Projct Hydra is about “keeping an eye on (traffic) offenders in a distributed way”. Its mandate: The world’s first crowd-sourced social experiment using distributed, intelligent, cloud-connected devices to track traffic offences in real time.
After months of hard work and a product ready to launch, I took the difficult decision after much soul-searching not to proceed with Project Hydra.
There were multiple reasons for this:
Early this year (2017) I turned into a digital rights activist, and started working with advocacy groups on digital ID, biometrics & privacy. I began to understand the peculiar conundrum that modern societies are dealing with:
Digital systems have civilization changing potential, they are harnessable for greater good of mankind and progress. At the same time they are easily gamed, they destroy privacy, and allow for an exceptional level of tracking by commercial interests, usually without consent.
Worse, they can be easily misused by government and institutions (the “state”) by deployment for targeted surveillance and control of ordinary people, residents, citizens, visitors, etc.
Worldwide, governments are not the solution, they are the problem.
With this deeper understanding, I realized that the Hydra Project actually arms the state against citizens, and is an “offensive” solution. I.e. it allows the state to find and fine offenders.
I no longer wanted to be the creator of such an “offensive” solution, rather I wanted to return to the core ethos of Kumogado, and create “defensive” solutions. Passive technology solutions that help reduce the incidence of crime against individuals, rather than actively find citizens who are violating traffic rules, and enable the state to profit off them.