You Have 5 Seconds to Comply

Monday, May 21st, 2007 at 1605

Much as I hate criminals, chavs, thugs, louts, hooligans and doley scum who do nothing but destroy this precious isle and the best intentions of its noble and proud inhabitants, I’m also not a big fan of the state. Having privacy slowly stripped away and our right to do whatever we want on our own time is not on, by any measure. A lot of people get agitated by the notion that if you’ve got nothing to hide then what’s wrong with other people having a look. I say that’s nonsense, as anyone who’s ever read a Philip K Dick novel will tell you. Once you give an authority the power to collect and catalog and monitor everything, you’ve essentially surrendered your entire life to them. Now, so long as you play nice and don’t rock the boat you can live out your 80 years (approx) in blissful oblivion under the impression that all is good with the world BUT, if you’re unfortunate enough to slip through the cracks you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt when “The computer says no.”

What if the kid you bullied at school gets a job at the “Ministry of Information” and decides to get back at you? What if all of a sudden the government makes drinking milk illegal and can trace every purchase of milk everyone has ever made, ever? Sounds ridiculous, but then the Nazi’s rounded up people with long noses. In the USA they want to make mobile phones the centre of your retail experience so you make purchases based off centralised phone credit. Cashless societies are flawed for many reasons, but a cashless society which can track your movements as you make your purchases…? The mind spins at the utter wrongness of it. Sure all that information in the hands of a noble and un-corruptable force would be of no danger to anyone, but sadly we don’t have Lensmen and western governments have already proven that they don’t give a crap about human rights. (Apogies to Opera users, Amnesty Internation evidently need to hire a proper web developer!)

Anyway, back to the title of this mini-rant. You all should remember Robocop and the infamous ED-209 (If you don’t then shame on you, it’s a film history icon). You should also know what happens, then, what happens when the system malfunctions or, more critically, the system creators want to subvert the otherwise noble intentions of an automated law enforcement system. Just a good job that Murphey remembered he was human afterall…

You might be wondering if someone slipped me something in my tea but no, this was all kicked off by another BBC article about Flying Police Death Drones. Ok,so I might be leaning a little heavy on the drama here, but you can see where I’m going with it. How long before they have automated drones that “Automatically detect suspicious behaviour”, how long before they’ve got tazers or tear gas?

I’m all for rounding up the undesirables, the thugs and retarded goons who stab children and have anger mangement problems that would make Adolf Hitler look like a nice guy, but I can’t help feeling that it’s going to go down in a way that’s good for Government and very, very bad for the public.

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