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December Futurismic Column Now Up

ucla2.jpgThis month's Futurismic column is now up (my fault that it's late). It's an update on what's happening with the participatory panopticon. This time, I look at what Michael Richards, UCLA cops, and George "Macaca" Allen have in common, and the lessons they have for the rest of us.

The proliferation of cameras this scenario suggests is undoubtedly troubling for many civil libertarians and privacy advocates. The problem is, these cameras have already proliferated -- the majority of mobile phones sold around the world have a camera, and more cameraphones were sold in 2005 than any other kind of camera, digital or film. We will have more examples of the participatory panopticon in action in the coming weeks and months. Similarly, surveillance cameras have become a commonplace part of urban policing, whether mounted on buildings, street lights, or police car dashboards. What we need are rules and practices that make the use of these tools more responsible and transparent.

Forecast that might seem obvious in retrospect: during the 2007-2008 runup to the US election, we'll see a rash of hoax videos on YouTube (and similar sites) impugning the credibility and character of numerous political candidates. As a result, some candidates will start recording every moment they're in the public (or semi-public) eye, as self-defense. By the 2010 US elections, every candidate will do so.


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