It's Saturday night in Middlesbrough, England, and drunken university students are celebrating the start of the school year, known as Freshers' Week. One picks up a traffic cone and runs down the street. Suddenly, a disembodied voice booms out from above: "You in the black jacket! Yes, you! Put it back!" The confused student obeys as his friends look bewildered.
That was an order from one of the 4.2 million spy cameras in Britain, with an attached loudspeaker. The Orwellian nightmare is occurring in one of the world's oldest democracies. What if the technology were to permeate the bedrooms, schools, and offices around the world? Here's what you may expect to hear:
10 UK: You are about to enter Jack Straw's office. Take off that veil!
9 Saudi Arabia: An infidel has entered holy Medina. Citizen, off with his head!
8 Thailand: All Buddhist school teachers must leave Pattani immediately or risk being torched alive!
7 Russia: And you think you can smuggle polonium out of our fatherland!
6 Indonesia: We are the Sharia police. Take your hands off his waist, or you'll be publicly caned for Khalwat.
5 Iran: You there, burn that copy of the Satanic Verses on your bookshelf or else...
4 China: You are in front of our tank. Step away or be crushed!
3 Pakistan: Ah, so, you have been gang-raped? Surrender all the money that you made!
2 USA: Take off that t-shirt! It's a threat to our national security.
1 India: That's the wrong target, young fella. Pull out now, or face ten years in prison under Sec. 377!