A story crossed my desk this morning from Just The News that seemed interesting on the surface. When I dug deeper I realized just how close to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four Big Brother system the Department of Homeland Security is becoming.
First, here’s the seemingly innocuous report from JTN with highlights of the important parts added:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking proposals for a new system that will allow it to track the biometric data of its workers in order to monitor their physical and mental well-being.
DHS said in a call for proposals this week that it is looking to “find innovative technological solutions that will improve the overall health and wellness of those consistently placed in high-stress and dangerous conditions” under DHS employment.
“DHS is seeking capabilities that not only promote intervention action when necessary, but preemptively and in real-time optimize DHS personnel performance and resilience,” the agency added.
What the article doesn’t mention but that dark web sources indicate is that the initial scope of the project includes “future implementation potential for two million subjects.” That’s a lot bigger than just DHS employee ranks.
When most Americans think of biometrics (not that very many Americans think of biometrics on a regular basis), they think along the lines of identification uses. Fingerprints, retinal scans, infrared scans — we’ve been conditioned to not look directly at the data collection and tracking components of biometrics. But there’s another concern with their “real-time” tracking. They also want to look at the “psychosocial information” they can gather through their Big Brother activities.
When the government wants to know how you feel at any and every given moment, be concerned.
Chances are some if not most of those at DHS who think this is all a good idea believe that taking advantage of modern technology to optimize conditions and identify risk factors for their employees will benefit all. But as we’ve seen invariably with all such technological advancements, the powers-that-be will find ways to take advantage of and even weaponize the system DHS hopes to implement.
This article is not the right venue to dive into the possible negative effects of their plan regardless of their intentions. One does not need to be too imaginative or engaged in “fringe” theories to come up with dastardly uses of this system against the very people it’s supposed to protect. But knowing that this is the intention in light of everything else we’ve seen the last couple of years tells us this is an issue to watch very closely.
As with most things that are first introduced through military or government agencies, we can assume the protocols that come from the DHS efforts will eventually be applied to the private sector. At that point, Big Brother will be doing much more than just watching.