Farhad Manjoo points out that it can–is–happening here. A snippet:
In China, the government is building a frightening surveillance dragnet in broad daylight, stitching together facial recognition, fingerprint and other databases into an all-seeing eye aiming to closely watch more than a billion citizens.
Indeed, because of a dearth of laws protecting our privacy — and almost no high-profile political discussion about the stakes at hand — Americans are sleepwalking into a future nearly as frightening as the one the Chinese are constructing. I choose the word “sleepwalking” deliberately, because when it comes to digital privacy, a lot of us prefer the comfortable bliss of ignorance. As a result, much of the surveillance engine operates underground — just beyond where many of us dare to look.
Speaking of sleepwalking, I was talking with someone this morning–in person, in fact–who dismissed our own corporate digital surveillance society by saying, “Everyone does it anyway.”