Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied on a Whole City - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic
In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality. Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012. “We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which unearthed and did the first reporting on this important story. The technology he’s trying to sell to police departments all over America can stay aloft for up to six hours. Like Google Earth, it enables police to zoom in on certain areas. And like TiVo, it permits them to rewind, so that they can look back and see what happened anywhere they weren’t watching in real time. If it’s adopted, Americans can be policed like Iraqis and Afghanis under occupation–and at bargain prices.
Persistence Surveillance Systems is the company behind the technology, as previously featured on One Visible Future.
How the Oculus Rift helped Roberta Firstenberg battle cancer
By the end of 2013, Roberta Firstenberg was losing her battle with cancer. After several months of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, she was told that the treatments were no longer effective. It was around this time that her granddaughter, Priscilla Firstenberg – a 2D and 3D video game artist – moved in to help take care of her. Pri would come home after work each night and sit with her grandma. The two would talk long into the evening until Roberta fell asleep. It was during this time that Pri decided to record her grandma’s most cherished memories and stories. One night, Roberta revealed an usual dream she’d had, where a future, time travelling version of Pri and her sister came to visit. They promised to take Roberta back into the future and cure her cancer, using a time travelling chair that would also enable her to explore and see the world once again. Roberta remarked how she missed the outside world, in particular how she could no longer step into her own yard. Her favourite pastime was caring for the garden.
[The Oculus Rift support team sent Priscilla and Roberta a development kit. Subsequently, Priscilla discovered her grandmother had also been photographed by a Google car, and appeared in Google Street View - the screenshot above, in the Oculus version.]
That night, Pri loaded up Street View and handed the Rift headset to her grandma. “I could see her smile really wide as she looked around. She smiled as she looked herself up and down, but then it started to fade as she remarked: I look so healthy there…” Standing behind Roberta is Spec, her dog who had died just months earlier. “Look how young Spec is,” Roberta said, then asked Pri to stop the feed. As she wiped away a tear it was obvious she’d had enough for the day.
Full story, including video, via above link.
'Ignore sat-nav' sign (by rowanC82)
A council has put up a sign warning lorry drivers to ignore their satellite navigation systems after faulty sat-nav directions caused traffic chaos in Wales. Vale of Glamorgan Council in South Wales is the first in the UK to use visual signs warning drivers not to believe sat-nav advice after once peaceful villages were reduced to bedlam when heavy-goods lorries got stuck in tiny country lanes. Now a sign aimed largely at foreign drivers has been put up on the outskirts of the village of St Hilary. “The proliferation of satellite navigation aids used in heavy goods vehicles, and their over-reliance, especially by overseas drivers, has presented itself as a problem within the Vale of Glamorgan,” a spokesman for the council’s highways department said.
'Ignore sat-nav' sign posted to protect village - Telegraph
Fitbit Is Now Officially Profiting From Users’ Health Data | Betabeat
Fitbit has started to sell its trackers by the thousands to employers along with “sophisticated tracking software,” says a new report from Forbes. With employees’ permission, employers can then track their workers’ health, see how active individual employees are and foster a little healthy competition. Wiring up companies so that employers can monitor workers’ health is becoming “one of the fastest growing parts of Fitbit’s business,” Fitbit CEO James Park told Forbes.
Soccer Fans Protesting E-Ticketing System Clash With Police in Turkey, via Adam H.
International soccer matches have a reputation for occasionally rowdy fans, but on Sunday Police in Turkey were dealing with a fan uprising not related to the outcome of a game but to a new e-ticketing system. Fans of the Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray soccer clubs took to the streets to protest a new e-ticketing system called Passolig that allows the operator of the system to view the ticket holder’s private data, including their national identity data and banking information. Police used tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse hundreds of protesters on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, according to a report in the Hurriyet Daily News.
X-Ray Scan Reveals 513 Migrants in 2 Trucks - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com
When police ran X-ray scanners over two cargo trucks at a checkpoint in southeastern Mexico on Tuesday, they made a surprising discovery: Inside the trailer were the ghostly shadows of 513 migrants — some suffering from dehydration — packed together in near-suffocating conditions. The police released an image of the harrowing scan, which shows how migrants sat in tight bundles or stood clutching cargo straps for hours of clandestine travel from beyond Mexico’s border with Guatemala.)
Cargo scanning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gamma-ray radiography systems capable of scanning trucks usually use cobalt-60 or caesium-137 as a radioactive source and a vertical tower of gamma detectors. This gamma camera is able to produce one column of an image. The horizontal dimension of the image is produced by moving either the truck or the scanning hardware. The cobalt-60 units use gamma photons with a mean energy 1.25 MeV, which can penetrate up to 15–18 cm of steel. The systems provide good quality images which can be used for identifying cargo and comparing it with the manifest, in an attempt to detect anomalies. It can also identify high-density regions too thick to penetrate, which would be the most likely to hide nuclear threats.
Sentry® Portal - American Science & Engineering
YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FAST AND THOROUGH. At crowded seaports, border crossings, and security checkpoints, high throughput is critical. So is high-quality imaging. The Sentry Portal system offers both—while ensuring safe drive-through operation with robust technology to avoid scanning the cab and driver. This compact drive-through system utilizes high-energy transmission X-rays—capable of penetrating up to 300 mm (11.8 in) of steel—to detect hidden threats and contraband in cargo containers, tankers, and large vehicles. The Sentry Portal system scans containers at a rate of up to 150 trucks per hour.
Twitter / contagious: “Hmm, nobody is clicking our banner ads. Let’s try them on print. (via @spencerholladay)”
Missing boy existed only on Facebook | World news | theguardian.com
Police searching for two-year-old Chayson Basinio knew it was a race against time to find the missing child, who had reportedly disappeared from a supermarket car park. The local judge opened an inquiry for kidnapping and sequestration and police divers dredged a lake, fearing the child may have drowned. As the days passed without any leads or clues, detectives at Allier near Moulins in the Auvergne prepared to warn relatives who had alerted them that they could find no trace of the boy. Which, in the circumstances, was hardly surprising. In fact, neither Chayson Basinio nor his parents existed – except in the virtual world of social media. Police had found photographs allegedly of the boy and his father, Rayane Basinio, 20, on Facebook, but absolutely no evidence that they were real.
Chilling App Reveals Security Cameras All Around You | Co.Design
Watch Your Privacy renders bulls eye-like hot spots on the ground where cameras could be filming, and it extends field-of-view cones from cameras themselves. This user interface does not blend in with subtlety. Cameras flood your view with red, yellow, and green iconography, and the relatively covert world of public surveillance is made wonderfully overt. If it feels ironic that Google Glass—another camera aimed at the world around you—is the platform for Watch Your Privacy, know that the irony isn’t completely lost on Veenhof. When using the app, Glass users automatically upload their own GPS coordinates. This tags every other Watch Your Privacy user in your field of view, but tags you, as a fellow Google Glass/camera wearer, in the process.
U.S. Air Force is testing Google Glass & building apps for battlefield use
The positive attributes “are its low power, its low footprint, it sits totally above the eyes, and doesn’t block images or hinder vision,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony Eastin, a behavioral scientist on the BATMAN team testing the glasses.
The BATMAN evaluation group is part of the U.S. Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing and is one of the military’s most distinguished research and development groups. It comprises both military and civilian behavioral and technology scientists. The BATMAN acronym stands for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided (K)nowledge.
Full Story: Venture Beat