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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Again: Surveillance meets Sousveillance

As an Update to the ongoing Sousveillance ("inverted Surveillance") discussion (1; 2; 3) after the IWIS 2004 (International Workshop on Inverse Surveillance, 2004 April 12th) Howard Rheingold comes up with another article: "Inverse Surveillance" -- What We Should Do With All Those Phonecams".

What does Wikipedia tell us about Sousveillance? It says "Even today's personal sousveillance technologies like cameraphones and weblogs tend to build a sense of community, on contrast to surveillance that some have said is corrosive to community."

As we stated on April 24: "Naturally there are other opinions out there, esp. because of the self-perfoming of Mr. Mann. The term "Sousveillance" is on the Wikipedia list for deletion." This isn´t true anymore, meanwhile this entry - 10 days later - has been changed, it has been completely new written. All critical aspects have been removed.

Anyway, we are disappointed. Although all other sources are clapping their hands: what Howard Rheingold is writing in his article is absolutely nothing new. It´s just a repetition of what was published on the wallpaper of IWIS2004. Nothing more. That´s it.

Ridiculous. Steven Mann formerly - in his early years - was sometimes wrongfully treated like a charlatan, but now (in fact he did so the first time in late 2002) that Grandpa Howard Rheingold has said "You are granted to enter my church and religion" the fans and disciples are clapping their hands and cry HURRA - not because of Mann, not because of Rheingold, but because of what Rheingold is reporting about Mann. Kinda metaclapping (they would call it "ClappingVeillance" - we are watching if you´re clapping or not). We don´t blame Rheingold for this.

If you watch the past and discussion list, you´ ll find even more new phrases, terms and expressions: mobveillance by Mr. Moblogg himself, equiveillance theory, coteveillance or coveillance ("Sometimes this variation of sousveillance ("personal sousveillance") has been referred to as coteveillance or coveillance in the literature") and so on and on. Now all the late adoptors appear with "I totally agree with your points and think they are very valuable" advising us to buy their new book and to follow their new "prototype ideas".

It´s becoming an endless discussion. It´s like two pals sitting together. One says, "Let´s invent a new expression, a new term, a new phrase. I´ll invent it. Later I´ll add some content, impact and meaning to it, somehow hazy, blurred, fuzzy. You are the one to write about it. At that point it can´t be ignored anymore. Then, at a certain point, we will have a movement, an agitation. People will start to believe what we say and what you report. It´s a cycle of self referring one to each other. We will have meetings and conferences. You continue to report. Then the cash comes in. In the end inventing an expression is money. The cash cycle starts. We´ve done."

This reminds us of what Schopenhauer said about Hegel and Kant more in general: "Experiences without terms are blind, terms without experiences are empty and blank ("Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind blind, Begriffe ohne Anschauungen leer ").

Make up your mind yourself, these are some other links: 1; 2, Techdirt Wireless where Mike Masnick adds simple at the end: "The content has already been published. " [The Connected Camera Fights Back: "Every time someone trashes the idea of camera phones because the camera quality sucks, we try to point out that the amazing thing about a camera phone isn't in how it compares to a regular camera, but the fact that camera is connected . Howard Rheingold makes the point especially clear in his latest column for TheFeature, pointing out that one way to fight back against the ubiquitous surveillance cameras all around is to do some "inverse surveillance" with camera phones back at official misdeeds . He makes the point that in the past, when an abuse of power was happening by the police or other authorities, one of the first things they would try to do is to confiscate and/or destroy cameras that witnessed the event. However, if the camera is connected and streaming the images onto the internet in real-time, it doesn't do much good to confiscate the camera. The content has already been published."]; 3; 4; 5.

May 6, 2004 | Permalink


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