the price of freedom is eternal vigilance
– Thomas Jefferson
What we know about her is what she gives us
freely of her own will, one click wrap privacy
policy at a time, swiping across the slate of her life.
No red flags. Some search terms did generate
a first filter identification, but typing ‘terrorism’
is now as statistically common as ‘Trump’.
Her occluded and overshadowed earth is
portaled by the parabolic sweep of satellites
and anything done in secret soon enters the light.
She has two children, shops mainly locally,
pings the same cell towers every commute
predictably enough. We have adjusted our advertising.
The great collateral databases of the heart,
strung pin numbers, secret questions, blind
maiden names and first pets tangle the net.
A stable job, though debts exceed
income trending south, and her bank records
spot their charts with zeros. Bills gush red.
She has transited through the sift
and wringer of Tom Bradley, LAX, losing
an electron slice of cornea imprint, thumb whirl.
Her blood type is on record: a cancer scare,
a spilled pool of vital statistics, medication frothing
in the loose file of her body, a brief miscarriage.
She is the gestalt of her words.
She is the hologram of her actions.
We know her as a mother knows her child.
Behavioural stochastics approximate
her next decisions to within a
reasonable margin of error.
We are building her schematic by the day
and daily we are focussed on learning her.
What we know is more than she can know.
That she was up all night with a fevered child
is a matter of publically recorded metadata.
Phone logs. Helplines. Invisible departures of information.
We are her god of a thousand eyes
peering at her from every camera and device.
She has nothing to fear from us.
That her husband left her, was a surprise
equally to us, as it was to her, but
we will continue to refine the algorithms.
The inner life is essentially irrelevant.
The circuitry of motive and emotion.
By her actions we will judge her.
What We Know About Her
20 September 2018