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Thursday, July 18, 2013

When states monitored their citizens we used to call them authoritarian. Now we think this is what keeps us safe

By Susan Moore
The Guardian - Comments
Originally published July 3, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

What I failed to grasp, though, was quite how much I had already surrendered my liberty, not just personally but my political ideals about what liberty means. I simply took for granted that everyone can see everything and laughed at the idea that Obama will be looking at my pictures of a cat dressed as a lobster. I was resigned to the fact that some random FBI merchant will wonder at the inane and profane nature of my drunken tweets.

Slowly but surely, The Lives of Others have become ours. CCTV cameras everywhere watch us, so we no longer watch out for each other. Public space is controlled. Of course, much CCTV footage is never seen and often useless. But we don't need the panopticon once we have built one in our own minds. We are all suspects.

Or at least consumers. iTunes thinks I might like Bowie; Amazon thinks I want a compact tumble dryer. Really? Facebook seems to think I want to date men in uniform. I revel in the fact that the algorithms get it as wrong as the man who knocks on my door selling fish out of a van. "And not just fish," as he sometimes says mysteriously.

The entire comment is here.
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