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DARPA Developing 'Combat Zones That See' 333

Posted by timothy
from the carry-on-citizen dept.
t0rnt0pieces writes "DARPA is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a city. Officials claim that the project is designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and fight in cities overseas, but police, scientists and privacy experts say the technology could easily be adapted to spy on Americans. Combined with other technologies, such as software that scans databases of everyday transactions and personal records worldwide, the government would have a reasonably good idea of where everyone is most of the time. Read the news story and the contracting document."
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DARPA Developing 'Combat Zones That See'

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  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:01AM (#6348135) Journal
    Didn't DARPA invent the internet? So, let's start on IPv6 and give every object an IP address and a WiFi connectivity, and call it Secure Social Security or something like that. Problem solved!
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by Choco-man (256940)
    Perhaps they'll be able to help me track those damn lost socks that keep allegedly disappearing in my dryer. Satellite tracking, cameras, computer databases - never again will I be forced to wear mismatched socks!
    • Re:Great (Score:3, Insightful)

      by m00by (605070)
      I just get all the same kind of socks. takes out that pesky having to "match" them thing. they all look the same, so they ALL match!!! =D
  • by pytheron (443963) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:02AM (#6348139) Homepage
    We already have that in London [bbc.co.uk]

    A network of cameras track our movements and trigger enevlopes demanding money on our doorsteps if we dare cross the red lines !

    • There was quite a debate on the London traffic thing - turned out most of the s/w codeing and data analysis is done in India... I suspect a huge project like this could mean lots of Indians doing the coding. Paranoid locals might consider shifting to Asia as well??

    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:27AM (#6348271) Homepage
      Every time an emerging system/technology that could potentially endanger privacy rights here in the U.S., someone steps up and mentions that such a system/technology is already in use in Great Britain.

      However, for some reason, the U.S. is still considered by many here to be the Micorsoft-of-the-World. Why is that?

      • easy.... (Score:5, Funny)

        by da5idnetlimit.com (410908) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:31AM (#6348319) Journal
        "U.S. is still considered by many here to be the Micorsoft-of-the-World"

        Britain plays the SCO Role...
      • Every time an emerging system/technology that could potentially endanger privacy rights here in the U.S., someone steps up and mentions that such a system/technology is already in use in Great Britain. However, for some reason, the U.S. is still considered by many here to be the Micorsoft-of-the-World. Why is that?

        Easy. Your raving lunatics have better publicity people than our ones.

        After all if Ashcroft can lose an election to a dead man and still end up running America (Rumsfeld does the rest of t

  • sounds like... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somberlain (614561) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:04AM (#6348148)
    The Truman Show?
    • Re:sounds like... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by I Want GNU! (556631)
      sounds like... The Truman Show?
      Yeah, except it's not one person, it's the entire country. And Truman eventually went free. Sounds closer to 1984 to me.
  • Wireless tracking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the clean (671672) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:05AM (#6348149)
    This is a step up from the idea the local police force has of tagging first their cars then pushing to haev every car tagged with wireless devices that identify the vehicels throughout the city on a wireless network. The idea being they can interface with GPS and mapping software to help them identify problems with traffic and criminal acts. They are pushing it in terms of National Securty, and claim that it will not be used as an invasion of privacy as if nothing illegal is happening, then they won't be looking.
    • by SunPin (596554) <slashspam&cyberista,com> on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:24AM (#6348249) Homepage
      ...will not be used as an invasion of privacy as if nothing illegal is happening, then they won't be looking.

      Nice troll.

      How does this help law enforcement? There's a huge difference between enforcing the law and turning everyone into paranoid fscks. Just because I'm not doing anything illegal doesn't mean I'll be happy with some prick monitoring it.

    • and claim that it will not be used as an invasion of privacy as if nothing illegal is happening, then they won't be looking.

      If they are not looking, how do they know nothing illegal is happening?

      This is just like a mall security camera system. They can and do watch you from the parking lot entrance, along every corridor, and into every store.

      Based on profile, they watch the 20 something with baggy pants as he nervously checks out the CD's. Up to now, he has done nothing wrong. But he shows some of the
      • However in your example, the kid isn't thrown out of the mail for being suspicious.

        The question you've got to ask is, "Why do the security guards at the mall watch the kid with the baggy pants in the first place?"

        Are they just biased against baggy pants or have they had problems from a disproportionate number of baggy pants' individuals?

        Now, if the security guards confronted the kid, demanded that he empty his pockets without having any corroberating evidence other than the fact that he's wearing baggy p
  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:10AM (#6348173)
    DARPA is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a city. Officials claim that the project is designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and fight in cities overseas

    So I guess the officials can also tell us why the hell overseas cities should provide the camera installation for US troops to fight there more easily?
    To install the cameras you usually need to control the city and to control a city in a military operations requires some fighting before. Looks like a perfect Catch22 to me.

    • Imagine teh present situation in Iraq. The war is "over", but right now, USA would like to have a system like that in order to control it better. I believe it is more for occupation purposes. And of course, pos-war control.
    • Dude: think *Iraq*. The cameras could be placed after hostilities, to prevent the kind of sniping that's going on now.

      Or, alternatively, they could be dropped in by air ahead of time.
    • by bourne (539955) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:31AM (#6348316)

      So I guess the officials can also tell us why the hell overseas cities should provide the camera installation for US troops to fight there more easily?

      Obviously they won't, which is why the article states 'In the second phase, at least 100 cameras would be installed in 12 hours to support "military operations in an urban terrain."'

      To install the cameras you usually need to control the city and to control a city in a military operations requires some fighting before. Looks like a perfect Catch22 to me.

      Um, no.

      "Securing the perimeter" is the step that usually comes after reaching the objective. This is a perimeter security step. Nothing in the article indicates that this is seen as a way of entering the city, more as a way of controlling it once it is held.

      Personally, I predict that the next step will be the moral equivalent of dog pod grids, where aerial surveillance vehicles (smaller than the predator, essentially disposable as necessary) will carry the cameras in with the troops and provide extended perimeter security, thus shrinking that 12-hour setup window. Imagine how much harder it would be today to sneak up on Bagram Air Base and drop a few mortars rounds in if there were a few predator drones constantly circling randomly around and detecting movement.

      • Better yet, how long until there are camera-equiped artillery rounds or rockets that simply broadcast their data real-time through an airborne controller station to troops in the field. It would be one hell of an asset to ground troops. And could even eliminate the need for artillery spotters.
        • On a related note, see this article [bbc.co.uk]. When Iraqi forces in Basra were mortaring within the city, "...British troops were using a system of radar tracking to pinpoint and then attack the mortar positions."

          This is exactly the thing that has been needed; consider for example that the U.S. forces stationed in Somalia (...back when) were casually mortared by by the locals. Being able to accurately spot and strike back is exactly the sort of technological advantage needed in urban warfare.

  • by I Want GNU! (556631) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:11AM (#6348175) Homepage
    The trends in the government toward an Orwellian society sinerely worry me. Ashcroft and Bush have exploited 9/11 in order to pass many new laws that curb the openness of American society. They do all this under the guise of "national security" -- and yet we are not any more secure -- the non-partisan Council of Foreign Relations recently put out a report [cfr.org], saying that "Nearly two years after 9/11, the United States is drastically underfunding local emergency responders and remains dangerously unprepared to handle a catastrophic attack on American soil, particularly one involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-impact conventional weapons. If the nation does not take immediate steps to better identify and address the urgent needs of emergency responders, the next terrorist incident could be even more devastating than 9/11."

    Our state of government is corrupt. Politicians are being bribed left and right in order to allow the big-media to consolidate even more, in order to pass DMCA type legislation, and in order to pass acts such as the PATRIOT Act, which should have been named the Big Brother Act. They are even creating Orwellian agencies such as the Total Information Awareness program (renamed to the Terrorism Information Awareness system, in hopes that this would help them fool the public on its purposes).

    This is a farce. We need a new leader who will restore American values to this country. I personally think Howard Dean [deanforamerica.com] is our best chance at restoring this country to what it was (a good example of what he stands for is in his speech titled "The Great American Restoration" [deanforamerica.com], but in all honestly, almost anyone would be preferable to the anti-American Bush cabal.
    • by dpilot (134227) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:31AM (#6348317) Homepage Journal
      As a transplanted (25 years) Vermonter, I'll have to give Howard Dean a mixed review.

      On the positive side, the guy tends to be a fiscal conservative, and can be BLUNT. I can't say if its an exact quote, but I seem to remember him using words like "irresponsible" and "idiotic" to describe members of the legislature, and those were members of his own party. It's about time we had someone in the Oval Office capable of being both direct and subtle.

      On the negative side, there were some oddities about how Act 60 got through for school funding, and we're still fighting those battles. Vermont still has a lot of tension between business and environment, growth and quality-of-life.

      As for Civil Unions, I guess I have to take the "so conservative I look liberal" stance and say, "My bedroom is none of your business, and your bedroom is none of mine!"

      Dean is a bit of an autocrat, and has some difficulty working with a legislature. I count that as somewhat positive, because I don't like my government to do too much. As a hard line middle-of-the-roader, I tend to prefer Democrats in office because there IS more contention, and less gets done. With sufficient concentration of power, Republicans are too efficient and too much gets done. Much as they decry 'activist government', that's what we've got now.
      • With sufficient concentration of power, Republicans are too efficient and too much gets done. Much as they decry 'activist government', that's what we've got now.

        I find this concentration of power alarming as well. And the state legislatures (both Democratic and Republican) engage in too much gerrymandering when drawing up district lines, causing many analysts to believe that Republicans will hold the House of Representatives for the next ten years, short of a voter revolution such as the one in 1994. Many

        • Which was precisely my point of preferring Democrats in office. Not that I necessarily prefer the Democrat agenda to the Republican agenda - I just prefer that NO agenda get too much sway. The Democrats at least tend to debate, and for a long time now, the Republicans in Congress pretty much Dance the Party Line. IMHO if Congress isn't engaging in debate, then the decision has already been made in some back-room out of public sight.
    • Forget it.
      Howard Dean is also one of THEM.
    • It is the natural tendency of government to expand. Positions of power tend to attract those who wish to control others, not those who just want to live their lives in peace and mind their own business. This is a rule of thumb, not set in stone, but I would estimate that 98% of government representatives (Democrat and Republican alike) favor big government. That's no surprise if you ask me. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, and consequently, the pie grows bigger every year.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:11AM (#6348178)
    The project's centerpiece is groundbreaking computer software that is capable of automatically identifying vehicles by size, color, shape and license tag, or drivers and passengers by face.

    Did you recognize that guy with round sunglasses who just went by on his bicycle ? well, that software didn't either ...
    • Yes - but the software did recognize that while a bicycle is usually used to get around in your own local neighborhood this particular bike hasn't been seen around here since the system was installed a few weeks ago. It also noticed that the guy riding it has on a backpack which could be big enough to hold explosives, and he is travelling in the direction of a US base but is still a few blocks away.

      Never underestimate what you can learn by looking at only superficial details ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE, and
  • Home of Freedom.

    So it's really as they say in France...
    "it is hopeless to be a prophet in your own country" ("Nul n'est prophete en son pays")
  • by Effugas (2378) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:14AM (#6348186) Homepage
    That's what I refer to this as.

    The following story is second hand; I make no claims as to its absolute veracity. Now, that being said:

    Several years ago, it became feasible to use many, many cameras to monitor the movement of cars via their license plates. Long before the Brits deployed one of these systems to control traffic in the core of London, Burma (aka Myanmar, one of the more oppressive regimes out there) dropped a decent amount of cash to acquire a traffic management system for their own country.

    Except Burma doesn't actually have traffic to manage. At least not vehicular...show up to a protest, though, and all that automatic, large scale image capture, compare...capture...becomes really interesting.

    Welcome to the Burmese Traffic Problem.

    --Dan
    www.doxpara.com
  • by leoaugust (665240) <leoaugust&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:14AM (#6348188) Journal
    This surveillance s**t is worse than my conscience, which let me tell you, can some times be pretty unfair and brutal .... But there are ways I know of dealing with it ...
    • At least I can do the right thing by my conscience and not mind it being everywhere I want to go.
    • But when the State gets the powers of tracking me, similar to my conscience, and when the right and wrong are blurred, and the illegal and immoral are at conflict, and the wrong people have gotten hold of the State machinary ...

    I think I am basically screwed. It is already starting to feel like that.

    I think this is going to be the real debate of the 21 st century.

    • If I can't be safe in the physical world (because of technology that can identify me by my walk, or by the temperature of my breath measured by satellites miles in the sky, etc.),
    • and
    • I can't be safe in the abstract world (because of all these Carnivores and Patriot Acts),

    where am I going to go on those occasions when I really want to crawl out of my own skin. And there are other times when I want to go where there is nobody else but me.

    That is my innate desire, so the temptation will always be there ...

  • Aussie police too (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eastendboy (681550)
    Australian police forces are developing similar technology. Soon those cameras will be able to do much more than just detect speeding and red-light running. If you're in a vehicle that's "of interest" to them (not just currently breaking the law in some way) expect a visit soon....
  • If we all just huddle together under the all seeing eye of the Asscroft spy machine then nothing can ever happen to us.

    We trade our privacy and freedom for safety and as the quote goes we deserve neither in the end.

    I am not buying it.

    Just my 2 cents and all that?

    What do you guys think is the balance between privacy and safety in these odd times?

  • by dapprman (98246) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:30AM (#6348296)
    Do you use credit cards, debit cards, cash point card ?

    Use a mobile phone, use it lots ?

    Any one of the above can be used to track you.

    Use store cards, reward cards (don't know if you get these in the US, but most the big supermarkets in the UK have these), combined together with you credit/debit card records a reasonable profile of you could be put together.

    Technology is cool, with live by tech, we die for tech, but the same technology also traps us in an observable, trackable society.
    • But there is a fairly huge difference between things that _can_ be used to track you and a system designed _specifically_ to do just that.
    • If I had a phone, I can turn it off. I can pay in cash, if I don't want to use my credit card. They're not extreme detours in my plan.

      But what about your car being tracked? What should I do now? Walk?

      The more disturbing fact here is that credit cards, debit cards, mobile phones and so on aren't meant for surveillance, even though their nature can allow for it if you're not careful. Meanwhile, the urban surveillance system, as if you couldn't tell, is blatantly meant for surveillance. What's left to argue
  • by p944 (631670) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:36AM (#6348350)
    I keep seeing more and more of these kinds of "big brother is coming, and he's got this new technology helping him too" kind of articles.

    Is it not time to stop slagging off new technology for the bad things that could be done with it and rather, try to put forwards some realistic approaches to how a modern civ. is going to deal with new technology in the future
    - i.e. make some laws/guidelines that are slightly more future-proof than the ones we currently have.

    I would much rather see someone talking about solutions that deal with the possible creation of some extremely serious technology.

  • by anubi (640541) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:43AM (#6348385) Journal
    So we snoop on everybody... Geez, who has the time to sort through all this stuff?

    Already, I am way too swamped with information I can't process it all, and many businesses I have to deal with ( insurance companies and anything to do with retirement investments ) know this and send me reams and reams of meaningless data.

    Ever tried to read those phone-book prospectus they send? Or tried to understand whats really covered in that insurance policy? Or know what you should do with those proxies?

    So somehow the government is going to collect and store all this data on all of us. How many of us will be needed to snoop on the rest of us? How many of us will be actually earning our keep, rather than coercing (taxing) it away from someone else? Will our economy, already crumbling from the effects of our inefficiency, absorb yet more non-productive loading? We are already running a helluva national debt. I know we think Joe Taxpayer is going to somehow foot the bill for this whole thing, but I get the idea we are kinda in for a surprise similar to the one some astronauts got when they tried to push some overstressed things beyond their limit. Once the infrastructure collapses, we may have to start off at a very low level again. What scares me is that it seems to me that technology has outpaced our means of maintaining it without a sophisticated infrastructure in place to do so. Given the resources of a machine shop, could you produce anything you needed to keep cars running?

    I have large areas of my life in collapse already from not "making time" to pay due diligence to numerous busyworks. ( I put "making time" in quotes, because I really can't make time, I only can divert it from something else. ) - I simply can't see where we as a public can afford all this busywork trying to keep tabs on everybody else.

    • > So somehow the government is going to collect and store all this data on all of us. How many of us will be needed to snoop on the rest of us? How many of us will be actually earning our keep, rather than coercing (taxing) it away from someone else? Will our economy, already crumbling from the effects of our inefficiency, absorb yet more non-productive loading?

      Well, yeah. That's what brought down East Germany, for instance. Relatively few STASI members, overloaded with paper from a huge number o

  • If it works, with a bit of modification, airport ground control becomes easier due to seeing aircraft and automobiles.
  • by Neuronerd (594981) <konrad.koerding@de> on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:50AM (#6348422) Homepage

    Ok. Lets face it. Pattern recognition is improving slowly but steadily. We are now able to detect number plates at high speed. We can recognize people by their face or the way they walk. Not perfectly but every year algorithms improve a little bit.

    In addition to that there are many promising algorithms out there that can for example learn what is surprising. So Pattern Recognition (parts of which where called AI some years ago) is getting there.

    This will be exploited. And there is no way we can avoid that. As the technology evolves it starts to be possible to anyone to use it. Including the government. And they will use it to spy on us. Face it.

    I think we will need to embrace this change. Forget privacy. That was the past. Given that the technolgy is there it will be used. The only thing we might be able to do is use the very same technology on those that use the technology on us.

    So start gathering data on your MPs. Start to monitor how the data are used. Thats all we can do.

    • "This will be exploited. And there is no way we can avoid that. As the technology evolves it starts to be possible to anyone to use it. Including the government. And they will use it to spy on us. Face it."

      At the very least we should press for laws to regulate what data may be collected, how that data is to be used, and our access to data collected on us personally. Yes, with such technology they can secretly collect more data than they are allowed to, and use it in unsanctioned ways, but at the least t
  • by Orlando (12257) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @07:59AM (#6348498) Homepage
    ..privacy experts say the technology could easily be adapted to spy on Americans.

    So being Enlgish I'd be like completely invisible? Cool.
  • I wonder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gone.fishing (213219)
    How different this software is from the stuff deartment stores use in their security systems to identify and track shoplifers?

    I have a friend who is developing software for a major chain that ties into the security cameras and looks for certain behaviors that indicate potential shoplifters. Once the software identifies an individual exhibiting this behavior, it locks on to them and tracks them through the store. He says it works quite well.

    One half of me sees this as no problem. When in public, behave
    • One half of me sees this as no problem. When in public, behave like you are in public and you will have no problem. Another part of me says that it is uncomfortable to be spied on for any reason whatsoever and that it is an invasion of privacy. If the object of the software is legitamate, why should it be a problem?

      No. Wrong
      Think of it this way. The mall security team hires 100 guys. Every time a "person of interest" enters the mall, they dispatch one of these guys to follow him around. Everywhere you go
  • I just read some slashdot posts on this topic, the "Oh No, we're nearing an Orwellian society" stuff. I totally agree.

    But what can we DO about it. Yes we can try to be more informed and vote better, and not vote for any of the politicians that voted for the acts/laws that have been taking away our liberties since Sept 11.

    Don't you want to do something NOW? Doesn't stuff like this make you want to put a huge sign in your lawn saying "Watch the government, don't let them watch YOU!" Or go start destroyi
  • No traffic problems (if I see ten cars in a 20 mile segment of my commute it's a busy day), cheap housing (3br,2ba homes for well under US$100k), good schools with committed teachers, generally only 2 hours to a major metro area by car... the list now includes relative immunity from surveillance because population density is too low to justify the expense.

    Combine this with deployment of fiber across many rural counties along with the ability to telecommute for many jobs techies do and you have an ideal liv
  • come on folks, what security and military tools -dont- have plausible uses to violate the rights of US citizens?

    all intelligence gathering tools, and military technologies could be used against americans, this can't be a surprise. there are satellites that can track movement across the globe from the comfort of space - can these infringe on our rights? sure. are they being used to? i'm not so sure.

    yes, yes, i know that it sounds like a bad attitude toward an erosion of our rights - but c'mon folks: the
  • by TygerFish (176957) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @08:50AM (#6348957)

    AC wrote:
    This kind of article will always bring the knee-jerk concern for our 'civil liberties', but can anyone actually name one?

    What liberty would an action like this deprive us from? Unless you're doing something illegal, as the old saying goes, you have very little to worry about.


    The civil liberties question is almost always a question either potential until someone whose rights someone else cares about gets burned. Then, usually years, after the fact, some act is done to redress the injustice in question and some court decision makes the question of free speech clearer.

    When it comes to Civil Liberties, cameras everywhere (soon to be backed up by face-recognition software) does not follow the principle of the government's 'treading lightly.' In fact, it is very much the opposite. It is telling to note that ability to foster the belief that one is under constant observation is a weapon employed by tyrannies.

    The now extinct communist regime of East Germany turned one fifth of its citizens into informers as a means of assuring control and destroying the conditions necessary for dissent: it didn't work because everyone knew they were spied on constantly, but because they were made to believe that it was a real possibility. The fact that one might be under observation worked to try and create a culture of sheep.

    Now, in democratic nations, technology is working to give the state (pick one) similar tools and whether or not the state chooses to use them and against whom are irrelevant questions. The 'real,' real question is whether or not, given a choice, you would choose to create or participate in a culture that feels its possession of those tools is a good thing.

    In countries that consider themselves democracies, the atmosphere of perpetual observation is a poisonous one that puts the citizen in a position similar to that of a soldier having to cross a minefield; it slows things down by creating the belief that any step you take may be the wrong one, and as a concept, nothing better illustrates the 'chilling effect,' one hears about so often in regard to free speech issues.

    The big philosphical question of cameras everywhere is whether or not you would like to live in a society where the state's ignorance of your actions is lessened. The furthest extension of the idea postulates a civilization of ultimate discipline: it would be a world with definite benefits--one where there would be less rape, robbery, murder embezzlement, etc.--but it would also be one where there would be less privacy; not less privacy in the sense that the police simply didn't know, for example, that you stepped behind a tree and urinated when you couldn't find a restroom, but less privacy because you had to depend on the good will of the police and/or whatever other organs of the state that concern themselves with what you do to regard your step behind the tree as a triviality and take no action.

    In the end, the effects of technological observation involve a value theory and you cannot 'prove,' that the less-observation model is better than the more-observation one. However, you can argue very powerfully that the idea is wrong with a thought exercise.

    If you think there's nothing wrong with being under constant observation, tell me who you are and where you live and during my next vacation, I will follow you at a distance of three to five feet from the moment you leave your house to the moment you go back to it.

    While this is going on, I will do everything I can to record everything you say and do. By your way of looking at things, you should welcome me; no one will be able to accuse you of a crime since I will personally know where you are and what you are doing at all times during my time with you. Should you be accused of a crime, the fact that I had you under observation is sure to exonerate you since I am incapable of giving the state information which they can misinterpret. You'll love it.

    Of co

  • ..."but police, scientists and privacy experts say the technology could easily be adapted to spy on Americans."

    Everything can be used to spy (or gain information on) Americans. We're just that open of a society. That's a no-brainer. But the question is: how do we balance our privacy versus the government's role of protector?
  • I left a post a while ago mentioning that it would take nothing more than a few years for this system to be used for illegitimate purposes.

    But now that I think about it, it's role in a larger mechanism seems to be more fitting and immediate.

    A while back the development (they hope to complete it by 2007) of the TIA, or Total Information Awareness program was announced by the DARPA. This coupled with something like CAPS II (a program used to collect information about Americans from their flying habits) woul
  • Now they'll be able to tell me where I am when I get lost!!!


  • The geek-factor aside, as this seems like a pretty cool technical idea, I recently read a very well-put article in a Swiss paper about the rights of government.

    The basic idea was that in a democracy, everything not specifically prohibited is permitted, both for citizens and "the government". This means that unless the boss, i.e. the voting public, specifically trusts and allows the government to do something, such as use information in a certain way, they are FORBIDDEN FROM DOING IT.

    How to enforce this i
  • by jafac (1449) on Wednesday July 02, 2003 @09:46AM (#6349511) Homepage
    Ever since Shelley's Frankenstein, we've all been terrified of the idea that technology could be put to ill use, or turned against us, or even turn on us.

    This is one case that has a huge potential for that.
    Another "Liberty" / "Security tradeoff.

    We have to ask ourselves a crucial question when judging the use of such technology.

    Is it REALLY that necessary to deprive people of their freedom, in order to ensure their freedom?

    There is NO freedom that can be given that isn't some form of collar-and-lead. Freedom must be TAKEN.
  • There was an interesting concept I read about in a sci-fi book regarding the legislation a high-tech society had put in place to protect its citizens privacy where cameras and surveillance was a rule, not an exception. The idea was simple. Surveillance of individuals while in private residence or private transportation vehicles was not admissable in court. Essentially, the action of the individuals dictated what was private and what was public record. Step into a private dining booth, and everything is
  • Imagine you are a technician working on this surveillance system, you'd be able to tell when that girl you've had a crush on has just broken up with her boyfriend and has just gone on a shopping spree to make herself feel better, then you'd know just the right time to call since you would know when the car pulled into the driveway. All from the comfort of your own keyboard... it isn't stalking right? That involves hiding in bushes, right? Of course, you caused this girl to break up in the first place by

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