Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smile, you're on surveillance camera

Scary stuff even if you aren't paranoid.

One of the assignments I have students in middle school do is to put their name in quotation marks into a Google search. It is interesting to see how much stuff is available about you unless you are very, very careful.

What is scary is the ability not just governments but banks and even just voyeurs are getting track our lives. Things like debit cards for mass transit systems and cell phone records automated toll plazas all create records. I've been told, though I don't know first hand since I don't drive that in places like Singapore if a crime is committed and an automobile is used then the first thing the police do is check these records to see if any cars matching a description were in the area. You are suspect simply because you drive a white Accord. Governments are bad enough but, I wonder how many other people have the ability to access this information?

The smart ID card in Hong Kong is certainly easy to use but man is it somewhat scary too just because of the amount of information it contains. Yet if you intentionally disable that information then it is a crime.

It appears to me that there are really only three absolutely basic rights. 1) The right to follow my conscience, which would include the free speech, freedom of religion and privacy. 2) The right to my property, which includes such things as deciding where to live, what to eat and wear. 3) The right to liberty which would include such things as choosing my own career and living where I want.

Obviously none of these are an absolute right. But it just seems that each is becoming more circumscribed and restricted all the time. Today is no different than the past in that regard because in all times and all nations there are those who wish to impose tyranny for the good of "the people" regardless of how many people have to die to obtain that good. It is just that now it is easier for them to do it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who sometimes thinks he should wear sabots and could be related to Ned Ludd

1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm a bit late commenting on this, but the Octopus card can be a great people tracker.

They are all individually numbered.

If police want to track you and your previous movments, they can get your number and find out all sorts of things such as where and when you go places, and what you buy in 711.

I'm sure it's easy to find the number.

If you go from Tai Koo Shing to Yau Ma Tei for work 5 days a week for instance, the police could just do a search for cards that match the criteria.

If you are paranoid, you should change your card often