Little Brother is watching (over) you

Wired UK is here. I thought this article on citizen surveillance of the police during the G20 protests was very interesting:

“We’ve grown used to the idea that amateur footage will trump the professionals in the moments after air crashes, floods and fires, but we haven’t yet grasped what that does to the balance of power between the state, the media and the individual.

 Surveillance is still talked of as something done to us by them, but increasingly it’s something done to everyone by everyone else. What that means for the authorities is that they can no longer control the flow of information about their actions.

They haven’t yet stopped trying. Without the camerawork of the New York fund manager who captured some of Tomlinson’s last moments, the final word on his death would have gone to the police: “[He] suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work.”

The week-old footage that emerged today does not contradict that official statement, but it widens the lens through which we see the event, and it changes our perspective. Instead of the sober, considered response of a senior, media-trained officer, calmly delivered hours after the event, we’re in the thick of the action, seeing messy footage of jeering protesters and a policeman lunging at a middle-age man, who stumbles to the ground. It leaves little room for complacency.

The picture we see remains incomplete. We don’t see what happened before the camera started rolling and we barely see the baton strike. If only we could see it from another angle, if only we could hear what was said. As more evidence emerges and more footage surfaces, we may.

The reaction to this incident, like the fears about blacked-out CCTV, illustrate an interesting shift in attitude towards surveillance. People normally opposed to cameras are, for the moment, looking to them to protect civil liberties and guard the little guy against the threat of state oppression.”

Also on this watching, read Sarah.


2 thoughts on “Little Brother is watching (over) you

  1. I reckon Wired UK is very much worth a sub. I got the first issue and I really like the design. Some of the features are not quite as sharp as you’d expect, and the columnists are a *bit* patchy – but basically it’s better then pretty much anything on the shelves.

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