Boingboing reports on the latest step toward panopticon
May 21st, 2008

Via boingboing and FreeGovInfo

The city of Chicago has taken their first step to ‘always on’ monitoring of its citizens, with a network of camera feeds and video analytics. If cameras can monitor and alert authorities to suspicious human behavior is this a great revolution for our society or a greater invasion of privacy than we need?

With China also employing these techniques, it seems that the great divide between the way the two countries treat their people and their privacy is becoming more and more similar by the day.

Klein notes that human-rights activists say that although the surveillance tools used by China and the U.S. are the same, the political contexts are radically different. “China has a government that uses its high-tech web to imprison and torture peaceful protesters, Tibetan monks and independent-minded journalists.” But she also notes that Guantánamo Bay, the erosion of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal searches and seizures, and the fact that the U.S. currently has more people behind bars than China despite a population less than a quarter of its size all mean that “the lines are getting awfully blurry.”

This reminds us that the Patriot Act gave the U.S. government far more power by taking advantage of its citizens in a time of fear after the 9/11 attacks.

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