Archive for the ‘San Antonio’ Category

Spatial Privacy at Risk: NAO, GEOINT and AT&T


All Points has pointed out an excellent in-depth writeup by CorpWatch describing the GEOINT conference held here in San Antonio.

Speaking of San Antonio and spatial privacy, take a look at what AT&T (also headquartered here) has been up to.

Bob Blakley points out a highly relevant article describing how AT&T gave the feds full access to massive amounts of internet traffic without any warrants.

Now that AT&T has rolled out remote monitoring, this potentially gives the government access to a lot more imagery. In effect the DHS has outsourced spying not just to corporations, but to private citizens as well.

Couple this with AT&T’s RFID program, and the spatial privacy issues become even more apparent. No doubt webcams tied to RFID readers can be programmed to follow certain RFID tags through space.

How would you like it if, for instance, one day you realized your underwear was reporting on your whereabouts?

— California State Senator Debra Bowen, at a 2003 hearing as quoted by wikipedia.

Even with all the spying tools though, AT&T decided to cut back on telecommuting anyway. Maybe they just don’t want to risk having the feds spy on their telecommuters communications. Better keep’em safe behind the firewall.

This copy of a Wall Street Journal article makes me wonder how much we in the civilian geospatial community are being co-opted:

James Devine, a senior adviser to the director of the Geological Survey, who is chairman of the committee now overseeing satellite-access requests, said traditional users of the spy-satellite data in the scientific community are concerned that their needs will be marginalized in favor of security concerns. Mr. Devine said DHS has promised him that won’t be the case, and also has promised to include a geological official on a new interagency executive oversight committee that will monitor the activities of the National Applications Office.


Mama is Watching You: AT&T rolls out Remote Monitoring

Behave yourself when you dine at Mama’s Cafe here in San Antonio. Mama, Ma Bell, and Big Brother … I guess this is what family dining is all about.

Addendum – Oh, and let’s not forget about Uncle Sam.

From New York Times article:

“It is Big Brother, but in this day and age, you need these type of tools” for theft protection, weeding out false accident claims and other risks, said Beaux Roby, owner of a chain of five Mama’s Café restaurants and two banquet halls in Texas. Mr. Roby has been using the system for nine weeks as part of a pilot program. “You have fraudulent claims from customers that trip and fall and things like that,” he said.

If AT&T’s remote monitoring is successful, I would think a map interface for selecting monitoring sites navigating the wireless sensor network would become a requirement for quickly finding the monitoring site you’d like to view. Or suppose you had an RFID detector as a monitoring device, you could choose a particular RFID and have an application that switches which video feed to monitor as the RFID tag is detected at different locations.

Theme Park Geography


I used my season pass this weekend to visit SeaWorld. Before entering, I had my fingerprint scanned and matched against the scan already on file for my card. While some people have a problem with this, I didn’t mind. I’m willing to cede personal info to a corporation. Now if the Highway department scanned my license plate as I drove congested freeways on my way to SeaWorld though, I’d likely protest …

You are being asked to participate in these efforts because the license plate of a vehicle registered in (your) name was randomly recorded.

Survey sent to Texas Drivers by Alliance Group

I’m sure when I go to a shopping mall cameras track my movements. I don’t have a problem with that either. In fact, I feel safer, at least in the parking garage. Once RFID catches on I suppose scanners will read what I’ve got in my bag and pop up ads for complementing items at other stores on nearby LCD displays. Not only will they know where I am, but where I’ve been and what I’ve bought. Maybe my Google RFID credit card will also transmit my googleID, so google ads will also appear on monitors as I walk around.

But don’t let the government issue national identity cards. People have every right to freely enter this country and remain anonymous. If they want to go to SeaWorld though, they’ll have to buy a ticket and surrender their identity. After all, we gotta draw the line somewhere.

When free society gets too chaotic I’ll just retreat to my SeaWorld where they know me so well, and where they make me leave my car behind and actually walk (yes, walk!) to get around.

Inside SeaWorld, I never worry about things getting ugly, like they did at MacArthur Park.
Remember The Prisoner?

I wonder how long it will be before Busch/Disney/SixFlags repackages theme parks as pedestrian oriented neighborhoods where people not only play but also live and work. I often hear the phrase “exclusive neighborhood” without really thinking about who is being excluded. I’m sure tightened security would be a selling point for such neighborhoods. I’m also betting they’ll see the light and invite Starbucks, perhaps even installing “no matter where you go, there you are” window dressing to keep the graying hippies from getting suspicious.