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The Upsides of a Surveillance Society 254

theodp writes Citing the comeuppance of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, who was suspended from her job after her filmed ad-hominem attack on a person McHenry deemed to be beneath her in terms of appearance, education, wealth, class, status went viral, The Atlantic's Megan Garber writes that one silver lining of the omnipresence of cameras it that the possibility of exposure can also encourage us to be a little kinder to each other. "Terrible behavior," Garber writes, "whether cruel or violent or something in between, has a greater possibility than it ever has before of being exposed. Just as Uber tracks ratings for both its drivers and its users, and just as Yelp can be a source of shaming for businesses and customers alike, technology at large has afforded a reciprocity between people who, in a previous era, would have occupied different places on the spectrum of power. Which can, again, be a bad thing — but which can also, in McHenry's case, be an extremely beneficial one. It's good that her behavior has been exposed. It's good that her story going viral might discourage similar behavior from other people. It's good that she has publicly promised 'to learn from this mistake.'"
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The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

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  • no... just no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @03:44PM (#49501213) Homepage
    while it can be used to make people "kinder" it can also be used for abuse. just look at all the companies that are being tricked into making statements, and being bombarded by the social mobs over it.

    Its not making people be nicer, its helping lonely people harass others
    • Re:no... just no (Score:4, Interesting)

      by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:50PM (#49501691)

      Not even 'kinder' really, just more passive aggressive. This makes the abuse that much worse...assuming of course that it is abuse and not just valid criticism. There's a lot out there making the same arguments because they want the chance to shame valid criticism they don't like or is not in their interest.

    • Re:no... just no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @06:01PM (#49501735)

      Everyone loses it once in a while. Most viral type posts lack the context that make the situation understandable - so people jump to conclusions that they prefer.

      Polite is not the same as Nice. Polite is a lie. Nice is results. Polite is a smile while twisting a knife in someone's back. Nice is taking that knife so that someone else doesn't have to. People often confuse the two because they don't take the effort to think.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Very much this. Polite and evil are not at all incompatible. Nice and evil are. The only thing surveillance will do is make hidden backstabbing more common.

    • Clearly an upside of ubiquitous surveillance is that now towing companies can provide you with both loss of transportation *and* loss of employment. Be sure to call Advanced Towing for their excellent customer service!

    • Its not making people be nicer, its helping lonely people harass others

      Actually it's both. I've seen plenty of cases first hand of bullies getting their comeuppance thanks to casual surveillance, and we've all seen cases of abuse. Like the car, it can be both a tool and weapon. It would be foolish to write off it's benefits just because of the odd car crash. As long as we manage the new era of the surveillance society, I think it can deliver a net gain.

  • It is only a problem when somebody (state/corp) has the advantage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Frobnicator ( 565869 )

      It is only a problem when somebody (state/corp) has the advantage.

      Those with the recordings and with the ability to use them, have the power.

      That can be a government with cctv, or a business with cameras on the doors, windows, tellers, and product aisles. Or it can be a cell phone camera capturing a police shooting, or even google glass capturing a crime on the street or an abusive patron.

      When the 'little people' have and use recordings it can be leveraged for many things, including social changes for better or worse, such as social pressure after injustice is found, or

  • To do so implies that a camera is always trained on me when in fact, that's almost never the case. The article itself does make an interesting point about people being more reluctant to act like a fool when they know a stranger with a camera is likely to catch it all. But to call that a "surveillance society" is false sensationalism.

    • I'm not sure I'm a against this "surveillance society" anyway. I'm sure there are a number of downsides to it, but the emotion their sensationalist tile is trying to tap is the hatred of the "surveillance state". A much different thing.
      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        People like you need to read up on history.

        • Well, there is quite a bit of history to read about. Mind giving me a starting point?
          • Nazi Germany.

            • I think the problem with that part of history was the state involvement in the surveillance. Which is different than something like dashcams in Russia that provide evidence to defend yourself in court against widespread insurance fraud and police corruption. Or security camera footage that is used to publicly shame someone for being a horrible person-- in contrast to imprisonment and execution from information gained by threats of the same for being complicit if you are found not to report the information t

    • Almost never the case?!?

      Jesus Johnson, put your iPhone down and look around sometime.

      There are cameras everywhere. Parks schools streets, stores, neighborhoods. Outside your own home, there is scarcely any place in a city you can avoid surveillance.

      • Outside your own home, there is scarcely any place in a city you can avoid surveillance.

        Your camera-equipped smart tv is watching you. So is your kinect. Your cell phone is tracking you all the time. Your internet usage is monitored. Your smart meter keeps an eye on your electric consumption. You are not free of surveillance unless you do like the guy in John Varley's "PRESS ENTER . . ." [amazon.com]

      • no need to put the iphone down, there is a camera there too, available to the same intellegence agencies.

        one nation under durress.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @06:45PM (#49501915)

      In 1984, people also weren't always under observation by their telescreen. Actually, they almost never were. What made them "behave" was simply that they didn'T know when they would be.

      So just not having a camera "trained on you" every second of your life doesn't make the total surveillance any less invasive. When you cannot tell whether you have privacy, you have none.

  • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @03:53PM (#49501253)

    But what a cunt. I just wanted to clarify that.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @03:54PM (#49501255)

    Yes, people shouldn't be raging assholes but in what way is shaming the occasional raging asshole justification for a surveillance society?

    This like... pros and cons of an alien invasion from outer space.

    On the down side we're all going to be slaves.

    But on the plus side we have ray guns now. We don't control the ray guns... they're mostly pointed at us and our overlords exploit their advantages ruthlessly... but hey... ray guns.

    I mean seriously, do we control these cameras at all? No. They're not controlled by the public. The public in fact didn't even want them. They were IMPOSED and they serve the whims of whomever is in charge of the security system.

    So we're told "hey good news guys, the upside of the alien invasion is that your alien overlords will occasionally disintegrate the occasionally asshole of your pathetic squishy species. ALL HAIL YOUR TENTACLE MASTERS!"

    What the actual fuck.

    • I wonder if it would be a better world if every word we ever speak was filmed and available for all to see permanently. We often get to know people as we first see them at their best moments but how low are they in their very worst moments? How stable are they in real life? Shouldn't others know when a person is in a defective state of being? For example the pilot that locked the cabin door and flew his plane into the side of a mountain could have been stopped before he acted out.
      • If the recording is available to everyone equally, then the world would be a (mostly) better place. Unfortunately the rich and powerful will always work towards having control.
      • I wonder if it would be a better world if every word we ever speak was filmed and available for all to see permanently. We often get to know people as we first see them at their best moments but how low are they in their very worst moments? How stable are they in real life? Shouldn't others know when a person is in a defective state of being? For example the pilot that locked the cabin door and flew his plane into the side of a mountain could have been stopped before he acted out.

        You wonder? Really? Do you honestly think there's even a shred of a possibility that we would all be better off if we habitually paused to think about and weigh every utterance and action beforehand? Would you consider the loss of all spontaneity for everyone in society a fair price to pay for your incredibly narrow personal vision of safety and security? Also, who the hell are you to judge whether someone is in a "defective state of being"?

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        No it wouldn't. It would make everyone neurotic as hell trying to hide aspects that others will see as imperfections. I'll pass on your 'better world.'

      • You're assuming that anyone would look at stuff like that. They wouldn't.

        At best you'd create a lot of videos that no one watches while the elites scour through them using robotic algorithms and sort of paid sweatshop labor to find videos that advance their interests.

        In no way is something like this ever going to help the public.

      • I'm not completely stable, and I am in a defective state of being. So are you, and everybody reading these words, and everybody else. None of us are perfect. This means that there's going to be a lot of video showing you in a bad light, waiting for somebody to take the time and money to go through them and find that time you got mad at somebody (removed from context, of course), or violated some minor laws, or were a real jerk because you were depressed or upset about something else.

    • All I want to say is it will make people less tolerant about criticism.

      We already have society full of pricks who can't accept having their stupid religious idea ridiculed. And then they want to go out kill people because of that.

      HURRAY! SUCH PROGRESS!

      So what if I call someone an idiot. That's my opinion.
      Reasonable people should understand anyone can have any opinion and that's ok. One can have different ones. Just because I think you're an idiot doesn't necessarily mean you are one according to someone els

      • Public shaming of assholes is entirely reasonable. My only issue is with who has the ability to use that as a weapon and who does not.

        • Many would consider taking actions that negatively affect another person simply because you've decided you don't like an options they hold to be a real asshole move within itself. So wouldn't that behavior warrant some shaming of its own? Or is hypocrisy allowable now?

          If you had your career destroyed by groupthink I bet you'd hold a different opinion on the matter.

  • Difference (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @03:55PM (#49501257) Homepage
    There's a difference between a "surveillance society" which is where a small class of people or organizations owns or has access to all the surveillance, or just a "public society" where lots of private individuals have cameras, phones, etc., and decent means of communication. In the latter case, it's the people (society) who actually have the power. It's much more democratic, i.e. "I'm publicly shaming this person because the vast majority of people feel their behavior is unacceptable." In the former, it's about centralized power, i.e. "Make this person's life miserable because they're a threat to my power." I'm all for distributed cameras and communications, I just wish people would keep the data local by default, and not provide it so willingly to 3rd parties to aggregate it.
  • by random-toto ( 4085499 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:01PM (#49501285)
    Maybe it's not kindness if you need cameras. Not mentioning all the downsides...
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:07PM (#49501301) Journal
    While this sometimes pays off, when circumstances line up correctly, it is vital to keep the limitations in mind:

    Lower cost has made it much more likely that random bystanders have some level of video recording, rather than none; but entities with ample resources also take advantage of reduced costs, which is why, say, nontrivial areas of the developed world are effectively saturated with automated LPR systems. There is a win for those cases where it previously would have been the word of someone who counts vs. the word of some nobody; but elsewhere reduced costs and improve capabilities make having a big budget and legal power even more useful.

    Improved surveillance only changes the game at the 'evidence' stage. If legal, public, or both, standards aren't sufficiently in your favor, improved evidence is anywhere from irrelevant to actively harmful. You can have all the evidence you want; but if the DA refuses to indict, or the 'viral' pile-on targets the victim rather than the aggressor, it doesn't help you much. Had McHenry's tirade been a bit cleverer, or her target a shade more unsympathetic, odds are good that the attendant in question would be being hounded as we speak.
  • Can encourage? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I was beaten in 2011 by 2 teenagers, and videotaped(?!) by a 3rd. When I initially filed the police report, it was a simple assault. When the police department found the video, it became a felony.

    tl;dr: Stupidity knows now bounds.

    --sf

    • Physically assaulting someone is a crime, deserving of punishment.

      Verbalizing your distaste for another person and/or their attitude is not.

      This new mentality of "everything I disagree with should be illegal" isn't just part of the problem, its the whole goddamned thing.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:11PM (#49501319)
    Honestly I think the kind of person who is likely to go off on such a petty rant isn't going to give a damn if there's a camera there or not. Their sense of superiority and ego is such that they don't actually think at any moment that they are wrong, so what difference would a camera make? It's like saying that the guy with anger issues will not have a road rage episode because of a camera. He's not thinking about the camera - he's off in his own little rage world temporarily but completely disconnected from reality.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:23PM (#49501349) Homepage

    The human race has been modifying their behaviour* in the face of perceived pervasive surveillance for millenia. I think they used to call it "God."

    (* I was going to say "been acting nicer than they otherwise would," but, eh, doesn't always work out that way)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:29PM (#49501369)

    It's great that you can walk in to a private business that has forced you to do business with it (car-towing company), lose your temper in this essentially private setting because they are (in all probability) treating you like shit and/or ripping you off, and have that business post a video of this on the internet without your consent, having edited out the parts of the video where they said/did things that incited you in the first place.

    That reporter clearly just lost her temper and was trying to say whatever seemed like it would be most hurtful. It's not clear at all that she is any more elitist than most people in positions of prestige. For all we know, her sentiment could have been justified, and given the apparently predatory towing company she was dealing with, it probably was. If the employee was "just doing her job", but that job involves ripping people off, I have no sympathy. Pretty crazy how people are calling for the reporter's head for this.

    • That reporter clearly just lost her temper and was trying to say whatever seemed like it would be most hurtful.

      In other words, she's an asshole.

      It's not clear at all that she is any more elitist than most people in positions of prestige.

      Being in a position of prestige is no excuse for acting like an asshole. To the contrary, if your "prestige" depends on your reputation, you'd better watch what comes out of your mouth. Look what happened to (now former) Clippers basketball team owner David Sterling after he went on a racist rant [nytimes.com].

    • Car Towing is legalized theft. Though I'm sure there are some by the book towers in my experience the vast majority are a bunch of thieving crooks. They will take cars that aren't even in violation and don't even get me started on the storage fees.

      Britt likely had a very good reason for what she did. Her car was stolen and only given back to her after paying a huge blackmail fee.

  • Whether it is surveillance by the state, corporations, or individuals, the issue (in my opinion) is not with the collection of data. It is with how the data is used.

    Let's say that you were at a party and did something unbecoming, albeit still legal. Someone got a video of it, but no harm is done because the act and the video fade into a distant memory. Except that it doesn't disappear. Perhaps someone digs it up as a funny story, or because they're bitter about something you've done, or because there is

  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:39PM (#49501403) Homepage

    ... from Robert Heinlein. In both cases, the consequences of rude behaviour are much greater.

    I worry most about the years-later consequences of surveillence on politicians and other leaders. They all seem to have sordid episodes, and this leaves them highly succeptible to hidden blackmail/pressure by data-holders. We will never know how they are manipulated and abuse their wide discretionary powers.

    Not to protect "the little children" but to protect "the pervy pols."

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:40PM (#49501409)

    All I see is the rise of Mob rule and lack of mutual respect and tolerance.

    Force is the least effective means of promoting "good" behavior and Mob rule is an ineffective means of governance.

    I am increasingly worried about the role Media whoring for attention and profit is having on society.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:45PM (#49501437) Homepage

    TL;DR: The upside of being under continuous surveillance is that everyone else is too. It is the same argument as, "Because terrorists might get caught."

    Here's just one example of the downside: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and similar will all have zero attendance as soon as employers stop hiring people who have been seen at an AA/NA meeting. That will be a reality within ten years, as private license plate tracking databases come online.

    Doubt it? Ask yourself this: Would a typical "profit over everything" manager hire someone he knew was in NA? That guy is going to abuse these databases as they come online. That is reality.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:47PM (#49501451)

    It's nowhere close to as nice as OP portrays.

    The example brought up- the ludicrous cuntly behavior of Britt going off on some poor schmuckette- is gratifying because she's "getting hers". But, lets consider a few things:

    1- Britt had no reason to suspect she was being recorded (beyond the general assumption that any building or person in America *could* be "taping" you now). She acted based on assumptions that weren't true.
    2- Britt has a job where public relations are extremely important, and is a celebrity (not "was", I'm certainly a lot more interested in someone who openly shits on tow companies, notoriously sketchy organizations that damage vehicles and will tow legal vehicles if they can claim that the little whatever that lets you park legally could be argued to not be perfectly visible, or if can be dislodged in towing- so if she pops up and rants about stuff, hey, I'll watch)
    3- Who controls the cameras is the big deal. What if, in addition to the rant delivered by her, we saw EVERYTHING that happened in that business, from the cabs of the tow trucks to the office politics in the back to their normal customer relations? By selecting just what your foes do at a specific time, you obviously gain a great deal of control, because your shit is flushed and theirs is on youtube forever.

    The medium benefits of cameras seem to be what we see in Russia from dash cams- inability of insurance companies to welch on payments, and greater evidence of actually criminal dealings on the road.
    The biggest benefits of cameras will be their effect on law enforcement, and if we want to actually reap those benefits (instead of just making people who can have a short temper unemployable in even more jobs than they already are), we'll need protections for the numerous police who routinely order people to stop filming (this should not ever be something a policeman can say), attack people legally and extralegally for putting up their crimes, and actually hold them accountable for the absurd beatings that they suddenly started dealing out to poor people and anyone who wouldn't normally be believed in court- beatings that seemingly began the moment that everyone got cameras. Probably those two related, hrm, what's that correlation...

    So it doesn't matter that some hot tempered cutie with a media job went off on some random people. That's not really helping society that she can't keep her ESPN job.

    The workaround for (1) is that people will act like they are being recorded, which naively means that they will switch from aggression to bating and passive aggression. If they ALSO have cameras (and hidden cameras are cheap, and will become moreso), then the goal becomes to bait the other party to either committing a crime (easier in some situations than others) or crucifying themselves in the court of public opinion. We can laugh at the people who haven't adapted to this new ruleset fast enough, but it's STILL a game, and it will still be won by the same sociopaths that always are good at these games.

    (2) is an issue because more and more jobs will fall into this category, resulting in minor altercations yielding a harsh streak of unemployment into a society already hellbent on assuming that ability is immediately rewarded with steady employment. While celebrities have a huge amount of support systems to fall back on ("celebrity does a heel-turn" is not a death knell by any means to their public life), many people do not. The natural assumption of the video seems to be that if someone is caught doing something on tape, that this is representative of their entire life, a brief 30 second temper tantrum serving as a summary of their entire life. This background assumption is based on what USED to be the truth, and the same logic that the legal system uses to dole out large punishments for minor violations- that cameras (observing agents in general) were so rare that if someone got caught ranting on camera (or speeding on some empty highway) that it serves as a *representation of tha

    • 1- Britt had no reason to suspect she was being recorded (beyond the general assumption that any building or person in America *could* be "taping" you now). She acted based on assumptions that weren't true.

      Did you watch the video? She was TOLD there was a camera recording her!

      3- Who controls the cameras is the big deal.

      Moral of the story is - "Don't act like an asshole".

      e same logic that the legal system uses to dole out large punishments for minor violations- that cameras (observing agents in general) were so rare that if someone got caught ranting on camera (or speeding on some empty highway) that it serves as a *representation of that person in general*

      Not at all. Is serves as evidence that at a particular point someone was acting like an asshole or speeding. What next - would you argue that bank robbers shouldn't be punished because the video of the robbery isn't necessarily representative of their day-to-day behavior, or the rapist caught on camera because he probably doesn't go around raping people on a daily basis?

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        "What next - would you argue that bank robbers shouldn't be punished because the video of the robbery isn't necessarily representative of their day-to-day behavior, or the rapist caught on camera because he probably doesn't go around raping people on a daily basis?"

        Explicitly not. My post states:

        "This background assumption is based on what USED to be the truth, and the same logic that the legal system uses to dole out large punishments for minor violations- that cameras (observing agents in general) were s

        • If you speed when you know what it's going to cost you, consider the costs like a lottery ticket - a tax on stupidity. Your argument about "most of the time" makes no sense - most of the time I can cross the street without looking both ways. And your excuse that "others are doing it" is an argument I would expect from a child, to which parents answer "If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?"

          Look how stupid what you siad sounds:

          Since the ACTUAL DAMAGE done by a single incident of speeding is almost always zero, with a few fantastically bad results, the average is what is being targeted- but that average is still hella low. Since the proportion of enforcement to bad action is so bad.

          Playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun follows the same rules - most

          • Who gets to decide how fast is 'unsafe'? You? Driving faster than some ridiculously slow and arbitrary limit does not make the roads less safe. It just means that if the person driving faster than said arbitrary velocity crashes into a tree he will be more likely to die. Remember what happened when Montana removed speed limits on their highways? Here's a hint: neither the number of accidents nor the number of fatalities increased.

            • Montana is 48th in population density - there's hardly anyone there (less than 7 people per square mile). The 2013 Census estimates put the Billings population at 109,059, the only city in Montana to surpass 100,000 people. The State of Montana had total length of 69,567 miles of national and state highways, roads and streets in the year of 2006.

              With a total population of only 1 million, if every single man, woman, and child had their own car and took to the road at the same time, there'd be an average of

            • FYI, trying to reason your position with an individual who has already decided that they are "right" is as effective as screaming at a brick wall.

              Our only hope is that someday these SJWs will become victim to their own practices, and hopefully realize the error of their selfish ways.

    • 1- Britt had no reason to suspect she was being recorded

      She was on private property, she looked into the surveillance camera, and she was told she was being recorded.

      3- Who controls the cameras is the big deal. What if, in addition to the rant delivered by her, we saw EVERYTHING that happened in that business, from the cabs of the tow trucks to the office politics in the back to their normal customer relations?

      It's their private property, it's their cameras, and they share whatever they want to. What proble

  • We more or less achieved that when large numbers of people had phones that included cameras. And it didn't matter that lots of people weren't carry those phones, as long as we had a certain critical mass.

    And even that has potential for abuse when incomplete recordings were taken out of context.

    But that's not what the surveillance society 'debate' is about. And Garber knows that.

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @08:16PM (#49502311)

    I've once had the fortune (misfortune?) of living in East Germany for a year, back when the Berlin Wall existed. Do you want to know what living surveillance state is like? It's a place where you are ALWAYS on guard. You can never be honest with anyone - your teacher in school could be with the government, your best friend could be undercover, even your own family could be recruited. You have to bottle up everything inside yourself, and you present this lovely facade to the public. Many, especially those of us from the west, often wonder why people from Russia are so guarded. You want to know why? Because the alternative is rotting in jail, or even being assassinated. What this idiotic, moronic , IGNORANT author proposes is a complete regression of 300 years of progress towards a free society, and not just in America. If he can't stand people being impolite, then very well - I expect him to thank me when he is inside a gulag for going to a gay rights meeting, just as he had to thank me when I hauled off his grandmother for being related to him (she's equally guilty by being in his immediate family). THAT is the society he will live in, but at least he'll never half to bear the terrible injustice of someone calling him an idiot. And now I think I know why he's called that.

    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

      I've once had the fortune (misfortune?) of living in East Germany for a year, back when the Berlin Wall existed. Do you want to know what living surveillance state is like? It's a place where you are ALWAYS on guard. You can never be honest with anyone - your teacher in school could be with the government, your best friend could be undercover, even your own family could be recruited. You have to bottle up everything inside yourself, and you present this lovely facade to the public.

      This need to be too nice is also true of non-anonymous forums like Facebook, where there's a split between anodyne comments and over-the-top complaints. The former comes about because no-one wants to be accused of being a hater or a whinger, and wants to maximize their "likes", so nearly all comments are content-free sunshine and roses. But once the target is a corporation or a prominent person who may have done something wrong, everyone smugly gangs up and lets loose. The middle path of polite and measure

    • East Germany indeed had a "surveillance society": asymmetric information government in which the state acquired great amounts of information on the citizens, and recorded and taped its citizens. East Germany also did what is typical of surveillance societies: it restricted the ability of private citizens to record and gather information.

      A company using private security cameras on their private property, or a student or motorist using their cell phone cameras, to record others on their own property or in pub

      • So where does ruining a persons life because you saw a video of them doing something legal that you don't like (say, for example, holding an unpopular opinion) fit into your concept of a 'free' society?

    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
      The dichotomy in Facebook posts I mentioned above has communist parallels — denunciations, painted-on smiles, and nothing in between. Do you see a similarity?
  • Requiring everyone to carry a side arm also, will increase more cooperative social behavior.

  • A "surveillance society" is a society in which the state intrudes into people's private lives, into their private data, and their homes. There is nothing good about such a society. And the surveillance is asymmetric: the state can record you, but government officials are largely protected from your scrutiny.

    Private citizens, on the other hand, can only record each other in public, or on private property with the permission of the private property owner. That is not a "surveillance society", it's simple, bas

  • What is left in a situation of total surveillance is NOT a society. It's a panopticon prison ward. And the only rule is "thou shalt not get caught".

    • Humans evolved under total surveillance. The hunter gather tribe ate, lived and breathed in each other's pocket. If your tribe-mate farted you knew about it. Sometime during the industrial revolution, technology allowed us a form of privacy because machines gave us the freedom to no longer rely on each for survival. Now we've come full circle and we'll have to be conscious of how we behave because we'll once again be visible to the larger tribe. As long as the laws maintain a power balance between govt, peo
      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        That's just it. Inevitably, there will ALWAYS be an imbalance of power.

  • They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone.

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