People fear the future of technological surveillance

People quite rightly fear new forms of state surveillance that might possibly emerge in everyday life. They fear the future use by police of holographic data screens, citywide surveillance cameras, and multiple dimensional maps and database feeds that monitor the movements of law-abiding citizens.

They fear the future as depicted by a popular online short film called “Plurality” that has taken YouTube by storm.

People fear the use of biometric data linked to government intelligence profiles because they do not like the expanded powers that Western countries have promulgated since the September 11 terrorist attacks, which expand policing, detention, and profiling powers with little independent legal oversight.

While law-abiding citizens understand and mostly endorse enhanced security measures, they expect such measures to be used within the traditional context of the “rule of law”, which includes habeas corpus. They also expect that their confidential data will not be used in a homogenous fashion. Data collected from merchants should not be shared and used by government agencies to construct risk profiles and assessments without warrants.

However, people are quite fearful that in a world of aggregated data, which includes varied sources such as credit card purchases, Web browser histories and healthcare records, personal information will be assembled to form gigantic data footprints about individuals to aid in state surveillance.

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