Sometimes I think back to just a few weeks ago when I was laughing about the popularity of the celery juice books and the medical medium craze - now look at whats going on - ugh -
But really self help books are a goldmine - where’s the ‘girl, wash your face’ author now? There is so much money to be made in books that tell people how to calm down, work less, eat better, and live off juice. But now it seems that we’re all perpetually living in ambiguity. What’s happening? Where’s the cure? In our 24 news cycle Covid-19 seems like old news - there should be a book by now -
I’m framing my response to this week’s question like this because when I think about ‘framing’ privacy and surveillance issues I think about the audience. People - they’re all just looking for guidance on any number of human issues, some good advice. As a librarian that works with a lot of different groups I’m often framing information as a casual conversation. The whole ‘people are experts at their own lives’ vein of thinking works here, too. I think the public wants to do the right thing and this is why increased surveillance seems, on the surface, as a sure way to go. But people need to be tested - how good is the location tracking if we don’t know who has the virus? (can I slip this into every conversation I’m having now?) (umm, yes)
There’s a larger foundational symptom and that has to be people’s ability to deal with not knowing. We have control over nothing. Fear is what pushes us to adopt surveillance technologies that are always misused by humans with nefarious needs. It’s a good thing that Mr. Rogers had been really enjoying a renewed moment the last bit before the crisis - the whole Mr. Rogers ‘look for the helpers’ meme has really hit home. Does surveillance really help anyone? - I don’t think so - it creates whole new layers of bureaucracy and doesn’t that just make the government bigger, and isn’t that antithetical to a neo-liberal agenda? OOOO that neo-liberal agenda is really making my muscles sore these days - umph…
Anyways, I’ve got celery to press. This is a conversation that has to be had continually - poor people are always targeted - minorities are always targeted, our health care system is corrupt and dysfunctional, how are fever detection and location tracking ever going to help this system? Humans do bad things with control and power this is just part of our nature - how can we design ourselves out of this?
These are my talking points so far -