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  • seandodson 10:47 pm on March 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , mvrdv, , surveillance   

    Stacked: MVRDV’s vision for future Shenzhen 


    Shenzhen, located north of Hong Kong, both fascinates and frightens me in equal measure. I’ve been writing about how the city is being used as a social laboratory to test the world’s most sophisticated city-wide surveillance system in the latest issue of Icon.

    But it’s the recent competition to re-design its central business district that I’m linking to today. Steven Holl Architects actually won the competition, but it is the four towers (two of which are above) proposed by Rotterdam’s MVRDV that caught my eye. The towers, stacked precariously almost like a pile of books, provide shelter for large public spaces below. It’s an original and bold urban vision designed to encourage street life in Shenzhen: the soon-to-be surviellance capital of the world (via SpaceInvading).

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    • AG 8:26 am on March 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Sean, I’d be very stoked to see a copy of your Icon article, as I may not be able to get my hands on a physical copy here. Is there any way I could trouble you for one?

    • Yann LB 7:22 am on July 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      That was by far the project I prefered! I live in Shenzhen and i would have liked to see these buildings! They’re fantastic!

  • seandodson 4:47 pm on February 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: biometric, , hacker, , no2ID, passports, , , surveillance,   

    Why our police can’t read the new ID cards, but our hackers can 

    Originally uploaded by opexxx

    It’s been a bad week for ID cards. The UK government admitted on Thursday that neither its police nor its border guards had any current capacity to read or store the biometric data that is held on the damned things. Responding to a Freedom of Information request by the tech site silicon.com, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) revealed that “no police stations, border entry points or job centres have readers for the card’s biometric chip”, that despite the fact that ID cards have been issued to foreign nationals in November last year, with the IPS expecting to issue 50,000 ID cards by April.

    Elsewhere, hackers in the US said that they had built a mobile platform that can clone large numbers of the unique electronic identifiers used in US passport cards – using off-the-shelf equipment costing just $250. UK hackers have already done something similar.

    Quite apart from the many moral objections to the ID card – and the astronomical cost of issuing them, – it seems that, according to a growing body of evidence, the cards are not even fit for purpose: recording and storing our biometric data.

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  • seandodson 11:28 am on January 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: big brother, david rowan, face recognition, , , identity cards, , surveillance, , ,   

    Face recognition technology: why Big Brother will have no trouble recognising you 

    David Rowan is back in the Times (of London) warning of the rise of face recognition technology. He says that “FRT” will have many life-enhancing applications but equally offer many oppportunities to increase our surveillance.

    “So let’s understand this: governments and police are planning to implement increasingly accurate surveillance technologies that are unnoticeable, cheap, pervasive, ubiquitous, and searchable in real time. And private businesses, from bars to workplaces, will also operate such systems, whose data trail may well be sold on or leaked to third parties – let’s say, insurance companies that have an interest in knowing about your unhealthy lifestyle, or your ex-spouse who wants evidence that you can afford higher maintenance payments.

    Rather than jump up and down with rage – you never know who is watching through the window – you have a duty now, as a citizen, to question this stealthy rush towards permanent individual surveillance. A Government already obsessed with pursuing an unworkable and unnecessary identity-card database must be held to account.”

  • seandodson 4:01 pm on October 12, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , doctorow on ID cards, EFF, , , orwellian, orwellian future, , , surveillance,   

    Cory Doctorow on ID cards 

    Cory Doctorow

    Originally uploaded by
    Aleksi Aaltonen

    Cory Doctorow, the Canadian science fiction author (and privacy advocate), writes about what it means to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID ID card in Britain. Doctorow has been co-opted into the pilot programme for ID cards because of his spousal visa. The scheme is also being forced on foreign students (who along with airline pilots seem to be up in arms) and will eventually be extended to everyone in the UK, if the government get its way.

    This is one of the reasons why he thinks the cards are wrong:

    “My family fled the Soviet Union after the war. They were displaced people (my father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan) who destroyed their papers to protect themselves from the draconian authorities who sought to limit their travel and migration. I used to think it was ironic that my family had gone from Europe to Canada and back to Europe again in a generation, but now I don’t know how long the Doctorows will be staying in Europe — or at least in the UK. The green and pleasant land has suspended habeas corpus, instituted street searches without particularlized suspicion, encourages its citizens to spy and snitch on each other, and now has issued mandatory universal papers that will track we dirty immigrants as we move around our adopted “home,” as part of a xenophobic campaign to arouse fear and resentment against migrants.”

  • seandodson 11:21 am on October 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bricolabs, , , network cultures, , , , surveillance,   

    The internet of things: a critique of ambient intelligence and the all-seeing network of RFID 

    Delighted to see that my friend Rob van Kranenburg’s pamphlet, on the imminent arrival of the internet of things, has finally been published. I must confess I collaborated with Rob on the text and wrote the forward for him. You can download a PDF here.

    Cities across the world are about to enter the next phase of their development. A near invisible network of radio frequency identification tags (RFID) is being deployed on almost every type of consumer item. These tiny, traceable chips, which can be scanned wirelessly, are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the internet in an instant. This so-called ‘Ambient intelligence’ promises to create a global network of physical objects every bit as pervasive and ubiquitous as the worldwide web itself. Some are already calling this controversial network the ‘internet of things’, describing it as either the ultimate convenience in supply-chain management, or the ultimate tool in our future surveillance.

    This network has the power to reshape our cities and yet it is being built with little public knowledge of consent. Rob van Kranenburg examines what impact RFID, and other systems, will have on our cities and our wider society; while also ruminating on what alternative network technologies could help safeguard our privacyand empower citizens to take power back into their own hands. It is both a timely warning and a call to arms.

    The Internet of Things will be officially launched on Tuesday 28 October 2008 at 17h00 at the Waag Society, Theatrum Anatomicum, Nieuwmarkt 4, Amsterdam.

    • To receive a copy of The Internet of Things send an email to books (at) networkcultures.org

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    • edward 1:41 pm on October 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      “A near invisible network of radio frequency identification tags (RFID) is being deployed on almost every type of consumer item”

      Hmmm, is it 2002 already? RFID “on almost every type of consumer item” was indeed widely prophesied back then, but it seems that today, RFID has only found significant uptake in a) tracking pallets through big warehouses (a la WalMart), and b) one-off art projects. But maybe I’m wrong…

  • seandodson 12:14 am on August 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , surveillance   

    Naomi Klein: You are being awed by China’s sheer awesomeness 

    I’m a little late posting this, but after a week of the Olympics, I think Naomi Klein is bang on the button again. We are being dazzled by the games.

    “The games have been billed as China’s “coming out party” to the world. They are far more significant than that. These Olympics are the coming out party for a disturbingly efficient way of organizing society, one that China has perfected over the past three decades, and is finally ready to show off. It is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarianism communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism. Some call it “authoritarian capitalism,” others “market Stalinism,” personally I prefer “McCommunism.”

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  • seandodson 11:43 am on July 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , hong kong, , , , , surveillance,   

    Shenzhen: China’s emerging panopticon … and it’s coming here soon 

    Situated immediately north of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is a city that has gone from nought to 12 million in less than 30 years. Naomi Klein describes the emerging megacity in Rolling Stone as a large industrial sprawl with a glittering and increasingly glamourous core:

    “Newer neighborhoods like Keji Yuan are packed with ostentatiously modern corporate campuses and decadent shopping malls. Rem Koolhaas, Prada’s favorite architect, is building a stock exchange in Shenzhen that looks like it floats … a still-under-construction superlight subway will soon connect it all at high speed; every car has multiple TV screens broadcasting over a Wi-Fi network. At night, the entire city lights up like a pimped-out Hummer, with each five-star hotel and office tower competing over who can put on the best light show.”

    But there is, she says, a darker flip side to Shenzhen:

    “Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range”

    She ends with the note that the Western companies who have helped install the Chinese “Golden Shield” are now looking for new markets, somewhat closer to home.

    • John Feeney 9:13 pm on July 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Coming soon to a city near you. It’s not camera that’s in question here, it the source that is controlling the units and content. That has always been the issue when Surveillance surfaces.

      It is sad we as a people cannot take the same energy used in screaming about Privacy or liberties lost and put the same effort to understanding how we can take this technology to the next level beyond this “All Seeing Eye” concept.

      Why is no one exploring the possibilities of having 10 cameras on one street corner an using the content to generate marketing material an say promoting the same streets as an example of how this can work for the better.

  • seandodson 3:37 pm on April 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, ambient TV, Cambridge, , , , mongrel, , , , surveillance, video sniffing   

    The secret art of video sniffing 

    Video Sniffing might sound like a punk fanzine for a generation weaned on YouTube and in a way, that is exactly what it is. The Guardian’s Film and Music section today published my report on the practice of tuning into the wireless frequencies used by CCTV cameras in order to use the images for short films. The article also talks to Manu Luksch of Ambient TV about her film Faceless, which was made by using your legal right to claim CCTV footage of your own image.

    • akarsh 7:10 pm on May 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      can u tell me how can we capture the video from the cctv and direct me since i want to make a short movie too
      thank u

    • seandodson 7:27 pm on May 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      You need a cheap wireless video receiver and a portable screen

  • seandodson 12:10 am on January 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , surveillance   

    Who big brother is watching right now 


    Privacy International has just released its 2007 International Privacy Ranking. The bad news is that black, in the map above, represents “endemic surveillance societies” and that includes the UK which according to the annual report, “again fell into the “black” category along with Russia and Singapore.”

    More bad news: “The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance of privacy safeguards.”

    There is hope for the UK, mind. While it might be the worst ranking country in the EU, for the first time Scotland has been given its own ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales.

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