Tagsurveillance

Can You Imagine a Future Where London Police Bees Conduct Genetic Surveillance?

genetic surveillance warning

Designer Thomas Thwaites (who built this DIY toaster with iron ore gathered by hand) has created a project called “Policing Genes,” envisioning a future in which bees are used for genetic surveillance:

Other than a few obvious illegal narcotic plants, it hadn’t occurred to me that the genetics of what is growing in a person’s garden could become a police matter. Even more intriguing/trippy was the possibility of the police using bees for surveillance and for forensically identifying the pollen that the bees came back with. If that pollen is genetically outside of the law, the police could use the bees to track a person right to the house he or she lives in. […]

Thomas Thwaites, however, has put a great deal of thought into genetic engineering and the policing of those genes. Thwaites pointed out that the ability to insert genes into plants is now DIY technology available to both the amateur and the criminal. “Policing Genes speculates that, like other technologies, genetic engineering will also find a use outside the law, with innocent-looking garden plants being modified to produce narcotics and unlicensed pharmaceuticals.”

Computerworld: Police bees for surveillance, tracking and buzzzsting biohackers?

Policing Genes

See also:

We Make Money Not Art’s interview with Thwaites

Biopunk: the biotechnology black market

NSA and Raytheon Team-Up for Cybersnooping Project

Nuclear Power Plant in  Limerick, Pa.

A piece I wrote for RWW today:

The Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed sources, that the NSA is launching a program to help protect critical infrastructure – including private enterprises – from cyber attacks. According to the paper, defense contractor Raytheon has received the contract for the project, which would rely on a series of sensors to detect “unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack.” This follows the Lieberman-Collins bill passing committee in the Senate.

The Orwellian nature of the name was alledgedly not lost on Raytheon: The Wall Street Journal claims to have seen an internal Raytheon e-mail saying “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.”

ReadWriteEnterprise: Do Private Enterprises Need the NSA to Protect Them From Cyber Attacks?

U.S. Military Turns to NFL for Surveillance Technology

drone surveillance

Reporting from Washington — As it rapidly expands its drone program over Afghanistan, the U.S. military is turning to the technology that powers NFL broadcasts, ESPN and TV news to catalog a flood of information coming from the cameras of its fleet of unmanned aircraft.

U.S. military archives hold 24 million minutes of video collected by Predators and other remotely piloted aircraft that have become an essential tool for commanders. But the library is largely useless because analysts often have no way of knowing exactly what they have, or any way to search for information that is particularly valuable.
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To help solve that problem, the Air Force and government spy satellite experts have begun working with industry experts to adapt the methods that enable the NFL and other broadcasters to quickly find and show replays, display on-field first-down markers and jot John Madden-style notations on the screen.

LA Times: U.S. military turns to TV for surveillance technology

What Would You Do with the Massive Datasets from Persistent Surveillance?

Panopticon

Marshall Kirkpatrick outlines the rapidly accumulating data from persistent surveillance, geospatial tracking, and massive sensor webs and poses the question: what would you do with it? Skipping to the end of his piece:

Let’s assume that real-time persistent airborne surveillance data becomes another cloud service you can pull down to leverage for your application development, just like storage, computing and some other data APIs are today. Let’s assume that in time this data becomes a commodity, even!

What on earth will people do with that? The possibilities seem nearly endless.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around – a sure sign that it’s a powerful vision of the future. I asked ReadWriteWeb research intern and resident GIS guy Justin Houk what he would do with such a service and his first answer was, “Become invisible and king of the world.” Then he got serious and settled on a dream app tracking food carts in the city. (“I’m a man of simple taste,” he says.)

“It’s hard not to jump right to evil uses even for me,” Houk said. “I don’t know how more sinister types can resist.”

Apparently this kind of technology is fast leaving the realm of science fiction, even if it’s being exclusively used by the military, and will soon become more generally accessible and well developed than ever before.

What do you want to see done with it, or do with it yourself?

ReadWriteWeb: Spy-in-the-Sky as a Cloud Service

I think it’s about time I re-read The Headmap documents. (I’ve only been saying that for, what, five years now?)

See also:

The Coming Data Explosion

Facebook steps up lobbying, deepens ties with intelligence agencies, FTC

Facebook by _Max-B

Facebook has been gradually boosting its profile in Washington D.C. over the past year and is on the hunt for a second senior lobbyist to add to its office of four. Disclosures released a few days ago show that, on top of lobbying the usual suspects Internet companies reach out to like the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. senators and representatives, the fast-growing social network has also been busy deepening ties to government intelligence and homeland security agencies. […]

At the very top of Facebook’s agenda in D.C. is privacy, he said. There’s much at stake. The ease of data collection and sharing on the web is on a collision course with privacy. The suite of projects the company unveiled yesterday at its f8 conference in San Francisco may spark further privacy concerns about the mass of data it will now be tracking on users as they traverse the web. To head off concerns that it is too cavalier with pushing users to be more public, Facebook made a savvy move when it brought longtime privacy advocate Tim Sparapani from the American Civil Liberties Union on-board last year.

Venturebeat: Facebook steps up lobbying, deepens ties with intelligence agencies, FTC

See also Facebook May Not Be Skynet, but It Is Getting Smarter, and That’s Bad for Google:

This is all a very big deal if it’s successful. Bigger than you think. And It makes Facebook a direct competitor to Google. Facebook has managed to succeed where Google has failed — turning your social behavior into actionable intelligence. Google’s major attempts at insights into web-wide consumer behavior (Orkut, FriendConnect, Checkout, Buzz) have not had anything close to the success that the Facebook platform has had. The intelligence collected from relationships with others, social micro-interactions (e.g., “likes,” “shares,” comments, updates), location (yup, Facebook’s working on that) and even transactions (see Facebook Credits) will be inherently more valuable to advertisers than click-through and search behavior (as advertisers get smarter themselves about what those kinds of behaviors mean to their bottom lines). And make no mistake, this data will be collected en masse. Facebook expects to serve 1 billion “likes” in just 24 hours. By applying this kind of statistically significant intelligence to its Engagement Ads, Facebook can deliver even more efficient, impression-generating advertising for its customers.

And also: EFF sues CIA, DOJ, others over Facebook surveillance

(Photo by _Max-B / CC)

The ’80s were right! Only absurd facial makeup can save you from the surveillance state

Makeup patterns

Gathering info from a variety of different face-tracking programs (all based on the rudimentary, yet effective Viola-Jones Method, Harvey alters and experiments with images to make them undetectable. His most recent run used women’s faces from “Figure Drawing for Fashion Design” and smeared each visage with, erm, Lady Gaga-esque weirdness. As one may suspect, the stranger, more asymmetrical designs evading the detecting software more readily. Identifying ‘Haar-like features’ for identification — or the pixels that cameras detect as belonging to face — Harvey attempted to confuse and contort the software, by confusing and contorting the face.

Switched: Abstract, Cyber Warrior Makeup May Hide Your Face From Surveillance

(via Fjennings)

School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home

Panopticon

Horrifying:

According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home” and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

Boing Boing: School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home

Recognizr: face recognition software for mobile phones

Last July TAT (“The Astonishing Tribe“) posted a concept video of their augmented social face-card system (okay, I made that term up, what else should we call it?). The video tickled the imagination with over 400,000 views.

TAT has since teamed up with Polar Rose, a leading computer vision services company, to turn that concept into a reality. The TAT Cascades system combined with Polar Rose’s FaceLib gives us this prototype called Recognizr.

Read More – Games Alfresco: Your Face Is A Social Business Card

(via Bruce Sterling)

DARPA to build ‘needle-in-haystack’ detector goggles

Not a figure of speech: That’s the actual spec

Radical Pentagon boffins have decided to build super high-tech binoculars or goggles which would – according to the government specifications – be able to identify and pick out “a needle moving along the surface of a haystack”.

The planned technology has been dubbed Fine Detail Optical Surveillance (FDOS), and regular readers will be unsurprised to hear that it is one of the many troubled, rather disturbing yet occasionally freakishly brilliant brainchildren of rogue US military boffin bureau DARPA. […]

The program can be described as developing the technology and systems analogous to that required for the rapid imaging and identification, without the need for scanning or focusing of the optical receiver, of a needle moving along the surface of a haystack, where the location and type of needle on the haystack is uncertain.

The Register: DARPA to build ‘needle-in-haystack’ detector goggles

(via Neatorama)

Taser adds mobile phone monitoring tool to its arsenal

Hot on the heels of this court decision, it looks like Taser is trying to diversify their product offerings:

Stun gun maker Taser wants to help parents, not with jolts of electricity but with a tool which allows parents to effectively take over a child’s mobile phone and manage its use.

“Basically we’re taking old fashioned parenting and bringing it into the mobile world,” Taser chairman and co-founder Tom Smith said at the Consumer Electronics Show here, where the Arizona company unveiled the new product.

“Because when you give your child his mobile phone you don’t know who they’re talking to, what they’re sending or texting, all of those things,” Smith told AFP.

The phone application, called “Mobile Protector,” allows a parent to screen a child’s incoming and outgoing calls and messages, block particular numbers and even listen in on a conversation.

A dashboard on a parent’s phone or a personal computer shows the mobiles being monitored and the permitted callers such as friends and family.

AFP: Taser adds mobile phone monitoring tool to its arsenal

(via Cryptogon)

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