On Wednesday, March 29, 2000 8:49 PM Spike Jones email@example.com wrote:
> > Technotranscendence wrote: Drug use in the US and many countries
> > is illegal. To a large extent, drug use is also unpopular. With
> > surveillance, imagine how many pot smokers will be jailed, perhaps for
> > terms....
> With ubiquitous surveillance, victimless crimes must become legal,
> including all drug use. Society would need some means of compensating
> for increased ability to catch wrongdoers, since we could not lock up
> a much greater percentage of the population than is already in the
> slammer. In fact most of the nonviolent prisoners could be let go,
> so long as they stay clean. spike
I think Spike here is wrong. Yes, ubiquitous surveillance under the current
legal system would lead to a huge amount of new arrests and convictions for
victimless crimes. This might flood the court and prison system. But what
will change? The current US court and prison system is flooded and the
public response seems to be: make the laws tougher, hire more cops, and
build more prisons.
There is no way to guarantee ubiquitous surveillance will bring about a
fundamental change. Even if the system of victimless crime laws must
collapse under its own absurdity because ubiquitous surveillance there's no
way to prevent lots of people from being harmed in the interim.
Nor is there any guarantee that a regime of ubiquitous surveillance will be
permanent anyway. It might be along the lines of one person, one vote, one
election, one dictator. The steps might be:
1. adopt ubiquitous surveillance,
2. lots of crazy laws are enforced,
3. millions are jailed as they are convicted of breaking these laws,
4. someone rises up who undo the harm of the system,
5. ubiquitous surveillance is outlawed, but the government, a few
powerful people, and small groups keep using the technology illegally and
benefitting from it at a great disadvantage to everyone else.
It's sort of like saying we should outlaw locks on doors because I'll be
able to steal back anything someone else steals from me. In a nice small
village, this might even work, but for 99% of the Earth's population, it
would only encourage stealing.
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