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Birdman vs Big Brother

  1. Sep 16, 2014 #1
    I wonder how could one do covert operations, include assasinations and kidnap in an urban environment, where Big Brother is watching, cameras on every corner, drones over the streets?
    Of course there isnt any method that cannot be countered with enough resource, and some kind of inner help is expected, but i thought about a few outside the box thing.
    I wonder which of theese could have some plausibility?

    - Large wings and a hot gas generator to glide silenty between towers, above cameras, motion detectors.

    - Gekko like wall climb

    - Prevent DNA material to fall from the body, some lightweight full containment suit

    - Chameleon suit operate in visible and infrared

    - Use silent subsonic ammunition, or arrows (maybe guided, or gyro stablised arrows?)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2014 #2


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    Camera blinding lasers
    Hacking the security networks
    Go underground, making tunnels or using existing infrastructure (sewers)
    Good old fashioned masks
  4. Oct 3, 2014 #3
    Camera blinding lasers? But whatever monitors it, it will notice blinding.
    Well, TV trope wrote that real sewers arent really like to the video game ones, although they could be still useful for getting away.
  5. Oct 3, 2014 #4
  6. Oct 5, 2014 #5
    Thanks. That last one gave me the idea, that birdman starts from a skyscraper rooftop and tails a copter to land on the secured tower. Use a gas grenade to knock out arriving businessman, use his chip and a static mask to fool the system granting access to the lift.
    Then take out the guards, while the camera dont alert, due to the latest security patch to the monitoring AI, that was installed after some crashes caused by hidden EMP devices.
    And use some skin cream to prevent leaving DNA material (otherwise he is bald).

    I hope that plan is good enough not to find plotholes easily.
  7. Nov 25, 2014 #6
    What do you think about the efficiency of a flapping wings flying machine?
    As far as i know, while it isnt good for high speed, but also energy efficient, birds dont need cerosine in order to fly.

    I looked up suppressed weapons, i found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Lisle_carbine
    85.5 Db isnt that bad, but still audible in a building, is there any more silent way? I thought about launching arrows with springs or cold gas, as far as i know arrows can penetrate even kevlar bullet proof vests.
  8. Nov 25, 2014 #7


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    Sure, arrows or darts are super quiet. If you want something more high tech, you can use a coil gun to launch them.

    Powering an ornithopter is mostly unfeasible under human power, but with a motor, or a superhuman, sure, it can be done. Wingspan will be fairly large, though.
  9. Nov 25, 2014 #8
    Have you looked at the development of light-bending stealth uniforms, known as "quantum stealth"? In your scenario it could prove useful...
  10. Nov 25, 2014 #9

    As far as i know theese things only work in micro distances with a given wavelength.

    Wing span, i dont know how large should be needed (of course they have servos), but large wings still have a small radar cross section.
  11. Nov 25, 2014 #10
    facial recognition is the staple of video a simple mask defeats it. blend in with the crowd and wear a mask that hides/alters your prominent features.
    if access exists security can be breached by meeting the criteria to pass. the more you try and hide the more likely something will give you away.
    the use of body language can be far more effective to say you belong where you are and there's no expensive gadgets needed.
    unless the society you mean has scan tags embedded into everyone so drones and check points can identify passers most visual only security can be fooled with (don't stand out) tactics.
  12. Nov 25, 2014 #11
    I thought about a place, where everyone has implanted RFID chips... but it is a really dystopic, dictatoric place.
    I dont assume such things everywhere.
  13. Nov 26, 2014 #12
    Use fake pizza delivering drone loaded with heavy explosives?
  14. Nov 26, 2014 #13
    Yeah. :D

    For such reasons i think important people will distrust drones, and operates radars and metal scanners against them.
  15. Nov 26, 2014 #14
    use "Lay in wait" charges. when the target enters a charges range it goes off. under a sewer cover/ in a wall/ a mail box ....etc... whatever area you want to use. the detonator is triggered by the important persons own ID chip. if you know anything about the targets habits you can make an educated guess of where they will pass with some level of assurance of when too. this would inflict collateral damage becoming more the tactics of a rebel faction over a simple assassin.
  16. Nov 26, 2014 #15
    Good idea. I thought about robotic killer bees also, but they need remote control, so high security buildings block or jam radio communication.
    ID chips (of important persons at least) shouldnt emit signals constantly, only when asked with correct protocols.
  17. Nov 26, 2014 #16
    but they can be passively scanned.

    just noticed you mentioned kidnapping. this would be easy in high tech buildings all highrises have shafts for either HVAC or elevators get the target on top of the elevator after slipping a still shot of the hallway in front of the cams. have an accomplice call the elevator to sub2 exit at sub1 door again simple fool the cams and load victim in a van and off you go. the guards would need to be really paying attention to elevator traffic to notice the cams not showing people moving in and out at the faked floors.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  18. Nov 27, 2014 #17
    How can you passively scan something that doesnt emit signals constantly?

    Second, also good idea. :) I thought also about feeding a computer generated film to the camera to show some movement also.
  19. Dec 2, 2014 #18
    For how long the surveillance cameras record data?

    Because I think about planting some explosives (rocket launcher with remote, whatever) on intended route of a target, and actually activating them ex. a month later.

    They jam radio signals? What about activating them through IR laser?

    Kidnapping? Damn hard. I'd rather think about luring the target in a way that he would cover his track. Offer him something that he desires like prostitute or bribe that has to be picked in a private place.

    If the story is set in decadent enough setting it should work... of course assuming that anyone cares in decadent setting to keep up appearances.
  20. Dec 2, 2014 #19


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    The question is difficult to answer without more context. For instance, how prevalent is the surveillance? Are we talking widespread CCTV or something far more sophisticated like cameras, microphones and chemical sensors covering every square metre of public space? To what extent is digital communication monitored and what, if any, are the punishments for using darknet technology/software? What are the available data storage technologies (see this article by an SF author for some interesting speculation on universal surveillance and data storage)? How far along is software that can determine human behavior? To what extent is personal identification needed in everyday life (i.e. is the society cashless with transactions requiring biometric bank cards/to travel does one need a personal travel card)?

    If the answers to all those are high tech then there aren't going to be effective counter measures. Even if you could make an invisibility suit or blind some cameras you could be found by an investigation that looks further back in time and space. You might have been totally invisible within the bank when you broke into the vault but two hours earlier cameras spotted you going into a toilet cubical followed by that cubical opening with no one in it. Two hours after the electricity use in your house fluctuated indicating you were home even though no cameras on the street observed you coming back.

    With any science fiction questions it's best to establish the rules and setting.
  21. Dec 2, 2014 #20
    security cams can record for many different amounts of time depending on the medium they record to. if its digital to a server or hard drive it could be near indefinitely.

    not sure you can legally have a constant jamming system around you when you move around a city. besides a simple wire from the location of the rocket to a receiver however far away you want to make it to be believable and be outside a jamming field can solve sending the signal to fire just need to increase the current to allow for the resistance the wire adds. or if you want the assassin to look clever make the launch occur because the targets jamming system is model Blah blah XXXX which uses blah blah blah frequencies in blah blah blah order which happens to be the triggering order for the missile .
  22. Dec 2, 2014 #21
    @ Ryan M B
    in the case of guaranteed being seen "sensors everywhere" the best tactic is in and out in one go. so overwhelming force like an entire truck of high explosives brought to within killing range of the target at a known location. chemical sensors are pretty easy to fool if the time and effort to do it have been applied just most people don't even try to or know how to. its the same as tricking drug dogs by making sure the air tight package can not have been contaminated by the product being concealed and repeating the process for several layers each time cleaner than the last no reused gloves no reused clothes ...etc... then testing the package with a similar sniffer to be sure there are no errors.
  23. Dec 2, 2014 #22


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    That all begs some pretty big questions: how did you accumulate a bunch of high explosives, a truck, a place to hide them and how didn't you get stopped? And again it all comes down to to context. Suppose that the society has gone cashless and by law all transactions have to be via a bank card (in other words very traceable). It isn't inconceivable to imagine banks being legally obliged to run all accounts through transaction analysis software looking for suspicious purchases e.g. a lot of fertilizer despite there being no log of other garden related products.

    It seems to me that if we posit a society with very good surveillance it's not impossible that someone could hide low level activity, perhaps even for a long time. But once the authorities turn their attention to an event or person it will be extremely difficult to remain undiscovered. All those records are going to be thoroughly poured over by human investigators rather than relying on software to spot patterns. That's when things like someone entering a building, never being recorded as leaving and then appearing somewhere else go from a minor discrepancy logged in the system to the vital clue that leads to a night time raid on "Birdman's" house
  24. Dec 2, 2014 #23
    bathtub plastique can be made with common household items which don't raise alarms when purchased costs more than ammonium nitrate and it takes knowing what to use and how to make it. but in large quantities it'd pack one hell of a punch, a truck load would be devastating.but lets go with something totally normal to see on a street like a hospital gases delivery truck. the explosive is the product itself just need to weaponize the containers to maximize detonation (I have to say its getting a bit hard to describe these while trying not to step over the line.I don't want to be giving real ideas on techniques.)
  25. Dec 2, 2014 #24


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    That example brings me back to my point above: you might be able to get away with one thing but after that you're completely uncovered. Assuming widespread surveillance the moment you carry out your assassination or terrorist attack every camera in the area is going to be scrutinised. The journey of the truck will be tracked back along with who it is registered to, where it's been etcetera. In a sense the way a lot of heavy surveillance states work in fiction is to massively increase the prevalence of a "paper" trail.

    Given that this is the science fiction forum it would probably be best to discuss specific works of fiction, otherwise we're just going to go back and forth under different premises.
  26. Dec 2, 2014 #25
    we can go back to a simple face altering mask used constantly when within the surveillance net. truck can be from either taken at the last hour/minute or outside the net and brought in. materials can be purchased in small quantities at widely varying locations ....etc... thing with heavy surveillance it works great in cities not so much in the country sides because camouflage can trick periodic surveillance passes. a truck inside another truck can make one get to a safe entry point or simply hide it until its needed. like you said knowing just how extensive the net is makes what can and can not work more obvious.

    what i described was an assassin going after a AAA target being outed after the fact when you're long gone from the location becomes irrelevant if the actual persons identity was never used for purchases and care was taken to always have a camera fooling mask on all the analysis would come to dead ends. they would know how and what was used but it doesn't actually tie to the assassin's identity
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
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