25 August, 2007

Why I Don't Want EZ Pass, Part I

I recently attended a family event. On the way there I overshot my exit and had to back track a bit before reaching the final destination. When I arrived, still pretty much on time, one of my uncles said "you really should get a GPS device for your car." I offered a tossed-off reply, joking that I would rather not, as I didn't want the government to know where I was at all times.

Now, I know as well as the next person that by having a cell phone and using credit cards, I am totally traceable. I have no alternate identity, no secret underground network to hide me, nor have I burned off my fingerprints with chemicals. All in all, becoming invisible would be tough. The fact that I spend most of my time at home writing or composing, and that frankly, I like attention, doesn't help either. If some G-Men wanted to find me, it's a pretty safe bet even the dumbest of agents could do it. Yet despite this I somehow feel that having a GPS unit or an EZ Pass would be trading personal freedom for convenience.

So, okay, I know this is probably ridiculous, but I am pretty sure I am not alone in my dystopian paranoia. The fact that marketing research (or worse) is being conducted through the guise of things like Facebook doesn't really help convince me that something fishy isn't going on under all the fun and convenience. But whenever I make some knowingly paranoid comment about the government, people seem to react in one of two ways. They either dismissively inform me that the government already has total power to know where I am at all times if they wanted to; or they tell me that the government is so incompetent that they couldn't do it even if they tried. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

to be continued…

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