For many years, Foresight has been pointing out that nanotechnology will be used for surveillance. Now Kevin Mitnick makes a long-term prediction on nanosurveillance. An excerpt:

Warrantless Surveillance: The Worst is Yet to Come

…Far from censuring the president, most of Congress seems completely unconcerned by the issue of warrantless surveillance. And telecom companies are quite happy to actively participate in warrantless surveillance. (Any idiot could see the program violated the Constitutional rights of their customers, yet only one provider – Qwest – reportedly refused government demands, citing serious concerns about the legality of the program.)

More importantly, as technology advances, so does the potential for that technology to be abused by authority.

A clue to what the future may hold in this regard can be found in the pallid attempt by some in the current administration to defend wireless surveillance by saying that the telephone calls and Internet traffic were not being monitored by human listeners. Instead, the monitoring was being done by computers running artificial intelligence software…

Let me go out on a limb and make some bold predictions. First: Within two decades a President or his/her designees will legitimize the warrantless search of private property, using a robot instead of human beings to conduct the search. (It’s not a search and seizure, banned by the Constitution, because it’s not being done by a human – right?). Second: By 2040, advances in nanotechnology will allow swarms of nanobots (or “nanoids”) to perform these activities in a virtually undetectable way.

My concern is the future of telecommunications and the Internet. If the President of the United States can today unilaterally decide to wiretap any U.S. citizen without court authority and without any oversight, with the breakthroughs in technology that are undoubtedly coming, what does the future hold for us?

What indeed. The foresighted among us would do well to start coming up with guidelines that we can advocate in this new area. Volunteers? (Credit: Brian Berg) —Christine