I was particularly aghast at a recent NYT’s article; China Enacting a High-Tech Plan to Track People.
Starting this month in a port neighborhood and then spreading
across Shenzhen, a city of 12.4 million people, residency cards fitted
with powerful computer chips programmed by the same company will be
issued to most citizens.
Data on the chip will include not just
the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational
background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance
status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history
will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial “one child”
policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel
payments and small purchases charged to the card.
Scary. Essentially, the State seeks to have a birth to death record of every citizen’s activity. Before you say "that can’t happen here", remember the US federal government’s push towards a national ID card. How easily does this digital id then become a RFID tag implanted under the skin? No need to swipe it then. You’ll be tracked as you move around the city. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but as any technologist will tell you, all of this is well within the capabilities of current technology. Note to self: renew ACLU membership.