October 20, 2007


Bugging Bugs

Many Americans still don't realize the extent of snoopism that the Homeland Security Office has in their lives. Since 9/11, and both parties sweeping endorsement of sweeping Big Brotherness, there are more cameras, computer spying devices and more governmental poking around in your underwear drawer than ever before.

And Canadians are like dolphins is the tuna net - many of us correspond and travel to the States daily - we're in this too. Yet, I still know many people who can't wrap their head around the fact that things they type into their computer are never, ever gone. Stuff they post on websites, or email to others, or even just keep to themselves on their hard drive are always there. I figure by the time we die, every one of us will well and truly have our arses bitten many times.

Anyway, I do have a point. There is speculation that the US government is building little spying insects. No, really. Read it here - very cool article from the Washington Post, also reprinted in today's Spectator. Starting way back in the 70's, scientists were mucking with implanting cameras and listening devices into dragonflies, and have continued doing creepy things like growing bugs around, well, bugs.

People have seen some very bizarre flying things, and been told "there are some dragonflies that look just like robots. Really." I've seen a pantload of dragonflies in my time, and while some are gorgeous and some are positively prehistoric looking, none of them looked like a mechanical device.

The biggest problem so far is getting the wee spies powered up. Apparently, a drop of gasoline provides more power than a battery the size of a drop of gasoline. So while they're trying to develop their tiny Trojan horses, they've bumped into a multitude of problems keeping them afloat.

I rather like the problems they've encountered that they admit they will never be able to control. Birds eat bugs. Bugs fly into spiderwebs. Bugs end up oozing through the holes in a flyswatter. If you're the US military, you can pore billions of dollars into this research. And I can stop you with a bug zapper from the Dollar Store.

If you read down, you'll hear the usual noble reasons they're giving for developing these things. To fly down into fallen buildings looking for survivors, etc.

Bull. It's bad enough they're listening to phone calls, tracing emails and search engine files, and obtaining lists of every library book and movie people have rented. The average citizen in most developed countries is caught on surveillance cameras something like 300 times a day (that's a British number, ours in probably higher, and the US is probably a billion times that).

But now it seems I have to question every dragonfly that buzzes over my dock, as it carefully records how many vodka and iced teas I consume. Oh, I know it's not my fat arse lying on a dock they're coming after.

But what a sick and twisted world we live in when even the most innocuous parts of it can be hijacked in the name of security.

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