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Old 08-01-2022, 10:21 AM   #61
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Right now, I'm looking at the stats on crimes by neighborhoods in LA to give me some feel for how things probably should work out. If I treat neighborhoods as having their own "stats" as a whole, I could possibly look into trying to figure a way to tie in criminals with the locations they live in. One study I was reading today (darn it, research is just so much fun!) indicated that the broken windows theory of policing does have merit. It was found that in neighborhoods with massive graffiti issues or litering issues - result in a "cirminal" action that is twice the number than similar crimes being committed in clean and well kept areas. The "test" was putting a 5 euro note in an envelope in a mailbox in cleaner more patrolled areas vs the same denomination being placed in a mailbox etc.

To me, that is sort of sloppy analysis simply on the grounds that other factors such as economic distress were not mentioned. But hey, it is a starting place for a GM to work from.
I guess there's also the "****ting where we eat" thing ... do the criminals spend their time stealing pocket change from their equally impoverished neighbours, or do they head uptown to commit their crimes where the pickings are better? Because I could see "commuter crime" being both a thing and a serious nuisance for people trying to link it to demographics.
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Old 08-01-2022, 11:07 AM   #62
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

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I guess there's also the "****ting where we eat" thing ... do the criminals spend their time stealing pocket change from their equally impoverished neighbours, or do they head uptown to commit their crimes where the pickings are better? Because I could see "commuter crime" being both a thing and a serious nuisance for people trying to link it to demographics.
To my knowledge, most criminals do, in fact, defecate where they masticate. You do get "commuter crime," of course, either by people trying to cover their tracks (I think this is often - but not always - people from more well-to-do neighborhoods going to more downtrodden neighborhoods to commit crimes, more to get their jollies than to actually accomplish some goal), or by people who indeed recognize that there's better stuff to steal uptown (where it generally goes the opposite direction - people from more downtrodden neighborhoods going to more well-to-do neighborhoods to commit crimes, more in hopes of getting a payout than for fun), but I think it's generally much less common than a local committing the crime. This is undoubtedly due to a combination of factors - notably, the folk who often commit such crimes tend to not be very mobile, wealthier neighborhoods tend to be more well-protected (sure, you can get 100x or more of the payout robbing an affluent neighborhood... but you're also a lot more likely to be noticed as someone who "doesn't belong," police are going to respond more quickly, you're more likely to end up having to deal with security systems - or even security guards - etc), and finally the folk that commit such crimes are generally more-or-less living moment-to-moment, without the luxury of being able to plan long-term - sure, going to another city to rob a few places might make it harder to track you down, but if you need the money right now, you don't really have the time to case a few places to find a good score, while you've heard the old man down the road has some stuff you could grab for a quick payout...
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Old 08-01-2022, 01:10 PM   #63
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

If we're going to drill down that deeply, one of the characteristics that seems to be common among a large number of criminals seems to be the lack of impulse control.

Again - I can't vouch for anything I'm reading thus far - but the gist seems to be that if you plot the locations for many of the crimes being committed, they do seem to congregate around certain areas. Keep in mind, domestic quarrels that are a consistent behavior for a particular region may be economically based, may be culturally based, a combination of both, or neither. Each crime is going to be committed by individuals - broad generalizations may denote a certain commonality, but isn't that what statistics is all about?

In the end, any simulation of criminal activity has to have some randomizing element because the GM sure isn't GOD, and only has to present the same kind of facade that was common in movies about old west towns. We need see only the appearance of reality, when in fact, the buildings were not real as far as building construction goes.

If you dig into the information on Los Angeles - one can find out how many police are employed, how many vehicles the precincts have, what kinds of vehicles, etc - but those are just numbers. We don't know of the human interaction between the members who work at the police precincts. We don't know of the interaction between the mechanics who repair the cars and keep them operational - and the police who depend on their services. We don't know how the 911 call operators are like as they try to work the situations. We don't know what levels of stress that are involved in the day to day interactions. We don't know who the saints and sinners are as they navigate an environment where a bullet can have the name of a police officer or a Perp at the drop of a hat.

So, Role play. Empathize. Educate yourself so you can portray it for the others in your game crew. Make things emotional for the NPCs as well as for the players. It may be that is the unifying element of all that is involved - PEOPLE reacting to people. Watch any of the YouTube videos of police confronting law abiding citizens, watch videos of police dealing with those who feel they are above questioning because of their political connections or job connections (some of them are real eye openers when a woman has to resign from her position in the New Jersey port authority because her kid gets pulled over for a normal driving infraction and she (the mother) tries to pull strings while ON video. Then watch videos where the people being confronted by the police look like they brought it on themselves. **shrug**

Would I ever have wanted to be a police officer? Hell no. It is a tough row to hoe so to speak. As for criminals? If the police have access to the things in UltraTech - how much harder will it be for the "Common criminals"?

I guess this is a long winded way of saying "Technology changes - but people don't change much. SSDD as the saying goes.
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:57 PM   #64
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

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Hi All,
As I cast my mind about for a new Fantasy Grounds Adventure to be set some 30 years into the future - I'm remembering an old CONTINUUM TV series in which the Police are outfitted with a facial recognition functionality. In European cities with CCTV, and possibly American cities who turn to more CCTV monitoring (including shot recognition sensors to pinpoint locations of gun fire) - the question arises...

If you're a wanted fugitive and you have the police as an enemy, there is a frequency roll that has to be made before the Police are an actual adversary during the adventure.

Speculation: If there are Artificial Intelligences put to work to scan all incoming video real time, and facial recognition is an operational part of law enforcement, what SHOULD the activation number be for the Police as an active ongoing enemy?

My instinct is to set it at a 12 providing that the "fugitive" is taking no care what so ever to avoid the cameras. What what if the fugitive is making an effort? What if the Fugitive stays indoors during the day, and avoids the usual locations that have functional cameras such as surveillance cameras in 7-Eleven style mini-marts? What SKILLS might a fugitive employ as a counter to the activation number so as to lower its value?

I suspect that it is hard for makeup to disguise a face sufficiently well to avoid facial recognition, but I would expect that it would be possible. Perhaps half the margin of success on a disguise roll? Perhaps staying in the lower tech poverty ridden neighborhoods might prove beneficial?

Just curious. Thanks in advance
Possibility 1. This is a society where authority is checked by law in the manner many of us are familiar with. To use the cameras for anything besides mundane traffic control needs a warrant. Thus no one is actually in the networks file unless they were booked. That won't help someone in a Fugitive type situation (presumably the court didn't believe the statement about the One-armed Man). Nor will it help someone in a classic Cyberpunk totalitarian society (the state does not care about such things). Still it is possible that in some societies legal limitations caught up with technology.

Possibility 2. Technical means available to outlaws caught up with those available to governments. This has interesting ramifications. For instance you can say that malware like the rifle makes all men tall (that actually seems like a modern trend). Another possibility is that organized crime syndicates maintain cyberwarfare teams and use them to sell phony online IDs or jigger the government's record's or whatever. Naturally the obvious cop show cliche being what it is, they will want a pound of flesh from the deal.

Possibility 3: This was inspired by underground comms officers during ww2. This was surprisingly one of the higher casualty duties because of enemy listening posts. One can ration time on line, just like they did. For instance one can minimize messages and always send from a place away from the safehouse. Have alerts to make sure that no one has suborned your user name (Noor Inayet Khan was given an "I'm a prisoner" alarm by the SOE. Unfortunately British mission control did not notice).

Possibility 4. Restrict one's movement's. For instance there could be bad parts of town where all the cameras are knocked out. These parts would have a classic noir image: it would be the place where the only law is the gangs (on some societies the gangs would actually be better than the government).

One of the problems with all of these is the possibility of orbital observation. There should be a way to deal with it and it should be within the capacity of a given fugitive to access.
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:04 AM   #65
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

In a society where the authorities do a lot of shady stuff but are nominally required to follow the law - or at least don't want the public to have irrefutable proof they're doing shady stuff, and/or want to conceal the identities of their agents - all security cameras could have hidden "redaction" backdoors so that they erase the presence of any "Men in Black" from their screens, making such agents invisible to the cameras (and to anyone monitoring them). Criminals with appropriate connections could make use of this redaction function to conceal themselves as well. You'd probably have frequent updates of the firmware as the protocols change once it is identified that the current method is live in the wild, of course. So, most criminals might have access to an older redaction exploit that only works on cameras that haven't been updated for a while, but the most well-connected would have 0-day exploits that work on nearly all cameras (but some government buildings would be beyond the bleeding-edge, or even have their cameras outright lack the redaction backdoors; in many cyberpunk settings, this would also apply to some corporations, but only for their most-secure locations).
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:19 AM   #66
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

for a criminal campaign, I recall there being an RPG called "Dog Town" about being a criminal in the 1970s ...
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:28 AM   #67
hal
 
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
In a society where the authorities do a lot of shady stuff but are nominally required to follow the law - or at least don't want the public to have irrefutable proof they're doing shady stuff, and/or want to conceal the identities of their agents - all security cameras could have hidden "redaction" backdoors so that they erase the presence of any "Men in Black" from their screens, making such agents invisible to the cameras (and to anyone monitoring them). Criminals with appropriate connections could make use of this redaction function to conceal themselves as well. You'd probably have frequent updates of the firmware as the protocols change once it is identified that the current method is live in the wild, of course. So, most criminals might have access to an older redaction exploit that only works on cameras that haven't been updated for a while, but the most well-connected would have 0-day exploits that work on nearly all cameras (but some government buildings would be beyond the bleeding-edge, or even have their cameras outright lack the redaction backdoors; in many cyberpunk settings, this would also apply to some corporations, but only for their most-secure locations).
While perhaps useful for a dystopian story environment to have a system that permits editing on the fly or even editing after the fact - chain of evidence being what it is, the first thing that an attorney is going to do is try to refute any video evidence as doctored if they can find any proof of this being the case. Such editing would leave traces.

Sadly, in the dawn of Deep Fakes, the better these fakes become, the more in question some of the videos may come to pass. If I recall, there have been a few movies produced (including an Arnold Schwarzenager movie if I'm remember correctly) where the "Hero" is an innocent framed by such technology. In a way, this becomes an instance of offense versus defense technological evolution. If ordinary video can be spoofed to where there is no way to determine fake from real, chances are good that video will not be permitted as the sole form of evidence.

But that doesn't deal with the original question. Video surveillance is not evidentiary - it is simply a way to automate surveillance to where you do not need eyes on the ground to catch sight of someone. If automated "Optical recognition database" programs permit one to search 10,000 faces looking for a list of faces - and FINDING someone who is on that list - that in effect acts as a force multiplier. A police force of say, 150,000 in a city of 8 Million people, but augmented by 2 million cameras - is a far cry from a city of 8 million with 150,000 police who do not have access to 2 million cameras and untold software apps who tirelessly search through a lot of video, isolate faces, compare them against a database, then flags the police officers that a "listed face" has been spotted.

Yes, there will be some false positives. Problem is, there likely will be more actual positives to make the use worth the while. If each "false positive has to be investigated by a live agent, the police no longer have to spend as much effort to spot those few faces out of a city of 8 million people. The cameras already did the grunt work.
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:43 AM   #68
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Default Re: Ultratech and The Police

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for a criminal campaign, I recall there being an RPG called "Dog Town" about being a criminal in the 1970s ...
Shhhhhhh! I have that.

Shhhhhhh! (Looking left then right) It is FREE at Drivethrurpg.com - at least, it was when I picked up the main rpg book AND the supplements that went with it.

I've also picked up FANTASY CORE THE BEAT Police Roleplaying. It has a really NICE 911 call generator that can be used to generate random police calls that police officers have to respond to. Were I to ever run a SERVE AND PROTECT (Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook) style campaign, that is the one source I'd use for sure.

As it is, for my upcoming Fantasy Grounds online game campaign, I will be running a campaign where the two players are members of the Continental Investigations Agency - essentially a justice for hire organization that is part "Magnum PI" style investigators and part "Pinkertons" style investigators. Many of their operatives are former Police officers who have left the force over perceived corruption within the system where the politicians control the police activities enough to make some politicians and their buddies - untouchables.

As always, the players when I start a new game, start in the middle of action, and finding themselves in an old abandoned slaughterhouse - and discovering that they were captured, denied water, hung from an old system of rails that used to move carcasses for processing - is hardly the kind of place you want to waken from. Toss in the drugs that were used on them makes the last hours a massive haze, and the players will have to use their wits carefully. A duffle bag of equipment, a dead "unknown" rescuer who died of bleeding to death, and later, they will find a young woman unconscious and also a prisoner. Do they leave her behind? Do they rescue her? Do they fight it out with a group of unknown operatives who are actually well armed and have equipment that poor people on the street have no chance of owning/using - or will they try to sneak out the back door?

Is it fair for the GM to assess dehydration damage, drug impairment penalties and the like for when the game starts? Ask them after they survive (or not). That's like starting a World War II movie with our heroes in a mine field. Worse yet? Even if our two heroes get out alive, there is still that unaccounted for time period before they woke up. Who did that to them? Whose toes did they step on by escaping? If they bring out the woman, who is the woman, and who are HER enemies?

I'm not postulating MINORITY REPORT style surviellance - but I am looking at GURPS ULTRATECH and GURPS BIOTECH and looking to see what TL9 stuff can make their lives miserable. Without adversity, there can be no heroism. In cyberpunk, the line between good guys and bad guys might be so slim as to not exist. As I tell my players - if you're not paranoid from the start of the game, I'm not doing my job. Unravelling the mystery of what is going on and why, is half the fun.


;)
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