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

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Jun 28 19:47:18 UTC 2007

On Thu, Jun 28, 2007 at 08:07:20AM -0700, A B wrote:
> Stathis wrote:
> > "Not really, it's hard to think of a cheaper
> > electronic device than a
> > short range radio transmitter, especially if it
> > didn't have to be
> > small enough to hide. Any car driving around at any
> > time could be an
> > unmarked government vehicle with a list of
> > frequencies for different
> > addresses."

Any bug you pay for is effectively free to its users.
If you play it smart, the vassal will even be grateful.
But that bug is sooo shiny and pretty! How can I not
covet the bug?
> It's not just the cost of the device. It's the cost of
> monitoring, repairing, and enforcing violations. And

You don't monitor. You record everything you can,
and record the rest based on data mined clusters. Storing
data is cheap, and you can always recrunch with more
OPs and newer algorithms later on. The one thing you 
don't do is to delete, ever. That's a cardinal sin.
(Poor NSA choking when trying to drink from the firehose?
Give me a fucking break).

Enforcing violations? Of course the next step is to add
execution capability to the platforms currently only used
for intelligence. 

I'll be the judge, I'll be the jury,
Said the cunning old Fury,
I'll try the whole cause,
And condemn you to death.

> then there's the problem of countering hacking issues.

You sure you can hack firmware upgrade over air? 
That's talking breaking cryptographic systems, Sir.

> It seems that an entire infrastructure would have to
> be built around it. It *might* not be cost-prohibitive
> today, but it probably would have been not too long
> ago. Especially for non-superpowers.

Past and current capabilities are irrelevant. Near future
capabilities are important.
> > "Sure, but people who are really serious about their
> > plot can always go
> > to a public place and speak in code or something.

To agree on a code takes communication. Even mere traffic
analysis will pick it up and issue arrest warrants even 
before you get into your bunny slippers.

> > The idea is to make
> > it harder for plots to hatch; the fear factor alone
> > of having bugs
> > everywhere and knowing that there are bugs
> > everywhere would have to
> > have an effect."

Classical 1984. And 2007, of course. People *are* afraid.
> It might have a small effect. But I imagine it still
> wouldn't bump-up the "Benefit" side sufficiently.
> > "Yes, but why has it dissuaded countries from
> bugging
> > everyone but not
> > from eg. killing a large proportion of their
> > population, such as in
> > Cambodia or Rwanda? It seems to me that they feel

Differenet mechanisms, but in principle a fully automated
state can do away with its citizen-units.

> > they can justify
> > killing all the bad people, but balk at openly

What does "bad" mean?

> > telling all of the
> > population that none of them are to be trusted and
> > they will be
> > monitored at all times."

This is precisely what is being made binding law, today.
> Yep, that's a good question. We can be pretty sure
> that they haven't refrained from bugging out of the
> goodness of their hearts. If it's not a Cost:Benefit
> issue, then what else could it be? If you rule with a
> brutal iron fist, then it doesn't matter if you piss
> your people off.

You have to start slow and gentle, first.
> > "I'm all for trying, but it will more than likely be
> > Governments or -
> > even worse - large corporations doing the space
> > colonizing."...
> Yeah, it's definitely a sticky issue. I'd prefer a
> large corporation, not all of them are "eeeevil" as
> many say.

It really doesn't matter whether your superpersonal organization
unit is of corporate or governmental origin. On the long run, 
they're all the same.
> "And even
> > if it were just a group of idealistic and
> > like-minded individuals,
> > that's how all communities are in the beginning, and
> > then they go bad."...
> It would probably help to keep the various communities
> small and "separated". Let people choose which
> community and rules they would prefer to live under.
> "Space-Arks" (and many of them) like Lifeboat
> Foundation recommends would be a good temporary
> solution...hopefully. Keep them *talking* however, I'd
> prefer not to drag monkey-wars into space also.

Space and monkeys don't mix.
> > "What's the solution to stop a community going bad,
> > ever?"
> Friendly AI/universal life enhancement.

I have no idea what universal life enhancement is,
but I presume it's based on same bad thinking as friendly AI.

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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