Sunday, August 12, 2007

It Isn't... though...

...nobody has...

...warned us...

...about this....

US doles out millions for street cameras
Local efforts raise privacy alarms

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | August 12, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn.


In the last month, cities that have moved forward on plans for surveillance networks financed by the Homeland Security Department include St. Paul, which got a $1.2 million grant for 60 cameras for downtown; Madison, Wis., which is buying a 32-camera network with a $388,000 grant; and Pittsburgh, which is adding 83 cameras to its downtown with a $2.58 million grant.

Small towns are also getting their share of the federal money for surveillance to thwart crime and terrorism.

Recent examples include Liberty, Kan. (population 95), which accepted a federal grant to install a $5,000 G2 Sentinel camera in its park, and Scottsbluff, Neb. (population 14,000), where police used a $180,000 Homeland Security Department grant to purchase four closed-circuit digital cameras and two monitors, a system originally designed for Times Square in New York City.

"We certainly wouldn't have been able to purchase this system without those funds," police Captain Brian Wasson told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald.

Think about this. Nobody has time to watch these thousands of cameras. If the terrorist threat is truly real, they aren't going to proactively catch the perpetrators until after the destruction is wrought. All they can do is say after the fact, "Yep. Those were definitely dudes from some country with some brown people."

However, such data can be used to remove the freedom of non-terrorists.

Attention cheaters: E-Z pass is watching you


Friday, August 10th 2007, 6:31 PM

E-ZPass and other electronic toll collection systems are emerging as a powerful means of proving infidelity. That's because when your spouse doesn't know where you've been, E-ZPass does.

"E-ZPass is an E-ZPass to go directly to divorce court, because it's an easy way to show you took the off-ramp to adultery," said Jacalyn Barnett, a New York divorce lawyer who has used E-ZPass records a few times.

Of course, there are the Pollyanna's who just "can't believe our benevolent way of life here in America" would be compromised by the nice people who control our market and our nation.

Getting to know allabout you



When Robert Rivera signed up for a Vons grocery store card, he had no idea that detailed records of his shopping habits would one day be used against him. But that's exactly what he says happened.

Well, you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Data integration and mining is the new frontier and as much as it is convenient to look up your friend's house on Google Maps, it is just as easy for the corporate socialists to broker your personal buying information, no matter how personal or embarrassing, and sell it to the highest Bidder or give it to government officiAls under the auspiceS of tErrorism prevention.

I'm not talking Ahmed who lives in Apt. 13 hoping that he can just do his damn job without getting a coke Bottle shoved up his Ass by some redneck in a dark room. I'm taLking about you, Janet. I'm taLking aBout you, Robert. I'm tAlking abouT every gall-durn 'Murican no maTter how freakin' wHite or black you are buying "Harry PottEr" or a few too many tampons or a Couple bags extrA of fertilizer for your oversize garden plot. YOU, Stupid coMfortable AmERicA!

It is time to wake up and smell the Orwell, neighbor, and stop worrying about whether the abortion is being considered from somebody you've never met, or the tree you've never hugged could be cut down by someone you've never met because when you are under surveillance, you could be punished for exercising your right to even express your honest opinion about it. Understand? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to say. It seems so remote...

The So-Called Protect America Act: Why Its Sweeping Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Pose Not Only a Civil Liberties Threat, But a Greater Danger As Well

The Washington Post, the New York Times, and politically-diverse organizations ranging from the John Birch Society and the Cato Institute to the American Civil Liberties Union all agree that the PAA is a serious mistake, and threat to the civil liberties of Americans. They point out that the law ignores the Fourth Amendment while, at the same time, hiding its actual operations in national security secrecy. Indeed, Congress was not even certain about the full extent of what it has authorized because President Bush and Vice-President Cheney refused to reveal it.

...but it gets worse every day.

Well, you know what? It isn't the few who connect the dots and realize that something terrible is happening who are going to turn the tide. It is the hundreds of millions of Americans who are slightly bothered here or there about snippets and sound bites here and there that contradict not only our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but the entire difference between a place once known as the "The Land of the Free" and places likes China. Places where you get along or go to jail for "re-education." My hope is that the non-conformists among us can look past petty political differences between right and left and look at the society that greedy and dull-minded Democrats and Republicans are building together.

Do you ever wonder what happened to this guy?

In America, he could have made a difference. In China, he might be still in jail, or "re-educated" or dead. Which country do you want to live in? If you are concerned, consider writing your Congresspeople, even if your are afraid it won't work.


Overdroid said...

Citizen! Are you not happy? I'm disappointed to hear it since the COMPUTER has made every effort to please you. Trust the COMPUTER, the COMPUTER is your friend! Since you seem to have a distressing lack of faith, Internal Security will be along shortly to pick you up for your reassignment to voluntary mandatory experimental weapons testing and loyalty renewal. YAY! You will soon be happier then you can possibly imagine! You are in error about the screaming.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Only people with something to hide need to be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Actually, all I know is that my wife got on a well-known video site, watched a few music videos from a well-known band, and my computer wound up with fully 15 data miners on it. I mean...15???

The "homeland security" people are probably thinking that, once Americans are used to cameras being pointed at them all the time, they'll stop caring and just ignore them. Then they can spy on who they want when they want, and no one will be the wiser. Selective surveillance from an ubiquitous source.

Swinebread said...

I knew this was coming...

Dean Wormer said...

Wow. Great, I mean GREAT post Snabby.

I keep thinking of that part near the end of the book in 1984 where Winston thinks he's at peace in a room without a camera and the picture falls away displaying a.. camera. The feeling of claustraphobia was complete.

Nobody is watching the cameras now. But in a couple of years computers and facial recognition software will be able to track people live. Science fiction (science horror) will once again become true.

ladybug said...

Good post - it's all so true.

I mean, when you can find a GPS map of your own house, down to the plants in the yard(and even the day the pic was taken, you know some folks have too much info....

Anonymous said...

Brave New World all right. I had to read that book in school. I got an F on my report, which was nothing more than eligible scribble written at the speed of light as I tore the book asunder.

There can be no doubt that congress has with the cooperation of the president, signed this nations death warrant.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, I have more to say about this. A fair number of cameras have been springing up at Seattle lately too.

I think that Dean Wormer's point about facial recognition software is dead on. It doesn't have to be a human being loking at the monitor if a computer can do it, do it faster and better, and access the national database of ne'er do wells.

The Moody Minstrel said...

There can be no doubt that congress has with the cooperation of the president, signed this nations death warrant.

Or vice versa. The Department of Homeland Security was whose idea?

Don Snabulus said...


You can have my freedom when you pry it from my cold, metallic, cybernetic sensory appendages!


The "homeland security" people are probably thinking that, once Americans are used to cameras being pointed at them all the time, they'll stop caring and just ignore them.

And they are right...sigh.


Thanks, and yeah, 1984 had many creepy moments. Not sure why so many people are hot to run straight towards that dystopia.




Remember Ron Paul when primary day rolls around (assuming he is still in the running at that point).


Or vice versa. The Department of Homeland Security was whose idea?

The idiotic name, Homeland, might have been a single party creation, but the genesis of the department itself was bipartisan in both conception and execution.

The worst part is that a savvy terrorist doesn't have to work hard to defeat this stuff. It is the rest of us who get datamined and will have our lives played out on the courtroom screen for all to see to satisfy somebody else's vendetta or need for power over others or some corporate lawyer trying to get a bonus by suing regular people.

This is when society loses its soul and this is what I would like to see prevented.

Pandabonium said...

"Homeland" comes from the third reich, as does the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques" - the people Prescott Bush and other American industrialists and bankers did so much to finance. Same families, same game. Higher tech.

"Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down"

-For What It's Worth
Buffalo Springfiend 1967

Pandabonium said...

and Moody is quite correct, this is a bipartisan attack on liberty.