Regulation of Holo Screens?

jedion357's picture
September 10, 2014 - 4:43am
The implications of holo screens in the setting are startling.

Just imagine their use by paparazzi to obtain holo images of celebrities doing embarassing things.

Politicians to first embarass and then kill an opponent's chances in an election.

Or a challenger who stages a poorly done holo impersonation of himself so that he can accuse the incumbent of having played dirty in the election process.

Or the police impersonator.

Rape and assault.

I think most civilized planets will have statues regulating the use and ownership of holo screens. Making it a serious crime to use one in the commission of a crime or to impersonate someone.

Naturally, the manufacturer's of a holoscreen will put explicit statements on the packaging that it is for entertainment purposes only or for costuming purposes.

On the other hand their use in theater would have some impact. Imagine Blue Man group performers not having to scrub all that make up off thier faces and hands after a performance or performers being able to effect quick changes with one actor playing several parts in the play every time he enters the stage he's another character.

Image the guy who outfits his vehicle with a holo screen and drives with it in invisibility mode, only a matter of time till there is an accident. Or he switches on the ambulance screen to get traffic to move out of his way.

Bottom line is that since this tech can be used to such social evil, societies in the Frontier will have to regulate it.

1. militias searching a merchant vessel might find illegal hole screen disks, they're easy to transport and hide and will have a high value thus smuggling them will be very tempting.

2. plot hook: captive escapes her kidnapper's house and makes off with his holo screen equipped vehicle. In her desparation she doesn't realize that she activated the screen and she crashes with the PC's vehicle. Her desparate pleas tug at the moral heart strings of the PCs. This could be a plot hook, red herring, or simply a side trek because not all of the regular players showed up for the game that night.

3. PCs are hired to investigate mystery. the technician PC must analyze video footage and prove or disprove the use of a holoscreen by the important personage on the video footage. Why was he set up and who wants to harm him in this way?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Malcadon's picture
September 10, 2014 - 8:15am
"Holo Screen. A holo screen projects a 3-dimensinal image around its wearer. The image is projected from a holo disc, a small disk that slides into the top of the holo screen control unit. The holo disc contains complete holographic information on one person or thing. For example, a holo disc could project the image of an adult male Yazirian in civilian clothes. The holo screen is only 80% effective. On a roll of 81-00 an onlooker will notice something is wrong. The holo image is limited to roughly the same size and shape as the wearer. For example, a Vrusk could not masquerade as a Human. Personalized holo discs can be ordered for 5,000 Cr. A personalized holo disc contains holo information on a specific individual. Producing a personalized holo disc takes 1d10 months, because it requires detailed (and very illegal - Oh-là-là!) holo-filming of the desired subject. If the subject is willing, the filming can be done in one day. A camouflage feedback loop can be added to the holo screen for an additional 1,000 Cr. The camouflage loop adjusts the holo image to match nearby surroundings, giving the wearer an 80% chance to be "invisible" to onlookers."
From the looks of it, the ability to produce personalized holo discs of someone unwilling would require a lot of time and money, and the right impersonator(s). It might be too expensive for any sensible freelance paparazzi to do, and even the yellowest of news outlets would reject a image or footage of a shabby hack-job — even they have a reputation to uphold, for what its worth! On the other hand, political rivals and media outlets who have it out one some one would pay a pretty credit to doctor such imagery, if it don't bit them on the ass later.

My thinking is that this is like the problem of using digital manipulation to doctor photos and videos. Their use are so prevalent with photos, people no longer take photographic evidence for face value, and in the Frontier, it maybe the same situation. Even with the best artists in the field, the ability to impersonate someone is greatly limited, and most people are accustomed to the technology. Security personnel would be trained to spot anyone with a Holo disguise on, and would have devices and systems to spot them easily.

Anyone who would make the best use of a Holo Screen would have to find the best ways to make everyone's sense (or sensors) less effective. Basically using smoke, darkness bright lighting, distance for onlookers, portable jammers, etc. to mask the imperfections. This would likely require its own special skill-set! Just imagine a PSA for a goddamn Holo-Ninja?Cool

jedion357's picture
September 10, 2014 - 5:40pm
Sounds like the Technician PSA.

I forgot about the 80% chance to avoid detection using it so with any extended footage of someone using a holoscreen it is probably only a matter of detailed examination to determine that its fake. Most likely still pics are easiest to pass off a holo screen impersonation and video footage needs to be short to succeed.

However with the big bucks paid for still pics of celebrities in the real world its not a stretch that an enterprising paparazzi would lay down 5,000 Cr for something that costs about the cost of an individual robot or is the cost of a run of the mill ground car if its the key to giving him the edge. However if he becomes known for passing off holo screen impersonations only the sleeziest media outlets will touch his stuff and thus his profits will go down. So the temptation will be there, many if not most will resist it but a few will not.

That gives you a plot hook/mystery: A Paparazzi is desparate and gets a disk made. Does the still pics  and gets his big payday but...

1. the bad being that the paparazzi owed money to discovers what he did and sinks his hooks deeper into the paparazzi

2. Paparazzi murders a person who knew what he did and PCs are tasked with solving the murder

3. paparazzi was actually hired to do the tech work collecting holo scans of the target for impersonation. In this case it was politically motivated and now the being behind this scheme wants to tie up the loose end that the paparazzi represents. Perhaps the paparazzi was killed and the PCs enter the story investigating what happened to him and their digging leads to corporate board rooms or to political offices.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
September 11, 2014 - 12:47am
Using such trickery might work in the short-term but footage that is of a certain nature will be scrutinised very heavily indeed.  Party because people obsess about such things (as fans, followers, or whatever) but also because various interested parties will want to prove or disprove that the footage is real. So IMHO it's one of those things that has a limited burn in terms of effectiveness - but it could be used to confuse, fool, delay, etc for some useful amount of time.

jedion357's picture
September 11, 2014 - 5:25am
@ KRingway: I agree with that. However, the general perception of John Q Public would be that "Anyone could be impersonating you/me" which is true but its effectiveness is limited. No doubt biometrics are encoded into the ID cards partly for this reason.

Its the kind of thing the government could pass laws for with no real opposition to it and then posture that they are doing something to keep the public safe. So there is bound to be more restrictive laws on planets like Clarion, Minotaur, Prengular and Cassidine.

Another use of the holo-screen: criminal (of the organized sort) is being held in jail and has already has a holo disk made and a compatriot hold's up a store while more than obviously using a holo screen. It sets up reasonable doubt for the jury  that this guy is being set up and thus he must be innocent.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
September 11, 2014 - 5:45am
Chances are holovid footage would reveal, rather than be fooled by, the holoscreen, because if you have ever seen video of a television being on, then you would know that the video and the TV don't sync up unless the television and video frame rates are purposefully synced. (As they do in television shows and movies.) The effect is less today because of the way HD digital scanning technology works, but it is still noticible because the 1080p HDTV appears dim and data blocks twitch in and out and two lines would appear to scan down half the height of the TV from each other. It would be very noticible if taken frame by frame. With more simultaneous scans, (Currently two,) it would be even more noticible. Chances are, if they want to doctor footage, they would use face replacement technology for holovids rather than use a guy in a holoscreen.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 11, 2014 - 9:42pm
Just to add, the holoscreen only fools people 80% of the time. There is too much of a marginal error to be reliable for subterfuge, someone will eventually notice something is off.
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jedion357's picture
September 12, 2014 - 5:00pm
Honestly the 80% thing is for game balance, IMO.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!