Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who needs a distopian future when we have the TSA today?

I am still working on my modern cyberpunk game. My setting is the year 2030 when the US is not a world power and lacks freedom and liberty. Due to economic, political and criminal pressures the US, Canada and all of Europe are subject to extreme control.

As I was working on this setting last year I felt I was looking far into the future but recent events make me think such things are not too far off.

If you were to tell a air traveler in the 1970s that all flyers would be subject to strip searches they would laugh at you. Now, virtual strip searches are common. There is talk of using the scanners for trains and boat passengers, how far are we from the same scanners anywhere there are metal detectors? Attending a concert or going into a federal building might require a body scan.

A constant theme in Cyberpunk media is the concept of hackers trying to steal information to make society better. Wikileaks and Gary McKinnon are examples of this theme. Even those who live under a rock are aware of Julian Assange. Like him or not, he represents this hacker idealism. The public and private ways the governments of the world have worked to discredit and silence him would upset the founders of the United States. The back room deals and things the governments do to each other would fly in the face of the idealism of early patriots. Suppressing speech via hacking, political pressure and trumped up criminal charges is move like 1980s Soviet tactics than the actions of a "free" society that values liberty.

This is not intended to be a political post. Looking to the future, based upon the present trends, I'd be surprised to have more liberty in 2030 than we did in 1990. So, what do you see happening next?

1 comment:

  1. Predicting the future is a mug's game. But, yes, I can see a future where Big Brother requires you to file your daily travel plans and everyone is monitored by CCTV and biometric scanners. I do not think that will happen, there is a backlash building. But it could come about and would make for an interesting setting.


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