Monday, April 18, 2005

Big Brothers Alive and Well

Big brother is in fact alive and well in the twenty-first century. I have to admit though that RFID chips scare me more than a "black box" for cars. CASPIAN shows us what in my mind is the least frightening use for them, (though, it is pretty scary) product placement. Wired talks about the use of RFID chips in personal documents and passports. Slate magazine and NPR's talked about this last November. Veri Chip is developing a subcutaneous RFID transmitter that could be tracked by satellite. Now the theory is this could greatly enhance efforts of law enforcement to find children of others who have disappeared or been kidnapped. Realistically this means instead of tracking your car they could find you with a satellite and watch you from such a distance that you couldn't possibly know your being surveiled.

With "traffic" cameras going up at an accelerated rate, (Georgia even calls then what they really are) and satellites providing ever more detailed images of what they see on this planets surface, we really are moving at a rapid clip towards Orwell's dystopian nightmare. At this time the technology exists to watch people from space and track their movements all over the planets surface. Three satellites is all it takes to see the entire planet's surface and there are thousands of satellites in orbit right now.

Even just a decade ago this conversation would have been relegated to a few crackpots and crazed conspiracy theorists, but with the advent of the war on terror it's reality. Our civil rights have reached new lows and there are newer and better methods for watching all of us. Really kind of makes you miss the days when you could just smile and nod at a person purporting whacked out theories about being followed by the government, I know I do.

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