Passports. What‘s there to say!?!
Although I have a real passport from a middle-age kingdom near you, good old Europe chose to give me a fictional visa with the right to work on my own only. The ‘make-believe-status’ I have gained made me realize that this new land I have decided to grow up in, without being able to leave has to be some kind of island created by imagination itself.
In these times of industrial colonization I had no choice but to become the grown up I now am. A pirate. Sailing on the Jolly Roger and waiting for a good chance to increase my income I have only one thing to spare and fear: Time. Therefore I have started using my time to think about many things. One of these things is the past. Was it all really better in the good old adolescent years? How much has changed since then and when did I start growing up? The first sign of growing up must have been my first contact with the one thing that distinguishes us all from one another: The passport.
I didn‘t have to think about passports until the year 1984. This was the year in which I went to another country for the first time. I hadn’t read George Orwell’s “1984“ yet, so I couldn’t have known that the world governments were way of schedule regarding the control measures of their citizens. My passport was a perfectly normal booklet made out of normal paper. No holographic images, no special ink, no chips, nothing.
I wonder how many criminal masterminds were running around the globe using frauds of these cheap documents. It surely was a terrible time for the security of this planet. Twenty years later the technology and the world politics are finally getting closer to the script. All the world countries are slowly but determinedly working on their own versions of new era passports which give their governments more control over the identity and whereabouts of their citizens.
“1984” was talking about Big Brother but the truth is that it sounds more like Big Mother: Where were you? Who was with you? What were you doing there? When did you get back home? Don’t do this and don‘t do that. Leave that alone. Your mother knows where you live and you tell her a lot about you. Big Mother loves you. Big Mother will let you pass.
The passports are more secure, not only through special holographic images and all types of metal and plastic stickers and imprints. Facial, fingerprint and in some cases even iris recognition are currently standardized biometrics, which are stored on small RFID computer chips inside the passports. They are not as efficient as veri-chips, which are implanted into your body but still a big step towards putting it all into the system. Eventually, it turns out that you are working for the government on a voluntary basis.
What’s it all good for – you may ask
Well, you can travel all over the world without having to worry about black-bearded pirates with an enormous afterlife-sex-drive willing to take your plane, train or automobile straight to the gates of heaven. Now they will be sent to a very private island resort in the Caribbean Sea for a long-term vacation of their own. There they can practice their English skills, learn to work under extreme pressure, meditate and rethink their personal beliefs regarding the exact position of hell. The ‘no work- all play’ lifestyle of these cyber-pirates is already a huge inspiration for many of the hard working art and fashion entrepreneurs worldwide. Even the Dutch don’t think of Holland anymore when they see the color orange. That’s what I call having a strong corporate identity.
However, you can’t all be pirates, you know. Most people want to go on land once in a while. I wonder what else is in store for the rest of you. What can you use the RFID-chips for? If you can be identified and localized through your passport it should be a piece of cake for the major-league computers to memorize every single move you make. So why only use them for passports?
Biometric data combined with 3D and motion programming should soon enough, if not already, be able to retrace all the actors of the big show you all have been in for the last 10 – 15 years. You are and will be filmed by a lot of surveillance-cameras in your future lives. You won‘t have to worry about all them pirates running around anymore because the state will be able to take care of the bad guys. For your own sake.
How long do you think it will take until you get your new ID, bank-, credit- and medical-cards? Not long, that’s for sure. Theoretically, these cards are also a passport. They verify your identity and give you access to certain areas. In this day and time where money rules the world and nothing is a bigger privilege than good health I guess a good bank account can let you enter more countries than a bad passport. The ability to buy a diplomatic passport and even a new identity from one of oh so many countries should prove the point.
I guess not everybody wants to grow up and do evil deeds for their kingdom like I have to. Don’t think I didn’t want to stay young forever like that silly little boy I could have been. Instead I chose to grow up and become my own personal nemesis. At the end, though, you will have to admit that being the bad guy is not so bad actually. You know what they say: moms like good boys but girls love bad boys. Girls don’t have the same passport issues their mom’s do.
Illustrations by the author ©