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Surveillance in a Democracy

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

Any government, corporation or organisation is composed of a turnover of people. People are fallable. Some people ain’t no good. Surveillance increases the power that these unseen individuals have over me by increasing my visibility. Visibility is a trap, said Foucault, despite the idea that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear.

I act according to what I believe to be right. But I may be penalised for actions that another individual may believe to be wrong. Were I to criticise and ridicule the idea that there is an all powerful man in the sky prelonging patriarchal prejudices and inflaming opinions, there could be a majority without access to our education that would disagree and may act against me.

It is quite widely known that the German government had conducted a census after the First World War in order to aid the rebuilding and to help with welfare. It listed large amounts of Jews. When the political environment swung further right, the same lists were put to a horrible use.

Therefore, I disagree with extensive surveillance not because I do not think that I act rightly, but because I believe that there is a majority who still do not understand the difference between right and wrong, and I do not want to be at their ignorant mercy.