[ExI] What surveillance solution is best - Orwellian, David Brin's, or ...?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Jun 27 08:50:04 UTC 2007

On Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 09:17:21AM +0100, BillK wrote:
> On 6/27/07, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Surely bugging every house wouldn't be either more difficult or more
> > expensive than, say, a space program. I think the reason no-one has

Do you have a smartphone? Do you have a computer on broadband?
Do you pay tolls, taxes for domestic security systems?

Then you're paying for your own surveillance system.

> > tried it is evidence that there are some things which even dictators
> > fear would be too unpopular.
> >
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi>
> The East German Stasi secret police almost managed that.

The STASI approach doesn't scale, because it's based on people.
Modern surveillance is driven by Moore's law.

> They had files on almost everyone in the country and had infiltrated
> almost every dissident group. One report complained that there were so
> many informers in dissident groups that they were giving the
> appearance that there were many more dissidents than actually existed.
> It was said that the Stasi were present at every dinner party held in
> the country.

A classical case of quis custodiet. Not an issue with
hardware, which is completely loyal to whoever controls it.
> I think that the reason every house was not bugged was that at that
> time the technology was inadequate. When you think of people listening
> to people, there are physical limits as to how much eavesdropping you
> can do.
> Today, it can all be done by computers scanning for keywords and
> highlighting suspicious records for human attention. When more
> intelligent computing arrives which can understand human conversation,
> this will become even more effective.
> It is likely that either already, or very soon, all email will be
> scanned by the intelligence services. Analysing all the web traffic
> must be very high on their to-do list.

Instead of speculating, look up the current capabilities in SIGINT.
Off-the-shelf hardware like Narus can easily do that, and we know
(as in: we don't have to guess) it's being used for exactly that. 
> Just wait, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Yeah. As a first step, do not yield your biometrics to any entity,
commercial or government. Switch off your mobile phone most of the
time (remove the batteries if you really want to make sure).
Do not let any online entity (Google, ahem) gather information about you.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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