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Tony Grist

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Sousveillance [Apr. 11th, 2009|09:58 am]
Tony Grist
Here's a nice new word: sousveillance. Surveillance is when the authorities point their cameras at us and sousveillance is when we point our cameras back at them.  As the surveillance state bulks up, so does the sousveillance resistance- and its largely due to that nifty little device- the camera phone. Thanks to sousveillance the Metropolitan police are not going to get away with their account of the death of Ian Tomlinson in the G20 demonstration. According to the the story they first put out, Mr Tomlinson- not a protestor but a newspaper vendor walking back to his lodgings-  slipped and fell under a hail of bottles from protesters- and the police did their best to protect him. But according to the record of a camera phone belonging- nice touch this, positively Shakespearean- to a New York fund manager- we can see what really happened was that a policeman attacked Mr Tomlinson from behind. There was no hail of bottles. The police in their dark force armour positively owned that street. And the people who went to Mr Tomlinson's aid were members of the public.

There has been a lot of gloomy media talk about how the British are the most spied-upon nation in the world and how, by tolerating the spread of surveillance cameras, we are sleep-walking towards 1984. But Orwell didn't forsee the camera phone and how it levels the playing field. For every CCTV camera in a public place there are God knows how many camera phones in bags and pockets. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Well, all of us, actually. Any of us. We all of us have the gear.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: greybeta
2009-04-11 09:56 am (UTC)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Well, all of us, actually. Any of us. We all of us have the gear.
Well said!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-11 10:22 am (UTC)
Cheers.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-04-11 11:12 am (UTC)
Thanks. Your post, and the Marina Hyde article you linked to, cheered me up, rather.

The thing is, a lot of police officers are not too emotionally intelligent. Put them in a uniform and tell them they are on the side of right, and heaven knows what they feel they can justify.

I like the idea that we watch them. Vigilants, rather then vigilantes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-11 02:27 pm (UTC)
The most sadistic, cold-eyed, gratuitously brutal guy at my school had ambitions to be a police officer. I don't think it's any surprise that the job attracts bullies.
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From: algabal
2009-04-11 01:30 pm (UTC)
I really like the idea that we can use the instruments of our bourgeois capitalist daily lives to fight the police state. Hail liberty!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-11 02:35 pm (UTC)
Liberte!
Egalite!
Fraternite!
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-04-14 10:46 am (UTC)
Liberty is capitalism / the free market. The opposite of liberty is authoritarianism and state intervention in the market, or market planning, which is where we are headed.
Incidentally it wasn't the freemarket that created the current financial mess. It was the very fact that it wasn't free. But of course that is what it is being blamed on. I suggest this article: http://www.thelibertyvoice.com/?p=136
This is why most of those bloody protesters were so misguided. Aaargh
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-04-11 04:15 pm (UTC)
Surveillance is when the authorities point their cameras at us and sousveillance is when we point our cameras back at them.

Nice word!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-11 06:53 pm (UTC)
Isn't it just!

I love new words!
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[User Picture]From: mollydot
2009-04-11 04:58 pm (UTC)
Have you read David Brin's essay the Transparent Society? You can find it online with google.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-11 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'll go look at it. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-04-11 07:55 pm (UTC)
Sousveillance? I like that. There seems to be a lot of it going on over this side of the ocean...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-12 12:45 pm (UTC)
All God's chillun got cameras!
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