FC: Privacy villain of the week: DARPA's gait surveillance tech (fwd)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sun Oct 27 14:20:23 PST 2002

On Sun, 27 Oct 2002, Bill Stewart wrote:

> Sigh.  If people are going to beat up on BrinWorld, at least they
> should get it right.  Brin's Transparent Society stuff makes two points
> - Cameras, networks and similar technology are going to keep getting cheaper,
>          so you're going to lose your privacy.  Give up on that now.

You're going to die anyway. Kill yourself now.

Non sequitur. If the development doesn't happen you don't have a case. If
hardware gets cheaper but is not deployed because voters value their
privacy you have no case. If countermeasures are legal you have no case.

The same technology driving global surveillance also offers advent of
countermeasures. I mentioned anonymous telepresence hardware proxies, and
sooner or later telepresence is going to become the preferred means of
interaction, and much later complete redesign of our hardware platform at
molecular scale will become possible. This will take time to develop. We
don't need power-crazy maniacs ruining it for everybody, really.

> - Governments _are_ going to take advantage of this, like it or not,

Governments are not complete juggernauts. They're somewhat controllable. 
It's surveillance that gives them the ultimate power to squash opposition. 
You included. Don't give them the means voluntarily. Fight.

>          so what the public has to do is make sure that we're allowed to
>          watch the government as well.

Dream on. Here's the point where Brin's assumptions break down. I can give
you a long list why this won't work.
> Brin may be naively optimistic about our ability to succeed on the second part,
> but he's spot on about the asymmetry of power relationships,
> and he's constantly making the point that we can only watch the government
> if we force them to let us watch - the alternative is that they'll be
> watching us and we won't be watching them.
> Delaying technology?  It's easier to do on stuff that doesn't work well,

You can delay both development and deployment. If you delay it long enough 
it will no longer have the bite it would currently have. 

> and it sounds like this doesn't - perhaps the way to do it is to
> deflect the research away from surveillance into medical directions;
> since Darpa's funding it, get them to look at how to help soldiers carry
> heavy backpacks safely or spooks to carry dead bodies safely or whatever.

Political decisions could kill the demand driving development. Cheapest 
way for the fringe is to inform and develop countermeasures. Since 
cypherpunks no longer code, spreading information should have priority.

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