Vie Privée et Technologies de l'Information

Aspects techniques, politiques et éthiques du respect de la vie privée, notamment en rapport avec l'informatique et l'usage d'internet. Informations et outils permettant une prise de conscience et une protection.

11 décembre 2004

Move Over, Big Brother

"Move Over, Big Brother"
Economist (12/02/04) Vol. 373, No. 8404, P. 31

The increasing sophistication and proliferation of surveillance systems is giving rise to fears of an Orwellian society in which the government can eavesdrop on all aspects of citizens' lives, but security expert Bruce Schneier argues that a "democratization" of surveillance is taking place thanks to the shrinking size of surveillance technologies, falling digital storage costs, and increasingly advanced data-mining systems. The wide distribution and availability of digital systems is putting surveillance in the hands of ordinary citizens. For example, there have been numerous reported incidents in which criminals were caught in the act by bystanders with camera-equipped mobile phones. Another benefit is enhanced accountability and transparency, while traditional news media have started to embrace citizen surveillance to augment documentation of news events. However, this trend has also sparked concerns about industrial espionage and increased voyeurism, and occurrences of the latter have prompted the passage of new laws designed to bolster people's rights to their personal image. Other crimes that inexpensive surveillance technology supports include identity theft, bank card counterfeiting, and account siphoning. David Brin, author of "The Transparent Society," thinks that a surveillance society could regulate itself, following the maxim that "A photographically 'armed' society could turn out to be more polite." But he does not dismiss the possibility that omnipresent surveillance technologies could help spread conformity by discouraging citizens from displaying their individualism.

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