back to article Neuromancing the law

According to the Information Commissioner we are now waking up to find ourselves in a surveillance society. But what is a surveillance society? We can all see the cameras, so now everyone's chattering about CCTV. But what about the vast array of other technologies being sewn into the fabric of society? Who is controlling them, …

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Privacy in the future

With the Internet becoming 99% spam, fake blogs and link sites, I think we'll end up giving up the pseudoanonymity of the Web for a system of authenticated users, possibly with a sort of reverse walled garden - a "walled chaos", where the things that require anonymity can go on (basically, posting information that someone somewhere doesn't want to be posted).

In the end, what we need isn't more services that give us an unrealistic sense of anonymity. We need a strict framework detailing what info a company can collect, and how it can be used, and how it can be displayed to and amended by the end user (including deletion of the data held). We need to stop trying to make individual threats to privacy illegal, and make privacy invasion as a whole regulated.

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The fat lady warms up

"Could the legal profession, in extending its research tentacles into the sci-fi world of "ambient law", be accused of making a bid to become part of the ruling elite in an emerging technocracy?"

Am I the only one to find the above question hilarious? Like baby sharks most prelaw types congregate in PoliSci as a nursery in which to hone their predatory skills before graduating from Law. The real man killers graduate to politics. "... a bid to become part of the ruling elite..." You're kidding, right?

<soapbox>

It's been my experience that the vast majority of people just want to wrap themselves in the comforting warmth of mediocrity. Whether by way of religion, political affiliation, or, the neighbourhood pub, they just want to get on with it, fit in, be validated, breed and live out their genetic programming. Having Big Brother watch over them is welcomed, as long as Big Brother includes a family member. Before we can speak to the threats posed by technology we need to answer the question/s as to why voting turn out in western democracies is so embarrassing low. Voter turn out is an accurate measure of overall concern about the erosion of personal freedoms.

Outsiders will always find a way to slip between the cracks. The more a program is written to meet standards the more likely some twisted, inventive script kiddie will find a way to script h/is/er way out of it, or, just mess with it. Technology shepherding the masses makes the pickings easier for predators.

Democracy today has a two tiered voting system. The first tier conventionally has one vote per adult member of the country; the second tier is the loosely regulated vote with each, almighty buck. Our faith and government is dollar based. The invisible hand, as noted by Adam Smith, moves over the, amusingly termed, laisser-faire markets and dictates, like the hand of God, what will be. Herky jerky we govern by espousing ideals from the ballot box and dictating policy for the cash box.

If we keep technology development in the private sector where people can vote with their dollars while the public sector is constrained by ideals and firewalled from undue influence by corporations then we might have a system of checks and balances in place to allow the masses to live comfortably, and, maybe, the majority will never need to give up a few precious hours of their lives to vote.

One threat come from corporations being allowed to lobby and finance politicians. Another threat comes from non voters.

</soapbox>

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Jim

Re: The fat lady warms up

Good points, well made.

I have to agree strongly about corporate lobbying/politician access. I still don't get why an organisation that has no vote can get the ear of a politician so much more easily than your average voting public. Strikes me as somewhat un-democratic.

I can't agree with non-voters being a threat, as I am one ;-)

I just don't see the point in voting when I am given the choice of the devil or the deep blue sea. Give me a real protest vote and I will turn up to the voting booth. But while I have the choice of being grouped, by politicos as lazy (non-voters) or an idiot (spoiled ballots) I will stick with being a lay-about.

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