Well... Shit.



  • TL;DR: The town where I work decided to put up a webcam over the city. A local newspaper wrote about this and a discussion between the swedish navy and the town concerning that you can also see the naval base, as well as most entry routes to it. H.I. Sutton picked up on this and wrote a piece where he shows that even in low resolution you can still see which subs and other ships enter and exit, and at what times.

    Fake update: The town has now removed the webcam.



  • @mikael_svahnberg These old fashioned dummy military stories are amusing until you go to Greece, start taking photos for a video game you are making and end up in jail.



  • @cartman82 I don't really see this as a "dummy military" story, unless you mean the part where nobody at the naval base independently thought to check up on the proposed webcam deployment (which, according to the article, they weren't informed about officially) to see whether it would pose any operational problems.

    It's quite reasonable that they'd be concerned about having the comings and goings of their submarines exposed and also quite reasonable that the town removed the webcam in response. (I'd have thought they could just aim it so that it didn't show the naval base area, but I didn't really look at the geography, perhaps that would have made it pretty much useless.)



  • Right, but with the number of cameras around growing exponentially, if they want to keep those things secret they better start putting tarps around the entire harbor or something.

    I kinda expect Google to announce "Live Street View" within the next decade.


  • SockDev

    @mikael_svahnberg Fun fact: the BT Tower used to be an official secret, and wasn't shown on maps or anything. Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    It also had a public viewing gallery, and a public restaurant in it.



  • @scarlet_manuka said in Well... Shit.:

    @cartman82 I don't really see this as a "dummy military" story, unless you mean the part where nobody at the naval base independently thought to check up on the proposed webcam deployment (which, according to the article, they weren't informed about officially) to see whether it would pose any operational problems.
    It's quite reasonable that they'd be concerned about having the comings and goings of their submarines exposed and also quite reasonable that the town removed the webcam in response. (I'd have thought they could just aim it so that it didn't show the naval base area, but I didn't really look at the geography, perhaps that would have made it pretty much useless.)

    That's 1960-ies thinking.

    In this information age, it's ludicrous to expect you can keep that stuff hidden near populated areas. Even if we disregard crazy precise satellites.

    Also, that your military movements mean anything to anyone.


  • BINNED

    @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, that your military movements mean anything to anyone.

    Twitter taught me that everyone's bowel movements are supposed to mean something to everyone else. So, you know...



  • @onyx said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, that your military movements mean anything to anyone.

    Twitter taught me that everyone's bowel movements are supposed to mean something to everyone else. So, you know...

    The generals can post status updates about their silly submarines, so that their moms can show them around the neighborhood and brag.



  • @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    In this information age, it's ludicrous to expect you can keep that stuff hidden near populated areas. Even if we disregard crazy precise satellites.

    Totally hidden, yes, is unrealistic. But the point is to limit the information as much as you can. As the article points out, it's combining the information from several sources that is the real danger - the more sources there are, the more information you can derive; conversely, removing this source reduces the amount and quality of information that can be derived, so it's still a sensible thing to do.

    As the article points out in reference to satellites in particular, their big limitation is that you only get updates once in a while. So combining satellite information with a livestreamed source of data is particularly useful.

    The step from "some ship of class X" to "ship Y of class X" in particular is a big one, which allows all sorts of interesting analysis.



  • @scarlet_manuka said in Well... Shit.:

    Totally hidden, yes, is unrealistic. But the point is to limit the information as much as you can.

    But even that seems unrealistic to me. Granted, the town setting up public webcams makes gathering information so much more convenient, but the overhead of setting up a few webcams of your own seems fairly low in the context of people who care about the whereabouts of submarines.

    The only reasonable thing is to assume that everybody knows where your submarines are once they surface or come close to land (especially if it's inhabited, and even more so when it's close to a well-known naval base), and then plan with that in mind.



  • @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    What if the real tower was built sideways, so that it doesn't stick out of the ground that much? Think outside the box!



  • @scarlet_manuka said in Well... Shit.:

    As the article points out in reference to satellites in particular, their big limitation is that you only get updates once in a while. So combining satellite information with a livestreamed source of data is particularly useful.
    The step from "some ship of class X" to "ship Y of class X" in particular is a big one, which allows all sorts of interesting analysis.

    Leading to what?

    So what if someone knows where you move your little toys?

    Americans can blow you away, no matter what you do. And if someone else tries to do something, Americans will step in and blow them away.

    It's all just theater, to make small militaries feel better about themselves.



  • @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    The real tower is hiding immediately behind the decoy.


  • SockDev

    @no_1 said in Well... Shit.:

    @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    The real tower is hiding immediately behind the decoy.

    No no no no no: the real tower is inside the decoy!


  • SockDev

    @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    So what if someone knows where you move your little toys?

    i'mma going with:

    • (For 'murica) If they know where all our toys are it makes it harder for us to squash them like a bug in the name of FREEDOM FUCK YEAH! when they get uppity and try to take us out.
    • (For non-'murica) Id 'murica knows where our shit is they can blow us up without even breaking a sweat and there will be nothing we can do about it! if they don't know where our shit is we might have a chance!

    :rolleyes: or something like that, i'm no military expert.... Apparently wanting to know why you are being ordered to do something is not the sort of attitude they want in their club.



  • @accalia said in Well... Shit.:

    Idf 'murica knows where our shit is they can blow us up without even breaking a sweat and there will be nothing we can do about it! if they don't know where our shit is we might have a chance!they'll have to nuke more stuff until they get it right

    :fireworks: :mushroom:


  • SockDev

    @zecc said in Well... Shit.:

    @accalia said in Well... Shit.:

    Idf 'murica knows where our shit is they can blow us up without even breaking a sweat and there will be nothing we can do about it! if they don't know where our shit is we might have a chance!they'll have to nuke more stuff until they get it right

    :fireworks: :mushroom:

    or that.



  • @mikael_svahnberg And now I know where you live! And I used to live near you. For the record, I was a studying down there, although not at the campus in your town. I was a bit to the west.

    And we had a similar fail up here where you could stream high-res videos from the webcam mounted to show the town square. The official player on the website was set to show low-res feed, but accessing the cam directly you could get the maximum-quality stream and be able to identify pretty much anyone walking across it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    The generals admirals can post status updates about their silly submarines, so that their moms can show them around the neighborhood and brag.

    Let's use the correct term!



  • @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    What if the real tower was built sideways, so that it doesn't stick out of the ground that much? Think outside the box!

    Indeed. Why do towers have to go upwards?



  • @scarlet_manuka said in Well... Shit.:

    Totally hidden, yes, is unrealistic. But the point is to limit the information as much as you can.

    This makes me think of something my late wife said to me once, about something that happened while she was in the Massachusetts ANG.

    There was some kind of operation going on, a potential deployment or something, and they weren't allowed to speak about it to people outside the ANG, not even to say where it was, even after the operation had been announced on the TV news.



  • @mikael_svahnberg said in Well... Shit.:

    can also see the naval base,

    Hell, the spies probably already have better camera placement with super-hi-res images to boot!



  • @mikael_svahnberg said in Well... Shit.:

    @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    What if the real tower was built sideways, so that it doesn't stick out of the ground that much? Think outside the box!

    Indeed. Why do towers have to go upwards?

    Or excavate 200 meters down and then put the tower into that hole!



  • @atazhaia said in Well... Shit.:

    @mikael_svahnberg And now I know where you live! And I used to live near you. For the record, I was a studying down there, although not at the campus in your town. I was a bit to the west.

    :pendant: You know where I work. To find out where I live, you need to use google and Eniro.

    If by 'a bit' you mean 25km, then pt94msv should tell you all you need to know about me. :-)



  • @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    @mikael_svahnberg Fun fact: the BT Tower used to be an official secret, and wasn't shown on maps or anything. Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    It also had a public viewing gallery, and a public restaurant in it.

    Isn't that Torchwood?


  • SockDev

    @dangeruss said in Well... Shit.:

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    @mikael_svahnberg Fun fact: the BT Tower used to be an official secret, and wasn't shown on maps or anything. Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    It also had a public viewing gallery, and a public restaurant in it.

    Isn't that Torchwood?

    No: that was Torchwood Tower, and that was in Canary Wharf, not Fitzrovia.



  • @raceprouk
    Well, it was a victim of terrorist attack in the 1970s.


  • BINNED

    @mikael_svahnberg said in Well... Shit.:

    webcam
    town concerning that you can also see the naval

    :giggity:

    Security by obscurity, just assume everyone can see your little naval thingy. Ok now change your strategies.



  • @steve_the_cynic said in Well... Shit.:

    There was some kind of operation going on, a potential deployment or something, and they weren't allowed to speak about it to people outside the ANG, not even to say where it was, even after the operation had been announced on the TV news.

    I am guessing that their thinking was that if you allow people to speak about it, then you also have to educate them about which bits of information are public or not (the location might be public but maybe not which groups participated, or the duration, or whatever else). You cannot rely on saying "you can only say what is already public", that's too vague. So it's easier to simply keep a blanket ban (and probably don't do much more than a stern talking-to if someone breaks that order in a mundane way).

    It's probably also CYA for the various higher-ups: if something that should have been kept secret leaks, then you can say that you did not authorize any communication at all and that therefore the one who leaked it is entirely to blame (no way they can say that they misinterpreted your words).



  • @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    @no_1 said in Well... Shit.:

    @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    The real tower is hiding immediately behind the decoy.

    No no no no no: the real tower is inside the decoy!

    :thonking: Oooooh! Thinking outside the box by putting it inside! No one would ever expect that!

    INB4: Spanish Inquisition



  • @mikael_svahnberg A bit further to the west, as Prof. Calculus used to say. As I moved from there many years ago, I can say that I lived in Svängsta. Home of Abu Garcia, for the fishing maniacs out there. Actually planning to have my summer vacation go there next year, as it then will be 10 years since I moved away and I haven't been there since.



  • @atazhaia said in Well... Shit.:

    @mikael_svahnberg A bit further to the west, as Prof. Calculus used to say. As I moved from there many years ago, I can say that I lived in Svängsta. Home of Abu Garcia, for the fishing maniacs out there. Actually planning to have my summer vacation go there next year, as it then will be 10 years since I moved away and I haven't been there since.

    /me looks over his shoulder

    That's where I grew up.

    For the mechanical clock nerds, mechanical calculator nerds, and typewriter nerds out there, it is also the home of Halda.

    But why on earth did you live there? It's thirty kilometers away from anything!



  • @mikael_svahnberg I studied in Karlshamn. I got the letter of acceptance on the second round when all the normal student rooms/flats were all taken, and students got 50% off the rent living in Svängsta, where I was lucky enough to get an apartment that would become available right as the school started. Then I never felt the need to move into town, as I had a nice calm place all to myself and with real good commute to school, as well as 50% off the bus card for said commute.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @mikael_svahnberg said in Well... Shit.:

    @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    What if the real tower was built sideways, so that it doesn't stick out of the ground that much? Think outside the box!

    Indeed. Why do towers have to go upwards?

    Yes, we should really have more towers descending into the abyss. We don't just want to look into it, we want to penetrate it, explore it, dominate it!


  • SockDev

    @dreikin said in Well... Shit.:

    @mikael_svahnberg said in Well... Shit.:

    @anonymous234 said in Well... Shit.:

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, as you can see, it's totally invisible:

    What if that is just the decoy tower, and the real one is perfectly camouflaged somewhere else?

    What if the real tower was built sideways, so that it doesn't stick out of the ground that much? Think outside the box!

    Indeed. Why do towers have to go upwards?

    Yes, we should really have more towers descending into the abyss. We don't just want to look into it, we want to penetrate it, explore it, dominate it!

    NSFW thread is :arrows:


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    Also, that your military movements mean anything to anyone.

    Well, when they involve high-sensitivity items (I.E: Nukes), you can bet they do.

    There's a certain plane that comes near me that nobody is supposed to take pictures of or post. Not even the base knows it's on its way more than like an hour out...



  • @sloosecannon said in Well... Shit.:

    Well, when they involve high-sensitivity items (I.E: Nukes), you can bet they do.
    There's a certain plane that comes near me that nobody is supposed to take pictures of or post. Not even the base knows it's on its way more than like an hour out...

    Nukes are the sole exception. Everything else is theater.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @cartman82 said in Well... Shit.:

    @sloosecannon said in Well... Shit.:

    Well, when they involve high-sensitivity items (I.E: Nukes), you can bet they do.
    There's a certain plane that comes near me that nobody is supposed to take pictures of or post. Not even the base knows it's on its way more than like an hour out...

    Nukes are the sole exception. Everything else is theater.

    Well DPRK is a little worried about US troop moments right now. And I'm sure we're watching them...

    There's a not insignificant amount of intel you can gather from troop movements. Now the military isn't crazy, they know it's easy to figure out. But there's no sense in allowing something (like a webcam) that gives it away that easily to any random person on the Internet...



  • @sloosecannon said in Well... Shit.:

    There's a certain plane that comes near me that nobody is supposed to take pictures of or post.

    Near you because of work, or because you live in a certain place? If it's the latter, I'm a bit curious how you learned that you weren't supposed to take pictures (or otherwise track) that plane. (For the former, I guess your employer would have told you.)



  • @remi Almost certainly all of that, but that stuff wasn't explained properly to the airmen.



  • @steve_the_cynic A lot of seemingly stupid administrative stuff is in fact rooted in some thorough thinking. That doesn't always make it less stupid in the end, but it does make it less random...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @cvi said in Well... Shit.:

    @sloosecannon said in Well... Shit.:

    There's a certain plane that comes near me that nobody is supposed to take pictures of or post.

    Near you because of work, or because you live in a certain place? If it's the latter, I'm a bit curious how you learned that you weren't supposed to take pictures (or otherwise track) that plane. (For the former, I guess your employer would have told you.)

    Because I live near there.

    It's on a USAF base, and I never take photos on a base anyways (it avoids awkward moments). But we had an event there, and some people took photos, and the nice friendly men with guns came up and told us not to. And told us to delete them. And said we were lucky because technically they could take the phones and wipe them...


  • SockDev

    @sloosecannon I'm now wondering how many of those phones were set up to auto-sync with cloud storage, meaning those people may still have those photos.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    @sloosecannon I'm now wondering how many of those phones were set up to auto-sync with cloud storage, meaning those people may still have those photos.

    Oh they very possibly might.

    I wouldn't personally take that risk... But yeah, some of them might have...


  • kills Dumbledore

    @raceprouk I was at a TV recording last year where they saw my wife taking photos and told her to delete them before they'd let us leave. The one picture I'd taken I'd already posted to Facebook, and it's on my Google drive as well. I don't think she had enough signal for hers to get uploaded to iCloud though


  • SockDev

    @jaloopa What I don't understand is why they ban the taking of photos of a recording that's going to be broadcast to the nation anyway.


  • kills Dumbledore

    @raceprouk possibly to avoid spoilers? Not that anyone would have been shocked to find out who a guy on an episode of Take Me Out chose



  • @raceprouk said in Well... Shit.:

    @jaloopa What I don't understand is why they ban the taking of photos of a recording that's going to be broadcast to the nation anyway.

    Unlicensed Intellectual Copyright Property Violation !!exclamationpoint!‍!!



  • I used to work in Egypt, and occasionally I'd be standing on the street, near a shed, talking to a colleague or student when a couple of Egypt's finest would approach, wave rifles, and explain that we had to move five metres down the road.

    While I suppose there must be some country interested in Egypt's military technology, I highly doubt the UK was.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @coldandtired said in Well... Shit.:

    While I suppose there must be some country interested in Egypt's military technology, I highly doubt the UK was.

    I'd reckon the UK would be very interested, mostly so they could know what to sell the Egyptians next…


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