When I was a boy growing up during the 1960s, it was hard for me to imagine how God could see, hear, and remember everything that happens in each person’s life. In religion class, we were told that in addition to God being able to see, hear, and remember everything, He also knows all our thoughts. While I had my doubts, I accepted as true the fact that our Creator possesses full knowledge of all our thoughts, words, and actions.
Today, because of advances in technology, I no longer have any doubts. Last year, most Americans were shocked to learn that the United States government digitally records all our telephone conversations and retains copies of all our email and text messages.
The recordings and the other information are stored in a huge data center that is located in the state of Utah. The data center is highly classified and is known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center.
The federal agency that oversees the data center is the U. S. National Security Agency (NSA). According to an article in Wired magazine by James Bamford titled, “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say),” the data center processes “all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all types of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter’.”
In addition to private conversations being collected and analyzed, our government now has facial recognition systems built into security cameras and drones that will be able to track our movements.
There is also technology that is already in place that can capture private household conversations. This technology includes voice-activated devices such as the Amazon Echo, as well as the smartphones people use and keep in their kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. The companies that created these devices have the ability to trigger the devices to record what’s being said in the household without the owners of the devices knowing what is going on.
In addition, because all smartphones have built-in technology that constantly monitors the precise location of every smartphone, the creators of the software that run those devices — primarily Apple and Google — have the ability to monitor, track, and record the location and movement of each smartphone user. All it takes is a search warrant from the NSA, or a number of other government agencies, and the data must be turned over to those agencies.
The mountain of data that is currently being collected, including video data from security cameras in stores and on street corners, can be analyzed by artificial intelligence with conclusions drawn as to the likelihood that a person may be engaged in undesirable activity.
You would expect this kind of surveillance to occur in a Communist country, but not in the freedom-loving United States of America.
If you want a glimpse of what could very well be the future of America, you don’t have to look any further than China, which is in the process of launching a government system that will assign a “social credit” score between 350 and 950 for each one of China’s 1.4 billion citizens.
People who follow the government’s rules, keep their mouths shut, get a good education, stay out of trouble, and associate with high-score individuals, will receive high social credit scores. People who don’t follow the rules, criticize the government, drop out of school, get into trouble, play too many video games, or associate with low-score people, will receive low social credit scores.
The people who have high social scores will be granted special privileges, such as high paying jobs, favorable interest rates on loans, affordable housing, good schools for their children, and first-class seats on planes and trains. The people who have low social scores will be locked out of good schools and jobs, precluded from getting loans, limited to inferior housing, denied certain services at commercial establishments, and banned from all travel except for the worst seats on the slowest moving trains.
The most humiliating and damaging aspect of the social credit scoring system will be that people will be rewarded with better scores when they shun their friends and family members who have low scores. If they fail to cut off those friends and family members, their own social credit scores will go down.
The Chinese company, Alibaba (the equivalent of Amazon.com), has already created a test version of the credit scoring system called Sesame Credit. Lucy Peng, the CEO of Sesame Credit, was quoted as saying that the credit scoring system “will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.”
In a nutshell, the “good people” will be those who think and act exactly the way the Chinese government wants them to think and act, and the “bad people” will be those who fail to think and act the way the government wants them to think and act.
Can you guess which people will have the lowest social credit scores?
The answer is Christians.
If you think that what’s happening in China can’t happen here in the U.S., you’re sadly mistaken.
This is what happens to societies who refuse to acknowledge and follow what their Creator planned for them. Instead of submitting to a just, merciful, and all-loving God, they voluntarily submit to a power-hungry, unjust, unmerciful, controlling, oppressive, and evil government.
How can we stop this type of thing from happening in America? In addition to repenting and prayerfully turning back to God for guidance and support, we must insist on privacy laws that (1) prohibit the aggregation and storing of personal data, and (2) severely limit what data our local, state, and government officials can get their hands on.
I would rather have the one true God see, hear, and remember all my thoughts, words, and actions, than the gods of technology and government, whose primary goal is to exercise total power and control over me and my family.
Who would you rather have as your God?