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On April 15, 2013 there was a tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. Almost instantly pictures and videos of "suspects" started to appear on the web. Was this a good thing? Do you have concerns?
"Eyes on the street" and Stephenson's gargoyles
Apr 28, 2013 Richard M27

Law enforcement has always relied on citizen tips / information / informants in their work, and the crime-solving aspects have always had a dark counterpart in enabling totalitarian regimes to find and punish dissidents. (E.g. the "Don't suspect a friend, report him," and similar social mantras of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil".)

The "gargoyles" of Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" present a vision of a privatized version of social monitoring: individuals constantly recording sound and video, tagging and categorizing the information for micro-sales. (A step that appears to be largely unnecessary, as we do a fine job of voluntarily tracking and tagging ourselves....)

It seems that monitoring of the populace -- by government, big data-mining corporations, and each other -- is a given, making the question asked a fairly moot point. Perhaps a better question is "who watches the watchmen?": how do we monitor how surveillance is being used, whether by the government or by Reddit?


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