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  Has America become..'SNITCH' Central.? (Page 5)

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Topic:   Has America become..'SNITCH' Central.?

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Trust the Universe

1215 posts, Jul 2003

posted 01-03-2004 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We're all terrorists - don't ya know?

I find the name they used for this system (Matrix) quite interesting! TPTB will use any means to subvert and distract our attention away from finding the TRUTH of reality by assigning labels to a word with quite the opposite meaning. Pathetic!

And speaking of Matrix, I finally watched Matrix Reloaded (#2) last night. I could NOT believe they ended that movie right smack in the middle of a revelation! I was so ticked! Did anyone see the 3rd one - Matrix Revolution? Please tell me it has an ending and that it actually makes sense!?!?

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 01-03-2004 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes...I also find it IRONIC that they are actually calling it...MATRIX..

I told a buddy of mine about it and he looked at me like I had 15 heads or something.A few of my friends are still convinced that No NWO exists and the Government are our friends..probably watching too much football and eating MSG.

Pity. Ignorance is bliss for only so long. need to see "The Animatrix" now that you have seen the first two. It has aa LOT of information missing from the first two movies.

PS: What is NEO's name re-spelled with the same letters?...


[Edited 3 times, lastly by Mech on 02-10-2004]

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Trust the Universe

1215 posts, Jul 2003

posted 01-04-2004 01:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Mech: need to see "The Animatrix" now that you have seen the first two. It has aa LOT of information missing from the first two movies.

PS: What is NEO's name re-spelled with the same letters?...ONE

So I should watch Animatrix BEFORE I see Revolutions?

The symbolism I saw in Revolutions was amazing! There are so many parallels to the spiritual realm (in particular Christ spirit). I was floored quite a few times! I love the way the “choice” Neo made through hope and his love for Trinity had a direct impact on the levels of reality. Interesting how he could FEEL after his choice (for love) - where he could not before. Goes to show that Love IS All.

I did notice the symbolism of Neo = One. I also noticed the symbolism behind Trinity’s name? Trinity = a group of 3, a triad. And how many are in their little group? And what about Morpheus? In mythology he is the God of sleep and dreams – which would represent an aspect of their levels of reality. And this is all just surface symbolism. It was wild! I must see the end!!!

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 01-04-2004 03:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd see The Animatrix BEFORE you see Revolutions.

I'm sure its at most rental places now in the cartoon/Animation sections.

I won't give it all away..BUT.

#1. You will find out how Neo's friend "THE KID "saved himself"from the Matrix.

#2. You will find out what happened to the
ship "The Osiris" and her crew.

#3. You will find out how/when the machines
took over.

#4. You will find out how "we scorched the sky".

That's all I'll give away.

[Edited 2 times, lastly by Mech on 01-04-2004]

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 01-31-2004 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Total surveillance becoming reality

ZD Net

COMMENTARY--Last week the Supreme Court let stand the Justice Department's right to secretly arrest noncitizen residents.

Combined with the government's power to designate foreign prisoners of war as "enemy combatants" in order to ignore international treaties regulating their incarceration, and their power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or access to an attorney, the United States is looking more and more like a police state.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Justice Department has asked for, and largely received, additional powers that allow it to perform an unprecedented amount of surveillance of American citizens and visitors. The USA Patriot Act, passed in haste after Sept. 11, started the ball rolling.

In December, a provision slipped into an appropriations bill allowing the FBI to obtain personal financial information from banks, insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service, jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships without a warrant--because they're all construed as financial institutions. Starting this year, the U.S. government is photographing and fingerprinting foreign visitors coming into this country from all but 27 other countries.

The litany continues. CAPPS-II, the government's vast computerized system for probing the backgrounds of all passengers boarding flights, will be fielded this year. Total Information Awareness, a program that would link diverse databases and allow the FBI to collate information on all Americans, was halted at the federal level after a huge public outcry, but is continuing at a state level with federal funding. Over New Year's, the FBI collected the names of 260,000 people staying at Las Vegas hotels. More and more, at every level of society, the "Big Brother is watching you" style of total surveillance is slowly becoming a reality.

Security is a trade-off. It makes no sense to ask whether a particular security system is effective or not--otherwise you'd all be wearing bulletproof vests and staying immured in your home. The proper question to ask is whether the trade-off is worth it. Is the level of security gained worth the costs, whether in money, in liberties, in privacy or in convenience?

This can be a personal decision, and one greatly influenced by the situation. For most of us, bulletproof vests are not worth the cost and inconvenience. For some of us, home burglar alarm systems are. And most of us lock our doors at night.

Terrorism is no different. We need to weigh each security countermeasure. Is the additional security against the risks worth the costs? Are there smarter things we can be spending our money on? How does the risk of terrorism compare with the risks in other aspects of our lives: automobile accidents, domestic violence, industrial pollution, and so on? Are there costs that are just too expensive for us to bear?

Unfortunately, it's rare to hear this level of informed debate. Few people remind us how minor the terrorist threat really is. Rarely do we discuss how little identification has to do with security, and how broad surveillance of everyone doesn't really prevent terrorism. And where's the debate about what's more important: the freedoms and liberties that have made America great or some temporary security?

Instead, the Department of Justice, fueled by a strong police mentality inside the administration, is directing our nation's political changes in response to Sept. 11. And it's making trade-offs from its own subjective perspective--trade-offs that benefit it even if they are to the detriment of others.

From the point of view of the Justice Department, judicial oversight is unnecessary and unwarranted; doing away with it is a better trade-off. They think collecting information on everyone is a good idea because they are less concerned with the loss of privacy and liberty. Expensive surveillance and data-mining systems are a good trade-off for them because more budget means even more power. And from their perspective, secrecy is better than openness; if the police are absolutely trustworthy, then there's nothing to be gained from a public process.

When you put the police in charge of security, the trade-offs they make result in measures that resemble a police state.

This is wrong. The trade-offs are larger than the FBI or the Justice Department. Just as a company would never put a single department in charge of its own budget, someone above the narrow perspective of the Justice Department needs to be balancing the country's needs and making decisions about these security trade-offs.

The laws limiting police power were put in place to protect us from police abuse. Privacy protects us from threats by government, corporations and individuals. And the greatest strength of our nation comes from our freedoms, our openness, our liberties and our system of justice. Ben Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Since the events of Sept. 11 Americans have squandered an enormous amount of liberty, and we didn't even get any temporary safety in return.

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 02-13-2004 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Posted on Wed, Feb. 11, 2004

Police respond to federal lawsuit in drug sweep


Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Goose Creek police acted in their official capacity and did not VIOLATE STUDENT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS during a Stratford High drug sweep, during which officers with guns drawn ordered students to the floor, according a response to a federal lawsuit.

"Chief Harvey Becker was engaged in the performance of his official duties and at no time did he violate any clearly established constitutional rights of the plaintiffs, which were known or should have been known to him," said the 13-page response filed this week.

The filing also said the plaintiffs failed to state a cause of legal action or facts supporting why "the City of Goose Creek Police Department can be sued or held liable."

Seventeen Stratford students sued in December alleging police and school officials terrorized them during the Nov. 5 raid which attracted national attention.

Later, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of 20 other students alleging violations of constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure.

In the days after the raid, videotape of officers with guns drawn and students on the floor was televised nationwide. Officers found no drugs and made no arrests during the raid.

In December, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led hundreds through nearby North Charleston in protest.

The filings this week answered the first suit on behalf of the city of Goose Creek, its police department and its chief.

Earlier, the Berkeley County School District responded to the suit saying the raid violated no constitutional rights. The students who sued are not entitled to damages because the activities of district personnel "were justified at inception and reasonable in scope," it said.

The separate response on behalf of the city and its police department cited a defense of sovereign immunity and, as a first defense, said the students failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

The response also said student claims for punitive damages violate the double jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution "in that the defendant could be subjected to multiple awards of punitive damages for the same set of facts."

On Tuesday, the Berkeley County School Board gave initial approval to changes in how student searches are handled. Teachers or administrators should make "a reasonable attempt to contact" parents before any questioning of students, it said.

It also says searches will be limited in area and conducted only with trained and reliable dogs, avoiding physical contact between the dogs and students.

It requires that searches "be limited in scope" and that measures used be "reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the person searched and the nature of the suspected infraction."

As required by state law, school administrators must immediately call police after noticing students doing anything that may injure themselves, someone else or property.

Otherwise, administrators must confer with the superintendent before calling police.

After officers are called, they must consult with the superintendent on how to proceed in a way that will "have a minimally disruptive effect on school operations and student rights," the policy says.

As of Wednesday, no answers had been filed to the second lawsuit.

Information from: The Post And Courier

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swamp gas
Persuader of air molecules

Jersey City
1865 posts, Jun 2001

posted 02-13-2004 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swamp gas   Visit swamp gas's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ummm.. What about the Right to Privacy. Unreasonable search. Due Process.

No wonder drugs are such a problem. This is an idiot, and ham-fisted way of approaching it. It should be through the teaching of postitivr and negative aspects of each drug, every drug, including caffeine, alcohol, over-the-counter, mood enhancers, everything.

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 02-13-2004 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Smart Software Gives Surveillance Cameras a ‘Brain’

In these days of heightened security and precautions, surveillance cameras watching over us as we cross darkened parking lots or looking over our shoulders at airports may seem reassuring, but they’re only of use if someone is watching them. Researchers at the University of Rochester’s computer science laboratories have found a way to give these cameras a rudimentary brain to keep an eye out for us, and the research is already been licensed to a Rochester company with an aim toward homeland security.

“Compared to paying a human, computer time is cheap and getting cheaper,” says Randal Nelson, associate professor of computer science and creator of the software “brain”. “If we can get intelligent machines to stand in for people in observation tasks, we can achieve knowledge about our environment that would otherwise be unaffordable.”

Far from being an electronic “Big Brother,” the software would only focus on things for which it was trained to look—like a gun in an airport, or the absence of a piece of equipment in a lab. Nelson has even created a prototype system that helps a person find things around the house, such as where reading glasses were left.

Nelson set about experimenting with how to differentiate various objects in a simple black-and-white video image like that used in a typical surveillance camera. The software initially looks for changes that happen within the image, such as someone placing a cola can on a desk. The change in the image is immediately highlighted as the software begins trying to figure out if the change in the image is a new object in the scene, or the absence of an object that was there before. Using numerous methods, such as matching up background lines that were broken when the new object was set in front of them, the prototype system is accurate most of the time. It then takes an inventory of all the colors of the object so that an operator can ask the software to “zoom in on that red thing” and the software will comply, even though the soda can in question may be red and silver and overlaid with shadows.

The next step, however, is where Nelson’s software really shines. Nelson has been working for years on ways to get a computer to recognize an object on sight. He began this line of research over a decade ago as he wrote software to help a robot “shop”—picking out a single item, like a box of cereal, from several similar items. One of the tasks he recently gave his students was to set up a game where teams tried to “steal” objects from one another’s table while the tables were monitored by smart cameras. The students would find new ways to defeat the software, and consequently develop new upgrades to the system so it couldn’t be fooled again.

Though a six-month-old baby can distinguish different objects from different angles, getting a computer to do it is a Herculean task of processing, and more complicated still is identifying a simple object in a complicated natural setting like a room bustling with activity.

Unlike the baby, the software needs to be told a lot about an object before it’s able to discern it. Depending on how complex an object is, the software may need anywhere from one to 100 photos of the object from different angles. Something very simple, like a piece of paper, can be “grasped” by the program with a single picture; a soda can may take half a dozen, while a complex object like an ornate lamp may need many photographs taken from different angles to capture all its facets. With those images in mind, the software matches the new object it sees with its database of object to determine what the new object is.

The technology for this ‘smart camera’ has already been licensed to the local company PL E-Communications, LLC., which has plans to develop the technology to control video cameras for security applications. For instance, CEO Paul Simpson is looking into using linked cameras covering a wide area to exchange information about certain objects, be they suspicious packages in an airport or a suspicious truck driving through a city under military control. Even unmanned aerial reconnaissance drones like the Predator that made headlines during the current Iraqi war can use the technology to keep an eye on an area for days at a time, noting when and where objects move.

“We’re hoping to make this technology do things that were long thought impossible—making things more secure without the need to have a human operator on hand every second.” says Simpson.

Nelson and PL E-Communications were connected through the Center for Electronic Imaging Systems (CEIS), a NYSTAR-sponsored Center for Advanced Technology (CATs) devoted to promoting economic development in the greater Rochester region and New York State. CEIS develops and transfers technology from local universities to industry for commercialization, and by educating the next generation of leaders in the fields of electronic imaging and microelectronics design.

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 02-23-2004 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TIA (Total Information Awaareness) IS BACK.....




U.S. Pressing for High-Tech Spy Tools

Sun Feb 22, 2:27 PM ET

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Despite an outcry over privacy implications, the government is pressing ahead with research to create powerful tools to mine millions of public and private records for information about terrorists.

Congress eliminated a Pentagon office that had been developing this terrorist-tracking technology because of fears it might ensnare innocent Americans.

Still, some projects from retired Adm. John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness effort were transferred to U.S. intelligence offices, congressional, federal and research officials told The Associated Press.

In addition, Congress left undisturbed a separate but similar $64 million research program run by a little-known office called the Advanced Research and Development Activity, or ARDA, that has used some of the same researchers as Poindexter's program.

"The whole congressional action looks like a shell game," said Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks work by U.S. intelligence agencies. "There may be enough of a difference for them to claim TIA was terminated while for all practical purposes the identical work is continuing."

Poindexter aimed to predict terrorist attacks by identifying telltale patterns of activity in arrests, passport applications, visas, work permits, driver's licenses, car rentals and airline ticket buys as well as credit transactions and education, medical and housing records.

The research created a political uproar because such reviews of millions of transactions could put innocent Americans under suspicion. One of Poindexter's own researchers, David D. Jensen at the University of Massachusetts, acknowledged that "high numbers of false positives can result."

Disturbed by the privacy implications, Congress last fall closed Poindexter's office, part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and barred the agency from continuing most of his research. Poindexter quit the government and complained that his work had been misunderstood.

The work, however, did not die.

In killing Poindexter's office, Congress quietly agreed to continue paying to develop highly specialized software to gather foreign intelligence on terrorists.

In a classified section summarized publicly, Congress added money for this software research to the "National Foreign Intelligence Program," without identifying openly which intelligence agency would do the work.

It said, for the time being, products of this research could only be used overseas or against non-U.S. citizens in this country, not against Americans on U.S. soil.

Congressional officials would not say which Poindexter programs were killed and which were transferred. People with direct knowledge of the contracts told the AP that the surviving programs included some of 18 data-mining projects known in Poindexter's research as Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery.

Poindexter's office described that research as "technology not only for `connecting the dots' that enable the U.S. to predict and pre-empt attacks but also for deciding which dots to connect." It was among the most contentious research programs.

Ted Senator, who managed that research for Poindexter, told government contractors that mining data to identify terrorists "is much harder than simply finding needles in a haystack."

"Our task is akin to finding dangerous groups of needles hidden in stacks of needle pieces," he said. "We must track all the needle pieces all of the time."

Among Senator's 18 projects, the work by researcher Jensen shows how flexible such powerful software can be. Jensen used two online databases, the Physics Preprint Archive and the Internet Movie Database, to develop tools that would identify authoritative physics authors and would predict whether a movie would gross more than $2 million its opening weekend.

Jensen said in an interview that Poindexter's staff liked his research because the data involved "people and organizations and events ... like the data in counterterrorism."

At the University of Southern California, professor Craig Knoblauch said he developed software that automatically extracted information from travel Web sites and telephone books and tracked changes over time.

Privacy advocates feared that if such powerful tools were developed without limits from Congress, government agents could use them on any database.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who fought to restrict Poindexter's office, is trying to force the executive branch to tell Congress about all its data-mining projects. He recently pleaded with a Pentagon advisory panel to propose rules on reviewing data that Congress could turn into laws.

ARDA, the research and development office, sponsors corporate and university research on information technology for U.S. intelligence agencies. It is developing computer software that can extract information from databases as well as text, voices, other audio, video, graphs, images, maps, equations and chemical formulas. It calls its effort "Novel Intelligence from Massive Data."

The office said it has given researchers no government or private data and obeys privacy laws.

The project is part of its effort "to help the nation avoid strategic surprise ... events critical to national security ... such as those of Sept. 11, 2001," the office said.

Poindexter had envisioned software that could quickly analyze "multiple petabytes" of data. The Library of Congress (news - web sites) has space for 18 million books, and one petabyte of data would fill it more than 50 times. One petabyte could hold 40 pages of text for each of the world's more than 6.2 billion people.

ARDA said its software would have to deal with "typically a petabyte or more" of data. It noted that some intelligence data sources "grow at the rate of four petabytes per month." Experts said those probably are files with satellite surveillance images and electronic eavesdropping results.

The Poindexter and ARDA projects are vastly more powerful than other data-mining projects such as the Homeland Security Department's CAPPS II program to classify air travelers or the six-state, Matrix anti-crime system financed by the Justice Department (news - web sites).

In September 2002, ARDA awarded $64 million in contracts covering 3 1/2 years. The contracts went to more than a dozen companies and university researchers, including at least six who also had worked on Poindexter's program.

Congress threw these researchers into turmoil. Doug Lenat, the president of Cycorp Corp. in Austin, Texas, will not discuss his work but said he had an "enormous seven-figure deficit in our budget" because Congress shut down Poindexter's office.

Like many critics, James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology sees a role for properly regulated data-mining in evaluating the vast, underanalyzed data the government already collects.

Expansions of data mining, however, increase "the risk of an innocent person being in the wrong place at the wrong time, of having rented the wrong apartment ... or having a name similar to the name of some bad guy," he said.


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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 02-27-2004 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Strange concept: this car dobs you in to the speed camera

By Joshua Dowling, Motoring Editor
February 27, 2004

Tickets, please . . . logging in to the Sportivo Coupe concept car.

Disputing a speed-camera fine could soon be a thing of the past. Today, Toyota will unveil a car that takes away the guesswork when it comes to identifying the leadfoot in the family.

Finding the rightful recipient of the ticket could be as simple as sliding in a mobile phone-style SIM-card instead of a key. The card would contain details of the driver's licence and address.

Wireless technology would allow the car to communicate with the speed camera, and the fine could be deducted from the driver's credit card before he or she even made it home. But would anyone buy such a car?

At the moment, NSW law requires motorists who dispute a speed-camera fine to sign a statutory declaration that the driver was not the registered owner. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some motorists "share" their points with family members who may be reaching their demerit points limit.

There would be no such loophole with the Sportivo Coupe - if it were to be sold in showrooms. It is what the industry refers to as a concept car - a design tease for the Melbourne Motor Show, which opens today.

But its telematics systems are no trivial matter, according to the project manager, Paul Beranger.

"Telematics are going to be a part of our future, whether we like it or not," he said.

The smart card would not only open the doors for an authorised driver, but also set an individual's driving position, favourite radio stations and phone numbers.

Depending on the driver's experience and grade of licence, the card could control the engine power. And each driver's licence number could be displayed on the car's exterior instead of a number- plate.

As well, the car's electronic speedometer relies on signals from speed advisory signs to display the speed limit inside the car. The speedo dial reconfigures itself so that the prevailing limit sits at the easy-to-read 12 o'clock position.

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The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 03-02-2004 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Have your thumb ready to ride the bus

Pinellas County FL schools ponder a $2-million system that would require students to use their thumbprint to get on the bus.

By NORA KOCH, Times Staff Writer
Published February 28, 2004

The Pinellas school system is ready to approve a new technology that uses student fingerprints to keep track of who is riding school buses.

Beginning in the fall, the fingerprint system would identify students as they board and leave. The goal is to ensure they are getting on the right bus and getting off at the right stop.

School officials say the $2-million project will save money and dramatically improve safety for students, whose fingerprints will serve as authorization to board and disembark.

If the School Board approves the proposal March 9, Pinellas will become one of four Florida school districts in the process of implementing Global Positioning Systems with a student-tracking system.

"This is Management 101 in transportation. Now we will have good, factual information that we can use in a very timely manner to make our services as good as humanly possible," said Terry Palmer, the district's transportation director.

But some parents and national organizations are concerned about the implications of fingerprinting 45,000 bus riders, some as young as 5.

"This is probably a really good idea, but in my mind it was just this terrible feeling, like they're watching my kids wherever they go," said Nancy McKibben, mother of three teenagers at Palm Harbor University High School and president of the school's PTSA.

Critics say programs of this nature raise significant privacy concerns and teach students at a young age to accept what amounts to a "Big Brother" surveillance society.

"We are conditioning these children to understand that they have no personal space, no personal privacy," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Program on Technology and Liberty.

The School Board has given administrators a preliminary go-ahead, which allowed the district to put the proposal out for bid. Last week, the district sent schools a brief outline of the project to include in school newsletters.

"If my child was in elementary school, I would welcome this with open arms and say, "please, please, tell me my kid got on the bus and got off the bus,"' said School Board chairwoman Jane Gallucci.

Gallucci said the district plans to cover the system's $2-million price tag with savings from construction projects that came in under budget and from sources that are separate from monies for classroom costs and teacher salaries.

Superintendent Howard Hinesely said the district also plans to apply for a federal Homeland Security grant that could reimburse some of the cost.

In three years, the expense should be recouped through efficiency savings, Palmer said.

The state reimburses local districts for some transportation costs, based on the number of students riding the bus. With more accurate computerized accounting, Palmer said, the district will get more money from the state.

Palmer said the closer monitoring of bus routes and timetables will reduce driver costs by shaving 15 minutes per day per driver. That will lead to at least $432,000 in annual savings, he said.

School bus safety has been getting more attention since a January 2002 bus hijacking in Pennsylvania. A Berks County school bus carrying 13 students was overtaken by a man with a rifle, and found in Maryland six hours later when the hijacker turned himself into police.

Now districts want to keep track of where students are at all times. Many schools require identification cards with sensors or bar codes to log students in and out of schools, and some have started using similar devices on school buses.

Fingerprints, which can't be loaned out or traded between students, are the latest bus identification tool.

Under the Pinellas plan, the district's nearly 700 buses will be equipped with GPS transponders, student identification devices and communications equipment and software.

The system will allow the district to monitor the fleet's safety performance, watching out for speeding, railroad crossing procedures, stops and compliance with route assignments. The program also will provide detailed data on how many students use specific stops, and the efficiency of routes, particularly useful as the district adapts to the choice program.

Michelle Bianco of St. Petersburg put her three young children on a bus for the first time last week. Until then, she had been driving Travis, a kindergartener, and Trevor and Erika, third- and fourth-graders, to Jamerson Elementary School.

"I was a nervous wreck," she said. "I even followed the bus to school the first day."

Bianco felt she had reason to worry. On its morning trip, the bus drops off children at another elementary school before taking the rest to Jamerson. There have been times when kids have gotten off at the wrong school and a school official has had to go pick them up.

She thinks a fingerprint system would be a good idea. Not only would it prevent children from getting lost, she said she has no qualms about her children's privacy being compromised.

"I wouldn't be concerned about a privacy issue, because I know the School Board is very concerned about not letting anyone get hold of that information," she said.

School officials and the software company, GeoSpatial Technologies Inc., said student data will be safe. Fingerprints will be encrypted into a binary number, which will be linked to the student's school ID number. The bus database will be password protected, and kept separate from the database that holds a student's personal information.

But the privacy implications of such programs are "nightmarish," said Erich Wasserman, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit group in Philadelphia that advocates for civil liberties in schools and colleges.

"All over the country you have all sorts of infringements on privacy for the under-18 crowd. And those are time and time again substantiated for public safety," Wasserman said. "It's protection run amok."

But school officials say the safety benefits of the project far outweigh concerns about civil liberties.

"I think that's just another safety factor so we know the child was on the bus and got off the bus," said School Board member Lee Benjamin, who supports the project but said he wants to consider it further.

- Staff writer Donna Winchester and Times researchers Caryn Baird and Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Nora Koch can be reached at 727 771-4304 or

Pinellas schools are expected to send parents this explanation of the proposed system for school bus security:

"Next year our school system will install a new Global Positioning System (GPS) that will make riding the bus safer, more efficient and will provide parents with a new sense of security about their child riding the bus.

The new system (similar to what is already being used in private automobiles today) will allow the transportation department to know if a student is riding the bus, if he or she is riding the right bus, whether the student got on or off the bus at the right location and, in the event a child doesn't come home, where the last stop was when the child left the bus.

If a bus is late for pick up or drop off of students, transportation will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the bus and be able to keep schools and parents informed about arrival times. In addition, if a bus has an emergency, there is a driver "panic button" that will immediately alert the dispatchers to the problem and allow them to get assistance to the driver quicker.

By using a simple thumb printing process, each student will be accounted for on each bus in the district and that information will allow us to monitor the location of each child during the ride to and from school.

While the primary use of the GPS system will be to ensure the safety of our students, the system also will provide valuable information regarding the performance of our buses on the road and the efficiency of our drivers. It will also assist us in providing data required by the state for purposes of financial reporting for the students who ride our buses every day.

We are excited about this new system and hope that you will be too. Additional information will be coming out soon to schools and parents as we prepare for next school year."

"This is Management 101 in transportation: Now we will have good, factual information that we can use in a very timely manner to make our services as good as humanly possible,'' said Terry Palmer, Pinellas school district transportation director.

"This is probably a really good idea, but in my mind it was just this terrible feeling, like they're watching my kids wherever they go,'' said Nancy McKibben, mother of three teenagers at Palm Harbor University High School, and president of the school's PTSA.

"We are conditioning these children to understand that they have no personal space, no personal privacy,'' said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Program on Technology and Liberty.

"If my child was in elementary school I would welcome this with open arms and say "please, please, tell me my kid got on the bus and got off the bus,'?'' said School Board Chairwoman Jane Gallucci.
A primer on prints

Q: Does the Pinellas school system want to thumbprint all 112,000 students?

A: No. It wants to thumbprint the 45,000 students who ride buses. The prints will be encrypted into a database and tied to the student's identification number. The system will be used only to track students as they get on and off school buses.

Q: Who will have access to the thumbprints? Will they be public records?

A: Only school district employees managing the databases will have access to the prints and student data. The prints will not be public records.

Q: What if I refuse to have my children thumbprinted? Can they still ride a bus?

A: Yes. While parents can opt out, the district intends to explain to reluctant parents that there is no risk to printing their children. The database holding the prints will be password-protected and kept separate from another district database that holds student information.

Q: What happens to the thumbprints if the student drops out, transfers out of the district or graduates?

A: The prints will be deleted from the system.

- Source: Pinellas County Schools

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Bush Backs New Terrorism TV Series,1,13584,00.html?tnews

by Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn
Feb 26, 2004, 4:40 PM PT

In what would be a highly unusual action for a president, George W. Bush is apparently giving the White House seal of approval to a television series, D.H.S.--The Series, a drama about the Department of Home Security being introduced Thursday night to prospective networks at an Industry gathering.

President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge both "endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series," according to the show's producers.

Though the series' theme relates to the President's agenda on national security and international terrorism, it is virtually unprecedented for the White House to endorse such a fictional representation. It is unclear what input or relation if any the President or the real DHS would have with the show in the future.

HBO's recent series K-Street featured star turns from real-life politicos and the old F.B.I. show with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was said to have direct involvement from then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, but sitting presidents generally distance themselves from dramatic interpretations like West Wing.

DHS, a multimillion-dollar episodic series, will explore the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, teaming the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and National Security Administration (NSA) together with "first responders" such as local police, fire and safety administrators.

Producers at Steeple Productions claim "no other television series has ever had such access and clearance at the highest levels of real-life counter-terrorism agencies: The White House, Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, EPA, California State Counter-Terrorism Units, LAPD, LAFD and the Los Angeles and Orange County Sheriff's Departments. These government agencies have rallied their resources and support behind the vision of DHS--The Series, including President G. W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who both endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series."

When asked to elaborate on Bush and Ridge's involvement, show representatives told E! Online, "They love it. They think it is fantastic," and drew comparisons to the government's role on The F.B.I. No spokesperson for the White House who could comment on the show was available at press time; a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said he was aware of TV shows related to the department, but said nothing about this particular show.

The show is billed as a realistic action series following the exploits of Special DHS Agents Andrea Bacall and Jack Callahan, portrayed by actors Alison Heruth Waterbury and Timothy Patrick Cavanaugh. The characters venture from the halls of Washington, D.C., to war-torn locales as they fight fanatical terrorism. Producers claim "the series will educate, inform, and inspire the average citizens around the world about America's front-line defense/offense against those who have declared war on the U.S. and our democratic allies."

The APEX-Distribution/Steeple Productions reception for the show, to be held Thursday during the American Film Market in Santa Monica, teamed real-life government officials and the actors who portray them. Attendance was slated to include stars of the series Heruth-Waterbury and Cavenaugh, as well as Sean Astin, Kate Bosworth, Burt Reynolds, Eric Roberts, Kristy Swanson, Stephen Baldwin and Gary Busey. Homeland Security figures on the guest list included Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Orange County Sheriff Juan Corona plus counter-terrorism heads from LAPD, FBI, NSA, EPA and LAFD.

[Edited 1 times, lastly by Mech on 03-03-2004]

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posted 03-03-2004 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Mech:

Sure it’s good! Didn’t you know? Especially for those that want total control over the masses! Talk about total acclimation to a police state. What better way to bring the concept to SO MANY people at one time - through the boob tube! Argh!

Since the concept of this HBO Series was major news for me, I did some searching, and found further info. I can't even believe some of the comments in this article! s_home_theater?mode=PF

Homeland security meets home theater
New show lauding Bush slated for fall premiere
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff, 2/28/2004

WASHINGTON -- A Hollywood producer says he is set to air a new hybrid reality-fiction TV show glorifying the Department of Homeland Security and President Bush's counterterrorism efforts this fall, just before the presidential election.

Now in pilot production with eight episodes scheduled, "DHS: The Series" will follow two Homeland Security special agents on dangerous assignments. As in the recent HBO series "K Street," real-life law enforcement figures will appear in fictional plots, said Joseph M. Medawar, a producer with Steeple Distributions Inc.

"It has become a passion to educate the public through a series taking two agents . . . [who] put themselves on the line to serve this great country of ours and to protect us from the threat of terrorism," he said.

A trailer for the show opens with a voiceover from a Bush speech delivered after the Al Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It then asks "How do we know . . . that we are truly . . . safe?" before jumping through fast-cut images such as satellites, car chases, a 911 center, explosions, fighter jets, evacuations, a gun-toting jihadist, and Osama bin Laden.

The series became an instant conversation topic in Washington yesterday after an E! Online report quoted producers as saying the show had been endorsed by Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, both of whom "contributed sound bites" and offered high-level access extending to the White House itself.

The report raised eyebrows because the Bush-Cheney campaign intends to make the president's "war on terrorism" a central prong in his reelection strategy. Pushing a pseudoreality show on that subject as the campaign enters its final stretch would be unprecedented.

But spokesmen for the White House and Department of Homeland Security said they had no knowledge of the show, though they noted that the administration has called upon Hollywood to produce homeland security-related shows -- and has worked with the TV show "Threat Matrix" among others.

Medawar, however, insisted that he has met with both Ridge and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchison during recent trips by the officials to California. He also said US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, has been a "great ally" who "started the introduction to President Bush." A spokesman for Rohrabacher confirmed he was helping out as a "friendly adviser," though he said that meant telling them how to get access more than actually making calls himself.

Series co-star Alison Waterbury -- who said her preparation included a three-day course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and a trip to Israel, where she witnessed a suicide bombing -- added that the cast received a photograph back from Bush and a short note of encouragement and that they briefed the president's wife during a recent trip to California.

"I've met with first lady Laura Bush and briefly ran the idea by her," she said. "She was very interested in it, but didn't make any comment."

Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, confirmed that the show had filmed in an emergency call center and elsewhere.

Medawar -- whose production credits include the 1992 Stephen King film "Sleepwalkers" and 1986's "Hardbodies 2" -- dismissed any suggestion that the show has a political agenda, but said he is a staunch Bush supporter. "I think he's a great man, and he's done an unbelievable job for our country. He's a man of faith. He believes in God."

One poster for the series uses a picture of Bush and his Cabinet members with their heads bowed in prayer. Medawar said Christianity will be a central element of the show, whose trailer has an agent saying, "Hey Johnny, do me a favor -- say a prayer," as he runs into a hostage situation.

[Edited 4 times, lastly by JerseyBluEyz on 03-03-2004]

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posted 03-04-2004 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Grocery store goes to fingerprint payments
Piggly Wiggly debuts feature, privacy expert slams new technology
Posted: March 4, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2004

The Piggly Wiggly grocery chain has announced it will begin offering a high-tech payment feature allowing customers in several stores to pay using their fingerprints.

With a touch of the finger to a light-sensitive pad, patrons will be able to pay for their groceries, provided they have an account in the store's system that can be debited, reported the Columbia, S.C., State.

The paper says stores in Columbia and Charleston are set to install the technology.

According to Pay By Touch, the San Francisco-based firm whose product is being used, the system takes 10 seconds to OK a payment by fingerprint.

Customer Karen Seymore is open to using the technology, the State reports.

"Not that it takes a lot of time to scan a debit card, but the finger scan would be more convenient," said Seymore, 32. "I'd just want to make sure the information is secure and couldn't get out to someone wanting to do damage."

Pay By Touch claims customers' personal information is stored in a secure database and cannot be accessed by unauthorized parties. The company says other stores that have utilized the technology find three-fourths of their customers sign up to use the fingerprint system.

Many privacy activists, however, oppose fingerprint payment technology. Katherine Albrecht is founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.

"We're extremely opposed to it," she told WND. "Of all forms of security, fingerprints are perhaps the least secure."

Albrecht explained research that has been done to show how a mold of a fingerprint can be made that then can easily be used to make a gelatin print. The fake print can be fit over someone's finger to be used fraudulently in a scanner.

"Why would you pick something [for security purposes] that you leave everywhere?" she asked, referring to fingerprints.

Albrecht also says fingerprinting is one small step away from embedded chips being used for payment. She says her organization is opposed to any sort of technology that can be used to track shoppers.

"When you eliminate cash, you eliminate anonymity," she explained, saying any kind of technology that tracks purchases can be used by governments to control food supplies.

According to Albrecht, an independently owned Thriftway store in Seattle was the first to use fingerprint payment technology about a year ago. Kroger then followed suit.

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posted 03-04-2004 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


German revolt against RFID
By Jan Libbenga

Posted: 01/03/2004 at 09:43 GMT

Metro Group has abandoned a trial of RFID radio tags, after protests by digital rights activists.

The German retail giant has tested RFID tags at its Extra Store in Rheinberg, near Duisburg for nearly a year. The chips, hidden underneath price tags for cream cheese, shampoo and razor blades, were read over the air using radio waves, without physical contact and unnoticed by customers.

On Saturday FoeBuD, a digital rights group, demonstrated in Rheinberg against RFID tags. Only 40 protesters turned up, but they scored an immediate success. Metro is to replace 10,000 RFID-"enhanced" customer cards at the Rheinberg store.

But surely it won't be too long before the retailer returns again to RFID. This a key plank in its 'Future Store' platform, which calls for RFID tagging across the entire process chain, starting with 100 suppliers, ten central warehouses and approximately 250 stores. Around 40 IT vendors are involved in the roll-out, including IBM, Intel, SAP and Microsoft.

RFID technology creates new opportunities for spying on consumers. None of the chips are destroyed at the shop exit, so they continue to be readable by any interested party.

Katherine Albrecht, director of US-based CASPIAN (consumers against supermarket privacy invasion and numbering), said: "Consumers are telling businesses like Metro, Procter & Gamble, and Gillette that they won't tolerate being spied on through products or services."

Last week, a California state lawmaker introduced a bill to force businesses to tell customers that they're using RFID systems which can collect information about them.

Also last week RSA Security demoed a prototype of a RSA Blocker Tag technology at its user conference. The device prevents readers from performing unwanted scanning of people or goods. ®

[Edited 1 times, lastly by Mech on 03-04-2004]

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posted 03-04-2004 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Speaking of thumb/finger scanners. My daughter was in Disney (FL) this past week. When they went to Universal Studios, the kids all got lockers. Apparently, there is an index finger scan system in place to open and close the locker doors. Once you put your goods into a vacant locker, you go over to the main controller and punch in your locker number, scan your index finger, and the door closes. When you want to get your goods back, you simply do the same thing.

I did a search for locker finger scan systems at Disney, and didn’t find anything. But I did find out that they are using finger scans for annual and season pass holders. I had no clue! Goes to show you how often I go to Disney!

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posted 03-08-2004 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Teaching you to be a slave.

Total information awareness.

The government wants ALL of YOUR data...but COMPLETE privacy for them.

Sounds like a FREE country....

about as free as the former SOVIET UNION.

May I see your papers please?

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posted 03-11-2004 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Feds aim to make biometrics useful
BY Diane Frank
March 8, 2004

"Eye on biometrics"

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is working with other federal agencies that will develop an independent test to help agency officials determine if their commercial biometric fingerprinting systems are accurate and reliable.

Agencies are most interested in fingerprint technology — the most established form of biometrics — although facial recognition and iris scanning are not far behind. But the commercial solutions vary widely in both accuracy and reliability, which is why independent tests are needed, said Martin Herman, chief of NIST's Information Access Division in the Information Technology Lab.

Numerous factors can affect the reliability of fingerprint biometrics, such as the quality of the original scan and of additional scans, and the changing conditions in which they are taken.

"It's extremely tricky because it depends so much on the quality of data that you're using," Herman said. "If you can control the quality of the data collected, that makes a huge difference."

Developing standards for biometric data collection is only one of NIST's current projects. The goal is to improve the likelihood that agencies will be able to rely on biometrics.

Most agencies are investigating the use of biometrics as part of a larger authentication and authorization infrastructure. This includes the Homeland Security Department's U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, which launched in January, and the Department of Veterans Affairs' enterprisewide deployment of smart cards, which begins in July.

The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates much of the biometric work governmentwide through its Interagency Working Group on Biometrics, chaired by Kevin Hurst, a senior policy analyst in the office.

Subgroups of the working group are drafting plans to improve the interface for biometric systems to address the legal, privacy and policy issues. They also are developing an international testing and evaluation structure "to be able to include some consistency and make biometrics a science rather than an ad hoc collection of vendor products," Hurst said.

The plans will be available on the Biometrics Catalog Web site within the next three to four months, he said.

One of the top priorities of the working group is to figure out how to fuse different biometric data, often called modalities, within a single multimodal solution. Using more than one biometric tool raises the authentication level, and officials know that every biometric can be imitated.

"Each type of biometric definitely has its pros and cons," Hurst said. "One idea that we're looking at then is to combine multiple biometrics."

For the US-VISIT program, DHS officials are requiring two fingerprints for visas. In the future, however, they are looking to use multiple biometrics, according to undersecretary Charles McQueary, testifying before a House subcommittee last month. DHS, which has a close relationship with NIST, will be helping officials determine which biometric types would best serve the program's needs, he said.

VA officials will start their smart card program this July, issuing cards to more than 500,000 people, including employees, contractors and doctors, said Fred Catoe, program manager for the department's authentication and authorization infrastructure project.

Right now, the smart cards simply hold biometric information for a subset of users, because not everyone needs the higher level of security afforded by biometrics on top of a digital certificate, Catoe said.

The difficult decision that VA officials face is which biometric solutions to use, he said. Officials are evaluating fingerprint and iris scan solutions, and they are also involved with the initiatives under way at NIST to make sure that whatever technology officials choose fits with governmentwide standards, Catoe said

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posted 03-17-2004 11:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Look at what they're doing down under!

School roll could be replaced with eye scan
By Sherrill Nixon, Workplace Reporter
March 8 2003

A NSW high school is among dozens of organisations and companies planning to introduce high-tech security systems, such as iris recognition and finger scanning.

The school is talking to Argus Solutions, which specialises in iris-recognition technology, about replacing its traditional roll call with the system.

Argus sales director, Justin Hatfield, would not identify which school was considering the plan, but said it would revolutionise roll call by eliminating the associated costs and time.

"There [would be] cameras placed throughout the school ... the student looks into the camera and they are done and dusted," Mr Hatfield said.

"If roll call was between 9 and 9.15am, instead of three hours collating the data, at 9.15 and one second you get the results."

The NSW Government has spent millions of dollars on fences, alarms, closed-circuit television cameras and a 24-hour patrol service in recent years. Some NSW schools have introduced electronic attendance systems, where students swipe identity cards.

Iris-recognition is one of several forms of biometrics technology - the identification of people using biological attributes - being used to improve workplace security.

Argus Solutions has fitted the technology into 85 companies in Australia. Mr Hatfield said the iris was used as a means of identification because its tissue tears in a way unique to each person during development in the womb and never changes.

"The chances of another person having the same iris code as yourself on the planet is 10 to the power of 78," he said.

Biometrics include fingerprint recognition, finger scanning, retina scanning, voice recognition and face recognition.

Following a trial using Qantas air crew, a face-recognition system called SmartGate has been set up at Sydney Airport.

Workers in Woolworths supermarkets have been using finger scans to register their attendance for several years, while the scanning equipment has more recently replaced the clock-on, clock-off system in many NSW clubs.

These systems do not record an image of the fingerprint, but store information about the "geometry" of the finger that is checked and matched each time the finger is scanned on a sensor pad.

But a recent attempt by Qantas to introduce the same technology for its Melbourne baggage handlers was thwarted by staff members' concerns that it was an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

The airline abandoned the plan last month, opting instead for a system under which employees will swipe their electronic security cards to clock on.

The Australian Workers Union is among those unions concerned at the rapid spread of biometric technology, saying it raises health and privacy concerns that have not been adequately addressed.

At its recent national conference, delegates passed a resolution calling for a ban on the use of "Big Brother" biometrics until those concerns can be allayed.

"The privacy implications are huge," said AWU national secretary Bill Shorten this week.

"Who is maintaining the data base, what are the property rights if somebody takes over the company? Clearly they need to have some sort of protocols.

"We aren't saying you can just pretend the technology doesn't exist but there are clearly huge issues I think around privacy that do militate against its use."

The Federal Privacy Commissioner, Malcolm Crompton, delivered a paper on the topic last year, saying biometrics had the potential to enhance or intrude into a person's privacy. He promised to monitor whether existing privacy legislation was adequate to protect individuals.

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posted 03-21-2004 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seesh! Looks like Big Brother now wants acces to your bathroom AND bedroom!

The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service
RFID chips watch Grandma brush teeth
11:50 17 March 04 news service

Tiny computer chips that emit unique radio-frequency IDs could be slapped on to toothbrushes, chairs and even toilet seats to monitor elderly people in their own homes.

Data harvested from the RFID chips would reassure family and care-givers that an elderly person was taking care of themselves, for example taking their medication. Unusual data patterns would provide an early warning that something was wrong.

A group of Intel researchers demonstrated the technology to US government officials in Washington DC on Tuesday. The event aimed to show how embedded wireless chips could help tackle the care problems created by the rapidly rising number of senior citizens. Such networks have already been deployed to monitor the environment and scan for empty parking spots.

"This technology could enable people to age in [their homes] with greater dignity, safety and independence," says Eric Dishman, director of Intel's Proactive Health programme.

As we live for longer, the proportion of the population that is elderly is growing quickly. "As a result, the health system is facing a collapse," explains Kent Larson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Architecture, which also demonstrated technology at the event. "The centre of gravity has to move from the hospital and into the home."

Probabilistic reasoning

Intel's solution requires an elderly person to wear a glove embedded with a RFID reader the size of two AA batteries. The reader clocks any tagged objects that the person touches and wirelessly transmits their unique IDs to a central PC, which records the time.

Algorithms on the PC use "probabilistic" reasoning to infer what the person is doing. For some tasks, merely picking up an object such as a toothbrush is enough. But to determine that someone is making a cup of tea, a series of objects and their order must also be known.

Concerned relatives can then check on their loved one over the internet. The computer could even be programmed to pick up on unusual patterns automatically and alert relatives through an email or SMS message.

In the near future, Intel researcher Brad Needham plans to incorporate the readers in a necklace, to avoid the awkwardness of a glove. In the longer term he hopes to deploy a reader that does not have to be carried around. Instead of relying on proximity to record an object, the reader would use the movement of an object to infer that someone is using it.

Intel has already designed an RFID system that tracks a moving robot. The robot is tagged with three orthogonal chips. The reader not only picks up their unique IDs, but uses the strength of the three signals and how they change over time to detect the robot's movement. This technology could be transferred to the smart home, says Needham.

Smart bed

Other companies and universities also showcased wireless healthcare technologies including a bed that monitors a person's weight and movements. Larson's team at MIT demonstrated embedded systems that rely on a network of embedded cameras and temperature sensors to make inferences about behaviour.

But Don Patterson, at the University of Washington and an Intel intern, points out that RFID tags are cheaper and require no infrastructure to be deployed. In fact, they will soon be present on most objects anyway, he says, as supermarkets and manufacturers use them to speed up supply chains and catch shop lifters.

"It's just a question of whether we use them in some way that benefits the consumer as well as the shop owner," he says.

RFID technology has alarmed privacy advocates in the past. But Needham points out that for the elderly it is a trade-off: "This technology could mean difference between being able to stay in your own house or moving to a nursing home. Would you rather have a chip on your toilet seat or a person in the bathroom with you?"

[Edited 1 times, lastly by JerseyBluEyz on 03-21-2004]

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posted 03-21-2004 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad I don't own a cell phone! Besides the fact that I don't want those ELF waves shooting directly into my head, here's another reason not to own one!

Nokia Unveils RFID Phone Reader

The world's largest provider of cell phones is offering a kit that will enable workers to scan tags remotely and transmit data via their cell phones.

March 17, 2004—Nokia, the Finnish cell phone maker, today unveiled the world's first RFID-enabled GSM cell phone at the CeBIT2004 trade show in Germany. The Nokia Mobile RFID Kit features two RFID reader shells—plastic housings that fit over a cell phone—20 13.56 MHz tags and software to enable mobile workers to scan tags and access information remotely.

Nokia expects the kit to appeal to companies such as Halliburton and Schlumberger, which provide field services for the oil and gas industry, as well to utilities and companies providing security for buildings.

"About two and a half years ago, we started looking at RFID as a way of empowering people to do things," says Gerhard Romen, head of global market development at Nokia New Growth Business, the product development unit that created the RFID kit. "Today, RFID tags tend to be mobile and readers are stationary, but things get really interesting when you turn that around and make the tags stationary and the readers mobile."

The RFID phone might be used by a engineer in the field checking a meter on a gas pipeline or other industrial equipment. The engineer would scan the tag attached to a meter to identify which meter was being read. The phone-reader would record the time of the read, and then the engineer could key in the meter reading into the phone using the buttons on the phone. The data could be stored in the phone and downloaded to a PC via an infrared connection.

Data can also be transferred via the GSM system. For example, a security guard walking a building could read a tag at each door whenever the guard checks the door to confirm it is locked. That information could be sent to a control center via the cell phone, and someone in the control center could monitor the guard's progress in real time.

In another application, a telecommunications repair technician could read a tag on a malfunctioning switching station or other remote asset. The phone would be programmed to go to a specific Web site to download a service history and a schematic diagram of that switching station to the cell phone. The engineer could then learn what previous problems that site had and which cables are carrying electric current.

Another feature triggers the phone to call a predefined number when a particular tag is read. So for instance, a security guard might scan a tag on his belt when in trouble and the cell phone would automatically call for help.

The software for the reader is written in the Java programming language. Nokia has a community of developers who create software for the phones, and Romen says he expects these developers to create new applications for customers.

The new RFID reader works with the Nokia 5140, a GSM phone that is water resistant and more rugged than a typical cell phone. Users simply slide off their existing Xpress-on cover and slide on the RFID reader. The software needed to run the reader is automatically loaded into the phone and the reader becomes operational.

The readers, which are made by third-party manufacturers that Nokia is not identifying, use the ISO 14443A communication protocol, so companies that purchase the kit can buy additional tags from Philips Semiconductor and other vendors. The read range is typically 2 to 3 centimeters (0.8 to 1.2 inches).

Nokia has been working with several companies over the past year to test how convenient and easy to use the device is. This is an important issue, according to Romen. "We've been testing it in the energy, gas supply and security industries," he says. "One of the key things with a new technology is understanding the requirements of end users who are not IT experts. Can they read the screen without glasses? What happens if I drop it? How long does the battery last?"

Romen says that the battery in the cell phone will last several days when reading 50 to 80 tags per day. The company believes there is a significant business market for the device, but also expects consumers will eventually discover the benefits of using their cell phone to control RFID applications. While it will be several years before consumer applications are common, he envisions consumers one day scanning items in stores and automatically downloading information on the product from the Web, or scanning the tag on a product to register it with the manufacturer.

Pricing for the RFID kit, which will be available at midyear, will be set by Nokia resellers. Several companies, including Minec and Magnatec Technologie, sell a handheld, GSM-enabled computer that can be equipped with an RFID reader. These sell typically sell for $1,200 to $1,500. The Nokia kit should be significantly less than that, since the GSM-enabled phone is sold separately and it doesn't have all the capabilities of a handheld computer.

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posted 03-21-2004 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We all already know that Open Border Bush WANTS all those Mexican immigrants coming into our country and taking American jobs. Here is a flying drone that will watch that American borders for us. You think he wants to keep them from coming in, or us from getting out?

US To Deploy Unmanned Drones In Skies Over Mexican Border
Washington (AFP) - Mar 17, 2004

The United States plans to deploy unmanned planes, or drones, into the skies over the border between Arizona and Mexico to guard against potential terrorist activities and clamp down on illegal border crossings, a top US security official said.

The drones will be flown remotely above the border under the ABC (Arizona Border Control) program in a bid to beef up border security, explained Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at the US Department of Homeland Security.

"This landmark program supports the priority mission of Homeland Security agencies to detect and deter terrorist activities and cross-border illegal trafficking of people and drugs," Hutchinson said in a statement.

Drones such as the "Predator" were used by the CIA in the war that ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan, they have also been used by the US military in the Balkans.

Hutchinson said the drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), would give extra eyes to the Tucson Sector border patrol in the southern state of Arizona which has recently seen its manpower increased by 200 to a total 2,000 officers.

Additional border patrol helicopters will compliment the drones in their missions, he added.

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Commitees of Correspondence

The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 03-28-2004 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Cops In Louisiana Can Now
Search Homes Without Warrants

NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.

Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.

The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."

The ruiling stems from a lawsuit filed in Denham Springs in 2000.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said the new power will go into effect immediately and won't be abused.

"We have to have a legitimate problem to be there in the first place, and if we don't, we can't conduct the search," Defillo said.

But former U.S. Attorney Julian Murray has big problems with the ruling.

"I think it goes way too far," Murray said, noting that the searches can be performed if an officer fears for his safety -- a subjective condition.

Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans, but if there are, they will be handled.

"There are checks and balances to make sure the criminal justce system works in an effective manor," Defillo said.

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Commitees of Correspondence

The Minuteman State
5995 posts, Jun 2001

posted 04-02-2004 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mech   Visit Mech's Homepage!   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

March 2004
McDonald's ends Speedpass test
March 31, 2004

We've been reporting with breathless anticipation for about a year now on how contactless payment systems are paving the way for customer loyalty solutions in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space. But Cardline reports this week that the biggest player in the space, McDonald's Corp., has put the brakes on its own contactless payment migration. McDonald's says it will stop accepting ExxonMobil Corp.'s radio-frequency Speedpass transponders for payment as of June 30.

The fast-food chain began testing Speedpass acceptance in 440 Chicago and Northwest Indiana restaurants in 2000. The process is the same as using Speedpass at the gas pump at Exxon and Mobil stations: register your favorite credit or debit card, wave your key fob at the point of sale and off you go.

"We thought the test was going well, but McDonald's decided to use a different credit card payment platform," an ExxonMobil spokesperson told Cardline.

What this decision means for the future of contactless payment in the QSR space is anyone's guess. McDonald's is proceeding apace with its plans to accept PIN- and signature-based debit and credit cards with traditional magnetic stripes at all participating restaurants nationwide. It may be that they liked the technology, but are looking to squeeze a better deal out of a competing payment system such as MasterCard's Paypass. McDonald's isn't talking, so we'll have to wait and see.

But whither Speedpass? Don't shed any tears for ExxonMobil just yet. There are currently 6 million active Speedpass users in the U.S., and the payment platform is accepted at more than 8,500 Exxon and Mobil locations across the country, with 750 new stations signing on this year. Stop & Shop supermarkets in Boston also continue to test the technology, and the system also works at more than 1,600 Mobil and Esso locations in Canada, Japan and Singapore.

For more information about ExxonMobil's plans for Speedpass, read COLLOQUY's recent interview with Joe Giordano, ExxonMobil's vice president of business development with the Speedpass network, in Volume 11, issue 3, 2003.

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Trust the Universe

1215 posts, Jul 2003

posted 04-15-2004 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JerseyBluEyz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recently we talked about scanning at amusement parks - Busch Gardens has jumped on that band wagon!

Theme park using hand scanners to ID
In a first for amusement parks, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA will be using biometric data to identify season pass holders

Busch Gardens
Updated: 5:27 p.m. ET April 12, 2004

Hand scanning has taken the place of photo identification for season-pass holders at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

The new system will allow pass holders to enter the park more quickly, prevent fraud and eliminate the need to wait in line to get photo IDs taken, said Doug Stagner, Busch Gardens' vice president of operations. “We're trying to streamline the process,” Stagner said. “We need some way to match the person to the pass and this is a new, quicker way to do it.”

More than 1,000 people have been scanned using the new "hand geometry" system, Stagner said.

The process, called biometrics, uses electronic devices to verify identity by recognizing unique characteristics such as fingerprints, hands, and the iris of the eye. The technology is used widely in verification systems at airports and security-sensitive facilities. At airports, biometric systems are typically linked to a national database, which has enabled airlines to do background checks, but critics have raised privacy concerns.

The park's HandEScan device measures the top of a person's hand, taking in finger height, knuckle shape and distance between the hand's joints. It takes two separate images and then combines the photos to create a 3-D image, according to officials. The information is stored in an internal system and then matched to each person's season-pass bar code upon entry to the park, Stagner said.

“There's really no privacy issue,” he said. “It's not fingerprinting. This is just for our internal use, matching the person to the pass.”

But not everyone is convinced. Rebecca Ouellette, who has been a season-pass holder at Busch Gardens since she was 12, is skeptical. “It's hard to believe that this isn't like fingerprinting,” said the 27-year old Williamsburg resident. “I wouldn't want my fingerprints in a big Busch Gardens file.”

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