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Someone's Eyes Are Always on You

In 1949, an American company released the first commercially available CCTV system. Two years later, in 1951, Kodak introduced its Brownie portable movie camera to an awestruck public.

Today more than 2.5 trillion images are shared or stored on the Internet annually—to say nothing of the billions more photographs and videos people keep to themselves. By 2020, one telecommunications company estimates, 6.1 billion people will have phones with picture-taking capabilities. Meanwhile, in a single year an estimated 106 million new surveillance cameras are sold. More than three million ATMs around the planet stare back at their customers. Tens of thousands of cameras known as automatic number plate recognition devices, or ANPRs, hover over roadways—to catch speeding motorists or suspected criminals. Proliferating as well are personal monitoring devices—dash cams, cyclist helmet cameras to record collisions, doorbells equipped with lenses to catch package thieves—that are fast becoming part of daily life. Then there are the billions of images of unsuspecting citizens captured by facial-recognition technology and stored in law enforcement and private-sector databases over which our control is practically nonexistent.

There's even more. Presently the skies are cluttered with drones—2.5 million of which were purchased in 2016 by American hobbyists and businesses. That figure doesn't include the fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles used by the US government. Nor does it include the many thousands of airborne spying devices employed by other countries—among them Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

We're being watched from the heavens as well. More than 1,700 satellites monitor our planet. From a distance of about 300 miles, some of them can discern a herd of buffalo or the stages of a forest fire. From outer space, a camera clicks and a detailed image of the block where we work can be acquired by a total stranger.

Possible Preaching Angles: "We're being watched from the heavens as well," the article says. Compare the impersonal, menacing "watching" described in this article with the personal, ultimately loving "watching" of the omniscient God described in the Bible.

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