The socialist’s dream of constant observation as a means of people control is arriving, albeit 17 years behind Orwellian schedule. Like Will Smith, in "Enemy of the State," the g-men know where we are, and what we are doing at all times. Well, not at all times, just when we’re in “public”. So far Tampa and Virginia Beach are the only two cities stupid enough to announce what they’re actually doing. No doubt some cities with “traffic cameras” propped up all over the place have designs or have already linked similar software to track specific vehicle or personal movements from camera to camera. All to more safely design highways, and understand traffic patterns, you see. We’re Government, and we want to serve you, our customer!
Finally, people are starting to wake up. The apologists’ argument for this system usually goes along the lines of “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have any reason to object to it.” Sure. Why don’t we let stalkers and Peeping Toms use the same argument in court? Because it’s an invasion of privacy. The folks in the streets, the ones who know Soviet-style thought control when they see it, understand that this changes the dynamic completely. You aren’t considered innocent until proven guilty under this system. You have no right to privacy, not in public at least, and the government is a master of making the steepest slippery slope arguments look prophetic in hindsight. They put radio bracelets on half-way house prisoners to track where they go. If pending cell-phone and car GPS legislation makes it through, what will be the difference between you and a collared criminal? At least the criminal knows he’s not free. And the legislation will make it through. Incremental control is the name of the game. The lying scumbag politicos who voted for the Tampa system now claim they didn’t know what they were voting for and would have voted differently if only they had understood, but the system is still in place. Ditto for the Georgia Driver’s License fingerprint program.
An editorial in the Tampa Tribune is quoted as: "It is all done for the purpose of crime prevention, crime solving and law enforcement not to create a Stalinist police state.” Stalin didn’t promise a Stalinist police state either. Stalin promised crime prevention, law enforcement, and a worker’s paradise. So it always goes: government needs just a little more control. In the USSR, after the revolution, control was used to “reform” the last monarchists and capitalists into true comrades. As that failed, it was used to crush political dissent. Can’t have the peasants telling each other the Emperor has no clothes. In the USA, under the Nanny state, control is used to make sure we’re all safe from each other and ourselves. For now. As the welfare state inevitably heads toward collapse, the last decent (?) politicos will be voted out of office, and replaced with more ruthless ones. Stalin’s predecessors laid the infrastructure of tyranny for him. Would Lenin have been worse, had Stalin come first and given him the political and police state foundations for the purges and gulags?
Soften the Russians up by degree and they won’t complain when they can’t criticize their leaders. Put cameras on every street corner of America, and pretty soon the police can get a warrant to watch you over the very x10 web cameras you’ve been so busy installing all over the house. Then again, why bother with a warrant, since your house is within 300 yards of public property. We’ll just spy through the walls.
Just to make it easy, here are a few ideas for the bricklayers of despotism:
Take all those digital driver’s license photos you’ve got stored at the DMV and run them through the recognition software. This will save some time when you finally get around to watching everyone, instead of just “known felons”.
Be sure to keep the matching Social Security Number as the unique serf identifier.
Add DMV license plate numbers in to the mix, so you can track us while we’re walking or driving.
Subpoena the credit agencies for our credit records, matched against SSN. You’ve already done it for banking, so the “know your customer” precedent is set.
Subpoena all our credit cards, airline, hotel, rental car, insurance and grocery store records.
All this subpoenaing is getting mighty inconvenient. Just get a blanket writ to connect to the appropriate private industry databases in real time. Make them pay for the cost of the connectivity, of course. Aren’t relational databases connected via the Internet wonderful?
Match-up the records for all GPS enabled devices with the appropriate SSN. On second thought, why do all that work? Just require a SSN at time of purchase for any GPS enabled device.
Match up the medical records with the SSN. We need this since all those graying baby boomers are straining Medicare with $Billions in potentially fraudulent or unnecessary claims.
Now that we’ve got all this wonderful technology in place, think of the good we can do.
Create criminal profiles based on behavior studies of felons. With a database of who is buying what, where, and when, how they pay, where they go, and who they do it with, a sociologist can get it right about 70% of the time. We’ll add in genetic profiling as that becomes available.
Just like DNA testing allowed forensic scientists to go back in the vault and re-examine evidence, psychological profiling will allow us to run all that video we’ve been archiving through our new behavior profiling routines. We can round up potential trouble makers for questioning, and prosecute or fine people we don’t like for crimes committed years ago. Statute of Limitation, buh bye.
Heck, why wait until some criminal commits a crime. Better lock them up in advance, just to be safe. When we get genetics, maybe we can eliminate potential future felons in the womb! We’ll use the remains for stem cell research.
Since the welfare state is involved in every aspect of the serfs’ lives, why stop with criminal behavior. Let’s develop profiles for the following and take preventative measures to curb behavior potentially expensive to the strained finances of the socialist state: Reckless drivers, overeaters, drug abusers, and school shooters. That way we can instantly block purchases of certain items known to facilitate these behaviors. Speeders get only a $10 per week gas allowance. Overeaters, you’re on a diet; can’t have you clogging up the government medical centers, now can we. And on and on.
Government has a special treat for the aging baby boomers. As Medicare and Medicaid strain the socialist economy for ever more resources, we’ll have to follow the Dutch example and just start weeding out you oldies. Not sure you want to go yet? Stop being such a resource using pig, you greedy old fart.
This is the great ongoing political struggle of our time. The struggle between a vision of government as the benevolent all-providing nanny, and the reality of such experiments always descending into liberty devouring despotism. The United States’ experiment with collectivism has been underway full-scale since 1913, the year the awful 16th (income tax) and 17th (direct election of Senators) amendments were ratified. Perhaps the cracks are starting to show. The fact is that millions of dollars were spent to catch a few deadbeat dads and any felon stupid enough to walk through a posted “Smart CCTV” area. They did it by violating everyone’s basic right to privacy. The people in the streets know that surveillance and tracking make them more akin to prisoners than free people. Even some police are leery of the idea of unlimited power to spy. Gentlemen, I applaud you. Let’s turn back from the socialist policies and all the police state tracking, numbering, surveillance, and control that are used to enforce them. In the end, it’s not for our own good.
August 2, 2001