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The best technologies really, truly do disappear. You see it. Just 40 years ago a computer fit in this room, now it fits in my pocket.

Jack Dorsey (via PandoDaily)

Or on our wrists, and in our eyes.  Soon enough, technology will get embedded into our bodies and the NSA will really know everything about us. 

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Are We Puppets in a Wired World?

“But while we were having fun, we happily and willingly helped to create the greatest surveillance system ever imagined, a web whose strings give governments and businesses countless threads to pull, which makes us…puppets. The free flow of information over the Internet (except in places where that flow is blocked), which serves us well, may serve others better.”

We accept the invasion of privacy in exchange for free services. We’re the product, and we’re doing it to ourselves.

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Culture

The elevator paradox

Practically every elevator has a camera yet everybody still messes around.

People do things on elevators they wouldn’t ordinarily do in public, such as picking their nose or smooching aggressively. Every action goes on record.

What is it about elevators that makes one feel private while acknowledging Orwellian presence?

My only guess is that elevators feel like traps. Because people can’t go anywhere and know they’re being watched anyway they do whatever they want.

Instead of installing discipline, elevator cameras ignite rebelliousness. People show similar insouciance to the NSA’s invasion of online privacy. The fear of being watched just compels users to fight the system and act with no restraints.

Most people just want to get on with the business of living. They’ll tug back when Big Brother encroaches. Like any animal, the smaller the cage the bigger the desire for absolute freedom.

Leave us alone and let us be or don’t; we’ll act freely anyway.

art via giphy

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In the hands of an individual, the video camera can be a very empowering thing. When it’s employed by the government to watch over the citizens, it has the opposite effect.

The Future
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Pragmatic Rebellion

How often do you break the rules? How often are you the person to stand up against something everyone knows is absurd?

People are standing up to fight wrongdoing:

  • Birkan Isin saved an Istanbul park from destruction and sparked Turkey’s mass protests
  • Snowden gut checked the NSA and lit a worldwide discussion on the future of Internet privacy
  • Ai Wewei continues to expose the flaws of “Chinese democracy” through his art

All it takes is one person to stand up and point out obvious injustices. A practical cause quickly creates awareness and widespread advocacy.

Everyone knows what’s right but is afraid to speak up or act. Racial segregtation would’ve persisted if Rosa Parks simply gave up her seat.

Rebellion is sometimes pragmatic, not a threat against the rules but a chance to question them and clean them up. But it takes balls to be the one to rise and light that fire. Risk can be life-threatening. So is inaction.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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Open to the Public

My Facebook page is public by default.

Facebook is really just another syndication channel for me. I’d rather not spend the time toggling between public and private shares. What you see is what everyone gets, like Twitter.

In fact, Twitter taught us all to get comfortable with the practice of sharing publicly. Eye balls raise if you’re account is private. The same rules apply to Instagram. Why join if you don’t want to participate in the larger social community? Be seen.

Privacy is old school thinking on social networks. But don’t share everything. Keep a private journal too. Use Day One, Days, or Vesper to collect personal thoughts and images. Those are the posts that you come back to to get life’s perspective. Those are also the stories the government nor any other family should see; they’re for you only.

Sharing is an extension of the world we see. Sharing should be honest. It also allows us to connect with like-minded people a world away and step in their shoes. But by all means, only share what you’re willing to be held accountable for. Everything goes on record.