Internet panopticon

"...Facebook announced a change in policy that would keep some of its data out of easy collection and use by law enforcement.

"The announcement was a response to a discovery months ago that some tech companies were using their access to massive amounts of social media data through developer tools to sell it to law enforcement agencies across the country. The police then use the information to keep track of citizens' behavior. These tools have been used to track potential criminal behavior—and also activists engaged in public protests."

New meaning for the old PR phrase, 'your tax dollars at work': law enforcement agencies use your tax dollars to purchase data about you, then use the data to spy on you.

If that's not democracy, I don't know what is! We want those agencies to protect us from 'the terrorists', and that's how they do it. Secrecy sustains the whole project. If your local government said, do you want us to repair your neighborhood's water line, or buy social media data to monitor your activities, how do you think residents would answer?

Of course, we don't know which law enforcement agencies are purchasing social media data to begin with. That's the Kafkaesque beauty of Bentham's panopticon. They can see you, but you can't see them.

Related article

Facebook Tells Police to Stop Using Them to Spy on Folks

Related concept

Panopiticon - "The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly." ~ Wikipedia

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