The Indie today prints a piece in praise of identity tech; gait analysis, biometrics, ANPR, facial recognition at 500m, DNA and even textual analysis of online posts. It all helps catch baddies, and must therefore be a good thing, goes the gist of the Indie's argument, omitting only the cliche that if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear.
It's no good railing against the technology, which once developed will surely be used. And no use imagining that it will remain restricted to law enforcement agencies. I'm just waiting for the first pub to install CCTV facial recognition to alert the bouncers to banned drinkers, or the first department store to do so to intercept and escort-out known shoplifters. Large employers will use textual analysis to identify staff posting on blogs or Facebook 'anonymously'. Ubiquitous hi-definition CCTV leaked to the web will show the world exactly what Ron Davies MP was doing on Clapham Common and with whom, and respectable seeming ladies taking cuttings from Kew Gardens will find themselves shamed. That desperate roadside pee with not another car or person in sight will still be captured digitally and CCTV watchers in Soho will have a laugh recording who's visiting the tarts' flats or taking the rent-boys from the railings. Software detecting nervous body movements will identify potential fraudsters in the bank queue or kiddie fiddlers at the pool. Within ten years there will be no more any such thing as a private life except that lived indoors in one's own home, and perhaps not even then.
We can't stop it. Perhaps it can be slowed. Perhaps counter-surveillance technology such as that already available on eBay to block and scramble wi-fi packet data will become widespread, or directional EMP devices that can take-out anything with a chip within 15m with an intense pulse. Or perhaps we really won't be bothered; maybe we'll become a nation of voyeurs, logging-on to catch the latest footage of a minister groping his SPAD on the Embankment or the most recent comical drunk.