January 8, 2008

Big Brother Goes "Hands On"

Another step towards the totally surveilled society... will arrive soon -- for your own good, of course. It is always "for your own good" except when it is "for the children."

Robert and Andrew Munro at Duke University in South Carolina, US, say it is possible to increase [the frequency of hand washing by restaurant workers] by ensuring that washroom facilities, such as sinks and towels, are fitted with RFID card readers.

If healthcare workers are carrying RFID tags the number of times they wash their hands can be monitored.

Keeping a tally would make it possible to reward or punish workers according to their compliance with the hand-washing regulations, and that should improve hygiene and reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infection, say the inventors.

Now I hate contaminated restaurant food as much as the next person, but this sort of monitoring gives me the creeps. Especially the "rewards and punishment" part of the equation. If experience is any guide there will be plenty of punishment and damn few rewards.

Back when the seatbelt argument was going on, those who objected to it said it would lead to government intruding in your bedroom. Most people thought this was too far-fetched to credit. But here we are decades later and you can bet your biffy that handwashing monitors in restaurants for the staff are just a question of time. For the public good and all that. And after, well, why not install them in the home. After all, are your hands clean enough to hug your kids? Are your kid's hand clean enough to hug you? Shouldn't there be something in your home that enables your government to help you with these questions? No? What's the matter with you? Do it for the children.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 8, 2008 4:12 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Funny you should mention putting hand-washing monitors in private homes. California has just announced that it has the right to regulate remotely the thermostat settings in private homes, and it shall be illegal for homeowners to change the state-mandated setting.

See here.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at January 8, 2008 7:23 AM