Excalibur Online

Big Brother

Click to go to Excalibur Online

Have you ever placed your cell phone next to an AM radio and, minutes later, start hearing loud buzzing sounds coming out of your speakers? It lasts about four seconds and occurs every hour or so. That is the sound of the interference created when your phone periodically communicates with the nearest cell phone tower, stating your location, which is then stored in their database.

The reason for this is if someone calls you, the phone company knows which tower to use to send a signal to your phone to make it ring. But this information may, and in fact is, used to track the whereabouts of users.

In the European Union, the law requires all cell phone providers to keep the time, date, and location of every cell phone in their database for a period ranging from six months to two years. If someone robbed a convenience store in Germany four months ago and had their phone with them, whether it was used or not, there will be a record of their visit for the police to peruse. Its accuracy is also within a range of a few metres.

Obviously, this is extremely handy. I'm not sure if this system is yet implemented in Canada, as North America tends to lag behind in cell phone technology, in comparison to the other industrialized countries.

As for the United States, with their current government openly tapping phones without warrants and asking Google for copies of search results, I'm sure they'll be very keen on this information if they aren't already harvesting it.

So, how does this affect you? Let's fast-forward a few years into the future. Cell phones will be as common as Social Insurance Numbers - virtually everyone will have one.

We only need to look at Europe, Asia, Australia or any other industrial country outside of North America to see that this is already the case. Countries such as England and Italy have more than 100 per cent cell phone penetration - not only does pretty much everyone own one, but some own more than one.

After all, if everyone has at least one phone, and each has a unique number, why not just use the cell phone number instead? No need to be redundant. And for those few stragglers that don't want to get one, well, there's legislation that can take care of people like that.

Now that it's your official ID, an indispensable communication tool - you know, for 911 calls and other emergencies, together with the great tracking capability - why not make it mandatory to carry one? Why wouldn't you be carrying it? You must be up to something! It would make it very easy to figure out who should be shipped to Guantanamo Bay or not.

"You weren't at the student protest? Oh yes you were! Did you stray from the freedom of speech compound during President Schwarzenegger's visit? We have proof! Why didn't you respond to the police's text message? That's a clear violation of the law." You go to jail with those that refuse to fill out census forms, and the unauthorized ringtone downloaders.

At some point, it will be realized that since everyone has a camera phone, that criminals may as well take their own mugshots and have them uploaded directly to headquarters. Yes, the suspect will have to pay a small fee to Rogers (because in the future, there will only be Rogers) for data transmission. But it's win-win for Rogers, the police and the taxpayers. So how can anyone argue with that?

This is the way we will lose our freedom - one small step "for our security" and "for the savings to the taxpayer" at a time. Oh well, at least we will still be able to freely listen to music on our mandatory IPods.

Excalibur Naked Tech