Tuesday, 10 May 2011

air strip one or all your bandwidth are belong to us

The American isotope of naivety or irony apparently has a very short half-life, at least in their government's estimation. Even before the passing, prying worry about one's mobile accoutrements tracking one's movements has had a chance to be forgotten or displaced with some more sinister distraction, heightened vigilance in the wake of the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the rift the operation caused has presented the US National Emergency Management Agency a perfect opportunity to revamp its emergency broadcast system in the form of text (SMS) alerts that take precedence over other cellular phone traffic and even work when the phone is out of the service area or switched off.
Under the umbrella of Washington, DC and New York City first and then nation-wide, this new service (which requires a special chip that all new cellular phones will be required to carry) will be able to deliver all sorts of advisories and warnings to the public.  The potential for persuasive messages and disinformation, in addition to tracing everyone's every move, has not been overlooked either.  Cellular technology and service plans are particularly expensive in the States--patrons responsible for both incoming and outgoing charges, so I imagine that one could follow the money behind this initiative too.  Mobile technology has always been able to track people and monitor their predilections, just as the internets, credit cards, library cards, and union cards have enabled in the past, though we make it easier and easier for that information to fall into the wrong hands--having Big Brother in one's pocket reminds me of those view-screens (two-way televisions) in 1984 that could not be turned off and our protagonists thought they were safe from spying eyes when the two found those eyes were out of sight.