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-   -   Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls (http://www.clubconspiracy.com/forum/showthread.php?t=516)

Mawashi 04-12-2005 08:35 PM

Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Last night I was watching the news and this segment comes on about biometrics. More of an infomercial than news, though, since the story was totally one-sided. Anyway, I was rather peeved to say the least, so I jotted down a draft for a letter to one of the newspapers here. The lovely wife is going to translate it into Japanese once I'v e finalised mine.

Here it is, and I'd appreciate any comments.
----------------------------------------------------

Yet again we see an advertisement for biometrics thinly disguised as news, this time on the nation’s public broadcaster. NHK’s 10pm bulletin on 4/12 featured a segment shamelessly promoting retinal scans, fingerprinting, face recognition, and infrared palm vein scans for keyless entry to buildings and anti-fraud countermeasures. While the convenience aspect of biometric technology is hard to refute, there is the hidden danger that is routinely ignored – actively or otherwise -- in the mainstream media: that function creep seriously threatens to turn Japan and the wider world into a surveillance society where privacy and personal liberty take a back seat in the name of a rather nebulous security. And to paraphrase Ben Franklin, those who willingly forsake liberty for security deserve neither.

We are rapidly approaching the era when biometrics will be a necessity for conducting daily activities, from dealing with government agencies, to passing through airport customs control, to verifying electronic transactions in this expanding cashless society. Under such conditions our movements, purchases, and activities can be monitored by interested parties, with or without our knowledge or consent. Many say that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Unfortunately, computers are fallible and there have been numerous cases in the United States where innocent people have been placed on watch lists for the crime of having the same name as a “person of interest,” due to data-mining errors and incorrect original information.

With Japan at the forefront of technological progress, it is vital that biometric researchers carefully consider the implications of what they are developing. Is a surveillance society, where nobody trusts anyone else without biometric verification, the kind we want to pass on to future generations?
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nohope187 04-12-2005 08:47 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Sounds good, has reasonable tone, go with it, man! :-P But, do you think most Japanese even know who Ben Franklin is?

Mawashi 04-12-2005 09:19 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Thanks nohope. There are a lot of English speakers here, so that part won't be lost on them in the English paper. We'll probly modify it a bit for the Japanese version but still keep the quote in some form. It's a topic pretty close to me because I see a lot of this stuff in the development phase before it gets released. Scary. :-o

nohope187 04-12-2005 09:31 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
If Japanese law has somethin similar to 4th and 5th amendment rights, I might include somethin about that in there too. And if you say somethin like"these police state tactics are humiliating and dehumanizing" for emotional effect, I think that'll go over real well. :-P

Mawashi 04-12-2005 09:46 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Good points there, I didn't think of those. I have to keep it within about 300 words and not make it sound like a rant, otherwise nobody will take it seriously, and I really want to get some proper debate started. If I can't work them into this letter, I'll write an extra one or keep your points as extra ammo for a rebuttal.

Not sure about Japanese law too much, since it is quite nebulous, and is often applied with respect to a person's/company's social standing - lots of crooks get away with murder here because penalties are often non-existent or not applied properly. I think free speech is constitutionally protected, but most of the sheep here never test its limits and the ones who do get ostracized for rocking the boat. Ah.

truebeliever 04-12-2005 11:45 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Might want to pose the question to the reader...

Konechiwa Yokozo Irashi Mase?

"What happens if another Stalin, another Hitler comes to power through dubious means, like stealing an election, and they have at their disposal Police State powers and an enormous public surveillence system...what then? What protections will the public have? What gaurantee's for free speech and dissent towards a totalitarian State? God help the public who exist in such a society where in the blink of an eye, systems designed for consumer convienence and security are turned against the citizenry and these same conviences hang the public good by the neck until dead."

truebeliever 04-13-2005 12:13 AM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Or...

"With the move towards electronic voting, proven as completely compromised, combined with a vast electronic surveillence grid, the possibility of Totalitarian Dictatorship makes ones knees shake. The public, only slightly aware, feels a slight gagging reflex. They are yet to catch on, a giant noose has been deftly placed around their neck and all that awaits is Centralised Power prepared to pull it tight".

Mawashi 04-13-2005 07:09 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
TB, like the new avatar!

Thanks for the ideas, too. I posted my ideas on another BBS that I though would be a bit more hostile to my letter, but lo and behold, I got more support than I'd expected, so I'm pretty happy with that. The others were foreigners who also live in Japan, but none of them had seen the same "news" report. Anyway, I'm submitting my letter today, so hopefully I'll get it printed.

get_real 04-18-2005 06:36 AM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
Mawashi:
Yes, computers are fallible. However, the info that has and is being gathered on each and everyone of us is in such detail that they will see to it that no one makes a mistake. I don't know about any other states' or countries' policy on new hirees. But here in Florida, the minute you put in an application for employment, the record goes to a data base. You and I both know that at one time when you applied for a job, your application went into a green file cabinet and the secondary thing they did was to forward your earnings to the IRS. NOT today.

Here in the United States, it is in Georgia that there is a hugh info center that hold such detail about every citizen of the US. As I mentioned in one of the other threads, even the FBI, and of course local sheriffs departments, use this source.

I had told someone that I will look up the name of this info base. I'll try to find it today.

this 04-18-2005 04:21 PM

Re: Draft for letter to newspaper - comments pls
 
I'd have to agree with TB's first suggestion, post #6. It applies to all our societies, it should be a masthead. Have you pasted it TB?


"What happens if another Stalin, another Hitler comes to power through dubious means, like stealing an election, and they have at their disposal Police State powers and an enormous public surveillence system...what then? What protections will the public have? What gaurantee's for free speech and dissent towards a totalitarian State? God help the public who exist in such a society where in the blink of an eye, systems designed for consumer convienence and security are turned against the citizenry and these same conviences hang the public good by the neck until dead."


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