24 February 2006

Makes your skin crawl...

George Monbiot is hardly my favourite columnist, but this article just goes to prove the old adage that a stopped watch is right twice a day. Monbiot cites the introduction of subcutaneous implants as a security measure and then looks out how this rapidly advancing technology could become widespread in current situations where people are tracked (i.e. mental health facilities, hospitals, the military, etc.). His main point is that these types of uses for tracking implants will not be objected to, people will probably accept them in these situations without complaint, even if they are not compulsory.

The fact that all this is not particularly objectionable in and of itself is paradoxically the most worrying aspect of such developments. How long before states see the potential in this technology? How long before babies are tagged in hospital, ostensibly to prevent kidnapping and the like, but where function creep rapidly expands the system's scope - preventing truancy at school perhaps? Eventually with so many young adults having grown up with such implants making them mandatory will no longer be politically difficult and we will have sleepwalked into the ultimate Orwellian state.

Paranoid? Perhaps. Yet we see how hard the government twists and turns to introduce ID cards and to be honest most of the opposition is due to cost rather than principle. What if your "citizen tag" was cheap, easy to use and you were virtually unaware of it, I'm not sure those of us concerned with liberty will be pleased with the number of people who are fundamentally opposed to the state tracking and controlling our lives.

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