Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Have you ever felt that THEY are watching you? Haveyou ever felt as if you are in the hands of the authorities,the plaything of a conspiracy about which you knownothing and over which you have no control? Not wantingto cast aspersions, suspicions or doubts onto our governments,here are some facts which may make you feel everso slightly uncomfortable:• Surveillance devices now in the hands of governmentofficials include, according to MIT professor Gary Marx,“heat sensing imaging devices that can tell if a house isoccupied, voice amplifiers, light amplifiers, night visiondevices and techniques for reading mail without breakingthe seal.” Cameras can be concealed in virtually anypiece of furniture.• A major computer company is now marketing its “activebadge” to employers. Employees attach this tinygadget to their clothing and it gives out an emitting infraredbeat every fifteen seconds. The movement is thenpicked up by strategically placed sensors and processed through a central computer, which means that employeescan hide absolutely nothing from their bosses.• On a typical day, four thousand telephone calls arelegally recorded by authorities. How many calls are beingeavesdropped on illegally? In some countries, every internationalphone call is recorded and monitored. Monitoringdomestic calls is sometimes illegal, but with the(legal) development of microwave transmission, a hugenumber of long distance phone calls are now recorded.• In April 1995, Great Britain opened the world’s firstDNA database. By the year 2000, five million Britonswill have their genetic codes in the Home Office mastercomputer. Under the current law, the Home Office hasno right to anyone’s genetic code unless they are a convictedcriminal. The world of George Orwell’s 1984does not seem so far off, however, when the system canbe expanded to collect records from citizens who notonly haven’t been convicted, but who have had no criminaldealings at all.• The United States has the world’s most extensive systemof computer databases of personal information oncitizens. The information is collected for purposes rangingfrom monitoring criminals to credit reporting tomarket research. The types of personal information collectedon millions ofAmericans and stored in databasesinclude the impersonal basics, such as names and addresses,but also completely invade an individual’s privacyby storing such information as medical records,psychological profiles, drinking habits, political and religiousbeliefs.• Electronic espionage has now become so common thatfew people even see it as a problem. Many networkingsoftware packages have worker-monitoring features builtin as a matter of course. “Look in on Sue’s computerscreen,” exhorts one ad for a major networking package.“Sue doesn’t even know you’re there!” • According to a U.S. government study, the FBI’s databaseof criminal histories is totally incomplete and inaccurate.Thousands of Americans are at risk of falsearrest because of this.• The number of people on the records of the criminalinformation system in California exceeds California’spopulation.• Over the last ten years, the FBI and other organizationshave increased the amount of private mail theyopened, read and inspected tenfold.• The U.S. Customs Service plans a computer systemthat would classify incoming airline passengers as “highrisk” or “low risk” based on information supplied by theairlines. The purpose is supposedly to speed up lines atcustoms counters. “Americans are meant to be free people.There’re not supposed to be records made whenyou travel,” said a skeptical U.S. representative. “Theminute you get your name and birth date into a computerin Washington, watch out.”• It is a policy of the U.S. Navy to collect DNA sampleson all new recruits. Who knows how long it will be beforethey start genetically engineering perfect sailors?

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