This is one of the creepiest news stories I have read in some time. According to the report, the government has scientists working on a device that can analyze human behavior--even facial expressions--to determine if a criminal or terrorist act is about to be committed.
The author of the piece likens it to the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, for its depiction of "future crimes." People in the film are arrested with tips from "precogs" who can see what crime people are going to commit in the future.
I liken the developments in this item more to George Orwell's 1984. When you combine the possible applications of this technology with the latitude the President has just been given in surveillance, this scenario from 1984 seems eerily possible. Read this excerpt to see if you agree:
"A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. Wherever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in bed, he can be inspected without warning and without knowing that he is being inspected. Nothing that he does is indifferent. His friendships, his relaxations, his behavior toward his wife and children, the expression of his face when he is alone, the words he mutters in sleep, even the characteristic movements of his body, are all
jealously scrutinized. Not only any actual misdemeanor, but any eccentricity, however small, any change of habits, any nervous mannerism that could possibly be the symptom of an inner struggle, is certain to be detected. He has no freedom of choice in any direction whatever."
And now, the news story that freaked me out so much:
Security firms working on devices to spot would-be terrorists in crowd
Counter-terrorism experts have drawn up plans to develop an array of advanced technologies capable of spotting would-be terrorists in a crowd before they have time to strike.
Scientists and engineers have been asked to devise ways of analysing people's behaviour and physiology from afar, in the hope they may reveal clues about their mental state and even their future intentions.
Under Project Hostile Intent, scientists will aim to build devices that can pick up tell-tale signs of hostile intent or deception from people's heart rates, perspiration and tiny shifts in facial expressions.
The project was launched by the US department of homeland security with a call to security companies and government laboratories for assistance. . .
Read more at: Guardian.co.uk