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05/28/2004 Archived Entry: "Camera-ban story untrue? But life imitates satire."

IT APPEARS THE STORY OF RUMSFELD BANNING CAMERAS at Abu Ghraib is probably untrue -- for the moment. And -- oops! -- might be another case where somebody mistook satire for reality.

But as this above-linked article points out, blanket camera bans in businesses and public places are becoming more common, and Rumsfeld may eventually feel compelled to make reality imitate satire. (Here's further confirmation that more camera-control is on the way.)

Back in the pet peeve department, I can't help noticing time and again, that the more businesses and government agencies insist on photographing, taping, and databasing us, the more insistent they are that we not do the same to them. This is one more of the many reasons why David Brin's whole Transparent Society" concept is hopelessly naive. Aside from the fact that it would be hell on earth to live on an entire globe full of village busybodies, mega-surveillance will never be applied equally.

The whole point of surveillance is "us against them." The whole point is for the powerful to control the less powerful -- under the assumption that "the little people" are all potential criminals. Corporations and governments don't want us picking up digital cameras for the same reason Medieval lords didn't want peasants picking up pitchforks.

On the day that every government VIP and corporate manager says, "Okay, we love surveillance, so surveill us first! Bring your cameras into our offices! Check my personal credit records! Investigate without limit everything my agency ever does! Let the public decide whether or not I should be allowed to board an airplane!" I'll believe there's some more benign motive. But as long as they want to do it to us while keeping us from doing it to them, then no way.

Posted by Claire @ 09:19 AM CST

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