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Welcome to 'Prison Earth'!

Zafar Anjum | Dec. 16, 2008
Is our quest for more security at the cost of our privacy?

And yet, we are increasingly submitting ourselves to 24/7 monitoring, voluntarily abetting to the crime of ending our own privacy and freedom.

When the going gets weird, the weird turns to higher security

In todays highly insecure, terrorism-threatened times, security has become a prime factor in our lives. For a host a reasons, ranging from personal to state-level paranoia, security is being accorded an intimate place in our lives at a level never seen before in the history of human civilisation.

But the state is not alone in thrusting security upon us. Most often, wittingly or unwittingly, we are inviting security to invade our lives.

Let us briefly examine how it is happening to us or rather, how we are making it happen.

The governments, corporations and financial institutions have already got lots of data on us. And we know its hazardshow millions of people have become victims of identity thefts and scams all over the world.

On top of that, we are increasingly operating in a cashless, plastic money environment. By using credit and debit cards, we are leaving track of all our transactions for Big Brother. What we buy and sell, where we shop, what are our tasteseverything is recorded. We are doing it happily.

Now moving from cards, some countries are introducing payments through mobile phones. Next could be payments through an RFID chip implanted in your bodya one-stop thing for all your identity, that will act as your password to everythingfrom opening your houses doors to e-payments.

But imagine the control that the RFID chip will give to the state. Big brother can track your movement and can deactivate the chip to deny you access to your own home and bank account.

Not only are your personal and financial data available to Big Brother, but your day to day activities on the net are also making your life less private. Google knows your search habits (it has many commercial and security-linked implications, thats why EU is asking Google to delete individual search infounder Draconian security laws, a case might be made against you using Google search key words), Gmail has all your e-mails, GoogleDocs all your documents, Facebook knows all your friends and what you are doing with them, and Flickr! has all your snaps. Just a few examples. All these services are owned by a handful of corporations that are answerable to the state, and the state, in the name of national interest, can make these companies reveal information on individuals.

If the terrorists can take the attacks to Facebook, as reported recently, so can the governments. In this fight, our privacy becomes the loser.


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