As casinos grew in size, thanks in part to the rise of blackjack, it became increasingly difficult to keep a vigilant eye on players. It might surprise you to hear that the most important countermeasure casinos employed against cheaters and thieves was nothing high-tech and novel like biometrics or facial recognition or RFID chips. It was simply installing cameras, being able to see. And then being able to see more. And record and playback what was seen. For all of the potential sci-fi advances they could deploy, most casinos still rely on cameras and the people watching them. "You cannot walk into any casino property in the world without being picked up on camera," says Derk Boss, President of the International Association of Certified Surveillance Professionals. "We can track your movements throughout the casino if we want to."
via The Verge.
Along those lines, the TSA issued a market research request for information last week "to obtain market research, test, and demonstration information relative to the possible expansion of expedited aviation physical screening initiatives." The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned that this is just another step toward a total-surveillance security state, and it just might be. But it also likely represents an opportunity for the TSA to bypass its own awe-inspiring history of incompetence — or to, once again, screw something up.
Yes, they seriously named their pornoscanner company "Rapiscan." Seriously.
via Boing Boing.
Dennis Romboy with Deseret News writes that police raided a man’s home as he grieved for his wife, searching for her prescription medication. According to a lawsuit he has filed, they told him that Utah’s Controlled Substances Act gives them the right to conduct warrantless searches when people die.
via Boing Boing.
Britons may remember 2012 as the year the weather spun off its rails in a chaotic concoction of drought, deluge and flooding, but the unpredictability of it all turns out to have been all too predictable: Around the world, extreme has become the new commonplace.
Especially lately. China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a dreadful heat spell. Eastern Russia is so freezing — minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and counting — that the traffic lights recently stopped working in the city of Yakutsk.