Saturday, December 30, 2006

Prologue

It's a time in the not too distant future.
Technology and its applications have been embraced within the Homeland Security sector. The ID card was implemented in Britain while the rest of the Western world looked on with interest. After eight years it is hailed as a success and the USA, parts of Europe, Asian countries such as the Philippines and Japan, and Australia and New Zealand all follow Britain's lead. Strangely, Canada remains relatively free of this new technological invasion, though is paying somewhat of a financial blow in its trade sector in doing so and is strongly reviewing its policies.
Soon to follow came iris-scanning devices to combat fraud within the financial sector. Businesses are no longer able to accept credit card payment over the phone, payment options now limited to online purchases, or in person. Home computers now carry iris-scanning devices as standard and all Internet transactions require iris scans to be completed. Microsoft is alive and well. Bill Gates is still kicking, though under private guard after several attempts are made on his life.
Iris-scanning validates all EFTPOS purchases. When the technology was first introduced, most Governments offered subsidies to businesses to help cover the cost of implementation within the retail sector. For example, the phasing in process was given a 24-month time frame in Australia, but was extended by six months. After this initial phasing in period, any business caught trading without iris scanning was fined and forced to implement the technology immediately at risk of having their business shut down.
New laws are passed regarding privacy. The Privacy Act is amended in all Western countries that have embraced the new technologies. Essentially, anyone wanting to live freely within these countries must be willing to give up any and all parts of their private life to the government. It's a Catch22 most people are happy to oblige what with the relative consequences if you don't.
Prison is no longer a real option. Most Western countries have embraced 'micro-tagging'. One offence, and you are tagged, the tag inserted into your brain tissue so you are not inclined to try and remove it, though attempts are made and there is a black market in 'tag surgery', though at some risk to the patient and the surgeon.
The tag allows the governing body to know where you are 24/7. If an offence is recorded, all known tags in the area have their movements back-tracked to prove innocence or guilt, depending. Caught offending a second time and you are subject to imprisonment. Prison is not safe. With the changes and amendments to privacy laws, most governments have managed to cloak their prison systems in a veil of secrecy. Governments have absolute power. No one objects. It's safer to behave.
And that's what it comes down to. People are driven to conform, behave, to stay out of trouble.
If you are a sex offender and you survive prison you are subject to recording devices in every room of your home. You are also rendered infertile. The gene stops there. There are no second chances with most offenders. As a sex offender, you are allocated a timetable, which regulates your daily life. You can only go shopping when timetabled; you can only visit friends and relatives when timetabled. If you are a child sex offender you can only schedule visits to people who do not have children. If you have children you will not see them again until they are 18 years of age or above. The homes you visit must comply with the video surveillance rules. You can not visit anyone who does not have video surveillance in their home. If you break the timetable, you are tracked by your tag and taken into custody. Punishments for timetable abuse range from lockdown in your own home to re-imprisonment, depending on the severity of the breach.
Murderers are imprisoned for severely long sentences. The Western world has become extremely intolerant of anyone who maims or kills. Acting in self-defence is taken into account, though you are still likely to be imprisoned. Showing violent tendencies outside the realm of law enforcement is not allowed. Domestic violence is not tolerated. Prison beckons for offenders.
Most people offend only the once or twice. Single offenders realise they will never be alone again, duel offenders are usually imprisoned and very rarely seen again.
The majority of society behaves. It's a no nonsense world.
Psychological profiling is prevalent, starting in schools, continuing into the workforce. People are forced to work harder, try harder, be better, or lose. Social Security is practically non-existent. Those forced to live on it will tell you it is not living. On a brighter note, people with disabilities are better cared for, lead more fulfilling lives. Unless they are mentally unbalanced and dangerous. In such cases they are kept in well-equipped asylums, safely drugged and out of harms way.
Euthanasia has been made legal in 152 countries, with more to follow.

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