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what to do about live video - all the time?
I've just invented a big hassle, and if I don't start the patent
process someone else will.
Picture a near future in which your shirt or walkman is a 360 degree video
camera sensing live video across visible and other spectra. Your shirt
sends out a signal to your home computer, Your home computer archives your
daily environment and activities for you.
You have been sold this device on several premises.
1) crime reduction - no sane low level criminal would harass
you; you have him, his biometrics, unique thermal signature
etc. on video. Talk about neighborhood watch.
2) life/work productivity enhancement. What was said when?
what could you have looked into today but slipped your mind?
3) warm fuzzies. Kodak style "your life in pictures."
For now I'll assume the device actually works as claimed. It is
affordably priced. Any normal person who has a car alarm, walkman,
or laptop PC is apt to have one. You even get a small discount on your
health insurance. Maybe your local taxes go down as your district
votes to reduce the # of cops.
For now, we assume that all the output of your video shirt
is securely encrypted when it leaves the Vshirt.
ISSUE 1: Who controls the data?
Year 0: The devices are so rare the police don't think to ask
people to supply their tapes if they witness a crime
committed re: a third party.
Year 3: The police subpeona Vshirts they know to be in the
crime vicinity. Presumably they use their current
abilities with cellphone companies to locate who's where when.
Year 3.1 While reviewing Vshirt tapes police note that non-case
related illegal activities are going on. Jaywalking.
Speeding. Recreational drugs. Verbal assault. Life and
property threatening felonies are also discovered.
At this point the scene bifurcates wildly: Do the police say,
"look, this is happening anyway, we need 24 hour video surveillance
of everything - if nothing else to protect ourselves in court."
Evidence: in the UK they video the motorways, and several
public areas in the cities (soc.culture.british Jan '95)
-for crime/security purposes.
In the US, there are utility poles wired for sound. Design News
had an item on this in their Yellow newsflash section in '93
I think. The utility poles were/are in washington DC, and
supposedly only listen for gunshots. I'm pretty sure the poles
could call the cops in using triangulated crime location data too.
However slight the infraction, we are all lawbreakers. Do we have a
right to 'not testify against ourselves" by refusing to decrypt? Can we
buy (ugh.) an "attorney-client privlege" box that hold all of our data Keys
in a legal fiction that the courts currently respect? Will the 5th fare
any better than the 1st and second amendments?
Will the state issue a "statute of limitations" on data-recorded
crime, so that you can't be arrested for last year's public drunkenness?
Will Vshirt makers make, or be allowed to make, devices that create
-absolutely no residue- data keys? that way, if you want to
protect yourself from what you happened last thursday you can set the
keystrip on fire and nobody, not even you, has a hope of ever decrypting?
Evidence: in the US Digital audio tape Mfrs. are required to
put in some sort of copyguard. Also scanners w/image signature.
In the US, reconstructed deleted files for legal purposes is
considered legal evidence. There is a firm in Seattle that
has even reconstructed harddisks written over with 0s
for criminal (tax) cases.
Citizens or their employers are required to keep and prepare
documentation adequate to prepare a valid tax return. i.e.,
some records you _have_ to keep.
and of course the digital telephony bill...
What thoughtful Pro-freedom arguments can be constructed to deal with
this device and its social fallout? What thoughtful software and hardware
can be created?
The device does not yet exist, but component parts can be assembled for
less than $2000 and 17oz weight that do a fair job of mimicking it.
Moore's "law" suggests that by 2000, these oughta be
$19.99/month plus data charges.
VoicePGP is a great jumping-off place...will there be a VideoPGP,
or rather an optimized-for-videoPGP coming soon? If I've
christened its existence now. I hereby declare the application of
Public+private key cryptography as it especially applies to picture, live
picture, and/or video transmission to be public domain.
(Surely I'm not the first, but this can't hurt.)
Write. Talk. Create. Protect yourselves.
Well, as far as I know none of my relatives were killed by Stalin, or Mao,
or interned in WWII, or blacklisted, or even jailed. I suppose a few
were drafted. I guess it's about time for the forces of authority to
reach into my little corner of the gene pool and crush me too. I mean,
I'm missing out!
Treon Verdery, posting under the auspices of Adam Almog