As we saw in a previous post, the mesh is a pretty reliable means of monitoring the “public safety”. With a decent, albeit monochrome, three dimensional image, government security sentinels can spot suspicious behavior, illegal speech, and other possible crimes even when you are alone in a closed room. The ubiquitous use of active surface technology (AST) in combination with human sensory implants, (that are as common as a flu shot in the 22nd century) provides a sharp, clear picture of what’s going on anywhere in Hong Kong 2. The prevalence of AST nodes and their long-range signal is so effective that large portions of the network could be disabled, such as a city block, and the network would “self-heal”. Some criminals, however, have created sophisticated “blocking” devices that have successfully cloaked transmissions.
Decades of visual data that have been correlated with real emergencies have contributed to an almost fool-proof catalog of what constitutes “suspicious” activity. When behavioral anomalies are cross-referenced with immediately accessible bio-data from humans within proximity of suspicion, the system can confirm through heart-rate, blood pressure, adrenaline output, and other secretions whether something illegal is going on. Depending on the severity of the infraction, the observed behavior may trigger something as minor as a telepathic alert to the offending party, to an all out assault by police security. The law of the land is contained in the multi-volume, Hong Kong Protocols where most of what is considered to be illegal is that which infringes on the rights of another. Therefore, almost anything that is individual, or consensual is within the law. The mesh surveillance network is a successful deterrent to most human crimes, however suspicious behavior is not as easily detected in synthetics, since they are absent the bio-data, and can be laced with complex algorithms that belie suspicious activity. Most synthetic humanoids leave the factory with highly secure encryptions that prevent anyone but the most sophisticated techo-criminals, from tampering with synthetic behaviors. As law, synthetics are required to follow the synthetic code which was derived from the robot code, a 20th century imagining of author Isaac Asimov. The ancient robot code stated that:
A robot may not injure a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm
A robot must obey human orders, unless they conflict with first law
A robot must protect itself if this does not conflict with other laws
The synthetic code is much longer and more complex than its 20th century predecessor but still leans heavily on the idea that synthetics cannot injure or allow a human to come to harm. Hacking into a 22nd century synthetic, drone, droid, or robot to enable it to commit a crime or harm another human is called twisting. It is considered a capital crime. Nevertheless, twisted synths are responsible for, or complicit in nearly 70% of the crimes in Hong Kong 2.
Most of the public has grown accustomed to the idea that every waking and sleeping moment of their lives, including their thoughts can be, and is monitored. According to recent polls, the public takes comfort in government assurance that no humans are interpreting their activity, and hence, not making any judgements on their behavior no matter how bizarre.
Now you know.