Our opportunistic self surveillance

Finally be able to read this great piece from Evgeny Morozov on information consumerism and the price of hypocracy. It is describing how all developments in data exhausts and free models is creating a world were surveillance is default and not forced by authorities.

In as much as the Snowden affair has forced us to confront these issues, it’s been a good thing for democracy. Let’s face it: most of us would rather not think about the ethical implications of smart toothbrushes or the hypocrisy involved in Western rhetoric towards Iran or the genuflection that more and more European leaders show in front of Silicon Valley and its awful, brain-damaging language, the Siliconese. The least we can do is to acknowledge that the crisis is much deeper and that it stems from intellectual causes as much as from legal ones. Information consumerism, like its older sibling energy consumerism, is a much more dangerous threat to democracy than the NSA.

It is interesting how our model changed. We had a fear that total dictatorship could arise from ubiquitous surveillance. This was all based on the concept that we would be more controlled by governments by this surveillance state. That is not the case at all, it are the big corporates that are ruling the world and using the data surveillance to influence our behaviour.

And I would like to take it a step further. It is not the government, nor the corporate power and interests that in the end is ruling the data surveillance. Of course they try to manipulate us. But the most intriguing one is the way we are  doing it to ourselves. Totally in free will, because the systems that are emerging are made by us and our social will. We will grow into an ultimate bottom-up society, but with systems that rule this society which have more impact than every models we thought of before.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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