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Optimal Panopticonism

I first posted this as a response to a comment I got to a previous entry about free nationwide wireless internet access.

I don't think we can avoid some form of Panopticon society. I take particular interest in making sure that we get one in which information and accountability flow both ways, from the citizenry to the police to the government and back again. David Brin calls that sort of arrangement The Transparent Society.

Altrnatively, information and accountability can flow from the citizenry to the police and government but not back to the citizenry. George Orwell described a society based on this model of Panopticon society in his novel 1984. We generally call societies based on that model totalitarian regimes, but we have never seen the kind of totalitarin Panopticon regime that ubiquitos, microsopic surveilance devices will enable in places like Nort Korea and Myanmar if they stay on the path they've followed in recent decades.

I also take a fairly keen interest in what business-minded, forward-looking places like Dubai and Singapore will do with their Panopticon infrastructures. The institutional mentality in these places seems to have little concern for civil liberties except where such infringements would hurt business.

I have more to say on this topic, but business calls.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
weev
May. 24th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
I disagree. The maintainance of a technological state like this is unsustainable. The technology is fragile and easily hacked by the enlightened.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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