Dutch IT contractor lays out the case for spying on everyone's wearables, always


So I guess, the moral is, make sure you take off all your wearables during sex. Or, just try to keep your heart-rate down . . . unless, I guess, you like having cops show up in the midst of sexy time. Some people probably do. I ain’t judging.


This is similar to one of my older ideas, but that was intended for security guards. So they can be aware of one or more of them being subjected to high stress, or loss of life functions, and share the video from their wearable cameras.

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I’m a bit amazed that these guys were dumb enough to say so out loud; but it isn’t…exactly…news that the unifying background premise of ‘internet of things’ and ‘big data’ and the ‘smart dust’-inspired distributed sensor nodes (along with the ‘smart city’ stuff that IBM ads are always going on about) is pretty much this.

The promise is that technological advances are making it increasingly possible(and cheap) to Gather All The Data and that if we do so, and then crunch it on a bunch of expensive hardware, we will achieve all sorts of neat and actionable insights and ROI and blah, blah, blah.

Some of this might even be true. Its proponents, though, usually prefer to de-emphasize the ‘so your proposal is basically to build a surveillance state on a hitherto unimaginable scale in order to realize a variety of modest and unproven benefits?’ side of the problem…


There is an autocrat lurking in every EU bureaucrat.

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Not only the EU ones. This is a feature inherent to bureaucrats regardless of the colors of their flag.


Forget sex - take off all your wearables any time your heart rate might conceivably change for any reason whatsoever.

A waitress drops a tray of dishes in a busy diner.
A car honks / swerves / does something unexpected.
Literally anything at all startles you for any reason at all.
You suddenly realize you completely forgot something terribly important and have to rush to fix things.
Your bus starts to leave without you, so you run after it and wave and hollar to get the driver’s attention.
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And you know what the absolute worst part of it all is? The “prevent muggings” angle is complete bullshit.

Muggings are over and done with, and the muggers long gone, well before the police could ever possibly respond. Unless an officer is already literally walking their beat down the street within earshot, any data sent to the police is essentially useless.


So being afraid of people walking down the street would be enough to get the cops to harass your fellow citizens. This conveniently ignores the fact that the news media the world over loves to publish scare stories about minorities, immigrants, and other marginalised people, and that people’s fear of crime and the actual probability that someone intends them harm is hardly 1:1. The cops needn’t worry about accusations of racial profiling. They could simply argue that they were responding to a citizen’s distress. It would essentially codify the crime of being a young black man in the US.


But they have an image of his face and facial recognition software. And I assume everyone’s face will be on file in this system.

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…not meant to be interpreted by lay people…

Oh I like that argument! That one’s new! Imagine all the uses it could be put to!


That might work… unless they wear a mask, or otherwise obscure their face.

Hi-tech “solutions” to crime are routinely foiled by low-tech countermeasures. For example. so long as you don’t care about making a mess, one of the best tools for getting through a household door lock is a hammer. The fanciest, most unpickable lock in the world is still vulnerable to brute force, making it completely useless in the face of anyone who is willing to make a couple loud bangs and/or get in and out quickly.

Sure, there’s always a slight deterant effect - make illegality trickier, and it makes it less attractive. But if the point is to dissuade people from crime, why not work the other way? Why spend resources trying to find and capture criminals after the fact of a crime, when you could instead just work to reduce the reasons for people to commit crimes in the first place?

The best way to stop muggings? Eliminate the poverty and desperation that drives people to resort to armed robbery in the first place. If no one has a reason to mug people, no one will ever get mugged.

If our goal is to combat crime, I say make the world a nicer place with less invasion of privacy and more individual freedom, rather than the opposite. I don’t sleep well at night because I live in a reinforced bunker - I sleep well at night because the overwhelming majority of people have absolutely zero reason to harm me.


So, basically (as the cliché goes), doesn’t this simply mean the system will be so flooded with data that any real ‘crime’ will be near impossible to pick out from the noise?

Status quo preserved, technology achieves precisely nothing?

These guys just sound like naive techno-enthusiasts.


That’s some seriously turbocharged Just World Fallacy right there, Pinkroccade. It’s nuts, but as an ideological construct, it’s, well, impressive, I guess…

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Of course, if you take off your wearables all your vital signs go to zero, which could also be (mis-) interpreted as a problem.


Careful. This is Boing Boing you’re addressing.


Already exists from the theologians, and PZ Myers already has a response in the form of the Courtier’s Reply.


So, thanks to these wearables and the authorities watching over my back, I will feel safe and my heart rate won’t increase anymore, when I’m in a ‘bad neighborhood’… Owait.

“Chief!?, Chief! Joe #67’s heart rate just sky-rocketed, his breathing seems erratic & he won’t answer repeated advisories! Should I send in back-up, An armed response? Special Weapons and Tactics security guards are ready to deploy!”

“Jesus H Christ Gilbert, it’s 6:15pm, you goddam well know that every day Joe goes to the can and pushes out a fat loaf, could you get a fukkin clue & not bother me with this shit!?”

“Sorry Chief!”

“CHIEF! CHIEF!, Hank #52, Hank #52, his heart rate is through the roof, his breathing is erratic and he also won’t answer his radio! I think he is under fire! Small arms fire, from terrorists, his iPad is detecting high particulate matter in the air, could be gunsmoke!”

“Oh for fucks sake I will kick your ass Gilbert! I told you, Hank is a stoner & after dinner he goes & burns a big blunt on the balcony over the Best Buy mezzanine, and what the actual fuck, is it musket fire, cause it would have to be to have that much smoke, you never heard of smokeless gunpowder? Fuck you Gilbert, you’re on bathroom patrol from now on!”

“Really Chief! That’s… that’s great, I’m okay with that…”

“Shit, I forgot that’s why you’re the dispatcher… it was to keep you out of the bathrooms… goddamit Gilbert, what will we do with you?”


There is tons of shit worth monitoring in a dense urban environment that could benefit municipalities.

It’s just that bio-signs, tracking the movements of individuals and such are not among them.

This company is stick-stone stupid. But the real danger here is that they primarily work with governments, which are just dumb enough to listen to them.


1984 anyone?

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