A fair amount of people, especially in the US and other western nations, have at least a passing aquaintance with the idea of the rapture or 'catching away' of the church. A fair number of that group, probably most, are at least vaugely aware of the time called the Tribulation and lots of people have heard of the 'mark of the beast' and that Christians consider it to be something really bad that's to be avoided at all costs.
The problem is that too many people don't have a very clear picture of life in the tribulation age and the worldwide government that will be in power at that time.
There are a lot of things that can be said about it. However there is one aspect that few people think about. The world government will enforce a 'surveilance society' in which every aspect of life is monitored, tracked and recorded. This is one of the reasons for the 'mark of the beast'.
Again, this is something that not a lot of people think about, including most Christians. We know that accepting the mark means making a choice to forever reject God and the salvation that Jesus gave us, but few of us have thought about the other aspect of it... surveilance.
In that society, you will not be able to buy or sell without the mark, but that is only the beginning. All security functions will be centered around it in addition to the financial. It's unique ID code will picked up by scanners located all over the place. It will be treated as the ultimate password system. Since Nobody else will have your chip number, it can be used to open electronic locks on your home, business, safe, auto and anything else dealing with security.
It will replace keys for auto ignition systems and door locks. It will be scanned by circuits in phones to ensure that your bill is instantly up to date And that there is a record of your call; who you called, when, where you were and how long you talked. Given the rate that mass storage is getting cheaper, there could easily be a sound file that contains the whole conversation stored on the state phone computer and analyzed by speech to text software that looks for 'forbidden' subjects and alerts law enforcement to any perceived wrongs.
The biggest thing about all this that most people don't think about is that
we are already moving in that direction. We are not yet required to have
chips implanted, but more and more of our lives are recorded somewhere,
usually regardless of whether we like the idea or not and often in spite of
explicit wishes not to have things recorded, monitored and tracked.
This is one of those things that, because of the stated reason for doing it, is difficult to fight. However it must be fought nonetheless.
You might argue that it's for a good cause and that only people doing illegal things will be harmed in any way, but what about when something like organizing Bible studies becomes illegal? The problem with issues like this is that people hardly ever think ahead to consider other possibilities. This is a lesson that has to be re-learned by every generation.
First They Came for the Jews
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. Pastor Martin Niemöller =-
We could start a new version of that poem something like this:
First they came for the terrorists and I did not speak out because I was not a terrorist Then they came for the pedophiles and I did not speak out because I was not a pedophile ...
Don't get me wrong, this is not intended to defend terrorists or pedophiles, Both of those groups are absolutely nothing but wrong (Though as long as they live they have the choice of repenting and becoming children of God). It is intended to illustrate that this lesson needs to be learned again and if we don't learn it voluntarily, we'll learn it the hard way and by then it will be too late.
We cannot wait until we're offered the choice of accept the mark or get in line at the guillotine.
Gonzales Wants ISPs to Save User Data
Sep 19, 4:09 PM (ET)
By HOPE YEN
WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Congress should require Internet providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography.
Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have met with several Internet providers, including Time Warner Inc. (TWX)'s AOL, Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)
The law enforcement officials have indicated to the companies they must retain customer records, possibly for two years. The companies have discussed strengthening their retention periods - which currently run the gamut from a few days to about a year - to help avoid legislation.
This one is truly unnerving. Anyone who has read 1984 will recognize the telescreen and the ever present, ever watchful, Big Brother. Well, It looks like Google is auditioning for the part.
Big Brother and Google Are Listening to You
By John W. Whitehead
"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it."-George Orwell, 1984
In George Orwell’s vision of the future, Big Brother was always watching and the Thought Police were always listening. Little did Orwell realize when his futuristic book was published in 1949 that his conception of an eavesdropping technology would one day become a reality.
Yet if Google succeeds in its pursuit of a new Internet technology that would enable your computer to "listen" to what’s being watched on your TV, that reality may happen sooner than you like. The prototype software for the ambient-audio identification technology, which was described in a research paper presented by Google officials earlier this year, would be a boon for marketers and advertisers.
Google developing eavesdropping software
Published Sunday 3rd September 2006 08:02 GMT
Comment: The first thing that came out of our mouths when we heard that Google is working on a system that listens to what's on your TV playing in the background, and then serves you relevant adverts, was "that's cool, but dangerous".
The idea appeared in Technology Review citing Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, who says these ideas will show up eventually in real Google products - sooner rather than later.
The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down. The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that's adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject.
And, of course, we wouldn’t put it past Google to store that information away, along with the search terms it keeps that you've used, and the web pages you have visited, to help it create a personalised profile that feeds you just the right kind of adverts/content. And given that it is trying to develop alternative approaches to TV advertising, it could go the extra step and help send "content relevant" advertising to your TV as well.
Finally, something that I'd be willing to bet that not a lot of cell phone users think about is the ability of cell phones to be used for so many things these days that getting access to somebody's phone allows you to look through the contents of things that they've stored on it.
Don't sell or give away your used cell phone without looking up and using the manufacturers recommended method of making certain that it's memory has been wiped clean. It's a royal pain, but Very much worth doing.
If you've any doubts about it being cleanly wiped, the best thing you can do is beat it to death with a 20lb sledgehammer and then melt the pieces.
AP: Don't Keep Secrets on Cell Phone
By TED BRIDIS , 08.30.2006, 09:44 AM
Don't tell your cell phone any secrets. It might not keep them. Second-hand phones purchased over the Internet surrendered credit card numbers and bank account passwords, business secrets and even evidence of adultery.
One married man's girlfriend sent a text message to his cell phone: His wife was getting suspicious. Perhaps they should cool it for a few days.
"So," she wrote, "I'll talk to u next week."
"You want a break from me? Then fine," he wrote back.
Later, the married man bought a new phone. He sold his old one on eBay, at Internet auction, for $290.
The guys who bought it now know his secret.
The married man had followed the directions in his phone's manual to erase all his information, including lurid exchanges with his lover. But it wasn't enough.
A company, Trust Digital of McLean, Va., bought 10 different phones on eBay this summer to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses. The phones all were fairly sophisticated models capable of working with corporate e-mail systems.
Curious software experts at Trust Digital resurrected information on nearly all the used phones, including the racy exchanges between guarded lovers.
The other phones contained:
_One company's plans to win a multimillion-dollar federal transportation contract.
_E-mails about another firm's $50,000 payment for a software license.
_Bank accounts and passwords.
_Details of prescriptions and receipts for one worker's utility payments.
The recovered information was equal to 27,000 pages - a stack of printouts 8 feet high.
"We found just a mountain of personal and corporate data," said Nick Magliato, Trust Digital's chief executive.