Welcome Home, War from Mother Jones talks about how the technologies pioneered in overseas military action seem to always find their way home. From centralized data, covert penetration, and disinformation developed during the first counter-insurgency campaign in the Philippines up to the present day, it’s a chilling look at what a democracy doesn’t want coming home from the war.
Pushing ever closer to the boundaries of what present-day technology can do, by early 2008, US forces were also collecting facial images accessible by portable data labs called Joint Expeditionary Forensic Facilities, linked by satellite to a biometric database in West Virginia. “A war fighter needs to know one of three things,” explained the inventor of this lab-in-a-box. “Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?”
A future is already imaginable in which a US sniper could take a bead on the eyeball of a suspected terrorist, pause for a nanosecond to transmit the target’s iris or retinal data via backpack-sized laboratory to a computer in West Virginia, and then, after instantaneous feedback, pull the trigger.
This kind of stuff creeps the crap right out of me, especially when I read that the Obama Administration is expanding (rather than rolling back) a lot of the national security measures developed during the Bush administration.