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Big Brother goes to the Olympics

New Scientist has an article looking at the US$312 million surveillance system installed for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The eyes and ears consist of 1,000 high-res and infrared videocameras peppering the city. Cell and landline telephone calls are being recorded, converted into text, and “scanned for phrases that could be linked to terrorist activity.” The software’s developers say it speaks Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi, and other major languages.

John Pike [a defence analyst] believes other undisclosed measures are undoubtedly in place, such as face recognition from video footage. He says such surveillance technology has already proven its worth in intelligence gathering. “They’re basically the sort of stuff the National Security Agency has been using for some time,” he told New Scientist. “And they seem to place great faith in it.”

via Boing Boing

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1 comment to Big Brother goes to the Olympics

  • Guy Herbert

    Not that even half-way compentent terrorists would be conducting conversations en clair in English, Arabic or Farsi. Sometimes one feels sorry for would-be terrorists who aren’t good enough at it to trouble the dumb-weight of much so-called security. Their failure to do so provides a most unfortunate record of “success” for mass surveillance.

    This is the circular proof of the merit of Big Brother. If there’s no terrorism (crime, anti-social behaviour, …) it’s because of the surveillance, and so we need more surveillance to make sure it will continue to work. If there is something–anything–undesirable, we need more surveillance in order to suppresss it.