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Crime Privacy Security

San Francisco Bay Area In Superbowl Surveillance Mode (wired.com) 95

An anonymous reader links to Wired's description of a surveillance society in miniature assembling right now in San Francisco: Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.
Previous year's Superbowl security measures have included WMD sensors, database-backed facial recognition, and gamma-ray vehicle scanners. Given the fears and cautions in the air about this year's contest, it's easy to guess that the scanning and sensing will be even more prevalent this time.
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San Francisco Bay Area In Superbowl Surveillance Mode

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And then they lose all sense of proportion.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      And then they lose all sense of proportion.

      At least the game isn't in Denver....

      • And then they lose all sense of proportion.

        At least the game isn't in Denver....

        Goodbye California from Alistair McLean is an interesting read if the game is in SFO...

        • That's something at least. The game's not in San Francisco. We don't even have a football team or stadium anymore, after all.

          That doesn't stop us form absorbing more than out share of the BS and headaches. And even worse, those nitwits in City Hall let the city get fleeced by the NFL. Santa Clara, at least, got it written into their contract that the NFL has to pay for all of their expenses. Ed Lee didn't bother to insist on a similar clause for San Francisco, so we're on the hook for all of the costs.

    • At least they're reading Tom Clancy novels now. As opposed to being surprised by some obviousish things:

      1. Debt of Honor - 747's could be turned into weapons, and flown into government buildings in DC
      2. Executive Orders - Removing the Iraqi government leaves a power vacuum that Iran and others want to move into, sparking a civil war.
      3. The Bear and the Dragon - China's economy is super-fragile, and when it starts cracking the government will do anything to prevent it.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @08:29AM (#51413257) Journal
    But it's pretty close. Look. The venue for this and the next several Superbowls is announced years in advance... plenty of time for any number of threats to be prepared and installed outside the watchful eyes on the stadium (and the surrounding area) right before the big game.

    Given the popularity of the sport and this game, it has to have occurred to those with a bone to pick versus the Americans what a powerful blow this would be.

    The big question is, "Have the anti-UAV defenses been employed?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well at least its not as bad as the London Olympics, where a civil servant named Charles Farr decided that anti-aircraft missiles would be installed on the tops of houses. As if anyone would shoot down a plane over London in case a hijacked plane came crashing down over London! It was pure "be afraid" theater.

      When you get these security shows, they're usually trying to push some legislation at the same time.

      For the Summer Olympics of 2012 was happening, Theresa May was trying to push through Snoopers Charte

      • As if anyone would shoot down a plane over London in case a hijacked plane came crashing down over London!

        Indeed. That's why it was forbidden on pain of court-martial for the RAF to shoot at Boche Heinkels in WW2.

        Oh, hang on. It wasn't and you're full of shit.

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @10:55AM (#51414519)

      "Given the popularity of the sport and this game, it has to have occurred to those with a bone to pick versus the Americans what a powerful blow this would be."

      In this world there is religion, fundamentalist religion, and the Super Bowl. Perhaps the only reason why such an attack has not taken place is that everyone knows it would result in the immediate erasure of the Middle East. All of it.

      • In this world there is religion, fundamentalist religion, and the Super Bowl. Perhaps the only reason why such an attack has not taken place is that everyone knows it would result in the immediate erasure of the Middle East. All of it.

        Are you a Football fan? If religious nuts attacked sporting nuts, my reaction would be similar those soccer riots in the UK. Team A hates Team B and something bad happened, who cares, they're all idiots.
        Really, sport is fun to watch sometimes, but the people who treat it like fundamentalist religion deserve the same fate...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Something, something, something, terrorists, something....

      The only thing I see is massive amounts of public money being wasted on security for a for-profit event. Most of it isn't even security--it's just a chance for a bunch of agencies to attempt to remain relevant by engaging in scare tactics on a grand scale.

      What an utter waste of money and resources. I'd say the resources could be put to better use, but where DHS is involved I'd rather see no use at all.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Oh yeah, you ACs are probably all just trying to convince us to let our guard down. Die you nazi swine!

    • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @03:27PM (#51416515)

      You know, it occurs to me that if some radical group really wanted to cause havoc at the Super Bowl they could. But they won't and it's not because of the security theater. It's because if such a thing were to occur the outrage would be so great that our politicians would be forced to act upon it. Every plane, every ship, every gun would be pointed squarely at those responsible and in a matter of days we could wipe them from the face of the earth.

      Instead they engage in attacks that are much smaller in scale. Their objective is not to kill everyone. Their objective is to strike fear into everyone. And these smaller scale attacks are very successful at that. Not only that, it gives politicians cover by allowing them to claim that these are "isolated incidents" and not large scale attacks. Such is the nature of guerrilla warfare.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01, 2016 @08:30AM (#51413269)

    "Previous year's Superbowl security measures have included WMD sensors, database-backed facial recognition, and gamma-ray vehicle scanners."

    All that and still they couldn't stop Janet Jackson's nipple.

  • Mossad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Keep an eye out for those pesky Mossad agents posing as Arabs and staging false flag attacks.

  • And just think in 2 years I will have to deal with this stupid shit. It was bad enough since where I went to college was also a training camp for a team and I would be taking summer classes when it was going on. I almost ran over stupid professional athletes several times because they don't know their head from their ass and would just walk or run out into the road without looking. A super bowl is going to be orders of magnitude worse.
    • would just walk or run out into the road without looking

      They are just trying to stay on top of their game. What better way to practice dodging and flynching? If you can avoid a car, you should be able to avoid a linebacker :-)

      • So you are saying I should have been using the hood ornament on my POS oldsmobile as an aiming device? Maybe if I had the team wouldn't have sucked.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So they're searching people's cars in a way which could potentially knock DNA around and cause cancer?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not as bothered by the surveillance due to the fact that people can just opt out by not going / purchasing tickets, and it's a completely entertainment event. However, the gamma-ray scanners are troubling because cancer is a larger cost on society, and if these things cause an uptick, that's a delayed cost in potentially millions of dollars (hundreds of thousands minimum per affected individual).

  • If you thought traffic was bad in Silicon Valley, it's going to get worse for the next ten days.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And anyone with a brain knows none of it would stop a determined bad guy.

    However it is good practice for keeping law abiding citizens under control. And that's what is really going
    on here.

    It's a training ground for suppressing civil unrest.

    • I'm sure that the radioactive material sensors can detect some percentage of people who try to make a dirty bomb. Maybe most of them. I don't really understand all technical issues, but I have no problem with that.

      Bad guys are not binary: determined/uninformed. They have a skillset. 100% security is impossible. You'll never stop someone from stealing your life savings if they really want to and have skills and equipment. But you still would put it in a safe.

      Which doesn't mean all these measures are go

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @12:19PM (#51415139)
    Welcome to the land of the free. /s
  • ...they'd better not forget the Goodyear blimp [imdb.com].
  • "Goooo Team Police State!!"
  • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @03:48PM (#51416689)
    I ride my bicycle to work and pass the stadium daily. I ride past it on a bike path that goes along a creek. They have already shut down my bike path and several streets, and according to the newspaper things won't begin to reopen for nearly 2 weeks.

    It was impressive to see the enormous structures they're building around the stadium for one game. They brought in the same cranes they use to build skyscrapers to erect the most massive shade structure I've ever seen.

    I'm amazed at how much money is being spent for this game. It is offensive that they feel entitled to shut down roads and trails for weeks for a frickin game.
    • Humanity? its more important than that, its sport. (YAWN!) You have my sympathy..

    • you should see the city - luckily we work 1 block outside the "superbowl city" that has like 3 city blocks blocked off with craptons of security everywhere. Just glad I don't catch the ferry in because the building has security in and out where you get sent back if you have a nailclipper.
  • My family and I went into the city to see some of the Super Bowl 50 festivities going on and couldn't miss the overabundance of security. Even when we walked away from Moscone Center toward Union Square, about a mile away from the main festivities on the Embarcadero, there was a very visible presence of police officers paired up on the street corners -- quite unusual for San Francisco. It wasn't their presence alone that was strange, but they all seemed abnormally intense... even nervous. My son walked
  • And why isn't the NFL picking up the tab? Same with any large sporting event. Owners need to start contributing instead of taking a free ride.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @11:29PM (#51419093) Homepage Journal

    All of that hoopla and theater and nobody thought to bring a NIST certified air gauge?

  • They set up a 18 km (11 mile) radius no fly zone for drones (and aircraft). Maybe worried about attack by drones armed with nuclear weapons. (been waiting to make that joke since read about it a week ago.. :) )

  • I am pretty worried about terrorist activity happening here in SF with the superbowl and all, I mean it is only 45 miles and a couple of counties away from san francisco.......

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