1994-12-11 - Re: Real-time surveillance of the police

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From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: crawford@scruznet.com (Michael D. Crawford)
Message Hash: 8fcd3e2c0b64e37f3997c2a339a0379a882f1e1f7abb28befcfdd7acdd5b204d
Message ID: <199412112247.RAA10653@zork.tiac.net>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-12-11 22:48:36 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 11 Dec 94 14:48:36 PST

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 94 14:48:36 PST
To: crawford@scruznet.com (Michael D. Crawford)
Subject: Re: Real-time surveillance of the police
Message-ID: <199412112247.RAA10653@zork.tiac.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At  2:04 PM 12/11/94 -0800, Timothy C. May wrote:
>This was an idea explored in detail by David Brin in 1990 in his novel
>"Earth." Video cameras are ubiquitous and have a major effect on
>casual street crime.

Hard to forget Brin's description of little old ladies sitting on their
front porches, "armed" will full-sensoria headgear, laying in wait for
extremely uneducated juvenile miscreants... Humorous.

>This scenario is a likely way that "position escrow" will evolve, from
>a voluntary escrowing (incl. timestamping, etc.). "Those with nothing
>to hide" will agree to escrow their movements...this will exculpate
>them in suspected crimes, etc. A slippery slope.

In "City of Angles", Kim Stanley Robinson(?) talks about just a virtuous
all-surveilling governmental "privacy" authority which is supposed
"protect" your privacy from the police, who had to subpoena the information
to get it.

>On the topic of how these localizers actually work, I'm not at liberty
>to talk about the technology. It's novel, and uses a *lot* if digital
>signal processing. It doesn't use GPS and it's not a variant of
>cellular telephones.

I wonder if they're using an active/transponder system. That's what
O'Niell's Geostar system was designed with in the early '80's. It would
have put up cheaper sattellites and smaller earth transponders.  The way
you saved on transponder size was with very small bursts at very high
power. You could send a signal to a small net of satellites 30,000 miles up
with a box initially no bigger than an HP12C, and which would shrink more
with time.

The feds never liked Geostar 'cause they already had the passive/receiver
GPS in the works, and they wanted to "amortize" the social cost of an
essentially military (hence the requirement for a passive system) system on
the backs of commerce. The only thing which saved GPS for mere mortals like
us was the MIC's usual severe understimate of Grove's Law and the
exponential cost effectiveness of integrated circuits over time.

If my hunch is correct, with lots more local antennas, the power
requirements of the tranceiver, and as a result, the tranceiver size, gets
pretty small. Small enough to be worn on one's ankle.

Bob Hettinga

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