Thailand, which began arresting citizens last summer for reading copies of George Orwell’s 1984, is now considering tracking tourists with GPS devices.
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said the government is working with hotels and resorts to assign ID wristbands, including serial numbers, to tourists and future plans include GPS tracking.
“The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail,” she told Reuters.
Kobkarn did admit, however, that the government was already encountering resistance against the initial wristband phase of the tracking program.
The Orwellian proposal comes merely months after undercover police in Thailand began dragging people away for reading 1984 in public.
“Don’t carry George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984,” Philippine Airlines warned passengers headed into the country. “You don’t want to be mistaken for an anti-coup protestor.”
After the Royal Thai Armed Forces launched a coup d’état against Thailand’s former government back in May, Orwell’s novel became a popular symbol of protest against the junta.
“Demonstrators have been arrested for reading the novel, according to reports, while screenings of the film adaptation have been cancelled with organizers claiming they were intimidated by police,” reported Oliver Smith with the Telegraph.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Thailand’s proposed GPS tracking of tourists, it’s not the first time government officials suggested tracking people like cattle in order to “keep them safe,” which only leads to the loss of liberty and an expanded government.
School officials in Huntsville, Ala., for example, created a secret surveillance program to monitor their students’ social media accounts.
The program, called “SAFe,” led to the expulsion of at least three students for merely posing with firearms in photos posted to Facebook, including an 18-year-old student who was posing with a handgun off of school grounds despite handgun ownership being legal at 18 in Alabama.
Similarly, police in Louisiana are asking residents to add surveillance cameras to their homes and then hand over control of the cameras to law enforcement.
“All you have to do is, you can go to a map and click on an icon for that camera in that area and pull up that camera and it’ll give us a live feed from that area,” St. Bernard Sheriff Jimm Pohlmann told CBS affiliate WAFB, adding that access to citizen’s cameras would eliminate the need for police to visit homes in person.