SHCC WYSIWYG Article from May 2018

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the May 2018 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Government Surveillance

by Don VanSyckel

Have you noticed new cameras, antennas, cabling, and other electronic equipment at intersections and other locations around the area? Have you noticed that old hanging traffic lights are being replaced with rigid poles and rigid arms (better for mounting cameras)? There seems to be a push to put us all under surveillance.

In my opinion there's two sides to this. One side is the legitimate use of surveillance to locate and apprehend criminals and terrorists. The other side is the illegal use of this information by public officials, law enforcement, and others. People being what they are, are tempted to use whatever means they can to achieve their goals. So with this in mind the problem with the government collecting too much information about us is public officials and law enforcement are made up of people with all their facilities and temptations. The temptation to use the information in these database is great.

Let's say you suspect your souse of something so you browse through the camera recordings to check. Or you have a small business on the side and are negotiating with a another local business person and you browse through the camera recordings to determine who else this person is might be negotiating with. Reviewing these recordings for personal reasons is breaking the law, and the excuse is "it's not hurting anyone", but it is.

With facial recognition you can have the computer review all the recordings and chart the movements of any particular person. I have nothing to hide but that doesn't mean I want big brother keeping tabs on me. With storage getting cheaper, who knows how long these recordings will be stored for? One year, five years, or longer?

Then, will the fed's be granted, or demand, remote access to these recordings? Once remote access is available you literally don't know who is getting access or for what purpose. For instance, you could collect the recordings of people who attended a certain event, let's say a political rally, for the 'other' side. You run facial recognition on all the attendees and you do ... to those who attended. There's no telling where devious minds could take this.

The fact that we continue to find people breaking the trust of their position both in the public and private sectors, clearly demonstrates to me the weak links in mot operations are the people who comprise the organization. I'm sure the people who are in the organization with access to surveillance recordings will be no different than everyone else, at least statistically, for those who break the rules. On top of this the system can be hacked and the information stolen to be used for one can only guess.

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