Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Eye that can single you out in a crowd.

Tonight my blood pressure is in danger of tripping the emergency vent in my nose.

Via the Stan Party, I came across this little technology report on Big Brother Watch. The video is short and worth every second of the time spent viewing it. Keep a hanky handy in case of spontaneous nosebleed. Those of a nervous disposition and those with pre-existing heart conditions might want to skip it.

From Big Brother Watch:

An outfit dedicated to covering the European Security Research Programme named NeoConOptican, reported yesterday that the European Commission are funding a project called Samurai - a “next generation” CCTV system, which is, they write:

capable of identifying and tracking individuals “acting suspiciously” in crowded public spaces. The project has received €2.5 million in EU funding under the Fp7 security research programme.

The video includes a clip of a railway station where people are targeted by the device because they stop moving around and stand still. At a railway station. In the UK. Where waiting for trains is an unpredictable event at best. If your train is late, keep moving. Practise your Morris dancing or something but don't stand still.

It's designed to spot 'anomalous behaviour' which the system self-defines after watching for a while to see how most people behave. Once it's done that, anyone with a limp or a twitch will be spotted as a non-conformist and the security operator alerted. Now, we'd all like to think that the security operator would just dismiss that as someone with a limp or a twitch and tell the machine not to be so silly. Unfortunately, common sense has been systematically eradicated to the point where any public servant has theirs surgically removed as soon as they are employed. The machine points you out, the operator will call security. Every time.

If you have a rucksack while all around you are people with briefcases - gotcha. You're a deviant. You must make no attempt to be different or you'll be checked and rechecked all day, every day, until they force you to assimilate.

Damn, I haven't finished writing this and it's already more of a documentary than fiction!

Keep moving. No loitering. Big Brother is watching you.


JuliaM said...

Why am I suddenly thinking of the final scene in that remake of 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers' (the Donald Sutherland one)?

JohnRS said...

It's not sci-fi or even very far from being a working system. I've seen demos of this technology (from another source) that highlights individuals behaving in an unusual manner and also spots objects being left or abandoned (e.g. bags etc).

It's all very simple to implement now - after all the CCTV is already there, all you do is run the TV signal through the analyser and it's done.

Leg-iron said...

JuliaM - I've been thinking of that scene a lot lately. There's a lot of screaming and pointing going on now.

JohnR - the next stage will be laser targeting systems and machine guns on the cameras. For the safety of security service personnel, in case some tourist blows them up.

The Filthy Engineer said...

Bye the way. The days of our E cigarettes are maybe numbered. There's no revenue in them.

Just thought you should know.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Just wait until millions of us know what it is that alerts the system. They'll never cope with us.

My brother (in Australia) and I already load all our emails and skype messages with key words. More and more people are going to be doing this sort of stuff. Force them to spend time on inoccuous stuff - they'll soon run out of resources.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Bin Laden bomb nuclear 9/11, princess di, MI5

That'll do for now - should attract the attention of the key-word system that'll mark this down for human attention. Christ (Oooh, that's a good one - Mohammed, Islam, muslims) I hate the bastards.

Ayrdale said...

I agree with Sir H., monkey wrenching will be relatively easy, as will decoys. But the pervasive CCTV and communication monitoring is coming, to a living room near you...

Leg-iron said...

Could we be convinced to allow cameras into our homes? Already done.

Every laptop now seems to come with a camera installed, above the screen, facing the user. For videoconferencing apparently.

Even a little Acer mini-laptop has one. I don't videoconference and I don't want a photo of me so I put tape over it. It's not as if it can even be turned around and used to photograph anything else. It's useless other than to the few who videoconference.

TV sets with cameras for interactive games... already here.

Getting a camera into your home and hooking it up to the internet is a doddle. It's already been widely achieved. Next tinfoil hat conspiracy - they might start providing free laptops and broadband to people who can't afford to buy their own home surveillance. With cameras built in.

microdave said...

Anyone who has a camera OR a built in microphone on their PC would do well to check the default settings used by Flash, which most of you will have installed to play YouTube videos.

Right click on the embedded player (excellent choice of the Eagles, by the way) and choose "Settings". Then click on each of the little icons across the bottom. Leave the "Hardware Acceleration" alone unless you have problems with stuttering playback.

I think you will find all of them are ticked by default, so who knows what's going on without your knowledge?

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