Ghost In The Shell and Web Cams

I’ve been watching Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim with mixed feelings. Yoko Kanno’s (of Cowboy Bebop fame) music is pretty good, but other aspects of the show, such as animation quality, have been disappointing. The stories had been pretty forgetable until they introduced the Laughing Man backstory.

Critiques aside, the show has made me think. Would I want to replace my human parts with machine parts? I don’t have any religious or philosophical prohibitions against cybernetic implants, but I certainly won’t be the first in line to try them out! In a recent episode, the Major hacked into an android maid’s eyes in order to see what she was seeing as a drug deal was going down. In another episode the police depart was illegally using monitors to record everything their agents were seeing (without their consent). Having parts that someone else might hack into is not the warmest thought!

So when I saw the story Google Exposes Web Surveillance Cams on Slashdot today and did some poking around, Ghost In The Shell immediately came to mind. Apparently, there are hundreds, if not thousands of web enabled cameras that anyone on the web can connect to. In some cases, you can even control the camera. To test this out, I visited a number of these cameras spread around the globe and saw everything from empty locker rooms in Europe, to convenience stores in Japan. I suppose if I spent more time at it, I’d have found more interesting sights. But the ease of this was rather shocking. It felt rather like a voyeuristic game of Myst.

Yet again, security has probably been ignored in the name of ease of use by end users. So why should anyone expect that cybernetic implants should have any more security? You can’t really blame the web cam manufacturers too much. When they started selling these cameras, they may have never thought that they needed to worry about what a search engine would turn up. When cybernetic eyes become available, the security may be up to snuff then, but what about later?

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