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Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon…
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Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us… (utgåvan 2019)

av Arthur Holland Michel (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
464447,779 (4.5)Ingen/inga
The fascinating history and unnerving future of high-tech aerial surveillance, from its secret military origins to its growing use on American citizens Eyes in the Sky is the authoritative account of how the Pentagon secretly developed a godlike surveillance system for monitoring America's enemies overseas, and how it is now being used to watch us in our own backyards. Whereas a regular aerial camera can only capture a small patch of ground at any given time, this system--and its most powerful iteration, Gorgon Stare--allow operators to track thousands of moving targets at once, both forwards and backwards in time, across whole city-sized areas. When fused with big-data analysis techniques, this network can be used to watch everything simultaneously, and perhaps even predict attacks before they happen.      In battle, Gorgon Stare and other systems like it have saved countless lives, but when this technology is deployed over American cities--as it already has been, extensively and largely in secret--it has the potential to become the most nightmarishly powerful visual surveillance system ever built. While it may well solve serious crimes and even help ease the traffic along your morning commute, it could also enable far more sinister and dangerous intrusions into our lives. This is closed-circuit television on steroids. Facebook in the heavens.       Drawing on extensive access within the Pentagon and in the companies and government labs that developed these devices, Eyes in the Sky reveals how a top-secret team of mad scientists brought Gorgon Stare into existence, how it has come to pose an unprecedented threat to our privacy and freedom, and how we might still capitalize on its great promise while avoiding its many perils.  … (mer)
Medlem:Pedroski
Titel:Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us All
Författare:Arthur Holland Michel (Författare)
Info:Mariner Books (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 336 pages
Samlingar:Önskelista
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us All av Arthur Holland Michel

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I purchased this book from @bookofthemonth to read. All opinions are my own. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Eyes In The Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How it Will Watch Us All by Arthur Holland Michel. This book makes any conspiracy theory I had about our Government that much more real. "Big Brother" is always watching. The movie Enemy of The State may be very real, very soon. An amazing story that will really make you think about what you are doing when you think no one is watching. Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Twitter @jason_stacie, Facebook, Amazon, www.goodreads.com/stacieboren and my blog at readsbystacie.com ( )
  SBoren | Aug 6, 2020 |
It wasn't long into the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that Rumsfeld realized the quantum difference between earlier wars and the new situation. Formerly, satellites and airplanes would take still pictures which would then be analyzed and bombed or whatever. Airfields and buildings did not move so there was time. Even tanks moving on a road had limited options where they might proceed and their speed was easily known. Now, the bad actors didn't even belong to a state, they were an amorphous group of individuals who could disappear from a location with the start of an ignition.

Predator drones had been around for a while and had increased in sophistication. They could now fly higher and had cameras with resolution such that they could pick out an earring from 20,000 feet. What Rumsfeld wanted was video to follow a moving target. Enter "Stare". These video cameras coupled with a drone like the Predator could follow a man for hours, circle and wait if need be. One great missed opportunity was the targeting of Osama Bin Laden before 9/11. He was spotted and followed but for some unexplained reason it was decided not to fire on him. A lost opportunity, but then perhaps it was figured he hadn't done anything yet.

Technical problems in developing the Gorgon Stare were overcome by melding commercial hardware and software. Cell phone cameras were linked together in an array that provided 176 times the megapixel of just one cell camera and then they discovered the best software for manipulating the huge number of images the cameras collected was in video game boxes. The result was stunning.

The result was wide-area extremely sensitive cameras and recording. It has been tested by several agencies under the guise of those manufacturing the devices, usually done in secret because of fears the public might not be especially receptive to the idea of being under constant surveillance. Proponents point to assorted successes: catching bad guys after crimes have been committed by following them back to their dwellings, maximizing resources in wildfires, traffic control in real time, even something as prosaic as helping drivers find parking spots at large events. NASCAR hired one to watch over a race and the operator, bored to tears, realized after watch a car spend two hours trying to find a parking place when he could see several available, that had drivers had access to his information, and they had purchased just one soda during the time saved, that NASCAR would have paid the fee for the surveillance several times over.

There are myriad uses for such wide-area-surveillance, the technology for which has exploded. It used to be thought that 100 megapixels (your phone camera has about 10 megapixels) would be plenty. The latest model now sports 40 GIGApixels and there is no end in sight. The cameras are smaller, the processing power and storage cheaper. The civilian applications are numerous. One demonstration over an unnamed city in the south suggested the expensive (but getting cheaper) flights could pay for themselves in catching traffic violations. Hit-and-run drivers were identified as were the causes of accidents not to mention blown through stop signs and traffic signals. Another use has been to monitor the health of underground pipelines. The technology is already there to share usage, so you could have firefighters monitoring wild fires while others watched traffic patterns, and still others looked for crimes being committed especially now that artificial intelligence is becoming more sophisticated and able to make split-second decisions.

A good book to read in connection with Paul Scharre's An Army of None [book:Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War|40180025]. It's fascinating if a bit frightening; another case of technology outstripping policy. (Bear in mind the Supreme Court is populated with justices who don't know how to use email.)

Check out https://www.pss-1.com/what-is-wide-area-surveillance ( )
  ecw0647 | Nov 2, 2019 |
Gorgon Stare was a wide area video surveillance program used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dismantle the networks that were planting IEDs. It was one of multiple programs used to neutralize the IED threat.

The first few chapters deal with the beginnings of Gorgon Stare and I wish it were longer; however, I suspect there just isn't a lot of material available. I also wish Michel had at least acknowledged there were other programs in place to counter IEDs.

The lenghthies part of the book deals with the application of Gorgon Stare to IED use and is a solid discussion of the applications.

I'm not a big fan of journalists ending books with the "What Next" summary. I am still not a fan of the summary chapter. ( )
  jmcilree | Sep 9, 2019 |
Imagine above you is a camera. It can survey tens of miles at a time yet take in enough detail to read license plates and distinguish faces. It records all it sees. It’s a spy TiVo.

If you’re a terrorist, it knows where you are, where you’ve been, whom you’ve met.

If you’re a politician with an embarrassing secret, bribes or some sexual picadillo, it knows where you’ve been and whom you met.

If you shot a drug dealer on a street corner, it saw you and the past movements of the dealer.

If you’re a plumber not paying your taxes, it can track your service calls in real time and perhaps the tax authorities can serve a levy on your customers or do an audit.

If you’re a child snatched and put in a van, it knows the license plate number of your abductor.

If you’re on a rooftop after a hurricane, it can help rescue you.

If you eschew electronic communication with your fellow political dissidents, it can follow you to an in-person meeting with them.

You don’t have to imagine this camera. It exists already. It’s been built and used for some of the above purposes. It could be used for all of them.

Gorgon Stare, the official U.S. government’s name for this technology even though mentioning it often brings discussion to an end when Michel mentions it to public officials, was born of America’s neo-Jacobin adventures into the Middle East. In 2004, the U.S. military wanted a way of stopping casualties from Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq. It not only wanted to stop the bombs from being planted. It wanted to destroy the networks planting them. It wanted to record everything on the battlefield.

Fortunately, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory had been considering the problem since 1998.

That was the year the film Enemy of the State came out, a film that amusedly gets referenced by many of the engineers and deployers of Gorgon Stare. The film, is of course, about the National Security Agency conducting rogue operations and assassination in the United States. To Gorgon’s Stares developers and initial users, it inspired them to get an answer on how to keep American soldiers safe.

Fusion is a major theme of the book, fusion of methods and technology.

The entertainment complex of Hollywood, video games, and sports all proved useful to developing Gorgon Stare. One of the cameramen who worked on Enemy of the State provided technical support in developing the cameras. The high-end video chips used by gamers were deployed in mass arrays to process Gorgon Stare’s video. ESPN’s system of tagging archival footage to be retrieved quickly proved useful to analysts.

You don’t need a single large camera for Gorgon Stare. Several cameras can be used in an array. Single panoramic shots from one camera can be stitched together with those from others. The camera can be stabilized, geographic features pinned in place to highlight the important subject: people.

Automation software has been developed to note, not always accurately, anomalies of activity. Facial recognition software – and a huge reservoir of photos exists for use from mug shots and passport photos to all those photos we helpfully uploaded to the Internet, GPS info from smartphones, and social media postings can all be tied to that “person of interest” meeting someone in the parking lot.

Michel’s account is focused on the people involved in all this. A purely technical description of Gorgon’s Stare development would have been a shorter book.

But Michel’s real aim is to get American’s to regulate the use of this technology. He relates the arguments about its secret deployment over Baltimore. Citizens of Miami, Florida and Dayton, Ohio scuttled plans to use it over their heads.
Its this part of this book, the final third, where Michel goes a bit off the rails.

In America, air space is considered public space. If you’ve got a camera in the sky, you can use it. (Even the NSA couldn’t stop a camera crew for Enemy of the State from doing aerial shots of its headquarters.) Western law and ideas of freedom were built, implicitly, on ideas of inefficiency and ignorance, but they are not inherently based on the authorities having to blind themselves and ignore law violations. Why shouldn’t traffic violators and tax cheats and medical insurance fraudsters be detected when they operate in public under the Gorgon Stare?

On the other hand, there is no reason to think increased surveillance will make life safer. One only has to look at the anarchotyranny of modern Britain where London’s crime rate has risen and police spend their time hassling people for their Twitter messages.

There is also the historical bias of the whole project. Will increased surveillance do much more than make a police department your friendly neighborhood historical society there to precisely record the details of a crime after the victim is dead on the sidewalk? Did Baltimore’s surveillance program result in more apprehensions and convictions? (In America, jury nullification by resentful minorities is always a possibility.) To be fair, Gorgon Stare’s advocate for police work can argue they may get repeat offenders off the street or deter crime. Michel definitely lets them have their say about this.

Given American’s pathetic immigration enforcement what good does airborne surveillance of the border do if the apprehended are then released never to show up for their appointed court date?

Michel seems to adopt the modern stance of not noticing real things like the disproportionate amount of crime committed by blacks or terrorism by Muslims. He has an implicit horror that increased surveillance of some groups may be justified. The counter argument is, of course, who gets to decide what groups deserve that and why,

Michel goes into how the “anomalies” that bring police attention to subjects may be innocent activity and how facial recognition works best on whites. Those seems problems that will be fixed through machine learning.

There’s also a sense that Gorgon Stare is another bandaid for problems we won’t face and solve directly. If we let fewer immigrants into America, we wouldn’t have to surveil “extremists” (and everyone else because we refuse to profile) less. If we, perhaps, had better forestry management, we wouldn’t have to watch out for massive wildfires as much (the Forest Service has used Gorgon Stare).

Michel recommends a series of laws: public consent to Gorgon Stare being used by its surveilled citizens, deletion of the archive after a certain time limit (though there is a potential loophole if the law excludes material from “active investigations”), anonymizing people’s identity and unmasking them only after a search warrant, and auditing access to the files.

It all sounds good until you remember the recent abuses of unmasking and bogus surveillance warrants uncovered in the recent “Russiagate” matter. Auditing access is similar to the “anti-browsing” policies of America’s tax authorities. People still violate those policies though they are often caught and punished.

Gorgon Stare and its descendants are still in use though some of the contractors who wish to deploy them don’t have a lot of customers. Others do, private customers like insurance companies they won’t reveal.

Gorgon Stare is traditionally deployed on helicopters and planes. Michel talks about plans to deploy it using small cubesats. Oddly, since he’s affiliated with the Center for the Study of the Drone, he only spends a couple of pages talking about mosaic surveillance using a swarm of small drones, a possibility brought up in David Hambling’s Swarm Troopers.

It’s not a concisely written book and wanders a bit in the final third though that’s its most important part, but it’s worth looking at for another manifestation of the Surveillance State aborning even in the “free” countries of the world. ( )
2 rösta RandyStafford | May 27, 2019 |
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The fascinating history and unnerving future of high-tech aerial surveillance, from its secret military origins to its growing use on American citizens Eyes in the Sky is the authoritative account of how the Pentagon secretly developed a godlike surveillance system for monitoring America's enemies overseas, and how it is now being used to watch us in our own backyards. Whereas a regular aerial camera can only capture a small patch of ground at any given time, this system--and its most powerful iteration, Gorgon Stare--allow operators to track thousands of moving targets at once, both forwards and backwards in time, across whole city-sized areas. When fused with big-data analysis techniques, this network can be used to watch everything simultaneously, and perhaps even predict attacks before they happen.      In battle, Gorgon Stare and other systems like it have saved countless lives, but when this technology is deployed over American cities--as it already has been, extensively and largely in secret--it has the potential to become the most nightmarishly powerful visual surveillance system ever built. While it may well solve serious crimes and even help ease the traffic along your morning commute, it could also enable far more sinister and dangerous intrusions into our lives. This is closed-circuit television on steroids. Facebook in the heavens.       Drawing on extensive access within the Pentagon and in the companies and government labs that developed these devices, Eyes in the Sky reveals how a top-secret team of mad scientists brought Gorgon Stare into existence, how it has come to pose an unprecedented threat to our privacy and freedom, and how we might still capitalize on its great promise while avoiding its many perils.  

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