December 12, 2012

Big Brother may be spying on your bus ride

Photo via Wired.
Is Wired promoting a conspiracy theory mindset, or should there be a legitimate concern? Related to that, is it being too alarmist (as in stereotypical media) about how it raises such concern?

Given that at least some of the money is from DHS, first, that's one reason to be legitimately concerned. Second, having the surveillance hyper-visible is often something deliberate, whether just to get people more mannerly, or to deliberately remind them of Big Brother, or to even encourage snooping.

Third, remember the school district that was remotely viewing students via laptop cams? True, that was not the "public square" and this is; nonetheless, it does raise some parallels.

As for the ideas raised under my "second" point, I raised the issue of the Overton window when a friend posted this on Facebook, before I shared it. And I was accused of pop-sociology bullshit.

Sorry, but I disagree. In matters of propaganda and similar, the government has, in WWI, WWII, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror shows a repeated desire to shift the window on what it wants the public to consider as legitimate surveillance, whether the legitimacy factor is one of legality or one of ethics. In the War on Terror, let's not forget waterboarding, warrantless wiretaps, drone warfare with kill lists and more. And, again, let's not forget that on all but the first, Obama has pushed that window further than Bush.

And, per "public square" arguments that say the government has a right to do this, whether Big Brother is the government (in this case) or Big Business, "legal" does not equal "ethical."  Per Wired, the fact that in one case, a local government had constitutional worries show that this isn't being overhyped.

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