The Logic of Surveillance
Surveillance is part of the system of control. “The more surveillance, the more control” is the majority belief amongst the ruling elites. Automated surveillance requires fewer “watchers”, and since the watchers cannot watch all the surveillance, long term storage increases the ability to find some “crime” anyone is guilty of. When you add in recognition systems based on face, gait or other criteria, you have the theoretical ability to track people from the moment they leave their homes till they return. Other measures make it possible to see what people are doing inside their own homes (IR heat maps, for example). A world in which everyone is tracked all the time is very possible.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
This is one of the biggest problems the current elites face: they want the smallest enforcer class possible, so as to spend surplus on other things. The enforcer class is also insular, primarily concerned with itself (see Dorner) and is paid in large part by practical immunity to many laws and a license to abuse ordinary people. Not being driven primarily by justice or a desire to serve the public and with a code of honor which appears to largely center around self-protection and fraternity within the enforcer class, the enforcers’ reliability is in question: they are blunt tools and their fear for themselves makes them remarkably inefficient.
Surveillance expands the reach of the enforcer class and thus of the elites. Every camera, drone and so on reduces the number of eyes needed on the ground. The Stasi had millions of informers; surveillance reduces that requirement and the cost of the enforcer class.
The reliance on surveillance is however a weakness, one of many. One of the simplest ways to reduce the power and reach of the oligarchy is to destroy surveillance equipment, much of which is very easy to reach. I have frequently said that we will know that people are becoming more serious when they start destroying surveillance equipment, when it becomes an ethical imperative to do so; ideally when people believe that blanket surveillance is an ethical wrong.
I, am, thus interested to see that the Barefoot Bandit Brigade destroying surveillance cameras. In the US, those who oppose current elites directly seem strongest around Oakland and in the Pacific Northwest.
It is best that the surveillance system be challenged and dismantled before it becomes comprehensive; once every person is tracked all the time it will be far harder to do so, especially as audio surveillance also expands. Once everyone is both tracked and listened to, it will be virtually impossible to organize resistance.
The comprehensive surveillance state, combined with measures to deal with the loyalty of the enforcer class, is the end game: it is where current trends lead. It will be justified to the public as a measure to decrease crime and protect innocents (especially children), but it will lead to a more advanced Stasi state.
Note: minor edits made.