Surveillance Matrix Reloaded


Max Borders backpedals slightly from the pro–surveillance camera column that I ripped on last week. (Slightly disappointing, really, since I ran into Max this weekend and was all primed for a drag-out, knock-down argument on the subject.)

Anyway, kudos to him for keeping an open mind and offering some sound points. I'll just throw out two clarifications: First, I mentioned "stalking," but my point wasn't really that the Watchers are literally guilty of the crime of stalking—though some genuinely have been observed behaving creepily in other cities—but rather to stress that the level of potential tracking of someone camera networks enable is very different from the sort of casual observation we're all subject to by other people in public places. Second, I think it's worth bearing in mind that the sort of scare scenario I offered—using a recorded database of camera images with face recognition software to extract a fairly comprehensive record of someone's movements and behaviors over an extended period—isn't a total sci-fi pipe dream that might come about in the distant future, as in the movie Minority Report. The technology isn't quite ready for prime time, but this sort of thing is already in use, and plenty of smart people are working on improving it. The sort of thing I described is, I think, a pretty clear next step once such camera networks are in place.

NEXT: But What's Australian for Blog, Mate?

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  1. Max’s samples were nice but he forgot the most important one.

    Star Chamber: Do you admit speaking (or thinking)
    against the state. Our records show you xxx
    1. while in public street
    2. while in bar/resturant when talking to friends
    3. while in your bathroom at home.

  2. I’m not sure exactly sure how this will figure into the surveillance argument but this is what I have observed. Working maintenance for a county government alows me access to several courthouses where I have watched baillifs performing “security observation”. This on several occasions has included them “monitoring” the entire path of particularly good looking, and often engagingly dressed, young females from the point they first come into view until they leave. They can pan and tilt and zoom in as they desire. If these said females were to do anything out of line…well, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as exercising your authority on a young coed. I am sure, one day soon, the term “video stalker” or surveillance stalker” will enter our venacular.

  3. So if you’re a criminal and want to get away with it, sounds like all you need to do is get a scantily dressed female colleague to walk in range of the cameras, and the security guards will be too busy ogling her to notice anyone else.

  4. “That’s why you gotta find a bitch with nuts, a down-ass bitch, who doesn’t give a fuck. Distracts the cops on duty, walkin’ around shakin’ nothin’ but booty.” – Ghetto Boys

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