Re: Surveillance (was: Transhuman fascists?)

From: Rob Sweeney (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 15:41:57 MST

* Dan Fabulich <> [000329 17:24]:
> In summary. This system is very useless without a lot of data-crunching,
> because otherwise, you don't know where to look. The more data-crunching
> I can do, the more useful your system is to me. The more powerful
> I am, the more data-crunching I can do. So the more powerful I am, the
> more useful your system is to me. So this system helps the powerful more
> than it helps the weak.

Furthermore, there's (usually) a difference between the sorts of threats
people at different positions in a power structure might perceive. The
aforementioned "despots" - generalize this to anyone who has a high level
of power and hence would be interesting to lots of people and therefore
under scrutiny - is most threatened by individuals - assassins, subversives,
whatever. A system which tracks each >individual<'s actions would be
most useful to this sort of person.

Leaving out Zero's "sworn enemies" list (I suspect that few people
other than those despots would have such a thing), I think most of the things
individuals would find threatening would be acts of >organizations<.
As an individual, I might be interested in knowing that "the police"
are asking about me, or that my employer is checking out my background,
or that the legislature is about to pass a law which directly threatens
my property or livelihood. The database that would permit this
kind of organizational surveillance would be structurally rather
different than one tracking only individual-to-individual acts. And
lots of this organizational and relationship information would be
necessary - it's not really interesting to me to know that Joe Blow scanned
me while I was leaving my girlfriend's building, without the additional
information that Joe Blow is a divorce attorney working on retainer to
my wife. That sort of thing. Building and keeping that database
accurate and up-to-date is IMO as monstrous a problem as the obvious
visual/speech recognition problems would be for ubiquitous surveillance.


Rob Sweeney: Information Ecology.,
Time is a warning.

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