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Global Roundup: Big Brother Goes Hi-Tech

Thousands of Brazilian schoolchildren now wear uniforms with computer chips embedded in the fabric. The chips send text messages to parents notifying them when their child enters school, or doesn’t.

In Japan, new surveillance cameras can scan 36 million faces in mere seconds.

In December 2010, Iran spent $130 million to purchase phone-monitoring technology from China. The state telecom company, which has a near monopoly on landline service, will soon be able to listen in on all non-cellular telephone calls.

China is pushing ahead (with help from Bain Capital, incidentally) with its Safe Cities Program, which uses “infrared antiriot cameras” to monitor citizens.

From Brazil to China, new technologies are proving a boon to Big Brother. And it’s not just countries with restive populations, like Iran, where the government keeps close tabs on its citizens: Great Britain has one of the most extensive video surveillance programs in the world.

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  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    There will be a cultural reaction to this increase in the invasion of privacy. Trade craft, encryption, and creative new methods to ensure privacy, will find their way into the cultural consciousness. In fact the Authoritarian governments are fighting a rear guard defensive action, which will just increase the number of enemies they face, as everyone goes into stealth mode.

  • jbay

    Just like there was a reaction to the institution of numbering citizens with social security #’s.

    History waxes and wanes, and unfortunately for us high tech is occurring simultaneously with global conflagration. No me thinks the cows will silently chew there grass and the lemmings will continue to run off cliffs. Until at least it reaches a point of absolute absurdity.

    CCA contract w. 48 states to keep 90 occupancy of prisons…. well you’re gettin’ there!

  • jbay

    Sorry… that was 90%.

  • Some Sock Puppet

    The US isn’t feeling terribly friendly to privacy either, unfortunately.

  • Kris

    It’s not just Big Brother, it’s Little Brother too. We’re all watching each other. After the anonymity of urban life provided a respite from the earlier busybody-ness of small communities, technology is now swinging the pendulum against privacy. I’m one of those not particularly happy about this, and there should certainly be limits on Government, but I fear that the privacy that I and others enjoyed is endangered. (Again, without any need for, say, a “War on Terror”.)

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