Monday, June 20, 2011

The Natural Limits on Prying

Kevin Drum has good fun mocking the rapidly expanding military use of drone aircraft as a jobs program (described in an article in today's Times).  But he's picking up on a ratio which I see differently: From his quote of the Times article:

The pressures on humans will only increase as the military moves from the limited “soda straw” views of today’s sensors to new “Gorgon Stare” technology that can capture live video of an entire city — but that requires 2,000 analysts to process the data feeds from a single drone, compared with 19 analysts per drone today.
In other words, for all the security cameras in public places, and all the surveiling which is being done, current technology requires human eyeballs and human social recognition skills to make sense of what is captured.  So if someone want to follow my life, it means a couple people working 8 hours a day to monitor it. 

My bottom line: just because data is accessible, as through a security camera, doesn't mean anyone has the incentive to watch and (mis)use the data, considering everything else they could do with their time.

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