Saturday, August 18, 2012

Big Bruvver is Watching YOU!

You think you're so cool here on the internet talking about all your guns.  Maybe you even spout some "anti-guvment" talk in a chat room thinking that you are safe and sound.


You are aware that it was the Military, not Al Gore, who developed the internet.  At one time, it was called DARPANET or ARPANET.

You'd kind think that people like NSA and GCHQ might have an "in" on how to track people on it.

But, I've been wanting to write a piece about CCTV and how that is probably a  far more effective method of stopping crime than a bunch of idiots carrying handguns.  And not all those CCTV units belong to "THE STATE".

No, if you want to come to my house, you will walk past at least 3 CCTV cameras before the one that will send your image to a remote server that is focused on MY DOOR.

And NONE of them belong to the Guvment.

But what got me to write this is something from Naomi Wolf in the Guardian:
A software engineer in my Facebook community wrote recently about his outrage that when he visited Disneyland, and went on a ride, the theme park offered him the photo of himself and his girlfriend to buy – with his credit card information already linked to it. He noted that he had never entered his name or information into anything at the theme park, or indicated that he wanted a photo, or alerted the humans at the ride to who he and his girlfriend were – so, he said, based on his professional experience, the system had to be using facial recognition technology. He had never signed an agreement allowing them to do so, and he declared that this use was illegal. He also claimed that Disney had recently shared data from facial-recognition technology with the United States military.

Yes, I know: it sounds like a paranoid rant.

Except that it turned out to be true. News21, supported by the Carnegie and Knight foundations, reports that Disney sites are indeed controlled by face-recognition technology, that the military is interested in the technology, and that the face-recognition contractor, Identix, has contracts with the US government – for technology that identifies individuals in a crowd.

Fast forward: after the Occupy crackdowns, I noted that odd-looking CCTVs had started to appear, attached to lampposts, in public venues in Manhattan where the small but unbowed remnants of Occupy congregated: there was one in Union Square, right in front of their encampment. I reported here on my experience of witnessing a white van marked "Indiana Energy" that was lifting workers up to the lampposts all around Union Square, and installing a type of camera. When I asked the workers what was happening – and why an Indiana company was dealing with New York City civic infrastructure, which would certainly raise questions – I was told: "I'm a contractor. Talk to ConEd."

I then noticed, some months later, that these bizarre camera/lights had been installed not only all around Union Square but also around Washington Square Park. I posted a photo I took of them, and asked: "What is this?" Commentators who had lived in China said that they were the same camera/streetlight combinations that are mounted around public places in China. These are enabled for facial recognition technology, which allows police to watch video that is tagged to individuals, in real time. When too many people congregate, they can be dispersed and intimidated simply by the risk of being identified – before dissent can coalesce. (Another of my Facebook commentators said that such lamppost cameras had been installed in Michigan, and that they barked "Obey", at pedestrians. This, too, sounded highly implausible – until this week in Richmond, British Columbia, near the Vancouver airport, when I was startled as the lamppost in the intersection started talking to me – in this case, instructing me on how to cross (as though I were blind or partially sighted).
The funny bit to me is that you lot are complaining up and down about your "gunz" and "statism"; one the other hand, here is a serious bit of intrusion on your privacy, yet you lot are SILENT.

Is it because it's not coming from the "State", but private enterprise?

Or is it because your masters haven't told you that you need to say anything about it?

I'm hearing you sing:

We are poor little lambs
Who have lost our way.
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We are little black sheep
Who have gone astray.
Baa! Baa! Baa!


  1. Except, Laci, I have complained about this very thing--here and elsewhere. This is one of my regular subjects of discussion in my composition classes. Big Business is as much of a threat to personal liberty as Big Government. I am by no means silent on that subject.

    You think that we gun owners are obsessed with one thing only, but that's your bias, not ours. I'll await your apology and correction of this article.

    1. Right on the money Greg! I am a member of several online gun centered communities and these issues are frequently discussed.

  2. Laci, your side calls us paranoid, but you have four CCTV cameras guarding where you live? What's up? Afraid that the IRA will come looking for revenge?

    1. Maybe he's scared of the enemies he made with some of his USENET postings in the late 90's.

  3. Privacy? There is no privacy when your out in the public. The constitution has no right to privacy enumerated in it, its the politicians who have found a non-existent right to some privacy rights.

    You drive a car, it has tags, heck I can even find out who you are, your address, any other cars you may have, your license number and any other licensed drivers at your address just with the one tag number. I pay just $25.00 a year for unlimited lookups with that service and have been using it for nearly 20 years. It also gives me your criminal background.

    Pay taxes? The government has kept tabs on you before there were cars! Use credit cards? Checks? Bank services on any scale? Sign your name on the dotted line for a loan, car repair, out to eat? The government knows ALL about you! The camera technology is just the latest thing, so what?

    If you live on the up and up, whats the fear? Inside your own home, thats where anyone would draw the line. However, inside your home there are still plenty of things that are illegal for anyone to do.

    That sci-fi movie "Minority Report" hits closer to home nowdays doesnt it! The day is coming, if not already here, that you can be scanned not only by facial recognition to find out who you are but whats in you pockets as well. Scan me? Sure, they will know that I am carrying a gun and know as well that I have a license for it. So what? It just means that I wont be hassled for it and waste my time to ID myself, they already have.

    Your sci-fi future is here, deal with it.

    1. I understand your point of view--if I'm doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about--but the loss of privacy that you're describing can equally be used to prevent you from doing something that isn't wrong. What if the government decides that belonging to a particular religion will no longer be tolerated? (Religion being just as much a right as gun ownership.) What if a corporation like Wal-Mart decided that it wouldn't sell to you if you voted for a candidate that it doesn't like? Add to those the fact that people feel constrained when they know that someone is watching.

      I'm always suspicious of large organizations, be they corporations or governments or whatnot. It would be better for all of us if they would mind their own (#%*&#@) business.

    2. Which is why I support real constitutionalist policy makers. If its not in the constitution then its not the feds business.

      The thing is, Greg, what your fearing is already happening. It even makes the news every once in a while. Look at the no guns allowed signs. The Star Bucks thing. And the latest so far, the Chick-Fil-A stuff.

      The thing is this, if you open your doors to the public, keep your opinions to yourself. Whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant. I came for a service or product, nothing else.

      As far as the govt goes, you get what you voted for, so far as I am concerned, you get what you deserve. This country is this state because people nowdays are too stupid to realize that what politicians promise won't be the magic carpet ride their promises are made out to be.

      And lastly, I said DEAL WITH IT! Not live with it. Deal with it means do something about it besides sitting back and complaining about it. Vote! If nothing else, go vote.

      There are real candidates out there to vote for, but most don't make the primary because of too many panty waist take care of me types of hand wringer on both sides. Until people of this country finally realizes that govt does not have money unless it is stolen from the people to take care of the lazy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, well I can keep going.

      DEAL WITH IT!!
      Don't just sit back and live with it.

    3. Exactly so. Laci believes that we care only about one thing, but he's wrong. I'm out dealing with this in exactly the manner that you named. Every semester, my students get discussions about privacy, and I write and vote.

    4. "but he's wrong"

      wait...laci is a dude??

    5. More precision is needed....

      He looks like a tit in glasses....

    6. He reminds me of the lawyer in Jurassic Park.

  4. Yep he's a dude all right, and do you want to know the funniest part....

    He admits that he used to conceal carry, and since he has never said that he got rid of his firearms, only that he does not have currently have a CCL in the state in which he resides we can only assume that he still owns those evil guns.....

    Hey but look over here, a use of video and a defensive gun use all at the same time.....

  5. When will Laci be here to print a retraction of his claim that we gun rights advocates are silent about the intrusions that companies make on our private lives?