Mass surveillance creates a suspicious society

Society is getting more and more complex. The number of rules and laws is enormous, beyond the point where you reasonably can be expected have a grasp of what you may and may not do. And far from all rules are reasonable or intuitive. There are laws based on very subjective moral grounds, laws that creates crimes without victims and laws that are there for no apparent reason at all.

Most likely most of us are unknowingly breaking some laws every day. (And some knowingly.)

And where you have rules, you always have smug and self-righteous people acting as some sort of sentinels — telling others how to behave and ratting on people.

This happens in all sorts of groups and societies. But it has been especially noticeable in authoritarian societies. Ratting on others is perceived to prove to people in power that you are on their side — and it shifts focus away from looking closer at you and your behaviour. Sadly, this is a rather rational behaviour under certain circumstances.

So, what happens when you add mass surveillance to the equation? Everyone has something to hide. And when the authorities are able to scrutinise the lives, communications and actions of everybody — there are even stronger incentives for people to sell out others (by the same reasons as mentioned above).

Mass surveillance creates a suspicious society, where you cannot trust other people.

It’s easy for governments to exploit the publics fear of terrorism and crime — and rather difficult to get people to understand the dangers of a society where trust between people is being eroded.



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