anonymity, CV Dazzle, mobile, surveillance, technology

Surveillance, transparency, accountability & technology

TrapWire: Anonymous gives handy tips on how to avoid surveillance

This video has a heavy dose of dead pan humor, which is actually quite endearing.

As far as biometrics countermeasures go, I, like Anonymous, am still a fan of CV Dazzle because there’s something stylish and fun about what how they go about the challenge of defeating facial recognition.

The infra-red LED trick is really cool, too. Fans of the show White Collar will have seen that hack come into play in last week’s episode. That’s the first place I saw it.

All of this, while fun, socially interesting and even romantic, ignores the fact that the smartphone is the holy grail of surveillance technologies. Someone can wear a mask and a crazy hair do, head cocked 20 degrees to the side under a LED hat all they want. It won’t do any good if internet companies and cell providers (whether knowingly or unwittingly) cough up everything they know about individuals. The other virtue of the mobile computing surveillance model is that it requires no taxes, maintenance, or budget. The watched pay their own freight. That makes this type of surveillance available to individuals and organizations that might not have a lot of money or labor.

The answer isn’t regulating private use of technologies such as cell phones or biometrics. With technology, blanket moratoriums and bans are almost never the answer and even more rarely succeed. It may not be romantic or fashionable but the only answer is transparency and accountability.

Technology is all about people. It always will be.

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