Thursday, August 26, 2010


But it won’t have the logo on the side. This cautionary tale was supplied by our good-buddy Faux Smoke.

“Once you combine all-seeing satellite imagery with sophisticated computerized number-crunching, you end up with massive potential for abuse -- especially by government agencies. One might imagine a dystopian future where automated systems constantly scan every house in the country for all kinds of violations, from heat escaping the house to backyard barbecues to the counting of people coming and going from every house. It's the ol' slippery slope argument, but it must be taken seriously. If it's OK for a town government to peek into every backyard in Riverhead to find a handful of pool-permit violators, why would it not be acceptable for other agencies to look at all homes and businesses in the nation for a much wider variety of potential violations. And if it's OK to do that using satellite imagery, what about using other technologies? A company called American Science and Engineering sells a high-end, tricked out security vehicle called the Z Backscatter V.” (Click here for much more)

Click here for Jim

The secret word is Ugly


hcb said...

I don't doubt that massive hi tech surveillance equipment has been feasible for decades but there are practical, i.e., financial considerations that as much as anything keep these fantasies from playing out. Every van needs personnel, which means payroll, which means two or more guys to sit in a sweaty box for at least part of the day, or in a sweaty airless room monitoring the feed from a vehicle which someone was paid to park somewhere. If I wanted to feel more paranoid, I'd worry about sweeping software that has been overtweaked for red flags, and even that is stretched a tad thin. If the gov or some contracted sec firm wants to put me under watch by guys pulling down 75K/a year because I used the word furshlugginer and Kurtzman in the same sentence, by all means park that bad boy on my lawn and come in for some instant Starbucks.

Mick said...

In other words they're too cheap to be totalitarian.

hcb said...

Too cheap, and the guys in the van don't give a shit.