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'" /blockquote.

Oh no! They using scientology e-meters!

Go ahead. Give me the El ron Hubbub personality test. I'm like totally solidly sure that I've already got a personality of my own.

Re: Read their thoughts (1)

the_mushroom_king (708305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20631537)

Given the current (US) administration's views on privacy and liberty, it obvious who their most dangerous enemy is ...

The American People

Bring it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631627)

Yeah... just bring on those devices. Sooner or later they will be available for the public.
I can't wait to see what our elected politicians really think.
Poor politicians, 1984 comes to catch you shortly. No more hidden agendas and lies.

Great :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20631699)

Great, now every time I look at some porn, the SWAT team is gonna swarm me. :(
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