"SnooperChips and ToasterTaps"
Published 01 September 2005
(word count: 750)
Congressman Sensenbrenner knows how to win the Drug War. He wants to forcibly turn us all into Deputy Dawgs. His bill, introduced last May, would require every person in the USSA to rat out everyone who has ever so much as copped a contact high from a wayward puff of pot.
Anyone who fails to fink on family or friends lands in lockup. If Men won't inform on their Moms, if Dads don't denounce their daughters, if Lilo flinches at snitching on Stitch – and then won't help convict them – they become prison fodder themselves.
So you thought we won the Cold War against International Communism? Our Wisconsin Warrior dreams of a Soviet-American society where comrade squeals on comrade and little Ivan informs on his Father. Thought we won the World War against Hitler? Now we'll be expected to narc out our neighbors for the crime of being individuals instead of being Jewish.
But Congressnut Senselessbummer is a low-tech lowbrow when it comes to spying. He wants folks to finger folks. The digital stalkers are already Spybotting and SnooperChipping and RFIDing us to death with every imaginable manner of electronic Tinker Toy.
Got a black box in your car? Like the black boxes on aircraft (or EDR for "event data recorder") the devices are digital deep moles implanted in the innards of your automobile that record your basic operational actions such as speed, brake application, and that favorite of all police force profit-makers, seatbelt usage.
Automakers started installing the stealth stoolies in 1996, ostensibly to research crashworthiness. Some people have howled privacy invasion. Others like tracking their teenager's whereabouts and, perhaps in the process, inuring them to our pandemic police state. Data readouts from wrecks have already been used in courtrooms to both convict and acquit alleged driving offenders.
But just wait until congress mandates the EDR for every car and then expands its demands, like adding a GPS and long-term memory and felony charges for fiddling with it. Your Accura will become your eternal automotive ankle bracelet. EDR will mean Every Driver Regulated.
Unless you believe that your info will remain confidential, that no records will ever be released to unauthorized datacrats, and that the Easter Bunny is real and lives in Rabbitastan, just think of the evils this little box can be put to.
"Spill it, buddy. Why were you cruising Crack Street at 3 am? Don't give me that 'I was lost' bull. You're goin' down!"
"You wanna run against me for my congressional seat, eh? Well, I have proof that your car was parked across the street from the Lo-Life Motel for three hours last Saturday night. Never mind if it was innocent or how I got the info, drop out of the race or get burned!"
More SpyFi InvaderWare is in the offing.
The Federal Communications Commissars spat out a diktat that forces Internet broadband providers to provide backdoors into their networks – the online equivalent of wiretapping telephones. This will allow the likes of the Federal Bureau of Infiltration to fondle your files and maybe download digital drug dogs onto your hard drive without the embarrassing necessity of being at least half as bright as the average sixteen-year-old hacker.
In a bid to stop counterfeiters from counterfeiting our counterfeit money, the Sneakret Service wants your next printer to posses the capacity to covertly imbed a secret code on every sheet of paper that passes past its print heads. Even a lapsed libertarian might ponder how a person can have freedom of the press when one's very own personal printing press is pre-programmed to be a stoolpigeon. We'll all be presumed guilty until our printouts prove us innocent.
We can believe it's all about crime-fighting and terrorist-tracking, or we can remind ourselves that all government Surveillancecrats are police state stooges at heart.
Meanwhile, I suspect my toaster is tapped. I'm afraid to pop a fruit-stuffed frosting-slathered chocolate rhubarb Tastee Tart into my toaster. A secret scent circuit might sense it, and its math module will calculate the calorie count, and the transmitter node will uplink my GPS coordinates to the Office of Obesity in Washington where my age and height and body mass index are documented and the Federal Food Enforcement Fascists will bash down my door at 3 am and haul me off in handcuffs.
But I think I'll be okay if I just keep the toaster under that nice little tinfoil hat that I made for it.
Now, about my electric nose hair trimmer …
- by Garry Reed