Ten ways the government will spy on us using technology

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spies.jpgDid you know that every time you walk down the high street, your movements are logged by 16 CCTV cameras? And the footage is transmitted directly to MI5 headquarters, to be tagged and analysed. By robots. This is the Big Brother nation we live in, etc etc.

But the government won’t stop there. For most of us, new technology is just a new way to listen to our music / manage our working lives / record every episode of M*A*S*H ever made to view on our watch. But for The Man, new technology offers a myriad of ways to spy on us. Here’s ten of the most nefarious.

1. Security lamp-posts. Forget bobbies on the beat: in the near future, lamp-posts will be spying on our every seditious utterance, thanks to built-in cameras and bugs. They could be installed for the 2012 London Olympics as a security measure. In other words, anyone foolish enough to comment that the money spent on the Games could have been better spent on nurses would be instantly pounced on by a crack team of government spooks.

2. GPS satnav. How to implement a more efficient road tax system? Why, traffic charging, of course, where you’d have a GPS device fitted to your car, which would allow you to be charged according to when and where you’d driven. But the potential for abuse is clear if They know where you’ve been. The upside: murderers would be forced to transport their victims’ corpses to the woods by bicycle, which might improve the arrest rate.

3. Medical nanorobots. Don’t believe the claptrap about tiny nanorobots swimming around your arteries rooting out illness. It’d only be a matter of time before they’d be in your head earwigging on what your little brain pixies were saying (my knowledge of neurological workings comes from The Numbskulls, obviously.)

4. Windows Vista. It’s feeding all your personal information straight to the government, y’know. Or the Russian Mafia. Or Al Qaeda. Or all three.

5. RFID spychips. In theory a way for Tesco to make sure nobody nicks any more copies of Westlife’s Greatest Hits. In practice, an underhand technology to implant trackable chips in your underwear, allowing your movements to be followed by the spooks (or worse, by marketing types).

6. DVRs and set-top boxes. You’re loving your Sky+ box’s ability to record all the anti-establishment documentaries you used to miss. The Man is loving your Sky+ box’s ability to feed all this information straight to MI5 for monitoring. As a by-product, when The Floods come and the UK gets overcrowded, the population will be selectively culled according to who’s watched most episodes of Loose Women, The Planet’s Funniest Animals, or any Hollyoaks spin-off.

7. Those silly USB gadgets. You think it’s a USB bottom-warming cushion, but in fact it’s analysing your buttock-shifting for revolutionary tendencies. Really.

8. Wi-Fi music players. Sure, you’ll be able to stream audio direct to your next-gen iPod or Zune over the airwaves, but that audio streaming works both ways, y’know. GCHQ is setting up an entire department to analyse the results.

9. Games consoles. Everyone knows that if you play console games, you will end up shooting someone in the head in the real world (or if you’re a Nintendo fan, wantonly kicking turtles along the ground). PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 are all connected for one sole reason: to feed information to the government on just how much you giggle while chainsawing someone’s testicles off in Manhunt 2.

10. Spy drones. The skies are increasingly filled with unmanned robo-planes spying on the populace at large – so much so, that there are genuine fears they might start crashing into each other. Which admittedly goes to show that while those in power want to spy on us, they’re not always that good at the specifics of actually doing it…

Stuart Dredge