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Ever fancied global domination?

January 22, 2009

The always interesting Very Short List draws my attention to a neat bit of web design cum surveillance art installation: the Henchman’s Helper. Designed by Joel Friesen, it is a window onto some deranged mind bent on global domination, showing a retro atompunkish console on which are displayed over 40 feeds from satellite mapping applications, webcams and weather channels. What’s more, the code is Creative Commons-licensed so anyone can adapt it to their own evil purposes!

This is all good fun but it also brings to mind something I reported on last year, so-called ‘surveillance in a box’ products (see the article in New Scientist), integrated data-fusion systems, combining automated searching and cross-matching of data from multiple sources, such as Siemens and Nokia’s joint venture into so-called ‘Lawful Interception’ Intelligence Platforms. This could lead to powerful multifunctional surveillance, including things like telephone monitoring being available to nations with dubious human rights records, private corporations and even wealthy individuals as the cost of such packages comes down. This will make what Greg Elmer calls ‘personal information economies’ into private intelligence services for some…

'Lawful Inerception' by Siemens / Nokia

'Lawful Inerception' by Siemens / Nokia

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