1984 was an interesting novel. Not only did it serve as a warning of what might be (and what actually manifested) but also hypothesized on some of the technologies that would be used by the state to keep an constant eye on the people. Everything from thought police to telescreens were used to keep tabs on those living in Oceania. Today technology has advanced and the state has tools that Big Brother could only dream of:
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun rolling out its new $1 billion biometric Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. In essence, NGI is a nationwide database of mugshots, iris scans, DNA records, voice samples, and other biometrics, that will help the FBI identify and catch criminals — but it is how this biometric data is captured, through a nationwide network of cameras and photo databases, that is raising the eyebrows of privacy advocates.
Until now, the FBI relied on IAFIS, a national fingerprint database that has long been due an overhaul. Over the last few months, the FBI has been pilot testing a facial recognition system — and soon, detectives will also be able to search the system for other biometrics such as DNA records and iris scans. In theory, this should result in much faster positive identifications of criminals and fewer unsolved cases.
Imagine what combining the Federal Bureau of Investigations’s (FBI) new facial recognition technology with New York City’s spy network will do. People walking down the street can be easily identified and any criminals, which every one of us are, can be detected and state goons dispatched to the offender’s location.
It’s sad to see George Orwell’s warnings going unhindered.