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Forum Post: The New Totalitarianism of Surveillance Technology

Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 22, 2012, 8:23 a.m. EST by john23 (-272)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

A software engineer in my Facebook community wrote recently about his outrage that when he visited Disneyland, and went on a ride, the theme park offered him the photo of himself and his girlfriend to buy – with his credit card information already linked to it. He noted that he had never entered his name or information into anything at the theme park, or indicated that he wanted a photo, or alerted the humans at the ride to who he and his girlfriend were – so, he said, based on his professional experience, the system had to be using facial recognition technology. He had never signed an agreement allowing them to do so, and he declared that this use was illegal. He also claimed that Disney had recently shared data from facial-recognition technology with the United States military.

Yes, I know: it sounds like a paranoid rant.

Except that it turned out to be true. News21, supported by the Carnegie and Knight foundations, reports that Disney sites are indeed controlled by face-recognition technology, that the military is interested in the technology, and that the face-recognition contractor, Identix, has contracts with the US government – for technology that identifies individuals in a crowd.

Fast forward: after the Occupy crackdowns, I noted that odd-looking CCTVs had started to appear, attached to lampposts, in public venues in Manhattan where the small but unbowed remnants of Occupy congregated: there was one in Union Square, right in front of their encampment. I reported here on my experience of witnessing a white van marked "Indiana Energy" that was lifting workers up to the lampposts all around Union Square, and installing a type of camera. When I asked the workers what was happening – and why an Indiana company was dealing with New York City civic infrastructure, which would certainly raise questions – I was told: "I'm a contractor. Talk to ConEd."





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[-] 3 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I have been screaming about the Surveillance Industrial Complex for over a decade.

It is forbidden for the government to conduct warrantless searches, they may not seize you or your personal effects without first establishing just cause. This simple principle is enshrined in the Bill of Rights - it is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

I insist my personal effects include my purchasing habits.

I insist it includes my likeness - which I do believe has been upheld in a court of law in cases of celebrity.

I insist that such issues go way beyond the small matter of property, intellectual or otherwise. It is much more. Access to your data can be used to engage in a process of intimidation, coercion, theft. Access to your data can enable a network of nitwits to interdict your habits, induce cognitive dissonance, and completely destabilize your perceptions of reality.

The government is most clearly forbidden from seizing your personal effects without probable cause.

It has never been established in a court of law that your personal effects, that security in your person, does indeed mean that, under the Constitution, as provided for by the Fourth Amendment, the government is forbidden from collecting your habits, conversations, and other data.

It has never been established in a court of law that these are indeed a part of our personal effects, or that to be secure in our persons demands such effects be protected from any seizure without probable cause.

Yet any thinking person can see quite plainly, that it must be so.

In the event a court ever decides to uphold this aspect of our Constitutional Law, and reaffirm that indeed, the government is bound by these terms, we will discover much to our dismay - there may be nothing that may be done to prevent the private sector from this very behavior.

I say the government is made up of the people. I say that if the government is made up of the people and it is prevented from seizure without probable cause, then so are other people, citizens who work not for the government but for the private sector - these too, I say, are bound by Constitutional Law.

This too, may need affirmation by court.

To get there will require shouting down all those whose livelihoods are already dependent upon this Constitutionally prohibited behavior under the Fourth Amendment.

I refer to advertisers as one example. The entire industry of Targeted Advertising, those aspects of it whether benign or otherwise - all of it - runs completely contrary to the Fourth Amendment.

  • The Fourth Amendment

    • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 1 year ago

Dude, that is a great argument.

[-] -2 points by deepthoughtV2 (-8) 1 year ago

Who cares what you insist? What matters is the law and the decisions judges make in Supreme Court. You won't defend yourself in court with an "I insist". Your rant seems devoid of scientific and thorough analysis. It's just about your subjective opinion that you "insist" is right. Next...

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

We have seen these decisions by our current Supreme Court. I have no doubt whatsoever that the court, as it is, is no longer an independent body. Two recent decisions demonstrate irrefutably that the Supreme Court no longer has credibility in these United States.

The first of these is the Citizens United decision, releasing the dam erected by Congress against the flood of unregulated campaign contribution, and with it, influence peddling.

The second, the Health Care ruling - which, it must be seen, demonstrates an undue influence by the executive upon the judicial - and this based on their own previous and unConstitutional decision to release that dam.

The Supreme Court overstepped its own authority with Citizens United. Congress has the authority to regulate campaign spending, the Supreme Court does not, and this by Article III of the U.S. Constitution - possibly others.

They overstepped their authority. In consequence, they have irreparably compromised their own authority - and that is and can be the only explanation for the surprise decision by the court on the Health Care issue.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

fees are taxes

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

My understanding is that a tax is a fee that goes to support government operations. All other fees are not taxes.

I really don't want to debate the healthcare issue all over again. What we have appears to be a good first step. I am under no illusion that the process of providing both a higher quality of health care for all Americans and a greater measure of equity in the process are finished. It is not.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

the court gets money from fees

I would prefer to give to an organization I have some control over like the government

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4495) 1 year ago

Thank you John23, for this forum post.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I have said it before, but it bears repeating:


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . it is my conviction that we must stand upon principle. If we cannot guarantee the liberty of our own people as we go forward, what ever the future may hold, then better is it for the rest of humanity that we, here, snuff out the light of our eyes in this bitter contest of wills over the future of this nation, then it would be to otherwise take the fruits of technological revolution and so enslave all of mankind.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




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[-] -1 points by deepthoughtV2 (-8) 1 year ago

What about OWS's Occucopter?

This OWS helicopter uses video cameras to film OWS events from the sky. It can also zoom in and take photos of individuals. Would you like to build your own so you can spy on your friends?