Microsoft Takes Spyware to a New Level

Dateline: Redmond. A Microsoft employee sits in his office, sweating. Suddenly, a robotic overload explodes through the door, accuses the terrified worker of fraud, and expels him from the building, based on the obvious guilt identified by his sweating. The broken air conditioner in the room is overlooked, because nobody programmed it into the overlord's system.

Far-fetched? Probably. However, it's a lot more possible than it was a week ago, with the news that Microsoft has submitted plans to the Patent and Trademark Office for a system that would provide all-encompassing data about workers.

According to reports, Microsoft has developed plans — and possibly a working prototype, though no details around that have emerged — for a system that would allow user's laptop or desktop computers, as well as their cell phones and PDAs, to monitor everything from heart rate to body temperature to facial expressions. The systems would be on the lookout for just about everything — from beneficial monitoring for health problems to the more insidious. Anyone who gets nervous when filling out expense forms, beware — the system will think you're lying.

The Empire — a euphemism which seems to growing more apt each day — even has planned out a deluxe model of the system, which can monitor what you like to do in your free time and hook you up to a social group. I can't speak for Microsoft employees, but I think it may be time to consider a tinfoil hat.

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