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A lot of countries, such as Britain,
are establishing universal
surveillance networks to catch
criminals and terrorists. These
networks involve CCTV cameras with
wide coverage of public areas,
number plate and face recognition,
logging of mobile phone data, and
importation of data from other
(such as credit card
purchases), for national security
Apart from catching terrorists and
drug traffickers, this could also be
used to provide a keepsake to tourists.
Imagine this: you're a tourist,
arriving at an airport in Freedonia,
a state with universal surveillance.
You notice a sign saying "WELCOME TO
FREEDONIA. YOU ARE NOW UNDER
SURVEILLANCE. HAVE A NICE DAY." at
You stay in Freedonia for a few days,
meeting business contacts, going to
the local beaches, checking out the
nightlife and so on. When leaving,
you notice a memento booth at the
airport. You go there, producing your
passport. The clerk scans your
details (and a biometric ID scan for
security), takes your credit card and
a few minutes later, hands you a CD-R
souvenir of your stay in Freedonia.
When you arrive home, you insert the
CD-R into your computer. On it you
find a navigable map of everywhere
you went in Freedonia, constructed
from camera IDs and mobile phone
triangulation records. Click on any
point on the timeline, and you may
get one of several candid snaps of
yourself from the surveillance
cameras. You also find details on
the cars you rented, the taxis you
rode in, hotel rooms you stayed in,
and hypertextual histories of the
tourist sites you visited. The record
tapers off with your arrival at the
airport and the memento booth.
Orwellian? Yes. Would people buy it?
Given the popularity of T-shirts
detailing fines for seemingly
innocuous behaviours with tourists to
Singapore, I imagine it could be
The Fifth Utility
An insightful article on the growth of surveillance in Britain [acb, Apr 17 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]
(?) Pubwan and appliances
Appliances, like police departments, collect a lot of information for someone else's consumption. [LoriZ, Dec 11 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]
||A video diary of your day was developed by Xerox Parc and EuroParc. You had a badge and not only was your day recorded (for you to inspect) but also nearby phones would ring for you and you would be reminded that you need to talk to someone if you passed them.
||Half the speed cameras in England don't exist, only the signs for them, if they do there may not be film in it. As far as CCTV, should there film in it there is little chance of recognising anyone with the quality used at present. Some convictions have been overturned due to this. I think T shirts are a long way off
||I like Ravenswood's comment. It's sorta like my Constant Dictaphone, except a video version.
||I'd buy it in a heartbeat, unless it's overpriced, which it probably would be. I think privacy is overrated anyway. Unlike the cypherpunks, I think privacy and secrecy are just two words for the same thing. If we have a trend toward less privacy and more secrecy, it's just part of the larger trend of the balance of power (especially in the form of quality information) in society shifting even farther from individuals to institutions. But that's just my opinion. Anyway, I like the idea of being on the receiving end of information technology, whether it's surveillance video, cookies, the phone line clause in a small dish satellite TV contract, or a dupermarket loyalty card.