Monday, February 12, 2024

It's Just For Your Own Protection

Plus, think of the kids! "The Greatest Trick Big Brother Ever Pulled" by Daniel Nuccio, Brownstone Institute.  Key point:

    “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” is a quote generally attributed to Charles Baudelaire – or possibly Keyser Söze depending on who you ask on the internet. Something similar can be said about Big Brother.

    When you think about what our emerging surveillance state will look like, you think 1984. You imagine East Germany powered by Google and Amazon. You recall your favorite dystopian sci-fi film – or maybe horror stories of China’s social credit system. Thoughts of a frustrated middle-aged police chief from a mid-sized Midwestern town attempting to procure security cameras with innovative new features probably don’t come to mind. You definitely don’t think of a guy in a lawn chair jotting down the license plate numbers of passing vehicles in a notebook. And that’s partly how the surveillance state is going to emerge as it creeps its way into one small town at a time.

    Whether a surveillance state is the end goal is hard to say. The police chief of Pawnee, Indiana probably isn’t plotting the development of his own mini-Oceania. But, 18,000-plus mini-Oceanias operating across multiple platforms with varying degrees of integration, both locally and nationally, is undoubtedly the direction in which we are heading as salespeople peddle shiny new surveillance gadgets to cities big and small, making often unverified but intuitively appealing claims of how their devices will decrease crime or prove to be useful investigative tools.

The really nefarious part of the whole thing, whether you are concerned about civil liberties or government waste, is that this technology--the shot spotters, the license plate readers, the facial recognition systems--has negligible value in solving crimes and no value in deterring crime. But they do cost lots of money.

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