Lukas Z's Private Blog

(mostly about programming)

The Camera Club

Here’s another business idea.

Now we know that our governments are spying on us. They have the capability to intercept and store practically all of our internet traffic, including emails and phone calls. Perhaps it’s time to play around with other ideas concerning massive surveillance.

The business I imagine is a sort of a “camera club”. Users can buy surveillance cameras and connect them to modems. These modems are set up to transmit live video to the camera club, twenty-four hours a day. Each of them is just filming the street. Perhaps looking out of the window of the camera club member’s home.

The data is of course accumulated and analyzed. Useful information is automatically extracted.

The camera club automatically collects things like biometric data (including face recognition) or license plate numbers of cars. Everything is automatically parsed and stored in a database. The data gets packaged and sold to private businesses and government agencies for a nice profit.

The users that hook up the cameras to their modems get to access all the camera data for free in exchange. For example, each of them can download and browse any other user’s video data from, say, the last 24 hours. They also get reminders to reset their modems or check their connections in case their camera goes offline.

All this could lead to a near perfect coverage of all streets in realtime. For bootstrapping one quarter of a city, preferably some place with elevated street crime (for easier acceptance), would be sufficient.

Of course, I wouldn’t want the camera club to exist. I don’t want to live in a country where I’m filmed every moment of the day when stepping outside the building. But I won’t be holding my breath that a company like this won’t happen.

Everybody (governments and service providers) seem to be lying right now. For what it’s worth, the camera club would seem more honest.

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