Jonathan Lukens on Fri, 7 Dec 2001 20:41:08 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> re: Calin re: Bruce S. re: Viridian Note 00283 wrote:
> 2. BS belongs - unlike many others - to a civilized part of the world that
> should protect itself from the uncivilized via some smart devices.

You mean like when William the Conqueror used those new "smart" saddles,
the ones with the stirrups, to take the throne from Harold; or when
those new "smart" boats- the Css Virginia and the Uss monitor went at
it? What's a smart device, really? I mean, I'm not very civilized, and I
want to be prepared if someone pulls that shit on me. If I take a plane
and fly it into a building have I invented a smart device? If I figure
out a way to take a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter, and use
it to move little round things at people at high rates of speed is that
a smart device? Im not sure who's civilized, but maybe if I have enough
smart stuff the other guy will be so busy licking his wounds that I can
say I am and he isnt. Maybe that's what you're getting at with this
civilized/un bit, but Im not really sure how the technology is relevant
besides its affording an advantage to one of the parties involved. The
"smart" part doesnt matter.

> 3. Governments should enforce and support with hitech hardware the
> preternatural lust of humans to snitch on each other and to turn in potential
> suspects on basis of assumptions.

I dont really know about preternatural lust for snitching. I really
havent experienced lust that I would descibe as preternatural since I
was seventeen. The human animal is a social animal. It organizes into
groups. Groups exclude and include people. Before I get to know people I
define them according to assumptions. Im assuming youre an allright guy
since you hang out here. I might assume you werent if you hung out on
the 'I luv kicking cute fluffy bunny rabbits' listserv or something.
Assumptions work both ways: they define included and excluded. I dont
really see "smart" devices being used for exclusion any more than
inclusion. I dont really see grouping on the basis of assumption to be
good or bad by default, just human.

 I dont really see this idea of a global id or smart passport being
significant. Yeah, maybe passports could use an upgrade, but how much
does country of origin really mean? Is that really significant
information when you remove questions of international trade? Wont it
mean less tommorrow than it does today? Why is this ID going to keep me
from being suspected a terrorist? Whats going to keep an unknown
terrorist from being issued one? What if I have no criminal record and
Im issued one and then I go over to Europe on vacation and fly my plane
into big ben?

As far as the 'GI smartphone/ citizen's AV arrest', its a good idea in
that it egalitarianizes snitching- I mean why should the government have
the market on spying on its citizens? If there really was a sort of
verifying mechanism, the device could be used against crooked cops and
such just as well. But, where and how is the serious shit going to go
down? If someone in Central America is trying to hack in and shut down
the US power grid, how am I going to catch that on my vidphone? I just
dont know how much heavy stuff people are going to come across. And
unless they are anonomized, no one is going to use one, because theyll
be too afraid of getting sued if they falsely accuse someone. This is
just a high tech version of a crime reporting hotline, and how well do
those things do? That isnt a rhetorical question; I have no idea how
well they do. Obviously they arent like the sophisticated evidence
documenting mechanisms Mr. Sterling suggests. Who's going to carry these
things? People who have a predisposition to paranoia? Meek folk walking
through bad neighborhoods? The latter might be a better implementation,
but has more to do with day to day crime than terrorism. Seems to me
there would be too much noise to signal.

Who should also be brought a beer immediately.

> Calin Dan
> Quoting Bruce Sterling <>:

> > You know what I want?  I don't want a National ID
> > Card.  I want a Global Coalition Visa.
> [...]
> > But what about all us bright, shiny, world-trading
> > jet setters, huh?  There are thirty percent fewer Yankees
> > in Europe this Christmas, and that is bad.  Let me pose
> > the problem this way.   If I am going into a Japanese
> > restaurant in Japan, I would rather like to be able to
> > haul out some gizmo and flash it at my fellow civilians,
> > and have these kindly people understand with a high degree
> > of likelihood that I am not a mass murderer.  On the
> > contrary, I am quite civilized, and I should be brought a
> > beer immediately.
> >
> > A platinum VISA card and a five-hundred-dollar suit
> > will almost do that, but those are too easy to forge and
> > steal, plus they are not very democratic.   The UN should
> > get together on this. We should have a high level summit
> > about digital hardware support for  the crippled tourist
> > economy.   Fear and ill treatment shut down tourism faster
> > than anything short of open warfare.  That is bad for all
> > of us.  Killing off tourism harms our civilization and
> > impoverishes our cultures.   People in civilized states
> > shouldn't routinely treat one another as criminal
> > suspects.   I don't want to get done-over for three hours
> > every time I get off a plane in London.   When I go to
> > London, I go with empty suitcases.  I don't plan to stay,
> > but I am better news for the London economy than a lot of
> > the people who live there.
> >
> > They should know all that that *before* I get off the
> > plane.  My arrival is excellent news for Britain, so I
> > should be treated that way.   If this is a new kind of
> > war, I don't want to be the evil guy hunkered down in the
> > bunker; I want to fly with the boys from Air Assault.  I
> > want one of those handy crypto-style Friend-or-Foe IDs.
> >
> [...]
> > This suggests the invention of the weaponized and
> > ruggedized GI cellphone.  You could think of it as the
> > "wingless angel," as they liked to call them after
> > September 11; and as a kind of personal black-box recorder
> > for the endangered citizen.   This cellphone would be
> > federally manufactured, and distributed en masse as a
> > general-issue security device.   The point of this device
> > would be to arm the population in surveilling and
> > recording acts of unconventional warfare.  You don't shoot
> > anybody with it; but if you see anything weird, suspicious
> > and asymmetric going on, you formally act as a mediated
> > witness: you  hold this device up, and you start looking
> > and talking.  And all this safety data is instantly
> > streamed off and stored in Fort Knox and Fort Meade.
> >
> > Now, if you turn the entire population into
> > anonymous snoops and peeping Toms, it's a nation of
> > snitches, which is very destabilizing.  I'm not suggesting
> > that. I am suggesting secure, accountable devices with
> > digital signatures built in.  They're cryptographically
> > time-stamped, their voice signals and photographs are
> > cryptographically overwritten, proving their source.
> > They are tamperproofed, and very sternly verifiable, and
> > usable as proven evidence in courts of law.  They're not
> > civilian toys, they are genuine weapons of information
> > warfare, in much the same way that an unarmed Predator
> > surveillance aircraft is a weapon.  They are people's
> > media weapons.   Their proper use requires some training
> > and discretion; it's like a citizen's audiovisual arrest.
> >
> > This is the civilian militia Minuteman version of
> > surveillance.   The omnipresense of this kind of civilian-
> > owned and civilian-deployed surveillance would not make
> > anyone's society kinder and happier.  But it certainly
> > would make that society a very dangerous place for urban
> > guerrillas.  And it would not centralize the great power
> > of surveillance in the unstable hands of unelected
> > functionaries.

Jonathan Lukens





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