Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

Archive for the ‘week 6 – surveillance’ Category

All you need to know about spore technology

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Spore tech is most notorious for its military uses (q.v.), but is much more common in ordinary industry or research. It is frequently used where environments are hazardous and the risk that an individual unit or individual will be destroyed is high. Extreme heat, particle radiation, or strong kinetic energy such as an orbit within a planetary ring system or placement in a stormy atmosphere or hydrosphere are just a few examples of such environments. Spore tech is also used when a large number of bots, neogens or vecs is needed in very short order; in such cases they are “seeded” in large numbers into the appropriate environment. The resulting units usually produce additional spores when they are mature, usually with a very short generation time. The effect of sporetech in any case is that the population is either stable in difficult circumstances or else grows and spreads rapidly from a small number of initial units, according to the design of whoever deployed the devices in the first place.

A “spore” is a biotech, dry nanotech, or syntech device (more rarely, a picotech or femtotech device) that is extremely small but is capable of “growing” into a full sized bot, vec or neogen. The result may be anything from the equivalent of a simple plant or semi-sentient machine to a sentient but non-sophont bot or organism or even a full fledged person. Most spores preserve the programming or (if applicable) the mind-state of the parent model. Spores are usually as small as the local technology allows, and are extremely resistant to whatever hazards the spore-bearing unit is most likely to encounter. Spores with extra protective layers and a significant “start-up” package of materials are sometimes called seeds instead. If the spores or seeds receive the proper signal (or, in some cases, cease to receive such a signal) and are in contact with a suitable substrate, they will begin to grow a new unit. In the case of nanotech spores, the developing body will search for appropriate elements, either by developing a “larval” form and moving about or by growing extensions resembling fungal hyphae, or by growing some other collecting and or harvesting device. Energy for continued growth is gathered in a variety of ways appropriate to the environment: anything from solar panels to generators that exploit movement in the atmosphere or hydrosphere, tether tech for orbits around planets with magnetic fields, to whatever else may be appropriate. Once it has grown large enough, a spore device may even grow/assemble a small fusion plant. The developing body may be camouflaged (in the case of military or surveillance spore bots) or may be otherwise protected from hostile beings or a hostile environment until it is fully developed. The pace of growth varies considerably according to the purposes of the designers. Some spores are designed to develop rapidly, either so that they can to accomplish a task quickly or so that they can overwhelm an extremely unfavourable environment or some form of sophont opposition. Others may “lurk” half-developed until an appropriate time and then take action, sometimes en masse.

Spore technology is widely used in the initial stages of terraforming, and of course biotech spore technology is essential in the later stages. It is also used in the more hazardous sorts of mining operations on rocky bodies. Sporetech balloon devices are used to harvest elements and compounds from the more turbulent gas giants. A sporetech swarm of synsects is often used to gather information where the mortality rate for individual units is high. Security devices often use sporetech, since if somehow an intruder destroys the original units their descendants will survive to report whatever they have recorded and possibly to take other appropriate action.

Spore tech release in orbit

Spore tech release in orbit


Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Military Spore Technology : is this part of some game?

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xx the technobe

Really love this image, not much a gamer myself, due to a high school, english essay procrastination with Pac Man. Anyway thought I’d research my very bizarre concept, not so bizarre, already exists in the gaming world I think. A bit too convoluted for my low tech, analogue understanding of the world, but I am sure one or many of you can enlighten me whether this is part of a game.

Applications in Warfare

Spore technology is a common defence and self-preservation strategy employed by many devices operating in hostile environments. A spore device, typically a bot or vec, periodically releases numerous small “spores” that quickly conceal themselves and then go dormant for some period of time or until they receive an activation signal or, conversely, cease to receive a signal. At this point, the spores begin to rapidly and often stealthily replicate and then construct a duplicate of the original combat unit. The original unit’s control software or mind state is also duplicated from highly compressed data (often utilizing quantum memory cores) stored in the spore. Though spore technology is quite common in peaceful industrial or research applications, its use in warfare is more notorious, especially in the form of automated ground combat units.

The image is meant to be the aftermath of a spore attack, check out the link provided.

Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Bio plastic surveillance spores – artwork proposal : short brief

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The first stage of this artwork installation is scientifically developed bio plastic surveillance spores grown on vertical gardens that unwittingly infect passers by. The infection only becomes apparent when the infected move beyond invisible boundaries created to enforce people to behave within the rules of a new societal order – the dream society.

Traditional fencing in the spatial environment is purely aesthetic, a mesh fence previously perceived as militant is now viewed as metallic lace. However when passing into controlled areas, a physicality change takes place in the offender to control them by shaming them into behaving within the confines, by a gestation of the virus which anthropomorphically changes their appearance.

Two different states occur depending on the zoning and level of control. The first disables by causing dexterous hands and feet to swell into balls, and so forth for major joints of the elbows and knees. The second state causes the skin on the face to become translucent scaring others by revealing the muscle tissue and bones underneath, incredibly ghoulish for the offender too.

Controlling people with microscopic technology and invisible architecture, which acts as a catalyst to punish and embarrass people with the threat of bodily disfigurement.

Artwork ideals raised:

What is a boundary?

Can a virtual boundary be a form of control?

What social conditioning could develop from virtual architecture in the real world?

How is such a technology managed and for what reasons?

Is a physical boundary free world really that free, is it all about perception?

Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Real time Sensing and Surveillance

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NICTA is coming up with a sirveillance technology that allows the measure of real time traffic flows with a new traffic control application.

The technology is designed to allow for accurate traffic flow measurement and vehicle classification with stopped vehicle detection and identification of traffic incidents. This is to finer allow traffic control systems and provide for more rapid response to traffic incidents. This is very useful for the fact of having more control and visual accpects of the traffic conditions.

Written by anfunny

October 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

The Otaku Way – Cyber Coil, Circle of Children

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Dennou Coil



Ladies and Gentlemen! Today, I will be very very pushy about this anime series! Last week was Ghost in The Shell – Com’on, EVERYBODY saw that. This time, I’ll introduce you to an important anime series that came out last year with high anticipation in Japan and should be a cult hit when the English-Dubbed DVD are actually on sale.


And no- unlike Ghost in The Shell or Evangelion, you don’t need a PhD to understand it.


The anime is called Dennou Coil, and the theme are about augment reality (AR), the interaction of people through technology, and refreshing high school girls.


Want more reason?


  • The Mainichi Shimbun suggested the technology shown in the series would have a great influence on the future, comparing it to the way Snow Crash influenced the development of Second Life.
  • Share character design with Animatrix’s episode “Beyond”
  • The director, Mitsuo Iso, came from Episode Director in Rahxaphon (a superior version of Evangelion IMHO) and Evangelion itself.
  • Spirit successor to Serial Experiment Lain
  • Dennō Coil wins lots of awards
  • Cyberpunk without the bleakness



From Wikipedia:

Dennō Coil (電脳コイル, Dennō Koiru?, lit. Computer Coil, Cyberbrain Coil or Electric Brain Coil), Coil — A Circle of Children, is a Japanese animation science fiction series depicting a near future where augmented reality (AR) technology has just begun to enter the mainstream. The series takes place in the fictional city of Daikoku, a hotbed of AR development with an emerging city-wide virtual infrastructure. It follows a group of children as they use AR glasses to unravel the mysteries of the half real, half Internet city, using a variety of illegal software tools, techniques, and virtual pets to manipulate the digital landscape.

See? Nothing’s more cyberpunk than rural Japanese town…

Dennō Coil, in development for over a decade, is the series director debut of Japanese animator Mitsuo Iso. It premiered on NHK Educational on May 12, 2007. Due to the animators involved in its production and its unusually high-profile television broadcast time slot, Dennō Coil was highly anticipated by fans of animation production quality.





I would describe this series as Ghost in The Shell meet Hayao Miyazaki – a cosy warm, mother-nature setting with interesting, uplift and lovable characters in the world where technological advancement is worthy of a dystopia cyberpunk world. A world where the concept of corruption and crimes doesn’t seem to exist and the cyber law-enforcement consist of a squad of giant cute teddy bears. This is a world where the NUMBER ONE ULTIMATE HACKER is a 90 years old grandmother and cyber-hacking battle consist of acting embarrassing poses to shoot executable programs from your eyes. The interaction between the kids and their daily experience will warm your heart. Dennō Coil is a series for all age and if you love Hayao Miyazaki’s film, you’ll definitely love this.


 Cyber Law Enforcement


Cyber-hacking battle consist of embarrassing pose




The face of the ULTIMATE HACKER – Infinitely more 1337 than Hiro Protagonist


Augment Reality



Not to downplay the significant of the technology, Dennou Coiled offer many interesting application in Augment Reality development.


Calling home with Dennou Glasses



Dennō is the word used in the series to differentiate between virtual and real, e.g. “dennō cat”. Literally translating to “electric brain”, dennō is a Chinese phrase (“dian nao”) for computer and is usually translated as “cyber”. The title of the show itself, Dennō Coil, refers to the dangerous phenomenon of the separation of one’s digital self from the physical body.


From Cyber-pet to education purposes, from navigation to enhance man-machine interface, children as little as three started to wear AR glasses in day-to-day life. Everyone relied on the system and became gargoyle – to use Snow Crash’s term in referring to a group of people who stay online all the time, even when they are on the street. As an electronic system, it is subjected to many bane of technology today – computer viruses, obsolete versions, formatting, and glitching are common, especially in this fictional city of Daikoku for some unknown reason…




Future of SPAM mails…



Go phishing! 


“Dennou Coil” effect – Similar to “Stand Alone Complex” Effect


Towards the end of the series, the technology has gone horribly wrong. (Of course, it’s going to go wrong – this is science fiction!) The AR system is capable of producing the Dennō Coil phenomenon. Similar to Ghost in The Shell’s cyber-disease “Stand Alone Complex”, Dennō Coil effect ripped the digital body from the flesh body, resulting in a comatose brain-dead state. It is an urban legend widely known among the kids as “being whist away to the other side”.


The writing said “NO DATA”


Of course, this dangerous possibility in AR interface was covered up very heavily by the government. Who would’ve guess!?




Cyberpet and Afterlife



Another interesting relationship was between the kids and their cyber-pet. Regardless whether the cyber-pet is real or not, the kids love their cyber-pet, and the cyber-pet AI “loved” them back. The series depicted these relationships as pure and true – strong bond between human and AI, enough that it makes the AI come alive. Even as an AI on an AR system, the cyber-pet is surprisingly convincing as a pet. BE WARN: Tears (manly tears – mine) have been shred over “Data-Corrupted” or “Reformatted” cyber-pet scene. And, yes, I WOULD CRY MANLY TEARS EVEN MORE if we happened to develop a cyber-pet as good as in Dennō Coil and I happen to own one.


F&%$ Tamagotchi and Robo-Dog, get my cyber-dog as good as this, Bandai/Sony!!





Dennō Coil sported excellent animation from Madhouse studio which brings you fine anime such as Vampire Hunter D and Ninja Scroll as well as beautiful soundtrack with obvious influence from Studio Ghibi. But the most charming point about it is the adventure! It reminisced my own childhood as well as making a scary speculation into the future of how my children’s generation will grow up in.


Unfortunately, the English DVD hasn’t been release yet so I’m going to provide you with a stream site:


Try this anime stream site:


If you like what you see, I can burn a high quality copy for you.


See this, people! Give the first episode a go!


Till next time!


Little Brother

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(minor spoilers, but not really)

So, you might be aware of Cory Doctorow, one of the main contributors to Boing Boing and a reasonably prolific author

His latest novel is called “Little Brother“, and chronicles the adventures of a young man who happened to be nearby when a terrorist attack occurs in his city (San Francisco). One of his friends is injured, and they flag down a car to get him taken to hospital – however, the car is a humvee operated by members of the Department of Homeland Security, who take the kids into custody without charges, and interrogate them for several days, before releasing them to go home, being warned that they’ll be watched.

The rest of the novel deals with the protagonist’s struggles with his guilt, the DHS, his friends and his family, while incidentally providing a pretty nice beginner’s guide to security and privacy in a heavily monitored online (and real world) environment. It will explain TOR, PGP, “arphid” (RFID) jamming/hacks, etc, kind of incidentally, in the course of the story.

At the end of the ebook, which you can download for free from Cory’s site, you’ll find an appendix with a link to a page which explains how to actually use most of these ideas in the real world, to protect your privacy. It also has an afterword by Bruce Schneier, which I’ll reproduce in full here (which is ok, due to the licensing on the book!):

Afterword by Bruce Schneier

I’m a security technologist. My job is making people secure.

I think about security systems and how to break them. Then, how to make them more secure. Computer security systems. Surveillance systems. Airplane security systems and voting machines and RFID chips and everything else.

Cory invited me into the last few pages of his book because he wanted me to tell you that security is fun. It’s incredibly fun. It’s cat and mouse, who can outsmart whom, hunter versus hunted fun. I think it’s the most fun job you can possibly have. If you thought it was fun to read about Marcus outsmarting the gait-recognition cameras with rocks in his shoes, think of how much more fun it would be if you were the first person in the world to think of that.

Working in security means knowing a lot about technology. It might mean knowing about computers and networks, or cameras and how they work, or the chemistry of bomb detection. But really, security is a mindset. It’s a way of thinking. Marcus is a great example of that way of thinking. He’s always looking for ways a security system fails. I’ll bet he couldn’t walk into a store without figuring out a way to shoplift. Not that he’d do it — there’s a difference between knowing how to defeat a security system and actually defeating it — but he’d know he could.

It’s how security people think. We’re constantly looking at security systems and how to get around them; we can’t help it.

This kind of thinking is important no matter what side of security you’re on. If you’ve been hired to build a shoplift-proof store, you’d better know how to shoplift. If you’re designing a camera system that detects individual gaits, you’d better plan for people putting rocks in their shoes. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to design anything good.

So when you’re wandering through your day, take a moment to look at the security systems around you. Look at the cameras in the stores you shop at. (Do they prevent crime, or just move it next door?) See how a restaurant operates. (If you pay after you eat, why don’t more people just leave without paying?) Pay attention at airport security. (How could you get a weapon onto an airplane?) Watch what the teller does at a bank. (Bank security is designed to prevent tellers from stealing just as much as it is to prevent you from stealing.) Stare at an anthill. (Insects are all about security.) Read the Constitution, and notice all the ways it provides people with security against government. Look at traffic lights and door locks and all the security systems on television and in the movies. Figure out how they work, what threats they protect against and what threats they don’t, how they fail, and how they can be exploited.

Spend enough time doing this, and you’ll find yourself thinking differently about the world. You’ll start noticing that many of the security systems out there don’t actually do what they claim to, and that much of our national security is a waste of money. You’ll understand privacy as essential to security, not in opposition. You’ll stop worrying about things other people worry about, and start worrying about things other people don’t even think about.

Sometimes you’ll notice something about security that no one has ever thought about before. And maybe you’ll figure out a new way to break a security system.

It was only a few years ago that someone invented phishing.

I’m frequently amazed how easy it is to break some pretty big-name security systems. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the big one is that it’s impossible to prove that something is secure. All you can do is try to break it — if you fail, you know that it’s secure enough to keep *you* out, but what about someone who’s smarter than you? Anyone can design a security system so strong he himself can’t break it.

Think about that for a second, because it’s not obvious. No one is qualified to analyze their own security designs, because the designer and the analyzer will be the same person, with the same limits. Someone else has to analyze the security, because it has to be secure against things the designers didn’t think of.

This means that all of us have to analyze the security that other people design. And surprisingly often, one of us breaks it. Marcus’s exploits aren’t far-fetched; that kind of thing happens all the time. Go onto the net and look up “bump key” or “Bic pen Kryptonite lock”; you’ll find a couple of really interesting stories about seemingly strong security defeated by pretty basic technology.

And when that happens, be sure to publish it on the Internet somewhere. Secrecy and security aren’t the same, even though it may seem that way. Only bad security relies on secrecy; good security works even if all the details of it are public.

And publishing vulnerabilities forces security designers to design better security, and makes us all better consumers of security. If you buy a Kryptonite bike lock and it can be defeated with a Bic pen, you’re not getting very good security for your money. And, likewise, if a bunch of smart kids can defeat the DHS’s antiterrorist technologies, then it’s not going to do a very good job against real terrorists.

Trading privacy for security is stupid enough; not getting any actual security in the bargain is even stupider.

So close the book and go. The world is full of security systems. Hack one of them.

Bruce Schneier

Written by Danoot

September 23, 2008 at 7:01 am

Digital Surveillance laws in australia

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I have found a few relatively new laws which may be interesting for those who are concerned with on line security and data mining.

Surveillance Devices Bill:

This law expands the capabilities of the Federal law enforcement agencies to covertly use / install listening, tracking, data and optical surveillance devices.

“Among other things, it enables Federal Police to obtain “data surveillance” warrants permitting them to covertly install key logging devices etc in computers. EFA’s submission to a Senate Committee inquiry expressed concerns about the high potential for data surveillance devices to be used to avoid the need for a telecommunications interception warrant unless the Bill was amended. Although the Committee subsequently recommended relevant amendments be made, the Bill was passed without amendment.”

This bill basically gives authorities to scan data that is being transmitted and could maybe result in using covert techniques like using key loggers and Trojans.

Now you may say you have nothing to hide but if we take myspace or facebook as an example, what these websites display is basically all your affiliations whether that be friends, family, groups joined, etc… They could also use this to expand a full biography that could cover things like personal traits, likes, dislikes by simply tracking what you have commented on eg: writing a comment about the war on iraq.

Lets make a scenario: You have not committed any crime. However you have a friend on line who has, therefor you have connection to this criminal. If police think that you have information on this person they have the right to bring you in for questioning and hold you for x amount of time with no contact with the outside world (i think its 2 weeks atm?) all because you have an online affiliation.

Ive attempted to find a published version of the bill… but i cant find it! ;I

Written by rust3d

September 22, 2008 at 4:59 am