Where does this figure come from? Is it even accurate at all? If this is actually true I'd be interested in seeing what kind of data they sell and who buys it. I'm really questioning the reliability of the article just because of this figure that seemingly just comes from nowhere.
Also, I live in San Diego, so I'm a little freaked out. This literally sounds like something out of 1984.
edit: I think they might be talking about Current, a GE subsidary that they sold to a wall street firm. Theres no financial figure disclosed. But it seems like they mainly do large-scale energy efficient lighting for commerical purposes. I would not classify that as 'selling data'.
Someone was even kind enough to hardcode the API access token in their open source project https://github.com/jonnjonny/WhereIsEveryone/blob/master/Whe...
If GE made $1B here (which I think is a total guess, stemming from American Industrial Partner's self-described focus on the middle market), it was from selling "corporation" not "data". "Wall St" in this case means PE not HF. There's a hand-wavy attempt to link this transaction to California DMV's sale of data, but the two cases aren't remotely similar.
The interesting part is actually the PDF of the San Diego "intelligent lighting" contract embedded in the article; they've highlighted the main points. Section 7 of the contract says that San Diego owns the raw data, while the vendor owns the processed data free & clear to do with as they please.
So this in no sense represents San Diego selling "footfall data" to HF, but it is somewhat eyebrow raising.
1 in a million crimes it is probably super useful, but for the 999,999 other times some people get into a fight, something gets stolen, two people get stabbed in a grocery store with many cameras and security guards and dozens of witnesses (using an example from my neighborhood in LA this past September), nothing happens because the perpetrators are long gone and will never be found by the time the cops show up, if they do at all. You can't effectively keep 500 square miles safe with only 9000 cops.
I guess you could divide by resident but multiple firms could purchase the same data, so hard to say how to think about it.
The risk is that as the government gains more control it will go rogue and do real damage. Racial, religious and nationalist panics happen from time to time; sooner or later there will be perfect records of who is going to what Church/Mosque/Synagogue/etc that are going to cause a lot of harm.
The debate is going to centre around intentions and the fact that capability is the problem will be ignored. As is customary on issues where it hasn't killed millions of people in this century in this country and the people last century or different countries are different because ... well, something must have changed otherwise all this surveillance would be a concern.
One of the biggest problems with issues like this is that there would be a mixture of logical methods used to draw conclusions and lots of people forget the difference between inductive and deductive logic. (Intentions being more inductive and capabilities being more deductive)
tldr; In general, increases in surveillance are almost always about control, and not protection.
To the perpetual excuse that I don't have anything to fear, since I am not doing anything wrong -
first, any information that you give to someone is potential power they have over you. The apocryphal quote by Cardinal Richelieu on finding enough to hang a man in six innocuous sentences is worthy of keeping in mind.
Second, in an era of easily manipulated videos, it is easy to "manufacture" cam footage. If there are no such cams, such fakes have no legal validity. With the proliferation of such cams, there is currently no defense against such an attack.
If I have access to your daily whereabouts, I have strong priors with which to predict a host otherwise private characteristics and/or affiliations. Frequenting gay bars? Likely homosexual. Church every Sunday and shooting range a few times a year? Good chance you might be a republican. Volunteering at planned Parenthood events? Not a bad bet that you're a liberal.
And these are just the obvious patterns - imagine how much you could predict with some basic statistical analysis, or modern ML. This is a very dangerous concentration of power and it's no surprise that people are willing to pay good money for it.
The city attorney that approved the GE contract owns significant GE stock. This whole thing should be null and void.
> The ownership of less than 3 percent of the shares of a corporation for profit, provided that the total annual income to him or her from dividends, including the value of stock dividends, from the corporation does not exceed 5 percent of his or her total annual income, and any other payments made to him or her by the corporation do not exceed 5 percent of his or her total annual income.
It's quite plausible that $10k-$100k does not meet that criteria.
GE's dividend yield is currently about 0.34% , which means that an investment of $100k would pay about $340 annually.
On 12/19/16, the charter language was changed to state law, that brings a 3% ownership threshold allowing her to be within the law.
I do not understand making the city attorney the scapegoat. Here, this GE contract was entered into by the city because of an ordinance passed by the city council and signed into law by the mayor. The attorney's job in "approving" the contract is probably limited to reviewing it for form and making sure that its provisions are aligned with the city's interests and goals. The people to blame here are the city council and the mayor.
>... no officers of the City, whether elected or appointed, financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity... contracts entered into in violation of this Section shall be void and shall not be enforceable
> Pursuant to state law, no officers of the City, whether elected or appointed, financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity.
That's not a complete sentence. It either needs something inserter before "financially" or after "capacity".
Thinking the article just misquoted, I looked at copy of the Charter that is shown in the embedded viewer later in the article...but that's got the same incomplete sentence.
Searching for that section online, I found a PDS copy at sandiego.gov . In that, the sentence is complete with "shall be" in front of "financially":
> Pursuant to state law, no officers of the City, whether elected or appointed, shall be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity.
Besides, this article is an manifesto/editorial. Some person running for city attorney did a document dump of mostly irrelevant stuff.
Lots of ranting, but very little actual content. What data has been collected from a partially implemented streetlight program in San Diego that was sold to “Wall St” for a billion dollars? Who is “Wall St” exactly? Lighting systems like this are administered by a NOC maintained by the vendor. Is that the data in question
There isn’t enough information to form an opinion about the “inept bureaucrats”. City attorneys don’t enter contracts, they advise those who do. It’s fair to critique the terms of the contract, but ignorant to accuse someone of violating the law without any merit.
> In December 2016, San Diego’s Environmental Services Department presented the City Council with a way to bring down its energy costs. General Electric had been looking for a place to test out new sensor-controlled technologies that could brighten or dim lights from afar and collect anonymized data, and a pilot program had been initiated in East Village two years prior. The company was now offering to finance the installation of that technology across the city with a $30 million loan that could be paid back over 13 years through its own energy savings.
Later, law enforcement got its hooks into the new toys:
> Since August, the San Diego Police Department has been accessing the raw video footage with permission from City Hall and using its contents in dozens of criminal investigations, as the U-T reported. Some of that footage could appear at a trial scheduled to begin later this month, according to police.
The notion that law enforcement will somehow be excluded in any way from the video/audio feeds from these devices strains credulity. If history since 2013 has taught us anything, it's that if you give law enforcement an inch of surveillance, they'll take a yard.
On a related note, the idea that these feeds will somehow not end up on some dark market or surveillance capitalism venture business plans is equally ludicrous.
I am also baffled by people not being concerned about Law Enforcement Surveillance but they are always up in arms about "corporations" spying on them.
Last time I checked it was only law enforcement that has the power, authority, and legal cover to kill me, or put me in a metal cage.
I suppose they believe "I have done nothing wrong so i have nothing to fear" but that has been proven time and time again to be a fallacy of epic proportions
That or way too much faith in the democratic process without extensive oversight and power. Either way it is the result of taking lies to heart when we are up to our necks in them at best.
Where are they getting this billion dollars figure from?
Looks like GE advertises that the product can collect traffic, pedestrian and parking location data via Bluetooth and WiFi sniffing.
Where do you think the road speed indicators came from on online maps? (Cell phone carrier data sold to state transportation departments)
How do you think water and sewer meters are read? (Pole or car mounted RF readers)
I doubt LA at least is advanced enough to have these RF meters in every parcel. Plenty of houses are literally sitting unanchored on a pile of stones/dirt/random 80 year old rotting wood scraps as a foundation and would blow over in the wind or any earthquake. LA metro's timelines for rail projects are regularly dragged out, not by the usual blame of graft and bureaucratic inefficiency, but by the fact that there are so many undisclosed utilities buried under the city in a half-assed, cheap as possible, attempt to fool the building inspector manner for 100 years straight. You hit a 100 year old wooden water main that wasn't on any map while boring and you need to replace the entire pipe as it is due to rot away yesterday. San Diego seems much more like a first world country, though.
No idea about LA, but if you have a water meter, they get replaced every 12-15 years. New meters all have remote read because they save a ton of money, and are often cheaper to install.