01.12.2011 14:35 - Quis Custodiet ipsos Custodies?
(Or, "Who Watches The Watchers?")
In 1948, George Orwell predicted a totalitarian state where everyone was watched for signs of weakness. In 1968, Andy Warhol predicted that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. In the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, those two predictions started to collide rather unpredictably.
You know what I mean : Famous people discovering the Twitter effect, when they tell a rather off-colour joke and it backfires. The most recent being the prejudiced views of a woman on a train, where she was filmed going on about immigrants.
Now, something seems to have escaped most people in their mad rush to disagree with the opinions of the woman, and it's this : the person who videoed this did so without her permission, and then uploaded this, malice aforethought, to YouTube. In other words, millions of people now know who this woman is. The same goes for the woman who dumped the cat in the bin, and any other number of clips. Does that not strike you as trial by internet? Does it also not strike you that doing so might be a far greater breach of the law than the actions which were punishable? Ok, so the woman in question gave vent to an opinion which is, at best, obnoxious and reprehensible (and I'm talking as someone who's an immigrant to Germany here), but as far as I can see, the clip starts with her mid-flow, and there seems to be no context, in that she might have been goaded into making the statement.
We've all had weak moments where we've said things we have later regretted. John Lennon ultimately paid for an out-of-context quote with his life. It seems peculiar that "internet bullying" of and by schoolchildren is routinely condemned, yet exactly the same thing in the adult world is tolerated.
A world where the watchers are the watched, equipped with camera phones and a world-wide distribution, seems far more totalitarian than one where the Government has all the cameras.