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Nanotechnology will read smell records

Keith Powers brings to our attention a claim that the German government has started collecting the chemical profiles of individuals, to be used for political purposes. From The Register in the UK:

German police are compiling a Stasi-style “scent bank” database of potentially violent crusty protesters against global capitalism, according to reports.

An article in today’s Guardian, dated from Berlin, reports that federal prosecutors confirmed German media reports of the polizei B.O. files yesterday. Reportedly, the German feds are worried about known troublemakers creating havoc at next month’s G8 summit meeting.

A seven-mile wire fence has been erected around the Heiligendamm venue, and dawn raids have been carried out across Germany in order to collect smell records from possible G8-bashers.

“This has happened to several suspects,” according to a spokesman for the feds…

According to the Guardian, “scientists looking to expand the use of smell banks say it is possible to determine someone’s age, their sex and any illnesses they might have through traces of their body odour”.

The paper describes the tactics as “chilling espionage techniques”.

Today, it sounds as though they are using “nature’s nanotechnology” — in this case, dog noses — to read the records. But over time, nanotech will be able to read these also, making the sensors much harder to detect and cheaper to maintain. Foresight will be addressing this issue of nanosurveillance as it ramps up in the years to come. —Christine

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