I stopped by the 711 the other day. Went in for a six pack, some chips, and a gallon of gas. The clerk is a decent guy, always smiling, concerned with good customer service. On this particular day, there was another employee with him. A company electronics technician. New wires protruded from the ceiling and on the floor of the back room, visible through the open door. New cameras, monitors, and high powered computer equipment were being installed.
The state-of-the-art equipment is of course all digital, but this time the monitors come with a new twist. Because the camera, pointed directly at the counter where point-of-sale merchandising ensures only the person involved in the immediate transaction is in the viewfinder, is now being synchronized with the cash register – and a detailed list of everything you buy. Facial recognition means not only are all your purchases being tracked when you pay by credit card on-line, but also when you pay with cash off-line.
The store owner is a small businessman with several stores in this area. He takes the information from all his stores and compiles it into one large database. He then sells that information to a data broker. The data broker doesn’t even need your name or other personal information. He’s got a picture of your face, which he can easily, and accurately, cross reference with information he’s purchased from other sources like Facebook, credit card companies and banks, and other retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Burger King, and Target.
Once he combines the personal details like your name, home address, phone, email, family composition, gender, gender preference, religion, etc. he can then analyze the information he added from the convenience store. He knows where you were, and when. Are you having an affair? Been to a meeting of the subversive underground political party? You don’t work or usually shop in the area. You usually stop at a convenience store ten miles from there. Did you buy a six pack of coke, or beer? Or bottled water? Did you buy liquor at the state store yesterday too? Beer at Wal-Mart last week? How about cigarettes? And, what kind of potato chips? Were they salty? A super-sized soft drink? Do you drink soft drinks everyday, or just once a week when you visit a fast food joint? Bottled water comes in plastic bottles that aren’t environmentally friendly.
Your employer might be interested in reviewing all that information – he’s a right wing religious zealot, TEA Partier no less, and if you ever party, even if just once a year on your birthday, he doesn’t like it. He can buy the aggregated information from the data broker. When he calls you to his office, he isn’t going to disclose all that information, where he got it, or even that he has it. Just, blah blah blah, no raise this time. Unless of course the economy is in a recession, and then he’s got to make a decision about layoffs, based on some kind of criteria. Your next employer, by the way, will be very liberal and not too impressed with your Church of Christ background.
Uncle Sam likes information too. You remember Bloomberg’s war on over-sized soft drinks. He just wanted to help improve public health. Super sized soft drinks apparently result in health problems, so said Bloomberg, that subsequently result in lost productivity for employers, and increased health-care costs for insurance companies. But, his broad based approach didn’t pass muster. It seems that constitutionally you can’t tell the “public” how much coke to drink.
But then again with Obamacare, Republican Supreme Court Justice John Roberts decided compulsory health insurance is really just a backhanded tax. In other words, when Obamacare is finally extended to everyone, since it really isn’t exactly compulsory, it can set the guidelines for all health insurance. You don’t have to follow the rules. Still, how many salty potato chips do you eat? How much salt do you buy? What are your other eating habits? Has your face been recorded working out at the gym? Or has your face been recorded knocking back jack and coke at the Black Forest while you sit on your sedentary ass watching a pole dancer? (Your zealot employer wants to know about the pole dancer too, and where you were, or weren’t, on Sunday morning.) What will your Obamacare deductible be based on all that aggregated information?
After you loose your job because your perfectly legal habits have been analyzed by risk management as a poor investment, if you want food to eat, a place to stay, and laundry detergent, you will have to undergo conformity training. You will be treated like a criminal, denied dues process, and convicted for being an imperfect human with personal preferences and priorities. You will be extorted to follow someone else’s moral, ethical, and/or religious beliefs – even if you have broken no law. If you step out of line, or more to the point, if you step into the wrong line, your face will be reported, and your rations will be cut. YOU MUST HONOR THE FUROR!
And, what about poor little Carly? God bless that child. The Alabama legislature passed a law especially for her. No, I don’t mean just that it was named for her, what I mean is that the so-called medical marijuana bill is so narrowly defined, it apparently won’t apply to anyone in the State of Alabama other than Carly, and only if she lives close to UAB. Mike Ball is a known terrorist sympathizer, and an accessory to child molestation and human trafficking. For the facial recognition record, it is my opinion that state legislator Mike Ball should shut his mouth and swallow his own cannabidiol oil.
That having been said, when I ran for Mayor of Huntsville, I endorsed medical marijuana. I believed then, and continue to assert, that there are many, many legitimate uses for medical marijuana, including for cancer patients to abate nausea and stimulate appetite. However, while running for mayor, and after a televised interview had been edited, I was quoted as saying I endorsed “legal marijuana.” That just wasn’t true, and now my face is recorded, with someone else putting words into my mouth. Many people in Alabama who also support medical marijuana have been flushed out, uh, I mean have taken to the streets to assert their support:
But, are they really just a bunch of drug dealers who are profiting from human trafficking? Are they meth addicts, crack whores, sex-offenders, and pole dancers who would use the babies milk money for their next fix? Do they have tattoos? Is it really a good idea to take a stand in public for what you believe, no matter how young and stupid you are, no matter how old and wizened you are, when a record enabled by facial recognition of your having been there, maybe just passing by on the sidewalk, will be permanently affixed to your history to follow you to your grave? Where, do they have tattoos?
Those nuts made some bad decisions. They best get out of town and leave it all behind. Time for road-trippin’ to Atlanta not to return! Uh… time for REALity ID check. In Alabama, referred to as “Star ID.” It’s the new NATIONAL ID CARD mandated by the Obama administration. It’s supposed to be implemented slowly based on age, and starts off as an abridgment to freely travel by Airplane. Obama got your face.
If Alabama Governor Bob Bently, and the state legislature, were really serious about maintaining autonomy and states rights, they would refuse to fund the federal mandates in regard to REAL ID. And yet, the legislation passed with almost no fight, and not really much has been said about it since. I guess as long as they call it Star ID, instead of NATIONAL ID CARD, which it is, they think it’s ok.
George Orwell could not have imagined such an oppressive regime.
Final note: While I have reservations in regard to legal recreational marijuana, if that’s what it takes to actually legalize medical marijuana, that’s fine with me.
© 2014 – Jim Casey
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