The cameras are already in place. The computer code is being developed at a dozen or more major companies and universities. And the trial runs have already been planned.Everything is set for a new Pentagon program to become perhaps the federal government's widest reaching, most invasive mechanism yet for keeping us all under watch. Not in the far-off, dystopian future. But here, and soon.The military is scheduled to issue contracts for Combat Zones That See, or CTS, as early as September. The first demonstration should take place before next summer, according to a spokesperson. Approach a checkpoint at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, during the test and CTS will spot you. Turn the wheel on this sprawling, 8,656-acre army encampment, and CTS will record your action. Your face and license plate will likely be matched to those on terrorist watch lists. Make a move considered suspicious, and CTS will instantly report you to the authorities.Fort Belvoir is only the beginning for CTS. Its architects at the Pentagon say it will help protect our troops in cities like Baghdad, where for the past few weeks fleeting attackers have been picking off American fighters in ones and twos. But defense experts believe the surveillance effort has a second, more sinister, purpose: to keep entire cities under an omnipresent, unblinking eye.This isn't some science fiction nightmare. Far from it. CTS depends on parts you could get, in a pinch, at Kmart.Read more about CTS in my cover story (!!!!) for the Village Voice.
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