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Caitlín R. Kiernan
2012-01-22 10:13 pm (UTC)
Something you blogged the other day got me thinking:
It’s anti-natural being potentially recorded all the time. It’s as if everyone I speak with is wearing a wire. Any of them could (potentially) provide concrete evidence of the things I’ve said. It’s like I’m the President all of the sudden, accountable for every word, every gesture and expression.
Just before Diwali, security at an IT company I was visiting in India tried to take my camera from me. I pointed out that I was carrying a laptop with a built-in camera, a secondary (higher-quality) USB camera for the laptop, and two smart phones, both with built-in cameras. And unlike the plain old camera, those devices have the native ability to
pictures and video to the Internet via a mobile network. This didn’t trouble them. They had been told to confiscate
- not phones, laptops, etc. The idea that you could actually
people from documenting, from being connected, even in India, is seldom even contemplated. It reduces non-physical security to little more than a token gesture. (Every sizeable IT company in India has a plethora of armed guards and barbwire-trimmed fences, so they have the
security thing covered.)
Akshardham in Delhi (which is kind of like the Disneyland version of a great temple, including a narrated boat ride with animatronic characters) does not allow electronics inside. When I visited there, I had to leave the line twice to return items to the car, a lengthy jaunt away. (The second time, I’d forgotten I had a battery for my camera in my pocket; damn that thing.) Security at Indira Gandhi International isn’t as tight. And still it would have been easy to smuggle a device inside - if I’d had a mind to. So again, the process seemed mostly for show.
Each time I have an honest conversation with anyone I work with, I’m acutely aware that a lot of trust has gone into it, even before it begins. (Being honest in the corporate world usually involves saying things that could potentially get you fired. Yet, without honest conversation, positive change is pretty unlikely.) It’s unnerving, oppressive, and relentless. With apologies to Kelly and Orwell: We have met Big Brother, and he is us.
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Caitlín R. Kiernan
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