Everywhere I go I am monitored. The cameras on every street corner and shop doorway identify my face, my gait, and even my silhouette. A myriad sensors in the walls and floors track the tags in my shoes, my coat, my arm.
I am free to go where I please, but it is not free for me to do so. Every metre I drive, or pedal, or walk makes me poorer as the owners of the ground beneath me take their dues in taxes and fees. Just occupying space that belongs to someone else incurs an automated charge. And every space is owned by someone. Even window shopping isn’t free.
The government, the police, the supermarket; they all know where I’ve been, where I am, where I will be. They take this information, without permission, as their right, and use it to tax me, to investigate me, to advertise at me.
I don’t go out much.
Most household objects collect data on their environment and use. Everything I do is monitored directly, or inferred. What I remove from the fridge, how long I spend in bed, even my health is checked by the toilet and the mirrors.
If I am not working I am losing money. Every song I play I am charged for, each and every time I listen to it. Each time I read an ePage, a micro-payment is billed to me. Every film I watch or info-stream I access is charged per view, per bit. Every game world I escape to costs me by the second to inhabit. And on top of the charges, all the books, songs, films and games are saturated in advertising. I am assured the charges would be much higher if this were not so. Occasionally I see my own work. My hateful job is placing products in novels.
These words I have typed will be monitored and profiled. I may get a visit from my “Neighbourhood Mentor”. He might confiscate my most prized possessions, my original paper copies of “1984” and “Brave New World”. He doesn’t appreciate irony.