June 20, 2012
Throughout history there have been a couple of things that have limited tyrannical governments from implementing any truly pervasive system of surveillance and control upon the populace; manpower and technology.
The Nazi’s took their system of cataloging their population (which they used to efficiently slaughter millions of innocent people) to the limits of available manpower and technology.
Anyone who thinks this is a mere privacy issue needs to adjust their thinking cap. When I contemplate the developing landscape of the public sphere I don’t lament my loss of privacy. It is my loss of autonomy that I mourn. Autonomy has been describes as “the desire to avoid being manipulated or dominated wholly by others” Loss of autonomy means loss of control over one’s own life.
Now we have entered a time where the two greatest hurdles to effective control over the population has been all but eliminated. As we have witnessed so far, the Bill of Rights, privacy laws or even simple ethics have provided little protection from the onward march of intrusive technology into our lives. We should expect that the forward march of technological tyranny will continue until it hits a wall.
Reported June 19, 2012 by GCN (Government Computer News)
In a real-life twist of the TV show “Person of Interest,” cities around the country are adopting technology to detect and prevent crime before it happens.
In the TV show, a mysterious billionaire and computer genius recruits a former CIA agent to prevent violent crimes in New York using a computer system he built to analyze video surveillance.
In reality, San Francisco; Houston; El Paso, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; and reportedly the site of the World Trade Center in New York — among other entities — have purchased that kind of software to detect and report “suspicious or abnormal behavior.” The European Union and the Homeland Security Department are also developing their own pre-crime detection systems.
San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Authority (MUNI), the latest purchaser, is using AISight software to continuously monitor more than 150 “objects and activities” at 12 train stations via real-time video feeds.
The software uses artificial intelligence to learn which items and movements could indicate a potential threat. Video clips of suspicious activity and SMS text message alerts are automatically sent to MUNI employees upon detection.
The deal closed in early March, according to an unnamed source, reported Security Systems News. According a San Francisco Chronicle article earlier this month, the five-year deal is worth $3.6 million, although SSN reported it at just over $2 million. It includes support services as well as installation of the software. The system is intended to be forward-compatible with future surveillance technology.