Yesterday over on Canada’s Debate I took the “Which science-fiction writer are you?” test.
His best known works are dystopias — vivid realizations of the futures we want to avoid.
So in keeping with that I present the following possible dystopic futures.
Bloggers who will or may be seen by more than 500 people can no longer write to anything that disagrees with current government policy. To do so would be a violation of the Lobbying Reform Bill
“Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate,would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever.
The powers that be have decided that their monopoly of influence in Congress has been threatened by grassroots organizations that use the power of the internet and other mediums to spread their message far and wide, and in turn getting their large audiences to contact Congress directly on the issues that concern them.
They have decided that now is the time to strike out against the last bit of freedom we have.
“On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone ‘knowingly and willingly fails to file or report.’
Some people used to carry a chip on their shoulder. Now everyone will carry a chip in their arm.
Silverman is taking a similar tack with VeriChip by expanding existing markets—the two primary ones are tags for the bracelets and anklets worn by newborn babies and their parents to prevent kidnappings, and those for elderly nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease to recover “wanderers.” Its 2005 revenues were $24 million.
But the big attraction for both companies, and the reason for the upcoming VeriChip public offering, is the lure of implanting the chips into people. McGrath points out that while the RFID chips attached to animals sell for about $1.50 each, and will likely decline to under $1 within a few years because of competitive pressures, the chips for people sell for $25, based on special design to allow implanting. “To the extent they [VeriChip] would need 1 million [chips], it would be huge for us,” McGrath says.
For now, VeriChip has only “a couple hundred patients” who have had the RFID chips surgically implanted in their arms. The company is focusing its attention on building databases of patient medical information to attract hospitals to adopt the company’s chips. The chips are being targeted at an estimated 45 million “high-risk patients”—diabetics and heart patients, for example, who could be brought into hospitals unconscious or semiconscious and thus not be able to identify themselves.
The courts are no longer a check or a balance
The Bush administration’s most senior legal official said today that US courts were not fit to make decisions on national security and should show deference to the White House.
In remarks made after a talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank, the attorney-general, Alberto Gonzales, said: “I don’t think that a judge is equipped at all to make decisions about what is in the national security interest of our country.”
Mr Gonzales’s comments come a few days after a Pentagon official provoked a national backlash after suggesting large corporations boycott law firms that defend detainees at Guantánamo.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.
In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who “apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.”
And so ends this series of short stories. Sleep well.