Hello Skunk Works, let's dig out the tin foil fedoras and get down to some theorizing.
We all know about the Google Street View vans, that drive around taking images for the Google Earth software:
And most will know about the scandal where some Wi-FI data was collected:
So, we know that a large company can cover the major cities, big towns, and some rural areas of many developed nations, taking lots of photo data, and
sucking up Wi-Fi data.
Now, what could "The Company" or other three letter agencies, with even vaster budgets and superior technology do?
Here are some ideas, of what I would try and cram into my super secret spy vans.
TEMPEST is a codename referring to investigations and studies of compromising emission (CE). Compromising emanations are defined as unintentional
intelligence-bearing signals which, if intercepted and analyzed, may disclose the information transmitted, received, handled, or otherwise processed
by any information-processing equipment.
One potential usage I've heard about with TEMPEST is eavesdropping on CRT monitors, like many computers use.
NONLINEAR JUNCTION DETECTOR
Since the basis of almost all semiconductor electronics is the p-n junction, an NLJD is correspondingly capable of detecting almost any un-shielded
electronics, whether the electronics are on or off.
This has the potential to be able to tell the snoops what kind of electronics equipment you have in your home, with the right processing.
LOCAL OSCILLATOR DETECTION
In espionage, oscillator radiation gives a means to detect a covert receiver and its operating frequency.
This was often touted as the way that TV licensing agencies detected unlicensed equipment, and also a way in wartime to locate soldiers by the radios
they are recieving on. It can be another way to detect certain electronic equipment.
Machine olfaction is the automated simulation of the sense of smell. This technology is still in the early stages of development, but it promises many
applications, such as:
...snip... detection of drugs, explosives and dangerous or illegal substances
These are used at places like ports, and could tell the snoops if you have any drugs, or fertilzer, or other interesting items.
Forward looking infrared (FLIR) is an imaging technology that senses infrared radiation.
These have been used to detect Marijuana grows, by the heat given off and leaked. Anything else that's giving off a lot of heat could be
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR; see also other names below) is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images
to read the license plates on vehicles.
These are used on major routes in order to track the populace movements in some countries. The van could detect cars that are parked off the road,
and where they are, along with any vehicles in the area at the time they drive through.
Along with these technologies, we can include some others like;
The general optical photography like Google Street View
Audio capture, with speech to text automatically, useful for people walking down the street as the van passes them.
General RF (Radio frequency) sweeps to look for interesting devices, like CB Radios, HAM Radios, etc
Wi-Fi snooping like the Google vans
With all these in place, and assuming the agencies have the best versions of these technolgies, better than the public knows, I think the agencies
could build up quite a good picture, by automatic, computer processed means, of the population. They could then send human agents in to take a closer
look at anything interesting that pops up, or send the vans back for a longer look rather than just a drive by.
So, do you think these kind of vans are in use already? And do you have some other ideas for things that could be built into them?
[edit on 21/7/2010 by harpsounds]