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Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)

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Com'ere young'n and lemme tell ya a story . . . [Feb. 26th, 2015|06:44 am]
Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)
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I was listening to a program on TTBOOK (To The Best Of Our Knowledge) about facial recognition software.  Some of their questions, of course, were, "how good is it?" "who has it?" "what's it being used for?" etc., etc.  The moderator asked at one point whether this could be used to photograph random people walking down the street or driving their cars and connect the visage with a name, address and social security number.  That particular interviewee said, "Well, we're not there quite yet, but yes, it won't be long until that's possible."  So then the moderator wants to know if this will lead to mass surveilance of the entire society and who will have access to all of this information.

What a stupid question.  Of course it will lead to mass surveilance; it already has.  And the information will be available to the intelligence infrastructure (NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.) and to corporations who have the resources to develop their own technology.  If asked, each of these organizations will deny that they are collecting data on normal citizens, or that having collected the data, they are warehousing it or using it for anything.  The whole time they will be collecting all of the data they can and warehousing it against the day that it might present some advantage to them.  They are already doing this.

I am the only one who remembers this, but it did happen:  When cell phones* were first introduced, there was some concern that the phone company could triangulate a cell phone signal between towers and figure out where a user was at any given time.  This information was considered private at the time and some folks wanted to know to whom this information would be available and how would they be allowed to use it.  The mobile companies said that "triangulation" wasn't even possible with their equipment and that all data about any of their customers was strictly confidential in any case.  It would take an "act of Congress," or at least a court order to get them to reveal a customer's private information to anyone, including the government.  Well, what the world (except for me) doesn't remember is that the method LAPD used to locate OJ Simpson just prior to the breathtaking low-speed chase down the Santa Monica Freeway, was that they learned he had a cell phone with him.  One phone call to his cell carrier (I can't believe there was time for a court order) got them the road he was on and the direction he was headed.  It took them ten minutes (or less) to get a dozen cop cars and four news helicopters to the scene and the rest is history.

It turns out that locating someone by triangulating their signal between cell towers was eminently possible and done on request without a second thought.  This went unnoticed in the midst of the high drama surrounding the Simpson case.  Of course, nowadays most cell phones contain a GPS chip that will determine the phone's location to within a meter on the face of the earth and squawk it to the authorities---be they deep black intelligence agencies or just suspicious parents---on demand.

The bottom line answer is that, yes, the "authorities" will collect all of the data they can and will use it to their perceived advantage whenever and however they wish.  Facial recognition, however long it takes to perfect, is ideal because it can be used without anyone's knowledge, completely off the public radar.
. . .
*They were called "cellular telephones" then, but the same people who can't now pronounce "nuclear" couldn't pronounce "cellular" and they quickly became "cell phones."