From the April 2004 Idaho Observer:

From the Editor's Desk:

Surveillance infrastrucure coming online big time

As of this writing, I feel like Jim Cary's character in the movie “The Truman Show.” In this film, Carey's life, unknown to himself, was being broadcast live, 24-7, and was available for the word's TV-viewing pleasure. He had no privacy. Though the whole world is not (yet) tuning into “The Harkins Show,” the government is. I am not ascribing an unusual amount of importance to myself: Technological advances are merging and quickly coming online in such a way that we must assume that, at any time, our thoughts, words and actions are being monitored and recorded.

And for what purposes must our most public and private affairs be digitally encoded and the resultant data made available to government agencies and private corporations?

The world of Big Brother and of The Party, futuristically fictionalized in Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984, has been under construction in earnest since the Great Depression. Isolated voices in the wilderness have been sounding the non-fiction surveillance-state alarm since that time.

The Idaho Observer and the handful of other independent presses left in the land of the free have expressed their editorial concern that corporations and government are merging their interests to create seamless cradle-to-grave surveillance of our activities.

Recent advances in cyber technology software are allowing for the massive collection and storage of information that can be networked among public and private databases.

The capacity of software to process, file, store and share information collected with hardware is quickly reaching the point science fiction writers and alarmists have been anticipating for decades.

If you look closely, there are cameras everywhere. Both public and private, cameras can be found strategically positioned to watch most comings and goings of people and their vehicles. Via modem or satelite, all those camera images can be hacked into at any time.

Radio frequency ID chips and Global Positioning System components are becoming stock equipment in many commonly purchased items.

The legislatures of the several states and the District of Columbia are manically trying to keep up with the pace of advancing surveillance capabilities by passing “laws” authorizing government to track and spy on individuals -- even if they are not suspected of criminal activity. Government is giving itself the right to place a camera in every home, a microphone in every room and a tracking chip in every item entered into commerce -- including people. Tiny tracking chips suspended in pharmaceutical preparations can even be delivered into unsuspecting people's bodies through a hypodermic needle.

It appears that the only limitations on government's exponentially-increasing powers of observation are its imagination and our tolerance.

Welcome to our Brave New World. Think about your life and understand that government and industry have merged their interests and you no longer have any right to privacy. Over the next few months Big Brother's omnipresence is going to become inescapable as the marriage between hardware, software and the intent of rightfully paranoid bureaucrats and ruthless business executives are consummated on a national scale.

The emerging surveillance state is going to shock even the most conspiratorial among us for its ability to monitor and track everything -- except certain airplanes and certain illegal aliens. (DWH)

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