“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority…”
The (ironically titled) Disinformation Company published a book back in 2007 that was an overview of the surveillance police state control grid. Historically, tyrants gain more power whenever they keep tabs on their captive populations, like when Nicolae Ceausescu’s Securitate opened mail and tapped telephones during the Cold War, and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI profiled dissidents and broke up citizens’ groups using COINTELPRO. Generally speaking, such dragnet surveillance is typically a precursor to democide, and last century’s figures of well in excess of 144,019,000 citizens globally who were murdered by “their” own governments demonstrates just how serious these dragnets really are to not only our freedom, but also our very lives.
Corporate surveillance acclimates people to just voluntarily acquiesce to Big Brother, because if you can’t beat ‘em, then you must join ‘em, right? It’s not just the unwarranted surveillance of teenagers, employees, and even celebrities, but also the often highly inaccurate “public record packages” sold by commercial data brokers, including expunged criminal records! Elderly folks are not immune either, for they are usually targeted for customer loyalty cards, RFID tagging (like the VeriChip), and surprisingly, increasing genetic discrimination whenever they attempt to buy medical products from Big Pharma or medical services from the licensed & overly “regulated” medical doctors. If that wasn’t outrageous enough, casinos and other businesses liberally use CCTV and “neural surveillance” software to identify and analyze so-called “unusual behavior.” The cherry on top for all this corporatism is that credit reports are maintained by a cartel of three firms, and Google might as well be the predecessor to a future hyper-intelligent AI.
Once people have ceded their privacy to these fascistic corporations, the government oh-so-naturally steps in with their boot-on-the-throat infringements against our common liberties. ECHELON is a National Security Agency hub in England which uses pattern recognition software to sort intercepted communications under the auspices of a secret treaty with the British that is the UK-USA Agreement. Driver licensure has been converted to a de facto national identification card, CARNVIORE was an Internet packet sniffer that was eventually replaced by a more insidious corporate version, and the infamous No Fly List inaccurately placed innocent citizens on its roster. FISCs are little else than limp-wristed rubber-stamping whose warrants weren’t even sought by the Bush White House (and which don’t apply to ECHELON, anyway), Moore’s law is used by the military-industrial complex to justify the allocation of federal spending into robotics for such applications as weaponized UAVs and microchip implants, and allegedly “friendly” governments regularly commit espionage against each other. Topping this all off are the numerous satellites in orbit over the planet looking straight down upon the earth’s surface, as well as extraordinary rendition and government-sanctioned torture.
Farren & Gibbs’ Who’s Watching You? The Chilling Truth About the State, Surveillance, and Personal Freedom is an overview of the developments about the police state since the 9/11 event. Although there were similarities in content to Mind Your Own Business, it was nice to see an anthology about what has happened since Bill Clinton left the White House. I think it is fair to say at this point that Americans have found themselves far past the fictional horrors of 1984, and the authors’ contention that the Establishment is pushing us all towards a cyberpunk dystopia is probably all too accurate; however, I vehemently disagree with Farren & Gibbs that such an institutional push is inevitable. For instance, guerrillas have, historically, outmaneuvered their enemies by going low-tech, and I see no reason why that approach wouldn’t work again, especially since it has such a reliable track record (just ask the Amish).