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Demo of EU's Planned "INDECT" Hints At Massive Data Mining, Little Privacy 122

Posted by timothy
from the greater-good-strikes-back dept.
Ronald Dumsfeld writes "Wikinews puts together some of the details around the EU's five-year-plan called Project INDECT, and brings attention to a leaked 'sales-pitch' video: 'An unreleased promotional video for INDECT located on YouTube is shown to the right. The simplified example of the system in operation shows a file of documents with a visible INDECT-titled cover stolen from an office and exchanged in a car park. How the police are alerted to the document theft is unclear in the video; as a "threat," it would be the INDECT system's job to predict it. Throughout the video use of CCTV equipment, facial recognition, number plate reading, and aerial surveillance give friend-or-foe information with an overlaid map to authorities. The police proactively use this information to coordinate locating, pursing, and capturing the document recipient. The file of documents is retrieved, and the recipient roughly detained.'"
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Demo of EU's Planned "INDECT" Hints At Massive Data Mining, Little Privacy

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  • Enhance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slifox (605302) * on Monday October 19, 2009 @02:49PM (#29798881)
    Whenever I see facial recognition enhancement, I think of this:

    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?n=1156 [phdcomics.com]

    Turns out... it's theoretically impossible!

    Seriously, this video plays like a bad science ficition movie... they say "let us monitor everything and we'll magically know when crimes are committed," without saying exactly *how* they plan on sorting through the incredible amount of data and coming up with "crime X being committed right now" in a timely manner.
  • by bmo (77928) on Monday October 19, 2009 @02:49PM (#29798883)

    Guys....

    The book 1984 was not meant to be a *manual*

    Thanks.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday October 19, 2009 @02:55PM (#29798995) Journal

    A report accidentally published on the Internet provides insight into a secretive European Union surveillance project designed to monitor its citizens, as reported by Wikileaks earlier this month. Project INDECT aims to mine data from television, internet traffic, cellphone conversations, p2p file sharing and a range of other sources for crime prevention and threat prediction.

    If this doesn't sound like breaking privacy, I dont know what does. And I bet it's UK that is trying to bring this into all EU countries.

  • by Krneki (1192201) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:09PM (#29799231)
    I bet there is a chance we will see something like this in the US and not Cuba.
  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:12PM (#29799287) Homepage

    WTF is this??
    We know that Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan, yet we don't have him 8 years later.

    Is this system going to track down terrorist training camps somehow??

    I guess the next best thing to actually fighting terrorism (hard, scary) is to stomp on the privacy rights of passive citizens (easy, safe).

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:12PM (#29799305) Homepage

    Especially since GSM is supposed to be encrypted [wikipedia.org], even if there are already methods to break it.

  • Re:Enhance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:25PM (#29799489) Journal
    Not to mention all those darn kids who'll figure out how the system works. Chat rooms would be full of "if you stand on one leg and wave a small red flag at the camera you'll trigger the bomb squad... rotfl, lmas" and so on. Anyhow - I've done a very tiny bit of work in this area - more simulations than spotting criminal intent - kind of the same thing in reverse. Our simulation, if we wanted to scale it up to a realistic scenario, would have taken 32 years to run on a regular desktop. So I'm guessing that a system like INDECT will likely run on some pretty frugal heuristics to even come close to coping with the mass of data... meaning it'll miss pretty much all but the most stereotyped crime. Now if you start putting any confidence in a system like that then I hope all those misses don't amount to much.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:27PM (#29799527) Homepage

    See, you don't have it fully down, it's not "bad guys" (because that sounds silly). You have to appeal to fears properly, like this:
    Not giving them unrestricted access to monitor everyone continuously would only help terrorists, child predators, and unwed teenage mothers.

  • by uuddlrlrab (1617237) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:37PM (#29799705)
    ...security-technophilia, paranoia, directionless data aggregation, and nanny-state politics. Look, I'm all for security, and I hate terrorists, but you can't just throw millions of cameras at the problem, accrue massive amounts of civilian info without having a reason why, a vague and vaporous set of goals, and, to top it off, let a computer define what is or is not a "threat" instead of giving it solid guidelines and clear directives on what to search for. Yeah, that won't cause any problems. I'm honestly glad Orwell didn't have to live to see his dystopic literary nightmare-world start to take shape, only with the procedural policies on the level of the Underpants Gnomes.

    • 1. Install tons of cameras to monitor EVERYONE
    • 2. Aggregate colossal amounts of data from email & internet traffic, mobile phone services, etc, in violation of our citizens' rights
    • 3. Let a computer do the deciding on what poses an actual danger
    • 4. Fail to set any guidelines on what your agency is supposed to be doing, not to mention no limitations being set for said org to prevent abuse of power
    • 5. ???
    • 6. Profit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:39PM (#29799733)

    "This future will be sold to people on the basis that it "will make them safer." And who doesn't want to be safer?"

    Safer from what? An out of control financial sector? Corporate malfeasance? Bullying at school? Why isn't anyone trying to protect me from the real dangers?

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday October 19, 2009 @03:48PM (#29799883)
    Maybe so, but there's no way one can build and maintain all of that themself.

    That implies that you think there is some natural right to "private conversations using other people's stuff". I'm sorry, but if you use my telephone in my house, it's my wires and you have as much privacy as I decide to give you. The fact you can't build the infrastructure yourself has no relevance to that.

    They would also have to be on their own internets thats only on their own lines. It's just not possible to do that.

    So? That's why I included the statement about ENCRYPTING your messages yourself. You want privacy when you use MY telephone? You bring your own scrambler.

    Thats *why we have privacy laws in place*.

    Yes, we have "privacy laws" that violate the laws of physics in place because of ignorant people having ignorant expectations about what is private. They think "because I want it to be" is sufficient. It isn't. If your cell phone conversation can be picked up by my television set, your "privacy laws" don't mean much (and yes, the old analog cell phones could be picked up on tv sets.)

    But there will be consequences for the people breaking them.

    Really? You mean like the case of the people who recorded and released the cell phone conversations between Gingrich and Boehner (IIRC)? Made national news, but no "consequences" to the law-breakers.

    And even in the rare case where there are consequences, that doesn't change the fact that your privacy did not exist in reality, only in your mind. Making it a crime to listen to you talking on your phone doesn't make your conversation private, it just makes it a crime to listen. You are a victim of the Cellular telephone industry, who managed to cripple an entire radio industry because they didn't want to digitize and encrypt their analog cell phone systems, even though it was patently obvious that digital and encryption was going to happen anyway. Welcome to 2009, where it is still illegal to sell radios with certain frequencies, even though everything on those frequencies is gone or unlistenable, and where a new design of cell-phone is using frequencies outside the prohibited bands.

  • by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Monday October 19, 2009 @04:59PM (#29800819)

    Two possibilities:

    Osama isn't in Pakistan (or Afghanistan) at all - he's disappeared, or died, or retired to Florida to drink pina-coladas all day, or - The security forces don't actually WANT to find him, as once they do there's no reason for them to continue in the region: Job done, game over, go home. And then what will they do to keep the contracts flowing to their friends in low places?

    Osama Bin Laden is, truly, the modern-day Emmanuel Goldstein.

  • Re:Enhance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stephanruby (542433) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:30PM (#29801155)

    It doesn't matter if the damn thing works or not because eventually it will.

    Actually, it doesn't matter if the damn thing works or not, because even if it doesn't -- it can still make your life a living hell [antipolygraph.org].

    But I agree with you, eventually it will work, if newspapers have mastered fortune-telling and horoscopes technology, it means it's just a matter of time before the government gets it as well.

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