How To Run A Police State. You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Keep the government happy and people will treat you well. Piss the government off and you will find yourself socially banished

Apr 18 · 5 min read
Image by kai kalhh from Pixabay

By David Grace (

Let me tell you how to make a really effective police state with tools that exist today.

Step One — Glasses With Cameras That Upload What You See

Snapchat is selling a product called “Spectacles” — glasses that include cameras that can upload videos of what you’re seeing to the Internet.

Step Two — Add A Head-Up Display To One Lens Of The Glasses

Let’s make a small enhancement to the Spectacles. Let’s add a small laser that will turn one of the glasses’ lenses into a simple, monochrome-text, head-up display so that the website to which the Spectacles is sending the video can return 40 character text messages that display on the lens. Or you can use a low-powered laser that can write the text directly on the wearer’s retina.

Step Three — Feed Your Uploaded Video Stream To A Facial Recognition System

Now, to save bandwidth let’s discard all the video data other than human faces. We’ll connect the Spectacles’ reduced video feed to a government facial recognition system that so that the people you see can be identified in real time.

In certain locations, China already does mass, public-place, real-time, facial recognition to catch jaywalkers and other petty criminals.

Step Four — Get The Social Score Of Each Recognized Person

Now, tie the output of the facial recognition system to the government’s Social Score data bank. China plans on maintaining a Social Score for every citizen.

That’s it.

Limit People’s Ability To Travel & Shop

Suppose you’re a ticket agent. Someone walks up to your counter. Before he/she even opens his mouth the government’s computer has recognized him, checked his social score and his criminal record.

A message appears on your head-up display:

“Wei Liu is under investigation for disharmonious activities. He is not allowed to leave Shanghai.”

No ticket for Mr. Liu.

Or, no alcohol for Mr. Liu. Or no new, big-screen TV for Mr. Liu. Or no loan for Mr. Liu. Or no apartment for Mr. Liu. Or no job for Mr. Liu.

Make Wearing The Spectacles In Public “Highly Encouraged”

Of course, the government will encourage everyone to wear the glasses in public at all times.

Paint Everyone’s Social Score On Their Faces

As you walk down the street, you may see any of these messages overlaying the faces of the people walking toward you on the sidewalk:

“Wei Liu is an untrustworthy person.”

“Wei Liu is an enemy of the people”

“Wei Liu is a good citizen”

“Wei Liu is a criminal. The police have been notified.”

“Wei Liu is a known thief and is not to be trusted”

“Wei Liu is a man of high honor and respectability”

“Wei Liu has a high Social Rating”

“Wei Liu has a low Social Rating”

Essentially, everyone wearing a pair of Spectacles will be scanning for people the police are interested in. Building a detailed record of the subject’s movements based on who saw him, where and when, will be automatic.

People Who Piss Off The Gov’t Will Not Be Popular

People with a low Social Rating or a habit of criticizing the government will be ostracized.

If you’re at a party and some guy comes up to you and the message is: “Wei Liu is under investigation for anti-social activities” you are quickly going to start looking for the exit.

The system will ignore most people most of the time, but when someone whom the government doesn’t trust pops up, the system will pay special attention to him/her.

Record Conversations

Adding a microphone to the Spectacles would be easy. Then the government could record every conversation that every Spectacle-wearing person has with Mr. Wei Liu.

Heck, the message to you might be, “Ask Mr. Liu about his brother” so that the system can get additional information about his family.

No Evidence Or Trial Required

The real power of this system is that Mr. Liu doesn’t have to be arrested or tried or imprisoned. The government can simply label him as “unreliable” “disharmonious” or “unmutual” and people will stop hiring him, doing any business with him, selling or renting to him, or even talking to him.

People Will Quickly Learn To Do What The Gov’t Wants

Tracking Mr. Liu’s movements and recording his conversations will be child’s play.

Pretty soon everyone will get the message that it’s a very bad idea to piss off the government. Don’t say anything critical. Better yet, praise the government at every opportunity. And for God’s sake, don’t have anything to do with people the government doesn’t like.

Is This Technologically Possible?

Let’s go down the list

  • Camera-glasses connected to the Internet — Already on sale
  • Head-Up display tech for monochrome text messages — already available
  • Facial recognition systems that can process multiple faces per second — already in operation
  • Real-time databases of criminals and persons of interest — already in operation
  • Social Rating system for ordinary citizens — already in operation in China
  • Governments ready and willing to control their citizens with a system like this — they can’t wait

The 21st Century Version Of The Scarlet Letter

Back in 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorn wrote The Scarlet Letter about a woman who was punished for having a child out of wedlock by being forced to wear a large, red “A” on her clothing so that everyone she met would know that she was an Adulteress.

This technology will take that idea to a whole new level.

Now every citizen can be made to wear any irremovable message the government wants painted across their face — Liar, Criminal, Drunk, Unreliable, Honest, Trustworthy, High Moral Character, Low Moral Character . . . — until they see the error of their ways and start being a team player, on the government’s team, of course.

Keep the government happy and people will treat you well. Piss the government off and you will find yourself socially banished, your every move watched and studied.

Bob Dylan Figured This Out

To quote a few lines from Subterranean Homesick Blues, you would be wise to:

  • Walk on your tip toes.
  • Don’t try No Doz.
  • Better stay away from those
  • Who play around the fire hose.
  • Keep a clean nose and
  • Wash the plain clothes.
  • You don’t need a weather man
  • To know which way the wind blows.

The way the wind blows in a country doing something like this will be very clear indeed.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Check out my other columns on the topic of a more effective Police State.

Breakthrough Chinese Program Enables Hugely Effective State Control Of Everyone

The Next Totalitarian Gov’t Won’t Need Secret Police & Won’t Be Defeated With Small Arms

–David Grace (

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Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 17 novels and over 200 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.

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