- "Cars won't drive you, hospitals won't treat you, the automatic door at the grocery store won't slide open for you, and the cashier won't take your money. You don't know what it's like to be off the grid."
- —Sophia Bossedon
The surveillance grid is a system used by the UEG and the CAA to keep track of civilians electronically. Bank accounts and personal identity are kept track of using the grid, removing the need for individual keys. While technically anyone can go offline, they would have a severe disadvantage because of the numerous features governed by the grid, features such as the privileges to purchase goods or drive private cars, all of which can only be done while connected to the grid. This element of the future recalls the "Big Brother" concept of dystopian works like 1984 or Brave New World, both of which feature surveillance networks similar in concept and purpose to the one described above.
 Off the grid
All of Earth's illegal immigrants are off the grid, and are essentially second-class citizens. They must either depend on charity or perform illegal work to make a living. Because they cannot keep electronic accounts, they use other forms of currency such as poker chips or a barter system to make business transactions. Certain businesses are aimed specifically at them, such as the Packbus.
In addition to those serving illegal purposes, some locations are kept off the grid as a means of assisting the government. Police Commissioner Kinsler of the New Mombasa Police Department owned a police car that blocked the grid. During the first day of the Battle of Earth, he attempted to use the lack of surveillance to rape Sadie Endesha, but the car's driver intervened.