[Noisebridge-discuss] Advisory about recent thefts at Noisebridge.

aestetix aestetix aestetix at gmail.com
Sun Jul 10 20:27:01 UTC 2011

On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 12:02 PM, Jonathan Lassoff <jof at thejof.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 6:11 AM, aestetix aestetix <aestetix at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > So, uh, besides the other privacy concerns... what makes you think that
> if
> > someone will randomly "steal" a laptop, they won't also steal
> surveillance
> > equipment you set up? I imagine there's an off switch somewhere on the
> > camera, even if it's a power button, and I also imagine that taping a
> piece
> > of black paper over the camera lens would make any surveillance attempts
> > futile. Or, if "these people" are as paranoid as it sounds, what's to
> stop
> > them from clipping the cables connecting things together?
> Absolutely nothing. But at least we can have an image of them doing
> just that. If you want to hack on something at 2169, take it apart,
> etc I say go for it.
> I also see no reason to hide the knowledge of any presence of cameras,
> but perhaps we could put them in semi-hidden locations.

What if the cameras are disconnected and you discover that the person who
did it had nothing to do with any of these thefts, and just didn't like
being monitored?

> > I'm not saying don't do it, because I believe people should do things.
> > However, I also believe in watching the watchers, and hackers have a
> natural
> > inclination to question people who tell them what they are "supposed" to
> do.
> >  I assume that if you were to install cameras, there would be a clear
> sign
> > indicating where they are and why they are there, and anyone who wanted
> to
> > see how they work, or hack them, would have access to them? Also, do you
> > plan on having good explanations for why they are there for new people
> when
> > you point them out on the tour?
> Ugh. The explanations would probably not be so pretty. I don't cherish
> the idea of having to describe to a first-time visitor that we
> regularly have belligerent strangers visiting, so we put up camera.
> However, I think it's just as fine to mention that they're there and
> that there are places to go that aren't covered by them.

And what if you give a tour to a first time visitor, explain the places to
go that aren't covered, and a week later that same person decides to steal
something and uses the information you've given them to get around the
cameras undetected?

> A recourse for getting logs purged is also not unreasonable, IMO.
What makes you think the police would not also want regular access to those
logs once they discovered them?

>  > I am all in favor of using kindness and communication to thwart people
> > behaving badly. I am not in favor of using technical hacks to solve
> social
> > problems.
> Agreed, cameras or locks can only be something to supplement social
> pressure against unwanted behavior. It's no panacea.
> > With Noisebridge, most people are highly
> > technical, so it seems natural to jump to trying  a technical solution to
> > solve a problem.
> And make no doubt about it, this is what I'm doing of here. I'm not a
> super social person, and greeting everyone that shows up isn't high on
> my list of things to do. A couple people now and then I would be happy
> to greet, but I find more than that just draining and stressful.
> That said, based on some of the history here, it really seems to me
> like just greeting and relating social norms to new visitors just
> doesn't always work. What do you do if someone comes in who has never
> visited before, ignores a greeter, and just starts putting things in
> their pockets? I don't think any amount of social pressure will stop a
> determined person.
I imagine that if someone is kind enough to be a greeter, they will also be
alerted if someone clearly new (IE doesn't know the venue at all) comes in
and completely ignores them.

> It's really only in these extreme situations would it have been useful
> to have better locks (and social key distribution) and camera to
> record their misbehavior to share with the community so people who
> weren't around when an incident happened can recognize the perpetrator
> in the future.
I think we practice this already to some extent by only giving keys to
people who we think are awesome.

>  > However, in this case, I don't really see a positive
> > outcome from that approach.
> This is where we may disagree, but I'm mailing the idea around to
> solicit this kind of feedback. I respect your opinion a lot, Aestetix
> -- if your *certain* this can only end badly or would stop you from
> coming around, I'd really consider just dropping it.

I think all outcomes are definitely worth exploring, not just those that
seem convenient to us :)

> --j
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