In manual society, the law only stings if you get caught and prosecuted. But we’re transitioning to semi-automatic society, and fully-automatic society is on the horizon.

Manual society is like manual transmission in a car: some human has to do all the work. A police officer has to catch you doing a “California roll” through a stop sign. A meter maid has to chalk your tire and check it in 91 minutes to cite you. Et cetera.

In semi-automatic society, when you are a little too optimistic about making that yellow light, the bulb snaps, your heart sinks, the traffic camera gets your license plate, and the mailman drops a ticket in your mailbox.

We can still handle this.

Fully-automatic society is where everything goes to hell.

In fully-automatic society, the cell phone that is politely telling you to change lanes for your next exit, also knows that you just nudged over the speed limit by 3MPH. And it tells the police database, because it is a fucking tattle-tale. Then some crusty Perl script on the police servers notifies your phone company, which complies with the conditions of its license agreement for a few MHz of radio spectrum by adding $50 to the “government fees” portion of your monthly service bill.

At that point everything is fucked.

Stallman was right. Now is a great time to start caring about sovereignty over your information processing devices.