Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

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ottarrus
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Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:25 pm

So, I've got several ideas about what policing, security systems, and crime prevention might mean in Traveller, and I'm wondering what other people think.

Here are the basics of what we know from the various rules sets:

-- Law Level codes are not absolute and are not uniform over the entire surface of the planet. Frontier regions and offworld stations will have very different levels of enforcement.
-- The more authoritarian a regime, the more likely that Travellers will violate the law and the more effort law enforcement will exert to apprehend them.
-- The more authoritarian the regime the greater the likelihood that there will be advanced control measures [meaning imported high tech] in place.
-- 'Startown', on worlds where a startown exists, is generally considered to be a buffer zone between the locals and visitors /guests /ship crews /etc. This does not make startown some sort of 'Dodge City', where gunfights and gang activity reign supreme. It's more like a harbor district... a certain rowdyism is permissible -- public intoxication, some muggings, etc. -- but out and out murder is not.

But after all this, if the players are committing crime onworld what are some of your 'security solutions'?

I'll share mine later on.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Galadrion » Tue Sep 07, 2021 4:18 am

Criminal methods and countermeasures up to (early) TL8 are fairly well documented by history, and so can be implemented easily by the individual game master. For the most part, late TL8 through about TL10 are going to be mostly along the lines of obvious developments from current trends: more effective and more ubiquitous surveillance measures, probably with more autonomous controls, increasingly common drone surveillance (growing more capable over time). While technically possible from late TL8, it most likely won't be until mid-TL9 or early TL10 that remote (drone-based) law enforcement becomes acceptable, and autonomous law enforcement drones most likely won't be legally or politically acceptable for a further tech level or so.

Cybercrime starts becoming an issue late in the TL8 era, with countermeasures trailing slightly - probably only by a matter of years, not tech levels. Right now (late TL8), crime consists mainly of data theft/breach, fraud based thereon, and (very recently) ransomware and infrastructure targeting (although that last has been going on for a couple of decades in the military/espionage arena). Future refinements and possibilities are going to be a matter of speculation, but it would be a safe guess that there are going to be more than a few extremely nasty incidents.

I know the question was about crime prevention, but remember always, that is a reactive game. Before you can speculate about the prevention, you have to determine what they are supposed to be preventing. After that, it becomes a question of the logical response.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Tue Sep 07, 2021 5:43 am

Galadrion wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 4:18 am
Criminal methods and countermeasures up to (early) TL8 are fairly well documented by history, and so can be implemented easily by the individual game master. For the most part, late TL8 through about TL10 are going to be mostly along the lines of obvious developments from current trends: more effective and more ubiquitous surveillance measures, probably with more autonomous controls, increasingly common drone surveillance (growing more capable over time). While technically possible from late TL8, it most likely won't be until mid-TL9 or early TL10 that remote (drone-based) law enforcement becomes acceptable, and autonomous law enforcement drones most likely won't be legally or politically acceptable for a further tech level or so.

Cybercrime starts becoming an issue late in the TL8 era, with countermeasures trailing slightly - probably only by a matter of years, not tech levels. Right now (late TL8), crime consists mainly of data theft/breach, fraud based thereon, and (very recently) ransomware and infrastructure targeting (although that last has been going on for a couple of decades in the military/espionage arena). Future refinements and possibilities are going to be a matter of speculation, but it would be a safe guess that there are going to be more than a few extremely nasty incidents.

I know the question was about crime prevention, but remember always, that is a reactive game. Before you can speculate about the prevention, you have to determine what they are supposed to be preventing. After that, it becomes a question of the logical response.
All very true, especially the part about the cops having to play a never-ending game of catch up with the criminals.

I think that your point about autonomous crime patrols with drones /'bots is also well taken at higher LLs. I can't see a Government 4 [participatory democracy] Law Level 3 world putting up with it, but a High Pop world would almost require such measures no matter what the government code.

And separating remote or cyber crime from physical crime is also something that many of us overlook as well. OTOH, there is a certain reluctance to open up that can of worms because nobody wants to muck about with Virus or any precursor thereof. Which brings up another question a' la Mass Effect about just how prevalent AI's are in a given campaign, but that's a subject for another thread all by itself.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:36 pm

From technological level eight onwards, assume that everything is monitored, with massive databases kept by government, commercial and criminal organizations, that link together everything.

I remember a science fiction story, where crimes of passion are punished more severely, because they are more unpredictable in a society where order and logic are valued, compared to crimes where the culprit can prove what he did was premeditated.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:36 pm
From technological level eight onwards, assume that everything is monitored, with massive databases kept by government, commercial and criminal organizations, that link together everything.

I remember a science fiction story, where crimes of passion are punished more severely, because they are more unpredictable in a society where order and logic are valued, compared to crimes where the culprit can prove what he did was premeditated.
I think I read that too, but damned if I can remember the title....

I don't know about 'everything being monitored with massive databases'... consider the societies we have here right now. Government 7 [VERY Balkanized], Law Level HIGHLY variable, but averages about 7, TL a mature 8. Even after the rise of international terrorism as a political tool [which starts at the turn of the last century, but really got going in the 1960's and has been a canker on civilization's ass ever since], there is no worldwide data network. Each nation and each agency has its own database and sometimes even agencies of the same nation state don't talk! Witness the intramural pissing contests between the FBI and CIA or Britain's security agencies. Even France [who has a reputation of being far more willing to play hardball than Britain, Germany or the US] has trouble getting their various security agencies to talk.
And the Vilani Ziru Sirka had the same sort of problems on a far greater scale. Divisions of the same Bureau wouldn't talk together and the only official contact between the Bureaus themselves [that is to say 'a negotiation between Makhidkarun and Sharurshid'] required the intercession of the Vilani Emperor, the Ishimkarun.
So I don't think your assumption is as completely cut and dry as you imply.
Yes, it absolutely would exist in the more authoritarian governments. I could legitimately see a TL 5 religious dictatorship with a law level of A+ having an imported TL 10 computer system to collate and analyze all the reports coming by phone and radio and suggesting courses of action to the regime and all powered by the only fusion power plant on the planet. That's a Traveller situation all day long.
But before any regime is going to put that much of its GDP into that kind of surveillance it first has to have enough dissent to require it, and that's a referee decision that isn't reflected in the UPP.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 07, 2021 2:09 pm

The national Security Agency has massive data bases since they record everything, they just don't have the personnel and computing power to deal with it in realtime, yet, nor to become quite Minority Report; they also lean on companies creating encryptions or securing hardware to leave in backdoors, so what the Chinese are doing is not unique, while the Russians don't have that reach.

Speaking of the Chinese, one fear is that they are collecting databases of the young in order to figure out how to leverage them once they move into (bureaucratic/commercial/military/political) positions when they become older, something they are projecting on the Americans, which is why they are now antsy about foreigners getting access to their local (Chinese mainland) databases.

Others tend to be more pragmatic in collecting actionable intelligence.

This can be as mundane as buying logins, passwords, and/or credit card numbers off the deep web.

It's a lot more Cyberpunk/Shadowrun than people realize.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Tue Sep 07, 2021 3:48 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 2:09 pm
The national Security Agency has massive data bases since they record everything, they just don't have the personnel and computing power to deal with it in realtime, yet, nor to become quite Minority Report; they also lean on companies creating encryptions or securing hardware to leave in backdoors, so what the Chinese are doing is not unique, while the Russians don't have that reach.

Speaking of the Chinese, one fear is that they are collecting databases of the young in order to figure out how to leverage them once they move into (bureaucratic/commercial/military/political) positions when they become older, something they are projecting on the Americans, which is why they are now antsy about foreigners getting access to their local (Chinese mainland) databases.

Others tend to be more pragmatic in collecting actionable intelligence.

This can be as mundane as buying logins, passwords, and/or credit card numbers off the deep web.

It's a lot more Cyberpunk/Shadowrun than people realize.
There's a reason why Westerners call the Chinese data system 'The Great Firewall'.... And yes, it absolutely is being used for Maoist social theory experimentation on a large scale using a combination of intimidation, bribes, and what we Traveller fans might call 'psychohistorical' techniques to memetically shape their population to what the Party envisions.

As for the NSA, you're also right in saying that they have a certain capability to become the all-encompassing Commo-KGB we all fear. And it isn't as if America has ever rescinded a piece of security legislation in it's history. They can Federally prosecute you under laws drafted during Reconstruction if they had a mind to.

But I do want to point out that all these government organs are still run by bureaucrats... people... who are often more worried about maintaining their petty empires than they are a doing their jobs well. My answer to all the conspiracy theorists out there [especially since 9/11 or Bush II] is Hanlon's Razor:
"Never attribute to malice or conspiracy what can easily be explained by incompetence or stupidity."
You'd be amazed at just how much nonsense that clears up....
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:15 pm

Statute of limitations should strictly apply, though lately some crimes have been selectively extended.

Also, analysis of genetic material has advanced considerably, and one of the Dorsai stories has their criminologists hoover up everything in a room.

Connecting the two, after my sister told me she had her genes analyzed for ancestry, I quipped that I can now never commit a crime in America.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Geir » Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:01 am

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:15 pm

Connecting the two, after my sister told me she had her genes analyzed for ancestry, I quipped that I can now never commit a crime in America.
Too many crime shows... DNA is time-insensitive evidence in many cases. You just need to have a plausible reason to have been at the scene at some other time as part of your alibi. Helps if was real and you were seen by surveillance video when that time occurred and then found the blind spots in camera coverage on your return. Worst thing you can do is claim never to have been there, because then they catch you in a lie and the DNS evidence actually means something. Not that I've thought a lot about it. Really. The alibi doesn't need to hold up forever, just long enough to get your murderhobo butt out of town...

(Full disclosure: I was a teenage Traveller murderhobo. But I got better. After I was turned into a newt. Oh, never mind. Too many meds for too many aliments.) Point is, technology is evidence, but you can't necessarily convict on evidence alone. Tactics count: plan ahead and keep moving.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Wed Sep 08, 2021 3:04 am

After Book 4 Mercenary came out, we were ALL teenaged Traveller murder hobos 🤣😎 Our greatest ambitions were to one day own a Plasma Rifle and if your character didn't go to Commando School 'you SUCKED!'
Never did get that Plasma gun....

As for genealogy, DNA, and the police... From a civil liberties point of view, that crap is *frightening*... The companies that pitch this nonsense [Ancestry (aka Mormons, Inc.), 23 and Me, etc.] treat your DNA as a 'work product' not as a 'health record' and can therefore sell your genetic makeup to anybody with cash in hand -- No HIPAA regulations, no warrant, no nothing. So one of your relatives can get this bullshit done and suddenly your DNA is on file with a database that you didn't consent to, a judge didn't order, and is available to anybody for the asking. There's already talk of insurance companies possibly going to these DNA companies to get your DNA and adjusting your insurance rates based on the results -- no lifestyle choices [smoking etc.], just whether or not you're genetically predisposed to heart disease or alcoholism or whatnot.
Privacy is apparently now a commodity that only the rich can afford. Everybody else must seemingly rely on anonymity.

Sorry about the segue. I'll get back on topic tomorrow.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:29 pm

I caught the last ten minutes of a CSI episode, so details might be off.

As I remember it, the (I think) murderer shaved off all his body hair and had his skin scraped off, wore a wig and maybe a ninja suit underneath his clothing; and then planted red herrings by collecting used condoms, or deliberately targetted one individual and framed him.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:14 am

Hey, at least that guy put some thought into it! :D 8)
And that's thought that most RPG players take no notice of until after the referee rules on their activities. I mean, isn't it amazing how Travellers who have absolutely no criminal background whatsoever suddenly become masterminds after the referee says 'Eneri, you Tohm left spent brass with your fingerprints on it at the crime scene. The local government has processed that brass in their forensic labs and now know that you are the suspects. It's a race to the starport...'

OTOH, I tend to warn players that if they choose criminal behavior, then they will eventually meet with the police. But that entails a fair amount of bookkeeping on the referee's part, keeping notes on which character did what on which world.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:44 am

In Traveller, if your crimes aren't too egregious, you can disappear by hoofing it off planet.

While you're operating, it probably is wiser to have several false identities, or stolen ones.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby cunningrat » Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:55 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:44 am
In Traveller, if your crimes aren't too egregious, you can disappear by hoofing it off planet.

While you're operating, it probably is wiser to have several false identities, or stolen ones.
My players have asked to obtain some fake IDs, so I'm trying to figure out what that would look like, both within the Imperium and in the Trojan Reach.

Obviously system governments might issue their own IDs. Identities of spacers may also be gleaned from the transponder crew manifest. Imperial Army/Navy/Scouts/merchant marine might issue a copy of the personnel jacket. But is there such a thing in canon as an overarching "Imperial ID"?
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby NOLATrav » Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:48 pm

Back in the Classic days there was a supplement called Forms & Charts that had a selection of ID cards. Just basic character sheets really but might be a good place to start.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:58 pm

NOLATrav wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:48 pm
Back in the Classic days there was a supplement called Forms & Charts that had a selection of ID cards. Just basic character sheets really but might be a good place to start.
Supplement 12: Forms and Charts
You can get it as a pdf or dead tree from farfuture.net in the book, Classic Traveller: The Supplements
I think it's also at drivethru in pdf as a solo title as well.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:16 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:44 am
In Traveller, if your crimes aren't too egregious, you can disappear by hoofing it off planet.

While you're operating, it probably is wiser to have several false identities, or stolen ones.
The Imperium doesn't impose too many laws on its citizens. It imposes regulations on the matters it controls... trade, defense, foreign affairs... but local laws are local issues.
HOWEVER, COMMA, BUT.... there are a very few Imperial High Laws that will be enforced whether they are illegal on a world or not...
-- Murder, Espionage, Slavery, and Psionic Use are all illegal under Imperial High Law. Most of the time, these things are illegal locally and can be handled at that level. If they occur in 'Imperial jurisdiction' [within a starport, outside the 100 D limit, within an Imperial facility, etc.] then the IMoJ gets involved.
-- Violations of the Imperial Rules of War will bring IMoJ to your door /starship hatch.
---- The Imperial Rules of War are not written down, but they are clearly understood
---- a] NO weapons of mass destruction [including nukes, biological, chemical, or cyberwarfare attacks designed to cause a mass casualty event on noncombattants]
---- b] Warfare SHALL NOT be directed at serving Imperial personnel
---- c] Warfare SHALL NOT disrupt the interstellar trade of noncombattant entities
---- d] There are more, but these are the Big Three that are almost guaranteed to earn you a visit by an Imperial Marine battalion.

As to false ID's....
Yeah, they're available. But a false ID able to spoof TL 15 identity procedures should be VERY hard to acquire, and expensive when they're available.
But I could legitimately see a Rogue or Pirate character turning in multiple Ship Shares in the Muster Out tables for a Fake ID TL 12 with higher TL's available depending on the number of shared exchanged. And then significantly more expensive and harder to get once campaign play starts.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby cunningrat » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:49 pm

ottarrus wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:16 pm
s to false ID's....
Yeah, they're available. But a false ID able to spoof TL 15 identity procedures should be VERY hard to acquire, and expensive when they're available.
Well, see, that's kind of my question.
I get off a ship at, say, Falcon (Trojan Reach, outside the Imperium, Tech level D, Law Level 8 ). I say my name is Clive Owen Jones. What documents can I present to prove my identity? Who were those documents issued by?
And, if it's a fake ID, what info sources would the Falcon government have access to in order to prove that I am actually Chuck U. Farley? And where did those sources come from?

Assume Chuck U. Farley isn't wanted for, oh, war crimes within the Imperium -- in that case, I could see an APB filtering out to Falcon. But if it's a general question of "i am who I say I am", how does that work, in canon or in YTU?
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:58 pm

1. Imperium wide blockchain, with individual genetic code and family tree; like race horses.

2. Autodoc should be able to do cosmetic and plastic surgery.
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Re: Security Systems, Crime Prevention, and Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 10, 2021 6:31 pm

cunningrat wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:49 pm
ottarrus wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:16 pm
s to false ID's....
Yeah, they're available. But a false ID able to spoof TL 15 identity procedures should be VERY hard to acquire, and expensive when they're available.
Well, see, that's kind of my question.
I get off a ship at, say, Falcon (Trojan Reach, outside the Imperium, Tech level D, Law Level 8 ). I say my name is Clive Owen Jones. What documents can I present to prove my identity? Who were those documents issued by?
And, if it's a fake ID, what info sources would the Falcon government have access to in order to prove that I am actually Chuck U. Farley? And where did those sources come from?

Assume Chuck U. Farley isn't wanted for, oh, war crimes within the Imperium -- in that case, I could see an APB filtering out to Falcon. But if it's a general question of "i am who I say I am", how does that work, in canon or in YTU?
Imperial citizens have an ID card which includes fingerprints, DNA sequence, and retinal scan, along with name, homeworld, etc. It can be had at any Class A or B starport [and some higher end Class C facilities].
This document functions as your passport within the Imperium, but visas etc. will be required for foreign travel. All worlds with a Class C starport AND /OR Law Level 7 or greater keep a immigration transit records of travelers passing through their ports, as does each nation on Balkanized worlds.
The Imperium is perfectly happy to supply the infrastructure to make and process these ID cards to any member world of the Third Imperium and most client states as well.
Some worlds choose not to use the Imperial IS system due to xenophobia but all are required to recognize the document as valid.
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