NYPD: Spycopter

The New York Police Department (NYPD) got a new spying toy. A helicopter stuffed full of surveilance electronics with amazing (and frightening) capabilities:

  • looks like a civilian helicopter made by “Bell”
  • an arsenal of sophisticated surveillance and tracking equipment powerful enough to read license plates — or scan pedestrians’ faces — from high above New York
  • see-but-avoid-being-seen advantage
  • worth $10 million
  • high-powered robotic camera mounted on a turret projecting from its nose like a periscope
  • camera has infrared night-vision capabilities
  • a satellite navigation system allows police to automatically zoom in on a location by typing in the address on a computer keyboard
  • can beam live footage to police command centers or even to wireless hand-held devices

The NYPD got the expected reactions:

“From a privacy perspective, there’s always a concern that ‘New York’s Finest’ are spending millions of dollars to engage in peeping tom activities,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

And answered them the usual way:

Police insist that law-abiding New Yorkers have nothing to fear.

Yeah, right. Nothing to fear? If I want to be spied upon, I would move to North Corea. Yahoo tells us, that the NYPD plans to spend tens of millions of dollars strengthening security in the lower Manhattan business district with a network of closed-circuit television cameras and license-plate readers posted at bridges, tunnels and other entry points. We are sure they are only taping the “non-law-abiding New Yorkers”. That’s pretty much the usual stuff. The UK (who somehow misunderstood George Orwells 1984 and now seem to take it as an instruction manual) has all this. But now the Yahoo article starts to get surreal:

Police have also deployed hundreds of radiation monitors — some worn on belts like pagers, others mounted on cars and in helicopters — to detect dirty bombs.

And fantastic – did he read the R. Talsorian “Protect and Serve”?

[NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond] Kelly even envisions someday using futuristic “stationary airborne devices” similar to blimps to conduct reconnaissance and guard against chemical, biological and radiological threats.

Thanks to Don’t Tase Me, Bro! for pointing me to the Yahoo News Article. I remember a (bad) science fiction movie featuring a helicopter that could see into rooms with thermographs. Anybody remember the name?

Privacy: Luxury of the dirt-poor

The erosion of privacy has been predicted by every darkfuture writer and his dog. I saw the risk, but used to think that people (esp. my fellow germans) would never submit their data willingly. We suffered through the Gestapo (Nazi secret police) and the Stasi (East German secret police). Both collected huge amounts of data, spying on everybody. When I was a boy, the West German people almost started a revolution to prevent a census of their data. Our supreme court developed protectional rulings. Everything seemed fine. Till this year. Thinly veiled as protection from terrorist attacks, they spy on everything. Modern tech makes it possible.
Now I learn that even emigration isn’t an option:
Map of privacy violations by nation

More and very detailed information can be found here (the’re also the source for this great map).

Predicting a Dark Future 2020

This Article on DMNews.com makes some educated guesses about changes to be expected for the year 2020. As might be expected, the picture the article paints is rather grim, even though the predictions are not made by a conspiracy theorist or neo-luddite, but a marketing man.

Here are some excerpts “for immediate use” with your Cyberpunk 2020, CyberGeneration and esp. Cyb3rpunk campaign:

“Auto tracking. Every car will be required to have a transponder, and automated highway readers will record all trips. The transponders will allow agencies to monitor driving habits and to issue electronic tickets for violations. The system will collect fees for using congested roads, replace parking meters and prevent undesirable people from driving in certain areas. For example, pedophiles will not be permitted to drive near schools. Driving with a malfunctioning transponder will be illegal. A black market will emerge in cars registered to “clean” or dead individuals.”

Can you say “new business ventures for fixers and techies”? I thought you could. Continue reading “Predicting a Dark Future 2020”

Noch 63 Tage bis zur totalen Protokollierung der Telekommunikation

Wenn wir nichts tun, wird in 9 Tagen der Bundestag ein Gesetz beschließen, dass dazu führt, dass

1 ganzes halbes Jahr lang

  • gespeichert wird, welche Internetseiten du aufgerufen hast
  • wann du wie lange mit wem telefoniert hast
  • wo du warst (genauer: Standort des Handys)
  • wem du von wo eine SMS geschickt hast.

Die Daten bekommen die Polizei, Staatsanwaltschaft, Nachrichtendienste und ausländische Staaten. Hier wird dagegen gekämpft, du kannst helfen!

Mit Hilfe der über die gesamte Bevölkerung gespeicherten Daten können Bewegungsprofile erstellt, geschäftliche Kontakte rekonstruiert und Freundschaftsbeziehungen identifiziert werden. Auch Rückschlüsse auf den Inhalt der Kommunikation, auf persönliche Interessen und die Lebenssituation der Kommunizierenden werden möglich.

Wo liegt das Problem?

Die aktuellen Pläne zur Aufzeichnung von Informationen über die Kommunikation, Bewegung und Mediennutzung jedes Bürgers stellen die bislang größte Gefahr für unser Recht auf ein selbstbestimmtes und privates Leben dar.

Unter einer Vorratsdatenspeicherung würden wir alle leiden:

  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung greift unverhältnismäßig in die persönliche Privatsphäre ein.
  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung beeinträchtigt berufliche Aktivitäten (z.B. in den Bereichen Medizin, Recht, Kirche, Journalismus) ebenso wie politische und unternehmerische Aktivitäten, die Vertraulichkeit voraussetzen. Dadurch schadet sie letztlich unserer freiheitlichen Gesellschaft insgesamt.
  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung verhindert Terrorismus oder Kriminalität nicht. Sie ist unnötig und kann von Kriminellen leicht umgangen werden.
  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung verstößt gegen das Menschenrecht auf Privatsphäre und informationelle Selbstbestimmung.
  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung ist teuer und belastet Wirtschaft und Verbraucher.
  • Eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung diskriminiert Nutzer von Telefon, Mobiltelefon und Internet gegenüber anderen Kommunikationsformen.