Can Geeks and Nerds Help Prevent Genocideriondluz writes "Hello fellow
I am an admin. System, database and network admins are the keepers of information. We hold the locks and keys that keep the vaults of trusted data secure and private. Being a professional who upholds the ethics of my position, I do not pry; but there are few secrets that can be withheld from an IT dept or a good sysadmin. At no other time in our history do we suffer from a lack of accountablilty greater than today. In politics, in finance and industry, the military; in the minor constellations of influence peddlers orbiting our modern world. Theft has become the order of the day. What has factorially impacted the damage are the technologies that have enabled this "New World Order" to compute and communicate across the globe at the speed of light. The technologies that we, us here, are responsible for creating.
I'm a bit embarrassed to be asking this question of the group, but since its tech-related, and this being the place to get the best-n-brightest (AWA the worst-n-dumbest) input on the planet, I figured I'd swallow my self-consciousness and "ask" my question. And this is 'after' reading and digesting every single slashdot story on the subject of wireless and Wisps over the past few years:
I would like to find a way to use home-brew tech as a means to create a global, web-based quick-response mechanism to stop acts of genocide while they are are in progress, its gory details in living color for all the world to see. If nerds and geeks can ever hope to change the world, perhaps this area would be a good place to start. I figure that if devices like the SAT-TRAC24 [www.exploroz.com/Forum/View.asp?ForumQID=5122], designed primarily for SAR in remote wildernesses, can be used in Africa by "shadow force" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Parr_(producer)] to prevent poaching in game preserves then there should be a way to engineer such, or similar, devices to prevent the slaughter of people as well.
Central to this notion are a few premises:
=> Preventing genocide can succeed if perpetrators are made aware that they will be held immediately accountable for their actions. Not in a week, month, or the years to come.
=> That massively focused outside pressure comming from powerful sources can influence governments that condone genocide.
=> That low-cost telecommunications can provide the means even in the most desolate of regions.
=> That people care enough to actually get involved.
=> That the people being protected do not mind being watched by the world.
I've done a fair amount of reading and research, but have little practical experience with wireless networking beyond a lab and workbench; so any input related to what you would do, or what you've found to be a workable solution would be of assistance. One primary requirement is the need-for-speed (a 1000Mb pipe) to minimize the risk posed to the local participants. Unlike a roll of film or a SSD/CD that can be siezed and destroyed, my logic dictates that immediate 'publication' would make harming the person (presuming they're caught) moot.
From the top down my idea flows from a Command-n-Control Center connected to a website that would serve as a distribution medium and to muster up and organize a world-wide community of volunteers. These volunteers would have the ability to sign up as watchers and as responders. Watchers agree to monitor a live-cam for some allotted time-slot, 'eyes on the ground' as it were. Responders agree to become part of an alarm system, akin to a phone (s/phone/(email|fax|sms)/) tree; receiving and passing along the alert to their designated target. These final targets would be officials contacted by the Organization and solicited to be 'on-call' in the event of an emergency who collectively have the power to effect action, stop the genocide and apprehend the offenders. The website would also function as a feedback loop to provide 'after-action' reporting; enabling members to rate the effectiveness of their "upstream" connections and forums for discussing improvements to the system.
All streams would flow to the data-center, preserving an historical record; (and maybe could be NAT'd to the Watchers PC from the closest router?) In the event of being notified of an incident, an escalation procedure would be initiated to notify local authorities and any other responders who may be in the area. Depending on the severity of the incident and the immediacy of local response, the Center could then post that stream to its website and begin the process of activating its phone tree. Building the central site is a mostly trivial exercise compared to creating (what are essentially) the Wisps that connect to it and the devices they utilize.
My break-down comprises: camera->PC->meshnet->DSSdrop->SATuplink->CnC
1) Camera and Pico-sized MID
Acceptance of being watched is an issue that needs to be addressed. But if residents of developed nations can tolerate the presence of "all seeing eyes" watching their movements under the cover of a "protection from terror" rationale, then it seems to me that well-placed (hidden) web-cams installed in high-risk parts of the developing world would make even more sense for those residents. If a vulnerable area is seeded with a few web-cams then it means the Organization can put it under a general protective blanket of 24-hour watchfulness. The Organization also could provide camcorders to dedicated volunteers who are willing to put their well-being on the line to document incursion events and raids; analogous to copwatch [copwatch.net]; but having the ability to stream their feed. Knowing that what they are doing counts and has results might offset the great risk they incur. I would like to know more about linux-based Systems-on-Chip (SOC) or pico-sized MID that the cameras could be attached to (bluetooth) and are WiFi capable.
2) mesh Network
I would like The PC's would be connected to a mesh-net but I have concerns that video wont work too well due to latency. Much of the references I have examined come from this website and the numerous posts related to community wireless over the years. I've looked into MANNET [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_ad-hoc_network] solutions for small non-commercial endeavors, beginning with (high hopes that) Meraki [http://meraki.com/] would be the solution. But so many alternatives present themselves that I feel overcome by abundance. Qorvus Qnode [http://www.qorvus.com/qnode/index.html] seems too expensive. CUWin [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champaign-Urbana_Community_Wireless_Network]
[http://www.sonbuddy.com/], the Homer Mesh Project [http://ken.ipl31.net/category/freenetworks/], Metrix [http://metrix.net/] and PyramidLinux [http://pyramid.metrix.net/] all seem equally fine. Then there's Trango, Saxnet and their MeshnodeIII [http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS3716484588.html], and Vyatta routers [http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS5500382710.html]; or maybe even a homebrew system of WRT54G wireless routers running Freifunk firmware [http://freifunk.net] with directional antennas. Xirrus's Linux-based "ArrayOS.[http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS6959431443.html] looks like a contender as well.
A little bit of digging has shown that there are others involved in similar endeavors, like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Neighborhood_Technology, but before I go digging too much more, I'd like to know what people here have found to be in the "best-of-breed" class (good-n-cheap) and what misses the mark.
I would imagine the mesh can be linked to a DSS back-haul [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_spectrum] but know little about RF. I thought that DSS was primarily for voice, but have read of its use in data networks used by Wisps. But the possible techniques Point2point, Point2multipoint, FHSS/DSSS/THSS/CSS confuse me. I have an easier time understanding the pringles-in-a-can and am hoping for some clear explanation on above or anything else that can connect 1-or-more Wisps to a satellite connection.
4) Internetworked Connection
I suppose that it might be possible to have multiple drops that offer DSL, EDGE, 3G or other connectivity to the Internet beyond a SATphone-like device, both for redundancy and (if I can use tor) to balance uploading the streams. But non-dependence on local infrastructure (and local government) is desirable. And, much of the 'uplink' gear might already be in use by NGO's working "in-country". (like medicine sans frontiers), and, if they agreed to participate, would only be a matter of configuration. So, my questions are what (type of) Satphone (GSM, Iridium?) is ideal for this situation; how can cost-vs-efficiency be addressed to give the greatest bang for bucks?
I'm sure my 'newbie-ness' is showing to those of you who have "been there and done that"; and, for those who care to point out my naivete insofar as hacking the proposed system or otherwise undermining its stated aim, please be kind:)
Be Well and Safe and Happy New Year to All.