[ExI] What surveillance solution is best - Orwellian, David Brin's, or ...?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Wed Jun 27 08:17:21 UTC 2007

On 6/27/07, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Surely bugging every house wouldn't be either more difficult or more
> expensive than, say, a space program. I think the reason no-one has
> tried it is evidence that there are some things which even dictators
> fear would be too unpopular.

The East German Stasi secret police almost managed that.
They had files on almost everyone in the country and had infiltrated
almost every dissident group. One report complained that there were so
many informers in dissident groups that they were giving the
appearance that there were many more dissidents than actually existed.
It was said that the Stasi were present at every dinner party held in
the country.

I think that the reason every house was not bugged was that at that
time the technology was inadequate. When you think of people listening
to people, there are physical limits as to how much eavesdropping you
can do.

Today, it can all be done by computers scanning for keywords and
highlighting suspicious records for human attention. When more
intelligent computing arrives which can understand human conversation,
this will become even more effective.

It is likely that either already, or very soon, all email will be
scanned by the intelligence services. Analysing all the web traffic
must be very high on their to-do list.

Just wait, you ain't seen nothing yet!


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