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Big Brother Really Is Watching Us All 405

Posted by Zonk
from the hi-guys dept.
siddesu writes "The BBC has a nice high-level overview of some technologies for surveillance developed in the US and the UK. 'The US and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game ... But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"
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Big Brother Really Is Watching Us All

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  • by Gabrill (556503) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:13PM (#20630789)
    Boy that surprise birthday present sure landed me in jail quick. I hope I can explain that brand new S&M outfit adequately in court!
    • by Joebert (946227) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:47PM (#20631091) Homepage
      Your honor after carefull consideration we've determined the defendant is of no danger to society, however the prosecution requests the defendant not be allowed within 1000 feet from any property which houses goats.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by weber (36246)
      And if they're scared their heart rate won't be elevated as well? You'll get an elevated heart rate from many things that aren't sinister.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:15PM (#20630813)
    I'll become a millionaire overnight selling my own brand of tin-foil clothing!

    CAUTION: May cook organs/skin during warm weather.
    • by Joebert (946227) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:49PM (#20631111) Homepage
      It's gettin hot in here.
      So take off your tinfoil cloths.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You can keep your tinfoil hat on!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SevenHands (984677)
        Getting into your girlfriend's pants late at night when the house is quiet would be quite a challenge when she's wearing foil panties.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Joebert (946227)
          Good point, anything that sounds like a candybar wrapper will wake kids out of a dead sleep.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Better make the clothing reversable! Remember, the shiny side reflects and the dull side absorbes. Wear the shiny side out and not only do you stay cool, you will also reflect the surveyling beam back to the operator, so he/she then unwittingly reads their own thoughts. Er no, "hey this guy seems to harbour a lot of suspicions; must be a threat; lets move in now!"
  • Ineffective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kccricket (217833) <(kccricket) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:16PM (#20630833) Homepage
    Terrorists will simply train themselves to remain calm and lower their heartrate.
    • Re:Ineffective (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nossie (753694) <`IanHarvie' `at' `4Development.Net'> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:21PM (#20630885)
      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!

      And you actually thought it was aimed at terrorism?

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!! /moment of temporary insanity
      • Re:Ineffective (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:30PM (#20631793) Journal
        Actually most trained professionals generally maintain calm when preparing to kill someone.

        Its only untrained schmucks like us out here in the "regular Joe Bloggs world" that start pushing lots of red stuff through our hearts when we're about to do something we're not accustomed to (on slashdot, that is equal possibilities, sex or killing... j/k). I'm pretty sure most of us slashdotters have only killed things in videogames and with a fly swatter.

        I can guarantee there isn't one among us who would have the ability or training to remain calm while the ninja masked, body armored thug squad is romping through the house, searching for us with the heartbeat monitor... If you can maintain your cool while that is happening, then you should be operating your own assassin for hire business and stop posting on slashdot... you're wasting your time here :)

        As for the rest of us... take deep breaths folks... we've already given them so much leeway to use when they screw us, why stop now?
        • Re:Ineffective (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday September 17, 2007 @12:58AM (#20632353) Journal
          Some people are born with this ability, but are not trained killers. A member of my family is completely immune to excitement and pain. He is in his fifties and has never accepted anaesthetic during medical procedures (including major dental) because the pain does not phase him in the least. His mood never changes. It is creepy to a lot of people, but he leads a normal life as a high-end carpenter, husband, and father.

          I remember hearing that he had been hit by a cab and was in the hospital for over a week, and in a wheelchair for a while after that. After the cab hit him he got in and requested a ride to the hospital... then limped himself into the lobby and calmly told the nurse that he was seriously damaged.

          I am pretty certain that he could off a bus full of preschoolers without flinching.
          • by TheLink (130905) on Monday September 17, 2007 @02:23AM (#20632825) Journal
            Spock is that you?

            'Nurse, I have been hit by a taxi, it is most logical to assume that I am seriously damaged, for example my left anterior cruciate ligaments appear to be FUBARed, to use the popular technical term'.

            Seriously though, it's interesting to hear that he apparently does ok - I'd thought pain would be useful in helping people learn from their mistakes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            A lot of these people die in the shower. The water feels nice and warm and they scald themselves to death.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by digitig (1056110)

            completely immune to excitement [...] father [...]
            How did that happen, then?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Colin Smith (2679)

          Actually most trained professionals generally maintain calm when preparing to kill someone.
          Bollocks they do. Maybe if they're snipers, but the rest are just as hyped up as the rest of us. They may be better able to control the effect on their performance, but the adrenalin and the associated heart rate response are there all the same.
           
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Or use drugs to achieve that effect. (They are already using amphetamines to lower the number of people who chicken out).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Neuticle (255200)
        Indeed, musicians and other performers use beta blockers to keep the heart rate down and to keep hands from getting sweaty.

        The International Olympic Comitty had to ban beta blockers as performance enhancing drugs because (IIRC) athletes in shooting events used it to steady their hands while shooting. I wouldn't be too surprised if I heard that military snipers used it in combat.

        Beta blocker block reception of epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Stops the whole "fight or flight" resp
    • by dbIII (701233)
      You are getting confused with Scientologists that already do this when they play with their e-meters.
      • You are getting confused with Scientologists that already do this when they play with their e-meters.
        Hmm, I smell a lawsuit. And there are a lot of Ex-SCO lawyers out of work right now.

        "Clearly they are infringing on my client's religious rights and patented technology."

    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:40PM (#20631851)
      Terrorists will simply train themselves to remain calm and lower their heartrate.

      Well of course, because they've been tipped off now! Which means the submitter of this article is guilty of treason. Just like the traitors among us who tipped off the terrorists that we were reading everyone's email and listening in on their phone calls.

      Now Bin Laden will release some yoga tapes and our intelligence gathering will be back to square one.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:17PM (#20630839)
    .. I'll just think of tub girl and goatse.cx man all day. take that fuckers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by HairyNevus (992803)
      You really think the G-Men at the wheel of this aren't into that?
    • by dircha (893383) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:26PM (#20630935)
      "No, don't talk - don't say anything. I'm filling my mind with a picture of beating their huge, misshapen heads to pulp!. Thoughts so primitive they block out everything else; I'm filling my mind with hate!"

      Captain Pike salutes you :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hao Wu (652581)
      Seriously- think of what some Christians might do to their kids: scan their heads for anything violent, sexual, or unholy (and of course punish them accordingly). What a nightmare.
      • by Perseid (660451) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:07PM (#20631639)
        Yep. And what will the parents have to say when their kids scan them and see all the same stuff? :)
      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:52AM (#20633583)
        You have looked into Scientology's use of the primitive polygraph called an e-meter? Go look at www.xenu.net for details on how they use it for brainwashing their own new members, and track the links for testimony about how the "auditing" confessional materials get recorded and sent back to their headquarters, for use against anyone who tries to leave the cult and speak out against it. Such monitoring is old hat: the US government grew very fond of using polygraphs on security personnel, and probing for political information.
      • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Monday September 17, 2007 @06:33AM (#20634003)
        In reply to both the article poster who said "...We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking." and the above comment, I have some things to say about 'mind reading' and 'telepathy': they AREN'T VIABLE. The problem is this: each one of us, as we grow up, develops complex internal symbol systems - essentially private language. Example: a baby that learns to recognize a ball DOES NOT have to know the word 'ball' to think about a ball. He uses an internal symbol system. As we grow and integrate ourselves into society, we learn to map from this internal coding to a publicly accepted coding: 'aha', thinks Baby, this thing I know from sense impressions of red and round, is called a 'b-a-l-l'. Also, if we're American, we map to English words. If we're Japanese, we map to Japanese. Now the thing is, no matter how sensitive a brain scan is, it cannot pick up internal codings, which are partly physical/topological anyway, and make them available in any way that can be individually externally decoded at a semantic level. There is NO universal pulse train that always decodes to 'hamburger' in all human beings. So if I have a technology to read impulses in the nervous system of a test subject, there is NO WAY I can pick an arbitrary subject - a guy in a house - and decode to a meaningful word level what his brain is computing at the moment. In an analogous way, the concept of telepathy is pure fiction and could not work, because no two people have the same native internal base dictionary, and if you pick up 'radiation' from someone's brain, you still are stuck with not knowing the internal-to-external mapping. That spike sequence you just emitted - I can't know what it means outside of you. So the point is, no, they're not able to read minds and it isn't going to happen any time soon.
        • the concept of telepathy is pure fiction and could not work because no two people have the same native internal base dictionary

          How do you know that telepathy relies on an internal base dictionary?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ConceptJunkie (24823) *
        I fixed your typos:

        Seriously- think of what some liberals might do to their kids: scan their heads for anything religious, racist, or unenvironmental (and punish them accordingly). What a nightmare.

        Fits just as well, huh? Really people, grow up and realize these kinds of flaws exist across the political, social and religious spectrum.

  • by Ginnungagap42 (817075) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:17PM (#20630841)
    "And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking."

    I call crap on this. We will be able to detect biometric data. We will not be able to tell "what you're thinking."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      I know, doesn't it make you just gag at the sheer stupidity of it? trouble is people are idiots, and will lap this shit up. I know i can a. think of something else b. think of more then one thing at a time to really fuck them up.

      My bet is if they ever really could tell what people are thinking... it would go something like this - FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX,FOOD,SEX...

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:35PM (#20631005)
      Actually, modern technology can detect the magnetic fields that your firing neurons produce right now. This is where you get all those images of "brain activity" that you see. It is very much a non-invasive and passive technology, and could, theoretically, be carried out remotely. If studies are carried out in real situations, they could correlate the patterns of brain activity with the the apparent intent of the individual (assuming that similar intentions make similar patterns). The result is they could tell what you are thinking (in a rudimentary way). It's not really that far fetched.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Actually, modern technology can detect the magnetic fields that your firing neurons produce right now. This is where you get all those images of "brain activity" that you see. It is very much a non-invasive and passive technology, and could, theoretically, be carried out remotely."

        *sigh*

        Now I can see why you all think broadband is "unlimited".

        In plain English the energy is too small. The attenuation is too great. And no useful device is sensitive enough. Let along the resolution is too poor. And I haven't
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:11PM (#20631273) Homepage
        You would have to have some pretty good filtering technology to filter out someones brain waves from another room with all the other ambient electromagnetic radiation going around. A standard action potential [wikipedia.org] only fluctuates the membrane voltage by about 120 mV. Meanwhile, a CRT, which actually is vulnerable to Van Eck Phreaking, requires a voltage of 32,000 volts [wikipedia.org] to display an image on the screen.
      • by gweihir (88907)
        It can theoretically be carried out remotely. But there are a number of problems:

        1) How to get a mu-metal shilding of adequate size in place. Currently these are small cubes in the 10-20 metric ton range. Without them you have massice amounts of jung magnetic fields that prevent reading anything.

        2) How to monitor more than one neuron?

        3) how to interpret what was monitored?

        Seriously, wide-area surveillance this way is impossible. But this technology is usable for torture. All in all you first need to know wh
      • by eli pabst (948845) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:56PM (#20631577)
        AFAIK, they do this using fMRI. So they'll need to figure out how to build a MRI machine that is big enough to fit over your house without anyone noticing and a way to keep all the ferrous metal objects in your house from turning it into one big blender, otherwise I doubt they could detect field changes that small anytime soon. I would agree with you about correlating general emotional responses with specific brain activity though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ivaldes3 (175216)
        Sure, using a very large, very powerful, very loud, super-cooled helium filled magnet that costs several million dollars and requires a special room so that metal objects don't come flying into it with the possibility of killing any occupant in the tunnel.

        -- IV
    • I'm inclined to agree that we will no more be able to tell what a person is thinking than a computer can understand what they've written. That may not matter: if we think we can know what a person is thinking, then we may act on it anyway. We already are: Ohio Court Admits Lie Detector Tests As Evidence [slashdot.org].

    • by dbIII (701233)
      It's scary if somebody who says this is actually in a position of power. Bring on the pyramid schemes and silicon snake oil salesmen and let's see the Albanian economy recreated on a really large scale!

      Since I don't live in the USA I can stand back and laugh at the idea of a comic book artist selling a mind reading machine to a world famous corrupt and inept FBI beaurocrat - but those who have to live with polygraphs can only be annoyed by the stupid futility of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)
      I think it's impossible now. But in principle I think it could be done.

      I thought of a thought criminal detector for airports actually. The idea is on entry to the US you hook people up to an MRI scanner and then show them a quick "America fuck yeah" type montage. Patriotic stuff - cheerleaders and so on. But you cut in news footage that people who hate America will be annoyed by. Like B52s carpet bombing, fighter jets dropping napalm or Mardi Gras parades. Or George Bush flipping the finger to the masses. N
      • Patriotic stuff - cheerleaders and so on. But you cut in news footage that people who hate America will be annoyed by. Like B52s carpet bombing, fighter jets dropping napalm
        If you are annoyed by indiscriminate killing of civilians [wikipedia.org], you hate America. Got it.
      • by Fex303 (557896) on Monday September 17, 2007 @12:45AM (#20632281)
        Sorry, but this is silly idea.

        1) MRI is really hard to do. You can't just throw everyone into one, especially not at airports. It just takes one person forgetting to take off their metal bracers and you have one hell of a mess.

        2) FMRI is really hard to do, and still not fine-grained enough to detect any of this.

        3) Annoyance is not uncontrolled violence.

        4) Last I checked, there's no 'anger' center of the brain, so much as there as section of the brain that controls affect - the prefrontal cortex [wikipedia.org] may have some control over emotional reactions and social setting, but that's part of a greater notion of executive function.

        5) Even if you had a way to measure annoyance, I think you'll find that anyone who's being held up at customs after a 20 hour flight so they can watch a video from inside a bizarre machine will be registering pretty highly on the annoy-o-meter no matter what you show them.

        6) If you think that terrorists are thinking along the same political lines as we are, only somewhat more to the left, then you're seriously misguided and need to stop watching Fox. (You think that Muslim fundamentalists won't be annoyed by gay rights videos?)

        7) If you think a right wing group hasn't already started blowing shit up, then I suggest you have a good think about what terrorist attacks have happened on US soil. The worst was 9/11, and the second was?

        The overall idea of the thing is flawed. If my psych major in undergrad taught me one thing (other than statistics), it's that we're extremely complex creatures, with brains that are hard to understand. Political philosophies are some of the most complex systems of abstract thought that we come up with. Deducing them when the opponent is trying to give a different impression is going require something far in advance of the sort of tech we have now.

    • by mh1997 (1065630)

      "And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking."
      I can't wait for this. When I am yelling "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" to my kid, I'll actually be able to get a truthful answer(from a machine, not my kid). Most importantly, I will have a clue what my wife is thinking.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:19PM (#20630867)
    I grew up in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the sort of shit we dealt with each day.

    The Communists claimed to have devices that could read minds to determine one's intentions. Now, we didn't know if this was true or not. But seeing as many of us wanted to live another day, or at the very least not get tortured, we assumed they did.

    It seems that the citizenry of the UK and the US are now in a very similar position....

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:49PM (#20631109)
      I grew up in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the sort of shit we dealt with each day.

      And it's funny, I was just in Poland (Krakow) two months ago. The place felt *worlds* more free than NYC or London. Fewer cameras around. No constant babble about how bags are subject to search because of terrorism. Able to buy an intercity train ticket for cash without ID (same went for a domestic plane ticket, though they did glance at my passport when I boarded). Fewer police swarming about, unlike in NYC where they seem to be out in force near Penn Station or driving in cavalcades, lights flashing to an unknown destination.

      I love the USA, but Poland definitely has its good points...

      -b.

      • by sholden (12227)
        That destination was outside my apartment. Every day. dozens of police cars parked along 1st Ave, who then drive off in said convoy. Good time to "do crime" over on the west side of town I suspect...
      • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:23PM (#20631347) Homepage
        This may be the case for NYC, but to be fair, NYC is hardly representative of the States at large. And NYC has ten times the population of Krakow. (Places like, oh, Washington DC have fewer excuses...) The domestic flight ID matter is a point, but it's also worth noting that the US is a lot bigger than Poland, so "domestic" flights aren't quiite the same thing. As for intercity rail, I've never tried Amtrak - their web page seems to say you'll need ID - but gaaak, who'd want to bother with Amtrak anyway? (Greyhound might be another comparison, and a cursory inspection seems to indicate they don't require it.)

        Mind you, there's still plenty to go on about nationwide, but less than 3% of us are subject to the NYC level of, ah, crackdowns.

        I suppose you could make some comparison with rural Poland as well, though. Eh.

        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          This may be the case for NYC, but to be fair, NYC is hardly representative of the States at large. And NYC has ten times the population of Krakow.

          DC is just as bad as far as obtrusive police (actually worse), and has just about the population of Krakow.

          The domestic flight ID matter is a point, but it's also worth noting that the US is a lot bigger than Poland, so "domestic" flights aren't quiite the same thing. As for intercity rail, I've never tried Amtrak - their web page seems to say you'll need ID -

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          (Greyhound might be another comparison, and a cursory inspection seems to indicate they don't require it.)

          I seem to recall that I was asked to present ID last time I bought a Greyhound ticket. I know for certain that passengers are routinely subject to baggage searches, and not just at the initial point of embarkation. Possession of a weapon or any form of alcohol will get you kicked right off a Greyhound bus.

    • by gweihir (88907)
      Indeed. Thoughtcrime at its best. And best turn yourself in if you had a bad thought, they might show some mercy then.

      It constantly amazes me how democratic governments try to get rid of their legitimation and turn into totalitarian regimes.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        Indeed. Thoughtcrime at its best. And best turn yourself in if you had a bad thought, they might show some mercy then.

        BTW, Poland and Czech were pretty tame as far as the communist regimes went, at least after the mid-1950s. Not like Russia or Romania, where a lot of people just "disappeared" to be sent to labor camps or were shot without trial.

        In Poland, some people went to prison, and others became unemployable (and they did send in the Army to crush demonstrations), but the secret police weren't nea

  • Heart Rate Raised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Randseed (132501) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:19PM (#20630875)
    Harm you because their heart rate is raised? They could be overdosing on caffeine. They could be on meth. They might be some teenager on Ritalin or its relatives. They might be masturbating. They might just have physiological tachycardia.

    I'd rather the government not base their decision on whether to come in guns blazing on something as ridiculous as whether my heart rate is increased above some theoretical average at the time.

    • by Erris (531066) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:31PM (#20630985) Homepage Journal

      I'd rather the government not base their decision on whether to come in guns blazing on something as ridiculous as whether my heart rate is increased...

      They will base the decision on your political expression and activism, the other things will simply justify your murder. The elevated heart rate will come when they ask you if you and your children would like some pancakes [rotten.com]. The report will say that they had reason to believe you were armed and dangerous.

      Unless the US returns to rule of law, tools used to track individuals will be used to identify, harass, intimidate, disrupt and eliminate opposition. Domestic spying is against the law. Unreasonable search violates the Constitution. It is completely unreasonable for government or industry to keep tables of "gait DNA" and other metrics for people who have not committed crimes. The purpose for this kind of thing is a crime in itself.

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Harm you because their heart rate is raised? They could be overdosing on caffeine. They could be on meth. They might be some teenager on Ritalin or its relatives. They might be masturbating. They might just have physiological tachycardia.

      Or they could be justifiably afraid/pissed off that someone is prowling around their place. Could be a cop; could be a burglar after all.

      -b.

  • by Raul654 (453029) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:24PM (#20630923) Homepage
    Big brother has nothing on Ceiling cat [ceilingcat.com]
  • by shbazjinkens (776313) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:25PM (#20630927)
    So in the end, my question is what can we do about it? It's impossible to get the masses (in the US) to actually get out and do something about this right now, I just don't think they care enough. Mass opinion is that if you don't have anything to worry about the government finding then don't worry about them watching you.

    The only credible methods I've seen for avoiding surveilance involve actually destroying the surveilance equipment.

    The only way to circumvent them is by RF jamming, wire cutting and creating a bright spot around you at all times to flood the camera view - which involves wearing bright LED's or a laser.

    Does this mean that eventually there are going to be rogue groups going around and destroying government surveilance equipment? I think so. When you feel you're cornered you do what you have to.

    Does this mean that people who are planning terrorist attacks in the future will develop plans to destroy/jam all of the surveilance equipment if they want to get out alive? Definately.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      It's impossible to get the masses (in the US) to actually get out and do something about this right now, I just don't think they care enough. Mass opinion is that if you don't have anything to worry about the government finding then don't worry about them watching you.

      The more I hear about this garbage, the more I sympathize with the various "militia" groups that were doing their thing in the mid-90s. Shame that McVeigh had to give all of them a bad name by killing civilians senselessly.

      -b.

    • What you can do about the goverment controllin' your life is...

      (1) Ignore bogus Nightmare On Elm Street Hollywood-fantasy threats like that the goverment might install cameras everywhere and watch you like a hawk. They won't, and even if they did, it wouldn't matter.

      (2) Pay attention to the real threats to your liberty that might sneak under the radar while you're distracted by the bogus threats. Do you wonder, a bit, why the BBC, which wholeheartedly supports as massive and omnipresent a government as po
      • by siddesu (698447)
        you are right, the funds the government has available should be as limited as possible, so that it doesn't waste them on unnecessary or outright dangeroups stuff.

        but there are two prerequisites for you to be able to do that -- the right to be informed on what the government is up to, and the right to influence decisions of the government -- which basically means no censorship and free elections.

        extra surveillance can easily mean the incumbent government will collect enough information on everyone to effecti
    • by mbone (558574)
      Does this mean that eventually there are going to be rogue groups going around and destroying government surveilance equipment? I think so. When you feel you're cornered you do what you have to.

      Already happening - see, for example, these pictures [winplc.net] of cuts in closed circuit television cables done in the UK, during a Holiday weekend.
  • by Dragonflite (1155813) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:27PM (#20630945)
    Why did the chicken cross the road?
    Big Brother: I've seen many chickens cross many roads. Please specify.
  • Never Resign (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) * <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:31PM (#20630981) Journal
    In the snap of the chilly evening,
    My face frozen like a thrull,
    The roaring of the howling wind
    Is deafening to all.

    House minions roam out in force,
    Trying to fathom thoughts
    Of Citizens within their homes,
    Whose actions they know naught.

    Fahrenheit Four Fifty One, and
    Huxley's Brave New World
    Form siren lures to power lords
    Elected and unfurled.

    The weak attempts must duly fail
    Of the Bretheren of Cain;
    Cordwainer Smith declared it best -
    Scanners Live In Vain
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:36PM (#20631017)
    I'm beginning to think society is getting rather close to an era of ubiquitous surveillance ... where virtually every action (and eventually even thoughts) of every person is viewable, recordable, replayable, broadcastable, etc.

    It's a scary thought at first, but then I got to thinking that as the technologies behind this mature and become more powerful (as all technologies do) we will eventually reach a point where "everybody" really means "everybody" ... corporate executives looking to skim a little cream for themselves ... politicians inking secret deals ... extremist groups looking to do harm to others in society ... that asshole neighbour who puts his garbage in front of your house late at night to avoid the excess bag charge ... everybody.

    Maybe, just maybe, ubiquitous surveillance will be the thing that saves humankind from the antisocial forces that currently plague us. When anybody can have their actions exposed on YouTube (or whatever the equivalent is in the future), people will be shamed into behaving in decent, harmonious way. It will be like some kind of techno-buddhist utopia.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Maybe, just maybe, ubiquitous surveillance will be the thing that saves humankind from the antisocial forces that currently plague us. When anybody can have their actions exposed on YouTube (or whatever the equivalent is in the future), people will be shamed into behaving in decent, harmonious way. It will be like some kind of techno-buddhist utopia.

      As long at the surveillance data is truly public, and all citizens are on a level playing field as far as access, it MAY be a good thing. But this article ta

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      wrong. surveillance is a tool to maintain control, and as long as power is unevenly distributed, so will be access to surveillance information (and other tools of control).

      corporate executives are government servants and vice versa. just make a list of the top US politicians, and remove those who weren't corporate executives at some point in time. i doubt you'll be left with many.

      politicians and top corporate folk are the same group, they just shift occupations from time to time for various reasons. and the
    • by wordsnyc (956034) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:59PM (#20631599) Homepage
      That's adorable. The Free Market (tm) Panopticon is gonna save us.

      Try this: there is no symmetry of rights in a class society. They get to watch you; watching them is a crime. FOIA compliance is already disappearing.
  • FTFA: "will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised"

    ummmm.... or how about scared shitless from the armed men outside that 'may' want to cause you harm for raising a heart rate!!!
  • tags? (Score:4, Funny)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:38PM (#20631027)
    Where's the tags "tinfoilhatbait" or "overlordbait"?
  • It seems that all the interesting engineering jobs involve using technology to invade someone's privacy, creating a patent monopoly on a life saving device, or the meaninglessness of creating a better device for people to say "I'm on the bus" to each other. So what exciting engineering jobs are out there, that will make the world a better place to live in (and can preferably be done from Australia)?
    • It seems that all the interesting engineering jobs involve using technology to invade someone's privacy, creating a patent monopoly on a life saving device, or the meaninglessness of creating a better device for people to say "I'm on the bus" to each other. So what exciting engineering jobs are out there, that will make the world a better place to live in (and can preferably be done from Australia)?
      Where's my damn jet pack already?
  • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:50PM (#20631117) Journal

    We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"

    Jim, Jim, what's Jack thinking?

    Umm...

    Well, come-on, Jim. What is it?

    Umm... he's thinking that we're a bunch of lamers because we're scanning him with the BB-1600, and everybody who's anybody has a MBB-8, which is what he's got.

    Ah, come on. They both work. The MBB-8 just comes in more colors.

    Yeah. Mac fan boys. Piss me off.

  • NOT NEW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:55PM (#20631159)
    There is already court precedent for this in the U.S.

    Through-the-wall IR scanners have been available to some police departments in the US for a while now. There has already been at least one court case about them.

    In the United States (yes, still), it is illegal for officers of law enforcement to use electronic means to determine what is going on in your home without first obtaining a judicial warrant. The case I mentioned dealt with police using an through-the-wall scanner to determine where an alleged drug dealer was inside someone else's house, before they raided it. Because they had not obtained a warrant, the evidence was thrown out of court. The judge ruled that it was clearly an electronic device, and thus fell under the Federal Statute preventing its use.

    I wish I had a citation at hand for this case, but I do not. I will try to find it.
    • by marcop (205587)
      Thanks for posting this. I remembered this case also when I read the article. Here is write up [prfamerica.org]about the case. So all this tech looks to be unconstitutional.
    • by Tiro (19535)
      I wish I had a citation at hand for this case, but I do not. I will try to find it.
      Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001)
  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:06PM (#20631253) Homepage Journal
    ...he really needs to get a life!
  • by gillbates (106458) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:07PM (#20631261) Homepage Journal

    Interestingly, we, the public, don't seem to mind. Opinion polls, both in the US and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance.

    I think we've just found the next Jason Blair.

    I have to call bullshit on this one. In my entire life, I have met atheists and believers, gays and straights, liberals and conservatives, and not once, ever, in my life have I met someone who espoused more surveillance. Now, I live in a large metropolitan area - one with numerous projects involving installing more surveillance cameras, and even the most conservative, cop-loving suburbanites are at best indifferent, and quite often, vehemently opposed. There's a lot of hostility, but absolutely no support. The law of statistics would dictate that if 75% of the population supported more surveillance, I would have - at least once in my life - have heard someone argue in support of it. But I've never heard it from anyone. Not even the most gullible of idiots or stupidest of patriots I've met has ever said they'd like to see more surveillance.

    • by element-o.p. (939033) on Monday September 17, 2007 @12:12AM (#20632093) Homepage
      Really? Not even once? Because I sure have.

      When the NSA wiretapping story broke, the anchor and legal specialist on CNN were arguing over whether that surveillance was really something to worry about. The legal specialist said yes, it's a violation of the fourth amendment. The anchor said, essentially, I don't care; I have nothing to hide.

      I've argued with people here on /. about whether or not the surveillance powers claimed by the wiretapping, the Patriot Act, etc. are a problem or not (for example, see http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=296641&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=20586283 [slashdot.org]). I've argued with my wife that surveillance without judicial oversight is a bad thing. My brother-in-law, an Air National Guard pilot, once told me, "You can't do too much to protect our country."

      So, yeah, I've talked/posted with people who think that surveillance is a good thing, and who even think government could do more to protect the country.
  • Rainbow Six (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mnemonic_ (164550)
    Did anyone else notice they've basically developed the "heartbeat sensor" described in Rainbow Six in 1999 or so?
  • by The Angry Mick (632931) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:20PM (#20631333) Homepage

    But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised.

    So your significant other is on the other side of the wall whispering sweet nothings and describing the slinky nightie she currently has on, your elevated heart rate could get you in trouble? Sounds to me like the government just killed seduction.

  • Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:21PM (#20631727)
    If they really decide to be dicks about this "through the wall" surveillance shit, I'll definitely open up a market for me. I'll buy rolls of copper cloth [wovenwire.com], sew it inbetween pieces of fabric, and start marketing my new and exciting line of Faraday Clothes.

    Soon after I do this, weavers of copper cloth will be required to report all their sales over fifty square feet to the DEA. Wearing faraday clothes will be considered evidence of guilt, like an encrypted hard drive. If you install fine-weave copper mesh in your walls, it will be used to get a warrant for a midnight raid. Y'know, like if you use too much power today.

    I'm only half joking... I actually think making faraday-cage clothes would be neat just to have them.
  • which is why I use (Score:3, Informative)

    by talledega500 (994228) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:42PM (#20631873)
    http://www.mysecureisp.com/ [mysecureisp.com]
  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:47PM (#20631925) Homepage Journal
    ...will saying someone wears a tin foil hat be an expression of how wise you think they are?
  • Through the wall ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday September 17, 2007 @02:35AM (#20632873)
    But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development]



    Now, wait a minute. Are they "sensing" through American walls (cardboard, wood and plaster) or through European walls (bricks or concrete) ? There's quite a bit of difference here, as anyone who tried to set up a WLAN may have found out ...

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