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Reply #9: From the last chapter in O'Harrows book "No Place To Hide" [View All]

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im10ashus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-25-06 10:13 PM
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9. From the last chapter in O'Harrows book "No Place To Hide"
Richard Smith opened the door of the Starbucks near the corner of Amsterdam and 70th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. He stepped up to where other customers were ordering their coffee concoctions and pointed to the wall behind the clerk's head. Hanging there was a black cube. It was smaller than a wallet and connected to a narrow cable. Smith smiled knowingly. It was a surveillance camera.

He turned toward a set of tables and upholstered chairs, where young, caffeinated folks typed away at laptop computers or talked on their mobile phones. Some of them were connected to the Internet through a wireless network known as WiFi. Starbucks offers the service as a convenience to attract the digerati who like to get wired while working. It happens also to be an extremely efficient data collection mechanism, forever noting the presence of computers and the times and places of contacts.

Smith walked back out to the street, looked around, and headed toward a subway station. As in many cities, the public transit system in New York no longer allows people to use tokens. To boost efficiency, turnstiles now rely on small cards with magnetic strips. These strips enable straphangers to cut the time it takes to ride by paying for many trips at one time, with a credit card if they choose. All they have to do is swipe the MetroCard to get in. Those cards also record travel activity. As he examined the vending machines, he noticed something else: security cameras behind a one-way mirror.

Over and over, Smith found that someone or something was looking at people electronically, sweeping up information, sending it across digital networks. He went to a Kinko's store and paused at a device that enabled customers to use a credit card to make copies. He stopped in a small deli and found an ATM. There was a "hand reader" at a grocery store that clocked employees in. They're all sensors that record identities and the times and places of transactions.
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