[ExI] privacy again

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Mar 3 21:50:37 UTC 2016

On 2016-03-03 17:46, spike wrote:
> This leads back to the original observation in a way. Cases like these 
> can only become far more common as more proles discover that video 
> devices can be hidden where they will never be discovered, activated 
> by a phone call, video collected by Skype, then the low-cost device 
> abandoned afterward. The potential damage is proportional somehow to 
> the value of the video, which is proportional to the hotness of the 
> victim. Now these kinds of court cases become a beauty contest. 

Not exactly. It is a social capital contest. Beauty helps give you 
social capital, ugliness reduces it; in fact, lookism is a stronger 
factor than racism and sexism in some studies. But the not-so-beautiful 
VIP who gets harmed will be less likely to be told "deal with it" than 
the nobody.

This is of course true for all crimes. Social status, ability to speak 
for oneself, or to invoke a support network, has always been protective 
against being accused, suspected or sentenced for most crimes. Not 
perfectly, of course, and there are other reasons people of low SES are 
overrepresented in courtrooms too. Conversely, when trying to get the 
legal system to listen the above factors really help.

Crimes against integrity are bad even for slum-dwellers. In fact, they 
are often worse for people with few resources since their reputations 
and images are all they have. But they are less likely to prevail in 
court, or even seek legal help because of less resources and trust. 
Meanwhile high social capital people are more likely to try and to get 

So, yes, this is a kind of beauty contest. An unfair one, since it is 
involuntary and people cannot decide if to participate. But also very 
hard to fix, since whatever the system is there tends to be a worst off 
group (add affirmative action, and you get a different set; make clear 
rules not bound by personal liking, and the people who are bad with 
using such rules will be worst off).

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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