File spoon-archives/postanarchism.archive/postanarchism_2003/postanarchism.0307, message 4

Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 00:49:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [postanarchism] DARPA's Latest Panopticon: Combat Zones That See

Its said in this article that the average Londoner is
photographed 300 times per day by surveillance
cameras...with the release of this new project by the
Pentagon's DARPA, that creepy statistic is set
multiply infinately - I think its about time to dig
out that copy of Discipline and Punish again and
rethink what this means today.


Big Brother to See All, Everwhere 

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is developing an urban
surveillance system that would use computers and
thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the
movement of every vehicle in a foreign city. 

Dubbed "Combat Zones That See," the project is
designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and
fight in cities overseas. 

Police, scientists and privacy experts say the
unclassified technology could easily be adapted to spy
on Americans. 

The project's centerpiece is groundbreaking computer
software that is capable of automatically identifying
vehicles by size, color, shape and license tag, or
drivers and passengers by face. 

According to interviews and contracting documents, the
software may also provide instant alerts after
detecting a vehicle with a license plate on a
watchlist, or search months of records to locate and
compare vehicles spotted near terrorist activities. 

The project is being overseen by the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, which is helping the
Pentagon develop new technologies for combatting
terrorism and fighting wars in the 21st century. 

Its other projects include developing software that
scans databases of everyday transactions and personal
records worldwide to predict terrorist attacks and
creating a computerized diary that would record and
analyze everything a person says, sees, hears, reads
or touches. 

Scientists and privacy experts  who already have seen
the use of face-recognition technologies at a Super
Bowl and monitoring cameras in London  are concerned
about the potential impact of the emerging DARPA
technologies if they are applied to civilians by
commercial or government agencies outside the

"Government would have a reasonably good idea of where
everyone is most of the time," said John Pike, a
Global defense analyst. 

DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker dismisses those concerns.
She said the Combat Zones That See (CTS) technology
isn't intended for homeland security or law
enforcement and couldn't be used for "other
applications without extensive modifications." 

But scientists envision nonmilitary uses. "One can
easily foresee pressure to adopt a similar approach to
crime-ridden areas of American cities or to the Super
Bowl or any site where crowds gather," said Steven
Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. 

Pike agreed. 

"Once DARPA demonstrates that it can be done, a number
of companies would likely develop their own version in
hope of getting contracts from local police, nuclear
plant security, shopping centers, even people looking
for deadbeat dads." 

James Fyfe, a deputy New York police commissioner,
believes police will be ready customers for such

"Police executives are saying, `Shouldn't we just buy
new technology if there's a chance it might help us?'"
Fyfe said. "That's the post-9-11 mentality." 

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said he sees law
enforcement applications for DARPA's urban camera
project "in limited scenarios." But citywide
surveillance would tax police manpower, Kerlikowske
said. "Who's going to validate and corroborate all
those alerts?" 

According to contracting documents reviewed by The
Associated Press, DARPA plans to award a three-year
contract for up to $12 million by Sept. 1. In the
first phase, at least 30 cameras would help protect
troops at a fixed site. The project would use small
$400 stick-on cameras, each linked to a $1,000
personal computer. 

In the second phase, at least 100 cameras would be
installed in 12 hours to support "military operations
in an urban terrain." 

The second-phase software should be able to analyze
the video footage and identify "what is normal
(behavior), what is not" and discover "links between
places, subjects and times of activity," the
contracting documents state. 

The program "aspires to build the world's first
multi-camera surveillance system that uses automatic
... analysis of live video" to study vehicle movement
"and significant events across an extremely large
area," the documents state. 

Both configurations will be tested at Ft. Belvoir,
Va., south of Washington, then in a foreign city.
Walker declined comment on whether Kabul, Afghanistan,
or Baghdad, Iraq, might be chosen but says the foreign
country's permission will be obtained. 

DARPA outlined project goals March 27 for more than
100 executives of potential contractors, including
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Lab. 

DARPA told the contractors that 40 million cameras
already are in use around the world, with 300 million
expected by 2005. 

U.S. police use cameras to monitor bridges, tunnels,
airports and border crossings and regularly access
security cameras in banks, stores and garages for
investigative leads. In the District of Columbia,
police have 16 closed-circuit television cameras
watching major roads and gathering places. 

Great Britain has an estimated 2.5 million
closed-circuit television cameras, more than half
operated by government agencies, and the average
Londoner is thought to be photographed 300 times a

But many of these cameras record over their videotape
regularly. Officers have to monitor the closed-circuit
TV and struggle with boredom and loss of attention. 

By automating the monitoring and analysis, DARPA "is
attempting to create technology that does not exist
today," Walker explained. 

Though insisting CTS isn't intended for homeland
security, DARPA outlined a hypothetical scenario for
contractors in March that showed the system could aid
police as well as the military. DARPA described a
hypothetical terrorist shooting at a bus stop and a
hypothetical bombing at a disco one month apart in
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a city with slightly
more residents than Miami. 

CTS should be able to track the day's movements for
every vehicle that passed each scene in the hour
before the attack, DARPA said. Even if there were
2,000 such vehicles and none showed up twice, the
software should automatically compare their routes and
find vehicles with common starting and stopping

Joseph Onek of the Open Society Institute, a human
rights group, said current law that permits the use of
cameras in public areas may have to be revised to
address the privacy implications of these new

"It's one thing to say that if someone is in the
street he knows that at any single moment someone can
see him," Onek said. "It's another thing to record a
whole life so you can see anywhere someone has been in
public for 10 years." 

On the Net: 

DARPA contracting document:

===="The world is the natural setting of and field for all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions. Truth does not 'inhabit' only 'the inner man' or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world and only in the world does he know himself."

 Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945

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