“Keeping the State Weak,” by TM Lutas, Flit(tm), 13 June 2005, http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/archives/005439.html.
One of my blog role models, and tdaxp commentator, TM Lutas worries about the political implications of street cameras
I ran across an article on street cameras themed on the idea that they’re really not such a bad thing for civil liberties. It’s not a bad piece but misses the real problem of the cameras, they make the state too strong. A society where everything done by an individual in public is captured, stored, collated, and attached to a personal file makes it too easy to keep tabs on dissidents, on the loyal opposition, even on personal enemies of those in power.
The US has plenty of experience with corrupt governments. The municipal history of most major urban centers in the US can lay out entire corrupt eras where the city was controlled by this or that corrupt “machine”. Corruption is not something that is of mere theoretical interest but a real, live concern that is a problem from the beginning of the Republic to today.
So what happens when those street cameras are controlled by a corrupt group that is technically savvy?…
This is a concern that city governments will use Network-Centric Politics to stay in power. This is related to Network-Centric Warfare, the “hi-tech blitzkrieg” that the Pentagon is planning to defend Taiwan. Lots of technology, lots of technological networks to be build, very top-down.
The citizen’s solution is fourth generation politics. Related to Fourth Generation War, or “netwar,” it relies on human networks to win. 4GW allows common people to use the infrastructure to their advantage, bypassing points of resistance like rivers bypass mountains. So what is the solution if an American city corruptly uses the surveillance cameras to spy on “enemy” meetings? Meet where the cameras cannot see. Or do something completely asymetric, like swarm enemy politicians and neutral media.