Ian Welsh's piece on the "logic of surveillance" makes several good points, but this one really smacked me in the face: "The enforcer class...is paid in large part by practical immunity to many laws and a license to abuse ordinary people."
Surveillance is part of the system of control. The more surveillance the more control, is the majority belief amongst the ruling elites. Automated surveillance requires fewer “watchers”, and since the watchers cannot watch all the surveillance, long term storage increases the ability to find some “crime” anyone is guilty of. When you add in recognition systems based on face, gait or other procedures, you have the theoretical ability to track a person from the moment they leave their home till they return to it. Other measures make it possible to see what people are doing in their own homes (IR heat maps, for example.) A world in which everyone is tracked all the time is very possible.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
This is one of the biggest problems the current elites face: they want the smallest enforcer class possible, so as to spend surplus on other things. The enforcer class is also insular, primarily concerned with itself (see Dorner) and is paid in large part by practical immunity to many laws and a license to abuse ordinary people. Not being driven primarily by justice and a desire to serve the public and with a code of honor which appears to largely center around self-protection and fraternity within the enforcer class, the enforcers reliability of the enforcers is in question: they are blunt tools and their fear for themselves makes them remarkably inefficient.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.