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Gorgon Stare - Starlink, Telsa and how Elon Musk can save privacy for all of us

Originally published at: Gorgon Stare - Starlink, Telsa and how Elon Musk can save privacy for all of us. - Mycroft

Full Disclosure: I hold a reserve commission with the United States Air Force who has assured the public that I’m not a criminal. I also did some consulting with the SpaceX Starlink program early on where I provided some insights into microwave broadband delivery. The views here are my own and do not represent those of the US Government, the Department of Defense or the United States Air Force.

I want to start this post by stating that as far as I know Tesla has a solid record of preserving their customer’s privacy. I don’t know what the company does internally with the data their cars generate, but aside from a few kerfluffles with the media, the company seems to be doing a decent job of securing customer data.

According to public reports the United States Air Force operated a system called “Gorgon Stare” from March 2011 to 2014. The system was designed to provide near real time surveillance of a large area so that troops on the ground could use the images during tactical operations. It used multiple airborne cameras mounted on a Reaper drone to capture images and then stitched the images together digitally. The goal was to provide troops on the ground with a near real time, high definition “Google Maps like” application. By some accounts, it worked.

Gorgon Stare was a military project and didn’t benefit from the “move fast and break things” approach of Silicon Valley. SpaceX on the other hand, does. Elon Musk’s company has shown again and again that they are willing to take significant risks, try hard things, fail fast and learn. That’s why they are doing simultaneous landings of their first stage booster rockets while their competitors are trying to figure out how to develop reliable software.


SpaceX’s Starlink team has recently started launching low orbiting satellites 60 at a time. In fact, on January 6th 2020 SpaceX became the largest satellite operator in the world. The system the SpaceX team is building will be able to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband at extremely low latency….globally.

But there is a privacy risk in having all of those low orbiting, high bandwidth satellites up there: those satellites could become a global version of Gorgon Stare. With some relatively low cost optics and some sophisticated software ( which SpaceX, unlike Boeing, actually has the ability to develop ) the StarLink system would be capable of providing a real time equivalent to Google Maps. Here’s how.

The Starlink constellation orbits relatively close to earth and when it is completed there will be thousands of satellites spinning around the globe. That means that if you are in a populated area, there will always be a Starlink satellite overhead. With regulatory approval, high resolution camera systems on those satellites could stream real time video back to a datacenter where computers could synthesize the data into real time mapping data.

This application would be made more powerful by adding the data generated by Tesla’s customer cars to the system. As far as I know, accessing the camera feeds from Tesla’s cars requires physical access to an SD card, but who knows? In the future Tesla may pay drivers for imagery captured during their morning commutes? By the time a system like this comes into being there will be millions of Tesla vehicles on the road, each and every one an 8 camera ground level surveillance platform.

A system like this would have a lot of utility. Law enforcement could use it to track suspects without helicopters, environmentalists could monitor polluters in real time and traffic engineers could use the data to dynamically adjust speed limits and traffic light timing. And that is just a few of the possible uses. Real time global imaging may have as great an impact on our future as GPS has had in our present.


There is also a dark side. High resolution real time satellite imagery may be used by despots to track and kill protestors. Stalkers could use it to spy on victims. Paparazzi could use it to harass celebrities. Criminals could use it to case targets and, since it will likely be possible to rewind the data and look at prior days, it will always be possible to rewind the data to establish patterns of behavior. That means everyone from marketers to kidnappers would be able to easily determine a family’s schedule.

Mitigating this risk is largely in the hands of one man: Elon Musk. To date Mr. Musk has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to openness – Tesla has granted royalty free use of its patents. The company has demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability and, for the most part, has been a good corporate citizen. Hopefully, Mr. Musk will build a culture that respects privacy and puts strict policies in place about how camera data can be obtained, stored, accessed and used.


Simple tactics like allowing individuals to blur out their homes and businesses ( something that Google does not allow for aerial surveillance photos ) or lowering the resolution of publicly accessible data might help, but the most effective way to preserve our collective privacy in this brave new world will be for men of principle who have power, men like Mr. Musk, to propose and support privacy legislation. Just because something CAN be done, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done. Here’s hoping visionaries like Mr. Musk see that.

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Everything I feel like I had to say takes up 12 pages on LibreOffice. 3 pages are personal narrative(linear), 4 pages are historical contextualization(out-of-order), 2-3 pages of structured/unstructured argument (not debate) on what I think is necessary relate your views with your beliefs, other 2 are links, diagrams, and obscure words structured into a metalogue of sorts. I'm a little disappointed I don't have the time/energy to do properly edit thoughts but my first draft needed censored and my second needs more grammatical/stylistic editing than this topic seems to be deserving of.

Full Disclosure: I’m definitely a criminal. Not a malicious one but the ‘happy little accidents’ kind. Particularly when it comes to cybersecurity and communication. Not interested in talking about myself but I had an internship at a defense contractor you’d recognize and I have almost a decade of experience in hardware+software development with a focus on SDR and AI based devices in particular.

My internship being most focused on ARCGIS/Civilian/Police response stuff although the bulk of my time was spent making scripts for streamlining in-house installer or cleaning up logs. My professional career for me has always been about conducting audits, enforcing NIST/DoD/ISO/HIPPA style compliance, and regulating others to be broad.

I don’t do anything but struggle against “the state” because i’ve been made to inherit not just the most capable people in my city when it comes to pursuing social justice, providing essential services to people in need, etc# but also their baggage(i.e. technical debt, lack of ‘tech literate’ offline-only peers.etc#.

“Website Problems” are like bad car repairs to them whereas it’s closer to a social disease for someone like me. They were given a parasite deal by a billion-dollar company they didn’t think you could say no to. The deal was to solve a simple social problem while conducting COVID relief.

They have the more talent and motivation than anyone else in my city but despite them having the proper education, life experience, strength of will, etc# they’ve been pretty thoroughly duped by being made to take on (i.e. have me take on) ‘tech work’ for $3,000 that would have cost $30,000 for a 1B company with existing human capital and a variety of on-going work initiatives .

Our situation is worse than being short-changed. They’re comfortable with that to a certain point as they believe that’s natural but their resolve has made partially blind to the fact that what they’re really doing is enabling this 1B company to pay $30,000 for something that should cost them $300,000 while they simultaneously divest 3M into their own pockets.

They don’t yet fully recognize how their ‘successes’ are used against them, how the assistance they’re provided is used to directly enable the unsupportive/unhealthy institutions they aim to replace. This 1B org has cheated, stolen, or oppressed 1000+ non-profits and done nothing for our local economy but they’ve only ever been within their legal right up until recently.

They experienced a massive data breach where they assuredly lost absolutely everything but they either choose not to report having - however ‘evil’ however, I honestly think they didn’t see it. If they did they would have have addressed it, sugar-coated it in plain PR-speak and likely have come out stronger against their only other competitor in our region (that is currently under investigation by the gov’t) .

What’s most damning about their operations though isn’t what they’ve done, what they’ve tried to do, but instead what they’ve been slowly walked into doing - namely - collecting data without quite recognizing the danger of data.

Each C-level person has a damning hit-piece to accompany them in the media already detailing 8M salaries for positions that used to be <$300k but none of that’s what’s really important.

They to keep a watchful eye on the people who work for them and that’s where the conflict comes in. For a 1B+ org littered with ivy league sorts they allowed nepotism, favoritism, and their belief of self-importance distract them from covering both their bases so-to-speak. They’re large enough that it’s should be stated 90% of the people hired by the company are likely oblivious to the politics above. or so far removed from it that it can’t reflect on them.

Grant-wise, their job as they see it is to follow the ‘thought leaders’ and give them guidance. In truth, they’re awkward, insecure, and far from PC. They attach themselves to the hip of ‘real people’ so that the government doesn’t come knocking. Regionally though, they have enough infrastructure, existing capital, etc# such that even mayoral types would have a difficult time negotiating for “what’s fair.”

When it comes to anyone local pursuing them; they can’t. They have a dozen or so websites, 30-40+ ‘businesses within businesses’ and everything is carefully woven in such a way that everyone has plausible deniability that’s surely great enough to take in people uninvolved with their AI-Tax-Haven/Surveillance-Economy stuff on the board.

Despite all their posturing, appearances of innovation, appearances of ‘leadership’, etc#, and the fact that the data they leaked (so far as it involves the public) already available courteous of our city gov’t (something that has already been met with resistance and been successfully fought against by Minority Coalition types using data science on the same data to demonstrate bias) the source of the leak does more the jeopardize their own personal security than any of them (even the overtly criminal money-laundering enron types).

What that leak stands to do more than anything is demonstrate where their social intelligence actually is - not where they want you to think it is. Separate from the language they’ve invented for their own systems existing to make them look foolish, prejudices, malicious, etc# it’s instead just demonstrated the full extent of their rational capacity to apply certain kinds of basic logical assessments to other things on-the-fly so-to-speak.

In order to be an effective con-man you need to both know your product and know your mark. They have neither. What they have is closer to delusion but what’s most funny about it to me is how their delusion lies the people underneath them supporting it. It’s cruel, but rational.

With where they’re at now, it only takes two amateurs in separate domains being scheduled to ask them basic information about how they deal with IT security… C-Level communication strategies, management strategies, etc# for them to be cognizant of their own delusions-of-sobriety.

Elon Musk is both a thief and a war criminal. Not to mention obnoxious and something of a creep. Here is a two part podcast about him.

Not a fan of the comedic bits of the commentary but it’s very illustrative.

Whenever I first think about Elon Musk my mind first goes to him and Grimes being on a boat on or near the Mississippi river half-clothed and tweaked out on meth twirling bowls and slapping drums off-beat to electronic music.

If I were to learn he just abused amphetamines I’d be surprised. The Googled approach of trying to capture everything in one go with a big dataset is an unrealistic/undesirable/counter-productive goal for humanity. Nothing about GPT3 or any of the AI solutions they make are competitive on the open-market.

Fortunately for them however, they’re too crazy and have the appearances of having too much power for anyone to take a blind swing at them. the top 1% of programmers in this country that can be said to be “internationally recognized” are children in comparison to the ecclesiastical data monks hidden away from site - either cut off the world through isolation - or made to only ever feel isolated because their work is immensely satisfying and something to feel great about but with whom are only ever forced it work in secret for a secret few.

I.E NSA Quantum Programmers / Naval Facility processor architects / Air Force (future for the US) Quantum-computer based flight computer engineers / etc#.

Not because ‘the government’ makes you better but because access to information is vital and necessary to all growth. Chain-of-command and respect between individuals needs forced. People need reasonable goals with the right kind of equipment. If i’m not mistaken, I think it’s US military doctrine that if any leader fails to properly and adequately equip his men on the ground conducting the mission he’s immediately court-martialed?

Well, for gov’t workers everywhere they have the opposite kinds of problem than anyone would think to anticipate. Being allowed to be free at work (and be made to be more successful for it with some discipline/commitment ) has skewed their ‘handlers’ view of them in a way that’s harmful for all parties involved(productivity wise) but if there’s a point where things become actually dangerous it’s when they finally retire from formal research work and are put into a place where they can’t contribute their skills, wisdom, experience, etc# to people in need.

On the opposite side of that coin you have undisciplined programmers who just so happen to have 90% of that greatness but because they live in a state of constant panic, disorder, trust, abuse, etc# they only ever do their ‘real work’ off-hours.

It’s a strange paradigm but it’s responsible for a sort of cultural/intellectual schizophrenia online.

For someone capable of putting together a very nice product and in possession of all the right values it takes to make a sustainable platform others can build of off you seem to miss where where your own needs are and for that matter your own community.

For every house-hold ‘Best’ in our popular ‘tech’ culture there are probably 10x people who are just as good without realizing why and 2x as many people that can hang over them like a god than any of them would want to believe. People are closer to checkers than chess-pieces as I see it and genius is only the trauma a person can endure. There’s an old expression; one-hand rubs the other. Programming for fun is dangerous, programming for business is dangerous, programming for the government is dangerous but the opposite can always be said.

Where I think you get things wrong here on Starlink’s ‘prowess’, Elon’s Posture’s on ‘IP’, etc# is that they only exist weaken America’s place internationally. China/Russia stand opposite of us but instead of having designing on perpetuating a fruitless cold-war they’ve instead decided to give the entire world the cold shoulder because they already know where certain avenues of research go and while they are in grave fear of it I don’t believe they ever intend on leveraging it.

On the social justice front it can be def be argued that they force ideas of imperialism on everyone that they aren’t 100% globally owned/controlled/monitored/regulated/financed/etc# but are in the hands of people no-one like.

It hurts our own humanity as much as it does them to allow them to hold the high position you’re attempting to elevate one of them too. More than that, it ruins culture and lived-life everywhere. Not the first example I’d pick but for you I’d ask that you maybe think to consider what sort of impact having a ruler like Marcus Aurelius had on a society.

However godlike he might have seemed his ‘only being human’ and just wanting to be ‘humble’ wasn’t great in that it set an example for others (or that he exercised restraint in utilizing ‘evil’ forces) but in how it allowed the common person to accept that ‘doing nothing’, ‘just existing’, ‘staying humble’, etc# is closer to what it means to be human than made of marble and on top of the world.

All of our ‘tech elites’ are a far cry from any kind of greek/roman ideal. They try to pontificate like cicero while claiming they live by socratic ideals while advocating for platonic ideals while simultaneously pulling-against the flow-of-progress in the world competing against them in a dozen other forms.

The united states as a whole reminds me of the Spartans and that isn’t a compliment. Separate from the fact that it was the athenians that did that ‘300’ stuff they had another role often overlooked by historians (as it exceeds both their own understanding and their concept of what should have been possible of a person’s mind 2000+ years ago).

The US gov’t unlawfully denied them access to scientific equipment needed for their own new/novel materials research or provide them the means to use semiconductor/lithography design experiences they have from related disciplines from being able to acquire 50-200m+ devices made by independent nations who researched, designed, built, manufactured, and built said thing up from the ground themselves.

The spartan’s were the secret police. They were given special religious protections but only ever in a practical business sense. Joint-partnership for sure but they were never fully in control of their own fate because they atleast had to show their real face and be held to account for things.

The real power in rome were the cryptographers.

They(“The East”) struggled to compete with us (while also struggling to provide for themselves) for atleast a decade but there came a point somewhere between 2017-2019 when it became clear to me that they didn’t just have theoretical research papers to demonstrate that they had caught up but that they had in-fact moonshot over everyone in the western world and instead decided to stay silent on some of their most profound discoveries so that they could better protect themselves from our ‘tech’ companies.

The spartan custom’s of throwing babies out and forcing young boys to survive for themselves was scientific. It was an attempt at human engineering. Every military society that has every thrived or flourished did so because they first practiced restraint. It was known by all in congress that you could never have a roman army near a roman town because a single day’s rest is all it would take to break up 1/4 of your army’s fighting resolve.

Even if they picked up their gear and marched on they would never be as effective. Happiness is a the normal baseline we’re supposed to start at which is why it’s so markedly difficult to remember when you aren’t. Pain is infinite. Pain makes a mean real. Pain can be pleasure but it takes a greater kind of social consciousness to reprogram yourself.

If you’ve only been in the pits of despair/grief but you feel resolved in that pain you’ll persist forever. A child laughing, a woman smiling, a drunk singing, if those soldiers saw a that slice of ‘normal’ life it wouldn’t remind them of ‘why they fight’ but instead only of the things they are very likely to never experience themselves.

At present, they’re slowly beginning to reveal their ambitions/aspirations in space but any ‘truth’ about their new discovery is lost, if not impossible, with starlink being in the hands of Elon Musk as there is likely nothing out there he wants to steal as much as their knowledge on photonics, quantum computers, metamaterials, etc#.

If you knew anything about metamaterials or the present state of modern cyber-weapons and you still had these views I’d think you were more than just ‘idiot’. I’d probably threaten you with violence or make some smaller more carefully crafted attempt at deflating your ego.

I’d like to think your ignorance here is one that only stands to double your efforts once you learn to recognize what the veil you’ve had inserted on you looks like through different language.

I have a large military family and while some of them trend closer to the intelligence side of things (and one of them is def far more intelligent) one thing is still abundantly clear to me; concepts like chain-of-custody or supply-chain management are well beyond them and everyone else in the US government.

It’s hard for a nation to protect it’s confidential/privileged/classified/sensitive data when the companies stealing from them are themselves having their own ideas stolen and spun against them in some other way.

I wish I were in a position to speak on more of the technical stuff but you’d need a proper NASA engineer/scientist to help you out. Doing so would let me use softer rhetoric but I gotta work with what I have.

Since my response to this post is a bunch of nothing as well, let me give you some food for thought before you think about deleting this post(assuming it hasn’t been sold or taken over).

On 100% encrypted data there are zero-knowledge mechanism out there whereby certain kinds of black-hats/academic-researchers types can trade or broker ‘leaks’ without ever revealing their sources amongst one another. Google is slowly starting to implement some of their supporting FLOC stuff to keep their printers going strong but none of it is new by any means to anyone with a background in cryptography.

I’ve traded and brokered millions of individual people around but I only ever did so as a ‘non-profit activist’ so I could keep things liquid for my small team and we could continue to burn money remotely having fun doing whatever we wanted. It started when (as a minor) I handed over limited control of my bot-farm(my school) over to some friends I made online and I got into bitcoin.

$12-24/hr for an hour of interactions through Google Services on 100% encrypted data was pretty common for non-technical people between us. This was 1-2yrs ago. It’d be much higher now on account of COVID being the final catalyst Big Tech needed to totally inherit Big Pharma.

If I were selling these malevolent actors (and their employees) software $40/hr would probably be doable. For the people in my community i’d instead rather pay them out of my own pocket( $1-2/hr) for me producing work for them.

‘Technical’ people using an ERP/CRM/DAM/PIM/etc# type software were closer to $150/hr and required 1/50th as many “black boxes” to do so the same. The money wasn’t transactional between us but instead profit-shared through our other endeavors on the ground. So far as I’m aware, I’ve never stolen IP from someone;‘process of elimination’ simply let me curate what I practice/teach/share. My interests locally are mostly on human-centered design and “the circular economy”. Not so much the ‘chaos theory’ ‘90s anti-gov hacker’ sort of stuff many people like to harp about.

Turking Engineers though? 10x easier to do but within a paradigm where they receive none of the benefit. They don’t dry up like normal sorts; they burn and crash. They place too much trust in their tools for sure but it’s goes far deeper than that for me.

I refrained from pursuing engineers because minor interruptions don’t go unnoticed by them. They’re very easy to signal to but very hard to appeal to. You can’t ‘just make something better’ for them because they only trust what they can build themselves. Instead of completing college i only ever endeavored to have my own.

My original dream was just for my kids, maybe somewhere rural, somewhere expensive, i didn’t care, i didn’t really believe in it yet, I just knew that it had to have military cats, rube-goldberg devices, and a curriculum focused on interpersonal conflict, AI vs AI combat, semiotics, theatrical debate, and .

Instead, I only ever managed interns, small teams, cross-functional boards, and online learning forums. Education for me was more than activism;it was a spiritual jihad. began at a much younger age when I lost a close friend I met on Steam. who lived in the middle-east.

Google? Amazon? Tesla? Facebook? Apple? That’s literally all they do - only - it’s not a learning organization. And when I say they I mean the media personality types. Grab a book on collective intelligence and real burn the concept of ‘turking someone’ into your brain and imagine how much it feels on a person when they aren’t doing data entry but instead data science. It’s excruciating. Not trusting your results puts you in conflict with your reality.

If I had to hazard a blind guess on what their actual operating expenses are it’s probably 30-40% ‘counter-surveillance’ against the 1-3% of apolitical ‘techies’ who keep their head down but only for so long as nothing excites their curiosities towards making or developing something that’d weaken their position. I wish I had more energy to talk about the social-calculus required by them to control people smarter than them but my mind isn’t there right now.

In the past, I had a small banana colony of vertically integrated ‘Tesla Hack’, ‘SpaceX leaks’, Elon-Conspiracy’, ‘world-class board house’, ‘independent software development firm’, etc# type of websites and while the products largely existed to do things outside it’s stated intent I only ever provided free or at-cost services for what I felt like was always an industry-leader-tier product and it should be stated I did as much without ever learning how to drive.

If he (or his bots) were willing to spend $10-15k fuzzing an entire sub-niche of technology globally to bend/spin/identify/etc# whoever first originated/developed certain things I’m sure he’d spend far more on someone actually creating something of actual value.

My original focus wasn’t on eliciting a billionaire-level reaction over a ‘joke’, it was to spark debate with my kind of scientists who’d then feel open to suggesting ‘un-scientific ideas or beliefs’ as I felt like they could apply to my interest in radio-wave based forensic time travel and bring me closer to my family.

Having a deep appreciation for NLP and everything fun that comes with it $120-140k to do the same to you would have been be a fair ‘market’ price if you were with us then. That said, I never would engage in the same sorts of subversive behavior online. We only ever ‘turked’ each-other when we knew the rest of the team would be able to do something for everyone. Things that involve EKG monitoring devices, radiation resistant ICs, drug production, identifying exploitative/terroristic material online, etc#

Elon though? I’m sure he’d put a couple million down on you atleast. He grew up with blood diamonds in his pocket and his start-up experience wasn’t a brutal or grueling one like ours; he abused drugs and received insider advice from friends. Even wealthy nations capable of paying back their own debts are in a place where they want to to throw their hands up.

They’ve had steady 2-3% declines in their GDP annually and it goes back longer than many people would thing. Economists are frozen in place because it isn’t a battle of the ‘banks’ but instead a battle of the ‘brains’ where their creditor leverage their surveillance infrastructure to make informed judgements on people that goes a little too far.

The only reason I feel comfortable being so vocal/honest/transparent about these things (fear of false breach-of-confidence charge being placed against me from an independent 3rd party(where they are just following due process) is the tacit knowledge the “Lawyer Bot” I have on retainer could protect me from facing charges in every world-court but the Hague.

Whenever I speak up to voice these kinds of concerns I usually make it habit to first jumble my sentences around, sleep on it and then follow up in the morning after making some changes.

Not so much out of paranoia but out of habit. If you ever really wanted something to be truly paranoid about yourself ask me how i’d use bird songs to create lasting ecological damage world-wide.

9.5/10 tired. I hope this lands atleast half-well. lol :spider_web: