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We Can Avoid a Surveillance State Dystopia 267

An anonymous reader writes "After the past year's revelations about NSA spying, it's hard to read any commentary about society without dire warnings of the coming (or already present) surveillance state. Sci-fi author Ramez Naam makes the point that while government surveillance needs to be fought, it's actually not as bad as what we were promised in decades past. 'Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in 1932. And while Brave New World is remembered more for predicting government-controlled biological engineering of the masses, it also features government surveillance, media manipulation, and thought control. This is an old idea. Yet somehow, today, in most of the world, governments have dramatically less control over their people than they did when Huxley and Orwell wrote those words. Indeed, the average person on Earth is more free today, in 2014, than he or she would have been in the actual year 1984. The arc of history has bent towards more freedom.' Naam also explains that the technological advances allowing the bulk collection of personal data also provide us with cheap and easy means to fight government overreach."
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We Can Avoid a Surveillance State Dystopia

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  • Re:Wait what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Friday February 21, 2014 @07:54PM (#46307691)

    And? Fear of a real thing is still a fear, and the world is full of real threats. The question is: is the fear proportional to the danger? And it's pretty clearly not where terrorism is concerned. Even in 2001, the undisputed high-water mark for US terrorism deaths, only a few thousand people died in the attacks, versus the roughly 40,000 who died in car crashes. It's pretty clear the fear had nothing to do with actual danger, but rather with media sensationalism and propaganda.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Friday February 21, 2014 @08:00PM (#46307731) Journal
    The classic low res cameras at malls where not expected to be connected to parts of the US gov in some real time HD with sound public private partnership.
    e.g. Philadelphia police look to register private cameras in SafeCam (April 25, 2013) []
    Add in cheap gov options for facial recognition, gait recognition, regional (state) license-plate tracking and over time with new networks and funding - welcome to a HD dystopia.
  • Re:Wait what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Friday February 21, 2014 @09:11PM (#46308203) Journal
    Also recall the Strategy of tension []
  • Re:wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @10:34AM (#46310735)

    Perspective matters for some things, but not everything if words actually have meaning.

  • Re:Wait what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @11:36AM (#46310989)

    Blame the victims? You have it backwards. The American army began sticking it's nose into middle eastern conflicts long before the locals retaliated. You are the aggressor, not the victim.

    No, Barbary pirates operating mostly out of Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli started a program of targeted piracy against US ships in the 1800s. The same place that's in violent turmoil today.They just found another attack vector and set of tactics for today's world.

    That's why the US Marines were originally formed. They were called "Leathernecks" because they wore high reinforced collars as protection against beheading by scimitar during hand-to-hand battles.


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