An article outlining this discussion has appeared in the EU Observer, and it is disturbing for several reasons:
UK counter-terrorism chief pledges respect for civil liberties
Why is it that every time I hear such a proclamation from a government official, I know my civil liberties are about to be eroded a little more?
The junior minister responsible for counter-terrorism in the UK, the EU's most surveillance-heavy country, has promised to keep civil liberties high on her agenda. But some new developments in security technology are making their own creators feel "uncomfortable."
Well, if they are "uncomfortable", then its a guarantee that regular citizens should also be "uncomfortable".
EU and US authorities, including the Warsaw-based Frontex agency, are exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or spy drones, to improve border security. The Observer, a British weekly, on Sunday reported that the UK plans to use drones to provide intelligence on future anti-austerity demonstrations in the country.
The technology is still in its infancy. But Nato countries are experimenting with UAVs on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border which can fly for long periods at low altitudes in harsh terrain and bad weather.
They can be mounted with face-recognition kits which capture people's details even if they are on the move in low light, cross-check them with databases of suspects and send alerts to smartphones.
The US Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) is meanwhile looking how to sift massive amounts of online data at the level of exabytes to help make tactical decisions and to spot terrorist threats.
On the unmanned drone side, technology is outpacing the law. In some cases it may be unclear who to blame if an automated vehicle accidentally caused financial or physical harm. It is also unclear whether it is legal to store and share visual data gathered on EU or US citizens.
The GSC event was briefly interrupted by a small group of students in a sign of public unease about the security industry in general. "We don't want to disrupt your meeting. We just want to say that we're disgusted by this and we want you to stop and think what you're doing," the group's spokeswoman said.
I guess its just a little disconcerting to see the new Roman Empire acquiring the technology to have drones flying at low altitudes, with the capability of "face-recognition kits which capture people's details even when they are on the move in low light, cross-check them with databases of suspects and send alerts to smartphones."
Because we know that during the Tribulation, due to the intense persecution, Jews and Christians will be on the run, in hiding, and presumably living through a black-market system (since, without the "Mark of the Beast" it will be impossible for them to buy or sell legally). Christians and Jews will be hunted down and put to death.
Perhaps the knowledge that the new Roman Empire will have such technology at their disposal makes that scenario even more unsettling.
It isn't too early to begin praying - praying for those who will come to Christ during the Tribulation - those who will have to endure the Tribulation under the most unbearable conditions imaginable. It won't be easy for them at all.